Monday, 23 December 2019

Dark Skies Over The Harrowmark - part 1

Next year we will be returning to the Realm of Death for The Harrowmark Twisted Oak - part 1, A Warcry Campaign. My orruk sky-ship pirates will once more be swashbuckling their way through the dark and twisted forests.

But beyond that, we has started putting plans together for something I have wanted to do for a few years now. In late 2020, or maybe early 2021, we are going to run an Age of Sigmar version of Rhossum Secundus (Google it! It was an astounding Inq28 game):

A handful of ramshackle sky-ships will be duelling in the stormy skies over the endless malignant forests of the Harrowmark. It is very much influenced by John Blanche's Voodoo Forest book and a couple of his older paintings. This is something that I have included in the background of the Harrowmark for a number of years now, but we have never really been able to show it on the table top! That is going to change.

We have not yet settled on a date, a rules-set or even an venue but all those things will coalesce in the next few months...

As a result of this I have started painting the Rotmoon. I started this project back in April 2017 (!) so it is about time! So far it is just sprays, dry-brushing and washes but I hope to start detailing it soon...

Sky-ship Navigation 

In the Mortal Realms, compasses are thaumaturgical, not magnetic, this makes North towards realms edge and South the realm centre. Since the Necroquake compasses have flipped in Shyish, South is now edgeward, where the magic is weakest, and North is coreward toward the Shyish Nadir, where magic is strongest. Facing due north, west is to your left and east to the right. 

All the old maps of Shyish are now wrong; the cardinal points and headings marked upon them are all reversed. Aerocartographers have begun the long and complex task of redrawing and plotting all maps. In the meantime most ship’s captains have taken to simply writing on their old maps and charts, making the changes by hand for the routes they need most. This is a less than ideal solution and adds an extra layer of complexity to an already risky profession. Some charts are becoming so heavily modified they are virtually useless and unreadable.


Due to the nature of the Harrowmark, and how poor and infertile it is, few large mercantile ships travel the shipping lanes. Most ships that sail the skies do so under the power of the winds, the ethertides provide the resistance needed to sail with the wind abeam or almost ahead. For the most part the winds are harnessed through conventional canvas sails, as endrins are beyond the reach of those who sail these torrid skies being expensive and exotic. Even with the relatively low cost of sailcloth most sails are of ill repair, heavily patched and made mainly from rough bits of stolen fabric.

The wooden sky-ships float in the air through the use of dozens of minor magics, layer upon layer of interlaced spells, woven into the very timbers of the ship. The ship’s beams and planks are made from enchanted wood, though many have been repaired with more mundane timber (to the detriment of their sailing performance and characteristics). There are, of course, many other kinds of more exotic magics and technologies used to lift and propel sky-ships, such as the Aethergold endrins the Kharadron fleets employ and the squadrons of ethereal cavalry that lift the Soulblight vessels, but the more "mundane" and common Harrowmark ships do not have access to them.


Some ideas for navigational equipment for the Mortal Realms:
  • Thaumaturgic Compass
  • Adumbrative Map
  • Aetheric Barometer
  • Ethertide Gauge
  • Prognometer
  • Augrolabe
  • Octant
  • Ceraunoscope
  • Amaranthine Chronometer


Edit 03/01/2020

Got a bit of colour on The Rotmoon last night. Still quite a lot to do but it's getting there...

Friday, 20 December 2019

Soulblight Vampire - part 1

Vampire Lords are amongst the most powerful and fearsome undead creatures, possessing eternal life, unnatural speed and strength, and a ceaseless craving for fresh blood. Over their long centuries of existence they have mastered the martial arts, and in battle they are a whirlwind of devastation, carving foes apart with contemptuous ease or summoning dark magic to tear the life from their bodies.


As soon as I saw the reveal of the new "Primaris" Mephiston model I knew I had to make a Dark Age of Sigmar Soulblight Vampire from him, spliced with the upper torso and head of the Vampire Lord from the Zombie Dragon.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Viva La Revulushun! - part 1

Occupying a forgotten corner of an Ork held Space Hulk the downtrodden grots rise up under the leadership of a mouthy git who calls himself the “Red Gobbo”. Whether he is the actual Red Gobbo or not is irrelevant to his followers - there might be hundreds of Red Gobbos, all over the galaxy. Wherever he is, whoever he is, he is a symbol of hope and they follow him into the fires of revolution gladly.

+ + +

Formerly known as Stagnik Loonbagz, this Red Gobbo was a turret gunner in a Fighta-Bommer with an exceptional kill-tally. His twin-linked Big Shootas wracked up more kills than any other pilot or gunner in his skwadron.

