The Trollkin are one of the sturdiest, toughest people in the Iron Kingdoms. They’re renowned for being after to take a punch square on their craggy chins and responding with a very mean punch of their own. Their attrition game is one of the best, and conversely, their ability to set up a viable gunline is recognized as one of their week points. This, naturally, is why my my Trollbloods back Hordes MkII were most often led by Grim Angus, and packed a full unit of Pyg Bushwhackers. The release of Captain Gunnbjorn made me ridiculously happy, because it opened up the door for the third subsect of Trollbloods to get some love. The first was the traditionalists, centered on the Krielstone, Fennblades and Champions. The second was the Northkin, with their polar bears and all that beer. The third – the “modern” army – with their firearms and military training – finally had a poster boy.
Brigadier General Gunnbjorn has put aside his trademark bazooka, and I won’t lie – that makes me very sad. However, there’s a lot to be said for a boostable armor-piercing POW12 rifle, and while Gunnbjorn may no longer be risking permanent damage to his own hearing, the Trollkin Barrage Team has stepped in to fill the gap.
Everyone celebrates the holiday season differently. From family gatherings with a big meal to taking off for sunnier climes, from going skiing to hitting the beach, from midnight mass to spinning a dreidel, different cultures and difference traditions can make the season marvelous. As we go rapidly approach the holidays under the shadow of a global pandemic the holidays are going to look very different for a lot of families, and many of us are looking for alternative ways to mark the holidays that will allow us to do something special without putting ourselves or those we love at unnecessary risk. Enter: Jolabokaflod.
With thanks to Magnificatz for the graphic, Jolabokaflod is an Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition where you gift books (never a bad thing), and spend your Christmas Eve with a few morsels of chocolate and a new tale. It may not be the most social of traditions, but in an environment where we’re trying to avoid gatherings, this may be the perfect time to start participating in Jolabokaflod. Encouraging people to enjoy the written word is never a bad thing, and who knows what worlds of adventure await you hidden amidst the pages.
With that in mind, some suggestions for your consideration.
Skull Island Expeditions was Privateer Press’ e-book adventure, and while the dedicated site may no longer be available, the tales of the Iron Kingdoms are still available through DriveThruRPG. Whether you’re a fan or Warmachine or Hordes, there are plenty of texts to choose from. Personal favourites include Howard Tayler’s Extraordinary Zoology, Dave Gross’Dark Convergence, Chris A. Jackson’s Watery Graves, Larry Correia’sInto The Storm, and several of the short story anthologies with tales by Doug Seacat, Aeryn Rudel, Orrin Grey, and a host of other authors.
Games Workshop’s Black Library continues to spit out books at a borderline alarming rate, filling the lore of their assorted universes with books, e-books and audiobooks. Whether you’re into Warhammer 40K or Age of Sigmar, Necromunda or Blood Bowl, you may find something of interest. This year they’ve opened up the Warhammer Crime and Warhammer Horror imprints, including the classic Drachenfels, written in the 80’s by Kim Newman – one of the first game-related novels I ever read as a nascent nerd, donchaknow. The Siege of Terra also continues in their cataloguing of the events of the Horus Heresy, the defining conflict of the Warhammer 40K setting.
If you ever ask me for a book recommendation and I don’t reference Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld at some point, I may be trying to subtly let you know that I’ve been kidnapped or something. There are 41 canon Discworld novels, written over 32 years. The earliest parody fantasy tropes and literature, while later books satirize elements of present day life and society. Wyrd Sisters, for example, parodies Macbeth , while Monstrous Regiment cocks an eyebrow at war, propoganda, and gender roles. Most recently I rereadUnseen Academicals, which is – on the surface – a tale about the citizen of Ankh Morpork formalizing a soccer (nee football) league, but along the way has something to say about at inclusion vs exclusion, nature vs nurture, the link between ignorance and racism. All in a fantasy setting with a smattering of both Romeo & Juliet and Cinderella. There are so many great books in the series that where to start can be a much bigger question than it would first seem, but there are Reading Order lists out there and I’d be happy to help point anyone in the right direction.
