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So I was trolling around YouTube when I stumbled across a video detailing the construction of a rotting leviathan from total war warhammer 2. I don't have that dlc but I was struck by inspiration! Unfortunately I'm in the middle of working on my stormcast eternals army and I don't like to leave things half finished. 3/4 finished maybe, but not half. So while I continue painting and basing the stormcast I'll keep this as a little project log. I wanted to have a sort of road map so I asked the soulblight forum for some list ideas.

The current list will need 2 rotting leviathans, 1 with count (not)Noctilus on it, 40 deck crew zombies, 20 grave guard (I still am not sure of an analogue I want to use for them), 6 deck droppers, a wight king, a necromancer, and 5 mounted depth guard.

The problem with the grave guard is that the total war equivalent are the depth guard, but they're vampires, not skeletons. The only lesser vampires are blood knights and depth guard are not mounted (why would you be on a ship?) The idoneth fortunately came to my rescue with an answer. The dread fleet uses the aethersea. So they ride large armored sharks/crabs or something into cites/villages. Perhaps even in boarding actions against other ships. For this reason, as well as the dangers of having someone who could actually threaten their cities, this dread fleet's arch enemy are the idoneth. Many an undersea bloodbath do I see occurring between the two. I'll get more into it when I get around to the lore posts. I'll be using the actual blood knight models instead of ishealan guard for the conversion as I don't fancy sculpting that much armor onto the fish/elves. So I'll have to wait for them to come back into stock. 😛

The rotting leviathans will follow the video that started it all as araknarok spiders with parts from the gloomtide shipwreck (plus some other odds and ends). Count (not)Noctilus I'm thinking will start life as the free stormcast that GW stores are handing out right now. Failing that (our store is currently without a manager), I'll probably troll around bits bins for a suitably tall and armored individual. Not sure if I'll put a lesser vampire onto the second leviathan. Well see what strikes my fancy.

The new fell bats, while pretty, only offer 2 that could reasonably be carrying deck hands. I'm trying to keep as much of the stuff GW as I can for the sake of vanity (I like the idea of one day being featured on warhammer community. Silly, I know). I don't want to get 3 boxes of them, so I might have to look elsewhere or get creative.

The deck hands will be pretty easy unless I want to get fancy, which of course, I do. Most of the fights are going to be against the idoneth and black arc corsairs (along with standard humans). That means a fair number of the crew are going to be from these individuals. That means, a box of zombies + corsairs + nemarti (maybe some frostgrave crew, though those can be a touch hard to find). I could also use those lovely cloaks for the grave guard. Maybe armed with nemarti great weapons? We'll see. I plan to make my way down from the top. Start with the heroes who will be influencing their minion's design.

Not sure on the wight king. I'm currently thinking a vampire that lost their unlife that the count didn't wish to be parted from. Or an old first mate who refused to take the curse with his captain and served as a mortal until his passing. The old gunnery wight from the game can't have a 3+ save with just his shirt, so I'll work with something else. I'm playing around with the aristocracy side of things in my head currently. (also looking at medieval ship combat)

I'm drawing a blank on who/what the necromancer should be on the ship. A doctor? The one who introduced the count to the curse? That creepy guy no one likes? A deep diving suit because necromancers are still alive and must breath? Who knows? Not me. I'm worrying about it after (not) Noctilus is built with his angry hermit crabs.

Thank you for checking out this mad idea of mine and actually reading through this mess of ideas. As for the video that started it all: 

 

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Posted (edited)

Extra units I might want on to use eventually:

Mortis engine/coven throne: The gloomtide shipwreck is rather massive so I was thinking of using the kharadron overlords gunhauler or maybe the frigate. Put spirit hosts/hexwraiths under it or just use the ghosts from the kit. Put an interchangeable hero on top to switch between types.

Prince Vordrai: Serving as Thorne's counts as in game, I wanted to have something more ... powerful looking. So in swoops the Ahkelian leviadon. I got inspired by some guy's 9th age zombie monster made out of the same model. The idea I'm having is that this is where Thorne directs the battle from. So I want to have some of his entourage up there with him. So I'll need a howdah and more piratical, less idoneth looking crew. Deck guns to serve as the "breath attack" I think. I'll need to get a suitable Thorne model. Armor and a great coat I think.

Vampire(s): I'm leaning towards having (not)Noctilus as removable, but I want a more generic option too. So a senior depth guard will be the full fledged vampire. Maybe make him/her a captain in their own right. Either pick up the separate lord model or get the shade spire warband. Leaning towards the shade spire band personally. 

Sea dogs: Literally just the dire wolves box. Add bits of seaweed and barnacles (as seen from the rotting leviathan build) onto them. Not sure

Prometheans: I've been thinking about using the smaller spiders I have to make the Prometheans in the same way as the leviathans.  We'll see. I want to create their mama first. Maybe use the Prometheans as black knights.

