Bonus points to whoever gets the reference in the title. The Retribution of Scyrah was one of my two main factions for Warmachine/Hordes for a long time. My Autumnfall (as I dorkily referred to them) started coming together the moment the Retribution first released at the tail end of Mk1, and they were the first army I took to a convention (Templecon). Rahn, Vyros and Kaelyssa led me to many victories – Rahn’s in the banner image for the blog for a reason – and I took great delight in fielding Hydra and letting them snipe targets across the board under Vyros’ Birds Eye. While I am a dyed-in-the-wool Menite, the rhythm of Ios beat through my subconscious.
While the Autumnfall may no longer be residents of the Gdaycave, I was nonetheless keen to assemble an Aeternae myrmidon, the first non-character Heavy to join the Iosan stable since House Vyre’s initial wave of heavies.
Following House Vyre design standards, Aeternae wields asymmetrical melee weapons, along with a shoulder mounted ranged weapon. It’s worth noting that the box art has the Distortion Voulges reversed and in the wrong hands.
It’s been a long week in the Gdaycave, from work volume exploding for the #RealJob to the kitchen undergoing renovations (among other things, fancy new faucet is fancy). It’s been tough to muster the energy to get a lot of painting time in, even with my #BrushWieldersUnion goals and other models for review. There’s half a dozen or so models at various stage of painting, my Untamed Beasts for Warcry plugging along, and I’m happily chugging through Riot Quest models, but at the end of the day it can still be a struggle finding motivation to pick up the brush.
This is something of a double-edged sword for me. Painting models is, for me, something of a therapeutic process. It’s a creative outlet, and delivers a sense of completion, of accomplishment, when a model is done. It’s a stress management tool, because it requires focus that stops me dwelling on other stressors at the exact same time as it causes stress about colour schemes and painting tiny bloody eyeballs and the like.
So there’s something to be said for doing nothing for an evening or so, but at the same time there’s a lot to be said for sitting down and getting brush time in, even it it’s just being that much closer to having something to show off in these hallowed blog halls.
A deadline can be the motivator, such as an upcoming tournament or convention that you want to be fully painted for. Sadly, those aren’t really a thing right now. These are keen drivers for productivity, even if there’s no “fully painted” requirement, because it’s a chance to play with a fully painted, cohesive force, and that’s always a great feel. It enriches the game experience for both you and your opponents. It’s also a chance to showcase your efforts to your friends, get direct feedback and encouragement, get tips for the next project. These things can be done online, but there’s no substitute for being able to see models with your own eyes, or being able to converse face to face.
Other times a single model can just capture your attention. You pick it up and damn son! you have to get paint on it. This can be a trap in itself as you lose all motivation to paint anything else while you focus on this new project. I say this, fully aware that I have two Plains Runners sitting at about 60% done, while Hecate Vilehorn has received all of my painting attention after sitting primed in a drawer for over a year. I can’t explain why a chibi centaur necromancer is suddenly the focus, but heck, it is.
I will say that if you’re plodding through your 30th Space Marine, a change of pace can be as good as a holiday. Put the 3rd company Intercessor down, pick up a model that’s something completely different. Not just a different colour scheme, but a different style, a different concept, a different company perhaps. I’ve always found that painting chibi models, with their hyper exaggerated detail and enormous eyes that make you question your freehand abilities, to be a great palate cleanser when you’re stuck in a painting rut. It really doesn’t hurt that Ninja Division’s Master Class models have been hitting it out of the park lately. The Brinebreaker looks amazing.
Consider something like the #Hobbystreak challenge, where you try to get at least 30 minutes of hobby time in each day, and see how many consecutive days you can streak to. Whatever it is that keeps you plodding with your painting projects, I encourage you to reach out and share, let me see what you’re working on. Let’s see if I can finish Hecate over the weekend…
Ah, the life of a Kossite. Those city folk w’ their high-falutin’ indoor plumbing, steamjacks and pasteurized milk can go hang, just give me a hand axe, a bolt-action long gun, and an unhealthy preference for furry hats. Yuri the Axe was a legend among Khador’s manhunters long before the Infernals came to claim the souls of mankind, but the events of the Claiming left Yuri a changed man.
