[KoW] 15mm Vanguard Campaign - Zharr'kus Hunt

So after playing a handfull senarios of Vanguard we finally decided to try out the campaign rules in the book. They seem really cool, picking elements from other games such as Mordheim etc and also introducing new thins such as the Retinue and the ability to promote you characters etc. Wont go into it here, rules can be found in the Vanguard core book.
So far its been really enjoyable! Cheers!

Storywise, following the “Edge of the Abyss” campaign the Halpi peninsula was cleared of free dwarfs by our troops. The cowards fled into Imperial Dwarf territory over the Great Cataract.
An agreement struck between leaders of the free dwarf clans and King Golloch lead to Imperial Dwarfs shipping and supplying an incursion of free Dwarfs to reclaim their lands in the Halpi peninsula. Of course King Golloch have no such plans for the campaign and simply see it as an opportunity to expand the empire or worst case get rid of the Free Dwarf clans who won’t fold into his empire…

The incursion of the Free Dwarfs met with initial success at the coast and struck inland towards the newly established Abyssal Dwarf garrison/settlement of Kar’Kraz.
Our troops managed to get word of the coming attack and the battle for Kar’Kraz was won at the cost of more or less depleting our troops there. The Free Dwarfs suffered huge casualties as well and retreated up into their familiar mountainranges and old tunnels, falling back on guerrilla warfare harassing our troops at any chance they get.
Word was sent from Kar’Kraz to our twin cities, pride of our empire! And fresh troops and slaves are on their was south as we speak, to weed out the remaning Free Dwarfs before they can be resupplied from the coast.

Meanwhile in Kar’Kraz High Priest Zhurthar gathered a small force sent out to locate the dwarven camps and if possible destroy any pockets of resistance they might find…

The task was assign to one of our most ruthless Slavedrivers, Zharr’kus the Flayer. Who promptly whipped a force together and headed out in pursuit.

Not much is yet know about the forces of the Free Dwarfs, but a blond bearded individual with a blue cape has been sighted several times and is believed to be the character Freddy the Weakling. The competence and leadership of that individual is at best laughable and Zharr’kus task should be completed with in a few days at most.

Our slave troops tracked down the free dwarfs, and managed to catch a few of them of guard. While they were resupplying at one of their old hidden locations. No time was wasted and an attack was ordered while the Free Dwarfs were unprepared.

Senario Capture the Plans(or rather Free Dwarf maps and supplies) - 150pts
Forces chosen for the senario.

Both forces deployed diagonal opposite each other with 3 objectives between them. Two Free dwarf scouts were seen hiding behind the hill and rocks in the center. The aim of our forces was to spread out and try to secure as much terrain as possible until the “plans” were located.

Our clumsy slave troops made our forces and we were spotted by the dwarf scouts who sounded the alarm and alerted the rest of their troops in the area. The scouts quickly gathered their hidden stash and readied themselves to fall back. (Of course the plans were found by the scouts at the center location Shock)

Our troops pushed forward, whips cracking and orders shouted at their lazy backs. Berzhakrrazh our gargoyle managed to just caught up with the dwarf scouts while dashing forward disregarding cover or its own safety. Almost makes one proud to see our maggots actually perform in battle for once. The Kdaii strode forward relentless despite taking several panicked arrows from behind the trees.

Berzhakrrazh lacked the ability to fend for itself and was disappointingly fast hacked down by the dwarf leader who charged. The nimble dwarf scout carrying the “plans” managed to sneak past the screen of troops before our Kdaii came crushing into their line, quickly smashing several free dwarfs to the ground. Of course the dwarfs couldn’t stand before the might of our great flames of the holy Abyss!

