Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Cursed Path to Moria - Dwarves vs. Haradrim

“We’ve spotted a Haradrim Camp across the plains, Balin,” Múrin told Balin. “We came back to warn you of the danger.” Balin looked troubled by the idea of Haradrim being this far North. “They fly the banners of the Serpent Lord and the Merchant King.” Balin sighed, turning to face Múrin. “Prepare the troops for battle,” he ordered, and Múrin nodded. “I will cut through their army by myself if it means we will reach Moria.”

Scenario – Contest of Champions:
- Balin (Leader)
- Múrin and Drár
- The Raiders of Moria – 24 Dwarf Warriors with Shields
- The Goblin Hunters – 16 Dwarf Warriors with Dwarf Bows
- Balin’s Guard – 7 Khâzad Guard
- Balin’s Herald – 1 Dwarf Warrior with Banner
- The Golden King (Leader)
- Suludân
- The Serpent’s Champion – Haradrim King with War Spear on Horse
- The Knight’s of the Serpent – 6 Haradrim Raiders with War Spears
- The Spear’s of the Serpent – 6 Serpent Guard
- The Abrakhân Rabble – 30 Haradrim Warriors with Spears
- The Scorpion Archers – 21 Haradrim Warriors with Bows

The Haradrim Archers split into a group of 7 and 14, the group of 14 deploying North, the group of 7 deploying South, whilst the rest of the army formed ranks in the centre, the cavalry behind the infantry.
All but two of the Dwarf archers deployed in the North with Drár, the two archers left deploying South. 5 Dwarf Warriors also went North, the rest deploying with Balin, Múrin and the banner in the South.

The Haradrim marched forwards at a word from their leaders, the Knight’s of the Serpent and the Serpent’s Champion loitering at the back so as not to be shot at. The Dwarves steadily walked towards them, bows raised to prepare a volley. 3 poison tipped arrows hit their targets, one piercing the armour of a Raider of Moria, whilst Drár’s expert shooting killed a Scorpion Archer, one of the Abrakhân Rabble also lay dead. Balin nodded as he saw this, glad his comrade had been avenged.

One of the Southern Archers was too scared to climb over the hedge in his way, leaving his friend by himself as his allies marched forwards, and found himself being yelled at by Balin. Another of the Abrakhân Rabble fell to the Goblin Hunters, but the Dwarves were protected by their thick armour.

The lonely Dwarf, realising he’d been abandoned, rolled clumsily over the hedge to try and catch the others up, as they continued their marching. Another Raider of Moria was slain by a poisoned arrow, but not before five of the Abrakhân Rabble were slain, one by Drár.

The Haradrim reformed their lines after their recent casualties, as the Dwarves spread out, revealing their true number. The Spear’s of the Serpent did not falter, ready to lead by example. Drár raised his voice to be heard over the pounding of feet, “Bring down the riders! Do not let them reach our lines!” The blood-curdling cry of a Khâzad Guard filled the air as poison made its way through his body, and he collapsed on the floor. Another Dwarf cried out as well, as the Scorpion Archers in the North killed another. The Dwarf was avenged, as five of the Goblin Hunters shot the Haradrim, an arrow shooting into his eye. Drár’s bow pierced the flank of a horse, crushing the rider under the weight, and the Dwarf army laughed at the pathetic Haradrim. This distracted the remainder of his archers, who only managed to kill another horse and one of the Abrakhân Rabble.

The Dwarves raised their shields as the Haradrim crashed into them, the Golden King and Suludân at each flank. Drár grinned – a perfect opportunity to shoot the Haradrim Raiders. The Southern Scorpion Archers aimed their bows at the closest Dwarves, shrugging their shoulders casually as their arrows pierced the thin cloth of the Haradrim Warrior they fighting. One of the Northern Dwarves was also slain, leaving one by himself. Drár killed another rider, as the Goblin Hunters killed the dismounted rider and 2 more of the Scorpion Archers. The Golden King killed a Khâzad Guard, whilst Balin beat back his opponent. A trapped Haradrim Warrior went into a frenzy, beating off three Dwarves and slaying one. 3 Khâzad Guard had fallen, taking 3 Haradrim Warriors and a Serpent Guard with them.

