Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Thy Soul To Keep - part 4

Cursed Omens

A plague of dark omens has the Mortal Realms in its grip. The hour of the damned is close. As the Time of Tribulations unfolds, the armies of the living find themselves united against a common foe - the slowly rising tide of undeath. Hidden secrets have been laid bare.

Our actions have attracted Lunaghast to the Mortal Realms, a colossal moon formed of dark datter from the Aetheric Void in which the eight realms hang. Thirsty for secrets and hidden truths, the moon has been lured to Shyish by the slaughter of prophets and seers. Across the lands, the peoples of the Realms are attempting to appease it by screaming their darkest secrets and most closely guarded knowledge from the highest peaks. Lunaghast greedily devours much of the knowledge brought about by these omens.

Hidden Truths of Lunaghast:
Subtract 1 from the Bravery characteristic of enemy units while they are within 12″ of one or more Knights of Shrouds from your army. In addition, subtract 1 from the Bravery characteristic of all models that do not have the Death keyword.

~ ­čĽ▒ ~

The Well of Souls

Souls are an abundant resource in the Realm of Death, yet all are bound to but one master - Nagash. Robbing the Great Necromancer of his due is an act of audacity that comes with the most terrible risks, but such are the potential benefits that there is rarely a shortage of those willing to try...

Stealing souls: Each time you slay an enemy model, roll a dice. On a 4+ you have captured the slain models spirit and gain 1 soul token. In addition at the start of any hero phase in which one model from your warband is within 3" of the Well of Souls, you gain D3 soul tokens.

~ ­čĽ▒ ~

In a clearing, deep in the endless malignant forest that covers the Harrowmark, the broken dais was now being used for macabre purposes. The Shattered Circle was always known as an evil place. The raw Death Magic that permeated the area was tangible even to those without magic sensitivity. For those with the Wyrdsight the amethyst energies that swirled and eddied around the ruined dais were clearly malevolent and extremely powerful.

Now the Time of Tribulations had come the power of the Circle was laid bare, the soul-essence of anyone who died near it was trapped there and not free to travel to its long-anticipated underworld. For anyone with the right arcane container, and foolhardy enough to try, the trapped souls could be collected.

With their star-fallen amethyst-infused skull in-hand the Rotmoons made their way to the Shattered Circle, via the Gheistgate, intent on gathering a macabre harvest. The words of El Doctoro the shaman rang in their ears: "Harken the Portents of the Black Void!"

Through the gloom of the woods the Rotmoons spotted the Shattered Circle and hurried towards it. Somehow Percy Percy had become separated from the rest of the crew, but the Kapitán was not worried, he would catch up.

Kalyustar and a marksman were lurking in the western woods.

The Raidho Othalas approached from the north. They aimed a Skyhook at the Rotmoons, but the pirates somehow convinced the Kharadron to fire at the Gilded Hand instead by quoting the Code!

The marksman fell, and to Kalyustar's shock and fury, the Kharadron entrapped his soul!

The Rotmoons chuckled to themselves, proud of their sneakiness, but this was only the start of it!

Kapitán da Leeva advanced, with Bold Rikk ahead of him.

The second wave of Kharadron arrived, hidden behind the Freebooter's Tower.

Kalyustar and an Arkanaut got to the Shattered Circle first and both gathered a deathly bounty from the Well of Souls.

The dark signs shifted and the fates contrived. Kapitán da Leeva laughed to himself as he found a way to use them to trick the Arkanaut and Soulchemist into wanting to fight each other, against both of their better judgement!

Kalyustar and the Arkanaut thought for a moment they were deadly enemies! Cutlass clashed with staff and the Arkanaut wounded the Soulchemist.

Kapit├ín da Leeva pushed passed Bold Rikk and charged at the combatants! They realised that da Leeva was their enemy but it was too late! Blood had been spilled.

The other orruk pirates rounded the Shattered Circle; a harvest of many souls was reaped by all three warbands!

The Kapitán blasted the Arkanaut with a heavy flintlock pistol that was loaded with a mix of black powder and Shyish Realmstone sand, smashing the bullet through the Arkanaut's chest in a flash of fire and Invisible Gheists, then rounded on Kalyustar. The Soulchemist tried to manifest an Arcane Bolt but the magic failed on his fingertips and da Leeva cut him down.

