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Painting Orks with Contrast and washes

I’m not just spouting hyperbole when I say GW’s Contrast paints really are a game changer. I’ve always been a speed-painter, preferring to get a whole army done to a fairly nice, tabletop standard, instead of spending hours lavishing minute detail on a single mini. My models will never win any painting awards, but combined as a force, they’ll look good on the table. So the release of the Contrast paint range has been an absolute delight for me.

Here, I paint a squad of Ork Kommandos using Contrast and washes almost exclusively. And the same methodology can be applied to nearly all the Ork infantry models. It’s a quick method and it’s enhanced if you’re neat and precise with it – which is fairly easy with Orks because of their over-the-top features, muscles, weapons and armour.


From a white spray undercoat, paint the flesh with Cassandora Yellow wash.


Over the yellow, apply a Beil-tan Green wash.


For the fatigues, I opted for Contrast Skeleton Horde. But you could easily go for any number of other colours. Most of my Ork boys are wearing a mixture of drab browns, greys and black. Even the greens work quite well, as they’re much darker than my method for green skin.


I used Contrast Snakebite Leather on the boots and straps. Because Contrast Skeleton Horde is so light, the Contrast Snakebite went right over the top. If you opt for a darker colour for the fatigues, you’ll have to avoid getting it on the boots and straps, leaving them white.


Apply Contrast Black Templar on the gas masks, goggles, climbing ropes, fuses, and also the mouths and teeth. Use Contrast Flesh Tearers Red for the dynamite bundles. And Contrast Wyldwood for the knife handles and dynamite ties.


Paint the metal – knives, armour, guns, ammo belts, canisters, toecaps – in Leadbelcher (normal paint). Pick out the teeth in Screaming Skull (normal paint). Then the few small details on the Nob and his base – the skulls in Contrast Skeleton Horde, cigar in Contrast Wyldwood, cigar ash and fallen masonry in Contrast Basilicanum Grey.


Now add lashings of Nuln Oil wash over the metals. Still worth being careful not to splash it on other areas. An added bonus of this stage is that it ‘black lines’ these areas as well e.g. it nicely defines the ammo belts that sit on the models chest with a thin black outline.


Then add lashings of Agrax Earthshade wash over the metals. This helps make them look old and battle-worn.


Drybrush Mithril SIlver (normal paint) over the metal to represent scratches and damage. Use Contrast Flesh Tearers Red for the goggle lenses. And add a quick stipple of Dwarf Bronze (normal paint) and Abaddon Black (normal paint) over the flamer nozzle to simulate scorch marks. The base rims are done in Steel Legion Drab (normal paint).


Glue mud, static grass and battlefield tufts to the bases and once dry, mat varnish them. Then apply gloss varnish to the lenses (much cheatier than ‘properly’ painting them!).

And you’re done!


Painting in 2019

What a year!

This is the first time I’ve ever tracked and logged my painting. I knew I painted a lot but even I am surprised at the final tally of 276 models in one year! I’m typically more of an ‘army painter’ and I especially like to find quick, easy, ‘cheaty’ methods to get them finished to a wargaming standard. I make good use of washes and drybrushing, and have just started experimenting with the new Contrast Paints, which essentially do the shade and highlight in one coat (I’m a big fan!).

I paint to relax, and find it very therapeutic. Sitting down and painting for an hour, with a cup of tea and some music, really helps me unwind. I don’t play (or own) any computer games – I work in an office so spending my spare time on a computer isn’t going to be good for me.

In addition to finding a quick method, and using most of my spare time, another factor I can attribute to getting so many models painted is having such variety.l to work on. My group has (relatively) recently discovered Warhammer Quest so I’ve been able to keep the models I paint varied and fresh, instead of hundreds of the same miniature (and technique) for a full army.




Here’s everything I’ve painted in 2019.

276 models:

  • 18 Black Orcs
  • 2 Orcs
  • 2 Snotlings
  • 4 Night Goblins
  • 4 Forest Goblins
  • 4 piles of treasure
  • 3 trolls
  • 2 Orc Warlords
  • 2 Ghosts
  • 1 Tentacle
  • 10 glow-in-the-dark Necron ‘Phased Ones’ (counts-as Flayed Ones)
  • 5 classic Necron Warriors
  • 1 roleplay character; Ulfur Gardner’s Son, lumberjack of Timber Cross
  • 1 roleplay axe (!)
  • 10 Alien Infants
  • 5 Alien Stalkers
  • 5 Alien Spitters
  • 5 Facehuggers
  • 1 Alien Queen
  • 3 Predators
  • 3 cloaked Predators (I painted their bases so it counts!)
  • 10 USCM marines
  • 5 colonial prisoners
  • 76 wedding ‘table Knights’
  • 17 Spartan Stormcast Eternals
  • 12 Hobgoblins
  • 8 Goblin ‘Pyro’ kitchen staff
  • 1 Gnoblar
  • 1 Naga Queen
  • 1 Tomb King
  • 5 Skeleton Warriors
  • 2 Wolves (mummy and cub)
  • 7 ruined buildings
  • 7 Thorns of the Briar Queen for Underworlds
  • 4 Chaos Dwarfs
  • 2 Dark Elf crossbowmen
  • 5 ‘Revenant’ Deathwatch marines
  • 12 Chaos Warriors
  • 1 Necron ‘melted Zoanthrope head’ objective marker
  • 1 Chaos Lord
  • 1 Mad scientist
  • 4 Wood elves
  • 1 Skink
  • 1 Troll King



























The Lost 300 – Spartan-themed Stormcast Eternals

The Lost 300 are one of Sigmar’s Stormcast Eternal chambers. Their souls plucked from the world-that-was as they died together in their final battle, they are the last remaining 300 warriors of a militaristic race, reforged as Sigmar’s elite.

But a complication during the forging process meant each warrior still believes they’re fighting that very same final battle from their mortal past. This delusion is further compounded as Sigmar cannot control or direct their deployment – which is why they are ‘lost’ to him. Instead, they magically appear on the battlefield when the forces of good face annihilation and are resigned to death; the combined psychic emanations of a force resolutely facing death, resonating deeply within the soul-spirits of The Lost 300, summoning them to war. In this way, they are doomed to be endlessly reforged to die in glorious final confrontations and battles across the realms.


Background: The Spa’taan

In the world-that-was, the Spa’taan were a militaristic people. Warlike, yet noble, their social system and constitution configured entirely to maximize military proficiency at all costs, completely focused on military training and excellence. Taught from birth that to die in battle was the greatest glory a warrior could earn, coupled with their harsh upbringing, unparalleled martial training and constant warfare, the Spa’taan warriors earnt a fearsome reputation throughout the known world. Where weaker races would recoil, they alone stood against the evil and tyranny of the world, often against insurmountable odds.

And it was this that caught the God-King Sigmar’s eye during the creation of the realms. Though the entire Spa’taan culture was lost to the sands of time with the destruction of the world-that-was, the God-King was able to save the bravest and mightiest of these great heroes. But at a terrible price.

The forging of The Lost 300

Knowing they would die to a man, 300 of Spa’taan’s best warriors marched with their King toward the Hot Gates – an infamous pass and bottleneck in the world-that-was, which would have allowed the forces of Chaos unfettered access to the allied kingdoms of Man, Elf and Dwarf. The legions that faced them were titanic in scale, yet the Spa’taan knew they must intercept and delay the Chaos army, to allow time for the bickering alliance to assemble and ready their defences. Resigned to death, this brave act saw the God-King Sigmar whisk away their souls as they fell on the field of battle, to be reforged as a regiment of his almighty Stormcast Eternals.

Yet all did not go to plan.

Though the reforging was successful to a point, such was their forlorn commitment to dying in that final battle, The Lost 300, as they have come to be known, are perpetually stuck in that moment in their mind’s eye. They re-live that final battle, again and again, overlaid against their current reality. Where we see trees and lush green meadows, they see the dry, arid battlescape of the Hot Gates. Where the enemy is Greenskins, Ogors, or the Undead, they see only the forces of Chaos. Where we hear the singing of birds and the rustle of leaves in the wind, they hear only the war drums and trumpets of that fateful day. In this bizarre re-enactment of that final battle, to The Lost 300 even their allies take on the roles of other characters they’d recognise from their past life; the Spa’taan troops may respond to orders from a Seraphon Oldblood by addressing him with a name and title of one of their lieutenants. Or they might refer to an allied band of Fyreslayers as their scouts, assigning them a unit name and battle honours they’ve never heard of.

