Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)


Just like to say how much I've loved this campaign report; it's actually one of the things that got me back into wargaming again after a long break.


Thanks, Land Annex and Outsider. Your kind words spurred me on a little faster with this next installment ...
The End of Spring, IC2403

5. Karak Borgo


King Jaldeog III of the dwarven mountain realm of Karak Borgo was not the most imposing of dwarfs. His beard looked the part, the very essence of a royal chin ornament, being suitably grey and cultivated to a width almost twice that of his head. Not that his head was small, but a size perfectly satisfactory for dwarven royalty. In particular, his nose could hold its own, a proboscis to be proud of, which indeed he was. It was the rest of him that let things down, for he was almost as short as a full-grown dwarf can be (if such backwards reasoning makes any sense), making his companion, his chancellor Obor Darkforge, seem quite massive in comparison. Even seated upon his throne, which raised his majesty’s feet a good foot and a half above the ground, his head was no higher than Darkforge’s.


Perhaps this was why Jaldeog favoured somewhat humble attire, unlike most other dwarven monarchs? No golden crown for him, nor even a horned-helm edged with silver filigree. No armoured plates of engraved mithric, nor even a cloak trimmed with the shaggy fur of some legendary beast. Instead, upon his head he wore a simple cloth cap, and his armour was an entirely unadorned mail shirt. Did he believe he would look ridiculous in the garb of a hero? If it were ever possible to encounter him alone upon a mountain path, a stranger would presume him to be a mere old soldier, and of the lowliest kind. As he himself was fond of joking, he was not mutton dressed as lamb, but lamb dressed as mutton.

Two braziers smouldered behind him, the warmth of which gently penetrated his stone throne, warming his royal arse. He fiddled with his pipe and belt bag of tobacco, both being companions even more constant than Darkforge. Before him stood his two most important thanes, Asgrod Steelshaper and Narhak Thundersword, and the master of the watch, Vagroth Ashhelm. Chancellor Darkforge had summoned them to be questioned concerning matters military and political, especially the progress of the plan to re-open the iron road trade route by defeating the wizard Lord Niccolo of Campogrotta and his army of ogri.

After a sniff, a cough, and some more fiddling with the spent ash in the bowl of his clay pipe, the king eventually spoke.

“The Bretonnian. Let’s start with him, eh?”

Vagroth, Master of the Watch, answered. “My liege, word has come concerning the force he commands. As you yourself suspected, it is not impressive.”

“Nor is his claim to Campogrotta,” said Asgrod, Thane of Deephall.

“True,” said the king. “But if the king of Bretonnia has given his blessing, that lends respect to his name in the realms of men. I won’t go to all this effort only to have the humans entangled in a civil war afterwards. As long as he’s a legitimate contender, I’m happy to have him as an ally.”

“The Ravolan way has always been that might is right,” said Vagroth. “They fight tourneys to decide upon a new lord. Baron Garoy is not what anyone would call ‘mighty’.”

The king gave a sound, half snort, half laugh, dropping some of the tobacco he had been stuffing into his pipe. “He doesn’t have to be mighty. Not if there’s no-one else to fight the tourney. No-one of consequence, anyway. Once Ravola is taken, he’ll rule long enough to make a start putting things back the way they were. That’s all we need.”

“He promised much more, my liege, than what he brings,” said Vagroth. “He has merely a handful of mounted men-at-arms, the rest of his company being only the Brabanzon mercenaries we paid for, archers and spearmen, a villainous looking lot too.”

“We don’t need him to bring a big army. Our own gold has bolstered his meagre force sufficiently. Besides, we have even more mercenaries - a whole army of them!”

King Jaldeog fixed his eyes on Narhak, Thane of Dravaz, who was now standing by the thane of Deephall. Both thanes held hammers in their hands, the first a warhammer of iron, the second a large mallet of oak. The latter was an ancient and magically blessed artefact gifted by the elves of Tettoverde Forest to Narhak’s father during an old alliance against the Skaven. It had no runes inscribed on it, nor a scrap of iron, steel or even brass about it, and yet it could break stone, and had once killed three goblins with one swing. The fact Narhak was proud to bear an elven-made weapon marked him out as unusual amongst dwarfs. He was stubborn enough to ignore the petty slights – apart from direct insults of course. His unusual link to the elves was the very reason he had been ordered to take command of affairs to the south.


“What news, Narhak, of the Compagnia?” asked the king. “Are they bringing what they promised?”

“They have crossed the sea,” answered the thane, “and landed all that was promised, perhaps more. The crossing was not easy, for the ships’ captains are somewhat reluctant to venture into those waters, what with the war against the zangrunaz duchess, and more sightings of thagorakki vessels.”

“Wisht, Narhak,” ordered the king. “I’ve enough to think about with these ogri. Let’s deal with one problem at a time, starting close to home, eh? We can contend with the undead abominations and the scuttling horde later.” The king seemed to have forgotten his pipe. “Will the mercenaries reach Campogrotta before Razger returns?” he asked.

“They’re upon the march, by way of Scorccio,” said Thane Narhak. “I know not how they intend to get past the zangrunaz’s forces. I suggested they use the same way Boulderguts used when travelling south. He avoided entanglement with the undead.”

“Ah,” said Darkforge, “but that might be because of an alliance between the zangrunaz duchess and the wizard lord.”

“That may be, but the route will keep them some distance from Ebino,” said Narhak. “Granted, it will take them longer to skirt wide enough, my liege, but I reckon they can get here unmolested. My own rangers report it is very quiet along the Tarano and the Bellagio, and both rivers are low for the time of year. Tettoverde is quiet too. I suggested to the rangers that they might lead the army through the forest as there is an ancient path from where the Bellagio bends north up to Tarano Keep.”

“Well and good,” said the king. “But I ask again. Will they get to Campogrotta before Boulderguts?”

Narhak hesitated, so it was Thane Asgrod who answered,

“No-one can promise that, my liege. The news from the south is confused. The ogri appear to be almost everywhere, the zangrunaz everywhere else. But by your leave, my liege, might I suggest that perhaps the mercenaries do not need to beat Boulderguts in the race? From all the reports it seems the ogri have rampaged far and wide, burning a wide swathe of destruction upon their … what was the word Baron Garov used … ‘chevauchee’, aye. Boulderguts has done this without reinforcements from Campogrotta. If any such had left the city our rangers would have seen them – the ogri are not exactly quiet, nor sneaky. And no more ogri have come through the Appucinni passes. Boulderguts has fought several battles, no doubt enriching himself considerably in the process, but each time he fought his force must have dwindled. It is reported his hireling, Mangler, is dead, and both ogri armies have been severely mauled. Between our own warriors, the Condottierri Mazallini’s soldiers and whatever Baron Garov brings, we can surely defeat whatever force he limps back with. And if …”

“Ah,” interrupted the king, prompting Asgrod to fall silent, “yet is it certain we can defeat both him and the forces his master Lord Niccolo has at Campogrotta?”

At first, no-one spoke, and the king took the opportunity to put his pipe to his mouth, having forgotten it was not yet lit.


“Can we not destroy them piecemeal, my liege?” asked Asgrod.

“Aye, likely so,” said the king somewhat nonchalantly. “That means we must ensure they do not join forces.” He held his hand to his mouth, as if pondering, but also perhaps signalling that the others should remain silent as he did so. “Best to begin with Boulderguts’ army. Defeat him first, at some remove from Campogrotta. If instead we besiege the city and the work becomes protracted, that could give bloody Boulderguts all the time he needs to return. Then we’d face them all, front and rear. Defeat Boulderguts first and we shall have all the time we need to take the city.”

There was nodding and a murmur of agreement from all those gathered. The king took the opportunity to rummage for more tobacco from his pouch and to further pack his pipe’s voluminous bowl. He may have been small for a dwarf, but he made up for it by doing nothing by halves. When he slept, he slept several hours longer than most. When he ate, he feasted upon sufficient to satisfy two. And when he smoked, he liked to send fumes curling into every nook and cranny of the hall.

At last, Darkforge noticed what the king was doing and stepped up to take the pipe to the brazier. While he did so the king leaned forwards upon his throne and asked,

“Besides what’s at Campogrotta, what forces does Lord Nicolo have elsewhere?”

“Nothing much, my liege” said Vagroth, “and that only in Ravola.”


“Are you certain?”

“Those few Ravolans who escaped into the mountains looking for succour …”

“Which alone shows how desperate they were!” interrupted Darkforge.