Kapitán da Leeva fired his second pistol at a Thunderer with a Skyhook; the black powder and Shyish Realmstone sand mix once again worked with devastating results! Invisible Gheists swirled around the Thunderer's corpse!

Dragante was felled by the Kharadron Navigator while Percy Percy suddenly disappeared in the darkness - he was warned by the Portents: Don't Go Out Alone! But he did not heed them, to his peril.

Kapitán da Leeva charged and ran-down the Thunderer with a Deck Sweaper, who was unable to match the ferocity and skill of the orruk privateer. The remaining Kharadron Raidho Othalas fell back, happy that their tally of collected souls exceeded that of the Rotmoons!

~ ­čĽ▒ ~

Rain hammered on the roof of the abandoned inn. The Rotmoons gathered round the fireplace in the main bar and talked in low voices of the day's adventures. The room was crowded and smokey and drink flowed freely, but there was no sense of revelry.

"The abundance of uncovered troofs allows us an unparalleled opportunity to settle grievances that have long gone unanswered. No gitz will escape our wrath." muttered El Doctoro, half to himself, as he examined the swirly ghostly energies that surrounded and penetrated the starfallen skull.

Soul Tokens:
The Raidho Othalas 6
The Rotmoons 5
The Gilded Hand 1

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Thy Soul To Keep - part 3

The campaign structure

No matter how the signs are interpreted, it is clear that, as war spreads in Shyish, only two things matter: Realmstone and souls. In the turmoil of war, their possession is the only way to achieve a dog of war's objective, whatever that might be. In the Harrowmark, four such individuals look at the Portents and prepare to fight.

~ ­čĽ▒ ~

A four-player Age of Sigmar Skirmish Campaign, based on the Triumph & Treachery battleplans, set in the endless malignant forests and isolated villages of The Harrowmark in Shyish during the Wytch Time, or the Time of Tribulations.

NB: all Renown earned after each game is halved for this campaign, when compared to the amounts given in the Skirmish rulebook, to slow down the growth of warbands and allow for the short game times we need to play in our lunch breaks!

Godfather Viktor is using The Gilded Hand (Freeguild), I'm using The Rotmoons (Orruk Privateers), Wailslake is using The Ordeschal Host and The Emissaries of Nagash (both Nighthaunts) and David is using The crew of The Raidho Othala (Kharadron Overlord Privateers).

Story Arc (A-plot)

Whenever all of us can get together we will play the next A-plot Battleplan:
  1. The Well of Souls
    (played as Triumph & Treachery): The signs have led the four to the Shattered Circle. As they witness departed souls converge on the Circle, they know it can belong to one of them only. But sometimes, alliances are forged in a crucible of blood. (Based on how the battle develops and its final outcome, two shaky coalitions are forged).
  2. Race to Destruction
    (Coalition of Death): if the signs have been interpreted correctly, a vast deposit of Realmstone lies beneath the grounds around the Hurricane Bell. It is better to share it with one ally, than having to fight many enemies.
  3. The Traitors(Coalition of Death) The struggles around the Hurricane Bell has turned into a war of attrition, after so many sorties in the surrounding areas. One final push at the Hurricane Bell could see one coalition taking control of the Realmstone. Yet, the omens are even more dire than usual, as fresh treachery is brewing.
    (Two new alliances will emerge from this battle)
  4. Trapped in the Middle
    (Coalition of Death) After a spate of individual actions, two warbands are meeting at the Warscrier Citadel to renew their battle bonds. Warned by signs of incoming disaster, their adversaries ambush them.
  5. King of the Hill
    (Coalition of Death, GHB 2016): [Insert General's name] has become way too powerful, and their plans have almost come to fruition. Can the enemy be trusted, if such a dangerous individuals is offered on a silver plate? Or will the traitor be double crossed in turn?


