Friday, 31 August 2012

WoffBoot VI - Orcs and Goblins vs Lizardmen

Gnashbad moved the boys later that night, heading along the edges of the Howling River and deeper into the foothills of the World's Edge mountains. Dawn found them marching through a valley on the fringes of a little wood.

As the morning sun lit the low hills opposite them, Gnashbad realised they were not alone.

"Wot da Zog are dose?" he asked. The black-cowled shaman at his side squinted furiously against the rising sun. Several well-organised of blue-skinned, scaly warriors sat quietly there, basking in the early light. Bronze glyph plates gleamed in the rosy dawn.

"Big lizzids, innit, boss," the mushroom-addled magician said, confidently.

"Wot? Lizzids? Don't muck me about, ya little runt. Dey's too big."

"Nah, not ordin'ry lizzids. Big magic ones. Dey come out of da stone rings round 'ere sumtimes."

"Ain't urd o dem," said the black orc, dubiously. But he'd decided, he was going to take the shaman seriously now. If the fidgeting gobbo said they were big lizards, that's what they were.

"You'll like 'em, boss," said the shaman. "Taste like chicken."

"Chicken, eh? Right! Bashmad! Drum us a marching choon. Time for fightin'!"

A raucous cheer rattled up from the orcs. More fighting! Gnashbad was alright, past his stuffy black orc exterior. Four fights in two days! That was... that was more than Bashmad could count!

WoffBoot VI - Dogs of Empire vs Lizardmen

On the second day, the Enterprise of Campogrotta found the Lizardmen.

None of the mercenaries, even those who come from beyond the Old World, had seen foes like this. Masses of amphibian javelineers, backed by scaly titans. Mighty winged steeds with neither quill nor feather. Vicious reptile-beasts riding savage bipedal lizards.

The strange army gathered at the far end of the valley, aping the Tileans' own military formations. Two solid blocks of javelineers, one either side of a small copse. The lizard-knights on the left flank, the winged monsters circling behind.

Commissar Pendleton narrowed his eyes. He reckoned he could get five gold crowns for every turquoise feather headband, and two-dozen good quality handbags if he could get the big ones back to a decent leathermaker.

He gave a sharp whistle through his teeth. The Riders of Udolpho galloped forward, circling around the lizard-knights and unleashing a deadly hail of bullets. The reptile steeds loped forward, heading for the main battle lines through the clearing gunpowder smoke. They didn't even seem to know they had been fired upon.

Seeking easier prey, the pistoliers discovered a little newt-creature, skulking by himself at the rear of the lines. Laughing and joking among themselves, the bravos who had yesterday felled a giant took careful aim. The slimy thing just stood there, blinking slowly, flicking its tongue and ruffling its frilled crest.

SHAZAM! A shock of mighty thunderbolts crashed down upon the Riders. When the dust had cleared, every horseman was dead or fled.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Woffboot VI - Orcs and Goblins vs Dogs of Empire

"Right! That's enough muckin' about," Gnashbad growled. Dat lot over dere is a bunch of humies. No fancy taktics, lads, we go right over there and beat them round the face with anyfing to 'and. Got it?"

"Yeah," his warband snarled in unison.

"Easier than stampin' on warp rats in a barrel," opined Snorrel from next to his burly master.

The orcs set off down the hill at a light jog.


"Right! Next time, we stay on the hill," Gnashbad growled, attempting to pull the greatsword out of his thigh again.

He needed to rethink. Slowly, for while he was thorough he didn't think fast, he ran through the events of the battle in his mind. What went wrong? What was he missing?

The fight was a series of disasters. The night goblin archers ran at the first blossom of flame from the Bright Wizard on the far hill. Then the Tilean pistoliers flanked the main battle line, at which point the Redclaws had panicked and hurled their payload of fanatics out much earlier than Gnashbad had told them to.

