For the love of the game…

Saturday is here and for me that means going a smidge off script. As some of my posts in the past have indicated D&D, well TTRPGs, isn’t the only gaming system or genre I have in my life. Yes, I am in a relationship with something that isn’t normally thought of when you say that you are a Dungeon or Game master. I adore Warhammer.

Not the sci-fi goodness with the pew-pa-pew lazers and such, but the fantasy heavy version complete with dwarves, elves, orcs, goblins, undead, and of course, humans.

For me though it isn’t just a nail biting 30+ minute game of tactics and strategy involving the movement between 5 and 200 miniatures, but for me it’s the sparks of inspiration that come from them.

Currently I have a sizeable force of Nighthaunt; tormented specters that haunt the mortal realms, a burgeoning force of Slaanesh; the worshipers of chaos and all things in excess, a small swarm of Skaven; my beloved crazy rat-men, and enough Flesh eater courts for a few people to have full armies from just my collection alone.

The reason for the choice in these armies isn’t really tied to their effectiveness on the battlefield, most of them currently are predicted to see a podium spot in tournaments at the moment, but for an aspect of the army that just brought me in.

For Nighthaunt it’s the grim-dark nature of the army. A endless procession of tormented spirits bound to the great necromancer Nagash, cursed for forever do his bidding as a vindictive punishment against those who lived their mortal lives so frivolously. Their ghostly forms ‘floating’ across the battlements of the game table brings back that feeling when (spoiler ale… no if you haven’t seen Lord of the Rings, return of the king by now it’s your own fault) the hundreds of cursed warriors, now horrible specters swept from their pirated ship and lay waste to the armies sieging Minas Tirith. The armies of evil including Orcs, monstrous elephants and other worshipers of Sauron fell to the ghostly men their incorporeal blades cutting through the flesh and armor of their enemies easier than they would have in life. For this one feeling alone I would collect hundreds of miniatures to bring to the table, but the models are not only used for warhammer but used for D&D as well. The battles, such as one last weekend where the swarms of spirits marched to meet an army of mortals and daemons of Khorne, the chaos god of blood, war and murder, met me in the middle of a battlefield where my ghosts swarmed, pined down and dragged the chaos worshipping zealots to their graves. The ghostly form of my army, and luck from the dice gods, saw key bottlenecks holding firmly with my army of specters until only the dead was left on the table.

These battles give me the desire and inspiration for not only writing stories of these wars, battles and characters but also for encounters – such as the banshee in the woods from a few weeks back (what calls from the woods) as well as a few other sessions yet to come, if the party ever escape from the ghoul nest they are currently calling ‘base camp…’

This leads me to ghouls. Now I love flesh eater courts – not for the sheer amount of gore that the army is normally portrayed to be involved in, or the grisly nature of the army but because of the creation story, and the lore behind them.

Let me set a scene.

Sir Reginald Fauxhammer stood with his brothers and the hundreds of men at arms in front of him. Patting his white mare trying to calm its nerves as the barbaric creatures looted a village just ahead he rode in front of his men.

“Today we teach these invaders that this is our land, our people and that we will not take this any longer. For too long have we allowed these creatures to trespass onto our land and slay our people – almost content enough to leave villages and towns filled with the corpses of men, women and children. To this I say today is your last day, we take the battle to you and then you shall have a war! King Krull in his heroic bravery has announced that he will lead the charge, fear not Percy – he is on Snapjaw, his dragon. None shall slay our king. Not if we, the Nights of Hallowmourne have anything to do with that.” He laughed at this, his men laughed to. For many battles their king was never seen without his knights and today would be no different.

A shriek and a blast of fire could be seen in the diming light, the smell of battle on the wind.

“I do believe, the king calls for us! ride forth brothers. To the king!” Sir Reginald kicked his mount into a gallop, so in tuned with his steed he could feel his own legs pumping in time with the beasts.

– Across the field –

Thomas has just put his daughter to bed, his wife, Chrissy was washing up the dishes in the sink. The pale light from the sun setting over the forest to the west made it difficult to see the sprint colours across the meadow – but today the setting sun caused strange shadows to seem to dance across the pastures and flowers. Giving his wife a kiss and closing the door behind him he set off to take first watch at the edge of the town – rumors’ of late had spread of a dark shadow spreading through the land. Probably just a messengers tale, they had not received one for quite a few days and they were now sorely overdue. News from the capital had said that crusades into Shyish were going well, that the cannibals and nightmares that called that unholy place home were meeting blessed steel and that even Sigmars chosen, the Stormcast eternals, had been seen entering cities and towns as of late – brought down from Azyr in blinding bolts of lightning.

A whistling in the wind gave warning to the beast before the smell did. A corpse, a rotting mass of bones and flesh fell from the skies just in front of him. Large nightmarish wings spread out wide and the Zombie dragon belched forth a plume of rot that killed a dozen people instantly in front of him. Throwing himself against the wall of a nearby building the zombie dragon strode forward, barreling down the city streets and into a crowd of people who were too stunned to move. The figure on its back, large pointed ears, fingernails nearly as long as the dragons teeth and the blood, it was covered in blood. Body parts, taken from its victims seemed to adorn the creature like a mantle, a crown of fingers seemed to almost be sewn into the creatures head as its mount bounced, like a massive killer puppy, into the crowd of people. As the Dragon bounced and ate the creature howled and screeched into the setting sun.

That’s when Thomas heard it. The thundering of feet. Turning to look at the now visible tree-line what he thought were shadows were figures, hundreds of figures darting forward naked apart from the gore that covered this pale forms. Larger beasts seem to barrel past then, their large powerful legs seeming to gallop across the ground, at the head of the pack a particularly wicked looking monstrous figure ran, snarling at the others, the sun causing its white skin to glow in the failing light.

Oh Sigmar save us, the flesh eater courts had arrived…

To themselves the Flesh Eater courts are noblemen and women. They fight for their kings and have grand feasts in their lieges honor. To everyone else they are a raving mass of mad cannibals. Driven insane by delusions of grandeur that stem from their ghoul kings (so delusional that their very presence brings insanity to normal man) these ghouls, the small ‘serf’ or larger ‘knights’ of the courts don’t see themselves eating piles of dead corpses – they see magnificent feasts piled high.

For me these armies, inspiration for the ghoul pit my party currently find themselves in, are another source of inspiration, miniatures for the table and fun which gives me the recharge time I need so that I can write more, or come up with newer and more exciting adventures for my party.

Thanks for jumping on today, getting a brief introduction to another source of inspiration for my games and maybe walking away wanting to investigate warhammer yourself.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the final writeup of this weeks adventure, and as usual don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe