Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Empire Pics! UPDATE: Rules snippets and new scans


Ghal Maraz on the new WD;

What I can get from the WD: 
Units led by Empire Generals and Captains roll 3D6 for Break Test, discard highest; 
Witch Hunters have Sniper and Killing Blow; 
Imperial Griffons are S6, 5W - I don't have my old Army Book here, but it seems to me these are different? They can be two-headed as a special option (with built-in game effect); 
Karl Franz grants his Ld to models within 18"; 24" if he is upon Deathclaw or the Imperial Dragon; 
Deathclaw has +1 A and Ld respect an Imperial Griffon, the usual faithful rule and makes enemy units roll an additional D6, discard lowest when testing Fear/Terror caused by it.
The General on the Imperial Griffon model has the option of two heads (helmetd or not) and lance or sword (different from the Reikland Runefang). 
The two magic altars can be fielded without Wizard on top, thus counting as a rare choice (I guess that was already known). 
Demi-Gryphs Knights with cavalry halberds are shown with the shield too (I guess they'll use it only against shooting).   
That's all. The rest is fluff, photos, pictures and a beautiful map.
 EDIT: OK, i'm a slow poster. I can confirm almost all of what is in the post above mine. The LD rule applies to units led by General/Captain.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Here's the New Empire Stuff for April

The store order list for the FLGS's are in and the birdy's are singing on Warseer! Witch Hunter... totally called it :) Glad to see the Demigryph's are in too.

Here is the You Tube Teaser!


7th of April, new stuff
Empire Army book 33 EUR
Karl Franz on Death Claw 1 fig. plastic 43 EUR
Empire Celestial Hurricanium/Luminark of Hish 1 fig. plastic 39 EUR (no clue what it is but I guess something like the new VC thingymagic)
Empire Demigryph Knights 3 fig. plastic 43 EUR
Captain plastic 1 fig. 10,5 EU
Engineer plastic 10,5 EUR
Volkar on war altar plastic 1 fig 39 EUR
witch hunter 1 fig resin 13 EUR
Markus Wolfhart 1 fig resin 13 EUR
Empire amber wizard 1 fig resin splash release 13 EUR
Warrior priest 1 fig resin 13 eur

Warhammer: The Empire (English)*
Karl Franz, on Deathclaw*
Empire Celestial Hurricanum / Luminark of Hysh*
Empire Demigryph Knights*
Captain of the Empire*
Empire Master Engineer*
Volkmar the Grim on The War Altar of Sigmar*
Empire Witch Hunter*
Markus Wolfhart*
Empire Amber Battle Wizard*
Empire Warrior Priest*
General of the Empire*
Empire State Troops*
Empire Handgunners / Crossbowmen*
Empire Free Company Militia*
Empire Great Cannon / Mortar*
Empire Greatswords*
Empire Flagellant*
Empire Steam Tank*
Empire Volley Gun / Rocket Battery*
Empire Battle Wizards*
Empire Pistoliers / Outriders*
Kurt Helborg, Reiksmarshall of the Empire*
Ludwig Schwarzhelm, the Emperors Champion*
Captain of the Empire with Hammer and Pistol

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wish Upon a (twin-tailed) Comet

Love or hate the rumours, the new Empire release is imminent. Though the current army book is quite sound in terms of competence with the 8th edition ruleset, the perception of its major strengths lie in just a few units. The NZ comp scene reflects this in restrictions on war-machines, templates and dispel dice caps.

To fill time before the new army book comes out, my Imperial mind has indulged in a little thought exercise of what units I would like to see in an Empire army that exist in the background but not on the table. Any of the current special rules could be changing, so this is purely on what I think would add some nice diversity and extra choice to the army list.

1. A Big F#@$-You Cannon

Fairly self explanatory.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blood on the Reik - a Linked Campaign for WFB

It was August, 2010. A shiny (and heavy) new rulebook sat on our collective laps, bursting with Warhammery goodness. What better way, we decided, to break in the new edition than with a linked campaign!

