Friday, August 27, 2010

Outcasts, Chapter 2

There was no fire in the camp. Veritas had decided against it on the odd chance that something wandering through the forest would spot or smell it. He could certainly trust Grognar to defend the small encampment from anything stupid enough to thieve or attack, but less of a mess was almost always a good thing. Veritas watched as Johann shivered and rubbed his arms fitfully in a seated position. His reactions to the rapid transformations were fascinating to Veritas, who was making mental notes of each and every visible effect.

“What exactly are you, son?” Veritas asked.

“Stop calling me that,” Johann demanded with an angry look. “By my count, I’ve played your little game and now it’s your turn. What do you want? What freedom are you looking for?”

“The better part of the details can only be understood later, Johann,” Veritas answered. “I can tell you this much- a very powerful and corrupt individual is making power plays, and it falls to me to stop his agents and foil his plans.”

“So you’re on some crusade then?” Johann asked.

“An accurate description, if simplistic,” Veritas answered. “I don’t do this for ideological reasons. I do it because it has to be done and it seems no one else will.”

“Is there any point in asking who this despot is or are you going to be evasive?” Johann asked.

“Evasiveness is just one of my many talents,” Veritas replied with a smile.

“Well, at least go into further detail about how I’m supposed to help you, and how you think you can help me,” Johann said.

“As to how you can help me,” Veritas began, “your abilities to heal, strengthen yourself, and manipulate magic are of particular interest. You can imagine that my chosen task is fraught with peril. Having such a talented individual upon whom I can rely will be extremely beneficial.”

“So you want a bodyguard?” Johann asked skeptically.

“No, Grognar does that more adequately than you ever could- no offense intended, of course. I need an agent. Someone who can get inside the inner workings of my enemy’s plans and disrupt them when necessary,” Veritas said. “I am known, to some extent, to my enemy, and even if I was not, my nature as a wizard is not so easily concealed. You, on the other hand, haven’t a trace of corruption about you, despite your recent transformation. You can walk in the worlds of the innocent and the damned, and this little quest will take us deep into both. Does that sound like too much trouble for you to handle?”

“No,” Johann answered with a shaking of his head. “Though I find it irritating how everyone sees me as a tool.” 

The sudden rustling of brush and whinny of horses drew the attention of both Johann and Veritas. Grognar was pushing his way into the camp and a massive boar in hand. The animal’s head had been beaten to bloody ruin and the ogre had a firm grip on back of the creature’s neck. Grognar was covered in fresh tusk wounds and bites, but the joy of his victory and coming meal seemed to dull his pain considerably. Despite being half its killer’s size, the boar offered little resistance when the ogre tossed it into the center of the camp.

Johann looked disdainfully at the dead animal and said “I suppose this is dinner?”

Grognar’s look snapped towards Johann and filled with suspicion. “Get your own,” the ogre said while grabbing an entire barrel of ale from the back of the wagon. He lumbered over to the carcass and dropped right onto his buttocks, letting the barrel fall to his side before plunging his hand into the boar’s belly and ripping out a sizable chunk of wet meat. A horrendous smell of organs and plant material at various stages of digestion saturated the air, causing the changeling and the wizard to wrinkle and cover their noses. Grognar licked his lips and took a massive bite out of the creature’s liver. 

“I wouldn’t challenge the ogre for his food,” Veritas said through the fold of his cloak. “He’s a much better fighter when he gets possessive.”

“Right…” Johan replied. 

“But you should learn not to be picky about what you eat. Times like this, where we cannot safely procure the best lodgings, are all too frequent,” Veritas said.

“I can make that boar into the finest meal you’ve heard had, human,” a voice said from outside the camp.

“I did not mean to impugn your culinary skills, Maevel,” Veritas said with a smile.

Two shapes rounded the corner of the wagon just then, each the polar opposite of the other. One was tall, cloaked, and incredibly thin, moving with a delicacy that worried Johann when he realized the individual’s tread made no sound and left no evidence of its passing. The other was squat and broad, with goggles, visibly strong arms, and a myriad of strange devices and weapons within its reach. 

The first approached Johann and he felt compelled to stand and give a proper show of himself. The newcomer pulled back its hood, and revealed itself to be the most hauntingly beautiful person or thing Johann had seen since his creation. She was a female elf, with deep green eyes and a warm complexion. Silken brown hair unfurled from within the hood and flowed down her thin shoulders. She locked eyes with Johann and held his gaze as if testing his strength of will.

“Well, hello to you too,” the shorter figure said. 

Johann’s gaze tore away from the elf and looked to the first dwarven woman he’d ever seen. She pulled her goggles off and thrust out her stubby hand. Confused at the gesture, Johann leaned his head to the side. The dwarf cocked an eyebrow and turned to Veritas.

“Did I do it wrong? Don’t humans shake hands like this?” she asked the wizard.

“I think he’s a little aghast at everything that’s happened to him, Mae,” Veritas answered. “After all, who would dare be rude to you?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, uh…ma’am,” Johann said as he shook her hand. “Are you working for Veritas as well?”

