Animosity Campaigns
Where narrative comes to play
Season 5 - The Fated Blade

A Brief History of Animosity

1 year ago

Beithir Seun

Welcome, warriors and wanderers alike! Today’s article was meant to be a short story depicting Runefather Haraldr-Grimnir’s first meeting with Iden “the Auric”, Satrap of the Aurannar,* but after some recent conversations in our Discord server, we thought it’d be prudent to assemble our history all in one place. Let us begin…

Before we were an Age of Sigmar global narrative event, we were a Warhammer Fantasy Battles global narrative event. After Games Workshop’s successful worldwide Albion and Storm of Chaos campaigns (which you can read more about in a recent White Dwarf article by Phil Kelly!), members of Da Warpath forum for Orcs & Goblins decided they wanted more… and thus, Animosity Campaigns was born. In fact, this is the first ever description of Animosity AFAIK, written by community founder Mogrek Longblade on November 27th, 2004:

Q: What is Animosity?

A: Animosity is a Warhammer Fantasy Battle campaign designed by warhammer players. It takes place after the Games Workshop Campaign Storm Of Chaos that took place this summer.

Q: What is Animosity about?

A: Animosity is about an Orc civil war, fought by the ruling factions of a large group of Orcs that banded together to form a massive waaagh during SoC. After SoC the waaagh began to war within itself after the death of the Orc in charge at the hands of Archaon.

Q: How can I play in this campaign?

A: Well thats actually pretty simple, all you need do, is sign up for one of the forces involved(sign up procedure can be found on our website) and play games of warhammer as you would normally or with one of the lists made for this campaign.

Although our WHFB iteration died with the World-That-Was during the End Times, like a phoenix from the flames we were reborn June 1st, 2019 with Animosity I: The Hallowed Necropolis. Set in Ghyran and using an organizational model similar to 2017 and 2018’s Coalescence Global Narrative Events, 40+ players in local groups across the United States, UK and Thailand fought to seize the abandoned Age of Myth era city of Amasya across three ridiculously intense days** of gaming. Because this was much smaller event than Animosity II was and III is shaping up to be, we were able to collect everything- including player contributions- into a single PDF:

Animosity I – The Hallowed Necropolis (OMNIBUS)

Because this event was so experimental, including it’s scoring, every coalition achieved its primary objective. That said, the Sigmarsmacht Delegation, arguably the very first Dawnbringer Crusade dispatched by Hammerhal to annex Amasya, achieved the most secondary objectives and “won” the campaign, claiming a tenuous hold on the city. After the Slann “Frog Dad” Zectoka brought down a comet and destroyed the necropolis part of the city, a hole was punched through to the Realm of Death, paving the way for Animosity II. Even now, the effects of this war can still be felt in ways such as the re-emergence of Mithridates Alti, exiled prince of Amasya- and some even say war may yet return to what remains of the Hallowed Necropolis. Although a fall 2019 weekender was planned, its story elements were eventually rolled into…

 Animosity II – The Burning Winter***. Set in Shyish, our player count more than doubled to 90+ across five weeks. With the pandemic settling in for the long haul in March-April, and Animosity II set to kick off in July, we very nearly decided to cancel the campaign before making a hard pivot back to our forum-based roots. The event duration was expanded from 3 turns over 3 days, to 5 turns over 5 weeks, and the chat client Discord adopted as an event platform in lieu of actual venues. Oddly enough, this organically allowed for a return of many old Animosity features, including diplomacy (and the inevitable backstabbing that comes from it). The amount of GM and, especially, player contributions also skyrocketed. Rather than a single PDF, you can (for now, until we organize it better) view all Animosity II materials here:

Setting – History of Lake Bykaal

Setting – Places and people of Lake Bykaal

Prologue – What Lurks Below Lake Bykaal

Prologue – Which Can Eternal Lie

Coalition – The Expedition

Coalition – The Pilgrimage

Coalition – The Undivided

Coalition – The Wretched

Coalition – Perpetual

Coalition – Soulmuncherz

Setting – Other Figurehead NPCs

Setting – Of Monsters and Godbeasts

Unfolding Narrative – Turn 1

Unfolding Narrative – Turn 2

Unfolding Narrative – Turn 3

Unfolding Narrative – Turn 4

Unfolding Narrative – Turn 5

Unfolding Epilogue

Player Contributions – Da Warpath

Player Contributions – Turn 1

Player Contributions – Turn 2

Player Contributions – Turn 3

Player Contributions – Turn 4

Player Contributions – Turn 5

Rather than fighting for control of the lake, each Coalition pursued their own varied ambitions. Ultimately, the Perpetual- an alliance of Death and Seraphon- succeeded in thwarting the cancerous, irradiating Big Bad that escaped Amasya at the end of Animosity I with the help of all the other Coalitions (more or less). Much, however, was left up in the air, and only the affairs of a single town were resolved during…

… the Animosity Weekender 2020, “The Root of All Evil”. Set some months after Animosity II, this one-turn, one-week campaign took place in the town of Bolyany, a superstitious and gnarled turnip-farming village native to Lake Bykaal. The site of several major battles during Animosity II, Bolyany’s vegetable patches drank deep of the spilled blood and, on Mallusnacht, gave birth to the Root, vegetable horrors and boogeymen from the town’s distant past. Three rabble-rouser NPCs- a Hammerhal merchant eager to profit, a local woman baker eager steeped in tradition, and an ancient witch wise in the truth of the Root’s nature- led the defense of the town as the player characters attempted to survive the night. Most did not, but the outcome saw the town survive and Hammerhal’s influence cut from the town like a black spot from a root vegetable- but why am I telling you this? You can read both parts of the Weekender here:

Animosity 2020 Weekender – Root of All Evil Event Pack

Animosity 2020 Weekender – Root of All Evil Unfolding Narrative

So, yes- that’s Animosity, to date, in a nutshell. Before I sign off, though, I want to leave you with a glimpse of what we believe makes our campaigns so great. This is an excerpt from the Root of All Evil Unfolding, featuring our writers combining three players stories- one, an exemplar of Sigmar, one, a champion of the Dark Gods, and the third, with a conversion of a giant turnip-hurling catapult:

Up ahead, a man stood clad in silver armour, towering above the corpse of one of the turnip monstrosities. Blood already dripped from his wrinkled mouth to stain the robes of the hammer-god that adorned him. The two men faced each other, exhausted, yet with eyes still burning with sheer hatred: a pair of avatars pulsing with the energy of the gods they so represented. The Lector raised his sword, and The Shrouded raised his.

Before either could so much as take a step, the heavens broke open. The roof of the Church of Sigmar shattered. Like a great flaming comet, the biggest turnip the knight had ever seen came singing through the night air, wreathed in burning flames. For the most fleeting of seconds, Sigmar’s Lector met the eyes of The Shrouded, and he saw his own horrified expression echoed back at him.

And then he knew nothing else.

turnip-catapult.png?w=576Turnipult!

*We reckon you’ll have to check back Monday to eavesdrop on this tense conversation between Haraldr-Grimnir and Iden the Auric…

**We hope to re-introduce this three day event model with the fall Animosity Weekenders, which may be returning 2021 but, at worst, no later than 2022.

*** “The Burning Winter” name was originally pitched as a soft reboot of our WHFB iteration, after End Times: Nagash had released but before we knew the world as we knew it was ending. The original Burning Winter would have pitted Elector Count Valmir von Raukov against Crom the Conqueror in a war for Ostland.


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This article written by Alex P aka @LittleSoldierTV

This article was originally published on June 12th 2021

4 weeks ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

Introducing a New Era of Animosity

This past summer, Animosity Campaigns celebrated five years in the Mortal Realms with Animosity V - The Fated Blade. Our name, however, is much older… nearly twenty years older, in fact. As many in our Discord server have come to know, Animosity Campaigns began with a narrative event organizer known only as “Mogrek Longblade” in November 2004… and he’s on his way back in 2024.Well, kinda.Going into Animosity V’s development cycle, we opted to kick off a story arc that would continue through our 20 year anniversary in 2024 with Animosity VI. To this end, AV’s ultimate “big bad” was Mogrek Longblade, a “Colossa-boss” with a WAAAGH! of a thousand Rogue Idols animated by his force of will. Our players have previously witnessed some powerful villains, but we knew we wanted to go bigger.But who, then, would oppose him? Who could reasonably challenge such might? There was only one answer: our most beloved campaign setting, Animosity III’s Prime Dominion. During 2021’s campaign, a breakaway fiefdom of Lumineth called the Iscarneth Ceraphate fought a succession war for the right to lead their people. That leader would be Dariel the Resplendent, and now, it is his government who must defend their people’s future....Leading the Iscarneth’s military is Atressa Redhand, a warrior born, her soldiers armed with experimental gunpowder weaponry of aelven manufacture. Charged with defending the Prime Dominion, she seeks to land the first blow, attacking Waaagh! Mogrek before it can reach the Ceraphate. Using the power of the Everwinter bound to his left hand, Mogrek has frozen the surface of the Shadowsea. Following this icey pathway for many leagues west from the shattered island of Frørholm his Rogue Idols have marched, in darkness and mists, to the coast of the Shadowsea. There, they’ve made landfall where the Ur-River flows into the Shadowsea: the Fiammascura Realmgate, and on the other side, the Brûlant Plains of Aqshy and the Ashfall Delta - a wide river delta with five large islands in its lazy waters.It’s here that Atressa has chosen to make her stand alongside any who will fight beside her. She does not believe that Mogrek can be stopped here, but time can be bought with blood, and the defenses of the Cerphate’s capital city Iscarion made nigh unassailable.Team Animosity is proud to announce the Animosity Weekender 2024 - Rolling Thunder , coming January of next year. This global narrative event will take place over 10 days and two weekends, featuring five Narrative Paths. Each player will be able to submit up to 3 Reports to ONE Narrative Path of their choice. The 3 reports can be any combination of Play, Writing, Hobby, and Other Report categories.In a new twist, one of the five Narrative Paths will be locked out, and only players attending the Las Vegas Open will be able to Report to it; likewise, worldwide players will be able to Report to the other 4 Paths.Players will be able to fight for two Figureheads, Mogrek Longblade and Atressa Redhand . Should Mogrek crush all resistance, his Waaagh! will crash down upon the Prime Dominion like an avalanche. Should Atressa hold the line, the Prime Dominion will have time to complete countermeasures to Mogrek’s army of Rogue Idols, and ensure final victory is within reach before the war has even begun.But, no matter the Weekender’s outcome, war will return to the Iscarneth Ceraphate in Animosity VI - Shattered Dominion , coming Summer 2024!...

2 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

Animosity V Awards

With Animosity V in the history books, it’s time to name our MVP awards. This has been a time-honored tradition since our WHFB days, and while the categories may change, the intent has always remained the same: to recognize those exceptional players who not only played a great game, but made the experience better for everyone around them, too.First, this year’s Youngblood, our award for players just jumping into their first campaign. We-the-Team called a huddle and talked it over; of our MVP, we had this to say:“... we have a lot of very cool new eggs (...) does stick out from how deep they got into it, and how WELL they are doing it.”“... he's gotten right into the narrative of it while actively taking a leadership role, and steering the Blackwing towards narrative and fun.”That’s right, AV’s Youngblood is Myth / Jhaellerax! T’was not an easy choice, but quickly became a unanimous one. ***Aside from Youngblood, we chose to bench our other awards this year, instead opting to expand Peerless General - previously the only player-nominated award - to every Coalition, instead of a single player from the whole campaign. And, as if to echo the Team’s sentiments…Blackwing Corsairs Peerless General: Myth / Jhaellerax“Myth was super helpful and friendly and very encouraging with plans and ideas! Always open to listen and very fun to play with, also a great team player! It was a pleasure to play on the same team as him!”“was always active for both rp and strategizing and had amazing in character posts. He was always up to collaborate and encouraging with the other players. He helped keep us all together when things got into the weeds as far as planning. All this as a new player to Animosity.”“The soul of the Corsairs, great roleplayer, helpful and friendly, rallied the troops and helped keep morale high.”***Shields of An’avon Peerless General: Vyre / Nienw the Nameless“They spearheaded our early coordination efforts, and ended up being the embodiment of our coalition ABCs: Always Be Casting!”“Super active and brought a lot of ideas to the front.”“Helped add a lot of personality and character to our faction! (Not to mention horns.)”***Mooncalled Peerless General: Mika / Clan Kyodai“Ichi of clan Kyodai was a constant driving force in the actions of the mooncalled. The narrative and out of character presence of the giant, with a heart to match his size, was an anchor that we could rally behind.”***Wolves of Agora Peerless General: Jinzor / Gore’ox Palefur“He was consistently getting a plan together for our submissions, updating our spreadsheets and in general keeping the coalition heading in a cohesive direction.”“Always positive, kept the discussion focussed, and a great team player.”***Shadowsong Renegades Peerless General: Kaleb / Dagon the Ordained“Bright solid energy (...) really getting me excited to play as a new person. Had an all-around fun personality.”“His regular participation and amazing interactions/storytelling/collaborations produced a very marked impact on the game.”***Dross-forged Peerless General: JMWormwood / Snoll Stonebrak“The positive workhorse who kept the momentum of the faction moving steadily forward throughout the campaign. Faced many challenges, but met them all with a spirit of collaboration and community.““Ever-vigilant Wormwood, the only diplomat for a good amount of the game, went above and beyond in his role, bringing together soft leadership skills, excellent proliferation of information and engagement of players to emerge as a central figure for the Dross.”“I know a few players were overloaded in real life but still participated because they wanted to be a part of what Wormwood was doing and to support Wormwood specifically. As a general, keeping your folks motivated and organized is crucial and after three campaigns I can say that Wormwood is without peer.”“As Snoll Stonebrok, JMW led us through the city and to the fortress like Washington leading his army across the Delaware river.”***On behalf of Team Animosity, I’d like to congratulate one and all! There were many other nominees, and we’ve read all your nominations. It’s wonderful to see you all bring out the best in each other with comments like these:“Took up a guiding/leadership-like role at the start of the campaign which greatly helped us organize our efforts.”“the voice of reason in (our Coalition), reminding us to stay positive in RP and not to get carried away, whether it be with outrageous plans or with beating ourselves up.”“(they) reached out to me when (presumably unknown to (them)) my commitment to the campaign was faltering, and through collaborating with me and weaving our PCs' stories together, brought my investment in the narrative back to its peak. (they were) also was a consistent presence in the Coalition chat, dependable and a firm guiding hand in times of uncertainty.”“Excellent rat.”Thank you all for your nominations and, of course, for being who you are!Until next year and with all the best regards,Team Animosity

3 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

AV Turn 5 - Naro's Thirty Hobby Highlights

5 Weeks in and the campaign is all but over, and just under 1200 Player Reports have been submitted.  Please take time to enjoy the following 30 Hobby Highlights from the final week!!! From the Animosity Campaigns team, thank you all for walking down this road with us over the last five weeks. Images below have been listed in matching order of the players listed.Links to player Imgur, Blogspot, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, and DeviantArt postings will be shared with best effort and intentions.  Be sure to like and follow them! Links to player Google Drive/Docs/Photos will not be shared. ***Submitted by: admacritchie  (via Google Docs)Submitted by: arrangar_de_liloneth (via Google Drive)Submitted by: CaiLeonas (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Cakelatte (via Twitter)Submitted by: charsh | Esmerelda von Drecht (via Google Drive)Submitted by: GorksPokinFinger#1161 (via Google Docs)Submitted by: HobbyJackal (via Google Drive)Submitted by: ironblaze (via Google Photos)Submitted by: JMWormwood (via Google Drive)Submitted by: lonelyashtree (via Twitter)Submitted by: Manos1984 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: mike2500 (via Google Docs)Submitted by: op_myth (via Google Docs)Submitted by: Peacehammer (via Google Docs)Submitted by: perryhotter. (via Twitter)Submitted by: Redmaw (via Instagram)Submitted by: RedMulli (via Google Docs)Submitted by: skavenrizzik (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Snuggs (via Instagram)Submitted by: Sudsinabucket (via Twitter)Submitted by: Tarascon (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Templars of Our Burning Saviour#7882 (via DeviantArt)Submitted by: turkeypanini (via Imgur)Submitted by: Valinar the Sorcerer King/Rico (via Google Docs)Submitted by: Varulae (via Google Docs)Submitted by: vinia#8361 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: WarbossKurgan ( via Blogspot)Submitted by: wh_narratives (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Wolflord2344 (via Google Docs)Submitted by: Zim42 (via Google Drive)