Forlorn hope

Yet the biggest calamity to befall their reforging was the manner in which they are summoned to battle and travel the realms.

Sigmar has no control over them. Hence, they are ‘lost.’

They are drawn to realms where good people have lost all hope. When there is nothing more to believe in. When the righteous and the virtuous know their time is at an end. Never is this more prominent than on the losing side of the field of battle.

But it must go further than that.

All hope must be lost, and they must be at peace with it. They must be resigned to their fate, without fear, but with a grim determination to fulfill their duty and wreak havoc and bloodshed upon their enemies. Their hearts must be strong, and their resolve stronger still. When enough warriors have reached this state, and are facing annihilation, the psychic emanations coming from such a united host cross the realms and inadvertently summon The Lost 300, in a blinding flash of azure light.

And there they fight. And there they die. Together. Doomed to repeat this endless cycle of glorious final battles until there are no more battles to fight.

Modelling and painting

Standard Stormcast Eternals will be converted to have Scibor Spartan helmets and large round Spartan shields. Some will have Puppets War bare/hairy heads. They’ll all wield tall spears made from 1.5mm brass rod with Stormcast swords as spear tips. They’ll be painted in gold armour and red loincloths in a nod to the film, 300.

UPDATE ONE: Aid uncalled for

I played fantasy until eighth edition and had a pretty big Pirate Ogre army. But when they reset the universe and replaced Warhammer Fantasy with Age of Sigmar, I didn’t pick it up. I sold my fantasy models and focused on 40k instead. For ages, compulsive gamer and Age of Sigmar champion-fanatic, Tinracer, kept telling me how good it was and tried to get me involved but I didn’t understand that world anymore. Two years-ish, and hundreds of beautiful releases from Games Workshop later, I have a much better understanding of what Age of Sigmar is all about. I sort of see it as He-Man, meets ThunderCats, meets Marvel’s Thor… a world where fantasy and low-level sci-fi overlap, and you can explain anything weird by saying: “because it’s magic!!” (I’m looking at you High Elf fishmen riding floating armoured-eels and cosmic space turtles!!).

Now they’ve fleshed out the world, it ‘makes sense’ to me again. I like the idea of realm gates and how they suddenly give you a reason and explanation of why one force could be fighting another.

For me, narrative is so important. I mainly do this hobby for the painting, finding it relaxing and therapeutic. Then on the fairly rare occasions I get to game, I want to make sure each one is a ‘quality’ game – I insist all our models are fully painted (and even help my buddies get their stuff done), and make sure we have nicely painted scenery and a gaming mat. We always have a strong narrative, with lots of hype and build-up in the days and weeks before the game. Playing this way gives us all a much richer experience, and still leaves room for the more competitive players to flex their muscles.

More conversations with Tinracer, and I suddenly found myself committed to dabbling in Age of Sigmar skirmish. I’m told it will help ease me in as I’ll only need a few models. And it will allow me to develop their character as we follow their heroic deeds – right up my street! Rolling with my theme, Tinracer kindly sent me some spare models to help flesh out my force. Which would have been fine, had I been in to receive the delivery. As it happens, I had to rock up to the collection depot and claim to be Leonidas himself…


UPDATE TWO: This looks important… but I don’t know why

You know that tat you see in shops on holiday and you wonder to yourself: “Who on earth buys this stuff?”… well it’s lunatics like me. I saw this (while drunk) and knew I had to have it. I don’t know why yet, but it feels important. Perhaps for a cool piece of themed scenery? A giant statue? A helm of a titan? Or one of the God’s? The topping for a Spartan themed realmgate? Only time will tell…

UPDATE THREE: And so it begins

These kits were a dream to put together. And they fit the Scibor Spartan helmets and big Spartan shields perfectly. I used 1.5mm brass rod for the spears, drilling a slightly smaller hole into the swords first to avoid splitting. With the addition of a converted set of Steelheart’s Champions to represent the officers, the warband is starting to take shape.



UPDATE FOUR: A lick of paint

First, I undercoated the models with Retributor Armour gold spray paint. The coverage was great with no need to spray them black first. I was initially worried the spray wouldn’t get behind the shields but these models are big and broad, and the spray covered them perfectly, even behind the shields.


I was keen to keep the gold dark, just like in the movie 300. So I washed the entire model in Agrax Earthshade (for lighter golds, I’d have used Reikland Fleshshade).


I jumped right in with a drybrush of Liberator Gold using a large drybrush. I was tempted to them use several golds (dark to light) to highlight the gold, but as I wanted to keep it dark, just the one stage felt right. It also made it a lot quicker!


Next, I block-painted the shoulder pads and loincloth Khorne Red. I didn’t have the skill to make greenstuff cloaks so painting these parts a deep red instead is a nod to the film, and its cloak-clad warriors. The face wash painted Bronzed Flesh, and the spear tip with Boltgun metal.


To finish, the face was washed with Reikland Fleshshade, and the reds in Agrax Earthshade. I deliberately didn’t use a red wash so the colours would remain deep and dark. The plume and spear shaft were painted black, and I washed the spear tip in Nuln Oil, then drybrushed it lightly with Mithril Silver. The final stage was a SUPER light drybrush of Mithril Silver on the corners and raised areas of the armour. I based the model with mud, static grass, and tufts, before spraying with with matt varnish. 


UPDATE FIVE: Battle formations!!

Happy with the test model, I rolled out the super-speedy scheme on the entire warband.



With a modest-sized warband fully painted, it was time for my first ever game of Age of Sigmar!

We decided to play a narrative game and not bother working out points; mainly because we wanted to learn the rules and just throw some dice around. Our love for Warhammer Quest saw us settle on an underground scenario where a band of treasure hunters were raiding an Undead tomb. Our heroes have journeyed to the centre of a pyramid complex, convinced they’ll find an ancient artefact they’ve been searching for. Eight corridors bordered the battlefield leading to the central chamber, through which Undead guardians would arrive. The warbands had to search each treasure pile in turn until they found the magical artefact, as Undead reinforcements piled in.

With their High Elf allies taking the brunt of the assault, the Spartans managed to escape with a magic sword. Upon drawing the sorcerous blade, the cavern began to cave in and a bone giant rumbled to un-life, blocking the Spartans only exit. In the final moments, the Spartan general managed to fell the giant and escape with the prize.

Instantly hooked, we decided to play a follow-up game. This time, above ground, as the weary treasure hunters were ambushed on the journey home by the vengeful Tomb Kings. If the Undead could kill the Spartan general in six turns, they’d retrieve their stolen treasure and win the game. They threw everything they had at the Spartan general, including Tomb Scorpions, Tomb Guard and several volleys of arrows (just like the 300 movie!) but thanks to the diligence of his High Elf allies and Minotaur mercenaries, he managed to survive and escape, albeit with just two wounds remaining.


A big learning point for me was the importance of the Liberator unit’s special weapons. Unsupported, Liberators just we’re very effective but with the addition of a Grandblade or Grandhammer, they have a bit more hitting power. So I’ve converted two ‘Grandspears’ (counts as Grandblade) to go with the ‘Warspear’ (counts as Warblade) armed Liberators. I was also missing out on some magical support so built a Knight Incantor.


Warhammer Quest – the original

Cutting our teeth on Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower, the group craved something with a bit more depth and character development. And so we embarked upon our very first Warhammer Quest campaign using the original rules. What follows is a record of our quests, the rise and fall of our heroes, and the legends of their heroic deeds!

Our cast of heroes

View our Warhammer Quest character sheets

General Lee Picket, legendary Witch Hunter and bringer of vengeance. Renown gambler, fixer, finder, and fence. You want it? He can get it. After all, it’s not gambling if you can’t lose.


