In the top of turn 2, Bobby takes the bait and charges Thasia and her Corsairs with the Skinks and Kroxigors. He did this, I feel, because of a few reasons: (1) Corsairs used to suck hard in the old edition, (2) he didn't know I had the Sea Serpent Standard, and (3) he didn't know Thasia could average around 7 WS7 S4 attacks a round ( :shock: ). She killed 5 herself, the Corsairs killed another 7, and I ran down the rest thanks to the Slavers rule changing the Skink 7" flee into a 3". I lost perhaps 2 guys to Kroxigor clubs. Elsewhere in the center, the Slaan and the east flank Saurus advance on my position. The Slaan gets off the Shield of Thorns on the Skinks before they are all slaughtered or enslaved, but all it nets them is one dead Corsair. It's next Spell was Throne of Vines (I think), but it was a miscast. The Cupped Hands of the Old Ones then chucked the result at my sorceresses, who each took a wound and ended the magic phase.
In the west, things go rather poorly for Bobby. In the first place, his Salamanders go stupid thanks to their presence in the forest, and are unable to hose me down with fire (yay!). Next, he forgets that you add your move characteristic to a charge and, therefore, doesn't charge with the Stegadon (which had passed its Monster Reaction test), but rather just moves it threateningly close. The Western Saurus go for a charge on Chariot #2, but it flees and they come up short and only stumble forward a few spare inches. Thankfully, my chariot doesn't flee far enough to run off the board. Finally, the remnants of the central Saurus *probably* went somewhere, but I don't know where, and the Purple Sun scattered off in an irrelevant direction (it never did anything else, so I'll leave off talking about its behavior).
Top of Turn 2: Thasia had just finished wiping Skink ichor off her blade when she felt the earth tremble with the effects of massive sorcery. All around her, she noted that plants were blooming and vines were growing at unnatural rates. She could hear Helio and Ithis screaming in pain as they were overloaded with power. That could only mean one thing.
Eyes narrowing, she peered through the fog of war to see a column of massive reptillian warriors clad in the bones of even *more* massive creatures. Floating upon a palaquin of living roots in their midst was a bloated, obese toad with eyes that glowed like a sunset. "So," she said, "Atzla Mochu, I presume."
"My Lady!" Daharr yelled, "The Slaan approaches."
Thasia rolled her eyes. "Do you ever notice things I *don't*?"
"What shall we do?"
"Daharr, do we have sack large enough to contain a one-ton magic slug?"
"Errr...no, I do not believe so."
"Then *kill* it, you idiot. What on earth do I pay you for, anyway?"
Daharr saluted smartly. "As my lady wishes."
Well, with some juicy charges presenting themselves, I can't resist. A little voice inside my head is yelling 'don't charge the Temple Guard', but I ignore it. A louder voice says 'don't charge the Saurus with the Dark Riders, even in the rear!", but I ignore that, too. I hit the Temple Guard in the flank with the Corsairs and in the rear with the Harpies. Thasia chugs her potion of strength and proceeds to kill 5 Guards in a flurry of attacks. The rest of the Corsairs, with their 22 re-rollable, hate-filled attacks, kill nobody. The harpies put on a better showing for themselves, going late enough in the round that the backguard of the slaan is gone, and they put 2 wounds on the magic toad. In response, the Guard kill one corsair and 3 of 5 harpies. I win combat by a good bit, but the stubborn, cold-blooded Temple Guard go nowhere (surprise surprise).
The Dark Riders charge the rear of the flank Saurus and kill 4, but lose 2. They still win combat, but the cold blooded Saurus stubbornly refuse to budge (and are steadfast, to boot) and use a combat reform to turn around. Now I'm really screwed over there. Of course, now that Saurus block is a good 2-3 turns away from ever possibly helping the Slaan out, so that's still a win in my book.
In the tumultuous western flank, Chariot #2 rallies and Chariot #1's nauglir get a whiff of Stegadon nearby and it's dinnertime. I charge the Steggie in the flank, do two wounds but only lose one, win combat, break it, and run the big beast down. Unfortunately, such is my Chariot's enthusiasm that it barges headlong into the western forest and promptly explodes in a shower of kindling.
The magic phase sees Ithis manages to use her familiar to get range and melt the brain of one Salamander, but her second cast of the Purple Sun (which Bobby again failed to dispel--he was having awful luck in that phase) rolls a misfire on the artillery die. Now, it centered on her, but my super-elven-initiative kept everybody safe. What I didn't realize I had to do (and I should have checked the book--shame on me) was that it still stuck around and moved. Honestly, this would have helped me more likely than hurt, since I would only be losing guys on 6s and Bobby's guys were far more suceptible, but nevertheless it was my mistake. Helio, meanwhile, as would become a trait of hers throughout the battle, had no good targets and didn't do anything. I was kicking myself for not keeping Soul Stealer (which I could have had, but I traded it for Chillwind). Being able to cast *something* into combat would have been very, very helpful.
Finally, the two reapers and all the crossbows took aim at the western saurus block advancing on their position. 32 Armor Piercing bolts later, I kill one lizard. Ugh. The shooting phase isn't holding its own this game.
Bottom of Turn 2:Turn 3
With all his units in the center pinned in combat, most of Bobby's action happens in the west. The Saurus block over there go for a charge on the chariot again. I hold (forgot to stand and shoot--oh well) and he blows the charge, stumbling ahead 4" or so. The Salamanders are more productive, charging Ithis's crossbow unit. The stand and shoot is worthless (hitting on 6s/5s or some such nonsense), but I knock 2 wounds off the final salamander before losing combat by 2 and running for it. They're run down and the salamanders hit one of the reapers behind them on the hill. Bummer.
The remnant of the Saurus unit in the center starts heading to support its buddies in combat, which is good, because neither side is giving ground. Thasia and the Corsairs kill another 2 or so Temple Guard but the Harpies bite the dust (but put one more wound on the Slaan in passing); I lose perhaps another 1-2 corsairs in the bargain, as well. I win combat by the skin of my teeth, but the lizards stick around (of course). As for the combat with the DR, I was hoping they'd run, but the brave (and stupid) horsemen kill another Saurus, lose two more of their number, and decide to stick around to see what happens.
In the magic phase, the Slaan tries to nuke the Hydra with a woodsy magic missle of some kind, but does no damage. At least his wounds keep getting replaced by the spells he's getting through!
Top of Turn 3:The crush of battle was bloody and intense, each giant Saurus Warrior like a bulwark standing firm against twice their number in bloothirsty druchii. Thasia danced between them, the Hydra Blade flickering like a bolt of lightning as she cut down the ancient guardians of the Mage Priest. Harpies wheeled and screamed above, clawing viciously at the mighty Slaan, but its protectors rose to the defense and smote the creatures from the air with disciplined strikes of their steel-hard clubs.
Still, the druchii still had their blood up, and the Guardians of the Slaan wouldn't last forever. With every crunching thump of their weapons, however, Thasia was forced to concede that her forces wouldn't last forever, either.
In the bottom of the turn, I wheel the Hydra around to intercept the remnants of the center saurus (I *had* been sending it westwards to support Ithis, but with her dead... <shrug>). Before it could incinerate them with a gout of flaming breath, however, Helio managed to cast an irresistible Bladewind which cut them all down. Also, by a fit of luck, her miscast only killed two of her crossbowmen escorts. Yay!
Also in the west, the remaining chariot charged the Saurus block that had been bugging it so and Bobby elected to flee. This proved unwise, since I managed to roll my maximum charge distance and ran them all down (hooray for slaves!). The combat between the Reaper and the Salamanders proved mutually fatal, as the reaper crew killed the final Salamander and the skinks finished them off. With no monster to handle, the skinks vanished into the undergrowth. (Actually, come to think of it, I think the skinks should have vanished even before they got their attacks, meaning my Reaper would still live...oh well...)
In the center, the Crossbowmen with Helio sat about and twiddled their thumbs from a lack of valid targets while the Dark Riders lost a couple more (for another 2 dead Saurus in return) and fled from combat with the Saurus in hot pursuit. The battle with the Slaan/Temple guard resulted in a loss for me, but only by 1. I didn't run, but bye-bye frenzy. Also they were now fighting me from the front, so that wasn't good either. The clock was ticking on that combat--I had more attacks and more guys, but I wasn't producing wounds (still rolling 28-30 attacks, thanks to Thasia, and killing *maybe* 1-2 guys a round, if that), and with fewer attacks coming up, things looked ugly.
Bottom of Turn 3:Turn 4
For Bobby, a ray of hope was dawning. If he could crush Thasia's block this turn, he could maybe run them down and have a fighting chance against the support units I had left running around. First off, his pursuing Saurus charged the Dark Riders again, making them run straight off the board. Unfortunately for Bobby, the Saurus *also* ran straight off the board as the ran them down, meaning they'd be out of my hair for another turn. The only thing left to do was handle the big combat. As predicted, things go poorly. I lose 4-5 guys, Thasia kills perhaps 1, and I'm testing leadership on a 5 or 6. I roll a 3--we stick. Now we just need the Hydra to get in there...
Top of Turn 4:"To me! To me, you dogs!" Thasia screamed. "Any coward who flees will be used to oil my blade!"
The Corsairs rallied, but they were exhausted and disheartened. The implacable reptillian warriors continued to press them, and it was only their wits and their superior reflexes that were keeping them alive. Thasia needed more time. She needed to give the beastmasters a chance to put the hydra into the lizard's flank, and then victory was certain.
At that moment, a great roar thundered from the Saurus ranks. A great champion stood before them, its spiked club as big as two druchii strapped together and ten times as weighty. It pointed elaborately at Thasia and roared again. It's intent was clear.
Thasia siezed Daharr by the collar and shoved him towards the champion. "Here--go and see what it wants."
Daharr charged at the beast, weapons out, and it raised its weapon to meet him. Thasia smiled; she just remembered why she paid Daharr. One could never underestimate the usefullness of loyal idiots.
With Helio having nothing to cast spells at and my shooters having nothing to shoot at, I did little more this turn than move my chariot closer and declare the all-important Hydra charge into the Temple Guard Flank. I roll the dice, needing at least a 6, and get a 2. The Hydra stumbles forwards 1", rounding out a completely craptastic outing for one of my hardest hitting units.
The raging melee continues without Hydra assistance. For a miracle, however, they don't need it--I kill 4 Temple guardians, reducing them to only the Champion and Standard bearer plus the Slaan. In a challenge, the Temple Guard champ ignores Daharr's tiny blades and smashes him flat, but I don't care. Things are looking up.
Bottom of Turn 4: