It was supposed to be a routine patrol of the border of his Father’s kingdom, but when the neighbouring lands are filled with savage goblins you learn to expect the unexpected. Still, Prince Roderick had been hoping that today would pass without any noteworthy events…
For this Battle Report of Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age we set-up a small game, played on a 4x2 table. It was meant to represent a skirmish on the borders of a kingdom, perhaps the precursor to a larger engagement, and so we played with a points limit of 725 points and a turn limit of 4. At this size, the game took about an hour to complete. The two armies were as follows:
Prince Roderick’s Forces – 704 points
Human Prince with 9 Human Spearmen – 262 points
5 Human Rangers – 70 points
5 Human Rangers – 70 points
Dwarf Champion with 9 Dwarf Linebreakers – 242 points
Dwarf Spellcaster (Level 2) – 60 points
Urzag’s Goblin Horde - 724 points
Mounted Goblin Advisor with 4 Goblin Wolfriders – 234 points
Goblin Captain with 9 Goblin Soldiers – 204 points
10 Goblin Soldiers – 100 points
5 Goblin Archers – 50 points
5 Goblin Archers – 50 points
Goblin Spellcaster (Level 2) – 80 Points
The two armies deployed with a core of troops flanked by archers. For Prince Roderick’s forces, his archers were Rangers and benefit from the Aimed Fire special rule, which allows them to pick a target within range and Line of Sight, whereas the Goblin Archers would have to target the closest opponent.
Unfortunately for the Prince, Urzag managed to get his unit of Goblin Wolf Riders (led by Urzag himself) on the right flank, far away from the Human Spearmen that the Prince had hoped to counter them with. Human Spearmen have the Brace special rule, allowing them to negate one level of Charge from their opponent when targeted.
Each army was accompanied by a Spellcaster. For Prince Roderick, their Level 2 Dwarf Spellcaster was looking to help his allies, and as such had taken Fleet Feet (a spell that will permanently increase the Move Stat of the targeted friendly unit – very handy for the somewhat slow Dwarves…) and Resolute (a spell that can be cast on a friendly Disordered unit so that they lose their Disordered marker). The Goblin Spellcaster had opted instead to go all-out offense, taking the powerful Fireball spell and Fear, which forces a target unit that is not disordered to take a morale test.
With the size of the table we were playing on, the battle was sure to be bloody, as the armies started within range of one another’s ranged troops…
The battle started with the Goblins claiming the initiative, using their Goblin Captain to activate his unit of Soldiers and a nearby unit of Archers using the Command ability. The volley of arrows they sent towards Prince Roderick’s Spearmen saw 2 fall, not too bad considering they needed 8s to hit. The Spearmen passed their morale check, and the two units of Goblins advanced, eager to get into battle.
In response, a volley from one of the units of Human Rangers targeted the other unit of Goblin Archers, hoping to lessen their impact when they activated later in the turn. Hitting on 7s, the Rangers rolled two 9s, and two more bodies fell on the battlefield – we knew it was going to be bloody!
The Goblins faced a sterner test to their morale than the Humans had – not only is their Activation Stat (which is also used for Morale) lower than that of the Humans, but they were also down to less than 1 complete rank, which incurs an additional penalty. They required a roll of 8 to avoid becoming disordered, and thanks to the extra dice from the Command Ability of the nearby Goblin Advisor they just got it!
Urzag turned to his Spellcaster next, hoping a well-placed Fireball could pick of some of the formidable Dwarf Linebreakers. The Goblin Spellcaster successfully activated and moved into position, but failed on his casting roll for the spell. A few sparks flashed from his fingers as Urzag looked over, shaking his head.
Keen to capitalize on an uneventful activation from his opponent, Prince Roderick activated his unit of Spearmen and the nearby Human Rangers, ordering them to send a volley into the unit that had killed two of his men earlier in the turn. The skill of the Rangers was on full show, killing 3 Goblin Archers and leaving the remaining two Disordered. Deploying the Goblin Archers as smaller units had given Urzag added flexibility, but had left them much more vulnerable – perhaps it was a gamble that would not pay off.
The Rangers and Prince Roderick’s Spearmen then advanced, fearless in the face of the much-weakened Goblin flank.
Activation returned to Urzag’s Goblin force, and at this point Urzag himself, mounted atop a ferocious wolf, activated. While it made no difference within the game, it is worth noting that he rolled three 10s to activate, perhaps a sign of great things to come! He ordered the three Archers in front of him to fire upon the Human Rangers, but they did an awful job, missing with their three shots. In disgust, he charged past them, clearly feeling that if the battle was going to be won it would fall to him to win it!
The turn finished with the Dwarf Spellcaster demonstrating how not to cast Fleetfeet, and the two remaining units (Dwarf Linebreakers for Prince Roderick’s Army, Goblin Soldiers for Urzag’s) advancing. The Linebreakers attempted to position themselves to block a charge from Urzag and his Wolf Riders, but it was clear that initiative on the next turn would be key.
The second turn began, and the Urzag claimed the initiative. The Goblins were ready to take the fight to Prince Roderick’s army, but the question was what to activate first…
In the end, Urzag decided to take matters into his own hands yet again, and more by luck than by judgement he had a unit of 10 Goblin Soldiers within his Command Radius. He bellowed his commands, ordering them to charge into the flank of the enemy Linebreakers… and they failed their activation roll, even with the bonus dice that Urzag provided. They would only be able to make a simple activation, and so shuffled forwards slightly, staying out of range of an enemy charge.