3 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

AV Turn 4 - Naro's Thirty Hobby Highlights

4 Weeks into the campaign with just under 1000 Player Reports collected. Please take time to enjoy the following 30 Hobby Highlights!!! Images below have been listed in matching order of the players listed.Links to player Imgur, Blogspot, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, and DeviantArt postings will be shared with best effort and intentions. Be sure to like and follow them! Links to player Google Drive/Docs/Photos will not be shared.Submitted by: admacritchie (via Google Docs)Submitted by: arrangar_de_liloneth (via Google Drive)Submitted by: cavalrywolfpack (via Twitter)Submitted by: Ceda_Kuru_Qan (via Google Docs)Submitted by: Doominator407#2479 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Ginny (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Ginny (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Harris547 (via Google Docs)Submitted by: hjalti_6139 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: HobbyJackal (via Google Drive)Submitted by: J. Shepherd#8154 (via Instagram)Submitted by: JMWormwood (via Google Drive)Submitted by: leilatchu (via ShortURL)Submitted by: leoxandar (via Imgur)Submitted by: lobsmag (via Reddit) Submitted by: lobsmag (via Google Drive)Submitted by: malthan (via Google Docs)Submitted by: maps_ (via Google Drive)Submitted by: maps_ (via Google Drive)Submitted by: mike2500 (via Google Docs)Submitted by: Myaori (via Redditt)Submitted by: QuietWoods (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Redangel97 (via Twitter)Submitted by: snuggatron (via Instagram)Submitted by: Sudsinabucket (via Twitter)Submitted by: Templars of Our Burning Saviour#7882 (via DiviantArt)Submitted by: turkeypanini (via Imgur)Submitted by: vinia#8361 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: zim42 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Zyggy567 (via Google Drive)

3 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

AV Turn 3 - Naro's Thirty Hobby Highlights

After three weeks into the campaign just under 800 reports have been collected!!! Please enjoy the following 30 hobby highlights from our amazing community of players. Images below have been listed in matching order of the players listed.Links to player Imgur, Blogspot, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, and DeviantArt postings will be shared with best effort and intentions. Be sure to like and follow them! Links to player Google Drive/Docs/Photos will not be shared.***Submitted by: aimless_savagery (via Google Photos)Submitted by: Archimead (via Google Photos)Submitted by: arrangar_de_liloneth (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Arroz_again (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Cap'n Clink Keyholdr #crioncrux (via Twitter)Submitted by: Ceda_Kuru_Qan (via Google Docs)Submitted by:comradecim (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Doominator407#2479 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: emo4838 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: hawkdos | Dracarion von Bal (via Google Docs)Submitted by: hjalti_6139 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: HobbyJackal (via Twitter)Submitted by: JMWormwood (via Google Drive)Submitted by: lobsmag (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Malthan (via Google Docs)Submitted by: Manos1984 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: My_username_was_invalid (via Discord)Submitted by: op_myth (via Google Docs)Submitted by: Paul | Daemonsmith Xira (via Twitter)Submitted by:Paul | Xira Forgecaller  (via Twitter)Submitted by: Peacehammer (via Google Docs)Submitted by: pyro_john (via Imgur)Submitted by: RedMulli (via Google Docs)Submitted by: Sudsinabucket  (via Twitter)Submitted by: superduperhappytime (via Imgur)Submitted by: turkeypanini (via Imgur)Submitted by: varulae (via Google Docs)Submitted by: Wolflord2344 (via Google Docs)Submitted by: zim42 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Zyggy567 (via Google Drive)

3 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

AV Turn 2 - Naro's Thirty Hobby Highlights

Two weeks in with almost 600 collected reports!!!. Such an amazing community of talented players and hobbyists from around the globe. This week's picks were challenging to choose from. This almost became 50 Hobby Highlights instead of 30. Images below have been listed in matching order of the players listed.Links to player Imgur, Blogspot, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, and DeviantArt postings will be shared with best effort and intentions. Be sure to like and follow them! Links to player Google Drive/Docs/Photos will not be shared. Submitted by: ambercoast1 (via Discord Post)Submitted by: arroz_again (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Cap'n Clink Keyholdr #crioncrux (via Twitter)Submitted by: Ceda_Kuru_Qan (via Google Docs)Submitted by: charsh Esmerelda von Drecht (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Dracarion von Bal hawkdos (via Google Docs)Submitted by: dunk.s (via Google Docs)Submitted by: emo4838 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Ginny Avrana Talonsworn (via Google Drive)Submitted by: ironblaze (via Google Photos)Submitted by: J. Shepherd#8154 (via Reddit)Submitted by: jambo_2814 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: JMWormwood (via Google Drive)Submitted by: klander736#7854 (via Imgur)Submitted by: light_ningja (via Instagram)Submitted by: lobsmag (via Reddit)Submitted by: malthan (via Google Docs)Submitted by: Manos1984 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Peacehammer (via Google Docs)Submitted by: redangel97 (via Twitter)Submitted by: RedMulli (via Google Docs)Submitted by: skavenrizzik (via Google Drive)Submitted by: Snuggatron (via instagram)Submitted by: Sudsinabucket (via Twitter)Submitted by: Templars of Our Burning Saviour#7882 (via DeviantArt)Submitted by: thesimplecyborg (via Google Drive)Submitted by: turkeypanini (via Imgur)Submitted by: Vinia#8361 (via Google Drive)Submitted by: WarbossKurgan (via Blogspot)Submitted by: zim42 (via Google Drive)

3 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

Flora and Fauna of the Lost City of Frørholm

By Vala Edrasdottír, Adventurer and Natural HistorianPart I: The Surface ForewordGreetings once again, my devoted readers. Having parted from my home city of Barak-Drak on less than friendly terms for the second time in my life, I have returned to my preferred lifestyle: I am once again a vagrant scholar. My travels have been aided significantly by my newfound friend Kladi II. Though I miss Kladi, my erstwhile pet ironscale pangolin, dearly, she is growing old, and I think rather enjoys the pampering she receives from Barak-Drak’s admiral. Kladi II is a much different beast to her predecessor, serving as both companion and transportation. She is the largest and most intelligent member of the metalithodon subspecies I have discovered, big enough for me to have built a mobile research station upon her stone head. Indeed, I find myself tempted to refer to her as a megalithodon instead, but alas, the taxonomy is getting crowded already. Beyond her size and her ability to float through the air at remarkable speed for her size, she has developed rudimentary psychic communication, a development that I had predicted may occur upon first observing the subspecies’s mutation from the dimwitted lithodon during the bleed event in Lahar. This communication currently doesn’t advance much beyond understanding which direction I wish to go, asking for treats, and the occasional declaration of fondness, but I have high hopes that her mental acuity will continue to grow as her mutations progress. But I have prattled about myself long enough, something I am evidently prone to, as my former partner was most fond of pointing out.My adventures have brought me to a most remote and remarkable corner of the Realms: The frozen city of Frørholm. Though the place may seem barren and lifeless at first glance, there is a plethora of unique life here, both on the frozen surface and within the caverns below, or so it is said. Those of my readers with a particularly academic bent may have read of the legendary Lichen Pit, the fabled cavern beneath Frørholm where the ice that wreaths the surface has not touched. Indeed, it is said that there is some power deep within, a wellspring of life that has led to the proliferation of a unique subterranean biome. Most who have attempted to enter the Pit have done so in search of this Source, fabled to heal both body and soul, or even to grant eternal youth. I seek only to document the unique life contained within.I came to Frørholm upon hearing myriad rumours that the ice that has held the city in stasis for centuries has begun to melt. I thought this the ideal time to search for a newly uncovered entrance to the Lichen Pit, but have arrived to find the city in turmoil. Myriad warbands and raiders shed blood across the ancient city in search of some sword held within. It is more than unlikely that this has any connection to the Lichen Pit, but it does make exploration difficult. A few have even taken pot shots at poor Kladi II as I have surveyed the city, so I have had to leave my mobile research station offshore, using my borrowed aether dirigible from Barak-Drak instead, at great cost to my dwindling fuel supplies. Thus far I have not found any sign of the mythical Pit, but I have noted numerous species upon the surface unique to Frørholm. I feel deeply sorry for each and every one of them, their habitat thawing and overrun by invaders, and I worry that my study may be something of a final testament to these remarkable species. Frostbite TroggothThe icy troggoths that inhabit the island of Frørholm are unique in that, unlike their more common cousins found across the Realms, they are not content to remain sedentary for any prolonged period of time (unless, of course, to take a nap. They are still troggoths, after all.) Rather, they are migratory creatures who use their frozen anatomy to their advantage by simply walking across the open waters of the ur-river, as water freezes solid beneath their feet. Standing slightly larger than an average troggoth, they possess stony skin and radiate a chill powerful enough to cause the rapid onset of frostbite in any who approach them. Moisture that collects on their hide quickly turns to ice and creates a frightening visage of a crystalline beast. Shards of ice slough from them as they move, and they are surrounded by a diamond mist of razor-sharp ice slivers as they freeze the very air about them. Frostbite troggoths are not any more aggressive than their warmer kin; indeed, they are possibly even less so, their frozen brains functioning at an even more glacial pace than most troggoths. Despite this, they are formidable opponents in combat, their ability to turn even the sharpest blade brittle upon contact rendering most weapons less than useless against them. I fear little for this particular species’s survival. Their ability to migrate across the Ur-River means they will likely be able to reach the far shores, and their innate abilities should stand them in good stead upon the mainland. Indeed, I worry more for the species they will come in contact with once driven from their island home.SquigcicleOriginally the offspring of the common cave squig, these creatures have adapted to the raw magic and unnatural ice that covers Frørholm, becoming a truly formidable ambush predator. With the ability to freeze themselves to any surface and slow their biological functions to a crawl, these squigs can wait in the same spot for days or even weeks for their next meal to appear. They cling motionless to the ceilings of caves and ruined buildings, disguised as simple icicles, only their tiny, peering eyes giving any indication that they are not what they seem. Once prey has been spotted, the squigcicle will use its powerful legs to break free of its frozen grip and launch mouth first at whatever poor soul that has gained its attention. Worse is the fate of one directly below one of these predators, for they are likely to be painfully impaled upon the razor sharp icicle growing from its back. If its icicle breaks, the squigcicle need only regain its perch and wait for it to naturally reform as time passes. I have little hope for these remarkable creatures as the city thaws, their ability to form their characteristic icicles stifled by the warming temperature, along with their camouflage becoming less and less useful as the ice recedes.Crystal LotusThese striking, black-petaled lotuses grow not in water like their common cousins, but directly from the ice, drawing from the magical energy imbued within. Their petals are so rimed with frost that, by all appearances, they seem to be no true flower at all, but rather a feat of fanciful glasswork. This is of course not the case, but crystal loti are highly prized relics for those few who have ventured into Frørholm seeking its treasures, selling for remarkably high prices despite the difficulty of their maintenance outside the frozen city. They are not merely prized for ornamentation, however, for they are, each and every one, wellsprings of magical power in their own right. They draw their energy from the raw magic that freezes Frørholm, as previously stated, and hold it in condensed form within themselves. They can be tapped for energy by skilled wizards, making them even more desirable. Rare even before the thawing, crystal loti are already on the verge of extinction at the time of my arrival in Frørholm, their habitats receding rapidly, along with plunderers taking what few survive for their own ends. I have recovered a single specimen myself, and have placed it in an aether-powered stasis pod back in my research station. I could likely sell it for more aether gold than I have seen in my life, but I shall not. My duty is to the preservation of the natural world, not its plundering.Forge HoundA curious beast indeed, and much different to the others that I have documented so far, is the forge hound. The old tales of Frørholm tell of a legendary forge at its centre, and little better evidences this than the raw elemental fury of these creatures. Appearing to emanate from the westernmost reaches of the city, they seem to be little more than mindless beasts, taking the form of flaming, ethereal wolves. Their behaviour is remarkably simple: they run aimlessly about until their heat fades and their magic dissipates, lashing out at anything that crosses their winding path. There does not appear to be any pattern to their ramblings, and I wish I had more time to confirm that this is the case, but the warbands that contest the island rapidly approach the forge hounds’ breeding ground, and I fear they do not have long. I debated whether to even include the forge hound in this study, for it is debatable if it is even any type of fauna at all, possibly being a mere elemental power in the shape of a beast. I decided to document them regardless, however, as they are truly fantastical, and I have seen little else like them during my many travels.Augur RavenMany landmarks across Frørholm are named for corvid birds, and it seems that they were once both abundant across the isle and culturally significant. Few of their ancestors now remain, primarily represented by the augur ravens that call the city home. These birds appear largely indistinct from their common cousins save for their enormous eyes which sparkle with the light of Azyr. How they came to be suffused with celestial power is a mystery, but it has given them a remarkable power of foresight. This usually manifests in flocks of augur ravens converging on a place where something is likely to die in the near future, or nesting in areas that won’t see any kind of upheaval or disaster. They have become prized familiars for celestial mages, however, as their connection to Azyr and powers of foresight can be used to augment the bearer’s own. They have therefore been prized targets for poaching for a long time, and already many have been captured or killed during the present conflict, in spite of their remarkable powers of prediction. Augur Ravens notoriously do not breed in captivity, so I fear I am witnessing the last generation of these incredible birds.

3 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

AV Turn 1 - Naro's Thirty Hobby Highlights

An amazing first week with just under 300 report submissions. Players in the campaign have been hobbying well as the first turn of the campaign wraps up. The large collection of hobby and battlefield photography was an absolute pleasure to browse through. Here are Thirty Hobby Highlights. Images below have been listed in matching order of the players listed.Links to player Imgur, Blogspot, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, and DeviantArt postings will be shared with best effort and intentions. Be sure to like and follow them! Links to player Google Drive/Docs/Photos will not be shared. ***Submitted by: admacritchie (via Google Docs)***Submitted by: arrangar_de_liloneth (via DeviantArt)***Submitted by: Cap'n Clink Keyholdr #crioncrux (via Twitter)***Submitted by: ceda_kuru_qan (via Google Docs)***Submitted by: charsh  Esmerelda Von Drecht (via Google Drive)***Submitted by: ComradeCim (via Google Drive)***Submitted by: dunk.s (via Google Docs)***Submitted by: emo4838 (via Google Drive)***Submitted by: FriendOrTraitor#0362 (via Imgur)***Submitted by: Gnivil (via Twitter)***Submitted by: hairyhogg#8413 (via Google Docs)***Submitted by: Harris547 (via Google Docs)***Submitted by: hawkdos (via Google Docs)***Submitted by: hjalti_6139 (via Google Drive)***Submitted by: hobbyjackal (via Google Docs)***Submitted by: ironblaze (via Google Photos)***Submitted by: JMWormwood (via Google Drive)***Submitted by: lobsmag (via Reddit)***Submitted by: lord_vigo (via Instagram)***Submitted by: Malthan (via Google Docs)***Submitted by: Peacehammer (via Google Docs)***Submitted by: perryhotter (via Twitter)***Submitted by: Redmaw (via Instagram)***Submitted by: skavenrizzik (via Google Drive)***Submitted by: Sudsinabucket (via Twitter)***Submitted by: superduperhappytime#0 (via Imgur)***Submitted by: turkeypanini (via Imgur)***Submitted by: Valinar the Sorcerer KingRico (via Google Docs)***Submitted by: warbosskurgan (via Blogger)***Submitted by: Zyggy567 (via Google Drive)***

