Storm the Easterling Camp! Death to the Numenorians!

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Storm the Easterling Camp! Death to the Numenorians!

Postby BaronDeSade » Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:16 am

“Bar the gate, and shoot anything that approaches,” commanded Tai-Shan.

Red-robed Easterling warriors bent their backs and heaved the gate of stacked logs into place. It scraped over the ground before closing with a wooden thud, followed by more thuds as Men braced sharpened logs with one end in the earth and the other bracing the gate. Warhorses snorted and whickered, smelling the rotting dead outside the walls.

Sergeant Ilhan approached Tai-Shan and saluted with his halberd. The sergeant’s face was heavy with scars, most of which had been inflicted in fistfights with other Men. Ilhan liked fighting, and was happy to demand respect from the Men of the company not because of his rank, but because of his ability to subdue any of them in single combat. This practice had cost him a few teeth over the years, but it had forged a bond of brotherhood that held the company together tighter than any spoken allegiance could.

“The gate is secure. We have archers and swordsmen on the wall with spearmen and Kataphrakts in reserve. We’ll give the Black Numenorians a welcome worthy of Rhun if they try and break in here.”

Tai-Shan nodded, and absently rubbed the scar on the right side of his face. “Good. We have sufficient supplies, and the Numenorians have already taken severe casualties. I’ve sent for aid from Rhun, and asked for the intervention of Khamul himself.” Despite the heat of the day, he shuddered when he spoke the Ringwraith’s name. “We don’t need a war between Rhun and Minas Morgul.”

“Captain!” shouted a bronze-masked archer from atop the wall. “A messenger approaches under a flag of truce!”

Tai-Shan grimaced. “What more could they possibly want from us?”

He tightened the straps of his armor carefully, and then made his way up to the top of the gate.

Three Black Numenorians stood some distance away on the flat plain. Tai-Shan recognized the Mouth of Sauron, the Black Numenorian Marshall whose name he did not know, and another Numenorian carrying a pale banner painted with a green, screaming face. In the distance, he could see the rest of the Numenorian army gathered around a collection of tumbledown stone walls.

“Depart!” shouted Tai-Shan. “There is nothing for you here, and while we bicker, our enemies laugh!”

The Mouth of Sauron titled his eyeless helmet upwards and smiled a sharp-toothed smile. “Captain Tai-Shan, your valor does you credit, but I order you, in the name of Sauron the Great, to open your gate and surrender your company.”

Tai-Shan spat at the Mouth. “Traitor, you have no right to speak in Sauron’s name! I have the true story from a defector from your own side. He tells me of how your Marshall leads this force for selfish glory and personal power, and how he bribed you with gold to give a false face of authority to this hubris. When Khamul learns of your perfidy, he shall impale you on the highest parapet of Dol Guldur as a warning to all traitors!”

For once, the Mouth seemed at a loss for words. The Black Numenorian Marshall spoke up, then. “If you will not submit to authority, then submit to reason. If you open the gates and surrender your company to my command, I swear, you shall not be harmed. If you resist, then all within those walls shall die a wretched death not worthy of a warg.”

Tai-Shan’s good eye widened at the insult. “Come then, and die upon my walls. You have no siege engines, and your worthless Orc archers have all fled.”

The Mouth of Sauron smiled again. “In this case, Captain, your intelligence is lacking. Behold! the hammer of Numenor!”

From behind the cover of the rock walls, iron-masked Black Numenorians pushed a catapult into view. The basic design was crude and Orcish, but even from far away, Tai-Shan could see sorcerous green flames burning along the frame. The Mouth, the Marshall and his banner bearer all laughed and turned back to their army. Tai-Shan cursed, and then jumped down from the gate.

“Sergeant, sound the muster!” he ordered. “The company sallies forth in five minutes!”

Ilhan nodded and blew three long blasts on his bronze horn. Easterling warriors immediately began to don their masked helmets and form into fighting ranks.

Ilhan stepped close to Tai-Shan and asked in a low voice, “Is there any point in leaving a security force behind?”

Tai-Shan shook his head. “If we can’t destroy that catapult, we’re all dead Men anyhow. We’re in this one, to the hilt.”

