Khazbar sneered with distain as he watched the column of knights advance up the road. Soon they would reach the forest and that was where his herd would strike, once again showing the superiority of the beasts! A shout from the column disturbed his thoughts of victory. One of the man things was pointing. He felt his blood boil as one of his scouts broke from the trees. The incompetent fool! He let out a howl summoning the hidden forces. If he couldn’t ambush them, he’d just have to do it the other way.
After a year’s hiatus, due to Nurgles Rot infecting the world, Riotville was confirmed as running again in May of this year and with my attendance confirmed, I was challenged to a game by one of the London Warhammer group, Drew. Always keen to play different opponents, I jumped at the chance.
Although Riotville follows the standard 8th rules, we had agreed that for our game we would follow the Triple Crown comp, in so far as, his Brets would get Devastating charge (+1 attack on the charge) and the Beasts would get free Marks of Chaos.
With several games in the offing, I took an all comers list with nothing out of the ordinary this year. The normal caveats for this report apply: I’ve taken some poetic licence and I’m sure my memory isn’t perfect in other
The Herd of Khazbar the Magnificent
Khazbar – lvl4 Great Bray Shaman – lore of beasts – Fencers Blades, Dispel Scroll, Chalice of Dark Rain, Mark of Nurgle (335pts)
Zhurrock the Mighty – BSB – Heavy Armour, Shield, Gnarled Hide, Beast Banner, Shadow Hide, Mark of Nurgle (211pts)
37 Gor – Full Command, Additional hand weapon, Mark of Nurgle (321pts)
Tuskgor Chariot, Mark of Nurgle (80pts)
5 Ungor raiders, Mark of Slannesh (30pts)
5 Ungor raiders, Mark of Slannesh (30pts)
29 Bestigor – Full Command, Standard of Discipline, Mark of Nurgle (393pts)
Razorgor Chariot (145pts)
Razorgor Chariot (145pts)
Total 1,800pts (on those nose!)
Note: We were playing closed lists (so didn’t reveal magic items unless you used them), so I’m not sure what some of his characters had.
Lord (General) – Heartwood Lance, Virtue of Heroism, shield, Heavy Armour
Paladin – BSB
Paladin – Morning Star
8 Knights Errant – Full Command, Errantry Banner
5 Knights of the Realm – Full Command, Standard of Discipline
5 Knights of the Realm – Musician
6 Grail Knights – Full Command
12 Peasant Bowman – Braziers
We rolled: Battle for the pass. This is fought lengthways on the table. As it says, the battle is fought in a pass and the long ends of the table count as the sides of a canyon and so are impassable terrain.
I won the roll for table edge and choose the edge that didn’t have the road leading from it, on the grounds that the Bretonnians were following the road and my forces were ambushing out of the woods to attack their column (or would have if the Ungor hadn’t given the game away!). I thought that was the most thematic decision for choosing the side (and in game terms, it didn’t make much difference which end either of us took).
Khazbar – Wyssans, Amber Spear, Curse, Savage Beasts
Prophetess – Awakening, Flesh to Stone, Throne, Regrowth
Terrain and Deployment
I’d bought along some limited terrain and a battle mat to help out, so had laid out the terrain in a manner I thought worked on the mat. Deployment used the alternating method, with each player laying one unit at a time each.
Having lost the element of surprise and having fought the steel clad humans a number of times, Khazbar was wary of their charges. He ordered the blocks to move up steadily whilst pushing forward with his chaff. The chariots also hung back ready to counter charge.
Khazbar watched the human lines closely, trying to gage their intent. They barely moved, seemingly almost frozen in place with fear as his forces advanced. He saw the ranks of a unit part as one of their puny women cantered out, moving out of sight behind the graveyard.
He dismissed her out of hand but then started as he saw the winds of magic drawn towards her location. One of the cursed followers of their god, he thought. He cut off the winds as he felt her start to cast. The vines that had started to convalesce into a throne falling apart. Sweat beaded on his brow from the effort and he knew he faced a being of power perhaps equal to his own. A strand of magic lashed out towards the Ungor to his left. He laughed, what did he care about the half horns? The trees surrounding them bent down and tore two of them apart. Distracted by the spectacle he missed the quick follow up spell that toughened the small knight unit ahead. He spat with anger, he would not miss that trick again.
Seeing the enemy warmachines lining up to fire, he decided to play a trick of his own. He drew a dark chalice from his pocket and invoked its power. The skies immediately darkened, clouds formed and an unnatural rain fell on the battlefield.
