Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Infinite Expanse of Age of Sigmar

I've been seeing some negativity lately on the Age of Sigmar Facebook groups I follow toward the recent uptick in homemade warscrolls.  Namely, towards the various 40k homebrew projects floating about (most recently these Tyranids rebranded as "Cosmic Horrors").  Obviously I feel differently, but I think it's worth discussing why I feel differently.  It's not just a "we can play however we want!" situation, I think the fluff of Age of Sigmar uniquely lends itself to very, very, very open play and storytelling.

So the setting of Age of Sigmar is nine infinitely large realms (eight of which are "mortal") each of which is attuned to one of the lores of magic from oldhammer (and then Chaos).  While they are connected by magic and portals and whathaveyou, geographically they are completely distinct and separate.  So we have a collection of 9 alternate realities similar to the D&D Feywild and Shadowfell, where they are elementally attuned, but similar to eachother, but in this case there is no "prime material plane".  But wait, instead of each plane being a planet or something, it's actually a whole infinite expanse with its own moons, planets, space, and so forth.

So let's take for example Azyr, the Realm of Heavens.  In AoS, it's the realm that Sigmar has on lockdown where reasonable people hang out.  But that's probably only part of it... it is infinite after all.  There are planets in the sky!  Given infinite space, for every unique segment of space, there should (statistically speaking) be an identical segment of space.  Similarly, for every conceivable finite space, there should be a segment of the infinite space that is exactly as conceived.  All this is a bit more than is necessary though to support my point, which is that the entirety of 40k could easily be set within Azyr, somewhere in those glittering heavens.  Somewhere in the infinite expanse is a segment of space that is exactly identical to all of those cool maps in the 40k books where the exact events laid out in 40k fluff have transpired.

Similarly, somewhere in the Realm of Shadows, I imagine there is an a place called Malifaux (warning: I may make warscrolls for this, although I can't imagine it would interplay all that well).  Perhaps in the Realm of Beasts some bold humans have carved out a Cygnaran Kingdom with the might of their warjacks.  The point being, the fluff for Age of Sigmar supports and envelops all other fluffs.  Because Age of Sigmar is so vague and expansive, it seems like there's no good reason for any given thing to not exist... right?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: Tau

I've completed the Tau warscroll compendium and it's now available here.  I already kinda' showed off some of my favorites as I was working on them, so this time I'll just talk about a mechanic that I worked up for the Tau.  Namely, Gun Drones.

Gun drones were the biggest issue for me in creating this compendium as they are a "mixed unit" situation, which Age of Sigmar not only doesn't handle very well, but really doesn't handle at all.  I first considered making them into tokens that were attached to units but didn't have stats or anything of their own.  This was foiled by the Gun Drones unit option, which has always been near and dear to my heart just like every other terrible unit (I assume they're terrible in 40k, I really have no idea though).
After deciding they would be real models, I started working out rules for Gun, Shield, and Missile Drones.  Then I got to the Pathfinder unit and discovered that they had three more types of drones I had no interest in digging into.  At this point I took a step back.  I was working on at minimum six different types of drones that would have to follow some kind of mixed unit rule that would have to appear on a warscroll somewhere.  This was not good Age of Sigmar rules design.  So I reassessed.
I went back to the beginning and asked myself what it was important for drones to do: shoot, support other units, coordinate with other units.  And so, here we have a warscroll that does those things.  I gave them a weapon, a Sensor Array to support your other units in an appropriate way, and the Attached Drones rule so that you don't get punished for deploying a unit of two drones with every one of your units.

I figured I'd also showcase the related Firesight Marksman.  He's the schmuck who normally stands around next to sniper drones.  But since there's no such thing as sniper drones, he just turns regular drones into sniper drones.  I modeled him vaguely after the Orc Bully.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: Kroot

I'm still trucking away at the Tau, and while working on the Kroot warscroll I remembered that there used to be a full Kroot army list.  While I didn't dive down that rabbit hole, I did create a hero warscroll for the Master Shaper to make the Kroot army an option.

After poring through the fluff and unit entries, I ended up making two more Kroot warscrolls, one for Kroot Carnivores that includes Krootox as a unit upgrade, and one for Kroot Hounds.  I considered breaking out Krootox into their own warscroll, but they didn't seem like they really stood on their own.  Anyhow, here they are.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: Tau Ethereal

I'm working on Tau now, although I don't have as good a grasp on Tau fluff as on Tyranids and Orks, so I've got quite a bit of reading to do for this set.  I'm still figuring out how to organize the army, but so far I'm thinking I'll have Tau models, some of whom have a Fire Caste keyword, and then I'll have a Greater Good keyword for Kroot, Vespids, etc.

