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MaatithoftheBrand

Kurnothi - The Path Towards a Fan Battletome

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Posted (edited)

Hi there guys,

 

So over the past couple of weeks my partner and I have been discussing the Wild Hunt and the Kurnothi, and in the back of my head I began slowly coming up with vague ideas about what they might look like if expanded out into a full faction. I eventually began trying to come up with unit ideas and lore, and - buoyed by my partner's enthusiasm - am very, very slowly working on rules. I am not a particularly rules-minded person, and thought that I could enlist the help of you good folks of TGA in that endevour.

I'll update here when I can and, if people want to have a go at helping me with rules and want more details/designer's notes if you like on what I've written, or just have new ideas for improvements and additions and all the usual good stuff feel free!

Finally, sorry for the mess of the Google Doc - I'll post the lore sections here too so you don't have to brave the disaster that is my work in progress formatting.

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BwSjn69tfqaHSyiqGiniIb1zTfXqO6AGR6NuV9yBWOk/edit?usp=sharing

 

NATURE’S WARDENS

From the deepest woods and wildest thickets, the strange Kurnothi come. Combining the forms of great stags and noble aelves, the Kurnothi announce their arrival with the din of horns and the crash of ironoak, laughing and hollering as they drive their enemies before them.

A Wild Hunt of the Kurnothi is a terrifying sight. Bestial energy flows through smooth aelven limbs, and weapons at once cruel and beautiful to look upon are swung with abandon through the flesh of all who would dare pervert the natural order. To stand against the Kurnothi is to find oneself trampled beneath hooves and pierced with ancient spears, their strange forms allowing them to fight with blade and claw in each and every moment as easily as a human or duardin might march or raise a shield.

Once an enemy is broken beneath their charge, the unnerving hybrids of the Kurnothi vanish back into the dense woods and oldest groves of the Mortal Realms, waiting for the horns to be sounded once more to call them to the hunt.

AELVEN BEASTS

No mortal denizen of the Realm can say for certain what the Kurnothi are or from where they first came. They are certainly strange creatures - their upper bodies at first glance resembling aelves as might be found in Druchiroth, or Zaitrec, or the Phoenicium, although on closer inspection coarser hair, strangely corded muscles, and the feral delight in their eyes betrays a strangeness to them lacking in most aelves.

In truth though, few need such small details, for from the waist down the Kurnothi abandon all pretense at an aelven form. They boast the legs of fawns or the bodies of great stags, powerful legs covered in fur and capped in hooves as hard as iron.

There are a great many tales about the origins of the Kurnothi. Some claim that as the Age of Chaos swept over the Mortal Realms, some Wanderers chose not to flee to Azyr, but rather to remain in the service of their Everqueen, the goddess Alarielle. Alarielle, however, could not look upon the aelves without seeing the betrayal of their kin, and so gave them to her consort, the wild hunter Kurnoth, to reshape into something more befitting her court. Kurnoth moulded them into companions who would ride with him across the Realms - huntsmen who would become the first of his Kurnothi.

Others claim that the Kurnothi were never aelves at all, and that they are as much spirits of life and the wild forests as the Sylvaneth themselves, their aelven faces instead being echoes of great hunters who fought beside Kurnoth in the Realms and in the time before. For their part, the Kurnothi appear to care little for their origins, choosing instead to focus on their duty and their glory.

THE WILD HUNTS

The Kurnothi are strange, living in the wildest places in the Mortal Realms where the world begins to bleed into the shaded court of Kurnoth. Difficult for mortals to locate, and often only located in a set location for a single season or two, these communities range in size from a half dozen to hundreds of Kurnothi. However, these communities might be the basis for the familial and social ties of their residents, but the beating heart of Kurnothi life and bonds are the Wild Hunts.

The Wild Hunts are not permanent - instead they are called when the leaders of a community feel the call of Kurnoth. When such a call comes, the Firstspears and Gaebulg rouse their fellows, gathering them into their warbands and hunting parties, and the great mass of the Kurnothi move out, blending the discipline of an army on the march with the frantic energy of a debauched celebration. Slowly, the call of Kurnoth spreads in the songs and boasts and trap of feet, and by the time the Kurnothi have arrived at their prey, each warrior hums with the power of the God of the Hunt.

Not all Wild Hunts are conducted in the same manner. The Kurnothi insist that there are as many ways to hunt as there are communities of their kin, and more besides. However, there are undeniable archetypes within the Wild Hunts - common patterns seemingly based on the four “seasons” of Kurnoth. These archetypes are known as the Great Hunts.

The Great Hunt commonly known as the Hollowgrove is perhaps the least common of the Great Hunts, representing Kurnoth as a rising force and filled with the lifebloom of spring. A god of extreme temperaments, Kurnoth cared little for the gradual awakening and growth of the season, and his children continue this tradition, frequently viewing those Kurnothi who take up the Hollowgrove Hunt as strange. The Hollowgrove often works the closest with their cousins the Sylvaneth, bringing fierce magic to the field against their foes, and boasting large numbers of Noamhar warriors when compared to their kin of other seasons.