Ilhan nodded with a bit of a gap-toothed grin. “Open the gates,” he bellowed. “Company, form up outside!”

Quickly, the braces holding the gate were pulled down and cast aside. The heavy door was pulled open, and Easterlings began to run outside in a stream of crimson cloth and golden metal. Tai-Shan mounted his warhorse, and the Kataphrakts took up their position alongside him while Ilhan drove the infantry forward with threats and curses.

Tai-Shan shouted to be heard over the thunder of boots and the ringing of metal. “Spread out and advance in loose formation! Don’t give that catapult an inviting target! Swordsmen in front, archers behind. Spearmen in the third rank, Kataphrakts with me. For Rhun, for Khamul, and for your warpride, fight!”

“Ha!” shouted the Easterlings in acknowledgement as they began to advance towards the Numenorian army.

The Black Numenorians drew their swords with practiced ease and raised their shields. They began to advance as well, as the Marshall had promised a gift of gold to whomever could take the gate of the Easterling’s camp. They advanced in double ranks of black cloaks, barbed shields, and iron masks of cruel aspect.

From behind them came a thump and a rattling sound. A ball of green fire, as wide across as a Man is tall, rose up from the ruins and fell into the Easterling’s lines like a falling star. Upon impact, it erupted, and two of Tai-Shan’s elite spearmen fell to the ground, engulfed in sorcerous fire. Their screams were terrible to hear, and Tai-Shan immediately began to sing the marching cadence. The other Men joined him, after a moment, and their voices swelled across the plain, filling them with courage and warpride.

A second catapult shot landed behind the Easterlings and exploded harmlessly. Tai-Shan ordered a change of speed. “Easterlings, half-step! Archers, direct fire at will!” The Rhunish army slowed down, and archers began to pepper the Numenorians with arrow fire. Although their heavy armor prevented most of the damage, a single Numenorian stumbled and fell with an arrow in his chest.

The Numenorians were advancing with speed, and their catapult fired a third shot that fell with deadly accuracy onto Sergeant Ilhan’s command group. Three Men burned in sickly green flames, while Ilhan and three others fell to the ground and rolled to put out the flames.

“Keep firing!” shouted Tai-Shan “Keep advancing!”

The Black Numenorian’s formation was widening. The first rank was sliding to the right and advancing, while the second rank was holding firm. Clearly, the Marshall felt that half of his army would be more than enough to break through the Easterlings, while the other half provided security for the catapult. Another ball of green fire smashed into the Easterlings, and Tai-Shan felt a pang of despair as three Men burned along with the company’s banner.

There was but one solution to escape the punishing artillery barrage: they must get as close to their foes as possible. Tai-Shan knew from experience, though, that the Black Numenorians bore glamour of terror, and Men would often refuse to close with them. Given the casualties that they had already taken, what chance did his company have, but then, what choices were left to them?

“Easterlings, charge!” ordered Tai-Shan.

On the right flank, a few Men followed the order, but most hesitated, paralyzed by terror. They paid for their indecision of a moment later, when the Black Numenorians rushed their line and cut two of them down. On the left flank, the forces were still farther away, and one Easterling archer dropped a Black Numenorian with a snapped shot.

Tai-Shan could see his right flank was in danger. Black Numenorians were already pushing through his lines. “Kataphrakts, follow me!” He led the armored horsemen in a desperate gallop to the right. Now that the Numenorians were already in melee with the Easterlings, though, the Men of Rhun found their courage and began to strike back at their attackers. Two Easterling archers dropped their bows and, with quick strikes of their scimitars, dispatched two Numenorians. Their cheer was cut off when one of them was run through by a Numenorian sword, but the significance was clear: the Men of Numenor could be beaten.

Sergeant Ilhan roared out a battle cry and led his Men in a charge against the Numenorians. Some Men still held back, but many more were filled with courage at their comrade’s success and struck at the Numenorians with renewed vigor. The melee erupted in fury: two Easterlings fell to Numenorian swords, but Ilhan brought halberd crashing down through another’s mask while his spearmen skewered two more and a fourth collapsed with an Easterling arrow in his neck.

