Heroes of the Goretide

Now, a blood cult of mighty warriors wouldn't really be complete without at least a few... mighty warriors, would it?

A barbarian horde wouldn't really be a compelte without adequate representation of the whole community. After all, history is full of badass warrior women, and as "Khorne cares not from where the blood flows", I'm sure theres no care given as to the gender of whomever shed it either. Unfortunately the range of Bloodbound warriors is a little short of female representation. 

Happily the Stormcast range is ripe for pilfering. Thanks to my local Warhammer store having a birthday, and the manager being a jolly decent chap, I managed to get my hands on just the right model... and heavily converted it to suit my purposes. 

meet Annie Kuhlsdaughter, Exalted Deathbringer of the Goretide







A mighty warrior maiden of the Tallowlands Goiretide, Annie such a ferocious and formiddable opponent that she is rumoured to be the daughter of the legendary hero Korghos Khul. This is a possibility, Korghos Khul was in the Tallowlands the season that Roralarach shared the sky with Lady Lisu turning the sky pink as The Lady's protection countered The Rage of Roralarach. On this rare occurrence it is possible for those who were under the thrall of the goretide to be subverted by Shala, the goddess of fertility, not for nothing is the rare event known as The moons of Lust. No one has been able to varify Annie's parentage, but the title has stuck and she seems to be doing a good job of living up to it.   
 

 modelling notes: Yet again I dug into the citadel skulls set for basing details, as you've no doubt noticed I've done with most of my heroes, after making a nice flat topped slate rock out of milliput. I then removed the cloak, loincloth, spaulders, and stomcast details from Larissa Shadowstalker, and replaced her spear tip with the most appropriate daemon blade from the fantastic selection in the wrathmonger/skullreaper set, and replaced her stormcast back symbol with a nice rack of skulls, again from the skullreaper set. All that was left was some greenstuff detailing on the armour plates to bring it into line with the other bloodbound heroes. 

I decided that painting her with a bare midriff, rather than a full torso sculpted breastpalte, would not only give her a badass set of abs that the most elite crossfitter would be jealous of, but, it'd be much more in keeping with the barbarian feel of the other semi-naked bloodbound heroes. 

Her Impaling Spear is magnetised at the wrist, because it'd have such a minimal chance of surviving a trip...anywhere... if that flimsy piece of plastic was glued at such a tangental angle to the rest of the model. it also means that it just pops off if it gets caught on anything, rather than breaking.   

 Heroes of the Goretide

You have a flag to follow, you have a spiritual leader to excite your devotees and rouse them into a frenzy, so how do you control and guide these frothing loonies if they start running in the wrong direction?

With a multi chorded whip of course!

enter Flengnir the HerdsmanBloodstoker of the Goretide. 




This one is just a great model. He's fat and he's nasty, briutal and mutillated, there to flog your own  troops as much as the enemy, the fantasy equivalent of a Commissar... with a really sadistic twist. 

I love this model, and following suggestions to fully embrace the dabbled with Norse theme, I went with the bright blond hair, which was quite enjoyable to do. 

I've not yet fielded this chap in Age of Sigmar, because I'm still working on a Skulltake Battalion for him to lead, but the other bloodstoker I painted (who ended up pale and ginger) was a lot of fun to play in both Silver Tower and Gorechosen. 


 Heroes of the Goretide

What does any community, or cult, need? 

A spiritual leader, A mighty priest. 

Father Torpal, Slaughterpriest, Spiritual leader of the Goretide.







Having painted both slaughterpriest variants for my Gorechosen set, I decided that I wanted a slight variation, to enhance the model with a feel of more wizdom, more menace, more power... I also had a spare head from the aspiring deathbringer with impaling spear, and I've always been a fan of Rob Zombie I figured that the Hellbilly leading my rampaging horde of frothing maniacs down from the hills would be a fitting tribute. it just took a bit of trimming and a few whisps of greenstuff hair and the work was done. 

In painting this I was, again, playing with the skin technique and vibrant red effects. It needed a bit of a contrast and I felt the grey hair would add a touch of authority and wisdom to the model. The eyes are deliberately white (again as a tribute to the Hellbilly Deluxe cover) because they give the impression of a trance or ritual as he communes with his god offering up the sacrifice he's just made, with his blood drenched wrath hammer, in the hopes of a boon.


 Heroes of the Goretide.

Where to start when chronicling the mighty heroes leading the Goretide accross the Plains of Skulldonia whenever the red moon shines?

With the strongest?

With the most notorious?

With the most visible?

With a Flag! Everyone loves a good flag, and you need a flag to follow into battle!

Thus I present Sigurd the Totoem Bearer Bloodsecrator of the Goretide




A fun model to paint, this one was a trial of a skin technique recommended by Apologist (of course I did my own variation on the suggestion, which is why I got quite different results), I like it and have stuck with this style on the heroes I've done so far. I was also playing around with the reds, attempting to get a shiny blood droplet effect on the totem its self, to contrast with the white bone surround. 