No longer was he driven to decapitate Southerners; rather, when the perfidy and corruption of his leaders was unveiled, Yuri’s own soul was similarly laid bare. The Infernals didn’t come for him, but the weight of his own deeds brought him to his knees. He tried to eschew a life of violence, but it was only a matter of time before Greygore Boomhowler crossed his path, a limb was severed, and Yuri once again found himself embroiled in a world of conflict.
Yuri the Hunter is the post-apocalyptic incarnation of Yuri the Axe, but he’s changed from being a frenzied maniac lumberjack to a fur-clad archer. He’s a Gunner class hero for Riot Quest, moving slowly with SPD4 but being able to take a heck of a punch and being lethal at a distance. While his speed may be low, Swift Hunter lets him move an additional 3 spaces when he hits a target with his purloined Tharn Long Bow.
As with all Gunners he has the Aim ability, and the as he closes in for the kill Trapper slows down his targets, giving the burly bowman a degree of board control.
For Warmachine, Yuri is still loyal to the Khadoran crown. The Empress’ court may have been eviscerated, but Yuri is unwavering.
Yuri is no longer a threshing machine, though he’s still a MAT8 Weapon Master with his hunting knife, so his melee threat is not to be ignored. With his having Advance Deploy, Pathfinder, Stealth and Ambush, he’s going to get wherever he needs to be if he really wants to poke you with his Hunting Knife.
His potential with the bow is more interesting, and a little more tricksy. The Tharn Bow is POW14, being shot with Yuri’s RAT8 at a total 18″ threat range, making him a solid threat to errant solos, and a surgical tool for removing single infantry models that are otherwise blocking lines of sight or charge lanes.
Huntermeans that Stealth is the only real protection from his sniping a target off the board, but it’s Arcing Firethat makes the bow shine. You can’t hide behind a barricade thanks to Hunter, but Arcing Fire means you can’t hide behind your friends either, unless you’re snugged right up behind them.
So again, with a high tier RAT, Yuri can plant a shaft in your Attendant Priest or Steelhead Arcanist from 18″ away, potentially angling in from the side of the board and generally being able to avoid any ranged threats himself as he gets into position.
Trapper makes Yuri more of a threat to massed infantry, but only in his immediate vicinity. A 4″ AoE doing POW10 to any living or undead model entering or ending its activation in it will mess up lightly armored models, but the template must be placed in contact with Yuri himself.
This works as a effective deterrent to a charge against light to medium infantry, or can be used more offensively by having Yuri stalk his prey, get in a back arc and then drop the template, forcing them to exit the immediate area – perhaps around an objective or flag?
His being able to put the template down after killing a target with a ranged attack thanks to Cover Tracksmeans the ability’s going to be used more frequently as a freebie than as a Special Action in and of itself, but its utility isn’t to be discounted should the right circumstances arrive.
Much like his Kossite brethren, Yuri’s not going to be a significant threat to heavily armored targets (though don’t discount the potential of a P+S10 + 4d6 Weapon Master charge with that knife), but his ability to get wherever he wants to on the board and then to start cleaning out the opponent’s solos and support models with a degree of impunity means he’ll find a slot in lists accordingly. If a Brawlmachine list can find room for his points, he’ll earn his keep.
Yuri the Hunter is one of the five starting heroes in the Riot Quest: Wintertime Wasteland starter set, available through your FLGS or preferred online retailer.
While the Kickstarter has closed and we’re now in the dreaded limbo betwixt Completion and Delivery, that doesn’t mean we can’t work to fill the void with IKRPG ponderings. If nothing else, we can keep the souls of dead Skorne company as they while away eternity in the void themselves. PP Faye’s latest insider gave us some insight into character creation with NIall Kain, Thamarite Guile Cleric. While we won’t know the full details until we have books in hand, the cognitive wheels began turning about races and classes and how they’re represented in the newest edition if the Iron Kingdoms Role Playing Game.
