An example of Bestia Cervidae, Cervidian in common, and Ceir-du in aelvish.
A relatively common bestial form across Yss with a number of subspecies adapted to the local environments, the Cervidian pose a regular threat to provincial towns and villages that lie close to wild hinterlands and forests.
Their herds often range over vast areas, living a highly nomadic life. They have a particular affinity for highland regions and ancient forests, hunting through fog shrouded passes and dense undergrowth.
Their herds are often filled with young headstrong warriors seeking to make a name for themselves with acts of bloodshed and displays of prowess. As such, ruts between herd members are common prior to battle, with members blooding each other in ritual combat to show their ferocity and so they may take a prime role in the hunt at the behest of their leader. Quite often a member of the herd will challenge the Alpha, entering a rut which can only end in the death of one of the participants. The locking of antlers can last days, with each fighter pushing themselves to extremes of exhaustion, pain and injury to emerge victorious. It is not unusual for one or both participants to die locked in place. Thankfully due to these bloody ruts many a raiding herd has lost interest in their prey, or other members step up to challenge the victor which leads to the herd descending into anarchy and turning on each other.
The Grunvale and the surrounding areas have a sizable number of Cervidian herds, with a number of notable herds ranging through the forest and highlands that divide Esel and the Mere March. The Elves that reside there take exceptional measures to eradicate them, leading tireless hunts to root them out.
For the citizens of Esel it a cruel irony that something that bears the visage of the crowns symbol should be the source of such fear. Thankfully the brave knights of Esel and their retainers have slain many of their kind over the years in defence of their loyal subjects.
~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”
An example of Bestia Murrach, more commonly known as a Murrach, Merrow, or Murr by the inhabitants of Yss.
The Murrach are a widespread species with many variations across Yss. As an amphibious species they inhabit aquatic climes, from the deepest ocean to the great rivers and wetlands. They pose an ever present threat to seafarers and coastal settlements and regularly make forays along the great rivers raiding and reaving, capturing land dwellers for unknown reasons. The most prevalent theory is that they are a food source, mere prey to these aquatic beasts. Another is that they are used in profane rituals dedicated to their deities. whatever the case, none have returned to confirm these theories.
From fetishes and charms found on Murr bodies, they appear to follow a pantheon that corresponds to those of the great enemy, though each is wildly different to the traditional forms known, or the variations found amongst other bestials and sentient followers.
Physically the Murr look fairly lean, but much of their form is exceptionally dense muscle which can deceive an opponent in regards to their strength and speed. Their scaly skin provides an unexpected level of protection, and some sub classes have thick boney plates around their skulls and other areas which provide protection comparable to the steel armour used by us land dwellers.
The most basic Murr is fully capable of tearing a man apart with its claws and teeth, but most are proficient scavengers and craftsmen. Most that reside inland and close to the coast use scavenged weapons and armour, or craft gear from the detritus of land dwellers. Those that reside in the deep seas and oceans make use of corals and the remains of sea creatures. Make no mistake, while their arms may look simple or ill maintained, they are quite deadly and fully capable of taking down a warrior in full plate if necessary.
I advise that any incursion by Murr raiders be dealt with as quickly as possible, because for each raid they perform without resistance inevitably leads to them returning emboldened and in greater numbers, striking as regular as the tide itself.
~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”
Along with Warcry, I’ve been building up Phil’s/Budahks warherd. He decided that he wants a really varied herd after reading about the different varieties of beast forms in the background, so he gave the nod for me to explore any and all forms of beast. Here’s what I have come up with so far…….
Morgrim is done! It was a tough slog getting past the mental block I had while building him, but persevereing with it paid off! I couldn’t be happier with how he turned out. Some background will follow shortly…..
I felt it was time to build a new gaming board that could be used for AoS (and occasionally for Historicals). I’ve spent about six or so months looking up youtube tutorials and educating myself on various techniques and materials in preperation for the big build.
Board wise I contemplated a number of options and their pro’s and cons, before settling on a modular system which I could add scatter terrain to. In the end I went for Sally 4th’s Terra-Former Tiles, a well rounded range of MDF frames with a magnetic locking system. The frames themselves are well designed and do pretty much what they say on the site. The neodynium magnets really lock them together really well and the frames are nice and sturdy. I used superglue to put mine together for speed and efficiency, but woodglue would be perfect if drying times aren’t an issue for you.
The frames require some form of polystyrene filler, either the simple jablite stuff or the lovely pink insulation foam. I went with jablite for affordabilities sake and ease of access. While jablite isn’t my first choice for terrain building it is fine for this, as it will be covered up with filler and pva to strengthen it. To save time I whipped up a template to help with cutting out the inserts. Having to hand measure each one prior to cutting would have been labourious and tedious. With the template it was barely a twenty minute job to cut all of them out and fit them. Make sure you use a nice sharp blade to cut them, I used a snap off knife with the blade extended all the way to cut mine clean through.
