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  1. Grumpold

    Epilogue

    Epilogue Three days later, the vanguard of the army left the city under the command of Sheriff Albertus, Freeguild General of the Free Army of Montalban. With him he had the Greatswords, the Handgunners, the Demygryph Knights and some regiments of Halberdiers. A detachment of pistoliers from the mercenary company of Nimyard rode ahead of them, scouting the road. Albertus knew Captain Nimyard from the days way back and Nimyard owed Albertus a favour. Three days after the vanguard, Stadthouder Adriaanus Manstien would march out with the main body of the army. Manstien would take to the field on his War Griffon in full ornate battle plate. More regiments of Halberdiers would accompany him as well as the city's Hellblaster artillery train. Also going with him was Bert. Bert was pulling his Rex Diem float, on top of which they had placed the Hurricanum and the Luminark. Nostro, who was recalled as Battle Mage of the Free Army of Montalban, was standing on the float relishing his new position and polishing up his beloved machines. In front of the army column, soldiers carried the relics of Holy Michael the Hermit, patron saint and saviour of the City of Montalban.
  2. Chapter 7 – What is Freedom? For the first few weeks after the events of the festival, Montalban lived in fear of the Knights Excelsior coming back. They had promised to return and kill every living being in the city. The mood in the city was of that of complete anguish and every day funerals were held for those who had been slain by the Knights Excelsior and for those who perished in the panicked stampede that followed their attack. Stadthouder Adriaanus Manstien was a changed man; that much was clear to everyone. For the first two days after the carnival he had not said a word, nor had he left his cabinet room in the town hall. When Albertus came to report to him the number of casualties among the guard, the citizens and the festival goers from outside town, Manstien decided to visit every family affected and to attend every burial; from the elaborate funeral processions of the wealthy to the mass burials of the destitute. It was as if he wanted to bear witness to every single injustice done. When it became clear that the Knights Excelsior were not returning any time soon, the mood in the city began to shift from fear to anger. People started to discuss what had happened and soon people argued that Montalban was meant to be an example to the other free cities. An example of what it means to be ruled over by Sigmar. Slogans began to appear on the walls of public buildings “Sigmar is a liar” and Manstien was now increasingly accosted by citizens who grew bolder by the day and wanted to know what he was going to do about it. The answer to that question came soon enough. A month after the carnival, large groups of refugees appeared before the walls of Montalban, bringing with them tales of a large battle where the forces of Sigmar had been defeated. Now it became clear why the Knights Excelsior were forced to abandon their slaughter at the carnival and had left the city in such a hurry. Many openly said the knights deserved what had been coming to them. Manstien and Albertus understood this meant only one thing: war was coming to Montalban. When shortly after the first refugees showing up, a messenger arrived from the city of Hammerhal on horseback, they knew the game was up. The messenger carried a summons from the Lord Veritant of Hammerhal, to assemble the army of the free city of Montalban and to march immediately to the aid of the forces of Sigmar. Manstien called a meeting of the town’s consigniliari to discuss the summons. But the meeting was short-lived as the consigniliari refused to endorse the summons. Feelings of anger ran too high in the city and they did not want to risk a popular uprising. It was up to Manstien to order it, he was the Stadthouder and he had the ultimate say. The consequences of this decision would be on his head. After the council meeting, Manstien sat with Albertus in his cabinet room. They had to come to a decision. “We cannot escape this war, Albertus.” Manstien began. “Yes, I know, my Lord.” was his reply. Manstien watched Albertus in silence for a moment. “What else do you know, Albertus? Nothing ever seems to bother you. They slaughter your guard and still, you do not speak out.” Manstien drew his chair closer to the cabinet table. “You know, Albertus, I know nothing of you when I come to think about it. Tell me, and do call me Adriaanus, where were you before you became