The Midnight Hunt represents the first clash between the Witchhunter Alberich von Korden and the Necromancer Ghorst. Von Korden is a deputy of Grand Theogonist Volkmar the Grim, and he has been operating in Slyvania for some three years, ratcheting up three confirmed vampire slayings in that time. Together, Grim and Von Korden have been instructed to crusade into the Vale of Darkness in order to test whether the previously thought dead Count Manfred Von Carstein had been manipulating his evil again in that realm.
The battle begins when Volkmar the Grim instructs Van Korden and a small force to retake the Deathknell watch still standing at the base of the Konigstein Tower. The Konigstein tower had recently been overrun by the Necromancer Ghorst, who was supposedly trained in his art by Manfred. The Deathknell watch had strategic importance because a victory there would bouy the crusade and supply place from which the Sigmarite crusade could signal the remainder of the empire for further aid, which it would inevitably require.
Armies and set up as defined by the book. We both mused at our respective generals being forced to stand in the open.
Ryan’s general was Ghorst, a lvl2 necromancer on a corpse cast with the cursed book. His force is nicknamed the Ghorst’s Nightstalkers and it contains 20 skeletons with full command, 20 ghouls with a Ghast, and 10 dire wolves with a doom wolf (who have ambush for this game).
Wil's general Van Korden the witch hunter with light armour, the white ring of templehof and a great weapon. He bravely leads the “Faithful Few” a force comprising of 20 swordsman with command (halberdier models), 10 handgunners, 8 knights, and a great cannon (trebuchet model).
The empire forces currently have +1 LD in the campaign, we both roll 4 to go first, but because Ghorst has the jump on the Empire he gets +1 to see who goes first. Consequently Ryan goes first. To his glee!
Ryan’s first turn consists of moving the corpse cart behind the wall and starting the ghouls to move to join the line (4" - way beyond march). Magic is a big phase, van helsing (get it?) the skeletons forward and then a gaze of nagash into Van Korden causes 3 wounds, Wil saves one but his general is down first turn - the swordsman hold on their panic, but already Volkmar’s crusade is losing crucial momentum.
Ghorst spots the enemies emerging from the morning mist. Quickly positioning some walls both skeletal and stone between him and the enemy, he spots their leader Van Korden. Before the cursed witch hunter can react, Ghorst summons bolts of dark magic that hurtle into his chest and wither the flesh, burning him from the inside out. Van Korden falls, he will play no part again in today’s proceedings. Will Vokmar’s faithful ally be well enough to ride again with his master?
The Faithful Few seeing their leader go down immediately lose heart, the Knights of the Blazing Sun fail what is an easy charge into the undead skeleton horde, the Sigmar’s Son’s swordsmen back away from the advancing necromantic hordes and the crew of the “Hammer of the Witches” fire wildly at Ghorst rolling a 10 to hit and overshoots the wiley necromancer (did not go 10 from the back as it would hit the fence on a normal roll). Their resolve weakens...
in Ghorst’s second turn, the dire wolf pack arrives in ambush and threatens the cannon, while a standoff develops in the middle. Ghouls march to support after Ghorst moves to get them in command range. Ghort’s Cursed book spits out a Withering but range is too short. However, extra eager for the kill and to break his wavering opponents the Necromancer Ghorst mispokes his incantation, rolling a 1, 2 and 3 on three dice to cast costing a crucial magic phase.
Ghorst, not too fond of the cannon ball hurtling close by his head, is thankful his dire wolf pack have managed to outflank the army and approach the crew for a feast. He realises that further retaliation will be coming, and bends his will upon a nearby pack of ghouls who move to support his skeleton minions. However his lack of concentration on the winds of magic causes a cascade of failures - thankfully none harmful.
In the “Faithful few’s” second turn, the swordsman and gunners reform to counter the direpack’s surprise menace of the cannon, the Silver bullets cock their handguns and fell a few wolves, but many still remain. The crew of the “hammer of the witches” draws another bead on the general but this time they fire too short, destroying only the fence behind which the craven Ghorst lurks. The Knights of the Sun this time successfully charge their opponents and begin the grind against the skeletons, with the unit getting cut in half after crumble but holding.
The faithful few surrounded on both sides by the necromantic hordes turn to face the wolves threatening their rear, not only would they likely overrun the holy cannon, but then they would be free to threaten rear charges on the other empire combatants. Any thoughts of retaking deathknell watch, are now subsumed purely by the desire for survival.