“Aye. Well,” continued Vagroth, “those that did told us there are very few ogri at what remains of Ravola. My rangers report that the ogri ate almost everything, man and beast, and stole all else of worth.”

The king was nodding. “Which would be why there’s little in the way of forces there. Why bother to garrison in strength if there’s nothing left to guard?”

“It is not entirely abandoned,” said Vagroth. “I reckon they left a company or two simply to keep an eye on the Nuvolonc Pass.”

“Didn’t they destroy the fortress at Maratto?” asked the king.

“They did, my liege, so they now garrison Ravola instead. I have warned Baron Garov, and ordered my rangers to bring him another way. Should be easy enough in summer. They could probably defeat what few ogri are there but then we would lose the element of surprise.”

Again the hall fell quiet, as King Jaldeog drank in the first pull of smoke from his pipe. Having released a pleasantly coiled cloud, he asked,

“If there’s an alliance between the zangunaz duchess and Lord Niccolo, then Boulderguts might be reinforced upon his return journey. Or perhaps the wizard lord will call upon his allies to relieve him of our seige?”

“My liege,” said Darkforge, “would even he invite the likes of her foul followers to his realm?”

Vagroth raised his hand and spoke.

“Some say that Lord Niccolo is a zangunaz himself, which is why he stays so hidden, and why he has lived so long. If so, he might have his own undead forces, and would not forbear inviting such into his realm.”

“As far as we know,” said Narhak, “the ogri and this zangunaz have not fought side by side before. The reports of their alliance are but speculation, never mind the claims that he himself is undead.”

“Aye,” added Vagroth. “That’s true. The ogri even fought against the zangunaz Adolfo at Viadaza.”


“That may well have been trickery,” offered Asgrod. “Lulling their real enemies into a false sense of security, while they planned their great raid. If they had not been slaughtered by the army uprising at Viadaza, they most likely would have turned against their Reman ‘allies’, perhaps an act of assassination, or treachery at a crucial moment in battle?”

“We shall assume nothing,” said the king, authoritatively. “And we shall act quickly. Our warriors must be ready to march as soon as the Bretonnian arrives. We’ll march to meet the mercenaries, and if we cannot get to them first then we’ll pincer the enemy between us.”

There were ‘Ayes’ all around.

Lands Annex

About time that the stunties crawled out from under the mountain to get involved! Brilliant as ever Padre, such a high level of story telling, I feel like this should be a novel. I am awaiting the next installment, as ever, with keen interest!


Lands Annex":3bvxo34i said:
About time that the stunties crawled out from under the mountain to get involved! Brilliant as ever Padre, such a high level of story telling, I feel like this should be a novel. I am awaiting the next installment, as ever, with keen interest!
I was about to say the same thing. It really does feel like you could work up the novelization pretty quickly!


ardyer":2p1pdfwk said:
Lands Annex":2p1pdfwk said:
About time that the stunties crawled out from under the mountain to get involved! Brilliant as ever Padre, such a high level of story telling, I feel like this should be a novel. I am awaiting the next installment, as ever, with keen interest!
I was about to say the same thing. It really does feel like you could work up the novelization pretty quickly!

Just tweak it to be unique and not GW stuff; get new names for the Gods, change it from Tilea to Aelita, etc and you'd be good to go. It's been done before too; a number of fantasy books started out basically as dramatised versions of games played.


Thanks guys. It is what it is, and I'm enjoying the creation of it immensely. Here's the next installment ...
The End of Spring, IC2403

6. They were going the other way!


As always, they were riding a little way ahead of the army, scouting out the intended route. Being the Compagnia’s fastest troops, well-mounted but lightly armoured, it had always been their job to act as outriders and scouts, and they had done so a hundred times in Estalia. Here, however, back in their own homeland, it was different. The razed villages were familiar enough, for such destruction was to be found anywhere a war was being fought, and there was no shortage of ruins: barely a plank of sawn wood that was not charred, nor any door that was still fitted properly to its hinges. It was how they felt that was different. Back in Estalia they were searching, unsurprisingly, for Estalians. Here, however, they were scouring the terrain for signs of brute ogres or the foul servants of vampires, both of which were very different prospects compared to your average Estalian - the stuff of nightmares made real.

The company’s ensign, whose guidon bore the Compagnia del Sole’s Myrmidian emblem, was up at the front with the sergeant, while the rest of the company rode loosely in pairs behind. Apart from the ruins, the land was otherwise green and pleasant, what with it being late Spring, but eerily quiet, there having been no sound of birdsong, or ought else, for the last quarter of an hour. Dotted along the route were several copses of trees and one or two good sized woods, and the sergeant insisted on riding close to each to see what might lurk there, which meant they were tacking their way through the valley like a flotilla attempting to sail close to the wind. Twice now they had turned almost back on themselves because the sergeant had noticed a clump of trees they had earlier missed. This was a level of caution the sergeant had never exhibited in Estalia, and although he tried to hide his nervousness, his actions very clearly advertised his true state of mind. There was one good thing about their exertions – at least the journey back should prove a short one, as not only was the army itself moving up behind, but they could return by a straighter, and much shorter, course.

Amongst their number rode Ramondo Pisani upon his dun-coloured mare Pulce. For the last half an hour or so he had been deep in thought, allowing Pulce to much of the work following the rest of the company. He wasn’t the only quiet one – just about everyone else had been silent for some time, the only sounds being the dull thuddering of the horses’ hooves, the clattering of harness and trappings, and the occasional snapped command from the sergeant to wheel here or incline there. The quietness of the land had somehow pervaded them. It was not a peaceful sort of quiet, however, but ominous, imbuing them with a growing sense of foreboding.

Ramondo’s thoughts had definitely taken a darker turn. He had begun the day by waking from a dream about Gianetta. She had been laughing at him from her window in Urbimo, happy to see that he had returned as he promised, and that he now wore a cuirass of steel marking him out as a mounted man-at-arms. There had been some tomfoolery during breakfast concerning what Lazzero had said in his sleep, which had everyone laughing, and then there was the need to harness Pulce and prepare for the ride. Almost as soon as they had left the sounds of the camp behind, the rest of the army being tardy in their preparations for the march, Ramondo’s mind had begun a journey of its own. He began by pondering what the rocky realm of Campogrotta might be like, and whether they would be required to march into the mountains to the dwarven realm, but this soon turned into a contemplation of the enemies they might face along the way. Would the ogres be like the ones he had encountered before: huge, strong, clumsy, loud and sweaty, with a cruel streak and a taste for human flesh, yet mercenaries nevertheless? Or would they be wilder, crueller, and crazy in battle like the stories of the savage brutes from the eastern lands? Then he wondered whether they would have to face the undead before they even reached the ogres. It seemed they were attempting to stand well out from Viadaza and Ebino, taking the more direct route to Campogrotta, one without roads or even, for much of the way, paths. But as no-one knew exactly where the vampires’ forces were in the first place, the precaution was merely a best guess strategy.

If only to distract himself, for a while he had joined in his comrades’ conversation, limited as it was to occasional shouted jokes and jibes. They talked of events in Urbimo: of the women, the drinking, the gaming, but then someone said something about an old Urbiman grandmother begging them to stay, to keep her family from falling into hell, and their enthusiasm for the topic paled, then died. Then they talked of the sea journey from Estalia, of the sea sick pig sliding around the deck in its own vomit, and the flying fish that knocked the flux-ridden Donnino from the head into the sea, his pants left dangling behind, but then someone mentioned the shadowy ships seen at night and the eerily threatening shout, part chirruping, part squealing, that came from the darkness and once again the conversation died. When someone mentioned the vampire duchess, they were met by immediate silence, which became prolonged and so toppled Ramondo back into his own gloomy thoughts.


That was when Ramondo noticed the smoke in the large wood to their left. Someone up at the front shouted,

“Have a care! Fire!”

Everyone looked, their trotting pace slowing a little, but then someone else declared,

“No, it’s fog.”

Ramondo knew immediately that something was not right. It was surely too late in the morning for fog to appear. They had seen no sign of it until now. Besides, why was there no fog in any of the other copses they could see?

As they rode on, nearly every face turned to the fog.


“That ain’t natural,” said Arrigo, riding just ahead of Ramondo. “That’s wizardry, or elves.”

“I pray you’re right,” said Franceso, from behind. “For if it ain’t, then its necromancy!”

“Necromancers don’t summon fogs, they summon the dead,” argued Arrigo.

Ramondo rolled his eyes, wishing Arrigo wouldn’t talk about summoning the dead. It could not be good luck to mention such things.