Frightened and confused by the volleying fire and shot from the human lines, Brod stopped short in the middle of the short valley. The giant had taken more than enough abuse from similar weapons earlier in the day; indeed, glowing lumps of warpstone still glittered along his forehead, embedded in the thick bone. Crying like a lost child, the colossal hulk was surrounded by pistoliers. The whinnying mounts frightened him further, and he offered no response to the hail of gunfire that brought him to his knees.

Gnashbad didn't have any powder weapons.

The spider riders were driven back by a disciplined line of greatsword-swinging mercenaries. Their paymaster screamed a new bounty on each goblin in the squadron, and the money-greedy humans fought eagerly, already spending the coin in their venal minds.

Gnashbad didn't have any teef left to motivate his boys; Brod had cleaned him out. Mork only knew what the vast, child-like being did with them.

The sole success of the afternoon was the night goblin shaman, who danced under the legs of the pistoliers, slashing their saddle straps and terrifying the steeds. The horsemen panicked, running straight into the back of the orcs. Gnashbad could still hear them screaming, and smell their limbs cooking over the campfire.

Gnashbad had all the night goblin shamans the Redclaws could bring him. He hated the cackling little freaks, they made his head hurt.

He needed to rethink his plans. Even when his boys connected, the cash-crazed humans fought with surprising skill and fury, hacking through his lines. The assault broke like water against a wall. But twice now, the irritating shaman had proved his worth. Perhaps he needed to alter his opinion of magic.

He thought again of the shadowy figure who'd appeared before him while he took his turn on watch the previous week.

"You dream of war, greenskin," the man said, "but your dreams are dust. You couldn't convince the other Black Orcs that military tactics were worthwhile, so you scrabble around in these bleak hills with the rejects of a dozen clans, seeking to prove them wrong.

"I can help you. I can bring your orcs the discipine they so desperately lack, the savage focus you seek to instill in them. Your name will be a legend. You'll carve a swathe across the world. Tell me you aren't interested."

"Zog off, humie," he snarled, deep in his barrel chest. And the shadow had laughed at him.

"You lie," the shadow mocked. "You lie, and I will see you again."

"Nah," said Gnashbad. After the figure vanished in a swirling cloud of burning embers, he went back to sharpening his swords, unimpressed. He'd seen plenty of weird sights in the Border Princes, they didn't faze him. He'd forgotten about the figure by the following morning.

But now, he was thinking twice.

WoffBoot VI - Ogres vs Skaven

Warlord Quoff of Clan Slavish surveyed the valley before him; some kind of human shrine building off to his left, a wooded area to the right, and a path in the centre up to the hilly area ahead of him.  It seemed horribly familiar.  That was it!  He'd faced the Orcs here all too recently when travelling in opposite direction.  He was lost. 

Without warning, Wayl, his weasley lieutenant, cried aloud and pointed across the valley.  Before he knew it the Ogres had closed to within charging distance of his slave packs and the jezzails on the right were obliterated by cannon fire.  On the left flank, the jezzail team made a beeline for the chapel, in the centre the slaves side-stepped to reveal more of the warpstone weapons (which unloaded into the tusked mammoth) and the main bulk of the party moved cautiously down the hill towards the Ogres. 

The enraged mammoth, not happy about being shot at, charged and broke the slaves on the left flank, causing the nearby jezzail teams to panic and flee the field.  Thankfully, the cannon and winds of magic favoured the skaven at this moment and, save slaughtering a couple of slaves, did nothing. 

The Ogres backed up.  The slaves edged forwards.  The Ogres backed up.  This couldn't continue for long as the Ogres were being pressed back up the hill.

Meanwhile on the left flank, jezzail fire came from the building.  At the same time, the mammoth squealed in pain and the jezzail team ran from the building, clothes ablaze.  It was not going well.

The Ogres, realising they were cornered, now chose to charge with all they had.  It was over in short order, a counter charge by the slaves on the right flank doing too little too late to turn the tide of fortune in favour of the Skaven.

After hiding amongst the numerous bodies of fallen slaves, Quoff, with Wayl following closely behind, skulked off into the woods and licked his wounds.  Today had proved most costly.  He had never much liked being above ground.