The Ethereal is a lot like a Wizard in damage output (i.e. weak), but it's got pretty good buffs to hand out and doesn't even need to roll for them.  This is a definite work in progress, but most of the weapon stats and abilities are about where I want them.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Chaos Dwarf Deathshrieker Rocket WIP

Here's what I've been working on instead of writing more 40k warscrolls (I'll get back to it soon enough, I'm working on Tau now).  I recently picked up a Helstorm Rocket Battery and a Dwarf Cannon as conversion fodder for my Deathshrieker Rocket Battery and Dreadquake Mortar.  I finished building the crew yesterday and thought I'd share.

I ended up having two of them hold rockets because of the dearth of good looking crew arms in the Dwarf Cannon box (seriously).  I also forewent resculpting any of the beards.  I decided it was a better expenditure of effort to give them brutal looking facial coverings.  To that end, I did uncover a few neat techniques for doing this.

First (and most generally applicable) is that an easy way to make rivets is to dice up little tiny pieces of semi dried greenstuff and glue them in place.  I say semi dried because (while unintentional) I found that I could still shape them a little after they were glued in place.  I used this to massage the rivets into slightly rounder shapes.  This resulted in pretty tiny rivets though, which was exactly what I wanted.  I'll post again once I've painted them so you can see how the technique turned out.

Second, I wanted to mimic the scale mail facial armour from one of the Hellcannon crew.  It's a little hard to see in this picture, but I actually chopped up plasticard into small rectangles and glued them down to create scale armour hanging out to cover the bottom half of this guy's face.  It's hard to see because I used clear plasticard since it was the thinnest I had.

I don't have anything interesting to share about the third crewman.  I just free-sculpted a skull mask onto him.  It's not the greatest thing in the world, but I think it'll do once it's painted.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Chaos Dwarf Pics

Here's some more Chaos Dwarf stuff I've been working on.

I think I'll call this Daemonsmith "The Cannon Whisperer".

This guy is named High King Itzach bar Itzach.  He used to be a Chaos Lord (on Palanquin of Nurgle) I converted for 8th edition.  However, he's now going to be an Infernal Castellan on Shieldbearers (I'm pulling the Shieldbearer rules straight from the Dwarf Lord warscroll) with the Nurgle keyword.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: Sisters of Battle

Because of my inquisition heavy book collection, next up is Sisters of Battle.  The incarnation of Sisters that I have access to (Witch Hunters) are a little gimmicky with their prayers, and from what I understand, so is the newer WD Sisters book.  Through trying to figure out what to do with that, I came up with a neat ability for these warscrolls.

Blood of Martyrs: Whenever a model in this unit is slain, gain a Faith point.  Each Faith point may be spent at any time to re-roll a single dice for any Sororitas unit.

The Sisters were also my first foray into "special characters" territory.  I thought that the Canoness was a little less than thrilling as a hero.  It's not that she's boring, it's just that Celestine is so much cooler, and she's really the only other Sororitas HQ choice.  This led me to make a warscroll for the Living Saint.

It's kind of a named character, and kind of not depending on how you look at it.  Anyhow, she can be summoned using Faith points, which seems like fun.  The other warscroll I'm particularly happy with is the Sisters Repentia.  They are basically like Flagellants, but with way hardcore eviscerators.  They are pretty far gone from my normal target of .2 dpwpt, but are actually fairly comparable to the output of greatswords (albeit without the armour).

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Chaos Pics

I just realized last night that it's been ages since I posted any pictures of what I've been working on lately, so lest anybody think I'm still working on putting the finishing touches on my Deff Rolla and Tyranid Prime, here are some pics to prove it happened.

I picked up the Start Collecting: Nurgle Daemons box.  The Plague Drones aren't something I normally would have bought, and they haven't done great on the table, but I like them well enough, and they turned out to be pretty fun to paint.


I've also been re-basing some of my older Chaos stuff.  I should probably explain this one a little bit.  At my FLGS we have a "League of Women Generals" in which a lot of us have converted female generals for our armies.  This one is my female Beastlord of Slaanesh.  She hasn't seen much action since she was going to lead my brother's Beastmen army and then Age of Sigmar happened before she got a chance to.  So hopefully, putting her on a shiny new base will get her back out there onto the battlefield.


Speaking of the League of Women Generals, this is Lucia the Insatiable, my Chaos Lord of Slaanesh on Daemonic Mount.  Probably not the only Daemonette anybody's ever sculpted armour onto, but I'm confident there aren't a whole lot of them out there.