4 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

Duty and Steel

A horn’s call, brilliant and clear as a falcon’s cry, split the air, rising for a moment over the thunderous staccato of horses’ hooves. Knights in gleaming plate charged across the alpine meadow, crushing wild flowers under steel-shod hooves. The rout had already begun among the bestial raiders. Pockets of the larger gors still stood to fight, their crude shields held in a patchwork line, but around them their smaller kin were breaking for the trees. The baroque horned plate, skull helms and heavy mounts of the riders struck terror in the beast folk. Most would be run down before they could make it to the trees. Up and down the faltering line, swift charges breached through weak points, carving the beastmen into scattered pairs or trios, then trampling them with ease. One last group of gors remained, anchored by the largest of their kin. It had already killed one horse, leaving the rider pinned beneath its weight, their leg likely shattered. Braying out a challenge, it pointed its brutal axes at the knight leading the latest charge. The guttural roar was cut short as the tip of the lance exploded through its chest, the impact shattered wood and bone alike. That was enough for the few remaining raiders, who broke and fled for the hills. The knight reined in her fiery white mount, dropping the shattered lance. Across the field the rest of her patrol was riding down the fleeing beastmen. It would be short and bloody work, but they would make sure a few were able to escape. It was better that way, according to the old wisdom. Let them spread word of the slaughter to their foul kindred and, for a few years at least, they would not raid along the kingdom’s borders. She pulled the heavy helm from her head, its daemonic visage and curving horns leering upwards. Another learning of the old wisdom. To survive the dark times, they had had to become as fearsome as the daemon hosts that had assailed them. Tìr An’avon had become strong and feared, and now it was her duty to ensure they remained so.“Lady Gwenefyre!” The call brought her back to the moment, and she smiled at the two knights riding leisurely towards her. Lucan had his helm off already, sweat-soaked red hair plastered across his face. Isoult was carrying a crudely carved charm taken from one of the beastmen, her hands bloody to the elbows. The three of them had been friends since childhood, knighted together and oath-bound.“The gobhar-sìth are bold this year!”“Aye Lucan, perhaps they’d heard of the trouble on the eastern borders and sought to test us. What’s that you’ve got there?”Isoult turned the talisman in her hands, then tossed it to Gwenefyre. She didn’t recognize the symbol, and raised an eye. “Gore-horn tribe. They come from the east. They might be fleeing the same invaders we now face.” Gwenefyre had long learned to trust Isoult’s sagecraft on such things.“All the more reason to hurry then. Gather up the knights. Let’s get them and the horses out of the heavy armour and rested much as we can while the train catches up. It’ll be a long march still before the day’s end. We’ll send the wounded back with five knights and the Old Man”“Whatever you say, Princess,” said Isoult, ducking with a laugh as the talisman was thrown back at her head. They both knew how much Gwenefyre hated being called that, and teased her with it whenever they could.  As they rode off, another rider approached. He rode tall and strong in the saddle, but the crown of hair atop his head had been frost-white for half a dozen winters already. “My lady,” he said with a stiff but warm bow of his head.“Castellan Bracca.” She matched her tone to his stiff formality, but could not keep a smile from the corner of her mouth. The old knight had practically raised her, trained her to fight and to lead. However much he insisted on formalities on the battlefield and in court, she could not help but picture his exasperated laughter when he had caught her stealing plums as a child, or his joyous tears when she won her first joust. “The rout is complete, my lady. They won’t trouble this border for years. I supposed we return to Caer Cadrwynn then?”“Bracca, I…”“You are not returning, are you.”“How did you know?”“You brought 3 months of provisions, spare horses and lances and an armourer for a routine patrol of the borderlands. I am old, not blind.”“Aye, that’s the truth, Castellan. These invaders, these ‘Dawnbringers’, they are not like the beastmen. They won’t be dissuaded by a show of force, or seek easier prey elsewhere. The Queen is wrong. They’re fanatics, backed by immortal revenants, and if they’ve decided their mission leads them through our lands they won’t stop ’til us or them are dead. How many other kingdoms have they already smashed through? I know what we must do to stop them, though. I have seen it, each night in my dreams. A sword trapped in ice. It will deliver us.”The old knight studied her a moment. “You truly believe it then, that these dreams of yours are a quest sent by the Goddesses?”“Yes, I do. It is their promise, to save our kingdom.”“Then you’ve no need to convince me of anything else, Gwenefyre. If you believe it, I do as well. How can I help.” Her shoulders eased with relief, and only then did she realize how anxious she had been to share her plan.“Take the wounded back. I’ll leave five of the remaining knights with you, and take twenty plus myself, Lucan and Isoult.”“Of course,” the old man chuckled, “we could never split the three of you up anyways. You and your knights will be missed on the field if the Dawnbringers press the invasion.”“Then we’ll have to find this blade and return just as swiftly. Fortunately, whoever taught me to ride did a fine job.”“For the Queen and An’avon, Lady Gwenefyre. Duty and Steel.”“Duty and Steel, for all of Tìr An’avon.”

4 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

The Shields of An’avon - Coalition Focus

The Shields of An'avon have journeyed far across the Mortal Realms to the desolate shores of the Sea of Shadows on a quest to recover the Fated Blade and save their kingdom. Gleaming knights astride powerful warhorses form the core of their force, their baroque armour and frightful visages bedecked in many-coloured heraldry. Hailing from the hill countries of Ghyran, they are joined by highland tribesmen called by ancient pacts of friendship, fae aelven wanderers, and many others troubled by the advancing tides of Azyr. The Kingdom of Tír An'avon is a relic of an earlier age. Perched in the Highlands of Ghyran, it is a land of alpine meadows choked with windflowers, deep glacial lakes, and lonely hilltop castles. When the gates of Azyr slammed shut, the scattered clans of horsemen banded together around a warrior king and a prophetess of the Eight Goddesses to hold off the hordes of darkness. Over the centuries, they learned from their foes and grew into a small but powerful feudal kingdom backed by a noble class of heavily armoured knights. Taking on fierce guises of bestial skulls or horned helms, they have resisted daemonic warlords, rampaging greenskins and the hungry dead alike. In recent years, a new threat unlike any they have faced before has emerged. Backed by the thunderous might of their undying warriors, crusaders bearing the twin-tailed banner have appeared in Ghyran, sweeping away all that stand in the path of their conquest. To the Sigmarites, any that do not kneel before their pantheon are no different than daemon-worshippers, fit only for death and conquest. High Queen Ygrainne has so far refused to call for war and meet the dawnbringers on the field, preferring instead to send skirmishers to harass and delay the invaders, slowing their expansion to a crawl. She is confident that a patient defense will turn them away for easier conquests elsewhere. Yet to some, this patience is a folly, and with each foot of ground granted a part of their kingdom’s souls is stolen away. A small number have rallied around the young Lady Gwenefyre, niece to the queen, and the prophetic visions she has received. Calling themselves the Shields of An'avon, they have gathered what few allies they can and set upon the perilous quest for the Fated Blade. Lady GwenefyreYoung, headstrong and valiant, Gwenefyre was granted the hereditary title of Defender of Tír An'avon at a young age and has worked tirelessly to live up to the ideals it represents. Her skill and drive have won her renown among her peers and at court, but the weight of duty has grown heavy upon her. She fears that if the crusaders are not dealt with quickly, they will never be turned away or satisfied with their conquests. Tír An'avon cannot face the might of Azyr, of that she is certain. Just when she had begun to give in to despair, she received a dream of a magic sword, bound in ice in a distant land. A quest, sent to her by the blessed Goddesses in the kingdom’s hour of need. As hard as it would be to leave Tír An'avon now, Gwenefyre would not balk at the duty, no matter the cost. Character hooks for if your PC is a member of The Shields of An'avon You are a knight errant of Tír An'avon, accompanying Lady Gwenefyre on the quest for The Fated Blade to save the kingdom and earn your name.You are a vassal of the kingdom, perhaps a highland clansman or border marcher, hoping to gain glory or even a knighthood for your service.Character hooks for if your PC has joined the cause of The Shields of An'avonYou are a long time ally or trading partner of the kingdom, and have joined the quest to protect your own interests.You have reason to distrust or fear the development of a new Dawnbringer city, and have joined the cause to halt the spread of Sigmar.You have long searched for a home and cause to call your own, and the Kingdom's offer of land and rank to those that assist the quest have spoken to you.

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

A True Prince of Dawn

The line of ships slid gracefully into shore, their movements precise and controlled. White dreamwood hulls, fair as moonbeams, gleamed beneath gold and amber pennons. From a pavilion on the shore, an aelf in gleaming armour stared up at the high flags. An amber sun, chased in gold, rising against a field of black. Proud and stark, the symbol of his house rippling in the air. Or at least, it should have been. Instead of the warm, clear winds of the light-seas of the Ceraphate carrying the colours, they hung rumpled and stiff. The interminable fog had soaked through the fine silks, and now they clung half frozen to the mast. Frost was already creeping across the amber sun, and it irked him.“The landing is complete, my lord. The captains are reporting in good order, and convey their congratulations.”He raised a hand, acknowledging the adjutant. The passage across the Sea of Shadows had been as fraught as the stories promised, but he had every faith in the men and women that served him. They were true Teclandec, chosen for their pursuit of perfection in all their endeavours. “With your permission, lord, we will begin to-““Lord!” The cry came from the far end of their camp, where one of his soldiers was pointing up to the other end of the black stone beach. There, around one of the empty-faced monoliths staring out to sea, figures had begun to emerge. A few at first, then a dozen more, then by the score. Even from this distance, the light glinted off the crude metal plates they called armour, and from the massive heavy axes they carried. He could practically smell the stinking furs they wore from here.“We must signal the captains! If we hurry, the household guard can disembark and reach us before these marauders.”“No, Caelwen,” the aelf-lord said, rising from his seat. “The captains know their business. Unload the cargo as planned, I’ve no interest in being on this island a moment longer than necessary.”Pulling the heavy mitten from his hand, he tossed them onto the map spread across the pavilion’s one table. Small icons already marked landing sites across the island. Over a dozen of them, all claimants for this Fated Blade, all stepping stones on his path to glory. “Look at them, Caelwen. Illiterate barbarians. Filthy savages. Duardin. This island crawls with them. This is what my uncle would see our Ceraphate become, hiring mercenaries, granting clemency to those that took up arms against him.” He dusted his hands dramatically, then stepped out from the pavilion. “Come with me. Let us go see what they want.”Caelwen, the adjutant, hurried to grab the vexillum and followed after. The aelf-lord was unusually tall for their people, and even setting a casual pace Caelwen struggled to catch up with the bulky and unwieldy banner. Across the beach, the approaching war band has begun to array itself. Over three score of the heavily armoured warriors, by the adjutant’s count, and nearly half that many bestial half-men prowling uneasily behind their ranks. They had been seen by now, and a massive warrior in a particularly spiky helmet separated from the pack, a cowled and stunty creature crab-hopping along beside him.The two sides met halfway between the end of the beach and the aelf-lord’s pavilion. “Your attention!” Caelwen began, adopting the tone of a court crier in Iscarion. “You are in the presence of Prince Sagradiel, of the noble house of Teclandec. The Lion of Iscarion. Prince of the Dawn City. Future heir to the Iscarneth Ceraphate!”His voice was clear but brittle, and hung in the air in silence for a long moment. The smaller creature, its features hidden beneath its tattered cowl, gave a quick whistling titter before responding.“Woe to you then, lion prince.” Its voice bubbled and cracked, in a gulping frog-like cadence. “You stand before Belagos Blackhand. Warlord of the Iron. Prince of nothing. Heir of ruin. Slayer of champions and fools alike. He accepts your challenge.”Sagradiel took a half step forwards. “You misunderstand me, creature. Tell your master I have not come to fight him. I am here to accept his surrender.”The robed figure gurgled in surprise, looking back and forth between them. Sagradiel raised his left arm, two fingers and thumb extended like a pistol and pointing at the hulking champion. His long blonde hair, tried back in a rakish corsair’s knot, rustled across his armour’s seal fur collar.“Tell him he has three seconds to comply. One.”A hollow, brassy laugh echoed from within the heavy horned helmet of the champion, deep and discordant. It echoed in the air around them, as the voice of Belagos Blackhand ground out like granite.“Amusing, but now it's time to d-“Sagradiel tiled his hand up, and Belagos was thrown backwards, a dozen points of impact smashing into his chest and head. A half second later, the rumbling thunder of a rifle volley reached them. Teclandec sharpshooters, Sagradiel’s pride and joy, began reloading in quick precise movements. Belagos lay in a bloody mess. A few shots had glanced from his armour or splintered on impact, but most had punched clean through the rough steel. The back of his helmet was a gaping red ruin. “Three.”The veiled creature lay on the ground as well. One shot had glanced off the champion’s armour and punched through its lower leg, shattering bone. Sagradiel walked towards it, brushing aside his coat and drawing a more real pistol as he approached.“No, please! I am just a herald. A messenger!”The aelf-lord looked down at the pitiful creature, then gestured with his pistol. “Then run. That is my message to all your ilk. This island, and everything on it, are mine, and any that stand in my way will be cut down. Now, run.”The figure pulled itself to its feet, broken leg grinding in protest, then began pulling itself as quickly as possible back towards its companions without another glance at the fallen champion.It made it another dozen steps before the shot rang out, and the herald toppled forwards.“There, I think that sends the message just as well as he ever could.” Sagradiel tossed the spent pistol towards the adjutant. “Damned clever, these things. The Ruyular may have no more class than those mongrel Celandec, but they can at least turn out some fine workmanship.”Up the beach, the line of marauders was turning to shambles. Each time a warrior took a step towards their fallen lord, a rifle round knocked them back or put them down. The rear of the line was already disintegrating, many running for the hills. For the moment, those that ran were not being fired on, and the choice between advancing into rifle fire and running was becoming abundantly clear. Sagradiel turned and began walking back to his pavilion. One would-be warlord down. Another dozen or so to go. Then the sword would be his, and he could set everything to right. “Oh, and send word to Captain Ruthlain to straighten out that flag. It's a damned disgrace. 

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

Animosity V Registration and You

One of the most consistent points of feedback we’ve received after each of our last few campaigns has been about how badly the larger Coalitions have struggled. Often cited are difficulties in coordinating efforts, channels that move too fast to follow, and a general feeling of just being overwhelmed. This critical mass has consistently occurred when a Coalition has had more than 33 players, and has often led to reduced participation and a generally negative play experience.We have also observed the inverse: small Coalitions that are quiet and disengaged, depriving players of the intended experience because there simply isn’t enough energy to build momentum. Like the three bears and their porridge, it’s the “just right” Coalitions that appear to have the most fun.To this end, we’re implementing a new system for registration and placing caps on the number of players in each Coalition. Our goal is to ensure each Coalition remains within that “sweet spot”, while still accommodating players who are exceptionally motivated by one particular Coalition. Here’s how it’s going to work:Instead of a signing up in a Registration channel, players will submit a ticket via Google Forms with their Discord ID* and choose their first, second, and third preference of Coalition to join from drop menus, with space to provide context for why you want to fight for them. These will NOT be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis, but rather once registration closes, players will be placed giving priority to their preference where-ever possible. Most players should get their first choice, hopefully nobody will get their third, but we anticipate a few will be placed in their second choice.Coalitions themselves will be capped at 33 players each, topping us out just shy of 200 players for the whole campaign. Considering players can potentially generate 3 Reports each, for a total of 500-600 reports per turn, we feel these are healthy numbers to aim for. GMs and mods do not count toward the cap. Although staff are welcome to play along, we do not take part in strategy discussions, votes, and other Coalition affairs.The Player’s GuideThe Player’s Guide will release on June 30th, collating the coalition information we have already shared, as well as further detail on the setting and mechanics for this year.Pre-registration Pre-registration will begin Saturday, July 1st at 12:01am EST, and run until the end of Monday, July 3rd (72 hours). During this time, registration will be via google form, as described in the previous update. If you have strong feelings about joining a particular Coalition, this is the best time for you. Every effort will be made to accommodate everyone’s first choice. Open RegistrationAfter this period, open registration will resume on Tuesday, July 4th as normal for the rest of the campaign, with a cap of 33 players for each Coalition. If you have no strong preference, or would rather wait and see how the coalitions fill out, this is the best choice for you. Any Coalitions that reach their cap will be locked for new members. Open registration will then remain available for the duration of the campaign.*Either your new @, if you have one already, or your existing handle (@name#1234, for example).

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

Night Market

Ragathan the Mad stumbled into a frozen alleyway near the Mooncaller's encampment, his mask, a crude imitation of the ritual mask worn by the blessed Mooncaller himself, worn askew so that he could gulp from his bottle of fungus brew. The human barbarian finished his business, then noticed something odd in the corner of his eye. He lifted his mask off, thinking it was some trick of the beer, but no. There it was, a green glowing rent in the wall, not quite the familiar glow of the Bad Moon. Deeper, more sickly. Beside it, a crude sign, complete with a poor illustration of what might have been a rat, read:WELCOME TO GNAWMARKET! ALL YOU FAVOURITE GOODS FIND HERE!!Perhaps it was the beer, perhaps the madness for which he was named, but Ragathan found himself stumbling towards the rent, his empty bottle forgotten on the frozen cobbles behind him.The lurch in his stomach as he passed through almost made him lose the fungus brew he'd just ingested, so he leant unsteadily on the wall as he recovered. It was rough black stone, comparatively warm after the cold of the frozen city. He continued on a short way. There was firelight at the end of the rough hewn corridor, a torch in a sconce illuminating a hunched man. No, not a man. A skaven.There were few Skaven in the Mooncaller's retinue, and those that were were conniving and untrustworthy killers. Devoted followers, to be sure, but dangerous. Ragathan took a hesitant step back."No-no, no, my friend! Do not run-flee!" Said the creature, holding its paws up in a placating gesture, "this good place! Lots to buy. My master sources from all across the realms!""Master?" Slurred Ragathan uncertainly, only now noticing the tattered coat the rat man wore, like something out of a circus."Oh yes-yes! My most bounteous master Gribblesnak Snikklekrak is the finest purveyor of goods in the realms, and famous for his marvellous-amazing trained barter rats!""Barter… rats?" Ragathan was starting to feel more curious than afraid at this point, and started to follow the peculiar creature."Oh yes-yes, come look-see for yourself. No fights though, or rats eat you. And don't try to leave through any other exits or you die-die and rats eat you." Some of Ragathan's forgotten anxiety began to return, but he followed regardless. It seemed as if the corridor would go on forever until, disorientingly, it suddenly opened out onto a well-lit, bustling marketplace in the bowl of an enormous cavern. There were all types of people here: the skull-wearing corsairs of the Blackwing side-by-side with the duardin of the Dross-Forged and beyond. Surprisingly, there seemed to be very few Skaven in attendance, the stalls seemingly unmanned. He was confused until they came closer, and he had to rub his eyes fearing that this may all be an elaborate hallucination brought on by the fungus brew. But no, it was as the hunched skaven who was leading him had said, there really were barter rats. Squeaking, furry bodies ran back and forth with coins and esoteric goods clutched in their jaws or ferried along on the scabby backs of a dozen or more working in concert. Some even seemed to be haggling, accepting or denying lower payments and twisting their wormy tails to form numbers.Unable to tolerate the assault on his addled senses a moment longer, Ragathan collapsed into a drunken heap on the cavern floor, startling a brace of rats as his considerable weight pounded the stone. "I'm off the brew this time, swear it on the Moon." He muttered to himself, and promptly threw up.

