Got a chance to play a game with James again last weekend, and am just now getting the BatRep done. I'm a terrible friend. Oh, well.
I don't recall exactly what our lists were, but it was something to the effect of:
10 Fennblades + UA
10 Kriels + UA + 3 cabers
Scaverous (proxied by Venethrax)
Erebus (proxied by a slayer)
6 bile thralls
Necrotech + scrap thrall
Below is our set up. From here on out I'll be telling the story in narrative form. Keen eyes may notice the Super Dungeon Explore kobold that is secretly watching the battle unfold from on top of that building.
Jarl Skuld could feel the air give off an unnatural chill as he led his warband through the southern Thornwood Forest. He had heard that some of the few remaining kin in this area had been driven from their homes by strange abominations that howled in the night and devoured the dead. He could think of a number of things that fit that description, but he decided that he would rather think about how to help the kriels who had still managed to hold on here, so far away from Madrak's army. He had managed to convince the ancient dire troll Mulg to part from Hoarluk Doomshaper for the time being, since the elder warlock was investigating some deep mystery and Mulg's appetite was somewhat less patient. He had brought an Earthborn dire troll he had found deep in the Thornwood as well, and the two dire trolls seemed to be getting along much better than he had expected. He had also managed to "acquire" a War Wagon during his brief time with the United Kriels, as well as recruit a sizable host of Fennblades and traditional Kriel Warriors. They made a formidable group, but they were hardly as stealthy as he might have wanted. Between Mulg's roars and attempts to eat any wildlife they came across and the War Wagon's great rumbling he was surprised they didn't call down the wrath of the entire Khadoran military - to say nothing of the prey they were supposedly hunting.
As they approached a series of ancient ruins, relics from some ancient kingdom or empire (History had never been one of Jarl's strong suits), they could see an oily black smoke up ahead rising through the trees. Jarl barked out orders and his host formed up into ranks as best they could, Mulg at the front and eager to devour what was up ahead. As they were doing so, a second large plume of oily black smoke appeared, accompanied by a screeching sound that proved they had found their target. A huge metal monstrosity surged forward into view, firing a deadly green projectile that fell well short of his position, but churned up the ground around it. He could see now a huge horde of thralls surging forward, mechanithralls with their steam fists and the more terrifying bile thralls, waddling forward and gurgling. Among them charged black iron helljacks and bonejacks, arcane power dancing along their arc nodes and the runes inlaid in their hulls.
As Jarl's forces moved to meet this threat, he began to see what was happening. The ruins his Fennblades were charging past had once been an ancient mausoleum, and the granite sarcophagus in the center had been cracked open like an egg, and recently too - the ground was still freshly churned. Ahead he could see an alien mechanikal apparatus digging into the ground, something he understood the Cryxians would do to gain power from places of death. He knew he had to stop them - the only part he didn't know was how exactly to do that.
As Jarl's kriel warriors charged forward, they were met head on by a towering helljack inlaid with intricate glowing runes. He slammed into the front warriors, his claws raking across them to leave them dying screaming on the ground, their souls visibly being torn from them to flow back behind the lines. Following the helljack, a cluster of mechanithralls suddenly became as insubstantial as ghosts and charged through the solid stone walls between them to impact the rest of the warriors' line. Jarl grimaced as he saw fists fly and kin fall, then turned to see another group of the thralls closing on his Fennblades. The death toll was light, but then the immense helljack crashed through the trees to grab the kin with huge tentacles and stuff them into vents on its sides, their screams melding with the sound of steam venting from its back. Suddenly, Jarl saw a looming, dark form move into the shadow of the ruins and summon horrific green runes that shot from his hand to wrap around another kriel warrior. The warrior fell screaming, his flesh sloughing from his bones, then flying through the air surrounded by the runes to reconstitute itself as a new, horrific bile thrall. This thrall advanced and exploded over other kriel warriors, taking them to an acidic death.
His numbers depleting, Jarl decided it was time to move quickly. His Earthborn charged the rune-inlaid helljack and ripped one of its arms fully off, roaring in satisfaction. Echoing that roar, his remaining kriel warriors charged the thralls and helljack, killing many of the former. One of the mighty caber throwers accompanying his warriors smashed the great stone pillar into the helljack and sent it to the ground. Jarl could see the light fading from its eyes and new that flank was almost secure. He ducked back into a nearby copse of trees to guard him and fired his pistols into several thralls. The war wagon crashed forward and into the bile thralls, but a wheel got stuck in a green muck on the ground and it was brought up unexpectedly short. (Side note here: James charged the War Wagon at the back bile thrall. His impact attacks would hit 2 of the biles, then his charge would hit the target in the back. After that his guns could fire and kill the remaining biles, as well as do some other major damage in the back field. He needed 4 to hit on his impact attacks. He rolled a 3. It wasn't until afterwards that I remembered that the War Wagon gets 3 dice to hit on impact attacks. James, remember that. It's really important!) His Fennblades charged furiously in return, wiping out most of the thralls, but having no real recourse against the huge helljacks towering over them. They sliced at it with their greatswords, but the great machine was simply too large for them to damage it in any meaningful way. Mulg let out a roar and charged after them, though, and with his club he was able to carve great dents into the armor of the thing.
As Jarl was beginning to feel that he would be able to push these Cryxians out of the Thornwood for sure, he saw a chilling sight. The dark figure that had hidden in the shadowed recesses of ruins turned insubstantial and walked through solid stone to stand before Jarl. Runes swirled around him and Jarl could feel the air crackling with dark power. His own sorcery felt distant and difficult to harness, but this same power seemed to only strengthen the iron creature. It pointed an iron claw at him and a gout of green arcane power shot at him, hitting him unerringly even in the forest. Mulg turned and tried to make it to the creature, but a swipe from the huge helljack he had been fighting dealt him a crippling blow. He staggered forward, but his club was not quite in range yet. Another gout of green fire missed Jarl by mere inches, but the third slammed directly into his chest, throwing him backwards on the ground, his head swimming.
The next few minutes were a haze. Jarl vaguely heard Mulg and the Earthborn howling in pain and fury and running away, his remaining troops breaking and falling back, and several of his kriel warriors collecting him and dragging him out of the forest. By the time he came around and could ask what happened, he realized that they had suffered a bad loss. His stupor had driven the dire trolls mad, and they had fled. Without their support his warriors routed, and the War Wagon had no choice but to follow. They were able to regroup, but for now they would have to avoid the Cryxians in that part of the forest.
The game was really fun. It ended with the skarlock thrall casting ghost walk on Scaverous to walk through the obstruction he was behind to get in range of Jarl without his arc nodes (they were all engaged). With a soul from Erebus the previous round and popping his feat he could cast Excarnate up to 4 times, boosted to hit each time. Needing 10s to hit Jarl, it was a done deal. Mulg taking a free strike from the Kraken that disabled his body meant that he wouldn't even be able to kill me with Protective Fit attacks. Looking at the pictures I see that Janissa was in the list too, but I think she just hung out and threw up a few rock walls or something.
Again, really fun game. There was a lot of back and forth, thralls charging trolls and trolls counter charging thralls, warbeasts and warjacks murderizing every dang thing. I look forward to the next one!