The dwarf Levys fighting for their homes proved to be capable fighters though and kept resisting and poking the Kdaii with their spears. Sturdier than first thought, and Zharr’kus the Flayer noted that they’d probably make much better slaves than the ones at his command here.
The character recognized as Freddy the Weakling leapt out from the trees and blasted the slave hobgoblins with several fireballs scaring a few of them. While the dwarf scouts kept retreating…

After a long combat in the center the Kdaii flickered and vanished. Leaving behind several burnt and mutilated dwarf carcasses… Zharr’kus ordered the hobgoblin slaves to engage the dwarf leader and quickly take him out before they could escape with the “plans”. But the dwarf leader had no pride what so ever and ran as quickly as he could after the scout…

Seeing the dwarf leader running up behind him the dwarf scout thought all to be lost, dropped everything he carried slowing him down and dissapeard…
While scrambling to secure the “plans” the dwarf leader was caught up by our pursuing slave troops just as the mountain fog rolled in. The useless slaves couldn’t tell for sure weather the dwarf managed to secure the “plans” or if they were lost in the confusion that followed. Despite Zharr’kus whining them about all night in the fog nothing was found… Two more slaves were lost during the search, but that’s the price they will have to pay for being utterly useless…

The senario ended in a Draw turn 6, seeing the dwarf scout failing 4! nerve test and heading of into the woods and leaving to dwarf leader unable to secure the “plans” while being in combat with the hobgoblins.

After the battle injuries were assessed and the dwarf healer managed to save the dwarfs from permanent damages, while Berzhakrrazh our Gargoyle suffered several deep wounds unable to be regenerated. Most probably due to the dwarfs being armed with runic weapons…

Both factions made camp, rested and resupplied. The dwarfs managed to scout out one of their old secret tombs containing the Obsidian Book of Secrets and the Abyssal Dwarfs received some basic supplies from Kar’Kraz.

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For the second skirmish in our Vanguard campaign we played “Light the Beacon”. After locating one of the camps for the Free Dwarfs Zharr’kus the Flayer aimed to send a message to the forces in Zar’Kraz with their position, using one of the old signal beacons, before the Free Dwarfs were able to relocate their supplies.

Zharr’kus attack force 200pts.

Free Dwarf defenders 175pts.

The old signal beacon is located up the mountainside on a small hill overlooking the valleys bellow. Our Abyssal Dwarf forces slowly advanced from within the cover of the tree while the Free Dwarfs scrambled their forces to defend the area.

The Free Dwarfs ran towards the beacon trying to destroy it once the our plans were clear to them. The old stone structure which had stood for hundreds and hundreds of years proved sturdy enough, and not easily destroyed.
Our forces had to keep their hats down and slaves up front since the bolts from the Dwarf scouts were hitting the trees and stones around our forces.

Horoth, our bull centaur, tried to go for a flanking maneuver where the ground was flatter while our main force advanced straight at the beacon.

The Dwarf Scouts spotted Horoth as soon as he emerged form the tree line and the brave centaur raised his two handed hammer and charged them, while taking several bolts piercing his armor. And he fell badly wounded on our left flank.

Our slave troops proved useful soaking several bolts as well and even got a few of the younger free dwarfs leave their positions behind the rocks and attack them. Clearly visible to our warriors who readied themselves for a counter charge towards the exposed and exhausted Dwarf troops.

The character known as Freddy the Weakling was spotted once again, blasting several fire balls into our ranks before quickly hiding behind the rocks again.
Zharr’kus bakred an offer of gold to anyone who brought him the Dwarf priests head.

Once stuck in brutal melee the weaker Dwarfs proved no match for our sturdy forces, and they fell one by one… Forcing both the boar riding Dwarf commander and the dog handler to engage.
The Dwarf commander raised his axe and proclaimed “I Pallinor the brave will avenge my people!”
Zharr’kus observed the Dwarf commander being surrounded by his warriors, and Pallinor taking several blows by the heavy two handed hammer. Crushing both shield and armor…

To the left Ruzh’ark the Immortal made quick work with both the scouts and dog handler alike. Zharr’kus felt pride in his black heart, few stand against one of the Immortals and keep their life.

The cape of Freddy the weakling was seen again as he ran past the Beacon and up the mountain side leaving dead and wounded Dwarfs where they lay.
Realising Freddy the Priest had fled and his last two warriors were badly wounded Pallinor ordered the retreat. And the reamaing Dwarf forces scattered once again…

Zharr’kus made sure all the Free Dwarfs he could see were dead, but wasted no time pursuing the fleeing Dwarfs. The Beacon was light and the message to the main force was sent. It would only be a matter of time before these mountains and mines were cleared and could be claimed properly for his father, praise Hashut! Hashut!

