War Story – “A Merc’s Tale”

Submitted by Ron H. of the Netherlands:

It was early morning somewhere in Ghyran. The camp was already bustling with life when I opened my tent. The heat worsened my headache, caused by the small party I had held last night. I made my way towards a barrel filled with water to get rid of my dry mouth and freshen up a little. The scenery that greeted me as I walked was the same as it had been for the last few days. A camp filled with blacksmiths, tanners, shopkeepers selling food and trinkets to people, men and ladies selling themselves for labor or more intimate things, it was like a small town. Not far away was the Hammerhal army camp, filled with soldiers doing drills, cleaning weapons or just standing guard. And they were all surrounded by massive trees and plants of many different kinds, blocking out most of the sunlight.

The trees were a sight to behold for the first few days, but after a week you had seen them all, figuratively speaking. When I arrived at the barrel with water, I quickly held my head in it, as to soothe the headache. It didn’t help much, as was to be expected. So I drank some water using my hands as a cup, as I had left my actual cup in my tent, and went back. When I arrived at my tent I saw a soldier standing by the entrance, holding something in his hand. I approached him and greeted.

Hello can I help you?”

Yes, are you the mercenary Gabriel Santé?”

It’s Gabriel Santi.”

Like in…”

Yes, like the noble family.”

So you are…”

Yes, I am.”

Well then ‘Lord’ Santi, you are to support the Darkbull regiment of Captain Bröchin in General Feuerbach’s coming battle against the ‘Big Eat’ and our assault on Amasya.”

What about my pay?”

The soldier sighed, his disdain for me was obvious and he didn’t try to hide it. He grabbed a pouch that was hanging on his belt and tossed it to me.

This is 50 gold as advance payment, the rest will be granted to you by Captain Bröchin after we have taken Amasya. Any questions.”

Yes, how do I recognize the Darkbull regiment?”

They have a red banner with black bulls head. Anything else?”

But I wasn’t listening anymore as I was counting the coins and just nodded.

We leave in an hour, be on time or be left behind.”

And the soldier walked away. I quickly went inside my tent, gathering my belongings and put on my armor and equipment. I also went by a shop to buy two medium field flasks filled with wine, as I had finished up the wine last night and I could feel my hands starting to shake.

An hour later the Feuerbach’s Lectors moved towards the front. I wasn’t keen on walking that whole way with the hangover I still had, so I decided to hitch a ride on one of the supply wagons. I paid the driver a gold coin to let me drive with him and he agreed. The driver and I didn’t talk much, and I was happy with that as my head was killing me. Though the silence that I was enjoying didn’t last long, as a woman on horse back started to ride beside us at the same tempo. She had long black hair, which was braided, blue eyes and tip-tilted nose. A scar on her cheek betrayed that this wasn’t going to be her first fight. She wore a breastplate and underneath a red tunic, I couldn’t see the emblem. She had a spear and shield tied to her back. I tried to ignore her, taking a swig from my flask and averted my gaze. It didn’t take long before she started talking.

From which regiment are you?”

Her voice was soft, but her accent was from Aqshy side of Hammerhal. I didn’t respond at first, but then she poked me with her spear and asked again.

From which regiment are you, because I don’t recognize your uniform.”

None.”

I answered short and blunt, making her known that I wasn’t interested in talking right now. Normally I would be interested, for I never say no to a lady, but now my hangover was upsetting my charm and my stomach. My bluntness didn’t stop her from continuing.

So militia?”

No.”

Then you must be the marksman Gabriel Santi.”

My eyes widened, how did she know that. I hadn’t even introduced myself, let alone tell her my profession. I looked at her, she was staring at me with an inquisitive look.

How did you know?”