“I don’t know,” said Francesco. “They mess with the etheric winds, which makes all sorts of funny stuff happen, not just what was intended. Remember that time Albiete tried to conjure fire against the crossbowmen on the walls of Vizeaya and burned half the …”

“Keep your eyes peeled!” barked the sergeant. “Ramondo, Francesco – rear-guard!”

Ramondo pulled on Pulce’s reins to slow her down, as did Francesco, and they fell back to the rear of the little column.

“It’s always us!” complained Francesco. “You and your nimble eyes, and me to look after you.”

Ramondo managed a wink, as if untroubled by the situation, and then set about scouring the tree line.

The fog thinned then thickened, then thinned again, giving Ramondo hope that it might not be so sinister at all. Maybe it had rolled down the slopes of the hill to the north, a heavy cloud grown too tired to remain aloft? The thinning never lasted, however, and each time it thickened up they slowed a little, falling incrementally further behind the others. He narrowed his eyes to peer into the misty gloom of the trees. If he had allowed his imagination to run wild he could have seen anything he liked in there, for the branches stretched, bent and criss-crossed to fashion up all sorts of possibilities: there a huge face with ragged holes for eyes, and there a man kneeling in prayer before a rock. Each image was momentary, as Pulce trotted on and the branches no longer played their trick.

Then he saw two grinning faces, looking right back at him. They were white like the fog, misshapen, imperfect representations of human faces. Grown used to the playfulness of the branches and their shadows he looked with simple curiosity at first, but this changed quickly into fear, for these faces did not melt away with his motion, and indeed they had a motion of their own. They were not imperfect due to the lie of the branches and the fronds upon them, but due to their lack of flesh! Worse still, there were bodies below the faces, weapons in their hands and bony horses to carry them.


Ramondo felt his body weaken in fright, his insides seeming to shrink, his grip upon the reins threatening to loosen. Pulce could not have noticed, for she ran on like before, but when she sensed the change in Ramondo, her stride faltered a little. He could not speak, being only able to watch as he rode one way and they the other. Their heads turned to keep their eyeless sockets fixed upon him, and as they moved into a thinner patch of fog he realised there were more than two of them. Their mounts wore barding of an ethereal hue, and flecks of green fire speckled both their weapons and bony bodies.


Coming to his senses – at least all those he could muster – he spurred Pulce on, and began to gallop towards the rest of the company.

“What is it?” shouted Francesco, as he joined the gallop. “What’s wrong?”

Ramondo’s answer was merely to gallop faster. He had to tell the others, and quick. The vampire duchess’s servants were much, much closer than anyone had thought!

Lands Annex

Agreed on the pics, really great stuff. For clarity, I didn't mean in my previous post that I thought it should be a novel, I think it is superb as it is, just that it has the feel of a novel. Excellent work as ever Padre!


Thank you Stormbringer and Lands Annex. Your comments recharge my enthusiasm batteries! Here's the next piece. (This is the longest series of end of season reports I've done yet!)
The End of Spring, IC2403

7. Mangled Facts


“They didn’t slurp it all then?” said Frokkit, peering into the topless barrel whilst clutching his vicious billhook as a support. His spiked helmet threatened to topple in, but he lifted his head back up just before it did.


“No, they didn’t,” said Pooshin. “Didn’t even touch these.” He nodded towards the two on the ground and the one still on the wagon. “Too busy draining them big ‘uns we got from the last place. But they’ll get around to these soon enough, so best not get any ideas.”

Whichever ogre had drunk from the open barrel the previous night hadn’t troubled himself to broach it in the normal manner, instead smashing the head in to leave wooden splinters floating on the unfinished ale inside. Frokkit dipped a finger in, then sucked the sticky beer off, making that particular digit fractionally less grimy than the rest.

“Tasty,” he announced. “You know, I reckon they won’t want this one, not now it’s already opened. An’ if we put it on the cart it’ll just slosh and spill all o’er the place.”

Cornyclipper nodded, an action made all the more noticeable by his heavy nose, and flapping ears.

“You gotta point there, Frokkit. Better to drink it up ourselves than let it go to waste.”

“Puddles in our bellies instead o’ puddles on the road,” said his friend Furnip from beneath the huge ogre’s club he carried upon his bent back.


Silence descended as they all pondered the proposition. They knew not to rush into any act of thievery without proper consideration. Carelessly light-fingered gnoblars did not tend to last long in the company of ogres. It was Frokit who eventually broke the silence.

“No-one’s lookin’,” he said. “They’re already on the move, leaving us gnobs to catch up as best we can. They’ve taken the big barrels. These little ‘uns are nought but tipply sips to them.”

“Aye,” said Furnip. “Nipper’s tipples.”

“We deserves our share,” said Cornyclipper. “We done Mangler good service, an’ Razger good service an’ all. The bosses had a right feasty reward last night, ’s only fair we have a drop or two too.”

“Aye,” said Furnip, his red eyes fixed in their peculiarly staring manner, but his voice getting louder. “A drop o’ tootoo.”

“I wish they hadn’t gobbled up the oxen, though,” said Cornyclipper. “Luggin this lump of a wagon ain’t gonna be easy.”

“Ah, won’t be as bad if we’ve a little ale inside us,” said Frokkit.

“Reckon so,” agreed Pooshin. “But we’ll drink after we’ve loaded the rest. That way the bosses’ll be even further ahead an’ a lot less likely to ogle us at it. Let’s not rush to load up neither. Best wait a while, just to be extra sure.”

As well as his memorably bulbous chin (which has been punched so often, whether deliberately or not, that he had long since lost all his front teeth) Pooshin had always been known for his cunning. All those present were happy to take his advice, so they all fell silent and stared at the barrel.


Some of them had belonged to Mangler’s band, some to Razger’s army, but now Razger ruled everyone, and although the ogres still marched in their old companies under their old banners, despite the change at the top, the gnoblars had become all mixed up together. The ogres could not care less whether their goblinoid servants formed companies, or even if they took part in the battles. The gnoblars, however, knew they needed strength in numbers if they were going to avoid their masters’ full cruelties. Not that they ever put up any sort of argument or fighting resistance, rather that they could lose themselves in the crowd making it impossible for the ogres to work out which of them was to blame for what. And in crowds they could usually rely on some other gnoblar to distract an angry ogre whenever they did became the focus of attention, hoping their masters’ attention would wane and they would go off to do something else. It usually did.

Frokkit, in an attempt to make the waiting a little more bearable, broke the silence.

“D’you see butcher Slabdul lording it up last night?” he said. “You’d think it was him who beat Krav in the duel, not Razger.”

“Maybe he did?” said Pooshin.

“Whatya mean?” scoffed Cornyclipper. “Razger almost cleaved Krav’s head clean off his shoulders, just a flappy bit of flesh left between. I was right up at the front, an’ I saw it plain as pain. Slabdul just stood and watched like me and the rest.”

“Maybe Slabdul put a curse on Krav?” suggested Pooshin.


“Nah!” said Cornyclipper. “I’ve seen him conjurating, an’ it’s a right old song and dance I tell ya, cutting up his own flesh an’ all. There was none of that last night. He just watched with a big grin on his face.”

“Puh!” snorted Pooshin. “O‘course he was grinning. He wanted Razger to win, an’ he knew that’s exactly what Razger was gonna do.”

Frokkit shook his head. “Not so sure about that. Krav had a chance. A good half of Mangler’s boys thought he could do it.”

“But did he ‘ave a chance, eh? Did he really?” asked Pooshin. “Maybe Slabdul put a curse on him before the fight? Maybe he slipped some foul nastiness into his meat or drink?”

“Magic grediants and wicked wot nots,” suggested Furnip, looking even more wild eyed than usual.


“You reckon?” said Cornyclipper, his brow furrowed.

“Think about it,” demanded Pooshin. “He got given a big chunky share of the army’s loot after the duel. What was that for?”

“To stop him complaining like Krav did?” said Frokkit.

“No, it was a reward.”

“It was a reward,” said Murdle, who had until now held his tongue. “But not for cursing Krav. And not for poisonin’ him neither.”

“What for then?” Pooshin inquired. He knew Murdle of old, and had long since realised that Murdle had a grip on the ways of their masters that most gnoblars failed - often fatally - to attain.

“Think about it,” Murdle explained. “Krav was angry ‘cos when Mangler died Razger made Slabdul his second, not him.”

“Was a bit funny that,” agreed Pooshin.

“Not funny to Krav. He was next in line to Mangler. He should have become second when Mangler died.”

