Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mortal Empires, Part XX - Druchii Incursions


With the Chaos invasion well in hand, Franz turned his attention to two other pressing matters. The first of these were the greenskins marauding in the southern parts of the Empire. Displaced from the Badlands in the south by the remorseless advance of the Vampire Counts, the orcs were now trying to carve out a new demesne in the Southern Grey Mountain range near the Dwarf hold of Karak Norn. Haupt-Anderssen and Ludenhof were tasked with destroying the greenskin menace, and the two generals agreed on a strategy. Haupt-Anderssen would hold the line near Nuln, and destroy any greenskins that strayed too close to the Empire's borders. In the meantime Ludenhof, whose fame had rocketed after his victories over the Chaos hordes, would advance into the Grey Mountains with the ultimate aim of liberating Karak Norn. 

Malekith, the Witch King of the Dark Elves.

The plan worked flawlessly. Ludenhof's Army of Hochland was a seasoned, determined and cohesive unit made up of veterans who had been fighting together for four years. They were accustomed to victory, and feared no enemy. The disorganized greenskins were routed over and over by the same tactics used against the Chaos hordes. Grimgor Ironhide and Wurrzag, two notorious greenskin warlords, were beaten in subsequent battles by Ludenhof. Karak Norn was liberated. Haupt-Anderssen destroyed the remnants of the orc armies south of Nuln, putting an end to the greenskin threat for decades to come.

The second issue Franz faced was the more pressing one. The Dark Elves fielded professional armies armed with missile troops and ballistae, and their scouts and fast cavalry rivaled those of the Empire. The Dark Elves also fielded powerful sorcerers and witches, in addition to massive monstrous beasts such as Dragons and Hydras. They were an entirely different foe to the ones the Empire had grown accustomed to, and an urgent rethink of doctrine was called for after Marienburg was almost lost to a lightning strike by a Druchii army. The Army of Hochland suffered its first loss in many battles against the Druchii.

To counter the Dark Elves Franz directed the forges and armories to produce dozens of great cannons. The first cannons were poor imitations of the weapons first made by the Dwarves. By Franz's era however, cannons were much more accurate, and when coupled with the cantrips and enchantments bestowed upon the ammunition by the Colleges of Magic, cannons were able to target fast moving targets and bring them down. The cannons just had to be aimed in the vicinity of the target, and the ball would home in towards the enemy as long as it possessed the right enchantment. Franz also laid down a great bounty, promising a substantial reward to anyone who could recreate the designs of the genius, Leonardo Da Miragliano, who was responsible for inventing the steam tank. Only eight of the twelve original tanks remained since the passing of the inventor, and these great behemoths of war had proved their worth time and time again on the battlefield. In the steam tank Franz recognized a weapon that could change the face of warfare forever, and establish the Empire as a great power for the foreseeable future.

The Imperial Steam Tank supporting a cavalry charge.

Cannons in Total War 2 are the equivalent of sniper rifles in their ability to target flying creatures. In real life there is no way in hell a 17th century cannon from the Holy Roman Empire, with their smooth bores and uneven sized cannon balls, could single out a fast moving target, much less a flying one. They were used to blow apart stationary fortifications, slow moving columns of infantry, or engage in counter-battery fire against other artillery. In Total War 2 and in the Warhammer tabletop game, however, they have laser like precision, and are the anti-large units of the Empire, which is why I had to resort to magic as a means of explaining their uncanny accuracy. 

Unrealistic or not, we started producing cannons by the bucketload, and giving two to three to every army facing the Druchii. The results were fantastic. The cannons could snipe one to two Dragons while a third could be engaged by our flying Lord. Once the giant fliers were dead we could defeat the army through conventional means, i.e. spreading their infantry all over the battlefield and destroying them piecemeal. Cannons are also amazing for counter-battery fire, and can chew up infantry formations as well. The only problem is keeping them alive - cavalry, fliers and monsters all make a beeline for cannons, which means that I've had to include infantry formations to act as guards.

The ideal unit against armies with lots of large monsters is the steam tank. Not only does it have a more powerful cannon, but it's also tough, armored and can charge into melee. The only downside is that they're expensive to recruit and maintain, and so I need to beef up my economy if I'm thinking of fielding multiple tanks in the future.

Next: TBC

1 comment:

  1. Regarding the Mortal Empire, I've found a serie of After Action Report for the Mortal Empire campaing, where the author cheese his way/speedrun through the map as quickly as possible :

    Skaven on easy, with rebel farming (https://imgur.com/gallery/rRziD)
    Bretonians on Very Hard, by stacking lords in Marienburg (https://imgur.com/gallery/nQ8Fb)
    Tomb King on Very Hard, by using all the various OP features of the TK (https://imgur.com/gallery/uBM7u)

    They are all full of cheese, I enjoyed reading them and I think you would enjoy them. The author's page: http://www.theallguardsmenparty.com/

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