(Turns 2 to 4)
Watching from his high vantage point, Lord Wurgrut saw the dwarfen thunderers were preparing to fire a salvo at the walls, and so summoned an ice shard blizzard to assail them. His second-in-command, following Wurgrut’s lead, also attempted to inflict them with a curse called braingobbler, but he failed to contort the winds of magic sufficiently. Meanwhile, having spied the damsel Perrette, her red dress and hair marking her out very clearly amongst the dirty yellow and green liveried Brabanzon spearmen, the Maneaters in the tower near the gate decided to snipe at her. At first both she and the men around her wondered what the zipping sound was, until one bullet pinged very loudly off the rounded helm of the soldiers and then another cut a gash through her arm. She stumbled, but the man next to her caught her before she fell. Thanking him, she laughed. When he looked at her in puzzlement, she pointed to his surcoat and apologised for the spotted stain of her own blood. He then grinned, and said, “Do not worry yourself, madame, for my clothes are used to being bloodied and the stain on your own dress can barely be seen.”
Moments later a roaring wave of thunderous flashes ran along the wall top as the leadbelchers gave fire. Seven dwarfen thunderers fell, as well as a Brabanzon spearman. The dwarfs barely flinched, however, instead gritting their teeth and continuing to prepare their pieces.
The rest of the assaulting army continued their advance, with the flying machine zipping over their heads, its pilot considering where exactly he could drop his grenade.
After saying ‘Excuse me’ to the fellow who had helped her to remain on her feet, Perrette held forth her hand to present her ruby ring to the walls, and with a brief word of command conjured a ball of fire to burst against the parapet holding her attackers. Not satisfied with merely singing them, she immediately summoned another fireball to follow and this time one of the leadbelchers fell screaming from the tower, his large flask of powder exploding even before he hit the ground. The men with her gave a cheer, to which she, despite the pain from her wound, replied with a curtsy!
As the sound of the cheer died, it was replaced by another, and although the choir behind the sound was rather smaller, they were no less elated. The Brabanzon’s trebuchet had landed a stone on the damaged wall, and in so doing pierced the first hole to go right through it. Its crew whooped their delight, then shouted across to the dwarfs to get a move on and ‘finish the job off’. Granite Breaker was not quite ready to fire, and so one of the smaller pieces obliged. The ball hit just below where the stone had pierced and for a moment it looked like all it had achieved was to create a second hole, but then a bulge appeared in the stone between the holes, and, moments later – and without need of further ironshot – the wall came tumbling down.
The collapsing masonry poured out fore and aft of the wall, burying two of the bulls behind. There was no time to dig them out. If they weren’t already dead they would soon be. (Game Note: The reason the player had moved the ogres off the wall as it had showed signs of becoming weakened was that according to the modified 6th Ed WFB siege rules higher strength wounds are inflicted received by a unit on a collapsing wall than by a unit standing next to the collapse. Nevertheless, we did not expect 2 ogres to perish from the 2D6 str 3 hits they now received.)
Unsurprisingly a great cheer went up along the line at the sight of the breached defences. Granite Breakers’ chief gunner gave these events a little thought and came to the conclusion that the wall had fallen so quickly due mostly to his own gun’s contribution, but that his shot had been aimed slightly out and failed to deliver maximum force, which is why the other machines’ efforts had been required for completion of the task. This did not satisfy him at all. The cannon imperial had already been shifted to aim at another wall – thus the delay in its second firing – so now, using a two-handed mallet, he knocked out one of the four large iron wedges at the breech to lift its muzzle a little and thus alter the flight of the next path. He had measured everything previously with his sight and level, involving much effort in the placing of the instruments on top of the behemoth and the application of considerable mathematical expertise. Now, however, having gained the practical experience of witnessing a shot in action, he had a better feel for the work. Besides, his dissatisfaction had turned into impatience, and he wanted to prove the cannon imperial’s true worth.
Clambering up the steps he grabbed the pike-length linstock and reached it forwards …
… then with considerable trepidation, lowered the burning end of the match-cord towards the line of crushed powder leading to the touch-hole. Just like the previous time, there was a delay as the powder flashed and the burn thrust its way down through the deep hole to the massive charge packed in the belly of the beast. This gave the engineer just time enough to spin about and descend two of the steps before the mighty boom. He hit the ground almost exactly as before, but did not attempt to climb to his feet immediately, instead turned his head to get a quick look at the walls before the smoke of the blast obscured the view.
A second wall was down …
… felled with one blast.
Now he was satisfied.
(Game Note: The siege cannon rules were lifted from our standard Tilean campaign army list, being itself a version of the Warhammer Empire Forum ‘Treachery and Greed’ campaign Mercenary Companies army list with added elements from the later ‘Empire of Wolves’ list. Neither myself nor my players had written these lists, although I had added some extra elements, like Morrite Priests and such like, to adapt it to our game world. The siege cannon is listed as 160 pts, 72” range 2D6 Str 10 wounds, 5 crew which cannot be moved – other than turned 90 degrees or less – after initial placement. It all seemed neatly to fit the model I had obtained and painted for the dwarfs.)
The cheering renewed before even having died away, now growing even louder than before. The third cannon chipped at the tower, and although the bolt throwers could not perfect their aim against such a concealed foe, the crossbow dwarfs killed one of the Maneaters.
