Hello everyone! Last weekend I organised a large battle, involving a besieged city, naval attack and a desperate attempt of some gallant knights to break the besieging army. We use a hybrid 6th/7th edition rule-system as well as homebrewn Empire and Dark Elf Armybooks. For Chaos and Bretonnia, 6th ed. armybooks are used. The Empire/Bretonnian force is roughly 3000 points, while the besiegers are roughly 4000 points. Narratively, this is a sequel to my previous scenario, the Raid on Erstenburgh
Having failed to prevent the destruction of Erstenburgh, the Knights of the Twin Lions order barely escaped the sacked village alive. With the force sent to defeat the Chaos incursion annihilated, they knew a major part of the garrison guarding the small city of Vallstadt was gone, leaving it a tempting target for the grasping claws of the Chaos invaders. Should the city be attacked, hundreds would surely die, for the blood-crazed followers of Khorne were without mercy. The knights decided to ride for the nearby lands of Bretonnia, and convince the local duke of their dire situation.
However, others had witnessed the destruction of Erstenburgh as well. A small Dark Elven scouting party had landed in the region some time earlier, and now sensed weakness. Eager to share in the Chaos' Warriors success, they offered the victorious warlord an alliance, and an opportunity to sack the city of Vallstadt together. Overcome by greed and lust for glory, he accepted and immediately ordered his forces to prepare for the attack.
The Dark Elven sorceress of the scouting party used her magic to contact a nearby fleet of raiders that had spent the last week raiding fat merchant ships from Marienburg. Escorted by the marauders that had pillaged Erstenburgh, they would sail in and participate in the storming of Vallstadt.
The next morning, a combined force of Chaos and Dark Elves marched towards the city gates, while a terrifying fleet of longships and sinister vessels sailed to aid them. Would their hastily constructed siege equipment be enough to ascend the walls of Vallstadt, or crack its mighty gate? Would the small garrison be able to repel them? Would the knights arrive in time to destroy the besiegers, or only to witness the city go up in flames?
Vallstadt has come under siege! To represent the city, 2 sections of walls and one city gate have been placed across a corner of a 4'◊8' table, with some building behind them. This is the deployment zone for the defending army, consisting of mainly empire units and one Bretonnian hero. A vast swath of the table is covered with water, starting at more than half of the table at the far edge, and tapering out near the city. The combined Dark elf and Chaos fleet is deployed in the water far from the city. The main besieging army is deployed within 12" of the table half. The combined Bretonnian and Empire relief force enters the table on the corner farthest away from the city at the start of their second turn. any unit is allowed to charge, measuring from the table edge.
Empire Battle Wizard (Lore of Death), 2nd level with the wizards staff and Van Horstmann's Speculum
Damsel of the Lady (Lore of Life), 2nd level with the Chalice of Malfleur
Master Engineer with a Grenade Launching Blunderbuss and Arcanomatic Pistol
Captain of the Empire (general) with Full Plate armour, Sword of Power and Enchanted Shield
12 Archers with marksman
12 Archers with marksman
12 Handgunners with marksman and repeater handgun
12 Swordsmen with Duellist
12 Halberdiers with Sergeant
19 Pikemen with full command
The stalwart pikemen inside the city, ready to fight whatever might burst through the gate.