Sigurd was instrumental in combatting the machinations of Nathaniel Hultz and his minions of the Changer, the mighty totem of Roralarach proving to be the bane of wizards, whilst whipping the reavers of the Goretide into a fighting frenzy. 

Profile: ‘Ardnog Squigtamer

 

"An DIS little squiggy goes RARRGNASHCHOMPBLARRRRG all da way 'ome."

Hailing from the Grotonnian satellite township of Gnashville, Squigtamer is a rare example of a genuine goblin success story. He made his fortune as a highly successful squig trainer, with some dozens of champion gnasher squigs emerging from his stables. Having amassed significant wealth on the face-eating circuit* he came to the attention of the king of Grotonnia and now oversees the royal stable on those occasions when the king does not like, trust or remember the name of the official Royal Squig-herd.

His days as an active trainer are largely behind him and the majority of his time is now dedicated to his popular Gnashcar team.

A point of some interest to scholars of Grotonnian lore - all two of them - is that the word 'Nog' is in fact dwarfish and has no roots in any branch of the goblin language. Such nomenclature is highly unusual in goblin society and considering the historic animosity between goblins and dwarfs is normally intended as an insult. In this instance it is unclear which party is expected to take the most offence.


*The famed Orc face-eating contests require a constant supply of squigs. Enterprising goblin hustlers will sometimes challenge Orcs to eat their squigs, on the basis that if the squig wins then the goblin gets to keep all the deceased Orc's possessions. Such goblins have an extremely short life expectancy, but those who survive invariably become exceptionally rich.

The Celestial Navigation of the Tallowlands

In common with many pocket planes, the Tallowlands are not bound to a particular realm. Occupying, as it does, a fold in realmspace, the world drifts on the ether-currents in the vast sky-ocean between the realms.

It is unknown how the world came to exist detached from the Great Spheres, but travellers through the realmgates occasionally bring rumours of other such worlds floating in their own autonomous pouch of existence.

Scholars have devoted years - lifetimes, even - of study to codifying the exact nature of the world's relationship with the surrounding cosmos. The most widely-accepted theory was first proposed by the great cosmochronologician von Marrison in his seminal treatise Astralle Weekes:

"That the realms are mighty cannot be questioned. But none sits so far above the rest that it can capture this world of ours for its own. Instead we travel an infinite circuit between the realms, sharing in the powers of each as we pass near.

Seasons hinge on our proximity and facing; indeed, as one side of the world turns away from a realm, another side shows itself to the sphere. Thus, as we face, say, Ghyran, do our forests bloom and our orchards blossom. Then, as our attention turns to Hysh we find our days stretch on in unbroken hours."

In short, it appears that the world's position between the realms directly causes its seasons and climates. This idea was expanded by the lizardman philosopher Tinkenhat in his sandstone carvings - now fully eroded but quoted at length by de Robilant in his Histories

"To us they seem so near as to be moons yet to them we are but a distant speck, a tiny fly in a barrel of ointment*"

The notion that the moons of the Tallowlands are in fact other realms is intriguing and explains why the normally-inert realmgates thrum with vitality when particular moons are in the ascendency and the magical forces fluctuate with the lunar tides.

As a side note, a small handful of goblin tribes are known to chase the various moons across the Tallowlands in the belief that, were they to catch one of them, they would achieve immeasurable power. This theory does suggest that these excessively insane greenskins are, rather disconcertingly, right.



*This last metaphor is likely de Robilant's own addition - flies in Tinkenhat's home jungle are rarely less than fist-sized, and lizardmen have no known concept of ointment.

Painting progress: Hilgoth

 A new faction, sort of!

I have always wanted to paint Bretonnians, although obviously Bretonnia doesn't exist in the Tallowlands and never has done. The faction background will be posted at a later date, i.e. when I have written it.

  

 I have started with the glorious mid-2000's Questing Knights because why not start with the best? First three knights painted. Bases to follow - I will be using milliput for these, which is a new experience for me and I want to practice on some lesser knights first...




  
                            Four symbols for the musician. Bonus points if you can spot the fifth.
 
 
The two unpainted shields will be done in the colours of the musician and the (as yet unpainted) other non-champion model. The champion can make his own arrangements.
 
A little advertising for the PCRC.

Hope you like them.

Faction: House Oakleaf

Lady Amberjill



An old noble house from the south-western reaches of Acheall*, whose groves encircle the largest frith-geard in all the Elven lands. Despite the harmony of their homeland, the Aclēafen are highly militarised and more aggressive than many of their neighbours. While long-established trade routes with human settlements (most notably Jeldenburg and Mirrorkeep) have maintained the House’s coffers even when other elves saw their resources dwindle, the Aclēafen have little fondness for humans, dwarves, or even many other elves, and have historically been swift to capitalise on any weakness shown by peoples whose lands border their own.