Elvish Presley, the slightly rotund and accident-prone Elf archer. Often better with a blade than a bow, at least he can be relied upon to find – and trigger – any and all booby traps.

The Wizard of LOLZ. When words fail him, the books they’re written on don’t. Many a goblin has died to a sturdy whack from one of the wizard’s tomes. He’ll earn his keep – and his gold – by keeping you alive. And occasionally frying a monster with the odd lightning bolt.


Ivor Nax. His clothes burnt to a crisp in a lighting storm, Ivor’s quested nude ever since, his modesty covered by a mountain of braided, ginger, beard hair. We assume. And we think no more about it.


Ragnar Rock the barbarian. A simple creature. He was once allowed to carry the torch but got distracted by the pretty colours. He’s been shot, killed and revived more times than he’s had hot dinners.


Free the prisoners

We played our first game and I can honestly say it’s the most fun I’ve ever had playing a wargame! We took the book’s advice and played the recommended first mission. Our party had been employed to rescue a group of prisoners from a band of evil cultists (‘counts as’ Skaven), nestled-up in a local cave network. They were demanding a ransom and mailing body parts to show they were serious. We had to get in, slay the denizens of the dungeon, get the prisoners, and get out. Simple enough, right?


We found the rules to be incredibly rich with a lot of depth, but at the same time the cooperative nature of the game put the players more at ease and happier to make adjustments and tweaks where it made sense. The strong narrative element saw the players remain true to their characters, and the post-battle sequence was simply hilarious! We’re all very much committed to our characters now and want them to succeed. Suffice to say, we bungled through the mission like the novices we were, sustaining horrendous injuries. Yet we miraculously escaped with our lives, rescued the prisoners, killed the monsters, and earned a few bags of gold. Highlights included:

  • The first dice roll of the game – which determines the amount of power wizards generate – triggering an unexpected event by rolling a one. Our heroes were beset by a pit of snakes and had no choice but to proceed deeper into the dungeon for safety (!)
  • In the very next room of the quest, the elf – supposedly the nimblest of our heroes – triggered and bungled into a pit trap, fell through the floor and nearly died. He had to be pulled out by the dwarf with his rope, which snapped in the attempt. We decided this must be a fairly rotund and portly elf. Henceforth, we called him ‘Elfish Presley’
  • Our very first monster encounter was probably one of the hardest challenges a brand new party could face – a pair of minotaurs! They were eventually felled, but not before smashing the barbarian against a wall, which happened to be the first of his three deaths the wizard had to revive him from
  • In fact, so vital was the wizard to the party’s survival, he earned more than 500 gold pieces by healing us in this mission alone
  • But the wizard succumbed to a lone rat who attacked his jugular, dishing out 11 instant wounds. After some persuasion, the elf relented and used his healing potion to revive him
  • A very cinematic moment occurred when a group of orc archers appeared at the end of a long corridor and pinned the party down with relentless arrow fire, peppering the barbarian (his second death). Our heroes ducked out of sight, forcing the orcs to close the distance, whereupon our warriors leapt to the charge!
  • In the final room, the wizard threw a bomb he’d acquired – and we believe possibly enhanced – along the way, blowing-up four orcs in one swift action
  • Descended from a race famed for their archery skill yet unable to hit a thing, a frustrated Elfish Presley set off his flashbangs allowing the party an extra attack each, which saw them slaughter the final monsters
  • In the post-battle sequence, the heroes shared the gold and treasure, each netting roughly 1000 gold and decided to visit a local village. On the way we were ambushed by goblins but earned even more gold defeating them. We were also assailed by a lightning storm which saw the dwarf’s armour and clothes destroyed. The barbarian, flush from his goblin-slaying earnings, consoled the naked dwarf by promising to buy him new armour and clothes (queue girls-going-clothes-shopping montage!)
  • The village turned out to be a less than forward-thinking or progressive venue; the barbarian and (now naked) dwarf went to visit the local armourer who refused to serve the dwarf. His opening line upon bursting through the door: “Oi shopkeeper, ya got anything to fit this…?!” probably didn’t help. Everything was apparently “out of stock” and he should “probably try somewhere else… more suited to the shorter gentleman.” Once the despondent dwarf had left, the barbarian enquired about the very same items, and they were suddenly in stock… fairly suspicious. True to his word, he bought the dwarf some armour. Or rather; furs. Just like his own. He’d like those. They’d be twinsies. And they were cheaper…
  • Meanwhile, our wizard got accused of being a witch by the locals. Technically, they were right. But the wizard did the Vader deathgrip on the main rabble-rouser and quelled the crowd, getting him to admit, suspended in midair: “Ok, ok, you’re clearly not a witch!”
  • The elf took timeout to visit ‘the elf quarter’ and came back with ‘elf herbs.’ which promptly saw him bedridden for two days, watching Netflix and eating Dominoes under the pretense he “had a cold.” Apparently, so did the dwarf, but the party suspected he was just sulking. The barbarian and wizard eventually got thrown out for causing trouble so the party decided it was time to leave. “We will not be leaving a good Trip Advisor review,” were the parting words of a naked dwarf.


A stranger joins

Taking rest at a small chapel, the party came across a Witch Hunter, General Lee Picket, preparing his weapons and tools to perform an exorcism. They were soon set upon by a band of Orcs but fought them off together, valiantly. Indebted, the party agreed to briefly separate to assist the Witch Hunter in his quest, and rendezvous at the next city. The Elf accompanied him into the depths to help perform the Exorcism. Successful, they then returned the Sword of True Kingship they found in the crypt to its true owner, and then narrowly managed to stop a Sacrifice of one of the Elf’s kin.


  • Three quests, back-to-back fit comfortably into an evening’s gin-fueled gaming
  • As there were just two heroes (out of four), we halved the number of dungeon cards. For the first quest, we also halved the number of monsters rolled. By the second and third quests (and gins!) we felt a little braver and fought everything we rolled
  • Elvish Presley, our portly Elf, triggered alarms and traps left, right and centre, as per usual
  • The Witch Hunter fired his pistol just once each quest, but each time blasting a greenskin to pieces! Very satisfying. The Elf only found the opportunity for one shot the whole time as he was too busy slicing and dicing in melee
  • We chose quests that felt ‘Witch Huntery’ and were very atmospheric. Both heroes picked up some excellent magic items and gear. One dungeon literally just contained rats and spiders so we got off very lightly on that occasion. Yet one contained a ‘giant pink money with a machine gun for an arm’ (rat ogre), and the other a minotaur. Surprisingly, the two heroes overcame their foes and completed the quests


Half the party goes forth

The Witch Hunter and the Elf continued their successes, completing two more quests with a sack full of gold, treasure and magic items. Witch Hunter General Picket was notching up some fairly substantial kills with his Sword of Vengeance so gifted it to Elvish for him to gain some experience. They first had to identify a dead body to settle an inheritance dispute. Thankfully, the tomb was fairly small and only guarded by a Skaven assassin and a Minotaur, which our two heroes dispatched easily.  The pair were then employed to assassinate a rather pesky Goblin shamen. This time, the cave complex he inhabited was much more heavily guarded. “Left! Our path lies to the left!” Picket confidently pronounced as they reached a T-junction. But of course, he meant his other left. Had they turned right, the map would have been just three tiles long as the objective was the very next room! As it happened however, they battled all the way toward a dead end and had to double-back. But it wasn’t a wasted journey, as they killed many monsters and found much treasure in the process. In the final room, Picket used a charge from his amulet of Alcadizzar to slay the shamen from afar before it could unleash any nasty spells, and then got into a shootout with a band of Orc archers from behind the sarcophagus. Meanwhile, the Elf leapt into the room and bloodied his newly borrowed Sword of Vengeance to earn more experience and gold.

In the post game sequence, the pair journeyed to the nearest city on their horses (reducing the journey time by two weeks). Picket rinsed the local gambling den, but being the altruistic type, he spent his winnings on a pair of horses for the other two members of the party, and also gifted his Blade of Sea Gold to the Dwarf. Both the Elf and the Witch Hunter advanced yet another level and picked up some useful skills and stat upgrades.


