But how? It was well guarded, surrounded by a small army. A strike in the dead of night may cause enough confusion and consternation for him to take action...
A small force consisting of Druzhag and twelve goblin archers snuck through the dead of night. Accustomed to sneaking though caverns, they were silent as they moved through the sleeping forms of their foes. Druzhag's mind cast over the encampment sending rats, bats and other small creatures throughout the army, distracting guards in such a way that no alarm was raised, but slowly they dispersed from the target of his endeavour.
As he and his small band reached the foot of the monster he was to try and control, he sent a mental signal through the night. An eerie howling of wargs, a screeching of bats and chittering of rats erupted on the far side of the camp! Druzhag and his companions silently climbed ropes up, and up... and up! The sleeping figures were just stirring as goblin knives slit their throats silently and swiftly. As the guards below and throughout the camp woke sleeping figures there was screaming and the rasp of metal as swords were drawn. Off to the west lights flickered and flames leapt as some tents caught fire in the whirling melee that was erupting between man and beast. None noticed the goblins.
Druzhag clambered higher, then struck downwards forcefully with the full force of his mental compulsion. It was like no beast he had ever before tried to control! The mighty monster panicked and stampeded forward, crushing man and horse beneath it's massive feet as it howled and trumpeted off into the night, away from the fighting behind it. Another trumpeting sound echoed behind it as its mate lurched into pursuit!
Druzhag and his goblins held on for dear life as the mighty Mumak pounded off into the wasteland, quickly leaving the Haradrim encampment behind - only there was another Mumak close in pursuit and it wouldn't be long before the horsemen of the army noticed what had happened and caught up...
Just for fun, my brother and I decided to do something a little whacky with our Mumakil. The aim of the scenario is for Druzhag to escape from the center of a 4"x4" board. My brother's force of Mumak and raiders is trying to recapture the Mumak before it escapes - or at least to kill Druzhag!
Druzhag can try to control the Mumak on a 3+ (like his enrage beast spell). If successful he chooses where it goes. If unsuccessful the enraged Mumak will turn to attack whatever is closest. If nothing is in attack range a scatter die will be rolled for the direction it takes.
Druzhag has 5 will, so can get off the board quickly if successful with his casting! However, rapidly approaching raiders can tie it up in combat. The raiders respawn if they are killed (reinforcements continually streaming in).
The Harad Mumak can send troops over in a boarding action if they get close enough (we just kind of judged a jumping distance). The aim is for them to board and make it to the top position to wrest control of the Goblin Mumak.
The Harad Mumak won't attack the Goblin one as they may already be losing one Mumak, they don't want to risk two! The Goblin one will attack whatever is closest if Druzhag doesn't have control, including the other Mumak if it is closer than a raider.
Sounds crazy!? Crazy fun!!
In the middle of a barren wasteland, the Mumak finally settles down from it's panicked stampede. The goblins pick themselves up from the Howdah wicker floor and ready their bows as they can hear the thumping of another Mumak and the pounding of hooves coming up behind them.
Turn 1 - Priority Harad. The raiders gallop forward as swiftly as they can. The Harad Mumak (red) stomps towards the Goblin Mumak (blue).
Druzhag attempts again to link his mind to that of the lumbering beast. He fails and the mental link breaks in fury as the Mumak, enraged, turns and charges into the closest thing it can find to unleash it's anger - two raiders.
Arrows fly through the air from Howdah to Howdah. One goblin falls screaming with an arrow embedded in its chest, the screaming stops suddenly with a crunch as it smashes into the stony ground. Two humans are also struck by feathered shafts, one Watcher of Karna dies instantly with an arrow through his eye socket, falling silently from the howdah with black robes fluttering through the air to land with a splatter below. Another human topples forward, an arrow through his chest to land, still barely alive just in time to see the massive foot of a Mumak descend to blot out the sky and... *crunch*.
The raiders manage to fend off the Mumak, ululating calls momentarily confusing the Mumak, who is used to hearing those sounds from friendly handlers.
Turn 2 - Priority Harad. The Harad Mumak commander urges his mount to ease alongside the goblin-infested Howdah. The bottom pannier of the blue Mumak is empty thanks to the bowshot the turn before and a Watcher of Karna sizes up the swaying gap, knowing the fall to the ground will be fatal if he misjudges. As the gap closes he sprints across it with such deft skill that his charge continues onward. Blades flashing swiftly he slices into a defending goblin and vaults up into the Howdah, sending the hapless goblin tumbling behind him!
Arrows swish through the air again, most of them get caught harmlessly in the fabric of the howdahs but one manages to pierce through fabric, flesh and heart - another Watcher of Karna dies instantly to fall inelegantly from great height and smash in a bloody, gory mess on the ground far below.
Three of the raiders overcame their terror at facing such a great beast and charged right towards the terrifyingly massive tusks. The Mumak swung its great head from side to side, tusks goring through two of the men, trunk hurling one brutally against a nearby rocky outcrop. Bone fragments and blood splatter everywhere.
Turn 3 - Priority Harad. More raiders overcome their great fear and charge at the Mumak, keeping it in place...