The most common Great Hunt seen is the hunt of summer. Summer - whether literal or metaphorical - was Kurnoth’s domain, and the time in which his power was at its zenith, and even now the Kurnothi are filled with infinite vigour by such seasons, becoming increasingly proactive in their campaign against despoilers and agents of Chaos. This Great Hunt is often known as the Arrows of Kurnoth, for the Kurnothi who undertake it are unerring in their pursuit of their enemies and increasingly militant in their attitudes until the Hunt is concluded.

The Glade Riders are the Great Hunt of Autumn, and represent the sheer thrill of the Hunt, unsullied by purpose or agenda. In autumn is the greatest game mature and available, and Kurnoth would often lead enormous sporting hunts before winter brought him and his prey to slumber. The Glade Riders often seem to be the cruelest and most fey of the Kurnothi, for to them their wars are no different than sport, and even in the midst of battle they compete for the most impressive kill, the most perfect throw of the spear, the most effortless trophy.

The Hartbroken is the name given to the Great Hunt of Winter, and it is a Hunt of strange duality. The power of Kurnoth and his children is at its lowest in winter, and the Kurnothi of the Hartbroken often appear gripped by a strange and angry despair, as cutting to those around them as the winter winds, and yet they are also reminded in each moment of the hope and renewal of a new year. The Hartbroken fight with a defiance and stubborness born of knowing that tomorrow will be better and brighter than today, and more than one enemy has found to their cost that even at their lowest the Kurnothi are a mighty force.

Whilst some Kurnothi communities are dedicated permanently to one Great Hunt, it is more common for the style of the hunt to be dictated by the call - by the song of Kurnoth that was heard, by the prey being hunted, and by the situation facing the community at that time. In this way, the Kurnothi are just as cyclical and adaptable as their master, and the Realms they were created to defend.

 

WILD KURNOTH

Few are the gods of Sigmar’s Pantheon who are able to rest easy or boast only a singular aspect. Kurnoth is no different, and even following the disaster at Kurnotheal, the many seasons and faces of Kurnoth are powers to be reckoned with.

Kurnoth is the soul consort of the Everqueen Alarielle, the Goddess of Life and the mother of the Sylvaneth. Seemingly for as long as Alarielle had been awake, Kurnoth had been beside her.

However, during the Age of Chaos disaster struck. In the depths of winter, when Kurnoth’s power was at its lowest, the armies of the foul Plague God Nurgle marched on his great fastness - the fortress grove of Kurnotheal. Kurnoth led the Sylvaneth of the Heartwood Glade into battle against the invaders time and again, but as the winter equinox approached and Kurnoth’s strength ebbed, he was slain at the Battle of Tears.

The armies of the Heartwood Glade fought a bitter fighting retreat following the loss of the consort, and eventually a single dryad survived to carry the body and spear of Kurnoth to her Everqueen. However, even so reduced, Kurnoth had not been completely destroyed, and the Spear of Kurnoth now functions not only as Alarielle’s weapon of war but as a means for her to commune with her beloved when the moons align.

Even so reduced, Kurnoth is not absent from the Mortal Realms. Humans, aelves and Sylvaneth alike all worship him in a number of guises, and even in the absence of his physical and living form, the greatest of these guises are able to manifest at the apex of his old seasonal powers, often choosing to lead the Kurnothi in their hunts.

The typical image of Kurnoth is of Kurnoth the Hunstman - Kurnoth as man and beast in one. It was in this form that he walked before the fall of Kurnotheal, and the Ruhaigi who make up the bulk of the Kurnoth appear to have been made in the image of this form.

Kurnoth the Killer - often considered to be the counterpart to Alarielle’s war aspect - is depicted as almost purely aelven, wielding his spear and clad in ironoak armour of impossible workmanship. At the height of the Kurnothi’s Wild Hunts, it is often this aspect that seems to manifest - an echo of the part-dead god’s might.

Mostly worshipped by those aelves and humans who sought the joy of the natural world, Kurnoth the Seducer is often depicted crowned by the horns of a stag and clad in ivy.

Finally, the newest image of the god is that of the Great Stag - a noble beast of great size and stunning beauty, this supernatural white hart appears to embody Kurnoth’s hope - both for the Realms and for his own reincarnation. The Great Stag has been seen leading the Wild Hunts of the Kurnothi in the depths of winter and in barren lands, where hope is most needed for the hearts of his children.

In recent years, dark rumours have begun to circulate that there is another aspect of Kurnoth - that Kurnoth himself was once a greater whole, and that fragments found wanting were cut away by Alarielle to rot and slumber. These fragments go by many names - the Old Stag, Anosraema, the Whispering Waters - and few believe such tall tales of dark aspects. However, those who have wandered too deep into the oldest forests and marshes of Ghyran speak with conviction of hungry eyes, strange hounds, and the presence of something impossibly ancient...

 

THE RUHAIGI

Forming the bulk of the Kurnothi, the Ruhaigi appear as the fawns and satyrs of myth - aelven martial beauty wed to bestial legs. They make up the ranks of the hunter-soldiers of the Wild Hunts, less swift than the mighty Damhari, but even more at home in the undergrowth and forests of the Realms.

RUHAIG FIRSTSPEAR

Leaders of their communities, the Firstspears are the exemplars of everything their fellows should aspire towards. When the Hunts are called, the Firstspears are expected to be the first to answer the call and the first into the fray, and are often gifted with heavy hunting spears carved from the boughs of lost Kurnotheal.

