Friday, 21 July 2017

The Unstoppable March Of The Dead

With two new Dragon Rampant warbands printed off, it was time to give them a proper outing, so last night Caesar and I gave them a go.

We chose 24pt warbands; Caesar took the Spectral Host whilst I took the Boring Humans, now the Army of the Temples of Syrinx. What can I say? I'm an old prog-rock tragic.

We randomised the terrain, randomised leader abilities, then randomly determined a scenario. The first one we got was Death Chase, which saw a force of Syrinx raiders returning home across Spectral Host territory and being ambushed. I had to get as many units as possible off the other end of the table. The Undead just had to destroy as many of my units as possible.

We played on a 4' x 2' table, but with all ranges and distances halved, so effectively the equivalent of an 8' x 4' playing surface.

The Spectral Host consisted of:

Elite Riders - Undead, Level Headed, Fear, Leader
Elite Foot - Undead, Fear
Heavy Foot - Undead
Scouts - Undead

The Temples of Syrinx fielded:

Elite Foot - Leader
2 x Heavy Foot
Heavy Foot - Offensive
Light Missiles

We both selected a nice mix of quests to add spice to the scenario.

Here's the setup. I left my elite foot off table, so that I could bring them on where needed. A silly move, because it also meant that I lost my leader's Courage bonus, whilst facing an enemy that had units with the Fear trait.

Caesar checked some ruled before the Host began its attack.

I advanced as quickly as my plodding troops allowed, hoping to swing the attacking heavy foot around from my right whilst the spearmen and archers fixed the enemy in the centre. With a slow army, an epic run down the table was out of the question. My plan was to hold Caesar's inevitable attack, and try and destroy his force.

The inevitable attack - his Spectral Knights charged my archers, who completely failed to loose off any arrows in response.

Amazingly, although they took heavy casualties, the archers simply fell back. And they took out some of the enemy as well; the Undead trait means that units will not go battered as a result of failed Courage tests, but are more vulnerable to taking casualties.

On the other flank my second unit of heavy foot was plonked on a hill where I hoped to be able to resist the Spectral Host's elite foot. It would have worked, had I not fluffed a basic Courage test, and routed.

One of Caesar's quests was to attack with every one of his units. This meant that he chose to throw his puny banshee scouts into my vicious swordsmen. It went just as well as you would expect; they were wiped out without a single swordsman raising a sweat. But he got the point for the quest.

This left the swordsmen without an opponent. As my elite Temple Knights finally appeared, I moved the swordsmen forward towards the end of the table.

My archers fell to a series of attacks from the cream of the Spectral Host. destroying them as another of Caesar's quests.

Caesar's foot formed a wall of spears thinking I was going to attack him. I didn't; I marched around him, running for safety.

He came out of the wall of spears. Then I attacked him. The spectral spearmen were dispersed. In the meantime the Syrinx Knights had destroyed Caesar's horsemen; one of my quest goals. This now left Caesar with just his elite foot, whilst I still had three units in play.

I used my elite Knights as a rearguard, engaging Caesar's elites. He was wiped out. I failed a basic Courage test and routed. This ended the scenario.

I managed to get two full strength units off the table, but lost three, which made the scenario a draw. But Caesar had achieved more points of quests than I, which gave him a marginal win.

We kept the terrain as it was and decided to play a second scenario. We both modified our forces; Caesar dropped his heavy foot and the Fear on his elite foot and took some spectral Bellicose Foot with Terrifically Shiny Armour. I dropped my swordsmen, and took some Heavy Riders and added a Wizardling priestess to one of my heavy foot units.

We rolled the Ringbearer scenario. One of my units was carrying a powerful magical artefact that Caesar's Host wanted. He didn't know which. he would score big points if he destroyed or routed the unit holding the artefact. I scored big points if the unit was still in play at the end. The tricky part of this scenario was that if the unit with the artefact ever became the only unit I had left, it would self-destruct, destroying both armies and scoring neither side any points except for completed quests. This nasty subtlety makes for some interesting play.

We rolled leader abilities. Caesar chose Unstoppable March Of The Dead, which meant that he ignored a whole range of potential Courage test causes. I rolled a triple-six, which meant my leader was so strong that his unit could reroll three failed attack dice.

We then both promptly forgot about our leader abilities, and failed to use them.

My heavy riders. Apparently they're called Gronks, and I found them on Thingiverse.

The Spectral Host's bellicose foot.

Deployment. I planned on sitting tight behind the river. Caesar attacked. I failed loads of initial activation rolls, and barely moved off the baseline.

The gronks did manage to advance, though, attacking the banshees in the open.

Caesar failed to evade, and they were crushed underfoot, although they did inflict some casualties.

The rest of the Spectral Host crossed the river. My priestess attempted to bolster her troops with magical courage.

The archers had a nice spot on the hill, and managed to thin out the enemy ranks as they advanced.

They were charged and, despite their magical courage, they fell back.

The foot unit guarding the priestess had failed to move off the baseline, so retreated off the table when attacked by Caesar's elite foot.

The elite foot finished off the archers as well, before falling to the Syrinx Knights. The surviving bellicose foot then charged to destruction against the mighty Syrinx leader.

The gronks attacked the Spectral Hosts's cavalry, and were destroyed, but took a couple of ghostly horsemen with them.

This now left three units in play. I had two, and one of them had the ring. If Caesar destroyed the wrong unit, the scenario would end.

I moved my elite foot to engage him. He reasoned that the ring was being held by the heavy foot, who simply formed a wall of spears and were waiting for him.

The final fight. Caesar charged. We both took casualties ...

... and the Host routed.

This gave me a convincing win; not only had I retained the ring, but we both got points for destroyed units. In addition, I had picked up loads of points for my quests, which involved destroying two of Caesar's key units, as well as never having more than one battered unit on my side at any time.

Both games were a great deal of fun, and the rues played very smoothly. The Temples of Syrinx performed exactly as a no-frills warband should; boring but reliable. The Spectral Host was interesting to play, but very brittle. The Undead trait probably works better on cheaper units with low armour values, rather than on the high-point units we were using. I think I need to print some more spearmen for the host.

Needless to say, every figure in play was printed at home.


  1. Great report! I like your armies and how you painted them. Your heavy riders, the Gronks, are quite cool.

  2. Cool report! I found it through Dux Rampant so thanks for sharing!

  3. Am I too late to say how much I enjoyed the report? :)

    1. Not at all. Just took me two months to find and approve the comment :-D


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