Salphan, Accursed of Dreams

Other Titles: Dreambreaker, Doomweaver, King of the Unknowable

Alignment: NG

Weapon: Shortbow (Thought Piercer)

Major Domains:  Dreams, Nightmares,Mystery

Minor Domains:  Revelation, Honesty, Whispers

Totem Animal/Warform:  Owl (His warform comprised of Fire and Ash)

Holy Symbol: A Yellow, Clawed hand holding a lidless eye between its thumb and forefinger

Favored Appearances: Salphan prefers the company of those he deems educated and perceptive enough to understand his messages and whispers. To that end, he most often adopts the form of a scholarly elf with generally angular features, graying hair and golden-yellow eyes.The robes that Salphan wears are a dull, pale yellow and are so voluminous as to conceal all most all of his physical form. His hand, as well as his face, are able to be seen clearly.  Both forms he takes has the face as the focal point, each exemplifying the most primal and basic concepts of each. The man has a large, powerful forehead and a heavy, dominating brow, much more like a human than an elf. His nose is broken, bent, and flattened, and his deepset eyes glow with vigor and life. The Female has a thin face, with high cheekbones and large, wide eyes shaded with dainty eyebrows and a small, thin forehead. Both have thin, dainty hands best used for writing, with little use for weapons.

Personality: Salphan is quite generous, but he is also fond of mystery and the act of discovering what that mystery means, sometimes providing in strange and mysterious ways which no one understands until after the fact. He loves mystery, but knows nothing about the future, which leads many of his nightmares and dreams to be about discovering the truth about oneself or the past. He is extremely interested in seeing how the current races and peoples handle the truth of the past, where they come from, and what they are meant to be. Quiet, calm and collected, he is the smartest of the hotheads that are the Accursed, and though he speaks rarely, his counsel is often heeded when he does.

Teachings: Salphan teaches that the greatest of revelations comes from learning the truth and understanding the mystery beyond something. The key to these revelations and truth are gleaned from the nightmares and dreams that one experiences, as they are truly the greatest expression of ones inner self. Using these dreams and interpreting them to the highest standards of intellectual pursuit is the quickest and strongest method of empowerment. However, there is much to be feared in dreams and reality, and what some embrace, others fear. Nothing is quite so feared as knowledge that others do not understand, be wary of those who confuse your knowledge with the capacity and desire to do harm

Abode: Salphan lives on the edges of the Accursed lands in the Iron Marches in the Nightmare Spire, a black and bronze edifice of his own construction. the grounds of the spire are an intricate garden of basalt, rust and lead in a thousand razorsharp configurations with only one true path through.

Cultists: The Cult of Salphan hide their true nature not because they believe they are doing anything wrong, but because they find themselves, in their eyes, wrongly persecuted.  Interpreters of dreams and nightmares are seen as doing accursed work, and those who experience those same dreams and nightmares are of ill portent themselves. The cultists, however, see themselves as doing the right thing and helping the common person, or perhaps a king or noble of some sort, to more completely understand themselves. Few see the benefit of using the accursed for this type of assistance, but their knowledge and ability to interpret these messages has lead them to be the most accepted of the Accursed Cultists, a terribly held secret within almost all lands. 

Knightly Orders: There is a secret society of Warriors of Salphan, the Dreamstriders, who have learned to go into dreams and exist in them for short times. In the Waking World simple minutes have passed, but the dreamstriders have existed for lifetimes in the realm of the dream. In the Dream Relm, however, they seek out the dreams and nightmares of others in order to expand their knowledge and power of the great movers and shakers in the Waking world. Dreams are dangerous places, and they have scoured thousands on thousands and transformed into extremely skilled warriors.

Clerical Attire/colors: Salphans colors are a somber, dull yellow and an iron gray, typically taken together as Iron and Topaz. His followers will almost always wear a single topaz of some sort, often carved into a vague eye, somewhere on their person. Those who flaunt his worship wear a single earring featuring the Iron Eye and Topaz.

Followers: Mages, Clerics and some wiley bards are those who lean furthest to Salphans worship, and the majority are from those professions. Oracles, Soothsayers and other prophets also can end up worshiping him, though it is his ability to know the truth that they seek from him, not the actual future sight itself.

Its been a long, long time since I put up something That I’ve painted, and I figured I’d just toss some models up here, talk a little bit about them, and get on my way!

First, and most obviously foremost, is my Donate or Paint Challenge Model. I was challenged by my buddy Faultie to paint up, in 72 hours, a model or donate money to the cause of one gentleman, Marc Harrison.

This models concept was surprisingly simple: This model should be almost completely black. not just black armor, but black everything. In person, even that purple is almost indistinguishable from black, as are the hose and armor. most of what you see are the base, and flames. Oh, and of course the eyes. I has a blast painting this, and look forward to painting another pair, as they are up next.

My second favorite is a Raluk Moorclaw. I loved his sculpt so much after seeing this guy in my hands that I went out and got one, even though I know his rules are a little wonky and that he is unlikely to see use in even the strangest of lists for both Cryx and Minions.

When I paint a model that not for me, I love to toss a bit of orange in there, no matter what their scheme is. I love painting the color, and have found a huge variety of hues and colors that I can get without much effort. Though I won’t keep him for every long, this model will always be one of my favorite to have painted.

Speaking of paint jobs for other people, I also was able to paint a very enjoyable Morvahnna 2. This model just oozes awesome. I followed the paint scheme given, but managed to sneak my orange in their anyway.

Now, onto my models, Which aren’t many but I am fairly proud of them none the less.

