As I mentioned a little bit ago, Skorne has called my name for a time now. This desire to play the empire has not stemmed from the desire for a new and different style of play. I love how Cryx plays so much I could play them for years without getting too bored. Its one of the strengths of the system as there are some 15 casters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses to overcome and to play with for all the original factions, and some 11 or so for each hordes faction.

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This Monday Mythology is not going to be on a god or accursed, but I’ve realized two things about the article series.

The first is that I am up by three on Paltonarchs v. Accursed. This will leave me, at some time, writing back to back Accursed articles for three weeks, unless I do something creative.

the second is that I have jumped right into creating the Accursed without really exploring their motivations, history or really just a general backstory other than the very distilled down bad gods.

I figured I’d take this time, then, to delve a little deeper into the life and times of the Accursed and let them catch up a little bit. Its likely that I’ll go over how the Godswar is fought on the next one, allowing the Accursed to get completely caught up.

Before we get to the Accursed, though, we need to do a little bit more of a digging into how and what the gods are. While the first three articles do plenty of Explaining on the Godswar, Creation, and Cosmology, there is very little behind how the gods, now affect the world and those in it. To understand the Accursed, one must understand all of the deities.

Though the Accursed are truly among the first of the damned, they are not all evil. They are now, however, trapped in the irreversible pact that they have made with the Demon Queen.

This, the Black Pact, stems back to the Siege of Dawn, and the darkest days of the Godswar for the Paltonarchs. The Rebel gods, numbering in their hundreds, with armies millions strong, were laying siege to the Fortress of Dawn, the final stronghold of the Paltonarchs (an Old Killbaran word meaning “Rulers of the Heavens”). Their numbers and armies were of similar, if lesser, numbers.

It was this turning point that decided the entire war, thus far, and has caused millenia of warfare among brother and sisters, fathers and sons. The Prime Accursed, Ferosh, god of Ambition, Trickery and Deception, desired above all things the destruction of the other gods who had oppressed him. He had conceived and executed the Savage Nightfall, slaying numerous powerful gods and setting off the rebellion itself. He had personally slain the god of Luck on that night, and was one of the recipients of an heretofore unknown natural law: The deific slayer of another god will absorb their portfolio and therefore their powers. Ferosh, now the dangerous combination of Luck and Ambition,was approached by one of his fellow rebels, Nemisht, god of Prisons and Confinement, with the proposal of turning the Fortress of the Dawn into the greatest prison in the planes. He would create a race of Guardians who would rival the Paltonarchs in power and capacity, immune to diefic powers and able to forever hold the gates of the fortress shut. Here, at the edge of the world, the enemy would be forever contained, shut in their own fortress.

Many of the rebels cheerfully agreed with this plan. After thousands of years of conflict, they wished the fighting and the death to be finished, and this plan offered the quickest and strongest way to force an end to the fighting. Ferosh seethed! The death of so many of those who defied him were within his grasp if he could just have more time, more power, and just a little bit of luck. Fortunately the Demon Queen was watching this all play out. Those she considered her inferior siblings fought among themselves, and she saw a way to continue the devastation and death. She sent an emissary to Ferosh, an incubus of unparalleled beauty and power. He spoke seductively to Ferosh, telling him of the immense power that could be his, with an ally such as the Demon Queen. while before he was limited to the power and strength of his domain, with her aid that would be eliminated. No one truly knows what was told to Ferosh, but after a fortnight of persuasion, he brought his plan to his closest of allies: Kalboras, Chremiss, Adremach and Kara. Kalboras completely agreed with the plan, with Chremiss and Adremach joining in after some short discussion. Kara, the god of Deception, Trickery and Thieves, agreed vocally after some convincing, but could not, in any frame of mind, agree to a pact with the Demon Queen. She started plotting, based on the timeline Ferosh had given her, to somehow depose him prevent the pact, but Ferosh acted to swiftly to prevent it. He swore his oath to the Demon Queen alongside the Chremiss, Kalborass and Adremach deep in the Iron Marches, the Prison to which the Demon Queen was trapped. Taking their new found power to their followers, they announced their new powers, and invited all to swear the Black Pact. There was turmoil among the rebels which none of the quartet has expected. Some were livid, and others were simply outraged, and within the Hallowed Chambers of the Divine Court, there was chaos. In that chaos, Kara struck and Ferosh met his end, though no one other than Kara has witnessed his end. The Chambers became a bloodbath, with gods slaying each other in a grand melee, those appalled at the Pact attempting to flee or fight its adherents. That night was the greatest single loss of life among all the gods, with the few Pact adherents managing to flee, along with whatever of their armies they could muster. The next day Kara led a contrite army to the doors of the Fortress of Dawn, opened them, and surrendered, explaining the Black Pact to those assembled gods. Conflict resumed across the world, with the Paltonarchs and those who had surrendered among the rebels hunting the now-Accursed gods. Though there were nearly 50 Accursed and hundreds of gods, the Demon Queen proved her worth, for each Accursed hunted down and trapped killed dozens of gods before being slain themselves. The toll on the Paltonarchs was devastating, but they could not turn back. The Accursed suffered, and they too, fell back, and eventually, after long, bloody years, they fled the the Iron Marches, to the Prison of the Demon Queen, where the ever larger armies of the gods could not follow them. They were followed, however, by the Paltonarchs, and the Iron Marches became a land of war. While the armies of humans, dragons, giants, elves and others could not follow their leaders to the Iron Marches, their souls could.

