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Found 141 results

  1. As I'm a fan of the Kharadron Overlords, I've taken a crack at giving them a warband for Warcry! As well as fighter cards and an ability sheet, this includes a full Campaign, a Background table, and Allies. All feedback is 100% welcome! Let me know what you think might need a second look. (if I ever do something like this again, rest assured I'm going to pick something with fewer weapon options – Warcry's simple attack resolution is not hugely friendly to representing different-but-equal gear like the Grundstok guns...) Warcry-KharadronOverlords-SMALL.pdf
  2. I recently found a huge stack of White Dwarfs from 98-2001 in the loft and it completely rekindled my enthusiasm for the hobby. I was around 11 back in those days and so never painted many of my models. This is my first attempt at my first 10 warriors from my ever growing fully Duardin, Dispossessed, KO, Fyreslayer and Dwarf army. I'm looking to keep this colour scheme going through the army. I'm using Local Highland slate for the bases, if anyone has any tips on creating a more Scottish Highland feel to bases let me know.
  3. With the new Gotrek model up for preorder on Saturday what do you think his warscroll will look like? If they incorporate the lore he will have to be practically indestructable and have multiple attacks that can kill almost anything. 8 wounds, 3+ save (and a 5+ supersave) 5at, 3+, 3+, -2, 3 damage? Answers on a postcard...
  4. So i've edited this from a purely Wolves of Ghur PLOG (although i strayed from that quite early on) into a PLOG for all of my various AOS armies and related projects past and present and I want to keep this first post as contents section with links to the various armies: Wolves of Ghur (Khorne Bloodbound) - Pages 1 -3 (ongoing) Duardin - Page 1 (complete) Sylvaneth Page 2 (complete) Beastmen (Brayherd, Warherd, Daemons, Monsters of Chaos) Page 3 (complete...for now) Ogors and Gargants Page 3 (complete)
  5. Forrix

    Gotrek's Alive!

    Thought I'd create a thread for Gotrek since he isn't confined to just one army (well, hopefully). I'm loving his new model and can't wait to pick him up. What rules are you hoping he'll have? I'm hoping he'll be allowed in any Duardin army and have some sort of command ability or aura that effects Fyreslayers, Dispossessed, and Kharadron Overlords differently. Like Fyreslayers effected by it are immune to battleshock and KO can run and shoot. Dispossessed could reroll ones to wound :P. I don't think he should be allowed to be the army general though unless he gets some major lore updates in the new stories. Obviously he should be a beatstick hero too. It would be cool if he got angrier at being alive each battle round and powered up kind of like the old Skarbrand. I also hope Tom from Warhammer Weekly forces Vince to do a 6 hour Gotrek special episode of Warhammer Weekly where they discussed every conceivable list he could be included in...
  6. Hi Everyone, In an attempt to keep up a solid pace with my painting, I've started a blog. Please take a look. The Barazi-Wyr In it you'll find tales of my duardin as they seek to fulfil the "Barazi-Wyr" or Ice's Promise, along with photos as new characters and units are introduced to the storyline. I'm only minimally a gamer and much more of a hobbyist, so please excuse my drifting from the conventions of AOS as I find the right stylistic and thematic fits for my army. I will say that the wide-open possibilities of the mortal realms is what drew me back in after nearly 20 years away. Hope you like what you see! Feedback always welcome. A few of a few of the dwarves who have already made an appearance... King Rungi Roreksson, Revenger of the Karkigrom Darbli Doorcarver, bodyguard and childhood friend of King Rungi Lord Norgrim Proudsong, champion of the Chosen of Karakigrom Again, much more to come as the fluff comes together and I get more a painting done. Take a look and let me know what you think! The Barazi-Wyr
  7. Rungi

    One Last Quest

    Brothers in Exile: Nori spat dust from his mouth, cursing his brother for choosing this inn as their night lodgings. “Nobbin ye right git! You ‘aven’t the coin for ale t’wash the taste a’bones from me mouth!” Sweating with exertion despite the midnight cold, Nobbin didn’t appear bothered with his twin’s complaining now, nor had he ever. The younger by nearly two whole candle-marks, Nori had known that any position Nobbin was entitled would not have been similarly awaiting him. From a young age he had hefted axe and mace, training from dawn til dusk to make his own place in the clan. It had never made much difference though, as Nori always seemed to find a way step on his own beard as they say. When their father’s exile was announced, Nobbin had solemnly knelt before the moonlit altar of the great Beast-Mother, opened his palm in silent blood oath, and strode down the winding ice steps into the depths of the Ursine Labrinthes. ...Nori had muttered sullenly the whole way. He chuckled to himself remembering his brother’s dismay at his defiant rant. “Nobbin where’d th’beasts go?” he called in annoyance. “They best be back soon.” “Mind yer tongue, brother,” reprimanded Nobbin. “Verminbane might not be bothered by your insolence, but Grizzlemaw will not suffer it lightly.” With her usual imprecise timing, his companion came crashing through the single-plank wall of the inn. She tossed undead swordsmen aside as though they were babes, their remnants clattering to the floor. “Nori, retrieve your mount and clear a path to the road. We’ll be fast on your heels,” his brother bluntly ordered, oblivious that the younger had already set to the task. Nori smirked and tried to swallow his sarcasm back down. “Finally your senses have emerged brother. Follow then!” *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** Soft footpads pressed effortlessly from the powdered ground. Nori could feel thick bands of muscle undulating beneath him as his mount strove to keep pace. Up ahead, instead of surging muscle carving through snow, the bear carrying his twin seemed to lope weightlessly across clouds. Despite being half of her size, Verminbane was not blessed with Grizzlemaw’s speed. A toothy grin burst across his face, then split into a chuckle, before finally erupting in boisterous laughter. He could not contain his love for the undersized bear, poorly crafted and tempestuous tempered though she was. Snatching him from his amusement, the loping grizzle bear skidded to a halt in a flurry of glittering, white snowflakes. Nobbin nodded ahead of them towards a warm flickering amidst the tall, thin trees of the Omenwood. “Friends?” asked the younger. “Perhaps,” replied the older twin. “We should be closin’ in on th’meetin place, b’with all th’dead walkin around, we oughta still be cautious…” His voice trailed off as he felt Grizzlemaw’s haunches rise under him and her fur bristle in his grip. “Where girl?” he asked in a whisper. Without looking, Nobbin knew his twin had taken up a rear-facing position, staggered from his own, in order to spy any trailing threats. “We aren’t hiding lads,” said the red-bearded rider as he and his beast strode out from the shadows directly in front of the young dwarves. “You jus’ di’n’t see us.” A second rider appeared to the left, staring without speaking. They were mounted on grizzle bears as well, though by the size of them, they were practically different creatures. Much as their enormous mounts, the armor covering the two duardin was almost beyond description. Scaled cloaks, runes and live-metal all over - they must have been questing in the wild’s of the realm for an age. Before either brother could formulate a question though, the red-beard beckoned them and wheeled his mount to walk towards the fire. “C’mon young riders. Best we get back t’the fires before the others leave us starvin’ away to bones. Poorly-timed joke, thought Nori. But his objection never left his lips, because again the veteran rider spoke first. “Besides, she arrives tonight.” Follow the Leader: Scale and tooth and claw of beast Forged in underhill fire Quenched in blood of legends deceased To make the live-metal desired... The shaman sung with the bouncy energy of a babe or aelf-maid. It unsettled Nobbin, but he hoped they wouldn't notice and so redoubled his focus on polishing the live-metal shield that had kept him alive through these last, harsh years. He stole a peek up from his work saw his twin sharing ale with the three other knights sitting round the fire. It felt awkward being here, in this band of exiles. Norri savored the warm flush in his chest he got from every swig of the wilderness brew, it's unrefined harshness be damned. He relished the company almost as much… Nobbin had always been the wiser of the brothers, and Norri had kept his place, following orders and respecting their “duty.” But it was the choice to pledge themselves to an overgrown forest sprite that pulled at his mind when ice was whipped past his bare skin. Their father’s exile at the hands of the demigoddess was a mark on the family for sure, but had he not committed a crime? And now they were making some point by refusing to serve her? Norri’s gripe was a familiar one, and so it hardly delayed his sleep. Nobbin smirked as his proud brother stumbled over to his mount and curled up against her dense hide. Now that the group had begun to settle themselves, Nobbin ventured over and joined them in their drink. They had hardly made a round of jests about his brother’s drunken boasts when the red beard looked past Nobbin, over his shoulder, and grew silent. From the treeline emerged a rinn the likes of which he’d never seen before. “She’s here,” he whispered, almost to himself, as he moved onto a single knee. Gisselle Ghullazi, the Verdant Knight, exiled Knight Questor of the Undissons She wore ornate metal plate over tunic and scale. Similar scales fell down her back from under shoulder guards of live-metal. The same invaluable material had been shaped into a helm, shield, and sword, but this rinn was not to be confused with some show-lordess. A dark patch covered one eye, unhidden by the way her travel-greased hair was sloppily braided behind her. A raised scar was visible down from her nose and cutting across her lips. This rider had seen many battles, and from the way her massive mount stared down at the now kneeling company, the legend was accurate. “Good evening brothers,” she began, the bear below her sauntering forward until his snout was a mere hop from the fire. “We are all that is left.” Even the deferential