“Working for?” the dwarf asked with a scoff. “That crazy wizard asked for my help, and I had nothing better to do.”

Veritas silently chuckled and approached the new arrivals from behind, stopping between them. 

“This,” the wizard said patting the dwarf on the shoulder, “is Maevel Ranulftochter. She is from the hold of Zhufbar, far to the south of here. She’s a brilliant engineer, weaponsmith, and cook, and if I don’t mentioned that she’s more talented than you with ranged and/or melee weapons, she’ll undoubtedly demonstrate. If she warms to you at all, you can call her ‘Mae’.”

“This,” the wizard said patting the elf on the shoulder, “is Vanya Moriel. She is from the forest of Athel Loren and our resident expert in archery and hand to hand combat, as well as a liaison to those bands of Wood Elves that we occasionally run into.”

“Ladies,” Veritas continued, “this is Johann Hartmann. Formerly of the city-state of Nuln. He’ll be traveling with us.”

“Pleased,” Johann said apprehensively.

“And what do you think you can get out of this one?” Mae asked Veritas, looking Johann up and down.

“That remains to be seen, my dear,” Veritas answered, “but I’ll say this much- He hit Grognar so hard that the ogre vomited, and that was after Grognar broke this one’s back against a tree.”

“So he can take a hit,” Mae said. “I suppose that has its uses. Anyway, I’m getting some sleep.” 

The dwarf turned and wandered back to the wagon, removing her weapons and equipment when she got there.

Johann nodded curtly to Vanya, turned to Veritas, and said “I think I can use some sleep myself.”

“Hold it,” Veritas said, placing his hand on Johann’s shoulder. “Time usually isn’t our friend, and while I was thoroughly impressed by your display earlier, I’m afraid you still need work.”

“What are you talking about?” Johann asked, confused.

“What kind of weapon schooling do you have?” Veritas asked, ignoring Johann’s question.

“I spent three years training in Nuln. I was supposed to be inducted as a Knight of the Order of Sigmar Ascendant,” Johann answered. 

“As I suspected,” Veritas answered. “Get your weapons, Johann. Vanya, would you mind?”

“Not at all,” the elf answered.


“Take a combat stance and stop staring,” Vanya said as she stalked around Johann in a circle, some twenty meters from the camp. She moved as quietly and delicately as a house cat, but with all the predatory prowess of a lioness. Intricate tattoos coiled around her skin like vines and seemed to become hazy and indistinct when Johann focused on them. She twirled short, leaf-bladed swords in her hands and flexed different parts of her tight, whipcord musculature.

Johann drew his tonfa-blades and lowered into his normal stance.

In an instant, Vanya darted across his body. He stepped to move with her, but she planted her foot, turned, and slapped his thigh with the flat of one of her swords before bounding away.

“Too low,” the elf said. “You are forced to commit. Keep your feet under your shoulders.”

Vanya crossed the distance between them in two long strides and launched a flurry of light attacks. Johann parried them all, but he realized she was testing his defenses. He stabbed out with his right, but she spun low and underneath the attack and kicked his legs out from under him.

“Too angular, too predictable. I saw that attack coming before you thought of it,” Vanya said very matter of factly and with no hint of arrogance.

“I’m not an elf,” Johann answered as he picked himself up. “I can become as fast as you, but you wouldn’t want to fight me.”

“I’ve seen you transform, Johann,” Vanya answered, “and I can tell you right now that it wouldn’t help you last any longer. You rely too much on brute force.”

“Do you have any constructive criticism?” Johann asked, growing frustrated.

“There are two keys to surviving battle,” Vanya said. “The first is observation. Keep your eyes open and pay attention to detail. Look at me.”

“I am,” Johann replied.

“No, you’re looking at my face,” Vanya retorted. “Look at me. Notice my weight and its placement. Notice the length of my limbs and weapons. Notice my separation from you. Notice the aggressiveness, or lack thereof, in my eyes and posture. Notice the angles of approach and your surroundings. These are the details with which you form your plan of attack and defense. Accurate anticipation of your opponents can grant you victory against a superior opponent or a score of lesser opponents.”

“That sounds great, but again, I’m no elf. My eyes aren’t that fast. Not like this,” Johann responded.

“Stop making excuses,” Vanya snapped. “A human’s eyes and mind are fast enough to do as I’ve described. Your kind simply lacks the patience to put in the effort. Now hit me.”

Johann charged as soon as the words left her lips. He stabbed toward her neck and stomach, but she side-stepped each strike easily. Vanya reversed her grip on her left sword and jabbed, connecting solidly with the human’s nose and mouth. He staggered, his momentum immediately arrested, and she slammed a surprisingly strong fist into his chest. 

“Are you trying to make this easy on me? Are you afraid to hit a female?” she asked as Johann spat a gob of saliva and blood. “Stop being so predictable.”