We will play a B-plot episode when some but not all of us can get together for a game. We will decide which one to play, based on the results of the story-arc episodes so far played:
  • The Merchants
    There is now a thriving trade in "protective totems": real and fake. A sinister individual offered a considerable share if a load of totems is safely smuggled through the woods. (Precious Cargo). 
  • The Soul Vortex
    The signs are clear. A soul storm will soon hit the Harrowmark. Who will be able to channel its power? (Vortex of Power). 
  • A Dagger in the Dark
    Sometimes, a dagger in the night can be the best way to get rid of a hated rival. (Assassinate).
  • An unnatural darkness has fallen
    It might herald more woes for the land, but for now the shapes moving through it surely are a more pressing issue. (Clash at Dawn).
  • The Beast’s Lair
    The Fiend of the Harrowmark has once again crawled out of its lair. Its body seethes with soul stuff, a price worth fighting for. (Trophy Kill from Beast Wars, if we have an undead monster).
  • At the Behest of Another
    The folks of W├Ârtbad have been hoarding realmstone at the behest of an unknown master. Surely, it would be safer in the hands of capable warriors. (Treasure Hunt).
  • The Ruins of Blackrocks
    The latest portents have shown the way to the ruins of Blackrocks and the priceless artefacts that lie within. (Seize the Relic, or we can work out a dungeon crawling scenario).
  • When Starlight Fails
    The stars have converged and the power of the Kharibdis Occulum is ready to be harnessed. Yet, enemies have caught wind of your plans. (Clash of Fates from Dominion of Chaos)
  • Capture the Skydock
    A skyvessel passed over Wortbad but the captain was too fearful to land. He dumped the cargo bound for the village overboard onto the dock without slowing but it tumbled off the wooden platform in all directions. Now there is a free-for-all to claim the best stuff. 3 players, Skirmish Battleplan: Treasure Hunt, with Triumph & Treachery turn order.
  • Messages in the Rain
    Three warbands meet in Lashing Rain, all attempting to Kill the Messenger (Open War Cards)
  • The Night of the Comet
    The portents show a star will fall from the heavens and three warbands race to collect the bounty they assume it will contain... but all is not as expected.

Rotshroud Manse - the Wortbad sky-ship dock

Wortbad is an isolated village in the middle of the Harrowmark, deeply troubled by the undead and corrupted by dark magic. It is surrounded by endless haunted forests that stretch on for 10,000 leagues in every direction and overlooked by the jagged, foreboding Everdark Peaks. The Harrowmark is a land of perpetual autumn, where what little farmland there is lies fallow and untended, with crops rotted in the fields.

The villagers' only connection to their neighbours is by the flying ship trade routes overhead. Few dare to set foot in the forests, the risks are just too great: the creatures within too terrifying. But the galleons of the merchant fleets plot a wandering course over the treetops, stopping at as many villages on the ground and settlements on flying islands as they can to trade, to pick-up or drop-off passengers, to deliver letters and to pass-on news.

Rotshroud Manse is the Wortbad skyship dock - a landing point above the level of the trees used by traders and transports (and the odd sky-pirate) that stop-off at Wortbad in their journeys over the endless, malignant forests.

Made from a Skullvane Manse (now known as a Warscryer Citadel, but I bought mine years ago!) with wooden platform as replacement for the observatory tower (which I had already used for another project), made from Watchtower top floor and Ruins of Osgiliath floorboards.

I also added a corner the "Ruins of Osgiliath" kit, from the Lord of the Rings scenery range, broken paving using Shattered Dominion Large Basing Kit parts and candle-covered gravestones from Spirit Hosts and the Coven Throne.

I undercoated the whole model with Chaos Black spray, I brushed on Dryad Bark onto the rocky outcrop parts then used Mechanicus Standard Grey spray to add a zenithal base colour over the whole thing.

I sprayed the platform with Mournfang Brown (using a sheet of paper to crudely "mask" the bits I didn't want to get brown paint on. This only partially worked but I wasn't too worried at this point). Then brushed on Mournfang Brown to the other timber parts.

Once that was dry I very lightly dry-brushed the entire thing with Ushabti Bone with a one-inch brush and painted the "bone" skulls (not the "stone" ones) with more Ushabti Bone

I painted all the metalwork with Leadbelcher. Once that was dry I started washing with Shades.