When the Felltide struck Acheall, the Aclēafen were the first House to send assistance to the northern boughs. Although they remain disliked by many of the wood-elf nations, it has never been denied that their unflinching defence was most likely what saved Acheall from being entirely destroyed before outside aid belatedly arrived.

Magic permeates much of the Aclēafen land (although this is not unusual around Acheall) and many faerie-dells and feysprings can be found in their territory. Whilst technically outside of the elven military structure, and strictly speaking not subjects of the Lord or Lady of the House, the spellweavers of the land are bound closely to the House through ancient pacts of protection and will not hesitate to fight alongside the House’s soldiers to protect their lands.

The current highborn is Lady Amberjill Vala Aclēafen.

*Which many of the peasant races know as "Oakhall".

Faction: Heralds of the New Dawn

 

Checkers, chestplates and...some sort of chocobo.

The Heralds of the New Dawn are a minor sect of Primaris Bretonnians who believe that the best way to gather followers for their god is through highly visible acts of valour and public exhortations of the faithful. Whilst lacking somewhat in subtlety, their willingness to deliver actual practical aid to those in need has made them - and by extension their patron - extremely popular in the area around their stronghold of Szarno.

The fall of Wallovia

The tale I tell is one of woe, of blackest deeds and divine retribution. Long ago, the kingdom of Wallovia waxed mightily, its armies strong of arm, its forges burning night and day. Wallovia’s people were industrious, hardy, dour and serious folk. Jesters, clowns and travelling players learned to avoid the kingdom, given the Wallovians’ lack of interest in frivolity. Its ruling class kept to themselves and while outwardly they appeared noble and possessed of martial virtues in abundance, over generations of courtly intrigue family trees became dense and tangled, with cousin marrying cousin. This bred into the royal line a terrible temper that when provoked could rage like a burning fire and leave only ashes in its wake. 

Despite its wealth and power, Wallovia was at a crossroads for the new king, formerly Prince Valentine of the Western Marches, had spent much of his life abroad, travelling the realms and learning of the new ways, until his father’s untimely death forced him to return and assume the crown. His attempts to reform the kingdom sat ill with much of his subjects, for many and old were the traditions that they clung to. 

All too often, the young King would propose a grand new project only to be told by the priests and priestesses of Mortaine — the God of Death — that the ancestor-spirits advised against it. Always they gave sage council, for in truth Valentine knew little of his kingdom. He knew even less of the floods and storms that struck once every 10-score years or so and had made a ruin of many a promising architect. To the spirits of the long departed and by extension the priesthood, such events could be recalled at a whim. Over time Valentine grew obstinate and sour, made worse by his queen Katherina’s insinuation that the priesthood were the true rulers of the kingdom, not he. 

Matters came to a head when in one council meeting the priesthood had dismissed Valentine’s plans for new grain silos on grounds that his proposed site was too close to the marshes, so the grain would rot. The next item on the agenda, his decision to grant a trading delegation of the Khardron Overlords the right to build a sky port on land that had once been mined for tin again met with dismay bordering on derision. Surely, said Father Dou’gall – the oldest and wisest of the priests, the young king must see that such a heavy structure would quickly fall victim to sink holes and subsidence if built upon such ground? Finally, the priesthood dared to argue that Valentine’s proposed annexation of the nearby (and much weaker) kingdom of Ostvanland would quickly become bogged down due to the rains that frequently turned the roads between the two nations into seas of stinking mud. Father Dou’gall took great pains to explain that such had been the fate of an army led by Valentine’s great-great-grandfather over two hundred years ago and even summoned the shade of the young king’s ancestor to tell the tale. 

After the meeting had concluded, four of the king’s most loyal — and unscrupulous — knights overheard their liege lord mutter “who will rid me of these troublesome priests?”. Keen to serve his will, the knights rode out and put every last one of the priests to the sword and spilled Father Dou’gall’s brains across his own altar. 

Valentine appeared to be shocked to hear of his bondsmen’s deeds but was secretly pleased to be free of the priesthood’s prattling. As two of the knights were relatives of his queen he could not punish them to the fullest extent of the law, instead settling for posting them to guard the most remote corners of the kingdom. 

Despite a grim sense of foreboding among many, at first all was well and the people seemed blessed rather than cursed, their elders seemingly endowed with long life. It wasn’t until a series of bizarre instances began that the Wallovians understood what Mortaine had in store for them.

It began with a simple case of bad luck. Gregor, a young clumsy squire, was riding his horse in a practise joust when it fell and crushed his leg. Despite the best efforts of the healers, it became infected and while they immediately amputated the now useless limb gangrene had spread to his body. Despite untold agony, Gregor simply wouldn’t die. It wasn’t until he bit off his own tongue that his screaming stopped. Gregor was the first for whom the sweet mercy of death would prove elusive, but he was by no means the last.