After the battle Zharr’kus force found baggage which presumed belonged to the Dwarf priest including several tomes and potions forwarded to our sorcerers for further investigation, as well as gold, gunpowder and other supplies.
Horoths damages proved to be too much and didn’t heal well. While surviving , Horoth had to be transported back to Zar’Kraz.
Both sides suffered minor wounds which had to be tended and a general rest was ordered.
In the following days word reached Zharr’kus that the caravan to Zar’Kraz had been attacked by Free Dwarf raiders, though they had been able to fight of the attackers supply had been lost. Including the tomes and potions just found… This most likely wouldnt be a random raid, but had to be a targeted attack given how may warriors the Free Dwarfs had lost in the campaign so far. Those tomes and potions had the be more valuable to the Free Dwarfs than he first though.

Zharr’kus cursed these land and their old inhabitants… “Flay them all! Let them for ever fly in the wind over the lands they hold so dear.”

For our third game i our campaign we played “The Power Stones” with 200gc war bands chosen from our campaign forces.

Given our glorious victory in the last skirmish our main forces have been alerted and sent to clear out the area from the Free Dwarfs. The remaining task given to Zharr’kus the Flayer was to scout the area for any potential traps or hidden tunnels as well as engage any Free Dwarf troops they are able to locate.

The Power Stones are set to represent old Free Dwarf magical wardings, necessary to be razed before the main force arrive. Who knows exactly what power these rune filled stones might harbor.

A small band of Free Dwarfs held a defensive position on a hill just behind the stones. Initial reports led us to believe that this fore yet again was lead by the Free Dwarfs recognized as Plainor and Freddy the Weakling.

The Free Dwarfs were quick to capture both the center stone as well as the right stone. And immediately started to chant at their base which in turn made the stone to “hmmm”.
Zharr’kus realised to Free Dwarfs used them as some kind of batteries taping into their power for the upcoming clash! These Free Dwarfs had to be engaged and cleared with haste.

Zharr’kus had sent one of his Blacksoul warriors on a flanking maneuver to hopefully draw as much attention away from his main force as possible. The Blacksoul managed to dodge several bolts for the Free Dwarf ranger as he made his advance up the field.

…and swiftly cut the Ranger in half with his axe once he got the chance to repay him.
Zharr’kus ordered the Slave orks to engage the Free Dwarfs to interrupt their rituals until the mighty Kdaii were in range to smash them. The plan worked perfectly and only taking a few casualties the slaves did their job until the true hammer of Hashut hit the Free Dwarfs and a long and fierce combat erupted around the main stone. Involving Palinor himself and the main bulk of both forces.

Despite being struck down several times. Palinor in a last effort managed to strike the Kdaii with his rune filled weapon and banish the fire creature from the field.
This left Zharr’kus no other option than to engage Palinor, trying to claim the dwarfs head for himself.

On the flank the brave and competent Blacksoul kept hacking through all the Free Dwarfs that came at him. Even taking down Freddy the Weakling, the Blacksoul will be rewarded greatly after the campaign earning himself a place among the Fire Guard Zharr’kus thought.

Being more of a competent leader than a fighter Zharr’kus got badly wounded by Palinor and in the chaos that endured our forces were unsure of his fate. His proud hat were nowhere to be seen…
The last Slave Orc proved loyal enough to avenge his master and ran his spear through the mount of Palinor and wounding Palinor himself in the fall as well.

Seeing the Dwarf leader taken down yet a again was enough for the last Free Dwarfs to turn and run for the mountains yet again. Another glorious victory for our forces could be reported, the rune filled stones will be examined by our sorcerers and destroyed if necessary.

After the battle Zharr’kus were nowhere to be found, only his hat and whip lay at the center stone where he was last seen fighting Palinor. Having the will of black iron and fire we are sure to see him again. Scouts were sent out in the area to search for him while Ber’zhuk the Ironcaster prepare our forces to make the final push against the last remaning leaders of Free Dwarfs.

