• Tag Archives Cryx
  • Asphyxious the Undamned

    So there I was, sitting in the car the other day, chatting with my friend Alex. We both agree that the fluff and backstory of any setting and its characters play an enormous role in engaging us as players, be it an RPG, tabletop minis, or a video game. Even the mighty power of nostalgia can falter if a game setting isn’t adequately fleshed out. I’ve considered Privateer Press’ worldbuilding to be the standard against which I measure others for some time.

    In the Iron Kingdoms we have a wealth of fiction and backstory built up over 15 years, with each warcaster and warlock (and a good portion of the solos) having history, motivation – they’ve had life breathed into them. Even the mindless slaughterbrute that is Orsus Zoktavir has a novella, has non-combat interaction with other characters in the setting, and not just spitting on Cygnarans, but complex conflict within his own faction (I’m looking at you, Sorscha).

    One of the potentially trickiest things to pull of has been when a character has actively switch factions. Sturgis served the Cygnus, was slain, and resurrected to serve the Dragonfather… and you can play with both versions. Goreshade cast his lot as an Eldritch, but through no less than three incarnations in the rules, before being renewed by Scyrah, and now he once again fights for Ios. Caine served the Cygnaran crown for most of his career (and what a career it was… how’s Llael these days?) before turning his blue coat brown and signing up as a Mercenary. Honestly, part of me expected Amon Ad Raza to turn his back on his Menite ways after Heirarch Voyle died…

    Having a character from one faction flip over to another is a concept I find fascinating, and I’m always curious to see how the wordsmiths at Privateer are going to pull it off. Last week, though, rather than looking into the evolution of a character, we got a sneak peak at an upcoming Minicrate model (https://www.mini-crate.com/) where we get to see Cryxian poster boy Asphyxious before he became an Iron Lich.

    We’ve known for some time that Asphyxious was a druid before he thew himself into a volcano to prove his willingness to serve Toruk, but there was a fantheory that Asphyxious was actually Krueger the Stormlord, thrown back in time at some point in the future. Granted, this theory was largely based on the fact that both Krueger and Asphyxious like to hover and they’re both armed with a spear with a cleft blade, but I still liked it as a theory.

    The reveal of the art for pre-lich Asphyxious, who will still be hovering and holding a cleft spear, making him a legal proxy for Asphyxious1 (yes, PP has confirmed that it’ll be on a 40mm base), makes it pretty clear that the fantheory is bunk.

    The thing I particularly like about this, though, is that we’re seeing a minicrate model that isn’t a mercenary or a minion. I like my mercs and minions as much as the next guy, and I totally get the marketing point of making the Minicrate models accessible to as many players as they can across multiple factions, but this? This is what I was hoping for from Minicrate. New models for core characters that we know and love from the factions we play. Yes, they did a new Butcher for Christmas, but that was a holiday piece as opposed to something that can be rooted in the backstory. The Runeball Wizard and Lady of the Feast are genderswapped variants,  but this is a legitimate glimpse  into the history of a character we’ve known for over a decade.

    The other thing I like about this concept art is that it gives us a sweet new druid model for those playing the Unleashed RPG. As much as I love that, thanks to the Unleashed rulebook and Kings, Nations & Gods, we can use pretty much every Warmachine and Hordes model in the RPG, being able to introduce something new like this just makes my geek heart happy.

    I’m looking forward to seeing more Minicrate models from the core factions. It’s looking to be a good year.



  • Called to Battle: Face Value

    It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to visit Skull Island for a fresh expedition. Skull Island – Privateer Press’ e-publishing label that introduced me to the excellent wordage of the likes of Dave Gross, Chris A Jackson and Miles Holmes, on top of in-house wordsmiths the likes of Douglas Seacat, Aeryn Rudel and William Schick. Namedrop, namedrop… I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with each of these talented authors, and it’s always a good time to delve into the the fluff and lore of the Iron Kingdoms. Every tale, be they a full length novel or a dozen pages as part of an anthology novella, unfolds new layers of the world of the Iron Kingdoms and with it, enriches our own overall experience.

    I had the opportunity today to read Richard A Knaak’s Face Value. This was my first introduction to Knaak’s writing, and I can honestly say I’m looking forward to reading his other Skull Islands offering, Wyrmbane. Frankly, this surprises me a little. I’ll confess that Cryx is one of the factions that interests me the least in Warmachine & Hordes, which in no small part stems from my years playing undead armies in Warhammer, before I left Australia. I’ve done my time in the crypts, and when I first started playing Warmachine there was simply no interest in more hordes of skeletons and the like. For a short story to have me interested in reading more of the writer’s same work is a good thing. For it to have me interested in reading more when the next book is a novella centered around one of the Lich Lords? Well, that’s just bonza.

    Face Value introduces us to the Skarlock Thrall Grendov. The Skarlock Thralls are largely autonomous servants of their lords, bound to do their bidding – the word Thrall isn’t just for funsies – but wheres most of the hordes of the undead are mindless automatons, the Skarlocks are the right hands of their masters, and need to have a degree of intellect in order to carry out the wills of their lords.

