Greetings Terrans, I’ve done a bit more writing for my RoW thing – a short chapter that addresses how the warband managed to acquire the five Beastmen needed to reach its full starting strength, and that covers a game I played where the objective was to liberate a Beastman Shaman & add him to the warband as well. I’ll close with an update on the post-game sequence, and there is pic of new mini that I did especially for Wudugast too, so feel free to skip the story bit if that’s not your bag.

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The Tale of Scynir the Architect – Part 2

Scynir’s warband picked their way warily along the rock-strewn track, their breath echoing within the tight confines of the deep gorge. They were slowly making their way into the Eight Points, picking out secret paths in order to avoid the notice of larger and more powerful groups. The Eightpoints was a dangerous place, and with just four fighters in her band, Scynir knew she was vulnerable.

Scynir considered her followers. All were veteran gladiators who had originally been part of a warband known as the ‘Blooded Hand’, but these four were all that remained following their near annihilation at the hands of an Elven mage… Scynir herself had killed that mage, and in so doing had earned the favour of Tzeentch and the loyalty of these survivors.

Nerys and Gwil were both lithe and agile, lightly armoured and adept at working together – Nerys with her long spear and Gwil with his gladiator’s net. They acted as scouts and skirmishers for the group, often ranging ahead to check the route. Sven was the opposite – a giant of a man who spoke little, but who carried his huge two-handed executioner’s axe with a chilling ease. The fourth warrior was a hulking Beastman called Skrogg, a mountain of muscle who loomed even larger than Sven. The Beastman was a superstitious creature and had been particularly awestruck by the magical transformation that Scynir had undergone. He had barely left her side since then, appointing himself as her personal bodyguard. Scynir did not mind – the reassuring bulk of the Beastman was a comfort to her, and her connection with Tzeentch gave her a newfound appreciation for the mutant form of the Beastman.

Scynir’s mind continued to wander, and she considered the changes wrought upon her own body during her conversion to Tzeentch. Her hands were probably the most noticeable aspect of the transition, the skin having darkened to near-indigo, and the fingers elongating to either end in a claw or a puckered mouth that spat magical flame on demand. Her face too had darkened, and taken on an inscrutable quality that she found pleasing. She had even taken to wearing a veil to enhance this effect.

More profound changes had occurred internally, where small embers of latent magical ability had been fanned into blazing life by Tzeentch. Scynir had been working hard to expand her powers ever since, learning from the whispers of her new master by day, and reading stolen Elven lore and practicing profane spells by night. Most of this magical experimentation had been carried out on the captive Elf woman, the only other survivor of the massacre that ended with the murder of the mage. Scynir’s power had wrought horrendous changes on the Elf, mutating her once-beautiful face into a living horned skull, and so rendering her blind and mute. However, the magic had also seemingly given the captive a sense for danger that extended beyond the mundane, and on several occasions, the creature had begun clacking her jaw in response to approaching trouble, turning empty eye sockets in the direction of the threat. The warband had come to value the early warning that she gave, and as Scynir thought this, the creature stopped in her tracks and staring dead ahead, slowly clacking to herself. The warband halted, poised for trouble, but after several minutes, the rate and intensity of clicking had not changed, and neither had the direction. An ambush then, and one that the high sides of the gorge made impossible to avoid.

The group advanced cautiously down the gorge – the risk of the ambushing force being superior was significant. The clicking increased in frequency as they proceeded, setting the warband on edge, but a whispering in Scynir’s mind reassured her.

“All is proceeding as planned little one, take heart, this is fate.”

In increase in brightness ahead revealed that the gorge suddenly widened to form a natural amphitheatre some thirty yards in diameter. Skrogg stopped just before the narrow gorge spilled into this open space, and protectively ushered Scynir behind his back. He sniffed the air deeply, a low growl sounding in his massive chest.

Wait. Here.” He grunted, his bovine features making the words guttural and harsh.

Skrogg handed his mace to Sven, and advanced into the amphitheatre, his huge head thrust forward, shoulders hunched and fists clenched. He reached the centre of the circle and stopped. Filling his lungs, Skrogg issued a bellowing challenge, the deep breying echoed around the natural arena. Movement in the shadows of several rocky outcrops and fissures revealed several smaller Beastmen lurking in the rocks, primitive weapons in hand. She thought they were of the smaller Ungor variety – certainly none had the impressive span of horns or the physical presence that Skrogg did, and they did not advance to meet Skrogg’s challenge. However, one voice did respond – a similarly deep and discordant bellow rang out, and a massive Beastman stepped out of a narrow fissure in the opposite wall. Throwing down a massive axe, the creature advanced.

This specimen was every bit as imposing as Skrogg, and the two looked evenly matched as they started to circle each other, fists clenched and breath snorting from their muzzles. Neither creature backed down, and at some unseen decision point, the two creatures launched themselves at each other. They met in the middle of the amphitheatre with a sickening clash of heads, their horns locked and they began grappling, massive neck and shoulder muscles bunched as each sought to dominate the other. The ambush leader seemed to be gaining the upper hand at first, but Skrogg was a veteran of many pit fights and knew how to use his opponent’s weight against him. A sudden drop of the hip and pivot, and Skrogg had the other Beastman off balance and crashing to the floor. Skrogg wasted no time in pouncing on his opponent, twisting one of the creature’s arms behind its back and applying a choke hold that would snap the neck of most humans. The immense pressure of Skrogg’s grip made the Beastman’s eyes bulge and its tongue lol out of its mouth, and after a few more moments, Skrogg’s opponent tapped to indicate surrender. Skrogg let the creature go with a roar of triumph as the defeated Beastman rose unsteadily to its feet before bowing deeply to the victor.