Shutting down the counterfeiters

With our buddy back from America for a short while, we all hooked up to go questing. We chose a fire chasm mission that could only be completed by the Dwarf. We were tasked to shut down a Chaos Dwarf forge, and had to escort the Dwarf safely to the fire chasm objective room. Only he had the right skills to shut down the forge by quenching the fire chasm. He had to release a magic ring from the room’s golden statue, and throw it into the fires to stop them burning.


The quest was a blast right from the opening room where we were set upon by 12 Ghouls, who badly mauled the party right from the off. We were reminded of the UV grenade scene in Blade 2 when General Lee activated his Amulet of Purity, instantly killing four of the ghouls.


Upon completion of the quest, the party plundered the dungeon for treasure. We laughed when we rolled two duplicate Shield’s of Ptolos – we decided we must have just shutdown a cheap counterfeiters outfit run by a dirty band of Chaos Dwarfs… but not before we pocketed a few items for ‘evidence.’

In the post-game sequence, General Lee and Elvish chipped in to help Ivor and The Wizard of LOLZ go up to level two – the Dwarf gaining a runic axe and the Wizard learning the lightning bolt spell.


Taking the scenic route

Some quests are over pretty quick; you come across a T-junction early on, the dungeon deck is split, and by sheer chance the route you take has the objective room fairly high on that newly ordered pile of dungeon cards. Winning!

This however, was no such quest.

To find – and then destroy – a damnable warpstone amulet that “must be destroyed at all costs to stop the Skaven reclaiming it,” 12 out of 13 dungeon cards had to be explored. Not only that, but once we’d found the amulet, we had to backtrack the entire length of the dungeon to find the firechasm to destroy it in. Naturally, we were ambushed countless times. And our foes include some pretty tough monsters, now our heroes are advancing at pace. Seekers of Slaanesh, Flamers of Tzeentch, Minotaurs, stone trolls, Chaos Warriors, Stormvermin and a Dark Elf beastmaster all seemed to have an invite to this particular party.

Although it was the crawliest of dungeon crawls, our characters made it out alive. The players – fueled by gin and pizza – had a blast, and completed the quest on a weeknight evening after work. Highlights included:

  • Getting ambushed four times in a row in the same dungeon room, while the original dungeon room monsters were still alive. Resolving FIVE treasure cards in a row felt good. And deserved.
  • A three-way shoot-out between Elvish, Picket and a crossbow-wielding Dark Elf Beastmaster. Despite a headshot from Picket’s shoota (which Elvish discounts noting it can’t be a headshot if the blast also hit the torso, legs and arms), the beastmaster kept whittling Picket down. It was Elvish who finally laid his dark cousin low, a magic arrow ricocheting between his eyes as he re-rolled a one to hit and scored a six.
  • Witch Hunter Picket unleashing the (one use only) Hydra Sword when he was surrounded by two minotaurs and two trolls. He gutted all four in a single swing.
  • Elvish staying true to form and setting off the one and only trap in the dungeon. Yet (even truer to form) escaped the resulting damage. Instead, it was Picket who was wounded by the gas-filled bag he found. “Does this smell funny to you…??” 
  • Running out of tricks and desperately low on wounds, the pair were ambushed in a narrow corridor by eight Chaos Warriors. In an unusual display of trust in the Elf’s sub-par shooting abilities, the Witch Hunter pinned the warriors in place as Elvish picked them off with bowfire. Taking advantage of the narrow confines, the covering fire skewered them as they advanced, each shot like a bolt thrower.
  • Witch Hunter Picket earning himself a whopping 6650 gold in bounty alone. To Picket’s surprise, Elvish netted a similar amount after selling a few of the “not THAT rare or valuable, really anyway” pieces of treasure… just bric-à-brac and trinkets… like The Hammer of Sigmar for example…!
  • It was also fitting in the post-game sequence that a roll of ‘glorious weather’ followed two consecutive rolls of ‘uneventful week’ – we decided the party must have gone on a well deserved beach holiday.


And suddenly everyone wants to wizard 

The Crown of Sorcery is a rare item of objective room treasure which allows a hero to cast a random selection of low-level spells. Effectively, it benefits your character by upgrading them to a spell caster while allowing them to retain their current warrior abilities. Crucially, you’re still allowed to wear armour and can cast your spells every  phase, so long as you have enough power. There is a risk however; each time the crown is used, the player must roll a D6. On a roll of 1, the spell fails and the character loses their turn as they become dumbfounded. A small price to pay however, especially when mitigated with luck dice. The party was incredibly lucky to come across TWO Crowns of Sorcery during the next two quests. Now both the Dwarf and Elf have magical abilities,  including healing spells, lighting bolts, fireballs and several other boons. This will open up a whole new tactical level to our games as it might mean the wizard of LOLZ (the original wizard, a wizard who was wizarding before it was cool…) can focus on casting the more powerful and destructive spells.


In the ‘banish the daemon’ quest, the Dwarf used his stonemaster skill on the very first tile and found a secret door to the objective room right away! We thought we were in for a lighting quick game. However, it was not to be. For the objective room monsters contained a pair of Necromancers – an evil, husband and wife partnership who took their vows beyond death. Supported by wights, mummies, and minotaurs, the pair bombarded our heroes with devastating spells while summoning endless hordes of zombies. It made progress into the room difficult as empty spaces were quickly filled by the undead. All we could do was clear a space for the Elf to take shots at the Necromancers, eventually whittling one down and slaying him. This gave the party enough of a respite to take a foothold in the room and make an impact on the hordes. The Witch Hunter took out the second Necromancer, making good use of his thrown holy water and ranged attack amulets. At final count, the heroes had earned over 12,000 gold coins between them from just a single room, such was the volume of the undead reinforcements.



In the second quest, Elvish and Picket were recruited to slay a monster responsible for terrorising the local townsfolk they called ‘The Maneater.’ To better hone their skills, the party rejigged their equipment between them, with Ivor the Dwarf now holding the Sword of Vengeance and the Hydra Blade, while the Witch Hunter took up the Frost Blade and the Blade of Leaping Gold. We decided this assassination mission would be the perfect way to test out Picket’s new combo, and felt a Champion-level Minotaur would be a suitable foe. The Blade of Leaping Gold gave Picket a total of six attacks, but for the really big nasties such as this Champion Minotaur, he’d use the Frost Blade. This allows only a single attack, but if it causes just one wound, that monster dies instantly. We figured with 36 faith points (which can be used to adjust dice scores after the roll), Picket would benefit most from this weapon and could near guarantee a kill. Covering fire from the Elf killed a Minotaur, clearing a space for the Witch Hunter to charge The Maneater. Not only did he effortlessly cut down his foe, but he cleaved through and gutted it’s kin in the same swing. In the post-game sequence, impressed by his exploits, the witch hunter’s guild requested his presence and gifted him a Holy Book, meaning he can now record incantations.


When a Minotaur wants his soul back 

In the strangest of twists, General Lee Picket and Elvish Presley found themselves journeying the same strand of fate as infamous Minotaur Lord Ragnor Shakhulf Black Rock, forming a temporary alliance. All were on a quest to find the mysterious Pool of Eversouls, where the bravest heroes could each attempt to pluck a single valuable gem – which were rumoured to contain a lost soul. In Black Rock’s case, he knew one contained his own soul, and retrieving it would free him from the shackles of the Chaos Gods, liberating him to do as he please. Glad to have the combined strength, the three set out on their quest.

Making a cameo appearance for an evening’s questing, we had no choice but to let Beastman-fan extraordinaire Extra Hand Weapon, roll for his character using Minotaur stats. He created a suitably monstrous hero and played in character, barreling into rooms, and smashing the place to pieces! It was fantastic fun to see the dungeon monsters get a taste of their own medicine. The final dungeon room played out like a movie. Confronted by a Necromancer Lord, a Tomb King, and a retinue of Chaos Warriors and Tomb Guard, Elvish’s opening gambit was to summon a pit of despair that swallowed the Necromancer in one! Picket used his vengeance skill and Frostblade to dispatch the Tomb King, while Black Rock went to town on the Chaos Warriors, crumpling armour and bone with ease. All three warriors braved the waters of the Pool of Eversouls, each retreiving a gem… and Black Rock his soul.