Well, like I said your tunic doesn’t match any current uniforms. It does match with the old uniform from the Hammerhal Ironweld Arsenal, and so do your pauldrons. Your helmet was a prototype, used by the Ironweld to protect the face from shrapnel and other projectiles. As you were a former sniper from the Ironweld Arsenal, that checks out. Your rifle is custom made by a duardin smith, that is something only someone with a lot of money is able to buy. Here your high birth shows itself. The fact that you wear leather under your tunic, means you want to be mobile and you either dodge a blow or have other means of protecting yourself. In your case the latter, as I saw you loading a pavise in the back of the wagon. Which you also use as a standard for your rifle. All those things put together makes it the only logical conclusion that you are the marksman Gabriel Santi.”

And she finished it with a proud smile. I on the other hand was baffled, my mouth almost fell open. I wasn’t expecting such a thorough investigation in just a few minutes. I wasn’t able to form any kind of reply. So she continued.

How much did you pay for the ride, Mister Santi?”

It took me awhile to answer as I was still lost for words, and that was something that had almost never happened to me.

One gold piece.”

She turned her head towards the wagon and gave him a stern look.

Johnson, what did I tell you about overcharging strangers for a ride?!”

Sorry madam, he was the one offering it. How could I refuse?”

She shook her head. In the mean time I was confused, and my hangover wasn’t helping. Who was this woman riding beside the wagon, and how did she know the driver aswell. And as if she had read my mind she answered.

I haven’t introduced myself. The name is Caitlin Bröchin, captain of the Darkbull regiment. And you are sitting on my supply wagon.”

I started to laugh. The captain was surprised by that reaction, but didn’t react. I took another swig from one of my flasks and reached out my hand.

Well then nice to meet you captain. May I ask how you know so much about me, have you been stalking me?”

The look in her eyes changed from joyful to stern in a second.

I want to have the best, Mister Santi. And for that I have to do my research.”

Well, no pressure then.”

I laughed again, she laughed a bit but the look in her eyes never changed. I continued.

It seems I the chance to show you my skills sooner than expected.”

This time the captain looked a bit confused.

How so?”

And I pointed forward, where several cavalrymen were riding and shouting something. The enemy had been sighted and battle was to commence soon. I jumped of the wagon, while the captain rode back towards her troops. It was almost time to earn my payment.

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Your War Stories

Team Animosity is still hard at work on the press pack, game engine, and other updates- but until then, let’s talk about your armies.

The board is set, and the pieces are moving– but your warriors will not reach Amasya itself before the dawn of May 31st. Until then, there is only the approach– a hard, arduous trek across the worst of Ghyran’s wilderness, where no paths were ever made, much less roads capable of marching an army down. Even worse, you are not alone: the forces of five other opposing coalitions encroach on the hallowed necropolis as well, with chance encounters becoming commonplace as you draw closer.

This is where your army finds itself now, with any aspiration of arriving in Amasya fresh and well-rested dashed against the sharp rocks at the bottom of every treacherous ravine you’ve had to cross, only to find the blades of your enemy on the other side.

These are your War Stories- and we want to feature them here. From now until the end of May, we’re challenging you to write short stories about your army on the approach, testing themselves against the march and the warbands of their enemies. Forward your narrative to AnimosityCampaigns@gmail.com and we’ll post it right here on our blog!

Alternately, if you don’t have a hand for writing but you do for painting, please send us pictures of your armies as they prepare for battle. Assembly, painting, scenery- you name it. It’s all a part of narrative play on the tabletop.

As you can read for yourself below, the approach has been trying for some among Qarang Sarn’s champions- but the Basalt Lord is as stone:

In the camp of the Horde of Rot and Rage

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“Skeletons!” The worst blasphemy couldn’t have been spat with more scorn. “Mindless, bloodless, eight-times-damned skeletons!” An armored finger fished another sliver of bone out from the filigree of an ornately decorated greataxe, then paused to pick a speck off of the opposite gauntlet. “A fortnight we’ve been fighting nothing but Deathrattle and Nighthaunt, and I am dead sick of it!”