“We know,” said Frokkit in exasperation. “That’s what the fight was about.”

“Aye, the fight,” said Murdle. “But you’ve got things back to front in yer addled ‘ed. The fight was about butcher Slabdul being given command instead of Krav. The reward was already given.”

“No it wasn’t,” argued Pooshin. “Butcher Slabdul got his loot after Krav died.”


“The loot, aye, but he got the command before the fight. That was the reward. The loot was just some crackling fat to make the reward tastier.”

“You’re sayin’ Slabdul was rewarded for summat else?”

“I am saying that, ‘cos I knows it’s true. After the battle on the road, Mangler was mangled bad and badder, but I’ve seen ogres live through a lot worse ‘n that. I’ve seen gnobs get better from worse.”


“It was Butcher Slabdul tended his wounds, see?”

Pooshin scratched at his chin. “He wouldn’t get a reward for being bad at healing. Makes no sense.”

Murdle simply looked at him and waited.

“Hang on …” said Pooshin as an idea squeeze its way into his thoughts. “You’re sayin’ he got a reward for making sure Mangler died.”

Murdle grinned, revealing his two longest teeth – both on the left . “Snitch here saw what happened,” he said as he turned to look at the smallest gnoblar present. “Didn’t ya Snitch? No ogres spot you Snitch, do they? Ye’r too small ain’t ya. But there’s eyes in that little head of yours. Tell ‘em, Snitch. Tell ‘em what you told me.”


Everyone looked at Snitch. Some were surprised to see him, having altogether failed to notice him until that moment.

“Old Mangler lay there sick and sore, big black bruises, skin all tore. But the butcher’s needle was a knife, an’ he stuck it in to end a life.” He had always had a sing-song way of talking.

“Sick, sore, skin all tore,” began Furnip. “Needly knifey …”

“Stop yer gabblin’, Furnip!” ordered Pooshin, then fixed his eyes on Murdle. “You’re saying Slabdul killed Mangler?”

“If Mangler had a hundred cuts after the battle,” pronounced Murdle most sombrely, “he had a hundred and one after Slabdul’s attentions.”

Silence fell as they all thought about what they had learned. Until Pooshin piped up, that is.

“Makes no difference to us though, does it?” he said. “Don’t matter who’s boss, we still has to do what we’re told, and be snikkety quick about it.”


“You’re not wrong. Best drink up then and get a move on loadin’ the rest” said Frokkit.

He swung his billhook over to stick the steel head into the ground, then thrust both hands into the ale to lift out a big, dribbly scoop.


Thanks Mr Annex. Here's another installment ...

The End of Spring, IC2403

8. Glammerscale and the Brabanzon

The wizard-dwarf Glammerscale had found his time in Karak Borgo irksome. Rather than complain, however, he had taken to announcing, in as breezy a tone as he could muster: “A change is as good as a break”. Eventually, one of the mountain realm’s denizens summoned enough momentary curiosity to ask what he meant by this, to which he replied, “The difficulties here are, at least, different from those I had grown accustomed to.”

His questioner’s interest was, however, as fleeting as it was reluctant, and no further enquiry was forthcoming. Glammerscale allowed himself to enjoy the irony, for exactly such unfriendliness was part and parcel of the difficulties he alluded to.

As a dwarf living amongst the men of Tilea, he had faced suspicion and awkwardness on a daily basis. Indeed, as an inhabitant of Pavona, such attitudes had escalated into hatred, then outright hostility, until he and all the dwarfs dwelling there had been forced into exile. After that time, he had moved hither and thither across the peninsula, visiting several dwarfs he believed might help, first to Ridraffa, then to Remas, then to Urbimo. In every place there had been the same old, underlying wariness whenever a man encounters a dwarf. And then here, after the long and hazardous journey to the dwarfen realm of Karak Borgo, he found a new suspicion, no less strong.

As men were untrusting of dwarfs, dwarfs were untrusting of wizards. He had always known this, but on arrival in Karak Borgo he had learned just how deep such feelings could run, especially when the wizard in question was also a dwarf! He had believed his chosen profession a rarity amongst his kind, but it turned out to be entirely unknown. Upon declaring his occupation, he had been met with either with raucous laughter or visible disgust – at least until word got around. After that, few agreed to meet him at all!

Luckily, he had not travelled alone, but was accompanied by several other Pavonan exiles, including Gallibrag Honourbeard and his servant Norgrug. They, at least, knew him from old, were accustomed to his company and even counted him as a friend. His cousin Goldshin - a Tilean dwarf with whom the mountain dwellers had done very profitable business - had remained in Ridraffa, yet had sufficient repute in Karak Borgo to ensure Glammerscale had not been sent away. That repute, plus the presence of the wealthier exiles like Honourbeard, had gained the exiles an audience with the king and even an invitation to stay. Since then, the exiles had become willingly embroiled in King Jaldeog’s plans to re-open his trade routes into Tilea by defeating the brute army of Campogrotta. Having lived among men, their experience was recognised, their counsels heeded, their presence more obviously welcome. They themselves were playing a long game (something dwarfs have time to do) for once they had contributed in the restoration of Karak Borgo’s fortunes, they hoped for reciprocal assistance in restoring their own.

They had gone further than simply offering knowledgeable advice, for it was through them and their connections that the Estalian contingent of the Compagnia del Sole had been successively (and speedily) hired. Furthermore, it was their own monies that had been used to pay the advance payment to hire the Brabanzon mercenaries accompanying Baron Garoy into Tilea. Which was why Glammerscale, Honourbeard and Norgrug, along with several other exiles, now found themselves discussing contractual details with the northerner mercenaries upon the track that ran along the western slopes of the Vaults to join Karak Borgo’s Iron Road.

Glammerscale wore his green hat, leather travelling coat and peculiar red-tinged eye-glasses, and clutched his slightly crooked staff. Standing beside him was Gallibrag Honourbeard, having transformed from his former, urbane self into the very image of a wilderness ranger, with red, hooded cloak, heavy boots and a blue coat belted upon the outside. He leaned on an axe as tall as himself.


Honourbeard’s servant, Norbrug, had also adopted a novel fashion since his days as a clerk in Pavona. Now he considered himself first and foremost his master’s guard, and thus attired himself in chainmail and a helm. His axe was shorter than his master’s, exactly proportionate to their respective heights. Glammerscale, although intrigued to know if his two companions had themselves noticed this fact, had successfully stopped himself pointing it out on several occasions.

The meeting took place at an abandoned mine-shaft – one of the many, diminutive, exploratory kind found throughout these hills, left to crumble if nothing of worth was discovered. The Brabanzon leader, Lodar ‘the Wolf’ de Sevole, had his lieutenants with him, whilst behind them a column of the company’s spearmen filed past at a jog. Lodar’s chancellor, who originally arranged the contract with the dwarfs, had called the band ‘Tard Venus’, which apparently meant they were considered brigands now that some war or other in the north had ended. He claimed they would be overjoyed to become soldiers (‘valets’ was the word he used) again, but one look told Glammerscale they were presently unhappy, which he now realised was most likely why they had called for this little rendezvous.

The mercenaries were liveried in dark green and a muted yellow, wearing layers of armour a considered a little archaic by the men of Tilea. To dwarfs, who often wore armour of styles unchanged over centuries, it simply looked human. In truth, what with their faces almost hidden by their coifs, Glammerscale could barely tell the mercenaries apart. After brief introductions, the first to speak was Lodar, and he went straight to the point.

“We have heard you have employed other mercenaries for this venture. This was not made known when our contract was agreed, despite my chancellor’s questions regarding such matters. Who are these others? Under what terms to they serve?”


“Captain Lodar, I fail to see why this could be of any concern to you,” said Glammerscale. “Do you not want to be part of an army that will be victorious in battle? Such an outcome is much more likely if our strength is equal to the task.””

“Ha,” scoffed Lodar. “Victory is good. Spoils are better. We were promised the plunder of Campogrotta.”

“You were promised your fair share of the plunder,” said Glammerscale.

“Which we were led to believe meant sharing with the dwarfen army of Karak Borgo and the baron, not with however many other mercenaries you have also taken into your service.”

Another Brabanzon, clutching a large leather jack from which he had just taken a very hearty swig, interjected,

“Do you take us for fools? Do you think we Brabanzon will allow anyone to treat us with disrespect? To break promises made to us?”

There followed a moment of silence, which Glammerscale deliberately allowed so as not to appear in any way concerned with the mercenaries’ implied threat. The Brabanzon simply watched, neither speaking further nor moving.

