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.

Greeting fellow Ankh-Mordheimers!

It's been a couple of years, but with kind permission of Mr Poppleton we are finally returning to the world of Ankh-Mordheim...

So here's the history:

Intro 1.
It had been four months since Captain Kenton Black and his men had arrived in Norsca. And it had also been the longest and most gruelling four months any of them had ever experienced. Fortunately though, it had also been one of the most enjoyable times in Kenton’s life.

Ever since going AWOL from the Estallian Navy, Kenton Black had been leading a life of Piracy. Together with his crew of theIndomitable, they forged a fearsome reputation off the coast of the Empire, with Kenton cementing his place as a Pirate Captain. Their three year reign of coastal terror snowballed with each successful haul of loot as they strengthened their ship with more and more armaments. “But a fish can only grow as big as the pond it is inside” claimed Captain Black and so he had his men set sail for the hallowed Northlands. Alas, it would prove to be his undoing, as not two weeks into their journey theIndomitable was beset upon by a Chaos warship, becoming completely obliterated in the process.

Captain Kenton black and his men who somehow made it to the lands of Norsca numbered only twelve. Of those, two died from Frostbite in the first week, and another lost his will to live and hurled himself onto a spear in the second month. Some managed to land labourer jobs in the seaport they found themselves in, whilst others became farm hands. But they all yearned for the day they could once again take to the high seas.

And now this Norseman sat opposite Captain Kenton had a proposal. Unexpectedly, the people in the Norse seaport had become the closest thing to friends the pirates had discovered amongst their years of pillaging. Perhaps it was the love of conflict or the alcohol-fuelled celebrations they had in common. Whatever it was, Kenton Black liked what this particular man had offered him. In fact he may even go as far as to say he trusted him.

The local Seer had rambled on about the alignment of the stars and how a city was never going to be the same again; something about fortuitous times and two worlds colliding, creating wealth beyond imagination. That’s where the seer was wrong, because Captain Kenton Black could imagine a lot of wealth. The proposition was a simple one; Black and his men would sail with the Norse Seamen and assist them getting into this city, this “Mordheim”. In return the Norsemen would assist in obtaining a new ship for Captain Black and his men. It really wasn’t a choice that needed to be made, it was more of a miracle from the Gods. But a man of Kenton Black’s disposition was never quick to reveal his feelings.

Captain Black downed his flagon of mead and shook the hand of the Norseman opposite as the tavern was filled with rapture.

Intro 2.
The doors to the top of the mage’s tower crashed open as the Swordmaster of Hoeth fell through them.
“Aledraan. For a High Elf, you display as much natural grace as a drunken mule” responded the Dragon Prince.
“Prince Kildarin, I apologise for disturbing your meditation, but I have news of the most urgent order.” The Swordmaster had spent several hundred years wielding double-handed weapons whilst wearing a full suit of chainmail. So for him to have beads of sweat dripping from his brow, his haste with bounding up the towers step must have been a frenetic one. The Dragon Prince glanced over towards the elven mage in the centre of the room and saw that the magister still had not interrupted his meditation.
“What is it, Swordmaster?” asked the Dragon Prince.
“Prince Kildarin, it is Zoriath. He has awoken!” Aledraan exclaimed.
“Zoriath? My attuned dragon?” asked Kildarin. The Dragon Prince had not been able to converse with the Emperor dragon since their youth. The mages within the High Elf council had bound the souls of the Prince and the Dragon just a day after Kildarin had been born. The Dragon had been sick and it took the magic and the heart of the High Elves to preserve Zoriath.
“My Lord, it has been four hundred years to the day since his eyes closed. And now they are open once more and glow with the brightness of all the forges in Ulthuan!”
“Haste is the answer, young Prince” stated the Elven Mage, his eyes still closed and his body relaxed. “Zoriath has a journey to take you on and you must leave immediately”.
The beating of the dragons leathery wings soon drowned out the conversation in the tower as Kildarin and Alderaan strode over to the window of the mage’s tower. A huge taloned claw the size of the Elves themselves smashed through the window, bringing the Dragon Prince and Swordmaster together and clutching them firmly yet gently around their waists. With the agility of a cat and the strength of a thousand bears, Zoriath hoisted Kildarin and Alderaan onto his back as he soared upwards towards the clouds. From their vantage point thousands of yards above the ground, the High Elves could only see the tallest of towers in Ulthuan and what looked like a giant grey creature marching along the horizon...