What had seemed an almost impossible challenge to the attackers was now beginning to look like a distinct possibility – they could win this battle.
The assaulting army was drawing near, and the defences were breached in not one but two places.
(End of Turn 2)
The Ironguts now raced up towards the breaches while a second body of ogres reformed behind the ruins of the wall they had once occupied. The two Slaughtermasters, despite knowing they needed their magic to bite, failed to conjure anything that could harm, or even simply slow down, the foe.
(Game Note – Cast:Dispel dice = 6:6. The Brabanzon spearmen passed their panic text due to a successful casting of Braingobbler)
The Maneaters, having spotted who was responsible for their mate’s demise, blasted everything they had at the maiden Perrette, but such was their fury that it ruined their aim! The three companies of leadbelchers spread their efforts more widely, killing three Brabanzon spearmen, two dwarven thunderers and damaging the flying machine.
None of this was sufficient to dishearten the assaulting army, and so on it came.
Damaged, but still able to fly, the dwarven flying machine now crossed over the walls, dropping its bomb as it passed to bloody the bulls below. Turning abruptly, it came to a halt atop one of the city’s inner towers, where the pilot leaned and twisted all ways to assess the damage received.
Perrette had just as little luck as the Slaughtermasters with her own attempts to summon up magical harm, her concentration being jarred both by her wound and the cacophony of noise, what with cannons booming and walls collapsing close by.
While Baron Garoy took the chance to break away from the line and make better speed towards the breaches …
… the attacking army shot everything it had at the walls. Granite Breaker caused the tower by the gate to collapse partially, while one of the smaller cannons wounded the slaughtermaster upon it, as well as one of the Maneaters with him, bringing down the parapet to boot. This sudden removal of the stone hiding the maneaters gave several others an unexpected opportunity, and although the bolt throwers both missed, the dwarven crossbows killed another of the veteran brutes. The third cannon could only shake the tower once more, while the trebuchet landed a stone upon the bulls nearby, bloodying one of them. The crew of the Brabanzon’s little piece joined their fellows’ efforts, yet only managed to bury their shot into the ground before the walls.
The largest of the bull regiments now argued whether they should sally out or not, in the end simply standing their ground out of an inability to decide. Behind them Wurgrut was not so hesitant and tore down the towers stairs to run out onto the street.
The enemy were getting so close to the walls that he had decided he needed to be where he could get to grips with them. While he ran he conjured chain lightning, killing a trollslayer but failing to reach any other units. From the street he threw a magical blizzard of ice shards up at the flying machine, once again damaging it.
While one company of leadbelchers now brought down two of the knights riding with the young baron, the other two companies both aimed at the dwarven thunderers, killing nine of them. The remaining pair made a sorry sight indeed, but they did not run.
Perhaps because there was so much in front to distract them, the ogres entirely failed to notice they had left the northern wall open to the enemy’s possession, and so it was that the Brabanzon brigands, a company of skirmishing archers, threw up some ladders and occupied it.
(Game Note: Embarrassingly the ogre player, Jamie, had failed to take account of the wall to the side, and until now had not thought it was accessible to attack!)
While they did so Baron Garoy led a charge across the rubble into the leadbelchers …
… and the trollslayers charged into the bulls.
The mounted knights struck hard at the brutes, killing one and wounding another seriously, which disheartened to foe so much that they turned to flee away. They did not get far before lance points thrust deep into their backs to kill the rest of them. Such was their urge to have at the foe, however, that two knights fell in the act of simply crossing the rubble, their steeds’ legs broken.
The trollslayers fought not one jot less bravely than the Bretonnian chivalry and took down two of the ogres as well as wounding a third. Moments later, however, they were all dead, beaten to a pulp or crushed under foot by foes standing more than thrice their height!
While these vicious struggles were fought, Perrette poured out every fire spell she could muster, burning the bulls at the gate but failing to kill any of them. Between them the dwarven Quarrellers and one of the bolt throwers killed the last of the Maneaters, leaving the Slaughtermaster alone. For a moment he glared at the foe with hatred, then realised he had to decide quickly what to do now. He was not quick enough, however, for the Brabanzon’s two wrs machines hit the already badly damaged tower, shaking it visibly, then, as one of the smaller dwarfen cannons misfired, the other punched so hard that at last the tower fell.
The Slaughtermaster came tumbling down with it, somehow staying above the rubble to avoid any real injury, while one of the trollslayers fightingnearby was killed, just before a bull could do it! Close by, Granite breaker punched a visible hole in the wall by the gate, but as yet nothing big enough to assault through.
Campogrotta’s defences were being torn to pieces!
(End of turn 4)
Game note: Siege games are 7 turns long, and as mentioned in the previous campaign battle report, victory conditions are all about how many sections of the defences are held by each side at the end of turn 7. As GM I had, at the start of the game, agreed with the players that as well as the wall, tower and gate sections I had identified and numbered at the start of the game, I would count one or more units roaming freely inside of the city as one controlled section, and in the event of a draw, if an assaulting unit had passed over a section which remained unoccupied by any defenders I would also count that as a controlled section. All this meant, despite appearances, that victory was still ‘very much up for grabs’.