View Full Version : Grudgebringers: 2500 points of Empire nostalgia *Short Battle Report added*

13-07-2012, 13:25
Can you believe it has really been 15 years since the release of the Dark Omen and Shadow of the Horned Rat strategy games? I remember the games vividly, their engaging story and after battle dialogues, the units full of character..

Every now and then I get the urge to build an army based on the Grudgebringers of the series, a rag-tag mercenary army led by Commander Bernhardt and his fearsome cavalry retinue. So with the new book out for more than 3 months, I think it's time to try and adapt this idea to 8th edition.

Morgan Bernhardt (General of the Empire), Barded Warhorse, FPA, Shield, Dawnstone, Sword of Antiheros, Ruby ring of Ruin
Gunther Schepke (Captain, BSB), Enchanted Shield, Sword of Might, Luckstone
Matthias Thulmann, (Witch Hunter), Brace of Pistols
Vladimir Stormbringer, (Celestial Battle Wizard), Lvl2, Staff of Solidity
Luther Flamenstrike, (Bright Battle Wizard), Lvl2, Dispel Scroll

30 Grudgebringer Infantry (Swordsmen), Full Command
-15 Countess' Guard (Halberdier Detachment)
24 Outlaw Infantry (Free Company), Standard, Musician
16 Grudgebringer Crossbows, Standard, Musician
9 Grudgebringer Cavalry (Knightly Orders), Full Command
10 Carlsonn's Cavalry (Knightly Orders), Full Command
10 Helmgart Bowmen (Archers), Musician

5 Ragnar's Wolves (Reiksguard), Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame
14 Imperial Greatswords, Standard, Musician
5 Outlaw Pistoliers, Musician
1 Grudgebringer Cannon
10 Flagellants, Prophet

Comes in at roughly 2500 points ( no book with me atm), and features all Empire units at Morgan Bernhardt's disposal. (would have loved to include a unit of Zhufbar Dwarves or Mercenary Ogres, but today's warhammer has no place for Dogs of War...)

In terms of strategy, this list is designed to play as a combined arms list with a focus on movement and combat through CR denial (1+ save) and combo charges. Depending on the situation, there are many units able to act as anvils and/or hammers thanks to the knights' 1+ save and the hold the line rule.

I tried to be as faithful as possible to the original unit sizes, and the end result is a colourful and diverse army I think! Besides, 10-strong flaggies and 14-strong greatswords make great flankers and anchors for the battleline. Besides playing a bit with unit sizes and magic items, I am restricted by my theme in terms of units.

So what I'm looking for here is a discussion on how to best use the units at hand, what to look out for, obvious pitfalls of the list and -of course- the mandatory reminiscing of the good old times when the saviour of the empire was a gritty, battle hardened sellsword with a dark sense of humour and no respect for Sigmar of the Inquisition!


Matthias: "Another failure, the hand of nagash is unharmed and beyond our reach. Can't you do anything right ?"
Morgan Bernhardt: "I can chop off a witch hunters head and have my sword back in its scabbard within a single second."

13-07-2012, 17:22
Love it! Great theme and fun list!

14-07-2012, 12:12
I'm glad you like it, it seems that lately theme has taken the backseat in list-building, at least as far as the Internet warhammer communities are concerned.
Don't get me wrong, I adore a good tactical game and I want to have enough movement elements to be able to use complex strategies. However, it has been a while since I saw someone take a unit of swordsmen just because he has a beautifully converted unit that he wants to use.

Back to the list, I had a first game with it and it went rather well! It was a classic fight vs Goblins:

Goblin Warboss, LA, Shield, Wizarding Hat
Night Goblin Great Shaman, Lvl4, Dispel Scroll
Goblin Big Boss BSB, Banner of Discipline, LA, Shield
Goblin Big Boss, Gigantic Spider, LA, Shield, Dragonhelm, Sword of Might, Potion of Foolhardiness

20 Night Goblins, Shortbows, Musician, 2 Fanatics
20 Night Goblins, Shields , Musician, 2 Fanatics
20 Night Goblins, Shields , Musician, 2 Fanatics
20 Common Goblins, LA, Shield, Standard, Musician
5 Wolf Riders, LA, Shield, Musician
5 Wolf Riders, LA, Shield, Musician

15 Squigs/9 Herders
15 Squigs/9 Herders
6 Trolls
6 Trolls
Spear Chukka

Doom Diver
Doom Diver

So a themed list as well, but packing quite a punch in the form of trolls, squigs and doom divers!