WoffBoot VI - Orcs and Goblins vs Skaven

The hoard of Ratmen emerged not far from where the Orcs had pitched their camp the previous night, boiling out of the ground in an endless tide of unpainted  unwashed bodies. Gnashbad nodded to himself, apparently satisfied.

"Dem's Clan Slavish," he said to his boys. "Nuffin' to worry about there. Lot of slaves, mind you, more then us. You boys want victory?"


"Right. Stay ere on the hill and don't move til I gives da wurd."

WoffBoot VI - Orcs and Goblins vs Ogre Kingdoms

Dawn rose over the valley to the earthquaking thumping of a great mammoth romping down the hillside. To his right a collection of cannon wielding ogres, and on his other side exiled Butcher M’grash.

M’grash had failed to follow in the traditional line of gut magic and was sent on a fool’s errand to search for this item he had never heard of or cared about. Grabbing a handful of loyal ogres that he could scare into submission, and charming one of the camp’s farmyard animals (the mammoth) he had left the camp and headed south to the Border Princes.

M’grash summoned his retinue to stop, spying on the hill the other side of the valley the unmistakably height of a giant’s shoulders lolling along; the giant appeared to be bellowing along to an orcish song.

Signalling his men to prepare themselves, the ogres charged down the hill. M’grash sent his cook and cannon wielding friends down the hill on the flank, however unbeknownst to him that there were spiders hiding in the woods.

The valley they entered must have once seen some incursion as the winds of magic avoided the place like swirling eddies in the chaos and left the ogres unamused.

Orcs turned to face the interlopers and also turned their attention ready for a scrap and jump down the hill. Goblin archers pulled their bows, but in their eagerness to shoot a target got themselves confused and failed to do anything. The giant followed down the hill, and a large contingent of goblins appeared form the trees.


M’grash summoned what little magic remained in the area to infuse his body with the power of the beasts and commandered his men to march forward. They were keen, but even ogres are wary of giants, and they did not move with the gusto that M’grash expected.

A problem of Brobdingrabian Proportions

So here was my problem, right - I know damn well that many of the opponents my O&G mob will be up against over the next few days have a nice selection of monstrous infantry available to them. Not just the Ogres - although they're clearly the worst offenders - but horrors like the infamous Black Coach of the Vampire Counts, Skaven Rat Ogres or the jolly inclusion of Kroxigor amongst the otherwise worthless Lizardmen skinks.

Drawing on the 'ready to play' list Gen. Leofa kindly provided me, I couldn't really see anything that I could field to deal with them, other than a solid defensive line of goblins to cover my pre-emptive retreat, of course. So I panicked, pulled out all my teeth and hired this chap.

Allo. I'm ungry.
This is Brob. He'll be playing as an aggressive midfielder, flexibly moving between defense and offense as the moment requires. Had I been thinking in advance, I'd have taken more pictures of him as a work in progress - he's one of Gen. Kas's stable, and more usually runs with the Ogres, hence the tattoo of the Great Maw on his midriff.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

An Easterling Parade

The Easterlings. Mortal men in the service of the Dark Lord Sauron, summoned from the evil kingdoms of the ... I'm going to guess 'the East'.

You might remember them from such memorable scenes as: the bit where Frodo and Sam disguise themselves as a rock.

Easterling swordsmen and halberdiers
"It was the Black Gate of Mordor! It was a pivotal point in the story!"

But the costume designer's work was not in vain, and from that humble beginning sprouted a subset kingdom of LotR miniatures. Fairly nice ones too, so when I was looking for halberdier models that didn't look ... well, bloody ridiculous (seriously, a barefoot Empire soldier?), I went back to the LotR range.

Easterling halberdiers
"Take it easy, Barry, it's just a rock. A rock with two sets of hobbit footprints leading up to it."

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Heroes Arise

Righto - that's all the fluff you're getting in advance from me, which has hopefully whipped you all into an anticipatory frenzy. If not, you'll have to turn to self-flagellation, my flailing arm is tired.