Sheriff of this city?” Albertus looked at Manstien. “I have been to see Nostro when the Knights Excelsior were in town.” The comment took Manstien by surprise and now he raised an eyebrow. “Ah I see, and what did he tell you?” Albertus shrugged “That war was coming. That we would soon be in an awful lot of trouble. That something bad happened in Shyish and that we had agents of chaos in our town.” Manstien couldn't believe what he was hearing. “And you did not think it proper to tell me this?” Now Albertus drew nearer to Manstien. “Adriaanus...war is always coming...we are always in trouble. There is always something bad happening in Shyish, or Ghur, or Chamon or wherever. And there are always agents of chaos running loose in towns like Montalban. Are you that naïve?” Manstien looked at Albertus sharply. “You have not answered my question, Albertus. Where were you before you became Sheriff of Montalban?” “I was once a soldier in Azyr. I left Azyr and I joined a band of rogues that fought its way throughout the realms.” Albertus told him. “So, you were a deserter, Albertus. A rebel turned mercenary. You deserted those who protect us and ensure our freedom. You have forsaken your oath to Sigmar himself.” Now Albertus hissed back at Manstien: “Is a slave free because his master protects him from the beatings of other masters?” Manstien sat in silence. Albertus had a point. All the freedom the city had right now, was to choose who was going to give them a beating. Sigmar and his zealots or the forces of chaos and their gruesome armies. He could make a choice between those two evils but could you call that freedom or even a free choice? “I have made a decision, Albertus.” Manstien suddenly exclaimed. “We will call the free city army up, all of it. Every man, all the machines, all the animals and even Nostro with his devilish contraptions. I will go as well and you, you will be its general. But...the people of Montalban will decide who we will fight. Will we join the forces of Sigmar or will we rebel and fight anyone who wants to invade our lands, whoever they may be.” And so the next day Manstien made his decision known to the citizens of Montalban. That war was coming, was now clear to everyone. But what was best for the city? Every fighting man had a vote on whether to join the forces of Sigmar, who had only recently tried to annihilate them, or rebel against the summons and face on their own whoever that may be. There was much debate in the city and on the morning of the vote, long queues of men formed up before the town hall. Manstien and the city's scribes were seated outside behind a long table in front of the town hall. Each man walked up to the Stadthouder and gave him his vote. In the evening the tally was made in front of Manstien, Albertus and the consigniliari. The result was read out to the gathered citizens. Montalban had decided to rebel.
  3. Chapter 6 – The Woes of Montalban No longer able to contain themselves, the Knights Excelsior jumped screaming from their stand and began to hail blows upon the festival goers. They smashed their hammers on everyone within their reach and pushed against the crowd with their shields. Laughter turned into screams of horror and anguish as they hammered upon the spectators all around them. Those bloodstained from the March of the Blood Reavers earlier on, were now splattered with the gore and brains of the people next to them before they themselves were bludgeoned down, holding their heads and staring in horror at the sight of their own blood. The laughter in the crowds faded way as they began to notice that something was seriously wrong. First, a few seconds of confused silence, while they listened to the shrieks of the dying. Then the realisation of what was happening. A single scream pierced the silence and within seconds the whole square began to howl in panic. “The Stormcasts are attacking us! They are butchering us!” they screamed and then the panic started in earnest. A bloody scene of chaos unfolded as thousands of revellers scattered falling left and right, only to be crushed and trampled to death where they lay. The Halberdiers guarding the spectator stands could not believe what was happening. As they witnessed their families, neighbours and friends being attacked, they reacted instinctively. They began thrusting their halberds towards the Stormcast to try to stop the onslaught and allow people to escape. But then the Knights Excelsior began to direct their attention towards the Halberdiers guard. Bert watched incredulously from his float, desperately trying to understand what was happening. “Why