And so I sat down to draw up the outline for a series of battles to chronicle the conflict between my Nuln army and my good friend Marty's Vampire Counts.

We had a great time, and I wrote a short story after each of the five battles to report on the results. Truly, this is the stuff that Warhammer was made for. It still lingers with me as one of the highlights of my hobby experiences so far.

I just recently discovered all my documents from those good old days. I always hunger for campaign ideas, and have been spoiled in the last six months with Tamurkhan and Blood in the Badlands. It was remarkably easy to create my own, but I also know how hard it can be to get that first step going. So in light of that, I present to you Blood on the Reik - a Linked Campaign for WFB! Feel free to use and cannibalise for your own needs. The suggested point sizes were based purely upon the models we had available back then.

The structure, in brief was; Battle 1 - skirmishy. Battle 2 - first test of arms, fighting for opportunity to gain a cool hero. Battle 3 - to stop the other side gaining said cool hero. Battle 4 - climactic battle. Battle 5 - the reward game for the victor of Battle 4, worth bragging rights.

Later on I will post the reports of our own battles, so you too can discover the cold truth behind our dark tale of insanity and terror.

Blood on the Reik

Battle 1. Morning Fog Lifts - 1,000 points each (Surprise Encounter, page 389).

Nuln City-State patrols and drilling exercises near the town of Wissenburg are unexpectedly pitted against more than they bargain for one autumn morning. The morning fog lifts, but a chill remains. Disparate clumps of walking dead rove the woods. As both sides become aware of each other there is no time to consider their unnatural presence, as a frantic and bloody skirmish breaks out. The clamour brings nearby training and scouting units into the fray; but who will survive to bring word to their commanders?

Restrictions: Only core units and heroes can fight in this battle – no lords, special or rare units. Also neither side has a general present. This means the undead cannot crumble due to slain general, and there are no victory points to be had from slaying a general. Battle Standards may be taken as usual.

If the Empire wins, the Undead will deploy first in the Dawn Attack.
If the Undead win, the Empire will deploy first in the Dawn Attack.

If either side wins, but fails to wipe out the opposition or cause them to flee the table, then roll for deployment as per the Dawn Attack scenario.

*      *      *

Battle 2. Dawn Attack - 2,000 points each (page 145).

An undead army has appeared in the southern Empire, its nefarious purpose as yet unknown. If the Empire won Battle 1, the Empire troops march to meet this new threat, thanks to the information and forewarning provided by the survivors. If the undead won, they press on into the Empire, surprising the army standing in the way of their advance. Battle takes place at the brink of dawn, when the soldiers of the Empire are still groggy, and the dread commanders of undeath are more concerned with the coming sunrise than with the coordination of their undead slaves.

The army who was defeated Battle 1 must deploy their entire army first, as per the scenario rules. This reflects the extra preparation afforded the victors of the Surprise Encounter as they bring information of the enemy presence to their commanders undetected.
The Army who deploys second also rolls to see which section their units deploy on, only using the following table;

1 - Left Flank
2 - Right Flank
3-4 - Centre
5-6 - Choose

If the victorious side left any of the defeated units on the board in Surprise Encounter, the deployment occurs exactly as written in the scenario rules. This reflects survivors able to bring word of the enemy presence.

If the Empire wins, play 3a. More Booze for Borri.
If the Undead wins, play 3b. Resurrection.

*      *      *

Battle 3a. More Booze for Borri - 2,250 points each (Loot & Pillage, page 392).

The Nuln state troops have managed to halt the undead advance... for now. Fresh after the victory against the undead expeditionary force, the Empire generals seek the aid of a particularly potent Dwarf Slayer named Borri Dourjaw, who currently resides in a drunken stupor at the Rat's Scrotum Inn. Should the Empire force obtain enough of Bugman's Finest to appease the dwarf, they are able to convince him that there is a mighty death to be had facing the encroaching Vampire Lord, and gain his assistance in the coming battles. Should the undead obtain the most of the booze, the dwarf will refuse to join, claiming that there is a better death to be had from whatever exotic disease he caught from the Halfling beer wench the night before.

