Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"A Swamp Tale" Unleashed Campaign: Session Two

Session Recap by: Alex Meeres

Tonight, while Major Doncastle removed the necessary ingredients for turtlecock bisque-- a healthy and virility-increasing delicacy among his people-- Bendek and Grissok saw a posse of gatormen swimming up, perhaps enticed by the fresh blood in the shallow waters. Their crude poleaxes glistened with the poison that the Bloodrot tribe commonly used to weaken their foes.

Chieftain Swampbreath coordinated the group's plan of defense, and bolstered our spirits with a heroic ballad. Grissok, Bendek, and Joruk formed a defensive line with Tor the troll at the end. Hoping for a repeat of his recent victory, Grissok's sorcery shook the soft earth and dropped two gatormen to the ground, however the fall of his mighty pickaxe connected only with a wriggling tail. With Major Domcastle firing from afar, a deadly battle ensued. A gatorman charged at Grissok, slashing him with its poleaxe and biting through the trollkin's leather armor to sink in its filthy teeth. The other savages stood up and attempted the same, and the albino found himself reeling from the onslaught. Soon, the combined might of his new friends ended the immediate gatorman threat, although disease from the wounds carried with it the toll of fever and chills. The Major added gatorman hides to his list of trophies (and Tor added to the contents of his insatiable stomach) and the squad pressed on, hoping to reach the highway before nightfall.

Upon reaching the Twelve Day Road, the party discovered a group of massacred trollkin and an overturned wagon. The chief noted that the quitari of the fallen belonged to one of the kriels of the Gnarls-these were no locals. Still, all children of Dhunia deserve funerary rights, so the chief ordered the construction of a makeshift pyre from the remains of the wagon.

Seeing a plume of smoke in the distance, the Major intended to scout on ahead, and Chief Swampbreath gave him thirty minutes to do so before the pyre was lit. In the meantime, Grissok used his sorcery to rip boulders from the earth, upon which he carved a meager epitaph for the slain trollkin. Up the road, the former Cygnaran military man met some of his countrymen-- leigemen of Duke Dergeral, Lord Mayor of Ceryl. The two groups made camp together, and attempted to negotiate an uncertain alliance against the gatormen of the swamps. The next day, the groups went their separate ways.

Once progress had been made into Demonshead Pass, the eerie sound of distant bells was drowned out by the boisterous songs of Chief Swampbreath. Grissok explained that the bells were used by bandits and raiders in the pass to cover the sounds of their approach, information imparted to him by a trollkin highwayman acquaintance named Jostun Moorcleave. With some mind to search for the former krielmate, Grissok and the party instead encountered a woman of noble bearing and Llaelese accent, hurrying through with her two mounted guards. She declined an offer of armed escort, noting that she had coin enough to pay any bandits in the pass. Grissok had a mind to make that coin his own, but calmer hearts prevailed and the woman and her guards continued on their way. No one seemed to be bothered much by the blue-skinned sniper perched high up the canyon, least of all the Major, who nonchalantly aimed his own scoped-rifle back in its direction. The watcher in the hills did not respond to Chief Swampbreath's loud signal call, so the group continued on.

The small hamlet of Haltmoor, the last before the base of the Wyrmwall mountains, had little to trade but the Major was able to unload his gator hides and Bendek acquired more rounds for his hand cannon. Tor feasted upon the leavings from the local butcher. The Major and Grissok confirmed that the path to Raakmor kriel would be reached soon if they marched quickly. The party pressed onwards, traveling through the mountain pass.

When the group reached he shores of Haltshire Lake and followed the path up to the ruins of the defeated trollkin village, they disovered that Raakmor's Krielstone was still intact, although partially dislodged from its place and some kind of nest lay around it. Before more investigation could be done, bestial howling was heard from the direction of the lake. Chief Swampbreath lit his fell caller torch, and ordered the group to hurry to the water's edge. There, they saw a tremendous dire troll, a thing out of legend, locked in combat with a pair of horrendous multi-tentacled swamp horrors. Grissok's resolve was tested, remembering how scores of bog trogs led five or more of these fiends to drag his champion brethren thrashing into the waters of Haltshire. No amount of earth-shaking sorcery could stay the disgusting creatures' advance, nor curb their ravenous feasting.

"Today, you will learn that history does not always repeat itself," said Bendek, reassuringly. "Today, we will have victory!"

The trollkin charged the rocky beach, and helped the ensnared dire troll to free itself from the swamp horrors' grasp. Knowing the beast could prove an even deadlier foe, Joruk showed the troll his impressive size, and mimicked the troll's imposing stance. The towering brute must have decided (at least for now) that they were not food, and with a display of utter disinterest, claimed the corpse of one of the felled swamp horrors as a snack and went tromping up the hill towards the destroyed Raakmor village.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

"A Swamp Tale" Unleashed Campaign: Session One

Session Recap by: Alex Meeres

Tonight at the Dirty Tankard Roadhouse, Chieftain Swampbreath and Joruk Marshwalker were alerted to the lies of three men claiming to be CRS by one Major Tymon Doncastle. The Major challenged the disguised mercenaries, and a furious firefight erupted in the bar. Swampbreath's sonic blast weakened the enemy, while the Major and Joruk fought in close quarters. Among the combatants were two trollkin strangers- Bendek Delleb and Grissok the Bonegeyser, who helped make short work of the men. With the spoils, Major Doncastle discovered a bounty on Bendek, issued by Steel Rain Mercenary Co.