He made the mistake of getting too proud of himself and got a bit mouthy. One day, on the return flight back to their orbiting Space Hulk, the Ork pilot of his Fighta-Bommer got fed up with him taking all the glory for kills and tried to eject him into the void of space. As he leapt from his malfunctioning turret seat, grabbed onto a stowage strap as the air inside the bommer vented into space, Stagnik realised with shock that he was not only of no value for his skills, he was actually hated for it.

+ + +

I have decided to de-Christmas-ify the Red Gobbo by swapping his head for a Fighta-Bommer grot turret gunner head (which triggered his back story, as his fur-lined coat looks like a WW1 fight pilot's). I also swapped his left hand for a Genestealer Neophytes power pick, with the pick-points removed, rather than the ragged Christmas tree and star.

I have a load of gretchin assembled and ready to prime too. They will be following the Red Gobbo into revolutionary battle...

(Awesome Gorkamorka Rebel Grot art by the late great Wayne England)

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Shadows of Commorragh - part 28, game 8

Betrayal, Redemption

"Now little one, the hour grows late and the dying suns have set. It is time to sleep."

Complaints. Objections. Protestations.

"Well, yes, there is one final part of my story that I can tell you. But you must promise to go to sleep afterwards.

Now then... Word reached the Bleaksouls that the Hex were betraying Lady Anielyn. They had already sold Hurrikhaine to street dealers, so it's exclusivity was no longer guaranteed to the Dying Sun. But they supplies they had distributed we thankfully limited, so if the means to make more could be taken from them they would not be able to hand it out hither and yon.

So when Jaenis was told that the slave, whose very body and soul was modified by the Haemonculi to manufacture the elixir within him, was to be transported across Venomport, The Bleaksouls hurried to that cold dark place. She was also informed that the slave would be shadowed by a number of terrifying Medusae, so they called in some assistance.

~ 🜍 ~

Dramatis Personae

The Bleaksouls
Morghdrax Bleaksoul: Hekatrix, Leader
Ravneth: Wytch Fighter, Combat
Lakbyrn the Parched: Wych Fighter, Scout
Bahreneq: Wytch Fighter, Hydra Gauntlets, Zealot
Izurad: Wytch
Jaenis: Wytch
Yariaq: Wytch
Iyskyth: Kabalite, Splinter Rifle
Arzomar: Kabalite Gunner, Blaster
Combat drugs: Grave Lotus

Ozunhar: Unarmed slave with “chemical injectors” in his back. Part drug-transport, and part drug-factory. Drukhari drugs are... esoteric.
Vhrex and Xoth: 2 Medusae, escorts for Ozunhar.

In cold Venomport they gathered, in numbers that they had not so far dared. Morghdrax cashed-in a favour and two Kabalites accompanied them, armed with weapons of longer reach.

Strange echoes floated through the cerulean-lit ruins.

Morghdrax and his kin prowled the dark.

Arzomar and Lakbyrn watched as Bahreneq and Izurad stepped into a webway portal. But they did not find what they expected when they reached the other side...

They found themselves far from the rest of their kin, far from Venomport at the Sorrowshards! The portal flickered and faded. They would have to find another way back...

Inghfar the Wanderer, the Ranger, sniped at Arzomar, but the Kabalite was adept at hunting from the shadows and the ranger missed him.

Ravneth fired at a Dire Avenger lurking beneath the walkway, but the Ynnari was lucky.

Yariaq and Jaenis charged towards the Ynnari lines.

Morghdrax Bleaksoul sprinted towards Lann of the Unyielding Fire. Both Dire Avenger Exarch and Hekatrix intent on sealing each other's doom!

The Kabalites opened up with blaster and splinter rifle.

But his shimmershield really was as unyielding as it's bearer - darklight splashed from the bright light of the shield as it saved him from the devastating power of blaster and splinter fire.

The waiting Dire Avengers fired at Jaenis and Yariaq as they ran at them. Yariaq was hit but the wound only seemed to empower him.

The warband leaders, Lann and Morghdrax, clashed atop the Venomport landing pad! Glaive and shield verses hektari blade and splinter pistol.

Yariaq and Jaenis fought Uless beneath the arched ruins, Jaenis wounded Uless.

The Bleaksouls' Kabalites fired on the Ranger...

And took him down in a hail of splinters and darklight!

Lann's shimmershield flashed and deflected Morghdrax's blade, then the Exarch's glaive sliced through the Hekatrix's light armour and the Wych fell.

Yariaq's blade bit deep and the wounded Uless finally collapsed.

Lann leapt on the Kabalites.

Yariaq and Jaenis prepared to take the objective in the ruins from the entrenched Dire Avengers.

Then the Shards appeared, hooting and howling in the myrtle darkness, taunting the other two warbands.

Dark Lance, Shuriken and Splinter Rifle fire crisscrossed the cold streets.