The finger’s owner paused, and glowered across the campfire. “Figuratively speaking, that is.”

The corpulently rounded suit of rusted plate sitting opposite guffawed appreciatively. “Buboes bring pus, work brings play, slaughter brings glory. Or do you mean to tell me that the renowned Eris Bloodwrath has run out of patience?”

“Please.” There was a bit of shattered vertebrae buried in the forged mouth of a snarling hellhound. “Don’t act so- so- so sanguine. Like you haven’t felt unfulfilled, fighting ghosts that can’t even get the tiniest sniffle!”

The gross sentinel harrumphed. “But I haven’t been skulking around camp at all hours, acting like a daemonette hunting her latest conquest!”

“At least I still can!”

“Children!” The next round of barbs died unspoken as a regal figure stepped into the circle of light. “Save the bloodshed for the battlefield. We are here to make good on the test the Gods have set for us, and right now you-” he glanced pointedly at both sides of the fire- “are failing.”

“…but there’s no bloodshed to speak of.” This muttered by the renowned Eris Bloodwrath.

“We are on the cusp of grasping a prize such as will be made legend.” Behind his chipped and blackened helm, the figure’s eyes lit up with a hellish glow. “Our patrons, the Lords of Entropy and Bloodshed, have laid such an opportunity at our feet as will never be repeated. The lost city of Amasya- a battle never fought, a victory never reaped, a shining jewel from a dead age, and it has been given unto us. Truly, this can only be the providence of the Eternal Four. Our very lives have been shaped for this day.”

“Oh no.” Bloodwrath slumped, head in hands. “Here we go again.” The bloated watcher only sloshed, entertained.

“Even when I was a child, the Gods spoke to me. By their aid, I was lead to my first great victory- when I slaughtered the King of Quaterii in front of his heir, and spread out his entrails in the sun-drenched forests of Hysh.” His words rumbled ossiferously. “And though his slaves raged, they were not men enough to bring me to battle.”

“You ambushed an old man and his grandson on a walk. Then you ran away. Mighty warrior indeed.”

“And against the Nine Princedoms of Aqshy!” His voice was exultant. “Then I reaped and reaped, so that False Sigmar hid his face in fear, and the corpses were piled twelve deep-”

“-three deep, at most-”

“-and all that land was laid to waste! Truly, the crows feasted mightily on that day, and all spoke the name of Qarang Sarn with hatred and with fear!”

“I wonder why.”

“But then!” The speaker- Qarang Sarn- was only building in intensity, like a tide of earth and stone boiling down a hillside. “Truly glorious was the day when I met Tarlen the Unconquerable and his riotous horde in battle. The greatest, he accounted himself, but in three days and three nights I put his brutish soldiers to flight and broke their ever-vaunted spirit, and on the fourth day the field and the fame was mine!”

“They were greenskins. They got bored. They wandered off. That’s not a victory, that’s barely a- draw…” Sarn had fallen silent, and was looking at the opulently clad warrior with an amused contempt. An uncomfortable silence descended, broken only by the piteous sobs of some nearby captive.

“You interrupt me. And here I hadn’t even reached the more delectable bits.” There was a certain rich, earthy smugness to his voice, and the one called Eris shrank like cornered prey. “Such it was, when I met the ninety-nine Wives of the Stag on the field, and killed and killed again until their champion threw herself at my feet and begged for mercy like a bleating lamb. How I relish it.” His eyes seemed to burn holes in the warrior’s armor, and she crumpled, defeated.

Her Nurglish counterpart hooted at this, roiling and rollicking until mirth was flowing from every orifice. Sarn turned, smoothly, and stalked around the fire. “Or perhaps it was my greatest triumph, that for which I was acclaimed Varanguard. When I broke the walls of Melas, polluted its great fountains, and corrupted its High Priestess to the service of a patron she reviled. Truly, that was a day when the Gods smiled upon me.” The Nurglish warrior sank suddenly, and lapsed into a discomfited gurgling.

