Stark Hammer Heavies

The Stark Hammers are going to be a minor Stormhost for me – absolutely no intention of growing them into the size of the Hallowed Knights (you saw me write that, please hold me to it!). However, with just a couple of retinues of Liberators and the odd commander, they needed a few other units to make them function well in battle – so, a unit of Retributors seemed the right approach!

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While working on these (and Skaarac, see previous post), I was also finishing off the Devoted of Sigmar with another 30-odd Flagellants, and it was while they were all lined up on the painting table I finally understood how the Stormcasts must appear to mortals…

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Yeah, you would not want to mess with him, eh? And when the novels say that it takes at least three mortal men to pick up their hammers, again, you can kinda see where they are coming from.

Incidentally, the Flagellants, the Retributors and Skaarac formed the penultimate stage of The Plan (to get through all the models needed for the Godbeasts campaign in short order), with just a War Altar of Nurgle left. The latter is about 80% done (would have been completed, but I got a bit distracted by Dragon Age over the weekend…), and should be polished off a little later this week.

Which, painting-wise, leaves me ‘free’ and only sort of thinking about the models needed for All-Gates.

As it turns out, that campaign book does not need all that many. Once the Sylvaneth and Ironjawz are tackled (which, to be fair, I would have done anyway), there is something like 11 models total I need to pick up for the campaign, including 9 Prosecutors for the Stark Hammers.

However, I am going to take a little break from campaign-painting and get my Flesh-Eater Court well and truly on the road – those guys are just too cool not to do!

Skaarac the Bloodborn

I am well aware that my painting is mostly awful but, every now and again, I manage to do something that gets me thinking ‘yeah, that actually ain’t too bad!’

Enter Skaarac the Bloodborn, Great Khorgorath of Khorne…

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This is the first ‘proper’ Age of Sigmar model that Forge World produced and I kinda had it pegged to do when it appeared. What finally motivated me was that he appeared in the Warhammer World-only Ironwarp Citadel scenarios and, planning to run through them as part of our ongoing campaign, it formed the perfect time to add him.

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One thing that became apparent as I was painting this model – while Forge World models have a reputation for being (more) difficult to put together and paint, this chap just… wasn’t.

In fact, I would go as far to say that if you (like myself) have little talent when it comes to painting but have managed to struggle through the Blood Warriors in the starter set, you already know everything you need to do Skaarac.

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I started with his skin, using a Rhino Brown base and all-over Nuln Oil wash. On top of that was drybrushed Doombull and Tuskgor Brown – in fact, the same colours I use on my Fyreslayers!

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The armour came next. This uses a Khorne Red base, washed with Agrax, and then drybrushed Mephiston Red and (very lightly) Evil Sunz Scarlet – this is the same way I did my Blood Warriors and, in fact, pretty much everything from this point on uses the same scheme suggested for Blood Warriors in the starter set painting guide. The gold is Balthasar, washed with Agrax, then highlighted with Runefang Steel.

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After that, the only major portions of the model left were the steel and bone (Leadbelcher and Zandri bases respectively), and a bit of cloth (black, highlighted with Skavenblight Dinge and a dash of Administratum Grey).

The few ‘details’ were restricted to the odd item hanging off his horns (such as the ‘tail’ which I did green, to link him in with the rest of the Bloodbound who also sport the odd tail).

So, if you have been coveting this model but doubted your painting skills – have no fear! If you can do Blood Warriors, you can do this model and, because of its size and sharper edges, you might well find it easier to do. The gold edging on the armour is certainly less fiddly!

As to whether you can afford it (£140 on the Forge World site), well, that is more a question for your wallet and conscience…

Devoted of Sigmar

The last models for the Godbeasts campaign (likely starting in just a few days!) are well in hand, my Big Plan to crunch through them paying off nicely!

At the moment, I am working on an army I have been wanting to do ever since Age of Sigmar came out – the Devoted of Sigmar, the nutters who throw themselves at the enemy (literally) in the name of the God-King.

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As you can see, the army is coming on nicely! Among this little lot are 30 Flagellants, 3 Warrior Priests and, of course, the giant War Altar of Sigmar. I am planning to add another 30 Flagellants (for a total of three units of 20), and then I will probably call it done for a while – it is certainly enough for the battle in the Godbeasts campaign where they go up against a giant Warherd.