didn’t the Stormcasts find what I did funny?” he thought. He heard a few Liberators screaming at him “In the name of Sigmar, die! Die you chaos spawn!” as they tried to climb on to the float. One managed to get over the side of the float and smashed Bert's foot with his hammer. Bert jerked his foot away in pain. “Ow! That hurts!” he screamed. And then Bert got angry. He grabbed the Liberator by the head, hauled him up and threw him with all his force against the line of Stormcasts surrounding the float. Bert clambered off the float and kicked the shield of another Liberator as he dismounted, sending the warrior sprawling back against the Lord Veritant standing behind him. Whilst this was happening, Albertus had jumped off the other stand and raced towards Manstien who was lying in a daze at the bottom of the ladder. Albertus hauled him up like a rag doll and shouted to a couple of halberdiers who were watching dumbfounded what was going on at the other side of the float. “You, and you, come here! Take him away, Take him to the town hall! Put him in his office and lock the door! Stand guard and let nobody in!” The guards looked at him in surprise. Albertus threw Manstien in their hands. “Do it now!” The halberdiers caught Manstien and dragged him away to the town hall. Albertus snatched up a halberd lying on the ground and ran around the float to where the halberdiers were fighting a losing battle against the Stormcasts. Luckily for the halberdiers there were only thirty of them. A group of strong men from the March of the Blood Reavers now joined the halberdiers. They also had family and friends amongst the victims. Armed with halberd and spiked clubs they tried desperately to contain the Knights Excelsior from pursuing the festival goers. But the Knights were determined to break through their lines so they could cleanse the city of the foul chaos spawn that lived here. Albertus shouted “Stop! Stop! Stop this madness. Parley! Parley!”. The Lord Veritant saw Albertus and called him out. “You and your demon rituals, you will pay for your blasphemy with your life! We will cleanse this chaos infested city and avenge the insults on our Lord Sigmar!” Bert, suddenly appeared next to Albertus, armed with two large clubs in his hands from the Reavers. Bellowing out a war cry he threw one club at the Lord Veritant. The Lord Veritant stepped aside as the club flew past him, missing him by a whisker. At that moment, a trumpet sounded from above, and a lone Stormcast Prosecutor with a horn descended and landed behind the Stormcast line. The Lord Veritant shouted orders to form shieldwall as he made his way to the Prosecutor. The two battle lines parted a few yards away from each other and the halberdiers tried to catch their breath. The Lord Vertiant could be seen arguing with the Prosecutor, and after a short while, he returned to the battle line. He shouted some orders which Albertus could not understand, and the Stormcast Liberators suddenly changed formation into column. Protected on all sides by their shields, they began to fall back towards one end of the city square. Germanus Graghus turned around and pointed at Albertus: “You are a marked man! And this city will soon feel the wrath of Sigmar! We will be back to finish this job once and for all!” Some of the halberdiers started jeering. Albertus shouted “Stop it! Shut up! Let them go! Let them go!” And so, the Knights Excelsior departed the city of Montalban, inexplicably and as sudden as they had shown up. The Stormcast Prosecutor rose up and flew away. On their march to the city gate, the Knights Excelsior did not meet a single living soul. The streets were deserted, and the city gate was wide open. The column of Stormcasts set off through the gate, on the road in a forced march. As news spread that they were gone, thousands of festival goers came out of hiding and many left the city immediately, back to the villages and small towns where they had come from. But a lot of them went back to the square trying to find their missing family members amongst the piles of battered corpses all over the place. When they recognised their loved ones, they broke down in agonised cries and tears as they held the mangled remains of their loved ones. A solitary figure pulled the float, the Rex Diem, away from the square. It was Bert. He dragged his bloodied foot behind him, limping from the hammer blow that had smashed it. They had hurt him and the people who were kind to him. They had taken away his right to be king for a day and he could not understand why. Inside him grew an anger at the sheer injustice of it all.
