A blade swept out, shattering an unfortunate tree to splinters. The length of crude iron had been etched with ruinous sigils, and wept flux-fire from its jagged edge. Where it passed, the air was rent by the sounds of discordant piping and the screams of beasts. To the one who held it, such a clamouring was as the most subtle of compositions, and to those who followed him, it was as if all the spirits of earth and air were urging them onward.
Flux-fires gleamed in the dark of the Ghost Bat Bog as the being known as the Relevator led his brothers and sisters in the Cockatrice Conclave to war. The creature once known as Calaspa Bo lumbered between the crooked trees, smashing aside any that rose in his path. Somewhere in the dark before him, the restless dead waited in silent defiance of the hounds of fate. The Relevator went to teach them the folly of such resistance.
Once possessed of a mind of infinite convolutions, Bo was now as single-minded as the foes he splashed towards so relentlessly. The great, coiling feathered worm-shape clinging to the Curseling hissed soft encouragement, directing him ever-forward. The daemon-thing whispered to the Relevator of secrets to be revealed, and knowledge to consumed, once the sunken mansions of the ancient fen-kingdoms were theirs to plunder.
Unfortunately, the dead had other ideas…
So, last time, I had begun to assemble the first elements of my Disciples of Tzeentch army for my first foray into Age of Sigmar. With a Magister and two units of Kairic Acolytes, I thought I had a pretty solid start. Then, I got bored and made a Curseling out of bits and green stuff.
Adding to that core, I assembled a Tzaangor Shaman, twenty Tzaangor, a unit of Skyfires and a unit of Tzaangor Enlightened. This gives me a range of options, as far as battalions go – I can assemble some combination of an Alterkin Coven, a Witchfyre Coven and/or a Tzaangor Coven with what I currently have assembled. I’m currently pondering adding further units, but I’m in no rush. I’ve got plenty to paint.
Speaking of paint, I *think* I’ve decided on a viable colour scheme – lots of blues, purples and greens, with a bit of red and gold (or bronze) for contrast. It’s not the most sophisticated colour palette, I admit, but given my limited abilities in that regard, it’s good enough. I haven’t managed to get much painting in, unfortunately – with a book to finish and various other projects to start, my hobby time has been all but nil.
That said, I still managed to get in my first proper game recently. Rich and I bellied up to a table at Wargames Emporium, our friendly local game store, and set out our forces. Rich assembled a mighty Deathrattle force – consisting of two large units of Skeleton Warriors and a unit of Black Knights led by a fearsome Wight King – to defend the lost treasures of the sunken mansions. Intent on plundering said treasures was the Curseling, Calaspa Bo, leading a unit of Kairic Acolytes, a pack of Tzaangor, and a unit of deadly Tzaangor Skyfires.
The Arcanites are the grey blur on the left. Rich’s somewhat more colourful Deathrattle forces are on the right. Given that this was my first proper game, we decided to play the Skeins of Fate Battleplan, which is all about the Disciples of Tzeentch revealing themselves to their enemies and launching an attack. Too, this battleplan has an added wrinkle – while the defender’s objective is fairly simple (i.e. eliminate the cult), the attacker has to roll each battle round on the ‘Tzeentch’s Will’ table to see what their objectives are for that round. I, of course, rolled a 3 for the first battle round, meaning I had to wipe out an enemy unit and/or a hero.
The Deathrattle seized the initiative and started their slow, inexorable march towards the invaders. A few moments later, the Skyfires shot forward. The daemonic disc-riding Tzaangor had caught the scent of the ancient magics empowering the Wight King, and were determined to claim it for themselves. The other Tzaangor followed, braying with unnatural hunger as they loped through the trees. The Relevator held firm, alongside his devoted acolytes.
Despite their helpfully murderous inclinations, the Skyfires didn’t manage to down the Wight King – though they did reduce him to a single wound. As the second round began, I again rolled a 3 for Tzeentch’s will and decided to concentrate on bringing the Wight King down. Once again, despite seizing the initiative, the Skyfires failed to enact Tzeentch’s will, leaving it to the Relevator to finish off his opposite number with an arcane bolt, after casting a mystic shield on the Skyfires.
