Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Lores of Magic: The Lore of Hashut

By now I would imagine that most of you would have come into contact with the Tamurkhan: The Throne of Chaos book. For anyone who has not, it contains a lot of story and rules for many of the weird Chaos monsters that Forgeworld are well known for. It also includes a full, stand-alone Chaos Dwarf army list called the Legion of Azgorh.

Chaos Dwarf sorcerers can use the Lores of Fire, Metal and Death. The lord-level Sorcerer-Prophets have another option, however. They can use the Lore of Hashut, which is included with the army list. Many people probably only have a vague idea of what this Lore does, so I thought it might be interesting to take a closer look.

What does it do?
The Lore Attribute of the Lore of Hashut is Killing Fire. Magic missiles and direct damage spells from the Lore gain +D3 to their casting rolls when they target a Flammable enemy. Obviously this rule is highly situational - there are not all that many Flammable units in the game. However, should you have the good fortune to be fighting Treemen and Treekin, this rule will be very handy.

The Signature Spell of the Lore is Breath of Hatred. It's an augment spell with a range of 12", and grants the target Hatred. It can be boosted from a casting value of 6+ to 15+, in which case it will target all friendly units within 12". The spell remains in play.

Chaos Dwarfs have several very capable combat units available to them, and all of them would benefit from rerolls to hit. The low casting value means it's easy to throw your last dice at it opportunistically, but you can only be sure of having it in play for a single round of combat - if the spell is in any way important, your opponent will dispel it in the following turn. Unfortunately this goes for the boosted version of the spell as well, since its effective casting value drops to the non-boosted cost for dispel attempted in subsequent turns.

For all that Breath of Hatred is a Signature Spell, there is little chance of you having more than a single copy of it because only Sorcerer Prophets can choose spells from the Lore of Hashut. All it really means is that this is the one spell you can be guaranteed to get, should you so choose.

Burning Wrath is the next spell in the Lore. It's a magic missile with the rather pathetic range of 8". However, it inflicts D6 Strength 6 flaming hits, and is cast on a 6+. If you double the casting cost, it does 2D6 hits. So what the spell lacks in range, it more than makes up for in punch. 

The problem with this spell is obvious. If the caster is on foot in a unit, he will often have no targets in range, and your opponent will make sure there is nothing worthwhile to target. At best you will probably get a single attempt at the spell off before you're in combat, and then  you can't cast it. You're most likely to get good mileage from Burning Wrath if you've gone for the more adventurous type of Sorcerer-Prophet on a Great Taurus or Bale Taurus. In this case you can fly up within range of the flanks of enemy units and unleash your magic missile with impunity. The dangers of such an adventurous 600 point model are obvious, but that's not really the point. If you're going that way anyway, this spell is an ideal weapon. There are a lot of very dangerous models in the game that wouldn't survive a decent hit from this spell, with its high Strength and flaming attacks. Add to that the fact that no unit of decent troops wants to weather 2D6 S6 hits, and you're on a winner.

Next up we have Dark Subjugation. It's a hex spell with a 24" range, cast on an 8+. The target must pass a Leadership test at -3 or suffer a -1 penalty permanently. This is one of those weird spells that doesn't feel overly powerful, but could come back to bite your opponent later if he lets it through. Targets with decent leadership and a BSB reroll may not suffer any ill effects at all, and won't care as much about the permanent effects even if they do. Of course, nobody would want to be hit multiple times with the spell, so if you get it through once, it might start to become a priority for your opponent later. 

Dark Subjugation is ideal for targetting relatively isolated targets that are about to be shot at by a Hellcannon, or for trying to weaken the central stubborn line of an army you might normally be able to beat, but not break. It's not the most powerful spell in the Lore, but it has some potential.

The Curse of Hashut is a sniping direct damage spell. It has a range of 18" and is cast on a 10+. The target suffers hits equal to 2D6 minus its Toughness, with the hits wounding on 4+ and ignoring armour. There is no boosted version of this spell, so 18" is as far as it goes. 

I always think of these spells as being Elf-killers, because the Toughness of their characters is so pitiful. In truth this spell will make any character nervous, especially if you roll a pile of hits. The success of the spell will always come down to the 2D6 roll, but well armoured targets with relatively low Toughness of few Wounds will want nothing to do with it. It's a dangerous spell with a reasonable range, and the casting value doesn't break the bank.

