Juhlii started quietly, with the Upirian vampires shifting their forces around the map. C banner brought the previously unknown village of Felton into the fold, but otherwise it was a fairly uneventful month for Upiria.
Da Squig Teef expanded da Gobbolands a bit, discovering more barren lands in the northeast. Exploring da Gobbolands east of Squigopolis led to the discovery of an isolated tomb. Further investigation suggested that it marked the burial site of a long-forgotten hero, but it was also discovered that not only had the tomb been looted a long time ago, but that the catacombs had been claimed by a group of Dark Elves as their lair. The goblins were attacked by the vile creatures, but were able to fend them off; minimal casualties were suffered by each side as the dark elves retreated back into the tunnels. Squig Teef C, after spending a month softening up the skaven fortress of Gutsticken, launched an assault and nearly overran the fortress. Losses were suffered on both sides of the conflict, and the goblins were pushed back from Gutsticken’s walls.
The Black Skull Empire prepared for war, sending advance scouts into Voltal and Ogretown. Following their scouts, banner A marched upon Ogretown, only to witness the cowardly ogres retreat into the city, hunkering down for a siege that wouldn’t come. Faced with the bitter reality of a siege situation, the Black Skull withdrew, returning to the village of Dalton. Banner D charged into Voltal, surprising the local militia and overpowering the city, despite suffering heavy losses in the process. The Black Skull Empire claimed Voltal for their empire and expelled the minor Kristanzian royalty that were running the place to die in the woods outside the city. Banner B left Desperation to take up residence at the Bleeding Spire, and Banner C traveled southeast into their newly found village of Klump.
Clan Spearhavok split their runners between internal recon and expansion. Amberkill sent scouts into Deadwood, where they found evidence of goblin spies, calling for the banner to advance into the village to reinforce the skaven presence. Batterskull sent spies to investigate the goblin siege on Gutsticken, but ended up advising Batterskull’s engineers to hold back and let the militia at Gutsticken fend for themselves. Cravenfur’s scouts discovered a village of Beastmen called Narrat on the shores of the lake northeast of Goblintombs, and Cravenfur’s rats advanced, crushing the beastmen’s weak local forces while suffering minimal casualties themselves. The Doomrat banner’s night runners reported a city of high elves southwest of Foundwater and, not to be outdone by Cravenfur, immediately called for an all out attack on the elven city of Glortilyhuir. The elves retreated within their city’s walls but the Doomrats were not to be slowed, clambering up the walls and through the city’s sewers at great cost in a direct assault that quickly brought the city to its knees.
The Kingdom of Ogredeblarg had a rough month, finding a village northeast of Fort Ogre but little else. Banner B found themselves drenched and held down by a full month of torrential downpours in the area surrounding Ogreville, while banner C remained in Ograda, suffering from a strange sickness that swept through the village.
Note: Rather than running this turn 1 player at a time, we opted to try a 1 phase at a time approach. Things are a little more reactionary, but I will still be describing the actions of one faction at a time. Just so it makes sense when I mention things happening in response to something I haven’t yet mentioned.
The tribe of da Squig Teef grew even bolder in Juhn, expanding da Gobbolands to the north and east. Hot off their victory over the helpless villagers of Gromville, banner C (we really need cooler names for these banners) scouted Gutsticken, the fortress west of Gromville. Banner D sent scouts to spy on the Amberkill skaven banner in Deadwood, discovering their secrets and then slipping back to warn the rest of the goblins. Banner A fled the wizard’s tower of Vicious Tim into their expanded Gobbolands, B similarly advanced into the barrens, and D opted to stay put after learning what awaited them in Deadwood. C, not realising that the Amberkill skaven had sent scouts into their midst, advanced upon Gutsticken. When the local skaven militia retreated into the fortress and prepared for a siege, the goblins proceeded to attack the walls with a combination of thrown boulders and ballista fire.