For our forth game in our campaign we played “Kill the Commander” with 200gc forces chosen from our campaign forces.

Our Hobgoblin scouts reported that the had located the leadership och the last remaning Free Dwarfs. They had fled into a small village deep within the mountain forest…
Despite Zharr’kus the Flayer were nowhere to be found our forces waisted no time and prepared a dusk raid. This time Ruzh’ark the Immortal took charge, what Ruzh’ark lacked in command capabilities he surely made up for with pure skill and ferocity in combat! Pirate

Ruzh’ark the Immortals attackers

Palinors defenders

The village was located in a small clearing in the deep forest. The Free Dwarfs had a few guards set up, but Palinor himself were nowhere to be seen yet. Though our Hobgoblin scouts reported he had been seen in one of the houses.
Our forces quickly surrounded the village to make sure all possible roads of retreat were blocked.

Our initial attack were swift, as swift as a dwarf with an even bigger hat can be. And more or less caught the Free Dwarf defenders by surprise. Of course our greenskinslaves lead the charge…

A few of the Free Dwarfs counter charges while other scrambled for cover and took up defensive positions. With a mighty ROAARRR! the huge stone elemental charged towards our lines.

In a heroic scene that stunned everyone involved our Blacksoul Warrior Kh’arr parried all of the blows from the Elemental with his hammer. And in return landed several blows to its head, sending sparks or raw earth magic into the air before it tumbled to the ground before his feet.
Though it still moved it was clearly damaged and in bad shape…

Our attack pressed in on all sides while the Free Dwarfs met with feeble resistance and one by one the Free Dwarfs fell to our axes. But still no sight of Palinor…

Our greenskin slaves which were well fed and eager for battle, didnt wast any time and charged the Free Dwarf characters to tie them up. And to keep Freddy the Weakling from healing the Stone creature with his spells.

In the meantime Ruzh’ark had chopped his way through the Free Dwarf defenders at the gate, which didn’t stand much of a chance against his skill and ferocity…

…and he soon joined Kh’arr to finish of the Stone Elemental.

A sudden BOOOM! filled the air with thick smoke from the Decimator which had taken up position behind the hedge. And filled the remaining Free Dwarfs with lead and shrapnel.

As things started to look really bleak for the Free Dwarfs the doors from the house in the center suddenly slammed open, and our came Palinor!

In his drunken rage he was quickly surrounded by our forces, and Ruzh’ark took his time with the Free Dwarf Commander. Enjoying every moment of the combat, until he decapitated the foe.

A calm once more came over the village as the yard was filled with dead or dying dwarfs. Pride and triumph filled Ruzh’arks chest. This would surly put him in command, and craved the respect he deserves from the High Council and even Overking Zerkziz himself! The title “Eviscerator of the Halpi Mountains” would be fitting he thought…

…“Ah, well done SERVANTS!” Somehow Zharr’kus the Flayer had made it back to camp during the night. And hurried after his troops to lead the attack on the last of the Free Dwarfs.
Zharr’kus eyes were filled with fire and hate, not even Ruzh’ark dared to meet his glare more than a few seconds before looking away. Now was not the time Ruzh’ark thought. But it would come, soon…

So, this was our last skirmish in our first little campaign for Vanguard. Really enjoyed the system so far, and will surely follow it up with more stories. And as fate would have it, our skirmishes in the Halpi Mountains fits right into the overall narrative of KoW. 3rd Edition has moved the timeline along 10 years form Edge of the Abyss-campaign which saw most of the action between the Free Dwards and Abyssal Dwarfs. The peninsula is now under firm Abyssal Dwarf control and the Abyss is once more on the offensive…

Next up will be an adaptation of the “Ice & Iron Campaign” which just released for Vanguard. We will probably start it with new, smaller war bands of 200gc since with 400gc we were able to leave any wounded characters in camp and more or less always have a fresh and full war band. We also plan to make use of random skill trees for our characters since some felt better than others once we had a few games.

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