They guide their fellow Kurnothi towards the most dangerous foes and spectacular trophies, lending their expert eyes to their kins’ strikes. Even the Damhari listen to the wisdom of a Firstspear, for they have hunted all manner of powerful and glorious prey and emerged victorious.

When the Wild Hunts are not called upon to do battle, the Firspears must still prove to be the greatest of the Ruhaigi. It is the Firstspears who organise the sporting hunts, who lead their kin in songs of merriment and glory and sorrow, and who spend the most time raising the packs of Malkyn who lope into battle beside the Kurnothi.

RUHAIG HUNTCALLER

A few Ruhaigi are possessed of a slightly calmer soul than their kin. That is not to say that they cannot sing and drink and howl with their kin, but they can also hear gentle rhythms of their god in the quiet rustling of the woods.

Some of these Ruhaigi are called to ancient shrines and lodges of Kurnoth, where they take up the ancient Hunting Horns of Kurnoth. Powerful relics, the Hunting Horns amplify the natural magic of the Kurnothi, turning the Ruhaig into potent wizards and heralds of the Wild Hunts.

Returning to their communities as Huntcallers, these Ruhaig lead bands of their kin into battle, bolstering them with the boundless strength of Kurnoth, and weaving the magic of the Realms all about them to aid the Hunt as a whole. The Huntcallers are quicker to sing songs of necessary battles than glorious hunts, to weave tales of sorrow rather than raucous joy, and yet for all that they are beloved, for in them is the magic of the Huntsman reborn.

RUHAIGI TRACKERS

When the Wild Hunt is called, the bulk of those who answer the call will usually be the warrior-bands of the Ruhaigi Trackers. Ranging ahead of their kin, the Trackers are unencumbered by all but the most essential weapons and armour, all the better to close with their prey. They are scouts and woodsmen of note, even amongst the Kurnothi, and rival bands will compete with one another to bring down the greatest foes.

The Trackers are often seen as the purest embodiment of the spirit of the Wild Hunt - there is a savage joy coupled to their unwavering devotion to their cause. It is not uncommon for the Firstspears and Huntcallers of the community to join with the Trackers, revelling in their undiluted spirit.

The warrior bands of the Trackers are led into battle by the fiercest of their kind: the Gallowglasti. Said to be filled with the ancient vitality of Kurnoth himself, a Gallowglast is a warrior without equal - able to command the spirits of the hunt into the shape of peerless weapons.

RUHAIGI HUNTERS

Whilst the Trackers embody the enthusiasm and exuberant abandon of the Kurnothi, those Ruhaigi who form into Hunter bands instead embody the cruelty of the natural order and the patience of the reclaiming wilds.

In battle the Hunters make use of the arcane Seeker Bows, said to be grown for the Kurnothi by the Sylvaneth, as well as their own hand-crafted arrows - barbed and cruel shafts designed to pin and bleed the enemies of the natural order.

The leaders of the Hunters are known as the Boghadairi. These peerless archers are gifted with the so-called Talon bows - weapons only found in the oldest shrines to the Huntsman.

RUHAIGI NAOMHAR

Hooves of living rock break the spear of a Skaven Clanrat. Bark and matted fur rise like armour to turn aside the Freeguid shot. Claws of ironoak and hunting weapons of steel swing in perfect unison through the junk plate of an Ironjaw orruk. With a bellowed warcry more of beast than of aelf, the Noamhar wade into the battle.

The Noamhar are born from dark necessity. As the Wild Hunts ride across the Mortal Realms, they occasionally encounter sites so corrupted by foul forces that simply chasing the invaders away, or even slaughtering them to the last, will not restore the site to its natural beauty. When they do, it is not uncommon for a handful of the Ruhaigi to attempt to purify the land by reaching back, and connecting the Everqueen’s life magic that helped their ancestors’ very creation.

However, such magic was designed for the Sylvaneth, not the Kurnothi, and often a Ruhaig who draws upon that ancient wellspring finds that the power takes its toll upon their body and mind. As the purifying power of Alarielle flows through them, that same magic begins to reshape them into a better conduit. The Ruhaig finds their frame beginning to swell, rippling into a form at once more bestial and Kurnothi and more Sylvaneth than they have ever known.

Most Noamhar stand as tall as an ogor, their frame seemingly overgrown with new, matted fur and hide as thick as a ghyrboar, with flowing bark and branches that cling like armour to their new forms, and hooves and claws of living rock. To many, they look more like the Free Spirits of the Sylvaneth and the monstrous Gors of the legions of Chaos than they do the aelven Kurnothi, but it is in their minds and souls that the greatest changes have been wrought.

The obedience and joyous, capering war making of the Kurnothi is no longer found in the Noamhar. Instead, they are akin to wandering knights - serious and dutiful warriors who answer to no Gaebulg or Firstspear, but instead march on their own eternal crusade to restore ancient sites of power and drive back the horrors of the Realms. They are stoic and stern, even as the life magic that now infuses them causes flowers to bloom and birds to sing.

To the wider Kurnothi, the Noamhar are akin to strange omens, for the appearance of even a single Noamhar - never mind an entire Lodge of the strange warriors - marks their coming Hunt as one of importance. Some even consider their coming a sign from Kurnoth and Alarielle both. They stride towards the foe, infusing their allies with power and life, even as they bring death with their living weapons and the ancient swords and spears both.

