This is a battle report for Warmachine done in a more narrative style rather than a blow by blow report. Jamie, a good friend of mine from Warmachine nights, fought Justin. It was Trolls vs Khador in a showdown between Captain Gunnbjorn and The Old Witch. Hope you guys enjoy it! (A normal battle report exists below past “Continue Reading” including army composition).
Captain Gunnbjorn looked forward to eating freshly picked green root. He could see the exact spot the small vegetable farms would be in the large forest clearing. It was a good sized area with a lake and plenty of space. The smattering of ruins, closer to piles of rocks than ancient buildings at this point, wouldn’t pose a problem. Idly scratching at his light blue skin, fingers grazing across the small rock-like protrusions on his chin, the Cygnaran captain turned troll warlock shifted his attention to the groups already spreading out to get started. They had a sizeable army along with the settlers; bushwhackers, fire eaters, a rune bearer who had chosen to travel alongside the warlock. Janissa, a famed earth shaper, had joined to aid in setting up this new troll settlement. Gunnbjorn brought along the warbeasts he had bent to his will, a pyre troll, bomber, mauler, and Dozer with a less than pleased Smigg riding his back. This journey, so close to Khaoran land, had Smigg on edge. But, this spot was perfect to settle, fresh water, ample hunting grounds, space for new homes.
“We’ll set-up camp here.” Captain Gunnbojorn said. He waved his hand in the general direction of the forest edge. It made a good base point, they’d be out of the way of construction and close to the thick tree line in-case anyone, or anything, showed up to contest the land.
Two days in the trolls had just begun construction on basic structures when the Witch emerged from the morning fog. They heard the hiss of the Warjacks first; some waved it off as sounds echoing through the ancient forest. Captain Gunnbjorn, however, knew better. Years in service to another’s military had taught him well, better than an average troll bruiser. Calling his beasts to his side, he signaled the Fire Eaters to ready up as the Bushwhackers nervously started grabbing their rifles. The builders, farmers, families here to settle, scurried behind the lines grabbing what little they could before hiding deeper into the forest. They had learned only a week into their journey for a new home to trust the captain. A high-pitched groan followed by the unmistakable sound of steam rushing from a chassis had the Bushwhackers quickly stumbling into line. Iron boots marching through muck, a single strong voice shouting an order in Khadoran, the clang of metal spears hitting metal shields.
Gunnbjorn’s runebearer calmly walked up to his side, holy stones in his hands and mud on his robe from where he had been kneeling in meditation. “Scouts?” He asked, his head turned slightly towards the Captain as he kept his eyes locked on the fog filled trees.
“No. Not a scouting party.” Gunnbjorn said in reply.
As if to confirm his assertion the wind picked up moving the fog aside, revealing the army marching out of the forest. An old hag, hunched over and wrapped in tattered cloth a small steam engine on her back, hobbled along in the midst of the army. A rusted light ‘jack at her side. The captain had never seen a model like that amongst Khadoran troops, but he did know better than to underestimate a warcaster or a ‘jack just because they looked crippled.
Iron Fang Kovnic Nicholai, positioned on the left with his Black Dragon unit, didn’t bother to look to the witch for orders. The Old Witch of Khador was famous for being cryptic, he’d been warned about her when he got the post near the forest she called home. Nicholai had been surprised when she first shuffled into the old fort, Scrapjack at her side. He wasn’t surprised when she “requisitioned” troops, heavies, and supplies, even the famed Yuri who had only been passing through. According to Nicholai’s predecessor that was normal if she ever showed up. The empress herself lets the Old Witch have her way, so, the old warcaster must know what she is doing.
“Advance!” He barked, the Black Dragon Iron Fangs moving forward in block formation using their shields to form a wall in front of them. Small trolls with rifles were lined up ahead of them, nervous looks on their faces as the wall of black steel inched towards them. A troll on the other side, dressed like a Cygnaran, hoisting a heavy launcher, smiled at the grouped up Black Dragons as he ordered the largest beast at his side forward. Some abomination with a small troll riding its back on a mounted cannon. Another troll beast, small licks of flame moving around its hands, began to move up with a trio of trolls, two larger ones and a little one. Nicholai was sure they were drunk the way they swayed as they walked, bottles in hand. He made note of their own Widowmaker and the manhunters positioning amongst a cluster of trees in the old ruins, the Kovnic saw a spell hit his Iron Fangs, Ironflesh from the Witch. “Get to the rifles!” The Kovnic shouted.
The troll with the launcher grimaced.