Eventually, Glammerscale gestured to Gallibrag’s servant.

“I think perhaps you are under a misapprehension. Master Norgrug here will explain the particulars, that you might better comprehend the due fairness of our transaction.”

“You will have exactly what was agreed, to the letter,” said Norgrug. After decades as a clerk he had studied the contract closely and understood all the details. “You knew full well there were other forces involved in this war, not merely our dwarven warriors and Baron Garoy’s men-at-arms, and you were promised one third of the plunder. Which is what you will receive.”

“How so?” demanded Lodar. “For even if it is only one other mercenary company that makes four parties to the agreement!”


“You are correct,” said Norgrug.

“Three does not go into four!” said Lodar.

“Aah,” said Glammerscale, as if he had just had an insight. “Are you perhaps presuming each party has been contracted under the same terms?”

The cart had now trundled past, its draught horse, a rugged and stout pony, making good speed – enough to keep pace with the jogging spearmen.


Lodar looked askance at the dwarfs, his brow furrowed, then asked,

“Which party has been deprived of its share?”

Glammerscale smiled and looked over the top of his eyeglasses at the Brabanzon leader.

“Consider the parties involved, Captain” he suggested. “I believe that with a further moment’s thought you will deduce which it must be.”

It was the Brabanzon with the leather jack who answered, apparently speaking his thoughts as he put them together.


“The mercenaries, whoever they are, will want their pay and a share of the prize, this goes without saying. You dwarfs love your gold so much that you would never yield an opportunity to amass more of it, especially when you want to recover your already considerable outlay. So … it must be the baron. Yes?”

“You have it!” declared Glammerscale. “I see the ale has not deprived you of one jot of your wits.”

The comment seemed lost on the Brabanzon, but such a stumble in the conversation could not stop Glammerscale in his tracks.

“The Baron Garoy,” the wizard explained, “being of such noble blood, deemed it would disparage the stock from which he came to contract for a portion of plunder. He would never stoop so low. He has come to Tilea upon a chivalrous quest, to liberate the realm of Ravola. A hero such as he cares nothing for what happens to the wealth of Campogrotta.”

“Ha,” laughed Lodar. “The baron might proclaim such a thing, but how will he repair Ravola without the gold to pay for it?”


“How indeed?” agreed Glammerscale. “Still, provided he possesses some proficiency in war, then he should serve our purposes perfectly. Whether or not he struggles during the subsequent peace is of little present concern.”

“Puh!” mocked the Brabanzon with the jack. “He rides like a boy at his first joust, and his battle experience comes from playing merelles.”

“Surely you exaggerate, sir, for comic effect” said Glammerscale. “Yet if true, then hopefully his keenness and the men who ride with him will make up for any inexperience.”

Lodar laughed. “Let the baron and his petite noblesse canter where they like when we lay siege to the city. It is we foot-soldiers who will have to dig the works and mount the guard. It is our arrows that will reach the monstrous foe in the towers, and our engines that will topple the parapets. And when the time is ripe, it is we who will climb the ladders and storm the gates. If Garoy joins us then he will be simply one among the many, and worth half of anyone of the rest. I know not whether these other mercenaries you have hired are capable of such things, but I know we are. We expect to be appropriately rewarded afterwards, as you promised.”


“Have no fear regarding that concern,” promised Norgrug. “I myself will ensure your accounts are settled exactly as agreed, and all will be done openly and fairly.”

“I would have it no other way,” added Glammerscale. “For such transparency will ensure no bitterness, no contention amongst those who have fought so bravely. The fighting will be done with, and all will be peace and prosperity, aye?”


A Letter from Antonio Mugello to my most noble Lord Lucca Vescucci of Verezzo

I pray to all the gods that you, my lord, are well and that the realm of Verezzo remains untouched by the brute hands that have so ravaged the city states to the north and north-east.

As I promised in my previous missive, I remained for a while in the proximity of Ridraffa in order to confirm the ogres had indeed crossed the River Riatti and marched northwards. Baring the unlikely decision to retrace their steps, it seemed to me that they were now homeward bound, and indeed that which I have learned since confirms this belief. If my estimation and understanding concerning this prove wrong, I beg that you forgive me. Rather than bide my time unnecessarily in such quiet ruins, I honestly believed that I would serve you better by learning what I could of the disturbances in Remas and the situation to the north.

Upon arrival in Remas I found all in turmoil, the realm having become divided. The Reman army was encamped at Frascoti, under the command of the arch-lector Bernado Ugolini, while the city itself remained in the hands of Father Carradalio’s fanatical Disciplinati di Morr. The Pavonan army sat between the two, as Duke Guidobaldo apparently busied himself with attempting to promote peace between the antagonistic factions. Yet neither the high church nor the low, if I might describe them thus, showed any sign of yielding, which sowed great fear amongst the Reman people, and many talked of civil war as if it were not only inevitable but had already begun. If indeed the Reman army does besiege the city (Remans within and Remans without), then it would likely be a long, drawn out business. On the one hand, the city walls are strong and the army weakened by its long fight against the undead and the ogres, while on the other hand the defenders are religious fanatics, not soldiers, and the army might be well supplied by Frascoti to the south.

Such is the madness of Remas, embroiled in a misery entirely of its own making as all the while its enemies grow stronger. The ogres may well have begun their homeward journey, battered and bruised by umpteen battles, but they are laden with plunder, grown fat from feeding upon man-flesh, and have left all behind them in ruin. I fear that now the vampires will follow in the Razger’s wake, eyeing such devastated places with their own intent, for what to us appears barren and burned, is as a feast laid out for them. We see only a wasted land, but they see rich pickings. They need no crops nor cattle, no water nor wine - they feed instead upon rotten remains, turning the very corpses into warriors for their armies. Who will prevent them from summoning legions from the graveyards and necropolises?

I chose not to linger in the daily-changing chaos and instead to travel further to the small city of Urbimo, the most northern bastion of the living along the western coast. Remas’ troubles are sad, and I prayed hard for the holy city’s redemption, but it is not Remas that threatens Verezzo, rather it is the enemy that has fuelled their madness - an enemy made more dangerous by the Remans’ spiralling weakness. The Morrite church is as divided as Remas, indeed it is the very cause of the citizens’ division. Morr's priests, the best placed to defend Tilea against the vampires, have by their own failings become worse than useless, squabbling murderously among themselves instead of preparing for the oncoming onslaught. How many will survive to stand against the undead?

I wished to learn what I could of the threat of the vampires, and where better than a place so close to their hellish domain? There I discovered the desperate depths to which men can sink when terrified, for the madness that grips Remas has also tainted this neighbouring realms. I had thought the recent bloody coup in Remas, when the Disciplinati seized the city from within, was bad, but the Urbimans have been driven to take even more terrible measures in pursuit of Morr’s holy protection. For years they had petitioned and begged Remas for military aid, yet none was forthcoming. They felt safe only for the few weeks when the Compagnia del Sole were lodged in their city. Once all the mercenaries had finally made the crossing from Estalia, however, they left to fulfil their contract for the dwarfs of Karak Borgo (being to assist in the war against the wizard-lord Nicolo of Campogrotta and his brutes – which may well be why Razger finally turned back). Since then, the Urbimans’ fear has swelled beyond sanity, for they know that the undead could come upon any night. And in that one night all will surely die, after which an even more terrible nightmare will unfold as they themselves become the vampires’ rotting, puppet-slaves.

Consequently, they too have cultivated a new religious fervour, beyond even the flagellating extremes of the Reman Disciplinati. They have dedicated themselves body and soul to Morr’s service and begun cleansing Urbimo of all they consider corrupted, and even some they believe are merely corruptible. They have turned against every practitioner of the magical arts, including the pettiest of conjurers - hedge wizards, alchemists, wise women, even tumblers and masters of legerdemain. All such who failed to flee have been put to death. The very day I arrived I witnessed the burning of a maid accused of nothing more than casting a cantrip meant to soothe a poorly child in her care, a deed twisted by the people’s fears into a wicked curse.

Thus it was I found myself amongst the gathered crowd, upon what would otherwise have been called a pleasant summer’s day, by an apple orchard in an othertime’s peaceful place, watching with horror as the deed was done.


Morrite priests officiated, turning suspicions and accusations into conviction and sentence, while cultists chanted their pain-prayers and jangled their chains. Although neither judge nor jury were present, the Barone Pietro Cybo attended with a handful of retainers, and along with his executioner lent a degree of lawful authority to the proceedings. He was somewhat transformed from the man I had met upon several occasions previously, clad in armour atop his horse, his expression stern as he waved aloft a Morrite catechism. Beside him his brother Carlo and several gentlemen looked on inscrutably, having perhaps grown accustomed to such horrors?


