He moved silently and purposefully towards the gated entrance on the hill. The old metal rods having long been corroded by the action of time, prevented the gate from doing its service and so it laid ajar.
The eerie tunnels beneath the old fort were shunned by all, for even if those under his service didn’t know what laired here they had always felt the tunnels were the abode of something evil. Something which preyed on men and creature alike.
Others would probably get lost in that maze which crisscrossed the hill the fort laid upon, reaching, some said, the very borders of his domains. Others believed you could cross from one end of the Howling Hills to the other without ever seeing the light of day. He knew they didn’t stretch that far, having scoured the very same tunnels for centuries, he knew every inch of every tunnel. He was the master here after all.
He found the one he was looking for after a short walk in the complete darkness of the tunnels, the rank odour of putrefaction giving it away even before the master could lay his eyes upon it. The spacious cave with a natural shallow pool of water was one of its favorite haunts, the “moon pool” as the common folk of the region referred to it, as an opening in the ceiling above not only allowed the water to collect in the cave below but also permitted the moon to illuminate it reflecting itself on clear full moon nights like today.
It was no surprise to find it here once more, squatting on the floor while ravaging the slit throat of some long dead peasant girl. He was not alone though, a pack of his favorite companions, undead wolves, sat alongside him, waiting for their turn at the tattered carcass.
The wolves turned with a low growl as soon as he entered the cave, needing only a split second to recognize him and retreat respectfully to the shadows. The one he had been looking for finally raised its head sniffing the air and acknowledging the master’s presence, the radiance of the moon lighting his bestial features as he noisily drew air through his slit nostrils a couple of times before suddenly chomping at what little remained of the girl’s neck, returning with renewed interest to his meal.
The creature had shed what little trace of humanity that remained centuries ago. As it transformed, evolved some would say, its features had grown animal like, its limbs became corded with muscle. It was today a perfect killing machine, what it lacked in wits, it made up in guile. Yes, thought the master, the Strigoi would be perfect for the task at hand.
“Gorgoloth” he said in a commanding voice as he leaned forward on the walking cane he often used while walking the grounds. “Come, my hound… I have a mission for you, and yours… there’s a city east of here and I have need of something which lies there”.
The creature emitted a whimper, apparently sad to have to leave. It deposited what little was left of the peasant girl on the floor and turned to face its master, taking a few steps in his direction moving on all fours. The wolves which had been waiting advanced with haste towards the carcass on the floor, snapping their jaws at each other as they raced to be the first to feed on what was left behind. Gorgoloth turned to them and emitted a high pitched hiss which sent the wolves scampering to the shadows once more.
“Yes… master”… he answered in what little he could grasp of the common tongue of the empire.
“Come… there’s someone else I’m sending with you to the city of the damned. Someone I’d like you to meet” said the master as he strolled out of the cave, the Strigoi Vampire following close behind.
What was left of the peasant girl rotted away in due time. Untouched.
Hello there reader.
If you’re new to the wargaming hobby chances are you’ve never even heard of Mordheim. Back in the day, Mordheim was Games Workshop’s answer to the fantasy oriented skirmisher wargamer as much as Necromunda played the same part for the Sci-Fi aficionado.
While Necromunda shared the same dark gothic background of the Warhammer 40.000 game, putting players in control of one of the gangs which vied for control of the hive cities they inhabited, Mordheim was a game set into the “Old World” of the Warhammer Fantasy setting.
The game’s name comes from the city of Mordheim, a place so tainted by evil and the excesses of men that Sigmar saw fit to expunge it from the face of the Old World hitting it with a meteor from the skies, or at least some believed. The fact remains that no matter the reason which led to the destruction of the city, the meteor that hit it was made of Wyrdstone, a rare gem like material with magical properties, that now lies scattered across the city awaiting for those brave enough, or foolish enough, to take them.
Sounds like a great background right? Well, despite both games’ success with the public, Games Workshop decided to let them die, first by not supporting those games with new rules and material, and then by discontinuing them, no longer producing the models needed to play these games.
So today, Mordheim is a dead game, but it is still a great game so there’s nothing preventing you from playing it as I got to see on a recent visit to my friends from the CPW (one of the wargaming clubs in Sao Paulo – Brazil).
Being in the hobby for a while now I had heard about Mordheim a couple of times but honestly I had never been interested enough to play the game. But it turns out the guys in Sao Paulo have a Mordheim table in their club which can only be described as fantastic, and while visiting I was offered the chance to play a warband of Skaven, against my friend Tocha’s Norse warband. The game not only proved extremely fast paced and entertaining but when it ended it had this “extra” bit where we got to roll the treasures uncovered during the course of the game, and also what happened to the members of the warband which were taken out of action… this had such a nice Role Playing Game feel to it I was instantly hooked.
After coming back home I chatted a bit about the experience with my friend Marcos (from the CPT&P blog and my co-host on the “Papo de Mesa Podcast” ) and he came up with an idea for another of our “challenges”, in which we team up to explore something in our common hobby. This time he said it would be nice if we could each create a warband so we could meet and play in November 2013, when we’d meet in Sao Paulo (for the 1st PAPOCON which I wrote about here the other day).
I was more than happy to accept and quickly decided I’d put some of my Vampire Counts models to good use and created me a Vampire Counts warband, quickly named “Gorgoloth’s Hounds”.
As you can probably tell from the story above I decided to go with a Strigoi vampire to lead my warband (even though there aren’t specific rules for Strigoi vampires in Mordheim – I intend to use a lot of “counts as” when fielding him) and to use the creatures associated with such vampires, like Undead Dire Wolves and Ghouls, while at the same time having a necromancer and some zombies to boot.
If you’ve read my article about the first PAPOCON you’ll know by now I failed miserably in painting all the models I took with me to our games, however, I intend to finish painting those guys, and would like to share the results with you guys, readers of the blog.
To that aim I’ll chronicle the process I went through to create the warband over the following “Road to Mordheim” articles which will, hoping this might prove of interest to other like minded hobbyists who would like to explore the streets of Mordheim.
More to come soon.
Over and out.