Part of the Black Pact had altered how souls functioned. When a person died, instead of their soul being absorbed into the god that they worshiped or left to wander the Shadow Plane for all eternity if they had no god, they were now pulled directly into the Iron Marches after death. Those who were unclaimed by the gods were given over to the Demon Queen to use as they liked. From the first thousands that were given to her she created the legions of the Iron Marches; Demons and Devils in the common parlance. Once the Paltonarchs realized this twist in the pact, they created the Harvest Angels, who’s sole job it was to retrieve the souls dedicated to the gods. Now, with the ability to create an army on the iron marches and the Accursed and Demon Queen trapped there, they Paltonarchs followed. Sadly, the souls and bodies of those who were claimed by no god were abandoned to the Demon Queen, who gained double on each death. In the Iron Marches, she would create a demon of equitable power to the slain, and on the earth, the corpse would rise after a day and a night to torment the living. Only with the death of the Accursed and the Demon Queen herself could the world return to its rightful state. However, what made the Iron Marches the great prison for the Demon Queen also imprisoned its new inhabitants. Much like the physical forms of those minor beings who live on the Prime cannot travel to the Iron Marches, it is extremely hard for those powerful beings on the Iron Marches to return to the prime. Now, Trapped in a war ages old in a land not of their choosing against an enemy of their own blood, the Paltonarchs are resolute and determined. One day, the Accursed and the Demon Queen will fall, and with them, the Iron Marches, and the world can return to being ruled by the gods directly.

So whats so special about the Accursed that makes them reviled and, when all things are equal, not worthy of worship? Why are their cultists cast out and unable to be part of the greater world?

The largest part of the revulsion is that the Accursed are known to have thrown the world out of balance. By choosing to take the Black Pact, they damned anyone who’s faith wasn’t strong enough to be consumed by the Demon Queen, and gave rise to the Undead. a slight second is the knowledge that each one of the Accursed chose to give the souls of their followers to the Demon Queen. While on Kasan they may gain earthly powers, once they die, their souls are consumed and given new form consummate to their attained power. Some of extraordinary power even retain a bit of themselves. Finally, its the knowledge that the corpse of the person who worships the Accursed will return to life, hungering for the flesh of the living.

The Accursed chose to commit the souls of their followers to the Demon Queen so that they could destroy a great enemy of their own flesh and blood. In each of them is a selfishness and arrogance that, while not unknown among the Paltonarchs, is much more all consuming. While they once fought for freedom and to break out of the chains of oppression, all that is left for the Accursed to fight for is self interest and the hunger for power. Keep that in mind as you read each of the Accursed profiles. While some of them might sound like normal goods, within each is the seeds of betrayal, selfishness and avarice!

This past Saturday I made it out, finally, to a Warmachine tournament in my area. With the local area all hyped up for Brawltimore this coming year, there was a fair amount of interest in the 2015 beta that was being run. As I mentioned a bit ago, I would be bringing my Goreshade 1 list and my Deneghra Gun Line List. I thought that these two lists would compliment each other and ask some hard questions.

In the 9 days that passed, though, I started to second guess myself. I looked at the big matchups and wondered what could I do against them. I know the area fairly well: Meat Mountain, Fist of Halaak, Father Lucant, High Reclaimer, Bradigus, Butcher 3. There were the lists I would have to make sure I had answers to. I felt pretty confident against MMM and Fist, and Father Lucant I had game against, depending on which way he went – med. based recursion and I drop Goreshade, Small based dudders, I drop Deneghra. Butcher 3 I have Mage Blight and Orin Midwinter. High Reclaimer I spent a while mulling over, but at the end of the day, I figured I’d just try and punch him until he stopped moving if It came down to it. Layer my infantry, clean up with jacks, call it a day.

Bradigus, though, gave my brain a complete conniption. I hemmed and hawed and thought about it nearly constantly for three days, trying to figure out how I’d do anything against him. In the end, I decided to either dodge, or drop the Denny list, because Nyss can at least see through the trees, and could possibly assassinate Bradigus if he got to bold, but at the end of the day, the only thing I managed to change out of the lists was swapping a Deathripper and Pistol Wraith for Min Bile Thralls and a second Warwitch siren in order to spray my own Nyss, if need be, to get through the forest wall.

The day of the event, I was nervous as hell about Bradigus, but resigned that I would just deal with it if I came across it.

The field ended up being something like this:

Khador: Oceans 18/B3
Circle: Kreuger 2/Bradigus
Trollbloods: Some Version of Miserable Meat Mountain
Protectorate:  Harby/Sevy 1
Protectorate: Thrya/High Reclaimer
Skorne: Chain Gang and somethin’ Else
Trollbloods: Grim 2/Madrak 2 MMM
Retribution: Vyros 2 and some other caster
Cryx: Denny/Gaspy 1(?)
Convergence: 2 Axioms and another army
Cygnar: Stryker 3 and Nemo 2
Circle: Kreuger 2/Bradigus
Minoins: Gatormen!
Me: Cryx: Deneghra 1/Goreshade 1
With Four games played, I’m not going to go through a complete play by play, but I am going to go over the general pre-game thoughts and overall meta-thoughts I had. I’ll pick out the highlights, of course, but its going to be a lot less than a full battle report.
With my enormous fear of Bradigus and two circle players, I just hopped to dodge them all day and try and make it to the end. Sadly, that was not to be the case. First round I was paired up against one of the guys that had traveled up from VA. I was terrified he was gonna drop Bradigus, but with the scenario Being the new 2015 Destruction, he took Kreuger.
Krueger the Stormwrath
* Gorax
* Megalith
* Warpwolf Stalker
Druids of Orboros
* Druid of Orboros Overseer
Shifting Stones
* Stone keeper
Shifting Stones
Blackclad Wayfarer
Blackclad Wayfarer
Druid Wilder
Gallows Grove
Una the Falconer
* Rotterhorn Griffon
* Rotterhorn Griffon
Unfortunately, that meant that my Bradigus pick, Deneghra, was out high and dry. Stormwall, druids and stones were gonna ruin my day! Knowing that his feat can straight up win games if poorly planned for, and being handed the second turn, I took the side of the board with a wall on it and shot up the board on turn 1, nearly reaching the zone. His second turn was brutal, though, and I loss most of my Nyss, and was about to loose my Leviathan, whom he had pulled nearly into the zone from its first turn 17″ position on the board,  when he mistimed his feat after double teleporting his stalker into combat and pushed the leviathan out of melee range. I had very few models that could now get into and contest the zone, but I had to make the push. I went in with everything that could get there, and took down the Stalker in the process. I used my feat that turn, but it was an utter waste: I was expecting to Scourge Kreuger, but with the druids around, I wasn’t able to. I was, however, able to forestall him a turn, and due to my feat he had a fairly subdued turn, except for Una’s Rotterhorns who were able to come up and just mow down a pile of infantry I had in the zone. Thankfully, I had nudged one of my arc nodes in, and getting rid of Def 15 models isn’t easy. The following three turns, eating up nearly all of our clocks, was spent Scourging targets near Keruger and laying everything into him. Pistol Wraiths, Warwitch sirens, everything. On my final turn of the game, I even dropped Megalith completely through transfers. The hero of the game, though, was Aiakos, who’d jumped through the Circle lines on a critical turn to be able to shank the Druid leader chanting Counter Magic and turn if off long enough to eliminate both it and him from the game. The game ended with concession as Keruger and his whole army charged Deneghra but could’t hit her def 16 and left her with a pile of HP and Focus in front of Kreuger, who had 2 HP left.
I’d managed to dodge Bradigus and take down one of the best Circle casters out there. It was a hell of a game that left us with under 3 minutes combined between us on the deathclock. I’d not enjoyed a game of Warmachine so thouroghly in, I do believe, years. It was back and forth, it had glorious moments, and the opponent was a blast to play against!
Next up, almost immidiatly afterward, was a friend of mine playing Protectorate and High Reclaimer. With both the High Reclaimer (clouds) and his Thyra list (Book) preventing Deneghra assassinations, I knew I had to go Goreshade. He picked High Reclaimer:
The High Reclaimer
* Reckoner
* Vanquisher
Choir of Menoth (Full)
Daughters of the Flame
Exemplar Bastions (full)
Holy Zealots (Full)
* Holy Zealot Monolith Bearer
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt
* Attendant Priest
Visgoth Juviah Rhoven & 2 Honor Guard
The Wrack (3 wracks)
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Saxon Orrick
He also got first, so I made him eat the forest just outside of his deployment zone. I had buildings to hid behind and models that ignored them so it was the natural choice. This game was a bit of a grind as well, though I feel it was more one sided. Goreshade was able to protect himself for most of the game through Shadowmancer, though he got a bit of a scare through Rhoven, who gave the Reckoner the ability to ignore stealth and tried to drop two shots into Goreshade himself. The first one popped him for a pile, but the second one did much less. However, he still had to deal with drifting vanquisher shots, which lit him on fire. Thankfully, with ARM 16 and 7 wounds left, it was unlikely that I’d die to fire, but it went out, and I didn’t need to worry. The Bane Riders held the front line while the Banes went around the side, took down as many of the Bastions as they could, and started to threaten the jacks. Goreshades feat brought in Bane Thralls to deal with the irritating Reckoner. The High Reclaimer was pinned between Nightmare, a slayer and a full unit of Bane Knights and deathclocked himself trying to dig out of his hole. Afterward, my friend admitted he got into his own head a bit and could have played the game a lot better. There was a specific point that comes to mind for both of us, where he assumed that Roven let models see through trees, and that just wasn’t the case. He definitely would have deployed and played differently!
Next up, after a quick lunch, was a Trollblood player. Finally, a list that I can 100% drop my Goreshade list against. He picked his anti-Cryx list, Grimm 2, and took to town destroying my models.
Hunters Grim
* Slag Troll
* Troll Impaler
* Dire Troll Bomber
* Trollkin Runebearer
Pyg Burrowers (Full)
Trollkin Runeshapers
Trollkin Runeshapers
Trollkin Scattergunners (Min)
* Trollkin Scattergunner Officer & Drummer
Fell Caller Hero
Janissa Stonetide
Professor Victor Pendrake
Stone Scribe Chronicler
This list was scary, but with the ability to deter ranged attacks through Vengeance and Stealth, I thought it would be ok. Instead, on turn 2, he removed both Nightmare and the full unit of Bane Riders from the board. He traded his entire unit of Digmies for that, but it is what it had to be. He also Ran his Runeshapers into place to engage some of the Bane Knights, but it didn’t truly slow them down as they ate all but two of them, causing the other to flee. He then, seeing that the Bane Knights were about to roll up his flank, committed to killing them, which left both Slayers up and kicking. One slayer, fully loaded and under Shadowmancer, brought down the Bomber and did significant damage to the Slag Troll. Goreshades feat summoned reinforcements, and the slag was torn apart. At the same time, I was able to get my Bane Knights into the Impaler and remove it, too, from the board. With all his beasts in the dirt, it was just a matter of time as I sat in the scenario zone and took it. Grim was on a hill, away from most of the game and I just wasn’t going to catch him.
So, my first tournament in many months lands me at the top table. The opponent was locked into his anti Cryx list, and I was ready to rumble. Every game so far this tournament, if I remember correctly, was against a NOVA Masters Qualifier. I can never have an easy path, but what path worth walking is!
Grand Scrutator Severius
* Blessing of Vengeance
* Reckoner
* Reckoner
* Hierophant
Choir of Menoth (Min)
Daughters of the Flame
Exemplar Errants (Full)
* Exemplar Errant Officer & Standard Bearer
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt
Anastasia di Bray
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios
Exemplar Errant Seneschal
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord
The Wrack (3 wracks)
Seeing the list, and knowing that Sevy has old man stats, I thought this was the perfect list for Deneghra. This list has a stupidly surprising amount of pop, though, and was able to start pulling my models off the board on the bottom of turn 1. While I was able to pop a few models on my feat turn, I traded it for a turn that didn’t do a whole lot – Deneghra and Aiakos being forced back in order to not be completely mutilated the next turn. I sacrificed my Leviathan for a stupid shot, while disrupted from Eiryss 2 that while it worked, wasn’t worth the sacrifice. I was able to determine the line of engagement, but it wasn’t enough as he slowly blew apart my army with Reckoner shots and a massive Ashes to Ashes that caught 7 models in its radius, removing 5 of them completely. I was able to secure the far right flag of the incursion scenario we were playing with a Warwitch, who even dispatched di Bray after she showed up, but the center was completely given up. The battle, it turned out, hinged on my far right flag. With both of us up to 3 points, and each of us controlling a single flag, it was do or die time. Within 4″ of this flag was Aiyanna and Holt who were fleeing in terror of the Withershadow, two Daughters of the Flame, and Rhupert who had given them tough. On The Cryx side was Deneghra, Malevolus, and Tremulous. Rhupert took two Black Fires to the face and failed to die, While a Daughter of the Flame took three Venoms and yet still lived. That was the game, then and there. I scored one, bringing me to 4, as did my opponent. all they needed to do at that point was nothing, and they score the center flag and win the game.
All in all, it was an amazing tournament. I was able to come out with second place and really had a blast doing it. For my first tournament back in so long, I couldn’t have hopped for more.
Next time, I’ll be breaking down my Skorne games from this weekend! Looking forward to changing gears to a more brutal style!