The game ended a win in my favor, with the main highlights being:
-Outlaw pistoliers drew out 4 fanatics in total and survived to park themselves in front of a unit of trolls. They fled its charge and were caught, effectively trapping the unit in front of the Grudgebringer Infantry.

-Grudgebringer Infantry with BSB and the General Frontally charged the 6 strong troll unit accompanied by the Spider Hero, withstood the return attacks and broke them. These fled too far and were able to regroup, but got charged again and this time the Grudgebringer Infantry went in a killing spree and actually killed a troll, running down the rest. They continued their streak by taking down a doom diver and the general/BSB bunker eventually.

-Ragnar's Wolves got to charge a wounded giant, brought him down, but in his death throes he killed three of them and landed on top of the other two! Thankfully, the 1+ save proved its worth and they survived to tell the tale. Their luck was short lived, though: Later on, they combo charged a troll unit with the Flagellants. Their flaming helped the flaggies cut down three trolls, but the remaining beasts puked on the brave horsemen and killed them instantly.

-The Grudgebringer Cavalry was trapped in a mexican standoff against 2 units of squigs and a night goblin unit with fanatics. Two Doom Diver hits and a deadly wildwood attack later only a couple were left standing and they decided to flee the field. (Commander Bernhardt will have a word with these two).

-Carlsonn and his cavalry charged a unit of squigs, weathered their attacks and broke them, however the resulting squig explosion killed all of the remaining knights ( lots of 1's were involved). A pity, since their overrun path would have put them straight into the other squig unit's rear (and in combat with the squishy herders).

-Finally, Matthias got munched by a unit of angry trolls after a failed attempt to assassinate his primary quarry (the goblin general) from afar. The Grudgebringer cannon and Luther Flamenstrike more than made up for the witch hunter's shortcomings, dropping a giant with their combined efforts! A late game Firestorm and Fireball managed to kill off the entire retinue of the Night Goblin Great Shaman, causing him to flee out of the table!

So, there you have it, a first short report of the Grudgebringers' exploits. The list worked well and it was a fun game (dice rolls were weird all around, but hey..). I'd really love to include some mercenary ogres, since their high strength attacks in close combat would be a welcome addition. 8th edition has other plans, though...

Looking forward to reading your comments/critique.

16-07-2012, 15:32
Glad to hear the witch hunter got his due.

What's a Mexican standoff?

18-07-2012, 00:17
In this instance a "mexican standoff" is the situation where neither my cavalry nor the squig units opposite them wanted to risk a long charge; if they failed, the opponent could then easily countercharge and would have the upper hand. The term apparently was originally used to describe a three -way pistol duel where none of the participants wished to go first for fear of letting one of their opponents gain the upper hand. (google is my friend!)

What I like about the witch hunter is the psychological impact his 2 sniper KB pistol attacks per turn have on people; the actual chance of him killing blowing his target is not very high, but when that target is worth 250+ points, opponents get a bit nervous. At 55 points, he's a cheap wildcard.

18-07-2012, 01:36
Oh, I have nothing against the witch hunter as a Warhammer model; I just never cared for Mathias' whining in the game.

And thanks for the terminology lesson! I plan on using the term in the future.

18-07-2012, 05:42
Oh, I've always wanted to do that too (if you can't tell from my Avatar), I envy you :).
Are the models painted as per the videogames, or are you proxying with regular Empire?
Note: you can bring in the more outlandish elements during SoM games ;)
Oh yeah, a SotHR quote... right!
"RETREAT!" (:cries:)

21-07-2012, 06:33
"That which is dead can still burn!!!!" I loved the sothr and dark omen games. I have often wanted to do a thematic list based on them. I wouldnt have a problem if you were to include 3 ogres and a unit of dwarfs if i were to play yiur list as it is fun and very thematic!!

Till then my skaven army led thanquol will do :)

21-07-2012, 09:56
@Urgat: The army is a work in progress, the goal is to have it painted in the original colours, yes.

