Tuesday, 11 December 2018

CXCVIII. An Unplanned Aelf Warband

I was at a gaming show a few weeks back, doing all-day painting demos again. There were sprues of sea elves, and I decided to see what can be done with minimal converting and an unconventional (for high elves) paintjob. When my test model turned out surprisingly cool, I wanted to make some more. I allowed myself greater freedom with the others, though - they were converted using putty.

An elven mage, Venthadror the Sage, with his guards. The mage is also a converted Seaguard. Trimmed off a lot, and just sculpted some more robe on top. And fully closed the helmet.

Venthadror's guards, including their captain. Lothern Seaguard with some minor changes. The one on the right was the test model.

The mage's pet salamander, Vurlien. The model is RAFM Miniatures giant newt. I love the sculpt. It's meant to have a reptilian rider, which I didn't use.

 
All the elves. The ranger is an experiment from a few months ago. He fits nicely with those guys.
 *

I also had a bunch of these Space Marines. Since the first two days at the show were slow (weekdays), I asked my followers on Instagram to give me ideas for what to do with Space Marines. I got a lot of suggestions, and picked a few from those. Some turned out better than others, but it was definitely a fun exercise. I think the leopard is my favourite.

  1. Photonegative (normal photo)
  2. Photonegative (the same photo inverted)
  3.  Terracotta
  4. Pointillism
  5. Ghostly
  6. Leopard

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

CXCVII. The Third Witch

Last week I hosted the second game in the AoS28 campaign I'm playing with Vladimir. This time we used my adaptation of the Malifaux rules system, and I think we'll stick to that one from now on. You can find my report on the first game, Hag's Hovel Carnage, here: LINK. But for your convenience here's a brief recap of the events that lead to the encounter you're about to witness in this report:

Several moons ago a group of mercenaries trespassed within Folda's borders to seek out an old woman's cottage hidden in a dark wood. The crone's name was Vanga, and she was a witch. The mercenaries were under a horrific curse cast by her estranged younger sister, Tashta, and were hoping Baba Vanga could cure them. Unfortunately for the whole lot of them, Janos the Cannibal, a knight of Folda and witch hunter, was on the Cursed Company's trail. A skirmish ensued in the witch's own front yard, leaving everybody dead but Janos and a single ghoul soldier of his. Janos severed the hag's head and presented it to the Queen. He was granted the authority to form, and take command of, a small force dedicated solely to the task of combating witches and their ilk.  


I. DRAMATIS PERSONAE


Vladimir's warband.
The witches Vanga and Tashta had another sister: Gianna, the youngest. She got on with Vanga well, and when she learnt of her death she was furious. She immediately sent her familiar to retrieve the body, but all he found were gnawed bones. There was no head. Qrth brought home what he found of Vanga, as well as one of the strange fallen warriors whose rotting bodies littered the cottage's yard. The deceased mercenary was then forced back from death to tell Gianna what had occurred and who had killed Vanga. Later, rumours got to Gianna that her sister's head was being paraded around Folda as a trophy... 

  • The Witch Gianna - she is trying hard to keep her appearance youthful, but try as she might age is catching up with her. Her magic is focused on warding off death and decay - she can bring creatures back from the brink of death, but she can never restore them completely, giving them a new and twisted form. Gianna carries a staff adorned with teeth and bones, and if pushed into a corner she can tear out the living hearts of those who threaten her, with bare hands.
  • Howlers - Gianna lives in a forest with a band of so-called howlers - tiny beastly creatures that run through the woods at night and make all sorts of eerie noises. They were all human children once, cut down by illness, injury or mere starvation, and given a new life by their dark mother. 
  • Creature formerly known as Rebecca Von Todmorten - the unnaturally tall figure, clad in armour, wrapped in chains and tattered cloth, still possesses a living soul, but not much of her former self remains. To think she used to be a lady, who foolishly ran away from home, chasing freedom and adventure... But she always has been damned, and only drew in those that tried to save her. She knows not why the witch didn't just leave her to die, and it doesn't really matter. There will be no salvation for either of them. Her only wish is to wreak havoc upon those who have slain the last man she cared for.
  • Qrth - seemingly a normal raven, he's actually Gianna's demonic familiar. When unleashed for combat he assumes a form thatis still raven-like, with black wings and talons and a beak, but huge and terrifying to look upon.