At first there were a few cases, then before long everyone in the kingdom who simply wouldn’t die. Elders that would have died due to natural causes became crippled, unable to move and slowly going mad with thirst, hunger and pain unless someone was there to look after their every need. Some of the afflicted’s loved ones resorted to desperate measures, yet even after their screaming kin had been smothered and no longer breathed, still they screamed. Some piled their living dead with strong spirits and attempted to set them alight, reasoning that a brief period of bright agony would be better than years of the same, but each time they tried to start the pyres, a chill mist would appear from nowhere and smother the flames. Mortaine even spurred those that were beheaded, with their fellows forced to sew up the heads’ mouths to stop the endless screaming. 

To make matters worse, this curse coincided with Valentine’s long-delayed invasion of Ostvanland. While fatalities were inexplicably light in the opening battles and the Wallovians won many great victories, the number of incapacitated and walking wounded began to spiral out of control and the constant screams of those whose wounds had gone septic or had gut wounds that would drive them insane with agony started to make sleep impossible and shattered morale. Then the rains came and the choking mud plains that had once been roads made it almost impossible to keep the army provisioned. Men began to desert, first in ones and twos, then in a steady stream. 

Valentine found himself shaking his fist at the walls of Ostheim, Ostvanland’s capital, before he had to ride home with too few men left to commit to a siege. That night, a raid by Ostvanland skirmishers managed to sneak past Valentine’s exhausted guards and stabbed him to what they assumed was death. His last coherent words were to curse the knights that had brought this doom upon him and to beg Mortaine for a mercy that would never come. 

Back in Wallovia, things had gone from bad to worse, the harvest had failed and there were simply too many mouths to feed. In desperation, some sacrificed their last morsels of food on makeshift altars to Mortaine but their prayers for forgiveness fell on deaf ears, with a rare few — those known to have a smattering of witchery in their veins — swore blind that for a moment they heard hollow laughter in response to their pleads. 

Years passed and Wallovia fell into ruin. Mercy of a kind came in the form of the Ghouls of the Hollow Mountain as while men, women and children all had to endure the agony of being eaten alive, it meant that their bodily suffering was at last at an end. By that point, however, the entire kingdom had been driven irreconcilably insane. Once the ghouls had feasted, they returned to the Hollow Mountain, leaving a blighted and haunted ruin. 

It wasn’t until the Necroquake – that time when Nagash’s great design caused waves of death magic to spill across the mortal realms — that Mortaine’s vengeance was fully unveiled. From every tomb and corpse rose the spirits of the tormented dead. Filled with hatred of the living, they descended upon nearby settlements and towns, their rampage only checked when a full host of the Emerald Wardens’ Sacrosanct Chamber brought them to battle on the outskirts of Steepacre. Defeated by the might of Sigmar’s Stormcast Eternals, the Nighthaunt of Wallovia returned to their home and are to this day a malignant blight upon the Tallowlands. 







 

Profile: The Great Skritt

 

 

Believed to have arrived in the Tallowlands from another realm, the rat-scientist known as the Great Skritt has long harboured plans to dominate the Underland. Having manipulated, bullied or outright murdered a sufficiently impressive number of lesser engineers, he formed the notorious Skryrenet in order to harvest resources and influence warlords across the realm. This culminated in the Skaven Dread Council putting military decisions into the claws of Skryrenet, whereupon Skritt instigated a series of simultaneous civil wars designed to eliminate all power structures across the Skaven-held Underland and deliver full control to him.

His plan was close to succeeding when, desperate, the Skaven of the Dar'Koath caverns forged an alliance with the surface clans. An army of overland warriors led by Yan of the Connaghi entered the Underland and eventually destroyed Skryrnet's defence grid, causing Skritt to flee.

An unintended consequence of this was that the Underland goblins, previously weakened by their own infighting, saw opportunities to expand and a significant amount of territory was lost to goblin factions. Yan Connaghi remains in the Underland to this day, aiding the Skaven clans in battle against the goblins.

The Great Skritt disappeared for a period of time but has recently reemerged and seeks to rebuild Skryrnet. He seeks caches of warp-emerald, a potent energy source which will allow him to power a time-travel device he has built. Once he has enough warp-emerald to generate thirteen kilo-ratts of power* he will send the being known as the Verminator back in time to prevent Yan Connaghi from being born.

He believes that the fall of the Sinian Empire has left vast troves of warp-emerald free for looting. In particular, it seems that areas home to many Undead beings ("Gribblians", as they are known in the Skaven tongue) are rich in warp-emerald. Indeed, he has identified a Gribblian Terrorgheist whose hoard is likely to contain all the warp-emerald he needs.

Skritt is always accompanied by his pet, a well-trained rat called Morty McFlea. He intends to use McFlea to conduct the test run of his device.

It has been rumoured that, while on the run from the Connaghi, Skritt stole an item of value from the Underland goblins. The nature of this item is as yet unknown.


*Author's note: this is the power required to propel the device at a speed of eighty-eight miles per hour.


***CREDITS***

The Great Skritt was sculpted by none other than our very own Lord Blood the Hungry.

