Friday 26 May 2023

Warhammer Fest 2023 & the Warcry Rumble, Part 2

Kalyustar's Revenge

Kalyustar paced restlessly in his mausoleum chambers.
Ever since the night of the Sorowmœn, the Rotmoons had vanished, surely flown away on their patched up skyship. That the wood of the Twisted Oak had been wasted in such a way filled the Soulchemist with barely restrained rage.
'But it is just indignation at those orruks' meddling with your efforts that fuels your rage?'
The voice of the Shadeglass Skull came, as always slightly mocking and yet soothing.
"No, old friend. Something else has changed".
'Has it? And what is it?'
"I'm not sure... It is not just the energies of Shyish blewing weaker across the cosmos. Something has taken their place, something far more alive and feral."
'Ah, yes, Soulchemist! Look at those minions of yours that were closer to Ghur in life...'
"The Orruk, the Ogors, even the Gor and the Skaven... they could not stay still. They twitch and jerk, they beat their weapons and shield rhythmically...'
'And don't you hear that same pounding in the aether?'
"I do... and it is that that fuels my rage further".
'And is that not something you should look into?'
"Maybe... but where to start?"
'In Ghur. There is a place they call the Gnarlwood, hiding a great source of power. Could it be that perturbing the aether?'
"That's worth finding out, old friend. We leave the Harrowmark. We move at once for the Haunted Gate".
'Good Soulchemist, good! But remember, even in Ghur, you still serve the Master...'


As Kalyustar stepped through the shimmering light of the Haunted Gate a vista of half constructed structures welcomed him. He had heard of the Dawnbringer Crusades, and that seemed one of their outposts. The Orruk, which he had taken with him, immediately jerked forward, as if called by something. That was a clear enough sign that they were in Ghur.

In the distance, he heard a commotion. Human and duardin voices raised high in a quarrel over shares, obbligations and profits. He spotted them, a company of Freeguilders and a crew of Kharadron Overlords, splitting off and lining up on opposite sides of the outpost. They were clearly gearing up to solve their issues with weapons. The Soulchemist was considering to leave them to the futile businesses of the living, but then another sound called his attention.

It was an all too familiar shanty, sung in a tuneless and guttural voice. And though the orruks were far bigger than the Rotmoons and their crew markings unknown to him, Kalyustar knew they belonged to the Ironfang Fleet.

Their captain sprung forward, his Brutes shortly behind, clearly eager to gave a a good thumpung to the Freeguilders.

The Freeguilder leader spurred his Demi-gryph, steering it towards the orruks, but his charge was intercepted by a flying Kharadron.

Unhindered, the orruk captain barrelled through a cloud of musket smoke, shouting loud and brash encouragements to his crew. Soon, they were smashing Freeguilders left and right.

Kalyustar saw an opportunity to have some revenge on the orruk pirates, even if that meant giving up his position. In quick succession, he hurled two necrotic bolts against the Kharadron's endrin-rig, sending the duardin spinning to the ground. As he shouted for the Freeguilder to deal with the orruks, a thunderous salvo erupted from the Kharadron lines and engulfed his skeletons.

The Demi-gryph pounded towards the orruk captain and his rider's spear slammed onto the brute's broad chest.

Kalyustar needed more time to see his plan coming to fruition, but the Kharadron were still pouring aether-shots towards him. So he sent Grond forward to soak up the incoming fire.

Finally, the orruk captain fell under the Demi-gryph's claws and beak. His crew immediately lost their will to fight and withdrew.

Kalyustar laughed manically, while the Kharadron kept firing on him. The Soulchemist ducked for cover, summoning his minions to his side and leaving humans and duardins to fight over the Dawnbringer outpost.
He had had what he wanted, and revenge never had tasted so sweet to him.

Saturday 6 May 2023

Warhammer Fest 2023 & the Warcry Rumble, Part 1

Return to Rainy Manchester

As I had said a couple of months ago, even though I had left Manchester, the plan to meet with Saul and Lee at Warhammer Fest had been in the making for far longer.
So, on a typically grey Mancunian morning on Saturday 29th April, we crossed each other as the queue to the event snaked back on itself. And then, we had a great three days of modelling, gaming and general geekyness.
Saul's already published about the event and now it's my turn to give a summary. Over the next few days I'll post narrative battle reports of the games we had.

Day 1: Hobby Challenge & Multiplayer Warcry

I had bought the ticket for the Hobby Challenge, so as soon as I was inside (about 8.30ish) I rushed for it and, once I had collected my Event Exclusive Darkoath Chieftain, I was among the first browsing the mountain of sprues available on the day.
I gasped when I saw tons of sprues from the Stormvault kit and grabbed as many as I could, instantly forgetting about the Darkoath Chieftain.
I started assembling madly, taking full advantage of the modularity of that kit. I was so enraptured that after about 4 hours, I had built enough to fill a Warcry board.

Since I was travelling only with a small backpack, I called it on the terrain building, confident that all the various pieces could have been easily stacked inside each other. so, I texted Saul and Lee to have a Warcry game.
Saul was basically already onto it, having hooked up with a friend from Discord and having arranged for a table and we all played There Can Be Only One, giving me a chance to play as Kalyustar and his Cursed Company once more.

Once the game was done, I went back to the Hobby Challenge area to polish some of the rough joints and mould lines on the models I had built. It was then I realised there were plenty of the Easy-to-Build Sequitors sprues and even of the Knight-Incantor from the Mortal Realms magazine, so I helped myself to some and a few extra bits to convert them and added all to the loot of the day.

Day 2: The Warcry Rumble

That was the day we had looked for the most. Seeing a line-up of 56 Warcry players (even if one dropped out just last minute) was pretty amazing. Everybody was clearly in love with the game, both veterans and novices alike, and most importantly with its spirit as an essentially narrative game. Everyone I played against had a story for their warband or had made some really nice conversions.

I wish I could have taken pictures of all 55 warbands, but alas it wasn't possible, but here are the ones I managed to take, even if in some cases I don't know who their owners are. Anyway, as we started playing, I wasn't expecting anything more but to have four nice games. I had that... and a lot more!

It turned out that Kalyustar's Cursed Company, since its inception a shambling horde of skeletons, is particularly good at the Warcry Rumble battleplans. Put it very simply, the weight of their numbers means that opponents often cannot take objectives away from them. It doesn't matter that the skeletons fall in droves and don't inflict as much casualties in return, there is always enough of them to keep controlling the objectives.

Still, the games were all tense, in no small part thanks to the fact that the Side Quests gave my opponents plenty of chances to score Victory Points without contesting objectives. Nonetheless, and to my surprise, I won all my first three games... and by turn four ended up playing on Table 1 with a chance at winning the whole tournament.

That was the tensest game of the day, and I was in the lead for the first two turns. Then, in turn 3 I got cocky, completely forgot about the Side Quest and gave a chance for my opponent to equalise the score. Turn 4 was a constant back and forth, but by the end of it I was a single Victory Point behind my opponent and finished the tournament in 6th position. Still... a lot higher than I had expected I would have finished!

I'm sure you're wondering what warbands did I face, what battleplans did we fight and what Side Quests were in play. Well, in time you'll know as those are details better kept for narrative battle reports.
For now, I just have to thank my opponents Eloi Garrido, Mathias Brusselaers, Lars Nordal Jensen and Michael Appleton for the great game we had!

Day 3: Casual Gaming and Goodbyes

On the Monday we were all rather tired and agreed to meet at 10ish. I had to be at the airport by 1.30ish, so that gave us time for one last game, which I played with Lee while Saul played another Rumbler we had met the day before.
It was good fun, but then, for the second time in a very short time, I had to say goodbye to a place and people that have meant so much for me and my hobbying.
Oh well! Let's look at the bright side and forward to painting a full Stormvault board for my future games!

Wednesday 5 April 2023

Project Backlog, Part 11

Lathanshar the Emulatrix

Lathanshar gazed upon the glory of Shalaxi Helbane when they were but a common Daemonette. Seeing the impossible grace of Slaanesh's favoured hunter as they fought a raging Bloodthirster, a new obsession blossomed in Lathanshar's mind. They had to be like Helbane in appearance and skills. To this end, they strived for centuries, hunting down and besting in single combat mortals and daemons alike who displeased Slaanesh with their dullness. For their efforts, Lathanshar was generously rewarded, quickly raising to the rank of Herald. As their kills continued, sensoriums sprout from their head to help them in the hunt, then a claw morphed into a hand and to match it, a third arm emerged from their body. They then halted their hunts and obsessively studied under the best daemonic weaponsmiths to forge themselves a long spear and a shield.
In the meantime, however, Slaanesh's attention has wondered elsewhere, and though Lathanshar has retaken their hunts, no new rewards come to them. And so the Herald suffers, for they still miss a claw to truly be like their idol. And as they suffer, Lathanshar grows ever more aggressive, their hunts ever more frenzied, their killings ever more gruesome. And yet, they still are denied...

I got the base model for this conversion for free at the Manchester store when the previous Hedonites of Slaanesh battletome was released. Like so many others, it had languished in the bits box until I had to pack my stuff. It was assembled as a regular Daemonette, but I decided to chop it a bit and convert it.

In the bits box, I had a Daemonette Banner Bearer arm, a Tree-Revenant blade left from converting the Shadowkin, a Witch Aelf head and shield from converting the Shroudmaidens and an arm from the Sisters of Silence. The plan was to keep both claws and have a proper small version of Shalaxi Helbane. Hard as I tried, however, I could not keep both the banner and the claw arms without pushing either of them way too much towards the back of the model. So I had to renounce to that. Everything else fitted in just perfectly, including the Tree-Revenant blade which took the place of the chopped away Slaaneshi icon on top of the banner pole.
The slabs of stone on the base are offcuts from an old movement tray.

Painting-wise, I wanted to try a yellow-green palette, rather than the traditional pink-blue-black, against the Daemonette pale skin. I settled for a golden armour and bright green hair, nails, claw and spurs. I still kept touches of blue and black on the tabard, the shade used for the skin and on the stones on the base. The skin looks a bit too rough, but I'm overall happy with the model.

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Project Backlog, Part 10

Thork Toadbreath, Gutrippa Boss

Even amongst the Kruleboys, Thork was renowned for the hideous ingenuity of his tactics and the cunning use of his vulcha Eyegouger to spot enemies while remaining unseen. With his boyz, the Back-Breakerz, he had made a name for himself during the conflict in the Bleeding Wilds by constantly surrounding the enemy before finishing them off with deadly pincer movements. During one of these ambushes he was caught in the eddies of the Bleed and dragged into the Ur-River's waters. Somehow Eyegouger managed to follow its master and for days, while Thork held onto the floatsam, the vulcha brought small carcasses for him to feed. Eventually the Gutrippa Boss washed up on the shores of Iscarion, where he quickly looked for shelter from the blinding glare of Hysh, finding it deep in the Lux Umbra. There, he has been enjoying the life of the rover, plundering the tunnels on its own or hiring himself up to unscrupolous adventurers. Yet, he still is fixed only on finding a way back, for he is sure it was one of his boyz that pushed him into the Bleed and he will have bloody revenge.

I bought the Store Anniversary Gutrippa Boss model in October 2022, and as a couple of months later I decided to leave Manchester I rushed to assemble and paint it, least I was tempted to sell it rather than packing it.

As it was a spur of the moment, I didn't convert it and kept the painting farly basic: contrast over a 3-stages zenithal undercoat, followed by drybrushing highlights for the non-metalic parts and a simple Base-Wash-Layer sequence for the metals.

Sunday 19 March 2023

Quintus Severus' Retinue - 9

Cadet Baume

Lucas Baume was born from the upper classes of Gallia, and like many privileged youngsters he considered it a great honour to be accepted into the planetary Astra Militarum academy, famed through the Segmentum Pacificum for the utter devotion of his trainees to the Imperial Creed and the dictates of the Adeptus Munitorum. He excelled in his training, showing tactical acumen and total disregard for the safety of the lower ranking trainees he led during gruelling combat simulations. As the perfect candidate for officer duties, he was promoted to Cadet shortly after Lord Regent Guilliman had called the Indomitus Crusade. Gallia sent hundreds of regiments to the mustering grounds and Cadet Baume was seconded to the 9th Light Infantry platoon of the Gallian 1643rd, ready to complete his officer training en route and take command. But their transport was engulfed by a warp storm and spat out of the Malfactus Rift. Harrassed by the orks of Badlanding, the ship managed to reach Finis Sidera and dock there. Cadet Baume offered the few surviving guardsmen to the Rogue Trader cartel running the station, and asked to be deployed in a suicide mission to reclaim the lost sectors of the base. As soon as the soldiers heard his plan, they deserted, joining the crews of Rogue Trader ships. From that day, Cadet Baume has been drinking heavily, ashamed by his failure, and hired himself as bodyguard for the Rogue Traders. Ever since the arrival of Inquisitor Quintus Severus to Finis Sidera, the disgraced soldier has tried to pledge his services to him. The shrewed Inquisitor has not yet accepted the offer, distrustfull of a man unable to fulfil his duties.

