Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The Shadows Return: The Blessing of Lord Scroltch

A contribution from Owen, In which Lord Scroltch the Deliriously Pustulent is blessed by Papa Nurgle for his many services and becomes an even more diseased deamonic octopus than ever.

Lord Scroltch the Deliriously Pustulent was sitting in the mud, making happy little bubbling
noises to himself as he watched the happy little bubbles rise to the surface and burst, releasing a pleasingly horrible stench into the air when it happened. First there was blast of flatulent trumpets, then the dull grey fog of Albion rolled back to reveal a beam of nauseating greenish light, which shone down from on high. Down this beam of light descended a great and scabrous mass of heaving, rancid flesh, supported upon a palanquin born aloft by a great and scabrous mass of heaving, rancid nurglings. With a squelch, the wetness and vileness of which defied description, and which unleashed a stench beyond the comprehension of mortal men from the swamps of eternal stench, this great palanquin came to rest before Lord Scrolth, who waggled his tentacles happily and blew squelchy burps of joy towards it. The great and festering mound of flesh seethed and rippled for some time making dramatic gestures accompanied by a symphony of odd plops, glops, squeaks and squelches. Lord Scroltch looked on in awe.

It was at about this time that Papa Nurgle realized he had landed facing the wrong way. He proceeded to chasten his mound of gibbering, giggling nurglings, which obliged him by turning around and actually facing his most pustulent follower.

Monday, 30 May 2016

The Shadows Return Special Characters

As the campaign goes on I figure we will make special rules for characters who hang around and promise to play a major role in proceedings. This post will be updated with the details as they are decided, so I can reference them from the Albion home page.

First up we have the powerful Wight Lord, Korgorax.

Korgorax, Scourge of Albion 
245 points, Lord choice in a Vampire Counts army

M  WS BS S  T  W  I  A  Ld
4  5  0  4  5  4  5  3  9

Unit Type: Infantry

Special Rules: Undead; Hates Truthsayers and Giants

Magic Items:
Armour of Destiny Unfulfilled (Magic Armour)
Grants the wearer a 4+ armour save and a 4+ ward save.

Giants' Bane (Magic Weapon)
Counts as a great weapon. Gives the bearer Heroic Killing Blow.

Korgorax was a Chaos warlord who led an invasion of Albion long ago, soon after the island became isolated from the outside world by the magic of the Truthsayers. Intent upon destroying the standing stones that were resisting the flood of Chaos into the world, he led a bloody campaign against the inhabitants of the island. The defenders of Albion were not as they are now; its peoples were civilised and their armies were strong. The Giants also fought to defend the island - boredom and inbreeding had not yet begun their slide into barbarism. The war was protracted and many Giants were felled by Korgorax's black-bladed axe before his invasion staggered to a halt due to attrition. His army was eventually cornered and destroyed by an alliance of Giants and Men, led by the Truthsayer themselves.

The taint of Chaos was strong upon the body of Korgorax and his fallen followers, and so they were interred away from the mainland of Albion, on an island that later became known as the Isle of Wights when the legions of warriors buried there refused to lie quietly...

Lord Scroltch the Deliriously Pustulent; Master of Tentacles (Squiddums)
350 points, Lord choice in a Warriors of Chaos army

M  WS BS S  T  W  I  A  Ld
7  8  0  5  5  4  7  6  9

Unit Type: Monstrous Beast

Special Rules: Regeneration 4+; Causes Fear; Mark of Nurgle; Daemonic Attacks; Unnatural Armour (2+ armour save)

Carries the Filth Mace (see the Warriors of Chaos army book)

Lord Scroltch started life as a stand-in model for a Chaos Lord on Daemonic Steed that had been left behind, but over time Nurgle decided to make him into something more.

Erathi, Hag Queen of Khaine
250 points, Lord choice in a Dark Elf army

M  WS BS S  T  W  I  A  Ld
5  7  6  4  3  3  9  4  10

Unit Type: Infantry

Options: May be mounted on a Cauldron of Blood for +190 points

Special Rules: Frenzy; Blessing of Khaine (5+ ward save); Rune of Khaine (+D3 Attacks)

Erathi's Reaper (Magic Weapon)
Grants the user +2 Strength for close combat attacks.

When Erathi fell into the Cauldron of Blood, it should have been the end of her. Her wounds at the hands of the Asur prince Eldain were mortal. However, Khaine had other plans for his handmaiden and sent her back, fully healed and more powerful than she had been before. Her eyes now glow red with the God of Murder's power, and she leaves a trail of corpses as she leads her warriors across the sodden fields of Albion.