Note: The 'Drinking Bugman's' special rule does apply to undead, reflecting the corrosive nature of the ale on ancient and rotting bones.

The survivors of this battle form the relief force for Battle 4, along with Borri if the Empire wins.

If the Empire wins, they gain Borri Dourjaw. Move on to Battle 4. The Battle of Wissenfields.
If the Undead win, they prevent this from happening, and can add 100 points to their army list for the next battle. Move on to Battle 4. The Battle of Wissenfields.

*      *      *

 Battle 3b. Resurrection - 2,250 points each (The Dark Monolith, page 390).

A detachment from the army of the Vampire Lord heads purposefully for a range of haunted hills, seeking to resurrect a long dead hero of the past with whom they intend to crush Wissenburg. At last they find what they seek – a large barrow surrounded by sinister power, suspected to belong to none other than Vorn the Despoiler, one of the dreaded Dark Lords of Nagash. A contingent of trailing Empire troops arrives, attempting to prevent the resurrection. Play the scenario as written, counting the barrow, a site of ancient and mysterious power, as the Dark Monolith. If the undead hold the barrow at the end of the game, they are able to complete the ritual to resurrect Vorn, who will assist them in the coming battles.
Note: This would make an ideal battle in which to include the Storm of Magic Rules!

The survivors of this battle form the relief force for Battle 4, along with Vorn if the Undead win.

If the Undead win, they gain Vorn the Despoiler. Move on to Battle 4. The Battle of Wissenfields.

If the Empire wins, they prevent this from happening, and can add 100 points to their army list for the next battle. Move on to Battle 4. The Battle of Wissenfields.

 *      *      *
Battle 4. The Battle of Wissenfields - 2,500 points each (Battleline, page 144).

Meanwhile, battle-lines are forming in the green pastured land surrounding Wissenburg. The bulk of the undead horde amasses, and Nuln has been mobilised - black powder weapons from the Gunnery School roll out of the city towards the blackening skies.

Starting from Turn two, the player whose turn it is rolls a D6. On a 4+ their reinforcements (if any) arrive from a table edge of their choice. If they do not arrive, at the start of turn three they will come on a 3+, and on turn four on a 2+. If they still haven't arrived, they will turn up automatically in turn five.

Use standard victory points.

If the Empire defeats this army, they attempt to crush its leadership once and for all - play Battle 5a. Stop the Rot. The Empire takes the role of the ‘Overwhelming Attacker’, the undead are the ‘Heroic Underdogs’!!
If the undead tide sweep the defences aside, play Battle 5b. Wissenburg in Flames, with the last of the City rearguard defending the town itself, and the undead as the attackers.

*      *      *

Battle 5a. Stop the Rot - Empire = 2,500 points, undead = 833 points (Heroic Last Stand, page 394).

Having pushed the undead scourge back from the brink of Wissenburg, the City State Troops attempt to annihilate what is left and ensure none escape. The vampires and the last of their minions attempt a final stand, for unbeknown to the Empire generals, their pet necromancer is working undetected in nearby ruins on a ritual in to safeguard their immortality. If they can survive long enough, the spell will be completed, and they will (un)live to wreak their vengeance. If they are killed before the spell is complete, their bloodline ends and their headless corpses will be staked and burned.

Use the victory conditions of the scenario to determine bragging rights.

*      *      *

Battle 5b. Wissenburg in Flames - Undead = 2,500 points, Empire = 1875 points (Raze & Ruin, page 398).

The undead masses have swept aside the Empire defence and have reached Wissenburg. A small garrison of soldiers remain, but will it be enough to avoid the destruction of their town?

Play the scenario as written. If the Empire win, their town is safe... for now. Perhaps the Emperor will send support to ensure their safety. Or perhaps not.

