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After Action Reports => Digital Gaming AARs => Topic started by: JasonPratt on January 06, 2015, 06:14:56 PM

Title: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (Season One complete, lots of screenies)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 06, 2015, 06:14:56 PM
I would warn you not to click on this thread if you don't have the bandwidth/patience for a lot of screenies, but I already did it in the thread title, so...  :P

Comes now Season One of my next epic AAR project. I fraternally anticipate questions...


IS THIS THE AAR?

No, this is the initial FAQ. Sigh.


WHAT THE HELL IS PAZORE COPZ? ...IS THIS A MANGA...?

Ahem. PanzOrc Corpz. Generals.

That isn't the game title, the game is Fantasy Wars from 1C, which can be easily bought cheap (around $15 when not on sale) from various places including Steam and Gamersgate. I can't promise the English localization will be entirely up to snuff on some versions; my old box version seemed to be, if I recall correctly, but Steam has some missing interface rollover descriptions, and the English translation is a bit spotty. Voiceovers are generally competent if perhaps trying too hard sometimes.

My goal was to follow the storyline as closely as possible while upgrading some of the characterizations and introducing some new characters. Ugraum in the game is a bog-standard orc warboss, for example; I've made his intentions more complex.


WHATEVER, WHAT THE HELL IS A PANZORC?

The game engine is a 3D remake and update of the Fantasy General game system (though not its barebones plot, except in a spiritual-sequel sort-of way) from SSI many decades ago {cougholdcoughhack}; which was itself a variation of their own classic Panzer General engine.

But nowadays the original Panzer General is better known by its semi-official direct remake (with slight updates) Panzer Corps from Matrix/Slitherine.

So this game is Panzer General, or Panzer Corps. With orcs. PanzOrc Corpz Generals.


...YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE SOME RIDICULOUS WAY TO JUSTIFY THAT NAME OF YOUR AAR IN THE PLOT, AREN'T YOU?

um... read and find out?


JESUS, ARE YOU GOING TO WRITE YOUR AAR OR THE DIALOGUE IN THAT GROTTY ORK ACCENT BELOVED BY WARHAMMER FANS??!

... ....... uh... no. {scribbling}

However, despite the engine not being tabletop turn based Warhammer at all (regular or 40K), it does look and play quite a lot like a different version of Warhammer tabletop.

In other words, this game from 2007ish is still the closest thing on the market to a Windows PC Warhammer tabletop game.


WAIT, DIDN'T MATRILITHERINE... um... SLITHERATRIX.... .... THOSE GUYS RECENTLY RELEASE A WARHAMMER 40K GAME BASED ON A HEAVILY MODIFIED PANZER CORPS ENGINE??

Yes. Yes they did.

And it is an entirely okay game, with lots of obviously lavished love in many places and, well, less so in others.

This is a different Panzer General game with orcs. (And straight high fantasy, not orks in space, great though that is.) And I'm just going to say it, objectively a much better one. So is its sequel, Elven Legacy, which adds another six campaigns. Total,nine campaigns, around $35.


GREAT MARCUS THIS PAGE IS TAKING A LONG TIME TO LOAD ITS SCREENIES! HOW LONG IS THIS AAR ANYWAY?!?

I've finished the AAR up through roughly the halfway point of the game, five missions into each main campaign: there's a human 10 mission set, an orc 10 mission set, and an epilogue / grand finale elven 6 mission set (not the six whole campaigns of EL btw) which goes back and fills in some details about what has really been going on the whole time. But the elven can't be unlocked until the other two are done, and I didn't keep my old version of the game installed so I can't play it simultaneously. 5 and 5 gets the story to a good stopping place for Season One. But that's ten missions and a lot of turns and I want to be generous about showing off the system.


YOU SOUND A LITTLE LIKE YOU MAY NOT BE DOING A SEASON TWO AND FINISHING IT OUT...

I may or may not. I've spent a ton of time (Steam says 99.5 hours already) setting up this narrative/snapshot AAR; it takes three or four times as long to play a mission this way, and I've been working on it for at least a month already, almost exclusive to playing other games.

That's part of the reason. Another reason I wanted to do the AAR at all was so I could play the game not from the perspective of the main characters per se (the human and orcan generals), but from the perspective of utter novice rookie characters, since the game allows the weakest units to level up and upgrade into various other things. At the halfway point of their campaigns, those characters have grown about as far as I can foresee them going within the limits of the game's story structure, which I can't change around too much within its constraints. This is also why I decided not to finish both campaigns and then go back and weave the elven mini-campaign chronologically into the other two: aside from taking another month to do (at my fastest possible pace), I can't get a similar story angle on the elves. But they're important to the overall plot.

Another reason is that if readers decide to go play the game, this way some of the (original) story is still there to unlock, so you won't be spoiled further. But on the other hand, this halfway point feels like where the writers start padding out the plot a bit to fill out the mission list.


SPEAKING OF PADDING OUT AND FINISHING, ARE YOU GOING TO BE FINISHED WITH THIS SILLY FAQ THING ANYTIME SOON!?

Yes. But I'll add some [Gamenotes] along the way to explain out-of-character some of what's happening with the game as a game per se.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 06, 2015, 06:29:27 PM
What came before

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/908/W3DQAo.jpg)

“Noplease! Noplease!” Itchynose heard his mother sometimes at night in his dreams, begging something not to kill them. “Wego! Wegoback!” He didn’t dream often; he didn’t sleep long. Those who slept long died. “Girls! Girls! Mother! Nohurt! Please!” She was lying to save him and his sister both if she could, from the horrifying two-headed giant with four legs, two arms, and wings on its featureless face. Brightly colored like the land his mother was taking them back away from. Shining like the sky above in the light. It carried a spiral horn in one of its upper hands, longer than all the rest of its body. Its visible eyes looked at them with wariness and disdain, yet somehow not with hostility. It lightly pawed a heavy foreleg hoof on the ground, shod in shining steel. That one single hoof could have killed them all.

“Wegoback!” his mother babbled. “We notwanted, we know, we know! We follow father, looking for trees. Father gone, so we go. Wegoback now, there, there, we going, please!” His mother had told him of a land of trees to the east, trees and water, between them and the rising of the sun. They had gone, sneaking by night, hiding by day, to see if they could live quietly and better there.

They couldn’t.

So she was taking them back, back to the wasteland, the living waking nightmare... where at least they were wanted a little.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/540/qZagz1.jpg)

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/909/1t4hdB.jpg)

Itchynose didn’t remember much of when he and his sister had been born. When or where. Other than in the east.

And only in his dreams.

The thing had let them live. Because they were female apparently; but of no use to that thing, or to the other soft-skinned monkey creatures they protected. They had their own females and didn’t need a goblin woman.

Goblins did. Goblins and orcs. Some women bred as quickly as they could; others built settlements, harvested food, whatever their talents especially gave.

The boys learned to fight, for food, supplies, to protect their village, their tribe. Orcs fought for fun as well. That didn’t seem even human to Itchynose: goblins, as the “orcs” mockingly named them, never fought for fun, but because they had no other choice. Better to run if possible. But hunting did make some goblins a little good at fighting. And orcs fought each other so hard they usually didn’t have time or energy, not even soldiers usually, to bother attacking goblins.

Usually.

Not when goblins lived in numbers.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/901/rT45S3.jpg)

Still, they could barely keep those larger subhuman “orcs” from stupidly raiding for food, smashing for fun. Goblins lived miserable lives, women in often fruitless and hopeless labor, men in scrounging for food and giving what little protection they could, in return for taking whatever the women could give. Orc women fared no better, Itchynose knew, maybe worse.

Those like himself who could creep through the trees and the hills and the swamps, could live the best life. Whatever there was of it, here where the southern rivers flowed up to meet together before plodding irresistibly north to the sea.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/661/0YfQkD.jpg)

But Itchynose dreamed of many more trees, more green, a sky more blue, and tall stone houses on hills, up in the sky.

East, between them and the sun.


Then came Ugraum Grableg to the village of Durzul.

He had punched enough of his fellow orcs in some village to the south, to get the survivors to give him a mob, with reinforcements at his request.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/910/hejXSP.jpg)

He had come north.

But not to raid.

Not exactly.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: jomni on January 06, 2015, 06:31:58 PM
Wait, you mean Fantasy Wars is an iteration of Fantasy General?  I kinda forgot about Fantasy Wars. I was meaning to pick it up years ago.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 06, 2015, 06:32:45 PM
Introduction

Ugraum held up a hand, clad in armor like brick, palm behind him, toward the mob. They stopped their advance, despite their evident lust for the goblin village now in sight.

Also now in sight, a gathering of goblin men, showing themselves in the grass, carrying simple spears, between the orcs and the village.

Itchynose wasn’t among them. Itchynose wasn’t stupid. He and other single scouts had warned the village of orcish approach, and for their service could hide with honor nearby, able to take whatever news to women fleeing or huddling in the tiny village as they chose.

His sister was there, and his aged mother. Some of his brothers waited in the path of these subhuman monsters, some of his cousins and uncles. Other sisters and cousins and nieces and aunts fled or huddled nearby. He didn’t have many uncles. Men didn’t live to be old in the Waste.

Ugraum approached the squad alone, walking up to where they waited beyond where a path forked to go round a hill.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/673/wMglj4.jpg)

“I want you to know,” said Ugraum.

“I want you to know I have learned.

“You see this sword and its carvings? I know what they say. You see this shield and this armor? I made them myself from the hides of my foes.

“I learned, how to grow stronger.

“I learned why the monkeys are strong enough to live where there is food and water for all. Why they are strong enough to keep us here, fighting each other until we die.

“Why they, and not we, were strong enough to kill the demon Farrahk, long ago.

“I know my purpose in life now.

“To teach what I have learned, to my fellow humans.

“But not everyone will want to learn.

“The lessons will be hard. Hard to learn, hard to bear.

“Those who are willing to learn, will follow me into the east. To the land that is not a waste.

“Those who are not willing to learn, will die.

“I have come here to teach, or to kill. I am ready for both.

”For I have learned.”

So saying he held out his sword, as heavy and old as stone.

“Will you be willing to learn? The choice of paths is yours.”

They looked to the left and the right, at the paths around the hill, leading to our village.

“The path you walk,” called Itchynose, walking out of the westward grass. “If it leads to the east, then I will follow you.”

Ugraum eyed him. “You talk alone as you walk. Very brave. And you do not ask if this path will spare your village?”

“Your path to the east leads through my village. Through my family. Whether they live, or whether they die, I cannot change that. Neither can they. They can agree, or slow you down. We don’t have the strength to stop you.

“But we can learn.”

He nodded, “If you will.” And eyed the goblin squad again.

“OI!” shouted an orc from the mob behind. “You said we was gonna go kill us some gobbies!”

“I fully expect we will. But you have not learned, yet: they can join us instead.”

The orcs erupted. “They ain’t orcs!” “They ain’t even fit to eat!” “Maybe they’re fit to cook for us!” “Goblins’re good with pots and pans, yeh?” “Yeah! What’re they s’posed to be? Pans orcs? -- the orcs that wash our pans!?”

Then Ugraum turned to return to them.

Not long later, Ugraum had fewer orcs in his mob.

“If I say so,” he said as they cowered, “you will learn to wash their pans.

“For those who won’t learn, will die.

“Who among you hasn’t learned this yet?”

Some of them raised their hands, not having quite grasped his question; but Ugraum understood they meant no rebellion, and only sighed with a roll of his eyes as other orcs slapped them down and tried to explain that they had learned, learning was good --

“And who among you, in your mob, would stand to talk to my face, if you were only a skinny, little, panicky goblin?”

The surviving orcs hastened to reassure him they would never dream of doing such a thing.

He sighed, again, and shook his head. “You see what I have to work with,” he said as he turned to address the goblins. “They will learn better, I promise. Or they will die. I also promise that.

“At least one of you is willing to learn to be better.

“For the sake of your village: will there be more?”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/537/7X2PtI.jpg)

There were.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 06, 2015, 06:35:42 PM
Wait, you mean Fantasy Wars is an iteration of Fantasy General?  I kinda forgot about Fantasy Wars. I was meaning to pick it up years ago.

It was originally intended to be a direct remake! -- but the devs lost the rights to the intellectual property, or maybe never got it secured in the first place. So they just took the rules, with their upgrades, and their new graphic engine and art, and wrote a whole new and much more detailed story. It isn't nearly as epic as fighting back to save the world from a demon by starting in the hind end of Australia ;) , but it's okay. Very warhammery.

I'll be talking about the similarities and differences in how the engine work, compared to FG, as I go along.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 06, 2015, 06:36:56 PM
Those screenshots, by the way, are all in-game, though a few are in-game cutscenes.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 06, 2015, 06:56:46 PM
Fall of 631 -- Goblinfall

“What is your name?”

He didn’t answer Ugraum at first. He opened his mouth a few times and shut it again. But finally answered, “Itchynose.”

“I won’t ask why your people thought to call you that. I think you will earn a better name. I look forward to learning what it is.” Ugraum stood not far behind his first goblin recruits, speaking with his first goblin lieutenant.

“Why are they behind us?” The goblin meant the orc mob.

“Because they still call you ‘pans orcs’. I could order them to stop, but then I would have to kill them if they didn’t; and even if they did, I would rather you earned them to stop of their own accord.”

“And that is why we’re in front of you.”

“Partly. Also to help you learn one of your coming roles, in our corps.”

“In our dead corpses...?!? You want us to loot the dead?”

[Gamenote: orcs start out as “mobs”, goblins as “looters”. Also, usually I should get an opportunity to position my troops on the field like in most Panzer Generalish mission starts, but for some reason all three campaigns deny that part for their first missions. Normally I would put the slower orcs farther ahead. Speed is important in any PGish game, this one included. So since I can’t, I figured I ought to explain why.]

“No. We will be a living body. Perhaps I should slur the word so that it will sound different, and help avoid confusion of what I mean.”

“Corpz?”

“Not the slurring I had in mind, but it will do. My orcs will like it better. Sounds tougher to them. Did you know that we ought to be called the Uru Kinder?”

“Never heard that before.”

“Probably ‘orc’ was a derisive slur; perhaps even by goblins, our cousins. But it sounded tougher to my people eventually. So they used it to mock the people they defeated.”

“...are you one of the Uru kin, then?”

“We all are.

“Tell me, do you think of those goblins over there as your kin?”
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/siiFkT.jpg)

Itchynose spat.

“So, if they refuse to learn, and I swat them out of the way, you won’t be upset?”

“Not hardly.”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/905/h1IGRL.jpg)

“They refused to learn,” Ugraum said, when the ‘pans orcs’ caught up to him some minutes later.

“Don’t make the same mistake they made.”

Itchynose spat again. “Not hardly.”

“Are you sure you aren’t making it now?”

In reply to the goblins’ panic, Ugraum added, “Try to stay in cover as you advance. They met me in grassland, rather than in the rough or on the hill. Not that it would have mattered against me. But, it might matter against whomever you yourselves will be fighting first. Or against who first attacks you, rather.”

The goblins swallowed their panic, and loped forward a little more, staying to the left of the hill where the ground was rougher.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/674/kIoycE.jpg)

The orc mob ran up eagerly on Ugraum’s right; he waved them on ahead, but they were soon out of breath and had to stop in the middle of the path on the other side of the hill, out in the open.

Ugraum sighed, but didn’t complain.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/913/bVl68K.jpg)

The village of Azgor was built of trash -- like Durzul but bigger. Bigger compared to Durzul.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/905/XU2PLS.jpg)

“Why,” Ugraum asked as he passed his troops but paused to assess the situation, “is there a path leading to a withered tree?”

“It’s haunted,” Itchynose answered, trotting up nearby for orders on where to move his squad next, while they rested in the rocks of the rough.

“A path leading to a haunted tree? Who told you it was haunted?”

“They did. Those thieves from Azgor.”

“I’m not surprised,” he sighed. “Go learn better. Not too close, in case you are jumped by whatever might be waiting there,” he chuckled, and waved up his 1st Orc Mob on his right again.

“Oi, boss! We wants to kill some gobbies, too!”

“I know. Go on, learn better.”

They did.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/YSPcE9.jpg)

“I see those ‘gobbies’ gave you as good as they got, hm?”

“...well, they didn’t give us much!”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/x5Xvqn.jpg)

“I didn’t expect any different, don’t worry. But you, how many of you have raided goblin towns before?” Many of them eagerly raised their hands. “And how many of you still expected to overrun them easily, when you both have equal numbers but they have defensive strength built into their town?!” More eagerly raised their hands -- but then wondered if they had made a mistake when Ugraum shook his head and muttered under his breath.

Azgorian goblins, meanwhile, waited at the haunted tree.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/mzV4Fu.jpg)

“That tree! -- it wasn’t haunted!” Itchynose reported back to Ugraum.

Ugraum checked a sigh. “I hope you followed instructions and so weren’t ambushed.”

“No, we pulled up short in the rocky ground the path was running through, just before the tree.”

“Good. Good defensive ground for you, just like the trees are for them.

“Now attack them.”

“...what?!”

“You have enough sense to know the fight will be even at best. Good. I could probably throw them out tomorrow, for you to search the tree unharmed, but you will need the experience later. They will not. Not in this life.”

Soon rough spears of clunky metal scrap were striking sparks against each other.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/910/PgNHq3.jpg)

“We lost five. Them only four,” the goblin squadleader reported back later.

“That may affect my plans. I was hoping you would be able to keep on fighting them, as my mob and I secured this village and looped -- “

“Oi, boss! A mob of orcs on th’ hill over there, southwest!”

Ugraum snapped his head around. “That... was unexpected.”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/sBxTr7.jpg)

“They must be thinkin’ of robbin’ th’ city that we’s was thinkin’ of robbin’!” the mob-boss snarled in disgust.

“Probably. They may not see us yet. Good eye,” Ugraum admitted, with some reluctance. “I would have seen them, but was blocked by this copse of trees; you saw them despite your battle.

“You must stay there and fight alone,” he instructed Itchynose. “Don’t be destroyed, run away if you get too weak. But stay and fight as much as possible. By tomorrow we shall have claimed this town and extended our supply; I hope to be able to bring you some reinforcements.”

“Fightin’ for a tree. meh,” the mob-boss muttered and stomped away to prepare for the morrow.

“This isn’t about the glory,” Ugraum began, for Itchynose, but...

“No matter, boss.” Ugraum raised his brow at this impertinence, but the little goblin continued, “I understand.

“To be better than we are, we have to learn.”

That afternoon, however, the goblins protecting Azgor ran out to strike at the weakened ‘pans orcs’.

The goblins at the tree also quickly retaliated.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/O4qqi7.jpg)

The poor ‘pans orcs’ were slaughtered.

But though forced to retreat...

“...at least we didn’t break,” reported Itchynose. “Boss. We couldn’t stand but we didn’t break.”

“Against odds of almost 2 to 1. You could have been wiped out. They acted well in concert.”

“Ha ha, the little boyz ran away!”

“They can call me ‘general’ now. You are only allowed to call me ‘boss’. For now.” The orc mob quieted in some confusion. “Unless you are referring to the goblins who repelled your attack and inflicted equal losses on you.” Growls of embarrassment. “But they will defend much better now in rough countryside than in their little town. You will find them harder to kill than before, not easier.

“Take the tree that they have abandoned,” Ugraum told his goblins. “Perhaps you will be able to heal your wounded there tomorrow. But be ready to defend yourselves again.

“Take the town,” he told the mob.

“I will flank them from the north -- and take their lives.”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/80V5uq.jpg)

“Us! Jus’ take the town, without more fightin’?!”

“I fully expect you to fight some more, when those orcs who disappeared last night show up again. Possibly when the goblins try to retake their town. Be ready.”

Itchynose’s battered squad found fifty gold pieces hidden in and around the tree!

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/nveCzU.jpg)

As the orcs and Ugraum marched into little Azgor, their chieftain Arra hobbled out to meet them.

“Half our menfolk ran away to fight instead of defending us,” he observed in a tired and withered voice. “The other half were out hunting and have only just returned.”

“Too late,” Ugraum warned. “Those archers can pelt us if they want, but we will easily survive in here, and then run out tomorrow to kill them.”

“Not too late to offer to join you, though, against those worthless traitors.”

Ugraum laughed. “I admire those who can learn! I accept! Be ready tomorrow to fight; and be on watch today: more orcs, not my own, are running around.”

“That,” Arra said, “is what they were hunting. But they only found you. Too late, as you say.”

“Watch them,” the uru general warned the mob-boss as the old chief tottered away. “But let them stay outside. If they help you against an attack tonight, or at least don’t shoot at you, we’ll know for sure.”

Then he ran out and charged into one of the Azgorian squads. From him they soon fled in terror, into the dead woods near the dead tree.

The other Azorgian squad soon made the mistake of attacking him; and just as soon fled in terrified defeat, bodies thrown high in the air by his great stone sword.

“Hm. Invigorating but tiring in its delay.”
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/DKseXR.jpg)

Despite being wrecked by Ugraum and broken, the goblins retreating into the trees attempted to strike at Itchynose’s squad, fighting about at parity. This time the ‘pans orcs’ won; the other goblins quickly found a hill to set a defense while licking their wounds.

“Let them have their tree if they want,” Ugraum instructed. “We are behind my schedule for the week. Come, take the town, and rest tomorrow if you can. Mob-boss; go scout that stone circle which Arra says is waiting up the path to the north.”

“We’re no creepin’ scouts!”

“Do as I say, and learn better. Our new archer friends can come up behind you, allowing you to protect each other. Unless you’re afraid to have them at your back...?”

The mob ran out at hearing that; but found the archers had already moved up and were shooting at something in the ring -- from a safe distance.

“Ghost wolves!” they called to the orcs, who laughed and ran on ahead of such superstitious cowards.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/yv0i9J.jpg)

Fortunately, the wolves were only spectral instead -- able to be shot, or hit with a cleaver, echoes of the packs which hunted the woods, brought to a semblance of life by the protective magic bubbling through the circle.

Neither arrow nor cleaver killed many. But more than either separately could.

The mob pulled back a little to rest for another assault on the morrow; the archers hoped the wolves would attack the orcs and not run out and around to flank them to bite the goblins instead!

Ugraum told his orcs he spotted the enemy mob again on a nearby hill as he ran up to help protect one flank -- and to get the aid of the archers in defense should the mob attack, though he reckoned they probably couldn’t see his ‘corpz’ advancing on the stone circle.

Itchynose couldn’t quite make it to the town before night, and so chose to rest in some rough ground nearby, in case its goblin defenders tried to hit his ‘pans orcs’ again.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/674/zFQ8KG.jpg)

As expected, the spectral wolves indeed fanned out wide to hit the goblin archers from some nearby hills.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/nOYEes.jpg)

To their credit, the little archers actually drew short swords and counterattacked! The wolves, stunned by this courage, were unable to mangle the goblins: only three were wounded, none died!

[Gamenote: those wolves would have been even more surprised if this had been Fantasy General rather than early in a Fantasy Wars campaign: archers in the earlier game would have been allowed to get off an unanswered defense shot first, and then gone into melee. In FW, that’s an ability which archers may earn later. I had forgotten the archers wouldn’t be able to defensively pre-empt an attack like that yet; but much to my surprise they weren’t completely slaughtered. Spectral wolves are a bit naff, as they say on the other side of the pond.]

“Ignore the wolves for now!” Ugraum said. “Archers, search the circle! Mob, run on toward Ashnar, through that path in the trees! Itchynose, tell your goblins to hold -- “

“You may need us in the final assault, general. If you are in such a rush, we won’t have time to rest and then help you.”

Ugraum paused, then agreed: “But stay hidden in that copse of trees along the road as you approach. You’ll have better defense there than in the village anyway. We’ve taken what gold we can from it; maybe it will distract one of the groups in our rear and they will retake it rather than attacking us. Meanwhile...”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/633/DDPFbN.jpg)

“...I shall lead the way past that mob!”

But Itchynose thought that Ugraum was looking dangerously tired, despite his impressive victory there near that hill.

And moreso after the mob repaid his assault with one of their own -- but they themselves ran away broken, actually seeking refuge from the goblin town they had been too afraid to try raiding!

“...tomorrow,” Ugraum panted as he sent word to his scattered corpz, “...I shall drive the defenders out of that town. Be ready to take it.”

“Oi, them gits’re runnin’ to little goblins to protect’em!” Ugraum’s orc mob laughed and with a surprise attack from the fields between the woods, wiped them out -- roaring their victory afterward. “No mobby boyz ta help ya now, little gobbies!”

More quietly Ugraum’s new archers abandoned the stone circle after another bitter struggle from a spectral wolf attack, and found some trees to hide in on the way to Ashnar.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/911/VvvFoq.jpg)

Fortunately, only the spectral wolves felt compelled to return to their ‘home’. The other wandering groups, battered by the lightning advance of Ugraum and his corpz, stayed too frightened to even retake the villages he had seized.

“Now, my corpz. I will reward you handsomely if you can take this town today, only one week since we started in this region.” Ugraum stretched, well rested in the morning sun. “First, archers forward! Soften them up! And tell me if they have pulled in any archers themselves overnight.”

They did. And they hadn’t.

“FOLLOW ME, BEHIND MY BLOWS!”

But despite Ugraum hurling goblin defenders in all directions, they stayed stubbornly rooted in their town.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/912/7WQ5Ja.jpg)

“Mob! -- come around from the north and assault!”

Not many more goblins were killed, but after a tiring battle they couldn’t resist fleeing outside their town.

But the mob was too tired to advance and take possession.

“Pans’ers!” cried the mob. “Come on then, take th’ town!”

And they could. For they had not held back before.

And they did.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/PZ1ktb.jpg)

“Are you the hexer of this region?” Ugraum asked a little green-cloaked figure as the enemy goblins nearby capitulated.

“Yes, I am Sho-doon! I, uh... I have prepared you a present, over at the circle of stone! I can show you!”

“I already met and left behind your spectral wolves -- they were glad to see me leave. And I found your present already: this mummified hexer eye. Yes?”

“...oh. Oh, yes, that is exactly it! Now you can see what cannot be seen, and see it farther, too!”

“Hm. And you, my little mob of orcs. Do you see that we would not have come so far so quickly without your little ‘pans’ orcs? Did you see them fight outnumbered and live, throwing back enemy after enemy assault? Do you see them battered here but unbroken?

“See.

“And learn.”
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 07, 2015, 04:52:29 PM
631 Winter -- Discontent

“Your messenger said my goblin scouts returned, my general?”

“Yes, Lieutenant. My goblin scouts returned.”

“...apologies, general, I meant no disrespect.”

“I know. Though your kind, and mine, know little more than disrespect for anyone. Even the names that goblins grant in apparent honor are subtle insults. Grableg, for example.”

“...I am sure... that is, I had heard it was due to how you tore some orcs apart for rebelling against your intention to recruit us. In that mob?”

“So I also heard. And not for pulling myself to power by making goblins drag me along?”

“I can’t deny that’s possibly true. You slew many goblins, my general, and we are just as resentful a people as orcs. But if I may say so, that seems like a meaning the orcs would want to give.”

“I doubt they have the stomach or the wit, unfortunately.” Ugraum smiled. “Let it be what it is: my dream is to grab my peoples by their legs and drag them into the future together. If they thank me later, they’ll change the meaning or else the name. I don’t believe that ‘Itchynose’ will ever have a better meaning.” His first lieutenant shuffled at that. “But, I fully believe you will earn a new and better name someday. A name of true respect.

“Now, let us consider your goblins’ reports -- whom I can be quite assured that you will not lead in some revolt.”

“Why not?”

“Because, you are clearly more reflective than most of your people, and insist on your own responsibility. You will also insist on them growing to be more responsible.

“And that, in the end, is all I want for us, little maker.”

“Maker?”

“Cobbler, put more commonly. But even common cobblers make the world. And make history.”

Itchynose deeply bowed, and stood aside as Ugraum signaled for the first of the scouts to enter. They had been told not to talk with one another yet, and were being watched by orcan guards outside the tent. Inside, only Itchynose had been allowed to hear and discuss their findings.

Afterward Ugraum declared: “Most of what they said was trash.”

“Agreed. But they didn’t know yet what to look for. Neither do I, to be honest, general.”

“Perhaps I should have been more specific,” the great orc mused. “I thought I would learn more by hearing unfiltered impressions from them without them trying to match what they thought I wanted. Still, I think I heard enough to decide.”

“Where to attack the monkeys?”

“Those who hold the key in their hands. Yes. Here seems best to start our campaign along the line of their fortifications.” He set a goblin-made tamp of cross swords on the nearby map.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/pV1jbM.jpg)

“You mean by not attacking their fortifications, but their outposts.”

“Of course. My new goblins have trained very well -- especially your ‘pans orcs’! -- and even my orc mob now looks more like a proper squad than a mob, armed with steel weapons and armor with which to stab...” he meant to stab with their armor as well as their swords, “...but they are no match yet for soft monkeys; not in their hills of stone and bright steel shells.”

“You could take us back to unify the Wastelands instead.”

“And I may. I would rather our fellow humans follow us out of admiration for our deeds -- though I will compel by fear and death if I must.

“If I must, then let my little corpz of squads be salted even more.

“By the time we march to the marshes south of the northern shore, winter will be hard upon us. We will muster here, at Ghoshzar, where goblins will be glad to see us bringing them food to quell their biting hunger.”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/674/vHSUJk.jpg)

“Food from the monkeys, you mean.”

“They have it. We can take it or else we can’t. Isn’t that how we have lived our lives? Isn’t that how we better our lives? Isn’t that what it means to insist on our rights? -- to ruin other lives for our gain?”

“...yes?”

“Think on it. And gather our people to march.”

The first squad of goblin archers had gathered another squad, and by the time they arrived at the end of the year the first had improved by teaching some basic competency to the others.

Itchynose’s “pans orcs” had swollen so full of recruits that he thought it best to split them into to two more specialized groups. One had better armor and spears; Ugraum himself had trained them to defend their lives and so they had hardened a little under his blows.

The mob of orcs continued to mock them: “Lookit th’ little orky-boyz, marchin’ around in their pots an’ pans!” But so long as Ugraum praised their improvements they tried to pay the taunts no mind.

Other goblins, faster runners and quieter in the woods with stones and slings, Itchynose had gathered for his own special training -- gathering a variant nickname, too, along the way: ‘Pansy orcs’, for they wore no armor and preferred to work in the grass under trees.

“Pansies,” said Ugraum one night as the troop returned to camp from training along the marching path of the corpz, “are such tough little flowers, they even will bloom in the snow.” That didn’t stop the taunts; the orcs thought Ugraum agreed with their derision.

But Itchynose knew better. And so did his ‘pansies’.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 07, 2015, 04:57:33 PM
The pansy squad was waiting outside the wretched scrap of Ghoshzar, when Ugraum’s slower troops finished their march from a larger orcan village back in the south.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/674/m3XhOc.jpg)

“That monkey fort is recent,” Itchy reported after checking on his ‘pans’. “Streidorf. They haven’t bothered to bother the goblins here yet, regarding that orcan village off in the distance there to the west as more of a threat. That is where their own scouts go. But they avoid the cave down this path.”

“We shall soon teach them the error of their fears,” Ugraum promised. “And push them back out of Ur Kind land.”

“Oh great master,” Sho-doon whined, groveling as he approached from the litter on which he had been carried. “I have been tasting the sky!”

Ugraum stopped the orcan hooting at hearing that, with one raised hand. “That is why I brought you,” he agreed. “And for other reasons.”

“This good weather will only last three weeks. Then,” he shuddered his withered old frame, “I wouldn’t want to live outside.”

“He knows what it means to live outside,” the giant orc forestalled more laughter. “Be silent. Better yet, be swift: I want to find this region’s main fortress and fell it in only ten days! Then, the local monkeys will flee, and we will have plenty of time to loot them clean and prepare for a nice, contented winter in the homes that they have built.

“That new little fort is unimportant. Sho-doon, guide most of our forces into the forest and then across the river: that new fort must be an extension, and the monkeys come from across the river, so I surmise the main fort will be there. This way, we can attack from their rear, cutting off their intrusions. If they have built a bridge, we can cross it back this way with much less resistance.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/W4XAdU.jpg)

“Meanwhile, the pansies and I will go visit whatever may live in that cave,” he grinned, and winked at Itchy.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/912/7GK8uW.jpg)

“Be wary, O leader,” Sho-doon warned in his tiny voice. “I feel madness and death in that cave!”

But when the pansies got there, watching from the rocks nearby, they saw nothing.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/kloh2v.jpg)

Ugraum couldn’t reach the cave that day, so rested for the night on a hill behind the pansies, scouting out the land beyond in the light of the wintery sun.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/B5ESbB.jpg)

“That farming town, down the road from the fort,” he told Itchy that evening as the two shared information: “that will be an important first opportunity for us to learn.”

“Learn what?”

“The key the monkeys hold in their hand. And also much loot, which will please our people more. But once we have cut off their hands, then we shall take their heart.”

The following morning, the pansies carefully entered the cave. Unsurprisingly, they found that it had been recently claimed by a band of roaming orcs, currently absent. Itchynose found a carven axe, upon which animals’ throats had been cut, resting upon a little wooden stand. Taking it for himself, he heard his scouts whistling: the occupants were returning!

Berserker orcs. Fresh from hunting the night before, out in the nearby mountains. And greatly unhappy to find great Ugraum calmly camping himself on a hillock nearby.

“Join me for breakfast, if you wish!” he invited.

The madmen, brains burned out by captured goblin hexers in their tribe, howled in reply and rage.

“Join me, or die?” Ugraum asked. “Then stone shall be your final meal.”

They turned in fatal shock and surprise, as rocks slung out of the valley glen behind them: the pansies had crept around into position.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/674/CMNbO4.jpg)

Five berserkers fell before Ugraum charged in among them to teach them the meaning of fear.

At first they pushed him back, withstanding his charge and encircling him.

At first.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/Rs9Bdb.jpg)

Then they ran back to their hole, in shame and terror to hide.

“Leave them be; they have learned their lesson,” chuckled Ugraum. And the following day he left them in their cave.

“I don’t think our troops have quite crossed the river yet, or so say our couriers,” Itchynose growled, fingering his brand new ancient axe.

“Annoying, but expected. Let us try taking that wooden fort ourselves, you and I, and your ‘pansies’, together, eh?”

Ugraum, having the longer legs, ran around and up from the south, slaughtering all but one of a group of archery hunters who had come back to the fort and were cleaning their meat at some workshops outside the walls. The final monkey, by some miracle, repeatedly parried the great stone sword of Ugraum at least three times! -- in admiration the orcan leader let him run away back into the woods.

[Gamenote: I was distracted by a kitten and didn’t get a screenie for this; sorry...]

The pansies snuck up from the north meanwhile, and clambered to hang on the outer walls slinging stones down into the fortified settlement, wounding several spearmen.

Goaded thus, the militia mustered and ran out to spear the goblins -- only to meet a second hail of stones. At once the goblins bobbed and weaved in among the spears, slicing with their shorter swords, until the militia commander withdrew his men fearing a totally broken rout!

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/904/qdvpKi.jpg)

The next day Itchy’s goblins hunted down the surviving archers whom the stalwart monkey had managed to drag back into the woods overnight to bind up their wounds for fighting again. Ugraum, however, entered the fort, threw out its defenders, and demanded the mayor bring out enough gold to convince him to leave them in peace: specifically the coin intended to hire more militia!

“The couriers and advance scouts say my goblin spears approach the leading fort in the area, general,” Itchy reported that night, visiting Streidorf to send back supplies for his scouts who were camped in the woods nearby. “But that wing will still need a day or two more to gather before they can even get close to attacking the strong log walls.”

“Rather more annoying and unexpected,” growled their leader as he feasted near a fire, the monkeys huddling inside their homes. “Perhaps you and I should stay here and work on taking those farms ourselves. If so, I’ll want a day of rest to recover -- and if those fools outside attack, so be it. You can finish them off. Unless I beat you to it!

“Meanwhile, you go on up to that forest near the farms, to their east, and see what can be seen. Perhaps they’ll be fool enough to come out to attack you there instead!”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/H5Kv4K.jpg)

And that in a way was what happened: archers from behind the farms came forward with the report of the goblins; and taking up a better position, in the rough ground south of the farms, than in the grassland northward, they shot with impunity into the forest -- though only one goblin was wounded.

“You may have your town back for now,” the orcan leader announced on the morrow. “But leave before I return; for when I do, I will be bringing many more orcs like myself and those goblins outside. And don’t go hoping your fort across the river will help you. For they are being driven away as we speak! Heed my words: be gone.”

So saying, rested though weakened slightly from eating moldy leaves in a stew -- sent to him on magical winds across the miles and the river by Sho-doon -- Ugraum went out to the archers guarding the farms...

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/5meug4.jpg)
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/LMLoAJ.jpg)

...and showed them how much their resistance meant.

Itchy’s troops snuck up to the windmill wheatfarms, through the forest nearby, and pelted the peasants pitchforking there, emphasizing that point.

“This is working perfectly -- almost boringly so!” the orcan leader exulted that night when Itchynose came to confer with him. “The monkeys don’t really think we pose enough of a threat to send help from other towns, yet. That will change tomorrow -- but only if our main wing remembers to attack the rear of the fortifications. The part which is nearer the river is unimportant for our purposes.”

So over Noinstein dawned the seventh day.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/905/ewwER1.jpg)

A day of discontent from the hills behind them.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/kK93ge.jpg)

Sho-doon went forward into the trees -- and stopped as he saw...

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/nuKqgU.jpg)

...a caravan of farmers mustering up outside, ready to return to their fields after bringing the harvest safely into the capitol of the region.

“Don’t let them escape!” the aged little goblin keened. “They will call back the horses in steel!” And he spat an explosive dart, lofted by the chaos of his magic, down among them.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/quNnq2.jpg)

The ‘pans orcs’ darted in to hack and stab with their spears. The decimated farmers tried to flee, but archers ran across some swamps to nearby hills and finished them off. There would be no help for Noinstein.

The militia behind the heavy logs, however, easily shrugged off their own initial arrow volley. They would not be nearly so easy to beat.

Back at the Vainen farms, Ugraum finished off the archers who had recovered and reinforced in the rough there during the night; and with their slinging stones, the pansies drove the peasants away from the windmill area, advancing forward to loot it -- and to prepare to remove the militia next door.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/bhjTcP.jpg)

Hunters and peasants from Hanmoor, however, ran up to help in Noinstein’s defense against the main wing of Ugraum’s corpz, dueling with the nearest goblin archers. Could that nut be cracked in only three more days?!

Unwisely, the Vanein militia had sortied out to spar with mighty Ugraum -- and had paid the price, retreating and pulling their wounded back inside the fences. As the 8th day dawned, Itchy distracted them with a shower of wounding rocks, before Ugraum plowed down their fences and scattered the men like leaves. Most still survived, but ran away in a broken rabble.

“Take their heart and defend it,” Ugraum called. “I shall see what is happening at the capital fort!”

Hanmoor had more archers still inside, making any assault on the archers outside helping Noinstein (and supporting the nearby peasants as well) dubious. But with a carefully rolling wave, led once more by Sho-doon and his mighty explosive spitting, the archers in the copse between the village and the fort were mostly destroyed and driven away, leaving the peasants unsupported and easy prey for the Stabber Orcs now finally lumbering into the fray.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/903/WZrU9I.jpg)

With Noinstein finally shorn, its siege could begin more properly on the morrow.

The goblin army, with orc support, hit the defenders hard that morning: a special explosive lofted first by Sho-doon, then dedicated volleys from both archery companies. The men inside it weathered the rain as well as they could, knowing what was following: the orc mob, now decked in red armor and shields and swords, assaulting from the north through support buildings outside the walls. They were met -- and turned back, much to the orcs’ embarrassment. Later they would be told to learn from the monkeys, why a better defense saves lives and allows for long-term victories. To their credit they would learn this, and improve their armor accordingly.

At last on that day, the ‘pans’ attacked from the other direction, having moved up to base themselves in the glade of trees between Noinstein and Hanmoor. This still didn’t drive out the monkeys, who had been specially trained to fight in cities and also to never break from fear. But so surrounded, they wouldn’t be able to reinforce or even heal much overnight.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/907/8Y4m41.jpg)

Itchynose rested his troops that day, back across the river in Vainen, but as the peasants nearby began to plot how to take back their homes with what remained of the local militia -- Ugraum roared out of the woods, murdering them all and taking possession of the windmill fields again. He had seen that he wouldn’t likely be able to wend his way around to cross the bridge in time, thanks to an oncoming company of armored halberdiers backed with experienced bowmen.

“If our army can take the fort tomorrow, though,” he reassured Itchynose that night as they feasted on their looted gains, “we will have rent their hand and their heart, just as I said, and then without support the monkeys will cluster around their saviors... and flee.”

And so it happened just as he said. Despite the brave defense of the final defenders -- the last of whose unwounded spearmen held off all the orc mob by himself until they got tired and retreated, and almost held off the pans and their spears until collapsing from exhaustion! -- the looting horde took the capital fortress.

Peasants had also been dispatched from a farming enclave up the road to the north. When they arrived, they shook in terror to see what they had come upon:

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/gOtIaX.jpg)

... an Uru Kin horde, sweltering under the winter sun, holding and looting Noinstein.

They turned, and ran away.

Just as Ugraum predicted, the other remaining monkeys in the area quickly gathered around their far-more-armored rescuers, who took them safely away.

