Battle Report: Skirmish Weekend Part 1 – Brave, Brave Sir Arthos

Recently the four of us got together to give our Skirmish warbands a run for their money, and to finally roll some dice in anger. (But rest assured, it was all a very gentlemanly affair.)

I posted my warband and the breakdown of the campaign here. I’m going to split the reports into a few different blog posts that I’ll post over the course of this month. I’ll tell the events from my warband’s perspective, and the other fellas will hopefully fill in with theirs, so if you’re hoping for a fair and balanced account, let it be know that Alarielle, our most glorious and beautiful lady of the forest, can tell you where you can stick your filthy greenskin sympathies! Trees for the tree god!

Game 1: Clash at Dawn

Warbands

Forces of Order – Mark and Ross – 34 Renown
Knight Venator – General
2 Aetherwings
Arthos (as a Vulkite Berserker)

Forces of Destruction – Aaron and Colin – 35 Renown
Weirdnob Shaman – General
Orruk Ardboy
Orruk Brute

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As Arthos scouts the edges of the Grimwald, cautiously following the trail of destruction left by a rampaging – or perhaps just bored – Orruk, he stumbles across the ruins of an ancient city. The bones of some vast leviathan lie amongst the ruins, perhaps a clue to both the beast‘s and the city’s fate.

Creeping to the edge of the treeline, he spies not one Orruk, but two of the hulking brutes, led by a third bizarre specimen draped in tattered robes and adorned with the skulls of all manner of creatures. This shaman is deep in conversation with the Orruk skull on the top of his staff, grunting in his kind’s rough speech. His raises his head from time to time in paranoia, manically scanning the sky like a rabbit watching for a hawk. The other two Orruks sulkily kick through piles of bones and rubble, complaining about the lack of things to smash, and maggoty bread.

Arthos skirts around a knarled old oak as the Orruk party ambles closer. There’s no way he could take even one of these monsters in a straight fight, let alone three of them, so he looks for an opportunity to slip away. A hawk cries in the distance, and a fork of lightning bursts from the clear skies. Partially blinded by the unexpected flash, Arthos sees the smaller Orruk howl in a mixture of excitement and fury and charge towards the light. He looks towards the Orruk shaman, who stands transfixed. The Orruk’s eyes cross as they try to focus on the crackling shaft of pure light speared in the centre of his forehead. The wizard utters a confused groan and topples backwards, his collection of skulls jangling as he thuds into the turf.

The larger Orruk lets out a belligerent bellow at his reckless cousin, and begins to roughly manhandle the twitching body of the shaman back towards the ruins. The smaller Orruk, seeing his drooling leader being dragged from the field, hesitates in his charge before he stops and grudgingly lopes off towards his fellows.


Well that was a quick one! The Knight Venator swoops in and one-shots the Shaman while everyone else is still faffing about in the trees, and the rest of the Orruks cheese it! I think it only took about 10 minutes, and I only got to take one photo. We realised that the Skirmish Battleshock rules are probably written with warbands of about 10-15 models in mind. Losing 2-3 models isn’t quite so bad then, but it’s not great when you’ve only got 2-3 models. We decided for future games that instead of using a flat Bravery 5 when your General dies, we’d just use the next highest Bravery instead.

Game 2: Treasure Hunt

Warbands

Forces of Order – Mark and Ross – 36 Renown
Knight Venator – General
2 Aetherwings
Arthos (as a Vulkite Berserker)
Dryad

Forces of Destruction – Aaron and Colin – 39 Renown
Weirdnob Shaman – General
2 Orruk Ardboys
Orruk Brute

IMG_0505

Arthos throws himself prostrate as a shining avatar of Sigmar’s wrath descends from the heavens on wings of lightning. She bids him stand, and tells of a powerful treasure that lies buried in these lands. As a native of the forest, she asks for his aid in locating it. It is somewhere in the nearby ruins, but she fears that the Orruks also seek the relic for their own crude purposes. Even as she speaks, they hear the clanking and arguing that warns of the approach of an Orruk scouting party.

Slipping forward through the trees, Arthos is trying to decide if he’s just experiencing some kind of vivid hallucination. What use could the lord of the realms possibly have for one so humble as he? One of the trees in front of him shifts in the wind, and as he moves to avoid it he realises that there is no breeze, and that a spirit of the forest itself has stepped into his path. The dryad raises a hooked claw and silently signals a path that was not there just a moment ago. Well that settles it; he’s definitely hallucinating.

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A gap in the trees reveals a river of dark, viscous blood. The gigantic beasts that sometimes fall in these lands leak their vital fluids into the earth, and the strange magics that saturate the realm keep the ichor liquefied long after the bones have been picked clean by scavengers. The dryad doesn’t even break stride to cross, her limbs temporarily growing longer to lift her over the stream. Arthos has to take a running jump, but they are both soon back in the cover of the trees. The dryad signals him again towards an area of cracked ground, and not being sure of her request, he begins to bash at the rough clay with the haft of his axe, but after a few minutes digging finds nothing.