Sarn turned away, pacing, hands crossed behind his back like an Azyrite schoolmaster. “Yes, I am over-proud, but in truth so are we all- vainglorious fools riding high on our delusions and the promise of rewards forever beyond our grasp. Such is the will of the Four- it’s inescapable. One of the immortal truths of Chaos is, the Gods make themselves part of us, and we in turn imagine ourselves to be the Gods.” Both listeners sat silent and still, watching him warily.

“But in truth, this is common to every faith that has been or will be- all throw themselves on the mercy of their gods, and imagine themselves redeemed. There is but a single speck of difference- what Sigmar or Alarielle or Grungni promise is, ultimately, a lie.” His voice grew tectonic. This too shall pass, in time- but what the Four promise is true down to the base. We have thrown our lot in with the primal realities of the entire universe.”

He paused, and then began to walk back towards the campfire. “You see? This is why we are bound for Amasya, though it means we spend ourselves on bones and vapor. When we retake it, it will be to share the truth with the entirety of the Realms- to strip away the centuries-old lies of those who would usurp the Gods themselves, and replace it with the raw, unalloyed facts of what always has been.” Sarn’s voice was rapturous, almost pleading. “And when we are done, we will have drawn ourselves closer to that which really is… and for it we shall be exalted.”

With that, he turned back towards the main campground- only to pause. “Eris.”

“Yes, Varanguard?” Her tone was wary.

“Not for nothing do they call me the Basalt Lord. My flesh and my heart are stone, and if you speak another word that displeases me I will slaughter you without a drop of sweat or an ounce of remorse.” He smiled beneath his helm. “But all you have done today is made me laugh. Prepare yourselves, both of you- the end approaches.”

Don’t forget, registration is now open to become an event organizer over on the Report page!

‘Ere we go! NEO REG IS NOW OPEN!

That’s right, it’s here: you can register to become an Animosity NEO on the Report! page RIGHT NOW!

Obviously, this is a huge step for #AnimosityI, and we’re proud to say that we’ve already gone international in less than 30 minutes thanks to a NEO in Thailand whose group is planning to report battles all weekend long.

Because that’s what really sets Animosity apart: everything you do is one small part of a greater whole. Like a relay race, games played on Friday will set up the folks playing on Saturday and Sunday, while those same folks will be fighting to capitalize on the actions of the Friday players. You not only for yourself, but for everyone else in your coalition, against opponents halfway across the world.

And the butterfly effect doesn’t stop there. If you know our past, then you know the original Animosity campaigns comprised a single, unbroken narrative spanning  over a decade. Your actions here, now, in the hallowed necropolis of Amasya can and will impact future campaigns- even if you, yourself, don’t participate in them. In an Animosity campaign, everything you do- every game, every turn, every roll of the dice- matters.

That said- next up on the release schedule is the press pack. If there’s anything that you think would help you spread the word, let us know and we’ll toss it in.

So, with NEOs already reporting in from the west coast, the UK, and the Netherlands… may we offer some easy listening to get you as pumped as we are?

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Will you answer the call to battle?

Intro Gameplay Pack complete!

So, you know what we are, you’ve read how to play, and now you want to get started– but you still need to know what this time of war will look like for you. Fortunately, we’ve got answers- and if we don’t, let us know so we can add them to the FAQ!

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Starting this Friday, April 12th, you’ll be able to register with Animosity as a local area NEO. This is important, because only NEOs will be able to submit battle reports to the campaign map- but more on that later. We ask that you have at least one per group/event, so if you want to take part, we need you to step up- or volunteer a friend instead!

At the bare minimum, a NEO will be responsible for submitting the results of their player’s games to the campaign map. This is as simple as filling out a form on your phone after each battle you and your players fight, and shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes. After that, the sky is the limit: NOVA Open NEO Aaron Bostian (@maddrbostian) is already planning to run separate #AnimosityI events at different venues on each day of the campaign!

To register, we’ll need at least a current email address, venue information (country + city, game store name or at home/local club), how many players you expect to have, and which days you plan to run your event (May 31st, June 1st, and/or June 2nd).

To report a battle to the campaign map, we’ll need you to submit each player’s result separately (it’s easier for us to enter the data into our campaign engine that way), listing a player’s faction, coalition, major/minor win/loss, the map location where the battle was fought, and if any desperate measures succeeded. Again, more about that in a minute.

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As a player, you really need to know your stuff. You need to know which coalition your army will be fighting for, and you need to know the locations you’re fighting to capture. You need to know the allegiance abilities your coalition unlocks, and you need to know the desperate measures available to you.

Finally, you need to check back here every day of the campaign to see which coalitions have captured which locations, and check how many spoils you have to spend. If all this sounds daunting, don’t worry: it really isn’t.

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In the intro narrative pack, we introduced you to coalitions, fragile alliances of necessity unique to the coming battle for Amasya. What this means is, we tossed the four Grand Alliances out a window: Sylvaneth fight alongside Ironjawz in the Skoga Grakk, Hag Queens of Khaine have agreed to fight for a Soulblight vampire in the Reclamation, and Stormcast Eternals take orders from a mortal woman in the Sigmarsmacht Delegation.

You’ll find everything you need to know about the different coalitions on the Time of War page. Many factions- such as the aforementioned Sylvaneth, Ironjawz, Daughters of Khaine and Stormcast Eternals- must join a specific coalition. Others, such as the mercantile Kharadron Overlords, can choose one of several coalitions to join. Fighting battles for your coalition is how you will control locations on the campaign map and, ultimately, win the campaign.

In a perfect world, this is where we’d introduce you to a beautiful map of Amasya, but as it’s not done yet, we’ll just have to describe it instead. Amasya consists of 9 locations, each of which is a district or landmark dedicated to a different god in Sigmar’s broken pantheon:

  • Azyrhol, the hall of the heavens. Built atop the place Sigmar supposedly beheld his vision in the Ur-River.
  • Nagaskahip, Nagash’s graveyard. Countless dead pilgrims from the Age of Myth are buried. It’s these which give Amasya its moniker as the hallowed necropolis.
  • Rahipmezar, the priest’s tomb. Here the city’s holy leaders were laid to rest.
  • Teselli Alari, Alarielle’s solace. Simple shrines to the Everqueen were raised here amid the ancient forest that surrounds Amasya.
  • Isik Kulesi, the tower of light. Now ruined, was once a place of study, knowledge, and mastery.
  • Karanlik Saray, the palace of shadow. It served as the city’s dockyard and a place of unscrupulous affairs.
  • Gorkoyuk, Gorkamorka’s pits. These beast pens were part stable, part zoo. Monsters from across the realms were kept captive here.
  • Grung Esik, Grungni’s threshold. It stands a great stone arch spanning the gap between cliff faces where the ur-river flows into Amasya.
  • Yol Grimnir, Grimnir’s road. This stone path was built as a staging ground for the great crusading armies which once marched forth from the hallowed necropolis.

Each coalition needs to capture a primary and two secondary “key” locations- but don’t forget, you need to prevent your enemies from capturing their key locations even as you attempt to capture your own! Your coalition’s page will tell you which key locations you need to capture, but right now, you probably want to know how to win:

  • Total Victory – Capture 6 or more locations
  • Strategic Victory – Capture all 3 of your coalition’s key locations
  • Tactical Victory – Capture your coalition’s primary key location
  • Pyrrhic Victory – Capture one of your coalition’s secondary locations

Capturing locations is determined by percentage equation; every battle report is assigned a value whether it’s a major/minor win/loss and divided against the location’s value, and the coalition with the highest percentage is considered to have captured or defended the location.