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The Flagellants are pretty easy models to do, and I stuck with the deep blue colour scheme you see in GW’s books, as I think it ties in very nicely with my own Hallowed Knights. Simply do the blue robes, a bit of skin, weapons, and the odd bit of gold and flame – and they are done!

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The War Altar, of course, is the real centrepiece, and I don’t think they could possibly have put more bling on it if they tried! It really is the kind of model that says ‘we have arrived’.

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Painting it, however, was not all that more complex than the Flagellants themselves and, after the black was done, followed pretty much the same colours as the men, though in different proportions (a lot less blue and a whole lot more gold!).

On the painting table right now is a War Altar of Nurgle and the biggest Khorgorath you have ever seen, both of which I hope to have done over the weekend. However, I am also aiming to get the last Flagellants and a retinue of Retributors complete over the same timeline as well, which is somewhat ambitious. If I can do it though, that will be all the models done and dusted for the Godbeasts campaign, and I can crack on with some brand new armies (likely a mix of Sylvaneth, Flesh-Eater Court and Ironjawz!).

Battle Report – The Fiend’s Lair

The Fyreslayers have made a foray into the Realm of Death – what are they going to find there?

As it turns out, it is literally raining zombies!

 

The Story So Far

The Vampire Queen Cyssandra ruled a sprawling subterranean kingdom within the Realm of Death, inflicting endless horrors on the Gloom Tribes in her reign of blood. With precious few other choices, the Gloom Tribes eventually handed their stores of gold to the Greyfyrd Lodge in return for ending Queen Cyssandra’s rule once and for all.

This offer was accepted by Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir, and he quickly gathered a force to march into the underworld realm of forsaken ruins and the walking dead. All had pledged an oath to attack the Overlord Bastion Cyssandra called home and restore a measure of peace to the region.

From her Bastion, Cyssandra watched the progress of the Fyreslayers with pleasure, savouring the nightmare they would soon face. As they approached, her cabal of necromancers began raising large numbers of the dead and, with a screech that shook the entire cavern, her Terrorgheist took to the air, even as zombies tumbled from the darkness in a constant rain of corpses.

 

The Forces

Two medium-sized forces are being used in this battle, but enough special units are present to keep things interesting!

Deathlords
Vampire Lord (Cyssandra)
Necromancers x 3
Terrorgheist
Crypt Ghouls x 20
Zombies x 30
Skeletons x 40 (two units of 20)
Overlord Bastion

Aside from the Terrorgheist and, of course, Cyssandra herself, this army does not have many hard-hitters. However, those Necromancers will be able to ensure a constant wave of undead hits the advancing Fyreslayers and, so long as they can be protected, the undead will retain the upper hand.

Fyreslayers
Runefather on Magamdroth (Hursgar-Grimnir)
Runesmiter on Magmadroth
Grimwrath Berzerker
Battlesmith
Hearthguard Berzerkers x 10
Auric Hearthguard x 5
Vulkite Berzerkers x 30 (one unit of 10, one unit of 20)

Aside from a handful of Heroes, the Fyreslayers are coming loaded for bear, with every model in the collection! While they are superior fighters compared to the undead, plus have two nasty beasties compared to Cyssandra’s one, once a Fyreslayer is dead he usually stays that way – this battle is going to be an exercise in managing casualties until they are able to assault Cyssandra’s Bastion.

 

The Battleplan

This battle sees the Fyreslayers picking their way through the gloom, gradually encountering more and more undead as they push forward. Cyssandra starts the battle holed up in her Bastion and, if all goes ill for the Fyreslayers, may not need to appear at all! This means the Fyreslayers have the advantage of engaging the undead piecemeal, but the summoning capabilities of the Necromancers may be enough to shift the balance.

The Fyreslayers will gain a major victory if they can end the reign of Cyssandra while they still have at least half of their models on the table – otherwise, it will be a minor victory. For her part, Cyssandra gains a minor victory for wiping the Fyreslayers out; a major victory if she can do so without making an appearance!

 

Deployment

With the Vulkite Berzerkers leading the way, the Fyreslayers moved cautiously into the darkness of the cavern.