If the Undead win, the town is annihilated, and the populace is damned to eternal servitude. The Vampire Lords will bathe in oceans of blood, and look north, where the Empire stretches out before them like a full-blooded vein.

The crows feast.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why Demigryphon are AWESOME

Among the rumoured releases for the WFB 8th edition Empire army next month are Demigryph riders, which might just be the Empire's first non-character monstrous cavalry option.

While many are excited about the possibility of their inclusion in the next book, just as many (on 'the forums anyway') have expressed disappointment and disbelief at such a "super lame", "ridiculous idea" which "doesn't belong in the Empire" and has been much lampooned.

However, today I am going to explain why Demigryph's are awesome; that, when personal taste is put aside and disregarded as the only factor worth considering when GW designs a new unit, they would make a great addition to the Imperial forces.

What is a Demigryph?
A Demigryph is closely related to the Griffon (griffin, gryphon) in that its fore is that of an eagle, 'king of birds', and that its rear is that of a lion, 'king of beasts'. The association with royalty has meant both Griffon and Demigryph feature heavily in heraldric designs. Their origins go back into Greek, Egyptian and Persian mythologies as being a noble beast, or a sphinx-like trickster, or a protector from evil and witchcraft.

The point of difference between the Griffon and Demigryph can vary depending on the mythology. The Demigryph could be winged like the Griffon, but smaller in size. Alternatively, the Demigryph could be wingless. One reading I found interpreted the winged griffon as the female of the species, and the wingless Demigryph (also known as the alce, or keythong) as the male of the species.

As you can tell, the concept of a small or wingless Griffon is hardly a recent creation, and has been around as long as the Griffon itself.

Demigryphs in the Old World
Why would the Empire breed Demigryphs in the first place? We already know their symbolism as regal, great beasts, or as protectors from evil and witchcraft. The control (symbolic and physical) of such beasts would definitely play into the 'Warhammer-esque' over-the-top flamboyant character of the Empire, who tend to exaggerate everything (building sizes, feathers and sleeves, moustaches, guns). The "fuck you, I'm riding a Griffin with massive testicles" kind of attitude.

Bretonnia also hold captive Hippogriff, which are mythological crosses between Griffons and mares, so the idea of different varieties of griffon in the Old World is pretty well established.

But which interpretation of the Demigryph do we get in the Old World? The most obvious answer would be the wingless kind, like Theodore Bruckner's mount Reaper (who is definitely male - check out the model). It can be implied then that there is more than one of these things, even though Reaper died 10 years before the current era. We have to remember that Reaper is an exceptionally large specimen of his kind, so if we were to see more we could assume they would be cavalry or monstrous cavalry size.

There might also be a case for flying Demigryphs in the Old World. Page 173 of the WFB rulebook details some of the exploits of Emperor Karl Franz, who famously rides the Griffon Deathclaw. In one story, he rides to the rescue of the Tsarina and Castle Vorghaus, diving from the skies on Deathclaw accompanied by a bodyguard of Demigryph riding knights. The description of them being "avian beasts", coupled with the fact that they were guarding an Emperor who was flying around,  allows us to imply that they would have to be able to fly.

We also know that the Empire keeps an impressive Zoo in Altdorf, and has undertaken various kinds of breeding programs for the exotic and mythical creatures held there. Could the Empire then have access to both winged and wingless Demigryphs?

Demigryphs on the Battlefield
This would mean the Empire army could potentially gain a monstrous cavalry unit of ground knights, or a monstrous cavalry unit of flying knights. Or even both - think of the vargheist/crypt horror kit.

This could easily be justified, as both options fill gaps in the Empire's arsenal (mounted solo heroes aside). Background-wise, a good comparison is the Bretonnian Pegasus Knights, who are supposed to ride smaller versions of 'real' Pegasi.

If we do see them, they would no doubt be rare choices, given the reluctance of the Imperial Zoo to release the meticulously managed products of experimental breeding programs into battle.