Balin watched the frenzied Haradrim leap at the Dwarves around him, as the Knight’s of the Serpent charged into a few unlucky Dwarves. Drár watched the lonely Dwarf deflect the blades of three Haradrim archers with his shield, as arrows flew through the air. Three Dwarf archers were slain, two of the Haradrim shot down in return. Balin and the Golden King both gave mighty cries as they launched into combat. Balin gave a mighty heave of his axe in the attempt to slay the Haradrim Warrior he was fighting, but failed miserably. The Golden King, however, showed his enemies what he’s made of, killing two of the Raiders of Moria. Múrin’s strength also left him, as the Haradrim he fought proved too tough. The Haradrim, inspired by the Dwarves complete lack of strength, went on to kill the final 3 Khâzad Guard and 3 of the Raiders of Moria, losing two Warriors in return.

Kill count: Golden King – 3, Balin – 0.
Both heroes are left on 1 Might, they called Heroic Combats and Balin used a Might Point to win the Fight. The Dwarves need to get the archers into combat – their line has crumbled after losing 6 of their number. Múrin needs to perform Heroic combats with Balin, to help raise the kills, and the Haradrim need to press their advantage.
The Good side has lost 20 models – another 6 and they’ll be broken.
The Evil side has lost 25 models – another 8 and they’ll be broken.

The Dwarves surged forward, but they’d lost the stomach for a fight. Drár “Sharpshooter” led his archers towards the fight, four heading towards the Scorpion archers. The Haradrim counter-attacked, arrows flying through the air, the single Dwarf arrow failing to hit anything, and the Haradrim arrows unable to pierce the armour of the Dwarves. The Golden King and Balin gave another mighty cry as they attempted to carve their way through the enemy army. Two Dwarves were slain, leaving the Herald of Balin vulnerable, whilst Balin killed a Haradrim Warrior. Múrin also kills a Haradrim Warrior, Suludân killing two Dwarf Archers in return, with 2 Serpent Guard, 2 Haradrim Warriors and 3 Dwarves also falling.

The Dwarves start to lose hope, both Múrin and the Serpent’s Champion giving heroic shouts in an attempt to motivate their armies, the Champion’s slightly louder. Balin uses some of his willpower to stop himself being bribed. Drár challenged the Serpent Lord to single combat, as Balin ran to save his herald. Three Dwarf archers fled, the last sacrificing himself in an attempt to delay Haradrim reinforcements, slaying one as he did. Blade deflected axe, as the Serpent Lord barely managed to beat back his rival, wounding him twice with a mighty cry. Destiny decided Drár was still needed, and protected him. Balin ripped through one of the Southerners, as the Golden King killed his herald. 3 Dwarves fell, as did a Haradrim Raider, 3 Warriors and one of the Serpent Guard.

Kill Count: Golden King – 6, Balin – 2.
Neither hero has any Might Points, Balin has 1 Will, Múrin has lost a Might Point, Drár a Fate and a Wound, whilst the Haradrim King and Suludân are both on 1 Might. The Dwarf Banner Bearer was slain, but both forces are broken, and the Golden King has all his Will Points remaining.

The Haradrim King, the Serpent Lord, Múrin and Drár all shout loudly, but the Southerners have the louder voices, and they barely rally their troops before attacking the enemy. 3 Dwarves turn and run, with no Haradrim fleeing. Balin leaps at the Golden King, as Suludân is surrounded by angry Dwarves and Drár. Múrin was protected by his shield, when four of the Haradrim and the Serpent’s Champion attacked him. Drár gave two Mighty cries, his axe beheading the ill-fated Serpent Lord, whilst Balin wounds a fated Golden King. 3 Dwarves and 3 Haradrim also fell in combat.

Múrin gave another mighty cry, as he launched himself at the Serpent’s Champion, Balin attacking some of the Southerners as a Dwarf sacrificed himself to the Golden King. 8 Haradrim fled at the sight of the Serpent Lords corpse, but the rest attempted to avenge their lord. The Golden King easily killed the sacrifice, whilst Balin was cut down by vengeful Haradrim, fate unable to help him from the multiple poisoned wounds. 3 Haradrim fell in revenge, one from Drár, but it was too late – the Dwarves turned and fled.