So, I got a second game in with the list, this time against the dreaded Vampire Counts!
The enemy list looked like this:
Vampire Lord, Lvl4, Barded Nightmare, Heavy Armour, Charmed Shield, Warrior Bane, Talisman of Preservation, Potion of Strength, Earthing Rod, Summon Creatures of the Night, Quick Blood, Red Fury
Vampire, Lvl2, Lore of Death, Cursed Book, Enchanted Shield, Quick Blood

38 Ghouls, Champion
7 Dire Wolves, Champion
7 Dire Wolves, Champion
6 Dire Wolves, Champion
6 Dire Wolves

10 Black Knights, Full Command, Barding
35 Grave Guard, Great Weapons, Full Command, Banner of the Barrows
5 Vargheists
2 Fell Bats
2 Fell Bats
2 Fell Bats

So overall not the hardest vampire list out there (it has distinct lack of etheral creatures and terrorgheists, for one) but still a tough bunch. The vampires are both great at hacking apart infantry and with the potion of strength the Vampire lord can easily make short work of knights with his ton of rerollable attacks. The rest of the points are safely tucked away inside the three big units, leaving just around 500 points in the squishier parts of the army (bats, wolves, vargheists).
So the basic plan was to stall the advance of the vampire bus, try to win the chaff battle using my fast units and in the late game try to swarm and take down one of the blocks.


-Magic went well for the Grudgebringers, I ran the wizards outside of units and hence was able to cast with 5-6 dice and bypass defenses more often than not. An Uranon's thunderbolt weakened the Vargheists early on, while a well-timed Flaming Sword helped the Outlaw Infantry as well (more on that later).

-Carlsonn's Cavalry outdid themselves, killing the weakened vargheists (flank charged them), a unit of wolves, some bats and finishing off the black knight unit with a suicidal rear charge.

-Matthias once again bit the dust early on, but for his points proved to be a headache for my opponent: Deployed directly opposite the vampire lord, he staved off a Spirit Leech and the Caress of Laniph, bravely marched towards the vampire bus and took a pot shot at the vampire lord. Two hits, one Killing Blow! What followed was a shaky ward save roll that could have won me the game from turn 2 and put Matthias in the book of legends..Alas, it was not to be and the dreaded creature made its ward save. Still, it was a funny moment, definitely worth the 55 points I paid for him.

-The Grave Guard were combo charged in the rear by the Outlaw Infantry and in the flank by the Imperial Greatswords with BSB. This greatly limited the return attacks from the undead elite, and it allowed me to grind them down fast, especially when the Flaming Sword got cast on the Outlaw Infantry. (even the vampire bus charging in to help them didn't help, although the Greatswords did die to a man because of the vampires.)

-The Black Knight bus was first fed Ragnar's Wolves, then the Helmgart Bowmen, then it was unfortunately able to overrun into the Grudgebringer Cavalry. The combat didn't go badly, but I did lose by 3 and failed both my 3d6 Ld tests. In an effort to save the Grave Guard, the Vampires elected to reform and thus Morgan and his retinue were spared. The black knights were finished off when Carlsonn and his cavalry charged into the unit's rear, with a combat resolution that brought both vampires down to one wound! The undead abominations quickly retaliated, making short work of their assailants, and a good magic phase saw them both healed.

-In the end, all that was left from the vampires was the two characters in combat with the Grudgebringer infantry and the unit of Ghouls (it got fed the pistoliers and, eventually, the flagellants). All the original Grudgebringer units were still standing in the end (Grudgebringer Infantry/Cavalry, Cannon, Crossbows, as well as the two mages, the outlaw infantry, the countess' guard and Morgan Bernhardt himself), making the game a Victory for the Grudgebringers!

So another fun game, and indeed the Grudgebringers proved that "That which is dead can still burn!".

I am enjoying writing up these small battle report summaries, won't be getting into fully fledged battle reporting (have already bitten off more than I can chew with my other log *check sig*), but if you people find it interesting, I can keep on writing these and document the exploits of the Grudgebringers!

So do let me know what you think! As always, I'll be happy to discuss tactics and anything Dark Omen/SotHR related, so leave a message on your way out ;)


25-07-2012, 13:30
nice repishness and a solid +1 for background/story driven armies games and campaigns :)