That mystic shield came in handy, as the Deathrattle forces at last got to grips with the foe. A unit of Skeleton Warriors, supported by the Black Knights, slammed into the Skyfires, looking for vengeance. As the battle claimed the life of one of the Skyfires, Calaspa Bo and the Tzaangor joined the fray.
By this time, I had managed to roll a 1 for Tzeentch’s will, meaning I was looking to successfully cast or unbind spells. This I proceeded to do, as the Relevator recast mystic shield on the battered Skyfires, and plucked a wounded Black Knight from the saddle with his arcane bolt. In the ensuing melee, Bo and the Tzaangor mauled the remaining Black Knights with startling ferocity, and the Skyfires managed to extricate themselves from combat.
Following this, the pendulum of fate swung decidedly in my favour. Despite my opponents’ infuriating inability to stay dead, my forces managed to slowly grind them to powder. The Skyfires and acolytes stayed out of charge range, picking off skeletons, as the Curseling and the Tzaangor accounted for the rest, leaving a trail of splintered bones in their wake.
By the fifth and final turn, the Cockatrice Conclave had emerged bloody, but unbowed, and in control of the ancient corpse-road to the forgotten fen-kingdoms. Victorious, the Tzaangor moved to devour the mouldering bones of the Wight King, but found the shattered husk gone, and the fens ominously silent…
Despite my victory, I made any number of mistakes. For instance, I foolishly held the acolytes back, rather than using them to screen the Skyfires. While my obsession with eliminating the Wight King (who murdered a third of my army in the practice game I played a few weeks ago) yielded positive results, it also enabled most of Rich’s army to reach me unhindered. And given the Deathrattle army’s ability to almost constantly rebuild itself, ignoring those units could have been a costly error, had I not made some lucky dice rolls.
Regarding my army composition, the acolytes were…less than useful. Their sorcerous bolts accounted for a grand total of five skeletons, all of which came back. And I hesitated to send them into battle, due to their fragility, when I likely should have been using them as chaff. That said, they did manage to adequately distract Rich, as he chased them around the board for the last two turns with a unit of skeletons. The Skyfires also performed at less than optimal levels, after their near-elimination of the Wight King. In contrast, the Tzaangor were a sledgehammer, managing to partially account for a unit of Black Knights, as well as two units of Skeletons. And the Curseling was an absolute monster – with an appalling number of melee attacks, and the ability to cast two spells a turn, Calaspa Bo was the model of the match.
For my next game, I’m thinking about trying out a Tzaangor Warflock – a Tzaangor Shaman, leading two packs of Tzaangor, a unit of Skyfires and a unit of Enlightened. While not as shoot-y as the one I used this time, I have high hopes for it. Rich will probably bring more skeletons.
A lot more…
Next time…more pictures! Possibly of (semi) painted models. And maybe another brief battle report.
The Relevator brought his flail down, crushing a grinning skull. The dead thing fell back into the murky waters, and sank out of sight. Nearby, the braying Tzaangor clubbed down the last of the fleshless warriors that had sought to bar their path. Calaspa Bo watched in silent satisfaction as the way was cleared, and the sounds of battle faded. The corpse-road, and the sunken barrow-citadels beyond, belonged to the servants of the Plumed Serpent.
The daemon-thing that sprouted from his back squirmed in pleasure as it coiled more tightly about him. It murmured in his ear, whispering to him of the glories of the Great Game, and the wonders and horrors that awaited the faithful in the pavilions of the Plumed Serpent. The answer to the Thousandfold Mystery could be his, were he to prove himself worthy of it. He swayed in place, imagining the beauty of it all.
A squawk of displeasure startled him from his reverie. He turned, raising his flaming blade high. In its weird light, he saw the bestial Tzaangor crouched around the spot where the Corpse-King had fallen. He made an interrogative rumble, and the Tzaangor squalled in reply. They scrambled back as he thudded towards them, his flat gaze sweeping his surroundings.
The dead man was gone. And somewhere, out in the dark, old bones began to stir…