  4. Chapter 4 – You have been warned In the week that followed the Knights Excelsior’s arrival, preparations started in earnest for the Laus Stultitiae, the big annual festival. Festival goers began to arrive in the city all looking forward to the celebrations and with plenty of money to spend. Street markets sprung up everywhere, taverns were full of revelers and across the whole city, houses and squares were decorated with garlands and banners. The festival was a celebration of the history and origins of the city of Montalban and on the last day of the festival, a large carnival parade would be held where, by tradition, the humblest of the citizens would be crowned King for a Day. The carnival was called 'the burial of the sardine'. None really knew how it came by that name. According to folklore, when the city was once besieged by a large Beastherd, the citizens of Montalban had been reduced to eating rotten sardines from the last fishing boat that made it into the harbour before the city was cut off. When it ended the carnival was created to celebrate their finally being able to eat something other than sardines. It was a nice story. The Knights Excelsior didn't take part in any of this, locking themselves away in the guard barracks, never opening the door to anyone. Even victuals had to be left at the gate, until suddenly a Stormcast soldier would open the gate and take the food inside without saying a single word. Sheriff Albertus would visit the Greatswords standing guard outside the barracks several times, during the day and night. But the soldiers could tell him nothing more than that they heard the Knights were holding weapon drills during the day in the parade square, singing hymns during the evening and nothing during the night. Only once was there an incident. Some drunken festival revelers had come in the middle of the night to the barracks, taunting the Knights Excelsior. “Oi, Stormcastie boy!”, they were heard shouting, “You lot you think you are tough, yeah? Well, why don't you come out and show it then! We here in Montalban ain't afraid of a bunch of peacocks like you lot.” Within moments the Greatswords ran over and started arguing with them. Soon enough there was a fist fight in front of the gate and when they all had thrown and received enough punches, the drunks melted back into the town hurling insults at the Greatswords and Stormcasts. But from the barracks came no response. The next morning, Sheriff Albertus decided it was time to pay a certain person a visit. He went over to the Greatswords guard and asked the captain and the sergeant to accompany him. When he was asked whereto, he said “nowhere, and that is where you have been if someone asks, nowhere, understood?”. Both nodded. The three walked out of the city gate and headed up the road. After a half hour, they left the main road and took a path leading into the forest. Only then did the Greatswords realise they were heading for Haldor Hollow. Past the forest, the path led to a clearing where several ruins of farmsteads and barns stood. One of the farms was still looking inhabitable despite its rickety roof and broken windows. They knew this was where the old mad mage lived and they didn't like it at all. The old fool was crazy enough to turn them into a statue or even worse, a frog or a donkey. Albetus approached the door and shouted “Nostro, it's Albertus here. I know you are in there.” From inside came a voice “Of course it is. Do you think I'm blind? I 've got no money, you greedy leech”. “Oh shut up” Albertus answered as he pushed the door open. “You two wait here” he told the Greatswords and went in. Both Albertus and Nostro sat around a table peering into a glass sphere. Clouds seemed to swirl inside it, changing reds to blues to vibrant purples as Nostro muttered unintelligible incantations. Sheriff Albertus had not always been sheriff of Montalban. He was a man with a long past - a past which was nobody's business if he could help it. But with that past came a lot of experience and he knew the value of a mage of the Collegiate Arcanum. Even if the one sitting in front of him might have faked his diploma on the wall, as Albertus suspected. But papers don't matter on the battlefield, it’s the gift that mattered. Finally Nostro spoke. “I see a lot a trouble ahead”. Albertus snorted, “I could tell you that looking in a brick, you old fool. The city is full of trouble with the festival going on.”