The third out of our four game campaign took place and it was a close battle, really close.
The Farsetter Holds - Chapter 3
Dunhill remembered this door, he remembered it well. In his youth and younger days he spent much of his time behind those doors. For it housed the Engineer's Guild hall. The door is decorated to reflect that, with its many intricate artistic gears carved into it. A loud clanging noise breaks him from his trance. Ancient mechanical work turns behind the walls and door slowly swings open. Drake stepped away from the lock mechanism that started the process.
It smelled old, but fortunately not chaos tainted like some of the other parts of their ancestral halls. This remained untouched. Clansmen, who remember working here, lit the place up with the hum of electric bulbs lining the walls. With each bulb sparking to life the old projects became clearer. Various inventions lay still, some integrated into the walls, some on carts.
Dunhill smiled as he remembered this place alive with the sound of forges and whirring engines. His smile shortly turned into a frown when he remembered why they had come here. These battles with the greenskins were not going well. They should have had the entire hold by now, but are driven out at every turn. They needed some help. They needed some weapons.
Drake was busy inspecting everything, barking orders to the rest of the engineers and cogsmiths. He approached his father who was pulling down a dust covered tarp from something of impressive size.
The greenskins had found a feasting room. Luckily there were many kegs to bust open and drink of the contents. Stunties made good grog, and this stuff was old, making it all the more potent. The fat'uns and other orruk were sharing in merriment, along with Da Big'un. It was a massive orruk, at least twice the height of an ogor. Enough to put any proud Ironjaw to shame. Accompanying it was its Magmadroth. These beastly creatures normally were companions only to the fierce Fyreslayers, but any orruk with the toughness to withstand the beasts heat and temperament could tame one as an animal companion.
The ale was a pleasant distraction, but a distraction. Grox knew he needed to find a fight for Da Big'un, or else it would turn on the rest of the horde. And it needed to happen soon. Luckily the scouts were returning. They arrived in the feasting hall, and whatever they were going to report, immediately went to the back of their thoughts as they delighted in the sight of their brethren consuming stolen grog.
Grox stormed up to one and smacked the stein from his hands. He briefly frowned at the sight of the foamy liquid spilling over the floor, but Grox' large fist yanked at his leather straps, snapping him from his stupor. "REPORT, GROT!"
"Uh- We found dem, boss! Da stunties was getting into a big room. One wif all dem mek-works or sumting."
This concerned Grox. He had encountered mek-works before. The orruk weren't too savvy on mechanical contraptions, mostly being the specialty of the grots. The sky-stunties were also known for it. Whatever form, they were very destructive and usually meant lots of dead boys. The scout reported him the location. He knew of it during their exploration. They can easily get maneuver and surround it.
Profut Big'un was nearby listening to the report. "Powerful Grox, if I may, da boys is still drinking, and Da Big'un might not want to go anywhere roight now."
"All roight. My boys fight better when their bellies are full anyway. Full of grog. But as soon as those kegs are empty, we march." The scout had already grabbed another full stein and brought it up to his lips when Grox snatched it from his hands. "Get yer own!"
Dunhill was overseeing the largest of the carts being slowly pulled across the walkway which left the old Engineer's Guild hall. These old machines would do nicely. They had sorted out the creations that were working well enough and those which needed too much to be usable in the near future. This big one had barely made the cut. All of the usable ones were loaded on carts and pulled by pony and clansmen. They just had to get them outside to the fort that the rest of the clans and throng were stationed at the foot of the mountain. Luckily during their explorations, they had found a shortcut outside, another large entrance. This was closer to their location.
A watcher called out a warning of approaching greenskins. Immediately Dunhill called to his own to form up and get ready to defend the walkway. They had retrieved more drakeguns in the room, so clansmen were donning the irondrake armor. Bree was at Dunhill's side as the rest of the throng took up defensive positions on and around the walkway. They just needed to defend and buy enough time for the caravan to get out of the holds.
Dunhill did see the hordes approaching from one side of the walkway, and before he could order all to that side, a warning cried out and the other side had about an equal amount of them. They were surrounded.
Drake called to his father as a crew of sub-engineers wheeled out of the room two gun emplacements. "My lord, these are the last of them, but I have a feeling we will need them now." The crews were already expertly setting the organ gun and cannon up and loading them.