5th Edition D&D has been undergoing something of a renaissance over the last few years, expanding options to allow for more creativity with each rules supplement. The most recent, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, pertinently opened the door for eschewing racial stat bonuses so that players can more readily represent the character they have in their head. Dwarves are a hardy folk, for example, so traditionally get a Constitution bonus, but what if your character was more bookish, didn’t enjoy quaffing, and preferred the open sky to closed in tunnels and subterranean strongholds? Maybe you want to get an Intelligence bonus instead, indicative of their times spent with their nose in a tome rather than sniffing out a silver vein.
The last edition of the IKRPG addressed this somewhat with the concept of Essences, and per Faye’s Insider it looks like we’re getting an update to 5e D&D to optionally use essences instead of racial bonuses. Faye’s character took the Intellectual essence, granting a boost to Intelligence or Wisdom, along with aptitude in a specific skill or ability, and some optional feats that could be taken as the character levels up.
With the Intellectual essence being confirmed, we can likely expect Mighty, Skilled and Gifted or variants thereof. IK:Unleashed replaced Intellectual with Cunning, but they served a similar purpose. Intellectual (Int/Wis) and Mighty (Str/Con) make immediate sense, but working out a good fit for Dexterity and Charisma could be a little more challenging, there may not be a direct correlation.
What will be very interesting is how Gifted is approached (if it’s included). Magic users in the Iron Kingdoms are few and far between, with Warcasters being elevated to a special place in society by sheer dint of their ability to access magic. Mechaniks and Alchemists have ways to pull of magical effects through mad science, Gun Mages and functionally enchant bullets, but by and large the characters of the Iron Kingdoms are, for lack of a better term, mundane.
This is not to say that they’re not exceptional, but rather than they rely on trained skills and the like rather than any variant of wizardry and spellcraft. Compare this to the Dungeons & Dragons core ruleset, where every class has access to spellcasting of some sort, either as a core feature (eg Wizard, Warlock, Sorcerer) or through a subclass (eg Fighter/Eldritch Knight, Rogue/Arcane Trickster, Barbarian/Totem Warrior).
Assuming there is a Gifted archetype, will it be a requirement for anyone taking one of the spell-centric classes, and optional for other classes?
The caveat, of course, is that the Iron Kingdoms is a setting for D&D. Just as there are no orcs native to Barovia, halflings are barbaric cannibals in Athas and centaurs are represented differently in Ravnica and Theros, it may well be that players in the Iron Kingdoms may want to consider carefully their choices in character creation so as to fit better with the setting itself. Collaboration between the players and DM to make the pieces fit will be important, but then, it’s always a good idea during character creation, to help the players realize a character concept that will work well with the story being crafted.
We can expect a variety of human options for the Iron Kingdoms, with Cygnarans, Khadorans, Idrians and more, as well as Iosans, Nyss, Orgun, Rhulfolk, likely Trollkin and Gobbers, so there’s no shortage of potential races to play with, and the optional Essences will allow for customization above and beyond the more narrow confines of a genetic stereotype. Exactly how, we’re waiting to see.
If you missed pre-ordering IKRPG: Requiem during the kickstarter, you can still pre-order through Backerkit. What sort of story will you tell in the post-Claiming Iron Kingdoms?
As someone who digs into games based on their lore, I was thrilled when Privateer Press started Skull Island Expeditions, breathing further life into a setting that I already loved. When it comes to depth of lore, though, it’s tough to beat Games Workshop’s immense library of tales of the Warhammer world and the Warhammer 40K universe. In the grim darkness of their future, there is only enough novels to choke a Leviadon.
With the Horus Heresy being essentially the Big Bang of the 40K setting, the insurrection that set brother against brother in a cataclysmic conflict that threatened the stars themselves and established the eternal war between the defenders of humanity and the legions of Chaos, it’s no surprise that the setting has been very successful. With a series of novels and an entire variant on Warhammer 40K supported by Forge World models, players and fans have been able to enjoy a more retro design to familiar model concepts (you know, as retro as something set in the 31st Millenium can be), but more notably, they can field the Primarchs of their chapters themsellves.
When pal 49 scored the models for Lemun Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves, and two enormous Wolf-Kin to run with him, clearly it’s an opportunity to crack open the boxes and look at the components.