As the minor horde looted the region clean, Ugraum called his Stabber orcs to notice: “We couldn’t have done this so quickly without those goblins, those ‘pans’ and ‘pansies’ whom you mock. Now you can take it all, and rest, and we will be on our way back south to our homes before the winter storm arrives.”

His stabbers agreed only grudgingly.

“They held us back,” Itchynose complained. “We could have finished more quickly, if we had brought only goblins!”

“They did their part, and bled and died as much as the pans. They should not mock you; don’t you complain about them. Be better. Learn better.”

“What I want to learn is how to cross rivers with ease,” Itchynose mumbled. “And how to fight in monkey cities better.”

“Those will be important skills,” his general agreed. “We’ll work on them as we go.”

“I may be able to help a little now with that, Great Ugraum!” The goblin hexer crept into the shadow of the giant orc, holding forth a glowing blue orb. “This jewel was held in the capital fort! We killed them so fast, they couldn’t get it away! I can teach your troops to use it to freeze the water nearby; not so much as a lake, but with it they can easily cross any river! -- or you yourself, if you prefer,” he groveled.

“Well found, little friend.” Sho-doon beamed in surprise at being so addressed. “I will gladly receive your gift. Thank you.

“And do you think you jaw may actually strike the floor, my other little friend?” Ugraum laughed. “How many orcs have ever said that to a goblin! -- but now I say it to two of you. You have been loyal and valiant. You bled with me in raiding the heart; and Sho-doon here, I heard, was actually assaulted by the capital spears! You tempted them out and into a trap, did you not, my clever friend?”

“Yes, yes! I knew that I had two archery squads at my back in support!” the hexer cackled and danced. “They never even got near me, though they tried!”

“I heard that some of them did, and yet you frightened them so badly that they couldn’t bring themselves to even properly stab at you!” The withered old man simply writhed from being so praised by the great red orcan general. “Even the orcs will respect that I think.

“Yes,” Ugraum concluded. “All our Uru Kin will hear of our deeds this week, and what we achieved. We will go back, and gather more to join our cause.

“And those who do not learn better...” he grimly grinned.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 09, 2015, 04:00:27 PM
Early 632 -- The Majority

“For many Uru Kin the choice is simple,” Ugraum was saying. “They love war, and they love looting, and they hate monkeys, and we have done well at looting the monkeys with war. So they will join us.

“But not the majority.”

Sho-doon sadly nodded. “They hate each other too much. And so will hate us, too.”

“Or, they will be jealous,” Itchy added. “Of goblins leading the way. Of Ugraum for succeeding. Leaders will want to loot us from our leader, in effect, so that they can loot the monkeys and gain the honor.”

“There is no honor in looting the monkeys. And that,” Ugraum declared, “is something they never have learned.

“So let us teach it to them.”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/909/nB7amV.jpg)

“Here is where we will start. The Uru Kin to the west, though tougher, live in harsher lands, and so are fewer in number, without even any ideas about marching eastward to learn from the monkeys. Bringing them under my rule would be difficult and pointless, for now. Later they may join us of their own accord. If not, we will wipe them away and work on their lands ourselves.”

“Why would anyone want to work on those lands?!” Itchynose snorted. Ugraum flicked a glare in his direction, but continued without any reprimand.

“I worry about your axe, little friend. It helps you fight in battle more fiercely, true, but at the cost of some defense. I don’t want to lose you, or your pansies, if I can help it -- and certainly not to any careless brawling.”

“...if you mean to take it away... I will concede. As well as I can.”

“Well and wisely said!” Ugraum laughed. “But no, I was thinking rather of adding another squad of pans and pansies each; the pans, in their armor and spears, are naturally stronger on defense already, and I want the new squads to gain in experience fighting as much as possible.

“So move your leadership flag to your second squad of pans, and keep that axe. May you grow stronger with every strike!”

And so, having looped around to the west, deep in the winter desert, they came up from the barren south to the villages of Ghonk and Sharzulg...

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/N15fvs.jpg)

...to begin a march of consolidation northward.

“The goblins of the local villages join you without reservation, Great Ugraum!” exulted Sho-doon. “But others to the west do not believe the stories about you. They live in fear of trolls who come out of the caves across a canyon river at night to walk the land.”

“Good, we know where the caverns will be at least,” mused their leader as he studied a map hastily scribbled by their newest allies. “What about orc camps nearby?”

“To the north,” pointed Itchy. “Berserkers, maddened by goblin hexcraft, and thrown out to die, yet they thrive when not in the winter...”

“The orcses make us do that,” muttered the hexer.

“A practice I shall stop. Or control, if I can. If you have any good ideas about that, I mean,” Ugraum added to the nervously irate little man. “And beyond?”

“A town of orcs who breed and ride on bulls! Across the river.”

“Good, but the river presents a dilemma. Do I keep the freezing orb to use for myself, helping to cross the canyon river against the trolls? Or do I give it to someone in this line of advance to help secure the bridge?”

“You will be going westward, then?”

“Yes, Sho-doon. The trolls will need the firmest hand, and maybe the strongest sword...”

“May I suggest instead, general, you let me take the newest squads?” Itchynose bowed. “A full detachment of goblin scouts and archers and spears, and let me train them as we secure this flank. Lead our main army yourself, where you may help the most against the strongest threats, and then bank back around to the west and approach the cave of the trolls from behind. We will soften them up for you -- I learned today the spear-thrower cannon will surely be ready in time to fight with us! I will take that, with your permission. I even might say you should take both archery squads, to quicken your longer advance.”

Ugraum nodded, “Then let it be so. But take Sho-doon with you. You may still need more long-distance support, and he can heal us wherever we are, with his leaves on the wind. Also, the mads may respond to his presence... poorly. And don’t delay. To be ready for an invasion by the time of the earliest harvests, we need to bring in the majority of Uru Kin this season. That plan will be in jeopardy if we cannot take this region in only two weeks. Slowing our momentum will give our enemies on either side time to prepare against us. More than they already are.”

Preliminary pansy scouts arrived in Sharzulg about this time, and said, “We saw monkey scouts in the distance, leaders! There may be a raiding band nearby!”

“Amazing. The effrontery and gall, to come out this far in the winter. They cannot be allowed to escape and bring word of what is happening here,” Ugraum warned; and then left Sharzulg to catch up with the first advances he had instructed for the main army back in Ghonk.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/R9EtLF.jpg)

[Gamenote: actually, I couldn’t put all the troops I wanted over in Ghonk, so I had to put someone more than I wanted in Sharzulg instead, out at the edge of deployment. Storywise and tactically, Ugraum made the most sense, because he can run faster than anyone else right now, and so catch up eventually.]
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 09, 2015, 04:09:31 PM
So began the first campaign of Itchynose.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/901/ljFjL8.jpg)

The goblins manning the hurler [gamenote: sadly unanimated or even depicted], at their leader’s signal, aimed for the scouts on the hill down the road; ratcheted back the monstrous hammer mounted over the weapon’s frame; and then dropped it onto the forge-bellows; poofing a spear over hundreds of yards, to crash with a splintering smash into their midst.

“Scout that!” Itchy shouted. “Our old men shall spit on you in fatal derision! See!”

Sho-doon had been growling and muttering over being left behind, as he saw it; but on hearing this he cackled and charged ahead to loft an explosive ball of something into them, too. The monkey scouts retreated off the hill, toward the camp of their people.

“Not too far forward at once,” Itchy warned. “They may have many bowmen out in the distance where we can’t see. Let them dare to come to us. We have plenty of time, and none of you are very experienced fighters yet.” So his pansies took the first of the range of hills nearby, close to where the monkey scouts had been, while the pans stayed on the road with their spears, supported by Sho-doon. Itchy was gambling that no one had clearly seen where the hurler had shot from, and didn’t want to draw any more attention to it yet.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/y1aznj.jpg)

The following day, Itchynose ordered the careful strategy again: longrange bombardment, followed by Sho-doon’s explosive recon. This time the monkey scouts routed completely away, dragging their survivors, despite having been reinforced the previous night by the hunting encampment. Sho-doon’s sharp eyes told him at least one squad of archers waited behind the camp to support the spearhunters inside it.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/l4LCm2.jpg)

“Still plenty of time,” Itchy advise. “Let’s take it slowly.”

“Why not run up and drive off those hunters?” his sergeants insistently growled.

“We don’t know yet if they have archery support as well. And no real way to find out yet, without our own scouts getting too close to the archers that we can see.”

“But,” said his pansy sergeant, “we do need to keep going as far as we can. Let me run up the road to the side of the hill. The archers cannot shoot that far, neither the ones we can see nor the ones which might possibly be there, too. Then we can see what is there around the town.”

“And if they come forward to shoot you, you will have no protection!” Itchynose warned.

“They haven’t tried that yet, and their scouts could surely see the unprotected hurler, as well as most of us, sir,” the pans sergeant observed. “The worst that can happen is that the monkeys move up into a position that makes us easier to poke them apart. Some of us will be hurt and even die, whatever we do, if we continue. Let us do the job that you’ve been training us for. Sir.”

Itchy relented.

Not only did his pansies confirm the existence of another supporting archery squad -- which helped to justify Itchynose’s caution, as his sergeants had to agree, if a bit grudgingly -- but they crept forward, still out of the range of the enemy arrows, and stoned the final scouts to death!

The pans, learning this, also moved up to the southern bend of the path, still out of bowshot but readier to run up into a breach that might be created soon.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/674/wJTLGR.jpg)

“We’ll drive out those thieving invaders even sooner, now!” Itchynose promised, as he and the sergeants met that night, back on the hill with Sho-doon. “Please accept my apologies, for trying to shelter you as long as possible. Oh, wait, did the stinking monkeys UTTERLY MURDER OUR PANSY SCOUTS with multiple archery volleys and an advance by the spears from their camp!?”

The surviving pansy sergeant hung his head in shame; the pans sergeant didn’t look any happier.

“Defense,” Itchynose stressed. “Defense, defense, defense. We didn’t have to be in a hurry. And now we are greatly weakened, while the monkeys have only slightly worsened their position.

“I don’t treat goblins as garbage to be expended. But after all,” he sighed, “this is my fault. I should have refused your suggestion. We will try to bring in some reinforcements for you as soon as possible, but this will slow our advance even worse than before -- for now we have fewer stones with which to drive the monkeys out!”

The third day dawned, with one of the monkey archery squads being pummeled in a crossfire by Sho-doon and the spear hurler.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/913/yt9TBL.jpg)

Between them they completely destroyed the archers outside the encampment! Itchynose tried attacking the camp itself, but mainly only managed to wound some defending hunters.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/913/3lExas.jpg)

This would leave all his goblins very much vulnerable to another concentrated counterattack, although the pansies had run away back to Sharzulg.

As it happened, the hunting archers ran out of the camp to take a hill and shoot at the spear hurler -- followed soon by the monkey militia! Yet the goblins had “cobbled” the machine quite strongly despite its appearance, and its crew briskly defended it from all the surrounding spears, even managing to kill a spearman or two.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/Yn5I7y.jpg)

Tiring out its assailants, the machine pulled back in good order that night, and moved back into the protection of the goblin village the following morning -- whence it threw spears in retort!

Sho-doon, by himself, ran into the camp, and attacked the militia from behind, weathering a shower of supporting arrows to do so. Not long afterward, Itchynose led his ‘pans orcs’ up into the hills where the archers had camped to free the road of goblins -- and slew them nearly all, driving them back eastward a little in a broken huddle!
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/risVBZ.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/rArHhR.jpg)

The enemy archers did snipe a pansy or two from there, but only after reinforcements had already arrived that day: the 2nd “pansy orcs” were ready to fight again on the morrow!

The surprisingly tough monkey militia managed to survive again barely on day 5, though they had to retreat to the foothills of the mountain range to the south of the road between their encampment and the goblin village. Their friends among the archers were all wiped out by the wrath of the spear hurler, however.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/pOoT3s.jpg)

It still took all of Itchy’s men to hunt the stubbornly resilient spearhunters down at last the following day in the cold and wintery wastes.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/QqSz3L.jpg)

“That was completely embarrassing,” Itchy grumbled that night. “Most of a week, wasted. I hope Ugraum is doing better.”

“I haven’t felt a request from him for healing anyone, though I was too busy to help in any case,” Sho-doon sighed. “But, great Axenose! Listen to what I heard from a monkey I caught in the camp! -- a wounded one, unable to fight. I made him talk, as only hexers can, hee hee hee!” he rubbed his hands and cackled. “They were here to hunt, but not hunting food, oh no! They had meant to hunt treasure, sir! Trollish treasure, washed down the river, down from their cave to the swamps.”

“Rot,” Itchy proclaimed, rubbing at his nose and wondering whether it might be shaped like an axe. “How could they possibly know that?”

“Goblins found it first! Hahahaha! Monkey hunters hunting saw them scurrying in from a distance to search the swamp, and saw them find it! Now the goblins have reinforced a monkeyman fortification in the swamp.”

“That might explain why the goblins west of here didn’t want to join great Ugraum,” pondered the sergeant of the pans.

“Shall we go out and take it?” wondered the pansy sergeant.

“We would be murdered in those swamps whenever they counterattacked,” Itchy shook his head. “But maybe we can spare some days of shooting them, driving them out long enough to go search the fort and see for ourselves. We need to gather together again, instead of being spread out so far anyway.”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/RsKbjB.jpg)

On the seventh day, Itchynose brought his goblins back together, near the swamp, where the spear thrower started seriously reducing the little spear defenders Sho-doon could see, but not yet reach himself with his tube.

“That is just as well,” he confided to the goblin commander. “For I felt Ugraum asking for healing sent on the leaves. He will be weakened for a day, but better able to survive -- I hope!”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/bdYAbK.jpg)

As Itchynose sent his pansies up ahead of his company, the dawn of the second week of his campaign, he learned to his grief that the goblin town ahead had been overrun -- by wild trolls!

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/D0SnQp.jpg)

“Doubtless looking for their lost treasure!” he ground his teeth in rage. “Which those imbeciles stopped guarding their people to find, and then to cower around!”

“Yooouuu! Yooooouuuu!! I SPIT IN YOUR DIRECTION!!!” Sho-doon screamed at the goblins in the swamp. And he did. And they died, and ran away.

“There shall be no survivors,” decreed the goblin commander. “Slay them now, with justice from the sky!” And so the crew of the hurler rolled it up, and slew them all, all who remained.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/R8tvXU.jpg)

And so it was named, “The Skyjustice Spear”.

[Gamenote: I've checked and reposted the img code for the previous and next screenies several times. They just aren't loading occasionally for some unknown reason -- the code is good. Oh well.]

On Day 9, Itchynose dared to instruct his pansies and Sho-doon to go ahead and begin attacking the trolls in town, hoping that they would counter attack outside their defenses and so be a little more vulnerable, especially with Sho-doon supporting the pansies. The wizened goblin’s keen senses detected more trolls nearby across the river -- including trained war trolls! A serious problem, though if they could be caught in the river, somewhat less of a problem. Itchy himself and his spearmen would be busy for a couple of days, slogging around in the swamp to find whatever the traitors had hidden.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/905/Unedua.jpg)

As Itchy had predicted, the trolls tried to beat the pansies to death; but with Sho-doon’s help they resisted, though with difficulty; and the trolls ran away, out of the goblin village, not even taking time to regenerate.

“Keep up the pressure!” Itchynose ordered by courier that night.

At dawn, the bruised and wounded pansies leapt into the village, having regained a little energy during the night, and ready to fight the trolls outside again.

Suddenly, HYENAS!

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/633/r4iADZ.jpg)

The pansies panicked, as well they might! -- but the goblins riding the hyenas explained, that they had been summoned for help by the villagers when the trolls attacked, and only had now arrived.

“Us, too!” the ‘pansy orcs’ wisely explained. “But we were too late; no one seems to have lived. Not too late for vengeance, though!”

“It is true,” Sho-doon agreed as he approached. “Look at the scarring on those trolls, yonder! We serve Axenose the grim, himself a commander under Ugraum the great! Axenose sends his regards, and will soon arrive with a special gift, um, for you, as a sign of our good will toward all our fellow goblins! -- if they will join us.”

“We shall see,” the leader of the riders said. “First, we must drive off the WHOOAAH!” --

-- for out of the sky, justice had fallen among the stony creatures.

“That is the vengeance of Axenose,” Sho-doon casually explained. “They will still be hard to finally kill, and we could certainly use as much help as you’re willing to give. But please, don’t interfere with us punishing these murderers.” And so saying he spit a bomb of acid far over the heads of the riders, who ducked in amazement. As a troll FLEW BACKWARD TO DIE FROM THE FORCE OF THE BLAST!

Its surviving fellow retreated to where the body had fallen, picked it up to stand on its feet, and turned to face its foes. Whereupon its felled fellow fell again, to rise no more.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/r8Zkax.jpg)

[Gamenote: that pretty much literally happened, by the way. You can see the DEAD TROLL flying off to where its surviving squad member retreated. I thought at first it had survived after all, because it was standing up afterward; but then it faded away.]

“Yeah!” the pansies distantly shouted... and threw a few rocks. And then ran back inside the village, just in case.

“We... uh... shall try not to get in the way,” the riders promised. And then ran to the far side of the trolls, to drive them back toward the goblins protecting the town, so that the creatures might not quite escape. It didn’t work, but they did wound a troll a little more.

Suddenly, giant mushrooms sprouted under the remaining troll, bursting in a caustic cloud around it as it choked and wheezed.

Sho-doon squinted, but said nothing, yet.

The trolls did try to attack the harrying hyenas, but were quickly repelled, sending them away -- to be promptly dispatched by the spear hurler first thing the next morning.

“Move along, move along quickly!” Itchynose demanded, as his pans left the swamp with their prize safely hidden away.

“But other goblin spears are coming out of the woods now...” sent the pansy sergeant by courier.

“Never mind, let them have their town back if they will leave us to scout the trolls and attack their village from a distance!” The squad of hyena riders rode up to find him at that time, and where the spears had been hurled from, too. Words and assurances were exchanged, and the riders rode on to find the troll king waiting in the village-cave, for want of a better term, across the river, along with three wild trolls.

And then, a ball of burning ice fell from the sky, engulfing the king, freezing him in place.

Sho-doon saw it fall but still kept silent.

He kept less silent when the troll king sent his minions across the canyon river to attack him in the forest!

Barely escaping with his life, the little goblin hexer then was surrounded by the goblin spears, who didn’t understand that this armed company had come to save the village. Viciously spitting in all directions, Sho-doon fended them off, and they retreated away from the village for now as he crept away to heal or die -- into the forest from where he had fled the original troll attack!

Just in time to see the troll king himself climbing down into the canyon, too frozen to move out of it that day.

“Quickly!” Itchynose screamed. “Avenge our assaulted elder! The other trolls don’t matter, slay the king while he is hampered in the river!”

Almost as if on cue, another blast of ice fell onto the king from out of the blue -- doing more than only slowing him down this time! He growled like crushing his own teeth to gravel with the pain, as the rushing water boiled with frost around him, ripping into his skin.

“What manner of commander are you?” shouted the rider leader, as Itchynose came forward to oversee the final assault, leaving behind his spears for now.

“...uh.” The little goblin stared in awe and confusion. “One who takes advantage for the victory! Let justice fall from the sky and...”

...and up in the sky, a boat rowed up, hanging from a bloated bag above.

And threw justice down on the trollish marauder. Also, bombs.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/MiFbuR.jpg)

“You... that...” the goblin riders could not believe their eyes. Neither could Itchynose exactly, though he could hear the goblin cheers from elsewhere in his company -- and in the airship now from nowhere.

“That,” Itchynose said, pointing his finger, “is not what I meant. This is.”

And lowly arcing over his head, just under the scrabbling goblin zeppelina as they frantically scooted aside -- flew a tree-sized pole, smashing the living daylights out of the troll.

He tried to flee, back into his caves on the other side of the river.

“YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO RUN AWAY!” Itchynose declared, raising his axe. “Sho-doon, my hexer, do you have enough strength for a final bout of vengeance?”

“...no,” the poor little goblin wept, and limped away to relative safety. “I am sorry. I am so very sorry, great Axenose. I tried.”

“I know,” the leader comforted him. “We’ll keep you safe among us. Those trolls will not get near us. We’ll get him next time. I promise.”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/674/M15shH.jpg)

Only some of the mounted goblins survived the next assault of the wild troll bodyguards.

The troll king laughed all night in rage, as he regenerated completely. Then in the morning, he ran out of his village-cave, back into the mountains.

He didn’t get far, before those poisonous mushrooms bloomed beneath his feet, causing him to gag and blister with sores -- reducing his ability to defend himself.

“Go!” shouted the goblin leader. “Begone, wretched king of running stone!” Signaling his newfound allies, anchored in the bombing blimp, he sent them after the crippled troll, and threw artillery, too. Broken and shatter, the troll king ran to the north even faster.

“Surely he will get away.” “Truly a shame,” the goblin riders said.

“I trust my main army to run him down; by now, they will have surely overcome whatever was on the other side of the river, and should be approaching him now from behind.”

The goblin riders laughed. “Over there?! Aside from a monkey fort of stone, there are orcs who ride on bulls! And, perhaps even worse, a chief reigns among the mad orcs, a giant red berserker orc, cleverer than most of his mind-damaged peers -- and stronger, too! He lives in a castle of stone! What army could you have brought, who are only a goblin, such that... that...”

A bright red towering orc, with two four-flagged ‘kon’ on his back, ran up out of the mountain pass behind the village-cave, and chopped the troll king down.

“...that is Bersargar...” the riders said in amazement. Another, even larger and better armored orc ran up behind him, and praised him loudly for his victory, though too far away to be heard in the wintery wind across the rushing canyon water.

“My allies.” Itchynose casually fingered his axe. “The troll chief is of no importance anymore.”
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 09, 2015, 04:10:34 PM
A few days later, Itchynose learned that the troll king had been captured and trained by mon-keys, explaining his intelligence and strange armor. He had escaped, and fought his way to be king over the trolls; a truly heroic tale.

And not quite brought to an end! -- the troll king survived, barely, only crippled unable to run anymore, and pled for the life of his people, offering their services if Ugraum would use them to war against the slug-like humanoids to the east.

Naturally, Ugraum agreed. And honored the king in front of his people, winning their hearts of stone.

“Soon we will be the majority!” Ugraum shouted over a victory feast, two days later; for he had completed this operation, as he called it, in plenty of time to keep his pressing advance while still consolidating his gains behind.

“And what,” croaked an orcan voice, “will you do with their lives, O Ugraum?”

The rowdy celebration of orcs and goblins, somewhat together, parted as a yellowed ancient orc approached -- wearing the garb of a hexer.

Sho-doon, still recovering from his ordeal, weakly spat out a brew he had concocted. “He must be who helped us, O Great Ugraum! He... he is much stronger than I,” the little old goblin admitted.

“Make way, minion,” the creature snarled, sending one poor goblin who was frozen in fear into gibbering madness. “I am Ash-shoon.” The goblin, unable to bear the mystical presence, fainted, never to rise again.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/674/7m48HO.jpg)

Ash-shoon trod him under and approached the banquet table.

“You,” murmured Ugraum, “are better, though.

“My friend.”
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: Martok on January 10, 2015, 05:38:01 AM
Dammit, Jason.  You're almost making me want to get this game.  >:( 
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 10, 2015, 07:11:55 AM
Stay strong. No new games for a while. :)

I originally wrote some sidenotes for Ugraum's half of the advance, but I decided not to include them. It's a lot easier (and relatively shorter) to focus on one part of a mission rather than on multiple parts; plus it gives a bit of dramatic tension to wonder just how the other side is doing. So I'll avoid taking snaps which might show it, or I'll do some ground-level peeks in that direction perhaps.

Which, in turn, is connected to one of my artistic goals: to get down in the weeds (and mushrooms and grass and flowers) from the perspective of the squads and heroes as much as possible, since the engine allows that. There's a ton of little artistic detail, and I admire the game artists hugely for thinking to put things in where no one probably would ever bother to look. I love to spend some time on each mission zooming around the map in corners that no 'piece' will probably ever visit, just to see the natural artistry that someone bothered to put there. Because no pieces ever do move there, it's hard to show that in screensnaps, but I try to pick some angles looking off in different directions at different heights and angles to give a little idea about them.

I'm not, however, happy with how a lot of the screenshots have turned out. There's a lot of important (not just trivial) detail-in-depth on the screen, whether zoomed down into the weeds or zoomed out to give a lay of the land and opposing forces, and that detail just doesn't show up well in 800w snaps.  :'( But that's also the only way to try to show the situation, too. (There's an overland map, but unlike other PGish games you can't see enough detail that way to 'play' the game. It has a lot of detail, but not the right kind for this purpose.)

Oh well. :) On with the show...
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 10, 2015, 07:21:49 AM
632 Early Spring -- Something Happening

“And why are you looking at land from this railing my friend? -- ha!” Reed felt a clap of a boisterous hand on his back. He knew by now the spearman sergeant wasn’t trying to be a bully, but... “See it rising and setting out there? Almost as if it’s disconnected from the sea and ship and sky, all whirling together, whoops!” Reed tried to throw up again and failed. Maybe he ought to eat a little more, so that when he tried and succeeded he might then feel a little better? “Now don’t feel bad, we’ve only just sailed down the coast by a couple of days, and soon we’ll be on dry land again, for months or years at a time, who knows? This could have been much worse. And might yet be: you haven’t seen the guts of men and goblin-kind. It doesn’t smell this fresh...”

“Do you seriously have nothing better to do right now!?” Reed snapped at his superior. A mistake? -- any punishment couldn’t be worse than this!

“Well, there’s always another railing on the other side of the ship, you know.” If that was a hint, Reed was prepared to take it, stumbling across the narrow deck of the trading ship. How could its deck be narrow when its hull bulged out below so far?!

“Hm, less to jostle about on this side.” -- the sergeant had followed him over. “Visually I mean. Maybe you’ll do better here.” Reed didn’t have to look to know he’d be clinically rubbing his chin in thought.

“If this is the better side, why didn’t you say so sooner?” Reed gritted between his teeth. Did it help that he did feel marginally better, watching nothing but water bob on this side of the ship?

“Wanted to see if you’d figure out or stumble on the difference for yourself.”

“I wanted to watch the land, in case there was something important over there. On the coast.”

“The ship has lookouts for that; and soldiers with much more experience on the water. Either of whom would know better what signs they might see of trouble on the land. Still, good idea, at least in principle.”

Just as the sergeant suggested, not long before noon the coastal ship turned its bluff nose south toward land. Reed steadily ignored it as long as he could; and felt genuine surprise when anchors briefly went down to hold the ship in place while rowmen deployed to pull the ship to the beach for disembarking.

Reed’s squad of peasants in training mustered on deck from where they had clustered in various places alone or together, gathering up their rucksacks and forks -- with which, back in Sylent for months, they had been training not only in how to spear a foe, but also how to catch and disarm his weapon. Or its. Did goblins count as persons? Or orcs? Reed had never seen either before, which was one of several reasons he had answered the call of Captain Pfeil for new volunteers.

Sergeant Brim brought out his militia, too, proper spearmen, the best of the regular forces in Captain Pfeil’s company. The best and the worst, sailing together; other squads were landing nearby with their kit and supplies, archery squads and javelin scouts with shorter spears meant for throwing or fighting in tangled woods. Hunters either way, irregular troops.

In good order, the two squads climbed down the netting and into the surf, to stumble up onto the shore. Even the militia took a minute or two to get their legs together, and didn’t look overly happy yet. Bags of supplies were roped down, and ported onto the narrow edge of sand by sailors. Supporting men and women now were picking their way down the nets to claim and pack up their kit behind the relative safety of the somewhat-deployed fighting soldiers.

“Here you are at last,” said Brim, to Reed while they waited. “This is what you signed up for. Though, like with the ship, you signed up for a lot you weren’t expecting!” he laughed.

“Something more than hay. Somewhere I’ve never been before...” The former farmer nodded in satisfaction.

“And where’s that?” muttered another peasant, looking around. “This doesn’t look too different from my aunt’s and uncle’s houseland at the beach.”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/905/oNw2WH.jpg)

“This is the far northern coast of Derenhalle, of course! Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten your briefing already, after a couple of days at sea! What!” snorted Brim, “did you think the trees would grow grass on their branches, and leaves grow out of the ground?!”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/674/AXQdcS.jpg)

The more experienced soldiers in the militia chuckled at that; some of the peasant soldiers joined in, too, after a moment. “Nature does look a little different farther down the coast, but not so much till you get to the Wastes. Even then, it looks like a lot of rock and sand, scattered with some different kinds of trees. Not enough rain,” Brim mused. “Here would look just as different if the weather shifted eastward a lot for a while.”

“I’m glad for the grass, I promise, I promise!” Reed stomped his feet, gripping with his toes. His boots and socks were slung around his neck till needed, so that the water wouldn’t foster rot.

Captain Pfeil came forward from where he had been: watching the hind supply-work being gathered, and paying the mate of the small flotilla the balance of their fee. And leading his horse to the grass, a fine white animal.

“All troops accounted for? Very well. Scouts forward, archers next. I don’t recall a village here, so find us a place to camp. Spears will set a baseline here to retreat behind if necessary: we don’t know how far the goblins have pushed yet in raiding.”

Throughout the day a first encampment was scouted thus, and set, while the sailors with soldier help took on some local game and vegetables and potable water. Reed and the other peasants naturally ended up putting the camp together, mostly, along with their porters. But in fair return, they got first pick of bedding spots, essentially getting to camp in the camp where others would only visit -- or rally around and in, in a fight.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/674/0ZlEVQ.jpg)

That evening, the scouts sent back news: the approach of probably-friendly civilians. A host of them. “That can’t be good,” Brim said, and the archery sergeants agreed. “Come here lad.” He drew Reed aside. “Now, the other sergeants and I have long thought, and agreed, that you, in your group, were most likely to keep your group alive and in order. So we’ve asked and made our recommendation, and now you’ll be sergeant, too, see? But don’t get ideas. You answer to us. We’ve got the experience, see? You’re like, an under-sergeant. Like an under-rower, yeah? But you’ve got potential. Just need salting a bit.

“Now, you delegate someone you think is the most responsible man to keep watch on the wagons, and then you come up with us, and let us listen to what these people say to the Captain. Some of us might give advice. You won’t. You keep your mouth shut, unless it’s so important that people might die RIGHT NOW! Got it?”

So they went forward a few minutes later, all the sergeants, Reed included, leaving their troops behind to sort into a defensive scheme as ordered.

The people looked harried. And grateful. “Thank heaven! -- and Saint Marcus!” they cried. A local mayor came forward.

“Are you Captain Derrek Pfeil? We’ve been waiting for you! Is... is this all you brought...?” the elder blanched and started to shake in fear.

“Before we turn tail and give up in trying to help you already,” the Captain smiled and tried to sound reassuring, “tell us how bad it is.”

“They overran our village, Harsefield, just down the road. The last we heard before they cut us off, the other towns in the region were being attacked as well, more or less together.”

“And what of your soldiers? Where are they gathered now?”

“Who knows?! Most of them were called away this winter, down southwest across the river beyond the fortline. News of some goblin army there, surging into our settlements. Some came back, but not near enough, talking of some red monster orc and a sword of stone! We haven’t seen him, but then this spring a wave of goblins crossed the river behind our forts. Apparently the north one fell?” the mayor guessed. “Noinstein?”

“And naturally during the winter, news confirming its fall did not arrive in time,” the Captain folded his arms and looked at the countryside around.

“Some halberdiers and bowmen managed to bring back some towns of people, but they had not reached the fort or its nearby river town before they had to retreat. They were our best defense. It took the goblins a week or more to kill them all...” the mayor heaved a shuddering sigh.

“All right. Camp here with us tonight, and I will speak to the commodore of the little fleet behind us. Sylent’s leaders will pay them to take you back to safety if necessary; until then you can stay on their ships, and help them resupply. We’ll push on ahead with what we have. If we stop sending back couriers for... let’s say three days, or if the goblins get past us, then the commodore will have his instructions already: leave us behind,” and Reed distinctly heard his own throat dryly click at hearing Captain Pfeil, “and maybe then Sylent or else King Victor will send a larger force.”

So the arrangements were made.

That night, Pfeil gathered the men together closer into the camp for protection, making his rounds between them to tell them the situation more fully. The squads of Reed and Brim were set on their watches close enough together for him to address them both -- while pickets looked away, off into the night.

“King Victor did not know things would be this bad,” he told the men, “but then again we don’t really know how bad they are. We are a decent company of troops to handle a push by goblins. I wouldn’t have come here at all, if I hadn’t hired and trained enough to repel enough goblins to overrun the area. We’re just too late, at worst, that’s all, the area’s already overrun. If so, that’s to our advantage in a way: the enemy will be dispersed and looting and celebrating, while we remain concentrated in our line of advance. We will push south, and after we’ve cut off their retreat, we’ll swing west and see how much help the folks in Keilerstein really need, perhaps relieve a siege there: they are the largest stone town in the region, almost a fort itself.

“We are small enough that if we can’t handle the situation by ourselves, we can still live off the land, moving around from place to place, until help arrives, spoiling and harassing our foes.”

“Heh, the Sylent mercantiles will be perfectly glad to rent out more mercenaries to Victor to help!” Brim opined. “They hated paying your wages, once they realized that all the political talk in the north didn’t mean that anyone really was going to try to take their city. Now they can use us for profit!”

“Which means we can profit more, too, of course,” retorted the captain and shared a laugh with his sergeant. “But anyway, Victor will raise and send over troops of his own if he has to: we were just handy to quickly move. Whatever news we send, will be what Victor acts on.

“That doesn’t mean that reinforcements will take forever to come!” he added, to quell any nerves. “As Brim said, the merchants will simply rent the king some other mercenary groups already camped in Sylent. We’ll just have to keep our wits and feet and heads together a week here, at the worst.

“And if we can get the job done ourselves? Well, then we won’t have to split any extra fees we’ll be paid by grateful residents here for our services, hm?”

“Besides,” his sergeant added, “the Captain carries a tube of fire, which he can launch into the sky and summon his friends, the wizards, in a crisis. Boom, the end!” Brim threw up his hands to easy laughter. “All right, Captain, thanks. We’ll go back to our watches for the night.”

“Why would Sylent bother hiring mercenaries at all, if there’s no threat?” Reed asked Brim while everyone went back to doing much of nothing but keeping ready or napping.

“Because there was and is a threat, of course,” Brim quietly answered. “King Stephan of Leranse, and whichever duke has got the most pull in Mirrinalia right now, both want the wealth of the Free Trade City, and everyone with a border there has been making appropriate noises to each other about just taking it. Or not everyone: King Victor himself, completing the border around the city, has been... suspiciously silent. Not agreeing but neither offering Sylent support, despite his strength.”

“Wow. ...so, this help is also political, to raise support with Victor, then.”

“Very good! We’ll make a politician yet of you!” Brim laughed. “Then you can pay us well to be your bodyguards, and get our feet rubbed every night by serving girls!”

“Right. But then, why send Captain Pfeil? He seems very competent. You think so, too, right? A captain of third or second rank would be better to send for a recon in force, to see what’s going on. In case there is trouble back in Sylent, right?”

“The trouble wouldn’t be in Sylent so much as around and just over the sketchy borders of nearby towns. No one wants to get the Sylent academy wizards upset; but if a village or town decides to edge more solidly into a nation away from Sylent, then, hey, that’s life.

“But you’re right. Why not keep the best captain and give him more troops, multiple companies, a brigade of companies even, to dispatch and lead here and there, to shore up all those political realities out in the hinter?

“Because: he once was the Count of Talia. The youngest son, as such, of a powerful duke in Mirri. They don’t have a king, things shifted around, he went on the run, and picked up a reputation of being able to do a lot with a little.

“The merchant council doesn’t trust him politically, not for personal reasons. Keeping him at work, making them a profit, somewhere away from the city? A better idea, to them. Can’t say they’re wrong, either, in principle,” Brim shrugged. “Though I don’t really think he wants to take their city by force of arms, or carve out a kingdom in blood. Pfeil’s political strength, is that he cares about common people. Really cares, too. Common people would suffer if he managed to launch a war.

“But common people have a way of influencing merchants, too. And merchant rulers. He knows what he’s doing. Making friends with the wizards? Also a good idea.

“He’ll take care of us, here. And that’s all we need to care about right now. So get some sleep. Guts tomorrow, I expect.”

Amazingly enough, Reed did sleep a few hours that night. And nothing happened.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 10, 2015, 07:32:58 AM
Bright and early, after breakfast, Pfeil assembled the men -- and made something happen.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/909/lhBGyE.jpg)

First, Pfeil called up both archery squads from their defensive positions behind the camp, and peppered the goblin looters the scouts reported in Harsefield.

Then, “You’re up!” Captain Pfeil gestured to the peasants. “Go up and scout a little farther! Don’t attack unless I say!”

Reed and his ex-farmers trotted up to the village.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/9h9yBR.jpg)

Within the ring of the outer homes, Reed could see looters scuttling around. “Nothing else nearby,” he sent back to the captain.

His farmers planted themselves, so to speak, outside the little village, confidently shuffling around as if to attack -- meanwhile Pfeil’s scouts ran out of the woods on the left, back around the other side of town.

[Gamenote: flanking doesn’t give tactical bonuses in this game, just like most Panzer General variations, unfortunately, but it often still pays to flank. We’ll see why in a minute.]

Brim’s militia took the fight to the looters inside the city, driving them out with only man wounded in the fight.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/Q6RTnQ.jpg)

Finally, Captain Pfeil himself entered Harsefield, and immediately charged out to run down the fleeing goblins -- their bodies scattering like trash!
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/633/wfMU4q.jpg)

Cowering villagers still hiding in their basements, hoping the goblins would think that all had fled with the mayor, had heard the fighting and then the goblin’s departure; so they came out as Pfeil had trotted through the city, and cheered him in their charge.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/SOdCdw.jpg)

That night, they gladly paid him and his company a reward for their timely rescue.

“Huh,” Reed thought as he drank some welcome mead, stoutly left over from the last year’s honey harvest. “That seemed... um...”

“Political?” burped Brim, who chuckled. “I told you, he knows what he’s doing. But notice, he did it in such a way as to keep us all as safe as possible -- for now. While he could. That won’t last, but you and your farmers didn’t have to assault a guarded town. We’ll try to let you pick off weakened squads, when you can. But don’t be fooled,” he sighed. “You’ll bleed and die in order to learn how to fight and live. Good night and good rest!” he laughed, and walked off to talk to other troops. Was he maybe a little too glad? -- or just glad that, today, his own men didn’t have to bleed very much to win the...?

“The scouts are fighting goblins!” someone yelled, rushing into the bonfire light. Other scouts, near where they would be picketing for the evening anyway, grabbed their throwing spears and ran to help. Out of the trees to the south the goblins had come; and back they went a few minutes later.

One man wounded.

One man dead.

“Th’ looters got the worst of it,” the scouting sergeant reported. “But I wouldn’t want to follow those devils back under the trees at night.”

[Gamenote: there aren’t day/night cycles, which is too bad as that would add another tactical element. But sometimes the story lends itself that way.]

“The first,” Pfeil nodded. “He won’t be the last. But honor him, lads, for he was the first to give his life. May his spirit cheer us on in life, and lead us on in death.”

The next morning, scouts reported the goblins still lingered nearby in the woods; but advances during the night suggested that Meklinburg, the largest town nearby, properly walled and posted with wooden boards and archery towers, lay undefended but also yet untaken -- although an orc mob even now was running up the road, cutting off the town from the company’s help.

“Strange,” Pfeil said as he pulled on his gauntlets and readied for a much harder day of fighting. “I can’t account for why they would come take this town but miss a larger one undefended...”

“Maybe I can, sir,” a sergeant suggested. “This boy over here says just as the goblins arrived, a local man of... questionable reputation, was seen running off toward the ruined chapel carrying something. The goblins have fiends they call hexers: they could have sensed something here, and so sent out a far-advanced raiding party to try to catch it before the main wing arrived.”

“Would I be right in guessing the goblins last night now stand between us and the chapel? Of course they do. So, let’s see.”

“I know you want to deal with those goblins while also protectin’ both the towns,” Pint the scouting sergeant said. “Let us scuttle on up the road and into Meklinburg: we may be the only ones who can get there today anyway, and we’re the only ones who can slip in around the goblins and orcs both. If the orcs attack the city, well, we’ll be there to defend. If they come after you, too bad for them, you can deal with the goblins today, the orcs tomorrow.”

“I’m sorry to put you so far out front in danger,” said Pfeil, “but I think you’re right. I’m starting to worry we won’t be able to break the back of the overall raid in only a week, and I just don’t think the company is strong enough yet to safely deal with both the goblins and the orcs at once. Go to it.”

After the scouts departed, the 1st Bowman squad was able to drive the goblins, who after all had not recovered from sallying the previous night, back toward Meklinburg though still in the woods. The 2nd Bowman squad came up to create a careful defensive root and started peppering the orcs.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/xSH5NG.jpg)

That didn’t work so well, but one dead orc was better than nothing. [Gamenote: and repeated attacks can mess with a squad’s morale even if they don’t take much damage. The game doesn’t overtly track morale, unfortunately, but it’s clearly a factor.]

“Reed!” barked Pfeil. “Take your men up near Meklin, and fork those goblins out of the woods!”

