Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blood on the Reik - a Linked Campaign for WFB

It was August, 2010. A shiny (and heavy) new rulebook sat on our collective laps, bursting with Warhammery goodness. What better way, we decided, to break in the new edition than with a linked campaign!

And so I sat down to draw up the outline for a series of battles to chronicle the conflict between my Nuln army and my good friend Marty's Vampire Counts.

We had a great time, and I wrote a short story after each of the five battles to report on the results. Truly, this is the stuff that Warhammer was made for. It still lingers with me as one of the highlights of my hobby experiences so far.

I just recently discovered all my documents from those good old days. I always hunger for campaign ideas, and have been spoiled in the last six months with Tamurkhan and Blood in the Badlands. It was remarkably easy to create my own, but I also know how hard it can be to get that first step going. So in light of that, I present to you Blood on the Reik - a Linked Campaign for WFB! Feel free to use and cannibalise for your own needs. The suggested point sizes were based purely upon the models we had available back then.

The structure, in brief was; Battle 1 - skirmishy. Battle 2 - first test of arms, fighting for opportunity to gain a cool hero. Battle 3 - to stop the other side gaining said cool hero. Battle 4 - climactic battle. Battle 5 - the reward game for the victor of Battle 4, worth bragging rights.

Later on I will post the reports of our own battles, so you too can discover the cold truth behind our dark tale of insanity and terror.


Blood on the Reik


Battle 1. Morning Fog Lifts - 1,000 points each (Surprise Encounter, page 389).

Nuln City-State patrols and drilling exercises near the town of Wissenburg are unexpectedly pitted against more than they bargain for one autumn morning. The morning fog lifts, but a chill remains. Disparate clumps of walking dead rove the woods. As both sides become aware of each other there is no time to consider their unnatural presence, as a frantic and bloody skirmish breaks out. The clamour brings nearby training and scouting units into the fray; but who will survive to bring word to their commanders?

Restrictions: Only core units and heroes can fight in this battle – no lords, special or rare units. Also neither side has a general present. This means the undead cannot crumble due to slain general, and there are no victory points to be had from slaying a general. Battle Standards may be taken as usual.

If the Empire wins, the Undead will deploy first in the Dawn Attack.
If the Undead win, the Empire will deploy first in the Dawn Attack.


If either side wins, but fails to wipe out the opposition or cause them to flee the table, then roll for deployment as per the Dawn Attack scenario.

*      *      *

Battle 2. Dawn Attack - 2,000 points each (page 145).

An undead army has appeared in the southern Empire, its nefarious purpose as yet unknown. If the Empire won Battle 1, the Empire troops march to meet this new threat, thanks to the information and forewarning provided by the survivors. If the undead won, they press on into the Empire, surprising the army standing in the way of their advance. Battle takes place at the brink of dawn, when the soldiers of the Empire are still groggy, and the dread commanders of undeath are more concerned with the coming sunrise than with the coordination of their undead slaves.

The army who was defeated Battle 1 must deploy their entire army first, as per the scenario rules. This reflects the extra preparation afforded the victors of the Surprise Encounter as they bring information of the enemy presence to their commanders undetected.
The Army who deploys second also rolls to see which section their units deploy on, only using the following table;

1 - Left Flank
2 - Right Flank
3-4 - Centre
5-6 - Choose

If the victorious side left any of the defeated units on the board in Surprise Encounter, the deployment occurs exactly as written in the scenario rules. This reflects survivors able to bring word of the enemy presence.

If the Empire wins, play 3a. More Booze for Borri.
If the Undead wins, play 3b. Resurrection.

*      *      *

Battle 3a. More Booze for Borri - 2,250 points each (Loot & Pillage, page 392).

The Nuln state troops have managed to halt the undead advance... for now. Fresh after the victory against the undead expeditionary force, the Empire generals seek the aid of a particularly potent Dwarf Slayer named Borri Dourjaw, who currently resides in a drunken stupor at the Rat's Scrotum Inn. Should the Empire force obtain enough of Bugman's Finest to appease the dwarf, they are able to convince him that there is a mighty death to be had facing the encroaching Vampire Lord, and gain his assistance in the coming battles. Should the undead obtain the most of the booze, the dwarf will refuse to join, claiming that there is a better death to be had from whatever exotic disease he caught from the Halfling beer wench the night before.