I guess the last question I have with regards to those who don't like the idea of Demigryphs on the table is 'why not'? Empire is not a 'high fantasy' human army - the Bretonni cover that base. But there are already Pegasus, Griffon and Dragon options within the Empire army list, so Demigryphs would not set any kind of precedent. In fact they have been mentioned in the lore and even have a Warhammer Forge model.

The same kinds of things could be said for preferences towards the 'steam-punk' element. If you don't like it, then why not simply leave it out of your list?

The greatest thing about the Empire army list is it's amazing variety of units, reflecting is incredibly developed background with all its diversities. If you do not like one aspect, be it high fantasy or steam punk, you can simply leave it for someone who does.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Scenery Update

I have had a productive few months indeed! A very 'old' friend of mine has arrived back from the UK, known only as the mysterious docwholigan. He is equally as (if not more, having worked for GW) obsessed with this hobby, and we have found mutual support in making time for some projects. Early discussions are even in place for one of those 'cast-pods' that are all the rage these days.

We picked up some Flames of War armies (British 8th Army versus Deutsche Arfika Korps), and should hopefully have them finished in the next few weeks. We have also been working on our respective RPG games (WFRP and Dark Heresy) which are also trucking along nicely.

In the meantime, our Monday paint nights have been the perfect vehicle for me to tackle my growing scenery collection. I am a great lover of the tabletop scenery that GW produces. My Realm of Battle board is due to arrive in just over a month, so I wanted to get as ready as possible!

Dreadstone Blight

This took ages! I am actually kind of
scared of buying Witchfate Tor now...

I was originally going to paint the tiles on the magic circle all one colour, but eventually gave in to peer pressure and bought all the missing colours to do it right. I am glad I did, because it is a nice focal point on the table.

I was also able to have a go at painting bones (all the skulls) in advance of starting my undead army. I really like how they turned out, more proof of concept for the vision I have for that army.

Temple of Skulls

Not 100% finished to be honest. After the Realm of Battle table is all painted and flocked I want to make sure all this terrain fits in with it. I will probably add the flock and more static grass to the earthy bits once I know how the table tiles turn out.

The major problem with this model (aside form the spikes, which just this morning drew blood) is the gaps where you glue the pillars and skulls together. I tried green-stuffing them up and filing it down, but it was a bit of a failure. Luckily I can pass off the effect for being 'chiseled rock'.

Warhammer Forge Town Well

A very cool model I was able to swipe a while back before they sold out. It is so characterful, and fits right in with the buildings I have.  I use it as the 'Wyrding Well' from the rulebook.

This was also the model where I learned to paint the wood effects, and where the benefits of painting all the parts before gluing them together became apparent!

Siege Tower

New siege rules in the Blood in the Badlands campaign book prompted me to invest a bit in getting the right models in place to give this a go. Since seeing the GW siege releases in the 90's, I have wanted to own these toys. Like the well, this benefited from being painted in parts first and then glued together.

The light in this picture makes the wood look whiter than it is, but at least you can see all the nails in the wood that were individually painted on! I plan on affixing various emblems and shields of the Empire onto this.

I really like how the drawbridge is actually attached to a working winch.

Warhammer Fortress

Instead of undercoating with Chaos Black, I used the Flames of War spray can German Armour, which is more of a dark grey. That meant I just needed to drybrush successively lighter shades of grey up from that. I am quite happy with the final effect.

 Now I just need to get some of the guys keen enough for some siege games! It's understandable that they would think twice before assaulting fortifications held by the famous Iron Companies of Nuln I guess.

As with the siege tower, I want to add Empire shields and icons to the fortress.

I also acquired the Siege Attackers and Siege Defenders kits from ebay. So future siege projects will be things like battering rams, ladders, stone droppers and boiling oil!

I have also been inspired by The Recidivist Gamer's Citadel Wood effort, and picked one up for myself the other week. My goal is to have three of four of them. Then it's on to my many fences and walls,and y various modular hills. Once my Realm of Battle is complete, it will be time to make a fancy-pants table for it to go on!