But with a week to go, if you can spare the time from army list tweaking and last minute painting and purchasing (I'm hoping to fit my entire army on the back of an Arachnarok Spider, for example), perhaps I could ask you to have a think about your characters for the evening sessions?

I've put together a two-part stand alone adventure for us, and I'm looking forward to running it. I'm also planning on writing it up as a short story afterwards, to be presented here for your further entertainment. All you need to do is people it with memorable characters, because I'm too lazy to create everything myself. It's going to be a mix of investigation, exploration and being killed by unfair traps combat.

The angle I'd like is that because this is a stand-alone, your characters are not even heroes in the making yet. This is effectively a prologue for them, the first ever time they might shine or gain a modicum of fame.

It's also a first outing for this particular version of the rules for me, and I'd like to keep it simple for everyone. All you need to do is generate a starting character as described in the core rulebook (which you can find in pdf form in the WoffBoot dropbox folder, the WFRP 2nd Edition one). You can pick your race, but random careers for this outing please.

I've had a think about how you'll be banding together. Obviously, in a darkened tavern over mugs of ale, we can take that as read. But here are three options you could consider when you're coming up with your own background: -

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Blancvik Sleepers

Excerpt from M. G. Seiber's 'Lore of the Border Princes'
Having defeated the attackers in the open field, Blancvik gathered his men about him and addressed them in this manner.
"Our foes lie dead or routed and now it is clear to those who lie beyond the World's Edge that Zenres can fend for itself. Many of our fellows lie dead, and I myself am sore wounded and nigh to death. And I have been told by a certain wise man that those upon who the Dark Bull breathed will be stricken with the Corruption of Zharrduk, and that their death will be unquiet.
"Therefore I say to you, let all those who have been so afflicted come with me, and we will go into a place of quiet that I have prepared. And when we are there, let those who are left seal us into the living rock, rather than let the dark corruption of the Dawi Zharr consume us so that we bring dole to our families."
So they went into a certain hill in the East where Blancvik had prepared his place of quiet. And those who had been spared from the Dark Breath bade them farewell, and they went to their place quietly and with good cheer.
Before they left, however, Wenclas, the Lieutenant of Blancvik, who had been spared the Dark Breath, asked one last boon of his liege, saying
"As we are to part, I remind you now of the pact we made when first I took up arms under your banner. Do not forget that you said your sword was not yours, but that it was passed on to you by one who had come before. And that also at that time, you looked on me with favour and said that the sword would not always be with you for all time, but that in times to come, another would bear it. As I am your man and first among your lieutenants, I ask you now to pass the sword to me, that I may wear it proudly and defend our families from the doom beyond the mountains."
And when he was done speaking, Blancvik spoke to him, saying
"Good Wenclas, I do not forget that I said this sword was not mine, but that it was passed on to me by one who had come before. And that also at that time, that I looked on you with favour and said that the sword would not always be with me for all time, but that in times to come, another would bear it. Nor do I unsay that now, at my death.
"But be it known, that other I spoke of was not you, and that as time changes, so do men. The favour I looked on you with has passed since the death of Mronas and your great rage. And although all know you have suffered and done your part to repair that wrong, the darkness now upon me lets me see that there is much also still in you. Therefore I cannot give you this sword, the Sword of Zwickan, that you covet, lest a great harm come to our people from it."
Then Blancvik went into his place of rest with all of his company that had fought the Dark Bull and been afflicted by its breath. And Wenclas went his way also.
So the Company of Blancvik were sealed into their place of rest, and a great many seals and wards were placed on the ways of entry to that place, that they might not ever come forth from it to disturb their people. And his name was sung by the singers at the dances, so that his sacrifice would be remembered.
But Wenclas did not dance or sing at the dances, but returned to the mountain by hidden ways, for his mind was ever on the Sword of Zwickan and how he might take it for himself.
And so he broke the seals and took the sword up from the breast of Blancvik, where he lay in a semblance of death on the cold rock, and then went forth again, rejoicing in his secret deed.
And Blancvik awoke, and found his sword gone and all his company lost to the Corruption of Zhardukk, and waxed full wroth. He took his banner and gathered his host, and lo, where once their banner was bright with colour, now it hung black and deadly upon the spear, and shadows seemed to come forth before and behind it.
And the sleepers came forth from their place of rest seeking the stolen sword, but they could not find it. In lieu of his sword, Blancvik took a great harvest of life, and his cold breath was felt all across the land. And so it continued in this way until the sword was found.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Oh Captains, My Captains