Vanya started toward Johann slowly and purposefully. Johann swung downward hard, but hit nothing. Vanya slapped his ribs with her sword, ducked underneath the return strike, and planted another fist in his stomach. She pushed back just in time to avoid his knee, and Johann barely restrained himself in time to stop the tip of Vanya’s sword from impaling his throat. 

“Has my point cut through your stubbornness or do I need to start cutting though your skin?” Vanya asked. “I know you can heal, so I won’t exactly feel guilty.”

Johann backed away and let his guard sag.

“I’ve been fighting this way all my life, and obviously it hasn’t failed me yet,” he said. “Granted, I’ve never fought an elf before, but do you expect me to relearn basic technique?”

“No,” Vanya answered, much to Johann’s surprise. “Your human teachers were not entirely clueless, and you are not a lost cause- I would not bother with you otherwise. You can use what you know, but you are like a scholarly student trying to outwit his venerable elders. Open your mind to new schools of thought…to new possibilities.”

“How?” Johann asked after a long pause.

“You can start by relaxing your muscles,” she answered. “Be lighter on your feet and more ready to move. Have more faith in the quality of your weapons. Maximize your accuracy and minimize the energy you invest in each attack.”

“How do I practice this? In combat, my body is trained to react a certain way,” Johann said.

“Alright,” Vanya said. “Come with me.”

The changeling and the elf headed deeper into the forest. After about fifteen minutes of walking, they came to a short cliff and a river below. The moonlight illuminated the scene beautifully, casting a silver glow off of the gentle current and revealing the waterfall a half kilometer south of where they stood. 

“Relax your body. Think of the water,” she said. “What is water like?”

“Wet,” Johann said.

“Answer the question,” Vanya said.

“Flexible,” Johann replied. 

“And yet, unyielding,” Vanya finished. “Look at the mighty boulder in the middle of that river. Two-hundred of your years ago, that plinth was a third again as broad. When calm water meets a boulder, it flows around it. It erodes the rock precisely, breaking down what is otherwise indomitable.” 

Vanya walked over to a nearby, sizeable rock on the cliff’s edge, placed her foot on it and shoved. The rock fell quickly and splashed into the river below.

“When a boulder strikes calm water,” Vanya began, “the water absorbs and deflects the strength of the intrusion until the boulder is beholden to the power of the current.”

Johann looked at Vanya as the precursors to comprehension crept into his brain.

“You are beginning to see it now, yes?” Vanya asked. “You will always come across opponents stronger, faster, smarter, or more resilient than you. The key to victory is remembering that no attack is unstoppable, no defense is impenetrable, and no opponent is invincible. Understand the flow around you and use it to your advantage.”

“Well said,” Veritas said as he stepped from the shadows. 

Johann and Vanya turned at the sound of his voice. With no small amount of interest, Johann realized that not even the hyper-alert elf had sensed the wizard’s approach.

“There are only a few hours until sunrise, my dear Vanya,” Veritas said. “I think it would be best if Johann gets a few hours rest now and absorbs your lessons for the day.”

A wave of exhaustion hit Johann then, catching him off guard. 

“Sounds pretty good, actually” Johann said. 

“The camp is back that way,” Veritas said, indicating toward the northwest. “Get what sleep you can. Tomorrow, we have a long trek ahead of us.”

After a few moments, the shape of Johann disappeared into the gloom.

“Well?” Veritas asked.

“He’s easily frustrated and inexperienced,” Vanya observed. “He doesn’t like taking orders. There’s no telling how long his control will last when he transforms again.”

“And yet he seemed to take your lessons to heart and agree to my request for assistance rather easily,” Veritas said.

“He had no direction,” Vanya replied. “For the moment, we’ve supplied him with one.”

“ ‘For the moment,’ you say?” Veritas asked.

“I need not lecture you on your own personality, Veritas,” Vanya said. “Don’t play too many of your games with him. If he develops a distaste for them, the repercussions could be dire.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Chaos Space Marine Fandex outline

Oh yes, the madness continues.

Please, I beg of you, go check this out.

It is the outline of my upcoming Chaos Space Marine fandex, and I would love you opinion on it.  I only ask that you explain yourself, either here or on Warseer.  Thanks. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Phoenix Lords tweaks

In a slight toning down of the Phoenix Lords, the following changes have been made.

- They no longer re-roll all failed to hit and to wound rolls.
- Asurmen re-rolls failed invulnerable saves.
- Jain Zar gains Furious Charge.
- Baharroth gains Descent of Angels.
- Karandras gains Acrobatic.
- Maugan Ra gains Crack Shot and Maugetar is Assault 5.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Impetuous Marines

I've realized that I've left out a Blood Claws style unit from my Space Marine Fandex.

Do those of you who have read the fandex believe one should be included?  Are the Forsaken Marines sufficient?

