With the introduction of 8th edition Warhammer Fantasy, I’ve noticed a lot of tournaments popping up and some astounding events happening. One of which was put on by my local GW shop.
This past week, the “unlikely allies” match was put on at the store. The premise was simple: 2 generals on each side, 1k points each general (4 generals in a match) and the two cooperating generals MUST be from armies that would never fight together (or as in the rule book ‘desperate allies’).
In addition, each side needed to think of a good back story. The best Back story wins a ‘special prize’.
Seeing that I’ve played against Dwarf Players numerous times and envied their gunlines and incredibly destructive cannons, I decided to team up with my pal “the sporting chap” and play as…..(wait for it)…..
BEASTMEN & DWARVES! United together.
Now, I know that this shakes your very belief system to it’s rotten core, but rest assured, we had a great backstory. So calm yourself with a fine snifter of brandy or cognac and BEHOLD!
The Tragedy of Crater Lake: Horns and Shame. In the beginning, there were dwarves. Children of stone, cultivators of the very bones of the earth, the dwarves made their homes in the mountains and bedrock of the world. For many of the dwarves’ long generations, it was good. In peace and safety, the dwarves, in tranquil depths of the mountains created forged and carved works of wonder that could never be rivaled. One small keep of dwarves settled in the mineral rich mountain, Skjordil; the Steel Hope. Forming the keep of Zar-zundak, the few dwarves that settled here created feats of engineering that were unsurpassed in their days. Dwarves from all over the kingdoms would make pilgrimages through the endless underground highways to Zar-zundak to learn and witness the craft of these reclusive dwarves. All was well. Then, the hordes came. In the aftermath of the “war of vengeance” against the xenophobic elves, their highways closed off, the exhausted dwarves were beset by the foul creatures of the world. Hordes of goblins spewed forth from the badlands, Trolls waddled out of muck and under rock, Orcs thundered across plains on rampant boars to lead them all. As dwarven keep and citadel fell under the tide of green and hate, Zar-zundak and its inhabitants stood tall (as tall as any dwarf can…) and held the tides at bay with their fearsome war machines. Bolt & rock rained upon greenskins, Cannons devastated rank upon rank, flames swallowed troll and orc in dwarven made inferno. Still, every pyrrhic victory dwindled the ranks of Zar-zundak’s dwarves. They knew that eventually, they would succumb to the sheer numbers of the hordes. Desperate to survive, the dwarves turned to a small band of nomadic humans. Living around a massive crater lake on the back of the mountain, Skjordil, these humans were high out of reach of the hordes and too primitive to pose any threat to either side. Empathizing with their new found neighbors, and knowing that if they fell, goblins and their filth would overrun the mountain, the humans swore to help the dwarves. The humans of Crater Lake filled out the thinning ranks of the dwarves and fought valiantly. Their nomadic ways brought mobility to the battle field and struck home where the stoic and slow moving dwarves could not. Time and time again, the combined forces drove off the hordes of Orc and goblin. With each battle, the humans were made increasingly lethal with dwarven steel and their surprising savagery. After countless years, the hordes were driven off. The Keep of Zar-zundak stood, now welcoming their neighbors. Once again, peace prevailed over the mountain of Skjordil. Inside the mountain the dwarves mined and crafted unrivaled works of engineering, on the outside of the mountain, the humans of Crater Lake cultivated and hunted. Together, the two people thrived and shared their bounties. It was a time of unprecedented prosperity. Men grew numerous and fed the dwarves with their goods, while the dwarves taught men the ways of the forge and secrets of steel. All times must end. In the depths of Skjordil, the dwarves viewed their inventions and wept for they had reached the zenith of the craft and their materials. There was nowhere else to go. Led by ambition and greed, the dwarves dug deeper in the mountain in search of rare metals. Finding nothing, the dwarves excavated the center of the lake the humans made their home upon; crater lake. Early excavation found new and fantastic minerals, glowing with power and of resilience