The gift of a book can amazing. It can be from an author you know the recipient loves, or it can be an opportunity to share one of your own favorite authors. If you want to go non-fiction, it can be a stepping stone into a new hobby or field of interest, or even a promise of an activity that you’ll share with the recipient once we’re on the other side of the pandemic, such as with a new RPG book (Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything just released for Dungeons & Dragons), a new sourcebook for tabletop gaming (The Broken Realms event for Age of Sigmar has started with Morathi), or perhaps something to fuel the creative side (Such as Angel Giraldez’s Masterclass). Maybe this year, since many of us can’t gather with our loved ones, the gift of reading may provide some comfort, should we take a tip from Iceland.
What ho, the seasons have swung, there’s a crispness in the air, the country is divided between pumpkin spice and apple cider while maple maintains its mainstay status. While the effects of COVID-19 continues to impact our day-to-day and we’re being actively encouraged by the powers that be to eschew gatherings with anyone outside of our households in the interests of health and safety for all, there are still turkeys being prepared, cranberries being sauced and I’m sure someone’s going to be cramming pureed pumpkin into a pie shell and then pretending it’s delicious for the sake of tradition.
It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada, and while the world is still topsy-turvy, while we’re still distancing from our friends and families, we’re still thankful for a great many things, not the least of which that we can still stay somewhat connected thanks to modern technology. May you all be safe, may you all be healthy, may you all avoid the dreaded lurgy, and may none of you find that instead of preparing a turkey, you accidently put a clockatrice in your oven, and now he’s -really- mad about the stuffing…
The Trollbloods CID is now live, and while there’s no changes to Sluggers in the Week 1 iteration, the Barrage Team and Gunnery Sergeant are up for testing, and most excitingly, Brigadier General Gunnbjorn – Gunnbjorn2 – is on the table. There’s a whole lot of tweaking taking place, from Runeshapers getting Battle Wizardand an increase to the Champions’ armour, but I started this damn game with the Searforge Commission, and sometimes one just has to channel their inner Durgen Madhammer and make things blow up on the other side of the table. When it comes to the Trollbloods, Gunnbjorn is the man for the jobs.
Disclaimer: Everything in today’s post refers to a live paytesting document, in its first CID iteration. Everything could change next week, and nothing is final.
Today’s online preview from GW showcased the upcoming codexes to support the 9th edition Indomitus box. New Necron codex, new Space Marine codex. At the end of the stream they previewed the next four codexes/supplements coming out before the end of the year, and … it’s marines, marines, marines and marines. Blood Angels, Deathwatch and Space Wolves will be getting a codex supplement, and the Death Guard will be getting a codex.
As someone with designs on playing Flesh Tearers, the Blood Angels codex supplement is very welcome, but I can’t help but feel for the Ork, Eldar, Dark Eldar, Tau and Tyranid players. Genestealer Cults are (by comparison) a newer entry to the field, but some of these factions haven’t received new models for so many years it’s borderline farcical. Space Marines are GW’s golden boys, sure, and a huge part of their revenue, but when you’ve got a game that showcases multiple factions as options, to have some of those options languishing without updates or reinforcements for long – I’m just so disappointed for fans of those factions.
This is part of why I loved Privateer Press’ old expansion model so much.
Privateer would alternate between a Warmachine Cycle and a Hordes Cycle, and each cycle would produce a single expansion book. That book would provide each faction for the currently cycling game with at least one new warlock/warcaster, a couple of wabeasts/warjacks, and some new units and solos. Some expansions would introduce a new model type, such as Battle Engines or huge based models – Colossalsand Gargantuans were both expansion book titles.
The value of this was that, at least once every year or so, the storyline would advance, every faction would get new models, and the game could functionally be rebalanced taking into account the competitive meta without needing to produce an enormous FAQ, without needing to ban or restrict models. If one faction was proving particularly strong, in the next expansion you could reasonably expect the other factions to get some counterbalancing new releases.
In the end no-one was left twisting in the wind, having no idea if or when their beloved faction would be receiving some attention from the powers that be.
The move away from print books at Privateer hit a lot of us hard, and while the CID’s are a very interesting experience as we get to kick tires and provide feedback and work to shape the future of our factions, I think something was lost in terms of delivering the narrative of the Iron Kingdoms, and in providing the -entire- playerbase, regardless of faction, with a sense that none of us were being neglected or forgotten as the future of the game was mapped out.