  • Athonian Camoshade on the lower stone parts, concentrating on the areas closer to the ground and painting a "ragged edge" further up, so there wasn't a "tide line" where the green stopped. Also Athonian Camoshade on some random patches on the woodwork, especially the platform.
  • Agrax Earthshade on all the wooden areas, most of the metal areas and at random on some areas of stonework.
  • Drakenhof Nightshade on all the slate tiles.
  • Nuln Oil to all the metalwork, all the "cut stone block" areas and some of the deeper recesses of the other stone areas.

I painted all the sanded areas of the base with Steel Legion Drab Scenery Paint, then dry-brushed it with Ushabti Bone and dry-brushed a little Ryza Rust on all the metalwork.

I painted on free-hand angels of death (like the ones on Fallow's End House) into the shrines I added over one of the windows.

I glued on leaf litter (actually silver birch seeds - I bought a bag from Antenociti's Workshop) with PVA and Citadel Dead Grass with superglue. Finally I gave the whole model a light coat of Purity Seal.

Edit (11th March 2018)
The sky-dock is featured on the Warhammer Community blog today!

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Thy Soul To Keep - part 2

Prologue - The Perfect Storm

The boyz were all having weird dreams and there were unnatural lights in the sky. Most nights none of the crew got any sleep and had the heebeegeebees about spectres that haunted their minds. The lack of sleep made the crew’s internal animosity worse than usual. The deck bosses had to crack down and split the watches as they fell to fighting and shouting and impaling each other with cutlasses far too often. There was something bad in the air, they said. Everyone could feel it; an aura of dread.

As the nights grew longer, a dread solstice dawned, a season of discontent that grew to cast its pall over even the most vigorous soul. The crews in The Harrowmark called it the Wytch Time. Strange phenomena abounded, every traveller bearing a different tale - some told with shaking hands and wide eyes, others with morbid relish. Traders and explorers carried these ominous accounts through Realmgates to pastures new, only to find that those on the other side had disturbing stories of their own.

~ ­čĽ▒ ~

The skies above the Harrowmark started producing more than just water when it rained. Kapitán Alunzo da Leeva and The Rotmoons found that the skulls falling from the stars had a strange amethyst aura around them. They assumed they must be part of the shattered moon's tears, and therefore valuable, so they started collecting them.

As they moved through the village they saw that other warbands were trying to collect the glowing starfall too - a small band of Freeguild and a number of Nighthaunts. Kapitán de Leeva watched them as the two warbands spotted each other - there seemed to be a shared history between them. As soon as they realised who their opponents were they both attacked!

Bold Rikk approached the corner of Deathwatch Hall, where some abandoned gear caught his attention.

While the Gilded Hand and the Ordeschal Host fought on the other side of the hall's walled garden.

Kapitán de Leeva waited for Dragante to catch up with him, behind Fallow's End house. Then, doing their best to keep out of sight of the Freeguild marksman and the spirits they moved towards the centre of the village.

A shooting star screamed down into the farmland at the edge of the forest and smashed into a field with an earthy thump.

Percy Percy tramped through the pumpkin field and found the first starfall. He hurriedly loaded the strange bone fragments into his bag.

The Skeleton Champion silently collected another starfall.

The Whyte Lady moved closer to Kalyustar and his retainers while her Spirit Hosts held them up.

The Rotmoons took their loot and slipped off into the darkness.

The Witch Hunter was finally knocked down by the Spirit Hosts.

Lucius, the Venithyan Marksman, bagged himself some starfall too.

The Whyte Lady chased Kalyustar as he tried to withdraw - finally catching up with him outside the gates of Deathwatch Hall. It didn't go well for the Alchemist!

This left the battlefield in the possession of the Nighthaunts, but the starfall almost evenly distributed, with the Rotmoons getting a slightly larger share!

~ ­čĽ▒ ~

In the darkness of the inn's back room a single candle lit Kapitán da Leeva and El Doctoro the shaman, as they examined the star-fallen bones laid out on a battered table. The Death magic contained within them was palpable, in Shyish that alone was not unusual. But there was also something else, something stranger... El Doctoro fiddled with his red-lensed eyeglasses and pronounced with great complacency "Even an ill wind can fill our sails. We can make the most of the growing madness, whilst others' hope is replaced with paranoia and superstition."