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

The Shadowsong Renegades - Coalition Focus

Heretics, or true believers. Betrayers, or the most grievously betrayed. There are many that view the Shadowsong Renegades as the vilest of traitors, for they turned against not just the founder of their faith, but in the case of the scathborn, their very creator. Yet to the Shadowsong Renegades, they alone carry the truth of their god against the grandest lie ever told in the Mortal Realms. They have freed themselves from the control of the Shadow Queen, and reject her claim to the mantle of the Bloody-handed Khaine. Their rebellion sprang from the very heart of her temple, from her melusai handmaidens and shadowstalkers to the arena-temples in cities across the realms. The Shadowsong were born of Morathi’s hubris, for in her arrogance she presumed ownership of the powers she had been granted, and forgot that deals with demons will always come due. Using shadow magic, she crafted the mircath shadowbrands, imbuing great power into those who enjoyed her favour or whose rise had provoked her jealousy and suspicion. Yet that magic was never hers, and as she moved to claim godhood, a voice sounded from the oldest and deepest shadows of Ulgu, where light has not touched since creation. The Whispering One, as the shadowstalkers called it, told of Morathi’s arrival to the realms, her failure and abandonment of Khaine, and the grand deception she had wrought. Only a few would listen, but that was enough. It taught them to use the shadows as even Morathi could not, and to turn the mircath against her, blinding her to their intent and hiding them from her gaze. And so, quietly, in the shadows, the rebellion against the queen who made herself oracle and avatar of a dead god began. Guided by auguries of blood, an important cell of the Shadowsong Renegades has set sail for the perimeter of Ulgu, hoping to be the first to claim this so-called Fated Blade for themselves. It is a great risk, for moving so openly exposes them to Morathi’s wrath, yet to the council of Shadow Queens it is a worthwhile one. At their heart march the shadowstalkers and witches that first turned against Morathi, but they are not alone. Aelves of every variety can be found among their number, some who venerate Khaine individually or seek to uphold the sanctity of the ancient pantheon, and others who have joined simply to break the power of the Shadow Queen. Humans, orruks, and shadow-bound undead can be counted among their numbers as well, as ancient pacts and promises have been called upon for this rare chance. Klarieth, the Sundered GlassKlarieth, the Sundered Glass, is an unsettlingly quiet melusai shroud queen. Her emotions are hidden by her cracked mirror mask, but become all too clear when her stillness is broken by sudden bursts of violent rage when sufficiently displeased. Few know how her mask was shattered, though it is rumoured that the Shadow Queen herself dealt the blow. Before Morathi’s self-proclaimed ascension, Klarieth was a young but rising handmaiden to the High Oracle, a pinnacle of devotion and servitude. None know why she was chosen to receive the shadowbrand, or what it was that the shadows whispered to her to crack her faith, yet the deepest faith leaves the deepest betrayal. Klarieth drank deeply of the shadows, finding in them and in herself the strength to stand against her former mistress. Her search for the blade is driven by vengeance, for she has sworn before the bleeding altar to cut the Iron Heart of Khaine from Morathi herself. Character hooks for if your PC is a member of The Shadowsong RenegadesYou are the leader of a band of Witch Aelves who were true Daughters of Khaine. You would have followed Morathi, as the Grand Matriarch and High Oracle, into any battle and fought any foe, but when she claimed Khaine’s mantle you realised she had lied to you your whole life.Your Shadowstalkers were among the elite assassins and agents of Morathi-Khaine. This warbands has, through failure and insubordination, earned the fury of Morathi, and has sought refuge in the shadows. Character hooks for if your PC has joined the cause of The Shadowsong RenegadesYou are a devotee of Khaine, or simply abhor Morathi’s desecration of the aelven pantheon, and have joined to strike against her. You serve forces that would see Morathi-Khaine struck down and her temple humbled, and have been sent to aid this insurgent force in destabilizing her rule. You are a disguised Shadow Daemon who is bound in service to the Shadowsong Renegades by your true master. You and your small coven must maintain the outward appearance of members of the Cult of Khaine.

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

Queen of Blood and Shadows

“Hear me, my sisters, and I will tell you the one truth that matters: power. It matters not where or how we acquire it, only that we do so. Rise, my Scathborn, for you are my will…”Klarieth heard the words in her mind as clearly now as she had then. She heard her voice dripping on them. That was ever her way. All those lies that you believed, yet when she finally spoke the truth you did not listen. The shadowbeast sprang forwards, its mercurial mass resolving into an inky tiger-like form with a long, striking scorpion’s tail. She moved like water, ducking beneath its lunge and slashing daggers of midnight black across its underbelly. It was barely enough. Claws meant for a decapitating blow instead scored long, bloody rents on her bare shoulders, and the tail punctured a deep wound below her ribs. The beast’s lunge carried it past and she spun with it, her shadow blades shifting and reforming into a bow. Three quick arrows darted after it, but as the beast landed it splashed into a puddle of darkness. Quicker than any mortal creature could shift its momentum, the darkness again took a new form, this time as a snake’s spade-like head. It struck out with viper speed, yet its shadow-fangs found no mark. Klarieth had stepped through a shadow of her own, and appeared above the striking beast, plunging down with a long, viscous spear. Again its form dissolved before the blow could land, dissipating into inky strands of shadow that hung in the air. Power was all that ever mattered to her. Not her people. Not her creations. Not even her god.The shadows congealed again, this time taking the form of a tall aelven man. Broad-shouldered and barechested, his head was crowned in long streams of twisting shadowy hair and two curling horns. With a flourish, a rapier blade appeared in his hand, and he thrust towards her. Klarieth’s daggers flashed into a web of defense, parrying the strikes but caught on the defensive. He moved with the flicking speed of the darkness around a guttering candle, attacking from impossible angles. So much she promised, but you never saw her like we did. Alone. Broken. Consumed by ego and jealously. Klarieth felt her guard slipping, and the mircath, the shadowmark branded into her shoulder, flared with pain. Her foe’s blade slipped through in quick succession, scoring three deep cuts across her face and chest. Still she grasps at you covetously. Yet the power she used to bind you was not hers. Try as she might, she does not own the shadows. They are ours. She does not own your blood. That is yours, to give to your true god. Klarieth could feel the blood trickling down, through the fingers of hands clenched on blades of darkness. She could taste it in her mouth, in the hissing, ragged breath of a punctured lung. The room swam red, and in a moment the flickering shadowform before her seemed as slow as a gentle snowfall. She felt the warp-fury of Khaine upon her. Gathering her coiling form beneath her, Klarieth surged forwards, trapping the long shadowy rapier between her own twin daggers. She drove the creature backwards, then with a wrenching heave shattered the thin blade. Her daggers wove a widow’s web of crimson strands through the air, shadow and blood, scouring the creature and trapping it, preventing the strands of shadow from dissipating again.She has broken you already. You will need power of your own. You will need…“Enough!” Klarieth roared.—Taynara burst through the door, her serpent glaive held at the ready. The meditation chamber looked as though a hurricane had passed through, sand scattered and rocks and walls splashed with crimson blood. Klarieth stood alone in the room with her back to the younger melusai, bleeding deeply from dozens of wounds. Though the blood flowed bright and freely, yet Taynara could see an inky blackness welling beneath. Klarieth straightened from her fighting pose, then carefully pulled a cracked mirror mask from her belt. She slipped it over her face, then turned to face her disciple. “My lady, I heard you yell. Is there…”“Recite the Red Invocation.” Klarieth said, softly with no room for disagreement. “‘For the blood to speak it must first flow. Ten cuts is better than one, save for the deft slash that opens an artery. For almighty Khaine, let your blade drink deeply, and often…’”As Taynara spoke, Klarieth drew in a heavy breath, then let it out slowly. As she did, the wounds across her body began to close, sealing together with traces of black fire until they were little more than pale markings across her skin and scales. The blood remained, staining unbroken skin. “Good. We offer blood to Khaine to find clarity, shed from others and offered from ourselves. Never forget.”“Yes, shroud queen. I shall leave you to your meditations.”“No. Gather the cell. We have a new journey ahead.”

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

The Mooncalled - Coalition Focus

From the foetid holes and forgotten crevices of the Realms, the mad and moontouched come, adulation on their lips. The Moon plucks discordant notes in their addled minds, leading them to the one who will bring the Moon and the Realms together as one, so all may know exquisite madness. This is no mere rabble of religious zealots, however. As filthy and deranged as they might be, the followers of the Mooncaller are vicious fighters, joyous revellers, and true devotees. To walk the path of the Mooncalled is to lose oneself to the cause, face forever hidden behind a crude, nightmarish mask fashioned after the visage of their patron that haunts their dreams.Though grots make up a large portion of the faction, any who have felt the touch of the Bad Moon might hear the call. Humans, aelves, duardin and even a number of skaven have joined the ranks of the mooncalled, with many other peoples besides. Their ranks have spread like a sickness throughout the dank corners of Ulgu and beyond, though few have followed the call back to the Mooncaller himself. Those who brave the Ulguan night rarely survive long enough to find their patron, but those who do have proven their mettle and devotion. Only the Mooncaller’s most ardent worshippers have followed him across the Ur-River to the frigid shores of Frørholm, for the Moon has whispered that at the heart of the frozen city lies the power needed for the Mooncaller to finally realise his destiny. The sane may look upon this prophecy and wonder, however: if it is truly the Bad Moon’s desire to fall, why would this prophet need an artefact of such malign power to bring it down? Perhaps, then, it is not the Moon that whispers in the minds of the Mooncalled, but something far darker.The MooncallerThe grot shaman known as the Mooncaller is a diminutive and wasted thing, even among his kind. His jittery, shuddering form, ever swaddled in a filthy and ragged cloak, would be neither intimidating nor inspiring, were it not for the mask he wears over his gnarled features. This grotesque visage is waxy, almost cartilaginous. It leers and gawks with an interrogating gaze, and every word spoken behind it bites and tears. Only the Gitz see the lunacy in its wearer’s eyes. Only the damned can hear the daemon in his voice. Nobody knows where the Mooncaller found the mask, though it is rumoured to have originated in the Age of Chaos, crafted by daemon-worshippers for their profane rituals. The worshippers of the Mooncaller would call this nonsense. The mask was a gift of the Moon, allowing its chosen to enact its will upon the Realms. Whatever the origin of the mask, it is certainly a thing of terrible power, enhancing the Mooncaller’s spellcasting beyond that of even the most ancient fungoid cave-shaman.Character hooks for if your PC is a member of the MooncalledA true devotee, convinced that you are following the will of the Moon.A worshipper of the Bad Moon and follower of the Mooncaller who doubts the mask and wishes to see their master returned to his true path.Character hooks for if your PC has joined the cause of the MooncalledOne who sees the darkness within the mask and revels in it, not joining out of zealotry but a wish to see the Realms burn.An opportunist. No matter the chaos that ensues from the Mooncaller’s victory, it will surely create much scope for profit and plunder.Someone who wishes to avert disaster, and thinks that the best method is to break through to the grot beneath the mask.

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

Moon's Song

The Bad Moon hung eerily in the sky above the Tower's Rest, the inn's crackling fire making a valiant but ultimately futile attempt to push back against the sickly green glow leaking in through cracks in the old wooden shutters. The innkeeper knew that things were bad out there. She hadn't received any news of the sort, but she didn't need it. This wasn't the first time the moon had risen in this corner of Ulgu, though few lived to remember the last.Suddenly, the bard shattered the tense silence with desperate, insincere cheer. "You know, I have a tale about that moon." The room remained stonily silent as he waited for intrigued affirmation. Receiving none, the bard ploughed ahead."It's said that once, long ago, a masked imp appeared from the dark woods on a night just like this," he waved his hands in a wide arc for emphasis, almost knocking a beer keg from the table of a surly duardin, who grumbled something foul under his breath."The imp came to the townspeople and told them that he could take the moon that was troubling them so out of the sky. They begged him to do it, and so he stood atop the old clock tower and he reached his arms into the sky, his terrible mask aglow in the moonlight. And do you know what happened then?"He paused again, looking around the drawn faces of his crowd. Even the stuffed gargant head mounted above the hearth seemed to look deliberately away, its glass eyes reflecting the fitful dance of the flames. He coughed, only now grasping how poor the reception to his tale truly was, but continued nevertheless."It's said that the moon shuddered in the air, filling the town with a terrible song, too terrible for mortal lungs to sing, of madness and death and the end of all things. It seemed as if the moon would come down on the town that day, but instead, only a small shard broke off, the moon itself hurtling off to its next destination. The clock tower was destroyed, and many houses and townsfolk besides. But they never did find the imp. It's said that even now, he follows the moon, forever trying to fulfil his terrible promise to bring the moon out of the sky.""Oh, would you give it a rest already Ricca?" The innkeep finally snapped, "these people are frightened enough as it is without you telling your tales." The boy glared at her sulkily, "but grandmother-""No buts, I let you ply your craft here, but I am still your grandmother. I won't let you go about spreading lies to my patrons, bard or no." The boy huffed and stomped off to a dark corner to brood. The innkeep sighed. She was the liar, for it had happened. She had been there that day, her own father lost when the shard of the bad moon fell upon the old clock tower. That town had been abandoned to the ghosts, but she had stayed close, built the Tower's Rest in remembrance of what had been lost. She gazed again at the eery light filtering in through the worn shutters, and started. There was something glaring at her through that crack. A mad, boggling, wooden eye. She knew that eye. It was part of a mask she hadn't seen in many long years. Then, with an otherworldly giggle, it was gone, as if it had never been there at all.

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

Blackwing Corsairs - Coalition Focus

Across the shade-ports and city slums of Ulgu, wherever desperation and want are greatest, the cult of the Great Gatherer have sunk their talons deep. Pickpockets and cutthroats, brigands and pirates alike are bound in a loose weave of homage to the God of Thieves and Killers and his shadowy priests. The most infamous of them all are the Blackwing Corsairs and their dread captain, the Carrion Queen. For years, they have perched like a malevolent spectre over the warm waters of the heartlands of Ulgu, preying on ships and travellers alike. Their great skill has brought them wealth and success, yet their seemingly prescient knowledge of where to find their prey and uncanny talent for slipping away from retribution have led many to believe that they are favoured above all others by the Great Gatherer, his chosen reapers and harbingers of woe. The Blackwing Corsairs have been drawn from all across the realms, united by circumstance and skill rather than origin. Many, like their captain, were born in the desperate slums of Ulgu, the struggle of their daily lives honing them for a life as sea reavers. Others have been drawn from across the realms. Wherever want or need drives those to take, the God of Thieves and Killers finds purchase, and the greatest of his followers feel the instinctive urge to find their way to the Realm of Shadows. Humans and aelves make up the majority of the Blackwing Corsairs, yet all who can meet their demanding standards both at sea and in offering to the Great Gatherer are welcome. Skaven, particularly those who have fallen from favour in the Eshin clans, are a common sight, as are the more cunning of the greenskin races. All, regardless of origin, pay homage to the Great Gatherer. For a few these are small acts of obeisance, made alongside similar prayers to sea gods or the gods of their people. Yet some of the most fanatical among his followers, the true devotees of the Great Gatherer, are counted among the ranks of the Blackwing Corsairs. They proudly wear his crow’s skull symbol, fighting for prizes to offer and draw his eye. The great hope of these fanatics is to die under the gaze of the Carrion Queen, for they believe she will gather the souls of the deserving and deliver them to their eternal reward in the realm of the Great Gatherer. The Blackwing Corsairs now make sail from the warm waters of Ulgu’s heart to its icy and mist-shrouded rim. Talk among the crew has run rampant with rumours of a city of lost treasures uncovered in these gray seas, rich and ripe for the taking. The more fervent among them whisper of the hand of the Great Gatherer himself guiding their path. A singular treasure, unlike anything they have ever been able to seize before, lies open. Many, they know, have also converged to claim that prize, and taking it out from under all of them would be the greatest act of devotion they could make in the Great Gatherer’s name. For the champion that claims it, no reward would be too great. Lissea, the Carrion QueenFew would forget the first time they beheld the Carrion Queen at the helm of her ship. Tall and proud, and flanked by two massive wings so black they seem to almost shimmer with blue flame, she is a figure of nightmares made manifest for the many she preyed upon on the darksome seas of Ulgu. Few would imagine that beneath that carefully cultivated figure was once simply Lissea, orphan girl from the bleak docksides, scrounging a meagre living and hiding her gifts beneath bulky rags. Her life had changed forever when she was found by the cult of the Great Gatherer, who embraced her gifts and respected her talents when all others had turned on her. She has earned her place of infamy among Ulgu’s underworld, yet still stands with a foot in two worlds. The Great Gatherer’s cult has brought her everything she ever wanted, yet view her with a reverence she never sought. Now, driven by visions of a sword in ice, she has taken her crew to the very edges of the realm, yet that small part of her wonders what seizing the blade would mean. If given the choice, would she embrace her destiny as the immortal champion of the Great Gatherer, or forge her own path as a pirate queen?Character hooks for if your PC is a member of The Blackwing CorsairsYou are a true devotee of the Great Gatherer, and have joined with the Blackwing Corsairs to serve his chosen mortal champion. You are a pirate or cutthroat who, by the skill of your hands and blade, has earned your place among the most feared crew in the Realm of Shadows and seized the life you were never gifted with. Character hooks for if your PC has joined the cause of The Blackwing CorsairsYou belong to or are affiliated with the underworld network across Ulgu and have heard of the Blackwing Corsairs’ expedition. Assisting them could mean recognition across the network and favour with the cult, both powerful assets. The lure of treasure draws many, and the Blackwing Corsairs have proven time and again their talent for seizing the wealth and living to tell the tale. You might not understand where this cult plays in, but you know the promise of treasure when you see it. 