Last Women General for the moment is the Damsel of Distress (yes, that's a Bretonnian Damsel under all that badassery).  I'm still working on re-basing her.  I'm having trouble figuring out which warscroll best represents her, there is quite the dearth of Chaos heroes with shields in AoS.


My newest addition to the Chaos family is some Dawi Zharr.  I got some Daemonsmiths and Fireglaives for my birthday and I'm currently waiting for a Helstorm Rocket Battery and a Dwarf Cannon to come in so I can start converting a couple of the Legion of Azorgh artillery pieces.


I didn't shell out the extra dollars for the Fireglaive command, but the unit champ can be equipped optionally with a Fireglaive and Naptha Bomb.  I painted this guy's facemask gold to show that he's clearly in charge and used a censer from some Dark Angels stuff as a Naptha Bomb.  It looked kinda like a magic fantasy grenade to me.

Group shot!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: Grey Knights

Some of the other books I have handy are the Grey Knights and Inquisition books.  So next on the agenda are just those.  I'm giving Grey Knights similar treatment to the Blood Angels with about five warscrolls, but theirs are a bit more oriented toward being a proper faction without necessarily needing support from normal Astartes stuff.

I opted not to make every Grey Knights unit (or even Justicar) a proper psyker because of all the questions that raises about unbinding and so forth.  Instead, each scroll has a psychic power themed ability.  In this case, the basic Grey Knights unit has Astral Aim, which buffs itself and nearby Grey Knights units.  The other neat thing that basically all Grey Knights units have going for them is Nemesis Force Weapons.  I toned the Force Weapons down so that these guys, while elite, aren't super far outside the box on damage output (their damage output is ~.22 dptpw while normal marines are ~.15 dptpw).  They're still a work in progress for the moment, but they're pretty homogeneous (they don't have a whole lot of weapon options to speak of), so it's really just a matter of getting wording just right and fine tuning ability synergies and whatnot.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: Blood Angels

If if seems like I'm choosing armies to sigmarize totally at random, I'm just working with what I have army books for first before I start borrowing books from friends and family.  Which brings me to the next army, Blood Angels!  For these guys, I actually only made a limited number of warscrolls covering only the units unique to Blood Angels.  Combine them with the Space Marine warscrolls like you did in the old days!

The Death Company are the most important thing here.  They showcase the Red Thirst ability that most Blood Angels have.  They also have Righteous Zeal, as it was important to me that they have synergy with Chaplains.

The Sanguinary Priest is basically a character apothecary.  Really not a whole lot to see here, but it was an important Blood Angels character option.

Sanguinary Guard are a fairly killy unit both at range and in melee with Angelus Bolters and Glaives Encarmine.  They're pretty serious about punching the save out of fools.

It's always a tough call figuring out which spells or psychic powers are most thematic for a caster.  In this case, I felt like the choice was pretty easy.  The Librarian Dreadnought marks my first foray into multi-line keyword boxes, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

The Furiouso Dreadnought probably could have been handled with a normal Dreadnought warscroll, but I think it's important to have a Dreadnought with Red Thirst.  It's intended that this be the Death Company Dreadnought as well since they're both dedicated melee dreadnoughts they really didn't strike me as being all that different.  Anyhow, I'm adding the pdf version of these to my main 40k warscrolls post.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: Space Orks

I've finished my first pass at Space Orks warscrolls.  I haven't gotten a chance to playtest them yet, but I have certainly mathed them and determined that at least on paper they should be about right.  I'd like to share some of my favorites, but you can find the full document here.

The Big Gunz were fun because the weapons are kinda flavorful (especially the Zzap Gun, which has always been near and dear to my heart).  While most of the Space Ork warscrolls use the "Space Orkz" keyword making them a distinct Orruk faction, I gave the Grot warscrolls the Gitmob keyword.  This sets them apart slightly from the rest of the Space Orks and also gives them synergy with fantasy common goblins.  This leaves them open for inclusion in some sort of Rebel Grot force or whathaveyou.  In fact, the astute might notice that the Lobba is actually the same as the 'Goblin Rock Lobber' from the Orcs & Goblins pdf.  Last mention about the grots is that I put Orc Bully abilities on their warscrolls.  I imagine that any Runtherd from your old Gretchin squads could easily become an Orc Bully, which I did not reproduce the warscroll for, but is of course available from GW.

I haven't put the finishing touches on the Battlewagon yet ("monsters" take a long time to math), but we've got a Trukk warscroll.  Ramshackle was an odd duck because I wanted to capture the theme of it without making some D6 table to roll on or other such madness.  I ended up having it keep moving after being destroyed to capture the vibe of it falling apart around the occupants/careening around the battlefield before exploding.

I hope you enjoy the Space Orkz, and don't forget to bring the Orc Bullies!