Poor Tank, the proprietor and bartender, admitted that supply chain disruptions made it hard to keep the roadhouse open. Gatormen of Clan Bloodrot were rumored to have dispatched the only trader in the area who dealt with the swamp trollkin.

Bendek and Grissok, each having old ties to the swamp kriel, offered to help combat the gators. The major saw in this an opportunity to go after the huge prey that had eluded him for years. Chieftain Swampbreath led them back aboard the raft to their village to confer with the elder.

While efforts were undertaken to fortify the reed walls and mud huts with a sham minefield, the mighty chieftain planned to recover supplies and the krielstone of Raakmor Kriel in the Wyrmwall mountains. The bog trogs and lake creature that wiped out Grissok's family might still be in the area, but the valuable supplies and krielstone would be important in shifting the balance of power in the swamp.

Enroute up the river that flowed from Lake Haltshire, the travelers and their troll were attacked by a deadly ironback spitter, a turtle-like beast that engulfed Joruk and Bendek in a spew of caustic liquid. Chief Swampbreath's sonorous chanting called his allies to battle. Grissok's sorcery twice flipped the creature on its back so the warriors could shoot and strike at it. When the moment was right, the albino champion split the ironback's skull with a leaping swing of his pickaxe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bloodbath in the Dragon's Den!

I attended the Warmahordes July SR Bloodbath tournament at Dragon's Den Games in Saskatoon on July 11th. At fourteen competitors, it was the largest tournament that I have ever attended. In order to maximize the bloodshed, kill points were used to determine the first tie-breaker and a majority of the steamroller scenarios utilized killbox. I managed to 2-2 and place 6th overall. With only one other Circle player at the tournament, I managed to pick up my shiny faction coin for best of faction.

I took a Circle Orboros list pairing that epitomized my "Druids and Friends" design philosophy:

List 1: 35 pts.
Morvahna, the Autumnblade (+6)
- Feral Warpwolf (9)
Sacral Vault (9)
Gatorman Bokor and Bog Trog Swamp Shamblers (6)
Tharn Bloodtrackers (Full) (8)
- Nuala, the Huntress (2)
Gatorman Witch Doctor (3)
Maximus (2)
Gobber Tinker (1)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (1)
Objecctive: Effigy of Valor

List 2: 35 pts.
Kaya,the Wildborne (+6)
- Feral Warpwolf (9)
- Scarsfell griffon (5)
- Gorax (4)
- Gorax (4)
Gatorman Bokor and Bog Trog Swamp Shamblers (6)
Gatorman Posse (Full) (9)
Gatorman Witch Doctor (3)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (1)
Objetive: Stockpile

Now, while pMorv and pKaya are the only two Circle warlocks that I own, they both happen to be on the Active Duty Roster this season. The T.O. allowed for 10 pts. of specialists with the Vanguard benefit. Since I didn't really have many models to draw from, I didn't use the full 10 pts. I ennded up adding Victor Pendrake (2) and a Croak Hunter (2) to Morvahna's bench, while Alten Ashley (2) and Saxxon Orrik (2) came to bat for Kaya if she needed them.

Round 1: Destruction
I dropped pKaya against a Lylyth2 Ravagore spam list, swapping out a Gorax for Alten and Saxxon. Alten died early to a Ravagore shot. My Gators and Shamblers jammed the zone early. Lylyth feated and Kaya ended up on fire with 4 boxes left by the end of my opponents turn. I rolled a 1 to put out the fire on Kaya which was definetly good since a POW 12 continuous fire damage roll against Kaya's ARM 13 would have been the end of her. I tried to take out my opponents objective in order to score the zone but had to commit Kaya for a Spirit Fang in order to finish it off since the Feral Warpwolf couldn't get the job done. So, with 22 seconds left on the clock, my opponent managed to put Kaya down with a second assassination attempt.

Round 2: Incursion
I dropped my Vault-Tec list against a very green Circle player, swapping out Maximus for Victor Pendrake since it was a Hordes matchup. He was playing an eKreuger list with a Warpwolf Stalker and Megalith. This round was more of a lesson for my opponent as he was very new to the game. It ended with my Feral Warpwolf charging eKreuger in the face and ripping him to shreds.

Round 3: Close Quarters
I dropped the Vault-Tec list again, this time against a pStryker Stormwall list. This matchup is where my list seemed to really perform. The recursion that this list allows really grinds down the game. The Stormwall eventually punched the Sacral Vault to pieces and then proceeded to shoot Morvahna off the table. Even though I lost this round, I felt good about it since it was now apparent that this list composition was new to this particular Meta and everyone was watching our game and commenting on it.

Round 4: Two Fronts
I dropped the Vault-Tec list yet again, against a Thyra list. Let me just say, I've never had Maximus perform so well in a game before. I sent The Feral Warpwolf and Maximus into my opponent's zone after clearing out his unit of Knights Exemplar. My opponent throws Thyra at Maximus and with a total of three attacks, manages to only do enough damage to box him, and he succeeds on his tough roll! So, with no focus on the Blood of Martyrs so that it can charge and hopefully save Thyra by putting some damage on the Feral Warpwolf that is also up in her face, my opponent all but conceded the game.

So what did I learn from this tournament? Placement is critical. I need to declare my intention to place models base to base so that there is no confusion. And grinding out your opponent so he clocks himself is a viable strategy.