Soon we’ll be seeing the kickstarter for the 5e compatible Iron Kingdoms and we’ll have our first in-depth look at the Iron Kingdoms after the Infernal invasion. Have kingdoms fallen? Did Kreoss ever find Durst? What’s the current going rate for a Blockader from the foundries in Corvis?
As someone hungry for backstory I’m hanging out for Requiem, but I recognize that times change and the way Privateer delivers new backstory and models has changed – Nostalgic as I may be for years past, I’m looking forward to the Trollbloods CID, and the chance to set them all on fire with Feora4 once all this is over.
While I am now and ever will be a devout Menite, praise the Lawgiver, I’ve been known to dabble in other factions, and we’re on the cusp of seeing just what Privateer Press has in store for one of my favorite Hordes factions, the Trollbloods. Possessed of some of the most fun models in the entirety of the Warmachine/Hordes stable, the trollkin have long help a special place in my heart, ever since I put Grim Angus at the tail end of Mk1 and was determined to prove that you could play a functional Trollblood gunline.
Every watch Mk1 Dartan Vilmon try to achieve anything while surrounded by Pyg Bushwhackers who, moments before, had CRA’d into the opposing deployment zone? It’s a good time.
Like most factions, the Trollbloods have three sub-factions, and try to my whimsical nature one has always been my preference. The classic, tribal Kriels are cool and all, as are the Northkin, but the idea of the professional military trollkin led by Gunnbjorn has always made me smile. Now, with Gunnbjorn2 en route, supported by models like Riot Quest’s Generals Ledfoot and “Thunderstone” Brug, will we finally see the Trollkin Sluggers being a strong choice?
CID announcement news!
Hey all. The Trollbloods CID is just around the corner, and there’s some news and announcements I wanted to share with all of you.
1.) The existing CID forums had a major technical … well meltdown. Our IT dept worked on various fixes, and ultimately, they had to completely erase the old forums. All the old posts, and user accounts, are gone. Though the cid.privateerpress.com URL will remain the same.
2.) This means that I am rebuilding the forums from scratch, which is taking a bit of time. My goal is that the CID will begin next Wednesday, on 9.16 and run through the end of month (perhaps a bit longer or shorter, depending on feedback). However, rebuilding the forums can end up having some unforeseen consequences so, there is a chance that start date slips. I’ll let you know.
3.) This also means that all of your user accounts on the CID forums are gone. Anyone wanting to participate in CID will need to register a new account. Which we will begin approving closer to the start date of CID.
4.) Like the Legion CID, this is going to be a no-battle-reports-accepted CID. The pandemic hasn’t gone anywhere, and just like before don’t want to encourage gatherings in those areas where they are not safe. The Legion CID went incredibly well, even without battle reports, so we have the proof that this can work in a constructive and positive manner.
5.) This CID is a Trollblood CID, not a Farrow CID. While there is a new Farrow model introduced, and Farrow are usable in the new theme force, we did not want to split our internal playtest resources between the two Factions and this CID. It would not do proper justice to both factions to do so. Expect 99% Trollbloods in this CID, and know that Farrow changes are on our radar, we aren’t ignoring them. I couldn’t give you an ETA on when anything Farrow related might occur, there are previous updates that have been delayed due to 2020 that are still in the queue.
Anyway, there’s your news blast for today. I’ll be back in touch once we are closer to knowing if 9.16 is definitely going to be the CID start date. Things are looking really good that it should be, so I’m hopeful.
Until then, be safe, and always boost if you need a 7+
While I long for the days when we’d be able to buy a new faction book and get the thrill of being surprised by new model entries rather than knowing what’s coming in advance, I’m hopeful for what the CID brings us. More than anything else I’m hopeful for warbeasts that support the professional military aesthetic conceptually. Right now we have Dozer & Smigg and the Blitzer. None of the light warbeasts, as fun as they are, really fit the concept. This may be a reflection of the more tribal roots of the faction, but if the Skorne can outfit a Cyclops with a flayer cannon, I’m pretty sure Gunnbjorn can work out how to upgrade an Impaler’s arsenal, maybe by borrowing a cannon from the Ogrun Assault Corps.
January 2008. A long time ago, in a Gdaycave far, far away… or, right here, because I’ve lived here for since 2001. That’s where Lost Hemisphere got its start. As we muddle through the global pandemic waiting for a governmental all-clear to resume social gatherings with our gamer pals, those of us who find joy in clashes on tabletops have are left without opponents, but with the memories of games past.
