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 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.

Turnipult!

*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.

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

This article written by Alex P aka @LittleSoldierTV

Five fast facts about Mithridates Alti

You’ve read his biography, and you may even have fought for him once before during Animosity I. He’s a wild card who’s come to collect, and we expect you’ll be very well acquainted with him before this summer is over. So, who is he, exactly? Let’s find out a little more about him!

Alti isn’t actually a name

The Mithridates lineage ruled the hallowed necropolis of Amasya in Ghyran as benevolent Nagash-worshipping priest-kings for five generations. As the papency passed from father to firstborn son, so did the family name; “Alti” literally translates to “Six” in the language of the Amasyan, while Alti’s father Besh translated to “Five” and so on. Thus, Mithridates Alti’s name literally means “The Sixth Priest-King”.

He became a vampire out of necessity

Alti’s been ridiculed for his Soulblight curse, but the truth is, it was never something he wanted. His body failing after decades of war during the first century of the Age of Chaos, Mithridates Alti realized he would never live to see his home again; thus, he made a devil’s bargain with Mannfred von Carstein: five centuries of service in exchange for strength and immortality. It is a curse of necessity, and one Alti takes no pride nor joy in.

His father abandoned him during Animosity I

Ironically, Alti never actually ruled the Hallowed Necropolis as priest-king. As the Age of Chaos dawned, his father, Mithridates Besh, was mortally wounded by a plaguebearer’s knife. At the elder Mithridates request, his son carried him back to Amasya and entombed him within a black sarcophagus with the intention that he would rise again. Unfortunately, Alti would go on to betray Sigmar’s armies at the Eightpoints and become embroiled in the following wars against Sigmar and Archaon in Shyish.

When he finally did return home leading the Reclaimation during Animosty I, he discovered his father had become a vassal-creature for an entity players came to know as the Nemesis during the events of Animosity II. While Besh’s defeat is recorded elsewhere, his father’s fate- and the six centuries Alti wasted in pursuit of seeing his father and the city of his youth again- weighs heavily on Alti’s mind.

He cares about the Iscarneth Ceraphate

It is well known that Nagash uses the insidious curse of the Soulblight bloodlines to conquer new lands from within. Such was the task Mannfred von Carstein gave Mithridates Alti. With Nagash facing defeat by Archaon’s blade, Mannfred bade Alti to found a Soulblight conclave in the blinding light of Hysh. Alti found an easy mark in the aelf named Eresial, a kindred soul marked by desperation and a desire to save his people. Unfortunately, Alti’s eyes were always on returning home to Amasya- a mistake he now regrets, as he realizes the Iscarneth were, in fact, his flock to shepherd all along.

He’s not Mannfred von Carstein’s puppet

 A common misconception is that Alti is merely Mannfred’s goon, and while Mannfred did bail him out after the events of Animosity I, nothing could be further from the truth. Alti’s five centuries of service are done, and while even Mannfred assumes Alti will be a good little minion, Alti believes his finest hour has yet to come. With Nagash’s power broken by Teclis’ hand, Alti owes no fealty to the Mortarch and instead seeks the throne of Ceraph simply to become that which he was born to be: the king of a great city. 


So, what do you think of Mithridates Alti, knowing what you know now? Let us know on our Discord server!

This article was written by Alex P aka @LittleSoldierTV

Travel the Prime Dominion today!

“The dangers of damaged Waystone Towers, the shimmersea and shadowtides, the winds of Noctis and the moons of Hysh.”

A treatise on navigation in the Prime Dominion, by Lost Uzzog of the skyship Cleavermaw

Preface

Navigation in the Prime Dominion is fraught with danger for newcomers to the region. While there are many hidden hazards, there is also pattern and logic to be found, as expected in Hysh, but one must know where to look for them. And for those new to Hysh, there are additional problems to contend with.

Noctis

The primary source of danger is Noctis itself, the famed black sun which stabilizes the region. The local weather patterns are entirely created and dominated by the relative position of Noctis, as can be seen from the enclosed sample pages from my Almanac. The year in the Prime Dominion is exactly 45 weeks (315 days) long, dictated by the orbital rhythm of the darkening orb itself. 