duardin exchanged sideways glances to see if another might understand her words or find them more believable. “We are the last remaining questors of the Beast Mother,” she restated. “Long ago you took the same oath as I, rejecting those who would seek to own the mountains of this realm and vowing to return them instead to their natural state of wild harmony. I share with you now a message that perhaps only you will be prepared to hear…” her voice trailed off with a malicious smile. “The would-be prophetess asks for our help.” Nobbin looked over at the red-beard, who appeared the most veteran of the bunch. He too smirked subtly at the humbling of the demi-goddess. “It appears that storms can cloud even Skaddi’s vision, and she was caught unaware by the great necromancer. The ancestors are cut off from the mountain clans, just as the clans need their aid the most.” “And what d’you propose we do?” asked a blonde-bearded warrior, his impetuous tone exposing both his arrogance and ignorance. “After all, we left Skaddi an’ her clans fer a reason.” “An’ y’already said there ain’t many o’us left,” Norri chimed in rudely, rubbing his eyes as he stumbled back to the group. “Mayhaps we jus’ stay t’our own busin…” His voice trailed off as her beast’s growl swept over their complaints. “Brothers, perhaps you misunderstand me. Hunting the petulant tree-goddess’ scaled pets is a matter of pride, preserving your clan’s burial sites and other places of importance is one of devotion, but this is a matter of duty. The mountains gave birth to our kind. They have swaddled us, fed us, and shielded us from the rain. And when our own kin allowed us to walk alone in the cold, the mountains always welcomed us home." Even Norri had grown silent, alternating sheepish glances at his feet and awestruck stares at the rinn. “This is not a mere sorcerer seeking objects of power, nor corrupting demons looking to spread their dominion. This is no greedy neighbor, nor all-consuming herd. The unquiet dead threaten all living things. They have begun to harvest souls for their master’s unknown plots. These cruelest of captors now beat down our door to claim our kinfolk; aged and weathered, newborn and pure, it matters not… Either we release our kin from this hell, or we concede the end of our kind. It is as simple as that little brothers.” Exiled Knight Questors of the Undissons The Race: The fire hissed as ice and snow smothered it. The great grizzlebears snorted and snarled threats at the darkness as they were roused. But the duardin knights did not speak. Armor was strapped and tightened, worn leather packs latched and hoisted, but not a word was exchanged. They had days to ride before their death songs would be sung; they'd save their voices. Lives spent writing their own legends - what greater ending could be written than a heroic death, their service mending wounds with the clans with whom they had feuded and avenging those who still held them in their hearts. Far off on the horizon a persistent glow illuminated the tree-tops that blanketed the rolling hills. That it could shine out above them spoke to the sheer size of the realmgate. As they closed the miles between it and themselves, the fluid movement within it became visible. This was no ancient relic or crumbling artifact. No, she had been awoken from her centuries of slumber to throw the doors to the underworlds wide open. The duardin knights continued their silent ride through the night, savoring every sensation. Without having to acknowledge it, each was aware that the smell of the pines, the sting of the snow, the taste of a beast’s musk on the air, might very well be their final linkages to this land should they not find their way home. A particular sensation that perked the attention of each rider was the way in which the forests were racing alongside them. Tree-kin scrabbled and wound their way between trunk and limb, keeping ample pace with the duardins’ mounts. Further along, the bright heraldry that demarked the unified forces of the free cities highlighted their marches towards the same gates. Even high above them, the green-scaled drakes they had ritualistically hunted, swooped low above the thinnest branches and beat their powerful wings, carrying themselves and their Aelven riders towards the target. None knew for sure what awaited them beyond the gates. None knew for certain what the great necromancer had planned for them. But across realm, race, and region the unquiet dead had threatened to enslave their people for time without end. This threat was greater than any dispute between nations, and the magnitude of this unified response spoke to that. Firm of jaw and clear of purpose, the stoic duardin knights undertook this one last quest, perhaps their last, not to find a new trophy, but instead to deliver a final message - The ancestors and their homelands would remain free. The Verdant Knight leading knight questors
  8. Hey all. In my first blog post, I want to concentrate on 'faction release' ideas, so I'll be talking about lore as it pertains to new models and story direction for the faction. Ruminating on how to fix the mess that is the state of the Duardin disunion, I came up with an idea for two releases to bring them into line. Based on Skaven and FEC, it seems future AoS releases will comprise of at least a book, terrain and endless spells. Below are my ideas for revitalizing the factions with as little new things as possible (trying to keep my hopes grounded). It’s primarily a lore-focused post though coming up with new models means discussing mechanics too, but I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of allegiance abilities. I'll be discussing two separate releases: KO and a combined Dispossessed/Fyreslayers one. I'll start with KO, not because I think it'll happen sooner (Fyreslaters/Dispossessed are more due), but because it's the shorter pitch. Kharadron Overlords Of the three Duardin subfactions, the Kharadron seem to be the most popular and are also the most aesthetically distinct and most separated from the others in the lore (literally ascending the holds and no longer venerating the ancestor gods). An updated Kharadron Battletome should keep them separate; fix the imbalances of the skyports and their underpowered Thunderers and Gunhaulers. To go along with this release, it would be great to see more aerial vehicles (perhaps a specialized mining tugboat?), but they don’t necessarily NEED new units. Then there’s the fact of Endless Spells and Terrain, which is usually a slam dunk but in the case of KO we have a problem: they live in the sky and they don’t cast magic. However, I do think they could utilize the cheaper resources of the terrain/spell development team… First, there’s the obvious ‘floating vein of ethergold’ terrain piece, which would obviously function as a buff piece, perhaps also as cover for nearby skyships and one other function that we’ll get to shortly. The only issue is that, if I remember correctly, ethergold is often invisible and hidden in the clouds, so a bit of creative license is in order. The other less likely but (IMO) more exciting option is to use the slot normally reserved for endless spells as a ‘sky bestiary’. There are many evocative passages describing beasts that are drawn toward ethergold, so the presence of an ethergold terrain piece could presumably lure them to the battlefield. The fact that they’re feral beasts from the open sky means they could have similar mechanics to endless spells. They’d be point-costed units (though not counting to your behemoth limit) which ‘descend’ (similar to Stormcast 'zapping' down) within range of the ethergold terrain. The controlling player then gets to move them, and from that moment their movement follows the rules of predatory endless spells. They have a normal 'wounds and attack profile' (they have to killed, not unbound). They only move normally and can’t charge, but if they’re within 3 inches of a unit in the combat phase the players roll off and the winner must pile in with the beast and attack a unit of their choice (they can’t choose not to attack, so if the only thing in range is theirs, tough). I think all of that would make for a fun variation on the risky predatory spells mechanic, and with clever positioning by the KO player it could really pay off. In terms of WHAT the beasties could be, I defer to the format of an endless spells box (let’s say 1 centrepiece, 1 medium sized model and unit of 3 small things): A baby Megalofin. Much smaller than an adult leviathan, this shark-whale would still be on a 120mm oval and is of comparable bulk to a Frigate. This would be your 100pt monster. A Sky Serpent, as depicted in the above picture. On a 90mm oval, this is a fast, brittle, budget alternative to the Megalofin. The cheapest beastie. Three Lovecraftian jellyfish (inspired by the look of the Harkraken). They float together on 32mm rounds, and, while lacking raw CC power, could spew poisonous debuffs which paralyse their victims. The fact that all of these creatures lack riders or intricate adornment means that the lower quality plastic of endless spells could nonetheless do the model justice. The mass of these creatures means it would probably £5 – 10 more expensive than a normal Endless Spell box, but that’s a small sacrifice to get some truly impressive creatures (which I’m sure would be popular with non-Kharadon hobbyists too). TL;DR Release Size: Minimal New Battletome (with improved rules, better tacticians than me have suggested stuff) Ethergold Stratus (cloud terrain piece) Sky Bestiary (instead of the endless spells) Now, onto the rest of the Duardin… Battletome: Ancestral Holds I think there’s a case to be made for combining Fyreslayers and the Dispossessed as, unlike the KO, they share an allegiance to the ancestor gods. Please don’t put me in *the book* for this comparison, but I see parallels with how the Gloomspite Gitz tied in three distinct factions (Moonclan, Spiderfang and Troggoths) under the Bad Moon, but worship it in distinct permutations. Likewise, a proper Duardin release could incorporate the three ancestor gods: the Fyreslayers follow their shattered god Grimnir, the Dispossessed could be tied into Grungi’s domain by consolidating their Ironweld Arsenal contraptions and, to round it out, I advocate the return of presumed dead goddess Valaya as a third mini-faction. Let’s start with Fyreslayers. On their own, they lack a little in terms of unit diversity, but there’s plenty enough to them as the ‘Grimnir third’ of a mega-faction. Their current lore is interesting, and can only get more so if their independence is