Perhaps inspired by Bruce Springsteen's song lyrics (who knows?!), Chad talks us through his latest conquests in Mordheim in this post about the ramifications of 3 games for his ratty warband.
No, that’s not a misspelling. The first few missions in any Mordheim
gang’s life are going to be hellish and hectic; if a colour scheme had
to be chosen for then it would be red and brown in violent, clashing
slashes. Your war band is untried, and your equipment is mismatched and
sub par. The individual members are at best vaguely competent and on
average pretty rubbish. This is only made worse in a world where your
opponents have pushed themselves into Strength 4 and you’re stuck on
Games three through five exemplified this problem, as did my fairly
Skaven-ly play style; I often got carried away and over confident after
an early success and ended up slinking away. My next games I played Dys
and his Blood Dragon pirates, Jonathan and his beleaguered Rieklanders,
and JD and his newish Dwarven Treasure Hunters in that order. Each of
these war bands present different problems and challenges which I’ll
explore in my reports below.
Game 1: Attack of the Bloodbeard
First up was Bloodbeard’s motley crew – and a quite sizeable crew it
was too! I’d picked up a Beggar, representing the poor sap who hired my
Samurats, but Dys still nearly outnumbered me two to one! This whole
‘one henchman’ thing had massive downsides…especially after we rolled
Defend the Find as our scenario! I had to hold a central building
against Dys’s marauding undead pirates? And to win all he had to do was
get more models within 6” of the house? Bring it on.
I set up my shooty fellows (two dudes with throwing stars, two with
slings – true artillerized terror) on the first floor and my remaining
dudes, including double-club beggar on the ground floor. My plan was to
take people in drips and drabs, knocking them down to slow them even
more than being dead already did while my combat dudes did the butcher’s
work. I did not want to get out numbered, and I did not want to get
Bloodbeard got first turn and his crew lurched forward, except the
three not-so-nautical war pigs he’d hired which shot right at me,
although one had a difficult crisscross of streets to navigate so didn’t
make it into the scoring area. Thinking this feel perfectly into my
plan, I issued two charges on each – the Beggar and Assassin on one, my
halberd-wielding Black Skaven and the Verminkin on the other. Everyone
passed their leadership checks, by some miracle, and we all got in
contact. Great news, as it meant that I was likely to be two out of four
kills towards forcing rout checks – sure, the vampire had a leadership
value of nearly double my average, but it might work out.
In other news, my shooting missed and one of my Gutterrunners removed
himself from the game by failing a 4” leap and suffering an S2 hit. So I
was half way to rout checks myself. Then neither of the pigs died, so
things looked real rosy.
Dyson’s second turn started with the third pig charging my leader and
his vampire charging my spear wielding Gutterrunner. My leader had been
stunned last turn and so was eliminated while knocked down, but my
Gutterrunner must have eaten a whole garlic bulb as the vampire missed
his attacks. I killed the other pig, but that was not really much
At the beginning of my turn I voluntarily routed. I was close to
being outnumbered and butchered, and Dys would probably have outnumbered
me in the zone next turn anyway. This way he didn’t get any heroes in
the house, so didn’t get any extra wyrd-stone while I scarpered with
three! I then rolled well on my exploration and got six more, as well as
a favour owed by a sell-sword. This presented a quandary, as I wanted
to keep the Seven Samurats to seven, but if I didn’t take advantage of
this then I’d be missing out on a massive advantage – which was also
free. Eventually I reasoned that the sell-sword was an old friend
(rival? Enemy that didn’t immediately need killing?) of one of the
Samurats. With that explanation, I chose the Skryre Sniper as it fit
thematically to have someone devoted to the art of long ranged death.
My Assassin suffered ‘severe injuries’ and had to miss the next two
games, while the Gutterrunner who impersonated Icarus managed to escape
harm! Except for the loss of an eye…Some stat ups were gained, most
notably my Beggar got Medic and the one-eyed Gutterrunner got an extra
attack – so he traded his throwing knives to the Verminkin for an
additional sword. My sorcerer also got better at casting Warpflame
despite not managing it in the last game.
Game 2: Cross Town Brawl
Next game was against Jonathan’s Rieklanders. His luck had not
improved at all since our last game, but he’d only lost Henchman.
However having to replace them had kept his gold reserves low (unlike my
coffers, which sat at something like 14 wyrd-stone and 120gp despite
losing most of my games) and his men weren’t fantastically well equipped
and they only numbered eleven. Not being dead they could march but also
be stunned, so there were pros and cons over the last game. We rolled
Occupy and five target houses, meaning we’d both have to split up to
really challenge board control.
We fought on our market square board rather than the ruined mansion
where I’d ‘fought’ Bloodbeard, and there were coincidentally four
buildings around the square and a well in the middle. Jon took the city
side with a little more building cover which left me with the church and
windmill side. I deployed using other buildings to block LoS from those
scary BS4 longbows and the game was afoot!
