Monday, January 24, 2011

Grismeire Valley Campaign Turn 3 – High Elves 1st Army Attacking Vampire Counts 3rd Army

The commander of the High Elf Expeditionary Force himself, Prince Finduleas Tethelion of Caledor with his loyal Star Dragon, took his personal entourage to attack the Vampire Counts army defending the bridge southeast of Soude. The Vampire Counts force, led by Count Tepes, would have to hold the bridge at all costs against this determined attack being personally led by the Elven leader. Count Tepes’s only goal would be to fend off the attack by maintaining control of more of the territory on his side of the bridge than the enemy, so that they would be forced to retreat back across the river. The Elves would have to destroy the undead army to gain a foothold on the far side of the bridge. Being one of the few nearby bridges that would allow access to the Vampire Counts base camp, it was an extremely important objective for both sides.

Count Tepes set up his forces in a tight group in a swampy area on the far side of the bridge near some old ruins. He hoped the swampy terrain would bog down the elves so he could counter-attack and finish them off. Lord Tepes was with his Wight King battle standard bearer in a unit of Grave Guard, prepared to reinforce the line wherever the strongest enemy attack came. From their left to right were a unit of skeleton spearmen, a unit of Grave Guard with great weapons led by a vampire, another unit of skeleton spearmen, and a large unit of ghouls led by a vampire.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts

The Elves deployed in a long battle line, with Prince Tethelion on his imposing Star Dragon to their far left. Fearing being surrounded by the undead, he went with a strange tactic of using many very small units spread out on a very large front. He brought to battle three units of 15 spearmen each, and four units each of 5 swordmasters. He would try to use these many small units to surround the enemy. He also had a hard-hitting unit of seven dragon princes.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts

At the start of the battle, Prince Tethelion moved his entire army straight forward, though they were diverted somewhat by the swampy pools. His two mages, wishing to avoid any actual fighting, left their units and waded into one of the pools to hide themselves. Count Tepes formed his units into a semi-circle to avoid being flanked by the many units trying to surround him. His own unit of Grave Guard he positioned on his left flank to take the charge of the dragon princes.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts High Elves vs Vampire Counts

Prince Tethelion then took to the air and landed on the far right flank of the undead army to breathe fire on the unit of ghouls, which had little effect. The dragon princes saw the mighty Count Tepes at the head of his Grave Guard and decided they didn't want to fight him. The rest of the Elven army formed up into a thin, but continuous battle line that arced around the Vampire Counts force.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts High Elves vs Vampire Counts

Most of his units were not close enough to charge the enemy, but Count Tepes could feel the noose tightening around his compacted army and had to do something. He had the two units at the center of his line, the Grave Guard with great weapons and a unit of skeleton spearmen, charge the enemy units they could reach. They each would face a unit of High Elf spearmen. It was a huge risk breaking up his battle line like that and leaving a huge hole in it's center, but he couldn't wait around to be surrounded by the enemy. The unit of ghouls on his far right flank turned to face Prince Tethelion so that he wouldn't be able to charge their flank.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts

Several of the skeleton spearmen were cut down by the swift elves before they could even attack. Still, seeing the large mass of skeletons bearing down on them caused the cowardly elves to instantly flee as soon as they made contact. The skeletons pursued, but the terrified elves ran so fast there was no chance of catching them. The Grave Guard did even better. They took no casualties while causing the frightened elves to flee and cutting them all down as they fled. One of the Elf mages lost his nerve seeing two units break and run, and he fled as well.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts

The mage and the Elf spearman unit both rallied immediately once they were out of danger. The two manges continued to be ineffective, however. They spent most of the battle trying to drain magic to prevent the vampires from being able to revive their fallen soldiers, but the vampires usually got the better of them and dispelled their efforts. The vampires in turn did manage to summon some ghouls and rejuvenate some losses, but not much else.

With their line broken, the Elves tried to rearrange themselves better, with one unit of swordmasters turning to face the pursuing unit of skeleton spearmen. The unit of High Elf spearmen on their far left continued to move around the enemy's right flank. Prince Tethelion went off on his own, swooping down behind Count Tepes's unit of grave guard and breathing fire on them.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts High Elves vs Vampire Counts

Count Tepes and his bodyguard were no surrounded by the most powerful high elf units, the dragon princes on one side and Prince Tethelion on his mighty dragon on another. But unlike the overly-cautious elves, perhaps due to their general being off on his own, the Vampire Counts army would not sit idle. One of the other vampires led her skeleton spearmen in a charge against the swordmasters to her front. The other skeleton spearmen, hopelessly out of position and far from any of their vampire leaders, had no choice but to continue advancing and charge the High Elf spearmen again. The Grave Guard with Great Weapons turned around, now in an advantageous position in the enemy's rear. The ghouls again turned to face Prince Tethelion, this time in preparation of having to charge in to help rescue their general. Count Tepes and his Grave Guard could do nothing but steady themselves for the onslaught to come.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts

With the help of the vampiress leading them, the skeleton spearmen in the middle defeated the swordmasters, who fled right into the deadly great weapons of the Grave Guard behind them. The nearby unit of swordmasters panicked and ran at the sight of their comrades being slaughtered. The other unit of skeleton spearmen again didn't manage to kill a single Elf in their charge, and being defeated and so far from any of the vampires that controled them, they started to fall apart.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts

The broken swordmasters fled a little farther, fumbling through some underbrush. The High Elf spearmen in the back killed several more skeleton spearmen. The rest of the High Elf army just repositioned itself and watched in anticipation as the their lord on his star dragon and a unit of 7 dragon princes charged Count Tepes and his bodyguard at the same time. Prince Tethelion and his dragon focused all of their attacks on the vampire general, Count Tepes. It was, however, a far from impressive showing by Prince Tethelion, who cause no wounds. The dragon's attacks were fierce, but the magical army Count Tepes wore stopped some of them. The dragon did manage to cause some grievous wounds but Count Tepes quickly regenerated from them due to the powerful magic of the Drakenhof Banner carried by his loyal Wight King army standard bearer. With all of their fury, they only managed to cause Count Tepes a single wound. Unfortunately, while he was distracted attempting to ward off their blows, the dragon princes, clearly with no sense of honor, attacked him from the side. One of their lances pierced through his side into his heart, ending the fight for count Tepes. Meanwhile, the dragon prince champion was cut down in a challege by the army standard bearer. The High Elves had caused few wounds, and had lost the combat by a slim margin, but having just slain the enemy general their spirits were high and they didn't even consider fleeing.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts High Elves vs Vampire Counts

Despite the loss of their general, the undead army held together remarkably well in his absence of the rest of the battle, a testament to the discipline and undying will of their master. The unit of ghouls led by a vampire wasn't yet close enough to charge in to aid the Wight King against the Elven Prince and dragon princes, so they advanced. The vampire did what he could to help by using his necromantic magic to revive some of the fallen grave guard. The other unit of grave guard turned to face the disordered swordmasters, and the unit of skeleton spearmen in the middle turned to face yet another unit of swordmasters.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts

The unit of skeleton spearmen fighting the High Elf spearmen finally succumbed to the weakening of the magic holding them together and was finished off. In the main combat, the dragon killed a few grave guard, and the grave guard in turn killed a couple more of the dragon princes. To the High Elves, it seemed hopeless as they continued to cut down the enemy and they would just rise back up to fight again. It was too much for the dragon princes, who broke and ran, leaving their general on his down. The Grave Guard unit turned to face the prince.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts

The broken unit of High Elf swordmasters finally rallies and moved into position next to the few remaining allies nearby. The dragon princes rallied and turned to watch the their Prince do battle with the Grave Guard. The other unit of swordmasters turned to face the skeleton spearmen threatening them. The High Elf army seemed unsure of what to do. In the combat, the Grave Guard champion issued a challenge to the Prince. Stepping in front of the rest of the unit, the champion was prepared to be cut down to protect the others. Incredibly, there was no need. The Prince and Star Dragon combined were unable to cut down the champion, as the powerful magic of their Drakenhof Banner regenerated the little damage they caused. The champion was, however, unable to harm the prince as he was difficult to reach way up there on his dragon. However, by doing no wounds and being very outnumber and surrounded, the Prince lost the combat by a huge margin. (He lost by 6, so needed to pass a leadership test on 4 or less). He stood resolute, however, refusing to retreat, refusing to accept that he could ever be defeated.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts

Feeling certain that Prince Tethelion would eventually lose his nerve and flee, the ghouls and skeleton spearmen positioned themselves behind to intercept the fleeing general. The other unit of Grave Guard would have charged a unit of swordmasters, but with their general dead the magic holding them together finally started to fade, and several of them crumbled to the ground. The few left were too important to risk in combat, so they held.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts

In the combat, this was the undead's last change to cause Prince Tethelion to flee before the dragon princes could charge back into combat and the opportunity would likely be lost for good. The Prince and his dragon did better this time, cutting down the champion. But by now, surrounded and outnumbered and not seeming to be making any progress, Tethelion lost hope. He fled in dismay, and his dragon landed on the unit of ghouls, the confusion causing it to go into a hysterical panic and fly away, leaving the battle for good.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts

The Elves tried one last counter-attack to defeat the enemy. The three remaining units of swordmasters all thought about charging the enemy, two against the Grave Guard with great weapons, and one against the unit of skeleton spearmen. Both units, however, were overcome with fear and couldn't bring themselves to do it. The Dragon Princes didn't even consider a charge, and just stood where they were, watching incredulously as their general flew away on his dragon with no particular destination.
High Elves vs Vampire Counts


At the end, the only area of the battlefield that was held uncontested was the quarter held by the Wight King and Grave Guard, but it was enough. The Vampire Counts army was in control of the battlefield, and the Elves were completely leaderless. The Elves were forced to flee back across the Grismeire river in a panic, hoping to find wherever their general had fled to. It was a solid victory for the army of Count Tepes. It might take some time, but the regenerating magic of the Drakenhof Banner would return him to fighting strength eventually.

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