Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Dark Copse

Continuing the "Dark Conspiracy" campaign, here's another 'battle' (as opposed to skirmish)  this week, and if you missed last week's ECW bust up, you can check it out on The Emerald Musketeers blog here :-   Uffeton Fight  )

When Nicodemus left Shanaera and her group in Kislev (click on the "Dark Conspiracy" tab in the side bar if you want a refresher), he wasted no time making his way directly to Tancred Castle in Couronne. Here, he followed a hunch and sought out the works of  Bretonnian authoress Catherine d'Mann which he knew was kept in the castle library..
Within moments of studying the tome he sought, his heart and head raced as he fought a terrible sinking feeling in his soul. Dashing from the library, he called for the swiftest rider from the troop of Knights Errant garrisoned at the castle and despatched him post haste to the dwarf hold at Karak Kadrin with a simple message...
"March in strength immediately up the Peak Pass to the ruins of Dark Copse Tower and deny it to any who attempt to occupy it!"

So it was that Okaghord Branehelm led three companies down from the foothills of the Worlds Edge Mountains onto the plains of Drakenmoor, where the blasted remains of Maeldoraz's tower stood alongside "The Dark Copse", while a Liche advanced towards him with an army of undead intent taking the tower by force.
Okaghord placed his housecarls in the centre, with his veteran (first generation GW mono pose plastic!) shieldwall on their left by the copse, and the Kadrin militia covering the open ground on his right.
As the dwarven line prepared to defend the ruins, the skeletal cavalry maneuvered for the charge,
and the rest of the undead host advanced.
Suddenly battle was joined across the entire line,
the slower moving ghouls on the right wing had no time to deploy into line before crashing into the dwarf veterans.
In the centre, the housecarls repulsed the skeleton horde which had attempted to fight their way over the remains of the tower walls.
The mounted charge had failed to break the militia, but neither had the dwarves managed to force their mounted opponents to recoil and a standing melee had developed.  
The second unit of skeleton foot warriors charged the housecarls while the first unit re-ordered themselves,
and the ghouls were now also embroiled in a standing melee with the dwarf veterans, neither side achieving an all important 'push back'.
The skeletons were once again driven away from the ruins, and now the ghouls recoiled from the solid shieldwall. Things seemed to be going the dwarves way, however, the mounted warriors on the left flank still refused to give ground.
Within moments, the undead surged forward again! The militia STILL standing toe to toe with the tenacious cavalry.
Skeletal warriors were once again scrambling over the ruins,
and the ghouls began a renewed attempt to break to dwarf left flank.
The tide of battle now looked to have swung the other way,
even though the militia were clearly winning the 'war of attrition' against the mounted warriors, and the veterans had once again pushed back the ghouls,
both units of skeletal foot were now inside the perimeter of the tower ruins!
At this point the remaining ghouls failed to rally and shambled off,
but it was Okaghord Branehelm's last gallant stand at Dark Copse Tower. As he fell with the remaining housecarls, the rest of the dwarf retinue fled the field when the liche stood atop the blood drenched ruins and let out a spine chilling cry of victory (caused a "Fear" test which the already shaken dwarf units failed).
Over in the depths of the Dark Copse, a helpless Nicodemus could only look on in anguish.
He didn't recognise him from his human form, but there was no doubt that the liche was Maeldoraz!
The realisation that the necromancer's followers had succeeded in reanimating their master also meant that Beska and his party of adventurers had not only failed, but most likely perished.
As he slunk away and began his journey to Altdorf, he wondered why Maeldoraz had returned to the tower. Did he intend to rebuild his former stronghold? Or, as he now suspected, did he want the site for some dark secret that it might still hold buried in it's depths?

As events continue to unfold in the campaign I needed to resolve this battle before I could move on, so I set up the table and used it as an excuse to try out the latest version of "One Page Rules" Fantasy Battles. I knew from previous releases that it would give me a quick and enjoyable game with the bare minimum of effort 'admin-wise'. The A.I supplement worked extremely well and I'll definitely keep these rules to hand for future use.
I sincerely hope that everyone is doing OK, and that you are keeping your spirits up through these challenging times.
As always, I'd love to hear from you if you'd care to leave a comment, and especially if you have any observations or queries to post.