Chremiss, Accursed of Rulership

Other Titles: Aloof Queen,  the Iron Crown, the One True Queen

Alignment: LN

Weapon: Warhammer (The Queller of Chaos)

Major Domains: Rulership, Rivalry

Minor Domains:  Obedience, Judges, Confidence

Totem Animal: Elk – The elk is a king of his land, confident in himself ,eager to prove his worthiness, yet obeys the natural laws when he is ruled unworthy.

Holy Symbol: A heavy iron crown with seven spikes across the front, set with a large, pale sapphire in the center.

Favored Appearances: Chremiss is extremely vain and revels in showing off beauty in every form that she takes. Both her male and female forms are almost overpoweringly sexual, and many a ruined king or presumptuous lord has come to their end due to her machinations. Her Female form is that of a striking Sylvan elf, with skin a deep auburn and blazing emerald eyes. Her long, perfectly straight and pitch black hair falls down her back. Tall for an elf, she is also well endowed, playing off it with her deep cut, form fitting dresses. She tends to frown on weaponry and armor in this form, preferring to stay dressed in regal finery.

Her male form is vastly different, but just as pleasing to the eye. Tall, with a straight back and broad shoulders, he holds himself with a regal bearing. Pale and tawny curls cover his head, and the same color holds for his beard and eyebrows, below which peer deep brown eyes that seem to understand you. He is always in peak physical condition, with well toned muscles belied by his loose fitting garments.

Warform:  Chremiss tends not to fight, but lead. However, when called upon to defend herself or battle necessitates it, she is fearless in battle as a massive elk of earth and stone, studded with gemstones. The eyes of the great beast are giant rubies, and the hooves are of pure diamond. The rack of horns upon her head is of topaz, both strong and sharp.

Personality: Chremiss is both vain and haughty, with an immense self worth and feeling of importance. What is worse is that she is often correct in her assessment of many situations and her keen intelligence and common sense has lead her to become one of the greatest battlefield commanders that that accursed have at their disposal. Though she knows she is more intelligent and understands her talents better than anyone, she is rarely one to explain herself and expects total obedience from her subjects. With the other Accursed, she is in constant political maneuverings and petty rivalries to bring her standing higher and higher. While they are currently ruled by a council, she has aspirations to be the sole ruler and monarch of the Accursed and defeat the Paltonarchs, and then the Demon Queen.

Teachings: Chremiss is the patron of both the rulers and the ruled, who appeases them both as the lawful and right way of the universe. There must be rulers, and that ruler must be a single entity, one that is able to assess the situations, make the best choices for all involved, and move forward with the proper choice, regardless of the sacrifices involved. If you are that chosen person, you must never look back in regards to those choices, be confident, and you will be obeyed. By the same token, you must remember those who have wronged or defied you, and strive at every turn to both earn their respect, or force it on them.  Finally, she teaches that in order to resolve impossible differences, there must be some sort of arbiter, and the judges are a profession that one should both revere and obey.

Abode: The Palace of Brilliant Might is one that stands at the very center of the Accursed Territory. A grand structure with hundreds of rooms for every conceivable concept, this is where the Accursed plan out their offenses and try and figure out a way to overthrow the Paltonarchs. Here, as well, is where the rules, laws and structure of the Accursed organization lies, within the halls of the One True Queens abode.

Cultists: Those who follow Chremiss are few and far between, publicly, but a number of power mad kings and princes have been known to worship her. Many countries have secret Organizations within their ruling classes that have followers and worshipers of Chremiss gather together to try and exert her brand of influence upon the country. These Cabals tend to be small, with no more than 10 or 12 members most times. They push rivalries with other nations, including warmongering if needed, absolute authority and strong, powerful governments if any can be arranged. 

Clerical Attire/colors: Chremiss’ followers wear dark blue, though the form, function and frequency is not always the same. They have a penchant for rings, often with sapphires and other brilliant blue stones, and circlets embedded with the same gems. Her followers are often high profile individuals, and they rarely wish to be known as worshiping one of the accursed, so they often disguise the colors of her worship. 

Followers: Kings, Rulers, Nobles and Generals. Sometimes Peasants who want comfort in their terrible existences, Mages, Athletes and Rogues.

This week, Tionas managed to show us just what sort of twisted and horrid things his mind can come up with.

We left off last week with the woman who we managed to save from the chest portal, and this week we tended to her a bit, getting some information out of her. She wasn’t sure when she was brought down here, but remembered she was separated from her daughter. Thankfully, her daughter was not taken into evil chest-portal land and made it back to town, causing the Constable to go hire us from the Vault. This meant she couldn’t have been in the mine for more than about a week.

After making sure the woman is good, we decide to take a long rest, to recover ourselves. During the night, Carric and I are on watch at the same time, and we hear a buzzing noise. Looking over to the main shaft, we see a small, winged creature fly up it. It is somewhat demonic looking, with bat wings, a bow, and horns. It looks at us, and then drops back down into the shaft. We determine that it’s best to let the others rest, and only mention it if the buzzing returns.

A little while later, Carric feels a poke on his leg, and on looking down he sees a small, demon-like familiar, miming all of his actions. When I ask what he’s doing, the thing vanishes.

After the rest, we decide to continue on. The main shaft has some small side shafts coming off of it, but the bottom is too far to see. We decide to head down the secondary shaft, where the ape creatures came up. Carric goes down first, and sees a somewhat familiar sight – An elf, chained to another pillar. But this time, when the elf sees him, he groans and shouts – And an ape creature starts pulling itself out of the portal in his chest.

