Friday, August 4, 2017

Topic of the Week - Allies in Age of Sigmar

This week topic is related to the up coming General's Handbook 2. I'm not exactly excited about the book because I dislike buying books (just rather put that money towards more models). Also, personally it feels like I just brought General's Handbook 1 and seeing it replace is a downer to me. That said, I AM excited about Age of Sigmar getting allies. There is probably more details about it out at the time of my writing but I don't know it. I get the vast majority of my Age of Sigmar news from the Topic of the Week videos and the few times I get to watch Warhammer Weekly. My understanding is that in the General's Handbook 2 there will be the option to take up to 20% of your army from a different faction as allies and still keep your allegiance abilities. It is unknown to me exactly how this will work, including whether or not it will be possible to cross grand alliances. In any case, my response is that I'm all for it to the extreme. I certainly understand this can lead to abuses and realize this can bring a lot of headaches to the community. However I think the flexibility is worth the risk. I create my own lore and it rarely fits into the same boxes Games workshop sets up. I have two examples of armies that mixes alliances. To really understand why I mix alliance, I need to explain the lore and ideas behind each army.

Funny that I was just talking about my goblin army in my last article when before that I probably hadn't thought about it since a little after Age of Sigmar was first release. My goblin army is a mix of death and destruction and I got inspired to build it from the Diablo 3 expansion. The undead in that game were an eerie light blue. The lore behind my goblin army is that an Angel of Death made a bargain with a tribe of goblins. If the goblins devote themselves and worship him, the Angel bestow his powers to them, allowing the goblins to use it as they see fit. The Angel showed off his powers by instantly killing the Orcs whom enslaved them (and greatly weaken himself in the process). The "default" army would be all goblins. Two-thirds of the goblins would be painted green like normal, while the rest would be painted light blue. The blue goblins would represent goblins that had died and are currently being animated by the Angel's power (gamewise, there is no different between green and blue). Once the Angel recovers some of his strength, he would then be able to animated and summon powerful undead that would be under the control of goblin shamans. The undead would be blue in color, in the same shade as some of the goblins. The undead would be mostly skeletons with the potential of a few heavy hitters, outside of vampire/Tomb King characters. A side benefit to this army was that it was a "reservable" army. By that I mean it wouldn't take much to make it playable as a completely different army. Get a few undead characters, expand a little on the undead elites and use the blue goblins as ghouls and it can serve as a playable pure undead army. The Angel himself wouldn't appear on the battlefield with the exception as unit fillers under 8th edition rules. The unit fillers would have represent the ability of large groups of goblins projecting a ghostly image of him. All I needed to find were Demon Prince size Angel models. Probably would have been one of the few unit fillers that would have cost more than just buying more models!

I discarded the idea of building the goblin army early in Age of Sigmar because I had too many other games and armies I also wanted to work on. Which is probably for the best as it would probably get smash by anything remotely competitive. Since AoS split up goblins into 3 or more factions, I probably couldn't ever get allegiance abilities for it whether or not I included the undead. Its a shame as I really love the theme behind it and think it would have look cool on the tabletop.

My Chaos Army is something I plan to get back to and has multiple narrative parts. Chaos has two separate storylines but the one that mixes alliances deals with the Chaos King Amirren. Amirren is pretty much my version of Archaon. Think I even use Archaon rules to represent Amirren once in a campaign. Powerful warlord, decent sorcerer, but Amirren's greatest gift was his charisma. With it he manage to convince 9 other warlords that were almost as powerful as he is to serve under him. Each of these warlords, which I called the Lords of Chaos, had their own uniquely looking armies (I very much didn't limited my imagination to what my budget could afford!). Half of the Lords of Chaos were sorcerers, some of the greatest in the world and each sorcerer was a master of something. There is the Master of Magic, a sorcerer with knowledge of nearly every possible spell in the world. When I have used him in 7/8th edition games, I've gave him the Third Eye to represent this aspect of him. There is also the Master of Fire, a sorcerer whom can bend flames to his will. Outside of always having lore of fire, I hadn't figured out how to show off his flame mastery on the table. I suppose I can use flamers to act as fire elementals he controls as part of his army. But the one Lord of Chaos I probably developed the most was Vikihra, the Master of Death. Amirren has ordered his Lords from time to time to temporary disband their army and wander the world alone to search for ways to better themselves. Vikihra, having completely mastered death magic, decided to seek the knowledge of undeath magic when she was asked to go on one of these worldly trips. Her goals were not only to gain more power, but also find a way to heal her body. Centuries ago she was burned alive and only survived due to her knowledge of death magic. However her burned body is a constant source of pain and healing magic have shown to have no effect on her. For decades she studied under various vampires and dark priests to learn necromancy directly from those whom wield it. Eventually Vikihra develop her own type of necromancy. In many ways it was inferior to either of the other necromancy magic, but to her, it was better because she made it. Her new fond powers and knowledge did nothing to heal her body. When Amirren summoned his Lords of Chaos and their armies, she shocked the other Lords and even Amirren himself when she arrived with a significant larger army that was bolstered with her own undead creations.

Vikihra is one of the few characters I brought a specific model for though I never got around to convert and paint it. I loved the look of the Queen Khalida miniature and once I decided to use it, it help develop some of Vikihra's history. Unlike my goblin army, I do consider this an active project. And since Vikihra is one of the most develop concept I have, I could see myself having this army on the table in a year or two. It would be also a lot of work. Vikihra's undead will require a lot of conversion as her undead doesn't look normal. Kitbashing Chaos bits with undead parts and making it look good and easily identifiable will be time consuming (and maybe outside of my skill set at this time). But when I do get to it, I would want to be able to travel the country to events with it and not be handicapped. I do see it being stronger than my goblin idea but I don't think its overly strong. But that is something further down the road for me.

What allies means for me NOW is less interesting. The AoS army I'm working on now is my Poison Army which is a mix of Nurgle Chaos Warriors and Clan Pestilens. I have a problem with battlelines. Nurgle Chaos Warriors is the only battleline I can/want to use. I don't mind warriors but they are too expensive to fill my battlelines ONLY with warriors. Plus I want the army to be more Skaven than Chaos. Allies will allowed me to add clanrats as battleline and still have the feel I'm going for. I suppose I could start looking for poison users in other forces and add them with allies though I can't think of any at the moment. Another thing I could do is have Chaos be my allies so I can have allegiance Pestilens. Since I want to use more than 20% Chaos, I'm probably not going to do that. But it is an option and having the option is much better than no option.

Vince's Topic Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-NH2cFuZSc