Profile: Da Green Night Gobbo

                                                 

Nominally second in command to the Questin' Grot, the Green Night Gobbo is something of a loose cannon even by Grotonnian standards. Rarely expected - or even wanted - within the halls of Grotonnia's king, he wanders the surrounding region looking for easy plunder and unsuspecting victims.

Although he is at best an occasional presence in the armies of Grotonnia, he has an almost supernatural ability to arrive on the battlefield, unlooked-for and unheralded, a hero emerging from the mist, just as the fight is going really well. This unearthly sense of timing has earned him many descriptions in the tongue of the Underland - "myffic"*, "effeereul"**, and "annanigma"*** to list but three.

He has a nose for loot and on many occasion the Questin' Grot - sick of having his boots stolen or his codpiece pilfered - will convince the king to feed him to the squigs, only for the Green Night Gobbo to show up at that very moment bearing a new shiny bauble as a gift and weasel his way back into royal favour. Such an uncanny talent for self-preservation means he is most often known as "git"****.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
*tr: "Git"
**tr: "Git"
***tr: "Git" 
****tr: "One of questionable personal and moral qualities"

Profile: The Twins

 

The Twins - known to their handlers as Big and Bouncy - are two of the most gruesomely cheerful denizens of Grotonnia. When they were younger, the Grotonnians would use them as bait in a Djael, or ambush, when hunting loot-carrying quarry. Now they have reached full maturity, they are a prized asset on the battlefield where they will be prodded into place by means of the 'Wunda-bar', a large and rusty iron spike. They will be maneuvered into a position in which they are both impressive and intimidating to the enemy commander, whereupon they will be unleashed in all their manic glee while the rest of the Grotonnians sneak round the back of the distracted foe and stab 'em up.


The Adventures of Nathaniel Hultz: Part XVII

I played an awesome game of AOS with LordBloodTheHungry, subject of a previous blog post warmatale.  I am hoping LordBloodTheHungry writes one up from his perspective as well as this will be from my characters perspective, hence the title.  His previous story really inspired me to think of these games even more from a character perspective and really humanised his Khorne inspired force for me.

Anyway...




The Key 

The key wasn't much to look, a strange old thing that seemed to writhe and fade in his hands before coming back to reality with a pop. It seemed to go hand in hand with this creature he had captured, that 'goblin' that he had only become fully aware of after a particularly distasteful discussion with that d’Jons fellow. This creature smelled the same way that d'Jons did, a sort of sly magical greedy smell. 

He was sure that d'Jons was right though.  This one was some sort of demon of avarice.  The key?  Well that was interesting too as he finally learned how it worked.  Shanduko had been particularly helpful in the interrogation offering much and demanding little.  That itself was uncharacteristic and unnerving.  He made a mental note to investigate that later.

The creature could use the key innately but for Hultz a ritual would be required.  He could open a portal with the key.  

This portal was awesomely painted by our own Lucifer216

He wasn't quite sure where it would go but he did learn at least how to create it without killing himself and the single most important rule associated with it: It led to the object of your greatest affection at that moment but to use it you had to sacrifice your most treasured possession.  No wonder the creatures were so effective in using it, they were fickle spiteful things that cared only for the next rush of gold, perhaps never understanding that they sacrificed the last jewel they stole to their patron in pursuing their next one.

First he checked my Endless Spell of Protection*, it would be necessary due to the vulnerabilities created in the ritual.  Then he carefully placed the Nine Original planets stolen from the Hurricanum all those years ago.  Six of them started glowing purple and three blue.  Focus: What did he want, Focus: What  would he give up?.  Finally the ceremony had begun...


*See Part XVIII, this spell prevents any enemy of Hultz from striking while weak, unaware or vulnerable.  


The Mystic Key

Hultz

Nathaniel Hultz looked around. He sniffed the air. It was here. It was here. He knew it, knew it without knowing how, but he knew it.

It had been close before, close enough to sense, but always whisked away – somehow – by unknown hands whenever he got near. This time was different. This time he had veiled his seeking and hidden his plans and now was in the presence of his reward.

The key. The unknown key; the infuriatingly, maddeningly unknowable key. A key to what? He could not even guess. But he had paid a steep price for the visions which guided him and he would not allow it to have been in vain.

Movement across the way brought him back from his thoughts and into the present. The barbarians were in position and ready to search. He wondered if he could trust them to surrender the prize if they found it first; probably not, by his reckoning. It did not matter – his own servants had been summoned and he would overwhelm the barbarians with cosmic fire once their usefulness expired. They were the hounds of a feral god and deserved no better.

He drew a deep breath and readied his mind. It seemed strange to think that he had expected to find the key in some deep dungeon or in an impenetrable fortress, such was its pull. And yet, here he stood, knee-deep in mist on the edge of some nameless, dreary town too close to the Tolerance to be called civil. Perhaps, when his life’s work was finished and songs sung of his deeds, the story would be changed to better suit its significance.

He saw the barbarians step forward to begin the search. With a thought, he commanded his own followers to do the same.