The two rivals clasped arms, and began conversing in the guttural language of their kind, while four smaller Beastmen crept out of the shadows to join the pair. The defeated champion was grunting emphatically and pointing to the fissure in the opposite wall, but Skrogg was gesturing back towards Scynir. A growl reinforced he point, and Beastman retrieved his axe he and the smaller Ungors accompanied Skrogg back the shelter where Scynir and her human followers waited.

“Hear him out.”

The new Beastman looked at Scynir and her band appraisingly before dropping to one knee, head bowed and clenched fist held to its breast.

Droshag” it grunted by way of introduction.

“Greetings Droshag, I am Scynir the Transformed, Architect of Tzeentch. My master bids you to speak, and me to listen.” replied Scynir.

Need help Sky-ner, hunters take Gorshag, powerful Shaman… You help rescue, maybe we join you”

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“Yes, this Gorshag could be a powerful ally, with his own kind of beast magic for you to learn… All knowledge is power little one – rescue the Shaman, bind these creatures to your service and learn the secrets of his magic!”

“It will be so” said Scynir, and with a sign, she bade Droshag to rise and lead the group forward.

It was near dusk by the time the group exited the confines of the gorge. They continued to track the hunters until they reached a shattered temple that nestled in amongst low hills. Observing the complex from a rise, Scynir could see a barbaric group of men and women resting in the ruins, a roaring fire in their midst. They were adorned with furs and bone trinkets, and had fearsome looking bone weapons close to hand. A locked stone chamber stood just beyond the fire, with pair of Rocktusk Prowlers guarding the door. Their huge leonine bodies filled with poised menace and their fangs glinting in the firelight – this was likely to be where the captive Shaman was being held. Including these ferocious hunting beasts, the barbarians numbered some eleven fighters – too many for Scynir’s original band to face, but her new Beastman allies plus the element of surprise balanced the odds. She gave the signal and her warband stealthily approached the temple.

As they entered the temple grounds, the warband split into three. Sven, Nerys and Gwil took the centre, while the Ungors took the right flank and Scynir, Skrogg and Droshag took the left. It didn’t take long for the Rocktusks to detect the attackers, their sensitive ears and noses picking out the approaching warband. They growled low in their throats, alerting the hunters to the imminent attack. A particularly large man, presumably the leader, started shouting orders to the others. The barbarians fanned out to meet the threat, Rocktusks surging ahead. The hunting beasts were the first to reach Scynir’s band, with one pouncing on Gwil, and another attacking Skrogg. Their speed and savagery of the creatures was terrifying, but her fighters managed to hold them off long enough for support to arrive. The isolated Rocktusks fell to the sheer volume of attacks, though Gwil was taken out of action, and even mighty Skrogg was grievously wounded in the fight. By this time, the supporting barbarians had reached the right flank and were engaged in brutal hand to hand fighting with the Ungors. The Beastmen were giving a good account of themselves, but were struggling to deal with the hunters who were being goaded into a frenzy by a tall female. Sven saw the challenge, and broke right to add his weight to that flank. The balance of power shifted, and Scynir’s fighters began to gain the upper hand.

At the same time, Skrogg and Droshag came under attack from more barbarians, including the leader of the band. He was a giant of a man who overpowered the injured Skrogg, and was trading blow for blow with Droshag. Scynir employed magic to hurl fire at the other barbarians that were trying to flank her, burning one alive and sending another running for cover. A sudden howl of agony cut through the dusk – Nerys had sneaked up on the fight between Droshag and the barbarian chieftain, and had stabbed the man in the ribs. Droshag took advantage of the distraction to bring his axe down on the fighter, cleaving him from shoulder to breastbone. As the chieftain toppled over, the rest of his followers lost their nerve and fled the field. Many of the Ungors were battered and bloody, while Gwil and Skrogg were both unconscious, but the warband of Scynir were victorious.

Droshag made his way to the locked chamber, and using the back of his axe, he smashed the lock and wrenched open the door. A huge Beastman limped out of the room and clasped arms with Droshag while they exchanged grunting words in their own language. Droshag pointed towards Scynir and the rest of the warband as they tended to their wounded. The Shaman located his staff from among the scattered remains of the hunters camp, and made his way painfully toward Scynir. As he approached, Scynir marvelled at the Shaman’s bright zebra stripes – truly he was marked by her master Tzeentch.

“Yes, this is pleasing – Gorshag will join you, and so strengthen your power in service of me.”

Gorshag stopped and bowed his head to Scynir.

The Hawk-Lord of Magic has spoken to me on the wind – He says my tribe and I join you and yours. We will follow you and fight for you in the name of the Hawk-Lord Tzeentch

Scynir was pleased, nodding her veiled head in agreement.

“Just as planned…” she thought to herself.

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So after the game described, (thanks Ross!), I added the shaman from Grashrak’s Despoilers to my warband, and I also rolled to see what happened to the casualties… Happily, they all survived with no major issues. I also rolled to see if I gained any new followers, and Tzeentch saw fit to bless me with 4 new Chaos Dwarfs followers… The warband now stands as follows:

1 Human Champion, Gift of Magic, Overgrown Hands

3 Humans

6 Beastmen

1 Beastman Shaman (via game)

4 Chaos Dwarfs

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These Chaos Dwarfs will be the focus for my next RoW post.

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Finally, a word on the female elf captured in part 1 of the story, and who now forms a mutated/mutilated early warning system for the warband. Motivated by having the majority of a Scinari Cathaller mini left over from Scynir’s conversion, and by the Realm of Chaos references to warband followers that add flavour but do not take part in battles, I thought I’d try and do something with her. I was also inspired by Wudugast’s dislike of the original, and wanted to see if I could improve on things a little. Here she is:

I kinda like how she turned out 😊