Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Legendary Battles: Witch Hunters vs Vampire Counts

Katrina Blackmoor vs Alexandra von Carstein

Back when Eric's fabulous Witch Hunter army was still minty fresh (See White Dwarf 324 (US) ), and didn't include any elephants, helicopters, or even Wizard Lords yet; we were itching to get our first head to head action in.  Our 'Showcase Showdown' finally came at Krugenheim during the annual Warhammer campaign that our local Warbringer group used to run.  (There's a club feature on the Warbringers in White Dwarf 329 (US) that actually includes a picture from this battle.)

Eric's Warbringer, Katrina Blackmoor, was very much channeling Buffy the Vampire Slayer, while I decided to leave my old Vampire Lord Frederick von Carstein at home and run with his rebellious daughter Alexandra in the campaign.  Other than creating "Warbringer" characters/generals that hopefully continued to grow and improve, another unique element was that players were encouraged to write stories about their exploits throughout the campaign.

I'm not the most gifted writer, but I've decided to include the story I wrote back then to re-tell the tale of this very enjoyable game.  As you'll see, the story itself takes place many years after the battle trying to recover something that was lost long ago...

"Shadows of the Past"

“Yes, yes, please come in and have a seat by the fire,” spoke the old man in raspy a tone before braking off into another violent coughing spell.  “”Forgive me, I am not well, but I received your messenger earlier today that you would arrive this evening.  Can I offer you anything to drink?”

“I do not drink..., wine.”  The dark stranger replied while crossing the threshold into the small cottage.

“Cold night, isn’t it?…but I suppose you did not come here to discuss the weather.  Your messenge said you’re interested in the Krugenheim battle.  It’s been a long time since anyone wanted to hear that old story, most don’t believe what I tell them anyway.  Mainly Witch Hunters and historians, but you don’t look like either one of those...  Fifty years this very night!  I bet you didn’t know that.  Not a dashing young gentlemen like you.  So why so interested?...”

“I trust you received the compensation for your time from my servant?” asked the stranger smoothly.  “Let’s just say I lost a relative at the battle.”

“Oh yes, more than enough, thank you.  Really the coins are unnecessary as I enjoy any company I get these days.  Sorry to pry.  Say, could you reach my flask there on the mantle?  Dark stories on cold nights seem to leave a chill in these old bones.”

The old man accepted the flask from the stranger and greedily drank its contents.  “You won’t read this version in any history of the Empire or the Blackmoor family.  Like I said it’s been fifty years.  Back then I was a wide-eyed fifteen-year-old acolyte to a warrior priest of Sigmar.  I’m sorry are you all right?  You look suddenly in pain.”

“I'm Fine.”

“Anyway, we were returning from our time with the dwarves after being forced to abandon the city to the orcs.  We figured they had left the place a mess, but nothing could have prepared us for what we encountered that day,” the man paused to take another swig from the flask.  “The dead we had left behind.  The villagers, soldiers, our friends, brothers, our families... all turned into walking corpses.  Rank upon rank, zombies, all there to greet us... and behind them flew the banner of an evil we thought was defeated long ago.  The Von Carsteins had returned and…” his words irrupted by another coughing spell.

“Please take your time, I have all evening.”

“No I’m alright,” the old man continued.  “The very sky soon turned dark with their malice.  My priest sent me away to go pray for victory or something like that, but with Lady Blackmoor at the peek of her powers, I didn’t want to miss a moment of the battle.  I had a spyglass that I had “borrowed” from one of the engineers and found a place in one of taller building to watch.  A hiding place that would later prove to be my salvation from the horror that was about to happen.”

“You could see everything that transpired from where you were?”  Asked the stranger evenly.

“We Stirlanders don’t use such fancy words in these parts, but if you mean did I see everything that happened during and after the battle.  Yes, to my everlasting horror... I did.  What would you like to know?”  The old man inquired while leaning forward to try to catch a glimpse of the stranger’s face.  His features seemed to strangely hidden by the dancing shadows of the fire.