This was a model I did to get rid of bits shortly before packing my stuff. It is a simple conversion, the only part requiring some careful work being the cutting of an old Cadian lasgun to be replaced with a boltgun.

The rest of the bits are old Cadian legs, a Tank Officer torso, belt accessories from the Genestealer Cult upgrade pack and a French Infantry head from, I guess, the Brothers Perry's Napoleonic War range. Don't even ask me how that bit found its way into the bitz box!

Obviously, the fact that the torso had braces worked incredibly well with the head, so I replicated the colours of the Light Infantry uniform in the Napoleonic army.

Sunday 5 March 2023

Everything comes to an end...

I'm sure everyone is familiar with that nasty feeling that real life is interfering with the hobby.
Well, now think of that feeling and amplify it thousandfold. Then you'll probably get to how I felt for the last month or so.
What's happening, you might wonder. The answer is in these pictures...

Yes, that is my war room. And how different it looks from when I first showed it in this blog.
And yes, I've left my house in Manchester and the UK altogether. Now I'm back in Palermo, my hometown in Sicily, waiting for an international shipment to reunite me with my beloved hobby stuff.

But rather than using this post to whine about the situation, I want to use it to say thanks to all the good friends I made in Manchester through the hobby.

Phil, Dave, Darius, Lee, Robert, David and Saul have all been amazing gaming pals. I remember way back in 2008 when I first stumbled onto Saul and Phil, playing a 40k game with two beautifully converted and painted armies at the Manchester Arndale store. The armies were already enough to call my attention, but what was even better, was their attitude. They were telling a story, not competing!

And many a story we all told over the years, always going the extra mile in building terrains, converting models and painting them. First it was through Mordheim, Necromunda and some crazy homebrewed rules for massive naval battles foughts on the floor. Then in 2015 came Age of Sigmar and the earliest incarnation of Kill Team, exactly when I was setting up my war room.

And that's when Saul and I embarked on the journey that made us best gaming mates. Over these last 8 years, Saul and I completely attuned to each other creatively. While everybody was chipping in and bouncing ideas off each other, the two of us went a step further. Saul regularly came up with new ideas for settings and story lines, I quickly found the most fitting rules and scenarios to bring them to the table and then, without even actually coordinating the writing of our narrative battle reports, we ended up writing the same story from two different but complementary points of view.

Looking back now to the adventures of Inquisitors Lenk and Quintus Severus down in Mancunius Dome, the messing about of the Rotmoons with Kalyustar's dreams of greatness in the Harrowmark's gloom, the clashes between the Purebred and Anomaly Protocol on the scorched wastes of Tor Megiddo, the Shadowflames' rivalry with the Cleavermaws fought across the Realms' Edges, the turf wars between the Void Phoenixes and the Bleaksouls in the shadows of Commorragh, the Ironforged's bullying of the Swordfyshes under the Prowling Forest boughs and the many more smaller campaigns we played, I can see how Saul and I shared the same love for ambiguos characters.
Neither heroes nor villains, they never really won or were actually defeated. They just ground through their lifes in the grim worlds they inhabited. And so all our campaigns always had a narratively bitter ending, with no character fully achieving what they wanted, just like in real life. But in real life we had had the best blast you could imagine!

So, thanks everybody for 15 amazing years of storytelling! And even more love to Saul, for being the greatest companion in the hobby I could have ever dreamed of. See you at Warhammer Fest, you filthy greenskinned pirate!

Thursday 26 January 2023

The Prowling Forest, Part 13

Showdown at Blubberfen: No Mercy!

Skargat growled in frustration.
The Ironforged's encampement was in partial disarray, this time thanks to a nightly visit by a roving rockgut troggoth. And of all possible nights, the dim-witted creature had chosen precisely the one before the final attack on the Swordfyshes.
The Tyrant could not ignore the threat to his encampment. Neither he could now tell the lads they were not going to deal with the Swordfyshes once and for all. But it was for his ability to deal with situations like this that he had earned himself the monicker of Brainglut.
Hrothgur was still eyeing the Ironforged leadership, even if he had laid low for a bit. Skargat had to keep the Crusher away from the real fights in which he could have regained the respect of the Gluttons and Maneaters. Sending him to hunt the troggoth was the perfect way to achieve that without showing the Tyrant was still worried.
"Hrothgur!" Skargat boomed so that all ogors could hear him. "This is a task I can only trust to you! Track the troggoth down. Kill it or tame it, I leave that to you".
"Yes, mighty Tyrant" replied the Crusher, a hint of puzzlement in his voice. "I'll deal with it".
"Good! And remember, Hrothgur, you are my number one lad! Everybody else, with me! We're going to storm Badrok Anchorage!"