Now, freed of the burden of fulfilling the will of the Chaos Gods to destroy and despoil the civilisation of man, Black Rock is able to do as he wants… which is probably destroying and despoiling the civilisations of man…


Feathered fiend

To pay their training fees and increase to level five, the Witch Hunter and the Elf needed some serious coin. Perhaps a little over confident, they felt the best way to accrue that amount was to tackle a nasty monster. Hearing rumours of a particularly pesky Griffin taking-up roost in a nearby warrior’s tomb, they sallied forth to kill it and claim the bounty.

Bounding through the dungeon corridors they encountered numerous Orc Big ‘Uns, Minotaurs and Ogres before finally uncovering the nest. General Picket blocked the path of the Griffin to protect Elvish, allowing the Elf to throw all his magic spells and shooting at the beast. In combat, the Witch Hunter activated his amulet of fury (+1A), amulet of strength (+1S) amulet of power (+2S), and combined them with a borrowed Deathsword (S10, one use per adventure), to smash off 40 odd wounds, dropping the Griffin to just 10! But with four attacks each doing multiple damage, the Witch Hunter was taken out of action. But that was all the distraction Elvish needed to let fly a final arrow to slay the beast and then revive Picket with a spell! Epic stuff.

Both questers split the cash and visited their respective training schools with heavy coin purses, fancy feathered cloaks, and smug looks on their faces.

The players agreed one of the best things about level five is the extra damage dice it gives. Now the Elf’s bow does 5D6 damage (one dice per level), and the Witch Hunter does 2D6 damage in combat as standard (3D6 if he rolls a 6 to hit due to his new ‘deathblow’ skill), with six attacks (three on profile, three from the Blade of Leaping Gold).


Heirloom sword

Quietly brooding over a pint of ale in the local tavern, our heroes overhead a band of ruffians talk of a fabled Elvish weapon long thought lost, but recently glimpsed by an escaped prisoner in the treasury of a nearby Orc stronghold.

This was one of those labour-intensive quests that revealed every single dungeon card. Early on, the path split in two and of course we took the wrong one, needlessly doubling the length of our adventure. Despite now being at level six, the peril is still incredibly high as there’s always a very real risk our characters will die to such powerful and numerous monsters. One such incident occurred during one of many inevitable ambushes on the long, dark journey back towards the T-junction. After Elvish had summoned a pit of despair to finish off some Chaos Warriors, he bounded ahead to make progress towards our goal… which proved to be a mistake as out of the pit came a beholder (‘counts as’ Gorgon) that set upon the Witch Hunter and slowly started to turn him to stone. Elvish had to double-back to rescue the Witch Hunter from an early grave. In the final room, the treasury was guarded by a regiment of Orc champions, all of which were dispatched in short order.


Slay the Dragon

Slurring and staggering, they were both clearly very drunk. Yet the other alehouse patrons gave them a wide berth, ignoring their obnoxious bravado.

“Yes I do. Of course I reckon we can. Definitely. I mean, we’ve got the tools for the job,” Elvish proclaimed, pointing and spilling his beer towards Picket’s scabbard where Frostblade hung. “Stick that in its heart… you’ve got one dead Dragon,” concluding his point with a hiccup. The Elf took another fistful of dried meat from the bowl on the table, satisfied he had nothing more to add, but eager to hear what the Witch Hunter had to say.

Picket smiled beneath his rimmed hat and leant back, drunkenly slamming his boots on the table and making himself comfortable. Still chewing on a particularly tough piece of jerky he stared into the roaring fireplace, pondering the possibilities. Slowly, he nodded in agreement as if the fiery hearth helped him consider all the possibilities of this well thought out plan. “If you can keep the beast’s minions off me… and we reserve our most powerful artefacts… and we’re not too hurt by the time we find it’s lair… it just might work, my fat Elven friend!” Grinning, he thrust his beer toward the Elf in salute and drunkenly whispered, “And just think of all that treasure!”

With a clash of tankards, the pair had decided their next quest. They’d slay a Dragon.

Our heroes are now level 6 and really are quite powerful and we’re finding we’re able to overcome most enemies. Between us we have skills, magic items, spells and artifacts to cover most eventualities. So we’re hankering for a real challenge – or a heroic death! As one of the lads recently painted a Dragon, we discussed the idea of taking it on. That would be a pretty epic achievement if we managed to kill it. Doing the numbers, it looked like we’d have a fairly good chance, especially with the Witch Hunter’s faith points to manipulate dice rolls, and a few luck re-rolls between us. We had a number of powerful one use only weapons – Frostblade, two Deathswords, Sword of Heroes, and Hydrablade – and a good selection strength and attack boosting amulets and spells. But of course if the preceding dungeon rooms forced us to use up these valuable resources and we faced the Dragon without the tools we needed, we’d be in trouble.

But fate smiled on us. We found the final dungeon room relatively quickly, only revealing roughly half the dungeon deck. We’d bested a Beastmen warband, a Necromancer and her goons, two Cockatrice, and a trio of Orc Lords before we found the Dragon’s lair. We’d been very careful not to use our luck re-rolls or many faith points. Plus we held off using nearly all of our one use amulets and spells. Now was time to concentrate.

Using his Vengeance skill, the Witch Hunter barged his way toward the Dragon and was allowed to strike first. With a word, he activated his amulets of power, and amulet of strength. Elvish pumped all his magic dice into boosting Picket’s strength statistic, hoping to help pierce the monster’s hide, and also reduced the monster’s attacks (not that the Elf lacked faith in Picket’s abilities…). Drawing Frostblade, the Witch Hunter was allowed a single attack with his now enhanced strength. If that attack wounded, it would cause instant death. It came down to a single dice. He rolled to hit… but missed! Holding their breath, they used a point of luck to re-roll, and were relieved to see it hit. As the attack rolled a six, this also meant the Witch Hunter’s deathblow skill kicked in, giving him three damage dice instead of two. But it wasn’t time to celebrate just yet. The Dragon had an ignore pain save of 5+. This could be it. The attack might just simply bounce off. The Dragon might laugh at our puny efforts, and eat us alive for daring to challenge it. But it failed its save!

It was getting tense. As Frostblade found its mark, we calculated we’d need to roll 12 or over on three dice, to score a wound, after taking into account the beasts toughness, armour, and skills. Not easy. As the dice tumbled across the table, our hearts sank when one-by-one they settled on a series of low numbers barely enough to scratch the surface. Time to use another luck point for a re-roll. Time to hold our breaths again. Time to change the dice (because the other ones were clearly unlucky). Time to roll…. A six, a five… and a four… makes fifteen! Three wounds got through! We’d done it!

With a double-handed thrust, Frostblade pierced the beast’s diamond-hard skin, right up to the hilt, penetrating it’s heart. With a blast of magical energy, the blade sucked the fire from the creature as it sputtered a defiant roar. His blade lodged in place, the Witch Hunter stumbled backwards as the beast turned to ice from the inside out, it’s colour draining in seconds, and freezing it in position. Moments later, with a tectonic boom the monster exploded in a shower of icy shards, flinging the Witch Hunter across the room. As Frostblade clattered to the floor, nothing remained save a horde of treasure the likes had never been seen.

They were victorious.



Overlord Mortis of the Duat dynasty

Overlord Mortis rules the Duat dynasty.

Unusually, the Duat dynasty is based on but a single planet. But a planet of reputable dread.

In ancient Necrontyr times, his domain was known as the Underworld, a place enemies, traitors, criminals and wrongdoers would be sent to die – or worse.