 

THE DAMHARI

Fewer in number than the Ruhaigi, the Damhari ride into battle as the ultimate expression of the cavalry ideal; warriors whose own lower halves are those of stags and aelven steeds, like the centaurs from the ancient tales. Cold and noble in aspect, the Damhari are Kurnoth’s fury unleashed, and their charges are horrifying to behold.

DAMHAR GAEBULG

The military commanders of the Wild Hunts, the Gaebulg lead from front and centre. They are the most unnervingly beautiful, and physically strongest, of their equine kin, and it is said that the greatest of them are invited to wrestle and joust with the Wild King itself. In times of peace, the Gaebulg train tirelessly, joining in the sporting hunts called by the Firstspears, leading their Nobles in whooping drills, and setting their kin challenges to earn praise, glory, and drink from Kurnoth’s own arcane cellars. Their entire lives are spent in preparation for that moment when they are finally once again let slip to war.

When at last a Hunt is called and a Wild Hunt rides out into the field, it is the Gaebulg who commands it. To watch a Gaebulg in their element is to watch a strange blend of concepts; part commander of soldiers, part joyous leader of a game hunt, part furious and avenging natural force. For the most part the Gaebulg trusts the bands to excel on their own merit, limiting their commands to sweeps of their weapon to call charges in against the choicest of prey.

DAMHARI NOBLES

At the heart of the Kurnothi communities are the knots of the Damhari - the self-styled Nobles of the Hunts. Where the joy and lives of the Ruhaigi are exuberant and loud and boisterous, the Damhari are more restrained - their laughter hidden behind confident smirks, their songs closer to courtly ballads than raucous drinking sagas. For all that though, there is just as much joy and fury in a Damhar heart.

When called to hunt, the Damhari form up into Noble bands, galloping with yelled cries to glory, to Kurnoth, and to the Everqueen, towards their enemy. As their kin and allies flush the foe out, driving them from their positions and disrupting their formations, the Damhari ride those same foes down. As they close on the enemy, their great javelins are hurled towards the hearts of those that would despoil the sacred wilderness. Even as those same victims begin to fall, the Damhari slam into the enemy, hooves first, retrieving their hunting weapons without lowering their speed, before turning those weapons as lances towards those still standing.

Each band of Nobles is led into battle by its Oighre; the greatest warrior amongst them. In peace time the competition to prove themselves worthy of the title consumes the Damhari, and even when the community’s Gaebulg and Firstspears do not give them a hunt or formal tournament, the Damhari are near constantly engaged in contests of their own devising - everything from spear-throwing, to debate, to drinking competitions - in an effort to prove to their peers that they should be, or should remain, Oighre.

When the true Kurnothi must treat with the other forces of Order, it is usually the Damhari who do so - seemingly born to the same easy ambassadorial grace as their distant aelven kin in the Free Cities of the Azyrites.

 

ALLIES AND ANIMALS

The Kurnothi do not ride their Wild Hunts alone. When the Ruhaigi and Damhari set out into the wilderness and the wild woods, they are joined not only by the beasts of the deep forests they have raised themselves, but unmarked aelves sworn to serve the Huntsman God.

AELVEN WILDERDANCERS

Beside the cavorting Trackers and Hunters, bands of true aelves - unmarked by the bestial nature of the Kurnothi - are often seen, joining in the Hunt with a graceful performance of blades and whorling, druidic tattoos. These are the Wilderdancers - the mortal aelven cults of Kurnoth, long since sworn to his service and his Hunts.

The Wilderdancers have existed for as long as Kurnoth has bestrode the Mortal Realms. During the long Age of Chaos, they were cut off from their lord and his Kurnothi, but now, with the reopening of the Gates of Azyr, they have been able to rejoin their master’s children. Once more a part of the Wild Hunts, the Wilderdancers often act as the bridge between the Kurnothi and their allies in the forces of Order - they are better able to comprehend the minds of mortals and stomach walking through orderly war camps and cities.

In battle, the Wilderdancers combine the roles of performers, already dancing and singing and celebrating the Hunt, and beaters, driving the enemy into the open and forcing them into battle, where the Kurnothi can drag them apart. With spear and sword and snapping banner, the Wilderdancers laugh in the face of the dangers thrown at them by their enemy, eager to prove themselves to the many faces of revered Kurnoth.

AELVEN WILDERCALLERS

The leaders of the aelven cults of Kurnoth, the Wildercallers are druidic masters of the performative arts of their fellows - swifter and surer in their blows than even the greatest of their cultists, the Wildercallers are also able to call down the fury of Kurnoth through whispered prayers. When the Kurnothi gather, it is the Wildercallers that guide their flock of Wilderdancers to the Wild Hunts, and swear the ancient oaths to assure the two groups can work alongside each other.

Most of the Wildercallers that fight alongside the Kurnothi do so amongst the weaving bands of the Wilderdancers, and do so with one of the ancient Weaverglaives - beautiful polearms that combine the forms of the Wilderdancers’ spears and swords, supposedly handed down and maintained throughout the long Age of Chaos.

None know for sure how a Wildercaller is chosen to ascend to their position. The most common tale is that they are chosen directly by the mysterious Huntsmaster of Kurnoth - Alarielle’s spy master and high priest of the Huntsman God amongst the Sylvaneth. If it is true, it might explain the great powers attributed to the Wildercallers, although why the Huntsmaster pays such attention to mortal aelves remains unknown.