Then it was a case of gluing and adding detail. The cliff faces are made from discarded slate shards I found in the fathers hoarded building material pile. I just stacked them up and glued them in place. I used PVA which I regretted, as it didn’t really stick them down all too well, it was the filler that really secured them in place. Next time I’ll use the hot glue gun.
Then it was on to adding filler. I used plain old polyfiller. I did start putting it on with a spatula, but it started looking unnatural, so I slipped on some gloves and applied it by hand. It’s helped maintain a natural look and allowed me to get the filler into all the nooks and crannies around the cliffs and into the stream bed.
Once dry, I added some citadel trees and textured the board with coarse and light sand, along with aquarium gravel for smaller rocks. The larger rocks were either slate or decorative garden stones. When applying the sand I used a watered down mix of pva with a little flow aid added.
Then I painted it all. A black undercoat on everything, with some zenithal highlights of a medium grey on the trees, cliffs, and rocks, along with some splashes on the dirt. Then I added a chocolate brown emulsion, and once dried I used a large make up powder brush to drybrush the whole board with Buff Titanium from Daler Rowney. It took about thirty minutes to drybrush the whole board. I’ll be buying more make up brushes from mini painting after seeing how effective it was, after a quick wash it was good as new with zero wear. If I had used my usual choice it would have killed the brush and only been good for rubbish jobs after.
Flocking was fairly easy, I used the same watered down pva mix with flow aid to spritz the sections. Then I went along the edges of each section with the mid green flock so as to prevent strange lines cutting off between sections. Then I gently added light and dark tones before giving the whole thing a hit with mid green flock. I simply sprinkled everything on, as just chucking on the flock creates a lot of waste.
After this I started detailing….
——————————————————————————————————– Some links for folks.
Across Yss many orruk and grot shamans receive powerful visions from Gorkamorka, driving them to seek out the Toof beneath Skartoof Peak. These shamans cast off their loyalty to their tribes and make the long pilgrimage to Skartoof Peak in order to join other afflicted greenskin shamans to guard and tend to the Toof and the flora and fauna that thrives there.
Very few shamans have ever managed to gain control of the visions and leave the mountain. The last shaman to do so was Nazgob. Nazgob remembers little of his time at the Peak, and nothing of his original tribe. The only thing he could remember was his name and an urge to seek out a Megaboss named Urzod. It took months of wandering for him to find Urzod and the Iron Moonz. Nazgob offered his loyalty to Urzod upon meeting him, saying that he was there to assist Urzod in fulfilling his vision. Nazgobs presence was challenged by Urzods shaman Bogrot immediately.
Urzod quickly ordered them to duel to see who was best suited to serve him. Before Bogrot could get a word out, Nazgob had crushed him into a bloody paste beneath a colossal amount of Waaagh energy, along with a number of Bogrots grot assistants, which caused Urzod a great deal of amusement. Nazgob was welcomed into the fold thanks to his prodigious display of power and his cunning. Nazgob has held the position for three decades now, helping to oversee numerous victories and advising Urzod when needed. He has met numerous challengers and vanquished them all.
As time has gone by, small snippets of fleeting memories come back to him of his life before, of great hordes, empires of men, of blood and fire. Each time a small piece of the puzzle gets filled in of what feels like a distant memory from somewhere else…….
The Royal Flag of the Kingdom of Esel, featuring the Black Stag of the Hirsch family and the Fulminous Crown.
Current Head of State: King Bastian Otmar-Hirsch III.
Government Type: Absolute Monarchy
Religious Beliefs: Sigmarism.
Esel, like the rest of the nations of the Grunvale and the surrounding regions, was colonised by one of the many tribal groups displaced during the Age of Chaos. The survivors carved out their kingdoms in the relative safety of the Grunvale, it’s fertile land and abundant rivers nourishing the new realms being forged within. Esel in the modern period consists primarily of the lands settled by the Erseven people and their allies following the free peoples victory at Hathenspeer.
For much of Esels history the kingdom was a fairly prosperous but unassuming realm, with good relations with the other kingdoms of the Grunvale. A country which embraced religious freedoms and folk of all ilk. While Sigmarism was the primary religion, as it is in many human kingdoms, offshoots of Sigmarism and the worship of other deities were readily accepted. However with the death of King Dietmar Solgwin-Hirsch things began to change. His son, King Hadda Solgwin-Hirsch embraced the mainstream Sigmarite church with fervor.
King Hadda was not a skilled military man, nor a statesman. A number of losses to raiding forces and diplomatic faux pas’s had damaged his reputation amongst the nobility and the peasantry, with whispers of coups and uprisings brewing in the court and the back-alleys of Esel-Din. Seeking council he turned to the young head of Esel’s Sigmarite Church, Arch Sigillite Alwin Zier. Zier was a strong headed puritan, suspicious of any divergent Sigmarite cults, and disdainful of non humans. Zier encouraged Hadda to let Sigmar fully into his heart and let him guide his actions, both in times of peace and conflict and that his previous failing were a test of his character. He also suggested that part of his failing may have been, at least in part, caused by malcontents and deviants that were intent on their own plans. Hadda, having found the words to sooth his nerves and reinvigorate his resolve, began pushing his and the churches will into every facet of society.