So he did.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/6rVxWi.jpg)

Afterward, he had to throw up. He didn’t think he had even killed a goblin himself. It still was the single most frightening thing he had ever done in his life. These weren’t quail in a cote, the necks of which he always felt bad about wringing anyway. These creatures could speak. Wear clothes, in a way. They looked out of the woods with intelligent eyes. Eyes that he stabbed if he could, with tines on his forks. His lines quickly broke up into separate random scuffles. But, despite their advantage in defensive cover, the goblins couldn’t resist his superior numbers. They scurried and ran, almost without even fighting -- out of the forest and down into a swampy tidal estuary nearby.

He didn’t lose a single man. Not even wounded.

They cheered. Their first real fight. He cheered as loudly as any.

He still threw up. Too many nerves. He wasn’t the only one, though others were somewhat more discreet; but he was glad no other sergeant was around to see --

“You couldn’t possibly be Captain Pfeil,” a hard, dry voice declared behind him.

Reed leapt, and wiped, and turned around.

“Ah... no, no, I’m only -- “
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/CarJzb.jpg)

“A sergeant, yes, I inferred that.” The white-haired blade-faced man wore dark clerical robes, fit for traveling, discreetly at night if necessary. “You’re late. You were supposed to be here a week ago.”

“...we were? We departed from Sylent, so far as I know, as soon as the Council -- “

“I wasn’t really talking to you, sergeant. Now, I met your fellow sergeant, earlier this morning, when his squad ran into our city, letting us know the orcs were on the way, and that we might be soon surrounded by goblins, too, on the other side. I was injured by them on the road last night, so,” he grimaced, “I couldn’t come lend some help this morning. I want you to know,” he softened his tone, “I’m grateful for your aid. So are the people here. It isn’t your fault you’re late, I know.”

“...um, thank you, Father... um...”

“I am a brother of the Holy Inquisition of the Sword.” He meant the Sword of Marcus. “Once I have managed to heal enough, you’ll see what I mean,” and he gave what actually seemed like a ghost of a wink! “But until then I cannot fight. What I still can do is preach; and I have damn well preached a group of these farmers out here to help you, since after all if you can do it, they should be able and willing TO DEFEND THEIR HOMES AS WELL OR DO I HAVE TO COME BACK IN THERE,” he turned around toward the town, “AND PREACH AT YOU AGAIN!?”

“No sir,” bleated a group of peasants as they scurried outside to take up position nearby.

“They started your job,” the priest pointed to Reed and his men. “Now finish it. And give thanks to heaven and Marcus above, and also to these men, that your very first enemy hides in that swamp where they cannot defend worth anything.

“Slay them all.”

They did. And cheered afterward. And threw up, when they thought the Father wasn’t looking.

[Gamenote: swamps really ought to provide some defense, but unlike some games I could mention with orcs and Panzer General mechanics but won’t, cough, this game doesn’t have multiple kinds of defensive concepts like cover. So it has no excuse when its swamps provide anti-defense because that’s all one number here. I SAID COUGH! ;) Anyway, I guess the designers figured too many other kinds of terrain gave defensive bonuses already, so here are some swamps, they don’t.]

“Enough of that,” the Father said. “I’m going to sleep until the next orcs arrive. Don’t wake me, unless you think you might die if you don’t. Or, unless Captain Pfeil arrives. Good job,” he muttered and squinted in appraisal. “One of your wounded men seems to have died while you were celebrating.” That sent them dashing around in a panic. Sadly, it was true. “I’ll pray for his soul. And for yours. Heaven knows you’ll need it.” And then he stalked back through the gate of the wooden town walls.

Soon afterward, Pfeil arrived. But he was busy running the hell over the orc mob on his steed, literally slapping the orcs for dozens of yards at a time.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/3lxCFX.jpg)

[Gamenote: I wasn’t quite fast enough, and/or too amused, to snap a screenshot of him smatting orcs into the camera after they had the poor sense to surround him shortly after that shot. Sorry. :) ]

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/OgTEpw.jpg)

With the orcs trying to run away, Brim’s militia caught them and systematically sliced them down. The day ended with a total victory after all, and only one more man wounded than had started the day after the goblin ambush.

As the squad sergeants gathered together later that evening to compare stories, Captain Pfeil brought a meal to the resting Inquisitor, though Brim reported this hadn’t dampened his irritation at goblins running loose like wolves harassing his flock while politicians pondered how to benefit from the misery and death they were causing!

“They say he crawled in through the gates last night, covered in blood. Not all of it his,” murmured Brim in something like awe. “He shouldn’t be able to drag himself across a floor, much less stalk around getting people ready to fight this morning. He’s torn up bad, under those robes. I think he may have fought two or three mobs by himself. Wonder how they made out...?”

The third day began with a startling announcement.

“You shall all go on toward Keilerstein without me.” Pfeil was suiting up. “Brim will be in command. You can see the town of Feldhof in the distance, there; it stands in front of the bridge across a river down to the bay.”

“There,” said the Inquisitor, “is a reason it is burning. And why I cannot come with you. Yet. Because you were all too -- “

“Stop. You know it wasn’t their fault,” warned the Captain. “I won’t have you demoralizing them over what they couldn’t help. That gets men killed, trying to do stupid things.”

“Pardon me, sir,” said Brim, “but I’m not quite awake yet this morning and I may have nodded off. Sometime before the part where you explained why you wouldn’t come with us...?”

“The chapel to the west, and Markenburg to the east -- “

“-- also all in ruins,” muttered the priest.

“ -- need to be searched and cleared. So I’ll be doing that.”

“And taking what squads along?”

“None. What I am going to do isn’t as important as what you’ll be doing, so I want that pressure brought on any foes you find ahead. Until I return.”

“Right. And you were explaining this before, or after, saying something about how guilt can prod a man into getting killed while doing stupid things?”

“It wasn’t my fault either, that we’re late. This is a practical use of our time, to do what needs to be done as efficiently as possible. Also, the rest of you need training, and lots of it. I’m the only person here who can flatten a mob of orcs.”

“Currently,” added the Father.

“Currently,” Pfeil agreed with some amusement. “Let’s try to improve that the rest of the week, shall we?”

So saying, he rode off back around the forest toward the chapel.

“Right. You heard him,” Brim clapped his hands. “We’ll have to spend a day gathering up our squads from where they camped last night anyway, bring them up to the outpost here. You farmers who came out to help, you know this land, I guess. We’ll put you up the farthest, with archery support, and you send back a report on what you can scout about Feldof. No, not our scouts: I want you rested and bandaged up. Whichever one of you farmers can prove to be worth the promotion, I’ll add you to fill out the slot in the scouts.” Chivvying everyone into place took most of the day. The farmers reported an orc mob still looting Feldhof.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/633/GMETy8.jpg)

“Guess Father Divine left some for us to work on after all!” was what Brim had to say about that.

Then that work ran out of Feldhof to crush the local farmers.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/d9NVHM.jpg)

Several farmers died, but they fought back bitterly and with showers of arrows slicing back into the orcs in support.

“Well, you’ve managed to bloody yourselves a lot more than my squad of farmers!” declared Brim, while he was eyeing which rookie to choose for adding to the scouts. “You there. You survived. That blood yours or theirs? Know how to throw a spear? Good. Come along back to town. The rest of you, do what you can to make the wounded comfortable. We’ll get them tomorrow. I promise.”

[Gamenote: the game doesn’t actually let me move individual soldiers from squad to squad; that’s just me explaining where the scout reinforcement I bought that day came from. As usual in PGish games, however, doing so proportionately reduces the experience gained by the squad as a whole so far. Unlike many Panzer General games, I don’t think elite reinforcements are possible, ones that don’t dilute the xp total with newbieness -- unless the game automatically does that between missions perhaps. Also, while it may have been a tad stupid for the orc mob to run out, that isn’t necessarily a fault with the AI. It might have been a plot trigger, to help balance the mission or just because that seems in character; and the computer probably couldn’t “see” anything other than the farmers on its turn, so it tried a recon-in-force with its nearest group of heavy infantry. This is exactly why it’s best to check first for archery support -- that’s the only reason why the losses were about tied.]

Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 10, 2015, 07:43:58 AM
Sending his archers on first to leapfrog ahead, and to harass the orc mob, whittle away its numbers and morale, Brim engineered an encirclement leaving nowhere for the orcs to run. Pint thought his scouts might give the final blow, but a final orc was left alive and Reed’s farmer squad advanced to put it down. Despite being heavily outnumbered, the orc still managed to wound one of Reed’s men.

“Rather worse than fighting goblins, eh?” Brim said when receiving the report. “And that’s just a runty orc. One. Be glad we didn’t leave you two!

“They didn’t leave anyone here alive in Feldhof, by the way.”

Reed was staring at the ruin of the town.

“Look around, boy. This is what you signed up for as well. Saint Marcus help them...” Brim bit his lip. “I never get used to this part. Cleanin’ up after... after we get here too late...”

“Sergeant, I signed up to help stop this. And to punish those who do this. We all did. Well, that and the pay is better in a month than in a year,” Reed tried to lighten the mood.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/xmLhRu.jpg)

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/Er6sYk.jpg)

“Looks like we’re too late to help Keilerstein, too,” Brim grunted as he made sure his militia were staking out defensive positions on their side of the bridge. “I guess it isn’t burnin’ because it’s stone.”
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/0DHVW9.jpg)

“Those goblins look a sight tougher than the trash we’ve fought so far. I wonder if they’ll be fool enough to...”

The goblins weren’t fool enough to try to take the bridge. Instead they sent up some archers to flank the bridge and shoot at the already-depleted second group of farmers, the local lads, who had just finished marching up beside the ruined town. Before they could run away, another five men died. Oddly, the more organized goblins marched back up road out of sight.

“Marcus blind ‘em!” Brim swore. “They’re tryin’ to goad us into crossing! I’d bet a boot there’s a mob in that fort already, too, just waiting for us to try!”

Overnight that estimate seemed confirmed enough, based on the sounds and lights that drifted across the river from over its walls.

“Wish we could join the party,” Reed told Pint as they settled their squads in for the night.

“Honestly, I wish we could.”

“...wait, you’re serious?!”

“They’re people, too, like us. We scouts see a lot more of them than most of humans do. They live hard, miserable lives...”

“We aren’t -- I am not like them!”

“Not yet, no. Give it a few weeks at least. Assuming you survive.”

“...do the other sergeants... does the Captain know you...?”

“What? Do they know I’ve killed more orcs and goblins, than you’ve wiped your ass this year? Yep. I assure you they do. Don’t get your panties all in a twist. Keep your eyes open and learn something. Or else you’ll go dead inside. That’ll get your squad killed. Understand? I’m trying to help you survive. Bah, go on to sleep.”

The next morning the sergeants met to assess the situation.

“Still no sign of Pfeil,” Pint reported, uneasily.

“Whatever has happened to him, his overall plan was sound,” insisted Sciff, one of the archery sergeants. “We need to keep the pressure on these creatures, till they break altogether and flee the area.”

“Or until we kill them all,” said Fitch, the other archery sergeant.

“That may not be possible; probably isn’t,” Brim declared. “We had better accept some sneaks will make it out, no matter what, and alert any larger force that pushed them here.”

“So, again, we’re back to moving fast, hitting them like lightning,” Sciff insisted. “If we want to have time to safely move around the region, picking up farmers and merchants and consolidating them somewhere safe, we’d better get this done in only, let’s say four more days,” he judged.

“I’m new at ‘this’,” said Reed. “But ‘this’ does not look promising.”
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/QzloMR.jpg)

No one could disagree. “They’re blocking us from crossing the bridge altogether,” he continued, “leaving whoever is on the bridge exposed to counterattack; and they’re using archers to do the blocking, so they can shoot whoever approaches the bridge. Right? Or is the situation better than that?”

“Well, it isn’t worse,” chuckled Fitch.

“They can’t stop us from getting across today,” said Pint.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/4WtMIT.jpg)

“But once we’ve snuck across the bridge, even if we don’t attack eventually they’ll find us. And every uru on the other side will be trying to murder us. We’ll need archers on the bridge, at the least.”

“But we’ll be exposed to anyone coming up on your left or right!” Fitch shook his head. “We really need three across the river to protect us!”

“Or maybe we support you from the town?” Sciff suggested. “Not enough,” answered Fitch. “Not while defending on that bridge. Defending down in the creek itself wouldn’t be any worse!”

“Are there any other options?” Reed tried to defuse a fruitless argument beginning.

“We could try sneaking across the river tomorrow, southwest of Feldhoff,” Pint tried, after a moment’s thought. “We would be out of both their archery range and out of sight. That would give us an extra day to whittle down the goblin archers’ numbers with our own bowmen. Archery duel. The main downside, is that we don’t know who may see us coming, and also they’ll get to shoot back. If we go today, we can be across before they’ll have any more chance to spack us.”

“That however depends on whether we can make the goblins retreat with two archery volleys, and your javelins,” Brim observed. “If not, you’re going to be screwed: they’ll keep anyone else from crossing the bridge to support you, and any bowmen we put on the bridge to lend defense will end up badly exposed -- not only to their countershot, but also to whatever might run up if they leave the area. Like the orcs in the castle.”

“We can be more sure about moving them if you give us a day to duel with them,” Fitch also observed; but...

“Wait, it doesn’t matter,” Reed interrupted, scribbling a map on the ground. “Based on how we’re currently camped around Feldhof, we couldn’t put enough squads across the river today to protect the bridge in any case!”

“That--! Huh. The rookie’s right. Hadn’t noticed that yet,” Brim said. “So: we go across the river tomorrow. On your way, don’t get shot, Pint! -- and let us know if the situation is worse than we think.”

Pint took his men southwest, and later reported back that they had spotted where the goblin spear-squad retreated to, in woods beyond Keilerstein. “There’s another two whole villages back up north along the spit,” Brim grimly said, “and I bet they’re full of orcs or goblins, too, by now. Only way to help the villagers captured there, however -- or to avenge their deaths -- is to crush the ones at the castle as soon as possible!”

The human bowmen were ready to do their part! Flanking the smoldering remains of Feldhof -- “For Feldhof!” they cried as they shot -- they so thoroughly rained down steel on the goblin archers that the survivors ran down into the nearby bay to get away!

“We’ll get them! Come on lads, finish those bloody thieves!” shouted Reed.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/911/lcvumv.jpg)

They cowering goblins didn’t stand a chance.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/FU6UmJ.jpg)

“Well done, boys! Gave ‘em the fork! That was an excellent opportunity strike,” Brim said when he came, shortly afterward to check on Reed’s squad after their move. “You did maximum damage and kept your losses minimal. Good for experience: we’ll train you up to something better yet!”

[Gamenote: actually, units level up independently of whether they’re upgraded to different types. In theory I could have level 5 peasants by the end of the game; they even have some special ability picks unique to peasants if I do that! I’m not that desperate for a challenge, though. {wry g}]

“My squad will rest up in the town today,” Brim continued. “We’ll be at full strength for crossing tomorrow -- and if any of those cretins are fool enough to come up to the river to block our path, under the archer umbrella...!” But they weren’t, although the goblin spears did leave the forest to scout ahead a little since their archers couldn’t report back anymore.

Day 6 of the campaign. “I hate to say it, but I think we’ll have to put archers on the river and the bridge to hit that castle before we storm it. And no,” grumped Brim, “we haven’t heard from the Captain. And before you start,” he interrupted complaints from the bow-sergeants, “Pint and me’ll take our people across in such a way so as to protect you. I’ve been looking at the way the river runs, and I am entirely sure we can keep you blocked off with only two squads across in front of the castle. Reed was wrong. Right in principle, boy, and it’s better to be wrong about something like this!”

[Gamenote: I hadn’t checked the hexes entirely correctly myself, when I thought I saw a reason to choose between both plans. Oh well.]

“My squad’s had a rest, and we’ve got the best defense, so we’ll take point,” Brim reassured them. “That way we’re the only ones who might get hit by everything out there!”

“Gonna be screwed if they held back some archers behind that castle,” Fitch pointed out.

“True, but I’ll take that gamble. I think they already did move up their supporting archers to hassle us at the river.”

The crossing went as planned: with both the bowmen squads shooting impotently from the creek! Pint’s skirmishers killed an orc or maybe two inside the town, but otherwise they reported no good effects.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/8oCrBc.jpg)

Reed and his peasants waited in Feldhof as the enemy creatures retorted. But only the goblin robbers came over to play; the orcs lounged around inside the rural castle, deciding they didn’t want to catch a bunch of arrows and javelins in their faces!
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/mnipfY.jpg)

“Those orcs are just too hard to hit behind those walls,” Sciff complained that night as the sergeants crept around to plan their action on the morrow. “I don’t think you’re going to get them out tomorrow, Brim.”

“Dammit. Well, the spears are only distraction. Though a tough one. We’ve got to keep the pressure on that castle, or we won’t be able to root those orcs out on the next day either,” said Brim. “Pint, throw your points and then you and I will get out of the way to let the archers up out of the creekbanks where they have some chance to do a little damage. Reed, that new peasant squad rested now? Okay, you move ‘em up and camp yourselves on the creek tomorrow night. We’ll keep you safe -- “

“Those orcs will run out and destroy one of the archery squads!” Reed worried.

“Let ‘em try,” said Sciff. “One of us will shoot in defense; the other will show those orcs how strong our arms are!”

And so that day, more sieging on the countryside castle occurred, weakening the orcs again.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/ZK5AxY.jpg)

In return, first the goblins then the orcs attempted to destroy Sciff’s bowmen. Many were wounded, though only few slain, and Sciff was forced to withdraw away from the gateroad, although in good order not a rout at least. The goblins ran away much farther.

The final push began the following day. Pint’s skirmishers threw their javelins over the walls; the bowmen, even Sciff’s wounded crew, volleyed as much as they could. The orcs, however, though only a mob, had learned to make shields from the rubble, and even how to swat some missiles away before they struck!

[Gamenote: I actually had given the orcs enough experience in being attacked, that they leveled up! -- and one of their semi-random skill picks was “archery protection”. Which the computer chose. Thus making my job here much harder.]

Brim’s men stormed the fort -- but although they slew some foe, they just couldn’t root them out.

Reed swallowed as he saw how the battle was going. “It’s up to us... we’re all that’s really left... Fitch, move aside!”

“Into the estuary?!”

“We’ll protect you!! This is what you wanted,” he told his fellow farmers. “To help farmers like us, who all they want to do is live in peace without these... things, stealing what they’ve worked for years to gather, and murdering families! Burning and looting, without remorse or any notion of good beyond what feels good to them at the moment!

“Maybe they have tougher skins than us, and maybe they’re stronger than us, but go for their eyes and let’s see how much tougher they are!

“For the families of Feldhof and of Keilerstein! DRIVE THEM OUT!”

And so they rose up from the riverbank.

And so they pushed into the countryside castle, through secret passages in the worker-buildings outside -- let in by a few surviving families.

And so they fought, inside the castle and out, cheered on by their fellows in Captain Pfeil’s company.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/Oab1iJ.jpg)

And so some of them died, or fell, wounded and bleeding in pain.

They just couldn’t kill the orcs who had stolen the castle.

...BUT THEY COULD DRIVE THEM OUT!
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/904/oSJmKD.jpg)

“The farmers have taken the castle!” marveled Brim. “Don’t let their sacrifices be for nothing!”

“I WON’T!”...

...announced Captain Pfeil, riding up at last on his steed, covered in blood, carrying bags of gold...

...and brandishing a sword that glowed like fire.

“All your fellows behind us are dead!” he roared to the gaping orcs, still stunned from how and who had defeated them. “Choose, now, who you will join! -- them or your tribes in the waste!”

“As for myself,” shouted the Inquisitor as he strode across the Feldhof bridge, “I choose that you join the dead!”

The orcs chose otherwise.

So did the goblins who had taken the pitiful villages north of Keilerstein, scurrying away across the bays to the west that night when no one could stop them.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/9qpUxf.jpg)

“How fitting,” the Father nodded in approval as he entered the country castle. “This was built for you, to protect you and people like you. I’m glad you took it back. I’ll help with the healing, here. As soon as someone gets me some food.” And then he collapsed on the stones, unconscious.

Later, as the soldiers buried their dead, considered recruits, and tended their wounds, feasted by the survivors of the region, Father Divine told Captain Pfeil, “I get the feeling this wasn’t a normal goblin raid. This one was... different. It moved much faster. We ought to have been able to hold another week until you came.”

“The uru were more directed you mean?”

“Based on what happened, yes. Or more inspired to keep their focus on what they were doing. I never saw or heard of any leaders here.

“I have, however,” Divine sipped his drink, “had a premonition. Not one in visions or words,” he forestalled the captain’s coming question. “Just a feeling in my spirit.”

“Some might snort at that. But I have friends in the wizard’s academy, so I don’t snort at much,” Pfeil thinly grinned.

“King Victor, unfortunately, does not believe in premonitions.”

“Well... to be fair, I do prefer to rely on facts myself, Reverend Father.”

The Inquisitor nodded. “Of course, I understand. For now, I only can pray for this land, that evil will pass it by.

“And pray in quite another way if evil comes again.”

“Something happening?” Reed asked Brim as they ate some feasting meat together, watching the leaders talking lowly over drinks in a corner.

“Something happening,” Brim agreed. “Be ready.”
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 11, 2015, 08:59:55 AM
632 Spring -- Nine Stones


“Right,” said Captain Pfeil, as the company settled up around Hatdorf. “This past winter, the settlers in this area were crushed or routed out by a goblin army, mixed with armored orcs, and led by a giant red orc who carried a sword made of stone.”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/CFYulM.jpg)

“We don’t know if that giant is in the area now. We do know the region is crawling with orcs and goblins. Probably tougher than what we faced behind the fortline edge in Derenhalle.

“I’m going to be honest. This will be hard as nails. Just down the road is the fort of Noinstein, and its fishing rivertown. Then the bridge across the river will likely be held by the enemy. After that, the farming vale of Vainin -- not too bad but surrounded by forest on either side. Then Fort Streidorf: meant to protect the settlers from an invasion from the south. It failed, badly, but might be better manned now by the enemy. At least they won’t have had time yet to upgrade its wooden pallisade walls.

“Once we take that, we should be done. The goblins didn’t have fortifications themselves, so they’ll be basing out of Streidorf -- and camping out in the country.

“This was not the goblin’s land, men. They weren’t doing anything with it, other than stabbing each other. Decent, hardworking people came in, and made it into something -- something worth blood in stealing and looting, so that is what those vermin did.

“We’re the cats, and now we’re going to drive out the rats.

“Oh, and one more thing. Where is our newest militia sergeant? Step forward, Reed. No, don’t kneel, for heaven’s sake, my head’s not that big yet!” Friendly laughter from the troops. “I’m giving you command of our newest archery squad as well. They were only farmer-hunters a couple of months ago, so they’ll need all the help they can get. So will you, since, let’s face it, spears are not pitchforks, are they?” More laughter. Pfeil tapped the young man on the shoulders with that sword which looked in sunlight like it was burning.

And then handed him the sword. To gasps, not to laughter.

“This isn’t a reward,” Pfeil clarified. “Every other sergeant here did more, though you did your part very well; and every other sergeant here would put that sword to better use in killing the foe.

“I am giving you this, to help you. Because you will need the help. Understand?” Reed nodded, unable to speak. “I will probably take it away again, once you have grown a little, and someone else more inexperienced needs it more than you. Now, let’s muster to camps. Tomorrow begins a very busy couple of weeks. By report, that Stonesword took this area in two weeks, when it was barely defended in winter. Let’s do the same, but better: ten days, men!”
 
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“Too many peasants,” muttered Brim. “Present company excluded, no offense.”

“I guess the thought is that they’ll help by marching into areas we’ve already cleared,” Reed replied. “...they. I just said ‘they’...”

“Not a peasant anymore, hm?” Pint clapped him on the back in passing. “Can I have your sword when you’re dead?”

“Actually, I’m thinking I ought to give it to Sciff! His archers got mauled in front of Keilerstein. But hey, you’ve got a second scouting squad yourself!”

“Meh, we’ll see how good they are. They’ve got a lot to learn.”

“So do those peasants who volunteered to help take back their land,” Reed pointed out. “That’s only fair, you know. And, if they survive, those who do will be able to train to be better. We need more experts like you and Brim. Not that any of us will be able to catch up to you! You’ll be scaring monsters out of the cities by yourselves by then!”

“Pint could do that now, just by breathing on themOOF!” grunted Fitch as he passed by.

And so they lined up in readiness to recover the stones of the land.

Pint and his scouts ran up first to check if goblin archers were supporting the Noinstein fort. They weren’t, somewhat amazingly, and so the javelineers hurled heavy spears up over the walls.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/Q4ChgO.jpg)

“Goblin looters down in Hanmoor,” Pint signaled back. “No other enemies yet this side of the river.”

“Good, we marched too quickly for them to react,” said Pfeil, and sent the bowmen forward next to further soften the targets for assault.

“I’m goin’ to guess that means the red guy might not be here after all,” Brim added, waiting nearby to run back to his spearmen with orders. “He sounded like he might be someone who’d keep out pickets for early warning.”

“Better for us, then. We could use more seasoning, before we deal with anything too... problematic,” said the Captain. “Reed, you and Brim move on to the goblins. Don’t go in, unless you see a clear advantage yet. Noinstein,” he sighed, looking down the road. “How little remains of its rugged beauty...” And so saying he charged his mount down the road and threw the orc mob out of the fort! Some of them physically even!

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/905/yywErW.jpg)

Pint’s men still had enough breath remaining for the day, to march his own men into the fort to reclaim it.

“I thought Noinstein would be made of, y’know, stone,” Reed said to Brim that evening as the veteran visited the camp of the rookie militia squad nearby.

“I think it was named for a ford across the river when settlers arrived. The fishertown grew up soon afterward. And now it’s ruined, too. But I’m not so awesome that I can go running in there by myself, even though it isn’t even a wooden fort, and even with fourteen other men behind me! Not yet. Tomorrow maybe,” he winked.

[Gamenote: Due to the snow the last time I was on this map, and of course the name, I expected the fort to be stone, and it kind of looked like stone when I got there, so I didn't correct the description in the horde mission. I did go back and reload a save from there, however, just to verify the fort hadn't changed to wood between missions!]

The orc mob bravely tried to plant itself on the road to the bridge, to hamper crossing while warning might be sent. But the following day, Pint’s scouts drove them off the road -- and into the pitchforks and simple glaives of one of the new peasant squads, returning with vengeance to claim their homes again!

The goblins in Hanmoor amazingly held throughout the second day! With four completely unwounded even! After every archery squad, a volley of javelins, two completely different fights with Brim and Reed’s militia, and even a charge by Pfeil.

“That’s... how can goblin looters be that strong? Stronger than an orc mob??” Reed shook his head. “Stronger than Captain Pfeil!? -- and all of us put together??!”

“They were trained like us. Like organized spearmen. Armor and weapons, too,” Brim shrugged. “And in good defensive cover. See why I didn’t want to go in myself, yesterday?

“Look at it this way: we could do that, too. For a day. Maybe. Feel better?”

“No.”

“Me neither.”

[Gamenote: spearmen can be godly, thanks to their specially high defense, and especially on defense. The game allows me to check the stats of any enemy unit I can see, although I don’t usually do so. Those goblin spearmen? STILL LEVEL ZERO! No uplevel bonuses, no special skills. This is why I decided for my orc-side playthrough to avoid buying heavy infantry per se: I’ll upgrade the ones I’m given as we go, because they can be awesome, too, in their own way. But survival lasts longer, tautologically. This is also why I tend to take defensive skills first, then movement skills. Damage skills, not so much.]

The Captain had planned for one of the peasant squads to finish off the goblin spears the following morning after a final bit of softening from an archery volley; but Sciff’s bowmen accidentally eliminated them all, so the peasants marched into the ruins of Hanmoor unopposed.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/910/qRByoe.jpg)

“All the work these people did, over the years,” Reed sighed, “smashed by looters who didn’t even want to live here instead. They even tore down the bridge, cutting off their own retreat... You say they’re people, too, Pint? How could people do this?!”

“I didn’t say they always acted like people. People sometimes don’t,” the scout sergeant said. “Captain! -- I know you were badly injured in the fighting yesterday; men on horses, no matter how strong, really shouldn’t be -- “

“-- charging into towns to fight, yes, I know, thank you sergeant. You think I should rest here today, and catch up with the company tomorrow.”

“You’ll fight better for it, sir; your horse will, anyway. Take pity on the poor creature!” Brim added with a chuckle as they gathered in the smoldering ruins to decide just how to advance.

“I don’t think the goblins know we’re coming yet,” Pint continued. “Our long-range scouts don’t think that anything’s waiting across the river, yet. Let us go secure it, see what we find in Radegast.”

A couple of hours later, his second advancing squad reported back from the copse of trees near Radegast: nothing except more goblin looters too lazy to even burn the town for fun. No backups yet. Pint’s first squad harassed them hard, but the company as a whole wasn’t able to cross the river yet.

The goblins were driven out of Radegast the following day, and the 2nd scouts were able to recover the town. Captain Pike was worried that their time to strike in surprise was slipping away, and ordered Pint to take his first scout squad farther on down the road toward Fort Streidorf to see what kind of defenses waited there. “If we can cut them off, any garrisons holding Vainen, and Neindorf back to the north, will retreat to the west of their own accord.”

So Pint went on -- and nearly ran into a waiting band of goblin robbers!
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/Xyh5dE.jpg)

Pint thought they wouldn’t be able to give much better than they got, under the circumstances, so settled back to try to fend off attacks.

[Gamenote: Goblin robbers are skirmishers like my scouts, so they’d be fighting almost at parity, even though the 1st scouts just leveled up last turn. In hindsight, I wish I had taken +2 defense in woods as their skill! -- but extra defenses in limited areas aren’t as useful over the long run as a lesser general defense, which wasn’t offered as an opportunity, so I took a +1 to skirmish attacks instead. Anyway, I’m just about guaranteed to be hit at least twice, maybe three times already, and once by archers I won’t be able to hit back against; so I chose not to make it worse with four damages by attacking the goblin skirms and having to bear their counterhit: better to defend against two or three damage with a full squad than to defend against three or four damage with a wounded squad less able to fight.]

The undersergeant of the 2nd scouting squad reported that night that the goblins hadn’t been able to read some secret papers they found which told of a crude ballista which enterprising carpenters had been building in case of a goblin raid -- but which they hadn’t finished in time, last winter. It had been hidden nearby in the forest near the river, and Captain Pfeil detailed some men in the trailing support of peasants behind the company to recover and prepare it for operation.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/lfRRR5.jpg)

Goblins cowering in the field nearby, screamed and ran for cover in the rustling grain farther away, after the operators pushed the creaking thing to the edge of the trees and shattered a tree-sized spear among them!

As expected, Pint and his 1st squad spent a grueling rest of the day being harried by slingers (who then retreated themselves), pelted by goblin arrows, and at last mobbed by fifteen well-armored and armed orc stabbers! -- who with worthless discipline charged out of the fort itself to get in on the fighting among the trees!
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/4RxscF.jpg)

A man or two died, and others were wounded. The end result however, was that Pint and the remaining six were able to pack up the wounded after repelling the heavy infantry, and slip around them completely -- back into the fort itself!
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/YdTB1u.jpg)

[Gamenote: every unit has its uses, but pound for pound skirmishers are arguably the best right out of the gate and just keep getting better. Only one other unit might technically be better overall, and we haven’t yet unlocked it in the missions. Or rather we have, in the orc campaign, but we haven’t done anything with it yet. Here the point is that light infantry get better than usual defense bonuses in colorful terrain like woods (and rough and hills), and unlike archers they get to throw an initial javelin volley to help repel attacks before their melee, which they don’t utterly suck at either.

In the original Fantasy General game, archers would do that, too, but here for archers it’s a picked skill option: which only works if the archer hasn’t attacked! Like most PGish games, every unit ought to attack as much as possible, so taking that pick is ludicrous, but its lack tends to hamper the archers as a class overall, even though they get other bonus abilities lacked by skirmishers so eh; possibly it was removed because archers were generally buffed for this game compared to FantGen. One result of this by the way is that my javs could attack the goblin archers now and score free hits, which is insanity, and in FantGen would have been suicidal.

The other decisive point, is that skirmishers start off with the free ability of segmented movement, which not only allows them to ignore zones of control, but also allows them to move partially and then move again, as often as they have movement points left, even if they have used their attack meanwhile. This ability is hugely useful, and most other classes have the option to pick it as a skill eventually, but it means that my skirms were already able to march around the orc stabbers and get into the fort; my 2nd scout squad was able to take Radegast last turn on the same principle after already having moved and attacked: they still had one move left.]

The jubilant ballista operators got busy pushing their newfound toy down the road around Radegast that day, as other company members maneuvered around them toward Streidorf; but took the opportunity during a rest to wind up another log and blast it completely over the town down into the field where the goblin survivors were cowering, some of them having recovered during the night.

[Gamenote: in Fantasy General, the artillery class was just about useless for the scale of the maps compared to their abilities, unlike the arty in Panzer General itself. Fantasy Wars and Elven Legacy turn that around and make arty a terrifying offensive weapon. I love FW/EL arty SO MUCH YOU GUYS!!  :smitten: (http://www.wargamer.com/forums/smiley/catapult.gif) :smitten: However, due to the way the game draws missiles, it rarely makes for good screensnaps.  :'( They look great in the game, but trying to get a good snap is nearly impossible.]

First to Pint’s rescue was his other scouting squad, taking up a position in the woods nearby the fort from which to pick off the heavy uru infantry like knocking over pins with bowling balls. The orcs, in panic, broke and fled.

Next came up some archers, who thinned the goblin skirmishers a little but couldn’t accomplish much. The road between clumps of forest was just too narrow to bring all the company’s force to bear at once, so Pint would have to hold on once again for the night, though this time in the fort.

Captain Pfeil meanwhile, restlessly stamping his steed at the back of the company’s line, told Brim to let the troops go on ahead with Reed and march off northward with him to see if together they could free Neindorf and then Vainen.

“The campaign here has been basically won already after all: we took back Streidorf Fort, the rest is mopping up. Reed could use the experience. We’ll take some peasants along as well. It’ll be fun!” he grinned. “You go first, see if we need to worry about any archers behind that milling village.”
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/9FMVkm.jpg)

“...wha?” was all Reed could say when he got the courier message; but then he kept on reading. “Don’t worry, Pint is still in command. Just help him survive and clean out the area. Careful, though: he’s still in a spot of trouble! Don’t let him down!”

Not long afterward, Sciff’s bowman squad was almost completely murdered by goblin spears and archers advancing onward from Vainen, and by surviving archers from Streidorf circling around through the woods to ambush them from the south!

[Gamenote: this is a case where the AI used the 3-hex visual scouting of its skirmisher unit to pick the single squad that could get the most strength hammered onto it, and from a daring angle: sending out the only defenders of Vainen, who after all weren’t sitting on a victory point anyway, to attack that squad from the copse. Kudos to the programmers: in a tough situation, they set up the AI well enough to see and exploit a weak point which nearly cost me a squad altogether! Not only that, then it took its surviving scouts and dang well cut off my archery’s squad’s ability to stage a gainful retreat into Vainen! That was some straight-up chess level maneuvering.]

Faced with this near disaster, Reed did the only thing that made any sense, even though he felt ashamed for doing so: he promptly sent a courier out to find the Captain and Brim, inform them of the enemy’s dispositions, and request support in dealing with the cluster in the copse.

[Gamenote: meanwhile, I had used Pfeil and Brim to knock some looters out of Neindorf, or Niendorf -- the game spells its German townnames somewhat phonetically, probably because the programmers are Czech or Russian or Polish or anyway Slavic. However, the squad survived and neither one could claim the town for gold, so during the AI’s turn it rested and got back all its wounded. So yeah, whatever. I can’t shoot enemies to death with a few dozen gold pieces, the archers need saving.]
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/ne0q8Y.jpg)
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 11, 2015, 09:13:44 AM
Pfeil promptly raced back behind the enemy archers into the fields of Vainen, securing them to launch a furious charge into the goblins which threw them all over creation! Broken by his wrath they fled into another part of the copse -- within reach of the 2nd peasant squad, now coming up from far behind after fording the river from Hanmoor.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/r1WnOB.jpg)

They quickly slew that enemy not leaving even a nose poking out of the underbrush!

“We have to give Sciff a way to retreat! -- and pray for Pint to last another day...” pondered Reed. He signaled the nearby bowman squads to soften up the stolid goblin spears in the nearby woods, and called for the scouts to work their way back around to hit the goblins from behind with javelin points.

The harried goblins ran out of the woods into the road, cleverly avoiding Reed’s own militia preparing to strike.

“Damn,” he fumed, having wasted a march and now having no enemies. Part of the way for Sciff to retreat had been cleared, at least. “Artillery ballista: blast those final goblin skirmishers! Aim over the woods, here!” he sent by courier.

Sciff and his one unwounded archer, praying for help from heaven, cheered as a mighty pole arc’d over the copse and shattered into the goblin slingers preparing to murder the men!

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/KZuK1G.jpg)

Sciff instantly started dragging his wounded men toward Vainen proper -- but there were too many, and he was too few. Concealing them as best he could, he started for the town...

...and saw in the distance, coming down from the north, a squad of armored men on horseback!

“Please help us,” Sciff begged. “My men must be recovered!” The proud horsemen took the rest of the day to save the wounded archers, ensconsing them safely into Vainen village, and then mounting up to guard it from the ravening orcs nearby.

“You look like men who could use some steady pay!” Captain Pfeil called out to the landless knights, hung in tattered armor. “I pay well. Join us tomorrow, and let us finish this matter!”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/iuHqVY.jpg)

“But watch out,” he warned, “my forward scouts sent back word of a bunch of bloody orcs nearby, reasonably armored and armed.”

Indeed, as the seventh day dawned, those orcs had bound up their wounded again and were ready to do some damage.

So Pfeil rode out alone and scattered the bodies from Streidorf all the way up the nearby mountains’ foothills!

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/WqoEq5.jpg)

Along the way however, he saw signs of more goblin looters filtering into the area from the west, over those mountains and hiding in the woods and rough nearby.

Reed was doing his best meanwhile to manage his archers and peasant squads to marshal the final destruction of the goblin spears from Vainen. It took all he had, but finally it was done, and he marched out of the copse east of Vainen onto the road with his militia again, sending the ballista on up to just outside the wooden fort. There, on information provided by Pfeil, it destroyed the final remains of the orc stabbers, too, so that they wouldn’t recover and return again. Brim, feeling left out, decided to abandon Neindorf and marched to Vainen proper where Sciff was busy binding up and recruiting more archers to fill out his squad again. The scattered, terrorized survivors trickling back into the area from the woods, were glad to offer a few more bowmen to help!

“So you got rid of those goblins at Niendorf?” Sciff asked as he watched the new recruits take their oaths and get some gear.

“Not really. They’ll be back, once they grow some backbone. But no one was left alive for them to hurt. And once they realize Streidorf has fallen, they’ll be leaving the area soon anyway.”

Pint, meanwhile, having finally given his own battered squad a rest, brought some papers to Father Divine, still recovering from his near-fatal wounds and finally arriving on a stretcher to the fort. The Inquisitor studied the notes as well as he could...

...and blanched.

“Captain! Send for the Captain!”

“What now,” Pfeil muttered a few minutes later, having ridden into the fort on seeing a signal from its walls. “Father? You seem -- “

“This is not the uru fort! Not the governing fort, supplying them reinforcements and other support!”

“What. Father, there’s nothing else nearby.”

“There wasn’t. Now there is: a goblin town, south of here, nearer to the Waste. Originally ignored, except as a place to pick up garbage the fort didn’t want.

“Now a fort itself. Ghoshzar.”

“...okay,” Pfeil sighed. “I have some new heavy horsemen. They can ride down to the south a little and see. Courier,” he called, and quickly scribbled a note on paper provided by the boy. “Get this to Braun, sergeant of the horsemen north of here, guarding Vainen. Get moving, I want him on the road today. Those men are silly enough they may try to go after the goblins in the woods and kill their own horses in the attempt. Better to let those goblins come out to us, if they’re fool enough to do so.”

[Gamenote: low-level cavalry tend to be “impetuous” which means they’ll immediately attack whatever they move next to, or pick a target at random out of a set if more than one are nearby. This can be bad, so it’s a good idea not to move such undisciplined cavalry near to anything you don’t want attacked. Sometimes that means making guesses ahead of the fact about what counts as a good target or not. Even the worst goblin looters, in forests or in rough? -- not a good target.]

Unfortunately, by the time the knights arrived beyond Streidorf, the day was too late to see any farther than Pint had already scouted. The ragbag stone castle did loom in the distance however.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/GfQLUX.jpg)

That night, Pint’s second scouts, in the woods near Streidorf, shrugged off an archery volley from goblins that Reed had forgotten about! -- but Braun reported the goblins running out of the woods toward dawn, trying to reach Ghoshzar. The newly arriving looters from the west did some damage to Sciff’s recuperating bowmen back in Vainen as well.

“I’m inclined to go up with Braun and just kick those doors down,” growled Captain Pfeil. But, “One moment, Captain,” the Inquisitor demanded. “Sergeant Pint has been telling me of a strangely smoking ring of burnt trees, out toward the goblin’s castle. I feel a power lingering there. Take me with you, and let us see what we can recover, if possible. We still have a few more days to keep your schedule. Perhaps send Braun to a cave southwest of here: papers indicate that raiders used it in the past; they might still be there, and helpful treasure as well.”

“I have a better idea,” Pint interrupted. “Father,” he added with a bit more respect and reverence. “Let my second squad go check out that ring; they can make it there today. That area’s forest, and Captain Pfeil will be vulnerable -- he’s running a little ragged already! Better, sir,” he turned to Pfeil, “for you to go up and reduce those archers a little. By which I mean a lot. Scout out the area for us, forceful recon, y’know. Like you like to do,” he grinned.

