The village was abandoned, its population fled or killed. In the village square a band of drunken chaos thugs danced around a hastily constructed pyre, onto which a man in ragged robes had been tied. The Thugs danced around in a drunken frenzy. Even bound, gagged and helpless Rolf could sense the touch of chaos on their victim.
As Rolf considered his next move, a second band of chaos followers approached from the other side of the town. Five were men dressed in similar ragged robes to the sacrificial victims, five more were dwarves in armour, their leader carrying a large and ornate sword. Rolf made his decision, if this warband wanted this man, then clearly he was a prize worth taking.
Rolf ordered his warband to advance, quickly pushing past the drunken thugs who put up little resistance. From the other side, the enemy warband did the same. But as one of the thugs stumbled towards the lead dwarf he swung out his sword. As the sword touched the man there was a wailing hiss and his body shrivelled away to nothing. As if in response to his leader, one of the robed humans, who Rolf could now see had no skin on his face, stretched out a finger and let loose a bolt of lightning. Two more men collapsed in a pile of smoking ash.
Seeing that their rivals wielded magic, Rolf was daunted, but even more determined. He sent the Orcs to meet the lead dwarf, while the beastmen secured their captive. Rolf's warband reached the pyre first and the beastmen braved the flames to secure their prize. Rolf prepared himself to meet the ragged cultists, but then a second bolt of lightning leapt out and Rolf was struck down, his body crackling with energy.
With their leader fallen, the Beastmen and Orcs faltered, but the lead Beastmen, who carried Rolf's banner, bellowed a cry of defiance, hoisted his captive onto his shoulders and lead his comrades away. The Orcs braced themselves to receive the charge of the Dwarf champion. He launched himself forward his blade dancing, but the Orcs held out. However, when they struck back, they found their spear points deflected. His black skin was was harder than iron. Despite their resistance, the Orcs were slowly pushed back.
As the Beastmen retreated, the cultists saw their chance and attacked from the rear. But the beastmen disdainfully received their charge cutting down one of the cultists. Shocked by the strength of the resistance, the cultists panicked and fled. The Beastmen ignored them and marched on. The dwarves pursued, but were unable to keep pace. It seemed that Rolf's warband might claim victory after all. But then, the sorcerer hurled two more bolts of lightning and two beastmen fell. At the same time, the dwarf champion hacked through the leg of one Orc and skewered another on the point of his blade. Like the Chaos Thug before, the life was drained out of the Orc's body leaving an empty husk. Seeing the comrade subject to such a grizzly fate, the Orcs nerve gave and they fled.
The Beastman leader was not so easily bowed. Hoisting his captive he made a break for the trees at the edge of the village. Two more lightning bolts followed him, but the beastman was gone into the woods.
* * * * *
Rolf awoke to the sight of his beastman follower standing over him. It explained, in its guttural tone, that he had fled into the woods with his captive, that the rival warband had pursued but had been unable to find him. He had returned to the village and gathered up the scattered Orcs and beastmen. Despite being knocked out, the bolt of lightning had left Rolf scorched but unharmed. He gave a quiet prayer to his God for protecting him.
With his warband recovered Rolf turned his attention to his prisoner. The man was battered, but alive, but still gave Rolf a look of defiant hatred. Rolf was confused, but then he saw the twisting S shaped rune on the pendent around his neck. Somehow Rolf recognised it and hated it. Then his beastmen follower hissed a word “Tzeentch” with utter contempt and Rolf realised his prisoner was a champion of an rival God. Rolf smiled.
He tortured and killed his prisoner with sadistic glee and with a final contemptuous sneer, Rolf beheaded the man. The body fell and lay still. But then the body started to shake and convulse. Rolf stepped back as it exploded into a pile of offal and filth. Still it shook, rising up into a bloated, slug-like shape crowned by a mass of tentacles. The vile thing bounded forward toward Rolf. He backed away, but then the creature leaped towards him, licking him with its putrid Tongue like an affectionate hunting hound.
Preventing the rescue of a follower of Tzeentch was a worthy deed for a Champion of Nurgle, but to risk his life to capture and kill the champion himself had caught the attention of his God who had gifted him with one of his own Beasts. Rolf, as a champion, was quite unaffected by the creatures paralysing poisons. For his loyalty and dedication to his master his Beastman follower was rewarded with a tentacle arm like his master.
Gathering up his battered followers, Rolf made to leave Bogwurst, only to be disturbed by the lumbering arrival of a Dragon-Ogre, attracted by Sorcerer's lightning. Rolf readied himself for another fight, but the Dragon-Ogre, recognising a Chaos Champion, pledged himself to Rolf.
Casualties: 1 Orc killed, 1 serious leg injury.
Reward: Beast of Nurgle
Followers Reward: Chaos Attribute (Tentacle arm) for a Beastman
New Followers: 1 Dragon Ogre
* * * * *
This was my second battle using the Realms of Chaos rules against My Little Brother and we were each using our second warbands. This was not a prospect to which I was greatly looking forward, largely because MLB's other warband is crazy. He managed to roll up a Level 10 Chaos Dwarf Sorcerer and decided to make him a follower of Tzeentch. This gave him a randomly generated Magic item, which turned out to be Daemon Sword (it started out as having a Daemon Prince sealed inside it but we agreed this was going a bit far and down-graded it to a Pink Horror).
So far so overpowered, but worse was to come. Tzeentchian champions get D3 chaos attributes instead of 1, and MLB rolled 3. His first two were the harmlessly ineffective big ears and black skin, but he rolled metal body for his third, giving his champion a strength and toughness of 6 and AN IMMUNITY TO NON-MAGICAL WEAPONS! His Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill were halved but this was largely compensated for by the Daemon Sword. Given that nothing in my warband could even hurt this guy this was not going to be an easy challenge.
With all that in mind, we settled on a scenario were I had a hope of achieving something. We selected a scenario from the Realms of Chaos: the Lost and the Damned book in which the two warbands have to compete to rescue a captured cultist coven leader from a band of drunken beastmen. I didn't have the beastmen to spare, but had no shortage of plastic chaos marauders, so we decided to substitute them. We decided that the coven leader was part of the same cult as MLB's cultists and so would be a Tzeentchian.
Unsurprisingly my warband was pretty badly massacred. But thanks to taking a more direct route to my goal I managed to get the coven leader first. Had it gone the other way I wouldn't have stood a chance of getting him off MLB's warband. My Beastmen performed stirlingly, surviving a rear charge, breaking the cultists and passing a leadership test so they weren't compelled to pursue (which would have taken them in the wrong direction). To cap it all, the standard bearer passed a panic test when two of his colleagues were taken out by lightning bolts from MLB's Cultist Magus and made it into the woods.
The Orcs also did well, given they were fighting an enemy they couldn't hurt. Poor old Rolf was the real loser, taken out without a fight and not even being able to claim the Victory Points for 'Surviving the Battle on the Winning side.'
Post battle I was extraordinarily lucky. Despite losing all but two of my warband I suffered only one fatality and one injury (an Orc with a severely injured leg who I may 'retire' as he will slow down the whole unit). Even Rolf escaped unscathed, gaining his first reward and a Dragon Ogre follower. Given his impressive performance winning the day, I had to pass my follower reward onto the beastman survivor. Now I just have to get my hands on a Beast of Nurgle.