It was time. 




************

Torpal

Torpal tried not to grin. He knew the pretence was almost over; battle was nigh, he could feel it. It had been too long coming and a reckoning was due.

For months now, Torpal and his priests had travelled across Rhô, spreading worship of the Warhound to the towns and villages they passed through. Mostly they were run out of town before they could sow more than a token scattering of war-fever among the populace, but Torpal was old enough and wise enough to know that a true inferno rises from many lesser fires and that he may well have perished before his life’s work truly bloomed to its full, raging glory.

A few settlements, however, had proved to be receptive to his exhortions and their – mostly impoverished and resentful – inhabitants had turned their streets and squares into cauldrons of fury. Peasants became gladiators and revelled in their brief moments as gore-soaked champions until they were cut down by their friends and neighbours. From these theatres of combat a mighty few emerged triumphant, worthy of their new place at Torpal’s side.

They had been diverted from their task by the appearance of the one called Hultz. He had offered them gold in exchange for their assistance in seeking a mysterious treasure, and in doing so had revealed his own foolishness. For it was clear that Hultz had identified Torpal’s men as followers of the Warhound, and further still it was clear that he was one of the myriad ‘civilised’ men who saw the Wild Gods as brutish loners whose sole occupation was jostling for supremacy with each other. But like any clansman, Torpal knew that the gods bartered and bargained with each other. Indeed, the one known as the Other Trickster had appeared to Torpal in a vision. He had offered Torpal information and, when Torpal asked what it would cost, had said that Torpal knowing was price enough. Torpal was certain that there would be a hidden cost, but had agreed and was granted knowledge of Hultz and his quest. So it was that when Hultz approached him for aid, Torpal held in check his desire to cleave the dandy’s head from his oh-so-finely-cloaked shoulders and accompanied him across many lands to this unremarkable field on the edge of this mean, measly town.

Torpal knew that Hultz was a wizard – he could almost smell the magic oozing out of the man’s pores – and he suspected him of being a lapdog of the Treacherous One. As such, it seemed to Torpal that despite being a fool and a braggart Hultz would be possessed of a measure of cunning and would have secret followers of his own to summon. It was to be expected that Hultz would betray Torpal’s men once he had found what he sought.

It was no surprise to Torpal therefore when the magic coalesced into a cohort of twisted beings. A powerful retinue emerged around Hultz, and Torpal was certain that Hultz was capable of more. They were on opposite sides of the field, ready to search for the mysterious item which Hultz sought. From across the field Torpal was sure that he could see Hultz smirking, secure in his superiority.

Torpal’s instinct was to pre-empt the inevitable betrayal and attack, but he was genuinely interested to know what it was that Hultz was seeking. In any case, Torpal had reason to believe that his men would be aided in battle from an unexpected quarter. In his arrogance Hultz had neglected to give any thought to the town on whose border they stood. He did not even know its name. But Torpal knew.

He had been there before. 




************

Prologue

As Hultz and Torpal instructed their followers to begin the search a thin breeze blew some of the mist away. For a brief period the long grass and tall weeds of the field could be seen, bending a little in the wind. Then something else emerged. A number of curious and unexpected shapes – piles of things, floating rocks and other such items – could be seen among the greenery. Certainly they had no cause to be in a place such as this, and the watchers could not be sure if they had been there all along or whether they only appeared when observed.


Suddenly there was movement near the centre of the field. Something glanced over the tops of the weeds and shrieked when it saw the assembled searchers. A gust of wind – much stronger than before – burst over the field and blew down the vegetation. Visible to all was a strange goblin, clearly panicking as it shovelled pieces of gold and silverwork into a bizarre, living satchel-creature.


Torpal’s eyes widened in astonishment. “Lühtefiend!” he gasped, disbelieving. The goblin yelped once more and dashed into a patch of longer grass, vanishing from sight.
 

************

 I GM'd a game at the weekend between Father Torpal, priest of Rorralarach (Lord Blood the Hungry) and Nathaniel Hultz, alleged boss of Jethelech (Omricon). Mostly the intention was to start to familiarise ourselves with the Age of Sigmar rules, but everyone knows narrative games are the best so we took the opportunity to write in a cool setting and start to nudge the Tallowlands story along. While I'm not going to give you a blow-by-blow account of the game (although a few battle photos will hopefully appear in the near future...), some of the stand-out moments were:

- Torpal using an ability on the ground, in the hope of making the treasure goblin run towards him (this was one of those delightful moments you get as a GM, where one of the players does something you would never have come up with yourself).

- A unit of 5 Pink Horrors getting chopped up in melee and the unit managing to end the turn with 5 pink and 10 blue Horrors. Maffs.

- Torpal inciting the locals to fight with absolutely everybody, earning Lord Blood some victory points and Rorralarach a new town.

- Shanduko appeared!



- A Slaughterpriest went to investigate a floating, glowing rock and was really disappointed to discover that it was only a floating, glowing rock.