“As for us, sure, let whatsisname, Braun, ride over and scout those caves, and if he sees they’re not obviously infested, I’ll march my crew over. We’ll be back before you know it!”

“That makes sense,” Pfeil agreed. “Father Divine can go with your second squad; he’ll be in charge, while they’re away. I’ll send up reinforcements in either direction as I can. Reed’s bringing up the rearguard.”

So saying they went their separate ways.

Captain Pfeil did scout Ghoshzar, ruining many archers as they tried to scamper across the plains to safety. By his keen and experienced eyes, he could tell orc stabbers waited in the castle on defense. Perhaps they’d be drawn out in attempting to kill the leader? An undamaged squad of goblin shooters waited also in the small patch of woods behind the castle. Pfeil, already winded along with his horse, wondered if he had been deadly foolish to run out so far ahead of his support...


 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/907/jTykfT.jpg)

Father Divine was hustled by Pint’s second scouting squad to the ring of burnt trees.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/upGksz.jpg)

There, a silent Sylent mage awaited -- dead on living grass with trees still smouldering all around. A sword driven into his heart. Apparently after he died, out of fear he might return after all!

“May heaven bless his soul,” the Father murmured, not unkindly but somewhat by rote, as he carefully prodded the body of the man. “He must have been out here studying the area, searching for hidden secrets of nature, when he stumbled upon the fallen settlements -- and then was trapped, unable to escape to sound any warning. A lonely way to die, but clearly he died with honor! Heaven stood with him, indeed, at the end...” he mused.

“Father, we have to go! Now!” The undersergeant pointed at goblin slingers weaving through the trees.

The Inquisitor growled, “...not yet, I’m not ready yet. I thought I might be ready, but... ah, I thought I sensed something. Take this bauble, sergeant! Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you; rather, you’ll be able to see your enemies coming from farther away, I expect!

“And as for retreating.” Divine ground his teeth. “I may not be ready to fight yet. But I reckon that you’ll be better in this forest than they. Do your duty: smite the foe! I shall empower your spears with holy justice! Strike for the memory of this wise and valiant man!!”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/911/o3LHtK.jpg)

The soldiers cheered, and hurled their javelin-spears; and cheered again, despite a couple of casualties: for there the goblins ran in fear, slain to the final three by a natural miracle!

“Poison,” explained Divine. “I prepared your spears before we left this morning. Our enemy uses all possible means to win. You should, too. Don’t let an enemy rise again to hurt the ones you are risking your lives to protect.”

“AND YOU DIDN’T TELL US?! WE COULD HAVE SCRATCHED OURSELVES AND -- !”

“And nothing; I am not fool enough to go out with a bunch of sharp points, coated in poison, and not bring a fast-acting antidote. Pft, children these days. When you have lived and fought as long as I have, son, you’ll understand that severity can be kindness in the end. Justice comes in all flavors. Even poison.”

“...you can teach us to make this, right?”

“Am I wearing a sign announcing myself an imbecile?! Of course I can! I didn’t give you that speech for sake of general principle only...”

[Gamenote: this squad had leveled up a couple of turns ago, but hadn’t been in a fight since then. I had forgotten to pick a skill, so before this fight I saw that poison was one of the possibilities. My reader may have already noticed how annoying it is for an enemy squad to recover its strength and come back a turn or two later. This stops that, though of course it doesn’t stop purchased reinforcements, so it’s less useful near towns. But then again, as in most Panzer Generalish games, reinforcements are hard to buy when the enemy is in besieging contact with someone near a city. Resting, in this game -- recovering useful wounded troops for free -- is just as difficult, which is why I didn’t bother resting Pint’s main squad for several turns, preferring to do some damage from inside the fort instead.]

Braun’s ronin cavalry performed their scouting admirably, declaring the cave to be empty, which was technically true as Pint soon discovered after marching there himself from the fort. That is, it was technically true that the cave was empty of enemies; rather it was full of gold, 300 pieces worth!

And the enemies, out hunting in the mountains, arrived soon afterward: a clan of outcast berserker orcs, too maddened by hexers to safely live among even uru kin!

With help from the ballista crew, positioning themselves to begin bombarding the goblin castle soon, as well as from Pint and his javelineers -- and Sciff’s tattered bowmen, moving on up after foiling a goblin spoiling attack that night -- the mads were reduced to only a handful, once Braun had charged uphill and run them over once or twice! Reed, managing the rearguard of Vainen (with a little oversight from Brim nearby), sent along his own delegated archery squad to help drive back the surviving madorcs into the mountains for a while. Fitch’s archery squad, unable to move up toward the castle effectively, elected to stay behind and help the peasant squads keep Vainen safe from further goblin looting.

As the ninth day dawned, the key task was to reduce and push back the goblin archers supporting the orcs in Ghoshzar, so that on the final day the orcs might possibly be driven out, if not defeated outright.

At the same time, all three squads were brought up to help begin the initial decimation of all the orc defenders inside the castle.

Brim, back north of Vainen, insisted Fitch’s bowmen move up as well. “We’re tough, but there’s no way we can be there in time to help. We’ll just keep Vainen intact, and practice skewering goblins here. Help us get tougher, yeah?” he grinned. Fitch ordered his men to loft a volley at the goblin looters from Neindorf who, rather than retake that little town, had tried to support their uru kin in retaking Vainen. “A few less goblins to practice on,” he saluted with a matching grin, and then marched on to Streidorf fort, readying for the final assault on the morrow.

The siege on Ghoshzar itself began with Father Divine suggesting the 2nd scouts should creep around behind the goblin castle and drive out the main bow-threat from there. It didn’t exactly work, but at least there were fewer goblins now.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/dtH7UU.jpg)

Few enough that the 3rd peasant squad decided that they would just ignore the threat of the orcs in the castle, and go up there and fork those goblins away! -- which they did!

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/910/oDZ7Z7.jpg)

“Rest up Captain Derrick!” the shouted as they passed him on the way. “This is our land, and this is our fight, too!”

“Madmen...” breathed Pfeil, in stunned admiration.

“They’ve got the right idea!” Reed declared. “Come on men, let’s go up there and see if we can draw the enemy out! Archers, get rid of as many orcs as you can!” he ordered to his archery squad along the way -- themselves only recently farmers and hunters, they knew what Reed and the more inexperienced peasant squad were feeling.

“I certainly won’t let them have all the fun, sniping targets!” Sciff added from nearby, and his tattered men agreed, volleying arrows as well into the castle.

Soon, up came the ballista, pushed along the road by other recently-drafted farmers, bringing the hope of Radegast to drive the orcs away. “DEATHREED!” they shouted, and launched a log over the walls to rumble around inside smashing orcs.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/YXClR9.jpg)

Brim valiantly defended Vainen from not only one but two more attacks from looters -- breaking them both!

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/911/6mYGH8.jpg)

“Oh no, you don’t get to run away, you had your chance!” Brim shouted -- and led the remaining peasants nearby to rend the goblins under the trees.

On that final day of this campaign, the final volleys began.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/7ZOcwb.jpg)

With Pint’s skirmishers and the Deathreed ballista joining in, the orcs inside couldn’t take the punishment any more, and ran out broken, irrationally trying to flee the steel of justice from above.

Pint’s other squad then took the castle, and that in effect was the end. Only mopping up remained, as various squads took turns driving away the broken uru company.

Reed’s militia were systematically slicing apart some goblin slingers outside the castle, when Pint sent word from inside, asking if Reed would like to burn it down to the ground.

“Thanks!” the young sergeant sent in reply. “I’ll be there, soon!”

Ten minutes later, Reed took his men into the gate of Ghoshzar.

“Not so different, are they, after all?” said Pint.

Waiting with his skirmishers. And torches.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 13, 2015, 08:28:51 PM
Spring 632 -- Catching Up (Interlude)

“For those of who who’ve joined us late,” Captain Derrick Pfeil explained, gesturing to a map he had drawn on a wall an hour ago, after the oddly sigiled stone had almost crashed to the ground in fire though not exactly, near the center of Streidorf Fort, “this is why we’re here.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/HoU1Xx.jpg)

[Gamenote: obviously a more detailed map than I’m thinking he drew on a wall an hour ago...]

“We’re a mercenary company hired by Sylent, an independent city-state, where wizards from all over the world happen to also have their chief research academy. Thus the little tower, see? This city and its allied towns nearby are home to a guild of merchants who run the city very, very profitably. As you can see, the city borders three other countries, including Derenhalle where we technically are, down here. These other countries naturally want the freakish prosperity levels of the city. But they don’t want to annoy my friends, the wizards in their tower.

“Last summer, the bickering dukes of Mirrinalia -- where I hail from, by the way -- and King Stephan of the ancient nation of holy Leranse, inexplicably started making noises about shaving off parts of Sylent’s territories which once belonged to them: inexplicable because, annoying wizards is always a bad idea, even if they've sworn not to use their power to fight. But then again, we thought making noises was probably all they would be able to do without actually going to war with Sylent. See how far they can push, and then just don’t push any farther.

“Sylent didn’t want to lose those hinterland towns, so they hired about twenty mercenary companies and garrisoned us in the area, to go out and protect from encroachment.

“But then nothing happened. So the merchants started thinking they were paying us for ‘nothing’, instead of paying us to help ensure ‘nothing’ happened.

“And then something happened. Goblins and orcs started agitating here, in the settlement areas out beyond the Derenhalle fort wall of King Victor. I don’t have to tell any of you what happened next.

“But anyway, Victor sent out all the troops he could normally muster to beef up the forts, and would have hired on mercenaries except Sylent had already picked up all the worthwhile companies.

“So, Sylent hired us out, in a subcontract, to sail up here and push the uru back out of the area.

“As I expected, Sylent went ahead and did the same with all their other mercenary companies, down the line. Probably they were hoping that this would bring King Victor explicitly in on their side, rather than keeping aloof.

“As I also expected, the most unified other nation bordering Sylent, Leranse, decided to go ahead and start taking villages from Sylent, after the mercs departed.

“Somewhat un-expectedly, they didn’t stop there, and I’m told by my friend, Master Bennock who sent that coded rock to me across the sky with a message inside, they’re expected to siege the city soon.

“So. We’re under contract, and they pay our bills, so they’ve called us back to protect Sylent. Tomorrow we’re going to pack up and march to where we originally disembarked. More coastal ships will be sent to return us to Sylent -- or rather, to offload us north of the city, here I expect,” he pointed on a map, somewhat Leranse-ward, “in order to strike at the siege’s supply line. It’ll take us a couple of weeks, maybe three, and Bennock will update the situation to me as we go.

“Yes, I see your hands. Yes, before you ask, that means we’re giving away what we gained here. No, I’m not any happier about it than you are. Yes, that means the men who died in fighting here, died for nothing. I won’t lie, or try to sugarcoat it. We’ll have to send out messengers and get the civilians to pack up again and march out while we can protect them.

“Father Divine will stay here -- or not here, but rather back at the north end of the fortline -- to help support defenses against a further uru surge. Sylent isn’t his fight, and this is his home. The three squads of peasants we’ve picked up, during our months here, will stay with him and train. I’ll take along some men of you who have already worked your way up into being better skilled, but the Reverend Father will help call up some men to fill your gaps: you’ll have three full squads, with men of some experiences, in whatever he decides is best to make of you. That isn’t much, I know, but King Victor will have sent his regular forces by now to reinforce the fort-wall. So don’t despair, and be glad you won’t be going with us! You’ve learned to defend your homes better. Put it to good use.

“All right, that’s enough for tonight. Pack tightly, we march for the coast tomorrow. Training for my company’s squads will continue on the way.”

Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 13, 2015, 08:31:43 PM
EXTENDED GAMENOTE DIGRESSION
-----------------------------------------

This set of gamenotes was so extensive I made it a separate entry after the interlude. If you want to go on with the story, some of it will be included a different way there, and you can just scroll down to "Sylent's Lambs".

As usual for Panzer Generalish games, each map of the campaign allows only a maximum number to be deployed, and sometimes (like now) that maximum number is less than the maximum number you can hold in your company or (at larger scales of course) your corps.

This leads me into a digression of this digression. Why did I bother to buy three pasty little peasant squads on my previous mission? -- so I could put them through a relatively easy early mission, protected by lots of stronger troops, to pick up some experience. Why would I want to do that? As insurance. I can upgrade peasants directly to any non-cavalry (and non-arty) human troop (and even to light skirmish cav). If I lose a unit, later, I can either buy a fresh replacement at full price, or I can upgrade one of my little peasant squads at a reduced price and they’ll already be near first level: they’ll have a better chance of surviving long enough to be useful, and at a cheaper cost!

So, in story terms I’m leaving the three peasant squads ‘behind’; but I did buy them myself, so they really are part of my core, not just extras for a mission which will vanish on the next. Come to think of it, I don’t recall if Fantasy War has such temporary units. So far every unit I’ve been assigned before a mission, or earned as a bonus during or after the mission, through the halfway point of the game later, has been counted as a core unit. Many Panzer Generalish games often have non-core units in some campaigns to help you out, but you can’t take them with you afterward so they end up sucking up some of the battle experience. Not here (so far).

Meanwhile! -- I can only field 12 squads and/or heroes for this mission and one of them is waiting on the field already as a gift to my core unit list, so I can only bring 11 of my 14.

That brings up the question of upgrades before this mission, which unlocks a whopping nine unit types! Ballistas, unfortunately, cannot upgrade to catapults, which is too bad because catapults are a little better overall. Still, not going to look a gift artillery (from last mission, for liberating Radegast village) in the mouth! Neither do I have room for another arty right now, unfortunately, unless I sell off some peasants -- which I might eventually, to free up room and earn back a little gold, but it wouldn’t do me any good this time as I don’t have room enough to put that many squads on the field anyway.

Scouts can’t upgrade yet, nor my landless knights, but my militia and my bowmen can.

For bowmen I have two options: yeoman archers and crossbowmen. Crossbows have significantly better armor, and armor piercing shot attacks; but are slightly weaker at missile damage otherwise. Yeomen have special defensive and archery bonuses in the woods and in hills -- but personally I’ll prefer the crossbowmen since their increased defense counts all the time, whether in woods or hills or not, and I’m a lot more likely to run into armored units henceforth than I am to be shooting into or out of woods. (In fact I don’t clearly recall how such bonuses work for distance shooters: does being in woods grant them bonuses which shooting at targets outside the woods? -- or bonuses when their targets are in the woods, even if the yeomen aren’t? Doesn’t matter: armor piercing negates armor anywhere!)

The militia upgrade choice is much harder. Spearmen don’t start with special abilities and will always be a bit weaker than other options on attack and defense, but they’re fast moving at 4 hexes standard per turn; and this is a Panzer General game which means speed helps hugely on winning most quickly for the biggest reward. Also, speed helps maneuver around to attack rear units, and helps a little getting through difficult terrain.

Halberdiers have better defense but no better basic attacks; but they start with the ability to negate cav charges -- cavs get a free special attack when initiating a fight -- and they also start with armor piercing. Also, unlike some other games these armored super-spearmen aren’t slower than average.

Swordsmen have just as good basic defense as halberdiers, and the best attack power of the three options (both 12); and aren’t slower than average; and their special starting ability is city fighting, which gives them bonuses attacking into or defending from city hexes. As with most PGish games, city-type hexes are almost always where the victory locations, extra missions, and extra gold along the way are; so this skill is vastly more important than an equivalent skill at fighting in hills and/or forests.

For longterm success, I’m inclined to go with these; but I happen to know this mission will feature a lot of fights against cav. I did earn a free halberd squad anyway for gold-timing the previous mission, and I’ll be bringing it along in any case. So I upgrade one militia to swordsmen for city-fighting later, and one militia to halberds to deal with extra cavalry now and also because they have somewhat better defense so should not only be at less risk of being wiped out but also should keep its attack strength better AND also keep its earned experience better: fewer deaths in the squad means fewer replacements to dilute the xp gains.

Anyway, thus my remarks in-story about building a new squad from specially expert troops in other squads!

Last but not least, the air-hunter category opens up this mission; and my gifted unit waiting on-map will be a Tamed Eagle. This can upgrade to a bombing unit later, or to a better air hunter, but unlike the orc campaign I don’t get a bomber first. These are equivalent to “fighters” or “fighter-bombers” in Panzer General: great at fighting in the air, not bad against ground targets. They have good scouting and great speed, and are invulnerable to all ground units except for magicians who can attack with spells, and (more commonly) missile troops -- but not arty units. Archery units can shoot defensively for allies being attacked from the air, too; so it’s important, although generally impossible, to keep air units out of range of ground shooters. Fortunately, since that’s generally impossible, there is an important level-up skill I can take early which will help with that enormously. We’ll get to that later.

As with most Panzer Generaly games, air units can occupy the same hexes as ground units, just at a different vertical level; and they completely ignore terrain factors since it would be ridiculous for roads and mountains and forests and swamps and rivers ect. to affect them.

Normally I like to keep as many air units as any other units in my core -- I favor a balanced core as much as possible. Fortunately, unlike Fantasy General this game won’t penalize me for building a more limited group-type. Unfortunately, I’m already at, or rather way past, my core limit, and I need to pay for upgrades, so I’m going to be hampered in adding more air units for a while.

Okay, enough shop talk, on with the story.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 13, 2015, 08:41:08 PM
632 Late Spring -- Sylent's Lambs


“...this isn’t what I signed up for,” Reed mumbled to Brim as the sergeants mustered their troops the following morning for the march.

“You mean,” Pint said as he passed by, “you didn’t sign up to be killing other people?”

“Exactl--!” Reed stopped as he saw the look in Pint’s eyes. “Look, regardless of what you think about the... the ‘uru’...” the former farmer stumbled over the term, “even I know perfectly well my fellow humans are people. And now I’ve got to go stick them in the eyes and puncture their lungs??”

“Could be worse,” Pint shrugged. “You could have signed up thinking all you’d do was politically guard Sylent. At least you knew there’d be goblin fighting when Pfeil put out his call.”

“Could be worse,” Brim continued. “You could be slicing open their guts with swords and amputating their various extremities. Seriously, you could soon be doing that. I’ve heard the Captain means to make us into swordsmen soon, for better assaulting cities. That’s what usually wins campaigns, after all.”

“So does staying alive. And soon we’ll be fighting horses,” Fitch observed as he joined the group. “Personally I’d rather have a good spearwall to be shooting behind.”

“Look,” said Sciff as he passed by, “...what are we talking about?” The others brought him up to speed. “Oh. Dang, son, just ask the Captain to let you stay here with Father Divine and guard the people from orcs! Wow, that was easy. You people talk too much,” he grumbled and moved along.

“Or,” said Father Divine, “man up and go save your home!”

Everyone jumped a little as the lanky white-haired Inquisitor loomed behind them.

“You. Boy,” he pointed. “You come from one of the villages near Sylent, from what I’ve heard.” Reed nodded, too unnerved to speak -- and too ashamed, for he could already see where the priest was going. “Currently, enemies are invading them, and ruining their lives. You joined to help protect your fellow farmers from that, yes? Thank you.” And the Reverend Father bowed. “I truly appreciate what you and your fellow men have done to help us. Even if, by leaving here, the settlement is lost again. But I understand: you have your own home to help. I would come to repay your kindness if I could.”

“Sir,” Reed bowed in return. “I just... it’s just that... it isn’t the same.”

“It is, although you may not see it yet. But you’ll be fighting professional soldiers who knew they risked being wounded or even killed by you when they joined,” the cleric quirked a smile. “Right now, however, they’re fighting your fellow farmers who just want to be left alone to build their lives as well as they can. King Stephan has, in effect, become an orc chief by his actions, and he is dragging his own people down into that mire.

“Go stop him. Your people need you.”

So, Reed went.

And so, several weeks later, he gratefully disembarked again from the coastal trading ships, into the surf of the borderland east of Sylent.

In the intervening weeks, the archers had all upgraded to crossbowmen, adding new levels of armor as well to their brigadine plated leather, and training in the quite different methods of shooting effectively with these triggered weapons.

[Gamenote: in some games, crossbows are correctly portrayed as having a much flatter ballistic arc, without the fine control afforded by bows, meaning they cannot safely shoot over nearby allies; but in this system they shoot just like bows. Ditto for the ballistas and ‘spear hurlers’, come to think of it! The bowmen had already gained a level and I picked a defensive kit for each of them, so these crossbowmen have brigadine armor which otherwise I’m not sure would have been offered!]

Reed’s squad had been similarly upfitted to fight against the expected armored horsemen, being given better halberd-quality spears and requisite armor and training.

Captain Pfeil had even given Reed an officer’s commission to lieutenant, for his skill in managing the rearguard during the previous campaign! -- he was allowed to keep his Burning Sword, and his second squad of halberdiers was given a peculiar relic by Father Divine before leaving Derenhalle: a battered helmet blessed by having been worn by a zealous evangelist in centuries long past, who had taken the faith of St. Marcus into the pagan lands around. The Father said that this would add a little special protection to the troops; though Reed suspected they’d simply fight harder to keep the relic protected. [Gamenote: +1 defense]

“Well,” Brim roared in amazement, “you’ve become quite a little captain in your own right, haven’t you! Two squads of halberds, a bodkin squad for missile support, and the ‘Deathreed’! That isn’t much less than the Captain himself brought to Derenhalle you know!”

“I know, I know,” Reed wilted. “I didn’t ask for this, you know.”

“You’re a veteran now, boy, as much as any of us,” the older sergeant reassured him. “Okay, not so much as some of us. But moreso than some of the sergeants we picked up along the way!”

“Do you still call Captain Derrick ‘boy’?” Reed asked with a touch of a grin.

“No, but he’s our commanding officer. Despite your rank, you’re not! And we do give him sass on occasion. It’s important that officers remember the life of their army depends on their sergeants.”

“May I have your permission, sergeant, to finish gathering my troops?” the captain dryly asked as he walked out of the surf nearby with his steed.

An hour or so later he brought his commanders together along with the fighting men at the little village nearby. Suspicious and frightened fishermen and farming families watched them from windows and out in the fields so that they could flee on a moment.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/IJCZxj.jpg)

“Naturally,” he said, “Leranse doesn’t have enough manpower to secure its own borders, bring up a siege to Sylent and seize its bordertowns, and also guard every landing beach of coast behind their lines. So we’re exploiting that.

“From here, we’re going to move up in two largely separate groups, into land previously acceded to Sylant. So we’ll have two thrusts, with two quite different objectives.

“Sergeant Brim: you get to be a lieutenant today, yourself! You’ve been training your swordsmen to strike against forts and cities; now you get to practice what you’ve taught and what they’ve learned.

“The enemy is staging out of D’Quazir Castle. I want you to take Sciff and Fitch, and Reed’s ballista, and Braun’s cavalry, and Pint’s second scouting squad, and capture that castle. Free the roundabout country from invaders, too.”

“...that sounds like a tall order, Captain.”

“It is. This whole operation is a tall order, but every soldier here will receive double pay for the time.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/dOPQm3.jpg)

“Reed and Pint, and their squads, will join me in the main thrust, once we liberate Manot, up the coastal road, which I doubt will give us any more problem than here: it only has a watchtower not even a wall!

“We’ll be a smaller detachment, but your company Brim will be the feint. An important feint, which is why it will work as a feint! -- but our main goal is to find and sack the supply wagons for the siege farther down the coast. That will draw the knights back to break the siege.”

“And then what??” Pint snorted.

“Before they arrive, we’ll have to find the general for Leranse’s invasion and put him down. They may break the siege once they learn their rear is so threatened anyway, so we’ll have to move fast to get this done before they can return! Twelve days, I judge, that’s all. If we haven’t dominated their supply line and removed their rear-leadership by then, we’ll probably have to retreat. But if we can do it, the shock of our victory will cause them to fall apart and regroup if not surrender outright.

“Step off lively, then, and let’s go to work and earn our pay.”

As expected, Manot turned out to be undefended -- except for a trained eagle flapping languidly above it in the sky!

Upon seeing the approaching column, flying Sylentian colors of blue and silver, the eagle carefully flew over and dropped a notepebble onto the ground nearby.

“Quarrels down,” the captain ordered Reed’s crossbow squad. “That eagle is flying Sylentian colors, too!” The note confirmed this, and suggested from Master Brennock that the captain investigate a holy shrine along the probable path of the supply wagons. The eagle took up position guarding the Sylentian flags below; its handler, with signaling streamers, soon appeared in Manot.

[Gamenote: the ‘handlers’ are a fiction I’ve added for the sake of explaining how orders are given to the flying animals, but they aren’t in the game itself.]

“Look out in the distance,” pointed Captain Pfeil. “You can see the wizard tower over Sylent, if you squint just right!”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/Ms628j.jpg)

“I know, sir; I’ve lived in sight of the tower all my life.”

“True, but that was for the benefit of men from Derenhalle. But what about you? -- did you live near here?”

“Not here, but I’ve visited my aunt and uncle before in... in Valence... heaven save them, is that Valence burning!? It is! It must be!”

“I’m sorry, Reed. If so, Brim and Braun will soon put that to right, and establish a line of advance for taking the fight back to the castle just over the border into Leranse.”

“...if my uncle and aunt are dead, that cannot be put to right.”

“No, Reed. Not by us. But we’ll make sure those looters are punished for what they’ve done.

“Now, let’s go uproot the larger looters threatening the city.”

“The very first regiment wagons are just ahead, sir, down the road,” reported Pint.

“How far?” the Captain asked, and Pint made a sketch based on preliminary report. “Eh. Too far to reach around the back of them today, in case they have archery support. I’ll ride up and take a look. From a safe distance, I promise.”

Soon he confirmed: not only were militia waiting in the wagon ring, but bowmen camped in support upon a hill beyond the camp -- and scouts were hiding in a small copse of trees nearby to shower any attacker with javelins, too!

Pfeil’s raiding detachment moved up for more safely striking at the camp on the morrow -- but the enemy oddly signaled, and the scouts ran out of the woods, down the road, toward Valence!

“Brim must be making a lot of trouble there. What can you see from the hill?” the captain asked that evening as the commanders conferred for the following day.

“Braun has camped in Valence, and retaken it. That’s odd, why would cavalry be used for attacking the village?”

“What are the other dispositions? Ah...,” Derrick said as he checked a map that Reed had scribbed. “I see, Brim probably took the opportunity to weaken the defenders with missiles, while setting up his front of advance toward the castle; then assaulted the village and forced a retreat, whereupon the horses took the town and maybe destroyed the retreating squad out in the open, see?”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/yksRIy.jpg)

“Okay, that makes sense. And the scouts went up to harass the cav.”

“Or possibly the ballista crew! No need for us to help them, though; let’s move on.”

Day two started with a morning ambush by Pint, out of the copse the enemy scouts had formerly occupied, panicking the Larentian bowmen and driving them off their hill.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/kiTxlk.jpg)

The eagle picked off the broken archers, providing some scouting information, too.

 
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“We should cross the river here, instead of trying to take those next wagon supplies beyond that bridge! Unfortunately, those militia are going to slow us down considerably today,” the Captain expected.

Pint partially disagreed: “I don’t think we can defeat them today; and the terrain on this side of the river is such that we will need days to move our part of the company across -- after we get these wagons! It would be safe, but not expedient. I think that we would be better off allowing our full missileers to pound the other side of the river and drive open spots for us to cross in attack.”

“I don’t like it but you’re probably right. That being the case, Reed, go help the push toward the castle for now, so that we can free up aid in crossing the river later,” Derrick ordered.

“I can do both: finish off however many scouts escape your charge, and still be ready to help push those militia out tomorrow with my other halberdiers.”

And that’s what they did.

 
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“What about the Deathreed, would you say?” asked the Captain with a testing twinkle in his eye. “Soften the militia in the wagons?”

“...eh, no. There are enemy archers on the hill, more dangerous and more exposed. I’d guess the ballista should thin them out instead?” Reed tentatively suggested.

“Good suggestion. I approve.”

 
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Seeing the flow of the battle changing, Brim sent the 2nd scouting squad to finish dealing with those archers -- mowing them down like grass under hail.

 
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The crossbowmen and cavalry made short work of the remaining enemy scouts, after Brim’s scouts, and Brim himself with his swordsmen, took the forest and hills behind them to cut off most of their likely retreats. The path to the castle lay open now!

Except for the squads besieging it.

“What?” Derrick pulled at his ear when hearing this report in the evening. “That doesn’t make sense. Troops flying Larentian flags are accosting a castle that flies the flag of Leranse -- which ought to be supporting the drive toward Sylent??”

“Not only that, but the besiegers won! -- for now. Militia marched into the castle, according to our scouts; and a bunch of foolish cavalry, and even more foolish peasants, decided to attack my swordsmen in the forest! Not many survived.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/LKB9nJ.jpg)
 
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“Sciff and Fitch’s crossbow support helped a lot, to be honest,” Brim gladly acknowledged. “So the enemy sent some bowmen out to shoot over the hill and nick a few of Fitch’s. We’ll get them tomorrow.”

“Hm. Well, we’re only two days into this operation, and we were going to neutralize that castle anyway. Let’s see what happens,” Derrick optimistically said.

The following day, Brim and Braun and the second scouting squad, with some help from Captain Pfeil, mopped up the former siegers of Castle D’Quazir; and the scouts moved round to the forest in its rear, to keep them from deploying any extra troops outside and to see if they could figure out what exactly was going on.

They didn’t have long to wait: messages tied to rocks were thrown from window-slits toward the woods.

 
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Later that afternoon, the militia inside, apparently deciding to try to make a run for it, charged out against Braun’s cavalry. The fight was surprisingly even-sided, since the cavalry couldn’t charge and the militia all had spears.

Meanwhile, the missileers, including the ballista and Pint’s main scouting squad, pummeled the militia in the ad hoc wagon fort. Reed’s halberds pushed them out with two more attacks, finally seizing the siegers’ supplies.

 
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“Well, that took long enough,” a brightly tasseled woman with several stunning scars complained as she trotted over into the camp and began to wave various streamers and flags in the sky.

“With minimal casualties on our part, so that we can fight again more easily. Against some decent spearmen in a defensive... what are you doing?” Reed brusquely asked. “Who are you again?”

The trained eagle promptly flew over and slaughtered the final militia in the field where they had fled.

 
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“Oh. Never mind. Um... good job?”

“You’ll thank me later,” the trainer said. “Or, more likely you won’t. So never mind, indeed.”

“Okay, well, just to be clear, tomorrow we’re going to start the same thing again, to soften up those troops on the other side of the river. So try to restrain your boredom,” Reed rolled his eyes and walked away.

Day 4 began with Brim and Braun, along with support from the second scouts, eliminating the looting militia.
 
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The scouts took an hour to secure the castle, in the process, and found inside a wounded Baron D’Quazir.

His story soon came out: forced by King Stephan to act as a staging area for the invasion, the duke didn’t actually want to hurt his neighbors with whom he had developed friendly trade over decades. When news of Captain Pfeil’s flanking assault reached him, he publicly rejected and denounced Stephan’s plans, thus acting as a sacrificial distraction while Lerantian troops tried to quell him in his castle. The militia who had taken his castle at last, didn’t understand Pfeil only intended this wing to be a feint, and in the confusion of Pfeil’s speedy advance hadn’t been able to properly report to the invasion’s general across the river at his headquarters, much less receive instructions to stay and hold the castle as a continuing threat until reinforcements could be essayed to rescue them. Or perhaps they didn’t believe the general would even try!

“At any rate, the filthy looters ran for it, and good riddance,” the old man growled. “I know mercenaries prefer to be thanked in gold instead of words; but, sadly, the thieves already ransacked us and sent it on ahead by courier.

“Let me give you instead my youngest and only surviving son, William D’Quazir, who has been training to command a squad of knights. He will serve your captain faithfully, and bring swift vengeance on Stephan for his betrayal of Sylant! They will be ready to operate tomorrow; we didn’t have time to kit them up sufficiently to help defend our castle before. Also, if you would take this chain mail to our fellow knights who helped to rescue our castle?”

[Gamenote: Braun’s landless knights also leveled up, and I chose chain main for +1 defense. But Bill’s knights are feudal, and so are already a full grade better though still level 0.]

Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 13, 2015, 08:51:30 PM
After settling matters, Brim decided to remain behind near the castle for a while to rest and perhaps recruit slain swordsman replacements. Braun and the scouts moved up to get a better idea what waited at the second supply wagon-circle across the river.

A lot.

 
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Pfeil came forward onto a hill nearby the river, out of archery range, to oversee the situation. “I want those bowmen pounded,” he said; “the ones not next to the camp, I mean. Maybe we can get them to flee into the river.”

That didn’t work, but the archers did take casualties.

As Reed coordinated in (what amounted to) the rearguard, to send halberds and archers over in shifting the focus of the front around, to bring even more pressure on those bowmen in the morrow, Pint sidled up.

“So Reed, I was thinkin’... Didn’t the Captain say Master Brannock was talkin’ about investigatin’ a shrine across the river?”

“True, but we cannot get there for another few days. Unless...?”

“My squad is already prepared to cross the river. We can be safely on the other side today, and tomorrow at the shrine.”

“Without support?! Wait, wait, hold on... um, you, the trainer, I’m sorry I haven’t gotten your name yet,” Reed called her over.

“Call me Torn, lieutenant.”

“...really??”

“Yes, really. Sir.”

“...right. Can you direct your eagle to scout for us over here,” Reed showed on a map, “without him being endangered, of course. An archery squad could be... is he a he or a she?”

“Yes, he is. And yes, I can.” She squinted at him a little. “Most officers don’t think ahead for trying to protect their eagles from harm, if they can. Um, thank you?” she quirked him a grin.

“You’re welcome. How will the eagle be able to tell us what he sees?”

“Various swoops and dives, like a code. I’ll have a lenstube for keeping an eye on him.”

“Fine. You both get going, then.”

The report came back later that afternoon, while Reed was giving his halberdmen a rest for their wounds: cavalry at the altar.

The Deathreed continued its mangling of the further enemy bowmen the following day, driving them down to the river-bridge after all, where William began his service to Captain Pfeil by clearing them from the path of advance.

 
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With the path cleared, Braun and the second scouting squad crossed the bridge and wrecked the other enemy archers. Pint, having learned of what was waiting at the altar, agreed with Reed’s signals as the lieutenant marched up to a hill on the river, and came back to start skirmishing on the spearmen inside the wagon circle. Pfeil’s crossbows shot them, too, though mostly the peasants who had been helping block an advance across the bridge, breaking their ranks and driving them back. Now only the spearmen were stopping an advance, “but they’re better quality troops than the ones who slowed us down from taking this wagon train,” Reed explained to Torn. “If you think you can bring your eagle back to pick off any survivors, great, but otherwise -- “

“I know, be careful with him.”

 
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“Pint could be in serious trouble,” Reed worried. “He’s saying there are peasants in the fields, near the third wagon-ring, who can see him; and they don’t look like farmers, they look like they’ve joined the invaders! They’ll pass that information along, and Pint saw a ton of other troops nearby, all of whom could mess him up extensively. They might even push him into the river and kill his squad completely, if they do it right.” He bit his lip, unable to help his peer.

 
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Pfeil, resting from his wounds on the hill, signaled the second scouts to move up to the wagon-circle, in order to provide a screen for the second halberd squad and Sciff’s crossbowmen to ford the riverbanks in relative safety.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/ncXwoC.jpg)

Nervously, Reed watched no less than three squads come up to flank Pint’s scouts... but none of them could muster the courage to tackle Pint’s team and take javelins to the face in a defensive barrage!

Who did attack, surprisingly, was a squad of militia who had looted and secured the tiny village of Lussac upriver! -- they ran out to stab at William’s knights.

 
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This amazing act of mostly-futile bravery put to shame those guarding the final regimental supplies; but Reed, when he heard about it, wasn’t inclined to complain.

[Gamenote: that was probably the best move the computer could have made with that one militia squad, other than pulling it back to help slow down an advance on the final objective later. As for surrounding my scouts, the computer’s main mistake was not letting its cavalry run my scouts down out of the gate: its peasants and militia ended up blocking a charge. But, maybe it couldn’t have moved the cavalry far enough to attack -- though I doubt it. More likely it was simply setting up for a more decisive blow next turn.]

Neither was Captain Pfeil. “Reed, I want you to keep the pressure up until Brim returns to take command. William, let’s get rid of these militia and then come with me!” Derrick led his new cavalry squad to liberate Lussac and then to disappear upriver.

When Reed received the captain’s message by courier, he knew what to do.

“We root out the defenders, and give Pint a better place to make a stand. Torn, is your eagle up to scattering those final archers?” He was.

Then came the artillery and crossbow barrage onto the supply wagons. Still the spearmen held.

“Javelins to the rear!” Reed signaled. Another few spearmen fell, but they refused to budge. The second scouting squad moved out of the way for Reed’s second halberdiers to get up off the riverbanks and into the fight on dry land.

 
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“Those spearmen are amazing,” Torn breathed. “Do they have no fear at all?”

“Probably hard training, and lots of it,” Reed marveled. “All we have left is Pint, and I’m not sure he’ll be able to do it.”

But he did: the spearmen finally retreated under the blows, though still not broken, down to the bridge, carrying their wounded with them. Pint’s crew ran into the wagon circle, and prepared to receive attack.

“How can we give them more support?!” Torn demanded.

Reed shook his head. “If we march down into the river and finish off the militia, I could pull more crossbows up to the bridge: they’d be protected, and would give a defensive volley, but we’d be vulnerable to slaughter by at least one squad... Okay, wait.” He looked around from his vantage point on the hill. “Several squads still have enough strength to march, so let’s...” He sent orders for his crossbow squad to move back, and then took his halberds to the same hill overlooking the bridge, from which they ran down to finish off the spearmen -- who bravely rose up to meet them on the riverbank!

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/qoDt3H.jpg)

“I couldn’t figure out a way to give Pint more support today, but now at least the path is clear for tomorrow, without having to worry about any allies being stuck on that river.”

The enemy knights made the mistake of attacking the second scouting squad instead, the ones outside the wagons -- but who were supported by Sciff’s crossbows, and by Torn’s eagle!

[Gamenote: unfortunately I couldn’t get the camera around in time to catch that amazing fight.]

On the seventh day, a week after the start of the campaign, several of Pfeil’s company rested while others helped clear the way onto the final wagons.


(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/WZkrWn.jpg)

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Day eight presented a special problem. “We have got to get around to the side of those archers and flank them hard enough to push them away from that ballista behind the final wagons,” Reed explained to Torn. Otherwise that ballista might easily wreck an incoming squad or two; and scouts say spearmen are waiting in that camp -- and you saw how hard it was to get them out!”

“Don’t forget the cavalry guarding the altar,” added Torn.

Reed acknowledged, “argh, yes, thanks I had in fact forgotten them. I feel reasonably sure your eagle can help us tear the ballista apart, but -- “

“-- the archers would shoot in defense. And then in attacking.”

“The ballista, too. Your eagle is precious, and I don’t want to lose it.”

“Okay, but maybe we’re looking at this the wrong way around,” she suggested. “What if we shoot it first with the... Deathreed?” she couldn’t help but snicker.

“I didn’t name it that, ‘Torn’,” he riposted. “We might kill it outright, but if we didn’t there would be trouble.”

“I can go up t’ the other side of the fields, and have a quarrel with it, lieutenant,” Sciff volunteered. “Can’t promise I’ll put it completely out of commission, but I’ll be out of range of archery returning a volley, and you’re guaranteed to destroy it with whatever you send over next!”

“And my scouts can do a serious number on those archers!” Pint promised. “Just don’t let that ballista whack us!”

In fact, the ballista broke and retreated after Sciff’s volley. This created more problems.

“So? Now we can spack those archers!” the ballista crew declared.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/913/lIFHPq.jpg)

Whereupon the shattered archers also ran away.

Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 13, 2015, 09:00:49 PM
“This is worst success I’ve ever seen,” Reed sighed.

“Aw, listen to you, you sound like an old campaigner,” Pint laughed. “Yes, yes, I know: they’ll reinforce, patch up their wounded, and then come back for more. But if they do that, they won’t be able to attack us today, so we’re free and clear to work on those spearmen. I’ll take our spears and go up and soften them up and scout around, okay?”

So they did, along with Fitch’s crossbowmen.

“Those spearmen’s hearts must be forged from solid steel,” Reed folded his arms and sighed. “We’ll have to fork them out, I guess.” So he led his halberds up and did that.

 
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“That was a mess,” Pint muttered as he moved up to take the final regimental supply cache. “They actually got over into my squad, trying to divide your line!”

“Holy Saint Marcus, look out, here come more knights!” called the exhausted undersergeant for the second scouting squad. “They look like they mean business!” Everyone readied for the tidal wave of armor and death: as the scouts said, these were clearly very experienced and well-armed cavalry...


(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/vP9CTi.jpg)

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(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/PhGocb.jpg)

...until ice froze them in place, and a meteor from heaven blasted them to blazing little pieces.

“...I hope whoever did that’s on our side,” Reed said.

“Good day, fellow Sylentians!” a booming voice announced. “I hope you don’t mind if my apprentices and I spared you from a battle with another detachment of knights? My students need the practice, not being warriors by training.” A cheerful man with a flamboyant red and blue cape, receding salt-and-pepper hair, and a wizard’s staff led two green-clad sorcerers into the camp from nearby trees.

“Oh, well, I suppose if you needed the practice we wouldn’t complain,” Reed nonchalantly answered. “I’m Lieutenant Reed, serving under Captain Pfeil and, well, I suppose Lieutenant Brim now, though he hasn’t caught back up to us yet.”