The Shadows Return: Game 8

Norbert shifted his weight from foot to foot as he waited impatiently in the cave. Well, it was not really a cave. It was a tomb. But it was really quite cavernous inside, most likely a legacy of it having been built with the assistance of Giants in ages past. The rocks used in its construction were enormous boulders – far too large to have been handled by men. It had probably been an impressive building when it was created, but over the ages the soil had shifted and built up around it until most of its bulk lay hidden underground.

Nearby, the Wight Lord Korgorax sat brooding upon a throne assembled from pieces of stone. Norbert could not fathom why the tomb’s creators would have so honoured their fallen enemy; he suspected the Wight Lord had ordered his own minions to construct it using the materials they had on-hand. And now it seemed to be where he spent most of his time, whilst his minions went about some unknown tasks, or stood perfectly still and silent, waiting.

Norbert had been in this tomb since he had awoken after his confrontation with Korgorax on the battlefield. He had been placed here, near the Wight Lord’s throne, and he hadn’t dared move since then. He didn’t know how long he had been waiting, but it felt like forever.

Patience, snapped a commanding voice in his head. He glanced at Korgorax and found the Wight Lord’s glowing eyes staring straight at him. He found himself recoiling involuntarily in the face of that withering gaze, as well as the fact that his new master could speak straight into his mind.

Nevertheless, he suppressed a snort at the Wight’s order. “For what do we wait, my lord?” he asked. “I cannot wait forever – I am not yet as imperishable as you.”

We await a means to get off this accursed island, came the response. I have waited a long time, and now that you have arrived, my moment has finally come.

Norbert shook his head disbelievingly. “But I brought nothing with me, my lord. No means by which we might escape this prison.”

The previous thoughts had come in an emotionless manner, yet the next one seemed amused – mocking, even: Didn’t you?

Before Norbert could ask what he meant, Korgorax suddenly stiffened on his throne of shattered stone, and looked away, staring at nothing that the Necromancer could make out in the darkness.

They are here.


Commander Mikel von Markenburg cursed as he stomped about on the stony shore of the island. He glared about him into the darkness, but of course he could make out nothing beyond a few dozen feet because of the thick fog that had been their constant companion for the last few days. After the initial disastrous attempted landing, the fleet had set off south along the coast of Albion in search of a new harbor. Unfortunately that was when Albion’s legendary fog had returned, and travel from that point on had been painfully slow.

When at last they had reached a safe place to land, they had discovered that the fleet had become separated. Von Markenburg’s vessel and a few others had landed here, but the rest of the expedition under General Stefan was lost somewhere in the mists. The situation only improved when the scouts he sent out returned much sooner than expected, reporting that they appeared to be on a small island – they were no longer on the mainland of Albion at all. The place was some sort of ancient graveyard, with weathered burial mounds, fallen standing stones and the odd stand of trees. 

On the bright side, it appeared to be deserted. Von Markenburg decided the best course of action was to get all the men off the ships, allow them to stretch their legs a bit, and make camp to wait of this impossible weather.

He and his men had no idea what was waiting out there in the darkness.

So by this point I had written up special rules for Korgorax, and he was now looking for a way back onto the Albion mainland. What better way than to use the ships of Norbert's former allies? This battle was fought with mists giving a variable limit to Line of Sight. James and Steve then managed to roll in such a manner that I don't think it affected the game at all. More power to them. I'll find other ways to make their lives difficult...

Game 8: Nice boat. I’ll take it.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Distractions abound

So I really should be writing up more of the battles that have occurred in the Albion campaign, but a combination of factors have stalled my progress. My work situation has been (and still is) changing. I have continued to focus a fair bit of attention on my Ogre Siegebreaker project. And now Warhammer Total War has come out...

Friday, 20 May 2016

The Shadows Return: Game 7

The hours after the battle with the Dark Elves were a blur for Korhiel. He rode blindly through the swamps in the gathering darkness, trusting in his elven steed’s instincts to guide him safely. He gave little thought to the perils of the terrain; he was mainly trying to put as much distance as possible between himself and the battlefield. He needed to get away. Away from the enemy. Away from those lunatic Witches and the psychotic hatred in their eyes. Away from where Eldain had fallen.