encroached upon by Grungni’s offer of alliance. Duardin pride and devotion to see the return of Grimnir would have them accept, but it invites an interesting angle of resentment between the followers of the two brothers, each more readily accepting the return of Valaya (once their wife, but in rebirth she becomes a more sovereign figure). So, anyway, Fyreslayers don’t need extra models, just rerelease the hero from Silver Tower and you’re golden. But if you were to release one new model, I hear that Ol' Gotrek is snocking around the lodge these days... Next up are the Dispossessed or, as I think they should be reimagined, Grungni's Folk. These traditionalist Duardin who have been driven from their ancestral lands embrace the grand return of their smith god, and venerate his old customs. their pre-AoS models are some of the best out around. To complement the regiments of heavily armoured Duardin warriors and war machines, I would suggest two additions: Grungi, The Smith (as seen on this novel cover). This is the flagship model, a literal god of craft. He’s made frequent appearances in the fiction, and he clearly feels conflicted about retreating from Duardin life to work with Sigmar so his return creates an interesting ‘redemption’ dyamic. Perhaps the sons of Grimnir are less forgiving of his absence. He has established size-changing powers, and so he could be a troll-sized figure atop a mobile foundry throwing mystical augmentations to his allies like it ain’t no thang. Runic Golems. The long-rumoured mechanical automatons would certainly fit with Grungi’s return. I’m thinking hard-as-nails machines the size of Kurnoth Hunters, fulfilling an elite bruiser role which the otherwise Duardin lack. This could very easily fit with the steam-punkaestheticc of the Gyrocopters or the Cogsmith. Finally, we have The Cult of Valaya. Valaya was implied to have been devoured by Nagash during the End Times, but if you can’t think of a story excuse for her essence to escape Shyish and return to her people then you aren’t trying :P. Valaya is the god of healing and home, and she would be embraced by despondent Duardin searching to reclaim their ancestral sense of home and safety. Valaya’s devotees would wear religious garments instead of the Gromril of Grungni’s folk or the, erm, loincloths of Fyreslayers. Also, it’s an underrated fact that she was the god of alcohol, a rare angle for a female-coded god and something worth exploring. The slightest of the three factions, these are your ‘gap-fillers’: focused on buffs, healing abilities and providing attacks with rend. Oh, and we finally get female Duardin (not exclusively, but we follow the trend of mixed-gender units set by Deepkin or new Stormcast). Priestess of Valaya. She’s a powerful practitioner of Valaya’s prayers, the closest thing to magic Duardin get alongside Fyreslayer runes. Battle Surgeon. A more hands-on healer, this model is close-combat/support hybrid. Shrine of Valaya. This mobile platform pulls double duty: part holy clinic, part repository for fine alcohol. This could be a Magmadroth-like kit, where you get options for heroes that you can also assemble as infantry. Otherwise, you could make it a Cauldron of Blood style multi-kit, providing Grungni/Grimnir themed builds. Hearth Pilgrims. A mixed gender unit of pious monks, these are your alternative battleline slot. Faster than Grungni’s armoured folk, they provide valuable rend in their blessed maces, as well as the obligatory healing abilities. Though we don’t need ANOTHER infantry unit, there’s the option to have the pilgrims a dual kit for Ancestral Masons. These function in society as construction workers, but on the battlefield have a more direct combat role and perhaps the situational utility of being able to ‘demolish’ board terrain. Like the Gitz, I think the key is to imbue the three subfactions with a distinct identity (in aesthetics, theme and playstyle) while giving them a reason to be fielded together. Currently, the Fyreslayers excel at CC punch, and a new book would do well to give them movement abilities so that they are the 'fastest' of the Duardin armies. Grungni's Folk (the Dispossessed) should be the shooting mainstays, with high armour values to go along with it. The Cult of Shallaya, meanwhile, should dominate the field in terms of buffing auras and healing, exhibiting an 'anti-death army' playstyle which befits a god who has spent millennia enslaved by Nagash. Lastly, you have the same problem as the KO: they don’t mess with magic. Perhaps, then, the best way of making use of that development team is by releasing not one but three terrain pieces, thus reinforcing the tripartite theming of the factions: a ruined cache of Ur-Gold for Fyreslayers, an ancient forge for Grungi’s Folk and a Duardin tomb for the Cult of Valaya (each bestowing their faction with particular buffs). It’s also an opportunity to emphasise slight tension between the Grimnir and Grungni: perhaps you cannot give Fyreslayer characters artefacts if you’ve deployed an Ancestral Forge. TL;DR Release size: Medium Battletome Ancestral Holds (combining Fyreslayers, Dispossessed/Grungi’s Folk and adding The Cult of Valaya) 2 new kits for Grungi’s Folk (Grungni, Golems) 4 kits for the new faction The Cult of Valaya ( Priestess, Surgeon, Shrine and Pilgrims) 3 bits of Terrain themed around the factions, possibly in one pack If you’ve read all that I’m flattered. Anyway, that’s how I’d approach ‘fixing’ the Duardin in AoS. I believe that, providing the quality of the release is good, Duardin fans would generally prefer a fix sooner than later and I think this wishlist/prediction is realistic in terms of scope and not an unreasonable direction for GW to take in terms of lore. Agree? Disagree?
  9. Rungi

    The Unburnt

    The Unburnt: Sickly grey-green corpses, red shreds of gore, and dark charred husks intermingled down the steep slopes and littered the floors of the trenches and larger ravines. The sweet, thick smell of cooking flesh rose from mounds where bodies had been stacked and set ablaze. Purple and pink sparks occasionally accompanied sizzles and pops as unnatural gifts were burnt away. Above on one island of greenery amongst the few remaining that dotted the hellscape, Rungi and his council sat in silence, contemplating the cost of their victory. Though it was long after the adrenaline had stopped coursing through their veins, it had not been long enough for the screams of the dying to fade along with those emitting them. It was those screams that now robbed the victors of their speech. Loremaster Lunn had been maniacally scratching away with quill and parchment until he felt the weight of the other lords’ stares. He slowly laid his materials to the side and waited for the inevitable reproach from Grogan and Norgrim. The simpletons might be strong of arm and back, but they lacked his foresight. Even the runelords failed to grasp that they had unlocked the magics at the core of the realm, the ability to shape worlds to their will… The long-bearded librarian nearly choked on his breath when instead, old lord Grombrisson called across the fire, “What old secrets are ya bout to pull out fer us tonight, Master Librarian?” To his surprise, bright eyes all round the ring of duardin were fixed on him, reflecting the warm dancer in front of them. There was a soothing nature to the red and orange flickerings, something familiar and comforting, unlike the hissing greens and exploding purples from before. “My good thane,” Rungi interjected between Lunn’s sputterings,” what do your scrolls tell you? Is there anything we can do to comfort the wounded?” “The ruinous powers don't simply create fire that burns away the flesh,” Lunn slowly explained, “it mutates. That which the flames touch is twisted and changed, often beyond function and recognition.” “But for those who are strong enough to fight this change…” began the young Stormbeard, his words as much a plea as a question. Lunn could see the wetness in his eyes. Powerful as the lad was, the aftermath of battling warpfire terrified even him. “Young brother, they would need strength that few possess.” “ ‘Ave ya looked in ‘ere?” asked Smakki, his voice ringing with an optimism few had heard. “Is this not your private journalings m’lord?” the loremaster cautioned. “I couldn't…” his mouth said tentatively while his hands eagerly received the heavy tome of leather and gold. “I’s not jus’ mine. That there is th’last surviving record a’my forefathers’ experiments with th’ancestor runes.” Jaws were agape all around the fire, but none more so than Grimwold, whose face seemed to battle between surprise and embarrassment. After all, even he had thought these secrets lost to the ages. “The master rune you used t’wake th’mountains was torn from this ‘ere tome lad. Maybe you’ll find something else useful if’n ya give’t a read.” And with that, the elder of his clan rose on creaking knees from his seat near the fire and staggered away. In a matter of five sentences the usually isolationist runelord had shared the greatest treasures of one of the few remaining runeguilds in the mortal realms. The survival of the Skaudaziwyr and their secret art was now interwoven with the Karakigrom and their crusading king. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Clusters of duardin polished away the stains of battle from their shields and armor or changed the bandages on a brother’s wound. A warm hand on the shoulder or solemn acknowledgement of sacrifice was handed out from lord to warrior wherever appropriate, but words were scarce. Most of the throng had been raised in safety and chased to bed as babes with tales of the evils Chaos had waiting for them. The reality had been far more devastating to the psyche of these soldiers. First encounters with warpfire tended to have that effect. Though he’d never admit it, Rungi found himself waking several times each night, shaking and dripping in cold sweat as he relived the battle and imagined himself among the less fortunate. Though inevitably a blade or slavering maw had managed to slip through the novice warrior shield wall to hit home here or there, by and large the blocks of infantry had been successful in blunting the onslaught of their pursuers while the miners, and later runeguild, had etched the beginnings of a path into the mountains capable of carrying their caravan. But a different fate entirely had befell the ironbreakers. Where others had the the shieldwall these professional guardians had been the shieldwall, repeatedly anchoring themselves in the ravines to allow the Skaudaziwyr time to craft their runes. When the earth had rent open and pillars of unnatural flame had stabbed skyward, it was these great defenders of the clan who had been cooked inside their metal suits. A great canvas village had been erected to shelter them and provide some semblance of privacy, but the clan knew plenty well the source of the groans and whimpers clawing at their bravery day and night. The king looked around him to make sure he was not followed before stepping through a curtained doorway and into the ward of the burnt. As he strode down the center aisle between two rows of cots, the ground wet with the blood of the afflicted clung to his boots slightly tighter than outside. Wherever they lay, jars of cooling salve and great flasks of hearty spirits accompanied those who hadn't succumbed to their burns. A second partition hung further back, blocking the surgeons grim duties from the view of those trying to recover. Rungi continued on through the tent wards until he reached the back of the hastily erected structure. Here the ceiling opened up to the crisp air once more; billows of steam and smoke rising high into the midmorning sky, only distinguishable from the glittering clouds of the wilds by the fiery orange embers carried with them, every so often. “Welcome King,” greeted Lunn with his usual, awkward over-cheeriness. Rungi’s jaw tightened with discomfort at the excited nature of one of his trusted advisors in a place as dark and unfortunate as the makeshift burn-ward. “All around you dawi are having flesh cut from their bodies to prevent the dark gods’ corruptions from burning their identities away,” Rungi slowly questioned, ”Forgive me librarian, but what could possibly be fueling your optimism?” “Go easy on ‘im lad,” called Smakki from a far corner. “The musty ol’ scroll-keeper is’bout tah save a whole bunch’a dawi.” Rungi was still looking toward the old runelord, waiting for an elaboration, but the whitebeard had turned back to a fire he was painstakingly growing to just the right temperature. Instead the king turned back to his loremaster to sate his sudden appetite for runelore. “Lord Smakki is being very generous with his praise,” Lunn blushed undwarfishly. “You have raised a throng of the ages, and many of our kin are protected by ancient runic armor…” “Yes, the Karakigrom are known for our traditions,” Rungi interrupted impatiently. Behind him a duardin groaned loudly, likely biting into a piece of wood so as not to cry out as a warpfire burn was scraped away. “But I hardly see the connection between honoring our kin with our battle armament and saving our wounded from the corruption of the wicked fires.” “Ah, but young king where you see armor I see a vessel. Of course you know that runecraft, all but forgotten in Azyr, once allowed duardin to harness the magics around them. What many do not realize is the extent rune craft can be taken to. As we all bore witness, the right combination of runes shaped of the right raw material can move the very mountains.” The elder librarian, cheeriness aside, had seemingly earned the respect of the rune-guild. All around Rungi, sparks were beginning to fly as armor was rent and reforged. Apprentices scurried about tossing handfuls of kindling into hungry furnaces and dodging the scorching belches that resulted. Alongside them, runesmiths hammered away at glowing characters with everything from massive mallets to precision hammers, sparks launching into the sky with each blow. “Go on…” he mused. “The Skaudaziwyr have maintained their craft amidst an ever changing landscape, and we are fortunate they have, for through their understanding so too has survived…” Rungi was growing impatient. It must have shown because Grimwold lifted his head from his labors to interject. “The master librarian is suggesting that we may have rediscovered something of great power, my king. May I show you?” Rungi approached the anvil to see heavy plate with red-glowing runes across the chest-plate. “No doubt you’ve seen plenty of runes of strength and protection, and just the other day witnessed the might of an expertly-crafted master rune. However, here we are adding ancient family runes to channel the strength of the wearer’s predecessors into such common runes. Finally, we’re adding a few forgotten runes of protection and healing, relics of a time thought lost to myth.” Unable to contain himself, Lunn burst out, “Mind you, my lords, we have never seen this amount of runework successfully balanced before. We are hoping though -” “Shaddup bookkeeper,” muttered a now attentive Smakki. “Rungi, ye need tah trust in th’old ways. You’ve seen th’powers of the ancestors.” Smakki suddenly whirled himself to face the king, extending forward a layered shoulder plate covered in runes that seemed forged of living fire. “These runes giv’em a map t’their kin in need. D’ya think yer grandpappies are goin’ ta sit round a table when you’re rightin’ a grudge this ‘uge?” “Our clansmen have never been the type to sit idle,” the king smirked. “You believe you can call all the way to the feasthalls in the underworld?” “Shysh ain’t as far away as ye might think lad,” replied Smakki in a hushed tone. “ I’s more a matter of givin’m a smooth road t’travel, withou’ too many critters gnawing at’em along th’way.” Not slowed by the veteran’s words, Rungi was about to give further praise as he walked out of the tent. As he turned though, his words froze in his throat as melt on an icicle. Steel helms were lined on a cooling rack, some with red runes ablaze, others only radiating the heat of their neighbors. Each had a tempered-steel faceplate, expressionless and cruel. They were shaped without emotion, many in imitation of skulls, and served as a reminder that the wearer walked amongst the living in defiance of death itself. The king had grounded his life’s work in the traditions and wisdom his clan had gathered over the ages. From the deepest part of his stomach, he felt a slight rumble as he wondered if Lunn understood the full power of the forces at play here. Only time would tell. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Enlag Har-Runkal, The Fire Thrasher Champion of the Har-Smakazi, the Flame-Tested Karakigrom Survivors of the Battle for the Road Each time a hot steel boot lifted from the earth it left small whisps of smoke rising from a scorched print. Though few connected where it came from, many noses wrinkled at the odd odor of burnt metal emanating from the enriched earth. Enlag Har-Runkal (fire thrasher) strode forward from the ranks of his Har-Smakazi (flame-tested). Even in the bright midday sun, the runes adorning his armor swam with molten heat. Every so often a small flame would flicker to life and dance across the rune-script. The gathered, whispering crowd parted to allow the fearsome warrior passage. Lunn met him in front of the spent campfire where the king’s council was reviewing the latest headcount of able-bodies. He paced around the figure, ostentatiously admiring the finished masterpiece, even though he likely had seen the resurgent warrior more recently than the other onlookers. “My king, you remember Enlag, champion of the fallen Deep-Guard,” interrupted Lunn as he turned back towards the company. “He now leads the Smakazi, the unburnt from the Battle for the Road.” The elders of the council stared in shock, some muttering vexes against the dark gods while others thanked Grungni by name. For his part, Enlag returned their stares unflinchingly. Whereas every eye in the crowd was pulled wide and wet with tears at the miracle before them, Enlag’s were as stone, unblinking and set directly ahead. If the steel covering him from head to toe was hot from the flaming runes, he showed no sign of it. Rungi approached the heavily armored figure, noticing the scarring visible on the rare openings of exposed flesh. The young leader’s brow grew several more creases that afternoon. For despite his knowledge of the magnitude of runic magics being harnessed in the tent-forges, and even having seen the extent of Smakki and his kin’s abilities when they had literally awoken the mountains themselves, he could not fathom anyone recovering from the kiss of warpfire. “How do you stand here champion? I have walked through the tents every day and every night for a month. I have seen the extent of the burns. No mortal could withstand the corrosive effects of such an inferno, and yet here your so-called Smakazi stand.” “Revenger,” began Enlag in a tone so guttural as to cause discomfort to all those who listened, “you have given all of your kin the opportunity to confront those who have stolen our lands, our heritage, and our honor. Alone, the flames of the damned would have been our ruin.” His eyes locked on the young king’s, a white-hot light suddenly projecting more forcefully outward from the already violet glow. “But we are not alone. Our brother runecrafters have enveloped us in runes of fortitude, endurance, and healing, while Loremaster Lunn has helped them find even more rare creations with which to call on our lost ancestors, warriors of renown who are honored by our settling of their grudges against the wicked enemy. My king, it is the assembled brethren of your throng and those who came before who have carried us back from Shysh itself…” From beard barely long enough for a basic fork to those woven into great styling so that wrapped round their owners, each shined a bit more resplendent that afternoon. The Vengeful Throng had survived the first great test of those who would twist this realm, but the test had only increased as they tallied the cost. And ever since, the hamstrung throng had spent day and night trying to repell advances while nursing themselves back to health. Today, heroes who had given the most stood ready to sacrifice even more, and their fervor had spread to the others who had gathered from throughout the camp. “When you are ready to lead us into the mountains, we stand ready to repay this debt my lord. ” Har-Smakazi, the Flame-Tested Karakigrom Survivors of the Battle for the Road
  10. Before they were mustered for Sigmar's wars against the forces of Chaos, Morgusson and his Irondrakes had been responsible for locating abandoned underground fortresses and blowing out whatever vile denizens had since occupied them. Morgusson especially enjoyed those brief moments between when the barbs of one of his grudgehammer torpedoes dug into some monstrous rat's flesh and when the attached explosive detonated. It's the little things. Here Morgusson and his trenchers are taking in a bit of air after having ignited an underground Pestilens laboratory below the ruins of a fortress.