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The screech of the Terrorgheist echoed from the blackness, but the Duardin could detect no movement as they slowly moved forward. Hearthguard retinues flanked the Vulkite Berzerkers, with Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir and the Runesmiter following up on the backs of their huge Magmadroths.

 

Battle Round One

The Vulkite Berzerkers moved ahead, using the flames of their Magmapikes to help light the way. One cried out ‘movement!’ when he saw Skeleton Warriors staring back at him from a sickly growth of vegetation. Behind them, he spied the human form of a Necromancer, already starting to chant foul verses to summon more undead to his aid.

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Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir ordered the Duardin to maintain a Steadfast Advance, even as the Battlesmith regaled the retinues around him with stirring tales of how the Lodge had defeated hordes of the dead in ages past. Then, with enemies sighted, the entire Fyreslayers warband bellowed their warcries and raced ahead, the Runefather urging his Magmadroth on to lead the way.

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Bright, fiery light lit up the cavern briefly as the Magmapikes burned the front line of Skeletons away, then the Runefather’s Magmadroth opened its maw to unleash a torrent of flame upon them, vaporising bone and setting light to the trees.

Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir prepared to urge his Magmadroth forward into the remaining Skeleton Warriors, but was cut off by the over-eager Auric Hearthguard who raced in front of the big beast to reach the undead. Cursing the younger Duradin, he prepared to make the charge once more but, with a bellowing cry that shook the entire cavern, the Grimwrath Berzerker raced forward, causing the Magmadroth to rear up in alarm.

Seeing the Auric Hearthguard engaged with the Skeletons, the Vulkite Berzerkers put on a burst of speed, and sped for the lone Necromancer deeper within the woods.

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As they neared the wizard, the Vulkite Berzerkers hurled their shields, several burying themselves deep into the Necromancer’s body. Painfully, he straightened up, ready to hurl spells at his attackers, but the Duradrin were quicker and an axe buried in his head put an end to any plans of retaliation.

Skeleton Warriors were smashed apart by the Grimwrath Berzerker, but the trees they were taking cover in broke the charge of the Fyreslayers, and many were left standing. Even as they fought, some of the broken Skeletons on the ground started knitting together and standing up to fight once more.

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A member of the Auric Hearthguard was the first to fall to the spears of the undead but, seeing the Skeleton Warriors had been greatly reduced in number, Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir ordered his force to swing left to proceed deeper into the cavern, letting the Auric Hearthguard and Grimwrath Berzerker finish off the few remaining Skeletons.

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Battle Round Two

The Hearthguard Berzerkers took the lead this time, already angry that they had missed out on the first clash against Cyssandra’s minions. Their determination was rewarded as spied more movement in the gloom in the shape of Crypt Ghouls and the massive Terrorgheist, all clustered around an Ophidian Archway. Skulking behind them was another Necromancer, one clearly keen not to meet the same fate as his comrade.

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Seeing a more powerful target, Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir grinned as he waved the rest of the Fyreslayers onwards, listening to the Runesmiter’s boasts as the two Magmadroths advanced side by side.

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The Hearthguard Berzerkers were closer, however, and they rushed the Crypt Ghouls, their axes keen and ready to sever limbs and heads even as the Magmadroths immolated three with spouts of lava.

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The Hearthguard then set to work with their axes, hewing their enemies and buckling the line. When they had finished their first flurry of attacks, six Crypt Ghouls lay dead at their feet, while another four scampered back into the darkness. However, one of the Fyreslayers’ own number had also fallen.

 

Battle Round Three

Corpses began falling from the top of the cavern, striking the hard rocky floor in a disturbing splatter. Horrifyingly, the bodies began to stir, ignoring broken bones as they staggered to their feet – it had started to rain Zombies!

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From the lofty reaches of her Bastion, Cyssandra surveyed the course of the battle through the eyes of her minions. The Fyreslayers had enjoyed a string of successes, but now the Vampire’s own creatures were beginning to gather in force, and she was certain they would be whittled down long before they laid eyes on her fortress.

Taking temporary control of the Necromancer, Cyssandra empowered the Crypt Ghouls with the Bloodfeast, turning them into ravening maniacs seeking only to feast on Fyreslayer flesh. The Necromancer shuddered as the will of his mistress departed, but he retained enough wits to raise a fresh unit of Skeleton Warriors from the bones littering the cavern, summoning them to form a wall of bone between himself and the Fyreslayers.

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Taking a few steps forward, the Terrorghiest opened its wide maw and shrieked, the unnatural sound threatening to burst eardrum and boil brain. However, the Hearthguard Berzerkers were staunch in their defence, and they shrugged off the worst effects.

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It then rushed the Hearthguard Berzerkers and between it and the Crypt Ghoul, Duardin began to fall at an alarming rate. The ominous presence of the spirits surrounding the Ophidian Archway broke the nerve of one of the Hearthguard and, shamefully, he ran for the cavern’s exit.

Seeing quarry still fighting and eager to get to grips with Cyssandra herself, the two Magmadroths lumbered forward while the rest of the Fyreslayers sprinted to keep up.

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Shaking the ground with its heavy footsteps, the Runesmiter’s Magmadroth thundered towards the Terrorgheist, lava erupting from its open jaws to stream over the heads of the Hearthguard Berzerkers and immolate the last of the Crypt Ghouls. Now they could all concentrate on the Terrorgheist, the most fearsome of Cyssandra’s pets.

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As the Runefather’s Magmadroth crashed into the newly raised Skeleton Warriors, smashing them apart in a shower of bone splinters, the Runesmiter’s Magmadroth and Terrorgheist fought tooth, nail and claw, the Hearthguard Berzerkers desperately trying to keep from getting crushed underfoot by the two massive beasts.

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Both creatures sustained minor wounds, but none were deep or crippling as they continued to fight.

 

Battle Round Four

More Zombies fell from above, and while some were annihilated by the impact, still more rose to join the others already stumbling towards the Fyreslayers, rapidly developing into a substantial horde.

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Thinking the Terrorgheist might be fighting at a slight disadvantage, Cyssandra once more dominated the mind of her Necromancer, channelling the power of the Bloodfeast into her favourite creature – now the Terrorgheist’s eyes glowed a deep red as it was both strengthened and quickened by her will.

The Vampire then idly raised a retinue of Skeleton Warriors to slow down the Fyreslayer’s Runefather before releasing the Necromancer. Seeing how close the Magmadroths were to him, the Necromancer then promptly used his own magical strength to raise yet more Skeletons before taking cover behind them, doing his best to look like bone in the hopes he would not be noticed.

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The Terrorgheist shrieked at the Runesmiter, but he proved to be made of even sterner stuff than the Hearthguard and, with some semblance of fury and bloodlust, the Terrorgheist launched itself once more at his Magmadroth, Cyssandra’s Bloodfeast driving it with unrequited violence.

Magmadroth and Terrorgheist battered one another, cracking bones and shattering armoured scales, but neither could launch a telling blow. Tumbling out of the way of the Magmadroth’s claws, the Hearthguard Karl sprang to his feet and, seeing an opening, buried his axe deep into the rib cage of the Terrorgheist. The creature screeched again, this time in pain, and it backed away. However, it had clearly been dealt a crippling blow as rotting innards fell to the ground.

Leading the way, Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir led the Fyreslayers into the deeper darkness of the cavern, spotting another Necromancer and retinue of Skeleton Warriors deployed around a set of Arcane Ruins. The Vulkite Berzerkers followed in the footsteps of his Magmadroth, feeling that they were now getting very close to Cyssandra’s bastion.

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The rest of the Fyreslayers followed up, the Auric Hearthguard pausing just long enough to launch a stream of lava from their Magmapikes at the Terrorgheist. Focused on defending itself form the Hearthguard’s Karl, the creature did not notice the incoming fire until it started burning through its wing membranes. More lava smashed into it, the final volley caving in its skull. The creature fell to the ground, and the Hearthguard Berzerkers roared as they charged onwards into the Skeleton Warriors that had assembled behind it.

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However, their charge was a little disorganised and only two Skeleton Warriors were smashed by their axes.

 

Battle Round Five

The Fyreslayers continued to march into the darkness until, finally, they saw the immense structure of an Overlord Bastion looming ahead. Knowing their foe was close at hand, one of the Vulkite Berzerkers shouted out and pointed as he saw the sinister form of Cyssandra herself staring down imperiously at them from the highest reach of her fortress.

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His Magmadroth spitting lava, Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir charged into the Skeleton Warriors that blocked his path, sending bones flying outwards in huge arcs.