Lost Hemisphere, of course, started out as a VS System blog, plotting cards combinations and decks with our favourite Marvel and DC characters (and Hellboy, just for good measure). It was a great game, and while it’s been reborn as a living card game (and yes, of course I have some of the new incarnation), I don’t have an opponent who’s interested, so it’s in a box as little more than a nostalgic paperweight. There’s quite a passionate online community for the original game though, and I’m pleased I still have my old favorite teams – the Fantastic Four and the Crime Lords. I miss playing with Pablo and CaptainSpud, but when the original game was cancelled, we moved on.
Privateer Press’ Warmachine and Hordes became our tabletop focus, and over the years I’ve owned armies for almost every faction at one time or another, but the Protectorate of Menoth and the Retribution of Scyrah were my home factions. Apparently “Cygnar” and “Khador” and “Skorne” and other such factions simply lost out by having one-word names. The Protectorate is still the one faction that draws me more than any other, even to the point where I’m (slowly) painting up a new army, in a new scheme, after having to sell off my old army because life can be expensive and bills needed to be paid. I’m slowly getting returning to power, and will set my opponents’ models ablaze accordingly. Feora the Forsaken is contending with Anson Durst for my attention – two very different warcasters, two very different playstyles… My friend Nick’s burgeoning Circle Orboros force will feel the flames of my wrath when we can gather again.
Of course, the Protectorate and the Retribution aren’t the only three-word factions in the game, and with the launch of the Legion of Everblight CID (and the presence of Yssylla in the Riot Quest: Wintertime Wasteland kickstarter) has me pondering the Hordes side of the game, and just what Everblight’s up to in the frozen North. The events of Oblivion and the Infernal Invasion focused very heavily (though not exclusively) on the Warmachine factions, and I’m keen to see what unfolds for the Hordes factions over the next twelve months.
From the Trollbloods we’re looking to see a focus on the organized military led by Gunnbjorn (my favorite Trollblood warlock by far), but the CID has granted us an insight into the jealous manipulator that Everblight is. After seeing the Archons march to war he’s decided he needs his own, with the Blight Archon being not only a powerful manifestation of Everblight’s own essence, but also a Lesser Warlock in its own right. The Virtues enter the field as Everblight’s new elite infantry, Yssylla herself is a solo that can cast Shatterstorm (reread that a couple of times), but it’s Bethayne who has my attention.
Bethayne was a groundbreaking concept when she was first introduced – both conceptually and mechanically – as a warlock that could meld with her personal warbeast mid-game to become a single entity. Now that union is permanent, with Bethayne, Pride of Everblight, being the very first Warbeast Warlock (much as Karchev the Terrible is a Warjack Warcaster).
From the CID:
Bethayne has been permanently fused with Belphagor during Everblight’s initial experimentation, having been pulled apart and put back together more times than she can recall. She is the Proto-Virtue, a truly unique creature that can likely never exist again, and that functioned as an early template for what the Virtues and the Blight Archon eventually became.
Bethayne 2 is the first “warbeast warlock”, similar to how Karchev the Terrible is a “warjack warcaster”. She takes damage like a warbeast, can slam and make power attacks, and suffers crippled aspects OTHER than the Spirit aspect. Unlike Karchev, who is a smash-your-face style caster, Bethayne is far more of a ranged threat and brings several potent spells and an incredibly potent feat to the table.
While her concept art depicts a creature far divorced from the grace and sleek menace we’re used to from a lot of Legion models, it speaks to the horrific mutation Bethayne’s undergone as Everblight’s enacted flesh melding and other unsanitary practices to mold her into his newest warlock. Heck, her feat is called Flesh Web. I’ll leave it your imagination visualize just how that might manifest.
It’ll be awhile before Bethaye, Pride of Everblight, hits the tables but I’m loving that Privateer is looking into aspects of the Hordes factions that haven’t received love for some time. The Legion are getting some life poured into their abominations, as the Trollbloods get military reinforcements. Any guesses what we’ll see for Skorne and the Circle Orboros?