AELVEN WINDANCERS

Not all of the cultists of Kurnoth are content to only serve their master from their cities and enclaves, or when a Wild Hunt passes close enough for them to heed the call. These cultists begin to feel constrained by their training and duties as a Wilderdancer, and instead begin to look for a way to join with the Wild Hunts wherever their ride takes them. With this goal in mind, these individuals seek out a Great Hawk. 

Found in great nesting communities in the most remote of peaks across the Mortal Realms, the Great Hawks are an ancient and intelligent race said to be distantly descended from the legendary Ur-Phoenix. Though aloof and often disinterested in Sigmar and his fellow gods’ attempts at civilisation, the Great Hawks have always taken a great interest in defending the natural world and what they perceive to be the rightful order of things. 

As such, the Great Hawks have long worked loosely with the Kurnothi in their endless task, and so should a lone aspirant survive the ordeals of reaching their lofty homes, there are often a few individual Great Hawks prepared to humour the idea of a partnership rather than simply killing the intrusive aelf outright.

Each Great Hawk will set its own standards and tests for an aspirant, but should they find suitable promise in the cultist, they will consent to be their mount and partner in the battles to come, lending their strength and swift wings to the aelf’s martial prowess and, more importantly, using their speed and knowledge of the aerial paths between the Realms to keep pace with the Wild Hunts as they ride.

These pairings - traditionally known as Windancers - are a great asset to those Kurnothi communities that chose to humour the strange aelves who wish to live on their fringes. They are peerless scouts, able to fly ahead and locate enemies even the Kurnothi would struggle to track, whilst their ability to fight on the wing and harry the enemy is invaluable to all but the most stubborn Gaebulg.

MALKYN

Hunting hounds and swift birds of prey have long been the companions of mortal hunters as they race along trails after game. Though many of the cultures of the Mortal Realms have trained and bred fierce - even monstrous - beasts to accompany them on such hunts, the Kurnothi have need for companions who can hunt armoured warriors, daemons, and worse. And so the Kurnothi tame and breed the Malkyn.

Also known as Forest Lions, the Malkyn are compact and powerful creatures able to hunt with equal ease in the densest forest and the most blasted wilderness. They are near tireless, seemingly suffused with the vibrant and violent energies of Ghur, from where they were first tamed and brought into the communities of the Kurnothi. But most important to their masters, the Malkyn are loyal and intelligent pack hunters.

Malkyn are seemingly blessed with an incredible intelligence for mere beasts, to the point that many Kurnothi believe they were created by the Hunt God himself in some bygone age, and are able to learn hundreds of commands, allowing bands and Gaebulg to direct them as easily as they might their kin. Even beyond this, the primal cunning in the Malkyn seemingly allows them to, to a limited degree, read the movements and intent of their prey - be they harrowstags, ghyrboar, or Chaos Warriors.

Furthermore, a Malkyn will never willingly abandon a member of its pride or allow them to come to any harm while it still has the strength to fight. In wild Malkyn, this makes taming or taking the pups almost impossible, even for the most skilled Firstspears of the Kurnothi. However, in tamed prides, this loyalty and devotion manifests in acts of selflessness that allow the Kurnothi to fight recklessly, knowing that their Malkyn have their flanks covered.


THE WILD KING

AVATAR-ECHO OF KURNOTH THE KILLER

At the height of seasons of conflict, or when the summer sun shines brightly on a Wild Hunt, that Hunt is sometimes joined by a towering figure - a green-skinned demigod shaped like a youthful aelven prince, crowned by ivy and clad in beautiful ironoak armour. The Wild King - a fragment of Kurnoth set loose into the Realms by the God of the Hunt to lead his chosen to victory.

The Wild King is perhaps the closest to Kurnoth any being, save Alarielle, can be. Full of laughter and fury, full of cold wroth and warm fraternity, the Wild King is the incarnation - the last remnant - of the war aspect of Kurnoth. When the seasons of suns and battle align, the mustering Kurnothi are occasionally blessed by the appearance of Wild King. The first sign of its coming is a warm summer breeze, even in the chilling depths of Shyish, and then from the thickest brambles, or the fiercest inferno, or the brightest steelthicket, emerges the Avatar of Kurnoth.

The Wild King radiates martial strength - easily half as tall again as a mortal man, its features appear to have been sculpted to capture the ideal shape of an aelven prince in the prime of his youth, with skin as green as the deep forest. Clad in ironoak armour carved to match the graceful hunting coats and armour of Kurnoth’s followers - both Kurnothi and mortal - the Wild King also clutches a Spear of the Summer - an echo of the true Spear of Kurnoth wielded by the Everqueen.

The Wild King is less a commander of its forces and more a force of nature that deigns to fight alongside the Kurnothi. It is rare for the Wild King to countermand or question the decisions and tactics of a Gaebulg or Firstspear, instead choosing to lead by example - fitting itself into the Wild Hunt’s plans and bringing swift death to its foes.

Legend claims that the Wild King first appeared during the flight from Kurnotheal. Rumours persist that as the Sylvaneth of the Heartwood Grove retreated, an image of stricken Kurnoth erupted behind them, spear in hand, and held back the hordes of the Plague God, buying the beleaguered defenders valuable time.