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Besides winning, capturing and defending locations is crucial because it pays spoils. In #AnimosityI, players will use spoils to purchase additional command traits, artefacts, and spells beyond the normal restrictions. That’s right, for the duration of the campaign, you can put as many traits and artefacts on your heroes as you have spoils to afford them, including the ones from Malign Sorcery. (While your NEO should consider keeping track of every player’s spoils, this is all meant to be an honor system anyway.)

Furthermore, spoils are how you will purchase coalition specific traits and artefacts. These do not replace your army’s normal allegiance abilities in any way, but are simply in addition to. These are meant to interact with the last thing you’ll be able to spend spoils on: desperate measures.

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Desperate measures are predetermined wagers you’ll make in your tabletop games to increase your reporting power. For example, the Skoga Grakk’s measures are based around destroying enemy units during the Battleshock phase. While this may happen regardless, the Skoga Grakk’s specific traits and artefacts will help make enemy units more susceptible to battleshock- including enemy heroes!

Think of desperate measures as force multipliers; if you lose but your measure succeeds, you may bump your reporting power from a major loss to a minor victory. Then again, if you already won a major victory and your measure succeeded, you may be able to swing a location’s control in your coalition’s favor… single-handedly.

Every location is assigned a spoils “payout” value depending on whether or not it’s a key location for your coalition. We won’t get into numbers here, but rule of thumb, key locations have a lower capture payout but a higher defense payout, while other locations have a higher capture payout but lower defense payout.

If you hadn’t already read in previous updates, we’ll be posting an update to our blog each morning of the campaign (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) breaking down which territories your coalition has captured or defended and how many spoils you’re able to spend that day.

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Looking ahead, this weekend will see both NEO registration open and the Press Pack drop. If there’s anything you think would help get YOUR community involved, let us know and we’ll see if we can’t incorporate it. If you’re of a mind to dig into your traits and desperate measures, we have to keep you waiting just a little while longer until the weekend of the 19th. We’re also looking at branching into a video format for use on social media, so keep an eye out for that.

Until then,
Old Stonebeard + the NEO team, signing off.

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Weep and lament, for Death descends upon the Hallowed Necropolis…

Intro Narrative Pack complete!

That’s right, it’s finally here! We made the decision to finish this before anything else because “the reason why” has always been the beating heart of Animosity. The reason why you’re fighting, and the reason why that matters. The reason why you want to play, and the reason why you’ll want to play again next time. For this update, you’ll want to jump over to the Time of War page and take it from the top.

Chances are you’ve already read what came before, and in war descends, you’ll get to see how this fight got started. Just as no battle is fought without a reason, no army goes into battle without something at stake, which brings us to our six coalitions. These aren’t your parent’s Grand Alliances, but instead allegiances of convenience, tenuous and fleeting. 

Each of the six coalitions orbits around a charismatic NPC called a figurehead. These figureheads are the catalyst which brought your coalition together, and while your army may not take its orders from them, you’re still fighting for their cause. Be sure to check them out, as many factions must joint a specific coalition, and where you stand in the coming war may surprise you!

Next up, we’re hoping to get the intro gameplay pack posted tomorrow. After that, it’s on to the press pack and, most importantly, NEO Registration, opening this Friday!

Until then,
Old Stonebeard & the NEO team

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Wapkagut wants YOU ter bash sumfing!

War Is Coming (pinky promise!)

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here in the NEO cave, and I really want to thank you guys for your patience. We’ve been hard at work making this thing a reality, but as I can’t very well peddle drafts from Google docs as a finished product, I realize it may not look like that! Fact is, we’re trying to run through what would normally be a few month’s worth of dev work in just a few weeks. If we hadn’t already been kicking about concepts for the past couple of years anyway, this wouldn’t even be possible.