If you think I should include a unit, which I will call Impetuous Marine Squad, how would you change the existing Blood Claw template, if at all?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Outcasts, Chapter 1

A simple oaken table sat in the center of the main tavern, and two men were seated at it, opposite one another.  The smaller man sat with his arms crossed, his head cocked to the side, and his face etched with curiosity.  A hood and cloak hung over his head and shoulders, obscuring all but his interlocked hands and his shadowy, stubbly lower face.  The big man, whose stature made even the heavy furniture seem diminutive, hunched forward with his jaw in his right hand and his left arm crossed and supporting his bulky frame.  He concentrated with the focus seen only in life or death situations, as if he were about to make the most important decision in his life.

Between them sat three overturned mugs.

The big man’s gaze lifted from the table and met that of his opponent.  His eyes narrowed, as suspicious and alert as were possible for him.  Painstakingly slow, his hand fell from his bearded maw and to his hip.  His thumb glanced the massive gutting knife holstered at his side and tapped it repeatedly in wariness.  In a sudden and swift motion, he ripped the blade from its scabbard and slammed it down, burying the tip into ancient wood.

“Cost me a pretty coin,” the big man said in a thick, guttural tone.

With suspiciously little movement, the small man’s hand disappeared into his cloak and reemerged with a small bag of coins.  He let it drop to the table with a mischievous grin.

“Decide,” he said.

The big man let go of his knife and, without looking away from the small man’s hooded face, he tapped twice in front of the mug to his right.  The small man flashed his hand to the indicated choice and tipped it over with deliberate pause.  

There was nothing underneath.  The gathered crowd let out a muffled gasp.

The big man’s head turned in suspicion and he pulled his knife from the table, splintering a chunk of the wood.  He leveled the point directly at the smaller man, whose hand began to drift to the mug on the left.  Just as he had with its twin, the small man tipped the cup, this time revealing a small and soft fruit. 

The big man’s head reclined and his eyes widened in surprise, but he had no words.  He glanced at his knife with the smallest hint of regret before flipping it in his hand and presenting it to his opponent.  The people around them let out laughter and surprise, mixed with the odd boast from someone claiming they knew the placement all along. 

The small man took the tool and it disappeared under his cloak. 

“Many thanks, good sir.  You will give it another try when I return, yes?” the small man asked.  The big man grunted his displeasure as a form of reply before rising and heading to retrieve an ale.

As the crowd returned to their tables, no one noticed the smaller man gather the mugs, and no one noticed that the fruit was gone.


It was a cool fall evening in Ostland, the wind pushing through the massive pine trees and making the less hardy pull whatever warming garb they possessed tight around them.  The dirt underfoot was damp and dark with from a late autumn rain and sloshed a bit as passersby churned it in their tread.  As Johann Hartmann emerged from the tavern door, the large knife secured at his hip, a robed man rested against the wall not three meters away.

“Fancy trick,” the robed man said without looking up.  “I don’t suppose you’re going to tell the gullible folk in there that the fruit wasn’t any more real than their chance at winning.”

“What’s it to you?” Johann asked with his head turned but without turning his body.

“Not much until you came out with it,” the robed man answered ambiguously. “Let’s have us a little game, stranger.”

Johann slowly turned and drew the blade beneath the cover his cloak.

“I’ll wager my absence,” the robed man continued.  “If you win, I’ll leave and you’ll never see me again.  If I win, I’ll take that knife off your hands and you help me with a few things.”

“I’m no errand boy,” Johann replied flatly.  “If you want the knife, you’re welcome to try and take it.”

“So blood hungry,” the robed man mockingly observed.  “Don’t you want to know the game?”

“No,” was the answer.

“If I can…” the robed man said, ignoring Johann, “…yes.  If I can tell you who you are, I win.”

Johann’s face became one of suspicion.  “Who are you?”

“That’s not the game, friend,” the robed man said with a smile.

“Enough of this.  Who are you?” Johann demanded, exposing the knife and starting forward.

“Johann Hartmann, no?” the robed man asked.  “Though I suppose that was unfair.  Perhaps what you are would have been a better question.”

Johann froze where he stood, not a meter from the robed man.

“Answer my question now or I’ll leave you in ribbons behind this tavern,” Johann said, his voice alive with anger.  His eyes darted from side to side, scanning for any possible backup the man might have.

“Since you asked so nicely, you can call me Veritas,” the robed man said.  “I’m a wizard and a purveyor of information, so before you decide to show me my innards, I think you ought to know we can help one another find what we are looking for.”

“What are you looking for?” Johann asked, his knuckles turning white around the knife.

“Oh, a great many things- a sense of the miraculous, a fulfillment of purpose, and even a measure of retirement from my duties,” the robed man answered.  “But what I’d like your help finding is freedom.”

“Freedom?” Johann asked quizzically.

“No, now it’s your turn,” Veritas said.  “I bet I can guess what you’re looking for.  Could it be…revenge?”

“Yes,” Johann answered after a lengthy pause.  “What do you want with me?”

