It was a time of relative peace. After the wars of the gods had scarred the very earth, vomiting forth strange new races and rendering evil into flesh. After the spite of Winter had drowned fully half the globe, drowning ancient and noble kingdoms. After the remnants of one-proud realms had scattered.
Peace, albeit uneasy. The marauding hordes of Orcs and Goblins nibbled at the edges of civilisation. The twisted inhabitants of the Abyss would occasionally venture forth to wreak havoc in the world, before inevitably stretching themselves too thin and too far from their realms and being driven back.
Diplomatic discord would occasionally spill over into minor conflict. But still, the soil of Mantica rested under a peace of sorts, a natural equilibrium that saw civilizations flourish and grow and the cycle of life resume.
Then came the Necromancer.
Mortibris was not the first of his kind, nor was he the sole architect of the dark times that would follow. But it was his pursuit of the Portal of Khul-Harakh and the subsequent opening of the seals on the entrance to the Underworld, which began the dark times.
Human scholars had known the previous age as the Age of Conflict. They would soon discover how inadequately framed their experience had been.
The wars that followed would cost the lives of millions and see the fires of war consume the world once again.
This is the tale of their beginning – the Undead legions of the cruel Necromancer Mortibris. They will sweep across the land alongside the hordes of the Abyss, led by Ba’el, the Woe-bringer. Arrayed against them will be a fragile alliance of Men, Elves, Water Folk, Nature itself, Dwarves and Hobbits.
The fate of the world is in your hands…
Chapter 1 – The Dark Tide Rises
The Keening wail scratched at is eardrums, dragging Bartolius from fitful half sleep to full wakefulness, in a handful of heartbeats. Like fingernails down glass, it seemed to penetrate the very soul, resonating within and worsening the headache that cold, hunger and general privation ensured was his constant companion. He was already half out of his cot when his equerry hammered on the door.
The man burst in. Breathing hard yet pale as milk. So it was bad.
“Sir, the…they…it’s…” the man stammered, terror driving any sense of reason or decorum from him. Bartolius strode across the room in tow steps and delivered a ringing slap to the man’s face, hard enough to sting without injuring. The equerry’s eyes focused a little and he took a deep breath before speaking.
“Demons Sir! Creatures from the pit. A whole mass of them coming this way from the North.”
“Is the tower secure?” It had better be, he added to himself silently. The tower was the best advantage their garrison- such as it was- possessed.
“Yes sir, the men stand ready. But Sir… there are so many…”
He thought about slapping the man again, but decided against it. Beaten men were no good for starting a fight with.
“Courage lad. We have faced off against these beasts before. *Send runners to Golden Horn and reinforcements will soon be here.”
The last was a lie of course. Sinners Vigil was well-named. There would be no aid sent to the sort of men he commanded, though at least they may be avenged swiftly if the Hegemon were forewarned. The man saluted and left. Bartolius turned his attention to his armour, buckling it in place with some difficulty, fingers numb with cold and age. He’d dreaded battle on a daily basis these last few years, knowing that it would likely be the death of them all. Strange how calm he felt now it was actually here.
He smiled to himself as he watched the guards scurrying about in their panic. The very sight of Ba’el and his horde had unnerved them utterly. He reached out with his magical sense and felt the colours of their fear and anxiety in his mind’s eye, savouring it for a few indulgent moments. The awareness of his undead puppets was, in the main, dim and dull. A whisper-thin echo of the life, which had preceded it. Delicate as breath on a mirror. The colours of the demon hordes burned in a continual shade of anger and hatred, blinding like the sun if looked upon for too long. By comparison, the emotions of the mortals, cloying and sickly as they were, represented a breath of fresh air.
He reached out with other senses, feeling along the tendrils of control he exerted over the various creatures which shambled around him. The dry emptiness of the long dead skeletons and revenants, the hazy, wet anger of the more recently deceased Zombies and the sharp, animalistic hunger of the bestial Ghouls and Werewolves. He savoured each link, tasting their distinctness, seeing the world through dozens of different eyes in dozens of different ways. Like a conductor, he played upon the strings of each, ratcheting up whatever anger, hunger, anguish or simple hatred existed there. At the edge of his awareness, he felt the moment – the singular perfect instant of opportunity and he pushed. A hundred marionettes jerked into action at the impulse and the army of the dead emerged from the treeline, marching towards to the unprotected rear of the humans.
The First Battle:
Assailed by the Forces of Evil, from the front and rear, the beleaguered garrison of the Sinners Vigil Watchtower must stand firm and hold their ground long enough for their messengers to reach Basilea and warn them of the impending danger. Each man knowing in his own heart the chance of survival is a forlorn hope.
AVERAGE NUMBER OF TURNS GOOD SURVIVED: TBC
(If the average game is less than 5 turns it is considered a win for team Evil)
In the Opening game of the campaign, the Kingdoms of Men held the Watchtower, with the Undead approaching from the wood to the south and the Varungar marching across the plains to the North. In the early turns a patrol of Knights flank charged the Revenant on Undead Worm, which held it up for two turns. The knights were eventually surrounded by Varungar Cavalry and Wraiths and were finished on turn 3.
At the end of turn 3, both the Varungar and the Undead forces had breached the outer defences and were attacking the tower inside the compound.
The Kingdoms of Men only needed to survive one more round, but the tower was finally taken on the last roll of turn 4, by a Nerve roll of 3.
Narrow Victory to Team Evil!
The second game for scenario 1 saw the Basileans face the might of the Empire of Dust from the South and Varungar from the North. This time Team good managed to hold out to turn 5, but only just!
So over the two games it is all even between Team Good and Team Evil, with Team Good managing an extra 50 points for the next chapter. More games to follow....