Grave guard: I got lost my train of thought and went for the blood knights equivalent above. Whoops. For the grave guard my plan is to use black ark corsairs bodies and I will try to scrounge together appropriate great weapons. Leaning towards namarti weapons, or at least emulating them. Call the unit the red guard, although I haven't settled on a color scheme. Thinking of green stuffing helmets like the nighthaunt horse hero from the starter set. Might find mine and make a mold. Probably will need 40 for possible lists.

Hulks: Use the ogor gluttons kit like they did back in fantasy. Zombie it up and done. Count as the night guard perhaps? Maybe make them fly so they can be vargheists? Although Vargheists are vampires. We'll see.

Necrofex Colossus: Use the gloomtide shipwreck and maybe the skaven war machines used in the YouTube tutorial. Count it as the mercenary mega gargant.

More Depth Guard: An extra unit or two of depth guard. (Thinking 15 in total) The idea would be to have the option to run the army as Idoneth if I wanted to. Same reason I plan on giving guns to the zombies, except for cities of Sigmar.

Wight king on steed: Use an Ahkelian king and zombify it, and convert the rider to better fit the aesthetics of the counts. 

Mournghouls: I know that these already have a warscroll, but there is the smaller version as well. I plan to use Vargheist rules for these diminutive terrors. Glutton bodies with crypt horror arms? Just use the upper half of a crypt horror? Use the legs to make crypt flayers after. Obviously extensive greenstuff work.

The rest of the soul blight roster doesn't have good equivalents in the coast, but I'll update this if I think of any more.

Edited by TheArborealWalrus
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Now for the fluff

Pt1:

Count Damien Thorne is an old vampire. Some whisper that he was of the first to take the curse after the mortarchs. Others say he once opposed Nagash's dominion of Shyish and was afflicted with the curse as punishment. Forever fated to serve his enemy. His detractors claim it is all an act to give his cold rule a dignity it doesn't deserve. The only ones who know for sure are the count and his original crew, and they aren't talking.  All that is known for sure is that Count Thorne has ruled over and protected the island of Zharkan since the age of chaos.

As Sigmar fled back to Azyr and Nagash to Shyish, Count Thorne arrived at Zharkan's docks with 3 ships full of refugees and his undead crew. Startled and frightened, the town almost threw them to the deep. It was only the impassioned pleas of the living that stayed their hand. (It certainly had nothing to do with a few dozen vampires in plate armor glowering at them) The town was devastated to hear of the alliance's defeat at the Allpoints. Worse still they heard of Nagash's betrayal, yet here was one of his minions saving their countrymen. The town demanded to know his intentions, and this was the Count's reply:

"When my master broke his oath, mine to him was broken too. I come here now to save what little I can from these uncaring 'gods'."

At first an uneasy alliance was established and the costal town came under Count Thorne's protection. In exchange the dead would join his crew along with a tithe from their profits. Over the years the living came to rely on the protection of the dead and a new sort of life settled on the coast. The count titled his ships the "dread fleet" and set about keeping the waterways clear of pirates and chaos raiders. As the chaos invasion lingered, Thorne's mastery of the sea grew. Not needing air, he and his crew plumed the depths and found new beasts to "tame" and the Idoneth deepkin. At first the relationship was cautious but an accord was struck. The idoneth were locked in a civil war across the realms and in exchange for the Count's aide, they would teach him the ways of the deep. For a time the deal was profitable for all as the enclave's enemy was ground into submission and Thorne learned not only of deep magic, but of the idoneth's manipulation of the soul. This changed when Thorne returned to Zharkan to find it raided by the aelves. Only his depth guards had prevented a total slaughter. Thorne was furious and demanded an answer from the treacherous aelves. This was their response:

"Our deal was to teach you of the deep so log as you slew our enemies. We did not agree to protect any humans. No deal has been broken."

The Idoneth were no fools however and saw the Count's rage and decided to wipe his memory of their enclave from his mind. They however forgot one thing about the soulblight curse. The connection between sire and offspring. Once the second betrayal began all of his depth guard and wights knew that something had gone wrong. Under the command of these lesser vampires and undead, the vampire coast made ready for the war they knew was coming.

 

Pt 1 - TLDR: The count is an honorable dude who broke ties with Nagash and adopted an island city. They made a deal with the Idoneth until the sea aelves decided to break it and steal people. Now it's war.

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More Fluff

Pt 2:

Count Thorne returned to Zharkan in a cold fury. Every soul felt it, even the living could feel the gathering death magic. It was months, but a fleet like none before it was raised in Zharkan. Their target was the defeated enclave of the civil war. Their "ally" had been putting a lot of resources into rebuilding them and would be sorely hurt by it's loss. It was time for the aelves to bleed.