. Nostro took no notice. “No, I mean real trouble. You have trouble makers in town. Bad ones.” Albertus swallowed. He knew perfectly well who that was. That was why he was here. “What will happen?” he wanted to know. “Oh the usual,...violence, death, battle, and then some more.” Nostro sighed. “But there is also an agent at work, an agent of the ruinous powers”. “Who?” Albertus pressed. “I don't know. I can't see through the concealment wards”. Suddenly Nostro looked up. “Listen, I know where you came from and what is in your past. You're not fooling me with this sheriff malarkey. You are going to help me.” “How?” asked Albertus. “I want my Hurricanum and Luminark back”, Nostro answered, fixing him firmly in the eye. Albertus straightened up. “No way, read my lips, no way” he hissed back to Nostro. Nostro once resided in town as the well-respected mage of Montalban. He lived in one of the city wall’s large watch towers and was often found shouting to the heavens, practicing old spells and experimenting with new ones. But one day in high summer just before the harvest, one of the Hurricanum experiments went badly wrong. He unleashed the mother of all hailstorms on the surrounding countryside which ruined the crops in the fields. The farmers besieged the stadthouder in the city hall, beside themselves with rage, waving their pitch forks to all who tried to get near them. They demanded that Manstien threw the mage out of town. Eventually Manstien managed to appease them with promises of a severe reprimand, 20 lashes of the whip for the mage and even more punishment. Later he exploded with anger in front of the mage but did not carry out the punishment. The banishment eventually came later after another failed Hurricanum experiment. Nostro managed to land a comet out of the clear blue sky right in the middle of the town's animal menagerie, crushing several Demygryphs to death and barely missing the Stadthouder's battle griffon by a whisker. This time the Stadthouder needed no prompting from the shocked Demigryph Knights and he banished the mage out of town. Since then the mage had secluded himself in Haldor Hollow. “Something has happened, Albertus. Something very bad in a place called Shyish. You may not have noticed anything unusual but the air has changed and the forces of magic and evil are getting stronger every day now.” Nostro stared silently into the glass sphere, a look of despair creeping across his face. Albertus stood up. “Yeah sure, you're not intimidating me, you old fool.”. As he walked to the door, Nostro shouted after him. “Don't call me an old fool, Albertus, you are the fool here. Your past will catch up with you. And I tell you now: before this is over you will be on your knees here, begging me to get back to my Hurricanum and Luminark. You have been warned!” Albertus and the two Greatswords walked back to town in silence. They knew better than to ask him what had happened. Once through the gate, he beckoned them to come with him. They went up the steps of the city wall to the curtain wall and followed the wall to the large gate tower on the south side. They knew this was the old mage's tower. Once at the gate's tower door, Albertus looked around them and took a key out of his doublet. He turned the key in the lock and pushed the door open. Inside the room had remained undisturbed as it was left years ago when the mage was banished. “Follow me” he said to the two men. He swept a carpet aside and lifted up a large wooden lid in the floor. A dark staircase lead to the basement of the tower. A feint light seemed to come from down there. As the three gingerly descended the staircase, Albertus whispered “Holy Michael the Hermit”. Once down, in front of him stood the Hurricanum and the Luminark with its lenses and mirrors. But they were not still as they expected them to be. The Hurricanum was slowly whirling its parabolas on its own accord and the lenses of the Luminark were pulsing with faint green light. As Albertus locked the gate tower door behind him, he turned to the captain and the sergeant. “Remember, you've been nowhere”.
  5. Chapter 3 – They are here Two days later, on a bright but chilly spring morning, Stadthouder Adriaanus Manstien, Sheriff Albertus and the consigniliari of Montalban stood waiting in the middle of the road, just inside the main town gate . The huge, forged iron gate was thrown wide open, its portcullis raised. The town's guard lined up in front of them outside the gate, on either side of the road leading into the town. Halberdiers on the left, Handgunners on the right. The company of Greatswords stood to attention on one side of the road inside the town a little way past the gate. The dismounted Demigryph Knights stood on the other side of the road facing the Greatswords. Stadthouder Manstien made the decision to leave the Demigryphs in the city's menagerie. They were nervous animals at the best of times and it would be one less thing to worry about. The Demigryph Knights, proud sons and fathers of nobel houses and wealthy merchant families, were not pleased about this decision. The Stadthouder knew he would have to grant a few of them a private audience later in his cabinet