The Fat Man himself, Dominar Rasheth, was the first model I’d painted for myself in many months, and the first Skorne model in possibly years, I don’t remember. Getting back into the groove with painting him was a little bit of a trick, but once I was there he was every bit of fun to paint that I had hoped.

The skin is always the hardest part to get right on these models, because I think I’ve forgotten more ways to paint it than I remember. The green and bone is a simple enough color, but the gold is a giant pain. With the PP solid gold coating terribly, and the need for extremely precise targeting with the paint, I’ve had to give up my favorite gold color and move for a more bronze-gold than the pale gold I initially wanted.

Painted alongside Rasheth, for obvious reasons, was my little adorable agonizer. Though he only took bare minutes to paint, he was a guy I use so often that I wanted to make sure he was taken care of. I’d started him probably three years ago, before I’d discovered a little bit more of what I can do with paints and painting. Now, I’m happy with him.

Then, I put my brush to a caster that was primed, because it was winter, and nothing gets primed in the winter. Makeda 2 was a model I wan’t particularly excited for, and once I started my excitement level dipped even lower. Sometimes, when painting a model your unexcited for that is also not coming out right is to change something up. Simply chaning her shirt from bone to black made her work that much better. In the end, I am pleased with how she came out, and am excited to paint up her second epic incarnation and see how she comes out as well.

After I finished her up, I took a venture into my bag and came out with some models that I had started way back when, and wanted to finish. This was before, like the Agonizer, I had learned a few new techniques like blending properly, mixing colors correctly, and a bit of patience. First to come out of the bag was Aptimus Marketh, a model I love in almost every situation. he took a bit of work to bring up to mediocre standards, but I wasn’t about to paint him up again.

Finally, and I just finished these two up on Saturday, were my Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer. Both were frustrating to paint, again coming from a time that made me have to just straight up repaint a number of the models features, but also because they are insanely Skorneish: All that filigree is insanely complicated. I’m not a fan at all. At least the Tyrant Commander has useful rules and a fantastic model. The Standard bearer, while nice in a pinch just isn’t a model I am putting front and center every game. He almost killed my will to paint…

With all of that going on, I had time to do a little stupid Conversion. I love Darragh Wrath, and I love scythes, but the scythe on Darragh just wasn’t impressive enough for me. So, I found a pair of those old GW Zombie weapons and carefully made that weapon look scary as hell. I love it.

Do you know how hard it is not to go back to Cryx right now?

Even with all of that done, I’ve got a loaded painting table. I’ve pledged to have a fully painted tier 2 theme list for Lock and Load, to milk the most out of the Iron Arena Games I play, hoping for a Hydra or other awesome art print. In order to do that, I’ve got a Bronzeback, a Gladiator, a unit of Bonegrinders I don’t even own yet, and a Pain Giver Task Master. Additionally, I’ve decided to paint a caster a month, and up next is Mordikaar. Last, but certinaly not least, I’ve still got two exchange models I am going to paint up. One for Aggyfaces Legion of Ice and Fire, and one for my buddy Mike, who painted me a ginger Caliban!

 

Ostelaan, Accursed of Feasts

Other Titles: The Gluttonous One, the Sumptuous  King, Lord of Lust, The Celebrator

Alignment: CN

Weapon: Baton (Merrymaker)

Major Domains: Feasting, Lust, Gluttony

Minor Domains:  Beer, Hospitality, Entertainment, Cooking

Totem Animal: Hog

Holy Symbol: A Mead Cup, overflowing

Favored Appearances: Ostelaan is an extremely flexible being, preferring no given form over any other. He simply exists in whatever form pleases him most at the time. Currently, he has been seen parading as an exotic elf, with skin glistening and dark, pitch black eyes and even darker hair. He is well muscled, with strong lines and close cut hair. He currently favors men as his go-to partner, but will settle for women, if he’s bored.

He was adventuresome with his last favored female form, a voluptuous and powerful orc with deep green skin and prominent forehead and tusks. She sought no partners, but instead took any and all who came to her. Her feasts were lavish and grand while she lived among the orcs of the wildlands. She never took specific place as her home, and instead traveled the lands, throwing feasts with those beasts caught by her great hunting prowess and cooked by her own hands.

Warform: The Warform of the Accursed of Feasting is a hog, his body composed of crashing waves and roiling currents. His slavering maw if filled with huge, razor sharp teeth of ice, with a snout and hooves of solidified salt. Though rare on the battlefield, Ostelaan consumes everything in front of him when roused to combat, savoring the taste of the souls and essence of those opposed to them as they are dissolved in his endless stomach. see – Totem Animal)

Personality: Ostelaan is both  lead by his need to consume. He does not just devour food though,  but fills his days with lustful activities, beautiful dances are singer, and copious amounts of alcohol, though he never seems to become drunk. In his private hours he lives well, but his lavish feasts are events to be remembered for years. exotic and beautiful dancers entrance, bards and poets of ages past enthrall, meals prepared by chefs of impeccable skill and magnitude and as many forms of beer as he can get a hold of. He consumes everything possible in the highest quantities possible and lives for little more, and while under his roof, he will brook no hostility from his guests and ensures through violence if necessary that all his guests are treated equitably and with grace. Though he is also the Accursed of lust, it is not a violent, forceful lust, but the lust driven of visual desire and shared attraction. It is not, however, love, and he finds on ability to connect with the lovers he takes.