“Brannock.” The fellows shook hands, as the squads tried to relax. “And where is Derrick?”

“One moment, please. Torn,” Reed turned to address the gaping woman, “I know your eagle could easily finish off any of the three broken squads nearby, and we might wish at least one more is gone tomorrow. But Pint says a full bowman squad is waiting behind Marsalles. I don’t want your eagle to be a target. We can deal with them tomorrow.”

“The ballista could still attack. It isn’t any weaker, just with a broken crew,” she pointed out.

“They’ll have a harder time attacking, by the same token.”

“You still could lose some men, if the enemy tries to attack.”

Reed inhaled. “I know. Whatever choice I make, people could die. Don’t tell anyone I said so, but your eagle cannot be as easily replaced as a few of the troops,” he whispered. “Okay? Just have him rest today, and be in top shape tomorrow.

“Master Brannock,” Reed returned attention to the wizard. “Sorry, I wanted to make sure someone didn’t rush off and get killed. I don’t know where Captain Pfeil is. He... um... he has a habit of going off more-or-less by himself, and reappearing later. As far as I can tell he’s working his way around the nearby lake to the north, in order to get back in front of us for our final attack on the enemy headquarters.”

“That sounds exactly like Derrick Pfeil! Well, let’s eat from the enemy supplies tonight, and... one moment please,” he muttered as he threw an explosive ball of fire to blast the final spearmen into atoms, “...plan how to finish this off in the next few days!”
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/Fere10.jpg)

“We’ll be glad to share our lunch, and listen to any recommendations you might have,” Reed offered.

“Good! My first recommendation is to prepare to receive an assault; I let my presence be known and something of my intentions, and then ran away back here once I could see you’d soon be taking the final supplies,” Master Brennock said as he munched on a mutton sandwich. “The enemy cavalry should be arriving... oh, good here they are!”

More panic ensued, but only a squad of landless knights rushed forward to try attacking one of Pint’s scouting squads in a field. That was a mistake; the scouts ambushed them and destroyed them down to the last man and horse, with help from defensive crossbows and their own javelin counterattack.

 
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[Gamenote: probably that hex was just outside the computer’s line of sight, and so the horsemen rode into the hex and got utterly ambushed. In Panzer General games, advancing into a hex you don’t have eyes on is a suicidal idea, and Fantasy Wars is no exception. Great luck for me!]

“As you can see, I’ve saved you a couple of days’ work,” the wizard nodded and resumed his meal, while his disciples reverently watched nearby.

“YOU BROUGHT THEM ALL HERE!?”

“Yes, yes, you only need to kill the Larentian general. Your scouts will be able to tell me where he is; I fireball his ass; maybe the ballista whacks him, too; the eagle swoops in for the end, all done. Derrick might even have a clear shot at him now from the rear, if he’s advancing from that direction! I suppose we ought to let him take a try, first,” mused the wizard.

“Wait, hold on,” said Pint. “Didn’t we want to check the altar for any relics before the cavalry can find it first and flee?”

“Right. Your second squad can’t make it, so we’ll send them into the woods to soften the general up a bit. Go see if you can drive the cavalry off the altar, Pint,” Reed instructed. And that’s what happened. “Signal Braun! I think he can ride in and do the work there!” Reed continued on having heard of that success.

“No good, lieutenant, even we can’t get there today!” Braun sent back by courier.

“Oh, argh. That means we’ll have to weather an attack today in order to be able to pick it up tomorrow,” Reed sulked. “Well, it can’t be helped.”

[Gamenote: there is really no reason why if I won today I shouldn’t have the relic, but there we are. An annoying side effect of the game rules.]

So that day they spent in carefully skinning off enemy squads in front and around Mazarelles.
 

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(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/Dzn7Z3.jpg)

Soon only the general and his royal knights remained as any kind of threat -- but still, they were a serious threat!

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/FUvY1l.jpg)

The general, having seen the wizard move up to lend defensive fire support, did the only wise thing he could do aside from retreating and saving his troops to fight another day: he sent the peasants who had supported his invasion in a sacrificial run against the wizard, drawing a crossbow volley...

...and then mobbed the wizard with royal knights.

 
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Leaving his body to gasp on the grass, alone, his students run down and speared.

This outrage wouldn’t save the general’s life.

“General!” shouted Derrick Pfeil, as he rode up in the rear. “Your days of pillaging Sylant are over! Here, do you remember Baron D’Quazir?! The man who turned his back on looting the innocent!? HIS SON REMEMBERS YOU!!

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/lMQsII.jpg)

“For the sake of the Captain’s teacher!” Reed shouted to his halberdiers, “and for my aunt and uncle, and for all the families harried and burned by this looter who chose the path of the orc! Be done with him!”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/l330Mn.jpg)

“The so-called Invincible General is dead!” cried Brim, as he marched up at last from the road behind. “Many of these men have families in this area! Let as few of his troops escape the wrath of justice as you can!”

Most of the knights, in truth, escaped; though not so many peasants, or the royal knights themselves.

“Ah, Master Brennock, you old fool!” Pfeil rushed across the field from his flanking position and found his fallen teacher.

“...when will you ever start calling me Alfred?” the mage crustily coughed.

“When you’re dead, maybe. You certainly tried hard enough, and you... dammit, man, you’ve gotten your apprentices killed. And you’ve used magic to attack other people!”

“...you’re welcome. Patch me up, please. More quickly, there’s a good boy...”

“You pur-blind fool! You know what this will mean!”

“Sylent is safe, and we’ll sign a peace with King Stephan, and my favorite pupil lives to fight another day.”

“It means the Inquisition will be hammering at the gates of the tower!!”

“It means my fellow wizards will diplomatically throw me to the wolves. If the wolves can find me. Fair enough trade, we all understand. The Inquisitors will understand, too: they have an important task, to keep us balanced so that we don’t {cough} ruin the world... I don’t blame them, they’re doing what has to be done. They’ll make an example of me. If they catch me. ...counting on you, Derrick.” And the magus drifted away. And started snoring.

“I hate that we had to spend money to reinforce, and then we didn’t get here in time,” groused Brim, “to lend any help! How revolting. Speaking of disgusting, how did you fare, boy, fighting fellow humans?”

“...I didn’t like it. But it had to be done.”

“He did fine,” Pint assured his peer. “And look, thanks to his management, we were able to pick up this helpful... um... blue, cold thing!”

But Reed wasn’t listening as the other commanders compared their campaign notes, and welcomed William D’Quazir to their ranks.

He was staring back to the east. Where the smoldering remains of Valence still lay. Too late to be saved.

“Y’know,” said Torn as she strode up and sat down nearby to eat from her plate, “you actually met me, way down that road, in Valence. You didn’t pay attention at the time. Understandable, under the circumstances. Shall we try that again?

“I’m Torra,” she said. And held out a hand, to shake.

“..wait, uh, no, we met in Manot...?”

“Didn’t meet there either,” she winked. “But I once lived near Valence. Many years ago.

“A little shepherdess, guarding her lambs from eagles. And from wolves...”
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 14, 2015, 05:08:29 PM
632 Late Spring -- The Monkeys' Paws

“And they did what?” Ugraum growled.

“According to the news passed down along the Waste,” said Ash-hoon the orcan hexer, “a monkey force uprooted the Snake clan goblins you left behind there, half a season ago. But then departed again, leaving the contested area this side of the forts -- “

“That is what I meant. They left,” pondered the great red orc. “The monkeys must be fighting among themselves. That is the only explanation.”

“Have we learned enough to take advantage of that, my general?”

“Yes, Axenose. I think our people have.

“They still haven’t learned enough. But they will.

“Gather the horde. We march for Irand. While the seams in our enemy’s armor leave him soft to stab.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/CkFdp6.jpg)

“Are you afraid to fight the monkeys, when they are at their strength?” Ash-shoon grated.

“Great Ugraum is never afraid!” the little goblin hexer Sho-doon insisted, but --

“I see an opportunity to do more damage than otherwise I might,” Ugraum answered. “I fight for victory, and for the best effect of a victory. You needn’t join our victory, if that insults you.”

The grim hexer-orc smiled. “I am not insulted at all. Just curious.”

“Don’t get too curious, First Hexer. Leave us now to prepare.”

“...leave you to prepare, what?”

“Whatever you need to do, in order to fight with us. Oh -- did you mean to be curious about what we will prepare?”

“...I will go my way,” the painted orc said, and departed.

“Why insult the first hexer, Great Ugraum?”

“He does not respect respect, which he sees as weakness. And he has come to take the horde. He is admittedly strong, in his way. We can use him. But be careful around him, Sho-doon. If he sees you as a rival, he may kill you. I would be fatally annoyed, if that happened.

“Now. We have a problem. Our people don’t understand yet how important supplies are in a war. They are learning, but not quickly enough to bring all the force we could want, under my command. Most of the horde I will send out all along the fortress line of the monkeys, to learn and grow stronger, if they survive. But we can only bring fifteen with us. And we have seventeen. Two must go elsewhere.

“We must break through at Irand, the southern area of the fort-line, from which we can help the other portions of the horde break through. So Besegar must come; as should you, Sho-doon, my friend. Ash-hoon, too, for his strength and because I can’t trust him in command of other forces. But how shall I choose among the others? Advise me, friends.”

“We have more goblins than orcs,” said Sho-doon. “We could leave the two orc squads to fight elsewhere.”

“We could,” Ugraum agreed.

“The goblin way, is to hit fast without being hit,” Axenose added. “Thus we live longer for victory, and control the terms of the battle.”

“Are you therefore also advising that we send the orcs away? Only have a goblin army, with some orc commanders?”

“...no, Ugraum. It pains me to admit it, but... the pans. They are not fast enough. Nor, to be honest, are the pansies. But they can be trained instead to ride the hyenas. With time.”

“We have some time on the march into position. We will lose some of the advantages of the pansies if we do that. You could teach them to move invisibly instead, and to terrorize our foes,” suggested Ugraum.

“Yes. But they will still be able to fight in woods. Better than other cavalry anyway. They wouldn’t be able to take advantage of rough land or hills anymore. But they would move fast and be hit without being hit. The perfect goblin strategy!”

“So, do you say we ought to replace our orcs as well as your pans with hyena pansies?”

“That is a thought, Great Ugraum,” Sho-doon nodded. “But if we did, what message would be sending about the importance of cooperation among all uru?”

“Let our words not be a fog,” said Axenose. “Let the orcs also train to ride the bulls! They will not be able to hit without being hit, but they will be fast and harsh on our enemies -- and so strong that they can move around with impunity into place!”

[Gamenote: they don’t get segmented movement, which includes that ability, too; but they can still ignore zones of control that would normally stop allied moves near enemies.]

“Then bring our other distance fighters. The stone thrower and the spear hurler; our archers... though they are somewhat slow,” Sho-doon pondered. “But they hit strongly, without being hit, and farther than our skirmisher cavalry will.”

Ugraum tapped his fingers on a mug. “The only element you are missing from your strategy,” he said, “is this: we must take monkey cities to succeed. I could train our orcs to do that, almost immediately. Perhaps they would learn it later, or maybe not, who knows? I do however also like the idea of greater speed.” He and Besegar had been testing each other in races recently.

Then he stood. “I have decided. We shall strike like panthers running down our prey, on the plains and in the woods. If our archers cannot keep up, well, we will send them elsewhere to fight and invest in more panthers.

“We shall be a panzer corpz.”

“Except on hyenas and bulls,” snickered the old little goblin. “No, I love it! Really! I just... the image was amusing!”

“Let us be amused, then,” the great red orc graciously said, patting the quaking elder.

“And let our enemies learn the price of fear.”

Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 14, 2015, 05:22:25 PM
In the end, with a little finagling, they decided the wild trolls could be brought along as well, though the trolls were no faster than average. But possibly they could learn. To them was given the orb of cold for fording rivers; Ugraum brought his eye of seeing as usual. In their previous campaign, Axenose had at some cost found a shard of night that had fallen from the sky long ago; this he gave to the 3rd panzer goblins as gratitude for teaching the pansies how to fight on hyenas as soon as possible: broken into smaller pieces it granted all that squad invisibility! Axenose wanted to keep his bloody berserker battle-axe which had given him his name, but Ugraum insisted he give it, personally, to one of the panzer orc squads. This new unity helped earn respect among uru kin in the corpz. In return, Axenose was allowed to bring the horn of fury in case his squad had to directly fight their enemy in melee.

With his newly trained Panther Corpz, Ugraum arrived at the southern settlement area and explained his strategy:

“Besegar and I, along with Sho-doon, Ash-hoon, the goblin archers, the war trolls, and our artillery, will start here, at the goblin village of Nilgazar. A pitiful trashheap -- for as usual the soft monkeys rely on our little makers to dispose of their garbage for free. An insolence we shall make them regret.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/rlujFI.jpg)

“Besegar and I have speed as well as power; but we will take the slower troops directly toward the gates of Irand in the mountains.”

 
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“I sense apeish witchery along the way,” Sho-doon cautioned. “Not in our way, but off to the side. I see... fury of a monkey female! She raises pain, pain, she burns!” The little goblin shook his head. “That... that happened long ago. Or not so long ago. The witch’s fury sleeps there. Look, O Great Ugraum, for a black, scorched circle where nothing grows. We might find something the soft apes feared and forsook!”

Ugraum nodded, and looked to where his little wizened ally pointed, on the map. “That will be hard to investigate while still keeping up the thrust of our advance. But Besegar and I can do it.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/Th5yUN.jpg)

“Axenose shall lead my panther squads, our fastest troops, including the zeppelina, to strike at a cleft in the mountains to the south. You can expect them to be guarding it somehow,” Ugraum warned, “but they never built fortifications there. “Pass through into their heartlands, sow ruin among them, but attend to messages from Ash-shoon and Sho-doon and lend us aid at the gates when we arrive. Weaken them by drawing them back if you can.”

“They shall feel riven as though by lightning made of panthers!” Axenose promised. So bowing he made his way to the designated area to begin, far from any goblin hovel but near to a small monkey settlement.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/eKzRLN.jpg)

A small monkey settlement being visited by militia, according to the zeppelina’s observers. Bad luck, Axenose thought.

Worse luck soon revealed itself: the region was simply swarming with expert bowhunters. Some were set on a hill between two rivers, impossible to easily strike! -- probably meant to be on watch against a military thrust.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/P9f0Nz.jpg)

“The monkeymen were wise after all,” Axenose mumbled. “They didn’t build a castle here: this whole region of land is like their castle!

“Keep back!” he waved at the zeppelina, which could easily be destroyed.

“Noble Axenose,” a goblin sergeant said. “Remember our hyenas do not fight so well in forests yet. Certainly the bulls will not.”

“We have no choice but to continue. Look to our allies the orcs; we shall soften up the enemy so far as we can, and let our fellow panzers run them down!”

 
 
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(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/RHcJqC.jpg)

The 3rd Panzer Goblins took the brunt of the counterattack, but also broke the surviving enemy militia. The local commander in the village, of Tonndorf if Axenose understood their declarations right, pulled the spears back to recuperate them later, but in doing so he had to shuffle his troops around so that the archers now were vulnerable to direct attack. And the peasants in the village had meanwhile attempted a strike from the forest onto the bull riding orcs -- with predictably disastrous results for the farmers.

“Not the best start,” Axenose admitted to his sergeants that night. “But perhaps the best result we could have gotten, in this situation. Tomorrow is another day.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/910/DlONQh.jpg)

“First, we shall javelin the archers in the town. Their peers in the woods will shoot in defense, but they are not so good as who we’re attacking, who will not be able to shoot in their defense, later.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/912/g3goU0.jpg)

“Good, good. Now, my orcan ally! Ride in there and wipe those archers into streaks in the dust! Goblins, ride on across the bridge; but don’t let those horsemen in the camp see you near the pass -- stay outside their scouting range, and feed us more information.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/UpoZPl.jpg)

“3rd Panzer goblins: take the village and keep those broken losers from rallying afterward!”

[Gamenote: I can’t actually keep them from rallying, but since all the hurt humans are near the town, I can keep them from properly reinforcing or even properly resting by my presence there. Or they can try attacking me in their weakened state.]

Through a clever management of the agility of the hyenas, Axenose decimated, broke, and drove away the remaining less-experienced bowmen, and used the other panzer orcs to plow the remaining militia down in the woods outside of town.


 
 
 
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The weakened hyenas he pulled back, worried that the garrison on the hill between the rivers would advance to shoot them down. “In fact,” he confided to his jubilant sergeants that night, “I hope they do advance: for all they can do is advance into a river! Then we can butcher them at leisure. Until then, we should use our speed to stay away from their range, and otherwise ignore them. Keep pressing onward. Where is our zeppelin?... ah, far away. I wish I hadn’t waved it off; it could be finishing some of these other monkeys in the woods. Oh well, Ugraum will find some good use for it, no doubt, before sending it back to us.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/Lq4IcR.jpg)

The following day, Axenose ordered the final sanitzation of Tonndorf, realizing that they would need to regather some strength in safety before attempting the harsh fight before the mountain pass. This almost succeeded, but some bowmen still escaped despite some goblins riskily camping on a river to try to javelin them.

[Gamenote: fortunately, there is not one AI commander like myself for different portions of the field, but several in various regions. Otherwise my hyenas in the river would be screwed, because those horse yeomen would run up and slaughter them like sheep! But they’re outside the detection radius for the cavalry camp, so they’ll be safe.]

Oddly, coded signals from the zeppelina, still supporting Ugraum, indicated many of the cavalry at the camp had ridden away, probably to counter-attack Ugraum’s advance.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/xHfIxb.jpg)

“Curious,” Axenose mused. “Finish hunting the archers in the wilderness,” he ordered the increasingly winded 2nd panzer goblins. “If they recuperate, we may find them stabbing us from behind in a difficult moment.” But the squad still couldn’t finish off the hardy archers that day.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/AmgnEd.jpg)

“The unwounded panzer orcs and I shall overrun the farmers left in the horse-rider’s supply camp. Signal the zeppelina! -- it is time to rejoin our wing. The others, rest and recuperate and join us tomorrow; but don’t get near those guardians on the hill between the rivers! -- unless they are fool enough to come down to shoot at us.”

 
 
 

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/lFv7RV.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/901/qsfbTH.jpg)

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This worked reasonably well, although Axenose noticed some scouts guarding the pass who might cause them trouble, soon. And if all the horsemen returned at once? -- that might be inconvenient. A few tattered monkey spearmen and armored archers with strange horizontal weapons... perhaps they had learned the advantages of shooting goblin-style...? waited in and near the woods outside the camp; the largest group, a couple of lines of militia, were easily gored to death by the orcan bull riders.

Much to his surprise, more wounded monkeys came stumbling out of the woods; and riders who had previously rounded the corner of the road did return -- but broken and routed, dragging their wounded behind them!

 

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/tiTdb2.jpg)

“Shall we join the fight yonder, commander?” the sergeant of the first squad of bull riders asked. “Doubtless we could add greatly to the attack on the castle walls.”

“Doubtless. But Ugraum presumes there is artillery near the walls, or something of that sort, in the land behind the mountains. We should get back there as soon as possible and see. Great Ugraum, the trolls, and Besegar your mighty kin, are clearly beating the apes just like a barrel full of monkeys!” Axenose laughed. “Let us do our part. For example, I think you will have some trouble dealing with those scouts yonder on the ridge. So I will send our goblin bomber to help you first.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/TxqHA6.jpg)

“Now, if you can drive them off the ridge, we will be over it and done. Let the softskins have their camp here back if they want it; we have looted it already.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/901/4hGPYc.jpg)

“Easier done than said!” the orc sergeant boasted.

“Indeed! Then let us whistle up our panzers, as I clear the final monkey scouts away.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/910/jLE6Tq.jpg)

“Stay out of the range of those yeoman archers!” Axenose warned, guiding the squads into relatively safe locations: the enemy still could cause them trouble after all. “Tomorrow we will descend down into the rich and beating heart!”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/E9NLBk.jpg)

Minor monkey cavalry did try to assault the panzer orcs in the hills near the pass, but the bull riders broke their charge quite nicely.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/hSHETN.jpg)

The following morning, as goblin panzers rushed down the pass, the first panzer orc squad avenged itself thoroughly on the impertinent monkey horsemen.

 
 

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(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/aODjaW.jpg)

Axenose and the panzer goblins meanwhile drove off the doughty militia defending the small milling town, although between one thing and another none of the squads were quite able to take the village that day. The wounded panzer orcs would likely rest there soon, however.
 
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/5CtGXU.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/911/XMpeNL.jpg)

Axenose realized then, that in taking time to forge a horde worth throwing at the mountain forts, Ugraum had given these heartless creatures time to harden up with reinforcements -- indeed, Ugraum had practically told them they were coming, with his adventures last winter north on the fort-line!

And yet, what would have been the alternative? He had been only Itchynose, a goblin not even brave enough to stand, with his family, in the path of one lone orc on the way to teach his people how to defend themselves and take what they wanted to have.

Though he had been brave enough to stand forth alone, from concealment, to banty with that orc.

And now... well, here he was. A commander of orcs and goblins, in his own right, tasked with a crucial wing of attack, in breaking the softskin defenses.

A task, the first stage of which he had completed now, bringing his half of the corpz, the panthers, into the chicken coop -- or mostly so.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/905/99FMQW.jpg)

Still, this had taken very much longer than he had thought it would -- half the time allotted, six of twelve days. He wouldn’t be able to dig around in the monkey’s heart, so the softskins would escape with much of the loot: but only if he could get to the fortress in time to sever the monkey’s paws and shock them into fleeing.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 14, 2015, 05:31:09 PM
With the first panzer orcs having taken the milling village, and settling in for a well-deserved rest, and the second panzer orcs on the way around the hills, the panzer goblins charged on into the rear of the fort: where they discovered a horrifying surprise.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/911/HaX5lC.jpg)

Two rock throwers and a spear hurler; protected by an archery squad between them; and flying above them, two trained eagles, ready to make short work of any survivors of the holocaust the artillery (and the archers) would unleash. Nor could the bomber be feasibly brought to help: Axenose counted no less than six units in sight which would wreck that precious vehicle.

They themselves would probably be savaged, when they attacked.

Nothing for it, although his scouting panzer goblin squad would at least be invisible carrying the night shards. Unless one of the things in the fort could see the invisible -- which wasn’t impossible.

“We shall get as close as we can,” he told his fellow panzer goblins, “without being seen as well. The eagles have a limited distance, just like anything else. But don’t get too close to the mountains! Someone on the other side may have sent a spy or two to a peak.”

[Gamenote: I’m pretty sure in this game mountains don’t block line of sight, although they should since they do block movement. I can’t tell for sure since Ugraum can see very far with his eye-thingy, and the troops on the other side are already ‘spotted’. So I’m trying to avoid being seen by them, and having eagles attack me, or worse the artillery! I’ve turned on the grid in the following screenie to give an idea not only where my forces are in relation to the back of the fort, but also to show how far away I’m trying to stay from various things.]

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/dra3RJ.jpg)

As they were doing that, amazingly one of the catapults ran forward! Possibly out of range for any subsequent counter-attacks! -- though also out of danger from an ambush in the rear.

The following morning, the “Night Shards” were able, thanks to the vacant spear hurler, to mess with several guarding archers, fending off an eagle on defense -- thus exhausting that creature for later -- and running carefully away out of sight of anyone, probably. Where they discovered, much to their surprise, that a whole fortress lay unguarded behind some rivers!

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/F7YsMB.jpg)

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/633/NxDCgP.jpg)

They might even be able to take that fortress the following day, without any fight at all!

Meanwhile, although the second panzer orcs could not arrive in time to fight that day, Axenose and the other panzer goblins worked on the first of the stone throwers. They weren’t quite able to kill it, but the forced it out of its revetments at least! -- which the second panzers promptly took, chuckling to themselves that maybe this meant they wouldn’t be attacked in favor of easier targets nearby!
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/901/dfvoNG.jpg)

In fact, they were attacked by the other stone-thrower -- which they easily shrugged off!

Day 9. The Nightshards, who had also acquired a furry boss to negate the usual goblin laziness, crossed the river and entered the pleasant suburb of the empty fort; preventing any enemy from entering now as well.

Axenose wasn’t best pleased: had they gone around the longer way, they might have taken both areas! [Gamenote: and I forgot to save before doing this half of the fight so I couldn’t go back and try to correct my mistake, argh.] Typical goblin laziness after all. “They’d rather ford a river than go around the easier, more effective but longer way,” he grumbled. The panzer goblins did spend the day marveling at the quaint and prosperous village, though, especially the steam-driven tractor for tilling the strips of river-field nearby.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/913/z9EGn8.jpg)

And looting, of course. They weren’t idiots!

Later, Axenose wished they had stayed in the area to fight and then to take the unguarded island fort: not one artillery piece was slain, despite their best efforts, even by the second bull-riding squad! But one had retreated down to where the Nightshards had been waiting. [Gamenote: yep, I forgot one of the key Panzer General wisdoms. Unless I need to move in order to best attack something, wait until the local fighting is done and THEN move! Just in case something moves nearby, in a rout or retreat, so that I can at least have the opportunity to whack it.]

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/kWBE37.jpg)

With nothing safer to do, the rested bomber decided to start blowing apart the twin towns of Stein Mill and Milbeck.

 

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/5MzGPp.jpg)

This wasn’t entirely without danger, but the goblins correctly guessed that archers would be waiting at the mill, having heard about the attack on the fortress by now; and so from high altitude rowed over and started dropping ammunition by surprise! Nor were they likely to be much hurt in retaliation, since they not only had installed a metal lining around their hull but also had overcome their natural fear of heights to fly much higher than any archers could easily shoot. [Gamenote: although the graphics don’t indicate this.]

Then, however: a near disaster!

The catapult crews, realizing they couldn’t repair their machines and likely would lose them the following day in any case, agreed among themselves to work hard to remove one panzer squad! Between them they started pounding the second bull riders; then two squads of peasants joined in.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/901/WGwDby.jpg)

By the time they were done, only one bull, and its rider were left alive.

Axenose could only blame himself; if he had insisted the Nightshards remain in place, one of those catapults would have been destroyed, and the panzer orcs would not only have not lost so many experienced soldiers, but would have taken down more of the enemy, too.

As it was, he could only give thanks -- though on reflection, he didn’t know to whom. Perhaps to the foolish fortress commander for not sending an eagle over to finish off the squad.

[Gamenote: the computer is usually good about exploiting situations like this, as evidenced by how it exploited this situation to get that far! Why it didn’t send one eagle, I have no idea. Nothing it knew of back there could possibly hurt it, other than the one lone orc who wouldn’t be able to do much by himself in riposte. Unlike some Panzer General games, this one doesn’t track relative initiatives, other than in the sense of some weapons and abilities granting a first strike. Incidentally, I had forgotten that in Fantasy Wars, ballistas could not shoot fliers; which makes sense of course (except I seem to clearly remember they could -- maybe a skill they could pick? -- or was that changed for the sequel Elven Legacy? -- but it nearly got me in trouble over the mountains.]

Well, enough of that.

“Burn them down!” Axenose howled. And so the machines of the monkeys fell, at last.

But not before a justice struck from the sky! -- a sharpened log cleared the gate of the fort, shattering among the enemy archers; followed closely by a great, tumbling rock. Their bodies flew so high, the eagles snapped up pieces by reflex in the air! Or one of the eagles did; the other had been squawking and flapping around and suddenly flew away to the west a little.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/TpKYF0.jpg)

And then a meteor made of ice punched it down from the sky. It didn’t rise again.

“Ugraum and our allies, orc and goblin and troll alive, are doing their part!” Axenose declared. “Let us do ours! Swordsmen guard the final part of the fort! We hit, without being hit: I want them pelted twice with javelins before the day is done; and then another three times tomorrow, as necessary!”

Peasant squads bravely tried to murder the first panzer orcs, but they had not been nearly exterminated by missile-fire already, and were waiting on a hill. Both peasant squads fled in failure.

 

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/905/JAAtO2.jpg)

And on the eleventh day of the Irand campaign, the fortress fell.

“The Axe falls upon you!” cried the panzer goblins as, in turn, they each ran up and javelined the final sword-defenders of the fort: heavily armed and armored, and trained to excel at city-fighting, still they progressively whittled away.

After bombardment by log and stone again, the swordsmen couldn’t help but retreat -- where the 2nd Panzer Orcs found them still not broken and ready to fight. But Mighty Ugraum himself came up into the southern side of the pass-fort, cutting off any further retreat, and smote them down at last with his sword of stone.

With that, Axenose rode up over the fallen bodies of the dead. “Greetings, general!” he bowed to his great commander from on the other side of the small, square, central keep.

“Welcome, to Derenhalle!”

 

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/633/UIt3kY.jpg)

“Tonight we feast! Tomorrow we shall blow into these soft and supple lands like a scouring hurricane!” Ugraum shouted. “And then we will see what there is to learn.”

But that night, as tales were told by either side of heroic deeds and close calls, and mockery thrown at the monkeys, Ugraum took Axenose aside and said:

“Be wary of Ash-shoon.”

“I already was,” the little goblin agreed, sipping his drink -- never again would he willingly drink himself into laziness, and he kept a sharp eye upon his panzers to see that they didn’t do so either. “But why more specifically now?”

“In the fighting, before our friend Sho-doon fell and was so badly hurt that he could not continue, I saw Ash-hoon giving orders to minor orc servants who carry our supplies. He never told me what those orders were, but he seemed to be sending them out to search.

“And whatever they sought, they seemed to find.

 
 

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/b2GJyJ.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/905/Rx9s5I.jpg)

“And Ash-hoon hasn’t told me of this. We told him of the armor Besegar found when he fought the apey witch: the Red Plate of Azurnash, the last warrior of the Siirta people, exterminated by the elves, who sought his refuge among the dwarves and continued his war thereby. For him they made that armor, in gratitude.”

“Besegar will wear it well, and needs it!” chortled Axenose. “He doesn’t think much of his own defense sometimes!”

“He is better at that than he seems; much of his bluster is an act, disguising a keen mind,” Ugraum murmured, like a pondering earthquake. “But he is honest. I think.

“Ash-hoon, however... Besegar told me he didn’t find a softskinned female there, old or young either way, apish or elven.

“He found a hexer.

“And not a goblin hexer. An orcish one.”

“...and then... was Ash-hoon supposed to be taking his turn to help defend Sho-doon, when he was struck down?”

“He was. I don’t know if he did or not.

“But... we may not be able to trust Sho-doon either, after this.”

“I would think he would be jealously competitive with Ash-hoon. Orcs learning hexer secrets -- that’s bad for goblins,” the goblin commander said.

“But now,” Ugraum added,

“ -- Ash-hoon is caring for Sho-doon.”
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: Martok on January 15, 2015, 02:02:26 PM
"Dun-dun-DUNN!!!"  :D 
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 15, 2015, 04:36:54 PM
632 Early Summer -- Into The Woods

“This is,” Reed gagged again, “already a disaster.”

“You know perfectly well you’d do better watching out on the seaward side of the ship,” Brim reminded him.

“We’ve got to get to shore!” snarled the lieutenant. Or maybe the captain. Exact ranks remained somewhat fluid in Major Pfeil’s regiment of companies. “I can see it, right over there, and I can’t get to it! At least I want to see why we can’t go there yet.”

Many more ships stood out to sea from the coast of Derenhalle, than last time Reed had visited -- only about a season ago? The leaves and the blooms had just started. He had never killed anything larger than quail before. Never killed a living soul. Or whatever the orcs and goblins were.

“We can’t go there because goblin war machines would sink our ships. Just like we couldn’t land back in Harsefield again, or at those little villages north of Keilerstein.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/xVvx6P.jpg)

“I know that. But then why bother sailing farther down the coast at all? Presumably if the goblin re-surge took that land so firmly, it would have taken this settlement area, too, closer to the Waste.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/DsDhx1.jpg)

“Presumably, the Captain expects this area to clear, soon, unlike the other areas. Presumably, that’s because we left some allies behind who already sent word back by the eagle which was sent to scout -- or by other means. Master Brannock is here after all.”

“Presumably, you’re talking about Father Divine.”

“Presumably, yes.”

“He didn’t impress me much when we were here last. So I’m not presuming he’s the reason.”

“Oh, really? You seemed mighty impressed back then to me! -- though then, back then you weren’t much more than a farmer boy with his pitchfork,” Brim joshed him. “A couple o’ months of experience just does wonders for evaluating what a man can do, eh?”

Two days later, with the captain of this particular ship muttering ominously about a vicious storm to arrive later in the week, lookouts spotted a definite change in the goblin archers infesting Meerheim.

They were running the hell away. Those who had survived.

“Bring the ship in closer,” barked the captain, reading the commodore’s flags going up to give orders to all the ships.

“But the catapult, cap’n...!” one of the crew complained.

“Will have other things to worry about. I hope.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/901/BqIIpi.jpg)

“Our allies can’t be very strong,” Captain Brim told the ship’s captain. “Now that they’ve broken cover and acted, we’ll need to move in quickly to support them!”

“Only if that catapult gets out of Meerheim docks...”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/911/GrK2QR.jpg)

“...oh. Okay,” the ship-captain agreed, “that might not be a problem. But still, they haven’t secured the docks today, I’ll have to wait till tomorrow.”

“ -- I, uh, I’m not too overly worried about the company there for a day, I guess,” Brim allowed. “You saw who broke down that catapult by himself, right?” he muttered to Reed. “Still not impressed?”

“Holy God on high,” Reed breathed.
 

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/901/Jm9qwf.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/910/ez0A1w.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/oojRh8.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/904/7oBWnR.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/hnpvr3.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/mUdQDZ.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/6SMDKM.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/JKoV9Y.jpg)

“What are they saying? You can read lips!” Torn insisted to Pint.

“Uh... the Inquisitor is actually the High Priest of the Sword... his first name was Dexter, still is I guess... he doesn’t like titles... the wizard’s name is Alfred, did we know that already?... he was known as the Red Raven...”

“The High Priest himself was out shepherding common folk in the back end of nowhere,” Reed marveled.

“I remember he also talked about how he had a premonition something bad was coming. He probably thought he ought to work out here,” Brim suggested.

“He told me ‘good job’! I remember! The High Priest of the Sword told me good job!”

“Strictly speaking,” Brim began to answer Reed, “I remember him telling that, in sarcasm, to a different peasant squad -- “

But Torn couldn’t hold her giggles in any longer:

“The High Priest of the Sword’s name is Dexter!

“That is so... I can just see him as a boy, sitting in a room squinting at his bibles, little Dexter!” She was having a hard time now standing up while laughing.

The other commanders just looked at her.

“Oh come on,” Sciff said as he arrived, having caught the end of that. “That’s got to be a little funny.”

“I’m reasonably sure he imagined that catapult calling him ‘Dexter’, too, before he murdered it off the face of the earth,” Reed opined.

“...ah. Well, yes. Um.” Torn regained her composure. Mostly. “Red Raven. That’s a great nickname. For a war wizard. Too.” She was starting to snicker again. “I’m serious. I promise, I’m not kidding.”

Then her laughter faded, as she watched Reed watching the Reverend Father standing alone on the path, watching for signs of trouble. Guarding the people, alone.

Reed was standing much like him, she noticed.

“So... what’s your first --?”

“Reed, actually,” he answered. “And before you ask, my family name is Cane.

“Which, yes, is also rather amusing, I admit,” he smiled back in her direction.

The various commanders gathered together that night, as offloading continued, to prepare for the campaign. Dexter Divine, High Priest of the Sword of the Inquisition, led the meeting with Pfeil’s approval, since he knew the area and the situation best.

“There are still significant numbers of goblins infesting the woods, just outside of Meerheim,” he began. “Watching what we’re doing no doubt; possibly readying a spoiling attack before they run away. They are not to be taken lightly; several yeoman traveling with me are dead, others are wounded. They shall be quickly slain, as we go.”

“Because we’re all equal in the eye of God, eh Father?” Pint commented.

“As a matter of fact, I don’t regard you any more highly than I do a goblin, sergeant whatever-your-name-is. And in case you misunderstand,” the Father added as he strode slowly across the room to the squinting Pint, who almost imperceptibly leaned backward, “I don’t mean that as an insult. So when I say we must and shall destroy them all, I could just as easily say the same about you, for example, if you were causing trouble. If they run away, I won’t complain. But they started this fight, and I am going to end it. Any more questions before I continue?”

“...nope, actually agree with you. I think.” Pint didn't even add he ranked as lieutenant now.

“Good. Maybe we’ll get along. I like rangers. Except when they’re looting and killing my flock.” The Father whirled and walked back to the map, his black cape swirling around his shining gold-enshrined sword.

[Gamenote: you may read Dexter’s dialogue in Alan Rickman’s voice. :D Or Jason Isaac’s. Either one would work.]

“The strategic situation is simple enough,” he continued, as Brennock rolled his eyes a little and Pfeil diplomatically hid a smile behind a hand. “This region is far more fortified than the area where I met your company before, despite or rather because of being farther to the west, closer to more of the Waste. Nevertheless, the whole area has been captured by the uru. We will have to retake the forts, all of which are minor or moderate castles. Two roads lead south from here, around a lake with an island chapel, which by the way I recommend searching and which can only be reached through a swampy spit of land on the road with the woods. That’s the right hand fork. The left hand fork,” he pointed, “has significantly more open farm and grazing land, and also more castles. Both roads end at the largest township in the region, Castle Talshorn and its surrounding support villages, Talsdorf and Fanwe, the latter of which was named for the daughter of the former commander of Talshorn, for whose name I am not inclined to spare the horde who slew her and her family and have taken that little village named after her, do I make myself abundantly clear?

Reed thought maybe he should nod, so he did. He was relieved to see nervous nods from other minor officers in the room.

“Thank you very much, Reverend Father,” the Captain said. “That was highly helpful, and came as I know at the cost of several lives of your team.”

“And at the cost of many more lives of the people who had come here to cultivate the land,” the priest added. “Also, at the cost of many uru lives. We have not been altogether in hiding while we watched our lands being overrun.” Reed thought about observing that these weren’t exactly his lands along with them; but then realized the Father simply identified with the people to that degree: he personally shared their catastrophes.

The main difference being, that he could strike back with some effect.

And now with a regiment, too.

“The division of labor is clear,” Captain Pfeil went on. “Or mostly clear. Those who work well in the woods, take the right road. Those who work well on the plains, or against cities, take the left. We’ll do what we can to fill out the yeoman archers again, Father; then they can catch up. We’ll leave a substantial force behind to secure the port and the ships, so including Father Divine’s small company we’ll only take 14 squads or so.”

[Gamenote: actually much less, because there are several individual heroes now on the human team including the eagle!]

“All three ranger squads, led by Lieutenant Pint, and eventually the yeoman archers, you’ll go right under Captain-Father Divine. None of us captains will work well in the woods,” Reed noticed that Derrick still thought of himself as a captain, “but I expect he’ll want to get to that ruined chapel if he can. Torn will go with us, but her trained eagle will start off over your wing of the advance and help keep us posted on what’s going on. Reed, your second halberdier squad could use a lot more experience. Follow that side of the fight.

“Most of the cavalry will ride with me down the left road, along with Master Brannock. And the Deathreed, and Captain Brim, for assaults. Not you, Braun; you stay here and lead the rearguard, with Fitch and most of the crossbowmen, and also the peasant squads. Reed’s first halberd squad will stay here, too, but I’ll be taking Brim and his city-slicing swordsmen!”

[Gamenote: honestly I’m not at all comfortable leaving behind so many of my archers, but the game is forcing me to bring the yeomans -- who are weaker generally than the crossbows, and far less experienced, and I’ll have to spend money on them out of the gate to bring them back up to snuff, but at least they’ll be decent in the woods -- and the new third ranger squad. And my previous archers have got a lot of experience which several other squads need salting on. I’m not stupid enough to take no crossbows: but I’ll take Sciff, whom I chose to give the Slayer skill the last time his squad leveled up, thus who’s great against individual units like monsters and heroes.]

Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 15, 2015, 04:42:39 PM
!!OUT OF CHARACTER PAUSE!!

I’m going to pause a few minutes here to praise the design team for working hard to make the mission maps more-or-less contiguous with each other. Not always, but often.

(If you want to get on with the story, just scroll down to the next post.)

One of the delights of this series is to send the camera around the detailed map areas marveling at little details in corners that no troop would ever plausibly reach. The details are not in the least important, they’re perfectly natural and in that sense meaningless -- except that someone artistically thought to add a little swamp in that corner of the small lake over there, and so forth.

This delight, as I’ve occasionally tried to show, extends past the operational map borders into the areas around the mission map. Roads and terrain features go off into the distance, perhaps the terrain changes, other cities and villages whether orc or human (or both) can be seen.

And not always, but often, those aren’t only artistic doodling to help with the immersion. Fantasy Wars (and Elven Legacy after it) doesn’t only reuse maps for other campaign mission -- although when they do, the designers try to add some salient differences, like how Ghozhar is a little scrappy goblin village when Ugraum arrives to sack the settlements up to Nointsein in winter; and then when Derrick arrives, the art has radically changed to spring and Noinstein is a wreck and its suburb on the river is burning and the bridge across the ford has been thrown down and Vainen is wrecked -- and the wooden fort on the frontier is still okay, but Ghozhar has become a little castle in its own right!

But that’s when the same map is used. Often the game will set missions in map areas that could be seen off in the distance, off-map in prior missions. The most obvious example so far was Derrick’s fight to raise the siege of Sylent, with the city and the wizard tower looming off over there. You can expect that portion of the map to be part of a mission or two eventually!