Above, we can clearly hear the screaming of the man, and the woman, whose name we found out was Stacia, weeps in terror at the noise. Carric comes up and makes his report, and we decide that we need to deal with it. I ask Carric if he could allow the woman to borrow his dagger. It may not provide any real help to her, but it may at least make her feel better.

At that point in time, we hear the buzzing again, coming from below. Looking down, we see the ape creature, and Carric shoots it in the face with an arrow as it begins to climb. He gets another arrow into the thing before Ronin asks for us to hold, as he has an idea.

Each of us fall back a bit as Ronin takes the spot in front of where the creature will come up – But when it does come up, he dispenses with his plan and simply channels his inner Spartan, kicking the thing back down the hole and killing it. Stacia screams in terror as she sees it, and Ronin goes and informs her that we are going after them.

Meanwhile, Haltz and Carric descent the shaft, seeing a black fletched arrow near the base of the ladder that hadn’t been there before. Carric slips easily into the shadows, while Haltz turns to the man on the pillar – Soon enough to see another ape coming out. He chargest it, managing to knee it in the face.

Myself and Ronin reach the bottom of the shaft at this point, just in time to watch Haltz spear the creature dead. Carric, meanwhile, spots the flying thing from before, and thinking quickly, shoots it in the wing with his bow. It drops down the shaft it was hovering over.

Haltz and I pull the ape out of the elf’s body portal, and as Carric unlocks the manacles I pull the hooks holding his chest open. Like the woman, the pillar heals him until he’s not dieing, but he’s in much worse shape than the woman was, and begins coughing up blood. He is also delerious, not knowing where – or who – he is.

After some questions, Carric finds that the man is going to die anyway, and uses his dagger to mercifully end his pain. As Ronin and Haltz return to the shaft to inform the woman of what we’ve done, Carric makes his way down the other shaft in the room – Ending in a small tunnel, angled in one direction into water, and in the other direction a small hole. I pass my lantern down to him, and he sees the hole goes up further than the lantern can illuminate.

He returns up the shaft, and with no other place to go, we return to the woman, giving her some more supplies and some further niceties. She has already eaten about two days worth of rations, and has tied Carric’s dagger to the staff Ronin had left with her, forming a makeshift spear.

We decide to head down the main shaft to the side passage a short distance below us. Carric goes first, securing the rope to a post that is secured in the wall – Angled so that it would connect to a post in a side passage above us. It seems that the two were once connected.

The rest of us follow, squeezing down the narrow shaft until we emerge into a larger gallery. Carric stops Haltz and I from lighting our lights, as he sees his “friend” from before. After some discussion, I suggest using the lantern to light up the thing, to which the creature nods at.

On illumination, I discover just what the thing is – It is a quasid, a demon from the Iron Marches. Such demons are often summoned as a familiar by mages, and mages tend to keep familiars that are similar to them. It is not a far fetched conclusion to believe this is the familiar of a demonologist.

As I say this, the creature vanishes down a shaft sitting just behind it. We decide to go after it, but I notice some clothes in the corner. Before I can suggest anything, though, I feel something crawling up my back, beneath my armor. I alert the others, and they see a centipede-like creature crawl up out of my armor, morph into the creature, and then take a massive bite out of my neck.

Not wasting any time, we attack the creature – And I discover that I lack a secondary melee weapon, although I prove perfectly efficient at smacking things with my lantern. Eventually, I daze it with a smack from my lantern long enough for Ronin to grab it and smash it into the floor, killing it.

We take a short rest, during which Ronin brings the clothes to Stacia, who is grateful to have something to actually wear now. After we are rested, we look down the shaft the creature disappeared down.

This one has no ladder, for it has turned into a pile of rubble at the floor. We take a rope down, and on the far side of the largeish gallery we can see a pile of corpses – A peasant, a guard, and a knight with a greatsword. There is another shaft in the ceiling, and one more in the floor.

As all four of us arrive in the gallery, the knight rises. It turns out that it isn’t a knight, but simply a suit of armor. The sword also rises, although it is not held by the knight.

Instinctually, I throw some oil at it, although I miss the thing completely. Ronin moves forward and tries to attack it, although he only manages to get a painful foot out of the deal. My own attack ends up less painful for me, although I still fail just as well.

Thankfully, the knight seems to have no better luck than us, and misses its punches against Ronin. The sword, however, seems to be just fine, and smacks me pretty hard. Haltz attacks the armor, and Carric tries to shoot the sword with his bow.

Ronin gets into a punching match with the armor, with Haltz joining in as soon as he moves close enough. I begin to deal with the sword as Carric wisely decides to try and shoot the larger target.

I manage to smash the sword with my glaive, shattering it and sending the pieces flying across the room. Only moments later, Ronin manages to put his fist through plate steel, destroying whatever spell was animating the armor.

We find a few gold among the bodies, and looking up at the shaft above us we see that it ends in what looks like a cave-in, possibly the same one we ran into before. The shaft down ends unfinished in a pool of water.

As we begin making our way back to the entrance shaft, Carric pauses, and then pulls on the “rubble” on the floor. It lifts, revealing another shaft. From this shaft, heat, light, human groaning, and a mixture of Accursed/Killbaran muttering can be heard.

We decide to take no chances and drop all at once, seeing a wall adorned with an incompleted circle of living bodies. They are barely living, split neck to groin and joined together with one person’s neck in the next person’s crotch, with a pillar keeping each of them from dieing. A form is hunched over one of them, blackened skin visible even with its robes.

The figure turns, and we see a first generation Killbaran mage, a red third “eye” in his forhead. He shouts that he must finish his work, to which we ignore – Carric shoots him, and both Haltz and I charge him.

As we do so, Carric shoots him once more, interrupting whatever spell he was trying to cast. As he dies, we notice there are hooks in his chest – Not holding it open, but keeping it shut. We don’t have time to ponder this, though, as his chest bursts open as he dies. A demon comes through the resulting portal, shattering the body it used as transport. It is a great, winged creature wielding a black and red trident, and it wastes no time in meeting Haltz and I.

We attack it, Haltz dealing a significant strike with his spear. Carric shoots at it as Ronin joins with a flying jump kick. Somehow, we manage to evade all of its attacks before Ronin deals the final blow, killing it with a kick in its face.

We look around the room, and we see another figure on a pillar on the floor. On investigating the pillar, I find it is a different type – There is a different type of healing rune on this one, and considering the figure doesn’t have a chest portal, I deduce there is no realistic way to save these people.

Haltz, Carric, and I set about pulling people off of the wall to remove them from the range of their pillars before giving them a mercy killing. The pillars on the wall are also different – They have the same healing runes as the one on the floor, and while they also have conjuration runes like the ones we found above, those runes are much more potent. I can only guess that, had the wizard finished his work, he would have created a much larger portal to the Iron Marches.

Among the items in the room, I choose one of the knives the wizard had been using for a dagger, ensuring that I would have a secondary weapon if I needed it. Additionally, I find the wizard’s spellbook. This is in my field of study, and I find that, perhaps I can learn to utilize its power for a different purpose.

Valkyria Chronicles is likley one of the best games I ever put down, and it makes me sad that I am writing this 4 years after its release, and that I am writing this instead of playing it right now.

Valkyria Chronicles is, from where I stand some 6 missions in, a retelling of WWII in a alternate world. The dates are right-ish, and the bad guys are kinda correct. Also, there are tanks, primitive rifles, bazookas and light machine guns. Everything is in place!

The connection is weak, but the feel works out for me.



The game’s main characters are Welkin Gunther and Alicia Melchiot, a college student and a baker, respectivly, that join the militia and fight against the Imperial invaders of Imperia. Welkin ends up with a Tank his father left him, and Alicia becomes a leader in her own right. I’m not all the way into the story, but its been fairly good for following around a bunch of youngsters, something which I generally don’t latch onto. For one, It seems that this story makes them feel younger, which I am good with.

Right. Gameplay.

I enjoy turn based strategy games, probably too much, and my love of XCOM, both new and old, is testament to that love. Valkyria Chronicles is a version of turn based strategy that I enjoy more than most. The basics of the game is, very much like a tabletop game I very much enjoy, based on orders. Each turn you get to take, you have a certain amount of orders to spend, however you so desire. If you so like, you can spend it on the Edilweiss for the whole of the turn and have your tank just try and Rambo the enemy army. Its unlikely to work, but you can give it a try! Additionally, each subsequent order spend on the same unit reduces its move stat, meaning you can’t get as far.


There are Six  classes of units, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Scouts: Great Movement, Low HP, Low Damage, Accuracy, and Rate of Fire
Shocktroopers: Middling Movement, High HP, Low Damage, Low Accuracy, Great Rate of Fire
Lancers: Low Movement, High HP, High Damage, Middling Accuracy, Single Shot
Snipers: Low Movement, Low HP, High Damage, High Accuracy, Single Shot
Engineer: Middling Movement, Fights like a Scout, but carries ammo and can fix your tank
Tank: Middle Movement, Enormous HP, Low Accuracy, High Damage, Single ShotGameplay

As you spend your orders and activate your troopers, you’ll move around the battlefield freely, almost like an third person shooter. If you encounter enemies, however, they will shoot at you, provided they don’t use their single shot weapons. This holds true for your soldiers attacking enemy troops, so you can really get good use out of choke points if they have to come after you. Once you get into a position you like, you can go into your aim mode, which is almost an FPS view, and choose your action to take. Once your action is taken, often by shooting the enemy, you can either end your action, or start moving again.

If a character is reduced to 0 Hp, they are downed and are no longer active. You have three turns to get another character over there, call a medic, and evacuate them or they’ll die, permanently. This can also happen if an enemy reaches them as well.

During each mission, you can call in reinforcements if you need to, from the bases scattered about the level. Once you do, a new solider will come to your aid as long as you don’t have the maximum number of active troopers on the board.

In addition to the battles and the turn based fights, there are also tech trees for each weapon, as well as some for the armors. The Eidlwiess can also be upgraded, and has tech trees for all sorts of aspects.

Finally, even your soliders gain levels, making them better and better as you go along.

I’m just starting to get into the game, so I’ll have more information and maybe some battles to go over when I come around next time. I don’t expect to get much writing done over the holidays, but we will see how it all pans out, and maybe I can get an article or two out there about the progress I’m making!

Welkin Gunther, Main Character, Tank Commander

Welkin Gunther, Main Character, Tank Commander

Dungeons and Dragons, as I have grown, seems to have followed my gaming preference path; Or maybe I’ve followed it, I don’t know.

What I do know is that what first got me into the game back in ’95 was that I could play anything, I could be anything, and I could play out a story in my mind.

The First D&D Image I ever saw

The First D&D Image I ever saw

This lead to the discovery, with my dad, family, and friends, that stories could be amazingly fun not only to play, but to tell. I DM’d for my family, and eventually for a few friends. Before I could get well and truly established, however, I moved with my family hundreds of miles south to start again

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Taralin, God of Life

Other Titles: Selfless Guardian, Shield of Life, Avenger

Alignment: NG

Weapon: Saber (Succor and Salvation)

Major Domains: Life, Justice, Defenders

Minor Domains:  Vigilance, Guardians, Protection of the weak.

Totem Animal: Boar

Holy Symbol: A bright, glowing blue Ankh

Favored Appearances: Taralin is one of the most active and influential gods on the moral realm, and as such his appearance has changed numerous times over the ages. Currently, his favored forms are that of lively people, humans and elves most times, but occasionally dwarves, who have very similar features.

When male, he has long silver hair, bright blue eyes and a winning smile. He is of average height most times, though he leans on the short side. His frame is that of the average man, one who works every day of their life to attempt to feed their family and themselves. When preparing for combat, he wears black leathers trimmed in silver, and wields a pair of Sabers.

In female form, he is again a slighter, smaller person, but no skinnier than anyone else.  Her eyes are bright green, and her smile is warm, with her long silver hair tied up in a but with a few wisps let out to trail down her back.  She is a little older but has not lost the vigor, and only a touch of the beauty, of youth. She carries the same weapons and wears the same armor as her male counterpart.

Warform: As befits the god of life, his warform is that of a boar, stubbornly clinging to life past when all sense and reason has engulfed it. A towering (how many different ways can I find to say “big?”) Boar with a body composed completely of fire, with hooves that leave smoking craters and a mane of yellow-white flame. His eyes stream smoke from the great blue flames within. His tusks, are white hot flame jutting from a dull red mouth, both hard as steel and insubstantial as flame.