  11. I decided to assemble this pack of Ironbreakers as Irondrakes because I loved the idea of having a dwarven gunline belching fire and torpedos at anything that got dug in against my Liberators for too long. I assembled the Ironwarden model first, and named him Morgusson. I started thinking about his backstory and motivation, and naturally grudges were going to be a big part of it. Reading the Core Book's lore on Sigmar clamping down on infighting in Azyr among the factions made me wonder: how would you handle a grudge against one of his chosen heroes? Stormcast were all mortal once and they had flaws, and they made mistakes. I thought about how a Duardin would have to navigate that tricky situation, in which someone who had been put in his grudge book became one of Sigmar's golden boys. It gave me a hook to see how these characters would work in a game and to create a story about them. For now here's Morgusson, assembled with his Grudgehammer Torpedo. In an upcoming entry I'll bring up the Lord-Celestant himself and some backstory on who he was and who he is now.
  12. I had been considering ways to augment my Stormcast Eternals army (which consists of the Starter Box, Steelheart's Champions from Shadespire, and the models from Storm Strike), and so I began digging through Order factions to see what moved me. One of my friends has a lot of Freeguild, and they seemed fun; but, as I browsed the model ranges on GW, something clicked with the Dispossessed. Neither the Fyreslayers nor the Kharadron Overlords had interested me, but these fellows, with their ornate heavy armor and shields, their grudges, and their guns--well I liked them very much. Nevertheless this was all theoretical until Black Friday, when one of my local game shops had its dwindling supply of Warhammer models 50% off. I went there hoping that maybe the box of Ironbreakers that I'd seen just sitting there for months would still be available, and it was! So away with me they went, and thus begins a new allied force, and the seed of a new army!
  13. My ordinator conversion in front of his cannons!
  14. Hey all, Long-time gamer, but recent convert to Age of Sigmar. I played in a 8th ed tournament just before AoS was released, and had such a bad time that I wasn't terribly upset with the demise of the Warhammer world. I had been planning to build a Dark Elf army up until this point, and had collected a bunch of models with the intention of putting it together for 8th ed. But when AoS dropped, I decided to bide my time and to see what happened once the dust settled. And sure enough, the General's Handbook came out and some of my friends convinced me to give it a go, and I loved it at once. I still have my Dark Elfs, but I decided to buy some Sylvaneth first, knowing that I can paint and use my elves with the Sylvaneth as well as wait for whatever they decide to do with Aelfs. I've actually got a lot of Order-flavoured models hanging around, so it's going to be good to have a reason to paint them and use them together, even if that's not always the most optimal way to play. I'm a pretty casual gamer, but I like the points system as I usually play at a club and it's a much easier way to arrange games with that system. And I'm much more a painter than gamer, so I tend to buy and paint things I like the look of, rather than just its tabletop performance. Over the years I've become a strict adherent to the "Play It Painted" mantra, as I discovered it both motivates me to paint it so I can use it, and makes me enjoy the game that much more when everything looks good. My local gaming club (Outpost 6030 in Perth, Western Australia) is running an AoS slow grow league to get people playing the game, and I'm going to be doing my Sylvaneth first up. I've got my first unit of Dryads painted below, and my Branchwych and Kurnous Hunters are almost done. Some of you might recognise that I've followed the Winterleaf colour scheme somewhat. I'd always planned a winter colour scheme, but after reading their background it was an easy decision to go with them, as the fact they like to ally with anyone to fight chaos fits into the idea of my army quite nicely! So thanks for having me, comments and criticism welcome.
  15. Rungi

    Burden Long-Borne

    A Burden Long-Borne Haggrax ached from the joints of his toes to the bond between his skull and neck. His precious burden had cooled his shoulders when he first hoisted the boulder across his leathered back, but lately it had become… a challenge. The elder rememberer of the Undissons had traversed alpine trails across Skaddi’s own range for well over four centuries and had padded his way from the tree-kin nurseries that grew mighty Sylvaneth guardians to the towering Ironwood kingdoms to the South. Images flickered alongside reality in his rummy eyes. Ethereal duardin shields repelled a torrent of misty bile launched from a tentacled demon itself being unmade by the sun beams penetrating the pine canopy. In other places, heroes forgotten to time nodded a greeting from where their fogged forms had settled on stump and stone. But lately, his visions were brighter. They were loud. At times his sight darkened all around the scene until he wasn't more than a frozen audience as skeletal figures tore unsuspecting duardin from the ancestor halls and into an empty darkness. Meanwhile the kinstone rocked and shook with what could only be described as a fever. Day and night glaucous, ghostly images of battered and beaten duardin overwhelmed his vision and screams clawed at his mind. “They say all livin’ creatures have a place in Allarielle’s gardens. Guess the dawi’s is luggin’ out skree from Skaddi’s tinkerin’ “ grumbled Haggrax aloud. He had lost reverence long ago for the minor-deity who served as neglectful patroness of his clan. Powerful, she might be, but there were many powerful beings in the realms. Whereas the Everqueen grew and trimmed her creations alongside the cycles of Ghyran, Skaddi was always seeking more. It was not enough to bless her worshippers with the senses of wild beasts, she had to visit them in their dreams until they thought themselves oracles. She was not satisfied with a mountain sanctuary, instead tasking the Undissons with turning it to a living temple. At least her greed proved her nature that of a duardin. The crackling energy speared down the back of his neck, through his lung and across his bowels before scattering its shocks across his right thigh. Dropping to one knee, Haggrax almost shrugged the menacing load from his shoulders and allowed it to fall to the ground in a rune-inscribed heap, but he dared not. This stone was nothing short of a messenger to those feasting in the heavenly halls on the unreachable side of the mountain. He had been tasked to bear it passage into a distant land where it would connect a seldom-rumored duardin prophet with his lost kin, and he would not be the rememberer his babes and rin told tales about for shirking his duties. “One foot in front’ah the next, aye ya overgrown pebble? Couple more days ‘til we’re at the gate.” *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** His students were overzealous the lot of them, but they weren’t witless. To see his prized pupil in weather-torn tatters, ranting about the manipulators of fate and Shyshian necromancers reaching out to all the realms, as though he understood the gravity of such things… Even the wise rememberer was left uneasy. Maybe the lad had consumed too much of his homebrew, but Haggrax feared the madness that gripped him had more celestial origins. Wide-set nostrils drew in a gust of unseasonably damp air and rejected it with a snort. Rains tonight, maybe before the sun had crept below the earth even. “Guess we dropped further’an I’d thought,” grumbled the greybeard with a voice rough as a landslide. “Gate oughta be half a day off now, jus’ low enough for the streams t’be babbling free of the cold…” His musings drifted off, unable to focus on anything but his mistrust in Skaddi. Why send him away now, and with an object of such power? Why fill the warrior-priest’s mind with apocalyptic images but not share any such fears with Haggrax? There had been one truth the wild-eyed warrior had stated though - Skaddi was lost. Whatever schemes were afoot in the background, she could not see nor comprehend them. What this meant for her most devout clan, he was not sure. His dreams now reeked of death, and left a sour film on his tongue when he awoke each morning. It was not the stale sort found in old tombs or which clung to the relics he studied as a youth. Rather this was the stench of spoiled meat, where the remnants of corpses cooked in steaming crags and crevices, unfound or unwanted by scavengers. With each bare stomp into the snow, Haggrax the Rememberer relished the freshness of snow between his toes. An age ago he had learned to control his own thoughts as he navigated the spiritual flood that visited him in his travels. But the stone never relented, never ceased. The crackling energies that scrambled across its surface had begun to leave searing marks not only on his skin but across the stone surface itself. Haggrax thought he even had noticed a small crack this morning. Hourly meditations had preserved his sanity thus far, but he was not sure the pain coursing through the kinstone wouldn’t overwhelm him eventually. Summiting the narrow path between the steep ridge sides, Haggrax was suddenly looking down at a barren ravene floor, something akin to a natural mineshaft amongst the mountains, only lit by what little sun reflected down from the snow above. The smell of sulfur was nearly erased by crisp winds fluttering snow through the taller pines of this altitude, but his veteran senses were not tricked. Tomorrow he would carry the stone into the realm of fire, though he couldn’t entirely explain why. The persistent crying