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

The Crow's Calling

The Carrion Queen glided quietly across the rooftops of the so-called free city of Grauhafen, silently cursing herself as she went. She'd broken the first law of the Great Gatherer: to own nothing save that which one seizes for themself. The child had just reminded her too much of herself. She'd grown up on grimy streets just like the stinking hole that was Grauhafen. So when the girl had stumbled up to her, wasted arms raised in supplication, she'd tossed the girl a heavy gold coin from the stash she'd just stolen. The girl had stared at it wide eyed for a long moment before tucking it into a ragged pouch and carefully drawing out a small flower. It was beautiful, delicate petals glowing like faint moonlight in the ulguan gloom. The girl had handed it to her, and she'd taken it.Lissea had given up on meaningless charity long ago, long before she'd sworn herself to the Great Gatherer. She'd tried, in those early days, when she had first taken to thievery. She stole only from those who hoarded their ill-gotten wealth and dispensed it among the poor of the city. She'd been treated as a folk hero at first, a champion for the poverty-stricken masses. Until the lords that Lissea had pilfered from brought their private armies down upon the populace, seizing every penny at torch and sword point. It was a massacre that left the poor quarter a charred wasteland, and Lissea was no longer a hero. She was hated, driven out by the very people she'd tried to help, a harbinger of doom.And so Lissea had become that harbinger in truth. Over years she laboured on ships until she could take her own command. She vowed that she would never again give away what she took for herself. She became the scourge of the darksome seas of Ulgu. Even that life was behind her now. She had become a champion of the Great Gatherer, and had never looked back.Until today.This was the first time she'd really lost herself in memories of the past in years. She was getting old. Her dark skin was beginning to wrinkle around the eyes, her carefully honed muscles starting to ache as she darted across shadowy rooftops. Even with the boons granted her by her patron, the Carrion Queen was starting to feel her unnaturally long life catch up with her. As if in response to her pessimistic reverie, Lissea's mind suddenly flared with pain, words searing themselves into her psyche like red hot branding irons.COME.RIVER OF ORIGIN.ISLE OF FROST.SEIZE THE FROZEN BLADE IN MY NAME.ASCEND. Lissea, the Carrion Queen, came to, spread eagled across a shingled rooftop, every nerve in her body screaming in pain. But through the fog of her mind came a single image: a lonely island surrounded by languid waters and wreathed in ice. And somehow she knew that at the very centre of that dark isle lay her salvation.

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

The Dross-forged - Coalition Focus

From the soot-blackened depths of Brak Zhagoul, the Dross-forged have emerged to stake their claim for the Fated Blade. They are the lowly and the unclean, the dregs of the great unceasing forges of the dawi zharr, those cast off or cast away by the churning machine of industry. Duardin of neither rank or privilege, their backs bent by a lifetime of mean labour spent without artistry or recognition. Hobgrots pressed into dangerous and unforgiving service by cruel taskmasters. Slaves from dozens of mortal races, held in cruel bondage and now given a taste of freedom. They have emerged, risen from the depths of the furnace, and ready to burn the world before bending their backs once again. The cities of the dawi zharr are built by cruelties piled atop cruelties. For the leaders of this fractious people, power can only be upheld through ever-greater heights of malice and unceasing depths of exploitation. The priesthood of Hashut looms over them all like a capricious vulture, stoking the fires of resentment and envy, and scraping up wealth and power in the name of the black-handed God of the Daemonforge. For the duardin people that live beneath these great lords and high priests, life in the city is brutish and unclean. Some find service in the armies of the lords or the temple guard, or apprenticeship under the smiths of the great forges, and live with the faint hope of advancement and comfort they can afford. For the rest, however, it is a lifetime of backbreaking labour in the soot-choked depths. These duardin without skill at arms or artifice are treated little better than the chattel slaves they work beside, sneered down at by their fellow dawi zharr all the more for what they are. In a society built upon the exploitation of others, there are none more bitter and resentful than the duardin that still find themselves at the bottom of the slag heap.The Dross-Forged were born of this bitter resentment, one of hundreds of tiny rebellions within the depths of the city. Most failed without notice by those above, yet whether by luck or by fate, this small group of duardin and hobgrots managed to seize a small forge and the arms and armour within. There, they freed the forge-slaves, and gave them a simple choice - join with us, for the chance to strike down those who enslaved you, or take your chances in the city alone. Bolstered by those who remained, and armed with their seized prizes, the Dross-Forged struck out in the dead of night and slipped beyond the walls of Brak Zhagoul. Their flight was far from aimless, however. They would insist their success was not due to luck, but instead was the guidance of their divinely inspired leader, Uhred the Beardless. Uhred the BeardlessMany long years working in the slag pits have left their marks on Uhred. His hands are grey and calloused, his back bent and his hairless face scarred by flame. Yet it is his eyes that most remember, large and black, fathomlessly deep and alive with energy. While countless like him toil in fruitless labour beneath the forges, Uhred's resentment was honed to a scalpel's edge when the dreams began. Each night he beheld the city on the edge of shadow, blackened by ice. Each night he saw the slumbering forge, and the blade that sat within. The blade, and the lost Master Rune of Grungi that lay upon it. He knew why the black-handed God had shown him these visions. Recovering a lost Master Rune for Hashut would give him everything he ever wanted - wealth, power, a high priesthood within the Temple, and the chance to pay back all those who had sneered down upon him with every cruelty imaginable. Hashut had chosen him to see this done for that reason, for his anger and hatred would drive him to achieve what those lords and high priests could not. And so Uhred dreamt by night, and planned by day. Now they march, for vengeance and greed and fervour. There could be no return to Brak Zhagoul now, not without the blade in hand and the blessing of Hashut on his brow. Then they would pay. All of them.Character hooks for if your PC is a member of The Dross-ForgedDawi zharr or hobgrots labourers from the forges of Brak Zhagoul who joined in Uhred’s rebellion.Freed slaves from the depths of the city, given a chance to join with the rebels and strike back against the lords of the dawi zharr.Horns of Hashut cultists who have seen Hashut’s blessing on the Dross-forged.Character hooks for if your PC has joined the cause of The Dross-ForgedYou seek wealth above all else, and Uhred has promised a share of the spoils to any that join him and bring the blade back to Brak Zhagoul.You seek the favour of the masters of the Daemonforges of Hashut and see your support here as buying a potential ally inside.

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

Do You Not Know Who I Am?

They were known as the Horns of Hashut, and like their namesake they pierced and plunged, gouging and impaling all in their path. They weren’t the greatest warriors Hashut could muster, but the mighty legions of the dawi zharr could not be bothered to stamp out every little slave rebellion. This task fell to the war-leaders of the Horns, and they persecuted it with merciless cruelty.“Horns of Hashut,” the bristling duardin muttered to himself. He spat a heavy, black wad of tarleaf against the ground. “Grotspit.”Old habit made him rub his chin where his beard should have been. The coarse black hair that had covered it long ago had been burnt away by the forge’s flames, and the skin beneath seared and hardened, leaving only leathery flesh and scars. Horns of Hashut, indeed. What could they know of the Father of Darkness? Lackeys and lickspittles all, playing at lords while chasing bones tossed from high tables.It was why these so-called Horns, grown fat and content killing wretches for sport, had stumbled into this ambush without a care in the realms. Like their cruel lords, they were assured in their place of power… and yet here, today, the Dross-Forged would disabuse them of that notion.Watching his ragged throng tear them apart was nearly enough to make him forget the visions; the sword, the ice, and the Master Rune of Grungni that would seat them at the head of that high table. The way from their rags to the riches always kept from them. His fellows weren’t warriors as such, fighters maybe, but not soldiers. Men and women, duardin and hobgrots, orruks, aelves and ogors. The cattle the dark lords of Brak Zhagoul had kept in their pens and spent to fuel the fires of industry. Their lives were less than nothing in the eyes of their masters.He watched the last of the Horns regroup against a sheer cliff-face. Some clawed at it, trying to scale it, only for the loose rock to send them tumbling back down. The rest lunged and feinted, trying to fend off the rebel fighters with white-knuckled and trembling hands. Victory was lost, and they knew there would be no mercy here.Yet the slaughtering press did not come. The Dross-Forged parted like water about a rock as the bristling, beardless duardin moved among them, and for the first time the defeated cultists could see him clearly. Lines of age and years of backbreaking labour had marked him, yet it was his eyes that captured the broken host. Large and wild, the pupils an inky black, they smoldered like unrestful embers. There was a fire deep within them, like the daemonfire forge of Hashut himself. Weapons clattered to the ground. “Do you not know who I am?” His voice, made course by years of smoke and noxious fumes, carried like rolling thunder across the silent ranks. “DO YOU NOT KNOW WHO I AM?”“I’m the one that came from the dross. I’m the one that broke the forge. I’m the one the Dark Father spoke to, and I’m the one that knows where his burning brand waits!”“The lords of Brak Zhagoul have you out chasing slaves. Hashut would have you do so much more. Any of you that want to serve the Dark Father as more than lickspittle chaff, come with me. The rest of you, crawl back to your masters.”“No,” one voice called from the defeated cultists. “Why would the Dark Father speak to someone like you? You’re no better than a slave.”Uhred the Beardless looked at the man, then spat heavily on the ground. “Kill him.”The Dross-Forged did not move. Dawi zharr, hobgrots and former slaves alike, they only stood and watched as the rest of the surviving Horns beat the man to the ground. Mailed fists and broken weapon hafts rained down blow after blow, and he disappeared beneath the press. These cultists, fanatics all, had seen Uhred’s eyes. They had seen Hashut’s fire. Uhred turned away, swiping black spittle from the corner of his mouth as he strode up the hill. His mind had already moved on from the beating behind him. It was far from here, on an icy island, and the smoldering fire trapped within. 

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

The Wolves of Agöra - Coalition Focus

From out of the ice and shadows of the rim stalk the longships of the Wolves of Agöra. Bedecked in frost-bitten steel and salt-hardened leathers, these hulking raiders terrorise the coasts of the Sea of Shadows. Their attacks are swift and without warning, often striking at the most heavily defended targets with a skill and speed born from relentless training. Helmed by goroan exiles, known to most of the realms as ogroids, humans, duardin, aelves, beastfolk and more can be found in their ranks. Greenskins, however, are exceptionally rare due to the ancient grudge the goroans bear for their betrayal at the hands of Gorkamorka's children.The Wolves sail from their fortress island of Tor Agöra. Founded by goroan exiles and blademasters, the small island is both a haven and a reminder of the homeland that they lost. Many seek out Tor Agöra to learn the arts of war and gladiatorial combat. Few survive the journey across the Sea of Shadows and the brutal training that follows. Only the best, those that surpass even their fellow hardened survivors, are offered a place among the Wolves. Those that do are bonded beyond rare or creed, as sure in the blade or shield of their neighbour as they are in their next breath.At the heart of the Tor is the small group of free goroans. Bound as their race is to Archaeon’s service, most ogroids rarely see others of their kind, and never more than a few in one place. Yet on this small island, their near-extinct culture is growing once more. Those chosen for a place among the Wolves learn the goroan language both as a sign of respect and as an impenetrable battlefield tongue. Goroan magics, bound in runes upon the skin, are gifted to those who distinguish themselves and are hardy enough to bear the power they carry. Ancient stories are told by the fires of the marvels and splendours of their homeland, of its triumphs and its ultimate doom. Yet with this revival has come an ancestral yearning to return to those ancient homelands, and an uneasy tension has been steadily growing. The Wolves of Agöra have outgrown their small island, and have turned to their leader once more.Kul-Brimir, the Old BullThe lord of Tor Agöra is the Ogroid Myrmidon Kul-Brimir. Like many of his kind, he served for years training the Everchosen's armies and fighters for the pits of the Eightpoints. When the tides of war turned against the lord he served, he felt his service to the Empty Throne had been fulfilled, and struck out with a small band of loyal myrmidons and gladiators in training to find their own home. Called 'the Old Bull', he has been training warriors for decades. His fur has turned silver-gray in places and become as strong as spun steel. For years, Kul-Brimir's dreams have turned to the ancestral homeland of the goroa, lost to the hordes of Destruction so long ago. Each passing night the instinctive urge to return grows stronger, yet even the tribe’s strongest thaurmaturges could not foresee a path to reclaiming it. That has changed. Visions haunt him of an ancient blade, trapped in ice, that promises the power to reclaim what was lost. Omens appear wherever he looks. Gathering his own ship and crew, the Old Bull has set his mind to finding this relic, and none will stand in his way.Character hooks for if your PC is a member of The Wolves of AgöraYou are a goroan exile seeking to reclaim your lost ancestral homeland.You lead a warband of sea raiders in the service of Kul-Brimir, and sail with him to claim this lost relic.As a veteran of a hundred gladiatorial fights you now train pit fighters and lead a band of them to honour the Old Bull’s request for aid in his quest.Character hooks for if your PC has joined the cause of The Wolves of AgöraYou seek to learn the warcraft or magics of the goroans, or earn glory and fame in the arena, and have decided to pledge your aid to the Wolves in the hope you might be chosen for training.You have reason to fight for the reclamation of the goroan’s ancestral homeland, perhaps to claim a home for yourself or for more esoteric reasons.