Personality: Taralin is a boisterus, jovial character, pleased to meet new people and enamored by the variety of personalities and people within this world. However, he is also grim and guarded, always on the lookout for challenges and dangers.  Taralin values life, and holds it sacred, but that sword, very literally swings both ways. He is uncompromising when it comes to dangerous people and those who have unjustifiably taken a life. He shows no mercy to these criminals and metes justice out in his own way.

Along side his brother and greatest friend, Dagor, god of Death, they hunt the undead endlessly across the world with their aspects. He cannot abide their stench in this world or the next, and constantly looks to eliminate them wherever possible.

Teachings:While Taralin is the god of life, you can’t be a pacifist in this world of violence, and you must be ready to defend yourself and others if the time comes, even to the point of hunting down those who threaten or have harmed others. Many times, the laws will protect or shelter those who have done wrong, and you must do all in your power to circumvent them, but if the laws would permit vengeance to be taken through them, it is better to abide by them.

The undead are an abomination on this world for any reason, and the guardian of life must seek out and destroy every suspected one of these vile creatures. All life must end, and it must not be evaded. To every beginning there is an end, and we all must play our part.

Abode: Taralin lives in the Temple of Vitality, a modest structure of stone and iron that is surrounded by a blazing wall of fire.  Here, the new comers of the Paltonarchs legions are trained and readied for combat against the Accursed and their warriors. Taralin is also in charge of guarding the borders of the lands held by the Paltonarchs, and it is here that his weary wardens come to rest and plan for their next excursion.

Clergy:  The priests of Taralin are a quiet lot, standing in the shadows of the more warlike and flashy gods that rule the elements. They teach that stoicism, patience and the reverence for all life is the key to a happy life of your own. They grow glorious gardens of amazing foods while also tending to herds of livestock to provide to those in need. The reverence of life extends to the wild places of the world, and many rangers and druids take up the tenants of Taralin during their lifetime, becoming holy wardens of nature and the sanctity of plants and animals as well. They will not, however, punish a person for taking only what they need. Life is both a precious gift and a commodity to be spent well when needed.

Priests of life are, along with the priests of Pain, present at many childbirths, while also being present at the burial or cremation of an individual, extolling their life and the sacrifices they made for others.

Knightly Orders: One of the most prolific Knightly Orders on all of Tysis is that of the Temple Knights of Taralins Sacred Wards, or the Sacred Templar for short. These dedicated men and women of all races have dedicated themselves to the stewardship of towns and cities alike, along with remote places that can’t truly fend for themselves. They often hold high rank in town guard, militia or local nobles military, instructing and preparing for defense as needed. While they are skilled leaders and able combatants, they have vowed only to lead punitive attacks against those who have wronged their communities and will never be seen leading an aggressors army.

Clerical Attire/colors: Clerics of Taralin favor simple black and silver garb, though a white tabard emblazoned with the Blue Ankh is popular as well. Many high ranking priests wear silver circlets embedded with a sapphire to signify their position, though it is voluntary. Warriors of Taralin tend to wear white and blue, with the black being the accent color to their garb. Red, as well, is a popular color, but mostly among the vengeful and justice seeking sects. Taralins clergy and warriors also tend to wear the heaviest armor possible, as staying alive oneself is the best way to keep defending life.

Followers: Taralin tends to attract rangers, guards, and hunters along with a number of shamans, a few dwarves and sometimes even a mage or two.

This week, we beat on some demon-sponges, jumped down a few more holes, and I explored a bit of the “Evil” part of my “Neutral Evil” alignment. Last week, Tionas couldn’t make it out, and this week our cleric was absent again. Sucks to be her, because it was awesome!

Where we left off last session, we had just set a puddle on fire, filled it with arrows, and also poked a few holes in some fungi that wanted to shout us to death. From this room, there was only one shaft down, and Carric decided to climb down the ladder to take a peak.

The room below had some movement in it, and Carric could hear some low moaning. So we had Haltz drop a lit torch down to the bottom. “Disturbing” is probably the kindest word that could be used to describe the things that waited for us. Well, not exactly  waited. More like shambled around the bottom.

They were humanoid, roughly human sized, but everything from the shoulders down was pretty much just a giant pile of flesh and mush. Their arms ended with sharp, vicious claws, and their faces had equally sharp teeth. Their eyes were black and empty, and the flesh was an awful orange color, somewhat like the goblin from before. They ignore the torch, doing as much as rolling right over it.

When Carric comes up and gives his report, Ronin goes down the ladder and uses his thaumaturgy spell to see if they react to sound. They do, and slither right over to where the sound came from. We also hear a very human, startled shout.

We come up with a plan – Carric sneaks down, Ronin goes down the ladder and distracts them with another sound, and Haltz and I rappel down the shaft. This goes as planned, and we all get down to the bottom. At this point, we all see what’s in the room – Five of these horrid flesh creatures, along with a glowing pillar that has a human figure chained to it.

Trying to lure them to another area, Ronin uses his spell again, but they see us as they move. Well, everyone except the sneaky Carric. Ronin moves up and punches one of the creatures, and finds that its consistency is pretty much that of a sponge, and it reforms itself quite well. Aside from the fact that it is now oozing black ichor where most creatures would simply bleed.

Haltz uses his handy darts, punching a hole through the creature’s eye and killing it. At this, the guy on the pillar screams, and Carric, making his way up, can see a bulge forming on his chest. He decides that the man is part of the creatures’ plans, and shoots him with his bow. I move up to support Ronin, but I don’t do much to the creature, cutting in but it seems like I’ve only mildly displeased it.

The creatures, slow as the bags of flesh they are, finally respond. Two manage to claw Ronin, one in a pretty hefty manner. The two others are now moving up to us, and Ronin decides to punch one of them, fairly successfully. Haltz decides to show us how to actually fight, and spears the one Ronin injured, killing it, and then kicks the one I injured, killing it as well.

Carrick \ fires another arrow, and the human shouts and slumps down, but the pillar will have none of it. Tendrils of energy come out and do.. something to the guy, who shouts once more.