“We have them now, charge!” shouted Tai-Shan. The Easterlings dove into the crash of melee again, but this time, Tai-Shan’s arms suddenly became as heavy as lead. He fought futilely against the Mouth’s treacherous sorcery, but was saved when his human flesh-fed warhorse drove away the Numenorians attacking him with swift kicks from its front legs. Ilhan and his Men cut down two more Numenorians, but lost three to a savage counterattack. Out on the left flank, another ball of fire burst and killed two Easterlings, but not before one fired another fatal arrow into a Numenorian.

Tai-Shan continued to urge his Men forward, and indeed, they fought with inspired courage. Ilhan continued to hack his way through the Numenorians, and his men cut down three, losing two of their own. Three Easterling archers drew their bows and aimed at the Mouth of Sauron, but a catapult round exploded among them before they could fire, killing two. Yet another Easterling arrow darted through the air to fell another Numenorian.

The right flank of the Numenorian attack was faltering. How could the lesser-Men be fighting so well? How could they resist the will of the sons of Numenor? Tai-Shan’s Men were flushed with warpride, though, and the Kataphrakts led a devastating charge into the Numenorians that left four of them trampled into the dust. A Kataphrakt fell too, but the damage was done, and the Numenorian force had been broken.

Up to this point, the Numenorian Marshall had been directing fire from his catapult, laughing wickedly every time a Man of Rhun burned. Now, though, he drew his sword and began to move towards his beleaguered Men, cursing their lack of fighting skill with every step.

He was too late, though. With their confidence in their inherent superiority shattered, six Numenorian warriors fled the battlefield, abandoning their comrades. Likewise, the catapult crew abandoned their evil machine, totally.

“Now!” shouted Tai-Shan. “Break through their lines! Smash the catapult!”

Three Easterling warriors started running towards the catapult. The Marshall was in their way, but they were confident that he couldn’t stop all three of them. In the midst of the melee, the Mouth drove Sergeant Ilhan back and gave him a fierce cut on his side. An Easterling archer was cut down, but two more Black Numenorians followed him.

The three Easterlings that had broken through continued their sprint toward the catapult. There were so few Black Numenorians left, now, that two more spearmen joined in the breakthrough. “No!” shouted the Numenorian Marshall and attacked one of the Easterlings. His swing was clumsy, though, and the Rhunish warrior batted the attack away with one swipe of his rectangular shield. At this sight, another Numenorian lost heart and fled, and three more were slain as their defenses completely unraveled and them Men of Rhun pressed in on them.

The Mouth of Sauron began to back away. Two more Numenorians died in front of him. Disaster! He turned, only to see the Numenorian Marshall fail again in his attempt to stop the Easterlings. One warrior reached the catapult, and with a chop from his scimitar, cut the main rope that held the machine together. With a groaning sound, the catapult fell apart, and the Morgul flames guttered and went out.

The Mouth had seen enough. He dropped his sword and scrabbled away.

Sergeant Ilhan raised his bloody halberd in salute to Tai-Shan, who raised his blood-drenched scimitar in return. “Victory and warpride!” they shouted!

“Victory and warpride!” chorused the Easterling warriors!


Tactical Notes: After my last drubbing by the Black Numenorians, Tim stated that he believed that my Easterlings would be at a grave disadvantage against his army in the “Storm the Camp” scenario. I disagreed, so this is the scenario that I selected for us to play this time.

After his Orc trackers panicked and ran in the last game, Tim replaced them with a Black Numenorian Catapult. His reasoning: it was more effective, and more in theme. I agreed on both counts, and was simply happy to finally outnumber the Numenorians for once.

The catapult was quite effective during the opening rounds of the game, killing many of my troops and destroying my banner. I was quite unhappy by the end of Turn 5, and on the verge of surrendering to despair. So far, I had taken terrible casualties to the catapult, and my troops were refusing to charge the Black Numenorians. What was the point of this farce?

