Marius consulted his mount, Daisy. She had given him good advice in the past. Behind Marius, his Unusual Bearer Jorge (other Counts had Standard Bearers. But Marius found that boring) snorted derisively, wondering how he had ended up serving The Mad Count.
After consulting Daisy, Marius began issuing orders. "Steam Tank, right flank, behind that large structure. Handgunners, next to the Steam Tank. Greatswords, center with your Halberdier detachments flanking at four wide. Volley Gun, to the left of the Halberdiers. Knights of the Inner Circle, set up in the forest on the left." Some of the men looked at him askew, but the Knights knowingly regarded the Ranger Standard which would allow them to safely move through the terrain (The Ranger standard gives the unit Strider) He sent Jorge, one of the accompanying Warrior Priests, and another Captain to join the Greatswords. That should allow the center to hold effectively. The other Warrior Priest he had join himself and Daisy accompanying the knights.
The plan was to have the Greatswords hold the center line, while the Steam Tank and Knights circled outside and the shooters chewed up the enemy from afar. Even the thick skin of the Ogres will have a tough time surviving against the deadly bullets of the Empire.
Surveying the battlefield, Marius congratulated Daisy on a sound battle plan. This would be for Blood and Glory!
Looking across the field, Marius finally thought to pay attention to the approaching Ogres. To Marius left, a creature was crawling out of the river. It looked very cold. Absently Marius wondered if he should reconsider the dip in that river he had been planning after the battle. Near the creature, there were three ogres riding large pig looking things. Next to them, a group carrying what looked to be cannon barrels. In the middle of the field, a bunch of tough looking Ogres carrying all manner of fierce looking weapons, including a Butcher and a (whatever their other character type is. Help me out here Kev). On the right, more cannon-weilding ogres and a bunch of small creatures riding on what looked to be a catapult pulled behind another large pig creature.
The Winds of Magic began to swirl. A fiery cloak appeared around one of the groups of Ogres. The Ogre-Mage cursed as a great Maw opened over some of the Ogres, nicking them with its teeth.
The Ogres' center advanced in a rush, brandishing weapons and bellowing voluminously. The pig creatures on both flanks lurched forward, and the creature from the swamp crawled forward. The cannon-weilding Ogres on Marius right blew away 4 of the Handgunners before they could even bring their weapons in line. The other Leadbelchers, as the Inner Circle Preceptor informed him they were called, fired at the Greatswords. One of them fell.
Marius struggled to maintain control, but his insanity got the better of him. He flew into a terrible rage, cursing the Ogre gods and screaming that the Butcher's mother was a half-troll. (I rolled three times for Marius' Mad Count special rule. Every time I failed the leadership test, and every time I rolled Insane Bravado giving him Stubborn, Frenzy, and making it so he could not refuse challenges.)
The Steam Tank's Engineer generated steam without trying to push the boiler too hard, and managed to keep it under control. The Knights and Marius attempted to charge the Ogre-Pig-Cavalry, but were unable to catch them as they fled the charge.
The Winds of Magic swirled again. The Warrior Priests prayed and an ethereal shield (Shield of Faith: 5+ ward in close combat) materialized around the units they accompanied.
The Steam Tank attempted to fire a cannon ball at the larger group of Ogres, but something went wrong with the boiler (misfire). The Tank suffered some damage, but was still quite capable of continuing. The Engineer and the Marksmen from both Handgunner units fired at the enemy standard bearer, all failing to cause any harm. The rest of the Handgunners fired at the same unit, ripping holes through one Ogre. The Volley gun, although one barrel jammed, managed to finish off the injured monster-man.
The Ogre-Mage cursed once again as a great mouth opened up, this time over the pig-knights who had just regained their composure. Again, all they suffered was a nick to one of them too slow to completely escape the great Maw's teeth.
The Leadbelchers opened up again, felling 6 more Handgunners.
The great melee ensued in the center. The Warrior Priest, Jorge the Unusual Bearer, and Captain 13 (as Marius liked to call him) tore into the Ogres, dealing significant damage. The Halberdiers managed to rip a couple holes in the great monster-men as well. The Greatswords and Ogres struck simultaneously. Several times the Ogres struck what would have been crushing blows, only to have their attacks deflected by the ethereal shield the Warrior Priest had summoned. Their were still eight Plate Armored bodies that lay crushed on the ground when the blood-spray cleared. However, there were also four of the great Ogre corpses slashed to pieces on the ground. Unable to stand up to the concept of these puny humans besting them in combat, the Ogres began to flee. Jorge ordered his men to press the attack, but they were unable to catch the fleeing Ogres.