Seeing that Ronin and Haltz have the creatures covered, I run up to the pillar and proceed to swear violently. It’s carved with Accursed script. The man chained to the pillar also has his chest cavity pulled open, held that way with iron hooks, and inside it I can see another one of the creatures pulling its way out. At this time, the creature pops out, and doesn’t seem particularly pleased with me being there.

One of the creatures that Haltz and Ronin are fighting manages to knock out Ronin, prompting Haltz to move back, getting one of the creatures to follow him. Carric is a great asset and shoots the creature right next to me, distracting it while I decide the best course of action.

My thought is that the creatures, and wherever they are coming from, are linked to the pillar. I am not a locksmith and I don’t have the tools to pop the manacles open, so my action is to physically sever the connection of the guy with the pillar. My glaive neatly severs the hands of the already-ravaged human, but this doesn’t stop the pillar’s magic from keeping him from bleeding profusely.

Carric, seeing he has the attention of one of the creatures, shoots and kills the second one that had been with Haltz and Ronin. The only thing the creatures can do at this point is follow them, so while they’re dealing with the creatures I sever the feet of the captive and drag him away from the pillar, eventually severing the connection. Inside the corpse’s chest, I can get a good look at the portal, and at this I swear even more violently. I can see leaden grass – It’s a portal to the Iron Marches, and in the accursed end of it to boot.

Some experimenting shows that the portal is solid, and after a little more inquisitive prodding by myself, I remove the iron hooks holding the corpse’s chest cavity open. It snaps shut, and pulling it apart reveals that this has closed the portal as well. Not fully satisfied, I take a look at the pillar while my companions tend to Ronin and check the rest of the mining gallery.

There’s one shaft down that’s open – Of the other two, one ends in a collapse and the other isn’t finished. The pillar, on the other hand, has crude yet strong magic, and is carved with both healing and conjuration runes.

We make our way into the next gallery, which is thankfully empty. This has one end that looks like it’s unfinished, and the other end is collapsed. There’s a small horizontal shaft that is one of the numerous ones that lead to the main shaft, and another shaft that goes down. Carric climbs down the ladder, and looks into the gallery. Another glowing pillar is there, with another figure chained to it. There are also two large forms, so Carric makes his way back up.

The gallery he scouted had two shafts in it, and we’re sure one of them is the main shaft. I ask Carric to look into the side passage, as it is too small for any of the rest of us and he is also supposed to be the sneaky one.

He climbs along it and looks down – into the faces of two creatures, both of them about 7.5 feet tall, covered in muscle, and with arms that look like they could rip someone in half. The person chained to the pillar has had their chest opened in the same way as the last one, although he couldn’t tell if this person also had a portal in their chest.

He climbs back and barely has enough time to describe what he saw to us before we hear the things shouting below us. Running over to the shaft, we see them climbing up it – Not via the ladder, but by ripping handholds from the stone. Carric shoots an arrow into one of them, while Haltz, Ronin, and I all ready ourselves for the creatures. Thankfully, Carric gets another shot into the same one, and shortly before it gets up to the top I stab my glaive into it, killing it and knocking it down. We can hear a scream from below us, and we dread having to deal with a stream of these things.

Ronin handily dealt with the other one, using its own momentum and mass against it to toss it over into where the rest of us can deal with it. Haltz spears it and gives it a solid kick, while my polearm deals the killing blow. This time, however, there is no scream from below.

We look down and see one more creature looking up at us. I can only assume it decided that a one-on-four battle was not entirely a good idea, so it disappears, shouting the whole way, into the mine.

I head down first, being the most defensible of the bunch, but there’s nothing there. As my companions come down behind me, I head over to the pillar. The woman there is in surprisingly good health, aside from the fact that her chest is held open with another dozen iron hooks with a portal to the Iron Marches inside. I also happen to recognize that this is the woman from the locket I found earlier. Makes finding the owner a lot easier, I suppose.

At this point, the beast’s shouting returns, and Ronin and Haltz have found another shaft – Which three of the beasts are now climbing up. Thankfully, it’s a lot longer than the previous shaft so we have some time to work.

I call Carric over to open the manacles, warn the woman what I’m going to do is going to hurt, and start pulling out the hooks. Racing against the creatures, Carric and I manage to both free her from the manacles and remove all of the hooks. Her ribcage slams shut, and when it bounces open a little I can see the portal is closed – And her internal organs seem to be still internal.

We notice that the pillar seems to be healing her, so I pick up my glaive and run to the shaft while Haltz throws some further darts. One of them hits a creature, and the creatures manage to climb to the top of the shaft before I can get there. Thankfully, both Haltz and Ronin are ready and dodge their attacks. Being distracted, though, they also don’t manage to deal any further damage to the creatures.

This doesn’t stop one creature from punching me, hard. Carric, while watching over the woman, is still observant and fires his bow at the one that hit me. The arrow hits hard, and the creature falls back into the shaft. One down, two to go.

Haltz hits one of the creatures, and Ronin manages to hit the last one, hard. At this point, though, we find out the other creature isn’t dead – As it flings itself out of the pit and takes a swing at me. Thankfully, though, it’s been injured and misses. The other two creatures have similarly bad times dealing with Haltz and Ronin.

Carric, not pleased that his target didn’t actually die, finishes the job with another arrow. This time, it really is dead as it falls back down the shaft, and we hear it land at the bottom. Haltz hits his again, and Ronin manages to knock his dead, the corpse also falling into the hole. Whatever’s down there is going to know we’re coming.

The last creature swings at Haltz but misses, and I finish it off with my glaive. At this point, silence falls, and we can see that the pillar has no further interest in the woman. She’s not perfectly healed, but she’s not being splayed open like something out of a horror movie anymore.

What awaits us in the gallery below I have no idea, but I’m sure we’ll find out next week. Considering how we dealt with its minions, I’m fairly sure it’s not going to be pleased to see us, either.

Its happening, and I can finally see the light. I’ve been called back to the Skorne Empire, and can see vast swaths of infantry, huge bipedal pachadyrms and tyrants shouting over the din of battle in my future.

First, however, I have to get my last hit of Cryx in.

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