Derashi, of the Shards, charged through a webway portal and joined the fight against Lann.

Kaerathir stepped into a webway portal...

But became lost in the webway and found himself far from the fight.

Kaerathir made the best of it though, he dropped lightly to the ground and headed through the Shrine of Khaine.

Jaenis and Yariaq battled the Dire Avengers in the ruins.

Lakbyrn tried to charge the grav-platform crew again but he was gunned down as he stepped out of cover!

One of the slave's escorts stepped into Venomport through a shadow-shrouded path.

The Bleaksouls and their opponents did not notice the new threat, so focused were they on their fight...

Lann dealt swiftly with the Shards Wych and turned his attention on Arzomar. The Kabalite was lucky to survive the many wounds that Lann inflicted on him - but his own pain seemed to give him a dark strength.

Yariaq once more quenched his blade's thirst for blood and another Avenger dropped.

Suddenly Ozunhar the slave was discovered! Iyskyth followed him as he fled - they both leapt from the landing platform, down to the street below.

Yariaq leapt down into the wreckage-strewn dark beneath the shattered walkway.

Jaenis duelled with the Dire Avenger.

Ravneth finally joined the battle with Lann...

... and his fighting prowess tipped the balance.

Ravneth and Arzomar looked for new targets, unaware they were being stalked.

Kaerathir jumped down from the Voidfall and ran through the deserted streets...

... to watch the battle from the shadows.

Zendril the Sslyth set its sights on Yariaq and the bounty of souls he had taken.

The Void Phoenixes started to regroup.

As Ravneth and Arzomar fired on the Void Phoenixes the Medusa approached. The parasitic creature blasted them both in the back with it's hideous eye: Arzomar was lucky but Ravneth was wounded.

And a second Medusa materialised through a webway portal.

The Shards' Dark Lancer fired at Jaenis and the Dire Avenger she fought, careless of his target, and Jaenis dropped, pierced by the darklight beam.

The Dark Lancer had already chalked-up a fearsome tally and the fight was not yet over.

Yariaq fell to the Sslyth's overwhelming assault.

Iyskyth the Kabalite secured the Hurrikhaine, and the Drukhari slave that manufactured it within his Haemonculus-transformed body. He took the slave into the webway portal and returned to Port Carmine.

Lady Anielyn, Succubus of the Blade Denied, was able to use the power contained within the elixir to empower her followers and gain leverage over Daisan Verkosian, Drachon of the Dying Sun.

Lady Anielyn was pleased with Iyskyth and pleased with the Bleaksouls. They escaped the cloud of her anger that had hung over them for the past, ahhh, I-don't-know-how-long, and they were given a place in her newly-restored court in the spires of High Commorragh.

So that, my little darkling, is the end of my tale of how your mother recovered her status and the favour of the Kabals, how she returned to the power she now holds. Power that one day will be yours.

Now, go to sleep. You know it's your first day of training with the Wyches tomorrow little one."

Lakbyrn touched a small floating crystal and the light dimmed a little.

"You know you will need your rest if you are to be at your best in the morning."

"It is not so, nor was it ever so." the little one whispered.

~ 🜁 ~

The Finale!

The last mission of the campaign was Shifting Priorities (from Elites).

There were 4 numbered Objectives across the centre-line of the board. At the start of each round the player who lost the Initiative rolled a dice, if the roll matched the number of one of the remaining objectives it would be removed. If one of the objectives had been removed and the roll was a 5 or 6 then the 5th objective would be added to the board, in the form of an NPC Drukhari slave: Ozunhar the Drug Mule. If the roll was anything other than a 5 or 6 and the roll matched the number of an objective that had been removed then an NPC Medusa would be added! (And boy were they scary!)

I got a battering from both sides but I still managed to get a solid Victory Points total by focusing on the objectives. I also succeeded in clinging on to my lead in Soul Points, but only just! David doubled his campaign score in this one game. If his last shot of the game had not been foiled by my ability to pass Power Through Pain saves he would have bagged another 2 points and cost me 1 from my total, so the overall "winner" was on the line to almost the last dice roll of the campaign.

Victory Points (for this game):
The Bleaksouls (Saul) 11
The Void Phoenixes (Viktor) 8
The Shards (David) 0

Soul Points (for the campaign):
The Bleaksouls 16+1= 17
The Void Phoenixes 4+2= 6
The Shards 8+8= 16

This campaign was SO MUCH FUN. And that isn't just because I managed to hang onto my lead and cling onto the top spot.... The games have all been tense and close and exciting. The story grew naturally from our sketched-out plot into something really satisfying. The characters of the warbands have been fleshed out and realised. I hope this came across in my write-ups! We will definitely be going back down to Low Commorragh at some point next year.