Oathmark - Battle of the Wringit

This 10mm contest was fought on a club Sunday in June 2024. The players were Harry and Ewan. I am grateful to Harry for providing the following report: -

Skrengll, self-proclaimed Great King of all the Western Orcs, suffered the first major humiliation of his reign when he lost control of the human city of Scranton at the battle of Bad Pot Pass.   A ragged encampment of vagabonds, runaway slaves, escaped prisoners and other disreputable characters it was actually rather optimistic of Scranton to call itself a city. Nevertheless, Skrengll had been proud to have it as a tributary of his little “empire”, and also proud of the highly-prized human-trained soldiers it had allowed him to recruit into his armies.

Skrengll’s overly ambitious warden of the city had attempted to bully what he thought was a group of unaffiliated Orcs off some prime grazing land to the east of the city. He had not realised that a) these Orcs were under the protection of the Dark Northern Fairy Folk, a powerful and vicious old Elven clan and b) the grazing land he attacked was an important sacred site for this clan.  They had allowed the Orcs to use it as grazing land on condition that they guarded the sacred Oathmarks that had inhabited the site for centuries.

The ambitious warden had been ignominiously defeated at Bad Pot Pass, his unprepared warband ripped mercilessly apart by a pair of powerful heavy catapults, helped along by his own military incompetence. Stripped of its defences, Scranton was immediately occupied by the victors of the battle. 

Humiliated and outraged, Skrengll immediately determined upon revenge. For the defeated warden this revenge took the form of being placed in a small cage and paraded around the kingdom for a week to be jeered at and have the contents of chamber pots thrown over him. For the DNFF the revenge took the form of an immediate invasion of their territory, with Skrengll himself now leading the military operation.

While mostly intended as a demonstration of strength, and a way of saving face for the previous defeat, a secondary goal of the operation was to tear up a ring of abandoned villages on the border of DNFF territory. These villages, abandoned since the collapse of the Western Empire two centuries earlier, had been systematically stripped of their old timber and used to construct the very catapults that had caused such destruction at Bad Pot Pass.

The DNFF, quickly informed of the invasion, determined to make a stand at the Wringit – a large, muddy stream that ran across the Northern border of their territory. At this time of year, just after the rainy season, the Wringit was only fordable at three locations – all within half a mile of each other – two gravel fords* and between them an ancient sandstone bridge.

*archaeological finds from the battle are still being turned up at the modern village of Gravelford to this day. 

To force these crossings, Skrengll divided his army into 3 powerful divisions. Against the left-most ford he massed all his wolf-riders – nearly twice the number that had been present at Bad Pot Pass. Skrengll himself commanded on the right along with his thegns, their tenants and, to the horror of the enemy forces watching from across the stream, 3 huge grey trolls – the first fruits of Skrengll’s experimental troll breeding programme.

In the centre, opposite the bridge, Skrengll had yet another surprise waiting for the enemy. It had always been traditional for goblin and orcish archers to operate in small clumps of skirmishers skulking around on the fringes of a battle. Skrengll, however, had observed from his time serving as a mercenary in human armies just how effective massed volleys could be from a solid block of archers operating en masse. So he gathered all his archers together directly opposite the bridge, protected by more militia infantry, and put them under the command of single officer.

Against this powerful force the DNFF again mostly fielded a mass of Orcish auxiliaries as was their traditional practice, although as this was a direct invasion of their territory they did stiffen its defences with a unit of elven spearmen. They also placed a mysterious hooded figure on a rocky outcrop in the centre of the battlefield, giving him a clear view of all the proceedings.  Clearly an elf judging by his impressive stature, it became apparent during the battle that he was also a mage of awesome power. Sadly for the ancient Elven folk all these defensive preparations were not sufficient to stand against the power of Skrengll’s rage.

The massed Goblin archers opposite the bridge wreaked fearful destruction on that bridge’s defenders, enabling the massed Orc levies behind them to rush across the bridge unopposed (the archers were then left free to provide supporting fire to the battles raging on the left and right of the battlefield). On the right, Skrengll and his forces were slow to get moving but when they did so managed to take the ford fairly easily.  A potentially troublesome pack of DNFF auxiliary wolf-riders was held off by the trolls, who had excellent swimming ability and moved straight across the Wringit as if it was open ground.

The stiffest resistance came at the left-hand ford, where the Elven spearmen proved the ideal deterrent to the massed waves of wolf-riders pouring across the stream.  Resistance was further stiffened here by the sudden teleportation of troops across the battlefield by the mysterious wizard on the hilltop, who having destroyed his opposite number in an uneven fireball duel was now free to turn his attention to such matters. While the fight on the left was hard and brutal, nevertheless Skrengll’s forces had managed to get themselves across the stream.  Seeing all three crossing places now forced, the DNFF’s Orcish auxiliaries eventually lost heart and slowly drifted away from the field leaving only a few Elven spearmen making a last stand (the mysterious mage having disappeared as suddenly as he appeared).

An overjoyed and relieved Skrengll, not even giving his men time to sleep, immediately ordered them to surge forward and commence with tearing down what was left of the ruined villages…………….