Since then, the Avatar of Kurnoth has appeared time and again, particularly when the warriors of the Kurnothi gather on their Wild Hunts. When battle is joined, the Wild King’s voice sounds loud and clear as a hunting horn, filled with the old gravitas and charisma of Kurnoth himself. So powerful is the authority of the Wild King that at times the Realms themselves appear to shift and serve, as they once did for the God of the Hunt.

The Kurnothi too are filled with awe and vitality in the presence of the Wild King - those in closest proximity are swept up entirely, laughing and leaping like the hunting companions of Kurnoth in the Age of Myth. The enemies of the Kurnothi find themselves assault by warriors who fight with tireless strength, as the heat and fury of summer fills them.

Some claim that the Wild King is the true remnant of Kurnoth, manifest and sent forth by the Everqueen to aid the Wild Hunts of the Kurnothi. If this is true, the goal of Alarielle’s green knight is unknown, for there would be far easier ways for her to command and assist the children of her slain consort.

 

THE GREAT STAG

AVATAR-ECHO OF KURNOTH REBORN

The Kurnothi, like their divine father, are at their weakest in times of great peace and in the heart of winter. In these cold moments, the Wild Hunts often begin to feel a mote of despair and defeat. It is to these flagging Kurnothi that the Great Stag appears - a symbol of hope and renewed vigour that encapsulates the immortality of Ghyran and Kurnoth the Hunter God.

The White Hart has long been a symbol to the peoples of the Mortal Realms. Before the Age of Chaos, the aelves of Ghyran saw the White Hart as an embodiment of the immortality of their Realm. The nobles of Azyr sometimes award the heraldry of the White Hart to those who display true heroism and duty. Even ogor Butchers often receive visions of a White Hart as the ideal food to be hunted - pure and unsullied power and flavour.

It is this archetypical beast that the Great Stag represents. The Great Stag is a serene figure, its hooves barely even touching the earth of the Realms and radiating magic and calm fortitude all about itself. The sheer, unbridled lifebloom of the Great Stag seems to bring the Realms to their fullest potential in its presence - where it stands, the fires of Aqshy leap to new heights, the plantlife of Ghyran and Ghur grows wild about its hooves, and the air of Ulgu grows heavier with gloom all around its great antlers.

The Great Stag is the youngest of the faces of Kurnoth, having never been seen, so far as any mortal can tell, before the fall of Kurnotheal. Many amongst the Kurnothi and the Sylvaneth, and even the scholars of the Ten Paradises and the Free Cities, have speculated as to what this could mean. Some believe that it is proof that Kurnoth can never be the god he once was, and that the Great Stag represents the hope for something new from the disaster, whilst others claim it is Kurnoth’s promise - an oath incarnate that pledges his eventual return, just as eventually even the harshest winters give way to spring.

Whatever the answer, Alarielle herself has claimed to have memories of the Great Stag from before even the Age of Myth - she has told stories of exciting couriters coming to her and her consort, kurnoth, to announce that the Great Stag had been spotted in the woods.

The Great Stag itself offers no answers or stories. Its “voice” is the deep trembling of the wilds, and it sounds only to call upon the most ancient of magic, not to indulge in stories or academic debate. And for the most part, the Kurnothi are content without that certainty - the presence of the Great Stag, a fragment of divine Kurnoth himself, is enough for them, and they fight all the harder by its side.

 

MAGIC MADE MANIFEST

Since the dreadful impact of the Necroquake, the magical forces of the Realms have been thrown into disarray. The Kurnothi, long used to channelling and using the natural magic of the Mortal Realms, were quick to see the opportunity as well as the danger. The Huntcallers of the Great Hunts have become masters at invoking all manner of endless spells, from the creeping obstacles of the Briarguards, to the immense Visages of Kurnoth. The greatest Kurnothi can even briefly awaken the Woadknights that slumber in the Leylines of the Realms.

Edited by MaatithoftheBrand
Formatting, ironically
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6 minutes ago, Lord of the Isle said:

...this is really cool

Thank you - rules stuff is not my forte, but progress is happening very, very, slowly - hopefully at the very least the first few warscrolls will be up for people to view/critique in a day or two

 

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Great stuff so far! The Mortal Realms really opened the door for interesting takes on the Aelf race. I think your lore is a great addition to what GW has provided so far. I would be really happy to see a force like this on the tabletop one day!

Please keep us updated on this project!

 

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This is excellent! I'm converting up a small war band at the moment so great to have this to read as well!

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First lot of Kurnothi warscrolls - the warscrolls for the Ruhaigi

(Although following a conversation with my partner I am tempted to add a small monster - a Noamhar who has entirely lost control)

These warscrolls are based quite heavily on the Aelves in the Cities of Sigmar Battletome, with some nods to the Sylvaneth heritage of the Kurnothi. Let me know what you think!

ruhaig-firstspear.jpg

ruhaig-huntcaller.jpg

ruhaigi-trackers.jpg

ruhaigi-hunters.jpg

ruhaigi-noamhar.jpg

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Looks interesting so far!

Maybe you can add your thoughts behind your design choices for future posts? I think it would help seeing what you tried to do. 