On all the other occasions I have met with him, twice in Remas and twice before here, the Barone has been a man of scholarly patience and shrewd wit. I know, my lord, that you and he have corresponded concerning matters political and philosophical, for he himself told me so, with evident satisfaction. And yet this time he seemed not even to see me, despite looking directly at me several times. As you ordered me always to write honestly concerning what I witnessed, then I will say that despite his past friendship with you, in truth he seemed no less gripped by frenzy than the wildest of the populace, and although he did not go so far as to lash his own flesh as the dedicants do, his wide-eyes and fixed expression belied a state of mind no less frantic with fear and hate.

The charge was read by a confessor, imbued with such disgust as to make the wench’s action sound like infanticide, or worse, like she had been party to necromantic machinations intended to transform the child into a very devil.


Beside the priest, and throughout his cruel speech, a hooded acolyte pointed at the poor wench, as if to drill the accusations deep into her soul. In Urbimo, any and all magic, any prayer, either thought or spoken (unless to Morr Supreme) has become an abhorrence. Every such deed is supposed to be the first step on the slippy slope to damnation, cutting a chink into the bulwark of Morr’s most holy blessing, exposing our mortal souls to the first caress of the vampires.

As the crime was detailed, exhaustively, a Morrite monk interjected with encouragements and lessons for the crowd, raising his hands now and then to call on Morr’s blessing and protection. His words, even his merest glance, elicited a flurry of Morrite gestures from those gathered.


And none amongst the watchers spoke, neither to cry out shame on her or shame on those accusing her. There were no jeers nor any tears. Never before have I seen a crowd behave in such a way at a public execution.

All the while, in between her sobs, the poor wench tied to the post prayed aloud as best she could to Morr, begging his forgiveness and pleading that Urbimo would not suffer because of her error. So great a fear grips this realm that she did not seek forgiveness for herself, nor plead to be admitted to his garden despite her crime, but instead she prayed for Urbimo. The executioner, a giant of a man bearing an axe the like of which I have only before seen carried by ogres, watched her intently, his bearded face twisted into a monstrous grimace, though whether this was because he considered her the most despicable of creatures, or whether he recognised the true horror of her situation, I know not.


Behind her stood two more prisoners, due to receive the attentions of the executioner’s axe after they had witnessed the maid’s horrible death. I learned later that they had thrice arrived late to work upon the city’s defences, a crime transformed by the people’s heightened fears from mere misdemeanour to detestable felony. They were guarded by a soldier, who alone in the crowd seemed unable to look upon the spectacle. Instead he hung his head to stare at the ground before him, clutching his helm by his side.


The soldier was liveried in the colours of the Compagnia del Sole, and I have seen more of the same in Urbimo. Not all the Compagnia del Sole went east – perhaps a kindness on the part of their commander so that the city would not be left entirely unprotected?

I write all this, my noble lord, that you may know the truth concerning these realms. It seems to me that Remas cannot be expected to defeat the vampires. The Remans tried once already, to great loss, and their city is now locked in suicidal civil war. Now the same self-destruction, the same self-loathing, that wracks Remas has spread to Urbimo.

I have heard that armies are gathering in the south to face Razger’s brutes, yet it seems likely he has turned away. Will those same armies be prepared instead to face the vampires now that Remas is proved wanting? Is there an alliance between the vampires and brutes? Where will the unliving Duchess Maria strike? Is the Compagnia del Sole, having so unexpectedly marched east, part of some grand plan? I cannot know these things, nor would my guesses be of much value.

I end by asking, most noble lord, that you send instructions concerning what you would have me do, and whither you would send me.

Your loyal and humble servant, Antonio Mugello.

Lands Annex

The Fat Git":1bzco32y said:
Brilliant as ever. Really enjoying this. I may just go back to the start to reread it!

Agreed. Looking forward to the next clash in this campaign. Keep it coming padre!


Thanks Fat and Lands. I am currently in a state of perpetual, tummy butterflies excitement as there are several battles coming up, and the campaign is at long last really hotting up, delivering lots of gaming opportunities. Quite literally 100s of newly painted figures (featuring in many of the stories) will at last take to the field. And the stories will write themselves (even though it'll still take me ages to sort all the pictures and such.) Every army list in the world is complete, so I don't have to work on those, just the putting of dates, venues and players together.


Prequel to the Second Assault Upon Viadaza

Excerpt from: “The Holiest of Armies, A History of the Disciplinati di Morr”

As spring came to a close in the year 2403 it seemed inevitable that bloody, civil war would engulf the state of Remas, despite the threats presented by both Razger’s brutes and the foul armies of the vampire duchess. Two factions, very different in nature, vied to wrest complete control of the realm from each other. Father Carradalio now ruled the city and eastern district of Palomtrina with an iron rod. The noble houses were powerless, the overlord held hostage, the streets, and indeed the very houses, patrolled and policed by his fanatical dedicants. But he did not rule the entire realm, for the Arch-Lector Bernado and the veteran army of Remas held the south-western district of Frascoti. Duke Guidobaldi of Pavona, his own realm brutally ravaged by the double army of ogres that had so recently threatened Remas, busied himself with brokering a peace between the Reman factions, while his son’s grievous wounds were tended by the city’s finest (surviving) doctors. His efforts seemed to be of no avail, however, for eventually the Reman army left its fortified camp and marched aggressively upon the city, intending that their erstwhile allies the Pavonans would join them in their enterprise.

Rumours were rife. Were one to give equal countenance to all that was said, it seemed each and every party intended to harm each and every other, and that not one, single honest agreement had been made. Every lord and priest plotted assassinations and treachery, so that each in return was the target of the same, and that the factions were divided even within themselves – what with Reman soldiers being secret Morrite dedicants and some of the Disciplinati inwardly yearning for the return of the church-proper and secular authority. Although the Reman army now advanced against the city, its walls manned by Disciplinati defenders, some said both sides had secretly agreed to turn upon the Pavonans, while others claimed the Pavonans had sided with both factions, leaving their true intentions a mystery but treacherous either way. The truth will never be known, for even those who plotted could not be certain of others’ minds, and perhaps had not even decided what they themselves would really do when push came to the shove. The outcome balanced upon a knife's edge, and everyone had a well-honed knife to hand.

Yet out of all this suspicion and turmoil, just as everything seemed to come to a head, an agreement was reached, as unexpected as it was sudden. The Praepositus Generalis of the Disciplinati di Morr, Father Carradalio, accepted the terms offered by the Arch-Lector Bernado, and both sides despite suspicions and distrust, remained true to their promises. War was averted. While Duke Guidobaldo and his ragged army of Pavonans slinked away, perhaps simply to remove themselves from any repercussions arising from the exposure of their duplicity, the two ‘most holy’ Morrite clergy in Tilea - one the radical, fanatical leader of the low church, the other the official, noble ruler of the high church – embraced each other.

Father Carradalio knelt before the holy pontiff, humbly confessed his sins and professed obedience to the Church of Morr. In return he was not only granted forgiveness but praised for his steadfast obedience to Morr’s revealed will and given command of the now officially recognised Disciplinati di Morr brotherhood. The arch-lector had personally witnessed what such dedicants were capable of in battle - how they alone could be relied upon to stand and fight to a man even in the face of all the terrors the vampires’ armies possessed - so he now commanded them to march forthwith from the city to seek battle with the foe.

Perhaps Father Carradalio knew full well that to attempt to hold the city against the Reman army, the anointed father of the church and the will of the majority of citizens, would prove disastrous? Why would he allow such turmoil to distract him when all he ever wanted was to serve the great god Morr in the war against the undead, and all he had ever done was in pursuit of that goal? (This included the cruelties a truly hard-heart required.) As for the arch-lector, a man experienced in politics, who had himself faced the undead in battle, perhaps he too saw the folly of engaging in a war that would weaken both the army under his command and the very fanatics best suited to fight against the true and terrible enemy? They both knew this was a time for war, but not civil war. Their common enemy threatened a fate much worse than that they presented to each other, a threat so great it made any disagreements between them seem trivial, despite having caused such turmoil and suffering.

