Part Two: The Assault Begins
As swirling spirits danced mystical around the crenelations, as if to lure the enemy towards them …
… elsewhere along the walls, the defenders stood peering and leering over the parapet, their own lurching motions much clumsier. The zombies were almost silent, apart from their effortful gurgling as their ragged throats dragged air to and from their rotting lights.
The ghouls were louder, issuing forth curses and other corrupt words as they thought impatiently of the mountain of flesh they would feast upon when the battle was done.
Biagino sensed the failure of one of his lieutenants to employ necromantic magic, and so before the other could wastefully sap the winds of magic further, he cast Invocation of Nehek to summon up more than a score of zombies, so bolstering the regiments defending the walls on either side of his tower.
Satisfied, and having willed not one of his servants to take so much as a step, he watched as the enemy began to draw closer. Not all moved, certainly not those with bows or guns, but the dwarfs pushed their raft closer, as did the large regiments propelling the ram and siege tower rafts.
Several other large regiments stood their ground, for want of opportunity to advance, what with so many others in the way. The grey-clad Marienburger pikemen of the VMC brigade simply watched from behind.
Of the umpteen conjurations attempted by the alliance army’s magic users, only Wizard Lord Hakim’s spell, Shem’s Burning Gaze, was successful in harming the foe, causing a good quarter of the spirit host to dissipate from this realm whence they came. The handgunners were as yet unable to find a target, and of the crossbowmen, only Lupo and his Portomaggiorans found their mark, felling a handful of the zombies (unaware that the loss was but a fraction of what had been raised only moments before).
When the Remans behind, shooting over the Portomaggioran’s heads, failed to add a single zombie’s demise to the tally, they began to wonder what magical blessing was guiding the bolts launched by Lupo’s men.
(Game Note: Campaign Mercenary Combat Skill: ‘Superior Markmanship’ – The unit the character is with ignores cover.)
Biagino had noticed the small yet surprising number of casualties also, and with a mental gesture, commanded the cairn-wraiths to dismount the wall and await the foe unseen, just in case the enemy’s bolts were indeed blessed with some magical power.
Once he was satisfied they had done so, he looked from the window and descried that a swarm of bats had swooped from the marshes to the rear of the enemy’s line.
They were close to the artillery piece, which pleased him, so he focused his malignantly magical will upon them to make sure that their first action would be to attack the crew.
Their arrival reminded him of the zombies who inhabited the marshland. He knew this would be exactly the right moment for them also to arrive at the enemy’s rear, before the rafts had been launched to carry the soldiers out of reach. Closing his eyes, he muttered the words of an incantation to call on them, but as the magical current flowed aimless away he sensed immediately that there were none within reach.
House rules for the Marsh Zombies
This zombie horde lurks in the marsh, already re-animated by the necromantic energies spilling from the city. The vampire player may pick any spot on the table on the far side of the moat and attempt a ‘Raise Dead’ spell, needing a wizard who can do the spell. The spot does not have to be within 18” of the wizard, because the zombies are already wandering the marsh somewhere, just ‘itching’ to be prompted into action. Also, the player doesn’t roll 2D6+3 but gets the whole regiment of 36. The vampire player can only try this twice, after which it is clear the horde is not nearby, and so any further ‘Raise Dead’ spells work as normal, in which case the figures are used to represent whatever is raised (if anything).
36 Zombies – M4 WS1 BS0 S3 T3 W1 I1 A1 Ld2 // Musician; Standard Bearer; All zombie rules, but also unit does NOT suffer any Marshland Dangerous Terrain effects! They’ve gotten used to the terrain.
Nevertheless, he peered through the window (of the dank tower chamber he was hiding in) to spot any sign of them.
Nothing. He cursed angrily, then dismissed his frustration and (along with one of his lieutenants) simply summoned yet more zombies to swell the rank and file of his wall defenders. He was damned if he would yield this city easily.
With little to shoot at upon the walls, and nothing yet to appear in the moat, the Reman crossbow regiments (dwarf and human) and the Lord Alessio’s handgunners, turned to face the swarming bats. More crucially, perhaps, so did the Reman ‘bravi’ swordsmen, ensuring that the bats could not reach the gun except by taking on them!
Further along the line, Ogbut’s ogres reached the moat, heaved their raft onto it and mounted it in readiness for the crossing.
Raft rules (second draft after player consultation)
The rafts are carried by units to the moat’s edge, which should be about 5-6” away from the allied army deployment line. Upon reaching the moat’s edge, the raft is set down ready for embarkation, and the unit auto moves onto the raft (if the player wishes). Units cannot march whilst lugging the rafts. The three heavy rafts must be accompanied by large units, who move at -1 mvmt penalty whilst dragging them to the moat’s edge (like rams in 3rd ed WFB).