There are less obvious examples, though, and this mission is one of them. In the first human mission, the troops land, march south and west a little, then back up north to the burning village of Feldhof with the local minor fort of Keilerstein across a small river from a lake into a bay leading out to the sea.

Here’s an overview of that final part of the mission area, as a reminder:

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/Er6sYk.jpg)

And here’s a reverse angle shot of Keilerstein with burning Feldhoff in the background, and off in the distance to the left you can see the church where the first artifact was found, and the first wooden fort that had to be recaptured, and so forth.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/0DHVW9.jpg)

And then, if you look back at the overview shot of the area, you can see a couple more little villages on a spit of coastal land behind Keilerstein. Those were part of the mission area, and technically the player could go on up and take them, though I didn’t preferring to get the gold reward for mission quickness. Still, I sent the camera up there and took a snapshot, looking out beyond, a little north of northeast. Here’s that shot again.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/9qpUxf.jpg)

Now, none of that is on the current mission map.

But it’s beside it.

I can’t send the camera far over the border to take snaps; and the map designers didn’t always double-check continuity fully, as you’ll see in a moment comparing the next shot with the previous one. But a lot of it is still there.

Here are those two villages again, same perspective, looking basically the same direction.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/910/BdCNgh.jpg)

Due to how the camera zoom works, and being over the mission border, I can’t get down in the weeds and also at the same time far enough back to duplicate the shot exactly; and obviously the map designer thought the new mission area ought to look more interesting, so made some pretty big changes. (And obviously the skybox is different.) But those are the same two villages. Off in the distance you can see the ship that represents the fleet waiting to offload Derrick's troops for this mission -- previously that ship was somewhere else on the other map.

Want more proof? Let me turn the camera around...

 

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/29UkX8.jpg)

There’s Keilerstein, and poor Feldhof still burning across the river from the lake into the bay, and the swamps where peasants slew a lot of goblin raiders. The bridge between Feldhof and Keilerstein is gone (either as an inadvertent omission or as part of the story of the goblin raids in the area, hard to say). Off in the distance behind the forest is the chapel where Derrick found the burning sword to give to Reed. A ruined town visited by Derrick offscreen while I was following Reed around on the campaign can be seen off to the far right in the distance -- the road from the wooden for leads to it -- though it isn’t a ruin on this map (though again an accidental difference or due to being rebuilt in-story, hard to say). The wooden fort of Mecklinburg, where a heavily wounded Father Divine joined the cast, can be clearly seen a little right of the middle distance. Harsefield, the first village liberated in the first human mission, can just barely be seen down the road in the distance from Mecklinburg, although it seems larger than in Mission 1. Also, it seems to be burning, which is certainly in-story!

That is some admirable attention to detail, right there!

If you’re wondering whether this mission map joins up with another mission map elsewhere... no, as far as I can tell it doesn’t. The other areas south and west don’t look as filled out, so I doubt there are supposed to be (or previously were) story missions there.

But still. This is one more subtle reason why I love this version of Panzer General. Aside from, you know, panzer orcs. :D

Back to the story.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 15, 2015, 04:58:29 PM
The initial outlay of the troops [thanks to being unable to move the original three squads of the Inquisitor’s company while I’m placing troops from the main regiment] was somewhat scattered, and the goblins in the woods outside of town had to be dealt with first (with a little help from Sciff’s crossbows, as he marched past); but soon the Father’s wing was off into the woods.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/907/7hqg2r.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/ez63ss.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/912/4cf1L1.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/EMy7az.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/1eDus6.jpg)

“...what the flying hell is that thing?” Reed squinted the following morning. Off in the sky hung... a boat from a bag?

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/JVkLr9.jpg)

“A goblin bomber,” the Inquistor mused. “And hanging over the island where the ruined chapel is. We should wait here a day, and let our yeomen come forward now that they’ve recovered. Unless you want it dumping explosives on you!”

“We could send the eagle after it,” Reed suggested.

But, “No, my forwards have spotted goblin archers on the island, too,” Pint reported. “I bet that thing is guarding the swamp which leads to the island. I hope the eagle knows well enough to leave it alone, until we can get to the archers ourselves!”

“How is the left flank going? Can you tell?” Reed asked his fellow lieutenant, as he made plans to signal the yeomen forward.

“Not good. On one hand, a bunch of war orcs ran out of Hageburg castle. On the other hand, a bunch of war orcs ran out of Hageburg castle! They have some truly ass-kicking little goblin spearmen, too. And there were at least two full squads of orc berserkers waiting just over the foot of the mountains. Our guys got messed up quite a bit -- no one wiped out, but...”

“But it sounds like they could use some help,” said Reed.

“I agree!” Divine agreed. “And considering I’m the captain of this wing, perhaps you should include me in this conversation!”

“Sorry, sorry, no offense!” Reed quickly apologized. Pint smirked under his new black hood and backed away. “We’re just used to working alone without any higher ranking officers nearby, and you, um, looked like you wanted to think. About things.”

“I did. I do. For example, I’m thinking Lieutenant Whatever-his-name-is-over-there ought to be grateful for wearing my livery.”

“...now wait just a minute!”

“Didn’t I announce that I have decided to dress like rangers in order to claim their colors as my own? Well, never mind,” said the silver-haired patrician with the faintest ghost of a smile. “You may take it as no coincidence that I gathered a number of scouts, trained them as rangers, and brought them with me to clear the path for you.

“You may also go leftward for a day or two, and smite our foes, for our fellows. We’ve looked over this area already, and until we move down the road farther we should be safe for a while. I know you want to take that castle behind those foolish war orcs:

“hand those goblin killers over into the outer darkness!”

So they did.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/912/JvTbJC.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/03cKiw.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/mycaUp.jpg)

With help from the deathly rangers, the west wing quickly crushed or routed the uru looters.

But when Reed looked around after ensuring the yeomen were camped for the day nearby, after their march into the wood-road, he found the prickly Inquisitor had gone forward down the road anyway to scout more enemies: far beyond protection.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/CDGi6G.jpg)

[Gamenote: this was admittedly a very foolish move on my part, and one I hope I don’t pay too hard for: there are two goblin rider squads who can see me as easily as I see them, and both can attack me with impunity, even though one will have to camp on a riverbank to do so. So can the bomber. So can the archers if they’re desperate.]
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 15, 2015, 05:14:24 PM
“REVEREND FATHER!” Reed called out as he marched along the road, seeing the bomber pummeling something which only could be the Inquisitor. He didn’t get far before that voice called out, “WARE, GOBLIN SNEAKERS ON YOUR RIGHT!”

“You crazy imbecile,” Reed gnashed his teeth in worry. “We can’t protect you or even attack those things in the woods; yeomen, shoot! Well that didn’t help much. What are we supposed to do -- “

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/UEf7wd.jpg)

“I have friends in high places,” the bleeding priest grunted as he swiped at the sneakers himself in passing back into the cover of the archers. “And also Master Brennock.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/H2Z3k9.jpg)

“You have brain damage, that’s what!” Reed shouted. “Look at you! One more scratch, and you’ll be down for the whole campaign, assuming we can find your sorry -- !”

William D’Quazir thundered down the path behind him, jolting Reed out of his tirade, and charged into the trees to spear down the last of the sneakers left alive.

“Oh for... you, too? Are you just as insane? And how are we supposed to protect you from that bomber??”

“We will pray to God for a miracle, I guess,” heaved the tired and wounded nobleman. “We were coming back to the town to rest, heal and refit, after a terrible fight with the very worst goblins I’ve ever seen, when local scouts who had stayed behind alerted us to your predicament and you’re welcome.”

“I wouldn’t have a predicament, if people would show some God-da... God-blessed discipline!” Reed retorted.

“What son of a purblind idiot is this bleeding all over my woods?!” Pint announced as his rangers returned to the area. “Oh for heaven’s sake...”

“...your sarcasm... well-played,” admitted the Reverend, raising a hand. “If I can survive the night, I’ll need a day before I can be of much help again.” He shook his head beneath the glares of the under-ranking officers. “I was wounded nearly to death before, and thought I had fully recovered, enough to shrug off or dodge or parry whatever they happened to throw at me...”

[Gamenote: which is as good an explanation as any for why he’s the high priest of the sword, the ultimate butt-kicker presumably for the inquisition itself, and yet only level zero. ::) ]

“You, sir, are eaten up with pride,” stated Reed. “And now you, and probably others here, will pay the bloody price of it. This is a team. We work together. To support one another. Priests are supposed to know that better than anyone.”

“I could say they killed several people very dear to me,” the High Priest gritted in pain through his teeth. “But that would be no excuse, I know. I have been horribly, inexcusably immature in my actions and... yes, in my pride. And in my pride, throwing away my discipline not once but twice now, I have been brought low. I accept, and I promise: one way or another there will not be a third time.” So saying he gripped his golden-edged sword, and crouched and waited to see how badly they would be hunted today.

And then the shadow of death fell upon him...

“Hey!” cried out Torn, as she dashed between the trees on her little mare. “We’re pretty much finished on this side of the river for a while, so I thought y’all might could use some -- wow, Dexter. You look a mess. Awww... Razorwind wants to cuddle you! No, Razor, back! He is not dead yet, back!” she insisted and slapped the confused eagle with a whip.

“...she carries a whip. Did I know that?” Pint stared in amazement.

“Uh. We do now. I guess,” said Reed, trying hard not to laugh.

 
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[Gamenote: fortunately, I thought to check just how far away the eagle was. One hex short of being too far away: close enough! -- though it took me fifteen minutes to remember that to put him over an ally I’d have to click with a shift key held down.]

“My humiliation is well-deserved, lady,” the shaking priest admitted, also trying not to laugh but failing. “An angel’s wing is welcome whatever the color!”

“We’ve already put down one of those bombery things today,” Torn thoughtfully reported as she peered through the trees at the peculiar goblin contraption not far away. “It won’t get him, at least, and if it tries getting anyone else nearby, well, that’ll be a mistake!”

 
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“We’ll need all the help we can get,” Reed agreed. “The Reverend Captain says we’ve got a lot of hyena riders to worry about, and also more slingers on the way. Aww, crap, the bomber’s going after the only people out in the open...”

 
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Reed winced, but Sir William called out, “What? Is someone trying to get my attention? Bah, I thought being bombed would be exciting!” Which in turn excited admiring cheers from nearby halberdiers!

Then some of the missing goblins appeared, briefly. And slew or wounded a few more noble knights with their vicious slings and stones. Before vanishing into the woods again.

 
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“Could have been worse,” Pint tried to comfort the wounded knight that night. “A lot worse.”

“Please, William, I do thank you for running down those villains,” Reed pleaded, “but please get yourself back to the castle and recover!”

He couldn’t, but he could reach the other side of Meerhelm, where theoretically he would be safe -- unless goblin assassins managed to follow him home.

The next morning, Reed declared: “Yeomen. Torn. Remove that thing from my sky!” The bird went first; it didn’t succeed in destroying the goblin bomber, but...

 
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“Razorwind found those nasty goblins, too!” Torn interpreted the signals from her eagle. “And... riders on a hill. Wolf riders?”

“Hyenas,” coughed Divine. “They will be just as bad as the slingers, or worse. Gather in close today while I rest. Tomorrow...”

“Tomorrow we will be running terribly late,” Reed reminded him: “We only have another week to get things done on schedule here. But I agree, let’s at least put those slingers down. Wait, yeomen! Never mind the bomber, we’ll be under protection from you and the eagle if we do this right. Soften up those goblins!”

“Good,” Pint applauded, “and now I’ll send my second squad over to see if their little stones and slings hurt as much as javelins do!”

 
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They didn’t.

“Excellent,” said Reed. “They may still be in the woods, but they’re broken and badly wounded. Halberds!”

“Wait, uh, sir -- we’ll have to do that under the bomber!”

“With archers and Razorwind nearby to protect us? Let them try anything. You saw it bounce off the cavalry’s armor, right? I’m betting those goblins won’t bounce off the points of our blades, though!”

 
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“I almost felt kinda bad about that, sir,” said one of the soldiers, shaking his head.

“I almost felt bad about executing those poor, huddled, murdering looters, too,” said Reed. “But then I didn’t. All right, let’s make sure everyone’s pulled in tight around the archers tonight!”

“I won’t be able to get in that close today,” Father Divine sent word. “But don’t worry about me. Even if that bomber can see me, which it probably can, I feel fully recovered, I promise. The worst that can happen is that they bomb me again, which wasn’t so bad -- and better than if they chose to bomb Sir William -- and then perhaps the hyenas will hit me. If they do, so be it: I’ll survive, and we’ll get them tomorrow either way. Why, look,” he grimly grinned, after sending on the note. “It shall occur, according to the prophecy.”

 
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But that wasn’t all that occurred.

“Get ready!” Pint announced. “An utter assload of goblins have crossed the river and they’re -- look out!” A shower of goblin arrows already were pelting the yeomen archers, caught out on the forest path.

Then it got worse.

 
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A whole squad of hyena riders rode up the path to spear the hapless archers. Torn sent her eagle in to defend them, but the cost was dear as the goblins rode away again.

“Try to rest and recover,” Reed comforted the yeomen. “We’ll need you tomorrow again. Armor up, lads: if they want to attack someone, let’s give them a real target! Fork those archers over!!”

 
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The archers, specially trained to fight in the woods, didn’t do too badly with their little swords defending. But though one or two of Reed troops went down, only one or two of the archers were left, running away down the path behind the hyenas.

 
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Who were soon embroiled in a javelin war with two of Pint’s ranger squads. This didn’t end well for the goblins.

And ended less well for them, when the High Priest of the Sword charged into the forest glade where they had tried to retreat.

Some survivors made the mistake of trying to javelin him in the back as he walked away afterward.
 
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He said prayers for their souls, too.

[Gamenote: this was an oddity based on him having slain everyone in a foe-tossing charge before the graphic routine for the preliminary javelin repulse kicked in; the javelins actually came first in the reckoning, so the computer confusedly drew in a couple of hyenas to jav him even while it was running the graphic routine for him to walk away from his utterly successful charge! I kept expecting the next phase of the battle to kick in, with the larger group, namely the hyenas, surrounding him while he smote them, but they were already dead. Father Divine hasn’t been able to do much yet in this game, but he’s excessively metal. :) :) :) ]

The third ranger squad ran up, traded javelins with another waiting goblin-scout-rider group, and then retreated back to the protection of the archers in the center.

 
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[Gamenote: melees generally happen simultaneously, although the computer will generate what looks more like a give-and-take fight for fun. Javs, by contrast, are first strike/counterstrike weapons; but skirmisher duels are resolved simultaneously the same way. In this case, the rangers were so much better than the inexperienced goblins, though, and the goblin animations take so long to trigger, that it looked like the rangers mowed down six or seven goblin riders first and then the goblins retaliated weakly. I didn’t quite get the snapshot for the mow-down, unfortunately. Had the rangers been foolish enough to trade off with the slingers, on the other hand, the graphic routines would have been a lot more simultaneous -- and, unrelatedly, the damage would have been a lot more even. The game treats goblin riders weirdly; they’re cavalry, and so take a huge -4 defense in the woods, but they’re also hyena riders which gives them back +2 defense (and +2 to attack) in the woods. For a total of still -2 defense in the woods! -- unless they level up and take some particular skills.]

The eagle attacked the bomber again, and drove it away for a while; but in retreating the bomber got near Sir William’s squad, preventing him from reinforcing or even resting properly. He could, however, rush his wounded squad up the road to the liberated castle and take refuge there, where Captain Pfeil was working hard at preparing a difficult river crossing.

“If only we had some way to hit those hyenas while they’ve retreated down to the river!” fumed Pint. “A stinking group of peasants could slaughter them all! -- no offense. Where’s that eagle?”

“None taken,” Reed assured him.

“Maybe some taken?” Torn chuckled. “Are you saying my eagle stinks?”

“...uh, no, swear to heaven, no,” Pint muttered, watching her finger the whip. “I’m just, uh, help please AAAHHH!!”

 
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“Be of good cheer,” called the High Inquisitor from nearby where he was praying. “War is a time of miracles! Were you calling to heaven for help?”

“...yes?” Pint decided he ought to edge away back into the trees and check on his squads for the night.

“We have been truly blessed and fortunate,” the Reverend opined more seriously that night while the officers conferred.

“...not that I entirely disagree,” Reed also opined, “but this doesn’t look entirely like being truly blessed to me.”

“You are seeing now instead of later. Consider: we could have been fighting all these poor fiends while crossing a river and maybe a swamp.” As Reed’s eyes bugged at realizing the implications, the priest continued, “Their pitiable lust for slaughter led them to slaughter. And yes, before you say so, I criticize myself in this as well. I will not even take credit for drawing them across the river: had we moved up in synchrony, as Lieutenant Reed wanted us to, we might have caught them trying to cross the river themselves. As it is, despite the near disaster, I’m willing to give thanks.”

“Did anyone notice the goblins fitting a metal basin to the boat of their bombing balloon?” Torn asked. “Because I did, when I went back to check on them earlier. They’ll be back at full strength, or actually better, tomorrow. All we did was give them practice,” she grimaced.

“Possibly a problem for our allies, too; but we’ll just have to deal with it as we can,” said Reed. “Those goblin archers will have been able to recoup a lot of wounded tonight -- we did good getting rid of the hyenas, with a lot of help from heaven,” he waved and called out, “but tomorrow we have got to finish off the two remaining goblin squads this side of the river.”

“And then still deal with a squad of archers overwatching the river on the other side,” said Pint. “But we can do that. Maybe starting tomorrow, come to think of it.”

Father Divine started early on the morrow against the archers.

 
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Rather than pick off the few unwounded survivors of that charge, Pint led his first squad across the river past them and the nearby goblin skirmishers -- narrowly avoiding a much more dangerous group of slingers hiding in the woods along the way! But the risky maneuver was worth it:

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Between him and Razorwind, the archers blocking the river passage were thoroughly destroyed.

Reed led a four-prong attack on the nearby goblin sneakers, too; but they took a heavy toll on one of his ranger squads before being finished off. A much tougher group of goblins seemed likely to try to attack; would the second ranger squad, with only four unwounded able to defend, be the target? If so, could it survive, even with some defensive crossbowing? And where would the bomber strike? -- Father Divine wasn’t and couldn’t be under the crossbows’ protection; nor could they protect more than once anyway. Would Razorwind and Pint be safe enough across the river now, or would more goblin enemies fatally reveal themselves? Torn was quite worried, Reed noticed, and not only for her eagle.

“Here comes the bomber,” she said, nervous without her eagle nearby, and...

 
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And the daring goblin bombers bravely attacked the one group that could hurt them: the yeomen!

“Run, get out of there!” Reed yelled, before realizing that if they did, then most of his troops would be left without extra shooting defense from the goblin killers who were...

...who were sneaking around his squads right now, going for...

...”MURDERERS!” cried Father Divine from a distance, idly slapping away the one arrow the foolish surviving goblin archer in the river tried to loft at him.

For the goblin skirmishers, with their simple slings and stones, sunk those stones into the skulls and chests of the final remaining yeomen.

The squad perished.

“I want everyone possible across that river RIGHT NOW!” Reed demanded; but the heavily wounded second ranger squad couldn’t possibly make it, and fled back toward the woods just outside Meerheim, where this stalled push had started.

Everyone else made it across the river, with Father Divine entering the previously captive permanent hunting camp of Wittenbuch.

 
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Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 15, 2015, 05:42:56 PM
“Thanks for clearing the way,” Reed sighed. “Glad to see you’re safe, Pint.”

“Are you safe? You’re safe right?” Torn demanded to know. “Good. We lost a whole squad, all the archers...”

“Damn. Poor guys. That bomber has to pay somehow. Well, here on this side of the river we found some more of those hyena things, but don’t worry: when th’ Reverend Father liberated the hunting camp, we found a whole squad of horse yeomen -- not archers unfortunately, that would have been too useful,” he rolled his eyes, “but they were glad to be safe instead of eaten, and helped us put down those rabid doggy things and the hyenas they were riding on.”

“Great. I’m sending Razorwind back, then, to guard the surviving rangers of that squad, if he can find them,” Torn decided.

“I feel like we ought to rest tomorrow if we can,” Reed said. “I don’t think we’re going to make the main target for finishing this campaign anyway; no need to kill ourselves trying. King Victor will have troops striking back against the horde all along the fort-wall. Let’s just take care of this area and do it right, okay?”

[Gamenote: sure, I would like an extra catapult for free for winning the gold time, but I can live without it.]

The next day, since the new horse skirmishers certainly didn’t need a rest, Reed sent them on around the lake, partly to help support Derrick if he needed it, and partly to scout the final castle, their actual target for this operation.

 
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The squad dutifully signaled back what they found before moving on outside Reed’s purview.

“...yep, glad I’m resting before we try to deal with that!” said Pint, and parked himself for the day.

“I hope our rangers and Razorwind are all right,” sighed Torn, as she settled herself on a hill overlooking the river to watch for trouble. “I can still see that bomber... oooh, Razor is fighting it! Still hasn’t beaten it, though. He’s got to rest sometime, too, or even that bomber will kill him!”

“It’s a real problem,” said Reed, as he climbed up on the hill to sit next to her, “but not one I can help with right now. We’ll just have to pray for help. And maybe pray for some of the souls of our men, today, while we heal up for the final push.”

 
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“How about across the lake? Any clear idea what’s happening there?” Reed asked.


 
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“Huh. Hard to say,” he agreed as she grunted and passed him the telescope after staring a while herself. “Looks like Brim is still strong, but if he’s there the assault on that fort across the river hasn’t gotten going much yet. Master Brennock’s there; and the Deathreed,” he grinned. “So they’re safe.”

“That wouldn’t by any chance be named after you,” Torn archly asked.

“Well, we’re here for the day, and I feel better now that I can see they haven’t done any better than us, really!” Reed laughed. “So sure, I’ll tell you the story...”

The next day dawned with Father Dexter grimly assessing the swamp between him and the island in the lake.

 
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“Look,” said Reed, “I’m not going to run up and kick that hornet’s nest full of trolls and God help us what else; not until Captain Derrick’s side of the regiment gets in range. So why don’t we just send one of our ranger squads here to go get whatever you feel is in there today? They’re in range, they can get it and get back tomorrow, easy. You’ll be days trying to forge through that swamp and the woods on the island and back again!”

“Hey Reed! Razorclaw just detonated that bomber I think!” Torn called out.

“Thank God about time,” Reed and the Inquistor both muttered -- then grinned a bit lopsidedly at one another. “Fine,” the Father relented. “They can go get it.” So they did. The next day they would return with a Banner of Valor, which would cheer the hearts and strengthen the arms of all allies nearby. (+1 to melee for adjacent allies)

Another day of rest; Torn reported a crossbow squad flying Pfeil’s version of Sylent’s flag was coming up the road from Meerheim!

“I’m bored,” Pint said. “I’m tired of waiting. What say we run up there to the castle, do some damage, then run back to the woods, hey?”

“What say we don’t and say we didn’t?” Reed yawned grumpily as he stood on the treeline, away from where his halberds were camped along the road. But then he realized that odd request from the patient veteran scout wasn’t for him.

“You could go there and back,” allowed Captain Divine, as he also watched from the treeline. “But most of us would only be able to go and fight, not return. That would be committing to an assault, against terrible odds. I’ve done that already this week, thanks. I’m in no hurry to do it again. In case you were checking.”

 
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“If we did go there and back, do some damage, terrorize ‘em a bit,” said Pint, “do you think some might break off and come back here to fight?”

“Maybe,” said Reed. “What will certainly happen, is that the goblin catapult will get some scouting and be able to drop large rocks on us.”

“So. First target,” grinned Pint. “Maybe tomorrow. Let’s get in position.”

On the next day, sure enough:
 

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“There is one almighty huge orc and goblin cavalry up there,” Pint reported around mid-morning. “But no more catapult. I think we really accomplished something today. We might could do that every day hereafter, just with a different squad!”

“Assuming they don’t come after us now. But if they do, great,” said Reed. “We’re ready to defend, and to counterattack, and Fitch just came up. Damn, Fitch, did you get tired waiting and come to see if we need rescuing?”

“Not you, dumbass, the girl!” he snorted. “Her eagle helped out a lot, back at Meerheim -- saved your crossbowmen from being bombed and slung down to the last man, no lie. I imagine he’ll be along pretty soon; so will the second ranger squad, they survived, a little worse for wear. Your own crossbow squad got pushed by attacks down the left path; last I saw they were headed for Hageburg. Might be reinforced there already by now -- they were badly messed up.”

“Wish I had Sciff, no offense. We have some trolls in Talshorn castle, according to Pint and his men.”

“Aw, yeah, Sciff would love that. Maybe he’ll get a shot, if he and his crew are still alive. Any sign of the Major?”

“Kind of? A bunch of bull riders pulled up at the castle from the east a day or two ago. Torn says that was about the time the few people she could still see north of the river moved across, so either they got bored slaughtering our left wing, or they called it a day and ran back to defend Talshorn.”

“I’m going to hope it’s the latter, if that’s okay with you,” yawned Fitch. “So what’s for dinner?”

“Could be steak tomorrow,” Reed walked back over to his men, and pointed across the lake.

 
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“Derrick is coming,” gritted Dexter. “Finally. The boy does take his time.”

No one chased the rangers back after their raid, and only some slightly experienced and very wounded goblin spears took the place of the catapult.

“Tomorrow the final push begins,” the High Priest told them that night as they finished off their meals. “It may not end tomorrow; but if we can get it to end the day after, we should be awarded a prize by King Victor for our... relatively hasty action.”

“I’m not real sure we can kill them all in two days,” Pint said warily. “I’m good but I’m not that good.”

“You only have to take the castle,” the severe, silver-haired man assured him. “If we can get that far, we’ll have dealt enough damage and secured a strong place from which to deal more damage. Their morale will break and they’ll run.

“Stage one will be getting to the trolls. Not an easy task. They may come out to us! -- and better in some ways if they do, as they should be in less protected areas. But then someone else will likely hold the castle and we’ll have to get to them.”

“Through the trolls, probably,” Fitch reminded them. “I just want to be sure that’s kept in mind, you know. In case it’s important.”

“Also keep in mind,” said Father Divine, “that the trolls will be the most armored creatures out there, so whomever or whatever holds the castle will be easier to root out. The trolls will run, too, if we can get in."

“You rangers will be the key to all this, I fully expect,” Reed added. “You can harass your targets for one thing, pushing them out with multiple attacks. And you can move after you attack, without worrying about enemy zones of control. If you can get out of each other’s way, no offense intended -- I’m just saying, things’ll be tight -- you can punch even trolls out of the castle, bam bam bam, and then sneak on in. We win. I suppose.”

“I can contact Master Brennock, through a device he gave me,” said the Inquisitor, “and request a final meteor strike if he has one. Yes, I know, I’m the High Priest of the Sword. That doesn’t mean I’m stupid: wizards are helpful in battle and in many other ways,” he sighed. “They also raise the dead, and brought a star to strike the earth and turn into a demon that nearly destroyed us all six hundred and forty years ago. The study of magic is exceptionally dangerous to many other people than magicians. That’s why we keep close track of those who fight with it. Killing them if necessary. Including as an example.

“I doubt it will be necessary to make an example of Master Brennock, fortunately; he has served well in repelling this horde. But still, we have reasons for doing what we do.”

The following morning, the Reverend Captain reiterated: “We have three connected problems before we can end this.

“First, blow a chink in the defense around the castle. The goblin spears are the obvious choice here.

“Second, neutralize the archers protecting the castle. I have been in contact with Master Brennock, and though we cannot speak exactly I think I have succeeded in getting across the gist of how to win today and tomorrow. If we see them attack on the left of their advance, heading for the archers, we’ll know. In the worst case scenario, whoever goes after the trolls first will have to weather the defensive shots and run away after harassing them.”

“If they can be harassed,” Pint muttered as the threatened time grew nearer.

“That is indeed a possible failure for our plan. I just don’t know. Do your best. Also, keep in mind that we ought to concentrate force on them for one day to get them out, probably tomorrow unless they come out of their own accord. Otherwise they can just rest overnight and regenerate completely.”

“I don’t know whether they got the plan,” Reed reported as the left wing of the regiment advanced. “They did wipe out a set of bull riders, but haven’t advanced particularly to their own left, and frankly I’m worried that Sir William has gone too far ahead outside archery protection.”

 
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“Impetuous boy,” sniffed the Inquisitor, turning his back for a moment to shake his head. “I know full well how much that recklessness can cost.”

“Razorwind has finally returned,” Torn announced. “He can give us a full idea of what’s waiting at the castle.” He flew ahead to just beyond the lake, and sent back coded loops and dives and wing-wobbles which she translated into a map.

 
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“Still a lot of cavalry remaining,” Reed sighed. “I’m very seriously worried about Sir William’s chances now.”

“At least the archers aren’t guarding th’ weak spot right now,” Pint inferred from Torn’s report. “We could perhaps manage to thin out one of the worse threats quite a lot, instead of only removing the goblin spears.”

“An intriguing plan, Major. You have my permission,” Divine agreed.

So with two ranger harasses, a crossbow volley from Fitch, and Reed’s halberdiers...
 

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...another orcish bull-rider squad was wiped completely out.

“Hm. My only regret so far is that I was unable to add anything,” the Inquisitor said. “I could go up and chastise the goblin spears...”

“In which case you’d be out front without any archery support,” Reed reminded him. “Everything in that castle would most likely fall on you.”

“Better on me than on anything else at this point,” the priest tried to say, but, “Not true,” Reed interrupted him. “You fight monsters; you live to kill things like trolls. Let’s wait and use you when we really need you, tomorrow. Okay, sir?” Dexter relented, and set up his own camp in front of the forest, guarding one of the crossbow flanks.

[Gamenote: if Divine didn’t have “slayer” as a skill, I’d try suiciding him into the goblins -- he hurt them hard, and probably several other things attacking him this turn, and since he isn’t Derrick Pfeil and thus not the player-character hero it doesn’t really matter if he ‘dies’, he’s only out of the mission till it’s over. However, if the trolls are still in the castle next turn, he could put a whomp on them.]

With two heroes simply sitting out apparently vulnerable like this, the enemy chose to javelin Master Brennock with hyenas and then send in war orcs -- gravely wounding him, but with plentiful crossbow support he managed to survive, and so would be ready to launch one last fireball on the final day of the siege.

[Gamenote: I was going to say that was foolish, but the AI might not have been able to see how well he was guarded compared to Sir William’s knights who were completely unguarded; and besides, in going this route they also JUST HAPPENED to block off all of Derrick’s access to the archers guarding the trolls. Coincidence? Maybe, but with this AI maybe not!]

The goblin spears came out all by themselves to try to kill Captain Divine -- who, to be fair, may have been goading them ostentatiously. [Gamenote: my only real explanation for that. ::) It was a silly move, but again the AI might not have noticed the crossbowmen behind him being out of visual range at first.]

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This proved fatal. But not for him.

The final day of the siege dawned.

 
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[Gamenote: that shows the eagle’s possible movements, but also nicely illustrates the grid for the fighting area today.]

“oh... hey!” Reed called. “I think Captain Pfeil figured out what we want to do!” A concerted push by Reed’s own crossbows, helping the leftward wing, and Lieutenant Brim’s swordsmen, shoved and ruined the war orc squad out of the way...
 
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“They’re bringing up Sciff and the ballista! They’re going for it!”

“Those two by themselves might drive out the trolls,” Pint muttered.

“Wait, what is Captain Pfeil doing?” Torn wondered. “He’s... why go after those wounded...? HE’S GOING TO TAKE THE GOBLIN ARCHER DEFENSE STRIKE!”

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“Of course!” marveled Reed. “Now anyone can attack the trolls with impunity!”

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Sciff’s opening volley didn’t drive them out, but did kill a beast.

The Deathreed dared to move up into position to hit the trolls itself -- if this didn’t work, it would surely be wrecked by ramaging orcs! The log-sized pole shot into the courtyard and shattered among the beasts.

And then...

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/Oe3TMp.jpg)

The soldiers cheered like mad: “Even trolls must fear the Deathreed!”

“Lieutenant Pint!” called the Inquisitor. “Take the castle!”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/STZTxI.jpg)

“It’s all over now but the beating!” Pint shouted as his rangers bobbed and weaved into the castle walls. “Get out! Get out of here if you want to live!” he cried as he and his men javelined the archers.

The exhausted Captain Divine cleared the final goblins out of the path for Reed’s troops to rush up, take the suburb village of Talsdorf, and chop at the retreating trolls.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/MsXvyU.jpg)

The trolls kept on retreating, though, and Reed was unable to finish them off. Neither could Razorwind, unfortunately.

But Master Brennock could.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/XsKS8T.jpg)

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Soon, even the beating was over, as the few surviving orcs and goblins ran in routed groups to the south.

“No offense,” Reed told Pint, “but I think next time I’ll stick with Brim if I can. Woods and halberds don’t really mix.”

“We might not have made it without you,” he said. “I’m glad you came our way. Y’all might clank through trees like a bunch of shiny poofs... but those shiny chestplates gave us somewhere to rally around.”

“All the same: the fewer ambushes next time, the better!”

A few days later, King Victor sent his congratulations, his thanks... and a Lance of Glory.

“For the sake of our fallen yeomen, on horse and on foot,” said Captain Pfeil, “I will engrave their names on this lance, and give it to you, Sir William, to strike back against injustice in their name.”

“In memory of my father,” the young nobleman added. “Should he not live to see our victory. But if, God willing, I see him again, I pray to honor him with it all his life.” He and his knights had suffered badly on this campaign as well; many riding with him were mere novices still, called up to fill out his squad due to casualties.

“So,” said Torn. “I wonder how well anyone else did, the past fortnight, down the fort-line?”

The news came soon.

Badly.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 16, 2015, 05:44:00 PM
632 Summer -- The First Fall

“So, Axenose,” said Ugraum. “Have ever you seen the like of this land?”

“Yes. I was born here.”

“Really!”

“My mother and father met here; each had come to work on one of the monkey’s cities. Carrying out its trash, I think.

“I was born before a mob of monkeys slew my father. For sport, mother said. He was faithfully doing his job and they killed him.

“So she fled. Beyond the fortwall, beyond the settlements of monkeys where our lands should have been... back into the misery of the wastes.”

“These,” Ugraum spread his arms, “were once our lands. This is where we should have been. Long ago, before the fall of Farrock, we were driven out by an empire of the softskin apes, wearing their shiny armor. Eolia they called themselves, and also made war on elves, and dwarves. Then came the demon, called from the sky by their hexers. Elves and dwarves agreed to fight with the mon-keys. We did not. Some of us fought with Farrock. Many of us.

“Then the creature called Marcus slew Farrock. A daring and powerful deed, worthy of honor. None of us saw that it had to be done; or none of us could do it.

“Eolia fragmented later over the centuries. This land had become their breadbasket, but broke away on its own, long ago, during one of their wars among themselves.

“We were too weak to try to take it back for ourselves, then.

“Now... here we are.

“Are you glad to be back here, Axenose?”

“...honestly, general, I don’t know.

“But, I am glad to be killing monkeys.”

Ugraum nodded. “Study them now we are here. Study them, and study this land, and what they have done to it.”

Axenose nodded, though in some confusion, and looked out onto the fertile land before them.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/ll1FNY.jpg)

“All the uru kin are following you,” graveled a voice from behind.

Turning with Ugram, Axenose saw the waste of the burning and looting of Derenhalle, as if the Waste itself had come up over the wall of forts.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/907/u1vHgN.jpg)

They also saw Ash-hoon.

“Indeed,” Ugraum nodded. “Nothing succeeds like success, mm? And see the result.” He waved one arm widely as they looked behind.

“The power you have mustered with this horde chills the bones, truly,” Ash-hoon agreed in admiration. “The sheer destruction. Like living fire.”

“Some who have power, want more power,” the red orc said.

“And what do you want?” the orcan hexer asked.

Ugraum turned, thoughtfully, northward. “I want to go further forward. To Freiburg, the capital of this land. We will find much war beneath its walls.”

“Um... great Ugraum?” a timid wizened voice sought his attention. Sho-doon, the goblin hexer. “You really mean to attack Free-bur right now? I heard that the army of Big Derrig, the one who wiped out the Snake clan -- twice! -- is marching this way. Perhaps we should wait? And amass a larger force?”

“A larger force would surely succeed. And just as surely be meaningless, little friend,” Ugraum answered. “In order to learn, we must see clearly.”

The others looked at one another. Ash-hoon grumbled something about how hexers were supposed to sound mysterious, not warchiefs.

“The army of Derrig is still far away,” Ugraum assured them. “What I want to learn -- is where the leader of Derrenhalle is hiding. In Freiburg? Or out on the field, somewhere? Send out goblin scouts before us.”

Not much later the report came back: “The leader clad in steel with horses waits at a fortress north of the city -- on this side of the river!”

“Out on the field -- then he is not hiding, but rather has let you see him. He dies so his city may live; or escapes his city’s death, perhaps. Or, perhaps he wants us to split our forces, hoping each side will be too weak to succeed before more of his reinforcements arrive.

“Let it be so!” Ugraum declared. “But I shall not fight him. You shall, Axenose. With Sho-doon and with Ash-hoon, and with your ‘pans’ -- your goblin spears have recently returned, made more expert in their killing, off on forays without us! They can hide in plain sight, now, and ambush their prey with spears. Lead the weaker squad; take this horn of fury. [+1 to melee]

“Our hexers shall be the bait. Your pans, and the Night-shard panzers, and some goblin sneakers, shall be the trap. Lead them again with your bloody axe. Take some archers, too; the less experienced ones.

“I,” continued Ugraum, “shall take the orb of ice, and give it to one of the panzer orcs. Together they, and others of us who can cross a river easily, like Besegar and myself, shall fly across the river and approach the fabled capitol from the rear.”

“Shall our goblin bomber fly with you, general?” Axenose asked.

“Hm. I rather would send it with you, to help chase down and eliminate fleeing horsemen. There ought to be fewer archers over there, too; although your bomber crew has learned to fly high and so avoid most such damage. However, the monkeys have been training eagles recently, as we saw at the gates of Irland. I rather would find a way to counter those first...”

“We will have plenty of missileers among us, Ugraum. Any eagles would quickly die, I think. My goblins pilots are full of pride and bravery, general! -- let them come with our wing.”

“Well said! Then Besegar and I shall take the panzer orcs across the river. Our artillery will stay behind on this campaign: with most of the shooters going with you on their king-hunt, and the remaining squad in training, I would have little way to protect them from any eagles. The trolls would be too slow to cross the river, and shall stay to protect the artillery. The remaining panzer goblins will come with us as well -- the hyenas will find some ways across the river.”

“Won’t you be vulnerable too, to Eagles?”

“Let them come down. We will punch them!” promised one of the orc sergeants.

“And what if they learn from us, and stay up high to bomb you?” Axenose asked.

“...”

“Our panzer orc answered well; but so have you,” Ugraum judged. “Fortunately, I have been personally training your first squad of goblin archers, to trod their laziness out of them. Your people are naturally quick -- they should be faster than they are,” he chided. “Now, they will be as fast as proper panthers!” he laughed.

Before the separated into their tasks, Sho-doon announced: “I know that in one of the old stone houses, regarded as holy by the mon-keys, an artifact of power waits. They call it a ‘reliquia’. It should be on our way to hunt the monkey chief, Great Ugraum!”

Apparently none too pleased, Ash-hoon quietly growled, but added, “The hexers must have this power!”

“Ash-hoon -- this power will serve the horde. Now be gone, and do your duty,” Ugraum ordered. And looked knowingly at Axenose.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/CFwgxG.jpg)

“I wonder,” Ash-shoon mused as the Axenose wing made their way to the Urakh, the ad-hoc staging area, “whether we ever shall see mighty Ugraum again?”

“I wonder,” Axenose mused, just as loudly, “whether mighty Ugraum shall ever see clever Ash-hoon again?”

 
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“You do not know the size and power of Free-burg,” growled the hexer. “It is like nothing at all in the Wastes. I do not make idle threats, little goblin.”

“I know well the size and power of Freiburg,” Axenose retorted. “And I know that it shall be whittled down by a sword of stone very soon.”

“And what will you do, when Ugraum falls someday?”

“Continue my duty, for which he will have died: to learn whatever he wants us to learn by being here. And what will you do, if Ugraum falls someday, may I ask?”

“What I always do. As always,” was the answer. The goblin commander rolled his eyes at this -- but as the orc settled for the moment in the urakh to wait for the advance, Axenose went on in front of him, feeling like a target hung from his back. Would Sho-doon, his fellow goblin, help protect him?

A sudden, poignant pang: Axenose wished he could trust anyone, anyone at all, to help him.

But he had business to do. So he got down to business.

Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 16, 2015, 05:55:26 PM
“What do they see?” he asked a liaison for the bomber squad. Flashes of mirrored light always were flickering between them.

 

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“Scouts not far from the holy house,” came the reply. “And in the twin villages nearby, toward our right... peasants and militia at least.”

“No archers?” Axenose wondered. “The bomber cannot be sure yet,” came the expected answer.

“We can go forward a little at a time,” the Nightshard sergeant suggested. “And then strike, as you see fit.”

[Gamenote: another huge advantage to skirmishers like the hyenas and the goblin sneakers, thanks to the segmented movement ability, which they get for free -- though just about any troop can train for it. An advantage I often forget about, by the way.]

No archers, oddly enough, in the shadow of the distance behind the villages -- but plenty of feudal knights!