    Grendov stands out even among Skarlocks in that he retains more than just some intellect. He also has elements of his living personality – not to mention the face he wore when he was alive, now gruesomely hooked to his grinning skull as he tries to cling to some  semblance of the man he was – and the consciousness to question of his master Venethrax’s wishes, even if he dare not voice such questions out loud.

    Grendov knows he holds a position of particular power in the Scharde Isles, one that grants him significant freedom and autonomy at the discretion of Lich Lord Venethrax, but when he discovers a captured soul from his past, his loyalties are tested. Will he risk the wrath of his master – and by that, his very existence – in the name of a long lost love? Just what – and who – would he be willing to sacrifice for an emotion he can barely remember?

    Face Value introduces the reader to the Nightmare Empire of Cryx and its denizens, and sets the stage for the story to come. With the children of Toruk on the move, Lich Lord Venethrax will be calling on those in his service to unravel the mystery ahead and deal with one of the greatest threats in the known world. This short story deals with conflicted loyalties, the value of a measure of freedom, and tosses in a necrotech who thinks he’s funny, that I really hope turns up in Wyrmbane. A short read, but well worth the price of admission.

    You can get Face Value and Wyrmbane directly from Privateer’s online store as ebooks, put them on your phone or tablet, and take a bite out of the Iron Kingdoms.

  • Doug Mafia responds to last week’s Sturgis postulation…

    dougmafiaavSo my good friend Christopher’s article in Lost Hemisphere got me thinking about the often down-trodden ex-Cygnarian and now Cryxian warcaster: Sturgis the Corrupted, henceforth referred to as “eStrugis”, for brevity.

    In his article, Chris discussed how Privateer Press has almost left eSturgis untouched in the edition change for this All New War. This was surprising for many, my humble self-included, as he was quite widely considered one of Cryx’s most lackluster casters and it was predicted by many luminaries of the internets that he would see significant changes. However, I offer this observation: That our good friends Privateer Press must have deemed that the change of the game’s environment as a whole was enough to justify leaving him almost untouched.

    In order to properly evaluate eSturgis, we must briefly evaluate the new environ he finds himself in. With the addition of premeasuring, changes to Rate of Fire, the addition of Power Booster, the increase in Warjack Points, and the almost universal reduction of Command, we are likely find ourselves likely to be beset on all sides by heavy armor, large guns and clustered infantry.

    esturgisThis automatically makes Dark Shroud, Parasite, Occultation, Blood Rain and Dead on Arrival that much better on this Cryxian. Convection? We don’t talk about Convection. Convection is for ovens! Ovens!

    As mentioned, opponents will be bringing more warjacks to the table. But this means we will most likely bring more of our own as well! Privateer Press mentioned they have envisioned a swarm mentality for Cryx, and praised their ability to overwhelm their foes with vast numbers. Cryxian warjacks are some of the cheapest out there, and with the aforementioned addition of Power Booster and increased Warjack points, we are encouraged to take larger battlegroups. Hopefully this will result in eSturgis’ feat: Dead on Arrival, to have a much more devastating effect on your opponent, as you can quickly load up your battlegroup with Focus with the help of Power Booster.

    Imagine charging with eSturgis and triggering Dark Shroud. You then spell-sling Parasite on a nearby infantry unit. Then you feat. Your feat could be hitting the parasit unit for 17 damage if you pull them into your melee range! This combination existed in Mk2, but with the new reduced Command Ranges, it is more effective. You could then load up your battlegroup, teleport away, and have them clean up.

    eSturgis is also a formidable fighter by his own accord, under Dark Shroud and Parasite he can bump up his melee weapons to an effective POW 18, and with Snap Strike he can make quick work of most light warjacks and even some heavies too.

    The ex-Cygnarian frankencaster also has some interesting math associated with his assassination runs. Consider he can reduce an opposing warcaster’s armor by 5. Now consider the changes to Focus camping and how Reinforcing the Powerfield works. Finally, consider that eSturgis has Snap Strike, effectively getting two attacks per focus spend on additional attacks. See it yet? Even if the opposing warcaster is camping an equal or higher amount of focus as eSturgis, eSturgis will almost always invariably have more attacks than an opposing warcaster has focus to Reinforce the Powerfield.

    I could list all the cute synergies, combinations and lists I conjure up in my running sessions, but I find that would be a story for another article. I find that, quite simply, eSturgis is much better in this edition than the last, and will provide a combined arms solution to a combined arms problem. He is a well-rounded, flexible caster and just because he isn’t high-octane broken, doesn’t mean he shouldn’t see table time.

  • Tyrant Zaadesh & Goreshade (resculpt)

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat back and thought “Hey, you know what Skorne needs? A solo, right, that’s also a warlock, okay, and he can be protected by something like the Exemplar Errant’s ability, and he can somehow buff his warbeasts when they’re working together, maybe through a spell of some sort… Yeah…”.

    Totally can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought that, especially as Molik Karn was taking my Warcaster apart, or Cetrati were harpooning my infantry, or a Bronzeback was just beating the tar of of my everything 😉

    Hey! Tyrant Zaadesh!

    Six! Six skinny metal pieces! Ah-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha! (*thunder*)

    Continue reading  Post ID 16897