Warmachine & Hordes Mk III has made a a bit of a renaissance for some factions, as point values were overhauled and models rebalanced and the timeline we’d all been playing in was shunted forward. Leto is no longer on the throne, Feora has finally waxed her upper lip, and the United Kriels have taken up residence in the Alchiere subcontinent. As the first of the Mk III Forces of… books, the Trollbloods Command book paves the way for what’s to come, and gives us an idea of what we can expect from the future Trollbloods theme books. Let’s have a quick peek…
First up, that cover is freaking gorgeous. It looks like we’re going to be able to get each of the covers as prints directly from Privateer, and with each that we’ve seen so far showcasing some of our favourite characters, someone’s nerd cave is going to look freaking awesome. Ths one shows Ragnor, Madrak, Borka, Grissel, Horgle, Rok and Dozer.
The book opens with an introduction as to where the Trollbloods have come from, and where they’re at now. The Command book doesn’t have as much fluff as previous books have had, though this is likely a reflection of their saving some stuff for the Theme books, and also the increased functionality of the Skull Island imprint for fiction. Fear not though, the gaps are filled. We’re introduced to the new State of the Kriels, with Madrak leading the United Kriels south to the Alchiere Subcontinent where they’ve built Tolok Fortress. Madrak is still very much a Leader Among Trollkin, but Grissel Bloodson, as Marshal of the Kriels, pretty much calls all the shots for the army as the displaced Trollkin establish their new domain.
Meanwhile, the Northern tribes – the appropriately named Northkin – are still way up there fighting off Khadorans and Dragonspawn alike. While there are still scattered kriels throughout the Iron Kingdoms, the Trollkin have somewhat centralized themselves in two areas, each with its own threats and hazards and potentially hostile neighbours.
What follows is an excellent overview of the two primary subgroups of Trollbloods, their command structures, which kriels belong to each, and which warlocks – as the focal points of the faction – tend be located with which subgroup, with the more military warlocks lined up under Grissel’s substructure, while the more tribally inclined seem to somewhat revolve around Hoarluk Doomshaper .
In covering the fighting forces of the Trollbloods, both the Traditional and the Modern are addressed and, as we flick through the book we can deduce which theme books the Trollbloods will be getting. The Command book provides all of the Warlocks and Warbeasts of the faction, but when it comes to units and solos, etc, conspicuously absent are the modernized troops – Sluggers, Pygs, Scattergunners, the War Wagon – and the Northkin. This means that most likely each will have its own theme book, and since the Modern Fighting Forces of the Trollbloods are my favourite aspect of the faction, I couldn’t be happier to know they’ll be having their own dedicated resource.
The first is the Power Of Dhunia, drawing together the shamans and scribes to make a magic-centric army that, yes, allows unlimited units of Runeshapers, but also helps you load up on Whelps to feed your warbeasts, and demonstrates the connection the shamans have with Dhunia and through that connection with their full-blood Troll brethren, increasing the frenzy threshold of every warbeast.
The other is the Band of Heroes. With a little extra deployment zone to help the infantry of the kriels to fit all of those medium bases in, this is the traditional army of Kriel Warriors, Champions and the like that have been the backbone of their people for centuries. Having an army where every single warrior model ignores Tough is a thing as well…
Aside from having some glorious new art for some of the existing model entries, the Trollbloods command book introduces us to Madrak, Great Chieftain, and the Sea King.
There was a lot of speculation as to what would happen to Madrak after the events of the Battle of Bloodstone where Kromac laid claim to Rathrok. While he’s stepped back from a direct military command of the United Kriels, he’s still game to wade into the fight,and it looks like he’s taken a tip from his Troll Impaler and Bouncer. Now he wades into battle with Shield of Volarr and a brace of dirty great spears. Whereas before when he was under the curse of Rathrok and his loyal soldiers would die around him, now Madrak is the protector himself, with Shield Guard and Protective Aura, and a feat that grants 4+ Tough, Immunity to Knockdown and if a tough roll is successfully made, a free 3″ advance. That’s a thing.
Meanwhile the Sea King strides out as the third species of great Troll King, and I’ll be damned if he isn’t wearing a shipwreck for a backpack. Dude’s gotta keep his lunchables somewhere, I guess. With two stomachs, the Sea King is able to purge a scuttering swarm – seriously, that’s what it’s called – of potentially partially digested crustaceans and the like all over the place, nipping and biting and scurrying between armour plates and bestowing the Corrosion status effect. Ew. Gross.
Armed with an anchor on a chain, the Sea King also hits harder than its landbound brethren, and – AND! – does it with 4″ of reach, because Chain Strike is a thing, and let’s toss Crit Knockdown on there as well, because if you’ve got an enormous anchor swinging at you and it connects with anything more than a glancing blow, you’re hitting the deck.
AND THE REST
After the model entries comes the official model gallery, and then something special. Not only does the painting guide provide instruction and recipes for the studio scheme it also offers options from some of the most popular alternate schemes. Each example is provided with a coloured line drawing of the model with breakdowns for base, shade and highlight for each section, and also a photo of a completed model.
For the Trollbloods we have the studio scheme, an alternate grey-brown skinned scheme for the Bloodstone kriels, and then a third scheme for those who looked at the Dire Trolls and immediately thought of a rather well-known angry green dude from Marvel comics. I love – LOVE – that Privateer is stepping further into encouraging personal creativity in personalizing our armies.
To add to the extra schemes, we then get a gallery of models from players’ personal collections in a variety of colour schemes, providing more inspiration for the masses (and simultaneously leaving me in awe of some of the awesome talent out there).
The Trollbloods Command book is a great tool for any aspiring kriel warrior as he takes to the tabletop to biff foes and, depending on which warbeasts he’s brought, vomit a bunch of crayfish all over them. I highly recommend nabbing it, and am pretty darn pleased to add it to my library.