Battle Report: Dol Guldur Catapult vs. Haradrim!

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Battle Report: Dol Guldur Catapult vs. Haradrim!

Postby BaronDeSade » Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:48 pm

Kushir regarded the severed Orc’s head with contempt. “Look at this one, Jullidan,” he said to his second-in-command. “Dirty, malformed, undisciplined. We do them a favor by killing them.” He tossed the head into the carrion pile, where the great black ravens of Mirkwood clustered in a gruesome feast.

Jullidan nodded his cloth-wrapped head and stroked his long moustache. “Yes, these wretches give good sport, but I fear that we may anger our patron should we continue to hunt them like this.”

Kushir spat on the ground. “Sauron is far away, and his minions busy themselves in the search for the One Ring. Here, we may sharpen our blades on Orcish necks and gain much glory. A few more victories like this, and I shall return home, not merely as Chieftain Kushir, but as Kushir the Magnificent.”

He heard a Haradrim victory cry behind him. He turned, and saw his scouting party riding down the Old Forest Road with a herd of horses between them. The horses whickered nervously, rolling their eyes up at the thin rays of sun that speared though the Mirkwood trees, no doubt wishing they were back in a sunny field.

“Excellent, work, my scouts!” Kushir’s grin was wide. “No doubt the Rohirrim will go to bed tonight, weeping over their loss. Mount up, my Men, and let us hunt some more Orc!”

Not far away, Captain Karakoz supervised as his Orcish engineers as they tightened the final strands of spider silk that bound together the workings of his crude catapult. Beside him, Toktar, the Wild Warg Chieftain, growled deep in his throat.

“Easy, Warg-leader,” Karakoz admonished him. “This is the tool we will use to avenge your fallen pack-mates, and mine. Wood and stone, silk and timber, let it break bone, and Men will shiver.”

The ground shivered as a Troll lumbered up, its arms full of smooth stones from the river. The tainted river of Mirkwood could cause forgetfulness and sleep, but the already dim minds of Trolls rendered them immune. It dropped the stones in a pile of others with a clatter, then looked around stupidly for instructions.

Karakoz started to speak, but was interrupted by the faraway howl of a Warg. Toktar turned his muzzle towards the sky and howled back in reply. He then grunted to Karakoz.

The Orc Captain nodded his ugly head. “They are coming.”


A while later, Karakoz had found a suitable spot to place the catapult. “Stop!” he ordered the Troll, who had been hauling it. The Orcish engineers scrambled all over the machine, readying it to fire. The Captain turned to give orders to Toktar, but the Warg Chieftain had already taken his pack elsewhere.

Haradrim raiders on horseback appeared at the edge of an open glade, crying out their ululating war-cry. Behind them came double their number of Haradrim warriors. Karakoz snarled a gap-tooth growl at them. “Catapult, commence firing. Orcs, hold!”

The catapult’s limbs groaned as they were winched back. The Troll loaded the stones. It fired with another groan, and rocks began to rain down on the Haradrim.

The Haradrim raiders responded by galloping towards the Orcs at full speed, leaving their infantry behind them. Karakoz smiled. It was as he had hoped: if the Men attacked him piecemeal, his inferior numbers of Orcs could defeat them in detail. Besides, he had a special surprise for the horsemen, lurking in the trees close to the catapult.

As the Haradrim raiders thundered towards the Orcs, a howling pack of Wargs broke cover from behind a hill and ran at them, slavering jaws opened wide. The Haradrim reacted with calm precision, raising their bows and firing a spray of arrows at the biggest Warg, Toktar. He yelped in pain as two arrows pierced the skin above his shoulder blades.

The Wargs leaped at the horsemen, and one was ripped from his saddle and shaken until he died. Although some of their horses balked, a few other raiders charged into the melee and stabbed Toktar with their lances. Crying out in agony, the Wild Warg Chieftain ran away from the battle, abandoning his pack-mates.

The rest of the Haradrim raiders managed their horses expertly, dodging the snapping jaws of the Wargs and lancing them with their long spears. Within a few moments, the Warg attack had been utterly defeated, and the few surviving Wargs fled for their lives.

Karakoz grimaced. Toktar was always so aggressive! If only he could train some tactics into the beast…but his thought was interrupted as several Haradrim raiders rode too closely to the trees around the catapult.

Huge Mirkwood Spiders sprang from cover, knocking Men from their saddles. They delivered powerful, paralyzing bites and entangling loops of sticky silk, and in the space of a few seconds, four of the raiders lay in the dust, with their horses frantically running away.

“Bah,” shouted Kushir from the back of his own horse. “Let not these insects stand in our way, charge!” He heroically led his raiders in a thunderous charge at the Spiders, lances lowered. Their eight-legged foes jumped backwards, and the Haradrim raiders ran into their cunning trap. Thin lines of spider silk had been strung at neck-level to a mounted Man, and the raiders found themselves violently de-horsed. Stunned on the ground, the Spiders swarmed back over them, dealing out poisoned bites. Kushir himself fell prey to the trap, and tumbled roughly to the ground. A Spider’s jaws clamped around his leg, but he kicked it away, tearing his own flesh but preventing the arachnid from injecting its venom.

He athletically leaped to his feet, rallying his Men with a battle cry, but the Spider was on him before he could attack. It bore him to the ground, jaws snapping onto his neck and pumping him full of paralyzing poison. Men rushed forward, driving the Spider away with their spears.

Karakoz surveyed the battlefield. The catapult had proved to be almost completely ineffective. Despite the wealth of battlefield targets, only a single Man had been slain by the barrage of rocks. The Wargs had been utterly defeated, and despite his Spider’s success, they were being driven slowly back. Although his Orc archers had been performing well, slaying a few raiders, he knew nothing could prevent the Men from charging into his Orcs.

