Sunday, 23 May 2021

Animosity III, Da Warpath - Part 1

Prologue

The Thief of Wits paced nervously in the chamber of his Silver Tower overlooking the blasted plains of Aqshy. Its eight eyes narrowed in concentration, its thoughts of schemes took shape in the heat haze around it for the briefest of moments, quickly replaced by another fugitive vision of a future that never was, of a past that could come, of a present that is not. With two of its brethren and their Silver Towers in ruins, that was the time to rise above all other Gaunt Summoners and lead them to break the Everchosen's bondage. It was both amusing and fitting that the First Prince was the one to be thanked for that chance. Surely, Tzeentch was looking with approval upon their interlocking machinations.
And yet, the return of Mithridates Alti to the Prime Dominion of Haixiah was forcing the Thief of Wits to speed up its plans.


It had to act quickly if it was to seize the Library of Galaeron and enslave the Custodian of the Basileun Library. The scheming and plotting of the six Satraps offered the perfect cover for its agents among the Dornayar to achieve its goals. Soon, open war would break and the Gaunt Summoner had already manouvered many a mercenary company to ensure all other factions were evenly matched. Dreams of great feasts had lead the Ironforged Ogors to join the Teclandec. Promises of payment in gold and other riches had secured the service of the Free Companies of the Gilded Hand for the Aurannar. The Grudgebreakers had sailed their steamship to join the Umbral Corsairs' fleet. Still, he needed one more pawn nobody could easily trace back to the Dornayar to ensure their success.
Inspiration stroke suddenly. If the brightest of lights casts the deepest of shadows, no shadow was deeper than that wielded by Lady Laelanyel and her Shadowflames. And the Thief of Wits held the one thing that could lure them to the Prime Dominion, Aef-Grimnir himself. Plummeted to the depths of the Thief of Wits' Silver Tower by clumsy orruk spellcasting, the Auric Runefather had lingered there, lost in feverish nightmares sent by the Changer of Ways.


It was time to wake the Fyreslayer up and trust him into the Silver Tower trials. From its chambers, visions of his struggles would reach Lady Laelanyel. And with just a twist of its fingers, the Thief of Wits could plant hints to drive the Mistweaver Saih to serve its own ends a the side of the Dornayar.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

New Drekport System: Beloch - Part 6

The Hanging Ways

On Beloch, walkways and pulleys serve more purposes than simply moving slaves and goods between the hellish facilities. The raised platforms see many a warlord marching across them, hundreds of slaves behind them, to celebrate their triumphs in plain sight of followers and rivals alike. Tattered banners and trophies hanging from the railings stand as testament to their glory and that of the Dark Gods. Underneath them hang the bodies of slaves that tried to rebel or failed to fullfil their quotas. Fresh victims are constantly spiked on hooks and hoisted up, the previous bodies unceremoniously piled at the walkways feet. Everything is left there, flesh quickly consumed by the acidic vapours filling the air, to remind everybody else of the price paid for displeasing Beloch's masters.


I've kept the conversion work on the straight walkways rather minimal, only repositioning three old Khemri skeletons to represent the dead slaves. I then used a few more chopped up skeleton and zombie bits, some skulls and the Necromancer base topper for the piles of broken bodies on the bases of the models. On all of them, I've added some texture created by sprinkling bicarbonate of soda on blobs of superglue.


The bestial skulls were perfect to add a macabre touch to the railings while also subtly altering their silhouette. The flag poles on the railings are the bottom part of the banner staff from the ogor kits. Once they were bonded to the railings, I dropped some superglue along them and placed the centre of strips of cloth on top. Before folding the cloth, I smeared liquid greenstuff on it, pressed the two halves together until they were stuck and then gently brushed them with a wet brush to ensure the greenstuf spread to the whole cloth. The weight of the cloth itself and the angle at which it was hanging ensured that it folded in a natural way which was fixed as the greenstuff cured.


The painting followed the same palette and techniques I've used on the Warp Foundries while the skeletons and body parts were painted like the skulls and texture on the Sanguinal Refinery, with the subtle difference that this time I wet-blended God for the Blood God with Typhus Corrosion.


The skull on the pulley is in painted in brass and the banners in black to further link the Hanging Ways to the cranic Furnace anbd the Sanguinal Refinery.


Like the Sanguinal Refinery, the Hanging Ways comprise two smaller pieces to give me more set up options and add variety between games.


This would already be enough for an average Kill Team board, but I still have a pair of angled walkways, one Thermic Plasma Regulator and plans for a few scratch-built scatter terrain pieces that will bring Beloch to a densly packed, single Kill Team board (the ones I prefer!) or for a regular multi-player board.

The Scouring of Pale Gorge, Part 5

Cycle's End

Steve paused again, letting the woodsmen consider Kalyustar's words about the price humans have to pay to keep the cycle of the Mortal Realms turning on and on. Loss, so that new hope can blossom again, nurtered by regret. The Shyishan Trade Pioneer, meanwhile, smiled knowingly sipping his wine.
"The Fay People's song faded away" said Steve resuming his tale, "but what we could hear next were not the voices of the forest around us. Rather, it was a guttural chanting rolling under the boughs. We followed it and as I climbed above a rocky outcrop, in front of us I saw them. The 'Eadsplitta himself and his tribe clustered around an idol of Gork.


The Warboss spotted us and let out a deep throated bellow, immediately taken up the shrill screams of grots emerging from caves not far from where we were.


I downed the content of my Greenglade Flask as Kalyustar cast a charm of healing upon himself. I could feel Ghyran's energy coursing through us as we charged the grots and sent them packing.


Then a troggoth barrelled onto us as the 'Eadsplitta's bellows drew more orruks out of the caves.


Crooked arrows rained around us, still we weathered down the troggoth's initial assault and wounded it in return.


Then the 'Eadsplitta left the side of the idol and roaring Waaagh! at the top of his lungs sent his boarboyz onto us.


They slammed onto Kalyustar and though he unsaddled one, he had to leave me to fend for myself against the troggoth. As the brute bashed me aside, Kalyustar let loose an eldritch blast at the Warboss, then dragged me up across is saddle and broke free from the combat.


His horse was no match for them, not even the snarlig boar. But the 'Eadsplitta had more minions laying in ambush and they emerged to block our escape route.


That gave time to the Boarboss to reach. To protect me, Kalyustar took a hard battering.


He again blasted the Warboss and spurred his horse away, then yanking hard on the reins to stop it before the Arrowboyz could hit us.


As the orruks recovered from that sudden move, Kalyustar summoned Ghyran's Lifeblood and with that renewed strength rushed to charge the Arrowboyz fromt heir exposed flank.


That took the orruks by surprise and they stood where they were, but the 'Eadsplitta and the troggoth barged forward.


Then, the Ardboyz that had all this time being chanting next to the idol, moved to barr our only way out.


'Eadsplitta charged in, and nearly decapitated Kalyustar's horse with a single blow. Kalyustar just focused on the Warboss, engulfing him in sourcerous flames. But then the Arrowboyz surrounding us dragged us from the saddle.


Yet, the orruks didn't finish us. They bound and dragged us all the way to the idol. There, a gibbering shaman started to dance around us, crackling green energy building all around us.


With Kalyustar unconsious, there was nothing that could stop the shaman and I felt my soul being clawed away by the Waaagh magic and syphoned into the idol. Then the trees around us shivered, as if in alarm, and in a faintly glow the Fay People appeared.


I'd never seen Sylvaneth like them before. Hulking and winged they were, and much more skilled with blade and bow than any Tree-Revenant I'd cross path with. Their leader swooped down onto the shaman, breaking his spell, while the others lay about the terrified orruks.


They then closed upon the troggoth and turned it into a pile of pebbles, just like roots do with the flank of mountains. And in a flurry of blows, the winged one ended the wrtched shaman.


As the shaman died, the Idol of Gork flared with green light and crumbled to dust. The Sylvaneth then gathered around us and sang for our wounds to heal. And as we raised, their leader spoke.
"We thank you, Kalyustar of the Gilded Hand. For by your actions the 'Eadsplitta was brought low and Worgutz Deffskull, the true power behind him, forced to reveal himself. Long we had hunted him, and yet he always evaded us. You have spared Ghyran a great pain and for this, you have the eternal gratitude of the Gnarlroot Glade and of my liege, the Lady Yltriana Grimroot. Go now, return to your kind and may this Naive Hope mark your Blooming as a keeper of the Eternal Cycle".


As the woodsmen nodded gravely at these words, Steve snapped at them.
"So you now praise the man upon whose name you spat upon just moments ago! I told you, your memory is as short as you are tall! I really had enough of you all for this night! Try to remember my tale and maybe one day one of you could raise to be like Kalyustar was!"
Steve stomped away, leaving the woodsmen to ponder his words. As the Prancing Gryph-hound door closed behind himself, the halfling gave a deep sigh, pulled out a pipe from his pocket and started filling it, staring at the night sky.
"And was that the end of your story?"
Though coming in just a whisper, the Shyishan Trade Pioneer's voice stirred the smoke coming out of Steve's mouth into gaunt, leering shapes.
"Ah... you... must understand... they are simple folk in dire need of something to cheer them up. What with those rumours of Soulblight assailing the Bleeding Gate and those dark storms blotting the skies? The Realms are breaking and people like them will need all the courage they can muster. And if a story can help that, so be it".
"A story, maybe, but what about a lie?"
"It was Naive Hope when Kalyustar was a hero. Do you know what season is, now that I told that story?"
"It is Secret Remorse".
"Well, that's all that's left to the last of the Little People. He bids you good night, stranger from Shyish".
***

The Venythian Rovers

Exploration rolls: 12 - Threat Level: 0 - Map Fragments: 0 - Spectral Lanterns: 0 - Battles Won: 6
Kalyustar of the Gilded Hand (Archmage, from Grand Alliance: Order): Realmblood (Ghyran Spell), Master of Defence (Order Trait). Wounds suffered: 5, DEAD - Enemies killed: 26
Captain Rodrik (Freeguild General, from Grand Alliance: Order): Tenacious (Order Trait). Wounds suffered: 6, DEAD - Enemies killed: 27
Steve Boffin, restored by Sylvaneth magic (Huntmarshal, from The Empire Compendium): Greenglade Flask (Artefact of Ghyran). Wounds suffered: 5, DEAD - Enemies killed: 2
***