Monday, 31 December 2012

The Tale of Years - Part Six

For the complete story so far click HERE

Betrayal in the Council of Princes

Of Elves

When Malekith returned from his travels to Ulthuan he found it a different place than that he had left.

In the wake of the war, dark cults of pleasure and death had arisen amongst much of the populous, most prevalently in Nagarythe, his homeland. There, the sorceress Morathi, his mother, had nurtured the growth of these sinister rituals, goaded by the shard of evil that had been placed in her heart by the exalted daemoness K'syarta.

Malekith was seen as a saviour, returned to set these dark times aright; to guide his people back to the path of goodness... and indeed he immediately made a public declaration that he would expunge this cult before it could spread too far. He declared his mother outlaw and set his forces to hunt her down.

And then Alatariel, his twin sister, returned from the Chaos Wastes.

Malekith was stunned that she yet lived and begged her forgiveness for leaving her to the cold and ice, yet she only smiled and caressed her brother's face. Of course she forgavce him. There was nothing to forgive.

And so he took council with her, and as she whispered in his ear, the Circlet of Iron he wore on his brow whispered in his mind. For days did they convene in quiet discussion and when they finally emerged, Malekith declared that he knew exactly the path to take to bring these terrible matters to their conclusion.

He requested that the Phoenix King convene the council of princes such that he could request the power to take control of the armies of the elves to end this threat. But betrayal, instead, was in his heart; and as the princes gathered at the Shrine of Asuryan where the sacred flames burned that had once tested Malekith's father, the fell prince announced that Bel Shanaar, the Phoenix King, was the true villain behind the cults. It should be him that was brought to justice.Malekith himself would assume his rightful place now as Phoenix King himself and drive out this evil if only the other princes would support him.

There was chaos within the council of princes. As many that wished to side with Malekith also stood against him, demanding that he leave the chamber.

Rhetoric had failed Malekith but that was only the opening gambit of the sinister plan. At that moment the doors were smashed asunder as the agents of Nagarythe burst in to wrest control over the council for their fell master.

Blood was falling as knives flashed in the light from the sacred flames but even this was not the quick victory that Malekith had hoped for. He had thought a show of force would tip fate in his favour but here now before him was only death.

Then a whispered voice came in his ear; gentle caressing fingers on his arm and Alatariel's soft words telling him that only one action now from him could end these hostilities and allow him to stake his rightful claim to the phoenix crown.

Following her advice, Malekith strode into the flames of Asuryan as his father had done, knowing they would cleanse him and prepare him for rulership.

But instead, Alatariel smiled coldly as the flames smote her brother, flaying the skin from his flesh as he flailed in agony. For long moments the sacred fire tore at Malekith's hair and eyes and then he threw himself clear, wreathed in smoke and ash.

Led by Alatariel, Malekith's disciples hefted his smouldering form and flew from the chamber, hacking at what princes they could as they went. The dark prince himself was not dead but he was scarred horrifically and for all time.There were no moments left to tarry now and he could barely move.

In his stead, Alatariel commanded his forces to withdraw to Nagarythe to consolidate and prepare while her brother healed. And she made a declaration on his behalf.

The time of peace amongst the elves was over now.

From now on it was the time of civil war.

And in Malekith's blackened body, his heart now had turned entirely to hatred of those fair elves who had rejected him.

The tragic steps of history were striding on relentlessly. 

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Special Character: Killbloater

While Frostclaw has long led the armies of the Skaven of Spikehole on the front lines, backed up (and manipulated) by Skarskrit, the Greay Seer, there is another rat man of greater stature and more devilish cunning than either of them who is yet to show his face.

Killbloater... Lord of Spikhole and leader of all the Skaven within the Border Princes.

Using pure warpstone juices as a daily elixir, Killbloater has grown to enormous girth and muscle mass, easily lording his power over the lesser creatures around him. But as the Warpstone has multiplied his strength, so too has it sharpened his mind.

Killbloater has unsurpassed cunning for a Skaven, and worse, he holds in his belly the throbbing power of a mystical artifact of unimaginable power, crafted by the Old Ones themselves.

He holds in his belly one of the lost Eyes of Nippon, passed down from clutching claw to clutching claw over a thousand generations.

With no conception of how to use it to its fullest potential, Killbloater simply swallowed the jewel and now pulses with preturnatural prowess and longevity on the battlefield; a force of unbridled lethality.

Upon the frame on his back, Killbloater carries what appears at a glance to be the dismembered corpse of a woman, the bones from its arms removed; the empty skin used as rope to tie it in place.

But listen very carefully and you will hear the dry lips of this poor creature begging for mercy as the fowl sorcery of the Skaven and the proximity to the Lost Eye of Providence keep her alive beyond all reasoning.