But this left Urzag in a difficult position. His unit was activated, but his options were hardly ideal – he could charge the Human Rangers, and most likely he would crush that unit, but then his flank would be open to the Linebreakers. Alternatively, he could charge the Linebreakers, but they had a Champion in their front rank and would likely do just as much damage to Urzag’s unit as he would to them. In the end, Urzag decided his best decision was to wheel and prepare for his next turn, a decision that may come back to haunt him…
Prince Roderick followed Urzag’s example, taking the first action himself. His Human Rangers were more receptive to his Command, and sent a volley of arrows into the Goblin Soldiers led by their Captain. Two more Goblins fell, but they remained unshaken. The Spearmen and Rangers continued their advance against the weakened left flank of the Goblin warband.
This was followed by a lacklustre activation by the Goblins, with the two disordered Goblin Archers failing to activate, only gaining a single simple activation, and using that to aimlessly fire arrows that harmed nothing but their pride.
Prince Roderick’s remaining Rangers were up next, and their aim was far better. Requiring 9s to hit the oncoming Goblin Wolf Riders, they scored one 10. A Wolf Rider was lost, but Urzag kept his unit in check.
For the Goblins, the unit of Soldiers led by the Captain saw an opportunity to charge. Prince Roderick had left himself exposed, and with the help of the Goblin Spellcaster they hoped to take advantage of the situation. He ordered the Spellcaster to launch a Fireball at the Human Spearmen, but again the spell fizzled to nothing. As a Level 2 Spellcaster, he only gets to roll two dice when attempting to cast, and Fireball is cast on a 7. Maybe with a few more turns of practice he’ll get it!
Even without a Fireball to soften up their opponent, the Goblins charged!
The Humans have a Defense score of 9 versus the Goblins Fight of 1. The Goblins have the Charge special ability, but had clearly forgotten that the Human Spearmen had Brace, negating that bonus.. If they had had a full rank after their first one, they would have benefitted by +1 per rank, but in this case the second rank had been whittled down to just three Goblins. They would be hittin on 8s.
For the Humans, they have a Fight of 2 versus the Goblins Defense of 9. However, they suffer a penalty for having activated of -1. They would also be hitting on 8s. However, they had Prince Roderick leading the unit, and he has the Champion special ability. They would replace one of the dice with a die of a different colour, and hits from that die count double!
Prince Roderick could have ordered his men to raise their shields, taking both sides down from 5 Combat Dice to 4, but his blood was up and he was ready for a fight.
His bravery paid off – the Goblins scored 1 kill against the Humans, but suffered 3 themselves, including 2 chopped down by Roderick himself. Both units had suffered casualties so had to take a morale check – the Humans passed theirs easily, but the Goblins became Disordered. As the victors, the Human Spearmen could elect to either move back 1 inch themselves, push the opposing unit back 1 inch, or push them back 6 inches. They decided to push them back a single inch, leaving them ready for a follow up next turn.
Next up, the Dwarf Spellcaster successfully cast the first spell of the game – Fleetfeet on the Dwarf Linebreakers. This increased their movement to 6 inches rather than 4. The last remaining Goblin unit to activate, 3 Goblin Archers, fired at the Linebreakers but needed 10s to kill. They failed.
And so there was only one unit left to activate – the 9 Linebreakers with their Champion, undoubtedly the strongest unit that Prince Roderick had at his disposal. Urzag had felt secure, knowing that they were a slow, ponderous unit, but with the assistance of their Spellcaster they were now as fast as Goblin, Human, and Elf infantry, and were in range for a charge on the Goblin Wolf Riders.
Easily passing their activation, they sprang forwards. Urzag and his troops raised their shields, but it was no use. The Dwarves needed 7s to hit (Fight 3 against Armour 11, with a +1 for the extra rank), and even though they didn’t score a hit with the Champion Die, they did leave Urzag standing alone. The Wolf Riders, meanwhile, failed to score a single hit.
In his Morale Test Urzag needed 10s, and he had no such luck. He was left Disordered, and pushed back 6 inches.
And so, at the end of the second turn, the situation looked bleak for the Goblins.
Things got even worse for Urzag at the start of the third turn, as Prince Roderick’s forces claimed the initiative for the first time in the game. The Linebreakers were activated, wheeling around and crashing into the flank of one of Urzag’s few remaining undamaged units – 10 Goblin Soldiers.
This attack was sure to be devastating. For one thing, the Goblin Soldiers could not use their Shielding special rule to reduce the number of dice the Dwarves would roll, as they were being attacked in the flank. They would also only roll 2 dice in response – their Combat Dice score multiplied by the number of full ranks they had. To make matters worse, the Dwarves had a Champion that could inflict major damage.
The Goblins would be hitting the Dwarves on a 10. For the Dwarves, they would be hitting the Goblins on a 4, and any roll that beats the Target Number by 5 or more would be granting them an extra casualty. Four Goblins were killed, and the unit became disordered.
Desperate to salvage something, Urzag tried to rally himself, perhaps hoping for a valiant charge into the Dwarf Linebreakers the following turn, but he failed. Sensing the battle was lost, he surrendered the field to Prince Roderick.
The game ended up as a tremendous victory for the Dwarf and Human army, but it could have been so different – Urzag’s decision not to charge on Turn 2 turned out to be a huge mistake, as the Linebreakers crushed two units without suffering a single casualty themselves. His plan had been to charge the Soldiers into the Linebreakers, thus denying them their activation for that turn, and then smash into them with the Wolf Riders, but his hesitance at a key moment and the quick thinking of the Dwarf Spellcaster turned an even battle into a rout.
But Urzag was not slain - let us see how he fares in his next battle!
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The miniatures used in this battle report are available from North Star Military Figures.