Intro 3.
Rain lashed down amongst Captain Kenton Black and his men. They had hurried ashore with the Norsemen band and the Seer had claimed that they were not far now from their destination. It was only a day and a half since they witnessed the events that would change their lives forever, yet it seemed as though months had passed.

During their trek across the sea the sky blackened as the sun was eclipsed by something the Seer had dubbed a “disc world”. Kenton’s grasp of the Norse tongue was limited but he was able to glean some bizarre tale about a giant reptile marching amongst the stars and carrying four hairless mammoths on its back. These mammoths were balancing another world between them which was a flat round world, much smaller than Kenton’s own Old World, but still large enough to eclipse the Sun for a full week as it passed in front of it. A shining bolt which one of Kenton’s men preposterously claimed was an arrow shot by Sigmar, appeared out of nowhere and the Seer had claimed that one of the hairless mammoths had perished as it slammed into the giant reptile carrier.

Regardless of how far-fetched the Seers claims may have seemed at the time, the fact remained that there was now another world balanced atop the Old World. Trying to imagine this new combined world in its entirety, Kenton thought of a ball with a plate precariously balanced atop it. And the point the two made contact was at their destination, the city of Mordheim.

“Black, here” barked the Norse leader. Kenton looked at what the Norseman was pointing at and saw a huge ornate gate containing a pair of giant black oak wood doors. He motioned for two of his own men to investigate the door whilst his other six scoured the wall the gate was set into.

“One of ten”, the Seer murmured. “Two are ruined. Others will come. Will be hard keeping them out”. Kenton nodded in acknowledgement as his men opened the gate and the Norsemen raiders darted inside.

Whatever lay inside was a strange new world but one that Kenton Black would enjoy exploring. One he would enjoy pillaging. One he may even enjoy finally calling home.

Ankh-Mordheim Town Cryer issue 1
August 5, 2011

Ninety percent of Ankh-Morpork may have been wiped out in the collision with Mordheim so perhaps we should be more welcoming to all of our new inhabitants. But this writer is unnerved at the sight of not one but two gatherings of mutant giant rats that can not only walk, not only talk, but can fight as well as craft gunpowder weapons! This past week the leader of one of these "Warbands" was brought into the testing laboratories at the Unseen University but it is understood his loyal followers were able to free him before much information could be extracted.

You read that right, folks. Interim Patrician Black has declared that the recent influx of Warbands into Ankh-Mordheim is a good thing. He thinks they can help protect us against the rampant invaders from the North as well as the tyrannical oppressors from the South. Consequently he has decided to reward them with MORE territories! Whether this support of gangland warfare will be a good move or not remains to be seen, however...
Week 2 of the campaign will see an extra random territory awarded from the neutral pile to each victor. This is for every game in week 2 only.

In another move to help defend Ankh-Mordheim from outside forces, interim Patrician Black is assembling an expedition in two weeks time below the city into the depths of the dungeon. Whomever recovers the most artefacts contained within will be rewarded handsomely.

Week 3 of the campaign will see a multiplayer game of Warhammer Quest for the leaders only of each Warband that wishes to partake. Locations and rare items are up for grabs for the leader who grabs the most loot!

Let it be known that there will be chariot racing, so secure your steed NOW!  If you don't have a steed, please seek the patronage of one of the many citizens in our fine city or maybe sign on with the Watch to get access to the Stables.