- Hultz grabbed the treasure goblin (and key) and then acted exactly as you'd expect by leaving his followers to get pummelled while he made a run for it.

All of these were great, but by far the best moment for me was seeing the look on Omricon's face when he realised that there was a treasure goblin to pilfer. Pure joy.

The Goretide

The Red Moon Rises part 2

Hjorvard woke. At least he felt like he'd just woken, but it was still dark? No, his eyes weren't open. He tried to open them, they wouldn't open. "Gods! I'm blind!" he thought. No, there's just something keeping them shut, he moved his arm to rub his eyes, and winced at the pain, oh it was sore, the wince caused more pain to shoot through his body. Everything hurt! As he moved his skin pulled and tugged, hairs tore out as something coating it cracked and clung and came apart as he moved. 
As he took off his helm and rubbed off the sticky crustiness caking his eyes shut he began to take in his situation. 

He was slumped against the wall of a cliff with a big rocky overhang blotting out the sun overhead. The ground was cold earth, and he appeared to be covered in a crusty substance that he realized must be dried blood, absolutely caked in it! 
Everything hurt! He was sore from head to toe with fatigue and exertion. He'd only just woken, but had he ever felt this exhausted before? 
On the plus side, apart from a lot of bruising, a few shallow cuts, and extreme ache in all his muscles, he did seem to be intact. There was a dent full of rock dust in his new helm and the back of his head was a little tender, but the helm seemed to have done its job, and was otherwise intact and still wearable. 
Oh! his legs hurt, and they wouldn't move. there was something pinning them down, he reached down and used the arrows sticking out of it to move the heavy body of the big hairy beastman aside, the source of the blood caking him, and squeeked as the returning circulation caused a 'pins and needles' sharp tingling sensation up and down his legs.
As his eyes grew accustomed to the gloom he could make out more shapes in the dark area under the overhang. There were robed bodies everywhere. skinny gangly limbs poked out from under the robes, one was face up he looked into lifeless beady eyes, sharp teeth, pointy ears... goblins! 
a sudden cold sensation of fear of the unknown trickled down his spine, and he looked for a weapon. one of his knives was under the beastman's chest, the other was nowhere to be seen but there was a heavy, brutal looking, crude axe nearby, so he took that. Feeling more secure, and a lot braver now that he was armed, he got, painfully, to his feet and began to investigate. It was time to find out where the Goretide had left him.

Through the gloom he could make out more corpses...lots of grots and the occasional other, thankfully no one he recognized, it had been a massacre!
He vaguely remembered Father Torpal trying to drum home an important point about grot encampments in some of their navigation classes, but the dull throbbing from the blow to his head was making it difficult to recall any details.

The camp was inside some kind of hap-hazard fence he guessed was a crude goblin attempt at a palisade wall. the tents looked to be some kind of hide, as he closed on the nearest one he noticed the unusual texture and realized it was the skin from a huge mushroom, adorned with trinkets, presumably of value...
Treasure Goblins!!! Hjorvard almost shouted out in excitement as he remembered. That must be it, the point Father Torpal had been making, goblin camps were famous for Treasure Goblins, they were in all his favourite heroic legends of the Tallowlands. A magically enhanced goblin who carried all the tribe's wealth and plunder, and if you could find its horde, or catch the treasure goblin its self you were rich!! Rich! Treasure! Magic items! the fabled stuff of heroes, this was clearly his destiny unfolding. He began excitedly searching the tents and stalking shadows, looking for signs of movement and anything that looked like a stash of treasure. 

He was moving some grubby blankets aside to look behind them when something moved! it shrieked as he looked at it then raced out of the tent entrance. it was  quick! he gave chase and made a grab for it, it jinked left dodging his hand, but he still had the blanket in the other and flung it as he dove in the direction the creature was going. 
it was definitely under the blanket, he could see it wriggling for the top edge, and he moved his arm to trap it. when it realized it was trapped it stopped moving. he gathered himself. got ready, flung the blanket aside and grabbed the creature underneath. 
the little blighter bit him on the thumb. he recoiled then grabbed it tight. 
"A Ha!" he exclaimed. "now lets see your treasures!" 
it squeaked, gasped... he realized he was squeezing very tight, too tight. ashamed he relaxed his grip so it wasn't crushing but was still too secure for the creature to struggle free. it was a small green humanoid creature with big ears and a huge nose. It looked at him forlornly, sobbed, and he realized it had wet its self. its big eyes had weren't full of menace, it didn't look very bright at all. where was its treasure? come to think of it this wasn't much bigger than a cat, it couldn't carry much treasure. bits of lessons returned through the murk of his memories, "you're a snotling aren't you?" he said. there wasnt a glimmer of understanding from the creature, it just continued to look forlorn. "well, on your own you are hardly a threat." he set it down and released it, it stood quaking for a moment, then realized it wasn't going to be eaten, and scarpered.   

He continued to look through the camp for something useful, and possibly a treasure goblin.