By now the greenskins on both sides had gotten closer. The gun crews were doing final adjustments and barking orders when an ear piercing roar reverberated through the halls, which gave pause to everyone.
Before anyone could react, they discovered it came from a massive orruk in heavy armor, wielding a club that rivaled its own size. It sat astride a magmadroth. The rider and mount came bounding across the hall, and leapt up onto the walkway. It's speed was equally as impressive as its size. Without a chance to react, the magmadroth crashed into the organ gun crew and sent them flying, and the big greenskin brought its club down on the gun itself. The forge runes glowed and sparked briefly under the incredible strain of impact before finally giving and shattering into pieces. The imposing brute let out a powerful WAAAGH! and the rest of the greenskins charged forward, eager to get to the fight.
However when it was my turn, all the guns on the walkway immediately turned on to Da Big'un and took it out in one shooting phase, but that meant all the guns didn't fire on the masses of greenskins below during that precious first turn. Eventually as the turns ground on, the hordes fought their way through the ground troops and flooded the main walkway. Grox went down under gunfire after he took out one of the irondrake squads in a single combat round. But the battle was losing despite the heavy losses on both sized. Eventually all I had left was Drake, Dunhill, Bree, and a few thunderers, and Jarom had a unit of Ogors, some Ardboys, a unit of Ironguts, and his Profut Big'un.
***Profut Big'un stepped up to the hole where he last saw Da Big'un. It was picking itself up from the fall, the magmadroth as well was shaking its head as it regained consciousness. The blasting of cannon fire, drakeguns, and thunderer rifles must have destabilized the ground, and with Da Big'uns weight, it fell through. It appears to be more halls and caves below. The Profut cursed the duardin guns and their maze-like halls. It was too far below to try pulling Da Big'un out. They would have to search around until they could meet up with it again.
The Profut's 'Ardboys were helping Grox up as he too regained his bearings after being shot off the walkway ledge. As he realized what had happened, he bullied one of the 'Ardboys, both to vent frustration and save face among the remaining boys. The Profut sneered as he thought of the several times he could have easily dispatched Grox at any point, taking the horde to himself, but he still knew he needed him, for now. While Da Big'un was a massive inspiration to the Waaagh!, it was no leader. It barely spoke outside of grunts and yells. The Profut wanted to teach it some things so it could become an orruk general, and his need for Grox would pass.
Dunhill still didn't like the raw light of Hysh illuminating the sky. He preferred the comfort of the dimly lit halls. Their hike out of the hold had been thankfully uneventful, outside of a few broken wheels on the carts pulling the engineerings.
The Forthammer Clan Throng fort had grown significantly since the last Dunhill saw of it. They left a contingent of duardin to remain behind to guard over the families and supplies. They had been working nonstop, with the women of the throng being most of the work force. A note of pride for duardin are the stout hardworking nature of their women. It had been constructed primarily of wood from the nearby forests. Dunhill noted the signs of battle that were among the clear-cut trees. He imagined they had a story or few to tell of their own.
The gates swung open with duardin efficiency and what remained of the throng marched in. Families were reunited, and widows stood sternly. Careful to keep their pain inside, as this was not the time for mourning. The entire expedition was nearly a failure, and Dunhill knew he would need to consult the rest of the elder council tonight about it. They had come to take the holds, but instead are going to need to prepare for a final battle, outside at the base of their birthright.
"By Grungni's beard, the greenskins will pay." Dunhill recognized the voice, and embraced Grundi. The runelord was old, older even than Dunhill's father. He was among the oldest in the clan, and Bree's tutor and master runelord.
"They will." declared Dunhill. "There is much to be done. If one thing about this whole endeavor has reaffirmed me with greenskins, they will seek out the biggest fights," he gestured to Drake organizing the engineering carts within the fort walls, "So we will give them one."
Grundi grimaced at the largest cart. It carried a bipedal machine with an imposing duardin presence. When standing it would reach 2 maybe 3 stories tall. He never trusted the newfangled contraptions that Dunhill and his son had an affinity for. "Will it work?"
"A large enough foe is too much for any orruk to refuse a fight. With this we can lure all the cursed grob-kin out of our holds, and crush them. I could never get the damned thing to work in my youth, but if anyone can get the Klad Barag up and running, it's my son."