room. They were certain to protest their displeasure at having to stand like peasants and ordinary guards to meet the Knights Excelsior. The Stadthouder had already heard some of the grizzled Greatswords jeer at the dismounted knights opposite “Where's your coo-coo bird, son?” Every time Sheriff Albertus boomed “Silence in the ranks!” And so they waited. And waited some more. The Greatswords grew tired and began to lean on their Zweihander swords. The Halberdiers were put at rest and the hand gunners were allowed to put down their guns. Sheriff Albertus shouted up to the gate guard aloft the battlements. “Can you see anything?” “No my lord” was the reply. Some of the consigniliari began to complain. Another practical joke by the festival committee, they argued. Then finally came the cry from the battlements. “My lord, they are here!” A double column of 30 Knights Excelsior Liberators with warhammers and shields, marched briskly up the road towards the city gate. In locked step, they covered the distance in no time at all. Manstien could hear them singing a rousing marching hymn. “As I walk the valleys of Shyish, the lord Sigmar is my guiding light. My resolve, my strength, my righteous fury,...”. Their officer was at the head of the column , marching in silence. Manstien noticed they did not wear golden plate armour but white plate. Sheriff Albertus shouted orders to all around him. Sergeants and captains were redressing ranks and files. Drum rolls came from the far end of the files and the shouts of ‘present arms’ were heard getting ever closer. The Knights Excelsior slowed their pace and silently, they marched past the guard regiments. Under the gate they halted in front of Manstien, Albertus and the party of consigniliari. Stadhouder Manstien looked up to the Stormcast officer in front of him. Dressed in his ornate white battle helmet he stood at one and a half times the Stadthouder's height. The warrior was like a perfect white statue. Manstien's eye twitched nervously. “W..Welcome”, Manstien stuttered. “Welcome. The city and people of Montalban bid the Knights Excelsior welcome. May your stay with us be most agreeable.” The Stormcast officer in unblemished battle plate, decorated with leather scrolls fluttering in the draft, looked down at Manstien. Slowly he raised his arms and removed his helmet. The look on his face made Manstien wish he had kept his helmet on. Manstien looked into the face of the man like a rat hypnotized by a snake. The officer raised his gaze to peer over the heads of the welcoming party and across into the city. He took a long sniff of the air three times, once centre, once left and once right. Sheriff Albertus, who stood next to Manstien, kicked the shins of the Stadthouder. Manstien looked at him “Hmmm?” Then the Stadthouder remembered the young page behind him with the velvet pillow and a large golden key on it. He grabbed the pillow with both hands and held it up aloft to the Stormcast officer. “As Stadthouder of this city, I, Adriaanus Manstien, hereby offer the Knights Excelsior the keys of the city gate and the freedom of the city”. The Knight Excelsior finally answered, still looking over Manstien's head: “My name is Germanus Graghus and I am Lord Veritant of the Knights Excelsior.” He looked down at Manstien. “You can keep your key. We don’t use keys to enter a city.” Manstien was a bit startled. “It is just a symbol, my Lord Veritant.” The Knight Excelsior just nodded. “Thank you for welcoming us. Where do we stay?” Sheriff Albertus took the Knights Excelsior to the guards barracks. Luckily it was not far away. As the Stormcasts marched through the city streets, with the Greatswords behind them forming a guard of honour, the streets filled up with citizens eager to catch a glimpse of the fabled storm warriors of Sigmar. As they walked, shouts turned to murmurs and then to silence. Everybody was overawed by their presence and the aura of solemnity they projected all around them. Once the Stormcasts had entered the barracks, the doors were closed behind them and the Greatswords took up guard position outside the barrack's gate. Inside, Sheriff Albertus took the Lord Veritant through the building, explaining where he would find everything and when their provisions would arrive. The sheriff couldn’t help but noticing how the Lord Veritant seemed to sniff the air as he entered each new room. Finally the Lord Veritant turned around to him and said: “Thank you. This will be all”. “My Lord” answered Albertus. He took a slight bow, turned around and marched out of the barracks without even once looking back. Once Albertus closed the gate door behind him, Germanus Graghus, the Lord Veritant turned to his nearest Knight Excelsior companion. “This place stinks of chaos and every other foul thing to be found in the realms”.