Clan Spearhavok, plagued by the Black Skull Empire in the north and da Squig Teef tribe in the east, split their scouts between unknown territory and reconnaisance. Amberkill banner sent scouts into Gromville, learning the details of the goblins deployed there and returning undetected. Batterskull discovered more barren territory southeast of Khorne’s End while the Doomrat scouts followed the river to find an easily subjugated village to the west of Foundwater. Naming it Riverspitz, the scouts returned to their banner. The Cravenfur banner sent scouts to the northwest, where they discovered a small series of villages on the river; they submitted immediately to Clan Spearhavok’s rule. After returning to their banner, the scouts learned that the villages had soon after been visited by the Black Skull Empire, and had switched allegiances without a thought! Naming the villages Traitorgulch, banner Cravenfur advanced into the village, daring the Black Skull to return in number. Amberkill, left alone by the goblins of banner D, advanced upon Gromville – now devoid of any serious Squig Teef presence – and claimed it as their own, simultaneously cutting off the potential escape route of the goblins besieging Gutsticken. Batterskull opted to remain in Khorne’s End, ready to provide backup to Gutsticken should it be needed, and the Doomrats remained in Foundwater, satisfied that Rivespitz was well protected from the Black Skull Empire by Death Drop Chasm to the north.
Upiria devoted its energies to expansion during the month of Juhn, discovering and claiming the city of Nilbog northwest of Thorns, and the village of Dimtide on the southern cape of Upiria, just south of Lachrymarum. Banner A discovered that the Fallow continued to the east, and opted to remain where it was, and banner D’s scouts located a city of High Elves to the east! Attempting a surprise attack, D crept in across the one time battlefields of the Fallow, only to be stumbled upon by withdrawing Elven forces that had spotted Upiria’s scouts. Battle erupted with neither side fully prepared, and the bloody mess lasted for several days, but in the end the High Elves were able to fight the Upirian banner to a draw, with heavy losses on both sides. The Elves retreated into the city of Athanel, and Upiria’s D banner retreated back into the Fallow.
The Black Skull Empire opted for an aggressive month, expanding east towards the Kingdom of Ogredeblarg and south towards Clan Spearhavok. Banners A and C found and advanced upon two villages, naming them Dalton and Vile. Banner A was only too happy to leave the brigands of the Cursed Passage behind them. Banner B sent scouts into a series of villages southwest of them that had been newly-claimed by the skaven of Clan Spearhavok, briefly winning over the villages until the Cravenfur banner returned later in the month. Not to be so easily dismissed themselves, Banner B advanced upon Traitorgulch. Banner D discovered a surviving village-state of Kristanzians on the river southeeast of the Pillar of Skulls, and proceeded to launch an attack of their own, only to be repelled by the Kristanzians after their battle resulted in a draw. Black skull casualties were fairly light. The battle of Traitorgulch went even less smoothly, with the Black Skull Empire suffering fairly heavy losses, and the Cravenfur banner losing a number of stormvermin, including Fangleader Gristlekill. After a bitter and bloody conflict, both sides were forced to withdraw from Traitorgulch, but the villages remained a part of Clan Spearhavok’s growing empire.
Our ogre general is still MIA, so the Kingdom of Ogredeblarg had another fairly low key turn, expanding its borders without conflict. With da Squig Teef advancing from the south and the Black Skull growing more aggressive in the west, however, it looks unlikely that Ogredeblarg will be able to maintain its policy of non-aggression come Juhlii.
Note: A few names and places are likely to change before too long…
The year of the Shrieking Eagle was a dark one for the failing Kristanz Empire. A winter filled with bad omens and mysteriously slain livestock led to infighting amongst the royal family, eventually resulting in a major schism. Betrayals and backstabbings quickly ramped up into formal attacks, and the lesser lords – faced with an imminent civil war – opted to break off into independent city-states in and effort to avoid being drawn into the battle. By midsummer, the Kristanz Empire was no more, having dissolved into a war-torn nightmare.
The lesser lords of Kristanz were not the only ones to respond to the civil war, but where they saw disaster, various other factions saw opportunity. As the equinox approached, dark forces rose up to carve out realms of their own.
In the far North, the Ogre Kingdom of Blargdeblarg expanded their plateau-based mercenary camps to conquer the surrounding area.
The Binkeldebap goblin tribes exploded out of their caves in the central highlands to claim a territory of their own.
An army of the undead rose up out of a former battlefield in the South Eastern peninsula, driven by the Upirian vampires.
Finally, what had appeared to be small, isolated skaven raiders in the South West turned out to be Clan Skitterblood’s advance scouts; it took less than a week for them to carve out a realm of their own.
The winter season provided more than enough time for each of these factions to cement their hold, while preventing any sizable retaliation by the former Kristanzians. With the spring equinox near at hand, each faction prepares to make their move. The year of the Shrieking Fox is upon this once-glorious empire. What will the next several months bring? Glory? Panic? New Dark Overlords? Only time will tell.