Thursday, 16 June 2016

Extreme Dwarven Makeover - II

Ah. The dead have risen against us, and the von Carsteins are here. My joy knows no bounds.

At least it's not all bad news, right?


The Vampire Counts have their lands just to the north, and they've had a rough campaign of it so far. Schwartzhelm, the rival undead faction, are much larger than Manfred's lands, they've expanded some way west into Empire lands. This has blocked the Counts off from easier pickings, so instead they've made some questionable decisions.

The first is to head through Black Fire Pass and start raiding the Border Princes. This is only questionable because the Border Princes are my trading partner, they're a weak and obvious target otherwise.

The other is to besiege Zhufbar.

Zhufbar have only recently joined my confederation. I was pleased to see them. They are probably pleased to see me, for the three or four turns they survive. None of my armies can get that far north in time, certainly not to see off Manfred in person along with all his Grave Guard and Vargheists. Thorgrim, for example, is way off in the southern Badlands, trying to hunt down Grimgor for what will hopefully be the last time.

Seeing that Karak Kadrin are also at war with the vamps and have a pair of large armies nearby, I beg with them to join us. Or at least become military allies and come to our aid. I even lower myself so far as to offer them money.

You can still see a few blue dwarf shields in action. Mostly on the floor, sadly.

To no avail. Zhufbar is first sacked and then razed, leaving smoking ruins. Karak Kadrin apparently didn't believe this would happen, as they immediately join me. Too late to help, the stubborn buggers, but it does add the Slayer King to my roster. I start stacking his army as big as I can, thinking to send him on a revenge mission.

Instead, I get locked down in the lands round Barak Varr.

Liche Lord Kemmler and friends manages to sack and then conquer the largest Border Principality town just south of Black Fire. It becomes a reeking den of vampiric corruption, which starts seeping across the borders and into my lands. As the map itself blackens, the mood of the local people goes south. Worse, Manfred then comes trooping round with his huge armies, newly boosted by the dead of Zhufbar.

Apparently dwarves swell up when you reanimate them.

I've got a few decent armies ready for them, though. Rorek the Durable is a mid-level lord with a novice army, but his town on the border has a huge garrison with extra town defences, making it a tough nut to crack. Twice, Kemmler bounces off it, but when I chase him down, Manfred's army beats me back again.

Dwarf armies are full of elite troops. Great, they're top fighters and hard to beat, let alone break. Sadly, this makes them hard to replace. It also means they tend to die in hopeless fights where they're terribly outnumbered but keep plugging away to the bitter end, where orcs or men might run off and live to fight another day. Even when you win, you'll take a fair number of casualties, it seems.

You see this a lot, for example. Tiny rings of dwarves surrounded by zombies, very slowly succumbing to the inevitable.

Mind you, that's doubly true of the Undead, who never run from a fight. If they lose, it's usually the entire army wiped out. But they can recruit very fast indeed, simply sticking a new evil battery in the nearest corpse pile to get it up and buffering the general again.

The resulting stalemate between our sides lasts for a while. Long enough for the High King to make it up from the far south, where he's been finishing off the last straggling Greenskins. Away down south, he's lured Grimgor into attacked the fort of Crooked Fang and very thoroughly mopped the floor with the uppity black orc, probably finishing off the Greenskins as a faction in the process.

That's what Tiggers Slayers do best.

A veteran army of Longbeards, Thunderers, Cannons and Miners upgraded with blasting charges should be enough to flatten the undead menace. In the event, though, the High King's army is a bit battered when it arrives. There wasn't time to rest and recuperate properly after taking on Grimgor, and a forced march across the entire Badlands hasn't really improved their health much. So when it comes down to it, we're slightly on the back foot.

Entertainingly, the Border Princes send a tiny force to help. But they're going to be arriving late as reinforcements. Can I hold out?

Aren't You a Little Short for a Witchhunter?

It's a great fight, with the undead massing on the hills above a muddy swamp and pouring into my beleagured position. My line holds, but in the dwarven way of such things - we fight, proud, against desperate odds, with most of our own troops dying rather than fleeing.

Our gunlines are overrun much too fast, mostly by crypt horrors. Bad.

The Border Princes take their time showing up, and then sadly get mostly run over by Black Knights. By this time, I'm down to less than a quarter of my army, and there's a unit of Cairn Wraiths making a horrible mess of the rest.

But! Their general is dead. Mannfred was already wounded from a previous clash, and parking the Barca Lounge of Grudgeliness on him has seen him off. Two lesser vampire counts likewise. Alas, the High King is rather puffed out after all that, and temprarily succumbs to a Banshee.

The closing action of the battle is a tense race to see which army will run out of troops first, the crumbling undead or the forty-odd remaining dwarves.

Kazalit-Ha! It's the dwarves. The last few skeletons give up the fight entirely as some tattered halberdiers come staggering out of the swamp and into their rear.

This turns the war in my favour. I raze the vampire-haunted city not long after, which actually makes it easier for the Border Princes to resettle and claim it back, then consolidate my armies and head north.

At least I'm now able to recruit Slayers. Slayers! They're Grrrreat! Just as you'd expect, they almost never survive a battle, they're immensely frail. Not as hard hitting as you'd hope, either. At least they blend into autumnal bracken well.

Er, army. And a half. There's not much left after that fight, and HK Thorgrim is once again on his sick bed for a while. Slayer King Ungrim is also poorly, as his army never made it south for the muster.

Yeah, that ambush was particularly one-sided. My fault, really, don't send Lords around by themselves. Even legendary ones. 

Oh no. For Chaos has come and the End Times are upon us.

No comments:

Post a Comment