While the self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing of the Era of COVID-19 has been a boon for hobbyists in terms of getting things painted, it’s been an active struggle for those of us that crave the tabletop experience. Yes, there are tabletop simulators online, but they don’t compare to the actual fun of pushing toy soldiers around a tabletop, rolling dice, and uttering vague (or even specific!) invectives against the dice gods as your sure-thing turns into a complete crapfest.
I’ve spoken several times on social media about the benefits of having a hobby that we can sink into while distant from our opponents, enjoying a creative outlet and getting models painted, but the end of the list of benefits is always that we have something to look forward to: Actually getting to play our games with our friends, putting the models we’ve been working on onto the table, and enjoying the full tabletop gaming experience with fully painted armies.
To that end, I ask this – what are you lining up for your gaming experiences? What are you most looking forward to?
Myself, Age of Sigmar is high on the list since my main #PandemicProject was my Flesh-Eater Courts army. My Court of the Radiant King is almost ready to ride out across the shining plains if Hysh in service to their liege, to unleash truth, liberty and justice upon those evil ne’er-do-wells of the so-called Realm-Lords. Of course, since they’re bat-sh!t crazy, truth, liberty and justice actually translates to horror, dessecration and a whole lot of snacking. The painting table’s gotten a little jumbled lately, but I’ll find time to paint the Terrorgheist yet. And yes, for the 40K fans out there I am keenly aware of the Indomitus crusade, but my Flesh Tearers are nowhere near ready to field. Yet. And yes, I’m aware that I’m playing Flesh-Eaters for AoS and Flesh Tearers for 40K. There may be a subconscious theme running here. I admit nothing.
Marvel Crisis Protocol is right up there as well. I’m keen to assemble the full Guardians of the Galaxy roster (still need to get Drax/Ronan) and to get some personal experience as to how well they synergize (or don’t, which would also be totally in character). I’ve been slowly painting up other MCP models as well, so don’t be surprised if Spidey or Shuri find themselves in the mix, I’ve never been shy of applying whimsy to list creation.
The world of Riot Quest is expanding with Wintertime Wasteland, but I still have a bunch of models to finish painting from the Mayhem block. Finishing Feora the Forsaken also resulted in War Room being fired up and a list being put together that I’d love to try out… and of course, it’s become another painting project waiting to be launched.
Perhaps more timely is the imminent release of Warcaster. My Iron Star Alliance will be put on the table against AEdge’s Marcher Worlds, and pal Brandon’s admitted that the Empyreans are right up his alley aesthetically, so kicking tires with a new system is always on the to-do list… as is playing Monsterpocalypse. Blastikutter’s out now, it’s only a matter of time before Privateer gives me more units to work with beyond the Mollock Berserkers and Brutes.
Now I need to finish the commission paintjobs I have on the table so I can get back to work on models for each of these plans…
Were you online when we were graced with the digital presences of Will “I collect honey!” Hungerford and Oz “I am not a monster!” Schoonover, delivering the 2020 Keynote? We’re on the cusp of Warcaster, we’re in the aftermath of Oblivion, we’ve seen the coming of Gallamaxus as new friends and foes join the Monsterpocalypse, and of course, the Keynote – our sneak peek into Privateer’s plans for the coming year – had a few surprises for us as well.
You can watch the Keynote here:
Some neat things to note:
Iron Kingdoms: Requiem
The Iron Kingdoms RPG, reborn using the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edtion ruleset. I love me some classic IKRPG, but bringing the setting fully into 5e compatibility means potentially opening up the setting we love to a much wider audience, and with Matt Goetz – hands down one of my favourite writers/designers in the RPG industry – working on the project, I am very keen to see Requiem in my grubby little hands.
Bear in mind also, this will be a huge insight into the world of the Iron Kingdoms after the Infernal invasion. The events of Oblivion and the Hengehold Scroll were a major upheaval for Western Immoren, and we’ve all had a lot of questions as to the state of the world, and the fates of those left behind after the Cyriss gate closed. If the amount of lore and background for the setting in Requiem is anywhere near the quality that we got with IKRPG Full Metal Fantasy and IKRPG Kings, Nations and Gods (and of course, IK Unleashed) then we’re in for a hell of a treat.
