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Empire M.A.S.H.

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So I'm back into playing Fantasy.


I had been playing Fantasy for years, focusing mostly on undead but wanting to play Empire. I collected empire models by the bucket-load (plus a host of Bretts) but never got around to building and playing a cohesive army. I played a number of games with a thrown-together, haphazard force, but now I want to finish a real army.


I am a project-driven player. The creative process of building a converted-to-theme army is what drives and interests me. After a number(!) of projects, I think I burned myself out. When I ran out of projects, I stopped playing. Now I'm back.


So if this works out, it will be a blog, of sorts, for my Shallya-themed Empire army. Shallya is the goddess of mercy and healing (and childbirth, but we're ignoring that part). This will be a mobile-hospital theme, taking M.A.S.H. as my inspiration; down-playing the TV show elements and concentrating more on the general concept.


There are some fun, thematic conversions that I'm looking forward to -- and a few that I already have done. I think the thematic elements tie well to the mechanical elements of the army, which is always a bonus.

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Work-in-Progress Thematic Elements

-- Life Wizard, Warrior priests, surgeons: all will be represented by Sisters of Sigmar models.

Captain on a Pegasus (built, unpainted)
-- My "incoming wounded" chopper; a pegasus bearing a liter with a wounded soldier

Hurricanum (90% built, unpainted)
-- one of the devices built by a mad scientist who feels he owes his life to the church of Shallya. A frankenstein-styled device meant to resuscitate the recently killed.

Luminark (40% built)
-- Another mad scientist device, meant to pump healing energies into the nearly-dead

Halberds (build in process)
-- a 6x9 block, the center of which is the surgical tent. Inside the tent will be surgical tables, surgeons, and patients, both standing and laying down. There will be a line of wounded, leaning on halberds and the like, going into the tent. A center-piece of the army, this element will be the element that is least likely to be recognized by itself.

Greatswords (build in process)
-- Going with a "grail reliquae" feel, with an honor guard taking the body of their lord away from the front lines.

Pistoliers (built, unpainted)

-- liter bearers, which, sadly, means I'm running them in a unit of 10. Each liter will have a wounded soldier with a medic riding along to keep them stable and ward off any enemy with their pistols.

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I'm learning how to play the army in the escalation league here. From memory, this was my army last Sunday, a bit under 1700 points:


Wizard lvl 3 (Life)

Captain on a Pegasus; pistol, platemail; dragonhelm

Captain BSB w/pistol, platemail, shield

Warrior Priest w/hand weapon, shield, heavy armor


Halberd x 44, full cmd

+5 archer detachment

+20 swordsen detachment

IC Knights x5, musician, std


Pistolier x10

Greatsword x20, full comand

+5 archer detatchment



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I've edited my Work in Progress message (#2) with the next unit on the block.


I should really be working on my halberdiers, but today's project is Pistoliers. They'll be liter bearers, which means running a single unit of 10 Pistoliers. I'm seriously contemplating putting a captain in with them, to give them some punch in melee and some staying power. Maybe a Witch Hunter, instead?


I knew I'd be running into this problem, but I'm running out of models to use as wounded. Specifically, models to use as wounded who are lying down. I've got more than a dozen gurnies, operating tables, and liters running through the army and I'm worried that all the bodies will look the same, since I need to use the same base pieces to make my wounded.


Ah, well. We'll see how it goes.

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And, what the heck. I'm reposting the story, seeing how I have it here at work.




Sister Glorianna Radiant Hopebringer sat behind her heavy wooden desk, sorting through the seemingly endless reports, missives, and requests that flooded the temple of Shallya on a daily basis. As head priestess she knew could delegate this task to one of her clerics, but running the temple was her responsibility and she took that seriously.


The letters and cards expressing appreciation for the temple's help with a recent child birth -- or helping someone overcome an injury or illness -- were set aside to be read last. The head preistess always preferred to end this duty on a happy note. Requests for sundries and supplies for the temple were then glanced through and put into a basket to the side of her desk, to be delivered to the temple's steward.


She paused, sighing, when she came across a sheath of papers from the Professor August Ottoman. He had been severely wounded by one of his experiments more than a year ago and cared for by the temple. As happens on occasion, his rapid recovery had triggered an almost unhealthy devotion to the goddess and he had been dedicating his work to the temple ever since. Unfortunately, his "work" was creating outlandish contraptions of steam, levers, and gears that would, by his claim, help heal the sick. With a shudder, the priestess recalled the cart-sized device that would "gently and with great compassion" pull a child from a birthing mother. Proffessor Ottoman had sent a dozen plans for different devices to the temple, so far, each more complicated and bizarre than the last. This one, if she understood correctly, would somehow use lightning to bring a body back from appearant death. That bordered on heresy. Still, she admiried his devotion and had already commissioned one of his works; a mobile surgical hospital that could operate even in the midst of a hostile battlefield.