Where Noctis travels, winter travels with it. As Noctis passes away spring and summer follow. Autumn heralds Noctis’ return, and with it dark skies, strong winds and fierce tides. A ship’s captain must beware the winter winds, for they all blow toward the black sun and they get stronger and faster the nearer one approaches. A not-insignificant number of ships have been lost by incautious commanders trying their luck too near that dire sphere.

The storms abate in spring and autumn regions but the winds still blow hard toward Noctis. In summer, and the temperate zone around Iscarion, the winds are lighter and much less treacherous. There are some local anomalies that cause strange calms, or near permanent storms and riptides. These should be marked on your charts if you have reliable copies.

Celennar and the ethereal moons

Hysh’s moons ALWAYS appear to be full when viewed from within the Realm. Hysh is the source of light illuminating them, so to the people in Hysh they appear to be reflecting light straight back at them (while the angle they are at compared to Hysh will affect how they appear to other realms).

If Celennar has, I think, a nine week orbital cycle this means the true moon is hidden from view for four and a half weeks of each lunar-month, as it passes beneath the surface of Hysh. Luckily for the Prime Dominion it can still be seen from the Lux Umbra for some of this time. Otherwise it would only be invisible as soon as the whole of it passed below the Realm’s plane. Celennar is also eclipsed once each month, as it passes near the Shadow Realm of Ulgu.

As the Realm of Hysh is so big, Celennar will appear to get bigger as it orbits nearer to the viewer, and appear smaller when it is far away. It orbits at an angle so it will also get higher and lower in the sky as it passes. To a viewer in the Prime Dominion on the edge of the Realm, in Haixiah, it will seem HUGE and close as it rises on the near side, and visible in full daylight. But it will appear to be tiny and distant when it sets on the far side, and only visible in the almost-twilight that passes for night here. The realm itself might be turning relative to Celennar’s path, so the rise and fall points might change over the course of many years. I have not been in this Realm long enough to be sure.

The shimmersea and the shadowtides

The sea of liquid light that fills the void between the floating metalith islands of the archipelago that form the Prime Dominion is another strange phenomenon a traveller new the the area will need to become accustomed to. Conventional sea-going vessels can float on it and navigate in a way sea-captains will feel is familiar but one must be aware it is as far from normal water as it is possible to imagine. The light waxes and wanes, and occasional rents or tears appear on its surface. Known as shadowtides, these fissures grow and shrink in unfathomable rhythmic patterns (possibly connected to the movements of Noctis, but I have not been able to quantify them). Sailing into a shadowtide will be catastrophic for a surface vessel: this cannot be overstated. 

Skyvessels, however, can make use of the shadowtides to slip from the Lux Flumen, above the surface of the Shimmersea, to the Lux Umbra, the penumbral underworld of the Prime Dominion (or vice versa). This ‘other side’ is frequented by, shall we say, those less encumbered by morals or manners.

Falling in the shimmersea is a disconcerting experience. The liquid light is warm and will burn, if you stay in it too long, but it is not an instantly fatal danger. The undead suffer worse than the living as far as I have been able to ascertain. Even the unfocused light of Hysh is unkind to the magics that sustain them, but it isn’t like standing in the beam of a Luminark.

Waystone Towers

There are ten Waystone Towers scattered around the Prime Dominion. They are clearly marked on most maps and charts and they can be used to get your bearings by checking the relative positions of three or more towers. Each has a unique signature when located with a thaumaturgic, or aetheric, compass once you have tuned the device to remove the overpowering noise of the Perimeter Inimical and balanced it for the location of Noctis. Neither of these measures should be ignored as your compass will be next to useless without them.

Not all Waystone Towers can be trusted – they were made by the aelfs, so they are probably ancient. Some have been damaged or broken by powerful magics over the centuries, and others are either corrupted or faulty as they appear to shift or their bearings are displaced. I am trying to mark these on my charts but they should be double-checked as often as possible. 

Postscript

Navigation within the Prime Dominion should be easy for anyone who has the skill and fortitude to survive the hazardous journey through Haixiah to get here. But there is much to learn in a short time in order to avoid the most common hazards here. An inexperienced commander will not last long and the numerous shipwrecks that pepper the islands tell that tale in grim detail.

This article was written by Saul P aka @WarbossKurgan