Monday, 29 January 2018

CLVII. Monstrous Births: Act III

In Castle Waywode, the Countess is standing behind a reading desk. She is poring over her tomes and thinking again about the evidence she has found, while rain drums on the glass panes of the Count's library.

So, she is looking for something (or some things), with hoofs like a horse, long and light-coloured hair, that is an omnivore, and can kill a boar, leaving a stab wound... She remembers the first misshapen deer she saw in the woods - how it sought death in the abandoned well. That was unusual, to say the least. She had seen this symptom before... On people riddled with fairy taint. The Countess sinks onto a chair.  

'If I'm right about this, and I'm pretty sure I am, then I have a problem. That thing cannot stay here, terrorising my county. And what it does... absolutely appalling. No female creature would be safe. And someone from the other side could well be here, looking for their lost pet. The vile beast must die. But... why not have some fun first? Yes, we will capture him in Volovska Weald. And then organize a spectacular, bloody hunt for the others! Imagine that... His head will look great on my wall.'

The Countess stands up again, and promptly leaves the library. She must commune with the spirits.

That very afternoon, the Countess sets off into the cold rain, her henchmen in tow. A-hunting the fiend of Volovska Weald.

This ancient ruined arch could be where he came through to the domain of man. The Countess will start from there. Washed by the rain, the spirits and their mistress search the woods for a while. And then they hear a loud, deep, animal roar.

There he is, the fae abomination, with his unfortunate children. The Countess was right. And he won't be easy to capture... The spirits ready themselves for the attack.

The Unicorn wastes no time. He charges straight at the Countess, his bloodshot eyes flashing with violent madness characteristic for his kind. How fast the creature can move... The Countess can't help but retreat a few steps back, even though she knows a sheath of Gheists will shield her from the attack. The monster is stopped in his tracks, confused by the turn of events. Other spirits fly forward to stop the group of abominable deer from interfering.

The Unicorn launches an assault at the Countess once more, but the Gheists won't let him through. Soon, he gets completely surrounded by snapping Bloodfiends. The trap is working!

But the deer are beginning to come through! The Bloodfiends must break their line to stop them. The outnumbered Unicorn realises the Countess' plan is to take his freedom, and decides to make a run for it. One of the Custodians is still tightly latched onto him.

But the beast is strong, and somehow he still breaks free from the spirit's grip and gallops towards the trees!

The Countess thinks fast; tries to summon a spirit to appear in the unicorn's path. But no spirit comes.

The Countess screams in frustration. The monstrous deer are all lying on the ground extinguished by now. But their father has escaped...

The rain is dying down.



After the encounter in Volovska Weald that ended in failure to capture the Unicorn, the Countess tried to find him again. But without success... It has been a week now without new monstrous births reports. It seems the nightmare is gone. Perhaps he somehow found his way home. Perhaps the Fae came for him.

The Countess makes sure all the aggressive deformed woodland animals are hunted out of the Weald by the Wayvodes' men, and their corpses burned. The farm animals are destroyed by fire as well. If they are children of a Unicorn, they will spread fairy taint, and that cannot be allowed. The Countess tells the peasants it was all a disease epidemic spread by forest animals, but by her hand it is now stopped. She is still in a foul mood, though she tries her best to hide that. Eventually everything calms back down and life goes on, the land a little bit more scarred than before.

*   *   *

And that's it. The finale didn't go quite as planned for the Countess, and the Unicorn managed to escape her trap in the very last round. Tomislav had bad luck with cards in this game. Had he managed to summon a Sphynx to catch the monster, it would have been a victory for him. However, no such luck.

The campaign was fun to prepare, play and report on, even as the story is quite dark when you really think about it. I hope I'll do something like that with the Plague Doctor as well some day. But I don't think it will be this year.

I'll be making one more post about Monstrous Births, in which I'll explain some design choices, give commentary and some more information about the Unicorn and his miniature representation (I haven't done that yet to keep the main boss a surprise). If anyone has any particular questions they want me to address in that post, put them in the comments.


  1. Wooow! I love horrors and ghost stories but your works are much better! Fear to sleep? Yes!

  2. Hi,

    Great report ^^. It's a shame that the campaign is over. In terms of rules, I wanted to know about the objectives of each crew. Since you do not use Malifaux's goals, how do you get victory points? So I'm taking note for my campaign project, XD.

    A greeting.

    1. Thank you! Sure, in that final post I'll give more details about what I did with the rules.

  3. Positively sterling stuff! A fantastic final movement to a truly operatic suite! <3

  4. The conversions, the painting, the photos, the story. All outstanding. It's dreadfully inspiring. The countess' henchmen are particularly macabre. Beautiful work.

  5. I agree with Blue in VT- spectacular.

  6. Your use of a muted palette is simply excellent!

  7. Absolutely inspiring! I'm in love with your blog and your work, I was very worried about what was going on in Volovska Weald, I'm glad the countess got to the bottom of it! Thank you for such inspiring work, this is why I love making miniatures

  8. This is incredible! The narrative and background around this are so good and the rain and fog effects layed over the pictures create the right atmosphere! You really are off the beaten tracks in terms of style and wargaming as a whole - in a very good way!

  9. An excellent finish! I was able to guess it was a Unicorn when all the clues were laid out together in the intro, but I hadn't put it together when they were presented before. Great choice for a villain, and I'm glad the Countess at least managed to drive off the beast, tho she was denied the closure of slaying it.

    Amazing work all the way through on the visuals. Great models, great photography, and then great effects layered on top all come together to make some absolutely astounding illustrations. I've seen lower production values in commercially produced books, and you were generous enough to share it with us for free. Thanks for bringing us along on this journey.

    1. Thanks! :)

      I'm actually rather curious how easy/difficult it was for readers to figure out the monster's identity before the reveal. So thanks for sharing your experience.

  10. Great story, great pictures, great miniatures! :)