The Silent King decreed Duat – the planet from which the Dynasty would eventually take its name – would be the Necrontyr’s own living version of Hell. A physical deterrent to keep his people in line. With a hyper-dense and volatile solar core, Duat was the very image of Hell. Lakes of liquid fire covered the surface, while black, acrid, sulfurous smoke smothered the atmosphere. Land masses formed of volcanic rock violently erupted to create jagged mountain ranges, while almost all the planet’s flora and fauna had either died out, or evolved daemonic-like resistance, with tendencies to match. The planet itself projected a strong and distorted magnetic field. Amplified by nearby micro-rifts, light seemingly bent around the planet, while long-ranged sensors could not make sense of the garbled readings they picked up – combined, this made the planet all but invisible until it came into physical sight upon approach. Once taken there, you’d never be found.

In Duat, the Silent King had a very real threat with which to hang over his subjects – obey the law, live by the codes, or face the eternal hellfire and punishment of the Underworld. Carved deep within Duat’s crust lay labyrinthine tunnels, caves and converted dungeon complexes. Cavernous torture chambers, dark experimentation labs and billowing execution furnaces honeycombed the entire planet.

And it fell to Mortis to act as custodian for this grim realm.

The Necrontyr race’s biotransference – the process that saw the once mortal race supplanted by undying metal physical form – stripped the will, self-awareness and individuality from most of the Necrontyr save the ruling elite, leaving behind soulless, numbed automata.

Following biotransference, Duat remained a place of imprisonment and punishment. Though with the passing of the eons, the long sleep, the disappearance of the Silent King and the eventual degrading of the Necron’s minds, the reasons that remained the case became unclear; perhaps it was a learned, practiced or habitual response from the now-dulled savants and warriors that inhabited Duat, or perhaps Duat’s most senior Necron’s – the ones who still retained some wit about them – knew the psychological power of a dread reputation.

Either way, to this day, the Necrons of the Duat dynasty still bring captives back to the Underworld for punishment after each and every engagement.

IMG_1229Grown bitter from the millennia of being steward to the dead and the damned, Mortis craves – irrationally now – to become mortal once more. To once again taste, smell, touch and feel, he plans to reverse his biotransference – to ‘upload’ his consciousness into a suitable vassal. And with ferry-loads of captives still mindlessly being brought to Duat on a daily basis, he has plenty of subjects with which to experiment on.

But Mortis is not content to sit and wait. For millennia he has personally led raids upon unsuspecting worlds to seek out new captives and technology with which to further his goals. And he will stop at nothing. He has no regard for the lives his experimentation and machinations cost – like when he unwittingly unleashed a zombie plague upon Imperial Registered Planet 1NA.


His experiments – ever grander, wilder and Machiavellian – have led to many other pleasant advancements;

  • While attempting to harness Duat’s hyper-dense solar core to power a mass-sentient mind-transponder, he discovered he could use the same technology to re-focus and overcharge the weaponry of his warriors… That he flash-melted an entire cohort of 10,000 of his own Immortals during the process was of no concern.
  • In an encounter with The Enslavers he hypothesised secretions from their feeder tentacles could be used to transfer thoughts from one living entity to another. He was wrong. And instead discovered their method of mind control was far more complex, involving the opening of a rift in the warp to, in effect, travel back in time and manipulate thought at conception. Mortis adapted this knowledge to upgrade Duat’s Plasma Sphere transports, allowing him to teleport his armies vast distances across the galaxy. Though he lacks the sprawling empires and growing influence of other Necron dynasties, this technology means he’s never hamstrung or handicapped operating from a single, hidden planet just as well.
  • Manipulating the hive mind of captured Tyranid specimens to create a ‘Multi-Mortis,’ was a promising concept. The vision of an ever-lasting version of himself across multiple, mortal creatures – each with their own sensations being multiplied by his own – is tantalising, yet proving frustratingly evasive. In addition to now hearing voices in his head, Mortis has however been able to put many of his failed experiments to use. Bottled Zoanthrope heads mounted upon skeletal legs allow Mortis to blast his foes apart with a thought. Genestealer limbs injected with silvered Necro-nanites have been successfully grafted onto Warrior bodies. And low level sentience inhibitor dishes have fairly reliably been able to control the smaller Tyranid creatures. A bit.

He’s known to many thousands of cultures and civilisations across the galaxy. And known by equally as many names; Mortis, Grim Reaper, Santa Muerte, Hades, Mors, Osiris… each sector he’s touched have their own moniker for him, but all such names mean the same thing – Death; ruler of the Underworld.



  • The Duat dynasty will be represented by ‘Mephrit: Solar Fury.’ Mortis’ experimentation and resultant discoveries have allowed him to overcharge his legion’s weapons. At half range, the Armour Penetration characteristic of Duat dynasty weapons are improved by 1
  • Mortis will be equipped with a Voidscythe and Veil of Darkness – true kit of the Grim Reaper
  • His warlord trait will be represented by Honorable Combatant – not for name, but for effect. Gaining +D3 attacks if directed against a single character suits the idea that Overlord Mortis is inescapable, inevitable, creeping death itself. From under hooded veil he points and silently calls for you. There’s no escaping. It’s your time to die




Note – the Overlord Mortis model is a quick and easy conversion of Puppets War Cyber Grim Reaper


The Silver Tower

The lads chipped-in to buy the utterly GLORIOUS boxed set that is Warhammer Quest Silver Tower. The models are absolutely beautiful and we spent an evening together feverishly building them all. We were all big fans of the quality of the card tiles and accessories, and after a few practice games, we were hooked. It’s such a great value set. The game play is fast and simple, but with enough depth to keep it varied, fun and interesting, with plenty of tactical decisions to make. An interesting dynamic is the cooperative nature of the game and the interoperability of the characters with one another. A well-formed crew really is an example of “the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.” Victory will only come if they work together.

The duty to paint it all fell to me. Luckily, they were a joy to work on. I painted nearly all the models from a white undercoat and made good use of washes to get the job done fast. The sculpts are super crisp and the usual top-quality we’ve all come to know and love from Games Workshop.

We’re all creating bespoke characters for a big campaign weekend at the end of March. We plan to smash through the entire campaign, beginning to end, developing and advancing our characters, and earning them fame and glory (or bloody death and ruin…). In either case, it promises to be loads of fun! Another attraction of the game is how casual and “beer-proof” it is – no matter how drunk we get, we’ll still be able to play (although some of us will put that to the test!). The gang has already started planning, building and painting their characters, and are now starting to discuss their bespoke rules.

We bought a bespoke foam tray to store and protect the painted models. This tray fits neatly into the existing Silver Tower box with enough room underneath for all the card tiles, markers and rules.

Here are some step-by-step guides showing how I used basic block painting, washes and drybrushing to get most of the work done.




UPDATE: For just a few pounds I got a sheet of fake, soft black leather to act as a sort of table cloth and provide a backdrop. I’ve started to rebase and paint a set of the classic HeroQuest models to use as ‘exotic adversaries,’ and I picked up a set of the new Chaos Adversary cards so I have their rules.


And the players are starting to build and paint their models. So far we have:

  • The Devoted in Death – a Witch Hunter’s essence ressurected into a Stone Gargoyle
  • Badagot – Beastman adventurer and the party’s torch bearer
  • Astro-Nova – the party’s wizard, able to power-up and change forms
  • Purifier of the Lost – a knightly paladin with a fiery sword
  • Cruella Daemonbane – an axe-wielding daemon huntress
  • Brawlerguts – an Ogre Boxer modeled on its Ogre-shaped creator


Not one to do things by half, Steve made an entire warband to accompany his character and use in skirmish games. Steve explains the background of these unusual and zany models in this Games Workshop seminar-style video (to stave off cabin fever, a snowed-in Steve had his own ‘Snowpen day’ as Games Workshop’s actual open day was snowed off).


The rules:

Starting with a blank card, we tinkered with creating our own rules.

