Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Battle of the Pelennor Fields at Fall In

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Lancaster Host, Lancaster Pennsylvania.
Event:    HMGS's Fall-In
Game System: Modified L'Art de la Guerre, about 700 points per side.
Theme: Fantasy. 

The Forces:
Rohan, Lead by Théodin (Brilliant), Éomer(Competent), Elfhelm(Competent)
12 Heavy Cavalry, Impact, Bow, 3 elite, organized in 3 Éored's.
About 162 points

Gondor, Denethor(deceased), Imrahil(Brilliant), and Duinhir(Competent).
16 Light Infantry Bow. 
6 Heavy Infantry Sword armor, (3 elite)
2 Heavy Knights, impact, (elite)
2 Heavy Cavalry, bow
6 Sword, missile support
4 Light Cavalry, bow
About  280 points

Mordor, Lead by Lord of the Nazgûl, Sorcerer King of Angmar, Ringwraith, Captain of the Hosts of Mordor (Ordinary), Wartburg (Ordinary), Gothmog (Ordinary), and Ignatz (1 command point per turn, goblins only).
5 Trolls
12 Goblins Medium Spear, Missile support, (Mediocre)
4 Wolf Riders Light Cavalry Impact, Carnivore (Mediocre)
2 Cassowary Riders Light Cavalry Javelin, Carnivore (Mediocre)
Ignatz, Light Chariot
13 orcs, Medium Swordsmen
2 Warg Riders
2 Heavy Chariots(elite)
3 Orc Bow
2 Easterling Medium Sword 2HW
6 Easterling Bow
2 Easterling Foot, Javelinmen
2 Jugger Medium Knight Impetuous, Carnivore
  About 420 points

King Saladin of the Haradrim (Competent), Abban Al Tufayl(Competent), Jibran Yazan (Competent)
 4 Medium cavalry impact bow (1 elite)
 4 Light cavalry bow 
 6  Mixed Medium spear, bow
10 Bowmen
3 Mûmakils, Elite Elephants
about 240 points
No Break point.  Play till time limit is reached.
I have been working towards this for years.  I have started and stopped this project half a dozen times.  Most of the figures are re-purposed from various Ancients armies, others painted for this event, only to have them languish on the shelf for decades. 

The Board:
8 feet of castle wall, but otherwise an unadorned field with a touch of the River Anduin in the south east corner.

The Scenario
At the end of the Third Age of Middle Earth, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields was the ultimate battle for control of the Planet.  The forces of Sauron were mustered to take the last great bastion of man, Minas Tirith.   

Sauron had every reason to expect success.  The forces of the west were divided on racial linesWhile Machiavellian schemes that had been set in motion for decades were bearing fruit.  The Steward of mighty Gondor was being driven insane by exposing his mind to the Palantir Théoden King was warped into premature senility.  Saruman the White, leader of the console of wizards was turned traitor.  Even though he was defeated, he served a purpose, as the forces of Rohan were now totally out of position to interfere

So with the entirety of the forces of east so arrayed, Mordor Orcs and Trolls, the Easterlings, the Haradrim and the Corsairs of Umbar, what chance does even the mightiest fortress  on Middle Earth stand?

The siege has started.  Black smoke fills the air, obscuring the view of the defenders.  
The forces of Mordor are arrayed as follows.  North most are the Easterlings.  Next to them Orcs and Goblins.  In front of the gate are trolls and Grond.  South of them are the infantry forces of the Haradrim.  Still arriving on the road from Osgiliath road are additional forces of the Haradrim.  In the gate is the Lord of the Nazgûl, Sorcerer King of Angmar, Ringwraith, Captain of the Hosts of Mordor.

He is confronted by Gandalf on Shadowfax.  The rest of the forces of Gondor have backed away from the gate in fear.  On the walls are defenders of the wall. They are spread thin, and so are represented by Light Infantry.  To the north, are the  Rohirrim. 
  This game has only run 2 turns so far.  

One note:  The table may look sparse, especially when compared to Steve Jackson's movie.  Bear in mind that this is a game and it has to be playable in a reasonable time frame.  If it runs too quick, I can add more orcs.  As it is, the Rohirrim are outnumbered 6-1.

Turn 1:

South of the great gate, massed Harridrim archers keep the defenders at bay.
The wall is pressed it's entire length.  The great ram Grond has thrown down the gate.
Orc hordes and Easterlings press the walls north of the gate.
Horns, Horns of the Rohirrim, Theodin has come at last.
The view from the Riders of Rohan.
On the other side of the gate, Gandalf and the Witch King of Angmar trade insults.

