Thursday, 5 December 2013

Peace? In Ankh-Mordheim? You've got to be kidding!

It was common knowledge across the Empire that the city of Mordheim had suffered a catastrophe and as the weeks passed, more and more men arrived on the city outskirts eager to profit from the horror.
Camped in the perpetual darkness, they were the dispossessed, the desperate, the greedy and the weak, eager to claim the spoils of greater men and women destroyed in the tragedy. They were the righteous and the pious, eager to cleanse the city of sin in a baptism of blood.  They were the secretive and the paranoid, searching for forbidden power in forgotten places.
It wasn’t just men that came though, Dwarven Treasure Hunters and Elves of all persuasions came seeking adventure, excitement and revenge, setting up camps between those of men far enough to be out of earshot but close enough to keep one eye on their ancestral enemies, determined no other would be the first to gain advantage.   Hideous beastmen crept into the city through the camps under the cover of night whilst Rat-men scurried through the damaged sewer system.
For months the depravity continued and grew only worse.

Then one day a crack appeared in the clouds, sunlight shone down through the ominious clouds on the ruined city and it was transformed, not just metaphorically but also twisting in reality as it contorted to conform to its new shape.
Fearless Vampires cowered in terror as the sunlight gently bathed them in its glow, but it did not immediately immolate them.  This was not the harsh sunlight of the Warhammer World, it slipped slowly through the air and crept around corners, very soon the Vampires found they could move out of the shadows for brief periods with the use of minor cantrips.
The surviving denizens of this strange new city staggered from their ruined homes and warily interacted with the warbands, whispered tales from these folk proclaimed this to be the remnants of the once proud city of Ankh Morpork, but it wasn’t long before it had a new name.

Welcome to the city of Ankh Mordheim!

Nothing much changed, except some brave souls took to living in the city and reclaiming outskirts of the devastation as their own but as Warpstone could still be found deeper in the city, the fighting continued.
The Patrician was nowhere to be found and without him the Guilds collapsed. In desperation the populace turned to the warbands, offering the position of Interim Patrician to whichever gang controlled the majority of the city by the next full moon.

The first campaign ended with a win for the Dwarfs with the Skaven coming a close second.  Here's the fiction I wrote to prep for the sequel that never happened... but it will soon.

King Durin sat upon his throne and stared down upon the kneeling Skaven, the skin beneath his beard glowing crimson with suppressed rage. It's words had been crafted with almost perfect diplomacy, spoken to cause no direct insult but the meaning was clear enough. Relinquish the crown or die.

The grudge between to two leaders was matched only by their mutual respect of the others martial prowess. In a fair fight only one would walk away and it pained Durin greatly to admit it was doubtful he would not be the one walking away if the fight were otherwise and when dealing with Skaven that was pretty much guaranteed.

Knuckles white around the haft of his axe, anger got the better of reason and Durin leapt from the throne swinging wildly. Supposedly stripped of weapons, the Assassin sprang towards the King and Durin smiled at the futility of the rat man's action. Only at the last instance did Durin notice the daggers dripping with Black lotus poison. Attack turned to defence as he parried a blow aimed for his jugular then angled the return blow to sever the Skaven's arm only to be parried in turn by a sword held in the Skaven's tail. Both stepped back after this initial flurry of blows, circling each other as they sought an opening in the other's defence before committing themselves once more.

Durin smiled as the sound of steel shod boots clattering on the stone floor announced the arrival of two of his honour guard, there was no need to fight honourably against one who had no honour. They engaged the Assassin, but before they could lay a single blow the Assassin spun and dispatched both before turning to return the King's grin threefold.

Anger gave way to rage and Durin attacked like a berserker, all pretence of defence gone in the desire to slay the Skaven. Fortunately this was enough to keep the Assassin on the backfoot as he back-pedalled furiously to escape the blows, deflecting the madly swinging axe with last second parries.
The Skaven was being pushed inextrictably toward the wall and Durin knew the fight neared it's end, with nowhere to go the Skaven would fall to his axe!

Backed against the wall, Stikum realised it was over. Durin had won. The blow descended in a final murderous arc with strength enough to cleave the Skaven in half had he been there. Axe crashed into flagstone, cracking the marble and sending shards in all directions. Momentarily confused, Durin realised he had been duped and awaited the dagger that would end his life.

It never came. Instead from the window high above him, Stikum called out "Okay, you'll do. See you at the council meeting"

Durin stood shell-shocked, then heard snores from the guards behind him. The rat had poisoned his blades with an opiate!

A chuckle found its way from his mouth and built in crescendo until it had developed into a outright belly laugh. The Skaven had played him well, very well indeed, maybe some of that foul race had a sense of honour after all...

Ankh-Mordheim: The Aftermath!

Whole new campaign of intrigue, murder, kidnapping and.... well that would be telling.

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