Shaking her head, she refolded the professor's plans and placed them in the drawer with the rest of his work. The man had a daring creativity, and she was not going to be responsible for destroying his work. That doesn't mean she was going to do anything with it, though.


Returning to the slowly shrinking stack of letters, the head priestess reached past perfume-scented cards and plucked a small, dirt-stained square of paper out of the pile. "Hostilities have escalated in the north. Help needed." Quickly, she pulled out the ledger in which she recorded troop movements across the Empire. Where the troops went, there, too, went her healers, and she tracked all of them. Searching through the remaining  reports, she pulled out all of the Imperial missives and cross-referenced them with her previous entries.


There. Viscount Helmut Yager had been sent north with 500 soldiers as an expiditionary force. One thousand additional men were being sent his way on a forced march. Something must be happening. It was about that time of year for raiders to rampage across the northern territories. Whatever the reason, they would need the temple's help.

Pulling out a clean piece of paper, Sister Glorianna authorized the creation of a mobile surgical hospital, to be put under the command of Sister Eugenia. It would ride north to aid the Viscount's men by week's end. Goddess save them all.



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The second (and, happily, last) installment




Sister Eugenia washed her hands for what felt like the twelfth time this morning. The stench and unending filth that permeated the watchtower was almost too much to bear. Closing her eyes, she forced herself to relax as she dried her hands and arms on what looked to be the last of the clean towels. Shallya guide me and grant me peace. Focusing on the heavy scent of incense and trying to block out the fouler odors, Eugenia worked to cleanse her spirit in the same way the warm water cleansed her body. She cracked one eye open to peer down at the basin of water. It was filthy.


This is not what she imagined her first field assignment would be.


It was time to get back to work. Three days ago, she and her staff had met the Viscount Helmut Yager on one of his patrols. He told her that his scouts had seen an abandoned tower just half a day away. The army didn't want it because the Viscount didn't have enough men to both hold tower and move his forces to counter the growing number of hostiles in the area. He suggested that it would make an excellent base camp for her hospital, though. He went so far as to demand she use the tower, actually, given the dangers in the area. Having expected nothing more permanent than tents for her hospital, she argued (there was no reason to let the man think that his opinions were the only ones that mattered) but eventually allowed that staying in the tower made sense. They moved out right away.


It was the next morning before they reached their destination. What had been described as an aged but idyllic tower in a spring-like clearing turned out to be a half-crumbling tower, wrapped in slime-covered ivy with noxious smoke and toxic vapors pouring out of the windows and chimnies. A band of Nurgle-worshipping northerners had taken up residence in the tower in the last day. Nurgle's corruption of the scene was rapid and complete. They had been there only one day!


The Viscount's scouts reported trolls in the area and signs of heavily-armored men. There were perhaps thirty raiders in the building. The rest of the chaos worshipers were nowhere to be seen. The Viscount suggested that Sister Eugenia stay back, but she replied, "There are few influences in this world that we of Shallya loathe greater than Nugle. My staff will stay back. I will help you cleanse this place of all those who suckle at Nurgles pustulent teat."


The Viscount chose a direct attack, sending his halbediers right up the middle, supported by the swordsmen. A quintet of knights worked their way towards the left side of the tower, seeking to cut off any reinforcements. The young nobles, full of bravado and more than a little wine, charged forward on their spirited steeds shooting into the tower to no effect.


Horns sounded from the top of the tower and a wizard showed himself, unhorsing three of the noble born with a great gout of flame. The remaining Empire-sons circled to the right of the tower and shot inefectively once again. As the men at arms marched forward, the knights drew too close to the tower and this time it was they who gained the attention of the wizard. Two died to his corrupt flames. A sound of marching boots and creaking metal filled the air as the first of the raiders reinforcements arrived in the form of fifteen heavily-armored warriors. They positioned themselves to deal with the knights, who positioned themselves with the same thought.


The battle was met in earnest as the halberdiers stormed the tower again and again as the rest of the viscount's men held off the warriors. The outriders, knights, and most of the swordsmen fell in their efforts to keep the warriors at bay, but their effort was a success. Eventually, the tower was won and secured as the brazen sound of Empire-forged horns signaled coming reinforcements. The chaos warriors chose to give up the field, retreating deep into the nearby woods.


Sister Eugenia and her clerics tended to the wounded, while those able to do so worked to cleanse the tower of Nurgle's taint. Incense was lit and prayers made, but the greatest gain was made, as always, by discipline and hard work as the men rolled up their sleeves and attacked the filth with bucket and brush. The Viscount stayed, using the tower as a base of operations while his own wounds were mended. Reinforcements were brought in while those who could no longer serve were sent back into the Empire.


It was a good thing that the viscount stayed, for it was no more than two days later that an exploratory force of High Elves came to the tower, seeking to make it their own. In sheer arrogance, they demanded the humans leave. When the Viscount responded (in somewhat crude fashion, Sister Eugenia thought), the elves launched their attack. There would be no further negotiation.