“Your help,” Veritas replied.  “Your unique talents.  You see, I’ve got a rather difficult task ahead of me that requires a great deal of assistance from individuals like yourself.  Well, not exactly like you, but similar enough.  You’re an outcast, wandering from place to place with more power and anger than you know what to do with.  In your particular case, you’ve found a focus for that anger, but let’s face it- that goal is untouchable without help.  If you can help me with my task, I can help you find the vengeance you seek.”

“Why do you think you know me?” Johann asked.  “If you actually knew who must pay for what they have done to me, you’d flee and be right to do so.”

“Son, I’ve seen horrors that will make your worst nightmares an amicable escape,” Veritas replied.  “And in truth, I don’t know who did what to you.  But I am an individual of many talents and more knowledge than anyone should be burdened with.  Will you at least come to my camp in the forest?  There we would have the privacy to see what use we can be to each other.”

Johann paused, his mind racing over the possibilities.  His instincts told him incredible danger awaited him, but in truth, his life was always going to end violently anyway.

“Fine,” Johann said.  “I’ll hear you out.  But if you cross me, I’ll feed you to the wolves while you’re still alive.”

“Are you always this friendly?” Veritas said with a smile.


“It’s not much further,” Veritas said. 

As the two walked through the forest, Johann kept his distance from the wizard and kept his senses alert for a trap, but he noticed that for all of Veritas’ easy demeanor, the strange wizard carried himself very well and would presumably be more than ready for any attempt on his life.

A strange sound barked out from deep into the forest.  It was so throaty and guttural that it took Johann a moment to identify it as laughter.

In anticipation of the next question, Veritas said “My companion must have already set up camp.  It sounds like they are having fun.”

“Companion?” Johann asked.

“His name is Grognar.  He’s quite a likeable fellow if you can tolerate the smell and the noise,” Veritas answered.

“Is he a man or a beast?” Johann asked.

Veritas chuckled and answered “A little of both, I suppose.”

At that moment, Johann noticed a wide shape shift in the gloom ahead.  He slowed and tensed, but Veritas kept moving calmly and briskly.

“I do hope you left some food,” the wizard called out into the darkness, and an impossibly thick grunt answered back.  He turned back to Johann and said “That’s the problem with his kind.  They’ll eat anything they can get their hands on.”

“Do you know what is wrong with your kind?” the shape said as it rose and nearly doubled in height.  “You spend too much time talking, not enough time eating.”

As Johann finally reached the edge of the camp, just enough moonlight broke through the thick canopy to reveal a massive male ogre standing next to Veritas.  He was covered in almost as much scar tissue as he was fat, both of which combined to with his bloody teeth and patches of hair to bless the creature with a horrendous appearance.  His arms were as thick as Johann’s torso, and his legs appeared doubly so in thick-skinned leggings.  Bits of metal glinted in the moonlight, revealing a score of poorly kept and oft-used weapons strapped to him and a huge metal plate fastened directly over his belly.  He held the half-eaten leg of an ox in his hand as easily as a man might carry a mutton joint.  Perhaps most unsettling was the creature’s grin, which construed a welcome that was hunger and challenge in equal parts.

“Johann, meet Grognar Maneater,” Veritas said.

Johann leapt back and drew twin tonfa-blades from his back before landing in a low crouch. 

“You brought me here to feed that thing?” Johann snapped.  The question brought a look of surprise and savage anticipation to Grognar’s face as the ogre looked to the wizards.

“Well, yes and no,” Veritas answered, to the ogre’s disappointment.  “I must apologize for leaving a few details out.  My goals require a great deal of subterfuge and finesse, despite what impressions you may get of Grognar.  I have to know that you are skilled enough to be worth including in our little band, and sadly, if you aren’t, the gods themselves won’t be able to stop the ogre from eating you.”

“You want me to kill this thing?” Johann asked without taking his eyes off Grognar.  The ogre released another boisterous laugh at the question.

“Kill? No, no,” Veritas answered.  “Grognar is a valuable friend and ally.  All I need you to do is survive.”

Johann turned toward the wizard in confusion, but the ogre roared and thundered forward, unable to restrain its urge to fight any longer.  Johann thought to roll to the side and evade, but the ogre was so broad that any such attempt would put him in the path of the creature’s hands.  Grognar dropped the leg and clenched his fists with enough force to crack the knuckles, making a sound like popping bones.  The ogre was head and shoulders taller than Johann, who pounced forward to surprise his opponent.  Johann’s knee nearly broke as it came into contact with the ogre’s metal gut plate, but his tonfa-blades stabbed around it and into Grognar’s belly.  The thick, stubborn layers of blubber were unlike anything Johann had cut before and they stopped the blades after a few inches and held them fast. 

The impact of the attack was enough to stop even Grognar and Johann fell back without his primary weapons.  He limped as he rose to his feet and drew a few short stabbing knives, including his recent prize.  They looked pitifully small next to the giant ogre’s bulk.  Johann hurled a heavy knife at Grognar’s head, which sliced open the ogre’s cheek and bounced away.  Particularly irritated, Grognar raised an armored vambrace to his face and lunged forward with a swiping, backhanded blow.  The ogre’s speed shocked Johann, who barely had time to raise his own vambraces and try to block. 

