I live in a bit of a Warmachine Wasteland, with little going on competitively in my immediate area.
I also got married recently, and prior to our wedding my wife had expressed frustration in learning to play the game because she's got a bit of a stubborn streak and therefore doesn't want a ton of help, but she also doesn't like losing.
Cue a cooperative narrative league in the second No Quarter Prime and suddenly the prospect is much more appealing.
For those of you who haven't seen the narrative scenario, it works basically like this:
Up to four players bring 25 points of units and solos. No Warcasters, battle engines, or Warbeasts.
The goal of the game is to kill a Gargantuan with...some interesting enhancements.
First of all, if you damage the Monster, it only ever goes to column 1. If you cripple the mind, it gains an additional dice to hit. If you cripple the body, all of it's damage rolls (including electro leaps and plasma generator!) gain an additional dice. If you cripple the Spirit, it gets to do a sweep before it attacks every turn.
Wait, if you cripple the Spirit that means you've killed it right?
No, it just gets all it's health back and is considered to have all it's aspects crippled still.
It targets things by randomly turning on a deviation template every turn, and it charges the closest thing it can see. If it can't make a successful charge, it still charges, but at the end of it's turn it gets to make all the ranged attacks it has.
Oh, and it gets a turn between each players turn.
ALSO, whenever it takes 10 damage or more from a single attack, it tramples directly at whatever attacked it and can go over medium and large based models. If it can't legally land? it just keeps going until it can.
It's also immune to free strikes and continuous effects.
My wife picked the Storm Raptor out from my lineup of Gargantuans (which includes Stormy, a Woldwrath, a Sea King, Glacier, and Mountain King) and built herself a list of Blood Witches with Hag and a Pistol Wraith, while I picked max Champs, Skaldi, and Janissa.
The scenario dictates a radial deployment zone, and this is where we ended up. I won the roll to move first.
Skaldi peered over a small hillock, crouched low to give him cover. The rough Trollkin flicked his noxious cigar into the ground and crawled back to join his brothers.
"Well?" Janissa hissed at him, "Did ye see it?"
Skaldi grimaced and instinctively reached for another cigar before catching himself and moving his hand away. It would not do to have the beast woken by the sulfurous fumes.
"Yeah I seen it. Big and feathered, crackling with power. Should be fun. It be sleepin' too, should have some time to catch 'im unawares."
Across the sparsely wooded hills, another group of individuals stalked around a rocky outcropping. Pirates and a Dead Man far from sea and home, they traveled inland seeking treasures for the Dragonfather.
A quiet set of hand signals stopped the group dead at the first sight of the slumbering beast. Even at a distance, the sparking energy crackling around the animal was impressive. Not much scared the Blood Hags, but something about the feathers longer than a man's height and a beak that looked as if it could snap an Ogrun in half caused a ball of cold unease to form in each of their guts.
Round 1: Trolls
Basically everything ran. My goal here was to leverage DEF 14 against the Storm Raptor's MAT of five and get to really dig in with the unit of Champs, maybe kill it once and set up the Cryx forces for the second charge to finish it off.
Skaldi and his boys flanked Janissa in a protective formation, with Champs on either side of the powerful Runeshaper. They moved forward with all the stealth they could muster, trying desperately to keep the thing sleeping until they could close. Their goal was a natural trench set in the ground ahead, they could launch their attacks from there.
Round 1: Monster 1
Because of the "Slumbering" rule, the monster doesn't activate during the first round if it has not been damaged yet.
The beast, as yet unaware of the closing enemies, stirred gently but quickly drifted off to sleep again, the constant hum of electrical energy lulling it softly.
Round 1: Cryx
My wife ran the Satyxis forward in a big knot with the Pistol Wraith slipping around with them. The monster can see through forests and obstructions and clouds, so hiding things isn't really worth it.
The Witches, spurred onwards despite their fear by the ancient crone with them, ran silently across the grass. They avoided the rocky ground with ease, and even more carefully avoided glancing at the grinning face of the wraith that accompanied them. Such things were dangerous and unpredictable, and only Skarre's iron command had forced them into his company.
Round 1: Monster 2
Again, the monster had not been damaged and so it cannot activate in the first round.
Something seemed to disturb the beast, and the great wings ruffled gently through the air. Skaldi and his band could feel the powerful winds whip through their ranks, and the thought of true wingstrokes was suddenly frightening.
Round 2: Trolls
Everything ran again. I was in a bit of a pickle here. If I stay where I am, the Raptor will just charge me and get three dice damage if it hits. Additionally, if it charges any of the Cryx models, I can't get to it on my next turn if I stay where I am.