unsurpassed. The dwarves, salivating at the potential of the riches at the center of the lake, abandoned all reservations and dug out the heart of the lake. In the watery deep, they found an immense meteorite, the very one to have fallen from the heavens and formed the crater. In their over-mining, they unearthed the largest piece of warpstone known to the world. No sooner than the stone being brought to the surface for inspection, the human populace began to succumb to the warping power of the stone. Skin crawled, bones reshaped, minds crumbled and all humanity fled the infected human population. Children of the old ones, sons of stone, the dwarves were immune to the horrible effects of the warpstone. Though unaffected by the mutations, the dwarves were forced to watch as their friends, allies, neighbors and saviors were twisted and wracked with chaos brought about by their own greed. Too late, the dwarves destroyed the stone with runes and hammer. As the former humans gained shape and formed marauding herds, the dwarves with heads hung low in guilt and shame returned to their mountain. As their gates closed, the sound of braying horns filled their ears and hearts as their once proud neighbors were transformed into the bane of humanity: Beastmen. Shame and worry filled the dwarven ruling council. Troubled by the fact that their neighbors were now beasts of chaos, shamed that it was ultimately their doing; the dwarves attempted to decide their fate. A wise thane spoke above the clamor. “Let our neighbors remain. Let them remain a constant reminder of our avarice. They have not the means to penetrate our walls or gates, they will only despoil the lands that were once theirs. They can claim the surface and all around it, they will violently protect their territory…and it shall never include our domain.” So it came to be that the keep of Zar-zundak became an island amongst chaos. The dwarves returned to their craft, abandoning their pride and ambition, while their once proud neighbors lived as mockery and reminder to them. The herds of beastmen bray into the night sky, destroying all that threatens their domain, in a macabre fulfillment to their oaths to the dwarves that ruined them. Now, as foreign armies threaten both beast and dwarf, the two unlikely allies march forth to defend themselves and what is theirs. Both know that after their victory they will not see each other, or if they do it will end in blood.
So now that we know the gruesome and shameful truth of these two armies, let’s get started!
Emailing back and forth with “sporting chap”, we worked out a system and flushed out our army. “Sporting chap”, the dwarven General, was to bring the warmachines, gunlines and one or two small blocks of soldiers. Playing beastmen, I was bringing the savage fury and unrelenting ferocity of the War-Herd. (Ironically, the same herd that beat the snot out of the stunties the weeks before…) My job was to bring mobile striking forces, magic and brutes that would close in as a trap when the enemy was thinned by cannon and rifle and mired on the dwarven lines.
Think of our armies like a tempest raging along the coastlines. The enemy is drawn forward, they are pulled by the storm; they have no choice with cannons raining down on them. The rain and sleet (cannons and guns & magic) lash at them, making them ever weaker as they head to shore. When they hit the dwarven line and gor unit, it’s like a rock that smashes their hull, making sure they can’t move again. The chariots, Spearmen, and minotaurs are a nice flanking unit that makes sure they break.
The beastmen are on the defensive….. (I felt very odd the whole game)
Now, here’s where something goes wrong. Our opponents half bailed. One general showed, the other did not. So instead of “Chaos & Skaven vs. Dwarves & Beastmen” we had “double skaven v. D&B”. Not nearly as dramatic, but we finally got to face a full 2k Skaven army.
The army lists!
(to best of my recollection)
- Plague monks with lvl 2 wizard. (about 40-50 of these)
- Stormvermin (30 models)
- Stormvermin (25 + models)
- Clan rats (30-40)
- Slaves ( 20-30)
- Ratling gun
- warp lightning gun x 2
- Jezails (10 models)
- 1 skaven lord in the larger unit of Storm Vermin.
(keep in mind this is part of a 2k army, built as 1k with allowances for lords/heroes/special % as 2k)
- 1 unit of 15 Dwarf warriors with Heavy armor, HW & Shield.
- 1 Unit of Long beards. 15. Heavy armor and Great Weapons
- 1 unit of 20 thunderers.
- 1 cannon: rune of reforging, accuracy and engineer.