The swing hit with the force of a charging bull and sent the human flying back into a tree.  The wet sounds of a broken rib cage, a broken spine, and a punctured lung brought a victorious and ravenous smile to the ogre’s face. 


Veritas watched as Johann fell limply to the floor, dead for all intents and purposes.  He thought that perhaps he had been wrong to place hope in the young man.  Even if the man had the rumored abilities, he didn’t have the sense to use them in front of a frenzied ogre. 

As Grognar advanced on the paralyzed and dying Johann, Veritas hoped the human’s unnatural body wouldn’t give the irritable ogre indigestion.


His limbs didn’t respond.  Perhaps most horrifyingly, they didn’t even hurt.  His chest was on fire, as if he were inhaling sulfur.  He could faintly discern the sound of the ogre’s heavy tread advancing toward him.

Johann refused to end up the excrement of some retarded leviathan.  He had unfinished business.

He swallowed hard and said “Gate of Darkness, open.”


Grognar stopped in his tracks and sniffed the air, the very acts of which caught Veritas’ attention.  The wizard’s mind’s eye flickered a warning and for the first time, he saw Johann’s true nature.  The human’s soul could be seen drawing itself into his physical body, flooding his every cell with incredible and forbidden power.  His spinal cord and chest healed in mere instants.  His skin took on an ashen hue and the roots of his hair bleached to a ghostly white.  With a tremendous physical effort, Johann raised a rapidly strengthening arm and pushed himself unsteadily to his feet. 

“A little fight left in you, lad?” Grognar asked rhetorically.

Johann didn’t answer.  He rose to his full height, stronger than ever before.  He craned his head and neck as if to release a long held tension before slowly opening his abyssal-black eyes and turning to face Grognar.    Veritas realized with fascination and dread that Johann was not breathing, blinking, or fidgeting.  He was as still as stone on the outside, while his imprisoned soul was flaring with power. 

CRACK.  The vibration of the sound his Veritas before he realized what had happened.  In an instant, Grognar had shifted back several steps and Johann stood outstretched like the painting of a man in mid-punch.  The ogre’s gut plate fell to the ground in pieces, shattered by a thunderstrike.  Grognar’s body fat undulated as the ogre ceased his involuntary retreat. 

Suddenly, the ogre’s eyes went wide and dizzy.  Veritas feared the worst, but was immensely relieved when Grognar doubled over and simply vomited chunks of oxen meat into the dirt. 

“Nice punch…” the ogre grunted through a mouthful of digestive fluids as he used a broad hand to steady himself.

Veritas turned back to the straightened form of Johann and looked deep into his cold, dead eyes.  For several seconds, neither moved or said a word.  The white discoloration of Johann’s hair had tripled the area it once covered and it seemed that with every passing second further mutations took hold.  His fingernails began sharpening and extending, his skin drew thin around his whipcord muscles, and elongated fangs pushed their way through his closed lips.  Despite being impressed with Johann’s strength and potential, Veritas readied himself to incinerate the newly forming vampire.

“So…” Johann gasped as much as said.  “Is that good enough for you?”

“It will be as soon as you prove yourself to be under control,” Veritas answered, all of the levity gone from his voice.

“Gate of Darkness, seal,” came the reply.

An agonizing look of pain came over Johann’s deathly face as the transformation began to reverse itself.  His burgeoning claws sloughed off his fingertips.  More natural color returned to his hair and skin, both of which seemed to increase in volume once again.  His teeth took on a less predatory demeanor even as cries of anguish escaped from between them.  Johann fell to his knees and onto his side, spasming and shuddering.

Veritas watched with his mind’s eye as Johann’s soul once against opened itself to the energies of the Realm of Chaos, completing his return to a human state.

“Johann?  Are you alright?” Veritas asked.

For a moment, nothing was said.  Then Johann’s chest swelled and shrank with its first breaths in over two minutes.

“Alright?  No,” Johann said.  “Alive?  Perhaps.”

“Good to have you with us then.”

Special Close Combat Weapons

More rulebook mods.

These are the special close combat weapons outlined in the rulebook, with tweaks to satisfy my creativity.

Power Weapons: Attacks with a power weapon ignore armor saves and benefit from the Rending special rule.

Power Fist: This counts as a power weapon that attacks at +2 Strength.  A model equipped with a power fist cannot gain the Attack bonus for wielding multiple close combat weapons.

Lightning Claw: This counts as a power weapon that re-rolls failed to wound rolls.  A model equipped with a lightning claw cannot gain the Attack bonus for wielding multiple close combat weapons unless equipped with a second lightning claw.

Thunder Hammer/Chain Fist: This counts as a power fist that strikes at AP 1.

Force Weapon: This is a power weapon that causes a Rending wound on a roll of 4+ instead of 6.

Witchblade: This is a force weapon that re-rolls failed to wound rolls.