It took him a long time to calm down enough to realize that the enemy had not pursued him. Perhaps they had realized that they would not overtake him on foot. Or perhaps they were content to let the deadly swamps do their work for them. This was entirely possible, Korhiel realized – by the time he stopped, he had no idea where he was and he realized he was very fortunate to have made it this far without accident. Tired and heartbroken, he eventually dismounted, dressed his wounds as best he could, and lay down to wait out the darkness.

He awoke from a fitful sleep in the dim light before dawn to discover that he was no longer alone. His trail through the swamps had been followed after all. A sorry band of battered High Elves was working its way toward him. Swordmasters, White Lions, Silver Helms on foot – the other survivors of the previous day’s battle. At their head was the banner bearer of the Sea Guard, however he no longer carried his regiment’s standard. Instead he carried the muddied and tattered banner of Lord Eldain – the very same banner that Korhiel had lost as he fled the field.

They looked to Korhiel to lead them, as the highest ranked survivor. This was embarrassing given his lack of experience and his panicked flight from his first battle, but he swallowed his doubts in the face of their need. He did refuse to take back the banner, however. “You saved it from the field, the honour is now yours,” he told him.

Together they made their way through the swamps, in the direction Korhiel best guessed might lead them back to their ships. There were only a score of them, but if they could reach the beaches they would be able to be reinforced. They were certainly in no condition to continue their campaign at they were. It was unfortunate then, that they stumbled straight into a band of Nurgle worshippers as they played in the foul mud of the swamps…


Lord Scroltch and his followers were frolicking in the mud when the High Elves came into view. The Chaos Warriors were absolutely coated in filth. The weapons were lying all over the place, and their shields had been left behind somewhere (nobody really seemed sure where). On the bright side, they had constructed a glorious array of mud castles, complete with moats, drawbridges made of rotting wood and flagpoles using leaves.

Upon sighting the Elves, Lord Scroltch gurgled delightedly. The Elves were muddy and disheveled. Clearly they liked playing in the swamps too. He splashed forward through the fens toward them, his warriors charging alongside enthusiastically, roaring in their excitement.


In the swamps not far away, a pair of giants were lumbering along behind a Truthsayer. The druid took care as he walked, making sure to find a safe path through the marshes. The giants were less concerned with where they stepped, sploshing through and trusting in their immense size to protect them from any potential hazards.

The three of them stopped suddenly when they heard the roaring of the Chaos Warriors. The Truthsayer’s eyes widened in alarm. It sounded like the enemy had found his target before he could. They would have to hurry.

Nick Gentile's High Elves had been soundly thrashed in their first game against the Dark Elves, so they were clearly on the back foot. It might seem unfair that they then have to face Owen's victorious Chaos Warriors, but these games are not as much about even battles as they are about telling a story.

This game was another unusual scenario. The High Elves started with a miserable 500 points or so of survivors, deployed first and got the second turn, however they then had 1500 points of reinforcements arrive in Turn 1. The Fen Beasts were permitted to deploy in any swamp, whilst the Giants and Truthsayer had to walk on from a table edge.

Game 7: With a Little Help From My Friends

500 points vs 2000. It's funny, but it doesn't look that uneven on the table. Stupid expensive Chaos characters.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Ogre Siegebreaker prototype done

My previous post showed that I was back into the habit of sculpting and converting Ogre bits in order to make some new models. Specifically I want Ogres in very heavy armour with huge shields and large, two-handed weapons. I have a few uses in mind for these guys, but one of the main goals is to have some Ogre Siegebreakers for Kings of War.

Production has been a confused mix of creating copies of components using existing moulds, and creating new master components and moulds for those. Given I never plan these things very carefully, it's taken me a while to get to the point where I can actually assemble a complete model. I would find myself with a dozen legs and no left arm, or something equally useful. Anyway, I am there now. I have assembled my first new Ogre!
One very heavily armoured Ogre at the ready. The axe is double-handed, although he is obviously carrying it in only one hand because of the shield.
I'm going to have to be careful with these models or they will never ever rank up. The shields are really very big.
Still very plain on the back of the breastplate. I have no immediate plans to address this.
Having a completed model feels like a milestone. At the very least, this means I have the means to create more of this same sort of thing, given I have moulds for every bit of him. But there are more things either ready to go, or still in the pipeline...
Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor. Actually no, it's just a very large hammer, made from a Lego brick. Don't worry, I won't carve up any more Lego. This is just the master, and it's obviously still a WIP. 
The master for the axe you see the prototype carrying, and a new left arm (I only had a single pose in full armour for that arm).
Even though I have multiple poses of things, I still find myself cutting and twisting things to give me more poses. If it's an important change I might re-make a new mould of it, but often it's just to tweak an individual model.
Such tidiness. Hard to believe I ever get anything done, really.
Anyway, between all this stuff and being a bit busier with work recently, I have fallen behind in terms of my campaign reporting. I'll try to address this without slacking off on the modelling front. Never enough hours in the day...