Imagine. There you are, one of the most recognizable trollkin in the Iron Kingdoms. Not just by other trollkin, no, your name is known by human, dwarf, ogrun and elf alike. You are Greygore Boomhowler, of the bloodline of Bragg. You are a Fell Caller with magic vocal chords, and your mercenary band are one of the most sought after in the known world.
Then came the Reckoning.
The Infernals tore through the kingdoms of man like a dracodile through gobbers. Heroes and legends became corpses and wormfood. The souls of humanity were reaped, and you were left standing in the shattered remnants of the world you know. Oddly enough, this was a world you were well suited for. Survival of the toughest? You were well ‘ard long before the Infernals came along.
At first, you picked up a chain gun, and you sought to collect what little wealth and power in the post-apocalyptic remains. As a mercenary you’d been driven by a love of coin, so what was the difference now, other than treasure being a little more dangerous to collect. While the Iron Kingdoms were broken down, coin was still the other of the day. You banded together with others of a similar mind and came into conflict with the same. Sometimes you won the day and scored the loot, other days you went home and licked your wounds.
As the cold winds settled in you lay down the chain gun. You’d seen one too many casualties, and the song of revenge ran through your veins. Things were getting more personal, and sometimes the only solution when someone has an axe to grind, is to be the one holding the bigger axe. Conveniently, you’d come across the remains of Khadoran warjack that no longer needed its axe. It was big, it was heavy, but then, no more so than the burdens that you already carried.
Boomhowler the Destroyer – the second iteration of the trollkin for Riot Quest and his third version for Warmachine/Hordes – is a Fighter class hero for Riot Quest. Already one of the more resilient characters in the game, he’s decided that he’s going to add some obnoxious damage output in close combat as well. As with all Fighters, Boomhowler comes with the Charge ability, adding a red power die to his attacks on a turn where he rungs. This stacks nicely with his weapon, Massive Jack Axe, which already tolls two power die, along an action die and a boost die. Note that if you happen to roll a Super Strike on your power die you automatically to Super Damage, stacking the pain on your poor vicitms.
A nod to his origins as a Fell Caller, Boomhowler also has a handy movement buff for his allies with Hoof It, allowing another nearby ally to move up to 3 spaces.
For Warmachine/Hordes, I’ll confess I’m a little disappointed that I can’t bring him with my Protectorate, but that’s mainly because he’s packing a serious whallop with that axe. He’s not cheap, his 8pt cost putting him on par with the Archons as one of the most expensive Mercenary solos in the game. He’ll play for Cygnar, Cryx, Khador, Crucible Guard, and Trollbloods. Then the card gets long and more than a little bloodthirsty. Literally.
Bloodthirst pushes his charge threat range to 12” against a living model. End your movement within 6” of an unengaged Boomhowler? You’re getting Countercharge’d. If you’re a warjack or a warbeast? Amputation on the ace means you’re losing a column or branch, even if he only scratches through your armor. Oh, and Knockdown as a bonus.
Here’s where it gets obnoxious:
Boomhowler declares a *Thresher attack. Everything within 2” of his 40mm base’s front arc stares down a base MAT7 attack doing P+S13 damage.
• Knockdown means every hit model is now on their butt, no longer obscuring line of sight, regardless of whether or not they were damaged.
Thrasher – not to be confused with Thresher – means he get swing for a second Thresher attack, automatically hitting all those knocked down targets (and giving him a second shot at anyone he missed).
Trash says all of his damage rolls against knocked down targets get an extra damage dice.
In case that isn’t enough, remember, he’s a Fell Caller, so he brings his dulcet tones to the table as well, with three options.
Dinner Time grants friendly warbeasts +2” movement when charging the target. Note that this will only be of use with warbeasts in a Mercenary, Minion or Trollblood force, as it is Faction stamped.
Hoof It grants a friendly Mercenary, Minion or Trollblood a free advance, ignoring free strikes. Positioning much?
Shout Down targets an enemy model/unit. Boomhowler and all friendly Mercenary, Minion or Trollblood warrior models starting in his 9” command range gain +2 to all attack rolls against the affected enemy models.