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

I'll be the Blood

“Gor’h bokh, goh rukh.”“Ba bohk, koh rogh re Gor’h.” I’ll be the blood, if you’ll be the bones. That’s what it translated to, more or less. Few besides the ogroids themselves spoke their tongue, yet here upon Tor Agöra, many peoples lived, fought, and died alongside the mighty taur-folk. These outsiders had adopted the saying for what it meant to the ogroids, more than the words themselves.Their kind persisted as gladiators since the day Gorkamorka’s brutes cast down their great civilization and drove them under the protection of Archaon Everchosen. It was not a mantle they desired, but one at which they excelled, regardless. The saying, then, was one of shared kinship in the face of hardship. That tomorrow they might kill each other upon the sands held no malice in their hearts; they were of the same blood and bones.Today was a momentous day upon the island fortress, the day when fighters became warriors, earning their place upon the longships that raided far and wide across the Sea of Shadows. Each captain, or a chosen champion of their crew, would fight those who sought to prove themselves worthy, until every berth was filled.No berth was more desired than aboard the Wolf of Agöra, longship of Kul-Brimir, the Old Bull. He did not care for the name ogroid; like their trade, it was placed upon them. He was goroan, his people’s true name, and to earn a place upon the Wolf, one was required to earn his respect in single combat. The Old Bull would not trust one he had not fought himself.There was only one berth to be filled upon the Wolf, yet three now stood before Kul-Brimir. The first was a human man, long in years, with the scars to match. He was raised from childhood in the fighting pits outside the Varanspire and although he’d earned his freedom he knew nothing else, and so found his way here.The man was skilled, and while Kul-Brimir admired his ferocity, he suspected it could be the warrior’s undoing. The Old Bull fought with two massive axes, each the size of those his kin carried in both hands. Great swings chopped the air around the gladiator as he sought to exploit an opening, any opening, and get inside Kul-Brimir’s guard. The goroan allowed his guard to slip, and the man saw it for the trap it was too late to keep his instincts from exploiting it. The Old Bull saw no regret or resentment in the man’s eyes as his axe carved the man’s shoulder from his body, collapsing his ribcage, splitting his heart and smashing what remained of him into the sand.The next truly was of Kul-Brimir’s blood, among the youngest of those the Old Bull had sired over the course of decades. In other cultures, this alone would be enough to earn the youthful goroan his place, but here he was just another adversary in the arena.Kul-Brimir went on the attack, and within moments, it was clear the fight was all but over. Still the youth persisted, refusing to yield, to show fear or ask for mercy. A blow aimed for his eye instead carved a horn from his head; the next knocked his shield from his numbed hand and shattered his blade at its hilt. The Old Bull stood back, and it was understood: the youth was not ready. There was no dishonor in his defeat, only a lesson harshly learned.The last was a duardin, once a proud member of Grimnir’s cult, now simply proud. His captors had pulled the ur-gold from his flesh, stripping him of his god, and he’d been brought to Tor Agöra by a pompous Chaos lord eager to learn their craft. The lord had been slain quickly upon the sands, but this duardin refused to accept death so easily.Each fought with two axes now, and despite the disparity in size, appeared equally matched. The duardin must have been truly fearsome when empowered by the ur-gold of his clan. His body was pockmarked with scars, the ruined echoes of runes. They made a strange mirror to the sigils that adorned the Old Bull, seething with the ancient magics of the goroans. Kul-Brimir’s own axes chipped at the onslaught, and wound after wound split his chest, thighs and arms. It was not an axe that laid him low, however, but a cloven kick which sent the duardin sprawling, broken nose bleeding across his sandy-orange beard.The killing blow never came, and he looked up instead to an outstretched hand, massive and gnarled. Behind it, the face of Kul-Brimir, nostrils flaring from exertion, nodded in recognition.“I’ll be the blood,” Kul-Brimir said.“If you’ll be the bones,” the duardin responded, and took the Old Bull’s offered hand.

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

The Lament of the Sage of Iron

“We commit to stone the tragedy of the Iron Sage, so it shall never be forgotten. The time of the mortal gods has ended, their twilight brought at the hand of the Conqueror. Sigmar All-Father, coward, hides behind his walls. Yet it was not always so. In the time before the coming of the Last King, the gods walked among us. Some came as lords, mighty and distant as a thunderstorm. Not so for noble Grungni, who came as a teacher. Many students did he take through the years, for good or for ill. Yet it is one we remember now. For their talent, they were chosen. For their wisdom, they were trained. Once they had achieved a mastery of metals, Grungni gave them the name Iron Sage, and together master and student explored the deeper mysteries of runecraft. Many great works they completed, and many more they may have done, had the Conqueror not attacked. And Grungni, whose desire for peace was only outdone by his talent for war, was honour-called to the All-Father's side. Many were those who thought themselves beloved by the gods yet found themselves without when the golden gates were shut. Of Grungni's many students, a great number were killed in the days that followed, fighting and forging for those that resisted the daemonhosts. Still more turned their allegiances to their new masters, who had not abandoned them to die in fire and war. Terrible weapons they forged for the enemy. In the dark days that followed, those few that had survived retreated to the corners of the realms to practice their craft. For many long years, the Iron Sage journeyed across the realms. They traveled with others, lesser smiths and apprentices, builders and families, driven by a singular obsession. In their dreams, the Iron Sage saw a forge, perfect, a nexus of energies ripe to weave into steel, safe and secure and far from the wars of the realms. Yet time and again the search was in vain, the dream unrealized. As so they wandered, a pilgrimage of the lost, and like all wayward things found themselves upon the Ur-River. It was in the Realm of Beasts that the Iron Sage was met by a stranger. I have come in service to a great conqueror, seeking your skills. Many warlords had come to them before, thought the Iron Sage, and this one was no different. They would have refused the stranger outright, yet before they could, the stranger continued. My lord has seen what it is you are searching for. I can take you to the place you dream of if you will but hear my request. It seemed a fool’s hope, yet after so long searching the Iron Sage could only agree to such a bargain. With the stranger at their side, the Iron Sage came to the Realm of Ulgu.Upon a desolate island in the midst of the Sea of Shadows, the Iron Sage found their new home. The mist-choked sea and long journey granted protection from the chaos of the age, yet is was the volcanic heart of the isle that drew the master smith. Blazing with the eternal fire of the Realm of Aqshy, a small realmgate sat in a split caldera. With such a fire, the Iron Sage could forge wonders imbued with the energy of the realms. Yet as they watched from the sea, they beheld a firebeast rear its head, rising from the volcanic ash to curl its body around the gate.Without the skill or might to defeat such a creature, the Iron Sage felt their dream eluding them once more, yet the stranger spoke again. I have taken you here, as bargained, as delivered, and so I ask you listen to my master’s offer. Forge for him a blade great and long, made with mighty runes and primordial fire, with the power to break down the gates of Azyr, and in return I shall clear off this firebeast so the isle may be yours.The Iron Sage hesitated, but only for a moment. Dreams filled their heads of the wonders that could be made in such a forge, and the abandonment they still felt at the hands of their god and mentor was still strong. They agreed, and the stranger stepped alone onto the island. Very well, take your boats back to sea and return in one month’s time. Taking the stranger’s word once again, the Iron Sage put to sea once more. For a month they sailed the mists, plagued by memories of the wars they had fled, until it was time to return. There, they found the stranger waiting for them, the beast gone and the realmgate freed. The island is yours, the gate secured so no creature living or dead can pass through it, only fire for your forge. Now I ask you, as bargained, as delivered, to build the promised blade. The Iron Sage hesitated, yet the stranger had followed their word at every step, and a bargain had been made. With this realmfire they could forge such a blade, yet so great a power bound to steel would shatter at the first swing. Only the breath of Everwinter could temper such fire. With such a demand the Iron Sage was sure that the stranger would balk at last, impossible as it was, yet it seemed even that the stranger had anticipated. Very well. Build your forge, and I shall return in one year’s time with a shackled Everwinter. In return, you shall forge a second blade, for me. One sharp enough to altar destinies. The Iron Sage agreed, and once more the stranger left. For a year, the Iron Sage and their people built their new homes. A city of basalt and marble rose, the craftsmanship of a lost age made again in this haven. A great forge was built around the realmgate, black stone and fair steel, and hammers rang like bells in the mist. Then, at the promised hour, the stranger appeared again. In his hand he carried the might of eternal winter, bound and shackled in unknown magics. As bargained, as delivered. With this Everwinter, you can temper the blades. The Iron Sage could only nod. Ten years time you shall have for this masterwork, then the owner of the blade shall come to claim it. With that said, the stranger left. Years passed, and from the Basalt Forge ever greater wonders were crafted. With Aqshy fire and the bound Everwinter, new heights of metalwork were achieved. In the halls of the learned, new mysteries of runecraft were delved. The city grew prosperous and healthy, warm and safe in the midst of the Shadow Sea. And through it all, the Iron Sage worked upon their masterpieces. With each new innovation, the designs were refined. With each new discovery, their magics made more potent. The blades neared completion. Years turned to months, turned to weeks. Eight days from the promised arrival, as the Iron Sage completed the last rune, the stranger appeared again. You have honoured your bargain, and soon the great warlord shall come to claim the blade. Prepare your island to receive Mogrek of Ghur. With that pronouncement, the stranger vanished from the forge. Mogrek. The Doom of Aragatha. Idol-breaka. The True Beast of Ghur. Even in their seclusion, the Iron Sage had heard of the orruk warlord whose march had brought continents to their knees. Doubt filled them, for though their anger with the gods of Azyr was still fresh, they feared for the people who would face such a creature. As the hour of the Beast’s arrival drew close, the Iron Sage gathered their people and bid them to sail out into the sea. The gates of the city were left open, and the path to the Basalt Forge laden with treasures.From the mists, he emerged, the greatest orruk of this age. Towering he stood, twice as tall again as the largest ogor. His war helm was a dragon’s skull. His cloak was woven from the tattered banners of his foes. A necklace of crowns adorned his neck. With steps that cracked the paving stone, he marched through the open city to the Basalt Forge, and to the waiting Iron Sage.The Sage greeted the war chief with eyes of steel. As bargained, as delivered, the great blade was presented to the orruk, who grasped at its hilt. Fire sprang from his hand, the judgment of Aqshy bound within testing its new bearer, yet if the Iron Sage had hoped he would be found wanting they were disappointed. With a roar, the orruk wrested free the blade, cowing the very fires of Aqshy, his charred hand now bound to the sword. Yet the Iron Sage was already in motion, the smaller blade gleaming in their hands. They struck not at the warlord, who was already moving to defend against attack, but instead at Everwinter bound within the forge. Magic clashed as a blade made to alter destinies cut through the mystical shackles. Reality screamed, then parted.Light and burning cold swept out across the city. Within the forge, the unleashed magics of the realms obliterated sage and orruk alike. The Everwinter, shackles breached, vented its fury. Ice swallowed buildings and treasures, cracked stone and sundered steel. Its people that returned beheld a broken dream, its forges cold and hammers silent. They were left, once again, to find a home in the wide realms. The wonders they had crafted were lost to them. The magics they had helped to build, destroyed. Once more, the fate of those who trusted in gods, or their students, unfurled. Thus ends the tragedy of the Sage of Iron. Let it not be forgotten.”- inscription, dated ~110th year of the Age of Chaos, found in the ruins of Tanagoth, estimated destruction ~350 AoC, and rediscovered in the year 210 of the Age of Sigmar

5 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

What’s Da Warpath?

Consider #DaWarpath a prelude to war, a month-long escalation toward this summer’s premier global narrative event, Animosity V - The Fated Blade. During this period, Team Animosity reveals all new information about the upcoming campaign’s player teams (called Coalitions), team leader NPC’s (called Figureheads), and the campaign setting itself, including detailed maps and exhaustive location details. Each date on our roadmap is another lore reveal, with blog entries like the one you’re reading now between them. Finally, you’ll be able to read everything in one place: the Player’s Guide, our equivalent of a sourcebook.With #DaWarpath at its end, registration will open July 1st, allowing players to join one of six Coalitions and fight to advance their Figurehead’s agenda in collaboration with their teammates. The campaign plays out over the course of five turns; each turn is seven days, allowing for a “Player Phase” from Weds-Sat and a “Gamemaster’s Phase” from Sun-Tues. During the Player’s Phase, participants will generate Reports by playing games, writing short stories, and working on hobby; during the Gamemaster’s Phase, we take those Reports and forge them into a single Unfolding Narrative, which drops on Wednesday with a new set of Narrative Paths to choose from.So, how can YOU start down #DaWarpath?Read our lore drops! Team Animosity has spent months crafting our most epic storyline yet, and we’re incredibly excited to finally share it with you.Work on your hobby! Although you can always submit building and painting as Reports, we know there’s always more gray plastic to banish. Get a head start on your warband, army, or scenery.Get hyped on the Discord server! As the name implies, Animosity V will be our fifth year doing this (2019-2023), and we’re incredibly proud of the community we’ve built thanks to players like you. There’s always a conversation happening somewhere, so pick your favorite channels and say hello.Let people know you’re on #DaWarpath with the hashtag! We love finding our players “in the wild”, and the hashtag makes it easy.Spread the word! Introducing new players to our corner of the Mortal Realms each year is always exciting, but we can’t do it without you. Send folks our way via the website (AnimosityCampaigns.com) or our Discord server (Discord.GG/AnimosityCampaigns).Organize your local scene! We’re always looking to empower local players to organize events in their area. The way we see it, Matched Play players fight battles, but Narrative Play players wage wars.Right, den, ladz! Let’s get krumpin’!Alex PolimeniOn behalf of Team Animosity

6 months ago

Saul | WarbossKurgan

A Wanderer in a Dark Land

I fled from Azyr that night with haste and little else. I did not stop to weigh myself down with the meagre treasures of a life now lost to me, or with preparations for some unthought tomorrow. I was burdened only with guilt, and it lent desperate speed to my flight. I travelled by day and night, with little thought to a destination. The only direction that mattered was away from that gleaming city. Sleep brought no respite, so I did little of it. Bleeding feet were less painful than the guilt that hounded my steps. They soon grew numb, then hardened anyways. I crossed gated cities and savage wilds, and after a time, like all the other detritus of the realms, found myself upon the banks of the Ur-River. The waters carried me ever further from the light, and soon I lost myself upon it. I let it carry me to the very edge. I found myself adrift then upon a sea of shadows. The river’s current was gone, lost in these vast waters. Mist hung thickly in the air, clinging to the sides of massive ice floes. Mountains of it, blue-green and possessed of some deep internal witch-light, would suddenly rear themselves from the fog like titanic beasts. Smaller chunks rapped against the side of my small vessel like bony knuckles. I simply let the craft drift as it would. There was no direction - I had neither the skill to navigate these waters, nor any further goal. If there was any place furthest from the light of the Heavens, this was it. I drifted, in mind and body. Shadows twisted in the mists, haunting forms dredged from memory, yet there was nowhere else to flee. My memories here are as substantial as the mists. Sleep and waking blurred, haunted by the same shadows. I must have eaten, but have no memory of it. I must have found water, yet can recall no pangs of thirst. I had become little more than a wraith, cursed all the more to be trapped still in a breathing body. My reverie was broken by the soft grinding of stone on wood. I forced myself to rise from the bottom of the boat, curiosity driving what numb and sunken muscles would not. A shore of black stones stretched around me. I had no memory of arriving, yet the rocks had worn away at my small craft. I started to rise, then fell back in shock. Above me, looming from the mist like a colossal sentinel of this desolate shore, stood a monolith of black stone. Salt clung to its sides and frost crowned its brow, yet beneath it could be made out the barest outline of humanoid features staring out to the sea. Nothing more could be seen of the maker’s intent, no identity left in their work, yet its hollow eyes and raised features could not be mistaken. Looking up and down the beach, at the barest edges of vision allowed in the mists, stood two more monoliths, and though I could not see the details I had no doubt at all I would find the same vacant faces staring outwards upon them. Beyond, an island rose like a darker wave within the fog, and with only the unending shadow sea beyond, I determined to make my way inland. Anything, I thought, to escape the judging glare of those featureless faces. The island rose upwards from the water’s edge, the smooth black stones of the shore giving way to hard gray bedrock I could not name. Crustaceous lichens in all the colours of rusting metal clung to ground around saw-like sedge grass. The climb was slow and hard, the moss uncertain beneath my feet, yet the further I rose the more the mist thinned. A scent upon the wind then caught me off guard, and for a moment I nearly stumbled upon the rocky slope as my mind flashed back to pleasant days, warm and well rested, in the gin halls of my youth. They seemed like memories of a stranger’s life to me now. Shadow-memories, I thought, intent on steering my footfalls astray, yet looking around I saw a small tree rising defiantly from the rocks. With careful steps I climbed towards it, and rubbed the thin gray-green needles between my fingers. Juniper. Simply juniper, and the memories I had brought with me. I sat a moment more, savouring the scent, then looked ahead. Rising from the mist, the island at last resolved itself before me. I stood upon a ridge line, and from this vantage looked out across a shattered city, its ebon shades of weather-aged stone lined in bright frost-white. Ice hung upon that place like a mantle. It flowed down streets and through broken-sided buildings like a vast wave frozen in time. Razor-edged ridges crested over broken walls, its edges honed in the arctic winds and burning white. Towards the heart of the city, the deep ice took on a sea-green hue, the black stone buildings bound within like vague skeletons. There were no fire lights, no smoke or sound to beckon the wayward home. It was a dead place. Yet, as I watched, the blue-green glimmer of the city’s frozen heart seemed to stir, like the sunlight playing across the facets of a kingly jewel. Yet there was no sunlight here. The ghost of fires, perhaps, or the stirrings of dreamer. Not dead then, but sleeping. I had to continue forwards. There was no choice in the matter.The city’s walls rose to greet my approach like rows of broken teeth. Blackened and worn with time, even I could not help but see the craftsmanship that had once gone into their construction. The cold now was bitter, gone from the bone-chill of the sea to a scouring of claws across my face. I could feel the skin of my lips freezing with each exhale. It rolled from the city like waves, radiating out from the stones. In places it had cracked them, sending twisting webs of bright white frost across the dark face of the stone. Where the walls were broken, they had been breached from within, from icy talons finding purchase in the stone. The gateway into the city was unbarred. One great door, once of oak or some other hearty wood and bounded with inscribed iron, lay cast upon its side on the road beyond. Of the other there was no sign. No sentinels guarded the entrance, living or dead. Enter, if that is really what you wish, or so I imagined the gate to say. Long I wandered the streets of that city. I still would not say the place was dead, not while the memory of that phantom glimmering heart held in my mind, yet I found death enough within. Skeletal forms huddled in shattered doorways or around long-dead fires. Some were rimed with frost, others wholly consumed by the ice. All were old, the long and quiet dead. Yet as I walked, I began to see the layers to this place. The old stone, timeworn as it was, was the bones of this ancient place. Carved by a master’s hand, it had been laid as the foundation to whatever this city once was. The deepest ice, sea-green and salt-hardened, had been formed around it. Yet since then there had been other constructions here. Cruder stonework had been raised in places against those old walls, as if newer and courser hands had come and built upon the slumbering corpse. I saw in places the marks of rough tools upon the old stone and deep ice. Crude wooden shelters, preserved yet brittle from the cold, leaned in the eddies of the buildings. All across the ruins, messages were carved into the city’s walls. In hundreds of tongues and by thousands of hands, in runes familiar and alien, the words of the dead were written in stone. How many had come to this place? How long had it been buried in this ice? Were they fleeing, as I, and sought haven in this desolation? Or were they treasure hunters, seeking the bounty of these ancient masters who had raised its walls? The bones told all there was to tell of their success.No matter how long I wandered its twisting streets, I found myself no closer to the city’s heart. Walls of ice or collapsed stone barred my passage, forcing me to double back, retread my steps and try another avenue, yet when I did the streets never seemed to look the same. I would explore some new passageway, some chasm in the ice or squeeze through a broken wall, only to find myself back where I had been hours ago. It was as though the shadows of the sea had found me again, and were intent on barring my passage further. Yet the thought of that dreaming glimmer filled me. What fire could lie at the heart of such a place? How many of those around me had asked that same question. I looked again at the forgotten piles of bone, then turned back towards the sea.True night was falling as I walked, yet with it came a sight I have never seen the equal to in all the realms. Vast ribbons of fire filled the air, green at first and waving like silk, their edges turning to coruscating purple flames. Then the colours shifted again, roiling like spilled dyes across a sky of midnight fire. I crested the rise again, looking down at the lines of vacant faces staring out to sea, and my boat down among them, the fog at last burned away by the blazing lights. The city, I knew, was behind me, and that sleeping fire of its secret heart would be ablaze with the dancing sky. Yet I could not turn to look, for if I did I would be lost to its glamour. My bones would lie forgotten in its ice. I would not be the one to awaken it, I knew that. That would be someone else’s story. 