I kept my faith in my troops, though, and they returned the favor by giving the battle their all. True, some of them continued to fail Terror tests, but for the most part, they fought ferociously. Tim’s demotion of his Marshall to an Engineer captain gave me two important advantages in the pivotal battle for the right flank: first, he had only one Might point on the Mouth of Sauron, and he had to expend that to prevent a wound. I had four Might points on that flank, and so my cavalry were able to charge often (those that could control their fear, anyhow.) Second, instead of the Marshall butchering my troops, I had two Easterling captains on the flank doing good knife work against the Numenorians. Tim naturally assumed, as did I, that the Black Numenorians would be able to overwhelm my Easterlings on the right flank, even without any support from characters, but the result turned out to be very different, and the Numenorian army was smashed to pieces while the Easterlings ended the game unbroken!

The Marshall’s final insult to Tim was his inability to kill any of my breakthrough troops. I expect that this Man will be taking Gollum’s vacant spot on the rack in Barad-dur, soon.

My archers performed very well, killing many BN’s with ranged attacks and even more in close combat. My characters performed well, also.

It was inspirational to be able to finally defeat the Numenorians, and so decisively as well! Like all dramatic villains, though, I expect they’ll be back for another try, soon.

Avante!

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Postby The Mouth of Sauron » Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:38 am

Yes, that was a bloody close fight up to the end. Of course if I had been able to kill one more Easterling in any of the last few turns your force would have been broken and would have started running faster than mine. I just couldn't manage that last kill.
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Postby BrentS » Sat Aug 09, 2008 11:16 am

That was a fun read for sure. Based on the way it started, I expected Khamul to join the battle!! How many points were you playing? What is your general army break-down?

I'm curious if MoS thought the catapault was worth the sacrifice of the archers. Also would you consider adding another Marshall to help hold the line.
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Postby BaronDeSade » Sat Aug 09, 2008 11:42 am

That was 600 points. My Easterlings were in their standard formation:

Captain Tai-Shan on armored horse with shield
Sergeant Ilhan on foot with halberd
1 Warrior with banner
6 Kataphrakts
10 Spearmen
16 Swordsmen
16 Archers

Khamul is cool, but I want to reserve him for larger battles.

Tim's incompetent Marshall failed to kill even on Easterling in close combat. I was one model away from break point for four turns, but the Numenorians had lost their taste for combat by then :P .

The catapult did much more damage to me than the Orc Trackers could have managed. It's not Tim's fault that his Black Numenorians ran like chickens the moment he hit break point...

Cheers,

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Postby Drunken Mick » Sat Aug 09, 2008 12:21 pm

I don't think my army, even w/o a pult would have suffered so badly. I've got something Tim eschews - 3 heroes. Additionally, I use Morannon (a good number of them). Did Tim suffer from bad die rolls or what? Your model count is good and it looks like a tough force. How do you think it'd fare against:

Morannon capt - sh
BNM - shield
Nazgul 2/7/1

Tracker x17
Morannon - sh x12
BNW x26

I'll wager the pult was nasty but once engaged it's useless whereas the trackers can fight. They may not issue as many casualties as the pult initially but they can still fight and they have at least 2 good heroes to SF them.
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Postby BaronDeSade » Sat Aug 09, 2008 12:53 pm

As I mentioned, Tim is also interested in theme, not just efficiency, which is why he isn't using the Black Marshal Ringwraith in his army. Tim's loss was not due to bad die rolls on his part; in fact, his catapult seemed to have laser-guided rounds. The difference was that I was making most of my terror tests to charge, and that I was considering the effects of terror when maneuvering my army. I did my best to ensure that my battle lines were strong and that if I failed to charge it would not leave a route for a BN to charge through my lines and trap me.

Cheers,

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Postby Drunken Mick » Sat Aug 09, 2008 4:09 pm

There isn't anything unthematic about what I presented. Sounds like you're one of the folks who's getting good exposure to the BN armies that will be roaming around the next year or so ;)
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Postby The Mouth of Sauron » Sat Aug 09, 2008 11:27 pm

The trackers look out of place. All they really give me is numbers. I could always just field an army of Black Numenorean Catapult crewmen. :P

My force played well, the catapult was brilliant, but Steve was bright enough to minimize his exposure to casaulties. I got his banner after three shots, though I was unable to kill his second hero no matter how hard I hit and knocked him to the ground. he didn't even have to roll for Fate as I couldn't roll higher than a 3 and I all I needed to wound was a 4.