“Hmm... signal the bomber to tell the Nightshards to stay back, don’t go in for attack yet,” Axenose told the liaison. “Right now they’re invisible. Before they announce their presence, let us make sure that we can support them. Now, Sho-doon: can you reach the holy house today?” he asked. Someone else could reach it if necessary, and it seemed a long way for the little goblin, but he thought he ought to ask -- and not ask Ash-hoon!

“Yes, Great Axenose! I have been training with Ugraum and the panzers!” he proudly beamed.

“Well!” Axenose was pleased to hear it, and also pleased at the honorific. Come to think of it, Ugraum himself had commanded smaller companies in the past. “Let us try this, then. I will take the pans up the road, near those scouts; you come up to the holy house, and we will guard each other. Once you have found it, you can spit your derision on the scouts, yes? -- and if they can be worn down enough we’ll finish them off. Or if they run, we’ll hide in the dust and be ready to ambush anyone trying to hurt you.”

Sho-doon readily agreed; but as Axenose approached the bright stone house...

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/908/eAGHG3.jpg)

...lightning licked to life around it, and it blew his soldiers down and across the road.

Snarling, Axenose got his goblins back in order immediately -- and signaled his archers to set the building on fire.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/OjRzfW.jpg)

“What are you doing!?” Ash-hoon demanded to know. “I told you I needed this power! I could have removed the barrier in a few days, and we could have taken the artifact! It didn’t even hurt your men, not even a little,” he sneered. Sho-doon was morosely trying to pick through the ruins.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/912/UXJAYe.jpg)

“Then complain to Ugraum when you see him again. If you see him again, I mean. If he thinks I have done wrong, I am sure he will make me pay. Meanwhile, I have monkeys to fight,” Axenose said. He thought he could explain his action to his general. He hoped he could. He signaled Sho-doon to attack, wondering where the little goblin hexer would actually spit.

 
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That seemed reassuring. The manic little man danced a victory jig behind him; Axey took his team down in the dirt per the plan.

With no shooters able to move up far enough to support a Nightshard attack, they waited invisibly per their orders; sneakers invisibly crept up beside them, leaving a number of shooters and the 1st pans squad apparently open for easy pickings. The bomber cautiously advanced, being careful to stay near where a shooter could guard it from eagles as necessry.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/Abk7mH.jpg)

No bowmen still appeared at the dual villages by the following morning, but Axenose knew the king couldn’t be far beyond those knights -- it made no sense at all for the knights to be waiting behind the village, unless they were standing advance for a larger group. A much larger group.

“Still,” he thought, “those villages would give us a little more protection against charging horses, if we can take them. Though better to lure their protectors out if we can, into an ambush.”

So throughout the day, the skirmishers hit the militia repeatedly, as did archers; the hexers in turn hit the peasants further behind. The 1st pans hastened up and hid, hoping to lure some horsemen into attacking the hexers. The 2nd pans, since they had previously hidden, couldn’t do so again for a while once revealing themselves, but Axenose thought they might as well work on the militia further: give the enemy a hard route to go, and maybe he would choose the apparently easier one?

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After thinning the village militia, the Nightshards went off to hide and scout on the road near a small copse of trees, still not seeing the king but certainly finding more of his retinue of lesser knights nearby.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/NByqL4.jpg)

The bomber took a bit of a risk, flying outside the protective shooter envelope to continue whittling the scouts previously attacked by Sho-doon, so that they wouldn’t get any ideas.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/912/wBZUAS.jpg)

With preparations made, Axenose waited.

He didn’t have long to wait.

First a ballista wheeled out of the castle down the road. That was bad news for his pans.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/w2HVWc.jpg)

Its shocking blast caused real trouble. But the trouble was only beginning.

 
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Two different sets of crossbowmen came out and showered them, too.

“Enough of this! Into the town!” Axenose hustled them as fast as he could go, before they broke and routed utterly.

But that didn’t save them.

Not from the eagle which flew from the fort and cut them apart on the ground, now that they were beyond direct archery support.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/krLrlG.jpg)

And not from the landless knights who, despite being minor cavalry, still were heavy enough to ride his broken spearmen down completely.

They fought bravely.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/911/fOWyX0.jpg)

Till the end.

Cursing, Axenose crept away to find the other pans; while yet more minor knights rode out to try to run the archers off the hill.

That didn’t work so well.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/wfwSYJ.jpg)

The archers held surprisingly strong, under the circumstances, helped by support from Sho-doon.

Then more experienced, better armed and armored feudal knights rode forth to reclaim the village and immediately charged the sneakers.

 
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That sally, however, failed utterly; partly thanks to the slingers throwing hard before the charge; and partly thanks to Ash-hoon ripping reality and the knights apart together!

 
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Last that day, doughty spearmen ran up to the woods near the hyneas and tried to spear them.


 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/909/ldx9c5.jpg)

The Nightshards well-acquitted themselves, breaking the spearmen instead.

“To lose your vaunted pans,” Ash-hoon tsk’d that night, “such a shame. While under your command.”

“They still were inexperienced, hexer, which was why I commanded them. And even then, they bravely stood hit after hit after hit, from everything that the enemy could hurl! I will slaughter their foes in their memory,” Axenose promised, and went out to recover the horn of fury.

[Gamenote: fortunately, in Fantasy Wars (and EL, its sequel), magic items can’t be lost or worse picked up by the enemy when their carriers die. They just go back to HQ, where they can be couriered to other units on the field for 25 gold. In fact, any item can be sent back home for free and shuffled to a new unit for 25 gold at any time; this is one trick for letting multiple units use the sphere of cold to get over rivers! -- if one has the gold for it. I haven’t needed to use that trick yet, by the way. I would rather have saved the horn, and the money, for another unit, but I felt under the circumstances I had better keep the “pans” as beefed as possible: these were more experienced but could still be handily wiped out! Losing a unit of goblin killers, as I had upgraded these before the mission, was no small problem, especially as this left only one melee-dedicated troop on this side of the operation. On the other hand... oh, son. You know I know what time it is...!]

Having found and recovered the horn, Axenose quickly sent word to all the troops: “Tomorrow, fall back toward the Urukh! But do so in formation, with interlocking cover from the shooters! And hit whatever you safely can as you withdraw!”

“A stunning plan, to run away. Just like a goblin,” Ash-shoon observed.

“Yes, as a matter of fact. Most of us here are goblins. I would say you’re welcome to stay behind and show us how orcs should stand and fight instead -- but you aren’t welcome. To stay behind I mean,” Axenose added. “I order you to fall back in good form and help keep the protection overlapped. Do you have a problem with that order?”

“...our problems will be settled some other time, little commander.”

“Maybe Ugraum can settle our problems once we’ve finished destroying the king, here.”

“What?! But you’re running away.”

“And that’s what they’ll think, too. Now shoot the enemy hard, and hoof it, O wise one! Specifically, shoot the eagle -- our bomber will be better able to support us without it.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/rkGQmG.jpg)

“I promptly slay my enemies, little commander,” Ash-doon demonstrated before he withdrew.

“Good -- promptly slay some more tomorrow or later today, too!”

Before his own withdrawal, Axenose sent the pans to finish off the heavily wounded squad of feudal knights so that they wouldn’t have to be dealt with again, later.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/u4IEXU.jpg)

The sneakers, the Nightshards, and Sho-doon shot hard into a much more relatively unhurt group of landless knights before withdrawing; by then, the knights had been punctured down to a final unwounded stalwart.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/905/uW2fry.jpg)

Axenose took a hard gamble -- and ordered the bombers to finish the knights, which it easily did.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/C24ssh.jpg)

“But Axenose!” cried Sho-doon in astonishment. “The triggered side-bows -- !”

“May or may not try to shoot them down. I hope they try. With the eagle dead, only their crossbows have a chance of killing the bomber, and that armored bomber knows how to float high! I’d rather they chased after it than follow us!

“We need a day to recover -- a day we may not get, but if they chase us they’ll string out a little, while we stay packed together to hit the next forces. And then...” Axenose grinned.

“And then what?” Sho-doon asked, with only a touch of wary curiosity.

“ARISE! -- MAXIMILLSTONES!!”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/910/3gFuhr.jpg)

“To you, o trolls, I give the horn of fury!!

“Didn’t you wonder what I did with the horn last night? I made some arrangements. There shall be no survivors,” Axenose declared, as most of his allies madly cheered the troll team cracking up from the hills nearby.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/jhjXBU.jpg)

[Gamenote: if I could, I would spend all my money on trolls. With archery support, of course. But still. Skirmishers are admittedly more useful overall. BUT STILL! Also, I saved 25 gold. :) ]

Just as Axenose expected, the crossbows went for the bomber. Just as he expected, they barely hit at all.

Somewhat unexpectedly no one chased them. But that was fine. It gave everyone time to rest, although --

“The archers need reinforcements,” grumbled the goblin commander, “not just rest. We’ll have to wait two days before we start again.”

“But we have plenty of time! ...don’t we Axenose?” Sho-doon hadn’t restored the honorific yet, but the goblin commander figured there would be time enough for that later.

“Yes, but it would be best if we could loot the area thoroughly, and then give support to Ugraum as he invades the capitol. I doubt he has started yet, but he may by two days from now.

“Meanwhile -- you told the bomber to hunt those crossbows to death?” he growled to the signaler.

“Not only that, they see the king!”

“Hmmm... in the castle now? Yes, no matter, the crossbows are the more important threat right now -- once they’re gone, the bomber can truly fight with impunity.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/38Zoch.jpg)

The following day, as new reinforcements arrived for his archers, Axenose impatiently waited to hear the news from the bomber:

“One crossbow squad, now destroyed!

“Damage is starting to add up, though. They may need to fly away and spend a day repairing before dealing with the next squad.”

“I understand. Let’s wait and see how they handle today, first. Meanwhile, are they saying anything else? I see a lot of flashing.”

“Yes, the king has apparently called in reinforcements from a wooden fort farther down the road. Many, many swordsmen, and a stone thrower!”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/vZN5Ny.jpg)

“Ugh. We’ll just have to kill them slowly as we go, I guess. Tomorrow we begin again. What are you doing, Sho-doon?” Axenose asked curiously.

“Great Ugraum! -- he sends a request for healing, and I am answering!”

“And I,” said Ash-hoon, “am answering his request...”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/PgmGrY.jpg)

“...to kill.”

“... .... oh, yes, now I recall. You saved our lives this way, when we first met. When we were liberating the trolls, yes? Who are you killing, can you tell?”

“...not really,” the orc hexer admitted. “But based on the impression I am receiving from our general, it helped a lot.”

“Hm. How does that work exactl-- oh, never mind, trade secret, I understand,” Axenose grumped, and went back to overseeing the polish and armor fit for all his company.

Day 6, Axenose carefully managed his company up just out of immediate range of the enemy. The bomber continued bombing the crossbows, seeing that it still had a day or two before it absolutely had to find a place to make repairs.

On Ugraum’s unworded request, Ash-hoon sent yet another ice ball hammering out of the sky into part of the massive city-castle, but to what avail (other than apparent approbation from the general) Axenose couldn’t tell.

The advancement ended, Axenose hoped, just outside the area at which the enemy would see them, with a fairly simple line of fighters up front, and an equally wide line of supporting shooters behind.

“Before you say anything,” Axenose told Ash-hoon, “consider this: the enemy will hit us hard with everything he has, as soon as he sees us. So I want to make sure that he sees us when we are making him as weak as possible through slaughter! Then, he will have less strength to his us back. Also, on our advance we will gain the two villages which, in their arrogance, they leave wide open -- perhaps out of fear,” he mused, “since we slew many of them from just outside their fences. They won’t provide much extra cover to weather their counterattack, but some is better than nothing; and we also will gain that hill, which will give a little more protection, too.”

Thanks to this careful maneuvering, and also the refusal of the king to press on forward to find his enemies and crush them, nothing further happened that day; and as the bomber began its daily reducement of the crossbows again on the morning of the 7th campaign day, Axenose attacked.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/OgmNfy.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/909/MiCaD5.jpg)

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Progressively, the Axenose Corpz shattered most of the enemy’s front line: Sho-doon the goblin hexer, and Ash-hoon the orcan hexer, teamed with the Nightshards to drive away the feudal knights, leaving only three unwounded; the goblin sneakers and archers hit the lesser knights so badly that they ran away, broken and harassed, before they could lose too many toops; and the trolls joined Axenose in pounding the local militia squad.

Only the spearmen in the small copse of trees on the left of the goblin line were spared. The bomber signaled many swordsmen still were coming forward; the spearmen could hardly be discounted as enemies; and still the artillery pieces remained to harshly pound the goblins. But would Axenose’s lines be able to hold, and hit back tomorrow with enough strength to keep the fight going?

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/JuZcAL.jpg)

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That night, Axenose wasn’t so sure. The counterattack had begun with the ballista rolling up to drive poor Sho-doon back in abject terror, leaving the goblin right-flank unsupported. The enemy king, in his fury, had sent both sets of wounded knights to die on the spears of the Nightshards and the Pans; but after a further attack on the hyenas by the nearby spearmen, unhurt in the goblin assault, the king himself had ridden forth and finished off the exhausted Nightshards by himself! -- a shocking feat of prowess Axenose would have said was impossible!

The enemy militia, emboldened by their king’s amazing victory, despite being weakened and broken, found the little swords of the goblin archers to be more than a match; but the catapult calmly ruined the archers afterward and then simply rolled away. Meanwhile the first of the swordsmen reinforcements arrived, and the goblin spears had to fight hard once again to avoid being over-run.


“Well,” Axenose sighed, “we know where the monkeychief is now. We could attack him tomorrow, but even if we killed him... no, we need to fall back again, out of their sight -- especially of the Victor’s,” as his troops had called him, “and recover. But hit them as safely as we can, first, before we go. Losing the Nightshard panzers -- a bitter blow indeed. But we will have traded, in effect, two full squads of knights and a militia for them. We can still win, but first we need to rest.”
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 16, 2015, 06:04:10 PM
And so on day 8, with the sneakers, the trolls, Ash-hoon and the pans themselves providing a hard lesson to the monkeys, the Axenose Corpz withdrew once more.

The ninth day, as they rested, the bombers not only reported that many of the swordsmen had retreated back to the castle, but that they had finally disposed of the persistent crossbows!

“Excellent. If they continue to refuse to pursue what advantages they have, I will give them a terrible surprise tomorrow,” Axenose promised. It was certainly a surprise to learn the swordsmen and surviving spearmen had retreated back to the castle anyway!

Day 10. “In effect, we have three serious problems, and not all can be dealt with,” Axenose told the others as they met to move forward.

“First, the swordsmen have pulled back to safety, except from the bomber; which means they will be able to move forward and hit us at their full strength once we advance again -- though not without suffering from our shooting defenses!

“Second, their artillery is highly dangerous. I do think we can dispose of it all today, before they can hurt us again; but I am not sure we can do so without leaving the third problem at full strength.

“Third: the Victor chief. He is not named Victor for nothing. The bomber reports he and a ballista still stand forward, arrogantly waiting and watching for our return. This will cost his ballista dearly,” Axenose promised, to a chorus of eager growls. “But can we weaken the king enough to keep him from joining with his swords to hurt us badly after all? I don’t know.”

“If Ugraum does not request my service today,” Ash-hoon said, “I can horrify the victory-chief so that he will be very weakened to our attacks, and unable to hurt us badly.”

“Oh? You have grown stronger in our struggle!” Axenose tried to sound as sincerely appreciative as he could. “Well, then -- I have made some arrangements yesterday while we rested; wait until you see them! And wait till our enemy does!” he laughed.

“Forward!”

Once again the goblin horde (and trolls and orcan hexer) surged forward into Jaegersheim and Wittenshorste, those two unfortunate villages -- and right up to the ballista and the king!

 
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“Ugraum indicates that if I can save my horror, we may be able to win Freiburg tomorrow!” Ash-hoon alerted the goblin commander. “He even insists that without it, we won’t be able to take the castle in time to gain the greatest rewards.”

“Oh? Then let us do what we can to unnerve the king today, if not destroy him outright. First surprise achieved!” Axenose announced. “Trolls, you have the honor!”

 
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The Corpz had fallen so quickly on the foe, that the goblin killers actually heard the ballista crew joking among themselves that they were sure to slay the trolls if ever they raised their stony little fists again! [Gamenote: the ballista actually leveled up and the AI gave it the “Slayer” perk. So I’m glad to be rid of it at last!] The trolls’ stony fists indeed were raised -- and they took a surprising amount of damage from the zealous defense of the crew! -- but the crew of the spear-thrower panicked and pushed the engine away...

 
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...in quite the wrong direction.

“Surprise number two! AVENGERS, ASSEMBLE!!”

From seemingly nowhere, goblin crews pulled cables and hammered pegs and then...

 
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...the goblins’ own artillery rose, and struck out against their foes!

The enemy catapult, spooked and scarred by the Skyjustice Spear, rumbled for the hills.

“Signal the bomber,” Axenose ordered: “COME HERE, ATTACK THE KING!”

“But... Great Axenose,” Sho-doon wondered, and the goblin silently glowed at the praise, “it will come back! It has steel-shod wheels, and a long reach!”

“It might, good elder, but only if the crew refuse to recover themselves. They will attack only weakly; and will be even easier to destroy tomorrow. The king hits hard today, unless we stop him.”

So a concentrated bombardment fell on the king: first rapidly sporing bang-mold from Ash-hoon, and Sho-doon’s spit. Then the catapult, Balls Breaker, crushed his will to fight and drove him back. Finally the goblin bomber scattered explosive shells on him from above.

He survived. But with the bomber hanging near, he wouldn’t be able to recover, only escape on the morrow.

 
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But the swordsmen, seeing the plight of their foolhardy, arrogant king, surged forward again from the fortress known as Seelberg.

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The seekers, blasted by the catapult after all, in their trees, and then overrun by swordsmen, took the worst of it; only a couple of goblins fled unharmed, dragging their wounded. Ash-hoon ably fended off a surprising number of swordsmen, with archery support, scattering their bodies on the ground around his smug smirk!

No one dared to attack the trolls -- and Axenose wondered, in a moment of grudging clarity, whether he ought to petition Ugraum to replace the Pans with the rocky things, while he desperately fought off waves of spears and swords.

But he lost no squads completely; and Ugraum indicated that in fact they still had three days remaining before the assault began to slip behind schedule -- or two days, starting day 11.

“Don’t let the king rest, keep harassing him!” Axenose signaled the bomber, which promptly complied, doing a bit of damage to the king in his castle, too. “We probably won’t be able to reach him today...” he groused. “Sneakers, go find somewhere to rest. We must keep up the pressure on these swordsmen, to have any hope of breaking a hole tomorrow!

“Wait, Ash-hoon, before you summon your spirits to strike the swords or spears: I know you will need to cast the horror tomorrow, for Ugraum -- is that right? Yes? Do you have enough strength for a bang mold today, against the king?”

“Yes, but after that I will need to rest for a week or more. I can still cast the horror tomorrow, but,” confessed the hexer, grudgingly, “I do not believe the mold will be enough to kill that king.”

“Never mind. Not today, but unless he rests in the castle after all and regains a little strength, tomorrow the bomber may be able to kill him, even if we can’t reach him ourselves.”

“...clever. Very clever. You might make a good horde leader, Axenose.”

“We have one already, but thank you for the compliment. Now... what can we do to minimize our losses today...?

“Skyjustice Spear: kill that stone thrower!” The catapult thought it had moved out of range; it was wrong. And soon wrecked. [Gamenote: sadly, I didn’t get a good snapshot of its final demise.]

 
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The bang-mold spored as requested, further weakening the Victor.

And with a careful set of cooperative attacks, a swordsman squad was eliminated, two more wounded and forced to retreat, and the spearman squad also suffered more losses though still it remained in the fight.

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The Pans held off two grave sallies by the spears and broken swordsmen, but at the end of the day the goblin killers controlled the field.

 
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Ash-doon cast his spell of horror, thumping his drum and dancing.

“Do you see anything?” Axenose anxiously asked.

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“An island fort. The city behind the fort, almost taken.”

“I remember that fort very well,” Axenose nodded, snarling. “A moat around it makes it hard to strike at, or impossible from the lake on one side.”

“Swords in the fort, city fighters, well armored. Above them, two eagles to swoop down and cut whoever tries. Bull riders, bravely walk around the enemy, down into the moat... Sho-doon! Heal them, they may survive!” The goblin, instructed on where to send the life-energy, rapidly did so. “Goblin archers add a wound or two, shooting over the water and the walls. Ehhhh... the squad you call the panzer goblins, could also go in the moat, but... Ugraum strides onto the bridge from the city, striking first! -- taking upon himself the cuts of the bird from above. The swordsmen simply flee!”

[Gamenote: I’m not entirely sure I really understand what happened here. Panzer General games often have a mechanic where a unit hit hard and repeatedly enough may surrender outright and disappear, if they cannot retreat. But these still had a bridge they could have crossed? Even though it was in the zone of control of the bull riders, that still seems legal. Still, on rare occasion I’ve seen something like a surrender in this game, although the game doesn’t call it that or anything really, unlike in, for example, Panzer General. ;) ]

“The goblins you call panzers, they ride in and take it! Free-bur has fallen!!” Ash-hoon shouted across the land.

“Do you hear, oh ‘Victory’ chief?! You shall be next!” Axenose promised. “And Seel-bar after!”

Victor had rested however after all, back to half his strength.

“Argh... signal the bomber: don’t attack unless the king runs out. Come forth!” Axenose called. “Clear the way to the castle!”

 
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The slingers couldn’t quite kill the broken swordsmen bravely trying to block the way to their king, but did harass them enough to drive them off. Yet, between them and another small squad of swordsmen on the path, the road to the castle remained blocked.

“ARGH! ARCHERS!” But although they took out another couple of swordsmen, the monkeys fatalistically stood their ground.

 
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[Gamenote: I’ve got my trolls selected here; they have a movement of three, which over the plains should get them to one or another of two hexes in front of the castle -- but those swordsmen still block with zones of control!]

“Hexers, out of the way, left and right! Can the artillery get through?”

Axenose himself led the Pans out into the grassy plains to try to push the swordsmen further -- but they still wouldn’t budge!

 
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“Send the trolls forward!” That made room for both artillery pieces; the trolls tore apart some swordsmen meanwhile.

“Balls Crusher first: then if he runs away, the Skyjustice Spear will still have the range!” As it happened, the stone thrower didn’t route the king; but the spear-hurler did.

“NOW! BOMBER GO NOW!”

 
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That day, outside the woodland walls of stone, among the pine and leafy trees, on a path to a sunwashed bay...

...Victor of Derenhalle fell.

His troops fled the area, unable to rally after the rushing onslaught of the orcs. Other towns and guardian forts, watching for trouble from Leranse to the north, secure in their southern fort-wall, fallen, fled for their lives at the coming of the horde.

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 “In your land, a goblin should have been safe,” Axenose said to the mighty Victor who still clung to the life that seeped away from his fingers. “But still my father died, and my mother returned to nothing... worse than nothing.

“Your land... it wasn’t safe for even a king. Was it.”

“I... I wanted to helLLCKKPpppp...” the monkey gargled, a wound in his lung tearing open.

“Now we will take all we want. And leave you with garbage. Does your nose itch?” The goblin tickled it. “Don’t sneeze. Don’t sneeze!” Unable to resist, the king sneezed at last... blowing out his life in utter pain, and choking, unable to inhale. “Heh.”

Axenose wanted to laugh, as he wiped the splattered blood away from his face; not a soft face and furry-bearded face, unlike the mighty monkey’s, dying inside his shell.

But then, oddly, he didn’t feel like laughing, either, after all.

“...great Axenose,” bowed Sho-doon, deeply, as the goblin commander walked away from the purpling victor who, now, had lost everything. Much as Itchynose’s father had died, in that street, his ribcage crushed and unable to breathe. Merely for being in the way of a noble, armored horseman.

“Am I? We all did this. Together. Troll, and orc; hexer and spear; stone and pointed stave. Goblin and orc together took the Free-bur, too. All of us, together, overran the fort-walls -- and have taken our land again.

“Ugraum taught us that.

“Ugraum brought us to this.

“We have learned our lesson, now.”

But when Ugraum heard this later, he asked:

“...have you?”
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 17, 2015, 12:22:01 PM
632 Summer -- A Land They Came To Die In

“Still going to gripe about ship travel?”

“...no,” Reed answered Brim. “Not this week anyway.”

As Pfeil’s Regiment had been consolidating the defense of the northern spur of the Derenhalle Wall, news had come from King Victor that the southern wall at Irand had been breached. With forces being pulled back from the wall, piecemeal, to try to stem the advancing orcish thrust, other forts along the wall had steadily been overrun by what some people thought might be the total orcish population of the Waste. Too many bodies to stop.

Colonel Pfeil, assessing the situation, had anticipated a general recall order to shore up defenses around the Derehalle capital, Freiburg, and its heartlands. And so, having arranged a general evacuation across the massive bay to safer lands behind Freiburg, and standing rearguard until the ships had done their duty, he had assigned a few ships to bring his company down to the Freiburg area with all possible speed.

 
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“Thank God in heaven the goblins can’t make ships large enough to transport troops.”

“Yet,” Brim dolefully answered Reed.

“Nor anytime soon, I expect,” retorted Reed. “All they seem able to do is burn and steal.”

“And turn their little boats into bombers,” Brim pointed out. He didn’t bother nervously watching the sky; archers and shipmen were doing that already. But he was nervous.

They landed northwest of the capital, and marched down to the village of Estzum.

As they waited for Pint’s second ranger squad, the most experienced of the group, to send back news, Colonel Pfeil gathered his troops to explain the situation.

“I’m going to be blunt,” he began. “You’ve seen what the uru do to the lands they inhabit. They turn the land into waste. They’re already starting here, in the gardens of this land.

“The bad news is that it looks as though all the uru kind, trolls and goblins and orcs alike, have left the waste.

“The good news is that, mostly, they are unorganized. Even with all that power, the forts could still have held them back, if Irand hadn’t fallen.

“The bad news is that whoever that red giant is we’ve been hearing about, the Grim Uru, he is teaching the orcs to be organized.

“The good news is that if we can find him and kill him, before he gets too far, the uru horde will fall to pieces, squabbling impotently among themselves. It’ll take time, and hard work, but we can push them back again beyond the fortline. And continue pushing them west, as we settle the lands beyond, reclaiming them from the waste the orcs have made of them.

“The bad news is that the Grim Uru has gotten this far already.

“The good news is that we must certainly have gotten ahead of him, by using the merchant navy of Sylent!” And of Derenhalle, to be fair, but Sylent’s ships had done the heavier lifting, and Reed understood that they would expect to be praised -- and amply rewarded. Political reality. “He can’t have gotten past Freiburg already; have any of you ever seen it in person? That powerful fortress could hold out for months against every orc of the waste put together! Yes, yes, we can see the smoke in the distance to the south; the orcs are here already and doing their usual burning and looting. But if we can organize resistance in the area, we can hit any siege from the side, and catch them in a pincer between our hammer and the Rock of Freedom!” Cheers from the men. “Now let’s get ready to go meet one of the finest kings in the world, and earn even more of his gratitude than we’ve...! hm? Already?” A courier was signaling to him from not far away. “The scouts have sent back word; officers, come with me, and let’s... what?”

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“That... that isn’t possible,” rasped Colonel Pfeil, his face blanching. On an eyed agreement, Brim and Reed started chivvying the troops away to go make preparations; but the colonel raised his voice and called them back.

“...I’m going to be blunt,” he told them as he raised his hand. “I want you to know what’s going on.

“We’re too late. Freiburg has fallen already.

“The orcs control all the lands this side of the fjord. From the smoke... our guess is that they already are hitting the other side, near Fort Seelberg, pretty hard.”

“...this little regiment is supposed to stop an orcan army strong enough to take Freiberg?!” one of the soldiers piped up, others voicing similar doubt.

“That’s right. You said it exactly right!” Reed shouted. “We’re the only ones nearby to help save the people! And when those orcs see us slicing them into lox, they’ll ask themselves just how much more badly they’ll be beaten when more reinforcements arrive, and they’ll run away -- just like every time before!”

“There’s a man,” said Colonel Pfeil, “who just this past winter forked hay for quailnests! That’s what he can do! Many of you have come just as far in even less time!

“So: reed up! War is work, as much as anything, and that’s good news.

“Because those uru obviously, demonstrably, don’t know how to work! They don’t even care to!

“BUT WE DO!”
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 17, 2015, 12:31:05 PM
 
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“Two weeks,” Colonel Pfeil commanded: “If we can sanitize this area in two weeks, this land will become a myth to the orcs. A land they came to die in. I want them to tell stories to each other, for centuries to come, about how even if they ever did breach the forts again, they would only awaken a wave of death to devour them.”

He wasn’t even shouting. He said it as calm as a glassy sea -- a sea of fire and glass.

Pint’s second squad of rangers would stay disparate, acting as scouts embedded in each of the squads, fanning out into the land before them. The three peasant squads would stay rearguard, ready to activate into various roles, securing liberated villages.

[Gamenote: I have 19 squads or heroes, and can only bring 15. The peasants will be handy to replace any losses, because they all have some experience and can be directly upgraded into any infantry role, and even into light skirmish cav.]

“Orc bully-boys in Orrtung,” came the first reports, “backed by at least one squad of goblin archers! The orcs are rubbish, the goblins look like they know what they’re doing. [Note: level 2 already, and will go to level 3 immediately, giving the computer the option to pick a perk that looks most helpful under the circumstances. The map designers can be devious as hell. ;) ]

“So,” said the High Priest of the Sword. “They shall be the first to go into the consuming fire.”

“Don’t forget Merhoste nearby,” said Reed. “We don’t know what’s waiting there yet at all; whatever it is could hit us from the side very easily.”
 
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But down the road in the distance, Reed could see many plumes and a blocky guard-tower, which must be... which must have been... Freiberg.

 
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[Gamenote: this is exactly the same map as the horde campaign mission I just fought, with some cosmetic differences; but I never got to this part of it, because I never got beyond Freiberg, so it’ll look different at first. Here’s what Derrick can see right now if he looks leftward, westward, across the fjord...

 
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...that wooden fort burning was Krotburg, where the catapult and all the reinforcement swordsmen came from to shut down Axenose’s advance, last mission. That little flag ‘above’ Pfeil’s head, to the left of the small mountain? That’s Seelberg Fort, where the mission ended. We’ve got two weeks, or 15 days more precisely, to work our way over there, settling goblin hash along the way.]

Pint and his dark clad rangers went first, carefully sneaking through the grass and trees between the small stone fort and the farming village, staying to a little right of the road. “At least two groups of mads, and a squad of goblin robbers,” he signaled back.

 
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“They haven’t seen us yet. Cannot completely confirm no archers yet, but only one if so, probably. Possibly no more archers behind Orttung either.”

[Gamenote: with the segmented movement ability inherent to skirmish units, like the rangers, I can move them forward one hex at a time, staying just outside the enemy’s sight radius. Unfortunately, doing that didn’t allow me to tell for sure if I’ve seen the extent of the enemy on either side of the road. I know more than I did, but not quite enough for a safe approach.]

Pint’s other scouts approached through the burning remnants of forest along the fjord; confirmed no further archers behind Orttung, and started jav’ing the ones that were there.

The ballista crew, eager to be moving ahead to relieve the Rock of Freedom as soon as possible that week, almost got into trouble when they drew up next to a squad of goblin sneakers parked in the woods near the road! The ballista shot on the orc mob in the fort anyway, and hoped the rest of the regiment would bail them out sufficiently; Pfeil couldn’t reach the farming village today anyway, so would keep his forces leftward of Pint and hit them on the morrow after liberating Orttung -- if all went to plan. Torn sent Razorwing to cut up more cowering archers, driving them into the river which emptied into the fjord; and Fitch’s crossbows set up on a hill behind the Deathreed to start working on the sneakers.
 
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Master Brennock and Braun’s Ronin Cav soon cleared the sneakers; and the remaining crossbows came up to start on the mob. After some further preparation, Colonel Pfeil led the first charge which got the orcs out of the fort; and Captain Reed’s halberds mopped them on the road.

 
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Major Divine and Captain Brim brought the other halberds and Sir William’s cavalry over toward the farming village, ready to attack on the morrow but still outside their detection.
 

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Not far down the road, the Rock of Freedom could now be seen more clearly.

 
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Torn, via Razorwind’s trained spotting signals, reported a full squad of 15 battle orcs, and three trolls, waiting inside the city; no telling how many others, yet.
 
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Despite Pint’s careful maneuvering, the mads beyond Merhoste got word of the advance -- possibly from surviving archers who tried a weak volley against the third ranger squad before fleeing back to Freiberg. The results weren’t pretty. Braun’s cavalry, and Pint’s rangers, each repelled a ferocious though ill-disciplined attack, each pushed back in consequence, and losing men -- yet Pint almost annihilated the mads who dared to attack him!

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“So they’ve come to us! That’ll make things easier tomorrow,” Brim observed.

“Yeah? My men are telling me there are hyena tracks all over the place. There must be a large detachment of goblin skirmisher cavalry around here somewhere,” Pint returned. “Watch yourselves tomorrow.”

The next morning, the Deathreed’s crew entered the small castle on the road. “No one survived here,” their sergeant reported, his face pale and green. “...the defenders chose death, over being captured by orcs.”

“I will pray for their souls,” said Colonel Pfeil. “And the Reverend Father will pray for the souls of the goblin bows you’ll finish off today in front of Freiberg!”

“At once!” the sergeant saluted -- and made it so.

The rest of the day was spent with various troops resting, eliminating the remaining orc raiders, flushing the goblin robbers out of Merhoste and finishing them off -- Sir William D’Quazir was given the honor of their final blow.

 
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“We’ve spread out a little too far,” said the colonel that night. “Tomorrow, I want us to get lined up for the first push on Freiberg.”

They woke up that next morning, though, to a hideous surprise:

“Goblin raiders have taken Estzum! Behind us!”

 
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“The peasants stationed there simply scattered and fled,” the Red Raven growled. “But they told us of at least three squads of hyena skirmishers, one of them very well armored and doubtless the leader.”

“They had their orders, Master Brennock,” Father Divine explained. “And their orders were to flee against any serious opposition, so that we might use them later. They followed their orders, and so, consequentially, we know what happened: a long range patrol was watching the fjord for invasion, on the other side of the mountains from where we approached. They got bored, or received a signal, and so have cut us off.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/903/7QMwIV.jpg)

“Well, we didn’t want things to be too easy, capturing an undefeatable fortress this week,” Brim grumbled.

“We have one day to reorient to receive their attack! Get back around,” Pfeil ordered. “Into a strong defensive formation! Remember, they can sneak around our edges, and ignore our zones of control!

“I’ll anchor the defense in the middle. [Gamenote: he has tactician skill which increases defense for all adjacent allies.] Reed, you anchor right flank and be ready to cycle your halberds in and out; defend the ballista because our archers won’t do much against those fast riders -- especially the armored ones! Once they know it’s there, they’ll try to get around the corners. Brim, you and Braun anchor the left wing. Master Brennock, center behind me, crossbows left and right in the trees either side, tucked in behind the wings. Father Divine: you stay there and rest up today; I may have to cycle out soon and let you take my place.

“Today they’re going to come up and hit those of us who can’t hit back, myself especially since I’m the leader, though the Red Raven, and Razorwing, will help me with that. Tomorrow, they’re going to try to get around us, but we’ll deal with that when it happens.

“I sincerely hope I meet whoever arranged this little... diversion,” the colonel gritted between his teeth.

“I sincerely hope the uru in Freiberg don’t decide to ram us up the rear, or even know what’s happening here...” muttered Brim; in his position, he would be one of the few in place to catch the brunt of that blow.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/MA3OAB.jpg)

“Here they come!” “What are they yelling?!” “What the hell is a panzer?” “Or an axenose??”

The first group tried to take the hill near many vulnerable shooters.

 
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“SURPRISE!” yelled Pint as he and his men leapt from concealment.

“Leave my friends alone THIS INSTANT!” Torn demanded, directing her eagle to strike.

“Behold! -- a miracle of justice!” Father Divine declared, as only one survivor limped away, others wounded dragging along behind.

[Gamenote: no lie, that was a massive opening win for me in that defense.]

The leader of the goblin raiders understood the weakest part of the line, however, must have been Reed’s halberds -- only one shooter to aid his defense, a hill from which to strike down on him, and no way for him to hit back.
 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/KmlLIj.jpg)

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/CvZaZI.jpg)

“Hold, men! We expected this, that’s why we’re here and not a squad less armored. We take the hits so that our friends won’t have to!” Three men died that day, and night, as the assault continued.

“Are they gone... Captain?” the final dying man asked as dawn sent streaks in the sky above.

“They ran away, yeah. Behind the hill. Didn’t even want to hold it near us.”

“We did it... didn’t let them through.”

“Hold on just a bit longer, soldier. You know what time it is.”

“You... you know I know what time it is... sir...”

“You were the one who named it, all those months ago,” the captain said. “When I was just a sergeant. And all we had were forks.

They know you protected them tonight. They know you gave your life for them.

“Look up son. Here it comes.”

With his final strength, his armor unbuckled so that he could breathe long enough to see this moment, the spearman lifted his arm as if to catch the tree-sized log streaking like the dawn, ripping the air above him.

“DEAAATTHHHHREEEEEED!” he cried, and sent his spirit to shatter among the looting murderers.

[Gamenote: I tried to get a good snap of that. It just didn’t happen. Sorry.]

The hyenas yipped and danced away, largely unhurt, but startled.

“That’s just the beginning, private.” The private was already gone.

Sciff’s Monsterhunters quarreled with the wounded hyenas, putting them out of everyone’s misery.

Pint rested his first ranger squad, but sent his third in where the Deathreed had struck to continue the job.

 
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“Destroy them,” Torn commanded her eagle as the hyenas ran from righteous avengement. “Destroy them as they die.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/kZ6RKK.jpg)

“Thanks to you,” said the Red Raven in the direction of the raider’s leader, “we have lost precious men and time.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/RM3zJS.jpg)

“So it is only right that we destroy EVERY ONE OF YOU!”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/kR0EjZ.jpg)

“Squeeaal little gobbies! Squeaaaal and run away!” Braun advised as his cavalry topped the hill from which the raiders had rent Reed’s squad all night.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/ZHxNvr.jpg)

Wailing, the goblin leader fled into a small, nearby swamp.

“No,” Reed promised the three dead men, two of whom had died from poison daubed on the javs by the goblins. “They are not allowed to run away. Where is my crossbow squad? Here is hair I’ve cut from each of the men they slew last night. Tie them to your quarrels. Let the dead men join your deadly anger.”

“You wanted the scalps of our friends,” his crossbow sergeant called out to the few survivors trying to hide in the water at the edge of the fjord. “Here they are!!”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/912/nWDcEo.jpg)

And that was the end of three of the ‘panzer’ goblins.

“A fine sweep,” the Inquisitor agreed. “Brim, you and I will have to do as well tomorrow, against the final foe, if we can!”

“Ohhhh, I think we can. Watchit--!”

The hyenas leapt forth from the village, seeing apparently an undefended human simply standing in the road.

The Red Raven, Alfred Brennock, folded his arms and DARED them to even try something.

They didn’t.

[Gamenote: not sure what the AI was thinking there. Sure, he had some crossbow support, but hyenas always have shooting protection at least, so that would only knock off 1 point of health, and Brennock couldn’t shoot back. More likely they had thought to go after Pfeil, whom they might have seriously wounded, and the AI just didn’t see Brennock there out of its visual range before moving -- he would have lent defensive shooting support, and their immunity probably doesn’t extend to his type of ‘missile’.]
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 17, 2015, 12:40:27 PM
“Reform the line on Freiberg,” instructed Colonel Pfeil. “Those who are wounded, rest and then come up when you can. Oh, and anyone wanting target practice before you move, you know where to shoot. That is all.”

“You need rest yourself, Derrick,” said Father Dexter, as he passed by, shouting a little to be heard over the sound of hyenas and goblins trying to run away and failing. “You were hit by javelins, too, as much as anyone else yesterday.”

“I know, I know. And I will. I’m thinking... ooh, Sir William arc’d around to free Estzum and hit the hyenas from the rear. Brim will be mad that he missed the action again.”

“I expect he’ll be slaughtered as much as he wants when we storm the city, soon.”

“Yes, but we’ve lost a lot of time. This is the fifth day, one third of what I was wanting, to ensure the best results against the invaders. We probably won’t be ready to attack tomorrow, either; not at full strength. And we’ll need full strength.”

“Indeed. The ballista could use the eagle for spotting, and start hitting the trolls; make them burn up their regeneration powers perhaps.”

“A good idea to start the bombardment early, outside their detection range -- but just in case that aggravates them, I want you up front to help receive visitors. Most of our troops will be able to set up a good defensive line, but not all today.”

“I will be there if the trolls decide to come out. Or anything else. But, especially them. Monsters who kill children, do not get along well with me,” the Inquisitor reminded him.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/8M9Ida.jpg)

Day six began.

“Master Brennock... um... Red Raven,” Torn shyly tried, blushing furiously and grinning.

“Yes, dear, I can hardly be annoyed by anyone calling me by that name. Unless you are an Inquisitor perhaps?”

“No no! Um... Ravenwing says a squad of goblins inside the castle are standing on a bridge, over a moat. They’ll be supporting any attacks we make, soon, but...”

“Yes, yes, most perceptive. They think they are safe, no doubt, despite being terribly exposed on the water.”