  1. Epic stuff! Thought the Militia were going to break the cavalry, but the delay was costly. A tough day to be a dwarf.

    1. Thanks very much Michael :-)
      From habit I resolve melee's from left to right, so the dwarf v mtd skelleys WAS always first. I even changed the order around but their result was STILL always tied!
      Just shows that there's not a lot you can do when the dice gods decide to be mischievous :-)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Dave, it was a "quickie" but very enjoyable - whether that was BECAUSE it was quick to set up and play, or IN SPITE of those factors I dunno :-)
      Either way, I now know which direction the campaign will be taking!

  3. Nicely presented, photographed and written up report that furthers the story and keeps it interesting (Ah, that sounds naff. I'm terrible at knowing how to say what I'm thinking).

    The one page rules sound interesting, are they your own or a commercial set, out of interest?

    1. It doesn't sound naff at all Roy (though I find myself blushing from the praises you've included!), the fact you've left a comment is the main thing, so thank you sir!

      One Page Rules are a "commercial" set which very cheekily provide alternative fast play rules which 'mimic' games workshop systems. The basic rules are free, and really provide all you need as a framework to tag your own house rules onto, but you can also subscribe as a patreon which will unlock the advanced versions. I'll stick a link below......

    2. Thank you. I'll check them out.

  4. Your certainly making the most of the down time Greg, well done :)

    1. Cheers Frank :-)
      To be honest, I had an attack of "the glums" about a week ago and didn't get an awful lot done. Then I realised that by NOT getting much done the days had really dragged and made "the glums" even worse!
      So yep, I suppose immersing myself in the hobby is a coping mechanism - and as an entertainer I imagine I'll be one of the LAST people to get back to the Old Normal!! :-(

  5. Replies
    1. Many thanks Simon - it was all very basic and old skool, but great fun :-)

  6. I do like me a good battle report especially when the game itself plays the way this one did. One Page Rules are perfect for simple solo play. I don`t use them personally as they are a copy of my own Fire At Will (only, mine being the original are a little more finely play tested)... but it does what it says on the tin, and wow what a fun game. Loved it.

    I adore that last photo of Nicodemus.... no wait, I love ALL the models you`ve presented here. I`m really enjoying seeing more GW minis in your blogs lately mate, and yours have that look I`m .. um.. looking for. Perfect execution of a game in action. Though I was rooting for the undead to be repulsed, but their overwhelming terror and strength simply won them the day and created a nice corpse pile for Maeldoraz to play with.

    1. Cheers Stevie, the OPR delivered a 'faff free' game but if I was to continue using them there's definitely a few tweaks I'd want to do to them - any chance of a peak at your "Fire At Will" rules before I do, pretty please? :-)

      Since Maeldoraz is an NPC, I was 'commanding' Okaghord's dwarves, so it's good to know you were actually rooting for my side :-)
      The liche is not long raised, so he's a long way off attaining his full power (gulp!). The campaign is hotting up now, but still wide open as far as options go.
      Maeldoraz could rebuild his stronghold (the map shows Gnashrak's goblin lair and the Ironskinz orc tribe are both close by, so he could recruit plenty of labour and troops for the future), but maybe he just wants access to something buried below the ruined tower? (Some sort of "Gate" perhaps?!.....)
      Then again, perhaps the acolytes that Shanaera's party are chasing up in Kislev are searching for THAT particular mystery - or maybe there's two?? ;-)

  7. Do I feel a purchase coming on..... delivered to your door by a minion monster carrying a nice neat package, a couple of those delicious portals maybe **grins wickedly**

    1. Sadly there can be no "hobby spend" until we get back to work after this lock down situation :-(
      BUT, there could well be an interesting scratch build project coming up! :-)

  8. For a simplified set of rules the action still seemed intense and the result hanging in the balance throughout the game.

    1. That was very much the case Joe, and being able to quickly "throw down" a game and get a result from a battle, which can move the campaign forward without having to use any 'abstract' system is great :-)

  9. For a one page rule set they certainly gave a hard fought battle. Interestingly that the veteran Housecarles were the first to fall. Was that overwhelming numbers?