Qrth's demonic form.

My warband.
Janos the Cannnibal and his witch-hunting retinue. On orders from his queen, Janos roams the land on a quest to eliminate any traces of dark magic he can find. Queen Ligia considers potential spreading of this corrupting force into her own kingdom a threat.

  • Janos the Cannibal, knight of Folda -  a ruthless slayer with particular hate for the demons and their servants. He does not need the cultists and abominations alive; in fact he makes sure the ones he catches are thoroughly obliterated - by devouring their bodies.
  • Witch Hunters - hand-picked by Janos himself from the ranks of Folda's standing army, Ghoul Witch Hunters are the basic grunts of the crew. They are trained and armed for combat with hand weapons as well as crossbows.  
  • The Gaoler - Cruel and callous interrogators of witches, Ghoul Gaolers inspire terror. Their mastery of creative ways of inflicting pain is infamous across the isles. 
  • Bloodtracker - Just like their vampire overlords, ghouls can end up giving in to their feral side and gradually metamorphose into monsters with lupine features. This is the legacy of the pact made with the Duke of Wolves in the final days of the Ostrom. Janos utilises these agile predators for tracking his quarry.
  • Grey Wolves - wolves are close allies of Folda. Janos values them for their speed and ferocity.


II. THE ENCOUNTER


Gianna arrived in Folda with her Howlers and reanimated Rebecca in tow, to find her sister's head. She did not have to wait long for Janos to appear. The witch hunters emerged from the woods near her campsite, and put up their display of grisly trophies to get the witch's attention.

Provoked by their vicious mockery, Gianna sent forth her minions. Rebecca did away with one of the ghoul witch hunters easily. The others carefully retreated in the shade of the gnarled trees near the trophy poles, firing their crossbows to try keep them at bay.


The monstrous hooded gaoler was also tasked with guarding the head. His overconfidence in the face of a swarm of angry Howlers proved to be his undoing in the end.



While the others were distracting the witch hunters, Qrth came closer disguised as a common raven, clearly waiting for an opportune moment to snatch Vanga's head. Janos saw through Gianna's plan, though, and ended the bird before it had a chance to show its true, demonic form. 


On the other flank, the wolves and the Bloodtracker crept through the woods to get to the witch from behind.

However, they were spotted by a group of Howlers protecting the witch, and had to engage.

After slaying the familiar, Janos waited for the witch to come closer. And she did, eventually. Janos charged at his quarry, but the witch proved more resilient than he expected. With his witch hunters and wolves too far to assist him, he realised he might have made a mistake. Rebecca heard the commotion behind her and turned back - to see her murderer. It was time for vengeance.

With screeching Howlers biting at his ankles, and dead Rebecca soon to join the fight, Janos tried his best to cut down the witch. The wolves managed to slaughter the Howlers that had blocked their path, but by the time they charged to their master's aid he was on the ground, the witch Gianna standing triumphantly above his massive collapsed body. She reached down, plunged her hand into the knight's chest, and ripped out his heart! The wolves threw themselves at her, but once more found her minions blocking their path. The Bloodtracker somehow got through and caught up with the fleeing witch, but he too met a grisly end - his hear torn out while still beating.


A dark day for Folda.
Seeing that all was lost, the remaining two witch hunters began to retreat. One of them still had enough resolve to deny the witch her prise: he grabbed Vanga's shrivelled head and ran for his life. Rebecca tried to chase him down, but she lost him in the forest...

III. THE AFTERMATH


When the surviving witch hunters returned at the scene with the cavalry hours later, the witch was nowhere to be seen. 
The bodies of fallen witch hunters and Janos were carefully carried away to be handed to their families. The gruesome detail of Janos' missing heart caused much alarm and outrage in the kingdom. The two slain wolves were found flayed, which was also perceived as an insult to Folda. They too were buried with honours.


*   *   *

Well, that's the end of Janos. Witches and cultists everywhere will be happy to hear of his demise.  :D And this means Folda needs a new Witch Hunter General. Who will claim the spot? Will they go after Gianna? What will become of Baba Vanga's head and Janos' heart? Perhaps our next game will be some kind of body part prisoner exchange? We'll find out sometime next year. If you want to see clearer photos of Vladimir's witch warband, keep an eye on his Instagram - they'll appear there eventually. [Edit: here they are: LINK]