No time was wasted, the Disciplinati di Morr being ever ready for any action or order, driven by their fanatical desire to prove themselves (with every thought and action) the perfect servants of Morr, the agents of his righteous vengeance and anger, his very weapons. Of course, the arch-lector and the citizens were keen to see them go, for no city could endure their fervent scrutiny for long, nor could it thrive whilst subject to their attentions. Within half a week the ‘Holiest of Armies’ departed and began its march to Urbimo. There they met with an order of Morrite dedicants of almost exactly like minds, who they happily incorporated into the army, thus swelling to an even greater strength. They parted Urbimo only two days later, such was their keenness to face the foe. Besides, Father Carradalio knew full well that to tarry even a little while could bring disaster to such an army, its warriors filled to the brim with a lust for battle, barely able to contain a frenzied fury which made them wont to scourge their own flesh to the very bone.

They aimed to cross the River Trantino to the south of Viadaza, for they had not the patience to go by way of the bridge at Scorcio. Father Carradalio led the army, his admonitor Brother Vincenzo by his side. He refused any mount or carriage, and would have only the scouts ahead of him, being too fearless to demand his bodyguard stay ever-close, but too wise to forego the necessity of scouts to a marching army. Besides, the army itself was his bodyguard. Should any enemy have approached they would have found themselves overwhelmed by a great swarm of dedicants ecstatically happy to martyr themselves in the defence of such an instrument of Holy Morr as he.


Morr himself visited Carradalio’s dreams to reveal the enemy’s whereabouts. Carradalio thus announced to his lieutenants that two cities now contained the enemy’s armies, and that they would take Viadaza first for it had so long threatened Urbimo and was port through which the vampires could channel reinforcements elsewhere. Besides, he declared, the men to the south should and could face the other army, while he and the Disciplinati would strike at the vampires’ very hearts: Adolfo’s city of Viadaza, Maria’s city of Ebino and the foul origin of their current corruption, Miragliano.

Carradalio marched with sword drawn, not just leading the column, but also the prayers they chanted and the hymns they sang.


The prayers maintained the army’s fervour, lending them a strength which belied the meagre rations of the past days and weeks, for the words had sufficient power in them to stir the winds of magic. The hymns lifted the dedicants’ spirits too, just as any marching song might do in any army. These encouragements were bolstered further by the prayers being offered by the many priests and monks accompanying the army. Each body of dedicants had spiritual guides, either rectors assigned to them by Father Carradalio, or the shepherd’s marshals who had first guided them in their dedication to Morr, or both.


Furthermore, there was barely a hill of significance they passed that did not have a knot of priests upon it, channelling the encouraging will of Morr to wash down upon his warriors.


Marching immediately behind the Praepositus Generalis were a company of Reman citizen-dedicants. These were the men who had seized the city upon Father Carradalio’s command, tearing through the streets to slay any hired bravi or nobleman’s servant who stood in their way. Wholly obedient, they questioned no order, not even in their own hearts or minds, for they believed that their god spoke through Carradalio, that his words were divine in origin. Their robes still carried the blood stains from that struggle, as well as that of their own blood, born of the scars of their flagellations.


Behind them marched the dedicants of Pontremola, who had been even more brutal than their Reman counterparts in purging their own villages. Indeed, they had gone too far, for in their fury many innocents had died, and so their self-proclaimed prophet had been executed and they had been admonished. Yet these events had served to strengthened their resolve to serve Morr in body and soul, and they were imbued with not one iota’s less fervour than the rest of the army.


Next came Carradalio’s torch-bearing bodyguard, always ensuring that half their number carried flames, that they might be ready in but a moment to light the other torches. There was magic woven into the flames, so that they shone with a light both natural and other-worldly, capable of burning even creatures of the ether.


Then came the tolling bell upon its carriage. This was brother to that which had been lost on the field at Ebino, and it sang with almost exactly the same sombre tone. Sacred texts adorned its mount, bearing the words that its accompanying guards quietly chanted over and over.


Behind the bell marched more Reman dedicants, made up of those foreigners who had travelled from all over the Old World to live in the holy city. They carried enormous, heavy, and viciously barbed flails of iron, capable of killing a man merely by falling upon him, which they swung in hard-learned and painfully practiced motions. A much greater number had left Remas, and still more fell daily as a consequence of the slightest miss-step or a moment’s bad timing, yet still they continued for such was their dedication to martyrdom that they no longer cared for anything but their holy, wild and deadly cavortings. It was such as these who convinced Carradalio of the need to reach the foe as quickly as possible. To linger even a day too long could critically sap his army’s strength. As he famously said to the arch-lector during his public profession of his sins, in explanation of the Disciplinati’s hasty and violent seizure of the city: “The fuse has been lit, and we needs must place the charge before it bursts.” To which the arch-lector had graciously agreed it would be a terrible waste to be hoist by one’s own petard.


Next in the column trundled maestro Angelo da Leoni’s engine of war, his ‘Cannone Luminoso’ with its impressive array of giant lenses. By now it had become common knowledge in the city that this machine had been abandoned by the maestro when he instead had chosen to work on his steam engine for the Arch-Lector Calictus II, yet it was also known that the lenses had since been proven effective enough to melt several men, and that da Leoni had declared with confidence that the piercing light it emitted would burn the undead even more readily than the living. Father Carradalio hoped it would wash its rays against Vaidaza’s parapets, scorching the foul flesh of whatever stood there, but although he had prayed for guidance upon how best to employ such an engine, Morr ignored his requests.


Then came the most recent recruits to the holy army – the dedicants of Urbimo. They, like the Pontremolans, had gone to great and terrible lengths to cleanse their settlement of sin. In fact, they had gone much further, for they had not just run violently through the streets in a riot of religiously inspired hatred, fighting any opposition, but had calmly gathered up all those they considered guilty of even the most minor of crimes, including those merely suspected of such (even on the flimsiest of evidence), and put them to death. This they did to be certain of an effective purging, even if it was at the cost of the death of many innocents, even members of their own family. They had executed them publicly, one after the other, and in the grisliest of ways, by burnings and quarterings, or combinations thereof. They believed the suffering not only cleansed the guilty victims’ souls but ensured Morr would pour his righteous blessing upon the whole of Urbimo, especially the dedicants who proved themselves so thoroughly committed that they could punish even their own neighbours and family. Amongst their number were grey-robed monks from the Morrite monastery Sacra di San Antamo on the rocky promontory to the north-west of Urbimo. The rest, being the bulk of their number, were still garbed in their peasant clothes, albeit favouring the Morrite hues of grey and red.


Marching behind the Urbiman dedicants was a substantial number of soldiers. Barone Pietro of Urbimo had brought his household guard of light horsemen with him, as well as the single small company of Compagnia del Sole crossbowmen left behind as a token act of mercy when the all the rest of the mercenaries marched away leaving the Urbimans unprotected in this time of need. Some of his horsemen rode with the barone, but most were acting as outriders and scouts, with the aforementioned blessing of Father Carradalio. Of course, many more of the barone’s subjects were part of the holy army, but he recognised that as Morrite dedicants any authority he had over them was little more than nominal. They had been willingly absorbed into the Disciplinati di Morr and were now Carradalios to command. Not that the barone cared over much, for he too shared enough fear to make him almost as much a Morrite cultist as them.

And there was the standing guard of the city of Remas, known as the Palace Guard, consisting almost entirely of mercenaries from the northern Empire, commanded by Captain Vogel. Their presence was something of an act of penance, for Vogel had not only failed to lift a finger to halt the Disciplinati’s uprising and seizure of the city but was known to have secretly agreed with Carradalio not to interfere beyond ensuring the personal safety of the highest clergymen. In return he had been promised the reward of becoming commander of the city’s entire regular forces, and a doubling in the size of his company, along with a proportionate increase in his pay. The arch-lector had decided he could hardly forgive Father Carradalio his sins and not Captain Vogel, nor did he want to dismiss and disperse a body of soldiers such as the guard in a time of war. So they too were forgiven and ordered to accompany the holy army upon the march to face the Vampire Duchess’s armies.

Their main company, men-at-arms carrying either halberds or great-swords, marched immediately behind the compagnia’s crossbowmen …


… whilst at their rear came their own crossbow as well as the army’s artillery – Vogel’s brace of cannons. Captain Vogel had voiced his little confidence in the maestro’s war-machine, resurrected as it was from the scrap-heap, hoping instead his own pets, his ‘pocket pistols’ as he was wont to call them, would do what was required to punch a real hole in the enemy’s defences.

This was the army that marched to Viadaza to face the vampire duchess herself.


The Assault on Viadaza
Summer IC2403

Part One: Deployment and Vanguard Moves

Once more Viadaza was to be the site of bloody conflict.