Once at the moat’s edge the rafts are placed on the water (thus extending 4”, 6” or 8” into the moat, depending on the raft) and the unit moves onto the raft at the end of the turn they reached the moat.
Once on the moat, the rafts (large or small) are moved by the soldiers on board paddling and punting as best they can. The big rafts roll 2D3” initial movement, due to the delay in the unit boarding. The smallest rafts roll 3D3”. All rafts can opt to move up to D6” less (rolling another dice) if they wish to slow down or stop. Big rafts that moved in the previous turn, moves 2D6”, the small rafts 2D6+2”.
The thoroughly flooded moat area should be on average 17” across … so considering the largest raft, when placed, will already extend 8” across by being placed, it will thus have only 9” to move. The other large ones extend 6”out, so 11” to move. They thus should take 2 or 3 turns crossing the moat. If a raft arrives at a wall with any move distance to spare then the unit counts as having charged the wall – and a ladder/tower/battering ram assault immediately commences.
The rafts can turn as per the old 3rd ed WFB chariot rules, the large ones (most of them) using an arc equal to their movement distance, the smaller ones using an arc of half their move distance. Arcs are closed if they contact the wall.
On reaching the wall, the men aboard will fasten them up and they become platforms from which to launch ladder assaults. The ram, siege towers and ladders all use the old 6th ed Siege Rules.
The assault game will be 9 turns long. If the attackers take 2 turns to arrive at the water’s edge, then 2-4 turns to cross the moat, they could be attacking the defences sometime from turns 4 to 6, thus with 3 to 5 turns of combat.
Magic users and missile troops can support as best they can, from the moat’s edge, or rafts. Probably the moat’s edge for missiles. Or they just join the assault. The city defences will be in defined sections as per the usual rules.
This moat is not like Ebino’s, as this one has silted up a bit, and also flooded to cover a large area (thus it’s new width). Thus the Colossus can wade through both the marsh and the moat. It would take dangerous terrain tests only if it marched, charged, fled or pursued. (I wish the model had a detachable torso cos it would look cool wading waist deep! I know Damian, who has a spare, actually considered sawing the spare in half and painting it.)
(Luckily, I managed to edit the subsequent photo of the colossus to show it starting to wade into the murky waters.)
The magical construct known as the Colossus, guided as ever by its creator the Wizard Lord Hakim, now also began to wade, somewhat tentatively for such a massive creation, into the waters.
Serafina’s fireball killed but one single bat amongst the swarm, having veered to one side so that it barely singed the rest. The Morrite cleric, Bendali, who had entirely failed to notice the bats’ arrival, employed his Amulet of Coal to send his own fireball to burst into the parapet and wash flames over, killing no less than ten zombies.
His happiness was only slightly marred by the fact that the Amulet shattered in the process. Annoyed that he had not thought to do so first, he now cast Morr’s Touch upon the surviving zombies, weakening them.
The Colossus cast Shem’s Burning Gaze on the ghouls, but Biagino was quick enough to dispel it. Lord Hakim tried again where his servant had failed, and this time killed two of the enemy. The rest of the ghouls seemed not to care a jot, nor even to notice their comrades’ demise.
Lupo’s crossbowmen, despite their blessed weapons and the enemy’s magically induced weakness, now slew less of the zombies than previously, much to their confusion. The gun crew had yet to fire, having been waiting for the monsters they were told lurked in the moat. Now, however, they decided the bats were a priority, and turned their piece to fire. They were over-hasty, however, and sent the shot into the dirt!
Turns 3 onwards to follow ASAP.
Biagino’s Last Stand Army (1651 pts)
Biagino (Vampire Lord; General; Level 2 Wizard)
Book of Arkhan (Vanhel’s Danse Macabre); Talisman of Preservation; Aura of Dark Majesty
Necromancer (Level 2 Wizard; Master of the Dead)
Dispel Scroll; Ruby Ring of Ruin
Necromancer (Level 1 Wizard)
Talisman of Endurance
2 Cairn Wraiths (2#, 60 pts)
(Great Weapon; Chill Grasp; Ethereal; Immune to Psychology; Terror; Unbreakable; Undead; Unstable; Always Strikes Last)
30 Crypt Ghouls with Crypt Ghast
4 Cairn Wraiths as a unit
4 Spirit Hosts
40 Zombies (Musician; Standard Bearer)
Split into two bodies of 20 to defend walls (as allowed in campaign rules)
6 Fell Bats