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Captain Johann’s horse snorted in the brisk air of the early morning as he surveyed his lines. His men had moved into open area surrounding the Charo Monastery near the Middle Mountains. The Monastery itself dominated his right flank, large and imposing. The lookout tower was separate, just a short trot from his left flank. Between the buildings were two low dwarven walls- likely marking an old dwarf path. His enemy’s path.
As the sun slowly crept over the horizon his hired Free Companymen roused from their bunks in the monastery and formed up against the structure’s imposing wall. Behind them, the crew of the experimental Helblaster was finishing morning meal. The spearmen sergeant ordered his color-bearer to signal the detachment of five rifles to take up position behind the nearest of the dwarf walls. The sergeant himself deployed just to the left of free company. His detachment of seven spearmen moved to a position just ahead of their parent and the gunners, ready to hurry out of the handgunner’s line of fire.
Turns 1 and 2
As the general strained his eyes to see through the patches of morning fog, he heard the faint whistle of a cannonball. The sound grew louder before the shell plummeted into the dirt just behind the Helblaster. The free company gave a shout and recklessly hurried along the wall, their silhouettes growing hazy in the fog still hanging around the edges of the monastery. There was a crackling of rifle fire, spinning eddies in the mist in front of the spear detachment but the shots landed short. The rustle of well-crafted mail signaled the dwarven advance.
Johann rode closer to his men; ready to maintain order should things go wrong. The spear detachment rushed forward to give the handgunners a clear line of fire. The gunners immediately let low a staccato volley into the now visible dwarven warriors. The shots landed soundly among their ranks, but only one toppled to the grass. With a wave of his hand Johann ordered the Helblaster forward. He was under orders to test it’s effectiveness in combat. The crew pushed it along the wall, trying to remain out of sight of the dwarf thunderers.
A low scream marked the arrival of another cannonball, this one landing shockingly close to the spears. The sergeant bellowed and roared at his men to remain calm and organized. The Free Company however showed no such restraint and burst around the corner of the monastery. There was an immediate volley of fire from the dwarf Thunderer’s and Johann saw three of the silhouettes sink to the ground. The imperial handgunners fired another volley of shots at the warriors, just as the dwarven general pushed in amidst his comrades. The shots again felled only one of the stoic dwarves. Johann galloped out in front of his army, encouraging a modest advance of the spear-armed detachment as the Helblaster crew rolled the gun forward another few feet.
Turns 3 and 4
Johann watched the dwarven gunners suddenly scurrying around their charge; apparently they had fouled a shot. That gun would not be a threat for a while he thought. The spears moved forward slowly, and the handgunners leapt the low wall in search of targets. Johann’s horse reared into the air as he heard the terrible screeching crank of the Helblaster. There was a roaring cacophony and the dwarf warriors were suddenly engulfed in a thick smoke. When the smoke cleared Johann saw that the regiment had been slain to a man, the general lying amidst the broken bodies still valiantly clutching his axe.
Turns 5 and 6
There was a roared battle cry as the Free Company and Thunderers met. After the brief clash, the demoralized Thunderers broke and ran, but the greedy free company chose instead to pick amongst the wealth of dwarven items. Johann gave a shout at the unruly mob and they quickly reformed and advanced towards the gunners. Two cannonballs from the dwarf gunnery passed harmlessly over their heads, passing from flank to flank. They had recklessly charged into the dwarven territory and the gunners tried in vain to drive them out again. The handgunners had just enough time to fire before the company crashed into their lines and drove them from the field of battle. This time, the militiamen chased zealously after them and disappeared from Johann’s sight. He ordered the spears to move forward to engage the cannon, but before they reached them, he ordered an immediate halt.
With a steady grind of cogs and gears, the Helblaster released another volley. The deadly shot passed just in front of the spearmen with a sound of angry hornets. The crew of the dwarven gun was immediately knocked to the ground, lying slumped over their equipment. Johann looked back at the vile Helblaster. It had denied him any honor in this battle, and he loathed it.
I really did feel bad about that stinking Helblaster. It was my first time using it, and I didn't realize how devastating it really was. It took all the challenge out of such a low point game.
I wish I could get some pics in here, gotta learn how to do that.