Teachings: Ostelaan teaches that life is best lived to its fullest, and that means taking in all the joys in life: food, sex, drink, and entertainment. He is the Accursed that cares least for the war, having little invested in it other than his love or Ferosh, the late Accursed of Ambition. Instead, hospitality and entertainment are to be both savored and sought at prodigious rates, leading to a wandering life looking for new and powerful experiences. Though he teaches that gluttony and lust are acceptable, he also stresses that one should be in shape to enjoy those activities, and actively encourages purging after consumption and abandoning ones partners. Shackles, whether emotional or physical, prevent one from ever experiencing everything that life can provide

Abode: The Great Hall of Banquets is located the the rear of the Iron Marches, and sits in the groves of leaden trees and rusty grass, but within its halls a thousand feasts take place each day, each one greater than the last. It is here that the Accursed gather between battles and conflicts, each one inviting their immortal followers and their demon servants.

Cultists:  As a cult, the followers of Ostelaan are hard to root out. Many could be just gluttonus and lustfull sons and daughters of nobles and rich merchants, but a few are truly dedicated to the Accursed of Feasts. Their parties are lavish, their feasts are impeccable, and their entertainment is sublime. Keeping their heads low isn’t really a possibility with the lifestyle they have chosen, but they hide in plain sight, encouraging their fellows to throw ever and ever more insane feasts, Hiring entertainers from far away lands, staging readings and plays from ages long ago, and even hiring writers to create new plays and poems for their own aggrandizement. Simply by exposing others to the lavish and sumptuous lifestyle, they are spreading the power and influence of their chosen mentor.

Attire/colors: Bold reds and vibrant blues are the colors of Ostelaan, though he has no specific uniform for them. The colors are simply pleasing to him, both in their contrast and their complement. Both him and his clerics prefer loose fitting, easy to remove clothing for multiple reasons, and have been known to even dine in the nude, when it fits them.

Followers: Those who follow Ostelaan tend to be wealthy, as it takes considerable finances to be able to pull off the style and grandeur that Ostelaan demands. Other than being wealthy, his followers come from all walks of life, from warriors to poets to scholars.

We’re starting our second contract with the OVR, and I’m going to change up the way I write my reports. Instead of going down to the nitty gritty, I’m going to do a more broad overview. We’ll see how I like this layout.

After collecting our payment from our previous contract, and splitting the various rewards between Ronin, Carric, and myself, both Ronin and I did some downtime activities. I researched a bunch into the mad wizard’s papers, finding that, surprise! He was mad. There are some bits and bobs that I can find information from, but others not so much. I can’t replicate his projects, at least not with the methods I am willing to use, but I keep the stash of knowledge for further research if I ever need it. I also take the amulet we found and put the gem into it. I want to be able to have it near me at all times, just in case.

A few weeks after our return, we are approached for another mission. A man’s son was recently ambushed and killed, and we are to find the body of his son and the family’s heirloom sword. We are joined by a Half-Orc Bard going by the name Rumy, who will be a welcome addition with the loss of Haltz.

We make our way to the family’s home, where we ask the father some questions, and then are given the opportunity to question the lone survivor. The man has not exactly been treated well – He was a coward, and they wanted to be certain that they both had the proper information and that he wouldn’t repeat his actions. Chained to the floor, the soles of his feet flayed off and eyes gouged out (Among other things), he repeats his tale – A man with a hammer “Carved to look like fire” attacked the caravan, killing everyone and ransacking it. He only survived by hiding in a ditch.

We then make our way into the Brackwood, a wonderful, peaceful woodland full of rabbits, deer and friendly birds. Or, rather, a dark and foreboding semi-magical forest of doom. After our first day, we come to a bridge, with bits and pieces of it broken presumably from recent flooding. Ronin made a scouting attempt across what remained, and only managed to stir up a… thing.

In my research, I had come across references to creatures made from magical runoff, and this fit the bill perfectly. It was made of mud, stones, and skulls of not-so-happy woodland critters, Somehow, the topic of paying a toll to the creature came up and it seemed pretty happy with the idea. After trying a few thoughts (And Carric pegging it with a few arrows), we managed to all get to the opposite side of the muddy streambed, where we figured out the thing was trapped within a small area around the bridge. As it was unable to come after us, we go happily on our way.

Or, for some of us happily. I, and at times some of the others, end up having headaches and being generally grumpy in this forest. This clears mostly as we get away from the forest on the third day, coming out to a clearing. We see a few farmhouses – One that looks empty, and one that looks inhabited. We decide to make our way to the empty one, as arriving at an inhabited place in an area plagued by bandits at nightfall probably wouldn’t be the best idea.

We arrive at the house, finding it deserted and empty – Well, except for the bodies of the family we found inside. Ronin and I take the time to bury them while Rumy explores the house and the surrounding area, with Carric finding a sheep for dinner. Ronin prepares it for us, and we sleep – Much better than we have in previous nights.

In the morning, we make our way out to the inhabited farmhouse, to which they unsurprisingly bolt themselves shut and try their best to ignore us. Carric talks at them, eventually convincing one of them out.

We explain what we were hired to do, and that we expect the local bandit king to have the sword. Since we’re going after him, he gives us some information – The bandits camp on the “Golem’s Blade” cliff, and while there is a road (and a diversion camp) that lead up to it, there’s also a way around the back.

We decide to surprise them in their rear, and after getting off track a time or two, we find their camp a short time after dark. Sparing no subtlety, we attack. Rumy sets off a few of the horses to cause some confusion, and we take out a few of them before they know what’s going on. Some get away to go round up and warn the others, and one decides to make a stand. Ronin goes after him while Carric stays to the shadows, raining arrows on unsuspecting victims. Rumy, too, keeps to the shadows, waiting until the opportune moment to use her bardic magic, shattering several bandits into bloody pulp. I use my own magic to hit some of them, until switching to my glaive to help Ronin dispatch the lone bandit.