So....like the crazy Trolls they are my Champs all ran at the Storm Raptor, with Janissa hanging out behind.
Skaldi motioned his Champs to greater speeds. The beast was waking on it's own, and they needed to be in position to strike. As they approached it, the great bird's eyes flashed open, glowing with blue energy, and Skaldi roared a feral war cry as a true Son of Bragg ought.
Round 2: Monster 1
We rolled deviation to see which way the Storm Raptor faced, and it ended up looking right at my Champs.
We decided that Keturah should roll for it when attacking my things and vice versa, so in came the Raptor needing nines to hit and getting two attacks.
Unfortunately, my wife rolls dice that are just about as hot as she is and the Raptor connected twice out of three (an eleven and a box cars), forcing a (successful) tough check and making me spread a TON of damage around between the Champs.
The huge animal, fully awake now shrieked back it's own terrifying battle cry, echoing off the mountains and bouncing back. It swooped forward, and the Champs fell into their familiar battle line, singing the song of their ancestors and praising Dhunia for the protection she grants.
Except somehow, inexplicably, the beast sliced right through their song, the discordant shrieking never ceasing and cutting through their war chant. One had his spine nearly severed by the snapping beak, blood fountaining warm and dark through the frozen air. Skaldi could see steam rising from his brother's chest as he cried out. Moments later, the wound inexplicably closed, and though the troll looked battered by the attack, he lived on.
"I told ye I was the toughest 'kin ye'd ever met Skaldi, I told ye!" The battered warrior roared out, grinning through bloody teeth.
A second troll looked to be impaled by flashing talons, but Skaldi and another Champion reached out and fed their brother life force, raw and vital, from their own bodies. Skaldi felt the impact and the pain, but between the three of them, none suffered a mortal wound.
Round 2: Cryx
The Satyxis are universally slightly too far away to charge, so my wife runs one up as a sacrifice should the bird turn around and the rest move into a striking position. The Pistol Wraith moves around and pops a couple shots at the Storm Raptor, doing 2-3 damage to it.
The Satyxis, at first startled and about to flee by the sudden awakening, found renewed courage as the lightning-clad avian shrieked at a previously unseen group of Trollkin, lesser cousins of the blighted implements serving the Dragonfather.
They were still too far away to begin a charge, but one of their number succumbed to the blood lust and ran ahead of the rest, intent on sinking her ritual blade deep into new flesh.
The Pistol Wraith fired two shots, the report bouncing off the hills and startling smaller wildlife with the sudden ferocity of the wraithfire.
Round 2: Monster 2
This time we rolled deviation for the monsters facing to the four, making it turn completely 180 degrees. This meant it was heading right for the sacrificial Satyxis, killing it easily and then electro leaping to another and instantly frying it as well.
It took no free strikes because of the special rules of the scenario.
The gigantic bird turned to the sound of gunfire and it's eyes fell on the lone Blood Witch that had outstripped her sisters. With a piercing scream the raptor tore her in half, crackling energy reaching out and disintegrating another as the miniature storm cascading off the beak discharged.
Round 3: Trolls
I saw an opportunity to maybe end the game right here. I'd have to get lucky and not spike my damage rolls too hard or else the Raptor would just trample off and that would be the end of my dreams.
The math is pretty good actually, if I land all six charges, that's 48 damage with another 30 following from secondary attacks, and then Janissa comes in and does another 10. Even if it didn't kill it, it'd be down to about 10 boxes on it's second set of health and the Satyxis should easily finish that off.
Unfortunately, I spiked the first damage roll REALLY hard, doing 12 damage with the charge and causing the Raptor to trample off, killing the Champ who had hit it with the trample and...
then Janissa charged in and did another 12 ish damage to the beast. This crippled the body though, which meant that the resulting POW 10 damage roll from Plasma Nimbus was 3 dice and fried Janissa. She toughed, and then the bird trampled over her, killing her instantly.
And this was all on MY turn!
Skaldi roared out as the huge wings turned from the Champions, "Now's our time, GET IT BOYS!"
The six brothers stormed up, flanking the beast as it tore a horned woman in half. The first strike bit deep, and the bird screamed in pain, flapping a full beat of it's wings. The Champs, blinded by the dust and rock kicked up by the enormous winds nevertheless heard their brother cry out death scream as the beast's talons tore him open in passing.