In Ghorst’s third turn, the ghouls charged to support skeletons, the direwolves hit their first target, the dreaded Hammer of Witches cannon, to blight its existence forever. Ghorst, encouraged by the lack of personal threat with the cannon under attack, summons a powerful necromantic incantation bubbling Van Hels on both infantry units in closer combat. The direpack kill two crew of the hammer of the witches, but the heroic crew cause three wounds in return, stalling the direwolves into a draw. In the central scrimmage between the knights of the sun, the ghouls and the skeletons, the Knights save some 16 wounds, thanking Sigmar that they had properly equipped their barding and heavy platemail. 1+ saves the day with a single knight going down. Knights hold after losing from static res.
The ghouls sense warm flesh and leap into the flank of the knights while they distracted in the mire of skeletons. Frustratingly for the Ghouls, their poison dripping claws have little effect against the knights’ holy armour. They are not the kind of creatures to be dismayed however, and continue their scraping and scratching in their constant search for a weak spot and the proffered morsel of food. The hounds savage the crew of the cannon without thought to their own losses or the others humans moving to support. Ghorst is content to merely observe and let his minions fight it out, keeping them under his powerful will in order that they do not falter.
In the Faithful Few’s third turn, the Silver Bullets eschew their blackpowder weapons, and in a desperate attempt to rescue the remaining cannoneer charge the direpack. With their rear, and escape path, secured the Sigmar Son’s swordsmen again turn around to face the primary necromantic forces. Can they now rescue the knights? In dire wolf combat, the Silver bullets run down and butcher the direpack, but not before the remaining stoic cannoneer becomes another soul lost to damnation in Sylvania. In the central combat, the Knights hold out desperately, versus the hordes of relentless ghouls and skeletons buoyed by the necromancer’s incantation, which speeds their strikes. One more Knight falls, but the remainder hold somehow…..
There is a bit of a gap in pictures here, from Ghorst’s turn 4 as things were getting closer as the empire seeked to regain some advantage.
In Ryan’s turn four, he rolled a 1 dice doom and darkness from the cursed book, Wil was forced to shut this down in order to save the beleaguered Knights. Nevertheless, the ghouls and skeletons thump the knights though, slaughtering 3 more of their galant number resulting in Ryan winning combat by four but again the brave knights refuse to flee.
The ghouls relentless clawing finally pays off, dragging knight after knight from their mount and tearing them limb from limb. Despite the onslaught the Von Korden’s horse refuse to give up hope of holding the combat long enough for the support of the Sigmar’s Son Swordsmen.
Wils' turn four the swordsman counter charge the ghouls, disrupting the Ghoul’s massed ranks and doing fair amount of damage. This causes Ryan to lose combat by a fair bit (7?) and finally, all the skeletons crumble.
In Ryan’s turn five, the ghouls manage to drag down another knight and hold both units in place while Ghorst move back to the corner of the board, abandoning his minions. They are struck down, leaving only one Ghast left.
Distracted by how pleased with himself he is, Ghorst fails to note the arrival of the swordsman into the melee with the ghouls. Watching his minions now outmatched, he continues to exert their obedience to keep the humans busy while he makes his retreat. His job done, he turns to leave the battle, abandoning his forces. There are always more bodies to serve.
Wil's turn five the Ghast goes down thrashing, killing one more knight and leaving the single Knight of the Blazing Sun alive. The swordsmen look to recover their fallen leader Van Korden, perhaps something can be saved from this engagement if he were to be found still alive? Yet Von Korden’s forces were still to face one final malicious twist of fate from the victorious Necromancer.
On Ryan’s turn six, Ghorst retreats to safety to the corner away from any possible empire charges, and gleefully incants out one more Gaze of Nagash for good measure upon the remaining Knight of the Blazing Sun, melting him down to his bones in his armour.
With one final look at the battle, Ghorst notes a single knight dispatching the last of his forces. In a last bout of spite, he rains black necrotic death on this heroic champion, pummeling him and his mount in a furious display. Amused and please with himself, Ghorst flees for the hill, considering this a successful foray for his Master Manfred.
Empire, 3 VP (Dire Wolves, Ghouls, Skeletons)
VC, 4 VP (General worth 2 VP, Cannon, Knights)
Ghorst successfully killed an enemy unit/character in the magic phase and gets +1 to cast
Wil's Knight champ was involved in a combat that wiped an enemy unit so gets devastating charge
So while the VC were wiped out entirely except for the necromancer - it was a win to the VC. For the forces of Volkmar, there will be no chance of additional support from the Emperor. Volkmar will have to deal with the increasing masses of Manfred on his own. Manfred meanwhile, buoyed by this success has another field of the fallen from which further minions can be raised to support his machinations!