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Regaining my hobby mojo

The Ogres are breeding again. It's been a number of months since I last did any work on my home-made Ogres, but I have a particular purpose in mind for some of them in our Albion campaign. Things are moving along in the campaign, which means if I want to actually have the Ogres ready in time, I need to get a move on.
The Ogrepocalypse begins again.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

The Shadows Return: Game 6

The damp night air was filled with howls and shrieks as the Witch Elves capered in the flickering firelight around the altar of Khaine. Wounded High Elves were dragged into groups nearby, under the close guard of the Executioners. They would soon be sacrificed, and their blood added to the cauldron. Already their fallen general’s head had been mounted on one of the spikes of the altar, to the jubilation of the surrounding Witches.

Their own general had also fallen; cut down by the Asur prince’s blade. But Erathi was not yet finished. The wounded Death Hag had dragged herself up the steps of the altar, her blood leaving a trail behind her as it pumped from the mortal wound between her ribs. As the last of her strength left her, she hauled herself up to the rim of the bubbling cauldron of blood and with a final dedication to her bloody god, she toppled in. The cauldron attendants standing nearby brandished their ceremonial daggers overhead and gave ululating shrieks of triumph as they witnessed her final sacrifice. Her blood would be pleasing to Khaine.

It was into this scene that the Sorceress Moreki arrived, swooping down upon the wings of her Dark Pegasus. Shortly behind her came the shattered remnant of her army, trotting in from the darkness – a pitiful handful of Darkshards and Dreadspears, led by a slightly crestfallen-looking Assassin. 

Dropping from the back of her mount, the Sorceress strode up to the foot of the altar. The attendants moved immediately to prevent her from ascending. She was not devoted to Khaine – the stairs were not hers to climb. 

Moreki halted. “Where are your leaders?” she asked them with a sneer. Her fingers adjusted their grip upon her sorcerer’s staff – a reminder for them of her power. It was not really a threat. Not really.

Not yet.

“They have fallen.” There was no deference in the Witch Elf’s response, but nor was there any obvious hostility. “Their sacrifice is pleasing to Khaine.”

Moreki suppressed a sigh. These Khainite zealots were so tiresome. On the other hand, the power vacuum was convenient. “Then you are in need of new leadership,” she said this loudly so that others nearby would hear and take heed. “I will assume command of your army.”

The frenzied shrieking of the Witch Elves quieted and then died out completely. All of the assembled Druchii were now focused on what was taking place. Would anyone challenge her right to seize power?

One of the Witch Elf champions hissed and shoved her way past her comrades, then stopped and drew a poisoned blade with each hand. She glared at Moreki in a manner that the cauldron attendant had not. Perhaps she just didn’t like Sorcerers.  She snarled as she spoke, “We are the brides of Khaine. We will not bow to some upstart conjurer!”

Her snarls turned quickly to shrieks as dark energies flayed the skin from her bones with a back-handed gesture from Moreki. Within moments she was nothing more than a pile of bones in a silly metal bikini. Some of the surrounding Witch Elves hissed and growled, but none of them made a move toward the Sorceress.

“Is there anyone else?” she asked in a mocking voice.

It was at this moment that the light of the fires around them seemed to dim. The quiet bubbling of the cauldron rose steadily until it was boiling violently, steaming blood sloshing over the sides and onto the altar around it. A deep red glow emanated from the liquid, and as all turned their focus upon it, a dark silhouette rose from its depths.

“What manner of coup is this, Moreki? Do you dare to try and steal control of my army?” The voice that spoke was that of Erathi, however it had another, underlying tone that seemed to give it a strength and menace that it had lacked previously.

Moreki smiled sourly at this new arrival. Perhaps this was not going to go as well as she had hoped. “Hello, my sister.”

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Dark Shadows painting progress

The Dark Shadows campaign and its associated models were created 15 years ago, and I've been sitting on these unpainted models for at least 10. Thanks to this campaign, I finally have a reason to paint them. Here is my progress so far. Admittedly none of these vintage models has received the love and attention they probably deserve. The Fenbeasts in particular are pretty rough. But then they're confusing models to paint, and they look done enough. So I'm calling them done, at least for now.