out of the kinstone had not ceased, but he had noticed a shift in it’s demands and was attempting to shift his own plans to meet them. Whereas at first he recognized the faces of the Undissons crying out as the were dragged into the darkness, more and more Haggrax had been shown lands he had never visited and duardin he did not know. It was in the oddly familiar eyes of a beaten, naked dwarf curled in what must have been an underground cell that he understood his purpose. As it lost its connection to his clan’s ancestors, the stone had begun searching for others. If his mad student was to be believed, all of the living, wherever they might be, were under assault by the dead and the souls of those passed on were guaranteed no safe rest. The kinstone was showing him brethren separated by ages, possibly when the dark powers had overrun the realms. “An yer sure this is the job, huh? Y’want my old bones to carry you ‘round the realms to find all your friends,” Haggrax chided the vessel. Inside though, he felt a warmth spread from his center. He wouldn’t presume to understand the full purpose of this journey, but the salty mystic was grudgingly honored by the possible scope of this task. Resting the stone alongside a tall trunk, the elder took a deep breath of the cold mountain air. Tomorrow, he would walk into the fires, a land of peril where he hoped to find those the stone yearned for. “Hardly the escape Skaddi had planned,” he chuckled to himself, but she did not have Haggrax’s perspective of the ages after all. With a grunt, he drove his staff into the ground and smirked as vines and creepers erupted and swirled round themselves at his feet. But first he’d get some rest he thought as he nestled himself in to commune with his visions. Haggrax the Rememberer of Clan Undisson
  16. Skaddi's Own Haakon hadn't consumed any Blue-shroom Brew since he finished the last keg a week ago. And his newest batch, though potent as he expected it to be, was just beginning to ferment. Haakon grinned as would a child who knew he had gotten away with a particularly risky prank, thinking of his banned homebrew warming him from the inside out. It would be a welcome relief from the icy winds that swirled around him as he drove his sled through the night. His uncle’s jaw was as stone and his chest ever-full, but in his eyes there had been a look few had ever seen in the revered ruler. They were slightly wider than usual, unblinking and fixed directly on the object of their attention as though they could hold it tightly in place. Haakon noticed. “I will not be alone, Uncle. My pledge-kin will join me, and the goddess will watch over us. Haggrax the Rememberer is to come along as well,” he had tried to assure his worried mentor. And so off they had charged towards the Horn of Endruul, Haakon riding ahead of the march so as to hopefully intercede before any desecration. The beastherds should be starving on the Ice’s Teeth by now, but when they set themselves to a purpose, they were far swifter than the dwarves. “They will still be many, and there is no shortage of wild thing for them to enslave in that harsh range. Keep your wits,” the elder had cautioned. Their warrior’s embrace would hopefully not be the last they'd share, but if it was, that was the cost of Haakon’s connection to the goddess. The war dogs strained against their bonds, whining and yipping with excitement; all but the lead pair, his alphas. Closer to domesticated wolves than pets or working stock, these creatures had served the Undissons for generations. But it was Haakon who first taught them to pull a sled. It was Haakon who trained them to respond to his subtle shifts of weight, rather than the harsh command of the whip. Behind him, the smell of the first night’s fire had faded, but Haakon did not notice. All he could hear was the slicing of runner through ice as his sled raced down the trampled track of the herd. By morning, he’d have reached them and could begin choosing targets. The pack alphas, driving the sled of Haakon the Mad His fellow Oathsworn would be on the trail before sun-up. Heavily-muscled and thick of bone, they wouldn’t travel fast, but by evening his campfire would again smell of bloodbrew, weapon-polish and dreamer’s chew. Haakon’s heart pounded in his chest with the excitement of leading his comrades on the hunt. So many sacred lands had been defiled, it was time these grudges were settled and peaks cleansed. Hakkon’s blood surged in an unusually persceptable pulse through his body, his hands tightening on the reigns. He noticed the edges of his vision blurring rapidly and forced his eyes wider. He inhaled the cold mountain air in a sharp pull, flooding his consciousness back into control and using this brief moment of clarity to pull his sled to a rest in a drift not 3 feet off of the trail. As he released the clasps that confined his team, a dark-furred head presumptuously if half-heartedly snapped at his hand, only to be bowled over and pinned by a growling alpha. Remembering the teachings of Master Haggrax, Haakon lowered himself into a deep squat. He sunk from a spring-loaded crouch into relaxing balance. Haakon measured his breathing, finding a steady rhythm that soon faded into the background as his vision took over. Bloody tracks, first scattered but getting more dense until they culminated in steaming puddles of mud and gore… A spear of gleaming blue ice with gruesome offerings heaped at its base or tied round its shining surface… Heavy bodies stomped about on cloven feet, guttural utterings in the place of speech… Closest to the stone were several hooded figures, each taller than a man but not thick like the goat men… There was a melodious nature to their chanting and he could feel himself drawn to it… The enemy were too, as the gors began to walk towards the stone, many shedding their armor as they went. They began to rock forward and back, breathing in the thickening purplish fog that had begun to creep all about them, rising in snaking tendrils from their ankles until it slithered into their nostrils. His vision began to shimmer. He was losing hold. The beasts moaned both in pleasure and pain as armored scales sprouted across their shoulders. Just then, one of the hooded figures turned towards Hakkon and loosed an awful screech from its avian beak. The vision quaked violently before dissolving. … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … The pack strained silently, but maintained their discipline, poised to attack just outside the ring of brush that surrounded the camp. Haakon’s eyes darted from furred hulk to cloven foot to horned mantle until he caught a glimpse of his prey. Unnaturally iridescent feathers, seemingly shifting from the green of the deep jungle to the teal of a glassy sea to a mystical pink, most comparable to the scales of a young summer wyrm, with every step of the cloaked form. The lithe figure was not touched or approached, but every beastman it passed watched it intently. Haakon unstrapped the twin hammers from his back, drew in a deep breath, and let out a high whistle. The pack alphas of Haakon the Mad War cries surrounded the camp as fur-clad duardin emerged from behind boulders and out of dense cover. Weapons were slammed into the earth in a challenge that was soon met by hungry growls and horned charges. With the slavering herd spreading out to meet the directionless attack, Haakon’s pack charged through an opening, lunging for the soft throats of even the newly scale-plated bestigors. All manner of death cry could be heard, but none took root in the mind of Skaddi’s champion. Though his visions were so often embedded within spells of dizziness and crippling pain, Haakon knew the lesser-goddess empowered her chosen alpha. Nothing distracted the predator as he strode through the fracas. The war dogs of Haakon the Mad … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … He wore scant armor and no boots, great plumage and a single high ridge affixed to an otherwise plain iron skullcap. His ruddy pink skin was not aglow with runic tattoo or mystical fire… Could this truly be the challenger who interrupted his transformation ritual? That was clearly a hero. His eyes had glowed with power. A furious heat had radiated from his densely muscled figure. No, this could not be the immortal he had seen. Xcryx’trynct the Temptor threw back the hood from his head and shook out his locks, allowing them to untangle from his crown of curled horns. He let the rest of the shoddy woolen cloak drop from his broad shoulders, admiring his gloriousness as the morning sunlight stabbed through the snow clouds to shine off of his multicolored feathers. The vain shaman hardly noticed his warband being cut down all about, for he was already imagining the taste of this upstart’s blood. Drawing a scimitar in his right hand while leveling his staff with his left, the Temptor gave a clicking chortle, taunting his foe. … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … Haakon had never seen such a beast. Frenzied half-men of all shades adorned with claws, fangs, bony growths or even hooves were the norm. Some, more blessed by the dark powers were more goat or bull than man and had the might to tear through a city guard. The creatures his pack had surprised were even larger and possessed odd scales and bulky growths, mutations that seemed more design than organic… And now this bird-man, glowing with an eery light… But there were many things the champion wished he could unsee in Ghyran since the arrival of the plague bringers. These were just more of the same. As the creature pranced and whirled, it made hissing and clicking sounds that had an oddly self-assured tone. Haakon sank his toes into the trampled snow, making sure each step had full traction and the push could be felt from the extension of his ankle through to his hip. Bounding from side to side with each stride, he noticed the widening of his prey’s eyes. Just outside the range of a staff’s swing, Haakon shortened his step right, hopped, and then gave a full push off. While feeling the air flow from the scimitar stab where the creature expected him to be, the sneering dwarf unloaded a hammer blow that crunched into the underside of the serrated beak. His second hammer strike shattered the staff hand, causing the weapon to fall into the snow and quickly lose its glow. With a roll and wheel, Haakon squared himself to the reeling enemy. A block and counter swing was all it took to drop his foe. Stepping closer to stand over the fallen defiler and examine it one final time before he finished his work, Haakon was annoyed to hear it begin to cackle again. Before he could strike down, it's body burst into a flutter of tiny birds, each scrambling into the sky with their misshapen wings. He tried to kill them, but only was able to fell a few which quickly turned to shapeless pulp. Letting out a roar of frustration, Haakon was answered by cheers. It appeared his comrades had finished their work and were satisfied that there would be no further defiling of this holy ground… ... Haakon suspected this was just the beginning of the atrocities he would see. Haakon the Mad's sled being pulled through mud and snow by his pack of war dogs. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Trap is Sprung Their whining had stopped and paw-strikes gone silent. The hunting dogs strained into their harnesses, working in tight coordination with their alpha’s example. Soon the pungent musk of the herd was noticeable, it's accompaniment by the stench of decay, a sign that this herd had earned favor of the grotesque one and would likely be more formidable than the last. If they traveled with knights, Haakon feared they might be beyond his prowess. He could feel the beating of his own heart, faster and faster, but he forced it to steady. There was no time for a dream now. Bursting from a brush line and joining a trail, Haakon's team was confronted with gruesome signposts made of dismembered limbs. Hands forced to point in conflicting directions were crudely nailed to stripped thigh bones and topped with decapitated heads, the edges of their mouths sawed into gory smiles. The effigies lined the way in both directions but seemed to extend more densely to the right, so instinctively he prompted the team to turn in that direction, only to come face to face with the stuff of nightmares. He pulled in the reigns hard, tipping the sled and rolling out from under it as it tumbled to a halt and the team attempted to keep free of the weight. Blocking the path were the bodies of his fellow hunters. Their limbs, where still attached, were broken into sharp angles. Cracked ribs protruded from their sides and guts were slashed open to reveal torn entrails. The bodies hung limply by nooses braided from the hair of their shorn beards. Haakon roared in fury. When it's echoes faded, he heard the cackling. The Oathsworn lashed out with his twin warhammers, striking out in wide circles to the left and then right, but the enemy could not be seen. Sinking to his knees, the warrior-priest’s growls gave way to sobs. How could he not have seen the perils facing his brothers earlier? The defilers and their bestial followers had spoiled yet another prestige wilderness, this time fouling it with an offense made from his own brethren. Haakon preparing to strike with his twin hammers. Gathering himself, Haakon bowed his head in prayer to Skaddi. He asked forgiveness for allowing such an insult to her kin. He vowed to settle this grudge or be destroyed in the attempt. But most of all, Haakon pleaded with Skaddi that she might accept these Oathsworn into the ranks of her mountains’ protectors. He begged her to see the purity of their hearts and to bestow upon them the honor of pledging their souls to her spirit-guard. Silence. Haakon sat in the complete silence only a practiced devotee could manage, waiting for a gust of icy wind to dry his tears, the howl of a wolf to guide his hunt… Any sign the goddess might send him. But for an agonizingly long time, there was nothing. And so he sat. Haakon would not entertain the thought that they could have been abandoned; not by Skaddi. When Grungni had pointed his children to refuge in the thunder-king’s heavens it was Skaddi who had denounced his cowardice. It was Skaddi who had sent the storms and the beasts to aide the Undissons in defense of their homes. And most recently, it was Skaddi who had sent her blessed out to secure the sacred sites within these ranges. She would never turn her back on her little brothers and sisters. Just then, an unseasonably warm rain began to fall. Though the air felt still, thunderheads moved overhead with force, blocking out the light save for their own electric flashes. Haakon felt no dizziness or dream-state coming, rather his benefactor simply appeared to him from within the storm as though she had walked out from the brush in plain day. Pale of skin and emanating a blue glow as she was in constant communion with the spirits who lived alongside the duardin of these icy mountains, Skaddi looked down upon her tiny warrior-priest as rivulets of pain flowed from eyes as pure as fresh snow-cover. “I was deceived little brother, and now I have lead you astray. A trickster sent forth by the dark gods drew my attention towards the Horn of Endruul and the kinstone sheltered within. Your wise teacher Haggrax the Rememberer has removed the stone from it's icy armor and carries it from the reaches of the defilers.” “But goddess, surely the stone will be safer in hiding with Haggrax than undefended as the bringers of sickness continue to befoul the mountains?” “That would be true little brother, but several of the players have only recently shown themselves. In the shadows they have managed to gain advantage that I fear we cannot recover from.” Haakon was stunned. His clan had worshipped Skaddi since the Age of Myth when she alone spoke to the connection between the mountains and the spirits of their ancestors. It was Skaddi who had helped them to settle the icy heights of Ghyran all those centuries ago, and who had taught them to use the natural energies coursing through ice and stone to commune with their predecessors. To this day, Skaddi spoke loudest to the Undissons, more clearly than to any other clan in Realm of Life. She had resolutely called Haakon and his brother Oathsworn to arms just the other night, sending them forth to preserve these sacred lands. He simply could not fathom the demi-goddess of mountain blizzards leading them astray. “In my suffering at all our losses, I was too hasty to try and prevent further corruption. The Mountainsson Grove ceased it's song. When I saw the twisted husks of the young tree-kin, I thought they had died of disease, but now I know they were bathed in warpfire…” “Warpfire?” Repeated Haakon in confusion. “That does not sound like the work of the plague-carriers or the beast herds.” “No, in fact it was not. It was simply a ploy to disarm the holy mountains, for the mature war groves are entangled in battle, and the few children of the wood that managed to survive have had to be ushered into hiding, or risk the extinction of their line.” Skaddi paused, gathering herself under the weight of her shame. “So too was there a ploy to spur Haggrax’s removal of the kinstone inside Endruul’s horn, thus dampening the communication between devoted and ancestor. The purple lightning that shattered the prayer-ledge of little brother Draketongue was not of Sigmar nor my creation. Dorbus the Shepherd even went about burying his totems for fear of what they could be used for if desecrated. Alas young priest, all these attempts have done is tear apart the webs of power that course through my once majestic ranges…” Haakon was beginning to understand, and the truth was far more grim than he had imagined. “You have not spoken of befoulment…” “For this was not the plague demon’s doing,” replied the glowing goddess sadly. “Then who?” Wondered Haakon aloud. “The god of lies and deceit has played his first hand. The trickster has manipulated me into severing the ties in our network of power. This has left my devoted, such as your clan’s Oathsworn, isolated and vulnerable. The secret-trader could prey on any of you he chooses now, and I would hardly see it at its peak, let alone in time to intervene.” “We did not pledge ourselves blindly great sister,” Haakon insisted. “If we fall, you will reshape us into blessed beasts to continue fighting alongside our brothers, in the service of our mountain temples.” “I wish it was still so…” Skaddi’s voice trailed off. After a pause, she gathered pulled her mind back from whatever was haunting her thoughts. “Another threat has been growing, and it's vile mechanations have begun to take hold. Nagash, ruler of the dead, has called to claim the souls of the fallen and his power has swelled as the tides of war have swept in. Though the ancestors are firmly rooted in stone still, your newly fallen brothers are beyond my reach.” Haakon of clan Undisson, driven mad in his hunt for the souls of kin “But you taught that sacrifice for the clan would bring the reward of ascension to the mountain’s pantheon of defenders. The other teachers and myself, our own teachers… We have preached this to those we trained since they were babes…” “It appears the treacherous one knew of Nagash’s growing reach and sought to take advantage. We thought we only fought against one evil, but cultists and bird-faced abominations have harried our flanks and forced us to stretch beyond our limits.” Blood filled his muscular frame as Haakon’s entire body tensed. The blizzard queen saw the fury in the warrior-priest’s eyes, the white of the storm flashing in her own as a warning