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Staring down contemptuously at the remaining Skeletons, his intense glare unravelled the magic animating them, and the rest simply collapsed tot he ground, now completely lifeless.

The Vulkite Berzerkers had created a new flank in the advance but their progress was disrupted by the Numinous Occulum they found in their path. Their hornblower out his instrument to his lips and blew a loud, harmonious set of notes that gathered the Berzerkers and directed them forward. Finding a horde of Zombies in their path, they charged.

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Fully half the Zombies fell in this rush, the Vulkite Berzerkers shrugging off every injury dealt to them in their maddened fury.

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Zombies continued to fall from above but they all hit the ground awkwardly, and none rose to carry on fighting. The Necromancer near the Ophidian Archway hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Runesmiter, while the other raised a new retinue of Skeletons to trap Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir before taking cover within the Arcane Ruins.

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Cyssandra could see her minions were about to fail her, and knew it was up to her to reverse the Fyreslayer’s advance. Gathering her will, she empowered the Zombies with Bloodfeast, hastening their normally slow movements, while placing a Spiritblight upon the Vulkite Berzerkers, sapping them of their fighting skill. Not yet done with the Berzerkers, she called upon the ancient power of the Overlord Bastion and bright rays of ruby red light lanced out, vaporising two Fyreslayers in an instant.

Then, with a hiss, she drew her blade and left the Bastion.

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Moving with lightning grace, Cyssandra joined her Zombies, who were already dragging one Vulkite Berzerker to the ground under a tumble of flailing limbs. Cyssandra strode through the melee, her sword flicking out to snatch the lives of another three Fyreslayers.

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This was too much for two of the Vulkite Berzerkers, who fled for the cavern entrance.

 

Battle Round Six

The corpse rain continued, and Zombies fell all around Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir, trapping him and his Magmadroth.

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Leaning low over the side of his beast, Hursgar-Grimnir swept the area around him with his long Latchkey Axe, cutting through every Zombie as if it were wheat.

In a concerted effort, both Necromancers and Cyssandra hurled Arcane Bolts at both Magmadroths, the beasts reeling under the impact of magic as it repeatedly hammered them. Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir’s Magmadroth, in particular, was badly hurt by his assault, and developed a noticeable limp.

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Confident that the Magmadroths were now too wounded for the Fyreslayers to risk battling her directly, Cyssandra directed her ancient will to her Zombies, once more channeling the Bloodfeast through them.

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As a Necromancer clambered up onto the top of the Arcane Ruins, hoping to keep out of the reach of Fyreslayers, Cyssandra and her Zombies tore into the Vulkite Berzerkers. While they were able to fend off the mindless swings of the Zombies, they could do nothing to stop the supernaturally fast thrusts of the Vampire’s blade, and three more Fyreslayers met their end at her hands.

Rallying, the Vulkie Berzerkers formed a hasty shield wall and, with a mighty roar, drove the Zombies back with one combined push. Staggering back from the blow, the Zombies had no time to react as the Berzerkers followed this up with their axes, and every Zombie was cut down – leaving Cyssandra suddenly very alone.

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Finally freed of Skeletons and Zombies, Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir spied the enemy he had sworn an oath to end.

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Runes glowing with powerful energies, Hursgar-Grimnir bellowed a warcry as his Magmadroth thundered towards Cyssandra, who had just started to realise how vulnerable she had become.

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The Vampire Lady jumped back to avoid being trampled by the Magmadroth, but Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir had anticipated the move, and his Latchkey Axe swung down, narrowly missing Cyssandra’s neck. However, its edge bit deep into her shoulder and she cried out in pain and terror. Hissing back, she prepared to leap towards Hursgar-Grimnir to tear his throat out, but his Magmadroth quickly snapped its jaws round to close around her body.

With a shake and flood of lava, the reign of Cyssandra was ended.

 

Conclusion

That was a good battle – a really good one. The pace is spot on, with the undead appearing in drips and drabs to begin with, then slowly whittling the Fyreslayers down as the game progresses.

Despite the Fyreslayers managing to keep most of their units intact to the end (the Hearthguard and Vulkite Berzerkers both suffered the most), it nearly went ill for them, and both Magmadroths were heavily wounded by the time Cyssandra was slain. In fact, if Cyssandra had managed to dodge the Runefather’s attacks, she would have had a not unlikely chance to finish him off!