  6. "The Sterntower Marksmen are a newly formed regiment out of Steingart. They are garrisoned as part of the line of sentry post and signal towers that guard the low foothills of the eastern Wissenland, under the shadow of the imposing Black Mountains. Always at the ready to launch their signal flares to signify invasions, the watchtowers are essential for border defence. The Marksmen share the Sterntower with several other Imperial regiments - Halberdiers and Spearmen - with whom they have established a front-line camaraderie. Sergeant-at-Arms Hans Schwarzblut is the tower officer, in command of the Sterntower Marksmen and a unit each of Halberdier and Spearmen. He is a veteran of many battles against marauding Orcs and his tight discipline keeps all the troops at high alert. Unwilling to sit and wait, Schwartzblut often orders patrols up into the narrow mountain passes." - Uniforms and Heraldry of the Empire Crossbowmen are one of the strongest units in the Free Peoples arsenal, providing robust mid-range shooting and a nasty surprise for enemies who recklessly charge them or the Great Company they are in. On paper they don't look that fearsome. A 20" range, 4+ to hit and 4+ to wound isn't that great. 1 wound each, low bravery, low movement and a terrible save. Where they shine is in the synergies with their in-built abilities and the rest of the army. Positives Pipers - Stand and Shoot 2.0! If an enemy ends it's charge within 3" of the Crossbowmen they can open up and shoot with their Crossbows at the charging unit. You lose the Reload Fire (below) ability when you stand and shoot (enemy will be within 3"). But what is truly amazing is that if another ranged Free Guild unit is charged you can support them without being in the same Great Company as the rule reads "Once per turn, if an enemy unit ends it's charge move within 3" of a unit that includes any Pipers, they can signal their unit to stand and shoot; each model can then shoot it's Crossbow at the charging unit". Standard Bearer - Whilst their save and Bravery is bad, the Standard Bearer allows rolls of 1 to be an automatic pass for the unit in Bravery checks. This is important as it stacks with the Order Battle Trait Defiant Avengers (allowing you to re-roll battleshock tests) and the Freeguild General on Horses banner (roll two dice for Freeguild units with 24" of the Freeguild General). In brief, ALWAYS keep these guys within range of the Freeguild General with Banner. Abilities Piercing Bolts - Each time a you roll a wound roll of 6 or more for a Crossbow, that attack is resolved with a Rnd of -1 instead of (-). Why is it good? Give your Crossbowmen Hold the Line! (1+ to hit and wound) and that means -1 rend on 5's and 6's. With 60 shots from the Reload Fire ability (below), that can get scary. Reload Fire - Freeguild Crossbowmen can shoot twice if their unit has 20 or more models and there are no enemy models with 3". Why is this good? You can move and still punch out 60 shots (as long as no enemies are within 3"), this means you can support your Swordsmen on the move without any negative effects (unlike the Handgunners). You can also do 60 shots with the Great Company support (again no enemies within 3") in the enemy charge phase even if the enemy hasn't charged (because the enemy just has to be within 3" of the unit being supported). Negatives 6+ save Bravery 5 5" move Get picked off easily by long range units (looking at you SC Vanguard). Recommendations Keep them 3.5" from the front line of your Freeguild Guard (so as to not jeopardise the Great Company support and your 60 shots). Keep them within range of the Freeguild General (for the banner and Idomitable (Command Trait)). Keep themwithin range of the Luminarks 10", 6+ ward save (if you have one). Use Hold the Line! (+1 to hit, +1 wound) from the Freeguild General to give them 3+, 3+ (though they can't move) Make them insane by getting two command points, giving them Hold the Line! and Rousing Battlecry command abilities (+1 hit) from the General on Horse and General on Griffon and then have an Azyros in range of their target (within 10" targetting unit get's re-roll 1's). Bathe in the sheer ****** of 2+ to hit (re-rolling 1's) and 3+ to wound on 60 shots. Use them to support your Freeguild Guard. These are your damage dealers, they are essentially ranged Greatswords.