All he found was a box of dangerous looking mushrooms and a small silver sickle.  
he sat down on a rock, his head was clearing, memories of the lesson were coming back...

...it was sunny, the class was outside under the old tree. 
"...and what do we know about the Tallowland Grot...?" said Father Torpal. 
" treasure goblins!" blurted Hjorvard. 
the class laughed, he felt his cheeks redden. 
"that's just a fairy tale for children Hjorvard," Father Torpal tutted, "I honestly thought you were past that!" he shook his head. the mocking laughter increased,
Hjorvard wished the ground would swallow him up, some of his classmates were half his age!
"...but every fairy tale has a grain of truth in it somewhere." Father Torpal winked 
"I'll try again, if you'll let me finish..." he glanced at Hjorvard who hung his head. 
"What do we know about the Tallowland Grots, in reference to post goretide navigation?"
"they Follow the moon?" said someeon Hjorvard didn't see
"good!" said Father Torpal "many grot tribes throughout the realms are moon clan's, their religions believe they gain their power from a big bad moon. so they follow the moon hoping it will lead them to power and glory."
"which Moon?" Tova asked
"care to elabortate?" invited father Torpal
"which moon," she repeated"we have so many in the Tallowlands, there's, the Lady Lisu, Rorolorach, the Wyrdmoon, the Emerald beacon, Naethe's torch..."
"...And here we have the problem." interrupted Father Torpal. "some realms have just one moon, so the positioning of a moon clan grot encampment can be a useful navigation tool, if you are familiar with your almanac and know which phase of which season  you are in. but unfortuantely, in the tallowlands we had so many moons and they follow such a variety of bizarre paths that it it nigh on impossible to know which one, if any, the particular grot clan you have encountered was following. Indeed, some of the most zealous, or possibly daftest, moon clans chase them all! night after night they race back and forth, zigging and zagging across the Tallowlands, and sometimes spiralling if there are several moons waxing in conjunction. 
So, what we know about the Tallowland Grots in reference to post Goretide navigation and attainment of bearings is... that they are utterly useless!"

As the memory of the lesson finished playing back in his mind Hjorvard sighed and slumped despondently, alone on his rock.  

  

   





The Religions and Deities of the Tallowlands

Introduction

The Tallowlands is very poorly connected to the other realms and is often overlooked having limited value or resources by by the main alliance forces be they benevolent or evil.

As a result or perhaps for other reasons, a pantheon of gods, religions and deities have sprung up bearing little resemblance to their original patrons but in many cases either transparently or with more obscure connections.

Some exceptions remain. Sigmar and Alarielle (some aelves have long memories) are recognised and worshipped but on the whole many connections are tenuous. Although that may be the case this does produce some oddities, like some cults which cannot quite be given a label of order or chaos because they seems to act in different ways in different circumstances given their connection to a deity they believe does not fully parcel itself into one alliance or another.

The below is a list of deities with some sort of worship in the Tallowlands. There are sometimes many cults and groups and temples which follow a single one of these some of which bicker or fight even with each other. There are too many to list here.

Examples include the Watcher of the Ninefold Pact which pay homage to or believe they control Jethelech and the Celestial Pact which claim to worship Fyrek

Currently Known Deities

Sigmar - the God King

Artha god of the high places.

Dairayon god of wind and storms.

Vishkene god of magic.

Mortaine god of the dead. The Crypt Haunter. Some see Mortaine as a facet or connected in some way to Nagash.

Khând a god from across the ocean.

Rorralarachgod of rage and war. Is there a connection to Khorne here?

Myrakos beast-god of the wilderness. There are Orruk tribes who claim to worship Myrakos, some people think their tribe has a speech impediment.

Tidh the Swift Hunter. God of the plains.

Hain’Amurthe Great Defender. Steward of Heaven’s Keep. The Armoured God. The Stormcasts of Heavens Keep do not see anything wrong with this homage, do they worship two gods or believe him to be a facet of Sigmar?

Jethelech god of trickery and scheming. Definitely no connection to Tzeentch here. Shut up I said definitely not.  The number of letters in the name is a coincidence.

Arengee – god of luck and master of games, cursed and blessed in equal measure. Causer of lighter and less corrupt mischief than Jethelech



Ystara god of mariners and fishermen.

Mithrest god of merchants and traders.

Fyrek the Astral Voyager. Benefactor of astronomers.

Caer-Nadhg god of the woods. The Oaken Man. A summer god.

Alarielle as above but for eleves and half elves. Facets of the same god.

Lystan god of justice and fairness.

Shala - god of fertility and harvest

Shalu - twin god of Shala, god of decay, disease and rebirth. Some speculate a connection to Nurgle.

Naethethe Shroud of Night. God of veiled intentions.

Ilùgod of the sun. Brother of Lisù. Some Lizardmen tribes venerate.

Lisùgod of the moon. Sister of Ilù.

Gnos - god of secrets, including secret pleasures but also according to some hidden altruism.