In Autumn 2401 the dead had risen to tear their way through the streets until there were none alive in the entire city (viewtopic.php?p=38450#p38450). In Summer 2402 Arch-Lector Calictus II’s grand army had broken through the walls to retake the city from the living dead, forcing the vampire Lord Adolfo to flee (viewtopic.php?p=66341#p66341) . In the Spring of 2403 the city yet again fell to the undead, this time almost without a fight, and although plenty of blood was shed, belonging to many of the foolish souls remaining in the city, this time a number were spared so that they might serve the cruel church of Nagash through their enforced, tormented prayers.

Now, in the summer of 2403, an army the like of which had never before been seen in Tilea approached to wrest Viadaza from the undead again. The ‘Holiest Army’ they called themselves, consisting almost entirely of religious fanatics, the flagellating dedicants of the Disciplinatic di Morr.

The city’s walls had been repaired since the Summer of 2402. Corpses were burned in huge heaps in the streets in an attempt to ensure they could never be resurrected to serve the vampires again, while the damage to the walls inflicted during the assault …


… had been repaired, and the earthwork bastion, studded with stormpoles, which sat before the gate …


… had, in a spirit of optimism, been cleared away to give easier access so that the city could recover and even thrive once more through trade. Thus it was that the Holiest Army of Morr faced an unbroken wall, studded with towers, with an expanse of open ground, bereft of trees, cottages or cover of any kind.


Not that they needed to conceal themselves as they approached, for the enemy had no artillery to employ against them, nor handguns or even bows. The duchess’ second-in-command, the bestial vampire Lord Adolfo, his magically re-vivified blood tainted by an orcen tinge, watched the approaching army from the southern-most tower, his ghouls occupying the walls and towers around him. This was the same stretch of wall he had attempted to defend during the last assault. Perhaps he had chosen to put himself there deliberately, to test himself and prove he was capable of doing that which he failed to do previously?


The other walls and towers were held by the vampire duchess’s graveguard, while a large horde of fly-ridden zombies staggered before the gate, and a regiment of skeletal warriors marched outside the northern wall. Inside the city were a body of black knights and a spirit host, both of which were capable of moving through the stone walls to attack the foe.


(Note: See appendix below for a diagram of the wall sections and a brief discussion of the siege/assault rules.)

The Holiest Army had built a great wooden siege tower, in the old style, presuming the enemy was unlikely to have cannon or any kind of war engines to hurl missiles at it. A large body of cultists pushed this towards the tower upon which Lord Adolfo waited, while another regiment of cultists advanced upon the very left flank.


Upon the other side of the tower, towards the centre of the Disciplinati’s line, marched a company of mercenaries with crossbows, then a large regiment of cultists containing both the Praepositus Generalis Father Carradalio and his admonitor, Brother Vincenzo. The soldiers of the Remas city guard occupied the right of the centre, consisting of crossbows, two cannons and a regiment of men-at-arms, the latter containing the disgraced condottieri Captain Vogel and the Urbiman priest of Morr. Beyond these, upon the right flank, was da Leoni’s ‘Cannone Luminoso’, then Carradalio’s bodyguard, then the horde of Urbiman cultists. Upon the extreme right was a company of cultist crossbowmen, behind which trotted Barone Pietro Cybo and his guard of light horsemen (at first unsure as to what their role could be in an assault such as this, but then nervously aware that they might well be fighting that day when they saw the enemy outside the walls).

Behind the army was the baggage train, with yet more lesser clergy and cultists to guard it. Carradalio was very keen to ensure this was kept safe, for if he was to lead his army deep into the enemy’s territory, to strike a blow into the very heart of their realm, then he would need his well-stocked baggage train intact.


Of course, he knew that the casualties his fanatical followers would accrue would be significant, even in victory, and so each subsequent battle would be fought with rapidly decreasing numbers. But those soldiers he had would always need meat and drink. Indeed, the inevitable dwindling of his army’s strength would lend itself to the supplies in the baggage train proving sufficient for his campaign, bolstered (as with all armies) by whatever they could take along the way.

A stench wafted from the city, coming as no surprise to the attacking force, which was made all the more sickly by the still-rotting walking corpses posted directly in front of the gate.


Father Carradalio’s plan was simple. He intended to utilise the fanaticism of his troops - their fearless determination to fight to the very last man - to obtain a foothold upon at least two points along the city’s stone circumvallation, from which to fan out along the parapets, subsequently fighting without the disadvantage of being upon ladders. On the right he intended the dedicants pushing the siege tower …


… to assault the corner tower at the same moment the leftmost regiment …


… climbed over the southern wall. That way the ghouls (and Lord Adolfo) would be attacked from two sides, and the casualties caused could be so swiftly delivered that necromantic magic would be unable to resurrect their losses sufficiently quickly.

Whilst that attack was delivered, the cannons …


… would concentrate first upon the gate and then upon a wall, hopefully creating two access points which could be employed if the walls proved too difficult an obstacle, while the massed regiments of cultists …


… and Reman guardsmen would seek to enter at whichever point seemed most amenable to a speedy attack (after dealing with the massed zombies between them and the wall). On the far right of the line, the Urbiman peasant cultists …


… were ordered to attack the skeletons threatening the army’s flank and then support the other troops as best they could. The army’s significant number of crossbowmen were to concentrate their shooting at the defenders on the walls (able to aim over the heads of the massed troops advancing in front of them) in the hope that even if the casualties they caused were re-raised, the magic efforts required to do so would diminish the number of spells hurled from the walls at the advancing army. In support of the crossbowmen, the war engine was to target anything of significance its crew could spot upon the walls or aim to pierce the multiple ranks of either of the undead regiments outside the walls.


The vampire duchess had plans of her own. Besides manning the walls (Note: see appendix for GM-ruled dispersal of defenders on the walls) she had boldly placed two regiments outside the walls - the skeletons and zombies - and to support them she had cunningly concealed two ethereal companies - her spirit hosts and black riders - behind the nearby walls so that they could sally out upon her command.


Her own mount awaited her near the knights, held by a skeletal servant, in case she herself decided to sally out with them! To lend necromantic support to nearly all her troops, she had placed herself at the northern end of the walls, Lord Adolfo at the southern end, and her necromancer …


… in a tower between the two of them.

For some time the attackers waited impatiently, as the tower was pushed steadily towards the walls (Note: As per 6th Ed WFB siege rules, a 2D6 ‘vanguard’ style move) ..


… until suddenly there was a blare of horns and thunderous roll of drumming, and the army as a whole began to advance.

Battle to follow.


A very brief summary of the assault battle rules:

I based the rules on the 6th ed WFB siege appendix, modified for 8th and with some of the 8th ed building assault rules added in to make the end result more compatible with 8th ed.

An assault game lasts 7 not 6 turns, and the aim is to control more wall or tower sections at the end of turn 7 than the opponent. There are lose, draw, minor victory and major victory results, themselves with campaign consequences, and themselves a modified version of our usual campaign rules regarding casualties etc.

I GM’d the sections to consist of the following…


The defender is allowed to split large regiments (30+) into two equal halves, then each half regiment or entire small regiment can occupy up to two neighbouring sections, again splitting in half to do so. Thus 40 ghouls could split then split again to occupy four adjacent sections with 10 ghouls on each. This seems fair enough, even though a break from normal practice ‘in the field’ because at the end of the day the companies on the walls are simply ordered to stand there and fight whatever comes at them.

I never specified on the day, but if a player had raised the question I would have had to say, that little sub-companies of regiments divided this way cannot move away from their adjacent sub-companies, and so cannot start behaving as a truly independent company, unless a character was with them in which case I would have allowed it. The other companies, without characters, would have stayed on the wall they deployed on originally. Characters can move from section to adjacent section, thus moving from sub-company to sub-company one turn at a time.

Walls (but not towers) can be attacked with ladders – with die modifiers much favouring the defenders (eg. defenders +1 to hit, attackers at -1; attackers can only use hand weapons), and extra rules such as that the defenders count as being within the effect of an army standard and can re-roll break tests. More figures fight than in 6th ed – up to 9 attackers per section, up to 12 defenders (provided they have the numbers left to do so). It should be hard to take a castle wall!

Cannons pound the walls using the rules exactly as presented in 6th ed WFB. Once collapsed then walls simply become rocky ground, with the defenders counting as being behind a hard obstacle.

Siege towers are like 6th ed, but with more figures fighting as a modified version of building assault rules from 8th ed.