So Hoof It to get Boomhowler into position, Shout Down the target so he’s functionally MAT9 against them, and go in Threshing (and Thrashing and Trashing).
I won’t lie, painting Boomhowler the Destroyer was a bit of a chore after some of the other models I’ve been working on recently… maybe because he’s wearing Severius’s faceplate as a vanity belt buckle… but he’s a solid addition to a Riot Quest roster, and packs a heck of a punch (heck of a chop?) for the Warmachine and Hordes lists that can field him. My Protectorate can’t, so I’ll just have to figure out how I’m going to cut him down to size before he gets in range of my Flameguard with that bloody axe…
Boomhowler the Destroyer is one of the five Riot Quest heroes you’ll find in the Wintertime Wasteland box, available now through your FLGS, your preferred online retail, and directly from Privateer press.
Ah, another month scratched off, and we’re this much closer to National No Housework Day. Now, granted, I celebrate on a more frequent basis, but I understand that not everyone has to the freedom to do so. Instead, let’s take a look at what entrants painted for February’s target, which was twofold. Well, technically onefold, but dual in nature. February’s target was Two. Whether this meant painting paired models, models that were dual-wielding, or perhaps Pokemon #2 (seriously, no-one painted an Ivysaur?), its’ time to double up. Behold yon gallery of entries, and as usual, the new month’s target will be posted – along with February’s winner – at the end.
Prophaniti1978 painted a single model with two beings. Do you think the little dragon Shang gets upset with Kyria for wearing its grandmother’s skull as a pauldron? Okay, okay, it’s not a dragon skull, but what if it was….
You stroll down the cobblestones, a variety of vendors hawking their wares from the broad windows of their shops and stall. It was a fairly busy marketplace, but it was clear to the discerning eye that the assorted shopkeeps and merchants saw each other as a community. No two stalls with similar offerings were close to each other, one vendor would watch a street urchin out of the corner of their eye at their neighbor’s stall, mindful of any light fingers… a pleasant enough corner of the city – not too opulent so as to make the common adventurer feel out of place, but not so seedy as to inspire a tighter than normal grip on one’s purse. Then, next to the dwarven potter’s stall, you spot an oddity.
No-one is outside the establishment beckoning passersby, just a simple wooden storefront, round windows with embroidered curtains masking the interior. A simple wooden sign hangs above the door. No words, just a painted depiction of a golden bowl with flowers floating in it. Curiosity takes you, and you step across the threshold to discover what looks more like a museum than a store, each item displayed individually on cushions and pedestals, in alcoves and display cases. A woman steps through a curtain at the rear of the store, and welcomes you to her humble establishment…
With D&D on my mind, I thought it was time to deal some more cards from SkeletonKey’s Dossier Decks. Creating NPC’s can be a challenge, but it’s amazing what you can do with a little inspiration. The Dossier Decks make it easy – you can see how far my brain rambled in my earlier posts, such as with Barl Moonsblood, professional nap wizard.
We flipped for appearance, traits and a story hook from the Merchants deck for today’s NPC and came up with…
Alternate historical settings are my jam. Okay, High and Low Fantasy, Steampunk and Deiselpunk are also my jam, but they’re not pertinent to today’s bloggery. I received a little heads up from the powers that be, and had a giddy thrill to learn that there’s some new reading for Achtung! Cthulhu – the roleplaying game set during World War II, but blended with H P Lovecraft’s mythos. Imagine if the Third Reich’s occultists went fishing at Innsmouth…
There’s been a few fictional properties that take the Weird War II concept and run with it – Mike Mignola used it for Hellboy’s origins, and Dust USA has unleashed elder things for miniature tabletop gaming – but when it comes to roleplaying games, Modiphius has the setting dialed in.
The new Quickstart rules have just been released on DriveThruRPG, and provide an introduction to the 2d20 system and an adventure set in rural France, where Master Hans Stöller of the Black Sun has uncovered an ancient tome and is set to summon an avatar of Nyarlathotep into the sleepy little village of Saint Sulac.
