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My Siege of Fort Retribution. (by Never Knows Best, pictures by Elric)

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GenCon, 2014. Part two!

My search for information regarding the infamous Siege at Fort Retribution prior to visiting that hallowed ground turned up surprisingly little. Each nook I searched or corner I turned only increased my sense of paranoia, almost as if there was a massive conspiracy by Prevailer historians to have that place and its battle stricken from any official record.

In my search all I found were two, tiny photos of a massive wall standing before blurry images of, what appeared to be, carnage and this cryptic message:

"Hidden behind the imposing iron walls of Fort Retribution, Saint Johan is amassing an unstoppable army that if left to their own devices could mean the end for everyone else in the world of Dark Age. You and 7 other players must breach the walls of Fort Retribution and defeat Saint Johan. This will be no easy task as the forces of St. Johan will be driven by the master of all things Dark Age, Mr. Black!"

Having myself now visited this hallowed ground and survived the horrors that lie behind that wall I will now provide you the luxury that I never had and reveal some of the secrets of Retribution.

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Cue the Pink Floyd Music...

Set Up
Computer fans hummed and servos buzzed and clicked into place as binary code was spun out, printed on ticker-tape. My Core army arrived at Fort Retribution. Alarmingly the fort was quiet upon my arrival, most likely not considering me alone to be a threat.

My army consisted of duel Thumpers, a Churgeon and Recovery Unit, a TB 13, several Combat Drones and a Menial bot for good measure. As more armies arrived - St. Mary's Forsaken, Father Johann's band of freaks, and more Skarrd, Forsaken, and Core - I noticed a number of Coils take their perch all along the Western half of the wall. Since my goal was ranged carnage, this is where I deployed my cannons thinking, "It must have taken some deranged madman to bring forces such as these together!"

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The Deranged Madman Himself. A Rare Sighting.

The Plot
The nervous truce between all of the armies gathered against St. Johann was a tense one but we put aside our ancient grudges and met over our objectives and which commands to issue to our respective armies. We knew we needed to figure out and exploit any weaknesses in the fort's defenses, we needed to find a way to open the gate and, lastly, we needed to draw Johann out into open conflict and defeat him once and for all.

No easy tasks.

This was further complicated by the chuckling that echoed behind the wall and it's promise of... unknown threats? Or would it be treachery?

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An Ominous Silhouette Appears Briefly Above a Window of Skulls.

The Battle Begins!
A large battle cry erupts from all troops as the commands to advance are issued by all commanders. Troops carrying all manner of melee weaponry - from swords to clubs to menial claws - rush forward as quickly as possible keeping a keen eye on the heights of the watchtowers. Range weapons open up unending salvos against any target, real or perceived, that they can find. My cannons unleash an unending barrage, pounding down Coil targets left and right.

Every possible inch of the battlefield promises death and looms over us hopelessly. But the most unnerving thing of all is how, even in the midst of our attack, it stays completely calm and still.

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Even at This Distance My Thumpers Could Shoot the Wings Off a Fly. Of Course With Their Blast Template They Will Kill the Fly, Kill the Entire Herd of Cattle it was Buzzing Around, and Flatten the Barn They Were Kept In as Well.

The First Signs... of Progress?

Despite the lack of any response, every soldier was busy at some task. Some were scouring the wall looking for signs of weakness. Others beat themselves in waves against any chink found in the armor, chipping slowly away at the wall's defenses. Some smaller structures crumbled and hidden caves in the battlefield were discovered.

Then hell awoke.

Massive waves of enemies of all type poured from the wall, from hidden caches in forward command bunkers, seemingly from the very sky itself. Thousands were instantly dispatched by our eager host, anxious to finally confront a living foe, only to see another army of villains appear, trampling upon the very ground newly riddled with the corpses of their compatriots.

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Harpys and Drillheads and Banes... Oh, My!

Madness, Chaos and Treachery!
It was only then, as it was too late, that we realized that we were up against a truly insane yet tactical genius. Our troops ran in one direction only to discover it as a feint, rear, and turn to run back. Foes would appear in the middle of our ranks, dropping from the sky and, as we attacked them, stray shots fell causing collateral damage among our own.

Then there was the siren pyschogenic call of the Saint himself, forcing himself into our minds. He whispered taunts and temptations, he encouraged our fears and gave strength to our hopelessness.

Quickly our once-massive force began to erode, waver and panic.

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Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here!

Time Running Out
Many of my main machines where now just hulking wrecks littering the field. Most of my comrades' forces were scattered and bloody. And still hordes of demons and hulking nightmares stood before us and just about every inch of the wall. I had a loan, limping cannon still firing and somehow my vaulting combat drones had found themselves on top of the wall, springing from body to body of fallen Coils.

Either through shear, dumb luck or possibly as some sadistic joke of the Saint the Wall Gates opened, harboring monstrosities the likes of which I had never seen before. Whether by some faint glimmer of hope or possibly as moths to the flame, what forces of ours that remained saw the light beyond the gates and began to rally and converge.

On every flank, Johann's forces began to finish their work on our ranks and encircle us. On the gate's bridge we fought for each desperate step. Down to our last, dying gasp our army had one hope that our deaths would not be in vain... if only we could kill a single man inside. Time was running out.

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"They’ve got us surrounded again, the poor bastards."

The End?

In the chaos that ensued, it was impossible to tell exactly what happened. An arm freshly severed kept ax in hand and the swinging momentum carried it onward into the skull of another. Soldiers freshly battlefield-stitched received new wounds and limbs flew off like freshly reaped wheat.

What commanders that were smart or cowardly enough to avoid the vortex of carnage, myself included, survived to tell the tale but what tale to tell? What had actually been the final chapter in the blood-soaked haze that was the last moments of the Siege of Fort Retribution?

Some would sing a song of vengeance vowing to return to strike at the heart of Retribution yet again. Some would tell a tale of warning and the endless sorrow that awaits anyone who ventures on the path we foolishly took. Rarer is the voice of pride and the rumor that, in the chaos which was the final fierce fray that Johann had indeed appeared and was struck down among our last dying troops. Such rumors could be true, but only time will tell.
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The Wall of Retribution Awaits You.

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