The identity of this woman is unknown. No clothes adorn her naked mutilated flesh to help iodentify her, but she is clearly of noble birth.

And surely she is missed.


Points: 190 
2 Hand Weapons
Heavy Armour

The Lost Eye of Providence (Enchanted Item)

Grants +1 Strength (included above), a 4+ Ward Save & Regeneration (6+)

Killbloater is a model I bought from BaneLords (via my good friend Neil, who felt he was far too big to represent his Mordheim commander)

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Spike Hole Horror!

With the success of the Hell Pit Abominations  spreading through the under-empire of the Skaven, the bar was raised to produce some new killing fiend of even greater power.

But it wasn't Throt the Unclean and Clan Moulder who perfected this new beast. It was the warlock engineers of Spike Hole.

Bear witness to the Spike Hole Monstrosity!

The creature is every bit as deadly as the Hell Pit Abomination only moreso.

Far bigger and bulkier than the  Clan Moulder creation, this gargantuan monstrosity is capable of swallowing a man whole without even slowing.

Worse; it has another great gaping maw at the other end! Never before has such a disgusting horror been seen! Never before are something so deadly slithered and crawled from the festering depths of Spikehole.

The real horror however is how the fiendish creatures are produced. It is a lengthy and esoteric process prone to frequent failure as well as lethally powerful success that begins, hard though it is to believe, with the purest of substances.

For the beast you see here was once a human woman, a beautiful young lady no more than twenty years of age, spirited screaming into the night from the town of Malko by cackling Night Runners. 

At the beginning of the process, the human's head - the woman in this case - is detached, still alive and screaming, and affixed through surgery to the shoulders of the giant rat like a malformed hump. Using foul sorcery and unclean science, the head is kept alive and conscious; unable to die or even to fall unconscious; unable to control the actions of the filthy pox-ridden rat that crawls amongst the carrion and through the damp tunnels searching for prey.

For weeks, this human head is left to "season," going very quickly insane as it screams hoarsely for release of any kind; lying amongst the other rats and watching as they feast on mouldering human corpses of the head's own family.

Eventually, after several months of this agonised mental torture, the head is removed; now a gibbering maniac consumed by loathing and hatred.

While the head has been seasoning, the body of the human has undergone gruelling transformation, its essence spliced with that of other Skaven monstrosities until it has bloated and mutated unrecognisably.

The insane head is grafted back into the interior of this new bloated, worm-like beast to provide a dark soul and motive power. The creature has no eyes; only a twisted sense of smell and the need for rancid flesh. It is ruled only by hatred and when fully complete, goaded into battle and controlled (after a fashion) by the warpstone gems built into its armour plating.

It is  truly a horror beyond imagining.

Spikehole Horror

Points: 320 
Impact Hits (D6)
Large Target

+ from the Skaven Army Book:

Shambling Horror
Special Close Combat Attacks
Too Horrible to Die

Armour Save: 5+

This model is another toy from the McFarlane range: The Gemini. I've boosted the Toughness and Wounds a little and added an Armour Save and Hatred, then boosted the points to roughly match that.

Friday, 28 December 2012

On the Painting Table: Celestial Dragon

Heh heh.

Well what Nippon army would be complete without an Oriental dragon!? So I went on eBay and bought this handsome chap from Reaper Miniatures.

Well, imagine my surprise when he came in the post and this was how he matched up for size! 

I did have a chuckle but he's actually kind of cute.

Obviously in-game I can't give him the same stats as a full sized conventional dragon but I see him as a fast moving war machine hunter flanking unit. I may even give him access to spells.

I went with a gold dragon look. I always liked gold dragons back when I played Dungeons & Dragons and it suited the special nature of this miniature. I used Dwarf Bronze | Flesh Wash | Dwarf Bronze | Shining Gold | Burnished Gold and Kommando Khaki | Bleached Bone on his belly.

 And here he is with the rest of the army as it stands!I'm getting there!

Pretty soon I'll have a force big enough for a little Skirmish game against Dark Elves and soon after that I'll have a proper army!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

On the Painting Table: Korsythe von Carstein

Some years ago I made a half-hearted attempt to create some zombie pallbearers carrying the coffin from the Black Coach.

It was okay but the zombies were standing straight and it was a bit unimaginative. I toyed with rules for the vampire inside the coffin having ghostly attacks but soon afterwards gave up and just used it for colour in the unit.

Jump forward in time to the present day:

Meet Korsythe von Carstein, a special character who will play a pivotal part (when the time comes) in my Tale of Years. 

Once a powerful vampire lord living in Sylvania from the von Carstein line, Korsythe was slain by Marcus von Drak - my Empire lord. 