Adding to that, what general theme, or game play are you aiming for? For example, Kharadron Overlords are quick, and focus on ranged fire power, while Ossiarch Bonereapers are slow and tend to focus on close combat, Lumineth are rather defensive and focus on magic, etc... 

Maybe a unique mechanic like Aethergold, or the Ogors hungry mechanic. Maybe they could focus on the hunt part. A good way to bring that theme to the table could be buffs when targeting heroes? Or maybe let your own heroes mark an enemy unit as "prey"?

Another thing that almost all new armies share is a centerpiece. A book 300-400+ points model. Do you planned the aspects of Kurnoth for that spot?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Gecktron said:

Looks interesting so far!

Maybe you can add your thoughts behind your design choices for future posts? I think it would help seeing what you tried to do. 

Adding to that, what general theme, or game play are you aiming for? For example, Kharadron Overlords are quick, and focus on ranged fire power, while Ossiarch Bonereapers are slow and tend to focus on close combat, Lumineth are rather defensive and focus on magic, etc... 

Maybe a unique mechanic like Aethergold, or the Ogors hungry mechanic. Maybe they could focus on the hunt part. A good way to bring that theme to the table could be buffs when targeting heroes? Or maybe let your own heroes mark an enemy unit as "prey"?

Another thing that almost all new armies share is a centerpiece. A book 300-400+ points model. Do you planned the aspects of Kurnoth for that spot?

Design Notes on the stuff so far:

The Ruhaigi are very much supposed to be the most "Kurnothi" of the Kurnothi - where the Damhari are aelven nobles with a wild twist, and the Wilderdancers are outsiders - allies and spies as much as hunters - the Ruhaigi are supposed to show off the undiluted culture of the Kurnothi. They are as wild and reckless as Orion in the World-that-Was in the heights of his hunts, but temper that with the same almost solemn seriousness of elves - the stoic "knighthood" we see in the Kurnoth Hunters in the Sylvaneth and in Orion's role as King of Athel Loren.

The Ruhaigi are where I tried to really push off both the hunting themes and this duality. and rule wise, they are designed to be able to stand in fairly well for Cities of Sigmar units if push comes to shove.
Hero wise, the Firstspears are armed with big boar spears - they encourage the hunting "hounds" of the Kurnothi, and can bring down monsters in melee, where they thrive. But, on the flip side, they are leaders who boost Bravery and act as "kings". As a mechanical unit, they are a blend/a stand-in for Freeguild Generals and Nomad Princes - combat heroes with a support element.

As a mirror, the Huntcallers are surrounded by despair and the solemn weight of their duty, and are not statted for the same front-line melee work as the Firstspear. However, they still carry the hunting horns that define the magic and hunting theme of the army. As a mechanical unit, they are a support caster, although none of the CoS casters are obvious 1-for-1 fits.

The troops are designed to have these same internal and external splits. The Trackers are reckless and aggressive, but show this with a calculated stealth rule that emphasises skill not passion, whilst the Hunters are calmer, more patient ranged fighters, whose special rules stress emotion and cruelty. Rule wise, both the Hunters and Trackers are based off the Wild Hunt statblock with rules and flavours drawn from the Shadow Warriors, albeit toned down in order to make them feel less like elite assassins and more like a Battleline unit.

The Noamhar are deliberately a break from this, being as they are in-universe a very big break from how most Ruhaigi. As they are physically more like the Sylvaneth and are "made" with Sylvaneth magic, the Noamhar are rule-wise designed to look a lot like "Kurnoth Hunters Lite", with a Life-magic effect designed to somewhat offset the fragility and cost of an aelven army (as they run towards fragile elites). Using them as Greatsword Hunters in a Living City army could be a good "count as" for these guys.


 

There will be a lot of small rules/spells/magic items that let me single out individual units to be hunted yes - that is very much something I want to go for, design wise, and when I get round to sharing the Allegiance Abilities on here. The Autumn subfaction will also get a buff against HEROES and MONSTERS to show their emphasis on the hunting aspect of their wars, there will be an endless spell that reduces enemy movement options, etc...

The other major theme is showing the raucous din of a "wild" hunt - giving bravery debuffs and exploding hits to show the sudden fury of the fey. The dread otherness of the fey, and the vengeful horror of fighting nature spirits cut off from their own god was a big theme I wanted to explore - the feeling of being "prey".


 

In terms of centrepiece concepts, both the Wild King and the Great Stag are going to be Eltharion-esque "larger than life" heroes, and if I end up exploring a larger Noamhar monster that will probably end up conceptually being the Spirit of the Mountain style big unit.



If I have not explained anything or people have any questions or suggestions, let me know!

Edited by MaatithoftheBrand
Added the Design Notes for the Noamhar
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Yes, that definitely helped! Interesting take! In my mind, the Damhari are the furthest removed from the aelf base/the closest to Kurnoth. With the Ruhaigi as a link between the two worlds. 

 

But yours works as well. You are right, the Ruhaigi look the most like Orion of the old world (and therefore Kurnoth?). 

Your unit warscrolls look good. They do what you have in mind. Only things I would do is some polishing. For example, the special weapons of the unit champions dont have to be seperate weapons. For example, the spirit formed weapons of the Tracker champion could solved by adding "improve the to-wound stat of this units Gallowgast by one". Similarly for the other unit. 

