The breathless and tattered messenger staggered towards the entrance of the Dwarf hold, falling at the feet of the long bearded sentry. "The Skaven, they´re coming, he gasped, the Skaven are coming..."
During vacation, I went to meet a close friend of mine, we had decided on a weekend of wargaming, to give it a bit of a twist, we decided on playing a short campaign which would end with a siege game. We wanted a classic match-up so decided on Dwarfs vs Skaven.
First Scenario - Forlorn hope
A dwarf patrol is the first to encounter the vanguard of the Skaven, they immediately dispatch a messenger, while the rest of the patrol try to delay the Skaven so the messenger can warn the garrison.
The objective was simple, 500 points of Dwarfs most hold a pass vs 750 points of Skaven, if they manage, the Dwarfs will get a free bombardment on the Skaven troops in the Final Siege, if not, the Skaven will get to buy siege equipment at a discount.
It was a quick battle, the Skaven pushed towards the Dwarfs, the Spearmen held until the final dwarf was killed, however it had taken too long, the Crossbowmen were still alive & well, while Behram Gundarson was futile in his attempts at getting killed by the Rat Ogres (he was killing them).
A solid victory for the Dwarfs.
The Dwarf hold erupted into a frenzy as battle horns sounded the call to arms, stout dwarfs left their work to arm themselves, as the final soldiers found their places and the dust began to settle, Einar Dantesson, the commander of the hold, strode into the courtyard.
"Dawi" he said, our time for glory has come. Even now the foul Skaven horde approaches, we are all that stands between them and our loved ones.
He stared at each of his followers in turn, their grim faces showing neither fear or sadness - only resolution, a grim determination.
"The skaven are foul, honourless creatures, not strong like us, we will not waver, we will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail!"
Scenario 2 - Infiltrate
Eshin Gutter Runners has managed to infiltrate the hold, their objective is to sabotage the food and ammunition stores, the dwarf sentries must try to stop them before they reach the storage.
If the Dwarfs win they get a few pieces of free Siege Equipment, however if the Skaven win, all siege equipment will cost twice as much for the Dwarfs.
It was a close battle, the skaven were just 1 inch away from winning the scenario, but the dwarfs managed to surround the Gutter Runners & kill them off.
He could feel the rumbling in his feet, it was a low quiet one, not many would´ve noticed, but Nori Craggenson wasn´t just a dwarf smith, he was also an experienced miner, he had been mining these tunnels for years and nothing out of the ordinary went unnoticed to him.
Skreech whipped his tail nervously, he didn´t like the idea of undermining the Dwarf walls, not only could the troublesome dawi show up, but if they did manage to accomplish their mission, there was a very huge risk of the tunnel collapsing right over them. "Quick-quick" he urged his slaves, "dig-dig, faster".
The dwarf miners moved down the long tunnel swiftly, Nori led them himself, he had been sure something was wrong, and as sure as any dwarf saying, he was right, in the distance he could see them, there they were, Skaven, in their mines! "Charge!" He yelled.
Skreech turned around at the sound of the booming voice, not quick enough, the dawi had intercepted them, well at least it was just a small mining party, perhaps they could kill them before the alarm went off, "Kill-kill the Dawi!"
Scenario 3 - Undermine
The third and final battle before the proper siege would see the skaven attempt to undermine the walls, if they managed they would inflict heavy damage on one of the walls, the dwarfs would have to stop them in time.
The battlefield is split in the middle, Nori led a unit of miners at the right side, while a champion led a unit of dwarf warriors armed with spears on the left side, they had 4 turns to try & break through the skaven lines.
As valiant & brave as any dwarf, all the units fought until the bitter end, but the frenzied plaguemonks led by Skreech was too much, they slaughtered the small unit of slayers as well as every last miner, only Nori was alive & fighting at the end of turn 4.
The left flank fared a little better, breaking the stormvermin, however they were unable to break the Plague censer bearers and therefore failed their mission. The skaven undermined the tunnels & left one of the walls heavily damaged before the final assault.
The skaven pushed back the dwarfs with sheer weight of numbers, while the dwarfs fought on stubbornly, they were slowly forced back by the relentless skaven. Pick-axe chopped at diseased skaven fur, rusted skaven blades crunched into dwarf mail, spatters of blood flew everywhere. The glow of the torches illuminated a scene of relentless savagery. No quarter would be asked, no quarter would be given... A great explosion was heard, the tunnels were filled by a green, toxic smoke, it was too late, Nori gave up a snarl and pushed further into the skavenlines, meanwhile Skreech had achieved what he came for and decided it was better to continue this fight another time, leaving his subjects to face the crazed dwarf, to report to his superiors of the missions success of course.
Scenario 4 - Assault the walls
|The entrance to the Dwarf hold|
|The skaven assault the walls|
In the final battle, a 2500 points skaven army assault the castle, which is defended by a small 1250 points Dwarf army (with a few mercenary ogres allied in). I forgot to take pics during most of the battle as it was just too much happening.
The dwarfs were fighting on the defensive, their orders were to protect the keep at all costs so their kin could get enough time to use the escape tunnels & reach Karak Eight Peaks. For every ratman that fell, another two fought each other to take its place. Einar Dantesson fought in the front lines, among the rubble of the fallen wall, his magical hammer killing a skaven with every sweep until they avoided him like the plague, the skaven stopped the assault, snarling and squeaking. The ratmen parted ranks to let a huge, black fured skaven through. His dirty robes were covered in mold, a jet black amulet was in place of one of his eyes and in his hands were a flail that ended with a pair of snarling skulls. "Die-die dwarf thing."
Einar was exhausted, but like any honourable dawi, he took up the challenge, charging the new threat, he quickly realized that every blow he struck against the rat spawn, hurt himself, wounds opened up on his body and soon he could barely move, the Skaven shouted out with evil glee and swinged his deadly flail above his head, hitting his mark. Einar was down...
Panting, blood from their many wounds dripping down their armour, the dwarfs didn´t break like most races would, instead they silently committed their souls to Grungni & renewed their efforts, they fought like in a trance, pushing back the skaven, which in turn panicked their entire line, one by one the skaven either fell down dead, or ran of the battlefield in a mass panic, victory for the Dawi, but at what cost?
The skaven made a full out attack, assaulting both the weakened wall, as well as the gate and the front part of the fortress. Meanwhile a skaven engineer with the Cloak of Mists and Shadows was running rampant in the castle, casting spells, however the valiant dwarfs stood their ground, despite the loss of all 3 characters (Dwarf Lord, Slayer champion & the Rune Priest, ironically I hadn´t lost a character in any of the 3 previous battles, but lost all of them in the final game). Toughness 4 & LD 9 on troops help a lot when defending. It was a great ending to the campaign, although if I am to be honest, I think the small battles leading up to the final siege were more fun than the siege itself!
|Einar with his valiant bodyguards|