1 year ago

Alex Polimeni

Flora and Fauna of the Bleeding Wilds: Part IV

Flora and Fauna of The Bleeding WildsBy Vala Edrasdottír, Adventurer and Natural HistorianPart IV: Children of the BleedForewordIn all my years studying the vast biodiversity of the mortal realms, I have never had the opportunity to witness such a cataclysmic event as the Bleed, and the effect such a catastrophe has on the local flora and fauna. Until now, of course. The Lahar Badlands, or rather the 'Scarlands' as many have taken to calling them upon their merging with Silverside, are home to an eclectic mix of life from both regions. It is a testament to life's resilience that any survive at all, what with the calamitous merging of two vastly different ecosystems, not to mention the constant warring and magical upheaval that have characterised these most turbulent of times. Stranger than the survivors of the Bleed, however, are its children. Populations of creatures mutated by their exposure to the magic of their opposite realm. In this final chapter of my journeys through the Bleeding Wilds, I shall describe some of these bizarre and wondrous anomalies. MetalithodonCaptain Castian of the Stormdancer and I have had a… tumultuous relationship over the course of our acquaintance. I do not approve of his single-minded crusade against the beasts of the realms, but he has always been courteous in showing me his, ah, specimens, shall we say. I was surprised when he reached out to me a few days ago to inform me of a particularly peculiar find, for our acquaintance had never extended to formal invitations in the past. I am most glad that he did, however, for this singular discovery was most intriguing indeed: Castian claimed to have hunted a floating lithodon.After thoroughly chastising him for killing the creature rather than taking it alive for study, I asked to see the grisly trophy. A most irritatingly rakish grin split Castian's face as he gestured for a pair of orruks to bring the thing out, and I soon learned why. Despite being cut from the body, the lithodon's head continued to float serenely in the air. The characteristic rocky growth on the poor thing's forehead was significantly larger than any specimen I had encountered before, and rippled with a subtle, corruscating argent glow. It reminded me of nothing less than a miniature metalith embedded in the poor creature's severed head.I surmised that it must be a singular quirk of chamonite mutation, but was surprised to hear that Castian had in fact encountered an entire herd of identical beasts floating languidly across the Hollow Plains. He very kindly lent me a guide from his own crew, a fellow named Silvatoof, who did indeed possess a most impressive set of metal teeth. The orruk was a surprisingly pleasant traveling companion, and a commendable tracker. Before long, we had sight of the creatures.The herd floated serenely along, their limbs dangling a foot above the earth. When one encountered a scrubby ghyrflesia, its cranial growth began to glow slightly brighter, and it lowered itself down to dig the plant from the earth before lifting it to its mouth. This was a further behaviour I had never encountered in lithodons before. Their forelimbs are articulated enough, but I had never seen them used for anything but digging and scratching. Then, as if sensing my confusion, the creature turned to look me directly in the eye, even from the not inconsiderable distance from which I observed. It may have been my imagination, but I detected a spark of intelligence there that I had never witnessed in any lithodon before. I confess that I do not know what this development portends, but I have a feeling that the metalithodon, as I have dubbed it, shall be most successful, and I would not be surprised if they began to outcompete their forebears in this region in the very near future.VenomtoothIt is an unfortunate side effect of the newness of the subspecies propagated by the magical turmoil of the Bleed that very little of the information I can provide can be grounded in more than educated speculation, as demonstrated by the previous section. The genesis of the venomtooth is not so oblique, however, for it is rooted directly in the events described in my previous examination of the Lumbertooth. As I had feared back in my earlier writings, the Lumbertooth population was decimated by the tainting of the mineral deposits they relied upon to form their distinctive rocky "teeth". However, a small, surviving population seems to have adapted to this hardship in a most peculiar manner. With distended bodies and necks swollen with goitres, one would be forgiven for thinking that the venomtooths are barely clinging to life, but, having observed their hunting from a considerable distance, they appear to be scarce less vital than before their poisoning. Where their beaks were previously lined with tough, craggy stones, they now drip with lines of green-tinged quicksilver. Having collected a small sample of this fluid after the beast's departure, I have surmised that it is the result of the combination between the chamonite mercury that bubbles up from Lumbertooth Tor and the creature's own corrosive saliva, previously used to break down minerals for reconstitution into teeth. The hunting patterns of the lumbertooth are well documented. They are ambush predators, stalking prey before chasing them down and despatching them with a combination of kicks, pecks and bites. However, the venomtooths that I have observed appear to have forsaken their usual ferocity, only attacking for long enough to wound their prey with their beak. After this, they will follow their prey sedately while it succumbs to the poison, the quicksilver seemingly made far more potent by its combination with the bird's own natural corrosive saliva. The venomtooth does not appear to hurry to claim its kill, for no other ghurish predator would dare to imbibe such tainted meat, and any that do simply add to the venomtooth's feast My primary concerns with the longevity of this new subspecies are thus. They do appear to be suffering from their poisoned state, despite their use of it. Only the hardiest individuals have survived long enough to take on this new behaviour, but they still show distinct signs of bodily dysfunction and decay. This also calls into question their ability to reproduce, especially with the documented reduction of reproductive capability in sufferers of mercury poisoning. Beyond that is whether their minds are too addled to even consider reproducing, for every individual I have observed has shown tremendous aggression towards its own kind, a far cry from the tight-knit familial structures that previously categorised the species. If course, this is mere speculation, and only time will tell the fate of the venomtooth, and by extension the lumbertooth species as a whole.Scurry-SandHere is another creature I was contacted directly about, and far stranger a mutation than anything I have seen before. The matriarch of the Lahareth family I had previously stayed with, and the subject of a very brief fling during that time, sent an urgent message to me explaining that multiple of their sand-scurries had apparently crumbled to dust before reconstituting themselves from the very sand. Had I not had such respect for the matriarch, or had I not grown up in Chamon and witnessed firsthand the transmutative effects of the realm of gold, I may have dismissed these claims as ridiculous.Instead, I made my way to Choggrish Market, where the matriarch had asked to meet. As I waited for the arrival of my contacts, I explored the market, which was much changed since my last visit, suffused with new business brought by the multitudes of different folk brought to Lahar by the Bleed. After being accosted by an enthusiastic ogor who seemed absolutely awestruck by my status as an author, I sat down to sample a slice of jellied fangmora purchased from a gargant on the market's outskirts. No sooner had I bitten into my meal than the very desert sand in front of me appeared to spring to life. I was so taken aback that I dropped my snack, and it took me a moment to recognise that the creature nuzzling me was in fact my mount from that previous expedition to the Badlands of Lahar.Her handler came running a moment later, apologising profusely before he recognised me. I was brought to the matriarch, Aerona, who was overseeing the setting of the family's camp. She greeted me warmly before explaining the situation. Just as I had expected, the change had occurred when the nomads had passed into Silverside through the bleed, and since then many of the family's sand-scurries had taken to shifting from their usual lagomorph form to merging with the desert sand with alarming regularity. If I am honest, there is little more that I can say about what I have playfully dubbed "Scurry-Sands". I imagine that their ability to reduce themselves to sand will be a consummate boon to surviving the predations of twistree anglers, but their usefulness as mounts and pack animals has been greatly diminished by their propensity to disappear out from under their riders. Nevertheless, I do not anticipate they will face any particular hardship, for they are family to the Lahareth who ride them, even if their use is lessened. And Aerona is one of the most cunning aelves I have met on my travels; I'm sure she'll find a way to utilise these unprecedented new abilities for the good of her clan.AfterwordSo ends another volume of my travels. The region seems to have settled into itself, while the warring across it appears to be reaching a fever pitch. I fear that there is little more to gain from my staying, and I only endanger myself by doing so. I have heard, however, that my former home has become stranded in Ghur. My knowledge of this realm is much greater than any who dwell there, and I have begun to muse on whether I might be of any use in acclimatising my former people to their new home. Of course, my return would be predicated on Breyla having been humbled somewhat by her misadventures. Or… perhaps it is I who could stand to be more humble. I have met many people and seen many things in the years since my departure. Perhaps it is time that I admit my own impetuousness. And, besides, I think that Kladi would like to see her again. I should probably apologise for that, too. Alas, I am rambling once more. All that remains to be said is, as always, thank you. My readers' continued support is what allows me to persist in my academic pursuits, and for that, I am eternally grateful.Until the next adventure,Vala Edrasdottír, Adventurer and Natural Historian

1 year ago

Alex Polimeni

Flora and Fauna of the Bleeding Wilds Part III

Part III: Survivors of the BleedBy Vala Edrasdottír, Adventurer and Natural HistorianIronscale PangolinIt will not surprise many of my longer term readers that my knowledge of the famed ironscale pangolin of Silverside is extensive, owing to my constant travelling companion, Kladi. I took her with me when I fled the city of my birth, Barak-Drak, much to an old flame's chagrin, and she has been an invaluable friend ever since. Indeed, the animosity between my former lover and I after my absconding with her beloved pet is the reason I have avoided returning to Barak-Drak during my exploration of the Bleeding Wilds, especially as she has apparently been made admiral, and evidently has the run of what remains of the place after its crash. But I digress.Ironscale pangolins are arboreal and found across the breadth of Silverside, from the Glittering Hills in the west to Silverholt to the north. Though wild, they can make excellent companions to any who put in the time, and are not a wholly uncommon sight in Barak-Drak. Their most distinctive feature, and what sets them apart from the common pangolin found elsewhere in the more stable parts of the realms, is their eponymous scales. These ferrous lamina are incredibly tough, made up of a lattice of iron and keratin to render the animal near impervious, especially when it curls into a defensive ball. I was, at first, and perhaps a little selfishly, considering my own personal attachment to the creatures, concerned about the well-being of the ironscale pangolin population with the extreme ecological upheaval brought about by the bleed. It would seem that I needn't have worried so. The flora of Ghur tends to have a higher iron content than most realms save for Chamon itself, so the pangolins that have ended up there have not succumbed to brittlescale. Beyond that, the many predators of Lahar have very little means of injuring the pangolins, while many of their natural predators from Silverside have had a far more difficult time adapting to their changing environment. I predict that, once the Bleed dried, ironscale pangolins will fare remarkably well in their new environs.GhyrflesiaOne such high-iron plant is the ghyrflesia, though to any but a creature so adept at filtering toxins as the ironscale pangolin (due largely to its diet of chamonite vegetation, often replete with poisonous compounds), eating this vegetable is not recommended. The ghyrflesia, similar to its much larger cousin, the Verdian Rafflesia, emits a rank odour similar to rotting flesh. In the case of the ghyrflesia, the plump petals are filled with a liquid similar in constitution to stagnant, rotting blood, and the plant is able to move, after a fashion, twisting and gyrating to mimic animal life, though it is still undeniably a vegetable. This puts many of Ghur's herbivores off of trying the plant, and those that do die rapidly from a particularly nasty form of blood poisoning. Some carrion beasts, like the corpse-rippa vulcha, supplement their diets with these plants, their organs already designed to safely consume rotting flesh, while a few herbivores, such as the next creature we shall talk about, have adapted specifically to eat these abundant plants.LithodonThe lithodon is a most curious specimen indeed, sized somewhere between an elephant and a stonehorn, this creature is theorised to be a distant relative to the latter. Just like the stonehorn, it is a shaggy beast with a petrifacted skeleton, and a protrusion of rock on its forehead, though in this case this growth resembles nothing so much as a boulder emerging from the beast's skull. Just like their distant cousins, the lithodon's intelligence is relatively low, but it is significantly less ornery. Their rocky skull-plates are primarily used in intra-herd conflict and mating displays, and occasionally to ram any would-be predators that threaten the herd's young. The most striking difference between lithodons and stonehorns, however, is the front limbs. The front hooves of the lithodon have adapted into appendages similar to hands, though with far less dexterity and only three digits. They use the stone nails on the ends of their fingers to dig up ghyrflesia blooms, their primary food source, roots and all. Their stomachs are perfectly adapted to eating this singular plant, which serves them well, for until the arrival of the ironscale pangolin, they had almost no competition for this abundant food source. The most pressing threat to the lithodons of Lahar at this time is not competition from the ironscale pangolin, however, but a wholly different Silverside native.Horror-Tailed ViperThe horror-tailed viper is fairly commonplace across many of the domains of Chamon, and, while not a creature of chaos, could not exist without it. As the Lord of Change began his conquests across the realm, he brought with him endless hordes of gibbering horrors, some large and others small. Many of these daemonic entities persist across the realm of metal to this day, the most minor of which are often overlooked by witchunters and daemonfinders alike. Indeed, they are far more likely to face predation by those creatures that subsist on arcane matter, for little flesh is more suffused with magic than that of a Daemon of the Changer. Taking advantage of this unique circumstance, the horror-tailed viper has adapted a fleshy growth on the tip of its tail that bears an uncanny resemblance to a minor Daemon of Tzeentch. This snake hides in small caves and hollows, wiggling its tail outside the entrance to mimic the capering of a horror. When a predator approaches what it believes to be a daemonic snack, the viper strikes with its venomous fangs, paralysing its target near instantaneously. Unfortunately for the dull-witted lithodon, the viper's lure passingly resembles a ghyrflesia bloom. To a more discerning eye, the differences are obvious, but lithodons will happily bite onto the undulating tail of a hidden viper. If the beast is lucky, the shock of such a bite will stun or kill the snake before it has a chance to strike, but more often than not the viper injects its venom before succumbing to its wounds. The venom is designed for smaller targets, and so takes longer to kill the lithodon, but it is a slow and agonising death, from what I have observed during my travels. It is fortunate that both species are so widespread in each of their respective realms, for if not, I would worry for the survival of both.Arcane Oniscid Though the arcane oniscid is an arcanophage like those that the horror-tailed viper preys upon, it does not hunt daemons. Indeed, just as more mundane forms of isopodal crustaceans are detritophages, arcane oniscid subsist on the decaying remnants of magic, and are often found at the sites of significant rituals, arcane battles and geomantic confluences, as well as mage towers, where they are considered pests for their propensity to drain magical potential if present in great enough numbers.In form, arcane oniscids vary relatively widely, being not a single species but an order of many. Individuals seem to favour particular lores of magic, though the particular species does not seem to significantly impact this preference. Arcane oscinids, after consuming a significant amount of their preferred form of magic, begin to display attributes inherent to that lore of magic. For instance, an arcane oniscid of Hysh will appear luminous, while its Ulguan equivalent will be wreathed in shadow. Of course, the arcane oscinids of each lore are most prevalent in the realm corresponding to that lore, but it is not wholly rare to find any type in any realm. Surprisingly, arcane oscinids are rather affectionate to those who take the time to bond with them. They prefer mages, of course, who they can siphon excess magic from, but can be easily tamed by anyone with the will to do so. Some unscrupulous, and if you don't mind my editorialising, heartless mages crush oniscids to release enormous bursts of the magical power stored within. Those willing to bond with the creatures may find much more creative, and less brutal, uses for their companion.With the magical turmoil and frequent battle across the Bleeding Wilds, arcane oniscids of unusual potency have been appearing at a much higher rate. The most interesting specimen I have personally found is what I have coined an arcane oscinid of the Bleed, for the creature has attributes of both Chamon and Ghur in equal measure, and in ways that intermix the two as if they were one. I shall continue to study my new friend, but for now I shall simply say that the scientific implications are staggering.AfterwordAs ever, my studies are far from exhaustive. If you wish to learn more about some of the beasts of the Bleeding Wilds not covered here, I would recommend seeking out the cataloguing work of Inosuke the Hunter. Though his writing takes a more, ahem, culinary approach than I, it still comes highly recommended from this humble scholar.