Looking ahead, we’ve shifted parts our release schedule back by about a week so we can get caught up:

  • April 5th – Finalized Narrative + Gameplay Intro Packs
    Discover how this conflict developed, learn about the coalitions you’ll join and the figureheads you’ll be fighting for, and take a look at what to expect from an #AnimosityI event as a player or an organizer. In the meanwhile, be sure to read our How To Play page, catch up on What Came Before, and sneak a peek at what’s coming on the Sigmarsmacht Delegation and Time of War pages.
  • April 12th – NEO Registration + Press Pack + Your War Stories
    Sign up to become a NEO! Then, download promotional materials to share with your friends, club or local store. From there, tell us why your army is marching on Amasya and, if you’d like, we’ll post it up to the Animosity website. Better yet, show us your hobby projects as you’re preparing for battle! We’ll be accepting submissions until May 29th.
  • April 19th – Complete Narrative Pack + Map of Amasya
    In this update, the first engagements of the war will be revealed as you take your first look at the Hallowed Necropolis itself. You will be able to explore the map and its locations in detail, review the unique allegiance abilities, traits and artefacts available to your coalition, and the desperate measures your Figurehead is willing to permit you.
  • April 26th – Complete Gameplay Pack
    This update will provide Battleplans and Time of War rules for your event, review how NEOs and their players will interact with the campaign engine, and provide a comprehensive FAQ. Have questions or comments? Let us know before the 25th so we can be sure to incorporate them!
  • May 3rd – Advanced NEO Pack
    Want custom Warscrolls to represent your coalition’s Figureheads on the field of battle? Want to run a continuous 3-day event? Want Scenery Warscrolls for the landmarks of Amasya? Want to make up your own desperate measures in the midst of battle? Want to muster a legion and count your casualties even as your characters develop new skills and acquire new toys before they tragically succumb to an infected wound between games? Then this is the pack for you!

Finally, I want to thank Dan from AoS Shorts for the Narrative Note, and give a shout out to the NEO Network for signal boosting since the start.  You guys are great.

Now, for a better look at what you’ve all been waiting on, we’d like to introduce you to the Sigmarsmacht Delegation, one of the six coalitions you’ll be fighting for- and perhaps even give you some insight into the woman whose command you may be fighting under…


Sigmarsmacht Delegation, Seneschal-General’s Command Tent

The map was scattered with coins and trinkets, pebbles and knicknacks, every bit and bauble reducing uncounted lives and materiel into a single passive reference point that sat complacently among scores of peers. They trembled in place even as their constellation shifted, a bright-gauntleted hand plucking and dropping dull slate chips with a plunk-plunk-plunk around a small cluster of silver pennies.

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“The ravening horde fell upon us hard and fast. My Raptor retinues were not taken unaware, as must have been the brutes’ intent, yet still our Vanguard-Palladors were nearly overrun as they withdrew to bring warning.” The Lord-Aquilor Han Shinzong rested a finger on one of the coins. “I fear the situation is dire, and the outcome inevitable without reinforcement.  If this so-called ‘Big Eat’ breaks through, we risk the entire approach. With your permission, Seneschal-General, I wish to commit the whole of my Auxiliary Chamber to thwart their advance.”

The woman so addressed leaned on the table, sharp eyes scanning the toy battlefield. Then she shook her head. “There are closer forces more than equal to the task.” Her worn face broadened into a smile, and she turned. “General Feuerbach.”

The third figure in the tent snapped to attention, armored fist to breast in a salute. “Ma’am.”

“Gather your command and march to relieve the Stormcast.” Her gloved fingers quickly pushed a handful of lustrous copper discs towards the enemy. “When you arrive, attack immediately- I’d say the guns of Hammerhal should make short work of these brutes, wouldn’t you?”

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His response was cut off by an annoyed grunt coming from the fourth side of the table, as a magnificently bearded Duardin scowled down at the battleplan. “An’ where do we stand in all this?”