“Tell me more about the Countess and the Slayer, and what happened to them,” the stranger replied.

“You mean Alexandra and Katrina?  They met in battle early on with their knights around them.  The vampire’s dark beauty was something to behold, the very sky seemed to reflect her anger.  Katrina and her boys bravely charged in.  Katrina cut through a pair of black knights before her and quickly came face to face with the vampire.  But by that time it was too late as the dark lady had giant werewolves that came to her aid.  Katrina’s knights were hopelessly tore limb from limb with only Katrina and my priest left alive and surrounded.  The undead ran amuck... ranks upon ranks of good soldiers where cut down where they stood or as they tried to turn and flee from the horrors before them.”

“They drug the once proud Lady Katrina off in chains as they impaled the survivors and raised them as zombies in turn.  Something was surely taken from her that day... she just said nothing and stared blankly through the horrors that surrounded her.  Please forgive me if I cannot go into greater detail.  I silently sobbed so hard that day my heart broke... I’m afraid my control over such emotions are no stronger now.”

"Yes, I have heard that she was given over to the werewolves, and other such stories.  Are there any other details that stood out?  What of the Countess?”  Urged the stranger.

“Of course.  I’m sorry,” the man said as he emptied the contents of his flask.  “One thing I could not quite make out... but I swear the vampire’s servants took a number of blood red wine bottles from where they kept the Lady Katrina.  Dawn brought stranger things as all went silent.  The vampire and her host just seemed to disappear into the Forest of Shadows.  When I finally gathered up enough courage, I came down from my hiding spot.  I realized then that the city had been totally emptied.  I was the lone survivor it seemed...  Then, to my amazement I discovered the Lady Blackmoor in one of the nearby buildings just lying in a bed.  She was unresponsive, but still had some life in her... and she was no longer bound in chains!  I'll never understand why she was spared.”

“Anything else?”

“Not much.  I’m no hero, but I managed to repair a small cart and brought Katrina to the care of a Sister Agatha and the Sisters of the Cleansing Flame whose small temple is along the river Stir.  I left her there and never looked back... hoping to forget the horrors that haunt me still and lead a simpler life.  The rest I guess is history, mister... err…what did you say your name was again?”
“I didn’t,” replied the stranger coldly.  “Let’s just say that Frederick Von Carstein sends his regards.”   

With that, a shadow leaped across the room and the old man’s scream quickly died with him.

Hopefully you enjoyed the post.  I won't bore you with what happened the rest of the campaign, but as you can see Katrina didn't fare too well the first time out versus the von Carsteins.  She had been staking other suckheads left and right before then, but left this battle with head injury as was subject to stupidity from then on.  (Insert blonde joke here.)

Just wanted also note that Eric's army did include some great looking Middenheim 'reinforcements' from our friend Mark so that we could play a larger battle at the time.

As always Eric, good times!  :-)


  1. Great post - loved the storytelling BatRep!

  2. Haven't done anything fantasy myself for years but I enjoyed the post. Great looking game as well

  3. Very good report. Looks great too.

  4. Thanks guys! Yeah, this battle had all the things that make for a great game: good friends, great looking minis and terrain, and a quiet evening at the shop.

  5. That was a pretty fun game. Like you said, a quiet night, good terrain and painted armies makes all the difference. Even though this game is years old now, I still don't have a full 10 pack of matching knights.

    Still waiting...

  6. GW will give us new Empire knights someday... Maybe...

  7. Wait, what?! The witchhunters lost? Boo! ;)

    Another great looking battle with a great story too. Scary stuff! I'll have to try to find that WD issue with your friend's army in it. Looks great!

  8. Very nice battle report. Lovely models, terrain, and story!

  9. @Tos - Yeah, I might have to get Eric to do a guest post sometime to show off his stuff. :-D


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