The ruckus summoned a big, burly Orc from his slightly-fancier hut, along with two bodyguards. The men who we had been dealing with had stalled for enough time for several others to slip into some armor, and they began rushing us as well. Rumy took a shot at the boss and his guards, dealing some damage to them before she was even seen.

We’ll have to wait until next week to see what sort of mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.

I recently was introduced to a new and completely insane format of MTG this weekend, and I think I may have fallen in love.

Tiny Leaders is a format of MTG that seeks to mimic the Commander feel and gameplay while also enabling competitive, one on one gameplay.  As someone who has very little time to play commander, yet still loves the format, I completely applaud this venture.

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Makeada

 

Makeda and the Exalted Court

Archdomina Makeda (Makeda1) has always been one of my favorites when it comes to Skorne casters. I’d jumped into Hordes just a bit before Evolution came out, so I remember only having three casters to play around with and she was easily the one that saw the most table time. Her second form came out with Molik Karn, and for a long time the two were intrinsically stigmatized in my head. I used to have a problem playing the more powerful pieces, though that is no longer the case, and with the two tied together so tightly, I never really got around to playing much of her. Xerxis eclipsed my love of Makeda, and when Makeda 3 came out, I was deep in the grips of Cryx. To cut to the chase, I have wanted to play Makeda 3 for a very, very long time. Getting back into Skorne has now given me the chance to catch up, and I am extremely stoked to be doing so.

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Since I last talked about the cube back in September, my brother and I have been hard at work trying to improve it. It has been an extremely enlightening experience into the world of both game development and MTG set design.

Due to the way my brothers cube is built, it exudes much more of a limited set draft flavor than it otherwise would if it was constructed in the standard method of a singleton set. The interactions of the conspiracies with multiple copies of a card have really defined the way the draft is played, and its been a main focus of the cube since the start. I was extremely interested in how building a cube worked, and was thrilled when he wanted my input here and there. It is always going to be his cube, but I was glad to be of help wherever I could.

After our first few drafts, including a Saturday where my brother and I tried out a number of two player draft formats, it became clear that there were some problems with the cube. There were some cards that were consistently being left behind in favor of others, and there were cards that were completely dominating the set.

My brother had built the cube around some pretty solid archetypes, but even that wasn’t enough to topple a set of very good decks that were dominating the format:  Allies and  Graveyard Goodstuff. Both of those decks were nasty to play against because red had a ton of burn and white had awesome value in addition to the fantastic tribal and on the other side black had some really good graveyard manipulation and some big, giant, value fatties in green.

In addition to the two really good decks, the rest of the set seemed to develop into stalemates. early game would see one or two people break get some early damage in with aggro creatures, but after that it devolved into a massive wall of creatures set to lay into each other, but with few ways to break the deadlock, and most of them were in the two strong decks to begin with. had both Typhoid Rats and Deadly Recluse. This would lead to people avoiding going after the player because the trades were unfavorable, giving the deck time to pull out nasty big dudes and pull away. In contrast, had enough cheap, solid dudes that with its allies bonus and its body count it could eventually overwhelm an opponent. This was (is) further buffered by the Ondu Cleric, which, if played right, could net tons of life. Vigilance, which white has in abundance, is also extremely good when it comes to creature showdowns, as it allows you to have both offense and defense.

We could have tried to tone down the power of the two big powerhouses, but my brother felt it was a better path to go down increasing the synergy and power of the other decks, and I agreed heartily. I love crazy, insane, absurd games. There also was a decision to focus on building themes among the cube, archetypes that would be fairly obvious, build around type of decks.

Thankfully, Mark Rosewater is a very lucid, clear and explanatory MTG designer and has put out tons of fantastic articles on design, development and color concept. These principles gave us a starting point to kinda kick off from.

One of the things that he explained was the concept of “as fan” which is the amount of cards with certain features that will, on average, appear in a pack. its a simple formula that is based on the quantity of type of theme and rarity of that theme within a set. The article is here if you need/want more information, its very interesting to me.

We looked at a number of different themes, but quickly settled on enemy color pairs. This was a fairly easy choice because it allowed us to keep both of the powerful decks and gave us only three themes to build from the ground up.

We wanted fun, powerful cards that allowed us to have the same type of insanity that both Allies and Graveyard pulled off, but also fit the flavor of the card colors. Being an Izzet fan, I gravitated immediately to . From here it gets a little sketchy because we tried a multitude of different concepts. Suspend, Flashback and Slivers made brief appearances but were eventually rejected for a fun, simple and very Izzet theme: Spells Matter. In the mix with the good, solid spells that were offered in the spectrum, we added creatures like Jeskai Windscout, Goblin Electromancer and Guttersnipe. Not only were you going to be able to play awesome limited spells like Lightning Bolt, Think Twice and Assault Strobe, but you were going to get rewarded for it.

False Orders

While Strange, I think this card is great. Can’t wait to play it.

While we rejected Slivers for Izzet, I really liked the concept in . It really felt like the type of synergistic, evolving, growing beast that would be represented by the Simic colors. The original problem that I’d posed with the slivers was that they have inherently low toughness. Both colors supporsed some fantastic slivers, but they were easy to kill and never would be able to break through the wall of creatures the other side would definitely be building up. Don’t get me wrong, Red has some Slivers that are just massive, but only on the power side. Green, though, was the Sliver beef machine, and I argued that it better fit the design. Thus, we tackled the Sliver deck. In addition to the slivers in the primary green and blue colors, there were also going to be Slivers of other colors, and even a 5 color sliver hiding in there for good measure. This did mean that Slivers were going to be highly prolific, but it felt right, and I couldn’t argue with it. As that guy who loved playing M14 slivers, I just had to back the concept. The big problem that we are facing now is that the blue slivers just seem like too much. They have some fantastic abilities and are game changers, but are they going to blow out the games, we don’t know. Its definitely a place for playtesting.