I think it reflects well on my egalitarian spirit that I spend so much time converting and painting the humble rank-and-file of my armies, and yet when it comes to the heroes, I'll crap out any old thing.

Yes, that must be it. My captains are rubbish because I'm such a nice person.

Lorenzo Lupo
"Are you not entertained? Are you NOT entertained?"

This is Lorzeno Lupo, merchant prince of Luccini and one of the special characters in the Dogs of War book (although there's really not much special about him - he gives a +1 combat bonus and gains a randomly-determined characteristic bump). So he gets to be my Empire General, by virtue of seniority (and the fact that I couldn't scrape up a model I preferred).

I must have liked the model originally (especially since I picked up two of them) and it's a decent sculpt. I think there are problems with the design: the head is slightly tilted back, and combined with the flat-facing crest, it pushes the inclination of the model backwards, almost if he's falling over. The big round shield also distracts from the nice detailing beneath. I tried to remedy both these problems in my converted Alcatani captain, and I humbly think it's better for it.

Lorenzo Lupo
From this angle, frankly, any one of us could be Spartacus.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Prologue: The Madman of Zenres

The three old men sat in the market square watching the madman.

It was a dank and raw autumn morning. A heavy grey band of cloud sat over Zenres like a sodden cloth cap, blurring the distant mountains. The cobbled square was streaked with wet mud, and the air was full of tiny droplets of mist that dripped from the red tiles of the tall wooden buildings.

"Doesn't he ever get tired?" Abel wondered aloud, swirling his palinka in its green shotglass.

Bartel shook his head, pulled on the brim of his hat. "Nope. Been at it all morning. Last night too, when I came out of the Sow and Shoats. Yelling like a new-cut barrow, he was."

Abel raised an eyebrow, mildly impressed. Anyone who could scream and cavort all through a clammy Erntezeit night in the Border Princes was owed a little respect. He toasted the shrieking figure with his glass and swigged; Janci and Bartel followed his lead.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Congreave’s Galloping Artillery, Patents #3 & #9

"Battle is about getting there firstest with the mostest."
Nathan Bedford Forrest
(Confederate cavalry commander, massive racist and namesake of Tom Hanks movies about protagonists with socially-acceptable learning difficulties.)

Bronzino's Galloper Guns
Mobile artillery is like a box of chocolates ... you want to avoid the hard centres.

Bronzino's Galloper Guns were the only war machines available to Dogs of War armies, unless you want to include Malakai Makaisson's Goblin-Hewer or the Halfling Hot-Pot Catapult...

Like I said, Bronzino's Galloper Guns were the only war machines available to Dogs of War armies. Fair play to Alessio Cavatore for trying something new (and historically-accurate) with cannon, and even more kudos to the Perry Brothers for the fantastic sculpt on these models (compare and contrast the Empire's plastic cannon).

It's really a shame that, in terms of game play, they're pretty bloody useless.

Bronzino's Galloper Guns
"Your cannon is pointing at my horse again, Bob."
"What do you me to do about it?"
"You could at least take the cannonball out."

Sunday, 19 August 2012

An Absolutely Wizard Time

The Dogs of War army list allowed you to field Hireling Wizards with access to any of the Colleges of Magic. A wise general might have painted a generic wizard model, and so given himself access to any type of magic.

I fear this paint scheme limits me to one Lore in particular...