Having been abandoned by their parent unit, the other unit of Halberdiers crumbled under the might of the charging Bull Ogres. All but one of them were killed outright without doing a single wound in return. The remaining soldier attempted to flee, but was trampled to death as the Ogres continued on with the momentum of their charge (they pursued and easily caught him).
The Marksmen in both Handgunner units were just barely able to keep their men under control as they watched the nearby route of their Halberdier brethren. (Rolled 7's needing 7's for both units.)
The Steam Tank's engineer powered up the boiler without incident. Marius once again lost his senses. In a Frenzy he charged forward at the Swamp-thing, leaving the Knights no choice but to follow him. (I notice in the picture my knights are a man down, I cannot recall how that happened, although it was probably the Leadbelchers, or perhaps the catapult.) The Halberdiers and Greatswords charged the fleeing Ogres, the Halberdiers managing to run them down. The Steam Tank rolled forward into the Leadbelchers near them. (This is when I discovered how cool semi-random movement is. There is no charge, so there is no charge-reaction. Kevin wanted to flee which would have resulted in a failed charge. In looking up how far the Stank would go, I discovered that because it is technically random movement there is no charge, and no charge reaction.)
The Handgunners turned to face the Ogres now behind them. The Volley Gun crew wheeled the great gun around to face them as well.
The winds of magic swirled. Once again ethereal shields appeared.
The Hangunners were too preoccupied with their maneuvers to get a shot off, but the Volley Gun managed to get off a sizable volley (22 shots). They killed three Ogres, sending the rest running for the hills.
The Steam Tank ground two of the Ogres into the ground. The third tried to bash the armored behemoth with his cannon. Seeing it was futile he fled, leaving the great metal monster parked on the bodies of his dead friends.
The Swamp-thing and its handlers fought ferociously, but were only able to fell one of the Knights. Marius' Runefang flew about hacking bits off of the monster (3 wounds in 3 attacks with the Runefang. Forgot about Frenzy or it may have been four.) The Warrior Priest was too focused on maintaining his Shield of Faith to manage an effective assault. The Knight Preceptor managed to finish off the creature with his lance.
The remaining Leadbelchers pounded forward and caught up to the Volley Gun. They killed one of the crew on impact. The Pig-Knights charged Marius and his knights trampling some of them.
The sole Leadbelcher continued fleeing. The 3 Ogres who had fled for the hills thought better of it, and turned around to return to the battle.
The Winds of Magic swirled again, and again the Maw appeared, but this time over the Greatswords and Halberdiers! The mouth was much larger this time (cast at the higher value for the 5" template rather than the 3"). When the Maw disappeared, 6 Greatswords and 4 Halberdiers were gone too. They held their ground, but were visibly shaken by the event. (One of them failed the first attempt at the Panic test.)
The Leadbelchers easily killed the crew of the Volley gun, and set about crushing the machine before turning to face the remaining Empire soldiers.
The Pig-Knights proved deadly combatants, managing to slay four of the Knights of the Inner Circle. However, Marius and the Warrior Priest managed to kill two Ogre Knights, with the Empire Knights finishing off the third.
The Steam Tank managed to generate steam without incident and rolled into the Pig-drawn-catapult. The remaining Halberdiers wheeled around and approached the Leadbelchers and Butcher. The remaining Greatswords went to inspect the river beyond the Sigmarite village. (I was trying to hide my standards since they would not be able to reach the enemy without getting shot to pieces.)
The Marksmen opened up at the returning unit of Ogres. They missed completely. However, the rest of the Handgunners managed to take down the unit's standard bearer. Seeing their last standard fall, the remaining Ogres observed the better part of valor, and left the field.
1 Marius Leitdorf
2 Warrior Priests
2 Captains of the Empire (including Jorge the Unusual Bearer)
I had a lot of things go my way in this battle. From Marius getting the best possible result on the Mad Count table every turn, to the Maw misfiring 2 out of 3 times it was tried.
I tried much harder with my deployment, such that I was actually factoring deployment into my army building (I know this is basic, but I don't often do it). I think I did a good job this game. Things broke right for me several times, but I was set up to take advantage of the breaks.
I discovered I love the Warrior priests. Diving Fury (Hatred) is strong when it applies not only to the unit he is in, but also any detachments. Also, a 5+ ward in close combat is great against strong enemies. Against weaker enemies I might go for the re-rolling of failed wounds, but in this game the Shield was great. Also, innate bound spells are great! You can roll irresistible and get the benefit, but not the negative. The Volley Gun is a terror when the situation is right. It managed to fell 3 Ogres in one volley due to: short range, 22 shots, S5 and Armour Piercing.
We both did a lot of damage, and we both took a lot of damage. I had a lot of fun in this game. I think Kevin did too.