Two things really swung things in the favour of the Fyreslayers – the first was the Terrorgheist and its distinct lack of effect. It should have torn apart the Hearthguard Berzerkers (who, to be fair, did not entirely distinguish themselves in this battle either) and given the Runesmiter something to seriously think about – and if it had toppled him, then it would have been free to rampage around the rearmost units of the Fyreslayers. They would have had to pull back to deal with it, giving Cyssandra more time to prepare a robust defence.

As it was, the Terrorgheist missed with most of its attacks or watched them simply bounce off Fyreslayers.

The Fyreslayers also managed to get a double turn at exactly the right time (between rounds four and five). They did not kill a huge amount with it, but this allowed them to move their bulk of their force right into Cyssandra’s backyard, again reducing the time she had to summon reinforcements. When she was forced to engage the Fyreslayers, she only had the Zombies to properly support her and a series of (very) lucky strikes from the Vulkite Berzerkers finished them off perhaps a turn before they should have done.

Once again caught out, Cyssandra was then vulnerable to the charge of the Runefather.

Anyway, thems the breaks for an immortal! This is a really good Battleplan and, if you have Fyreslayers, I recommend you take an oath and try to finish off the Master (or Mistress) of Death lurking in the nearby cavern!

 

The Story Continues…

Well, the time has come. We are all set and now ready to embark upon the Godbeasts campaign. Archaon is back and he has a plan…

Masters of Death

I have already done (a fair bit of) on the Deathlords, the real power houses of the Death Alliance, but thought it was time to have a proper look at some of the lesser leaders and, well, this happened:

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A couple of Vampires (mother and daughter, I figure), plus a veritable cabal of Necromancers. All except the young mounted Vampire are battle ready for this week, when the Fyreslayers delve into some dank caverns to root a Vampire Lady out of her underground castle!

Ruins of the Mortal Realms (Painting Guide)

After the flurry of initial releases, there has not been too much new stuff in the way of scenery for Age of Sigmar (I am trying very hard to ignore the Crucible box set that is currently sitting on a shelf, waiting patiently to be painted…), but Godbeasts has a painting guide for the Realmgate in Orb Infernia.

It looked very quick and easy to paint (no washes, just successive drybrushes in the main), so I gave it a whirl!

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I would not call it awesome but, frankly, for something this quick to paint (ignoring the drying time, which is minimal and only really present on the first coat of orange) you just cannot beat it. In fact, I would go as far to say that even if you are more art talent-challenged than me (such a person is hard to imagine), you will fly through this and have a decent looking Realmgate on your table in no time.

The steps really are just this:

  1. Spray Black undercoat.
  2. Drybrush the whole thing with Khorne Red (quite a heavy drybrush).
  3. Drybrush the whole thing with Evil Sunz Scarlet.
  4. Drybrush the murals and skulls with Screaming Skull.
  5. Paint the flames Troll Slayer Orange.
  6. Drybrush the flames towards the centre with Yriel Yellow.
  7. Drybrush the flames a little further towards the centre with Dorn Yellow.

That really is all there is to it! Perhaps 30 minutes work, tops.

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However, I was not going to add just one piece of scenery, surely? It just so happened that someone bought me a box of Arcane Ruins for my birthday last year, and this seemed the perfect time to crack it open and build them!

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The paint scheme for this was also dead simple (though with a longer drying time, as it uses two washes), and I used the same scheme White Dwarf suggested for the Ophidian Archway – I thought that would be a good way to link the architecture of the Mortal Realms.

Again, it was simply:

  1. Undercoat with Corax White (worth splashing out on the spray can, it is much better for this than any other white undercoat I have used).
  2. Wash the whole thing with Seraphim Sepia.
  3. Drybrush the columns with Pallid Wych Flesh.
  4. Paint the stone slabs and steps Stormvermin Fur.
  5. Wash the whole thing with Athonian Camoshade (sounds a bit weird to use a green wash, but it creates a nice mossy feeling).
  6. Drybrush the stones with Administratum Grey.
  7. Drybrush the whole thing, lightly, with Ceramite White.

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That really is all there is to it! Once again, a very quick way to get a decent piece of scenery on your table.