Exalted Champion of Khorne (general), with Axe of Khorne, Chaos steed and Enchanted Shield
Sorcerer of Chaos (Lore of Fire), 2nd level with Gaze of the Gods
Aspiring Champion of Khorne with Battle Standard and Armour of Damnation
Dark Elf Sorceress (Dark Magic), 2nd level with Gown of Black Ritual and Dark Staff
15 Warriors of Chaos with shields and musician
14 Warriors of Chaos with shields and musician
12 Chosen Warriors of Khorne with halberds, 2 ladders and full command
5 Knights of Khorne
2 Chaos Spawn
20 Dark elf warriors, with spears, shields, ram and full command
10 Dark elf warriors, with shields, repeater crossbows, musician and guardmaster
10 Dark elf Shades, with grappling hooks and Bloodshade
1 Reaper Bolt Thrower
Dark Elf Noble, with Soulrender, Armour of Darkness and the Sigil of Khaine
16 Executioners, with 2 ladders, the Banner of Determination and full command
14 Dark elf warriors, with repeater crossbows
15 Corsairs with grappling hooks and reaver
15 Corsairs with grappling hooks and reaver
1 Reaper Bolt Thrower
1 War Hydra
14 Marauders with great weapons and full command
14 Marauders with light armour, shields, ram, chieftain and musician
Paladin (general), with Birthsword of Carcassone and shield
Paladin with Battle Standard and Gromril Greathelm
8 Knights of the Realm with full command
8 Knights Errant with full command
3 Pegasus Knights with full command
8 Empire Knights of the Inner Circle with Banner of Duty and full command
4 Ogre Ironguts with full command (Dogs of War)
With barely contained eagerness, the army of the unholy alliance marches towards the gates of Vallstadt. The units of Chaos warriors lumber forwards, while the dark elf spearmen race to bring their ram in position while arrows and bullets rain down upon them. The dark elf shades had taken up position behind a rocky outcrop just outside the city walls to assess the defences, and now spring forward to aim their crossbows at the handgunners defending the gate. The crossbowmen march behind the main force, while the Chosen of Khorne guard the right flank.
As scouts bring the news of the knights coming to attack the besiegers, the warhounds, chaos spawn and knights of Khorne move to intercept them and delay their advance. They are joined by the War Hydra, which breaks away from the fleet and swims towards the shore. The rest of the fleet sails forwards, attempting to land as close to the city as possible.
The Dark elf Sorceress fails to control her mount, which lumbers ahead with her clamping on, trying not to fall off.
The bolt thrower and shades let fly a hail of bolts towards the handgunners atop the gate, but do not manage to cause a single casualty.
The defenders of Vallstadt return fire, mowing down scores of elven spearmen with arrows and bullets, though not slowing them down. The amethyst wizards gathers a dark cloud of despair and lets it descend on the stalwart spearmen. However, the cloud disperses as the damsel loses concentration and all magic is temporarily drained from the battlefield, leaving the poor woman vomiting blood on the parapet in agony.
The great cannons roar as they send their deadly shot towards the advancing ships, aiming for the longboats to avenge Erstenburgh. They slightly underestimated the speed of the sleek ships however, only killing two marauders at the stern and causing minimal damage.
Again all units of the unholy alliance move forward, the ships gradually decelerating as they prepare to make landfall. The harpies land on a small pier near the city. The Chaos knights, Hydra and warhounds surge to meet the opposing knights. Still struggling to gain control of her Cold One, the Dark elf sorceress wanders forwards aimlessly. The Chosen of Khorne, wary of the firepower on the wall, decide use the rocky outcrop and trees near the walls to cover their advance.
The Shades and crossbowmen move further in range of the walls, again aiming to kill the handgunners, but again their bolts harmlessly strike the battlements. With the sorceress unable to cast spells, the chaos sorcerer attempts to hurl a ball of flames at the defenders, but his magic is dispelled.
Then the valiant knights reach the battlefield, thundering towards the chaos warhounds. Overcome by the awe-inspiring sight of gleaming armour and fluttering banners, not to mention the majestic warhorses, the warhounds flee with their tails between their legs. The dogs run past the chaos knights who are unfazed by the terrifying display and eager to meet their foe. The Pegasus knights fly over the Hydra, barely out of reach of its snapping maws.
Then, as if indeed the gaze of Khorne himself is upon the battlefield, the Amethyst wizard miscasts as well! Blood spurts from his eyes and fingertips as his mind fights off a demonic presence, permanently draining away half of his power! Again the cannons thunder, one cannonball splashing into the ocean as it falls short of the Hydra, overshooting the corsairs.