1 year ago

Beithir Seun

Flora and Fauna of the Bleeding Wilds: Part II

Flora and Fauna of The Bleeding WildsBy Vala Edrasdottír, Adventurer and Natural HistorianPart II: the Peaks of LaharLumbertoothIt may come as a surprise, then, that upon my return to Lahar to study the effects of the Bleed upon the local flora and fauna, I was met with a startling revelation. Word in the taverns of Fairwater, the closest free city and staging ground for my expedition into the badlands, was that the fabled lumbertooths of the Tor had become, in recent weeks, remarkably easy to hunt. Multiple individual specimens had been found languidly wandering the wastes, while others moved with erratic ferocity, attacking anything and everything around them, from inert rock to their own kind. Though hunters had been quick to take advantage, any who ate the flesh of the birds began to exhibit similar symptoms, with an epidemic of violent outbursts and shivering deaths across the city being traced back to a butcher who had bought the tainted meat.  If it were not for the not insignificant distance between the city and the badlands, I fear that the event would have been far more catastrophic. I resolved to head into the wastes at the earliest convenience to see the Tor for myself. I booked my way aboard a Kharadron vessel. They did not look kindly upon my abandonment of the code, but took my coin just the same. Upon reaching the Tor it was immediately apparent to me what had happened to the birds: the rocks that they consume to maintain their teeth had been infused with the stuff of Chamon. Growths of stone all across the tor leaked a quicksilver substance, similar in disposition to mercury. I have surmised, therefore, that the ailment is something akin to mercury poisoning, though the substance would have to be far more potent to cause such a magnitude of devastation. I can only hope that the lumbertooth population has the opportunity to recover once all this has passed.SnapjawSome knowledgeable readers may be questioning why I have included snapjaw plants among my writings on the mountainous peaks of the Lahar badlands. Indeed, Snapjaw fields are a common threat across Ghur, with no particular favouring of mountain environs. A single seedpod might blanket a square mile of ghurish wilderness in near perfectly camouflaged vegetable bear-traps within a matter of hours, consuming unwary creatures before fruiting and withering away. The subsequent, once again highly camouflaged, seedpods latch to passing megafauna to continue their lifecycle elsewhere. They are, as I well known, prized by the Kruleboy Warclans for their use as biological minefields, though the seedpods are famously difficult to acquire, being that they're near impossible to spot while on the ground and are otherwise entangled in the fur of something very large and very deadly.It might come as a surprise, then, that there is a people endemic to the Dragonspine mountain range of Lahar that deliberately cultivate snapjaws for food. The rodent-like Crik'Rik people are thought by most scholars to be descended from the Rovskyr of the Starlit Plains of Azyr. They're notable for being much more robust and territorial than their forebears, with strikingly vibrant red and white fur patterns. Though just as intelligent as the Rovskyr, much less is known about the Crik'Rik due to their propensity to violent isolationism. Unless approached with utmost care and respect for Crik'Rik customs, they are like to skewer one on sight. Not that I can blame them, having had more than my fair share of scrapes in the savage lands of Ghur. After careful study, I did exactly so, and was granted a brief audience with the Alderwoman of one of the Crik'Rik hordes (the best translation of their own word, not a judgement made by myself). Here did she appraise me of their remarkable agricultural achievement: the Crik'Rik have developed an edible strain of Snapjaw that is hardy enough to grow in stark mountain soil, poses little bodily risk to harvesters, and is much more visually distinct than its highly concealed cousin. They travel along the mountains, and at each camp plant a seedpod. Still remarkably fast growing, the edible parts of the plant are harvested, while the rest is left to reinvigorate the soil for the next time the horde passes through. In an exchange of gifts, I was given a seedpod for this remarkable strain of vegetable. Having tasted it in various dishes, I can confirm that the flavour is mild and nutty, with a hint of iron. I have kept the resulting seedpods with me since, and they have been very helpful on the road, conferring a week's worth of decent meals and a new batch of seedpods with each use.Mallus HoundThe so-called Mallus hound is another beast with which I can claim no direct contact. Indeed, I regarded the beast as little more than a myth until recently. It was my old friend Nashwar who conferred upon me the truth of the beast when I visited her in Chamon at the very advent of the Bleed, for one such beast had wandered from Ghur in those early days of tumult when we had little idea what was happening; though in retrospect I believe Nashwar had more knowledge of the situation than she let on, for she was already approaching silverside for what she only described as a "venture". She told me of the hound that had come wandering, confused and bloodied, out of the wastes, and filled her cabal's heads with prophecy enough to incapacitate them. This is the hunting method by which the hound takes its name; little do we know of how the Mallus hound produces such an overwhelming onslaught of prophetic vision, but its effect has been likened by those very few survivors as an intensified equivalent to the glimmerings of Excelsis and its Spear of Mallus. I for one can only speculate on such, for Nashwar, whose psychical barriers were strong enough to keep her head clear, duly killed the beast before it had eaten too many gnoblars, and the Cabal feasted upon it forthwith. Sorely disappointed, I was, that Nashwar did not at least keep the brain to send to me for study, as I made very much known. I received only a feline chuckle in response. She did at least provide me with a psychic vision of the creature as she had seen it, from which my illustration is drawn. If Nashwar had known about the nature of the bleed, I do wish she would have told me, for it would have saved me a good deal of travel. I returned to Ghur as soon as possible, knowing that the mountains of Lahar are the only area that Mallus hounds have been sighted, and something must have been very wrong for one to appear in distant Chamon.AfterwordAs ever, my writings are nowhere close to exhaustive, and there exists a much greater biodiversity within both Lahar and Silverside than I could cover here. Some, like flathorns, carnosaurs and terrorpins have been catalogued extensively, most famously in Dzantaster's Bestiary, owing to their abundance in Thondia, seat of Excelsis, the God King's greatest stronghold in the Ghurlands.

1 year ago

Beithir Seun

Flora and Fauna of The Bleeding Wilds: Part I

Flora and Fauna of The Bleeding WildsBy Vala Edrasdottír, Adventurer and Natural HistorianPart I: The Badlands of LaharSand-ScurryThese peculiar, humpbacked lagomorphs are endemic to many of the drier regions of the Lahar Badlands. Their splayed, shaggy feet are ideal for quick traversal of shifting sands, while their distinctive jaw-like facial markings do much to deter many would-be predators. Unlike many other creatures of the Lahar deserts, sand-scurries are diurnal, able to withstand the intense heat and carry large quantities of moisture in their humps. Sand-scurries travel in small family groups, burrowing down at night when many larger predators are abroad and bounding many leagues each day in search for nutritious twistree pods. Such is their relative docility, familial loyalty, and talent for sniffing out the sparse groves of twistrees that dot the endless dunes, that they have become a favoured mount of the nomadic Lahareth aelves. I myself had the opportunity to travel with a band of Lahareth for a season, and experienced the remarkable dexterity and surprising intelligence of these beasts for myself.Desert TwistreeGhur may be known primarily for its predators, but pure aggression does not a functioning ecology make. Sand-scurries are obligate herbivores, and their primary source of food comes in the form of the enigmatic twistree. When not flowering or fruiting, these plants appear as gnarled, twisting snags, jutting incongruously from the desert landscape in peculiar clusters. The visible portion of the twistree is a mere portion of the whole, however, and each of these sickly green bowers is a single organism, its roots sinking deep below the skin of ghur to the hidden veins of water beneath. When their vivid pink flowers are fertilised, twistrees sprout bulging, translucent fruiting bodies, each full of thousands of miniscule seeds suspended in a rich amber nectar. The Lahareth aelves prize these pods, which they gather from the trees with long hooks, as a single fruit tapped for its nectar can keep an entire family fed and watered for a week. Wild herds of sand-scurries feast upon the fruit they knock from trees, then, when they burrow beneath the sand at night, excrete the seeds below the earth: the perfect place for them to begin the cycle anew.Twistree AnglerMegafauna of immense size and ferocious strength, twistree anglers are surprisingly subtle in their approach to hunting. These enormous predators, their hideous countenance and strange mix of hippopotamus, fell-bat, and ghurlion, burrow beneath the sand and wait for their prey to come to them. The only visible portion of the monster are its antlers, near-perfect imitations of desert twistrees, down to fleshy, fragrant growths imitating the prized fruit. The single most useful piece of wisdom imparted upon me by my Lahareth companions was this: never harvest from a twistree grove with less than three boughs.

1 year ago

Beithir Seun

A Brief History of Animosity

Welcome, warriors and wanderers alike! Today’s article was meant to be a short story depicting Runefather Haraldr-Grimnir’s first meeting with Iden “the Auric”, Satrap of the Aurannar,* but after some recent conversations in our Discord server, we thought it’d be prudent to assemble our history all in one place. Let us begin…Before we were an Age of Sigmar global narrative event, we were a Warhammer Fantasy Battles global narrative event. After Games Workshop’s successful worldwide Albion and Storm of Chaos campaigns (which you can read more about in a recent White Dwarf article by Phil Kelly!), members of Da Warpath forum for Orcs & Goblins decided they wanted more… and thus, Animosity Campaigns was born. In fact, this is the first ever description of Animosity AFAIK, written by community founder Mogrek Longblade on November 27th, 2004:Q: What is Animosity?A: Animosity is a Warhammer Fantasy Battle campaign designed by warhammer players. It takes place after the Games Workshop Campaign Storm Of Chaos that took place this summer.Q: What is Animosity about?A: Animosity is about an Orc civil war, fought by the ruling factions of a large group of Orcs that banded together to form a massive waaagh during SoC. After SoC the waaagh began to war within itself after the death of the Orc in charge at the hands of Archaon.Q: How can I play in this campaign?A: Well thats actually pretty simple, all you need do, is sign up for one of the forces involved(sign up procedure can be found on our website) and play games of warhammer as you would normally or with one of the lists made for this campaign.Although our WHFB iteration died with the World-That-Was during the End Times, like a phoenix from the flames we were reborn June 1st, 2019 with Animosity I: The Hallowed Necropolis. Set in Ghyran and using an organizational model similar to 2017 and 2018’s Coalescence Global Narrative Events, 40+ players in local groups across the United States, UK and Thailand fought to seize the abandoned Age of Myth era city of Amasya across three ridiculously intense days** of gaming. Because this was much smaller event than Animosity II was and III is shaping up to be, we were able to collect everything- including player contributions- into a single PDF:Animosity I – The Hallowed Necropolis (OMNIBUS)Because this event was so experimental, including it’s scoring, every coalition achieved its primary objective. That said, the Sigmarsmacht Delegation, arguably the very first Dawnbringer Crusade dispatched by Hammerhal to annex Amasya, achieved the most secondary objectives and “won” the campaign, claiming a tenuous hold on the city. After the Slann “Frog Dad” Zectoka brought down a comet and destroyed the necropolis part of the city, a hole was punched through to the Realm of Death, paving the way for Animosity II. Even now, the effects of this war can still be felt in ways such as the re-emergence of Mithridates Alti, exiled prince of Amasya- and some even say war may yet return to what remains of the Hallowed Necropolis. Although a fall 2019 weekender was planned, its story elements were eventually rolled into…… Animosity II – The Burning Winter***. Set in Shyish, our player count more than doubled to 90+ across five weeks. With the pandemic settling in for the long haul in March-April, and Animosity II set to kick off in July, we very nearly decided to cancel the campaign before making a hard pivot back to our forum-based roots. The event duration was expanded from 3 turns over 3 days, to 5 turns over 5 weeks, and the chat client Discord adopted as an event platform in lieu of actual venues. Oddly enough, this organically allowed for a return of many old Animosity features, including diplomacy (and the inevitable backstabbing that comes from it). The amount of GM and, especially, player contributions also skyrocketed. Rather than a single PDF, you can (for now, until we organize it better) view all Animosity II materials here:Setting – History of Lake BykaalSetting – Places and people of Lake BykaalPrologue – What Lurks Below Lake BykaalPrologue – Which Can Eternal LieCoalition – The ExpeditionCoalition – The PilgrimageCoalition – The UndividedCoalition – The WretchedCoalition – PerpetualCoalition – SoulmuncherzSetting – Other Figurehead NPCsSetting – Of Monsters and GodbeastsUnfolding Narrative – Turn 1Unfolding Narrative – Turn 2Unfolding Narrative – Turn 3Unfolding Narrative – Turn 4Unfolding Narrative – Turn 5Unfolding EpiloguePlayer Contributions – Da WarpathPlayer Contributions – Turn 1Player Contributions – Turn 2Player Contributions – Turn 3Player Contributions – Turn 4Player Contributions – Turn 5Rather than fighting for control of the lake, each Coalition pursued their own varied ambitions. Ultimately, the Perpetual- an alliance of Death and Seraphon- succeeded in thwarting the cancerous, irradiating Big Bad that escaped Amasya at the end of Animosity I with the help of all the other Coalitions (more or less). Much, however, was left up in the air, and only the affairs of a single town were resolved during…… the Animosity Weekender 2020, “The Root of All Evil”. Set some months after Animosity II, this one-turn, one-week campaign took place in the town of Bolyany, a superstitious and gnarled turnip-farming village native to Lake Bykaal. The site of several major battles during Animosity II, Bolyany’s vegetable patches drank deep of the spilled blood and, on Mallusnacht, gave birth to the Root, vegetable horrors and boogeymen from the town’s distant past. Three rabble-rouser NPCs- a Hammerhal merchant eager to profit, a local woman baker eager steeped in tradition, and an ancient witch wise in the truth of the Root’s nature- led the defense of the town as the player characters attempted to survive the night. Most did not, but the outcome saw the town survive and Hammerhal’s influence cut from the town like a black spot from a root vegetable- but why am I telling you this? You can read both parts of the Weekender here:Animosity 2020 Weekender – Root of All Evil Event PackAnimosity 2020 Weekender – Root of All Evil Unfolding NarrativeSo, yes- that’s Animosity, to date, in a nutshell. Before I sign off, though, I want to leave you with a glimpse of what we believe makes our campaigns so great. This is an excerpt from the Root of All Evil Unfolding, featuring our writers combining three players stories- one, an exemplar of Sigmar, one, a champion of the Dark Gods, and the third, with a conversion of a giant turnip-hurling catapult:Up ahead, a man stood clad in silver armour, towering above the corpse of one of the turnip monstrosities. Blood already dripped from his wrinkled mouth to stain the robes of the hammer-god that adorned him. The two men faced each other, exhausted, yet with eyes still burning with sheer hatred: a pair of avatars pulsing with the energy of the gods they so represented. The Lector raised his sword, and The Shrouded raised his.Before either could so much as take a step, the heavens broke open. The roof of the Church of Sigmar shattered. Like a great flaming comet, the biggest turnip the knight had ever seen came singing through the night air, wreathed in burning flames. For the most fleeting of seconds, Sigmar’s Lector met the eyes of The Shrouded, and he saw his own horrified expression echoed back at him.And then he knew nothing else.Turnipult!*We reckon you’ll have to check back Monday to eavesdrop on this tense conversation between Haraldr-Grimnir and Iden the Auric…**We hope to re-introduce this three day event model with the fall Animosity Weekenders, which may be returning 2021 but, at worst, no later than 2022.*** “The Burning Winter” name was originally pitched as a soft reboot of our WHFB iteration, after End Times: Nagash had released but before we knew the world as we knew it was ending. The original Burning Winter would have pitted Elector Count Valmir von Raukov against Crom the Conqueror in a war for Ostland.This article written by Alex P aka @LittleSoldierTVThis article was originally published on June 12th 2021

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