I am going to have another little break from scenery for a while, but I will be lining up both the Crucible and another Skull Keep before year’s end (and here I was thinking I was done with the Dreadhold!), and I have a hankering to do some Sylvaneth Woods in the style shown in the All-Gates book, but that might be going a step too far (just how many Sylvaneth Woods does one really need, eh?).

Battle Report – Site of Power

For this battle, we are taking a trip into the underworld of the Realm of Death, where the Stormcast Eternals have been sent to reclaim the bodies of Sigmar’s fallen War-Priests.

 

The Story So Far

Early in the Realmgate Wars, the forces of Sigmar fought hard to wrest a Realmgate known as the Arch of Bones from the armies of Khorne. This was a an important strategic Realmgate that led to the Realm of Death and while Sigmar’s armies were successful, many of his War-Priests died in the attack. However, Nagash is a jealous god who refused to allow their bodies to return to Azyr. Unwilling to allow those who fought with such devotion and heroism to rest in the hands of Nagash, Sigmar dispatched a force of Stormcasts to bring them back to the Celestial Realm.

Leading this force was Lord-Relictor Dedrac, the Stormcasts entering the Arch of Bones to traverse the warrens of the Penumbral Vault to find the resting place of the War-Priests, a dais within the Dragonfate Chamber.

However, the cast off necromantic forces of Nagash soon became aware of the intruders and they raced to stop them, eager to demonstrate their devotion to the Lord of Death. Spirit Hosts were soon joined by Crypt Ghouls, the harbingers of Ghoul King Marrowthirst. The bone-bound gates of the chamber were sealed, cutting off the retreat of the Stormcasts, leaving them no choice but to battle the dead and, maybe, raise the spirits of the War-Priests to fight once more.

 

The Forces

This is another small skirmish, as Sigmar can dedicate only so many Stormcasts to the task, and the forces of Nagash have been caught off-guard. This will mean both armies need to exercise caution as the loss of a critical unit could mean their whole plan falls apart rapidly.

Flesh-Eater Court
Abhorrent Ghoul King on Terrorgheist
Crypt Ghouls x 20
Crypt Horrors x 3
Spirit Hosts x 6

This Flesh-Eater Court can match the Stormcasts for numbers, thanks to the pack of Crypt Ghouls, and while the smaller guys will not match a Liberator , they are supported by the larger Crypt Horrors and Spirit Hosts. However, the real engine of this force is the Ghoul King himself, atop his Terrorgheist. The Stormcasts are going to be hard pushed trying to contain him…

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Relictor
Liberators (four units of 5)

The Stormcasts have a tiny, tiny force in this battle – just four units of Liberators led by a Lord-Relictor. However, Liberators can prove to be tough enough and the Lord-Relictor is always good for throwing some lightning around. They are also able to call upon the spirits of the dead who may manifest themselves as three Warrior Priests.

 

The Battleplan

In this Battleplan, the Stormcasts must march to a Dragonfate Dais in the centre of the chamber, start resurrecting Warrior Priests, and then conduct the Word of Power ritual that will call upon the light of Sigmar, burning away the forces of Death and allowing escape. Only Heroes can use the Dragonfate Dais and while the Stormcasts start with only the Lord-Relictor, resurrected Warrior Priests are also Heroes, and the Lord-Relictor can temporarily promote other Stormcasts to become Heroes, allowing them to use the Dais.

The Flesh-Eater Court has a simpler goal – kill all enemy Heroes, and they gain a major victory.

 

Deployment

The Flesh-Eater Court was eager for blood riding valiantly alongside their noble king into the heretical hordes, and deployed around the Dragonfate Dais. Confident in the strength of their sigmarite shields, the Stormcast Liberators deployed line abreast, with a single retinue and the Lord-Relictor a little further back to plug any holes and take advantage of any breakthroughs.

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Battle Round One

With a terrible shriek inspiring speech to his foot troops, the Ghoul King stood on the back of his Terrorgheist noble steed and waved his followers forward. Finding them too slow, he then directed his Terrorgheist into the air and swooped down to land right in front of the Liberator line.

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The Terrorgheist unleashed a terrible scream that caused two Liberators to sink down and clutch their heads as their brains overloaded with the piercing sound, and another fled the battlefield.