The idoneth had been expecting an attack, but hadn't expected it on aelves that had not participated in the attack. They had misunderstood their enemy and were about to pay a bloody price for it. The enclave found the army too late to properly prepare and found their recovering defenses smashed apart by rotting leviathans and the eels and sharks met by the depth guard on their new undead mounts. It was bloody, but the aelves never really stood a chance. The dead merely rose again and the unprepared defenders were swept aside by the waves of unlife.

The enclave was equal parts furious and terrified. This was far beyond the response they had expected from one of Nagash's minions. As skirmishes erupted along the edges of their city the idoneth made a decision. They had relocated once, they would do it again. They fled through the waterways to another realm swearing vengeance. When the dread fleet found the now abandoned city, they destroyed it, shattering the buildings and cursing the ground. For a time the seas settled into a relative peace. More chaos ships plied the waves every year, but Zharkan enjoyed decades of safety. So much so that some began to question the necessity of the dread fleet. That's when the age of Sigmar began.

Zharkan didn't feel the entrance of the stormcast eternals so much as they felt the return of the idoneth deepkin. While chaos battled the resurgent scions of Sigmar, the dread fleet saw endless skirmishes with the sea borne aelves. These minor conflicts culminated in the battle of red sand. The idoneth launched one grand raid to wipe Zharkan from the map once and for all. The dread fleet had not been idle, but it is hard to prepare to fight foes that fly. It was a costly battle. Almost a hundred vampires slain along with over a thousand citizens, including Thorne's first mate. The idoneth paid a steeper price still. Their warriors unafflicted with the curse that plagues their nations were killed almost to the last and the king fell along with them. With the death of their king the attackers broke and fled with what soul stuff they had. Over the next few months the enclave retreated to wherever they had taken root and Zharkan mourned their dead. Many of the vampires were unable to be raised back to unlife as their souls had been taken by the aelves. Among these was Thorne's first mate. Unwilling to leave him, Thorne turned his body into a wight so that he might still serve beside his old friend.

Zharkan was not greatly involved in the events of the soul wars and between the mortals and the dead, the roving spells proved little threat to the city. The idoneh still plagued the shipping lanes, picking on lone vessels and scurrying away before retribution but the dread fleet couldn't find their hiding place. Even when the necroquake unleashed howling masses of spirits Thorne bound these entities to his service. They also had given him an idea.

In a move few expected, Thorne reached out to the idoneth and offered the wayward souls for a price. The vampires lost and peace for these wayward spirits and any more that roamed into their waters. Somewhat reluctantly the aelves put away their pride and accepted the deal. A new tentative peace settled upon the sea and with the rise of new cities across the realms, things were starting to look up for Zharkan.

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Posted (edited)

With the story in mind, I'm not sure which of the dynasties  Count Thorne came from. Obviously he's been walking his own path since the age of chaos, but it's good to remember your roots. (I also want to pick a dynasty to default to with the army. 😛

He's calculating, which could be Blood or Night. His honor rather denies Night though. His core of depth guard rather sounds like a rogue Kastelaii. Avengorii is right out with it's propensity for madness, although Thorne has quite a menagerie of undead beasts. Nothing really says Vyrkos to me about him, so probably not that. I'm just not sure. Since he's rather a rogue element he really could be any of them. Any thoughts on the matter would be appreciated. Hope everyone is having a good night. Cheers

I have decided to canonically go with the Kastelaii as his original house. This only slightly because Luhor Harkon was a blood dragon (the old world Kastelaii). I also had the idea of using an undead idoneth leviadon as Thorne's mount. The cost of the project just went up. :P

Edited by TheArborealWalrus
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  • 2 weeks later...

10 more deckhands. Why goblins? Because I had 9 from the rotting leviathan. I figure that goblin pirates and chaos raiders would be a rather constant threat. So here they are. Plus you never get to see other species of undead.

Finished the rotting leviathan, now I’m working on the vampire riding the crab. Haven’t decided on a head yet. Still can’t find any official blood knights in the US for the depth guard. 🥲

Hope you like them. Should get the crab on here in a day or so. Have a great week. 

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The vampire fleet captain on rotting leviathan. Took a little extra time as I wanted to wait for her to dry before photographing. She represents a vampire lord on zombie dragon. She has her throne to longe in during long rides and to intimidate petitioners. (She’s a younger vampire. Not as sure of her power. Leans more into the dramatic.) Likewise, the heads of defeated foes gives a certain impression.

Her body was leftover from the dominion set. I built the back of her with leftover green stuff from the zombie project. The cloak is a mold from a Corsair cloak. Her right arm is from an old high elf sky cutter crew and the other is a repositioned free company arm. Hat is a great sword on top of another dominion leftover. The banner is bretonian. Otherwise mostly followed the rotting leviathan guide I posted earlier.

Fun project. I’d like to make another, even though I traded a friend for a leviadon that the count (prince V) rides on. That one is still in the planning stages though. … I should probably start painting…

Hope you’re having a good one.  Cheers👍

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