Skargat and Cargo were the first to approach the outskirts of Badrok Anchorage. They could see the Swordfysh moored to the highest ruin, orruks busy loading it.

As the two considered whether to just let the orruks leave and then claim their territory, they spotted Krashhart, Ol' Mudgob and Docker Goff patroling the outskirts of the ruins.

That was too good an opportunity to let it slip. As one, the Tyrant and the Maneater jumped out of the undergrowth. Anchor and cutlass rung on Krashhart's armour, while Skargat's axe darted for Docker. The Warchanter stood his ground, but the 'ardboy went down like chaff before the scythe.

Krashhart recovered quickly from the surprise attack and his Gristle Grinder made short work of Cargo, giving time to Ol' Mudgob to rush for the ruins and call for reinforcements.

Leeway, Battendown and Lugger responded to the call. But the commotion was the signal the rest of the Ironforged waited for. Barag and Growt barreled forward, hungering for the fight.

They closed the distance quickly and gazed in admiration as their Tyrant went on a rampage. He leapt from a rocky outcrop right in front of Krashhart, brutally cutting him down with few well placed blows and then smashed onto Ol' Mudgob. But the Swordfyshes reinforcements stepped up, allowing the shaman to fall back.

Braggoth arrived on the scene as did Hook and Yardarm.

Ol' Mudgob summoned the Foot of Gork, and though it landed hard on Skargat, the Tyrant still managed to hack down Leeway. At the same time, Barag rubbed his Amethyst Amulet and as an incorporeal mist floated next to Battendown. As soon as he regained form, his flails slammed hard and the 'ardboy fell.

Ol' Mudgob saw the plight his crewmates were in and called for a retreat. The Swordfysh was ready for them and Blubberfen, Badrok Anchorage and the woods in between firmly in the Ironforged's hands.


Marg arrived on the battlefield as the Swordfyshes were boarding their ship. All that was left for him to do was rummaging through the goods the orruks had left behind. Most of them were empty, mouldy barrels. But on top of one of them was a surprisingly clean bottle. Inside it was a clear liquid and it didn't took much for the glutton to realise the orruks had forgotten some valuable Aqua Ghyranis.


Following the troggoth's track wasn't a hard task, and Hrothgur had time to consider the situation. Clearly the Tyrant had wanted him far from the real fight and at the same time had not humiliated him. That wasn't good for the Crusher, as he had no reason to mount another challenge. But what if the Tyrant accidentally met with a troggoth club? And then, while recovering, what if a few drops of Blight Serpent Venom ended up in his food?
Grinning, Hrothgur spotted the troggoth shambling in a glade. He pulled out a big chunk of meat from his satchel and dangle it in front of him.
"Here, boy! I got something for you... You're going to be a good boy, aren't you?"


As soon as the ogors had left the camp, Watcha, by now the undisputed leader among the gnoblars, squealed orders for the others to fix the encampment while he went for a range. He hadn't ventured much far from the encampement when he spotted some crudely carved moon idols, half sunk in the bog. They seemed to mark a path through the bog and as the gnoblar approached its end, he started to smell the overwhelming aroma of Stinkcranny Fungi.


The victory feast had lasted three whole days and nights when the food started to run low. As the unchallenged ruler of a vast tract of the Prowling Forest, Skargat wanted the feast to continue. So the gnoblars were sent to fish and trap whatever they could and immediately bring it back to the ogors' table.
For another three days and nights the feast went on, even though the meat was now consumed raw, in some casees still alive.
And then, on the dawn of the seventh day, the gnoblars couldn't keep up with the ogors' voracious appetite. Keeping a safe distance, they signaled to Skargat there was no more food.
"Well! Ironforged, we've emptied our larder and some. You all know what that means, don't you?"
The rolling thunder of several belches mixed with laughter answered the Tyrant's question.
"As I expected, lads! On the Mawpath! We move on, deeper into the Prowling Forest!"