Our campaign kicked off with two battles, one was a massive 8 way rush for the Blood Crystal itself and the other a follow up, where 3 disgruntled warbands attempted to ambush the winner of the previous game. I'll hand over to my Warband Leader to recount the events in more detail...
An excerpt from the journal of Erik Kyelmir
Finally, the lord of change has given me a sign. I have lost count of the amount of times the sun has fallen and risen since I was chased from my home, but opportunity has come to my side once more. A strange masked man found me in my camp on the outskirts of Mordheim and presented me with an invitation from his master, a mysterious benefactor. Tearing the envelope open I read the contents of the invitation and was immediately filled with curiosity. It spoke of a challenge the man hosted annually, the prize an unknown artifact of power. It was known only as the "Blood Crystal". He mentioned that in the challenges history no warband had survived to reach the goal, and that he had once again gathered groups of notoriety to try. I was confident I could take advantage of this event... none of these others were favoured by Tzeench, my master would see that I succeeded where many had failed.
We reached the location detailed on the invitation and discovered a large raised area that was surrounded by ruined houses. Once there we heard the voice of the benefactor ringing out, his aristocratic tone was filled with menace "Welcome all to the Crystal Challenge! The prize you seek is at the centre of this area. When you get to the raised platform you will see the crystal on a small pillar in the centre of a bottomless pit. This pillar is connected to the edges of the pit via 4 bridges filled with a variety of entertaining traps. Nobody may fight before they reach the raised section, and once the crystal has been taken you will all leave immediately. Now, without further delay, let the challenge begin!"
Battlecries filled the air from men and creatures of all kinds. Looking to my right I could see a shambling group of undead, their vampire leader sprinting towards the goal with unnatural haste. To my left were some of the hated Witch Hunters, I could see they were as eager to fight me as I was to show them the fury of Chaos but our benefactors words kept me from ruining this chance. The Witch Hunters could be killed soon enough. To the west I spied Skaven, their natural agility carrying them towards the centre with alarming speed. Malevolence, my demonic gift from my lord rushed forwards, matching them and the rest of my troops followed behind him. Malevolence reached the raised area at the same time as a group of the ratmen's clanrats, a pair of dark elf nobles and a ferocious looking bull centaur. In an attempt to prevent the Bull centaur from reaching the centre with it's long legs my beastmen allies charged it and managed to knock it down. Kel'Zhu, my trusted Warlock Advisor formed a defensive block on the stairs with our brethren allies and Corben the mutant and myself moved to support Malevolence.
Spotting a female Dark Elf Lordling on the opposite side of the pit from me I chanted words of dark power and invoked the Lure of Chaos. With her mind in my control I used her to distract the skaven, and my brethren archers managed to kill a number of the clanrats. As chaos reigned Malevolence attempted to cross the bridge to the centre of the pit. In the rush he triggered a boulder that appeared from the air to smash into him. Fortunately his demonic resilience absorbed the majority of the blow and seeing this made me smile. My mirth was short lived. A skaven master engineer clad in breathing apparatus and carrying an elaborate pair of warplock pistols emerged from his minions and unloaded his crackling ammo at me. The creatures aim was true and he knocked me to the ground, blood gushing from a pair viscous wounds. As I began to loose consciousness I spotted scores more Skaven pouring up onto the raised area and smashing Malevolence to the ground with a storm of sling stones.
It was at this point I blacked out, the pain from my wounds too great to bear. Khel'Zhu's post battle report filled me in on the last parts of the battle. After seeing both me and the demon fall he decided to rush for the stone, he reasoned that if he could end this battle soon then he could keep further casualties to a minimum. He rushed up the stairs and crossed the bridge with the grace of Tzeentch himself. Traps swung all around but he deftly avoided them and grabbed the prize, the Blood Crystal. This triggered a round of applause from the shadows around our battle, and the benefactors voice rang out once more. "Congratulations followers of Tzeentch, you gain the Blood Crystal, I trust you find it an...interesting...acquistion. Now you should all leave. My thanks for your participation."
Carrying various wounded the warbands dispersed and Khel'Zhu moved us to a nearby warehouse to lick our wounds and recover from the ordeal. I awoke to find my wounds, although painful, were non-permanent. Malevolence also recovered, it seems he is now completely blind as a result of a barrage of sharpened rocks to the eyes. It is fortunate his sense of smell and demonic intuition is enough to guide him to his prey. After reporting Khel'Zhu moved to a dark corner to study his prize. He insists that he should be the one to look after the Crystal and he seemed to be transfixed by it. As leader I should not let this behaviour go unpunished, but Khel'Zhu has always been trustworthy, and my wounds make it hard to consider a direct confrontation with such a powerful mage. We shall finish our recovery, search the area for wyrdstone and move back to our camp on the outskirts...
And that was our campaigns first battle. It was great fun, although the fact we couldn't fight before reaching the centre made the first few turns somewhat disconcerting. Running side by side with a vampire makes anyone twitchy. One of my brethren got promoted to a henchmen and I bought a second mutant. This one had a tentacle, but I was too poor to afford to buy him any other gear...whoops. There were also some random advances, like my spear wielding brethren group getting a 3rd attack, fun times :).
I'll continue with the next battle later in the week. Let me know if you like this style of battle reports... if you would rather I did a more factual, turn by turn, account. That's definitely possible...