I’ve relied on a number of dice systems in the past – from D&D’s roll- a-d20-beat-a-target-number to Shadowrun’s throw-enough-d6-to-bludgeon-a-goat-into-unconsciousness – but the 2d20 system took me a few minutes to wrap my head around.
You add your stat and skill to give you a target number – the higher your stat and skill, the higher that number. You roll 2d20 as a base, and each dice that rolls under your target number is a success. 1’s translate as crits, 20’s as crit fails. There’s a number of things you can do to roll extra dice, from trading in previous extra successes to bribing the GM for extra dice now, at the price of additional challenges later on.
The particular mechanic that caught my eye most though, was Truths. Each character, be they pc or npc, each item or encounter or effect, has some codified truths about themselves. These truths can make a roll easier or harder. For example:
A room is on fire. A truth about this could be Smoke – it’s harder to see, your eyes sting, it’s harder to focus as your throat seizes. Accordingly, it’s more difficult to see your target across the room, and the difficulty goes up.
Our hero’s truth is that he was a sailor before joining the effort. While it may not be codified on their character sheet, they picked up some basic navigation or ropework skills, which could make their lives a little easier as they try to find their way on a cloudless night, or need to secure a prisoner.
The thing I like about this idea is the freedom it allows for roleplaying opportunities. Our hero doesn’t have a defined statistic for animal husbandry, but a rural background could mean that it’s reasonable that they have some familiarity with livestock, and could lean on that to make things a little easier for the team as they tried to sneak through a paddock avoiding riling up the cattle. It could also mean a potential familiarity with tractors, so while operating the rusty old beat-up machinery they found in the shed may still require everyone teaming up and combining their efforts to get the number of successes needed, our hero’s ability to interpret some of the controls may lower the difficulty just a little.
There’s a little more math involved and the whole “It’s better to roll lower” concept always throws my dinosaur math brain for a loop, but I’d be selling the system short if I didn’t note that the potential for roleplaying based on concepts rather than stats is pretty bloody huge.
The scenario that comes with the Quickstart rules – A Quick Trip to France– is neatly laid out so as to be easily accessible to the nascent GM running their first game. The story is broken down into a series of named Scenes, and each scene has its own objectives clearly stated.
For example, the first scene is the group jumping out of their plane into rural France after HQ received a garbled message from the Resistance. The scene’s objectives:
Parachute into France
Locate the village of Saint Sulac
The players will have an opportunity to mess up their jump, finding themselves tangled in a tree or worse, and will then have to figure out how to find (and get to) the village. It’s a nice introduction to the 2d20 mechanics, gives the players the opportunity to bank some Momentum (if you do really good at X, you can use that to help you succeed at Y) or the GM the chance to bank some Threat (players trading future challenges for extra dice) or Complications (players mess up their rolls, GM gets to make life more difficult).
The story continues with the party trying to find their contact, sneaking into the Black Sun base, and – with any luck – thwarting Stöller’s plan. There are opportunities to roleplay, opportunities to shoot Black Sun operatives, opportunities to gaze upon things-wot-man-t’weren’t-meant-to-see, and the creeping shadow of doom. You do know that Servitors of Nyarlathotep look like giant tongues, right? (*shudders*)
The Quickstart rules are available to download free – Are you ready to stare into the abyss while your GM, who was never any good at languages, tries to pronounce Maschinengewehr? Swing by DriveThruRPG and take a peek beyond the veil.
There’s been some debate about who the cutest hero is from the new Wintertime Wasteland block for Riot Quest, and while I can agree that there’s some argument to be made for Bumbles the armored polar bear, I honestly think there’s a stronger one for the tiny whirlwind of destruction that is Shivers, the infant Gorax.
One of the most notable warbeasts among the Circle Orboros, the Gorax is synonymous with the unleashing of a primal fury, a berserk rage that can only end with the (literally) bone-crushing demise of whatever it’s pointed at. To take that wrath and pack it into something the size of a small human child is at the same time entertaining and, to anyone who actually -has- a small human child, utterly terrifying. The net result is adorable mayhem, which may well what was intended all along.