At this point the game ended, as Evil had a Major Victory and Good could do nothing about it.

Final Kill Count:
Golden King – 7, Balin – 2.
Evil Major Victory.

Warrior of the match goes to.... Drár!
Not only did Drár kill more Warriors than the Champion, Balin, but he also managed to kill Suludân.

That wasn’t the plan. Drár’s final kill count was 6 or 7, so he would have been a better champion than Balin. Next time I’ll throw my archers into combat sooner, so that they’ll have the chance to help surround the enemy, or just stick them in my shield-wall and swarm the enemy. Múrin and Drár proved that they are incredibly good support heroes, and I needed to bait the Haradrim into coming after me, to allow the archers to trap them. All in all it was a good game and the Haradrim deserved the win they got, although their ability to win tied fights when the Fight Value was equal was incredibly annoying. I may take out 4 of the archers and replace them with Dwarves with Shields. Splitting up the archers would also have helped, maybe into a group of 11 with Drár, and a group of 5.
Plans for the future:
Múrin and Drár are staying in the army, I’ll probably replace Balin and the Banner Bearer with the King’s Champion, or switch to Khâzad-Dum and use Flói, a King’s Champion and either Mardin or a Dwarf Captain with Shield. Also, some Iron Guard will come in handy; I’ve played against them with Haradrim and seen the devastation they can cause to a Haradrim army.

The plan kind of worked, the Dwarves were meant to trap my warriors so I could charge them with my Raiders, but the Haradrim killed too many too quickly. I liked the combination of heroes, backed up by a horde of warriors, worked well. The Serpent Guard proved useful, as did the Golden King. I took a risk with my Haradrim archers, by staying in a shooting war, but in the end it paid off. I still should have moved them towards the combats sooner – I’ll blame the hedge that was in the way. I may have to take out one of the archers though and use the points to buy others spears. Admittedly it would only have helped a couple of times but it may have been necessary, and so that will be sorted out soon. Balin did have a bit of bad luck, using a might point to win a Heroic Combat and then failing to wound, as well as being killed by a Serpent Guard. I should’ve made Múrin or Drár flee when I had the chance, but I wanted to remove Balin, who kept rolling high for his courage rolls (8 or 9). Both of our armies were heavily reduced, and if it was a war of attrition it would have been close, but in the end it was who’s Champion had the most kills, and that was the Golden King, so victory went to the Haradrim.
Plans for the future:
I need something that can crack open heavily armoured units, and while the Raiders do that half the time, more is needed. I may drop a couple of Haradrim Raiders, or downgrade the King to a Captain, take some spears on the Haradrim archers and add in some Merchant Guard. The Chop! Special rule of the Golden King proved invaluable (along with his many attacks). A Wraith may have helped in some situations (such as sapping Balin’s Will), but I don’t think it’s necessary for my army yet.

“Take it,” the Golden King said to the Abrakhân Rabble. They obeyed and quickly picked up the corpse of Balin, giving the axe to the King, who turned his iron gaze upon the Serpent’s Champion. “Do you swear loyalty to me?” he asked the Champion, who nodded gravely. “Good. Now I want you to take his mask,” the Golden King pointed at the head of the previous Serpent Lord. “You are to take his place, and become the new Serpent Lord.” He hid his smile and the Champion walked over to the head, taking the mask as he was told. “Today has been a profitable day, for the both of us.” The Champion nodded and the Golden King was carried away from him.

“Dain said reclaiming Moria would be a bad idea,” Múrin said to Drár as they watched the Dwarf survivors flee to the Lonely Mountain. “It’s just as well we warned them about the Haradrim Camp, otherwise they’d all be dead or slaves, at least this way a few of them have been spared,” Drár replied as they spotted the Haradrim Camp. Drár gave a howl of grief and anger and charged towards it. “Drár!” Múrin called after him. “Drár! Come back! Drár!” He muttered a curse under his breath, and charged after Drár.


  1. Very nice... Whenever you can it would be nice to take pictures

  2. I did attempt to take pictures, unfortunately my batteries ran out whilst I was taking the first picture, and as I was unable to find the rechargeable batteries I couldn't take any more.