 
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“Thank you for helping me teach to them the error of their ways. Let me know if anyone else tries camping there. I have one more fireball waiting. ...you want me to sign something??”

“Fangirl,” Reed grinned when she returned. “Please tell me you didn’t ask him to sign on OW! That wasn’t a no!”

“He didn’t sign. He drew his mark,” she pertly corrected him.

“Don’t worry, captain,” the Inquisitor said. “He never goes farther than that. ...with women,” he muttered and rolled his eyes. “COUGH COUGH, sorry, bile in my throat, now,” he continued over Reed’s shocked stare and Torn’s amused smirk, “you, captain, have the only remaining squad that really still needs resting. Others behind us won’t be able to get into place today, but in the colonel’s absence I will start the assault. We will need your other, unwounded halberdiers, and your crossbow squad, and, hm, not necessarily the eagle, not yet, my apologies lady, hunting down loose ends is important but so is keeping your eagle alive... Razorwind you call him? A fine name. Very fitting. If he ever dies, may I have your permission to stitch his name in my cape along the edge? Elegant creatures,” he mused, studying the castle.

“You rather look like an eagle yourself,” Torn essayed. “White hair, black wings, gold trim, the beak...”

“Yes, yes, thank you, very kind,” he stroked his chin, still thinking. “Sciff likes to shoot monsters, yes? Do we have any other slayers near? Anyway, today I intend to end them; but once we do that I want those cretins in the castle to pay if they come out here to fight. Which is better than us going in there to fight, you understand. hmmm, how to constitute the front...”

“I don’t think we have any other dedicated slayers yet, other than you and Sciff I mean,” Reed seriously answered, stepping in front of Torn so that she might not be noticed while trying to hold back her grin. “But Brim wants some action, and he’s our designated city fighter right now.”

“And he can get to the front in time, yes, good. Very well. He will go there; I will go to his right; your second squad -- or is it your first? -- that one shall go to his left, in front of the war orcs. Do not attack unless it looks very favorable to you, of course, we aren’t that desperate for time yet. But still, this will get things moving along. Crossbows up for support along behind us. The Raven already eliminated one of their defensive archers; probably there are more, but they won’t be able to save the trolls in time, good, good.

“Oh, almost forgot, very important. Captain Pint!” he called.

“Major High Priest of the Inquisiting Sword, sir!”

“Droll. Go up, harass those trolls, and scout out the area, then clear the area and let us proceed.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/2rF6r7.jpg)

“Morning wakeup call delivered as ordered, sir!”

“Excellent, now fill out our map here... a ballista! Is that all the remaining long-distance they have? Maybe some off to the west, beyond the gate? We’ll watch for that. The ballista will be trouble today; too bad we have no way to hit twice with long-range magic, yet. I already told you, what some people do with magic is what bothers me, so stop making those faces, I know you heard me before. The Raven will snipe it tomorrow I expect. Good, now let’s go ruin their day. More trolls behind, in the central island keep? I hope they come up to replace the ones we’re going to send back into the dust!!

“Amazing. No other goblin archers over there either,” the Reverend Father reported after moving into position. “But I do see one of those bombers, and a passel of bull riders. Those will be a problem. Between them and the castle, we’ll have our hands full today... Still, I’m grateful for any small providence.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/7t6vLO.jpg)

“Braun, come up toward the bridge; keep us safe from surprises. Not too far! If we send him too far, he’ll ride into the city and be slaughtered like sheep,” the Inquisitor grumbled. “But this will keep him able to stop anything coming across the bridge to flank us. Speaking of flanks, I’m worried about our right. Those bulls could hit us hard, and all we have are crossbowmen over there right now. Master Brennock, up on that hill if you please! -- a three way mutual reinforcement, he ought to appreciate that... why are you smirking? Here, courier, send the signal: Ballistamen! -- PULL THE LEVER!!”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/2nv7x6.jpg)

“Good, that told them their end has come nigh! Sciff, your turn!”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/910/zALjED.jpg)

“Cowering in a ditch, you stony killers? GO FORTH RAZORWIND! -- BRING THEM THE FEAR OF JUDGMENT FOR THEIR CRIMES!”

[Gamenote: sadly, didn’t get a good snap of that.]

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/5Z38Yg.jpg)

“Awww, did the poor little murdering monster run away again? Back to us?” Brim’s men mocked, as the simple creature gnawed its fingers in fear of where to go. [Gamenote: that’s part of the troll-broken animation, too, yep. It’s amazing, but I chose the shot of it trying to hide behind its hands.]

“Are you hiding from heaven’s judgment behind your hands? LET ME REMOVE THEM! -- ACKNOWLEDGE THE INESCAPABLE LIGHT!” The Inquistor ran into the gatehouse, sliced once, twice, again, and then ran out. There, he prayed in the name of the honorable Saint Marcus as his enemy staggered, fell to the ground, and stared high into the sun.

[Gamenote: Sadly, a gatetower obscured the troll’s final death, which was too bad as I had framed a great shot of Dexter praying in victory outside. Well, here it is anyway: just consider this one of the troll’s severed arms...]

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/905/dBIgOg.jpg)

But then Father Dexter Divine was bombed and swamped by bull riding orcs -- his mangled body left for dead on the field, after stone from far out of sight fell down from heaven and crushed him.

[Gamenote: that, unfortunately, was the best result I could get, under the circumstances. Father D just hasn’t leveled up enough yet to shrug off so many attacks. Not having my premier monster-slayer around for the second half of the campaign is going to hurt.]

“Dexter!” Alfred shouted from his hill not far away; he tried to send his helmet of the saint to help the priest in time, after the initial bombing, but the courier had only gotten into Fitch’s crossbows when the orcan riders came.

“Here,” said Fitch, “we’ll need that soon. We won’t have much protection until some of the fighters get here. Boys, that catapult wherever it is just became our primary target. Let’s get into those trees, and find an angle. If the bulls want to come in after us, well, I guess we let them.” Away they went, into the forest. “There it is, through the trees -- give them steely hell! FOR FATHER DIVINE!” Their bolts nearly tore the machine apart; panicking the goblins wheeled it farther away out of range. The crossbowmen cheered.

Derrick Pfeil and the knights of Quazir were riding hard to reach that wing of the fight, but wouldn’t get there in time.

“Torn? Torn listen,” Reed told her as she tried to signal the eagle while wiping away tears. “Don’t send Razorwind out to find the catapult yet; we may need him to finish the bomber. Fitch shot it defending the Reverend. I’m going to take the halberds, and march out there and recover his body. I can’t take his place, but we can make those bull-riders pay.”

“I don’t want them to run you over, too,” she whispered. “Look at them, Reed! They’re laughing!”

“They won’t be laughing much longer. Run over me? I’m not going over there to challenge them to a fight,” he snorted. “Just how much of a fool do you think I am?”

“Do I get a vote?” Pint called. “Because I’ll have to wait until I get back. I’m getting together some rangers to go get some steaks.”

“Exactly what I had in mind! Almost exactly; I’m sending someone else to the party, too,” Reed waved him absently along with pen and went back to scribbing courier messages for yeomen to carry and shoot to various squads. “Don’t let them escape, you hear? Send them this way!”

They did.

[Gamenote: not a good snapshot though.]

Right next to Brim.

“Ready to get in the war?” Reed asked as he went forward. “I’m going to move some halberds in here soon, and we have a few lumps over here in the way.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/SdQttO.jpg)

“You mean those bloody lumps?”

“The very ones. Too much shadow over here though.” Reed snapped his fingers and pointed; his crossbowmen promptly blew the bomber out of the sky.

“Hey!” one of the men from the 3rd ranger squad shouted. “What’s the big idea?”

“My big idea is for you to come in here, find the Father... here is he, over here!” Reed waved. “Come get him, carry him out again, and, oh, jav some goblins inside while you’re at it, thanks.”

“I got a better big idea. You get his body back to headquarters, and we go into the gatehouse and start murdering everything that looks at us funny.”

“...that could work,” said Reed. “I’ll ask Master Brennock to come up and lend you some support. Deal?”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/540/OmmCsM.jpg)

“All right, Brim you pass on over past me to the right, down the line, there you go...”

“What about the eye-bleeding catapult?!”

“Feh. One thing at a time. You have a completely unharmed and fully prepared ballista waiting to shoot you, too, you know.”

“...oh.”

“But not anymore. I see the Deathreed is ready. The crew has pulled it up right behind Master Brannock, who is here to add a little more zest to those goblins inside. Sir, whenever you feel the mood.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/913/GoBsAX.jpg)

“Huh. In hindsight, I wish I had timed that a little differently; I’m sure you’d rather have marched inside to some cover in case those robbers inside want to fight.” A tree-sized pole shot tearing across the sky over the walls into the castle. “That should be the end of their ballista.

“Not entirely shabby a response to them trampling our preacher, hm?” Reed smiled at Torn as she watched nearby.

“I,” she said, arching an eyebrow, “think you’re showing off to someone.”

The infantry officer turned back around to check for Razorwind still on post. “Well, I suppose that might in fact be possible...” He picked at his beard a moment, with a smile, but then sighed. “I do want you to send your eagle over to kill the catapult, but...”

“But you don’t know how many archers might be near to shoot him. He’ll be fine, he’s learning to dodge and fly up high. They’ll just be little food-squigglies running around, if they’re fool enough to try.

“But if you want him to finish the goblins inside, where they went off toward the bridge...”

“No, that’s okay. The catapult will be a bigger threat if they repair it tonight, and Pint will keep the goblins hassleWHOA!” Reed stumbled as Torn shoved past and flagged the eagle.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/5TDS9o.jpg)

“He says thanks for the meal, by the way,” Torn squinted into the distance with her tube. “And also... a pod of orc stabbas out near a small church. With... one goblin he doesn’t know how to describe. Weird. One goblin at church? Maybe you put the fear of God in him??”

“If only they’d get that and go home and do something useful there...” Reed sighed. “We’ll try to send a detachment up there to look around. The Reverend would want us to.”

“So do I,” said Master Brennock. “I think they’re trying to dig out one of the more hidden relics there. I can feel its power from here. That’s probably a goblin hexer. Send a courier back to Colonel Pfeil; he’ll be here tomorrow but I’m sure he’ll agree -- if we can spare the forces. And don’t be too concerned about Dexter. He’s a tough old bird, like me. You saw what he recovered from before, right? That took him months. This, a few weeks, tops. Of course he’s still alive, I saw him trying to codger the hospitaliers who were carrying him off, telling them how to do their job.

“Good vengeance run, however,” the wizard winked. “Very impressive."

That was about the time the shocked War Orcs recovered their wits enough to try fighting the third rangers.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 17, 2015, 12:47:39 PM
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/673/wgiUFv.jpg)

Neither side did a whole lot of damage to the other; but more importantly Pint’s squad only suffered wounds, while between him and Master Brennock’s fire support several orcs were killed outright and wouldn’t be coming back.

That night, Colonel Pfeil sent back word by courier: “Captain Reed is correct; I will take fast movers, go investigate a day or two. Major Reed continue good work. Prayers for Father Divine.”

“Works for me!” said Brim. “I know Braun would want to get in the game, but just hasn’t had a good chance yet; he couldn’t cycle over to our right and go help Derrick... could he?”

“Not sure,” Reed mused. “I think we’re all in his way. Still, I agree, we’ll look into it at the end of the day.”

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/538/GkwS7B.jpg)

[Gamenote: yeah, probably not. The green hexes show where he could travel, and there’s a free one to the right he could reach with plenty of road travel if he had enough clicks to get there.]

“Right. So, what miracle shall we wreck today? ...wrought? What’s the present tense of wrought?”

“Wreak? Anyway: there are some robbers in that far rightward gate,” Reed pointed, “who are going to keep anyone from passing through that area easily; and the colonel and cavalry can’t pass through trees very easily either. True, he probably means to take your 1st rangers, Pint, and Fitch’s crossbows; and they could go on without him. But why not go ahead and use them to smooth the way here, since that’s what they’d be doing there?

So they did that.

 
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“Try not to get too close to the hexer,” Brennock said. “He can see a lot farther than those stabbas. Don’t give him a reason to run you down before you’re ready!”

“Oh, good thanks, didn’t know how far they could see,” Reed nodded.

“It isn’t seeing exactly; their eyesight is terrible except close-up,” the teacher started to lecture, but then stopped himself with a grin. “Sorry. I’ll just go back to preparing to shoot whatever you want.”

“You’re a major rank, too; and a whole lot longer than me,” Reed pointed out.

“Eh, I’ve been all kinds of ranks over the years. Including general. So has Dexter Divine. We’re whatever the situation requires. Colonel Pfeil put you in charge of the siege, so I’m ready to see what you manage today.”

“Put me in, coach, I’m ready to play!” said Captain Brim.

“Ah, actually, the most reasonable person to go in at the moment and finish off the goblins is the colonel. He’s got to go that way anyway; and I need you for the fight against the war orcs.”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/537/cR20f5.jpg)

Derrick immediately agreed, and charged in to take the second part of the castle, driving out the robbers onto the grass next to the lake.

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/9as1WS.jpg)

Sir William, rounding the corner, gladly finished them off, as Pint’s first squad stood nervous watch on the road.

“Time to bring back Razorwind, warrant... you’re a warrant officer right?” Torn shrugged at Reed’s question. “Seriously, how have we gotten so far without that being clarified yet?! Those goblins on the bridge have got to go.”

They went, but they went farther down the moat.

“Sorry, Reed... I mean Major,” she said. “I thought he could kill them all, but...”

Reed sighed. “Fine, they’re out of the way for now, we’ll just have to get them later today if we can. Third rangers are up next, harass the orcs and then take the gatehouse freed by Colonel Pfeil.

“Now, crossbow squads, mine and Sciff, move around and drop some steel... okay, that... worked a little better than I was expecting.” The orcs, fleeing the bolts, ran up to the main gatehouse. “Crap, I’m sorry, Brim, I should have put you in there first so they’d have nowhere to run but the river!”

“Argh. Fine, get out of the way, and let us finish this.”

“uh... okay, moving my second halberds out... there, you can get in now... are you sure, Brim, they still look ready to go; Master Brannock could -- “

“FINALLY CHARGE!!!”

 
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/909/qodPRx.jpg)

“Oh, greaaaat, they ran outside.”

“...ahem, in my defense,” Brim started, but, “Don’t start, I know,” Reed said, “I should have sent you into the gatehouse first, I know!

“THIS IS CLEARLY A JOB FOR SOMEONE WITH BRAWN!!” rang a loud voice amid a thunderous charge.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/661/6wZZ2i.jpg)

[Gamenote: yeah, that shot didn’t work so good, sorry.]

“Oh! -- uh, yeah, that works,” Reed hastily tore up a courier shaftnote and sent another one to shoot toward his underofficer already in the castle. “That way my halberds in there can finish out the goblins in the moat... and that leaves Master Brannock ready to fire up the trolls in the island keep!

“Then the Deathreed comes up, adds some more prep, and tomorrow...”

“Wait, Razorwing says a bunch of orc reinforcements are coming up from the east!” Torn alerted them.

“Wait, I just realized: what if the trolls attack me here in the castle!?” said Master Brennock. “I have no support!”

“That’s... crap, sorry, yeah, that could be a problem.”

“Worse, not that I mind frying trolls, obviously I’m a little too eager,” recriminated the wizard, “but so what? They’ll just rest tonight and recover. They won’t even need to regenerate!”

“Okay!” Reed snapped. “I’m sorry, I know you’re in serious danger, but it’s too late to move you out! Deathreed, smite whatever orcs over there you can reach,” he sent Torn with the order and also to help coordinate the shot. According to Razorwind, several orcs fell.

“Master Brennock!” Reed shouted as loudly as he could, running into the main gatehouse of the castle. “It turns out my highly trained crossbowmen who love to kill monsters for fun can come up behind you in support after all, see? And also take a look at this helmet of the saint which will grant you extra protection from God which Father Divine insisted you get when you heard you might have to repel war trolls now if they try we will surely slaughter them, catching them on the bridge tomorrow, too!”

“...is this really a saint’s helmet?”

“You ought to know, you’ve been wearing it for months until you tried to send it to Father Divine a few days ago.”

“Well, it’s magical, sure, but... I guess it’s beat up enough to be a saint’s helmet. No self-respecting magus would let an artifact of his go out looking this terrible. I thought Sciff had already marched today?”

“He did, but my own crossbows hadn’t. They aren’t slayers, but the trolls don’t know that.”

Perhaps Reed’s ploy worked; the trolls simply rested and were ready to go the next morning; as were the mads knocked down by the ballista.

“Fine,” Reed said determinedly. “I’m ready, too. Readier.”

“If it helps any,” Colonel Pfeil smiled, “I sent out couriers last night to call in the second ranger squad. They’re assembling outside.”

“...uh, great, I mean I’m glad to be able to hit the trolls three times and run away to soften them up; but in order to help hold the castle while we’re off on the final leg this week, I might have preferred some peasants upgraded to crossbows.”

“Oh. Sorry. I don’t think I was clear. I didn’t bring them up for you, Major,” the Colonel said. “Well, in a roundabout way I guess. You’ll have two to salt the trolls instead of one now. Happy? Major?”

“...yes, yes, sir, sorry, sir, Colonel!” rambled Reed. Had he seriously been grumbling to Colonel Pfeil!?

Pfeil chuckled. “For what it’s worth, I don’t think I’d make it there in time to do any good anyway; so I’ll stick around here and see if I can lend a hand. You’ve got quite a little army building up over on the other side of the lake.”

“And no doubt quite a large army still over there near Seeberg,” Reed sighed, disconsolately.

“The living challenge of command!” Derrick clapped him on the shoulder. “I may have some advice when we get that far, but let’s finish here first. For that, my first advice is to notice that none of your rangers are going to be close enough to get to the jav point and back out again. I know you thought they would, but they won’t. You should still send one, to put the trolls in harassment if nothing else, but keep in mind they’ll be vulnerable on the bridge. That being the case, since Pint’s first squad can reach the old church today, I’ll send that one along after Fitch, Sir William, and the second Rangers. They’ll be done and on the way back tomorrow.”

 
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“Second, as you shuffle your troops around, please keep in mind it’s time to get them across the riverfjord bridge and on the way to Seeberg -- but not too far across the bridge! You can’t get a lot of troops over yet, and you don’t want to aggravate anyone over there into attacking you. Braun is the obvious choice, since he’s more useful in the field than in trying to take and hold the city; and he’s closest to the bridge.”

 
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“I can send my first halberd squad across, too,” Reed suggested, “and... Master Brennock on the bridge? Vulnerable, but the only way to give the halbs support; and then Sciff’s monsterslayers and my third crossbows can come into the city to help if they need to.”

With this plan, followed by a shot from the Deathreed, the armored trolls fled the island keep.

“Brim! -- this is the day for your swordsmen! Get ready to hold that keep,” said Reed, “because a ton of berserks and bull riding orcs are on the other side trying to overrun the city again!”

“You heard ‘im, boys! LET’S FREE THE ROCK OF FREEDOM!”

 
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Taking the evacuated keep, Brim led his men down into the moat where the trolls had tried to flee, and managed to slay another one before the third one ran away again.

“We can’t let that thing regenerate, or we’ll be up to our eyes in war trolls again. Torn!” called Reed. “Send Razorwing to end it!” Which he did.

“Bad news, Major,” she reported. “Behind that small army of orcs, is a whole other much larger army of goblin spears and more orcs! They must,” she checked a map, “be clustered around a farming village called Wenland...?”

“Great Saint Marcus,” the colonel sighed when he saw that. “Brim will never be able to hold the keep by himself. Put out couriers around the city, immediately; we’ll have to leave some people here to help, but any squad we can form may make the difference, too!”

“Looks like I can shuffle the rangers back after all,” Reed said. “If that’s true, I can bring in my third crossbows to lend them some support.”

Very quickly, men who had managed to hide themselves and their families came out; armoring them wasn’t a problem, there was plenty to go around. They said King Victor had planned to use himself as bait up near Seeberg, to draw in a large portion of the advancing horde and trap them in a massacre.

Pfeil and his officers nodded at this bold plan, but everyone could see the smoke plumes rising in that direction. “I... don’t know that he made it,” said the Colonel. “Reed, you’ve got to hold this position with your halberds and Brim and... Lord above, I don’t know what else I can spare. I’ve got to press on to Seeberg Fort!”
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 17, 2015, 12:51:55 PM
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“We’ll just have to make do, sir YOU MORONS WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” Reed shouted.

The new swordsmen had gathered down in the moat. The berserker orcs were moving around to try to flank the island, and apparently the swordsmen thought they ought to meet the invaders before the orcs could get too far.

 
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It could have been much worse. The third crossbows lent support, and helped keep the swordsmen from being completely chopped to pieces. Broken, they yet stood, having nowhere immediately clear to retreat to.

“I hate to say it,” said Reed, “but I guess I’m going to say it: you’re going to need room to muster a concentrated push toward Seeberg, sir, and as long as those orcs are in the way they’ll be threatening your rear and flanks, even if you could put enough troops across the closer bridge to protect yourself against any army between you and Seeberg. I know you only have 6 more days on your schedule, but sir, these orcs should be disposed of first.”

 
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“I can’t say I can disagree with your logic, son,” the commander sighed. “But neither can we put enough troops across the lake right now to deal with the orcs we can already see! We know a whole other army is waiting at Wenland, ready to come down and provide more reinforcements.

“Our best bet for now, is to do what we can to get ready to push troops across the river in force; and otherwise kill those mads and bull riders when they try to attack. Shoot the mads around the island now; that’ll give Brim and the new swordsmen time to rest up -- the new men should probably stay there as bait. We’ll park Razorwing over them, maybe that’ll help. But your halberds may have to go down there and wait for the enemy, instead, after tomorrow.”

So not much was accomplished that day other than organization, and preparing to meet the next orc attack on the island citadel. Pint and the detachment returned from the old church, bearing tales of a goblin hexer in black robes trimmed with red -- and also bearing a sword of wrath, which would allow anyone to throw a long-distance magical attack of considerable power that would also physically weaken the target for a few days. “The goblin was trying to figure out how to even retrieve the thing much less use it: he was afraid to touch it!” Pint laughed. “Well, we’ve got it now, and Father Divine will teach us how to use it.”

Indeed, the convalescing priest was eager for Pfeil to check another church on the other side of the river as soon as possible: “I fear for the Church of Marcus’ Blood!” he wrote from the safety of the regimental rear as he recovered from his near-death trampling. “Please see that no orcs have gone into it!”

Derrick snorted when he read that. “Based on the smoke, I’d say they’ve done more than gone into it! But we’ll try to look into it if we can, as we go. Not anytime soon, I’d wager...”

“Here come the goblins!” Brim reported, from his lookouts; bull riders mauled the swordsmen in the moat, but they held relatively firm with the help of some crossbows. Mads, hammered by the Deathreed earlier that day, left their hill and tried to take the citadel directly by storm -- but Razorwing and a crossbow hail laid them down into death before Brim could hardly get his swords in!

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“You know the drill,” said Reed. “Scour out the trash with crossbolts, rest up, get ready again. I think you guys can last one more day against some goblins,” he assured the new swordsmen as they bound up their wounds. “You’re only five men down out of fifteen. Tomorrow I’ll have some halberds here to relieve you.”

Only one attack came that day, from goblin robbers not the tougher killers. Brim repulsed it easily enough, and the ranged crew got to work on them the next day. But...

“Marcus and the Three!” Reed swore. “Just how many elite goblin spearmen are going to come down here from Wenlend??”

 
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“Tentatively, I’m going to guess all of them, Major,” Brim replied.

“Well, they’re like little devils, hard to shoot, sir,” said Reed’s personal crossbow squad. “You should probably give the swordsmen down in the much a break today, if you can.”

“Right, right; I hate to get rid of some extra defense, but Torn, you had better send Razorwing out to finish off those robbers. We don’t want them coming back.”

That wasn’t hard at all, but Razorwing had worse news to report.

 
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HOW many more squads are out there!?”

“Nine and a goblin bomber. Could be more behind them,” she answered the colonel. “At least they’re all fighters, no archers or slingers. Those could be even more of a problem.”

“With those numbers,” Derrick said, “they ought to cross upriver where we can’t stop them, and attack our flanks. That could be brutal. According to survivors, the Red Stonesword did just that with hyena goblins and bull riders.” He sighed. “I hope King Victor is holding out okay, because there’s no way I dare try to cross the river with those goblins ready to pounce on me from the side. I think.”

“Sir,” said Reed, “if I shuffle my troops a little more today, I may be able to give you a protected front across the riverfjord tomorrow, in the direction of Seeberg. It probably won’t be in time to meet your schedule, but...”

“But they’re just slowing us down too much. Sometimes the enemy doesn’t let you do what you want. I understand,” the colonel said. “Someone is using Freiberg as a delaying action. That means this ‘someone’ must be either retreating back into the Waste, while the getting is good, or... he’s advancing on into Leranse.”

“...that’s insane!” blurted Sir William. “An orc horde invading the old Imperial lands? They’d be chopped into mulch! -- the orcs I mean!”

“Maybe their leader doesn’t know when to fold his hand and go home with his winnings. I don’t know; but I do know King Victor must still need help. Or he’d be coming back to give us help!” Pfeil inferred. “Anyway, our timetable is pretty much busted. Now, we should concentrate on removing the orcan threat so we can give ourselves room to chase that red clown.”

[Gamenote: I just don’t see any way to get the gold victory here. So, no Elixer of Life reward for me, though that would be helpful. And I don’t give a poot about another yeoman archer unit, so never mind about a silver victory either, I’m not going to rush on it. The gold I win for winning at all is the same either way; but if I take my time I can pick up more gold for a bronze win than on silver or gold medal wins, by liberating towns.]

The next day the new swordsmen were nearly destroyed by goblin killers, and the bomber attacked Brim; but between one thing and another the bomber was shot down and the killers eliminated. The Freedom Rocks, as they were now being called for their repeated heroic duty in the shoals of the moat around the island, retreated at last into the castle, as Reed finally found a squad that could get down into the rocks as reinforcements in time.

The rangers across the eastern bridge with the first halberds, though, had to reveal themselves to finish yesterday’s killers. What would that mean for today? Would the small bridgehead be swarmed over?

 
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None of the enemy must have noticed; the goblin killers still concentrated on testing the castle defenses -- and this time, they didn’t meet newly minted swordsmen in the water.

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They found Pint and his stone cold rangers, hiding in the shadows of the shallows, ready to teach the ‘killers’ what it means to kill.

“Target rich environment!” Reed called. “Let’s finish them off again, and let the next two crews come down!”

 
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“Another couple of days of this, and we’ll be ready to push on out toward Seeberg Fort,” Reed estimated.

That day, Brim and his men took both the attacks, no one wanting to come back down to hit at Pint’s rangers again! In one way this was a good idea, since Brim could only have one crossbow supporter in range to help. But Brim had been trained in city-fighting, and was defending the staunchest part of the city not only with help from the archers but also from Razorwing!
 
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Not only that, but Brim was getting better at using the details of castles and cities to help his own defense!

“No more being left behind!” he shouted encouragement to his men. “We’re on the front line now, and it’s all up to us!”

The other protectors supporting him, and cleaning out the surviving orcs or goblins in the morning, didn’t entirely agree with that, but didn’t sell short the doughty defenders either.

“That’s it for the goblin attackers!” Torn reported. “Only things left out there are bull riders and some mads.”

And after a few more days, those had also died.

“That’s it; I think we’re done here!” Colonel Pfeil announced. “Start moving up over the citadel bridge and across the river. One bull-rider group ran away, possibly to get a few more reinforcements, so be cautious. Torn, we’ll need to see soon if they emptied out that area; if so, the Freedom Rocks can go secure it, and finish off those bulls with one of Reed’s halberd squads. The rest of us, get ready to cross the river and attack the squad we can see; we know from Captain Pint’s scouts that they have some archer support, so if possible we’ll need to get around behind them or maybe Deathreed them. The moment we cross the river toward Seeberg, the enemy will know we’re coming and throw everything at us! -- so it’s important we hit first and get rid of as many enemies as we can before they do to us what we want to do to them!”
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 17, 2015, 12:52:30 PM
The bull riders did come back on the 17th afternoon, a little reinforced, but it didn’t make any difference: one crossbow volley later, and they had run into the woods to hide -- not a great place for cavalry to defend themselves from halberds.

 
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Reed’s second halberd squad, who with the FreeRocks had been quietly crossing the river to the west for just this moment, confirmed that Wenlen still had a simple orc mob holding it. Possibly much the same could be expected at the goblin village farther down the road. For now at least the rear was secure, and Derrick could initiate the push to Seeberg.

First, Razorwing and the Deathreed drove off the archers behind the bulls that rangers had been watching for weeks; verifying the area around the church looked eerily clear.

 
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Then rangers went forward to harass the orcs, kill the final archers, and secure the burned temple. Some kind of catastrophe had kept the orcs from looting it; they had burned it to the ground but had not otherwise gone near. Inside, the rangers recovered some of the remains of Saint Marcus himself! -- largely ruined now, true, but still potent enough to deter sinners from attacking whoever held them. The ranger sergeant promptly distributed the pieces among his men.

 
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Impatient after waiting so many weeks for action, the knights of Braun and Sir William wanted to ride out and finish the cavalry. However, Reed insisted they wait and form up at least a partial defensive wall in front of shooters. “Those few little bulls didn’t do all this damage! Whatever is coming is going to hit us hard, and we aren’t really in a good defensive line yet!”

Derrick agreed, so the knights ground their teeth and let Reed’s first halberds go find the bulls in the small copse of trees they had run away to hide in. Much as across the mountains with the other squad of halberds, Reed didn’t have to work hard.

 
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The knights and Colonel Pfeil finished building the defensive line in front of one squad of crossbows and Master Brennock. It wasn’t ideal, but they couldn’t do any better until the rest of the crossbows arrived from the fort.

 
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“I’m the leader, and I’m near the river with the least amount of support. They’ll probably hit me the hardest,” Derrick said. “Grit your teeth and hold on, men!”

But much to everyone’s relief, the orcs thought better about trying to mess with that defensive line.

 
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They simply presented themselves on hills and waited.

“They’ve taken the hills; that’s going to make things harder. But still, we get to hit them first again, and that’s to our advantage!” Pfeil reminded them.

“The obvious targets are the berserker orcs,” said Reed. “If we let them have their way, they’ll demoralize a squad and then anything else nearby will rip it apart -- after they do! And they’re closest.”

“So, we need to carefully push up a strong defensive line, so our shooters can get rid of those orcs at least, and be ready to repel a strong assault,” Pfeil agreed. “The toughest defenders will have to go on the line -- “

“But not you,” interrupted a croaking voice. The officers turned to see Father Divine being carted forward by couriers. “No, obviously, not me either... I just wanted to see the ruins of that church for myself... the oldest one in this kingdom...” he sighed with tears in his eyes. “Sorry, I got sentimental for a moment,” he started again as Colonel Pfeil stuttered with a retort along the lines of ‘Of course me!’ “Shut it, Colonel. Technically you may outrank me in this regiment or whatever it is, but I’m the leader of a whole army of elite monster slayers. And we have learned from centuries of experience, much to our repeated sorrow, that when berserkers start wearing those skulls and extra things, they have one idea in mind: finding and killing enemy leaders. You’re too valuable to waste on the front line, and from what I’ve heard there are at least two such squads ahead plus other orcs including a war chief.

“Go scout our rear and secure it,” waved the Inquisitor. “That has to be done, too. I’d send you after the ballista in those poor villages yonder, which your scouts have reported, but you’d still be exposing yourself to an undue amount of threat -- and you can’t reach it today anyway. Warrant Torn: I don’t know if your eagle can kill it, but you must try. A little later today; yes, good, good, Major, I agree: your rangers will get two free missile attacks against anything trying to run them down later -- javelin plus crossbow or maybe the Raven will poop on the foe! -- and one of them should lead by harassing the mads on the hill. If they run, and they’ll run eventually, they won’t stay for the full rain of justice on the way, your, um, Deathreed can try finishing them off. Yes, put a ranger squad in front of it; he’ll be invisible perhaps to the enemy, who will only see an apparently open target of great value, and waste time trying to get to it.

“Alfred, do hold back as long as you can; and maybe also whoever has the Sword of Fury? Ah Pint, yes, one of your ranger squads has it. You two have the longest range attacks, and quite strong ones, so you may well be who finishes off the ballista or the mads or both.”

 
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“A difficult time ahead,” the silver-haired priest sighed. “Let us pray for our lives -- and pray for the dead!”

 
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The rangers with the relics of Marcus started the assault, harassing the “bad mads” as Father Divine called them, and putting down a few.

“They haven’t run yet,” said Major Reed, “but they might on the next attack. My crossbow squad will go next: if the bads run, maybe they’ll run somewhere the other rangers or crossbows can reach.”

The bads did run, but farther away from where the rangers or crossbows could reach.

They couldn’t outrun the Deathreed, though!

“One squad of bads down. Too bad we can’t do more today to prepare for the odds, but that’s something,” Reed told the men. “Now let’s try to get rid of the enemy ballista. Torn?”

Razorwind, as expected, couldn’t do more than initial damage to the machine and its crew; although he did reveal that Seelberg Fort had fallen: a squad of trolls held it, backed by at least one squad of goblin archers.

“Now,” said the Inquisitor, “for the Sword...”

“Uh, Father, look... I’m not the most, um, religious guy in the Rangers,” Pint said. “Maybe someone else should do this.”

“Perhaps. But not me, I’m still too weak,” grimaced the priest. “Try it anyway, as I show you. If it doesn’t work, we can always give it to someone else, like Reed perhaps -- “

 
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“GAH!” Pint exclaimed.

“Yes, that worked very well, didn’t it?” the Inquisitor thinly smiled. “I have heard that God has special fondness for the irreligious, sometimes. The experiment was worth the result, I’d say.”

“The ballista has cracked!” Torn reported, after signaling Razorwind for an update.

“They’re mustering, Major,” the Red Raven said, putting up his hands and preparing to help defend the line.

But they didn’t attack after all.

The Reverend Father clapped his hands and almost laughed! “Ah, I do so love skirmishers! Their dark cowls prefigure the death coming to the impenitent! Even the worst orc berserkers think twice! -- at least when backed by a rain of hard-forged steel. Yes, yes, and a Red Raven, Alfred.”

So, they ran it again the following day.

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That day it worked even better, because the final crossbowmen had fully caught up, and so all four shooters and all three rangers could concentrate on the line! Reed made sure Razorwing ended the mads, however, instead of the bull riders, since the mads could be more dangerous. Besides which, this way the eagle could scout the final fortress areas fully.

 
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One of the ranger squads hadn’t even attacked before it was all over -- so just to be ballsy, they went into the hills, javelined the war chief on his bull, and returned to the line! “Just wanted him to know what’s coming tomorrow,” their sergeant said. “And waiting for him today, if he wants it.”

He didn’t. He did very foolishly advance into the hills, however; perhaps to spot for the goblin archers he brought up from behind the trolls in Seelberg, who peppered Reed’s front line but couldn’t do much damage.

“Well, that made things a lot easier!” Reed and the other officers agreed that night over dinner. “Like they’re tired of fighting and just want to end it quickly!” “Well, let’s help them with that!” And the officers laughed.

The campaign didn’t last many more days; one highlight being William D’Quazir and his squad of knights careening through the hills chasing the panicked war chief and his bull until at last the orc was laid low. That didn’t end the fighting, but it did end the effective resistance of the remaining orcan squads.

Once the last surviving troll was driven out of Seelberg to be executed by Sciff’s Monsterslayer crossbow squad, Reed thought the party could officially start. They had liberated the heart of Derenhalle from a dreadful, literally unimaginable fate, crushed the most competent core of the horde, and...

...and Colonel Derrick Pfeil had other opinions.
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (a Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, lots of screenshots)
Post by: JasonPratt on January 17, 2015, 12:53:40 PM
INTERLUDE -- Assuming the Heart of the Worst

“King Victor? DEAD! Derenhalle? DEAD! The Rock of Freedom? BURNED TO THE GROUND!” Pfeil smashed his fist on the table with every emphasis, making the officers jump. “I’m not blaming any of you, we all fought as hard as we could against overwhelming odds. But we were delayed here a month, a MONTH, while the architect of this ruin traipsed on north of here, because by all accounts from the few survivors in hiding he didn’t go home south.”

“Then he’s as good as dead,” Brim began, “cut off from support -- ”

“He’s looting and burning for his support, and he’s training and promoting fresh troops from the massive mob of orcs and goblins following in his wake. How far will he get before Leranse stops him? Or Sylent? Or anyone? Or before he does whatever he thinks he’s here to do? And we still can’t chase him yet, we need to recover, rest, and regroup! And when we do, he’ll no doubt be putting roadblocks in our path the whole way after, wearing us down!”

Reed tentatively raised his hand, and ventured, “King Victor might not be dead...”

“Yes, I know some tales talk about an eagle snatching him off the road after some goblin devil left him there to die; but all the tales talk about this Axenose creature torturing him to death first. That sounds like wishful thinking or his body being carried into heaven to me,” Derrick snorted. “Any opinions on that, Father?”

“From a folklore perspective the evidence is intriguing,” the Inquisitor began. “The fate of the body is totally unaccounted for regardless of the versions, and -- “

“ -- and most likely he was thrown in a ditch to be eaten by vultures and hyenas. Sorry, Dexter, it happens,” Master Brennock brusquely declared.

“Either way, unless the eagle was Razorwind and someone is just hiding him here in our regiment to recuperate as a surprise,” said Pfeil, “I have to assume the worst.”

“Then let us assume the worst,” the Inquisitor agreed, with a steely glance at Master Brennock. “Stop smirking, Alfred. You know what’s north of here.”

The Red Raven blinked a moment. And stopped smirking. “Marcus wept,” he rasped.

“He very well might,” the Inquisitor dryly continued, “considering his body was desecrated already. But he will weep tears of blood if the orcs... know what they’re doing.”

“ahem...” Pint raised a hand. “Not that I want to get my head bit off for asking, but do we know what the orcs may or may not know the orcs are doing?”

“It’s a secret,” the wizard and the priest said together. “Also,” Brennok added, “whether the orcs go to Leranse, or to Sylent... or to both, somewhere on the border,” he coughed, “I have a death penalty on my head for daring to defend my city with my magic. And Stefan of Leranse won’t have forgotten who handed him his most recent defeat, Derrick.”

“Oh for heaven’s sake,” Dexter sighed and rolled his eyes. “Why do you have to be such a drama queen, Alfred? You know perfectly well I will find a way to get you not-executed. But you also know perfectly well why the laws are so strict as to legally require it.”

The Raven sighed and rolled his eyes in turn. “Yes, wizards summoned the demon and allied with it. Wizards also fought and helped conquer the demon and his forces, yes before you say it including his dark wizard allies. Not only that, we helped seal his essence away and agreed to help guard it forever.”

“I don’t recall, hm, how many holy priests defected to the demon while remaining holy priests? The answer,” Father Divine tapped his chin thoughtfully, “it seems so small the actual number is escaping me at the moment...”

“How many priests defected to the side of the demon because THAT was a god they could see who was actually doing things?” the wizard retorted. “I recall that number being somewhat less than zero.”

!!BLAM!!

Both men jumped when Colonel Pfeil slammed his hands on the table between them.

“Gentlemen. Focus please. I think you may have let a part of your secret slip,” he said. “An essence of Farrohk survives, does it?”

“...maybe,” the wizard muttered, eyeing him sideways.

“...he means perhaps in a metaphorical sense, representative of, um, evil in our hearts,” the priest suggested, and seemed prepared to go on.

“If you tell me that the essence of the demon is in our hearts, and this is what the orcs are marching after and why we ought to be extra concerned about catching the Grim Uru, I’m going to punch you, Inquisitor. Maybe several times,” said Pfeil. “You’ll never leave a sickbed again if I have anything to say about it.”

“...it’s in Verson,” Dexter said after a moment’s consideration. “And also in our hearts,” he muttered.

“All right. I accept that up until today there was no reason to tell me you KEPT A HEART OF THE DEMON THAT NEARLY RUINED THE WORLD hidden off and protected somewhere,” sighed Colonel Pfeil. The other officers looked more horrified than weary at this news. “That would explain the orc invasion nicely.”

“It isn’t a heart, exactly, it’s more like... right, yes, that’s as good description as any, a heart,” Brennock wilted a bit under Colonel Pfeil’s glare. “Demon’s heart, we couldn’t destroy it so we hid it in a fort to... um, keep it safe.”

“And study it, you might as well be fully honest, Alfred. God above, you’re a terrible liar,” the Inquisitor growled. “At least I have an excuse, I’m a priest, I take vows about that seriously. How did someone in your profession get to be so honest?!”

“We deal in FACTS as well as TRUTH!” the Red Raven stated. “And by the way in FACT we don’t know if it’s TRUE the orcs are, in FACT, trying to raid the Essence!”

“You two, argue theology and philosophy later on the road; the rest of you, get our corps together as quickly as possible,” the colonel ordered.

“We might have to save the world this year.”

.......


THUS ENDS SEASON ONE OF PANZORC CORPZ GENERALS
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (Season One complete, lots of screenies)
Post by: Martok on January 20, 2015, 08:09:41 AM
Damn, Jason.  That was pretty epic.  Nicely done! 
Title: Re: PanzOrc Corpz Generals (Season One complete, lots of screenies)
Post by: Anguille on January 20, 2015, 08:40:00 AM
That's an impressive AAR!  O0