Universal Special Rules

The following are tweaks to the Universal Special Rules found on pages 75-77 of theWarhammer 40,000 rulebook.  Let me know what you think.

Acute Senses: Infiltrators cannot be set up within 18" of a unit with Acute Senses.

Counter-Attack: When a unit with this rule is assaulted, it must pass an Initiative test.  If this test is passed, the unit also counts as launching an assault in the subsequent round of combat.

Eternal Warrior: As is.

Fearless: A unit with this rule ignores all negative Leadership modifiers when taking a Morale check and allows you to re-roll any failed Morale check or Pinning test for it.  An Independent Character with this rule confers it to any unit he joins.

Feel No Pain: Successful to wound rolls against a unit with this rule must be re-rolled.

Fleet: A unit with this rule may choose how far to move when Running, up to its normal maximum.

Furious Charge: You may re-roll failed to hit rolls in an assault for a unit with this rule on the turn in which they launch an assault.

Hit & Run: As is.

Infiltrate: As is.

Move Through Cover: A unit with this rule treats difficult terrain as open terrain and dangerous terrain as difficult terrain.

Night Vision: A unit with this rule does not need to test how far it can see when the Night Fighting rules are in effect.

Preferred Enemy: A unit with the Preferred Enemy special rule may re-roll failed to wound rolls against its Preferred Enemy.

Rage: A unit with this rule has the Furious Charge, Counter-Attack, and Stubborn special rules.  At the start of each of its turns, the unit must take a Leadership test.  If the test is passed, the unit functions normally.  If the unit does not have line of sight to an enemy unit, it automatically passes this Leadership test.

If the test is failed, the unit must move as fast as possible towards the enemy if at all possible.  In the Movement phase it must move its maximum allowed movement towards the nearest visible enemy unit.  In the Shooting phase, the unit must run towards the nearest visible enemy unit.  In the Assault phase it must attempt to assault the nearest visible enemy unit and must always consolidate towards the nearest visible enemy unit.

Relentless: As is, except that Infantry units that move and fire with Heavy weapons cannon launch an assault in the same turn.

Skilled Rider: As is.

Slow and Purposeful: As is.

Stealth: A unit with this rule may re-roll failed cover saves.  If a unit with this rule also has the Infiltrate special rule, it may be set up anywhere up to 6" away from an enemy unit that does not have line of sight to it, or up to 12" away from a unit with Acute Senses that does not have line of sight to it or an enemy unit that does have line of sight to it.

Stubborn: A unit with this rule automatically passes Morale checks and Pinning tests.  It cannot fall back and cannot go to ground.

Swarms: A unit with this rule has the Eternal Warrior, Move Through Cover, Stealth, and Vulnerable to Blasts/Templates special rules.

Tank Hunters: A unit with this rule automatically passes Tank Shock Morale checks and adds 1 to its armor penetration rolls.

Turbo-Boosters: As is.

Vulnerable to Blasts/Templates: A unit with this rule suffers Instant Death if it suffers an unsaved wound from a Blast or Template weapon.  This overrides Eternal Warrior.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Phoenix Lords rules

Here are the improved rules and increased costs of the Phoenix Lords for your use and critique.

They are to be used with the set of base rules found here, which should be the post immediately prior to this one. 


Sword of the Asur: This follows all the rules for both a witchblade and a diresword.

Wings of the Phoenix: These are a pair of Shuriken Pistols that fire at AP 2 and confer the +1 Attack for multiple close combat weapons.

Armor of the Phoenix: This confers a 2+ armor save and a Shimmershield that confers a 4+ invulnerable save to any unit Asurmen is with.

Special Rules
Father of the Avengers: Asurmen has the Bladestorm, Defend, and Acrobatic exarch powers.  He may re-roll failed invulnerable saves.


Blade of the Inferno: This is a power weapon that strikes at double strength and adds an additional D6 to armor penetration rolls.

Forgelance: This incorporates a Firepike and a Dragon’s Breath Flamer.  You must decide which is being used each time the weapon is fired.

Armor of the Wyrm: This confers a 2+ armor save and immunity to any flame or melta attacks.

Special Rules
Father of the Dragons: Fuegan has the Tank Hunters, Crack Shot, and Intercept exarch powers.


Blade of Destruction: This follows all the normal rules for an Executioner and Mirrorswords.

The Silent Death: This is a Triskele with the Rending special rule.  Any Rending wound causes Instant Death.

Armor of the Crone: This confers a 2+ armor save that incorporates a Banshee Mask.  When Jain Zar uses her War Shout power, enemy units must take a Leadership test instead of a Morale check.

Special Rules
Mother of the Banshees: Jain Zar has the War Shout, Acrobatic, and the Withdraw exarch powers.  She has the Furious Charge special rule.


Swiftblade: This is a power weapon that strikes at Initiative 10 and re-rolls all failed to hit and to wound rolls.

Ascendant Star: This is a Sunrifle that fires at Strength 6 and AP 4.