The Marshall’s gaze met his, and both held for a long moment, unblinking. Then she picked up a pair of golden rings and placed them to the rear of the Freeguild. “Your warrior lodge will cover the Lectors’ rear, Runefather. If there are enemies left after Feuerbach’s guns are quiet, you’ll move in and mop up.”

“A task fer beardlings, nae those wit’ Grimnir’s mark.” The Duardin was silent for a long moment, one hand scratching at his red-and-silver crest. “If’n I’d accepted Mithridates Alti gold, the soulblight would give us a real fight.”

“Maybe.” Her eyes narrowed. “So would Qarang Sarn. But is the sworn oath of your lodge really worth so little these days?”

The Runefather gave a snarl, and the Fyreslayer’s hand went to the haft of his axe- before he turned his head, spat, cursed her virtue, and stormed out of the tent. Unruffled, she turned to the plate-clad leader of the Freeguild once more.

“You may proceed as planned, General.”

“Ah, yes Ma’am.” He bowed from the waist. “Thank you, ma’am.” Then he turned as well and followed in the duardin’s wake.

It was a long moment before the same plunk-plunk-plunk started up again, and Lady von Helminger turned to see the Lord-Aquilor bending over the table. One after another, he dropped new slate markers onto the map, until they far outnumbered copper, silver, and gold put together. She glanced down, and then up, still with a hint of a smile.

“You disapprove.”

“With respect.” Han Shinzong rose to his full height, his mask’s crest brushing against the roof of the tent. “The enemy is far more numerous than you made out, and Feuerbach’s Lectors are green. Feuerbach is green. They have no idea what they’re facing- when they attack, that will be the end of them.” He pushed the slate forward until it crowded out the copper. “The foe will then be among the Fyreslayers, and they, too, will die to a man.”

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“I expect you are correct. But the General did not need to know the magnitude of the threat that awaited him, only that it was there. He will serve his purpose, and this way he will die without fear.”

“And the Runefather?”

“It’s not in the nature of the Lodges to run.” Her eyes blazed almost viciously. “And now that Goroth-Grimnir feels his pride pricking him, that’s doubly true.” She looked up. “The Fyreslayers will stand firm when the Freeguild breaks, and yes, likely they’ll die- but in the process they’ll blood the foe, take pressure off your retinues, and rid us of a line on our budget to boot.” She began sliding silver pennies away from the scrum. “Your brethren will be free to withdraw to a more defensible position, and the approach  will be secured for another day.” From her tone she might have been talking about the endgame of a close pitball match, or the solution to an aethermetric equation.

“And when,” the Lord-Aquilor’s tone as heavy as a stormsmite maul- “does our turn come?”

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“Your forces are of a higher caliber than what I’ve made use of today.” She looked at him intently. “When we reach Amasya, your Auxiliary Chamber will be fresh and ready to fight the real battle- while the brave soldiers of the Freeguild will lay upon the Anvil of Apotheosis, waiting to rejoin us.”

The Stormcast’s expression was unreadable behind his mask, and a long moment passed, barely broken by the muffled sounds of the camp. Then he nodded- once.

“If the Chamber is to redeploy, then I must be with them. Excuse me.” With that, Seneschal-General Monique von Helminger was left standing alone, with only the map and its tokens for company.

Site Updates + Intro Narrative

Understandably, we’ve been fielding a lot of questions this past week, which is why we updated the FAQ and more importantly, completed the About page! Make sure to check them out, especially our all-important page on How To Play, as it establishes the scope of our upcoming campaign as succinctly as we can manage.

Now, we did promise an event pack update by now, and we’re working on it. Although promptly completing the About page was deemed most important, you can read the first installment of the narrative pack, What Came Before, over on the Time of War page.

There’s plenty more to come, so make sure to check back often. Don’t forget to follow us on social media and of course, keep an eye on the hashtags #RisingAnimosity and #AnimosityI on Twitter. Until the sunrise, then…