Jon moved forward with his guys, and I did the same but got further
into the board, claiming the church. Turn two saw him secure an inn and
the vampire-home, while I occupied the church fully and moved towards
the guard house on the bridge. My sniper turned up and knocked a
Rieklander off his feet, despite needing a six to hit! Nothing else
Turn three things started to heat up as Jon moved into the first
floor of the vamp-home with his archers and made a dash towards the well
with his leader and some captains. He left two crossbowmen in the inn,
one of which fired at my Jezzail and missed. In my third turn I got into
the bridge guard house with my Verminkin and beggar while I took the
ground floor of the vamp-home with everything else – except my sniper,
who hid, and my Gutterrunner who still had throwing knives (having
picked up Knife-Master) who I forgot about entirely. I threw some
Warpflame up the stairs and made the Bowmen duck for cover but didn’t
really hurt anyone.
Turn four saw the vamp-home getting trashed again, as per my Skaven
war band’s modus operandi. Jon charged a Bowman into my half blind
Gutterrunner skulking around the side of the building and a Champion
into my Sorcerer – but he was intercepted by my Halberd wielding Black
Skaven, who had picked up Lightning Reflexes for just such occasions.
The kitchen/dining area was turned over in the struggle (we were a bit
boisterous in moving minis) but my Black Skaven got the upper hand and
stunned the Champion. My Gutterrunner knocked down his attacker in a
flurry of sword blows, and I was looking in a pretty strong position.
His crossbowmen had no targets so spent a tense few minutes listening to
shouts and hissing and smashing furniture from across the road while
his leader and champions bravely took the unoccupied well in the centre
of the square.
In my turn my claw-armed Black Skaven got to the second floor of the
vamp-home, miraculously without falling off as per his previous
attempts, and I got more rats in the ground floor. My shuriken armed
Gutterrunner made it to the bridge guardhouse and he, my Beggar and
Verminkin (who had both been awarded slings due to lack of space in my
treasury) unleashed a hail of shrapnel and dung at Jon’s elite in the
well house. The ended up covered in shit and pretty pissed off, but
uninjured. My Sorcerer stunned a Bowman up the stairs and the Jezzail
missed, but my sword-armed Gutterrunner and halberd wielding Black
Skaven finished off their opponents so that was nice.
Jon was looking a little disheartened at the beginning of this turn,
which meant that I was caught utterly off guard when he had one Bowman
leap out of the window and land perfectly outside the vamp-home while
two more rushed down the stairs and surprised my Sorcerer and Black
Skaven on the ground floor, while his heroes backed off a little from
the well house, also moving back towards the vamp-home. His shooting
phase saw the Dark-Knight Bowman wound my Sorcerer but only knock him
down while his compatriots sent my Black Skaven squeaking for cover,
although left him unharmed – he even tried a cheeky crossbow shot
through a window but it didn’t stick. His heroes then returned fire on
my dirt slingers and put my Gutterrunner out of action.
With no combat we went right into my turn! My claw armed Black Skaven
ran down two flights of stairs to charge a Bowman and my halberd
wielding rat charged into the one next to him. The Beggar and Verminkin
scuttled out of sight, hiding, while the Sorcerer stood up rather
groggily and failed to cast his spell to get vengeance. The Jezzail hid
so it was straight on to combat – in which my halberd guy dealt with the
bowman in front of him and the claw armed guy didn’t, although didn’t
die either so I guess that’s okay.
Jon’s turn saw another impressive hail fired into the vamp-house –
windows were smashed, decorations ruined and a little bit of rat blood
shed as my sorcerer hit the dirt again. Combat again saw the untrained
Bowman flail desperately and my fighting-claw ninja expertly miss his
attacks. In my turn my halberd-rat charged out of the house screaming in
Bloodfrenzy or panic as he ran into Jon’s three combat equipped heroes,
while my Verminkin was sent to challenge ownership of the centre well.
My sword-armed Gutterrunner actually made it into the acrobat who had
jumped out of the window to ambush my rats too! Shooting saw my Jezzail
burn yet another hole in the side of the inn instead of a person and my
Sorcerer remove Jon’s leader with a blast of fire, finally on target.
Thankfully there was no collateral damage in the form of my halberd-rat,
who stunned the Champion he was facing off against.
Jon called it there an voluntarily routed, his taste for the battle
gone with his leader. He’d lost most of his Bowman, although all but one
recovered, and was two combat fellows down for no loss to the Samurats.
I’d been able to control the flow of battle pretty well, fighting in
buildings being ideal for my high Initiative, high movement guys where
they could choose their fights/bundle individual enemies. I found
another six wyrd-stone, putting me on the heady-heights of twenty-one
before I sold seven. I bought two sets of bracers and two cold-steel
Halberds, giving one to my halberd-rat and the other to my sorcerer
along with some bracers each. Both Black Skaven picked up Tail Fighting,
my leader finally accrued a exp-up and got Lightning Reflexes and my
two gutter runners got a skill and a stat up each – the half-blind guy
got a strength and I gave him Tail-Fighting, while the other guy
suffered a deep wound (-1 Toughness, putting him on an abysmal T2) but
got an additional wound and Trick Shot, so he would now always get to
shoot at full accuracy with his shurikens. I banked the remaining 90 or
so gold and looked for the next game.