Dude....

Dude….

Finally, we come to , the colors we struggled with for the longest time and simply ignored. While the other two color combinations took a ton of time to has out what cards were desired, what direction the theme should go, and what cards should be at what rarity, Orzhov took the longest so simply come up with a theme. It would have been easy to try and use extort or outlast, but we really wanted to come up with something that was a slightly different take on the standard bent of the color pair. What my brother ended up striking on was an enchantment matters theme, which allowed for us to branch out in a number of different ways, much like spells mattering. Interestingly, it also allowed us to seep tendrils of overlap into as well, with cards like Nighthowler and Sadistic Glee. Constellation looked like it would be a natural fit, but there were only a pair of cards that looked good at the end of the day, and they easily slid into the cube: Underworld Coinsmith and Grim Guardian. One thing I really wanted to press into the mold here that my brother had come up with was the prevention of the 2 for 1 in the vast majority of cases. Cards like Necromancer’s Magemark were high on my list to posit for consideration.

Vigilance!

Vigilance!

Now, with all the color pairs we were considering up and built, all we had to do was re-vamp the cube and get playing. Last night was the first time we were able to sit down and start card swapping, and we even got a pair of rounds in. 2 player drafting is a little strange, but we’ve started to get used to it. Each draft felt different, and we each won a round. He took the cake with a mean stuff deck, and I took the round with a 5 color Worldknit

What was different this time around was that we felt that we were concerned about the cards the other person was getting, and that every choice felt valid. Instead of just getting what you wanted and passing whatever else you didn’t like, it was a massive undertaking to pass up some of those cards.

I will say, I am looking forward to getting more games in with this cube and testing it out. It feels shockingly fun.

 

If you feel like giving it a go, draft it on Cubetutor and leave me any suggestions about the setup, execution and design. I don’t promise to heed them, but I will read them!

 

Kalboras, Accursed of Glory

Other Titles: The Lost Son, Battlemaster, The Firebrand

Alignment: CG

Weapon: Warhammer (Blackfang)

Major Domains: Glory, Triumph, Victory

Minor Domains:  Champions, Conquest, Arrogance

Totem Animal: Ram

Holy Symbol: A full face view of a Ram, with heavy, broad horns curling to the side. In the center of the forehead there is a 10 pointed orange star. The Ram tends to be black, red or purple, with variations depending on locale. While it is oftentimes a simple three dimensional representation, if painted it tends to be on a dark slate-gray background

Favored Appearances: Kalboras, like all of the Accursed, tends to walk the world very rarely in aspect form. However, when he does, he generally takes the visage very similar to his Father, Takannas. He is large, burly, and covered in hair. His full, red beard and long red hair flame in the sun, as if he is on fire himself. He is muscle bound, almost to the point of fable, wearing his breastplate as armor, with nothing else to protect himself. His clothing tends to be black, red and grey, and moderately tight in order to be ready for combat at any time. When he feels the need to be represented by a woman, his choice is that of a gruff dwarven woman. She, too, has red hair, strong muscles, and wears only a breastplate. She is modest in both dress and form, with her hair generally wrapped around the top of her head in a braid.

Warform: The Warform of Kalboras is that of a great, fiery ram. Its body is purest fire, while its horns, hooves and teeth are razor sharp obsidian.  The Ram can breath fire, and uses its great bulk and power to bully around others on the battlefield.

Personality: Kalboras is introspective and contemplating most of the time, but when roused to battle or brought to a cause, he is dedicated and completely absorbed by it. Son of Takannas by an unknown entity he is the eldest child of the Fire family.  Arrogant to a fault, he was one of the first of the lesser gods turned by Ferosh against his fathers family, and was the first to fall in line when the Black Pact was suggested. He was completely committed and believes event to this day in the cause of the rebels and the Tyranny of the Paltonarchs

Teachings: Kalboras Teaches a simple philosophy of warfare, conflict and self confidence. He is the Patron of many warriors who have fallen on hard times, and has a very strong cult following. The main tenants of his cult teach that you must rely only on yourself, and sometimes on subordinates who have proven their worth, lest you fail in an action. Nothing is greater than completing a task, preferably during a conflict, and doing it singlehandedly for all to see. Nothing is worse than failure. Unlike many deities who look at failure as a chance to learn, Kalboras teaches that failure is, at its heart, not trying hard enough to achieve that goal. Quitting is committing the greatest sin against the cause of Kalboras, and is punishable from within the faithful by death.

Abode: Kalboras lives in a megalithic structure from before even the Demon Queen came to the Iron Marches. Called the Champions hold, it is the farthest point on which the Accursed can call the Iron Marches their territory. Made of huge blocks of nickel, with what seems to be no mortar or cement of any type, the hold stretches almost 100′ in to the sky to be the watchtower of the Accursed forces, and the bastion that the retreating forces come to receive Succor and rest.

Cultists: Different from many of the Accursed, Kalboras has few priests and clerics, and many less cultists overall. Though he reaches out to many minds that will let him explain his position, few believe or take him up on his offer. Those few that do roam the land looking for disenfranchised, down on their luck warriors to convert to the Horned Companions. They teach that their god will bring unmitigated glory, victory unending and triumph over all those who have committed wrongs against them.

Knightly Orders: The main order of knights dedicated to Kalboras is the Horned Companions, though there is also a suitable number of warriors in the Order of Victory as well. The Horned Companions are a group of covert and discreet champions who wander the land looking for causes to champion, rebels to aid, and establishments to destroy. Many of them have headed out from Killbar in recent years, looking to destabilize the government of Tyndaria and hopefully destroy it in that weakened state. The Order of Victory is the known militant arm of Kalboras’ religion, and is known to reside on an island in the middle of the sea, and is used to send soilders and champions to lost causes, hoping to aid them in turning the tide to victory, but knowing that all to often that is not the possible case.

Clerical Attire/colors: Cultists of Kalboras wear little different do make themselves known, other than their secreted away holy symbol, but many of them tend to lean towards cream or white  clothing with red or maroon accents. Even this, though, has been taken by some towns to mean that a hero of the Accursed Kelboras is there to be rooted out and slain.  Both the Order of Victory and the Horned companions wear unadorned Tabards, with the Order of Victory tending to Purple-Red and the Horned Companions wearing a deep earthy red.
Followers: Followers tend to be Arrogant clerics, shamed offenders, dishonored Knights and these bent on personal gain above all else. His cultists tend to be people how would lead their communities, who believe in nothing short of Victory or Death. Warriors, Monks, Bards and Sorcerers are drawn to the reverence of Kalboras as well, hoping for redemption once they die.

Kalboras: The basic concept for Kalboras was an Accursed that could have easily swapped sides at one point, but choose not to. I wanted a stubborn, callous god that give the other godes a run for their money when he gets a good mind to it. 

Last week I got my final game in with the cephalyx against a friends Epic Irusk list. It was a brutal slog through the mud, my first timed game with them, and a hell of a good time. He does an extremely good job over on his site of recaping the game, so I won’t do so here. Go over there, read it and come back.

 

Good!

As you know by now, that game didn’t go so well for me, and I think there are a number of factors why, and I think I had control over almost all of them. The Irusk list is good, but I think I could have put up a much better fight had I don several things better. As Keith Christiansen said, If you look at a game and say there is nothing you could have done better, you’re becoming worse at the game. To that extent, here are the issues I had that I could easily have improved

  • Know your Scenario. This is a key part of every game, and can really cramp your style if you’re not careful. I was under the impression I could toss a few models into the scenario zone to keep him honest, but it just didn’t work out that way
  • Be aware of your clock. Going into the tank on turn 2 and turn 3 burned a ton of my time, and its just not something I am used to. With both Cryx and Skorne I am so used to the armies, models, and capabilities that I don’t have to think long. Even after 12+ games with Thexus, that army is still a Rubics Cube. There are a ton of different ways to apply force in that army, and make just a few mistakes, and you can end up hurt.
  • Realize that the terrain is going to be a factor in the game, and plan for it. I should have committed all my Incorporeal models, my overlords and Thexus to that zone to take and hold it forever.
  • Know your opponents feat. In His write-up, the Irusk player feels kinda bad for surprising me with the feat, but it shouldn’t have been a surprise. I’d looked at him on warroom during the game, I’d read his primer article that he wrote on his blog, and I’d read his battle report against Damiano. I should have been prepared, and its my fault I wasn’t

Now, in addition to general errors, there were also play mistakes that could have been done differently, and I think they would have at least leveled the playing field. As I said, the first was model commitment. I should have gone harder for the zone and tried to lock him out. As the Irusk player mentioned in his write up, this is a scenario that really benefits from playing it a time or two first. Second, and one of the most egregious errors I made, was that I clouded up on turn 2. Not only was the tactic nullified by the feat, it wasn’t even strictly necessary. The only shooting I wasn’t going to nullify that turn was the conquest, and as it has been shown, I can survive a conquest laying shells into me. It also jammed up my advance, and made a number of models vulnerable that I otherwise could have kept safe. Finally, I could not have been so stupid with my Wreckers. Both instances, I could have kept them far enough away so that they weren’t killed, and I could have made a greater impact with them. I especially needed the one who was beat to death by Conquest to be alive and put some damage into the giant bastard and give me a fighting change to win. Instead I got greedy and didn’t pay attention to my placement and got smashed. I try not to make the same mistakes in successive games, but making it in the same game is a path to getting crushed.

All in all, it was a fantastic game that I really enjoyed. Playing deathclock on my new chessclock was enjoyable, though we did futz around with it a bit due to some communication issues. It also reminded me of the pressure that the clock can grant. Good pressure, but pressure none the less. This will very likely be the last Battle Report I give with Thexus. I’ll be playing whatever pickup games I can while running the NOVA next weekend, but other than that, I think I’ve gotten a good run in with him. I bought, played and painted the entire (here is hoping) army before they were even available to purchase. Some days, its cool to be a nerd.

On that same vein, we finally got to see Thexus’ complete Theme list, and its pretty freaking crazy.

Restrictions: Non-Character Mercenary Monstrosities, Mercenary Cephalyx Units, Mercenary Cepahlyx Solos
Tier 1 – Cephalyx Overlords become FA:U. Also, the unit can include one Dominator and its unit.
Tier 2 – One or more Mind Slave Drudge Units – Mind Slaver and Drudge Units gain Ambush
Tier 3 – Army Includes 4+ units – Free Agitator above and beyond FA
Tier 4 – Army Includes 2+ Overlords – FA of Dominators +1, and you can include a second unit with that Dominator.

Honestly, There is a ton going on here, and it creates almost two different armies. You loose access to the Pistol Wraith and the Machine Wraith, and technically the Bloat thrall. That puts a huge element of control out of your hands. You also gain FA:U on the Overlords, which is pretty neat.
The first use of the Tier would be to make a pretty bog-standard list, and get a free agitator, saving 2 points. I have seen multiple lists that are something along this vein, and they would just be getting a free agitator and the ability to ambush, both which can’t be overstated.

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
AgitatorFree
Agitator2
Agitator2
Agitator2
Mind Slavers (10)6
Mind Slavers (10)6
Mind Benders (10)6
Mind Benders (10)6
55

The other, much more amusing list, is the Overlord Spam. You can easily make something like this.

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
Agitator2
Agitator2
Agitator2
Overlords4
Overlords4
Overlords4
Overlords4
Overlords4
Overlords4
Overlords4
55

This may not be effective, but I’m pretty sure that it would catch a ton of people off guard. with 31 MA 7 sprays, three Wreckers and Deceleration, I’m pretty sure that it has a solution to all the problems. Guns are solved with Defense 16/ Arm 15 models with 5 wounds. Melee armies are solved with so many sprays that they can never escape, and Tanky armies are solved with Wreckers. I just love the idea of this list so much. I really wish I knew if they were going to resculpt the Overlords, because I would wait and get this army. Right now it won’t be on the chopping block because the models are so small and out of scale I just don’t want to go about painting them. It might be a fun proxy army, soon. we will see.

Now, with that said, I am going to start concentrating completly on getting ready for NOVA. I’ve got a ton of projects yet to finish up before its ready, and I can’t let everyone down. With that in mind, this’ll be my last standard post until September 4. I will likely get a Bite Size Nerd in on Wednesday, but there is only a slim chance I’ll get a September 2 post in. I will be doing this coming Monday Mythology, but not one on September 1.

I’ll be tweeting tons of games, Pictures, and results from my phone during the convention, so follow me if you’re interested in it!

until then.

 

I got in another Thursday game, and more practice with Thexus as well.

A buddy of mine stopped in to my local game store, and he was bringing a list I’d not seen before. I’d played against Reznik II twice before, and thought that I had seen what the list could put out. I was wrong.

This is the list he brought.

Reznik, Wrath of Ages+4
*Devout5
*Hierophant2
Avatar11
Choir (4)2
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord2
The Covenant of Menoth2
Vassal of Menoth2
Daughters of the Flame (6)5
Exemplar Vengers (3)7
Holy Zelots (10)6
*Monolith Bearer2
Temple Flameguard (10)6
*Officer and Standard2
54

When I looked at it, I didn’t think it looked like anything nasty, but when we got started, ho boy!

I brought the same list I’ve brought the last few fights, and I’ve still found no real reason to change other than order of operations issues.

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephaly Overlords4
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Tactical Arcanist Corps4
*Cephalyx Dominator1
Pistol Wraith3
Pistol Wraith3
Machine Wraith1
Machine Wraith1
55

We were playing Fire support, and I won the roll off. I took first turn, and he decided to take the table edge with a hill to make me squeeze my army between a forest and a house. It worked pretty well.

Deployment:

IMG_20140731_193508_075

Sorry for the Blur, I had yet to eat dinner.

I took the initiative and ran almost everything forward in an attempt to get past the house and woods and as far into the scenario as I could to contest what I could. I didn’t think I’d be taking the scenario anytime soon, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to be surprised and fall down in points early on. Both Scenario areas where in terrible areas, in forests, and I knew I wasn’t going to be easily contesting them for long.

He, however, took the bull by the horns and rammed it down my throat. Zealots popped Greater Destiny and ran forward, the Temple Flameguard popped Iron Zeal and ran forward, gaining tough from the book. The Daughters of the Flame, who he’d started to deploy towards the center, but rethought and put them further on the flank, opened up and ran down the flank. The Vengers shored up the flank of the Temple Flameguard, and Reznik moved forward to the hill, claiming the only defense bonus he can. He then casts Deathmarch on the Temple Flamguard, after which the Avatar runs forward, and the Devout moves up and places Spell Barrier on Reznik. The Piper toughs the Flameguard, and the Covenant moved forward and placed no-knockdown in place.

Turn two starts up and I go into the tank. There is only about a foot of playable space between the two forests, and Reznik’s feat is coming up next turn, so I have to be careful. The Cephalyx have a ton of linchpin solos and unit leaders, and I just can’t risk them getting exploded, as they inevitably will, from the feat. I mull over trying to get some kills in, but I just don’t think it is going to work. In the end, I commit as best I can, and hope that my army doesn’t get obliterated. Both Drudge units move in and spread out the best they can, and the Agitators move up and in, trying to stay away from other models. The TAC and the Dominator move forward and cloud up, extending the cover against his zealots as best I can from my left forest. One Machine Wraith runs to engage a Venger, and the Pistol Wraith falls back on the right flank, while on the left, the Pistol Wraith and Machine Wraith advance to hold the forest. I hold back the monstrosities, feeling I need them for the inevitable counter-strike I am going to have to commit to after my drudges are blown off the field. I even Hex Blasted Deathmarch off of the Temple Flameguard for good measure. I felt that there was nothing but holding my breath, seeing how much of his army he could eliminate that turn.

IMG_20140731_202639_627

Game State, Mid turn 2 for Reznik

After my turn, however, he had to go into the tank himself. My clouds made it hard to draw LOS to my army, and the TAC are immune to fire, meaning that his feat could not damage them. Reznik was also a bit bottled up by the two units he had, so he couldn’t get deep enough with the feat to get the juicy parts. Unexpected Luck on my part. Thankfully, the Zealots have Firebombs that the TAC are immune to as well, which blocked out a key part of their plan, and allowed a large portion of my army to be safe from the bombs. His Temple Flameguard Charged into the Cephlyx upfront and managed to miss everything that wasn’t a drudge, though feat explosions followed and killed a few more drudges. His Vengers Followed in and also, somehow, managed to fail to kill every one of their targets, including those under the feat. He did do a pile of damage to the objective, though that’s no consolation. His Daughters charged into the right flank and killed everything they touched. Def 11 arm 15 is no defense against Mat 6 and Anatomical Precision. The Avatar and the Devout took up position to counter-attack, as well as putting up Spell Barrier. I’d lost almost an entire unit to the feat, and that was a bad feat for him. I am not a fan.