to him. But he was no longer concerned with the demigoddess’ powers. She who had once taught them how to navigate to safety seemed to have lead them to their doom. The plague god’s minions corrupted once pristine wilds. The god of deception was slowly undermining their defenses, with what foul purpose he did not want to imagine. And now the god of the dead sought to enslave his clan for his own devices. There was only one question left to ask. “And who will protect our clan while I hunt the great necromancer?” “You know that answer already.” “She’s not ready, especially as fever overruns the range.” “And that is why the princess is leaving, your whole clan in fact,” replied Skaddi in a measured way, as though gauging the warrior priest’s reaction to each word as she spoke it. “Your uncle will of course remain king, but he has spent his strength protecting these lands. His daughter, however, has a yet unrevealed strength about her. She will join with a renegade king from Azyr and establish a new home range, one where the ancestors can once again find peace under the mountains.” “And I am to trust this upstart from another realm?” “No sweet brother, you are not. You have a different purpose…” Haakon the Mad of Clan Undisson, crackling with ancestral fury _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Riding into Darkness: Tattered leather coverings flapped furiously as the opac wind raced alongside them. Haakon ranted and muttered to himself but could not collect his thoughts. It had been a week since the he entered the shadowlands, the longest he had gone without communing with Skaddi since she had first reached out to him as a beardling. He was delirious, haunted by grinning skulls in his dreams and taunted by the echoes of cackling birds when awake. She had entrusted Haakon with the greatest of missions, so grand in scope that Haakon assumed he would meet his doom in the attempt. First he had caught up with Haggrax, tracking him by the feigntest of scent trails. The ruffian had ceased his cursing when Haakon’s panicked words registered. Equally disturbed by the demi-goddess having been lead astray and his greatest pupil’s sputtering tale of massacre and conspiracy, the old master had reached out a gnarled hand and placed it on his pupil’s shoulder in an attempt to comfort him. The Rememberer then revealed a plan to reunite long lost brothers under common banners. If he survived, Haggrax said with a wild-eyed grin, he'd meet Haakon in the clan’s new halls. Next he sought out Brother Draketongue. The feral duardin had sacrificed any semblance of a normal or traditional life long ago, even by Undisson standards. But it was a price he'd happily pay again for the ability to commune so fluently with generations of long-dead ancestors. They gave him the strength to accomplish feats that had made him famous from mountain temple to Ironwood keep. But even as he nodded in agreement with Haakon’s strategy to send the hermit into Shysh first to chart a path and set a rallying point for their forces while Haakon rode into Uglu to bring the clan’s most potent weapon into their plans, Draketongue knew they likely all would fall under the shambling hordes long before they could assemble for the battle they sought. Afterwards, Haakon had hunted down Eliriya Tree-sister and Dorbus the Shepherd. The mystics each had taken note of the way his eyes flashed with lightning and he voice seemed to roar as thunder. He might have only recently reached teaching-status in the priesthood, but this Haakon was quite obviously the instrument of Skaddi herself. And he was now emerging as the herald of great things to come, despite rumors that a madness had taken hold of him. Finally, he had traversed peak to valley, gathering the scattered questing knights of the Undissons. Rebellious and determined the lot, they had eventually agreed to his demand that they ride into Shysh when they heard that Elendor the Scarred would be meeting them at the portal. The legendary warrior-priestess had honored the gods time and again with her heroic deeds, and these babes were filled with pride at being invited to fight alongside her, no matter how grave the odds. Following a woodland trail through a darkness that no starlight nor fog-covered sun could penetrate, Haakon had completely lost his sense of time, but he was still acutely aware that something watched he and his team. What, or who, he could not tell. But Haakon the Mad knew one other thing with equal certainty - Even if Draketongue was able to assemble their band of heroes tomorrow night under the lone ironwood standing in the Garden of the Fallen, they would likely fall as the last of the Undisson mountain guardians to have defended Ghyran, if not simply the end of their clan’s line entirely. And so Haakon the Mad plunged deeper into the bewitching fog, following the invisible trail of spirit-power. His dogs’ surging legs never tired, for they had been hardened to the mountain’s strength. His blazing purple eye noticed what could not be seen because they had been blessed with the blizzard’s sharpness. With these gifts he had a chance to find the mother of bears and her duardin companion. ...But the real question was how to prevent the creature from tearing him apart on sight.
  17. Here’s my finished Frigate. Finally got the basing sorted and I’m pretty happy with the result.
  18. The aether-gold seem refracted from the bronze hull of the Dammaz Grund as she silently coasted through the inky black Chamon sky, making strange lights dance around the Ironclad like faeries round a Sylvaneth tree. Captain Kron looked out through his optics but could find nothing that demanded his interest aside from his Gunhauler escort, Azul Dum, tailing him at a safe distance with her guns scanning the skies for danger. Turning away from his porthole Kron laid in his bunk and examined the aether maps that adorned the ceiling of his quarters. It must be here somewhere, he pondered, stretching out a think finger and tracing the various routes and aether-gold seems, re-examining for the hundredth time the ancient trade routes bequeathed to him by his ancestors. A rapid banging on his door broke Kron from his reverie. “What is it?” he bellowed, knowing already that it wasn’t going to be anything good given the urgency of the knocking. “Captain, we need you on the bridge.” Kron recognised the voice as Duz, a recent addition to his crew from the last Musterpress. “Why? What have you done to my ship?” roared Kron as he threw his door open and barged past Duz, despite the latter’s best efforts to get out of his Captain’s way. “Captain, we….” A loud explosion rocked the Dammaz Grund from bow to stern. Kron was thrown from his feet despite his magnetised boots, just managing to catch a handrail to avoid being thrown overboard and plummeting to the steel plains thousands of feet below. The world began to spin erratically. Kron caught sight of Duz spiralling away into the darkness, and Azul Dum illuminating the sky with cannon and carbine fire whilst herself clearly in distress, wreathed in smoke and fire with one aether-endrin on the verge of breaking its moorings. Kron heard his own weapon batteries begin to return fire at the unseen assailants, the unmistakable whoosh of aethershock torpedoes soaring into the darkness. Getting to his feet, Kron staggered to the bridge, passing several dead Arkanauts on his way, plus a large number of dead and dying winged creatures. Really ugly winged creatures, thought Kron, with glaring red eyes and long yellow fangs. “Zaki, What in the name of Grungni’s beard is happening?” shouted Kron across the wrecked bridge. Kron’s veteran First Officer looked at him through the chaos, he was missing his rebreather and had clearly been severely burnt. “Just another night on the bridge, Captain. Aside from the flocks of undead terrors”. Kron smiled to himself inside his armour, good to know that Zaki hadn’t lost his sense of humour along with half his face and possibly his left arm. “Can’t I leave you to deal with anything by yourself?” snapped Kron as he crushed the skull of a nearby winged monster with his fist just as warning klaxons began to blare across the entire length of the vessel. Time was short, a decision was necessary. Zaki looked at Kron for confirmation of what they both already knew, Dammaz Grund was dying, but there was going to be no abandon ship order. “All hands to the weapon batteries, overcharge the endrins and set a course for the centre of this nightmare. Time we check out these God for ourselves, eh Zaki?” “Aye, aye Captain! Course set, all crew to battle stations.” Zaki pulled out his personal decksweeper and readied it for maximal scatter. Setting the tiller on auto and with a final cry of “for the ancestors of Barak-Thryng!” the two Duardin threw themselves into the bloody mayhem of the night. Hi everyone, Apologies for the long post – hope mixing narrative with painting progress is ok. Thought I’d share my growing Barak-Thryng force for AoS. Probably won’t get it to the table till 2.0 hits, but it gives me time to get it sorted out and the background written. Oh, and I have their enemies, a Legion of Blood host, to write up and paint too... First up is the Gunhauler Azul Dum – after surviving the attack that claimed her charge, the crew of Azul Dum have sworn vengeance and pledged their lives to recover the Ironclad. They are currently assigned to the frigate Gromthi Zan. Next are the Arkanauts from the frigate Gromthi Zan – detached from mining operations to accompany Admiral Bryn Ghal-Durak on his quest to recover his flagship (during the attack Ghal-Durak was aboard the frigate Garaz Dar so survived.) On the way: Frigate Gromthi Zan and the Admiral of Fleet Ghal-Durak himself, the very angry Bryn Ghal-Durak! Thanks for looking. L2R
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