- 1 cannon: rune of reforging, accuracy, engineer and rune of SECRECY. (woah)
- Ak’thaq the Dark mist: lvl 2 Shaman. Dispel scroll: lore of Shadow. Pendulum and (weakening spell. Miasum? the -1 to hit thingy)
- Breggur the Rampant. lvl 1Shaman: Lore of Beasts
- Graarthuug Stonehoof: Wargor: BSB. Heavy armor, Shield, HW, Gnarled Hide, Banner of minus to leadership. Just making a strong BSB that would help cut down Combat resolution and if they lost, it would be a world or hurt (hoping for low LDR armies)
- Gor herd: 28 Models. AHW. Shaman (lvl 2) and BSB will go in here
- Minotaurs: x3 Great Weapon. Blood Kine, Ramhorn Helm.
- Razorgor Chariot.
That’s not a lot of models on the field, but they’ll do. The gors were to hold the line with the Dwarves and keep pulling back to help maintain a gunline, while the minotaurs and Razorgor flank the opponent. The core chariot had room between the Gor Herd and the Thunderers to ride out and smash into enemies.
– terrain: terrain was at a minimum, with the ‘temple of skulls’ on the Skaven side and a small hill on our side. Both armies too advantage of their raised terrain.
The skaven lines were very much what we presumed they would be. Jezzails on the hill, with a lighting cannon near them, and another cannon just a stones throw from them, maybe a good 8 inches? From our Right to left you had the following. A large unit of Storm Vermin with Slaves right infront of them, a unit of clan rats in the dead center of the field, an additional unit of Storm vermin ( the smaller one) and then the massive unit of Plague rats.
Dwarves & Beastmen.
Our forces were nowhere near as numerous as the teeming hordes of rats. Anchoring our far left was the full might of the Gor-Herd, completely under the control of Gaarthuug Stonehoof. ‘The Dark mist’ found shelter in the herd, seeking to feed upon the bloodthirsty mob’s anger and use it to channel the shadowy wrath of chaos.
Warily standing next to the beastmen were the Dwarven Thunderers. Knowing that if they used their savage allies to protect their flanks, they could unleash salvo after salvo of musket shot into the approaching rat flesh.
Emanating from behind the ranks of musket wielding dwarves, squeals of protest and harsh gutteral shouted comands issued forth from the Tuskagor Chariot. Normally at the flanks of the War-herd, this chariot was waiting patiently for the right time to hurtle forward and smash into the enemy.
Side by side stood units of stalwart dwarves. Warriors from the mountain stood like rocks, shields ready to take on the rat swarm. Beards clasped in gold, heads held high, chests jutting forward, the long beards of Zar-Zundak stood as an inspiration to all the dwarves.
Sheltered by the dwarves, the cannons of the Keep stood ready, engineers scoping the distance and ready to rain cannon shot and grape shot into the rats.
To their Right, the Minotaurs held a tenuous grip on their blood thirst. Blood boiling so near to dwarves, the minotaurs were working themselves into a battle frenzy as they stared across the field and waited for the Skaven. With words from the Wargor, they sought shelter from the skaven war-contraptions behind a house….them and the Razorgor who was crudley lashed to a chariot. These were the jaws of the trap. These units would hurtle out and sweep into the flanks of the enemy when they struck upon the dwarven lines.
Despite waiting for the skaven general for 2 hours to start, he finished deploying first and was very adamant on getting +1 to his roll. The skaven, were bested in the roll and the Dwarves and Beastmen went first.
beastmen & dwarves
Staring at their common enemy, the Dwarves and beastmen watched the teeming mass of flea-ridden rats rush about the field. Realizing that teamwork and cooperation would win the day, the Thane and Wargor agreed to let the Skaven come to them, and suffer the hail of spells, cannons and rifles from their lines before meeting them in combat.
As the united line moved back mere feet, the “Dark Mist” channeled the fickle winds of magic and unleashed ‘Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma’; crippling the skaven Jezzails and jarring their nerves. The Rampant Shaman bestowed the gifts of the herd upon the Dwarven Warriors, making their skin as tough as hide and their muscle as taunt as the wolf’s….if only for a short moment.
The dwarven cannons fired! Merely seeking range for their targets, the dwarves only felled a handful of storm vermin and clan-rats. Now, they knew the range and their next shots would ring home.
The Skaven mass surged forward. Marching at full speed, all the combat units rushed forward.
The warp lighting cannons fired, aiming for the lone Rampant Shaman. Both shots sailed wide over his head and horns and only fed the Shaman’s belief that the very elements were on his side.