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Undaunted by this sudden attack, the Stormcasts marched forward, the Lord-Relictor giving one of the Liberators a battlefield promotion and full authority to activate the Dragonfate Dais.

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With a cry of ‘Only the Faithful!’ the newly promoted Liberator charged forward into the Crypt Ghouls, but his eagerness caught his original retinue off guard and they failed to follow him into battle.

Meanwhile, the Liberators who had suffered from the scream of the Terrorgheist charged the terrible beast.

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They fought hard and managed to score several telling blows on the Terrorgheist, but the Ghoul King simply turned the creature around and allowed it to tear its attackers apart. The promoted Liberator was, in turn, swamped by Crypt Ghouls and quickly disappeared under their foul bodies.

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Battle Round Two

The Lord-Relictor promoted another Liberator who, seeing the fate of his predecessor, ran far around the flank of the Flesh-Eater Court, skirting the vengeful Spirit Hosts.

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The bulk of the Liberators charged the Crypt Ghouls as the Lord-Relictor led another retinue to bring down the Ghoul King.

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Hungry for blood Displaying the highest levels of chivalry and honour, the Crypt Ghouls tore savagely into the Liberators, sending seven of them back to Azyrheim in sparks of blue lightning that shone brightly in the gloom.

The rest of the Stormcasts were faring much better though, with the Terrorgheist sustaining several deep cuts and abrasions from the Liberators’ swords and Lord-Relictor’s hammer. Shrieking his fury Offering the villain a chance at single combat, the Ghoul King rained blows upon the Lord-Relictor as his Terrorgheist snapped and clawed at the Stormcast. Though he was pummeled badly, the Lord-Relictor’s armour held true and he suffered no real injury.

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The Ghoul King spat threats at the Crypt Ghouls, promising them dire consequences if they ran the hand of a fair maiden should they credit themselves with valour on the battlefield, as the Crypt Horrors circled round behind him to launch a vicious attack upon the Liberators that threatened the tyrant great and noble sire.

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Once more the Terrorgheist shrieked, but the Liberators now knew what to expect and they weathered the attack with grim fortitude.

The Lord-Relictor rained down a series of heavy blows upon the Terrorgheist, forcing it back, but he left his guard wide open in the doing. The beats sprang forward with supernatural speed, and crunched down hard on his armour, crushing him instantly.

Just across from this battle, the Crypt Ghouls savaged the Liberators they faced, the Liberator-Prime fending off their attacks only to be stabbed in the back with a shimmering blade from the Spirit Hosts.

 

Battle Round Three

The last Liberators moaned in dismay as they saw the Terrorgheist’s wounds begin to knit and heal themselves, but were cut short as the creature let loose with the most devastating shriek yet, blasting them back to Sigmar.

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The newly promoted Liberator tried to make one last ditch effort to reach the Dragonfate Dais, but was easily cut off by the faster Crypt Ghouls and Spirit Hosts. Within seconds, he too was returning the the Celestial Realm.

 

Conclusion

Well, the Stormcasts certainly had their rear ends handed to them there!

So, what went wrong?

On paper, there is no great disparity between these two forces, with the Flesh-Eater Court having perhaps a tiny advantage in the shape of the Terrorgheist.

The plan (such as it was) started to break down right on the first turn when the Stormcasts started advancing. What should have happened is that the Terrorgheist and Crypt Ghouls were charged, the former being taken down a wound bracket or two and the Ghouls all but being wiped out. However, the Stormcasts were plagued by failed charges, leaving them a stark choice of saving the Lord-Relictor (who should have been munched by the Terrorgheist a turn earlier than he was) or a single newly promoted Liberator. Not much of a choice there, and the Ghouls were able to sustain their high number of attacks throughout the battle.

A unit of Retributors (or, better, Decimators) would have made all the difference, but that is not what the narrative called for. It is perhaps better to say that the Stormcasts would have been better off with a plan that actually worked – dealing with the Crypt Ghouls, then taking on the bigger creatures. This was a classic case of trying to do too much, too quickly.

After all, it is not as if there is a time limit on this battle…

 

The Story Continues…

The Godbeasts campaign looms large now, but we have just enough time to squeeze in another battle before we embark on that epic. Next time, we will see how the Fyreslayers fare when they descend into the underworld within the Realm of Death to oust a Vampire Queen from her castle…