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 grow 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 fight around the Hurricane Bell has turned into a war of attrition, mingled with sorties far and near in the surrounding areas. One final push could see one coalition taking control of the realmstone. Yet, the omens are even more dire than usual, as if treachery is brewing. (Two new coalitions 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 GHB2016): [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:
  • 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 signs are clear. A soul storm will soon hit the Harrowmark. Who will be able to channel its power? (Vortex of Power). 
  • 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 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).
  • 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 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).
  • 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)

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.

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 dark 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 Rik 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."

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Thy Soul To Keep - part 1

Kapitan Alunzo da Leeva and The Rotmoons

The Rotmoons were a band of swashbuckling orruk sky-pirates. They called themselves Privateers, and acted more like pirates, but they spent more of their time acting like explorers than either. They searched the ruins of the Realms for treasures and artefacts from the Age of Myth. Their Shaman, El Doctoro, considered himself an expert on that long-forgotten era and often pronounced, with great complacency and authority, what a found treasure was or its magical powers. He was occasionally correct but only occasionally.

Their skyship, The Rotmoon, was recently wrecked (again!) in the forests of The Harrowmark. They made a deal with another orruk pirate crew, the Ogresuns; under Kaptain Salty Ogbad, to recover their cargo. But Ogbad fled with a small portion of the treasure after losing most of it to the Gilded Hand and the Ordeshal Host. The Rotmoons were reduced to looking for a ship to steal as a replacement. They hoped to cut-out one of the merchants that often call at the Wortbad skydock.

Kapitán Alunzo da Leeva - Orruk Warboss
A dashing and swashbuckling Orc Pirate; young, capable and unusually quick-witted. He was popular with his crew as he got them out of many scrapes over the years but he was unpopular with the other captains of the Ironfang Fleet who saw him as an “upstart young pup”. He was unfortunately prone to shipwreck much more often than someone with his actual skill should be.

El Doctoro - Orruk Great Shaman
Surgeon, explorer, collector, drug addict (well, Magic Mushroom addict): El Doctoro was all of these to an extent. He often dropped hints that there is more to him than just “the shaman”. He wanted the crew of the Rotmoon to think he was mysterious and complex.

Hammerhead (AKA Tibur├│n Martillo) - Ogor Maneater
Dressed in the Rotmoons style Hammerhead wore a black cloak and breaches, an off-white ruff, a battered morion helmet engraved with an octopus design and silvered armour. He carried a handgun that he used like a pistol and he liked to twirl his huge cutlass in great swishing arcs.

Dragante - Orruk Boss
A hulking brute of an orruk with a hook for a hand and a bad attitude. He made sure the Boyz did exactly what they were told and bashed heads together when the crews' arguments (inevitably) turned into fights.

The crew...

Update (5th Feb 2018): I've made a Warlock to go with the Rotmoons:

Juan Dee. Alchemist, seer, astronomer, astrologer, occult philosopher and advisor to The Rotmoons.