A huge ram, great as a forest-tree a hundred feet in length, swinging on mighty chains.... Great beasts drew it..., and behind walked mountain-trolls to wield it.  Grond they named it, in memory of the Hammer of the Underworld of old

In a united front, the Riders of Rohan charge, 3 units of Easterlings fall in the first rush.
The counter attack was almost immediate.  Easterling knights on Juggers.
A close up shot of the Riders.
Turn 2:
Elfhelms Éored dispatches the lizard riders, and other elements charge forward, but Theodin's command remains a cohesive line.
By the wall, Éomer's Éored leaves a bloody trail. 
On the left, Wartburg starts organizing his orcs.  Goblin wolf riders will take the lead.

His lines intact, Theodin's Éored advances steadily, and ready to receive the wolves of Mordor.
On the east edge of the board, Elfhelm aligns his Éored to face off Harridrim Light Horse and Orc Boar Riders.
Reinforcements arrive, Giants riding Mûmakils. 
The Lord of the Nazgûl takes wing with his fell beast.  Orcs and Goblin riders have no choice but to charge the line of lancers.
The Forces of Mordor are now well arrayed in the east.
Turn 3:
Mûmakils advance, pushing Haradrim cavalry forward.

Harradrim Light Horse skirmish against the Rohirrim.  General Wartburg in his 4 Warg Chariot is fully engaged as well.

Good news for Rohan, as the Riders of Snowborne have arrive.  Better late than never!
It's a massive impact, but with very little casualties so far.
The Goblin War Chief Ignatz, in his boar chariot, is leading from the rear.

A disaster for Rohan as Wartburgs Chariot mows down half of Elfhelm's Éored.  The Lord of the Nazgûl takes this opportunity to use his special ability to single out Snowbornes general and kills him.
Turn 4:
So what is happening at the gate?  Well not a lot.  The Lord of the Nazgûl left on turn one to take wing, and with that Gandalf went to deal with Denethor.  Most of the command points available, with Imrahil and Duinhir are spent rallying the wall defenders to keep them steady.  They are getting constantly bombarded by artillery and arrow all along the wall, and if any wall is undefended, then it will be climbed.

Most of Mordor's command points have been spent trying to turn the Orcs around to face the Rohirrim.  So none are available to send in the trolls to attack the gate.

More of Elfhelm's riders are taking hits.  Though Théoden's riders have about cleaned up the wolf and boar riders.  The Lord of the Nazgûl has taken position behind the lines of Rohan.  Adversely effecting the morale of Rohan, without effecting the orcs and Easterlings. 
Rohans charge is stalled, time to take them down a notch.
Using one of his special abilities, Lord of the Nazgûl swoops down on Théoden, on a 2+ Théoden dies.  But today, the Narrative decided that Théoden lives.  Eowyn and Merriadoc Took are revealed and dispatch the Nazgûl.
Turn 5:
Black sails are sighted on the river.  The Corsairs of Umbar have arrived to bolster the forces of Mordor.  All units of the west suffer a -1 on their rally attempts.

You may be asking yourself why Mordor would send the Lord of the Nazgûl to his doom.  I mean, it is a pretty obvious trap.  Well it is like exchanging queens in chess, except in this case, Théoden, being a "Brilliant" general is worth more as he can rally hits off of his Rohirrim much more effectively than the Mordor commanders.  The Rohan charge is now stalled, and so they lose all their nice +'s for Impact and +'s vs Medium Foot and so this is down to the hand to hand slog where numbers matter.  

Elfhem's forces take out a Haradrim Cavalry unit.
Near the walls, Éomer's Éored's move forward, attacking one of the Orc Ballistas.
Gandalf has returned to the gate.  Prince Imrahil sallies forth.  Attacking troll and destroying Grond.
Trolls are not so easily cowed, and counter charge.
Goblins attack on the right, but are damaged instead.

Orcs line up for a counter charge as well.

Mûmakils also line up, just waiting for the Orcs to give their last before sweeping the field.

Turn 6:
What's this? The black sails have been brought down, and the banner of the King of Gondor is revealed.  Spirits raise for the forces of the west, and get a +1 when rallying.  Also spirits sink for Mordor and they are -1 when rallying.
Aragorn disembarks with his Men of Renown, along with the Men of Befalas, Anfalas, and freed slaves.
At the gate, Trolls have been outmaneuvered.  The Orcs are not very motivated to charge in any more.
Even with a fresh Éored from Snowborne, the Rohirrim are looking thin.
Elfhelm is undaunted, and runs down more Haradrim.
But Wartburg's chariot seems unstoppable. 

Theodin has survived the Nazgûl, but can he stand up to the Mûmakil?
Imrahil's Swan Knights are charged by Orc and Troll, but hold their ground.  The Elite Gate Guards will in turn flank the Trolls.
Gondorian Cavalry are having a difficult time finishing off their Trolls.

At this time we ran out of time.  An enjoyable 5 hours of mayhem.  The game was decided in favor of the West.  Even if the Rohirrim were defeated, so were the Easterlings and most of the Orcs.  While the Haradrim were surrounded.  The City wouldn't fall, and more forces would soon sally forth.

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