  7. The Free City of Bal’lahast and the Bal’lahast 1st Shyish Campaign Force The City The Free City of Bal’lahast is situated in the far north of Ghur, neighbored by the Spitewood and Spitewood Fens, home to Sylvaneth and Fimir respectively. The city stands on an open grassy plane, surrounded by five concentric rings of moats. There are no walls in Bal’lahast, only the stake laden pits of water that keep the great beasts of Ghur at bay. Only a single bridge crosses each section of the moat, and one would have to circle around having just crossed the first in order to reach the second and so on. This makes Bal’lahast a nightmare to siege without the use of flying beasts, and so the city has never fallen. The people of Bal’lahast are of both human and duardin descent, and so are of stern demeanor, but also stand slightly shorter and are burlier than the average man. They worship the gods Grungni and Sigmar in that order, and venerate Ludwig Schwarzhelm as their patron saint, as well as Karl Franz to a lesser degree. The leader of the Bal’lahastines is called The Schwarzhelm, of which Hector Wallace is the current bearer of the mantel. He is the 21st Schwarzhelm, and like his predecessors, he strives to don the ancient saint’s supposed persona and instill his stalwart nature in all his subjects. The icon of Bal’lahast is a simple letter R in Khazalid, in honor of the city’s founder, Robert Bal’lahast, who lived at the end of the Age of Chaos. The Bal’lahastines prefer functionality over aesthetics, and so their heraldry is often bare-bones and dull in color. The image of the Schwarzhelm upon his horse is more than enough to stir up the courage of any man. The many craftsmen and artificers of the city are duty-bound to ensure the maintenance of The Schwarzhelm’s panoply; a near perfect replica of the original worn in the World that Was, based on a single surviving manuscript found in the depths of Azyr, by a lone priest of the Devoted of Sigmar many centuries ago. This tattered ink sketch is the most prized object of the city. The armies of Bal’lahast go to war dressed in copper-alloy armor and burgundy cloth. The region of Ghur in which the city resides is poor in metals bar copper, and so they craft most of their armor from a synthesized alloy of the metal, produced by the city’s Collegiate Arcane. Weapons of war are still crafted in steel, as the aforementioned alloy is, for the most part, inferior. Steel is otherwise reserved for the most important of tools and armor, and so only the leaders and most well paid soldiers can afford such luxury; namely the generals and Handgunners, as well as the knights who often have shields of steel. The Handgunners in particular are highly valued as they are instrumental in bringing down the rampaging beasts of Ghur, and so every kill is extra coin in their pocket. The uniform of a Bal’lahastine soldier begins a deep green, and it is expected by the end of their first year of duty that it be stained burgundy with the blood of monsters. Some circumvent this by using artificial dyes, but this is frowned upon. What a Bal’lahastine lacks in equipment, they make up for with physical prowess and bravery. Thanks to their ancestry, the average man is thickly built with a penchant for saying ‘no’, be it accepting a day off or fleeing the enemy. The Bal’lahast 1st Shyish Campaign Force The soldiers of the Bal’lahast 1st Shyish Campaign Force are a grim foe to behold. Formed during the aftermath of the Necroquake, these bedraggled yet stalwart men are a force to be reckoned with. Their steel is rusted and their armor stained with verdigris, for there are no supply lines in the land they find themselves in, and the next friend is few and far between. Shyish would suffocate most outsiders, but not them. They fight to bring an end to the death god through the sheer grit of mortal men. Led by Hector Wallace, the Campaign Force has gained a firm foothold in the realm and intends to push ever onwards into the heart of Shyish. The only man who will return is The Schwarzhelm himself, but each and every soldier knows this. Their uniforms are already stained red on the planes of Ghur, and even though the eager recruits will never know this fighting the dead, they fight regardless. Every soldier is a willing soul. Upon death, the soul of the fallen soldier will not be drawn to the Great Necromancer, instead it is immediately obliterated by the power of the Bal’lahastine Luminark’s scorching aura; a well-kept secret by the city’s Collegiate Arcane. This way, they feed no souls to the enemy, and let soldiers die in peace, knowing they will never return. This does however mean that Luminarks are the most prized weapon of war utilized by Bal’lahast, and they are defended as if they were The Schwarzhelm himself. The Campaign Force is the first army of Bal’lahast to fight alongside the Stormcast Eternals. While many mortals would quiver in their shadow, the men of Bal’lahast are most vocal in their distaste for Sigmar’s chosen, seeing them as cowards in the face of true annihilation; something they willingly choose. Regardless, Wallace ensures that their alliance holds firm; after all, they need every new sword they can find, and Sigmarite doesn’t rust.
  8. The flouting merchant city of Bataar has really inspired me to do my own merchant city in the realm of beasts. Do you think using the rules for the city of Tempest’s Eye would work for replicating the feel of Bataar? Thanks, and any other suggestions are welcome.
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