Those able to hold a halberd were set to defend the tower. The swordsmen were sent outside to act as a first wave of defense. A host of Elven spearmen came straight at the tower while a smaller band of elite elven swordsmen circled a bit to the left. A fire wizard, marching with the spearmen, had the habit of shouting out his own name as he pronounced each of his spells. Fire ripped through the tower. A few men went down with severe burns. In an abstractly disconnected moment, however, Sister Eugenia noticed that the fire helped cleanse some of the more pervasive filth that still clung to the tower.


A lone elven chariot approached, seeking an opening against the human defenders.


Empire horns sounded from the top of the tower, calling for reinforcements. The knights were the first to respond, returning from their mission to escort home those who had been most direly wounded in the last couple of days. The knights moved to engage the elven sword masters, but were severely wounded by the bolt-throwing war machine the elves had set up. Fire from the wizard, El Fuego, helped reduce their number, also.


With the speed that only the elven kind could display, ten sword masters rushed the tower. They were inside, with seventeen dead around them, before the humans could react. The prayers and fury of the embattled Sister drove her men to counter and more than half of the elves were borne to the ground. Such fury and skill was hard to stand up against, however, and if not for the booming voice of the Viscount, bearing aloft the expedition's banner, the men would have fled the tower. The elves were pushed out of the tower and the doors secured once again.

Outside, the expedition's scouting force -- light cavalry, each man armed with sabre and a brace of pistols -- arrived, shooting into the elven sword masters before the elves could regroup for another assault. The spearmen engaged the empire swordsmen but were held. Empire knights slammed into the side of the spears as the greatly reduced elven swordmasters attempted to take the tower once more. They died to a man.


Sister Eugenia tended those wounded during the last assault, but looked out to see that all of their forces outside the tower had been killed or routed. Fortunately, the wizard had been severely wounded and was being carried away by a trio of elves who, themselves, looked like they could barely walk. A shout warned her that the spears were assaulting the tower. There were so few defenders now that she and the captain were in the thick of the fighting, beating back spears that stabbed again and again. The tenacity of the human defenders won out in the end, however, and the elves were driven back. A dozen horns and bugles sounded the approach of Empire reinforcements and the elves abandoned the field.


The tower was theirs, but oh, the cost.



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Thanks, Brick. Those look a little too modern for me. Maybe they're not so bad, though. It might be the backpacks that are throwing me off.


I only got two hours in on my project last night. Two more liter-bearers done for my pistoliers. One left to do. The Empire Archers have had some really good pieces for this particular effort. Sadly, it's going to be a real hit-or-miss unit, given how easy they are to kill, but they're looking good.


Still no pictures, Burk. :ph34r:

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  • 3 weeks later...

I haven't been building (or painting), but that should change soon. Back to the craft table! In the interim, this is the army list I'm contemplating taking to the OFCC:


MASH 2800 point Empire Army


Lords: 444

Wizard Lord Level 3: Life [goes with Halberds]

-- Opal Amulet: 4+ Ward vs. first Wound

Arch Lector w/Heavy Armor, War Altar

    -- Enchanted Shield, Dragonbane Gem


Heroes: 555

Captain BSB w/Plate Armor, Shield, Pistol [with Halberds]

    -- Dragonhelm

    -- Sword of Anti-Heroes: +1 Attack and STR for each hero in base-to-base with unit

    -- Luckstone: Reroll first failed armor save

Captain w/Plate Armor, Shield, Pistol

    -- Pegasus w/Swift as the Wind: reroll 1 on Charge distance

    -- Helm of the Skaven Slayer: Fear and +1 armor; Skaven Hate captain

Warrior Priest w/Heavy Armor, Shield, Barded Warhorse [with Knights]

Warrior Priest w/Heavy Armor, Shield [with Greatswords]

Witch Hunter w/Brace of Pistols, Ironcurse Icon [with Greatswords]

Witch Hunter w/Brace of Pistols [with Halberds]


Core: 816

Halberd x 51 [6x9 w/heroes] w/Full Command

    + Detachment: Swordsmen x 25

    + Detachment: Archer x 5

Knight x 9 w/Standard, Musician

    -- Steel Standard: Ignore penalty for barding, reroll 1 on charge/flee/pursue distance


Special: 734

Greatsword x 20 w/Full Command

    + Detachment: Militia x 10

    + Detachment: Archer x 5

Pistolier x 10 w/Musician

Demigryph x 3 w/Standard, Musician

    -- Gleaming Penant: Reroll first failed leadership test


Rare: 250





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And I found the memory card for my camera! Here are some mediocre pictures for you.

All of these come from my Gallery, which, admittedly, doesn't have much in it yet. http://www.ordofanaticus.com/index.php?/gallery/album/69-empire-mash/


The Hurricanum: a clever little device that uses electricity to resuscitate the (nearly) dead.




Pistoliers: Those brave souls who ride out into the battlefield to recover fallen warriors.




Captain on a Pegasus: my medical air transport


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