“Form ranks, you maggots, form ranks!” he shouted. The Orcs obediently shuffled into a combat formation with shields in front, and spears behind. His archers continued to fire, but now the Haradrim had found his range, and fired a hail of arrows that killed off a catapult crewman, rendering the machine useless. The Troll loader paused for a moment, having noticed that the catapult was no longer working. He still had a large stone in his hand, and he remembered that he enjoyed hurling such things. Looking around, he spotted a Man who seemed to be more decorated than the others, with a large flag on his back. He remembered that his friend Karakoz liked it when he stomped such Men, and he threw the rock at the decorated Man.

The stone flew at Jullidan with surprising accuracy, but the Chieftain twisted at the last moment, and the rock merely ripped the flag off of his back. “Charge!” he ordered in panic. He didn’t want any more rocks thrown at his head!

Three Haradrim raiders duly charged forward, but the Orcs repulsed them, killing two Men and losing only one Orc to a lance. The full mass of the Haradrim army swarmed in then, swamping the Orcs with spear-armed Men. Despite their numerical disadvantage, the Orcs were in a strong defensive formation, and gave better than they got, killing Men with hacks of crude swords or stabbings from crooked spears. The Troll was driven back by a seeming forest of spear-points, and Jullidan swung his scimitar with expert skill, slicing up a giant Spider so badly that it was forced to retreat.

Karakoz bashed down a Man with a cruel blow from his morning star, but the time when personal heroics might have turned the battle had long passed. The Orcs were fleeing, abandoning the battlefield, and Karakoz knew he had no choice but to join them. “Flee, flee for your lives,” he called out bitterly. Of course, the Troll probably wouldn’t understand in time, but he could always train another Troll…


Major victory for Harad!

Tactical notes: Out of sixteen shots during the game, the catapult hit three times. Of those three hits, two scattered with a result of “1”, completely missing. The single completed hit killed one Haradrim warrior and knocked another one down. Needless to say, I was somewhat disappointed in its performance. I was not disappointed, however, in its psychological effect. HixonT dispersed his army until the last few turns, which kept me from having to face a solid wall of Haradrim spears, which had defeated me in the past. So, while the catapult was a tactical failure, it was a strategic success.

The Warg attack was a failure, which was quite disappointing. I attacked a section of HixonT’s line where there were no heroes, ensuring that I would be able to charge his cavalry. I had two Wargs attacking each raider. He was darn lucky with his shooting in the previous round, wounding my Wild Warg Chieftain twice in a single turn, and then my WWC failed to win his combat, was trapped by a counterattacking raider, and slain. Bad dogs, bad!

My Spiders performed awesomely, tearing apart the Haradrim raiders and slaying one of HixonT’s heroes. I do miss having a hero with the Spiders, though, for heroic moves.

The Orcs were adequate. The Troll loader was a disappointment, as he didn’t do much in combat.

I need to work out a few strategic issues with this army, but I did enjoy playing with it, despite my abysmal luck with the catapult. There will be a next time, though!

Cheers,

Baron DeSade
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Postby Smeagol » Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:58 pm

It's battles like this one that reminds me why I love the Haradrim.
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Postby BrentS » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:44 pm

Sounds like a fun game guys. Again, I'll ask what scenario you played as it wasn't completely obvious. I'm thinking Meeting Engagment but I'm not sure.

What was the point count and how big were the armies? I'm most curious about the number of Cavalry on Tim's side and the number of Wargs and Spiders on Steve's side.

Also, did the thrown rock, fail to wound or wound and then get saved by fate? Obviously, it didn't affect the outcome, I just found it surprising that it didn't wound.
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Postby Smeagol » Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:24 am

Four spiders. One Wild Warg Chieftain and five Wild Wargs.

Versus twenty Haradrim Raiders (one is a chieftain).

The rock rolled a 2 to wound.
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Postby Aragorn by the Bay » Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:45 am

BDS - your battle descriptions freakin' ROCK!!! If I ever decide to make a novelization of my LOTR battles, you will get first dibs! I'm sure it will be a big seller..

Seriously, your reports are cool..

Love the flippant tone to much of it. Fun!

By the way, I like the name Baron de Sade. As a child (and an adult) I have a love for the robotic, interchangeable toys called The Micronauts. And my favorite evil hero was Baron Karza..

As for the game, crappy luck with the catapult! And not good luck with your wargs. Tim's army appears to be a tough nut to crack. You probably need a combination of tactics and good luck. The tactics seemed good, but not good dice.. except with the spiders
And here we find you feasting and idling - and smoking! Smoking! Where did you come by the weed, you villains? - Gimli
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Postby BaronDeSade » Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Well, thanks. I used to write a lot of battle reports for my WFB army, and I had to adopt a flippant tone to make myself OK with the various explosive miscasts and panics that my "Elite" Dark Elf army was always suffering. They ended up being a bit like those moustache-twisting melodrama villans whom everyone seems to be afraid of, despite their staggering incompetence at actually carrying out any evil deeds.

I don't think I ever read much about the Micronauts, but this handle was the name of my WFB Dark Elf general. I thought "DeSade" was a very appropriate name for a Dark Elf, and "Baron" actually sounds more evil than "Marquis," I think.

Regarding the catapult, I realized later that I had chose to inaugurate this weapon on Friday the Thirteenth, so if course I had bad luck! I'm also going to sub the Spider Queen for the WWC, as I think that the Spiders would benefit more from Leadership than the Wargs do. The Wargs are just so pathetic, even when I set them up for success. What can you do?

Best,

BdS
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