As for the Catapult, that cursed ammunition is deadly. Normally I would be wounding his troops on a 4 even with a direct hit, but with the cursed ammunition I am dropping his troops on 3s. Morannon Orcs only have a Courage of 2 so they are just as easy to kill with the Catapult so you amy not feel you are in any great danger when facing a catapult, but I feel it will garner more kills than the trackers ever do.

I am seriously thinking of trading out The Mouth of Sauron for a Standard Marshal. His spells did nothing other than to make him terrifying, something the marshal can do just as well, and he is far easier to wound. One battle doesn't give me a clear picture especially since I know I made some poor decisions later in the game and in terrain placement. I should have reversed the terrain peice I was using to shield my camp in order to allow my catapult to sit in my deployment zome, but I wouldn't have to move around the wall to get to my front line. This wall caused me to lose two models since my Stand Fast! hero was out of LOS despite being within 6" of the crew. I should have also released the hero a couple of turns earlier and I should have pulled my line back a few inches at about the same time. I considered both of these options, but then decided against the defensive measures as I though I had a chance at pushing through the middle for a win.

So too many mistakes on my part and a string of seriously good Courage tests on Steve's part. For two turns running he was able to charge with nearly his entire line, something he doesn't usually manage.

So I will be keeping the catapult as it performed extremely well, I will keep the Catapult Engineer Captain, I will not be putting the trackers back into the force, but I am seriously considering trading out the Mouth og Sauron for a Marshal. I don't need a spellcaster to win games and while he's great compared to an Easterling Captain he's subpar as a Black Numenorean Captain.
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Postby Drunken Mick » Sat Aug 09, 2008 11:56 pm

The Mouth of Sauron wrote:The trackers look out of place. All they really give me is numbers. I could always just field an army of Black Numenorean Catapult crewmen. :P

My force played well, the catapult was brilliant, but Steve was bright enough to minimize his exposure to casaulties. I got his banner after three shots, though I was unable to kill his second hero no matter how hard I hit and knocked him to the ground. he didn't even have to roll for Fate as I couldn't roll higher than a 3 and I all I needed to wound was a 4.

As for the Catapult, that cursed ammunition is deadly. Normally I would be wounding his troops on a 4 even with a direct hit, but with the cursed ammunition I am dropping his troops on 3s. Morannon Orcs only have a Courage of 2 so they are just as easy to kill with the Catapult so you amy not feel you are in any great danger when facing a catapult, but I feel it will garner more kills than the trackers ever do.

I am seriously thinking of trading out The Mouth of Sauron for a Standard Marshal. His spells did nothing other than to make him terrifying, something the marshal can do just as well, and he is far easier to wound. One battle doesn't give me a clear picture especially since I know I made some poor decisions later in the game and in terrain placement. I should have reversed the terrain peice I was using to shield my camp in order to allow my catapult to sit in my deployment zome, but I wouldn't have to move around the wall to get to my front line. This wall caused me to lose two models since my Stand Fast! hero was out of LOS despite being within 6" of the crew. I should have also released the hero a couple of turns earlier and I should have pulled my line back a few inches at about the same time. I considered both of these options, but then decided against the defensive measures as I though I had a chance at pushing through the middle for a win.

So too many mistakes on my part and a string of seriously good Courage tests on Steve's part. For two turns running he was able to charge with nearly his entire line, something he doesn't usually manage.

So I will be keeping the catapult as it performed extremely well, I will keep the Catapult Engineer Captain, I will not be putting the trackers back into the force, but I am seriously considering trading out the Mouth og Sauron for a Marshal. I don't need a spellcaster to win games and while he's great compared to an Easterling Captain he's subpar as a Black Numenorean Captain.


I agree with using a 2nd BNM wholeheartedly. They are just flat tough and an excellent courage to boot. Don't own a catapult so I'll take your word for it, the cursed ammo does seem pretty spiffy and usable against just about any force in your favor (except wood elves).