Our primary source of alternate sculpts and concept reinventions, Minicrate has been putting out some excellent alternates through its subscription service. Some sign up for the six month stretch and get the VIP bonus model, others cherry pick the models that appeal most. The Keynote has given us a peek at 6 of the next year’s models, but of those shown in the video I think my personal favourites are Winter Watch (alt Pyg Lookout on a Polar Bear cub) and Fiona from the Black Lagoon (alt Fiona the Black as a mermaid).
I mean, there were no Menites in the list, but that doesn’t mean a few others won’t find a potential home in the Gdaycave…
The Draken Armada are coming in full force, with three new monsters and six new units – but we’ve known that these guys were incoming for awhile (even if we had no idea about Gausamal). What caught my eye was the Zerkalo Bloc, a cold war era style heavy metal foe from an alternate Earth. When I watched Pacific Rim, Cherno-1 was my favourite Jaeger aesthetically, so the concept renders definitely caught my eye.
On top of that we have the announcement of the Legion of Mutates – Anthropomorphic animals, including elephant men with rocket launchers – and the Masters of the 8th Dimension – geometric beings that defy physics and our understanding of biology. Now, I’m a commited Destroyers player, so I’ll pout a little that the Mutates are Protectors, but those Zerkalo’s will look awfully nice marching alongside my Mollocks…
The Keynote has announced the fourth faction for Warcaster, the first non-human faction – The Empyreans. The ancient alien masters of the Hyperanuion, they’ll follow the standard templating of the other factions – Solos, Units, Light and Heavy Warjacks – but the similarities largely end there. Armored carapaces with bonus tentacles, some of the Empyrean models don’t even bother with such gauche mundanities as legs and arms.
Humanity will be receiving some new toys as well, with the coming year’s wave introducing vehicles – the Razorbat (Marcher Worlds), Interceptor (Iron Star Alliance), Scythe (Aeturnus Continuum) and the Zenith (bringing the Empyreans in line). Each will have weapon hardpoints that welcome different armaments, much as the warjacks do. They also look super cool.
Warmachine & Hordes
With such a strong focus on Warmachine leading up to and through the Infernal invasion, it’s time for Hordes to get some love. We saw a bunch of new models for the Legion of Everblight and the Trollbloodsm, as well as some merc/minion models such as the Death Archon. The Grymkin will also receive some new models, including the blasphemous Defiled Archon, and Isiah the Dread Harvester, their pumpkin-headed dragoon who can turn his own victims into Dread Rots.
While Hordes factions will be enjoying a little time in the limelight, Warmachine won’t be completely ignored, with the Retribution of Scyrah expanding into House Ellowuyr. Thyron and his Swordsmen have reinforcements incoming. The Crucible Guard will also receive new models, including Major Aline Benett, a Rocketman Warcaster.
Riot Quest is entering its second season, with the Wintertime Wasteland kickstarter live as we speak. A new map, a new block of looters, all of which will be compatible with both Warmachine and Hordes, including the baby Gorax. Maybe he’ll be a companion model for the new Boomhowler? Pure speculation on my part of course. The core set gives us a new melee-centric Boomhowler, a new Black Bella, a post apocalyptic Yuri the Hunter, the Nyss sorceress Yssylla, the aforementioned baby Gorax, Shivers.
The new edition Riot Quest will add a slew of new heroes, including the first dual hero, Dez (from the Mayhem block) with Gubbin (also from the Mayhem block) loaded into a mortar. The Man-o-War Bulkhead will add some serious armor plating, while Bumbles the bear is adorably lethal. Major Benett – the Rocketman Warcaster mentioned earlier – will also be released as a Riot Quest model. For Kickstarter exclusives, alternate sculpts of some of the original Mayhem heroes will be available.
While there’s no new Menites in the immediate winds, I can acknowledge that other players need new toys too, and I can appreciate the novelty of having more things to set on fire with Feora the Forsaken. Also, gimme two of those Interceptors ASAP…
On the one hand we have arguably the most ambitious woman in the Iron Kingdoms, having spent years rising to be one of the most powerful and influential individuals in the hierarchy of the Protectorate of Menoth, only to find her schemes torn asunder as the Iron Kingdoms fell apart during the Infernal invasion. On the other, we have four gremlins with macabre hobby horses, representing the riders of the apocalypse and generally causing havoc. Feora the Forsaken and The Four Horseymans are here to join your games of Riot Quest and Warmachine/Hordes.