I like the idea of Noamhar. A dangerous elite unit that also kinda acts like an anchor for the rest of the force via their heal powers. 

Also something I was thinking about. I think it would be fitting to bump up the Ruhaigis move stat by one? Having a base 7" would be an interesting feature of this army and would set them apart from the slower Aelf part of the army. 

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That's a good point about the weapons - I'll look into seeing if editing the champion weapons to be a unit upgrade boost looks okay or if it looks a bit too wall of text. It would certainly be more elegant. 
The movement value comes from Skaeth's Wild Hunt - I assumed that the 6" was the slowest speed in that unit, and that given the other models are a lithe lion and a horse-man, that the "Ruhaigi" are probably the element slowing them down. I do want the impression of speed though, which was part of the reason for giving the Trackers an infiltrate ability.

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Just a few quick thoughts:

The First Spear – Command ability needs to caveat a unit may not benefit from this ability more than once per phase, and the limitor of that the command ability lasts until the end of that phase.

Huntcaller: Spell cuts off midway through the ability
Could he benefit from the usual “wizard” weapon profile (4+ 3+ D3 damage) instead?? Just an idea

Infantry – its odd to say this with custom rules but I cant help but feel they lack a degree of bite to them, their stats seems fine its just that little either oomph or trick that most have. Cant think of any immediate ideas but something.

Noamhar – Reskinned kurnoths so work well and look good.


The suggestion above to simplify unit leaders makes sense too.

Otherwise looks good, will be good to see

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You have inspired me to work up some background for my ‘Remnants of Haven’ Mortal Realms post Bretonnia ideas. Will probably only be used for Soulbound not AoS! But shares some Celtic Twilight common ground. Will post in new thread if of interest

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2 minutes ago, Lord of the Isle said:

You have inspired me to work up some background for my ‘Remnants of Haven’ Mortal Realms post Bretonnia ideas. Will probably only be used for Soulbound not AoS! But shares some Celtic Twilight common ground. Will post in new thread if of interest

Would definitely be interested to see what you come up with!

 

3 hours ago, Melcavuk said:

Just a few quick thoughts:

The First Spear – Command ability needs to caveat a unit may not benefit from this ability more than once per phase, and the limitor of that the command ability lasts until the end of that phase.

Huntcaller: Spell cuts off midway through the ability
Could he benefit from the usual “wizard” weapon profile (4+ 3+ D3 damage) instead?? Just an idea

Infantry – its odd to say this with custom rules but I cant help but feel they lack a degree of bite to them, their stats seems fine its just that little either oomph or trick that most have. Cant think of any immediate ideas but something.

Noamhar – Reskinned kurnoths so work well and look good.


The suggestion above to simplify unit leaders makes sense too.

Otherwise looks good, will be good to see

Yes - will add the once per turn caveat on the command ability and the other text. Thanks for catching that!

Huh, so it is... it isn't cutting off in my files... that's so weird... I will have a go at reuploading that. The weapon choice was to match what the "official" model has, but I suppose that it could be buffed.

Yeah, for now at the very least the infantry lacks oomph - I am generally of the opinion that fan stuff should err on the side of caution if you want other people to adopt/accept/use it, and that it is easier to start basic and come up with a cool idea later to add to them to try and take away cool but too powerful ideas that you have made a core part of their character. 
One idea I did have, inspired a little by both the "command abilities" of the Ossiarch, and also the fey magic of the Eladrin in 5e D&D, giving them a once-per-battle ability that gives them a little boost - something hunt or feywilds themed to reinforce their otherness?

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18 minutes ago, MaatithoftheBrand said:

Would definitely be interested to see what you come up with!

 

Yes - will add the once per turn caveat on the command ability and the other text. Thanks for catching that!

Huh, so it is... it isn't cutting off in my files... that's so weird... I will have a go at reuploading that. The weapon choice was to match what the "official" model has, but I suppose that it could be buffed.

Yeah, for now at the very least the infantry lacks oomph - I am generally of the opinion that fan stuff should err on the side of caution if you want other people to adopt/accept/use it, and that it is easier to start basic and come up with a cool idea later to add to them to try and take away cool but too powerful ideas that you have made a core part of their character. 
One idea I did have, inspired a little by both the "command abilities" of the Ossiarch, and also the fey magic of the Eladrin in 5e D&D, giving them a once-per-battle ability that gives them a little boost - something hunt or feywilds themed to reinforce their otherness?

The Balance for custom is always a dicey one, and I've always fallen on the side that says the strive for balance is what matters when writing something custom, to deliberately write something underpowered to make your opponent more tolerant of it essentially sets a precedent "I'm ok with custom aslong as its weak". With custom rules I always try and write to be balanced, and hope an opponent tries the same within their own army.

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Work has slowed due to travel, but... here is my draft warscroll for the Damhari Nobles.

 

Design Notes:

The Nobles are supposed to be fragile but dangerous cavalry - more fragile than most aelven cavalry currently in the game, to match the Kurnothi theme of running through the wilds at sport rather than "merely" at war.

The warscroll also has the test for my new concept to give the Kurnothi (and the infantry above) more punch and unique flavour - the Blessings of the Wild Court. Flavour wise, community magic that is intrinsically a part of being Kurnothi, that each band can manifest as a once per game boost to their prowess.

damhari-nobles.jpg

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