Magic runes encompassed Behemoth as it navigated the trees with a nimble ease the lumbering metal giant was usually not capable of. The old crone waddled up behind it, a loyal Khadoran war dog at her side. A juggernaught, its ice axe glowing cold, stomped up behind the Black Dragons. Its heavy feet sinking into the mud.
A woosh caught Nicholai’s attention. Snapping his head back towards the fiery troll beast he watched in shock as it lit its own men on fire. The drunkards, huddled together and swaying, cry out as the flames encompassed them. Not in pain, but a cry of war. They ran forward licks of flame trailing behind them, water steaming up from the muddy ground. Three more of the drunkard trolls, loudly singing, joined them. A broad beast, tusks jutting out far from its mouth, a red mohawk standing out from its blue skin, jumped down into a half-formed trench.
Another of their warjacks, the marauder, joined Behemoth while staying clear of any trees. The kovnik could hear the witch beginning to speak words of death and ravens as a third beast ran forward onto a small hill, roaring and brandishing two barrel bombs. Nicholai took an involuntary step back. “Don’t let it scare ya, our Jugg will cleave its flesh.” The captain of the Black Dragons shouted out, laughing and slamming his spear to his shield. A hiss of steam issued from the juggernaught in response as it slammed the side of its axe against its chest.
Captain Gunnbjorn raised one of his hairless eyebrows watching as the juggernaught slammed its axe, the loud clang ringing across the battlefield. The runebearer spoke holy words, the blue glow of the stones’ writing briefly intensified as the captain felt its magic infusing and strengthening his own. Janissa, a member of the Stonetide clan, known for their ability to shape rocks, stepped up beside Gunnbjorn. Raising one large hand into the air a hill rose from the mud and rock before them. “This land does not belong to you, Kha-dorans.” She shouted. “We Trolls are one with the magic of it.” The warcaster across the field flicked her eyes towards the rising hill, just as red runes appeared around her ancient body. Hunks of mud flew up from the ground in front of the Black Dragons. Janissa hand lowering, turned towards Gunnbjorn, a curious expression on her face. “That is, not me.” The pieces of mud lengthened and narrowed as they flew up. Feathered wings formed and spread out as small eyes opened. Taking the shape of crows, they came together flying as a vortex, mud flinging from their newly formed bodies.
Captain Gunnbjorn walked up onto the newly formed hill. Silently cursing the witch’s dark magic he put his own onto the small troll riding Dozer, a sniping spell, then repeated the process for himself. He hoisted his launcher onto his shoulder. “Smigg, take out that sniper. Bushwhackers with me.” He said firing off a rocket squarely at the front of the Black Dragon unit. The Dragon directly hit’s upper torso was partially blown off, his arm flying wildly off to the side. The explosive power of the rocket glanced off the others as the iron flesh granted to them from the witch protects the Dragons. “Shoot around those Marrow damned crows!”
The Bushwhackers positioned themselves around the stored ammo reserves as Gunn’s rocket flies. Their commander calling individual Black Dragon targets. The single mortar fired, arcing high, coming back down shy of it’s target exploding in the pond, water harmlessly flying up. The rest ot the Bushwhackers lined up their rifles, shifting to get angles around the cloud of crows. Eight shots rung out towards the slowly advancing Black Dragons. Smigg fired his own cannon into the trees. Two more Black Dragons drop as powerful rifle rounds pierce their armour. The sniper, concealed amongst the vegetation, remained still as the cannon shot was unable to find him, splinters of exploded wood flying around.
The warjacks’ cortex glowed brightly as the Old Witch fed her power to them. The crows fell to the ground, mud once more. The warcaster muttered words of magic to maintain the spells aiding her troops. Wordlessly she directed the Behemoth to step forward and open fire with its mounted launchers, bombarding one group of the singing drunkards. Bloodied mud burst outwards as two were knocked to the ground. The troll’s natural ability to regenerate tissue barely saving their lives. The third, unhurt, moved to help one up as a second volley struck. His two friends vulnerable on the ground were torn asunder by the explosion. Ears ringing, the taste of iron in his mouth, a single loud pop is all the last fire eater heard before all sense left him. His skull shattered, brain matter slipping out. The widowmaker watched the trolls eyes roll back, jug of alcohol hitting the ground. The sniper pulled another round from his pack and began to reload.
The other group of fire eaters were struck with the blood of their allies, some of their flames doused. The smallest of the three motioned them forward, “We’ll drink and sing of their lives.”