Game 3: Murder in the Streets
For my third and final game of the night I threw down against JD’s
newly formed Dwarven Treasure Hunters. He’d had a rough few games before
and I think only agreed to the game because I pointed out my Assassin
was still kicking back injured
and would miss this game. I had got another favour owed to him (the
Council only knows how) so I picked up a Skryre Poison Wind Globadier to
continue my theme of wacky mercenary members, and kept on the sniper
mainly out of cool factor rather than anything to do with his
performance in the last game.
We rolled street fight. I had to run down a four-model wide street at
a Dwarven war band, with a three man crossbow henchman group that had
earned BS4. Flash backs to the Ratmificent Seven getting wiped out flew
through my mind, but I shook them off and set up with my fastest guys at
the front – after a brief discussion JD revealed his crossbows actually
had a 36” range, so I was going to have to throw caution to the wind
and my rats at a wall of spikes and steel.
I spent three turns running at him, the Jezzail arriving on the
second but missing. In fact, I’ll head this one off; he missed all game.
He missed so impressively JD never even considered shooting back at
him. My Beggar was considered more of a threat due to his two
clubs. My guys got hit by seemed to just be dodging and diving to the
floor; every time I was hit JD’s dice turned into D2’s so miraculously
no one died.
Turn four finally saw some combat, a bit of magic and the struggle
between his crossbow henchman and my Globadier, the latter trying to
throw a grenade at the tightly packed dwarf back line and the former
turning him into a pincushion to stop him doing so. After my halberd-rat
tore through his first opponent he then spent about a million turns
tripping up one of JD’s slayers and refusing to hit him while he was on
the floor. My sorcerer spent most of the midgame knocked down as JD
frantically tried to kill him with his Engineer.
I forget exactly what order things happened in, but I know my
fighting-claw armed ‘ninja’ got taken out first. Hammers fell, swords
slashed and after four or so rounds of combat we’d both lost two war
band members – I was the only one to lose a hero though. My Globadier
removed a crossbowman before he was taken out, one of the slayers went
down under the desperate scratching of a Gutterrunner, and things were
looking pretty equal – despite my halberd-rat being charged by JD’s
noble in an attempt to stop the beleaguered slayer from being auto
removed after being stunned.
Now, this is where things went wrong. Very, very wrong. My Sorcerer,
seeing a chance to remove two fairly scary dwarves for the possible loss
of one rat, Warpflamed the dwarven noble. It fizzled, and the backwash
lightly tanned the slayer. However, the halberd-rat got roasted;
wounded, save failed, straight up removed from play. In JD’s turn my
Sorcerer then got picked off by some crossbows and my remaining rodents
achieved sod all, having decided that since their swords were barely
working they’d better use wet handkerchiefs. I swiftly routed in my next
My half blind Gutterrunner nearly went fully blind, but upon
realising this would auto-retire the vicious little sod I used up my
Beggar’s Medic ability on the first injury I’d rolled, and after a bit
of CPR he survived against the odds, half-sight intact and with a bonus
experience point! My knife-rat got a damaged leg, lowering his Movement
to 5” which was tolerable and that was about it for injuries – my Skaven
Samurai had clearly learnt well from their leader in Playing Dead 101!
My Globadier earned his stripes, getting a new skill (Eagle Eye,
later found to be illegal and replaced with Infiltration). My Sorcerer
got an improved BS to 4, although had never shot his Warplock pistol,
and also Battle Mage so he could wear armour. This was a debateable gain
since everyone seemed to be S4 and/or carrying axes, but worth it for
the off chance it was relevant. Sword-Runner (now named Gut) got boosted
to S4 while his buddy (Run) got no advancement. I tried to find a
second Jezzail in an effort to game the rules, and because I’d come away
with another 6 wyrd-stone which was immediately sold, but failed
miserably. The Samurats returned to camp and let my Assassin know they’d
got beat. He sympathetically shouted at them and swore he’d get revenge
on the stunties at some point – presumably after he’d upped his own
Strength to 5.
So that was game day 2. A good few advances, no actual deaths just
yet and plenty of money in the bank (after a couple more purchases I was
still on about 117gp and 10ish wyrd-stone). I’ve since found that my
Skaven are actually limited to a measly S4, so halberds might become the
order of the day, or Strongman and Great Weapons, but time will tell.
There’s also Mighty Blow, granting +1S in combat which would make any S4
halberd wielders S6 and unparryable by any S3 enemies. Then I’d only
have to manage to roll a 2+ to wound, so failure would become intensely
I’m still enjoying the rats, thankfully. I’m somewhat underwhelmed by
their supposed terrifying abilities to dish out damage but hopefully
that’ll change soon. I’m also looking at Marks of Khorne for the Frenzy
upgrade, as my attack statistic is one of the few that goes up twice.
Doubling somebodies Mighty Blow attacks with a halberd sounds like a
great plan! But we’ll have to get there first. Hell, maybe someone will
pick up an extra wound, or even T4. That’d be great. Until then I’ll
keep skulking in the shadows and bullying the weak.