Refusing to be destroyed, the casket containing Korsythe's remains is now carried into battle by his zombie slaves and, able only to manifest in close proximity to his coffin, Korsythe fights again - now as an ethereal creature, more powerful than Marcus could possibly imagine.

(See what I did there?) 

These are Mantic zombies. If you want to know why I used them you obviously haven't ever seen a GW zombie.

The vampire is Dark Vlad, Human Hunter from Enigma Miniatures. It's a shame in a way to paint him as a ghost but needs must and this idea was too cool not to do. 

Korsythe von Carstein strides into battle in the midst of his zombie horde, a deadly opponent made all the deadlier by his rage. 

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Nippon Characters!

After a long break I have finally got back on track with my Nippon army and here are the first two characters!

This first dude is going to be one of my Lord level special characters. He's half human, half Oni and all ass kicking in combat.

(See what I did there?)

The miniature's from Bushido, a welcome Christmas present from my friend Neil. 

I painted him dark red | black ink wash | dark red | lighter red | light red. The metal bits were Tin Bitz | Dwarf Bronze.

This slightly grumpy looking woman is one of two assassin heroes I'm going to have, hiding in a unit, just like a Skaven assassin.

She's a miniature called Kimiko from West Wind and I have to say DOESN'T look as nice as I expected - mainly due to my lacklustre paint job.

But she'll do for now. 

 And here's my comp0lete Nippon army as it stands.

You can see that the Samurai are a little smaller than Kimiko but not TOO much.

I'm liking the colour scheme and the start of the imagery I'm going for. When it's done I think it's going to look great!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Army Showcase: Beastmen!

I finally have a playable and legal Beastmen army! Yippee!!!

Er.. . (clears throat)... Let's have a look at it. 

The Complete Army

Beastmen Giant

Beastmen Giant

Beastmen Chariot

Chaos Spawn

Chaos Warhounds



Elephant Lord

Gors and a Shaman

Gors and a Shaman




Saturday, 22 December 2012

Tactical Review: Massacre in the Narrows


Well this game went very well for me from start to finish.

My wife, Gill, and I had played an almost duplicate game in the Narrows on pretty much the same board layout. In that game I took massive losses to shooting early on but managed to use the terrain to limit her ability to win by concentrating my dwindled forces on one part of her army at a time.

Recalling this, I laboured to recreate the same conditions... minus the loss to shooting.

I held back initially, hoping she would close, lowering her shooting accuracy then closed in as she approached. With stand and shoot Strength 5 Bolters, I had my work cut out for me but I managed to get my Exalted Bloodthirster, Prospertine, into combat on turn 2. After that he worked his way in from the right while my Bloodletters dished out the armour slashing attacks front and left.

Redeploying my entire fast left flank (Screamers and Seekers) so that she spent three turns in a traffic jam was also a game-winning move.

All in all there isn't anything I would have done differently.

Though it did look very dicey for a minute in the mid-game when the dice turned against me for a while.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Massacre in the Narrows

Tim (Daemons) vs Gill (Space Marines) 

The Men of Stone had forged south before into the Narrows and been the Daemons of the Pernicious Gate but they knew no fear. Lead by their brave lord, Felix Wulf, they pushed south immediately following their withdrawal.

Their determination to break through to the Pernicious Gate was without compromise.

But again they were caught in the hemmed-in defiles of the Narrows. And immediately the force of Daemons that came to meet them withdrew on the left flank, redeploying their faster elements elsewhere and leaving the mighty warriors and their fire sticks with no targets.

Prospertine crashed through the foliage, a towering Exalted Bloodthirster, and ripped apart the greater knights of Ebon Scar with his huge halberd.

Ploughing through them he struck the second line of warriors and ripped them apart as well, barely breaking stride.

The monstrous beasts that the Men of Stone held in thrall lumbered forward, goaded by the strange magics of the dark and silent warriors as Raptor Riders swept up alongside them, but Bloodletters bounded forward and hacked the Raptor Riders down.

And a Soulgrinder used its lethal claws to tear chunks from the mammoth that led the counter attack.

One of the Triceranoughts smashed into the Bloodletters, impaling several daemons on its horns, but the rest brought it down, Skulltaker himself hacking the gigantic head from its shoulders.

The Bloodletters pushed forward, attacking the second Triceranought but what they had done to one they could do to the next. It fell too as Prospertine led the daemons that had devastated the right flank and centre towards the last remaining knight.

The last knight fell, fighting valiantly, but he could not stand against such powerful adversaries on their home ground.

The daemons had used the terrain to their advantage and now, once again, they had thrown the Men of Stone back from the Narrows.

This time however their army was scattered, all elements of it thrown to the winds.

This land belonged to the Daemons!