Yuri the Axe, a large smile plastered on his face, picked his way through the trees. “Forward hunters, let’s wet our axes on blue blood.” The three manhunters moved forward, Scrapjack ambling alongside. The Old Witch of Khador flung out her magic. Another spout of crows appeared before the manhunters. A second spell flies out from Scrapjacks’s cortex, a lasso of power that wraps around the front drunkard, pulling him in. The light ‘jack immediately disappeared afterwards, reappearing beside the Old Witch. The marauder rushing forward slammed the pulled troll. He flew back from the force, bones broken. The troll hit the ground, alive, but hurt. “Idiot machine!” Yuri yelled out. “You’re supposed to kill ’em.”
Kovnik Nicolai, slowly marching with his unit, watched his men falling from the rifle fire. “Hold the wall!” He shouted as one more drops and the others moved to fill the space in their shield wall. Nicholai felt the shots hit him as he gave his last order, shredding through armour and flesh. As he fell to the ground he watched the Cygnaran troll fire a second rocket, another Black dragon dead to the explosion, his spear flying through the air. Hitting the ground, Nicholai’s breath was pushed from his lungs. He tried to pull more in but couldn’t, wheezing and gurgling instead as the cold seeped in. Iron Fang Kovnik Nicholai saw his children before he died, proudly sporting the armour of Khador. His last wish was only that they never meet the Old Fucking Witch of Khador.
Gunnbjorn, satisfied with the damage his gun line was doing, directed his beasts and remaining fire eaters. “Deal with the ‘jacks.” Calling up his power he formed a wall of rock before him allowing himself and Janissa to duck behind it for some cover.
“On it boss.” Smigg said. He aimed his cannon square at the Behemoth, as Dozer moved them up to the wall. Empowered by the inherent magic of the beast he rides, Smigg fired. Hitting the Behemoth the blast dented its chassis. A single quick scream was the only indication they got of the blast reverberating through the trees and the hidden sniper, liquefying his insides. The bomber beast, hefting two large barrels, hucked them at the ‘jack. Pieces of metal fly off the Behemoth as their payloads strike. The pyre troll, throwing a lob of its flames, hit the Behemoth, lighting it up. The fire eaters charged forward, each living up to their name as they spit drink from their jugs onto the torch in their other hand. Each gout of flame engulfed the Behemoth and marauder, unfourtunately lined up. The hot flames melting components as the fire eaters followed it up with quick strikes.
The witch began to laugh as runes appeared on her face. Blood dripping from them as she let her cane fall to the ground. Rushing forward with inhuman speed she was on the drunks before they could react. The Old Witch of Khador flayed the first, long iron claws rapidly slashing. Stepping over the falling body she jammed the claws into the second, his eyes bugging out. She turned quickly slashing sideways to cut open the throat of the third. Covered in blue blood she closed her eyes and hummed, the souls of the fallen trolls appeared and were quickly drawn into the witch herself, wailing as they go. The Old Witch disappeared and reappeared back with Scrapjack. The war dog, trying to keep with the witch, gave a confused whine as she teleported. A quick whistle from her had the dog turned around, dashing back to her side.
The pyre troll rushed through the cloud of crows, the talons of the birds unable to scratch its thick skin. Standing amongst them, only visible by the fire from its hands, the beast hurled a ball of flame at the manhunters. Striking one, it exploded, spilling fire onto all three. The first is killed instantly as the hit fries his skin in a moment. The second, not as lucky, fell to the ground screaming. Yuri’s clothes were lit, his skin crackling, but he remained standing, smile never faltering. He slowly walked forward only to stumble and eventually fall as his legs gave way to the flames.
The remaining Black Dragons, pressed on by their captain, rushed forward. The Behemoth, fired volleys ahead to provide cover from the rifles. The Dragons slammed into the enemy line killing one of the riflemen, others gouge their spears into the two larger beasts. The ammo supplies were scattered and trampled underneath. With their reduced numbers the Black Dragons were unable to inflict much damage, the captain only hoping to disrupt the enemy gun line. The juggernaught slowly ran up behind them unable to find a line to an opponent.
Captain Gunnbjorn pulled his beast’s anger into himself to power his magic. At the edges of his connection to them, he can feel one overwhelmed by fury. The bomber. He attempted to soothe the beast with sheer force of will, but failed. Enraged the bomber turned, rushing Dozer and attempting to knock Smigg off, missing he only managed to graze the larger beast. Cursing, the captain directed Dozer away from the raging troll beast and towards the Black Dragons. Concentrating his power, Gunnbjorn pushed it out in a brilliant display of blue energy. Encompassing his army it formed into protective runes to keep them safe and standing. Janissa rushing forward as the blue energy comes down around her. She swung her pickaxe down as she closed in with a Dragon, it easily pierced through the top of his helmet and back out his chin. Yanking it back out she used the life essence leaking from him to form a spell. Shifting the ground around her Janissa pushes the Black Dragons nearby away from the rifle line.