The second slams into the already damaged longship, ripping its hull to shreds and sending splinters into the flesh of its crew. Those who survive the initial impact now lay scattered in the frigid waters, with the coast still quite far away. Gunfire and arrows again rip into the elven spearmen, who fall back, incapable of reaching the gate unsupported. Cheers are heard from the walls, as hope of seeing the next dawn is returning to the defenders.
The Chaos knights spur their dark steeds and thunder towards the closest foe. Eager to prove themselves, the Knights Errant ride to meet them, their impetuous gallant storming ahead of them, shouting challenges towards the evil warlord. Without breaking stride, the chaos champion rises to the challenge and effortlessly beheads the knight, as his lance splinters on the thick breastplate of demon-forged steel. The rest of the Chaos knights fare less well, as two lances manage to find a weak spot, while the errant knights suffer two casualties in return. Being less organized, and soon to be outnumbered, the chances of success look slim voor the Chaos knights.
The Hydra turns to face the Pegasus knights, who are still out of reach of its fangs. Then a hail of bolts from both bolt throwers slams into them, driving them closer towards the many headed beast. The hydra then exhales a gout of flame from which only a single pegasus knight escapes unscathed. One plummets screaming into the ocean, while another suffers a grave wound. They quickly decide to give chase to the fleeing hounds, though failing to catch them and redirect their charge towards a nearby Spawn of Chaos. A short but brutal battle ensues, as the beast is skewered by lances and trampled by iron-shod hooves.
The four remaining ships make landfall, while the crew prepare to disembark. The harpies land behind the lines of the unholy alliance, trying to escape notice before attacking the men on the battlements. The spearmen regroup, while the chaos warriors again march forwards. The shades move around the rocky outcrop to make room for the advancing army, and the crossbowmen change their formation to maximize firepower. Again they shoot their bolts at te parapets, failing to do anything but unnerve the defenders. Only the chaos sorcerer manages to burn a single handgunner to ashes, while the magic of the sorceress is dispelled.
The Knights of the Realm charge at the Chaos Knights, who break away from their battle with the Knights Errant and flee. While the knights give pursuit, they fail to catch up with their evil counterparts. All spells from the defenders fail to overcome the countermagic of the Khornate host.
While the chaos warriors have no means of assaulting the city, the defenders let loose everything they have upon them, nealry ripping the unit apart with canonballs, bullets and arrows. Only the the master engineer, powering his Arcanomatic pistol with magical energy, shoots a shade right through the face.
The Chaos knights regroup, turning around to face the oncoming cavalry, while the second chaos spawn surges forward, charging the knights errant, eager for blood. At that moment, the Hydra can no longer be restrained, and charges from the seafoam onto the flank of the Inner Circle Knights, who are barely able to withstand the powerful beast. Its many heads snap at the knights, draging some to their doom on the briny beach. However, the knights' courage never falters, and bravely they fight on.
In the meantime, the harpies swarm towards the city-walls, descending on the crowded parapets in a ravening cloud of wings and claws. Despite tearing a cannon crewman limb from limb, they are fended off by the defenders on the wall, leaving two of the beasts dead.
The marines now leave their ships, jumping into the shallows below and forming into units. The sea claims some of the swimming marauders, who are desperately trying to reach the abandoned ship of their kin. Only the crossbowmen and bolt thrower remain aboard the larger Dark elf vessel, desperatly firing of volleys of bolts at the one remaining Pegasus Knights, leaving only one alive.
The Chaos sorcerer now leaves his mangled bodyguard of chaos warriors behind, and joins the other group of chaos warriors. Losing faith in the storming of the city, the smaller unit decides to turn around and march towards the oncoming knights in the distance. The Chosen now come round the rocky outcrop, ready to storm the walls with their ladders. The crossbowmen and shades again loose some bolt onto the handgunners, this time slaying some of them.