I'll go with the liklihood of not facing a BN catapult and believe that across 5 games the dozen S4 D6 morannon - regardless of their courage, will help kill models when paired with the FV4 BN's. Yes, trackers add numbers, that's a good thing right?? ;)
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Postby The Mouth of Sauron » Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:35 am

The Black Numeoreans are deathly boring to play and will not be taking them to a GT or Games Day event as a result. Every battle is fought the same way, there are no viable tactical alternatives since they are very uni-dimensional. The Morgul Knights don't improve things any, since you can't get enough of them to matter.

I have found the standard frontal assault tactics this force lends itself to to be mind numbingly boring. They are too expensive for anything other kindergarten level battles of attrition. This would be an excellent force for a beginner if it weren't all metal. No tactics required, just march up and let your dice do the work for you.
Last edited by The Mouth of Sauron on Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby BaronDeSade » Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:52 am

Lol, I think I was the first one to point out the "no-brainer" aspect of the Bns. :wink:
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Postby Drunken Mick » Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:07 am

The Mouth of Sauron wrote:The Black Numeoreans are deathly boring to play and will not be taking them to a GT or Games Day event as a result. Every battle is fought the same way, there are no viable tactical alternatives since they are very uni-dimensional. The Morgul Knights don't improve things any, since you can't get enough of them to matter.

I have found the standard frontal assault tactics this force lends itself to to be mind numbingly boring. They are too expensive for anything other kindergarten level battles of attrition. This would be an excellent force for a beginner if it weren't all metal. No tactics required, just march up and let your dice do the work for you.


My golly Tim, what happened? Just a day ago you were all in it...
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Postby BrentS » Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:12 am

The Mouth of Sauron wrote:The Black Numeoreans are deathly boring to play and will not be taking them to a GT or Games Day event as a result. Every battle is fought the same way, there are no viable tactical alternatives since they are very uni-dimensional.



This is where Tim tried and yet ceases again to be a "power-gamer". I can understand why you could get bored with a one-trick pony army. Its obvious that althought you enjoy winning games, you like playing armies more than winning! Kudos to you.
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Postby The Mouth of Sauron » Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:34 am

Drunken Mick wrote:My golly Tim, what happened? Just a day ago you were all in it...
Actually I've had this complaint for sometime, it just finally reached a point where I was tired of playing the same game over and over regardless of the scenario. In order to win with this force you have to play every scenario as a Meeting Engagement with an eye on the objective where necessary. THat's boring, there is no flair to the force it just maeches straight to the enemy and then engages them. There is little maneuvering, almost no tacitcal missile engagement, and few if any feints or parries. It's also never in any great danger of losing any battle unless I make some stupid mistake.

In short it is not challenging to play. It's boring. Now to find something that is painted to replace them. I've wasted four weeks getting them 90% done at the expense of more interesting forces.....
Last edited by The Mouth of Sauron on Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Drunken Mick » Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:59 am

The Mouth of Sauron wrote:
Drunken Mick wrote:My golly Tim, what happened? Just a day ago you were all in it...
ACtually I've had this complaint for sometime, it just finally reached a point where I was tired of playing the same game over and over regardless of the scenario. In order to win with this force you have to play every scenario as a Meeting Engagement with an eye on the objective where necessary. THat's boring, there is no flair to the force it just maeches straight to the enemy and then engages them. There is little maneuvering, almost no tacitcal missile engagement, and few if any feints or parries. It's also never in any great danger of losing any battle unless I make some stupid mistake.

In short it is not challenging to play. It's boring. Now to find something that is painted to replace them. I've wasted four weeks getting them 90% done at the expense of more interesting forces.....


Man, what a bummer. I've not had as much playtesting as you but I've invested pretty much my budget until Christmas in the force so I'm playing it. Final configuration to be ironed out, hopefully I won't find it boring. To me it's sort of like evil dwarves tactically. Not playing combined forces keeps me from noticing the lack of that "flair". I did do some other lists using a smattering of MK's getting the model count up to low-mid 50's using a decent number of them. But since I decided not to buy them; I'm not going to change tack at this point. I'm around 25% completed with just my first test model painted. But I really like how it turned out so I'm excited to field them.
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