His feat was done, and he’d eliminated my entire front line that wasn’t the TAC. My Incorporeal remained, including the Wraith that had done 4 damage to a Venger. I was ready to go onto the counter offensive. I moved a few pieces here and there that had no bearing on Thexus or freed up room for him and moved in, popping my feat on nearly every model. I used the Telekinetic tide to set up clumps of models ready for fireballs, charging TAC and sprays. I then TK‘d the grey (not purple) Wrecker forward and the purple wrecker out of the woods, sitting on 1 focus after having allocated the grey hulk 3. Using the overlords, I sprayed down the tough Temple Flameguard and the Vengers. My opponent didn’t pass a single tough check, amazingly, but two of his Vengers survived the onslaught, one with 1 hp and one untouched.Using the Pistol Wraith, I took down a flameguard with his inital, and using the soul, boosted damage on the one wound Venger to kill him.  I then Charged the TAC into the bunched up Zealots, hitting, flamebursting, and fireballing almost all of them to death. The Pistol Wraith took aim at the Avatar and managed to Death Chill him, something I am notoriously unreliable for. The remaining drudges moved forward and attacked what they could, though my center had, outside of the TAC, completely collapsed. I moved the Agitator behind my army to try and get rid of the pesky Daughters that had come onto my flank. Through the agitator and some extra sprays, I was able to eliminate half the unit, but the other half was ready to strike into my guts. I dropped the gray Wrecker off, and through a series of bounces and beatbacks, was finally able to get to Reznik. Without an Agitator, I was unlikely to hit, but eventually connected on the last attack and did five damage.

His counterattack was swift and brutal, smiting the right flank Pistol Wraith, using creators Wrath to crush the Wrecker in front of him, and sending two Daughters into Thexus. See, the thing about Thexus is that he’s not so good in combat. Two boosted POW 11’s to him will remove his face. Fortunately, only one was boosted, though it did 8 damage. The second needed an 11 or 12 to kill, and thankfully came up short, but I knew that I had to take Reznik out next turn if I was to live. My opponent had mentioned, though, that if the daughters killed me, it would be the shittiest way to end a game. I Disagree. Running those Daughters down that flank, where I was unable to toss good spells at them or really do anything about them was an excellent move that I legitimately had no answer for. If he would have won at that moment he would have deserved every ounce of credit.  He then pushed the Devout forward because of the Machine Wraith, but forward was actually do my detriment. The Covenent sang his spell of no songs, and he passed the turn over to me.

Before my final turn

Things look bleak for Thexus,  but they looked up for the Cephalyx as a whole. There was no good way for him to rid himself of the Daughters and win the game at the same time. While that’s fine for gameplay, I am sure that somewhere, Thexus is deeply appreciative of that fact. The big scrum in the plan was the Covenant. It was prohibiting half of my army from doing its job, and I wasn’t taking kindly to that. The Pistol Wraith moved up and tagged it once, missing the other attack. Two Drudges moved forward, both through the power of Mind Benders and their own volition, and took an attack apiece, both connecting. I it was at this time that I realized that I didn’t need the damned thing dead, I had a different path I could take. Instead of using the Agitator in the center of the board, and needing to kill the Covenant to instigate, I could use the agitator slightly right to get into range of the wrecker that would eventually end up on Reznik. I activated the TAC and took down the three center models, moving them and my self out of the way of the wrecker.Thanks to Battle Wizard, I was pretty free to determine the edge of the 10″ bubble from the Covenant, and moved the Agitator up and, hopefully, out of the no spell area. I was out, and Instigated away. I moved the Warden up to be within range of Arcing TK onto the Agitator, and took Thexus’ turn. I TK‘d the Wrecker, and TK‘d the Agitator into both 5″ of Reznik to be sure, and within the 10″ of the Covenant: Thankfully, it does not suppress spells already cast. The Wrecker then charged in, whiffing on the charge attack, and thus removing the chain attack, but hitting on the next two attacks, taking him down.

Thexus Wins via Assassination!

Thoughts

I am just going to say that if it wasn’t for the TAC, I would have lost this game hands down. Being Immune to both the feat and the Zealot bombs was huge, and them living to get both their flame burst and battle wizard off onto the enemy make an enormous difference in what my army was able to counter with. If I had played this game with something else (like Croe), all they would have done was die. I would have had my entire front line, and even deeper, removed from the board, with nothing to effectively counter him from doing a similar move on his next turn. Also, all of the abilities of the TAC revolve around the enemy being clustered, and I don’t think there is anyone who can force that like Thexus.  I cannot overstate the value that the TAC has on the army and its ability to withstand the early game punishment that it will inevitably take by eliminating avenues of sight. Similarly, if I had not had two wreckers, the game ends because he has enough durable models that I can’t keep up. The Avatar and the Vengers are hard to kill with my army without some doing, if I discount the Wreckers, who I almost always need for an assassination.

Maybe it is just me, but I really am unable to make the Mind Bender/Mind Slaver combo work, and its starting to get me down. I really think I need two units, but I don’t know where to dig up those extra two points. I could remove both the Pistol and Machine Wraith for a whole new min unit, but I feel that’s overkill. I am really enjoying Thexus, though, and his play style is crazy as hell. It is going to take me a dozen more games before I really feel comfortable with him, and there are still things I am learning about the army ever time I play. I look forward to my next game, and my next report.