The Jezzails, shaken and nerves frayed, were 100% innefective firing from such a long range. A few shots managed to hit the enhanced dwarven warriors, but none penetrated their fine crafted armor.
The doomwheel moved forward with lighting speed, ground torn asunder by it’s spikes and sheer mass.
The pitiful attempts at magic from the skaven were easily dispelled by the Bray-Shaman. Their magic was supreme on the mountain, and would remain so.
-Beastmen & Dwarves.
The skaven hordes had rushed headlong into the beginning of the trap. Now within range, the skaven felt the fury of the Dwarven Guns and Shamanistic magic.
The cannons of the dwarves rang out, this time finding their marks. One cannon taking 4 Storm vermin with it’s shot, the other claiming another 3 from the second storm vermin formation.
The Thunderers, now having targets within their long range, let loose their first volley. 3 skaven Storm vermin fell to the firepower.
Angered by their impotence, the skaven army managed to dispel the bestial spell of “wyssan’s wildform” that the Rampant lion was casting.
Lacking the luck and skill of last turn, the “dark mist” could not channel the winds of magic and the Jezzails were unaffected by the failed spell.
The Dwarven Long beards, bracing for impact, formed around their ‘oath stone’ and became the mountain on the battle field.
The skaven continued charging forward, all except the center unit of Storm Vermin. For some odd reason and rat-logic, the storm vermin moved only 3 inches forward. Now the majority of the army was within ‘close range’ for the dwarven thunderers.
The warp lighting took a second shot at the shaman, missing yet again.
The second misfired and fired off the battlefield.
The Jezzails fired from their range and without the affliction of the Miasma, they were able to hit their marks and kill 2 Long beards.
The skaven plague priest attempted to cast yet again, but the Shamanistic magic was indomitable. There was, and will not be any skaven magic. So says the winds of magic and the Shamans of the Herd.
The doomwheel unleashed it’s warp lighting and due to it’s proximity and the drivers miscalculation, it did not harm the Minotaurs or encroaching Razorgor, but fried three Plague monks. The foul stench of rotting carcass fried in seconds filled the battlefield.
-Beastmen and dwarves.
The Beastmen continued to hold their fury in check, the dwarves continued to fire round after round into the onrushing mass of rats.
The first cannon missed the mark and sailed wide of the rats. The second struck home and tore through the ranks of Stormvermin and Slaves on the Left flank. The cannon took with it 8 rats in a bloody pulp.
The thunderers whittled down the the encroaching Clan rats, tearing their flesh and armor to peices as 8 fell to the volley.
Channeling the magic of the shadows, the “Dark Mist” wove a spell through the winds of magic. Conjuring all his skill, the shadows formed then congealed into a single form: a bladed pendulum made of dark mist; the Dreaded “penumbral Pendulum”. Hurtling forward, the blade of shadows scythed down grass then cut into the skaven ranks. Slave and stormvermin were cut down as this blade tore flesh and sliced bone and killed 9 skaven.
The rats were thinning.
As the Doomwheel approached the dwarves’ flank, the Minotaurs saw their chance. They could not hold back their anger and bloodlust any longer. Charging the monstrous machine, the minotaurs hacked into it’s flank and inflicted 1 wound and sent the cowardly machine reeling. The machine reeled back and hit it’s own allies; the plague rats! Two of these rats fell under the gerbil wheel of doom.
The Skaven slaves, now within range charged the Gor Herd, charged wildly. Despite their desperation, they failed to cause serious damage to the gors who were salivating at the chance for blood. While 2 gors fell to the crude blades, primal fury saw that the rats were cut low, losing 12 or their number! The rats panicked, in their ‘scurrying’ they even failed to wound the Gor Herd.
The decimated storm Vermin behind the slaves were now exposed to the fire of the dwarves and the powers of shadow from the bray-shaman.
At this point, the skaven General saw the futility of his assault. Seeing the minotaurs crashing into the Doomwheel and dispatching it, the Gor-herd in a frenzy, the spells and guns of the combined armies, and the chariots, fresh for battle and waiting; the cowardice of the Skaven reared it’s ugly head.
(aka: the opposing general threw down the dice and threw in the towel)