[From John Hills]
After many years of peaceful, and even friendly coexistence, it came to pass that the Beast People of the Great Northern Forest, led by the Druid Rollin, went to war against the Hill Dwarves who lived on the edge of their territory.
They did this because they had come to fear for the future of their great realm. Dwarven settlements had been built closer and closer to, and even within, the forest. Quarries had been dug, trees felled, and streams dammed, but worst of all, the Dwarves had been sending explorers into Machine City, a relic of the Old Race, who returned with infernal machines which filled the air with stinking smoke and frightened the wildlife with their terrible noise. It was time to stop it all.
Rollin marshalled his forces for the coming battle.
Druid General Sylph Maiden Bodyguard 2 Healers 2 Sylph Maiden Heroes + Taunt 1 Centaur Hero + Taunt 2 Sylph Enchantresses (Traps) 1 Old Man of the Forest (Major Spirit) 2 Satyr Spirits (Tricksters) 1 Giant Hedgehog (Elite Large Monster) 1 Unicorn Herd (Elite Small Monsters) 1 Centaur Light Cavalry 2 Swarm of Frogs 2 Companies of Minotaurs (Beastmen) 4 Companies of Duckmen with swords and halbards (Beastmen) 2 Companies of Duckman Slingers (Shooting Beastmen) 4 Companies of Woodsmen (Irregulars)
His first objective was to secure the circle of standing stones that was now threatened by a new Dwarf settlement at Harrison's Ford, which he hoped to take by surprise.
This was not to be, however. A Dwarf adventurer, Peter Van Derr, was out testing his new find from Machine City, a two wheeled vehicle that was amazingly easy to ride. He got his motor running at last and set out looking for adventure, and ran straight into the advancing masses of Beast People. Even Peter was not prepared to tackle these single handed, so he drove as fast as he could to get help. The local militias and retinues were soon formed up and heading for Harrison's Ford, to meet the approaching enemy.
Hill Dwarf Army
General Priest Bodyguard for Priest 3 Heroes Peter Van Derr on his contraption, with lots of spare parts and his tool kit (ie Fade ability!) Large flying vehicle found in Machine City (Flying Juggernaut Battlewagon) with a Company of Fanatics on board. 4 Mules carrying gold, gems, etc for sacrifice. 2 Companies of Bear Riders (HC) 2 Companies of Goat Riders (LC) 1 Company of Elite Fanatic Boar Riders 2 Heavy Crossbow Companies 1 Spear Company 3 Handweapon Companies 1 Flying Panther Rider Company 1 Lesser Spirit 1 Artillery Piece (Mortar) 2 Pit Traps
(Both armies were 1200 Points, by my calculation.)
The Dwarves entered from the North, the Druid army from the South.
The Standing Stones where in the middle of the battlefield.
The western third of the battlefield was separated from the rest by a stream, which widened into a lake in the middle.
Harrison's Ford and its new Dwarf settlement were at the lake's northern end.
The rest of the field was dotted with clumps of trees, making for very rough going.
The Druid deployed with Beastmen and Irregulars covering the centre, with the Giant Hedgehog leading the attack on the Stone Circle. The left was supported by the Swarm of Frogs and a Trickster. The Left was covered by the Unicorns, Centaurs and the other Trickster. The Old Man of the Forest was held back behind the centre. The Druid hoped to move forward quickly and use his superior numbers to surround and overwhelm the Dwarves.
The Dwarves deployed with their infantry in a shorter line in the centre, with the flying battlewagon behind and the Spirits at the left end. On the extreme left were the Bear and Boar Riders, hoping to turn the flank, on the right were the Flying Panther Riders and Goat Riders, who hoped to destroy the Centaurs and Unicorns and turn the other flank. Peter Van Derr was with one of the Handweapon Companies.
The battle began when the Dwarves, with many of their infantry deployed in woods (hoping to move clear on turn one) found that the undergrowth had entangled some of their troops, delaying the advance of their battle line. The Mounted Dwarves on the flanks pressed forward, and the flying battlewagon, with a little Invigoration from the Cleric, flew forward with blinding speed and killed the Old Man of the Forest.
The Forest continued to fight for the Druid, now destroying a unit of Handweapons. The Beast People surged forward, while the Tricksters moved towards the Battlewagon that was now unengaged behind their centre.
The Battlewagon's driver now became enraged by a strange gesture that one of the Tricksters made in his direction - it was the last thing the Trickster would do in this world. The Dwarf Cleric also offered a Sacrifice of Gems to his god - a large, gnarled fist descended from the clouds and bashed the hedgehog until he resembled a large, spiky beefburger, then took the offering.
The Druid's army continued to surge forward, the shortness of the Dwarf line becoming more apparent by the second.
The Battlewagon's driver then became enraged by an unrepeatable insult hurled by the other Trickster - seconds later the Tricksters were reunited in the after-life, exchanging notes on the wisdom of insulting someone who is driving 10 tons of fast-moving iron and steel. The units on the Druid's extreme right flank moved to face the flanking Bear and Boar Riders.
The Bear and Boar Riders now charged the units facing them. This fight lasted for the rest of the game. The Boar Riders were immediately killed by the Irregulars facing them. One unit of Bear Riders fought a unit of Minotaurs, exchanging demoralises, for the rest of the game. The other Bear Rider unit fought the Frogs, bringing them to double demoralisation before they rallied and eventually destroyed the Bear Riders!
The Flying Panther Riders flew across the lake to hit and destroy the unit of Irregulars that held the extreme left of the Druid's battle line, while Peter rode his contraption forward and attacked the unit of Irregulars to his front. He was not so lucky, though, and there was a large explosion as part of his bike erupted into a ball of fire.
At this point the Dwarves' Flying Battlewagon and their now dismounted Fanatics found themselves in melee with a unit of Irregulars and a hero. Amazingly, this combat lasted until the end of the game without result - the Irregulars consistently lost each round of combat (not surprising really: +7 vs +2) but were never doubled and passed every rally test they took. This denied 2 very powerful units to the Dwarves, Taunts ensuring that both units maintained contact after a recoil.
The Druid's left flank, the Unicorns and Centaurs now succeeded in charging and destroying both units of Goat Riders, leaving the Dwarf Right completely open to attack. The Dwarf Cleric evened the score a bit by again sacrificing several large chests of gold - the hand returned and pummelled the unit of Minotaurs that accompanied the Druid into the dirt, along with the Druid's faithful Bodyguard. The Druid himself, though, escaped and joined a company of Ducks.
The infantry battle lines now made contact, while Peter Van Derr remounted his repaired bike and rode into the rear of the Irregulars who had so recently inconvenienced him. Most of the Dwarf line held firm, but their extreme left, held by a Handweapon unit and the Spirits, collapsed.
Things looked very bad for the Dwarves, and got worse when the unit with their Cleric attached recoiled into a wood and was promptly destroyed by a Deadfall spell. The Cleric did not survive this either. The last favourable event for the Dwarves was when Peter's bike exploded for a second and final time, destroying the unit of Irregulars he was fighting.
The Dwarves finally surrendered when the remnants of their battle line was surrounded following the summoning of 2 Tree Spirits.
I had expected this battle to be fun and close, and was not disappointed - if the Battlewagon had been able to kill the Irregulars it go stuck on, the result could have been very different, and it was very unfortunate for the Dwarves that their Cleric died when he did. The Hill Dwarf army was a tough nut, as always, and the Druid army was great, both visually and to use. I expect to see a rematch in the near future, once I have built the Druid a Lintel to ride into battle on...
Sorry this was so long, but I hope it was worth it for those who made the distance.
- John Hills