Then the Ogres try to aid the knights by charging the Hydra, but are to bogged down wading through the shallow coastal waters. The Knights of the Realm charge at the Chaos Knights, who once again turn to flee, completely evading the thundering cavalry. The remaining Pegasus knight now charges the Reaper bolt thrower on the hill, though failing to kill its malicious crew, or sending them on the run. The fight between the knights errant and Chaos spawn is slow and exhausting, with both unable to overcome eachothers tough hide and thick armour.
With the Chosen warriors now in view, the cannons fire once more, though only slaying 2 of them. The handgunners, now losing numbers rapidly, are unable to lay down effective fire against the corsairs.
Once more the unholy alliance surges forward, this time aided by fresh men of the fleet, though most are still just unable to reach the walls. With a daring sprint, the corsairs closest to the wall rush ahead, just managing to cast some of their hooks onto the battlements and starting their ascent. The other corsairs move to aid the bolt thrower, but are yet unable to reach the Pegasus knight. The harpies regroup, preparing another assault onto the parapet. Only three of the swimming marauders are able to clamber aboard te remaining longboat, the rest being carried off by a sudden stream, never to be seen again. Another hail of bolts rain down onto the parapet, again felling some handgunners.
The Chaos Knights and their Exalted Champion decide to leave the battlefield, unable to halt he oncoming relief force any further. The remaining knights are still locked in combat with the spawn and Hydra, unable to overcome the dread beasts onslaught.
However, as the Ogres again wade towards the Hydra, one of the knights manages to inflict a ghastly wound before he perishes and the Hydra slinks back into the sea, overcome by terrible pains. The Ogres howl in frustration as they see their dinner disappear beneath the waves, having filled their pants and boots with seawater for naught. Knights Errant fall prey to the spawn as well, though some manage to wound the beast in return.
The handgunners and archers aim their shots at the harpies to dissuade them from attacking. The hail of bullets and arrows rain down at the winged creatures, cutting them down and routing them.
The corsairs are used to climbing aboard ships with enemies far fiercer than the archers defending the wall, and manage to scale the battlements with ease, cutting a foothold onto the parapet.
Finally, the wall is reached! Ladders are raised by the Chosen of Khorne and their Aspiring Champion attempts to hoist the battle standard onto the citywall as a sign of imminent victory, slaughtering archers left and right. The corsairs continue to pour onto the parapet, decimating any opposition. The ram now strikes the city gate, as the pikemen behind shudder in anticipation, but the gate still holds. The other corsairs now charge the Pegasus knight, who flies away before they reach him. However, the remaining crew send some bolts after him and he crashes into the ground.
The knights, finally free from the Hydra rush towards the city, fearing the worst due to their delay. In the distance, they can see eldritch banners waving atop the parapets and for a moment they lose hope, but then they spot some of the defenders still holding out against the fearsome onslaught. With only some remnants between them and the city they press on, slaughtering all in their path and losing few men in return. Bolts from the ship rain after them, unable to pierce their mighty armour. They charge along the wall, clearing up any warriors that were unable to scale the battlements. Alarm bells are sound as smoke rises from the city, some of the attackers have gotten in! Dismounting, they command the city gates to be opened, and the remnants of the pikemen let them inside.
While some of the city was pillaged, only few of the besiegers managed to escape with their stolen plunder, as the knights routed them from the city. It could have gone better, but it could have gone much, much worse. Vallstadt was still standing, though its citizens would fearfully watch the ocean for years to come.
If you've read this far, thank you very much! This scenario was a blast to play, and we had a lot of fun. Sadly, we couldn't finish the entire battle in time to see what would have happened if the attackers had cleared the wall of defenders, leaving a lot of speculation. Points-wise, the battle was a draw, with none of the attackers managing to enter the city beyond the walls. Attacking the city was very difficult, especially knowing the relief force was coming, though when some units finally were able to scale the walls, they were nigh unstoppable.
This was our first battle of this size with almost completely everything wysiwyg, and we hope you found it as spectacular as we did.