Ash Storm is a hex spell with a 24" range. It's cast on a 12", lasts one full turn and has a long list of effects. The target suffers -1 to hit in combat, and -2 to hit with missile weapons. It must use its "basic move" (whatever that means - does that mean no magical effects on movement apply? How does random movement work?), and may not march, charge or fly. The unit treats all terrain as dangerous terrain, wizards affected may only cast spells on themselves, and the unit counts as Flammable.

It's hard to believe that a single spell can have so many effects - it almost feels like 2 or 3 spells rolled into one. So, great value then. No matter the situation of your target, it won't want to be hit by Ash Storm. It can cripple wizards, missile troops, combat troops, and can prevent charges. Thanks to the Lore Attribute, it will even make your magic missiles and direct damage spells easier to cast at the unit, if you have any power dice left. Can you imagine the damage a large monster or unit with multiple wounds would take if this spell made them Flammable and then a boosted Burning Wrath (or Flames of Azgorh) hit them? The mind boggles.

In summary, Ash Storm is an amazing spell. You're effectively getting several useful hex spells rolled into one, so there will always be a good target for it.

Hell Hammer is a decidedly weak spell after the lofty heights of the one before it. It's a direct damage spell that draws a line 3D6" from the caster's base (double that if the spell is boosted). Models hit must take an Initiative test or suffer a Strength 6 hit doing D3 wounds. It is cast on a 13+, or 18+ when boosted. 

Riding a Bale Taurus dictates the usefulness of some spells
In short, it is a poor man's Penumbral Pendulum (from the Lore of Shadow) - the same effects with half the range and half the hitting power. The one advantage Hell Hammer has in this comparison is that any units suffering casualties must take a Panic test - so if you lined it up right, you could force multiple tests at once. This is really the strength of the spell, since it doesn't hit hard enough to seriously threaten decent-sized monsters or war machines. The poor range and need for a good angle of attack make this another spell that is best used by a Sorcerer-Prophet on a flying monster, but it's probably just as likely to be palmed off for the Signature Spell if you roll it up.

And finally we have Flames of Azgorh, which is a frankly terrifying spell. It's a direct damage spell with no range - you just need line of sight. It places the small blast marker on your nominated point, and then scatters D6". Targets under the template suffer a S6 flaming hit that does D6 wounds. In addition, the model directly under the centre of the template must take a Toughness test with a -2 penalty, or be slain outright with no saves whatsoever. The spell can be boosted to use the large template, however this pushes the casting value from 18+ to 25+.

To my mind, this spell is everything Flame Storm (from the Lore of Fire) should have been. It places a big template in the middle of the enemy lines and then roasts everything. Actually, Flames of Azgorh is an horrific spell that could ruin people's games really quickly if it landed in the right place. It will make a terrible mess of a large unit, no matter how good it is - and it will do even worse things to larger targets like Monstrous Infantry or even full-blown Monsters. Ogre players will live in fear if you have this spell in your hand. The one redeeming feature of the spell is the Look Out Sir! rule. This should hopefully ensure that your lord character avoids being the victim under the centre of the template. If you fail that test, then it's probably lights out and game over.

How will it be used?
So then, the Lore of Hashut definitely has its uses. It has a moderately handy augment spell, a very powerful hex and a couple of potentially devastating damage spells, so there are no pronounced weaknesses in the line-up. As is generally the case, there are probably a couple of spells you don't really want (Dark Subjugation and Hell Hammer being the weakest of the choices), but given the Signature Spell is adequate, you will only ever be stuck with one of them. 

Unfortunately the Lore of Hashut can only be taken by a Sorcerer-Prophet, so there will probably only ever be a single character who can choose the Lore in your army. The question then is whether to go for this Lore, or for the Lore of Fire, Death or Metal. The Lore of Fire is better used on a smaller supporting wizard, and the Lores of Death and Metal also work well in that context, given their solid signature spells. For me, the Lore of Hashut probably wins the toss-up for the Sorcerer-Prophet (especially if he's on a Bale Taurus). It is the most versatile of the Lores on offer, and contains some of the most fearsome spells. Flames of Azgorh will give most opponents kittens, and you could seriously mess with their plans with Ash Storm


  1. Hey im loving the magic reviews!

    cant you do the vampire lore next?

  2. I see no reason why not. I shall look into it...