Armor of the Tempest: This confers a 2+ armor save and incorporates Swooping Hawk Wings and a Swooping Hawk Grenade Pack.  It allows Baharroth to move in the Assault phase as if equipped with a jetpack.

Special Rules
Father of the Hawks: Baharroth has the Skyleap, Intercept, and Withdraw exarch powers.  He and any unit he is with only scatter D6" when Deep Striking.


Talons of the Hunter: These count as a pair of power weapons that confer +1 Strength for each successful to hit roll in the same fashion as a Biting Blade.  They also incorporate a Shuriken Catapult that fires at AP 3.

Armor of the Ultimate Predator: This confers a 2+ armor save and adds 2 to any cover save for Karandras, to a maximum of 2+.  It also incorporates a Mandiblaster that confers +2 Attacks instead of the normal +1.

Special Rules
Father of the Scorpions: Karandras has the Shadowstrike, Stalker, and Acrobatic exarch powers.  When Karandras is outflanking, you may choose which table edge he and any unit he is with arrive from.


Maugetar: This incorporates a Shuriken Cannon and an Executioner with the Rending special rule. The Shuriken Cannon uses the following profile.
. . .Rng: 36”. . .Str: 6. . .AP: 3. . .Type: Assault 5, Rending, Pinning

Armor of the Destroyer: This confers a 2+ armor save.  All shooting at Maugan Ra and any unit he is with must be done under the effects of the Night Fighting special rules.

Special Rules
Father of the Reapers: Maugan Ra has the Fast Shot, Crack Shot, and Bladestorm exarch powers.  He also has the Acute Senses special rule and confers it on any unit he is with.

Phoenix Lords Rewrites

In the interest of cool, I'll be updating the Phoenix Lords to better emulate their aura of cool in the background.

Here is the basic template.

WS-8; BS-8; S-4; T-4; W-4; I-8; A-4; Ld-10

Fleet; Eternal Warrior; Independent Character

Souls of the Exarchs: A Phoenix Lord has a 4+ invulnerable save and counts as a psyker in all respects.  It is also immune to all psychic powers without a given Strength value.

First and Ever Lords of War: You may choose to have a Phoenix Lord and any unit it is with automatically pass or fail any Morale check or test to regroup.

Disciples of the Asuryata: If you include a Phoenix Lord in your army, squads of that Phoenix Lord's aspect count as Troops choices.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eldar Fandex, early stages

Over on Warseer, I've been tossing around ideas for my next fandex, now that the Space Marine fandex is in the touch up phase as far as the rules are concerned.  This will be one for the Craftworld Eldar.

Amongst the many changes, I'm removing Fleet from most units and replacing it with a running bonus and move through cover, and perhaps most drastically I'm retooling the Aspects to reflect the Phoenix Lords and different schools within each Aspect.

Eldar Fandex outline

If you're a Warseer member, I'd love it if you joined the thread and contributed your two cents, or do so here.  If you're not, please let me know what you think here and consider joining the forum and jumping into the rules development and stories sections.  They can use all the traffic they can get. :)

Space Marine Fandex Version 1.3

Below is the updated Space Marine Fandex.

- Weapon profiles have been changed, some new weapons have been added.
- War Beasts are added for those who like their Commanders with pets
- Keeper of the Armory added for Force Commanders and Techmarines, allowing an extra Heavy Support choice for every one you include in your army.  This is my attempt at a compromise between one for one slots and squadrons.
- Totally redone psychic powers to add more utility and defense for Librarians.
- Rules updated.

Space Marine Fandex version 1.3

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Vehicle Squadrons: Yay or Nay?

At the outset of my fandex projects, I was determined to avoid vehicle squadrons.  Because of the imbalance inherent in vehicles themselves, I see Ordnance squadrons, like Basilisks, as much more powerful point for point than vehicles like Predators.  By getting heavy hitting, widespread, long-range firepower on cheap, disposable vehicles, Ordnance squadrons can be incredibly dominant.  The same goes for Monstrous Creatures as well, which led to the rise of Tyranid Godzilla lists.  In terms of the FOC, it also strikes me as odd that Heavy Supprt vehicles can be taken three to a slot where as Troops, for example, can only be taken 1 to a slot.

I want foot-slogging lists to be as competitive as mech lists, to allow players to have to rely on their skills as a general and list maker instead of how well they can exploit a typical build.  The point system is there to balance the discrepancies between certain types of units.

However, I find myself now going back and forth on the issue.  First and foremost, the squadrons are undeniably effective on the table top and many people enjoy playing in such a fashion.  There is also the idea that by allowing squadrons players can field armored company style lists.  Furthermore, because vehicles can die to a single hit, there is an argument to be made that many of the lesser armored vehicles need redundancy to remain effective choices.

To my few readers, I address the following questions: What are your thoughts on the issue?  What do you believe can be done to balance this?  Am I missing a vital component to either side of the argument or does the real issue simply lie with the core rule set alone?