The bowmen unleashed a hail of broadheads and failed to hit anything. The first Trebuchet tried to fire but the windlass had been wound too tight and the catapult exploded, shards of wood and metal flew in every direction, eviscerating the crew. The second Trebuchet fired and dared to target him! The serfs aim was slightly off and just 3 of his body guard were mangled the shot.
Khazbar’s forces continued to advance to get within range of the Bretonnians who still cowered at the end of the pass. The chaff were now almost on the Knights, with the blocks and chariots waiting in support. Sensing the danger of the warmachine, the Harpies redeployed, ready to move up to target the fragile warmachine crew.
Seeing an opportunity, Khazbar forged a spear of raw magic and threw it at the main unit of knights. It stuck the Battle Standard Bearer but the armour deflected the shot.
With his forces starting to close, he saw the enemy general order his main units to back up. Cowardly man thing, he thought. The exception was the small knight block directly in front of him, which charged the small unit of raiders. The 5 Ungor were swiftly killed but not before they had pulled down 2 of the knights. Khazbar could barely believe his eyes and snorted with laughter at the outcome.
On the other side of the field, the Pegasus mounted Knight flew to the flank of the Gor and Khazbar’s mouth dropped open as a sheet of flame poured forth from his lance, incinerating 5 of the unit. Distracted by that spectacle, he almost missed that the human mage had galloped into the safety of the nearby Grail Knights and that another of the human champions had left the main block and positioned himself in between the units, suspiciously in a convenient place to block the harpies! He ground his teeth together at that.
Having the match of the human mage, Khazbar dispelled throne again, knowing how much trouble that would cause him. When she started her next incantation, he pulled out a scroll of human skin, marked with terrible symbols and reading from it, severed the winds being drawn to the mage.
Again the peasant bowman failed to hit anything but the Trebuchet crew were far more accurate and he could only fling himself aside, as a huge chunk of masonry tore through his unit, killing 8 more Bestigor. He got up spitting with fury, thoughts of what he would do to the humans tumbled through his head.
Sensing a weakness, Khazbar ordered the nearby chariot to charge the remaining knights. Seeing their fate upon them, they turned tail and fled, stumbling to a halt in front of the unit of Errants. The Harpies seized this opening and moved up behind the fleeing knights, ready to get to the warmachine the following turn. The Bestigor marched up, ensuring that they were out of any overrun that might occur if the Knights of the Realm charged the Razorgor chaffing them up.
On the other flank, the Ungor raiders moved up to block the Grails and the Razorgor chariot prepared to counter charge. The Gor shuffled to prevent a flank charge from the Peg Knight and the other Razorgor Chariot backed up so the Peg Knight would have no place to move without getting charged.
Khazbar again drew upon the winds to forge a spear of magic, this time boosting its power before flinging it at the Knights. It struck the enemy general square on the chest, rupturing his armour but he started to glow and the blow was turned aside by the favour of the lady.
The lone Paladin charged into the remaining Ungor. Swinging his morning star with brutal overhead stokes, he brained 2 of them, with the last being crushed beneath the hooves of his destrier.
The archers finally managed to do something, and plinked a wound off the nearby chariot. They still had more to do if they wanted to earn a meal for the night.
The Trebuchet continued its display of pinpoint accuracy and another 8 bestigor were pulverised. This unit was now dangerously weakened.
Khazbar pulled his snout from the mud, where he had flung himself, just in time to see the fleeing knights rally and to add insult to injury, the 2 previously slain, got to their feet and re-joined the unit, their wounds having miraculously healed.
The Beasts Attack
Raging at the humans, Khazbar let out a roar. The Harpies flew into the peasants manning the trebuchet, ripping them apart with their claws. The Tuskgor Charior slammed into the newly rallied Knights. The two healed knights were swiftly put down again and the remainder fled the field. The momentum of the charge carried the chariot into the Errant Knights.
The Razorgor Chariot, seeing an opening, steamed into the Grail Knights, felling 2.
The Gor horde marched up ready to support that flank.
Khazbar knew that the decisive phase was upon him. The Prophetess dispelled Wyssans but he drew heavily on the winds and pushed Curse off on the main Knight bus. The resultant backlash of magic caused a detonation, killing a further 3 Bestigor.
The Bretonnians knew they had to respond and leading from the front, their General charged out of the Knights into the flank of the chariot. The Curse struck as he did, inflicting a wound onto him.
Khazbar had enough presence of mind to dispel the efforts of the female mage to regrow her Grail companions, but he was unable to prevent the nearby young knights flesh tuning to stone.