Across the field he can see the glimmer of the god-warrior soaring through the air, flashes of light flying from her bow in place of arrows. Looking at her leaves spots in his eyes, so he casts his gaze further, where he sees the two aetheric hawks that follow that dreadful being circling over a crumbling ruin. Perhaps they have found what the angel seeks.

Far in the distance Arthos spots the Orruks gathered around the base of one of the untethered realmgates that drift across the forest. This realmgate has been vandalised with all manner of Orruk glyphs and trophy plates, so perhaps it leads to one of their own savage domains. He can’t be sure at this distance, but the brute that leads this small band looks like the same shaman that fell to the star-archer’s arrow just hours past. He knew Orruks were thick-skulled, but even one of them would need an extraordinarily dense skull to walk away from such a fateful blow.

The Orruks spread out under the wild gesticulations of their leader and start digging with axes and cleavers, seemingly at random, even as the rain of celestial arrows falls among them. Soon one of them hoots in glee as he pulls a shiny metal trinket from the ground and hoists it aloft for his comrades to see. His howls of triumph are cut short as the Knight plummets on him like a meteor, arrows flashing and the claws of her eagle searing the very air. The Orruk enchanter charges in to help his beleaguered crony, or perhaps just to get his magic stick within clubbing range.

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Arthos sees an opening and springs from the forest, and a violent melee erupts. The Ardboy boss, excited by the temporarily grounded huntress, turns too late to avoid a hatchet in between his shoulder blades, and goes down hard. The wild-eyed shaman is too frantic to realise he is now outnumbered, and falls under a flurry of blows. The remaining Orruks, seeing their leader once again reduced to an electrified pincushion, quickly agree that they didn’t really want to be there anyway, and quit the field.


That was more like a proper game! The Orruks had to split their numbers to search for the treasure, and so weren’t able to gang up when the close combat started, whereas the Venator could sail about plinking arrows from the first turn. This behaviour became most frowned upon over the course of the day as the Orruks had little they could respond with in kind. They’d get some very delicious revenge in the next game though… Stay tuned for Part 2!

Here’s a handy link to part 2.

And here’s Col’s report of part 1.

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8 thoughts on “Battle Report: Skirmish Weekend Part 1 – Brave, Brave Sir Arthos

  1. A very nice report, I love narrative battle reports. (Although I have to admit it was also good to have read Colins report beforehand to know what actually happened game-wise). That first battle certainly was … interesting 🙂 I still only play WHFB 8th, so a “battle” with 3 models each which ends after one has been killed is super weird for me 😀 (heck, one movement phase alone sometimes takes 10 minutes! Which, I guess, was one of the things they wanted to change. But I digress…)
    Quick question, as I don’t know much about the AoS factions: Would a volkite berserker really stand no chance against a single Orruk, or is that only your narrative for Arthos? This, as a lifelong Dwarf player in WHFB, would be an unbearable shame.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks very much. Yeah the first game was as much a shock to us! Although I do play a lot of skirmish-scale games (Necro, Shadespire, etc.) so the low body count isn’t so unusual.

      Aaron and I were reminiscing about WFB the other day. It’s very satisfying manoeuvring all those big blocks of infantry around, but the two of us paint far too slowly to be able to build up armies of those sizes again.

      To answer your question, it’s a bit of both. Narratively speaking, the Ironjaws are huge monsters that can outmatch even Stormcast, never mind a puny human. Rules wise, it’s a bit more open, but still in the Ironjaw’s favour. You’d need to get lucky and hit (4+ with rerolls) and wound (3+) with both attacks, and then the Ork would need to fail both saves (4+) to kill it in one go. But a Vulkite Berserker only has 1 wound, so if the Ork goes first he’s very likely to rip you to shreds. In a proper sized game though, you’re more likely to have more Berserkers in a unit than Ironjaws, so I think they’d be more even in that instance.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, errrr, not sure how to respond now, given that I usually field large regiments of unpainted warriors. Add to that a couple of boxes I haven’t even assembled. Biting off more than I can chew is my trademark approach. If you guys paint slowly, my speed would be akin to tectonic plate movement or so. But yes, good manoeuvering is always a big deal and very important factor. I very much like that about WHFB. Fielding large blocks of stout warriors makes my heart swell with pride. I’m sure I would miss that. But I’m not sure how long I can stay away from the game if GW keeps releasing models like the Kharadron or Idoneth. I’m only human after all.

        Thanks for the AoS lesson! That indeed does not bode well for the berserker. Then again I guess WHFB Orks were always a little underpowered compared to their lore, and I guess Ironjaws are more the descendants of Black Orks.
        Still, I will go now to a dimly lit corner, light a candle at the ancestor shrine and shed a tear for my Dwarfs while chewing on my beard. Outclassed by a greenskin! Oh my…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. The shame! Another one for the Book of Grudges.

        AoS is great for games on the smaller end of things, so it’s a lot easier to get into than WFB. I’m not even sure it could handle the kind of big engagements that made WFB so much fun, so they’re almost two games that you could play side by side. AoS for anything below 1500 points, WFB for anything bigger. The new ranges are all gorgeous though, and a better excuse than any to give it a spin.

        Liked by 2 people

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