Captain Gunnbjorn kept focus on the targets in front. Aiming his launcher he fired towards the juggernaught. Hitting, the force of the explosion surprised even the captain as the Juggernaught is thrown back along with any nearby Black Dragons, freeing more of the troll riflemen.
Dozer connected with the standard bearer and easily crushes the flag carrier along with another Black dragon beneath his large hands. Dozer began to peel their armour to pop their flesh into his mouth. Smigg, use to the beasts penchant for battlefield snacks, fired on the Behemoth. Piercing its chassis the round came back out behind it, felling the ‘jack.
The Bushwhackers no longer pressed in by the Black Dragons, repositioned and opened fire. They killed the remaining Dragons and dented the juggernaught. The juggernaut out of range of the witches control and unable to gain more power from her, stands and runs into the line of rifles. Captain Gunnbjorn surveyed the field as he pulled up another wall. The bulk of Khadoran forces were dead, only a couple ‘jacks and the witch remained. “We’ve got them on the backfoot.” He said. “Chase them into the trees!”
The Old Witch rushed forward once more. Gunnbjorn willed the pyre troll to pull back up, but he was too late. The pyre troll was torn apart by the witch and bleeding out on the ground before the thought left his mind for the beast’s, too many wounds to heal and the witch teleported back again.
The old witch began forming her clawed fingers into arcane shapes. Calling her power the ground of the clearing turned black as talons writhed beneath. Gigantic runes appeared all over the battlefield while the witch focused inward. Gunnbjorn looked on in horror realizing the magnitude of the spell. Betting on it being bad for him, he desperately shifted gears. “Make a path, take out the witch!”
The Bushwhackers opened fire on the juggernaught. Trying to plink him down. The bomber hucked barrels onto Scarpjack, rending it apart. Janissa turned onto the juggernaught, shoving her pickaxe deep into its cortex.
The captain joined his fire onto the juggernaght, attempting to get it out of Dozers way with the others. His bushwhackers were dangerously close but he had to try. His rocket easily hitting, the juggernaught was flung once more landing on one of the bushwhackers, instantly crushing it. Other riflemen were killed by the explosive force, the tactic worked to get the juggernaught out of the way but many of the small trolls were sacrificed. Dozer rushed towards the witch, snarling, but the marauder slammed forward protecting the witch and pushing the large beast back. Dozer swung down onto the marauder as Smigg was rocked backwards. Gunnbjorn began to move towards the opening in the battle, heading for the witch, when the ground lit up. Time seemed to slow as everything around him exploded. He felt his connection to the beasts sever as his own body was rent.
The runebearer picked himself up from the ground, hurt but alive. His stones had shattered from the effort of protecting him. The field was littered with the dead, troll and Khadoran. The ruins were destroyed as was the small troll encampment. He could see the witch in the distance hovering over the largest manhunter, the dog chewing on a bone at her feet. The strange light ‘jack, somehow rebuilt, seemed to be moving around the battlefield pushing ‘jack parts into little piles. Staying low to the ground the runebearer began to crawl forward searching the ground for his warlock. Pushing the dead carefully aside he found Gunnbjorn, his legs gone, barely alive. Hooking one arm around the captain he started the agonizing journey back to the tree line, eyeing the witch as he crawled. A loud crack grabbed his attention, a pile of rocks hastily pulled up by Janissa tumbled to the ground. The female troll stepped out unhurt. Staying still he looked to the witch. She didn’t move and the ‘jack made no indication it noticed, or cared. The runebearer hissed at the horrified rockshaper and she dashed over, pulled from the sight of dead trolls. She grabbed the runebearer heaving him up and throwing the regenerating Gunnbjorn over her own shoulder.
They scurried into the woods, left alone by the mysterious witch.
A few months later Yuri emerged from the forest. Behemoth, the juggernaught, and marauder in tow. The officers of the outpost attempted to question him. “What happened? What did the witch want? Where are the others?”
“Go ask the witch yourself, if you’d like.” Was all he said before leaving, new scars on his face.
Gunnbjorn, Janissa, and the runebearer returned to the east. The only survivors. They warned of the forest and the old warcaster within it.
Years later the story prevailed, the folk tale of a witch who haunts trolls. It was told around dinner, quietly, so she doesn’t hear.
A harvest of crops eaten by locusts, starving a village.
A river overflowed, blocking the path of a troll army.
A plague sweeping through the fields and settlements killing troll and beast.
A baby goes missing in the night.