Character -blank cardHVNS2284AEVD3827Character - Purifier of the lostCharacter -Brawlerguts the Ogre BoxerQIVO7344

Character - AstroCharacter - Nova


UPDATE: Playing the game

What an epic weekend! We gamed (and drank) for 18 hours straight. From 10am Saturday morning until 4am Sunday morning, our heroes battled through the Silver Tower, completing four successive quests! We had originally aimed to complete all eight but underestimated how long each would take – and how much booze we’d get through! (a very respectable four litres of spirits alone)

Highlights included:

  • Facing off against a variety of exotic adversaries, each guest bringing their own surprise models
  • Astro Nova’s healing potions (shots of Aftershock in glass bottles)
  • A quest ending in a ‘Royal Rumble’ style event where the heroes faced off – The Purifier came out on top
  • Brawlerguts the Ogre boxer beating The Deathrunner’s face in, only to find out it was a shadow (literally, shadow boxing)
  • Badagot the Beastman lassoing a horde of Chaos Warriors, pinning them in place
  • An isolated Cruella using her ‘Sweeping Blow’ to disembowel all the enemies around her, saving her skin
  • The stone Witch Hunter soaking up damage and being our reliable ‘tank,’ especially when buffed by The Purifier
  • Splitting the party – several times – and surviving. “Never split the party” we agreed, right from the start. But after a few drinks, the bravado kicked in and we went our separate ways, eager to earn glory!

Learning for next time:

  • All our bespoke characters were probably a bit over powered. We shared our ideas during design but I don’t think we realised how powerful they’d be when used together. Perhaps we could have limited the multiple damage attacks amongst the group. Or assign ‘character classes’ e.g. “you make a tank, you make a healer, you make a wizard…”
  • It was amazing fun! The rules are simple to pick up and really slick (we had a player who’d never tried it before). The four-dice action mechanic was very popular and helps keep each player turn to a similar length
  • To increase the danger and peril next time, we should probably tone our characters down, or have more/harder exotic adversaries
  • We had six heroes instead of four or five. This also made a big difference to the quest so more bad guys were needed
  • With a lot of bad guys comes a lot of ‘book keeping’ – who is wounded, who is stunned, which adversary group does what action. A slicker way to work out wounded bad guys might speed it up e.g. allocate wounds to a ‘group’ instead of each individual model, but would sacrifice a lot of realism
  • Equally, some characters hit/affected multiple enemies – often an entire tile which slowed the game down. Rolling to affect whole adversary groups together, or avoiding these abilities altogether would speed things up
  • The system to reveal the map using cards is genius, as is the system to reveal the bad guys – we didn’t come across any problems and the ‘artificial intelligence’ of the adversaries never let us down
  • Abilities that granted or generated additional action dice also slowed things down. It’s worth considering limiting these when designing your own characters
  • Booze! Rules that required drinking were really good fun. One character had healing potions (that in reality did the opposite!) and another forced a shot of Fireball when his character set the enemy on fire (by rolling a six… which happened frequently). But why stop there? Bonuses to your character for real-world actions should be a thing. Made a round of drinks? Have a re-roll. Opened a new bag of snacks? Get plus one move.

With four pieces of shard in their chest, the adventurers take rest. For now.


Kill Team: Mortis

IMG_1496“Registered planet 1NA had finally succumbed. The zombie plague had taken hold and the planet was doomed. Imperial intervention to recover ancient Adepta Sororitas relics were thwarted by myriad xenos forces who escaped with the prize, fleeing the sector and sealing the planet’s fate. Now, Inquisitor Mortis has decreed the ultimate sanction: exterminatus.”

“But Inquisitor Mortis has one final plan before his sentence is carried out. Mortis wishes to plunder the secrets of 1NA and discover how and why it was so quickly ravaged by the zombie plague. This most unorthodox of Inquisitors has hand selected the most unorthodox of Kill Teams to recover a number of relics before orbital bombardment begins.”

Here’s the brief the players received:

We’ll play an allied cooperative game, where each player represents one individual member of a Kill Team, specially selected by a rather unorthodox Inquisitor to complete a highly important mission on a zombie infested planet that he’s sentenced to exterminatus.

You will have to build, convert and paint your character, and devise the rules and fluff. Anything goes. Warrior, mystic, combat lunatic, Space Marine captain, xenos, mutant, heretic, daemon… Whatever you fancy, and whatever rules and equipment you can devise – if it makes everyone say “that’s so cool!” then you’re on to a winner



  • The draw of a playing card will indicate the board edge (suit) and quantity (card number) of zombies arriving from reserve
  • Zombies have human stats, but I1, and will always move and charge 6″ regardless of scenery. They will only ever get one attack but it will have the rending ability
  • Zombies arrive together as a horde and will stay within 2″ of each other. If they can ‘join’ an existing horde on the board when they arrive, they must do so
  • Excess wounds caused on a zombie can be passed on to a neighbouring zombie within 2″


  • In addition to making your character, you will also have to build, convert, paint and come up with rules for one ‘monstrosity’
  • When a picture card is drawn, this means a random monstrosity will arrive. If yours is selected you’ll have to introduce it to the group and explain its rules.

The mission:

  • The Kill Team will enter play together from the same board edge. They will have to recover certain items from the battlefield in turn, each revealing a bit more narrative and return to the centre of the battlefield to await evac, just before the orbital bombardment of exterminatus begins. More details on that later…

Regular readers will recognise we decided to continue the story started during #TheTrainJob narrative game by setting it on the same planet; Reg: 1NA.

Unusually, for this game the players only need to bring a couple of models each. They will combine them to form a unique Kill Team. The game will be a blend of narrative and roleplay-based approaches; a sort of Warhammer Quest, meets Kill Team, meets 40K.



At the command centre

“Sire, the Planetary Defence Force has been overrun. Their dead have swelled the zombie’s ranks. The weapon we provided was ineffective. Our perimeter defences will not last much longer. The planet is lost.”

Inquisitor Mortis’ aide emotionlessly delivered the grim news from the doorway of the command centre. Mortis, his face hidden within his dark cowl sat at his paper-strewn desk and pondered the news. Slowly, he turned to his aide.

“The weapon worked perfectly,” he stated flatly in his cold, robotic voice. “We must recover it.”

The command centre looked more like a laboratory than a military installation. Diagrams of human, xenos and mechanical physiology covered the walls. Here and there, tissue samples, glass vials and beakers could be seen, some bubbling away on burners or linked to spiraling tubes carrying brightly coloured liquids. The occasional severed limb, pronged with apparatus, measurement and monitoring devices sat on macabre workbenches. Mortis waved a bionic hand toward a glowing monitor that seemed to show personnel files, pictograms of warriors slowly rotating, and vid-clips of soldiers in battle.

“Assemble the Kill Team.”


The virus

Registered planet 1NA, codenamed; ‘REGINA’ had been utterly ravaged. A backwater planet, in a backwater system, 1NA was considered locally to be a hive of villainy. Yet to the Imperium, it had a relatively stable population, though somewhat unruly, and was known for reliably meeting its mining tithe, despite declining targets as resources dropped.

The zombie virus took hold fast and the planet declined rapidly. The virus was rampant; in less than four months it had laid waste to vast swathes of the planet’s populace. Those that survived the early days of infection took advantage of the chaos to further their own selfish ambition. Small tribes formed across the continents but were soon overwhelmed. The Planetary Defence Force was annihilated and with the news, Inquisitor Mortis declared Exterminatus.

Before orbital bombardment of 1NA began, Mortis assigned a covert Kill Team to recover a devastating weapon. Recruiting from local talent, the mission was completely off Imperial records, allowing Mortis to employ xenos, mutants, heretics, as well as some of the sector’s hardest and most dangerous warriors.


Kill Team inbound

Safely deployed and clear of the battlecruiser, the Storm Eagle’s thrusters roared into life propelling the gunship aggressively towards the planet. Nestled safely within the confines of the troop compartment, an eclectic mix of warriors assembled from across the Georgia system pensively waited to receive their orders as the gunship smoothly banked to join 1NA’s orbit.

The ship’s holocom activated, an incoming communicade casting its green glow throughout the compartment and bathing the Kill Team in a low gloom. Out of the static, a robed figure appeared and could be seen adjusting his hood, revealing for the briefest moment a pair of bionic hands. Turning to face the camera, the hooded figure addressed the team, his features undetectable beneath the darkness of his cowl:

“I am Inquisitor Mortis. I have assembled you for a mission of the upmost urgency. The zombie plague has taken hold of registered world 1NA and local forces, both Imperial and Xenos, have been overrun. Unable to control the outbreak, it has now become a planet-wide epidemic. The world is lost and it is my heavy burden to sentence it to receive the Emperor’s deliverance in the form of Exterminatus.