"NO!" Janissa cried, bringing her enchanted hammer to bear, but though she struck a blow that would have felled some true Dire Trolls, the beast did not fall. Indeed, the hammer glowed white hot in her hands and before she could let go of it, a blast of electrical force smashed through her body. The bird turned a baleful eye on her and casually dragged a talon across her neck as it flew past her. She fell, her lifeblood pouring into the greedy soil and freezing on the grass.
Round 3: Monster 1
Unfortunately, there was no way for the monster to not come after the Champs this turn, and come after them it did, leaving only Skaldi and one Champion alive with a box or two each after tearing things apart with 3 dice to hit and 3 dice for damage on both the attacks and the electro leaps.
The dust and dirt had yet to settle and Skaldi felt more than heard Janissa's body thud onto the ground. He had no time to react before three of his brothers fell in a flurry of beak and talon and thunderous energy. He himself felt the searing hit of multiple bolts of lightning but he would not submit to death. Not yet, not now. There were 'kin to avenge, and Skaldi would see it done.
Round 3: Cryx
Two Blood Witches could charge and hit the Monster this turn, and so my wife ran another up to keep gang present through their attacks. The two that could charge did so, and actually ended the first round of health boxes and spilled over into the second. Both of them died to the Plasma Nimbus (what a ridiculous rule in this format!) and the Pistol Wraith contributed another four points of damage.
The Witches could smell the blood in the air, and suddenly all fear was gone, replaced with reckless aggression. Two of their number were able to reach the beast, and, undeterred by the swirling lightning, plunged their blades deep to drink of it's life essence.
Both melted and died as the electricity coursed through their bodies, but the rest of the crew only grew more enraged at the sight. Grinning, the Pistol Wraith deepened the wounds on the side of the increasingly ferocious animal, hoping to claim it's soul for himself.
Round 3: Monster 2
The Storm Raptor eviscerated Skaldi and the Satyxis in front of it, each electro leap killing off another model from the opposite faction. Suddenly, there were only a handful of Blood Witches and a Pistol Wraith to kill off about 40 boxes of Storm Raptor.
The beast was weakening, Skaldi could see it. His astonishment was complete then when it lashed out, tearing the Witch in half and sending scorching electricity into the last brother. Skaldi stared in disbelief as the Champion fell, and turned to strike at the huge bird.
He was met with huge glowing eyes as the beak came into his torso, locking it in a final embrace. He did not see the flare of energy that leapt off him, his eyes were already dark.
Round 4: Cryx
With only a handful of models left, the Satyxis all charged in and hoped for good dice. Alas, they did not pan out, and the Storm Raptor survived on about 8 boxes after all of them went in.
Of course..Plasma Nimbus fries every...single...one of them. And the Lone Pistol Ranger I mean Wraith blasts for a couple more damage.
The Witches, completely consumed by bloodlust, charged the beast, raking great slashes in it's hide and dying in electrical spasms. The Pistol Wraith retreated back, firing as it went. If it were capable of any other expression, the grin on it's face would likely have faded.
Round 4: Monster 1
It's a pretty easy calculation, a bunch of boosted MAT 5s that auto kill will get a Pistol Wraith. With that, the game is over and the monster wins!
The monstrous bird, a red haze of fury and pain clouding it's mind, streaked across the broken hills trailing lightning behind it. It struck the Wraith with a thunderclap and shredded the ethereal connection that held it on Caen.
With a blood curdling shriek, the bird flew upwards and away into the gathering storm until it vanished with a single, gigantic clap of thunder and lightning.
The rain fell cold and wet on the smoldering trolls and cauterized Satyxis. A careful observer would have missed it, but after a few moments a single heartbeat thumped low and weak, followed soon after by several more. Trollkin are notoriously difficult to kill permanently and as for Cryx...well nothing truly stays dead for long when under the employ of the Dragonfather...
Victory for the Storm Raptor!
This was an absolute blast to play. The Raptor, while weak in the traditional ruleset of Warmachine and Hordes was an absolute terror in this setting, and a real challenge. We were able to get it down to a handful of boxes, and with a couple of missed attacks on it's part or slightly less goofy damage rolls on ours, we could very well have taken it down.
My wife really enjoyed the game, enough that we picked up the models and tried again almost immediately.
But that's a story for another day.
If this has inspired you to give this scenario a try, let us know how it goes! Not many people record narrative scenario games and I think it's a fun break from the regular battle reports. My wife and I are certainly going to keep taking down trophy kills as we can (maybe I can convince her to play something that hits a little harder next time).
Thanks for reading!