Warlock Nicodemus
"I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor."
(any resemblence purely coincidental)

The model is the Warlock Nicodemus, a Dramatis Personae from Mordheim. There's plenty to like about it - the robes and cloak are swishy, the staff is gnarled, the beard long and the hat pointy. He's a fraction bigger than most of the other models (in the character history, Nicodemus suffers from some gigantism curse), which makes him an odd choice, given that I went for realistic proportions everywhere else. But I'm a traditionalist, who likes his wizard hats pointy.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

The Road To Cavalry

They got horses, don't they? What do you mean they're not Reiksguard Knights of the Empire?

Riders of Rohan
"Just keep cool and look imperious. No-one will notice."

Not quite as tenuous as my Pistoliers, the second half of my Riders of Rohan box set are proxies for Reiksguard Knights. Their slender spears are representing the mighty lances; those bronze horse caps count as full barding. Their shields still count for shields.

Look, it made a lot more sense when the Dogs of War list had medium cavalry as an option.

Riders of Rohan
"Should I mention that I've still got a bow on my back?"
"Don't complicate things, Stibbins."

Friday, 17 August 2012

Stolen Ork Warplans

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

On Your Marksmen…

They dress like Tileans, shoot like Dark Elves and steal like drunken students ... what is there not to love about The Marksmen of Miragliano?

Marksmen of Miragliano
We're known as the Oculus Tauri ... because our general is pretentious.

The last of my Perry Brothers-sculpted Regiment of Renown is my favourite. Fluff-wise, it's a nice idea to feature a band of expert sharpshooters among the Dogs of War regiments. And on the tabletop, 20 x S4 shots at BS4 certainly came in handy (this was prior to the 8th edition, when you'd have to hunt around for a hillside to shoot in two ranks).

All this has changed as they've been co-opted into the Empire army - now they're just regular crossbowmen, probably with an unnecessary command group. All that remains are the sculpts.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Gold and Glory

My armies have never had very good standards (boom-tisch!) but back when this was a Dogs of war army, it would be unthinkable not to have a Paymaster (who, in addition to holding the coffers, fights like a hero, carries a big flag and allows Break Tests to be re-rolled – so I think I can see the direction they were going with this one).

Lord of the Rings Boromir and Bilbo
Guys Who Went Nuts Over The One Ring Society: founder members.

The original rules also allowed the Paymaster to be accompanied by an account-like figure called a Moneylender – his stats were poor, but he allowed some boosts to the Paymaster’s abilities.

My first thought (and I use the word ‘thought’ advisedly) was to place both Paymaster and Moneylender on the same 40mm base. I could create a nice little scene with a model paychest, and it would act as a unit filler for the Paymaster’s Bodyguard. There were a number of glaring obvious problems with this:
  • Unit fillers are meant to linger at the back of the regiment, bulking them out and being easily removable when it takes a lot of casualties. Not with two distinct characters standing front n’ centre.
  • What happens if they leave the unit? Or if only one of them wants to?
  • What happens if one of them gets killed?
  • How do you determine where attacks are directed?
  • What, no Stomp attacks?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Lead For Sale

Seeing as my entire army for the MuffBoot is going to be a loaner, I figured I should give something back to the community. Figures, namely. See what I did there?

You cannot prevent what does not possess a Euclidian base.
I had a hunt through my several score bags, boxes, trunks, lumber rooms and shipping containers of miniatures to see if there was anything around that might be of use to anyone else. On the whole, there isn't, as none of us have a chaos army. I'd have a plethora of spawn, sorcerors and lords if so.

But here and there are a couple that might give you some additional options for your line-up. Just let me know if any of these tickle your fancy, I'll bring them over with me. Due to my confounded basing policy, they would probably need a last minute 'blu-tack and a plastic square' treatment to fit into ranks, but I'm sure none of us are so anal that we'd make that a preventative issue. Right?

In no particular order, here's a few heroes for the job mart, starting with a trio of wanna-be Empire Priests: -