“Yet before orbital bombardment begins, there are a number of relics I want recovering – artefacts of great importance to the Imperium and indeed the future of the entire sector. I want to discover the source of the outbreak and why the planet succumbed so quickly.

“I have personally selected each and every one of you for this task based on the unique skills you possess. Together, you are greater than the sum of your parts. Resistance will be heavy and you are authorised to use whatever means necessary to complete your mission. I am sending you landing coordinates now…”




What a game!

We played in two parts; on the surface of REG:1NA locating a number of objectives, and then underground in a top secret lab full of monstrosities!


  • The first game played a bit like a platform computer game – each objective was revealed one at a time, adding narrative and a bit of tense drama
  • Arriving by dropship, the team had to:
    • locate the survivors
    • take a water sample from the village font
    • get the sample analysed
    • locate and secure the T-virus weapon
    • get to the underground lad entrance and lock the door
  • As the game entered its final stages zombie cards (reinforcements) were drawn every five minutes – this really put pressure on the team!
  • The monstrosities were great fun – each player had designed their own rules. A favourite was ‘mimic’ who had the same stats and abilities as his opponent, and ‘the trouser snake’ who deployed via deep strike
  • Dutch used his field craft ability to kill a Nurgle beastie – but only because he was saved at the last moment by the sniper providing him a 6+ invulnerable save
  • The Kroot shaper sniping zombie hobbit Michael Jackson…who’d previously evaded four instant death wounds (clearly moonwalking or thriller dancing out of harms way)
  • The beastmarines played to character and butchered everything in close combat. Predictably, they were the last ones to reach the underground lab having to be practically dragged out of combat
  • The Ork doktor’s kit was wildly spectacular – one shot killed 13 zombies, whilst another backfired and woudned his comrades
  • Once underground, with the door bolted, the team had to investigate the rooms and deliver the T-virus weapon
  • The facility door was eventually bashed down and zombies flooded in
  • Plot twist; ‘Barry’ the monstrosity turned out to be the survivor’s husband who long ago, went off to fight ‘robot space aliens’ but was never seen again – the survivor managed to convince him to fight for her (using a mini ‘higher or lower’ card game to determine the result). He was eventually overcome by the horde but not before holding them up and saving the team
  • The Arbites judge managed to interogate one of the lab’s scientists to discover an alternative way out – a secret transporter room
  • The final gambit saw the team break down the last door to reveal Inquisitor Mortis himself… a Necron Lord in disguise, he’d orchestrated the whole thing. In his endless quest to reverse the effects of his race’s bio-transference, his experiments had gotten wilder, grander and more deadly. The zombie virus outbreak on REG:1NA was one such experiment… with planet-wide, destructive results
  • The team fell upon Mortis and took him out in close combat. But his skeletal body faded out of existence leaving his dark robes behind.
  • The team disbands and the story continues…

Adeptus Arbites – Kill Team

IMG_0279Our first forray into Kill Team was a success! The games were very quick, full of narrative and had tonnes of tense, heroic moments. It also worked well for allied games too; all players could get involved and there were no long periods of waiting around

Will the sniper make this critical shot? Can we kill the suicide bomber before he reaches our lines? Will the melta gunner roll high enough to one-shot the Taurox?

Tracking victory points throughout the game increased the intensity and added new tactical elements: “We’re three points behind… if we can kill an enemy leader, get that unit behind enemy lines and reduce that army to 25%, we can still win…!”

In short, we loved it. And are hooked. Many of the lads are starting new collections and projects, myself included.

I’ve built an Adeptus Arbites ‘Execution’ team – these are my more elite, heavily armed and armoured Arbites, deployed only when the complete and utter extermination of the target is required (think; SWAT team with a 40K twist). I’ve based the models (and their rules) on Space Marines, but used Maxmini riot shields and Puppets War shoulder pads and Judge Dredd style heads


The team includes three boltgunners, one of which has the ‘sniper’ skill – so the boltgun on the right has a silencer and scope!

The heavy bolter carrier will be given the ‘relentless’ skill, while one of the riot shield bearers will be given the ‘rending’ skill – he’ll be accompanied by his faithful K9 unit (the model will have no in-game effect, but if  I score a rending hit, we’ll all imagine he got mauled by the dog!)


kill team list

The team is built around ‘counts as’ Dark Angel Space Marines

IMG_0279 IMG_0280 IMG_0281 IMG_0282 IMG_0283 IMG_0284 IMG_0286 IMG_0287 IMG_0288 IMG_0289 IMG_0291 IMG_0292 IMG_0293 IMG_0294 IMG_0295 IMG_0296 IMG_0297 IMG_0298

#TheTrainJob – playing the game

What a game!

#TheTrainJob was a six-player, narrative-based fluff game based around the Kill Team rules (download PDF here). After setting the scene and giving the players a brief, the club frantically set about building scenery, painting models and crafting lists.

For this battle, the scenario wasn’t prescriptive and we let the day unfold as the players dictated. But there were some set elements that helped shape the narrative, including;

  • Imperial vs Chaos (and Xenos)
  • Set on a backwater world that no one cared about where anything could happen
  • Action revolved around a railway running through key points; depot, city, scrapyard, ambush alley…
  • An Imperial container transporting something top-secret

The six armies that took part:

  1. Adepta Sororitas of Our Martyred Lady
  2. Adeptus Arbites patrol
  3. Beastmarines
  4. Iron Warriors
  5. The Orkenstein
  6. The Weeping Angels

To kick things off, we played a few mini-games using the 40K rules, which ended brutally fast because of our small lists. These we decided were like ‘opening sequences in a movie’ and really set the scene. In one game for example, the Orks raided and captured the train so we decided they should ride it in the next battle!


  • Lone Dark Eldar biker one-shotting a Beastmarine dreadnought in the rear with a dark lance
  • Adeptus Arbites bikers mounting the railway and racing headlong towards a speeding train
  • Battle Sisters hitchhiking a ride in a civilian VW camper van to get to the action quicker
  • Orks boarding a speeding train from their trucks
  • Chaos marine raptors using their feet-claws and rocket packs to lift the container onto the train (as the depot crane was disabled) to make a getaway
  • Beastmarine dreadnought barreling into the container to knock it off the train
  • (Drunken) mini games to decide events that weren’t in the rules; “Can my Arbites officer lob a krak grenade into the exhaust pipes to stop the train?”… “Ok, but only if you can stack 15 dice in 30 seconds”
  • ‘Wild cards’ – for the final game, each player wrote and was given one random wild card (making sure the player didn’t get the one he wrote himself). Each wild card described a ‘triumph and treachery’ type event and could be as crazy or as game-breaking as the author wanted (but remembering that it could just as easily be used against his own side). Events took place such as; entire buildings falling down, orbital bombardment, warp storms, and even an Inquisitor teleporting directly onto the train
  • The contents of Container 23 was decided at random. Each player wrote down what they wanted to be in it and we decided that once the train reached the city, we’d reveal its contents… to say we were all quite miffed as to what we’d been fighting over all day was quite an understatement!
  • Karaoke (yep, that happened)

The club all approached this with the same attitude and mindset, and the event was a fantastic success – it wasn’t about ‘winning’* or adhering to a set of rules, but rather about telling a really cool story. We all set up lots of in game ‘movie moments’ and were open to a bit of roleplaying-esqu games mastering and narrating when it helped move along the story


















#TheTrainJob – Iron Warriors

Chaos Space Marines; Iron Warriors warband.

Two possible lists:

  1. Seven Raptors (119pts), Flamer (5pts), Icon of Wrath (15pts), Mark of Khorne (16pts), Raptor Champion (27pts), Close Combat Weapon, Plasma Pistol (15pts) = 197pts
  2. Nine Chaos Marine with Boltguns (117pts), Heavy Bolter (10pts), Plasma Gun (15pts), Aspiring Champion (23pts), Bolt Pistol, Gift of Mutation (10pts), Power Fist (25pts) = 200pts