Monday, March 30, 2015

Rohan Campaign Turn 4 - Helm's Deep

The forces of Isengard prepare to assault The Hornburg.
Saruman looked into his palantir and knew that he must act fast.  He had to take the fortress at Helms Deep in order to break the resolve of Rohan and then march on Edoras.  But he knew something had awoken in Fangorn.  He dispatched his wargs to the forest to scout out what he had feared.  The wargs found an army of ents and a moving forest of huorns.  The wargs harassed the ents and knew they could out run them.  A company of wargs were killed, but that was just enough time to delay them so they would not be able to help the defenders at Helms Deep.
Treebeard leads the ents against the elusive wargs.

Meanwhile, Aragorn had found his way to the Hornburg, only to see that the Rohan army led by Theodred and Eomer had been defeated at the Fords of Isen and decided to retreat to the safely behind the fortress walls.  They knew that the fortress would give them the best chance against the Isengard host.  But King Théoden was not going to sit aside while a force of evil invaded his land.  He convinced Gandalf to ride with him to Helms Deep and if this was to be their end, to make it such an end worthy of song.  Théoden took four companies of the Kings Guard, while Gandalf rode with two companies of Royal knights.  Along with an eored of six companies of Rohan Riders, they hoped to smash Saruman's force in the flanks as they besieged the Hornburg.

Defenders of Helms Deep.
But the Uruks instructions were clear, not to wait for reinforcements and assault the fortress.  Vrasku's Talons led the Isengard army up to the walls firing their crossbows against the Rohan warriors who returned fire from upon the ramparts.  Four formations with ladders were sent to the left flank to occupy the Rohan warriors upon the Deeping Wall.  The assault ballistae pounded at the fortress gate, hoping to smash it by the time the fighting Uruk-hai made it up the causeway.  But as dawn broke, something happened that no one expected.  Thedoen appeared and charged at the Uruk-hai flank.  Surprised by the quickness of the steeds, the Uruks sent a phalanx of pikes over to protect their left so they could continue the assault on the fortress.  But they didn't arrive before Gandalf cast his Blinding Light on a formation of Uruk -hai who were crushed under the cavalry charge.  But the Uruks were many and the entire formation of Rohan Riders perished from the pikes wielded by the Uruk Hai phalanx.

Gandalf rides forth with Rohan Knights.
Meanwhile at the fortress, arrows were shot back and forth, stifling the Isengard advance.  An assault ballista was able to raise one of the enormous ladders, only to be pushed down by the Rohan defenders.  Seeing that Théoden had arrived to stop the advancing ladders on the Deeping Wall, Aragorn moved his formation with Epic Journey to the other side of the fortress who then began to reign down throwing weapons upon the Uruks.

Isengard brings ladders up to the fortress walls.
But the tide was turning for Théoden.  He made the mistake of dividing up his Royal Knights into smaller formations who were not able to mass against the fighting Uruk-hai.  His loyal bodyguard Hama fought a Heroic Duel that was directed against the King by an Uruk-hai captain, only to perish underneath the evil blade.  Losing riders fast, the King's sister-daughter Eowyn revealed herself amongst the riders and died in an Epic Sacrifice so that other could live.  But with their companies gone, there was little Théoden and Gandalf could do, but retreat from the field hoping that the defenders of Helms Deep could defeat such reckless hate.
The assault ballista tried again and again to hit fortress gate, but only caused minimal damage.  The Uruk-hai ram then tried to smash the gate, but the Uruks slipped and fell as they tried to charge up the causeway.  Ultimately, the Hornburg was too strong for them this day and the Uruks, now dimished in number were forced to lift the siege and retreat back to the Fords of Isen.
The ram tries to smash the fortress gates.
Victory ultimately lay with Rohan as they had prevented Isengard from taking Helms Deep.  But at what cost?  The Kings Guard were destroyed along with an entire eored of Rohan Riders.  Their only hope now lay with the ents who have moved out of Fangorn into Westemnet.  But having learned of this, enough was enough.  With his last horde of Uruk-hai now equipt for war, Saruman would lead them personally out of Isengard and crush Rohan once and for all!

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