Note: The 'Drinking Bugman's' special rule does apply to undead, reflecting the corrosive nature of the ale on ancient and rotting bones.


The survivors of this battle form the relief force for Battle 4, along with Borri if the Empire wins.

If the Empire wins, they gain Borri Dourjaw. Move on to Battle 4. The Battle of Wissenfields.
If the Undead win, they prevent this from happening, and can add 100 points to their army list for the next battle. Move on to Battle 4. The Battle of Wissenfields.

*      *      *

 Battle 3b. Resurrection - 2,250 points each (The Dark Monolith, page 390).

A detachment from the army of the Vampire Lord heads purposefully for a range of haunted hills, seeking to resurrect a long dead hero of the past with whom they intend to crush Wissenburg. At last they find what they seek – a large barrow surrounded by sinister power, suspected to belong to none other than Vorn the Despoiler, one of the dreaded Dark Lords of Nagash. A contingent of trailing Empire troops arrives, attempting to prevent the resurrection. Play the scenario as written, counting the barrow, a site of ancient and mysterious power, as the Dark Monolith. If the undead hold the barrow at the end of the game, they are able to complete the ritual to resurrect Vorn, who will assist them in the coming battles.
Note: This would make an ideal battle in which to include the Storm of Magic Rules!



The survivors of this battle form the relief force for Battle 4, along with Vorn if the Undead win.

If the Undead win, they gain Vorn the Despoiler. Move on to Battle 4. The Battle of Wissenfields.


If the Empire wins, they prevent this from happening, and can add 100 points to their army list for the next battle. Move on to Battle 4. The Battle of Wissenfields.

 *      *      *
 
Battle 4. The Battle of Wissenfields - 2,500 points each (Battleline, page 144).

Meanwhile, battle-lines are forming in the green pastured land surrounding Wissenburg. The bulk of the undead horde amasses, and Nuln has been mobilised - black powder weapons from the Gunnery School roll out of the city towards the blackening skies.

Starting from Turn two, the player whose turn it is rolls a D6. On a 4+ their reinforcements (if any) arrive from a table edge of their choice. If they do not arrive, at the start of turn three they will come on a 3+, and on turn four on a 2+. If they still haven't arrived, they will turn up automatically in turn five.

Use standard victory points.

If the Empire defeats this army, they attempt to crush its leadership once and for all - play Battle 5a. Stop the Rot. The Empire takes the role of the ‘Overwhelming Attacker’, the undead are the ‘Heroic Underdogs’!!
If the undead tide sweep the defences aside, play Battle 5b. Wissenburg in Flames, with the last of the City rearguard defending the town itself, and the undead as the attackers.

*      *      *

Battle 5a. Stop the Rot - Empire = 2,500 points, undead = 833 points (Heroic Last Stand, page 394).

Having pushed the undead scourge back from the brink of Wissenburg, the City State Troops attempt to annihilate what is left and ensure none escape. The vampires and the last of their minions attempt a final stand, for unbeknown to the Empire generals, their pet necromancer is working undetected in nearby ruins on a ritual in to safeguard their immortality. If they can survive long enough, the spell will be completed, and they will (un)live to wreak their vengeance. If they are killed before the spell is complete, their bloodline ends and their headless corpses will be staked and burned.

Use the victory conditions of the scenario to determine bragging rights.

*      *      *

Battle 5b. Wissenburg in Flames - Undead = 2,500 points, Empire = 1875 points (Raze & Ruin, page 398).

The undead masses have swept aside the Empire defence and have reached Wissenburg. A small garrison of soldiers remain, but will it be enough to avoid the destruction of their town?

Play the scenario as written. If the Empire win, their town is safe... for now. Perhaps the Emperor will send support to ensure their safety. Or perhaps not.

If the Undead win, the town is annihilated, and the populace is damned to eternal servitude. The Vampire Lords will bathe in oceans of blood, and look north, where the Empire stretches out before them like a full-blooded vein.

The crows feast.