The enhanced toughness of the Errants, together with the fighting prowess of the general was enough to overcome the chariot and they both elected to chase it down, slaying the crew and overrunning into the Bestigor. Khazbar snarled as he faced off against the enemy general, knowing that the dark gods looked favourably upon him.
Elsewhere not much happened. The Peg Knight moved up next to the Gor, his options curtailed by the Razorgor chariot covering the backfield and the other Paladin moved to protect the rear of the Knights from the harpies.
The Grail Knights and Razorgor Chariot flailed ineffectively at each other, with another knight struck down but the chariot taking a wound in the process.
With an almighty roar, the horde of Gor started towards the archers. This was all too much for the lowly serfs who promptly turned tail and fled. Under the leadership of Zurrock, the Gor effortlessly swung their charge into the Grail knights. Ever ones to pounce on weakness, the harpies also flew into the flank of the knights, directing their attacks at the vulnerable Prophetess.
Completely overwhelmed by the sheer weight of numbers, the Grails fled, with their protective charge, but the harpies and chariot ground them into the dirt.
In an effort to help his master, the lone Razorgor, charged the flank of the Errants.
Khazbar faced the lord, confident that with his enhanced weapon skill and Nurgle’s favour, he would see off the attacks and take down the human. He was rudely abused of this in short order, as in one fell swoop, the saintly knight decapitated him.
The Bestigor fought on, wounding the general again and felling 3 of the young knights, but the felling of their master, on top of the losses received from the warmachines, was too much and their nerve finally broke. The enemy general coldly cut down the remaining few, whilst the last of the Errants ran down the mutated boar.
With very few options left, the Gor charged the Errants, who also decided that discretion was the better part of valour and sped off after the peasants. The Harpies, ever the cowardly opportunists, scrambled to get behind the safety of the Gor.
Not wanting to risk combat Drew called the game here.
Wazzock and Slidlo waited until dark before creeping onto the battlefield. The voice had been silently calling them for hours. As they neared the graveyard, they came across the splattered remains of Bestigor. They shuddered, thinking of the impacts that would have caused such damage. Cautiously continuing along they game across a pile of knights and Bestigor and started searching, pulling bodies’ aside. Wazzock hissed and held up a head triumphantly. Slidlo gestured and Wazzock sidled over. He saw the body in front of him and reverently placed the head on the neck. They started chanting in unison, invoking the names of the dread gods and calling on the dark things that roamed the beast paths. A green glow started to emanate from the body and the flesh started to knit together. With a gasp, Khazbar sat up. He would have his revenge!
Brets killed 1,213pts + General (100pts) + 1 Standard (25pts) = 1,338
Beasts kill 1,294pts + General (100pts) + 1 Standard (25pts) = 1,419
The difference is 81pts which made this a draw. Initially we noted that I had captured 2 standards.
This would have given a difference of 106pts, which would have technically of made this a minor victory for me (you need to beat an opponent by 100VP). However this assumed that Drew’s list was exactly 1800 points (as mine was) and the margin was so small that if his list came in at 1794 or under, it would have been a draw.
That said, I’m pretty sure his small unit of 5 Knights of the Realm only had a musician and so his decision to flee with the Errants, although cost him their points, prevented me capturing the standard and so it ensured the draw! A tactically genius move (whether that was the intent or not)!
More importantly, it was a really close and thoroughly enjoyable game against an opponent I’d not faced before, fielding a beautiful army.
Would I have changed anything?
The 1800pt and 25% lords/heroes allowance was deliberately chosen for the event, as this limits the normal options people take. It forces you to make compromises.
In terms of my list, I was pretty happy with it. My one change would probably to have given scout to the harpies. It would just increase their flexibility and give the opponent something to think about during deployment. Taking the crown of command on a character is also something I’m starting to consider after my last 4 battles with Beastmen and losing my main blocks.
In terms of the game, I was very pleased with how I used my chaff (if lucky that they survived as long as they did). For once I used my chariots pretty well, using them to threaten counter charges. I should have ignored the Paladin on Pegasus and moved the Gor block up sooner. I did get lucky on that flank. Both the chariot and the Gor made above average charges to get in on the Grail Knights, sometimes that’s just how these things go.
Ignoring the misfire that destroyed his first Treb, Drew’s shots with the other one were just brutal, ripping through my bestigor (though amusingly for me, he rolled a 1 to wound on both the str 10 hits when he scored direct hits). I think overall his tactic to allow the treb to soften up my hard hitters was a good call and it paid off!
I am definitely looking forward to the rematch!