So that another Watcher of Karna can time his leap perfectly, landing on the goblin controlled Mumak and the swaying howdah! The first Watcher is set upon by two goblins, one from each side! Trained in the art of battle for his entire life his blades outreach the goblin daggers and he decapitates one quite neatly before pivoting to ram his other blade right through the chest of the second. Druzhag looks on in fury, but can do little more than continue trying to gain control over the massive Mumak.
Two goblins fall from arrows, the Harad archers carefully and skilfully aiming even in the maelstrom of side by side Mumak motion! One goblin lands with a splat among the raiders, who thrust their spears out to try and halt further motion. They manage to avoid the tusks and trunk, one spear catches on the sensitive trunk-tip, causing the Mumak to scream out in pain.
Turn 4 - Priority Goblin. Perhaps due to the wound obtained on the previous turn, Druzhag again fails to merge minds with the Mumak and it ignores his attempts at control. Enraged, it charges the horsemen. A goblin arrow manages to slay another Harad archer!
Goblins swarm around the Howdah and over the Watcher, he dodges one dagger, but the swaying howdah is his undoing as a second goblin dagger catches him in the leg. As he stumbles the two goblins clamber over him and stab him repeatedly until he ceases to move. Then they stab him some more for good measure.
The enraged Mumak's charge is devastatingly brutal and four horsemen die beneath massive stamping feet, pulverised beyond hope of recognition.
Turn 5 - Priority Goblin. Blood-lust momentarily sated, the Mumak calms enough for Druzhag to finally make contact and compel it to flee from the encroaching attackers. It is not completely under his sway, but the prompting holds and it turns away from the humans and marches onwards! The surrounding raiders wound the great beast again, but Druzhag keeps it from stampeding with dark, compulsive whispers in its head.
The Harad commander is an old hand at Mumak control and eases his mighty beast alongside the other with great skill and daring.
Attacking now from the other side of the howdah, a Haradrim archer jumps the gap into a vacant pannier! Almost falling, he flails out in attack of a nearby goblin, misses, and slices right through a series of cables attaching the howdah to its wooden frame! The whole structure creaks and a few cracks are heard as cables snap and wood creaks... but it resettles.
On the other side, the Watcher of Karna is kept at bay by the goblin defender.
Turn 6 - Priority Harad. The Watcher of Karna leaps, spinning, into the air and lands with both swords arcing through the neck of the goblin defender. The decapitated goblin falls back into the now empty pannier as the Watcher readies himself for his next assault.
Druzhag turns at the sound of another goblin dying and watches with horror as the skilled, black-clad human gets closer. So intent is he on controlling the Mumak and watching the melee that a swarm of arrows swishes through the air right at him! Four of the five arrows thwack harmlessly into the Howdah fabric, but one strikes him in the small of the back - right in that one spot that you just can't reach when it's itchy! Fate has deserted the evil goblin today, but victory is so close!
More raider reinforcements rush towards the battle...
The Mumak is getting close to escape!
Turn 7 - Priority Goblin. Druzhag, angered as much as the foul-tempered Mumak, urges it onwards, his mind-control successful the Mumak turns from revenge and heads away from the human attackers, sensing that escape is near!
Druzhag again narrowly misses being shot in the back as he turns to watch the plucky Watcher of Karna swiftly slay two more goblins in the blink of an eye! Their lifeless bodies are kicked over the edge and fall from sight as arrows swish around the evil goblin beastcaller.
As the goblin bodies send up small puffs of dust, raiders again try to bait it back and hamper its escape, one of them darts too closely to a massive foot and he and his horse are crushed.
The Mumakil are still side by side, with battle sounds ringing from the howdah as the other Harad boarder continues his attack, the goblin defender manages to keep the human down in the pannier.
Turn 8... this close to the edge of the board if the goblins win priority and Druzhag succeeds in his spell it will be victory for the evil beastcaller!
Priority - Harad!
The Watcher of Karna leaps up to face Druzhag with his dual swords! One sword slashes open the fabric of the howdah, the other lances forward and cuts the legs out from under the goblin. Seconds later a swarm of bats explodes from the billowing black cloak as Druzhag's fading life releases them from his hold.
The Watcher clambers up to take the reins!
With the calming assistance of the Harad commander, both Mumakil are safely escorted back to the army encampment, with just a few minor wounds to heal. Security will be tightened in Harad camps from now on, the warg attack was beaten back easily enough but the Mumakil will be more closely guarded in the future!
Wow! What a close game, it came right down to the very last turn! It really could have gone either way at any point. A few lucky priority wins (and successful spell castings) could have had the goblins win, but some accurate archery and swashbuckling Harad humans carried the day in the end! I completely forgot that my plan was to let a goblin rappel down in front of the Mumak if I didn't cast the spell right so that the Mumak would attack the goblin and not get distracted back!
Hehe, really the game was an excuse for a couple hours of fun and a chance to take photos of two massive Mumakil at once =) I had a great time, the swashbuckling element was just hilarious!
I've finished painting all but my banner bearers of my Harad force, and took pictures of them today too, I'll get around to putting them in a post some time soon I'm sure =)