A sweeping reformation of Esels military and religious institutions was enacted. Military units were formalised and equipped with standardised gear emblazoned with Sigmars sigils and signs, replacing the localised gear supplied by the nobility. The church did the same, garb amongst the clergy and reading material was standardised. Deviation from prescribed texts and ritual was dissuaded with a variety of methods. Alternative sects and cults dedicated to other deities were driven from Esel, or wiped out all together. And non humans were “encouraged” to leave Esel. Of course this purge took many years, all of Hadda’s reign and much of his son Aldmar’s reign too. At the heart of the Reformation was Zier, constantly at Hadda’s side, and then overseeing the young heir Aldmar. While Hadda had embraced the church in desperation and to seek answers, Aldmar was moulded by it and breathed it, its righteousness and power hammered into him by Zier over the years.
Hadda and Aldwin were the instruments of the Sigmarite Reformation, but Alwin Zier was the one wielding their power.
His council to a desperate king transformed a moderate peaceable kingdom into a puritanical military powerhouse. Future generations of the Hirsch bloodline and Arch Sigillite Ziers successors would carry on this drive, leading to centuries of conflict and expansion in the region. The conquest of Deira and the Mere March, the Wars of the Brightwater, The Pilgrim War, the fanatical crusades named after innumerable fanatical Sigillites, the Reaving of Nordbek, and a slew of other bloody actions.
However, all things must end, and after centuries of conflict Esel started to falter, its hold and power waned. Four hundred years ago Deira liberated itself from the rule imposed upon them via mendacious claims of blood rights and the tip of a sword. A century later the Mere March managed a devastating victory over Esel, their hold over what they considered to be nothing more than swamp dwelling sub humans was shattered and their spirit broken, and in doing so unified a disparate kingdom. And barely sixty years ago ancestral borderlands held by Esel on the Brightwater fell to forces from the Republic of Fyrdhathen after years of proxy wars and skirmishes.
In recent years Esel has been far more consolidatory and diplomatic with its neighbours. King Bastien has shown statesmanship far superior to many of his ancestors, being far more amenable and far less choleric than any that had gone before him, though still maintaining a puritan streak. He has also shown his skill at arms, leading and organising his forces so as to hunt down fel raiders and reavers that have beset the countryside in number since the latter days of his father’s reign. There are some that think Bastian to be a new kind of king for Esel, others wonder if he is merely biding his time to take back lost lands and enact a measure of vengeance on old enemies. Time will give us a full measure of his character and will………
~ Excerpt compiled from “The Fulminous Kings: The Concise Lineage of Esel’s Royalty” by Jhez Al’Waide.
Army Suggestions. Force Suggestion: Eselian Royal Army/Eselian Nobles House Guard: Free People, Celestial Wizards. Alternate Force: Purification Warband: A religious themed force filled with flagellants, priests, and witch hunters under a Sigillite leader. Descriptor: No gunpowder weapons preferring crossbows and bows fashioned after those used by the Stormcast (Cannons could be replaced by lightning infused weapons created by Esel’s ancient order of Storm Wizards and Master Weaponsmiths). Esel strongly mirrors the Stormcast due to them being Sigmars’ divine warriors, so lots of lightning bolts, sigillite markings, comets etc. The Royal Army will also include lots of Stag emblemology, often fused with Sigmarite imagery. Plate armour for the nobility, sallet helmet with Stormcast-esque faceplates, lancers on horse and Demi-Gryphs. The higher the rank, the smarter they will look. Not that the Men-at-Arms are shabby. Think Greatswords without the puffs and frills, open sallet helmet. Spears, axes, halberds, swords etc all with a similar design to those carried by the Stormcast. Appearance is everything to the Eselian military. Colours: Blacks and Deep Reds with polished metal armour for the Royal colours. For one of the noble houses, indulge. Reference medieval schemes, old Bretonnian colours, Empire etc. Many of the house will try and tie themselves to a Stormcast Chamber, often appropriated colours and some flimsy pretext for doing so, despite Stormcast being a rarity in Yss.
~ Authored by Mark Talmer, edited by Phillip Starr.
So the Lore of Yss project is just over two years old formally (Previously it was just “The Grunvale” till we expanded it), but far older in concept. My friend Phil and I started it properly so we could take advantage of the clean slate that the Age of Sigmar offered, allowing us to explore old concepts and build something that we could blend into the larger universe. The freedom to theme armies and realms was delightfully refreshing and we quickly came up with reams of background, armies and kingdoms in our heads. So much so that we are still trying to get it all on to paper so we can share it. Much of what we started was centered around a single region and its kingdoms, The Grunvale and the metropolitan city of Fyrdhathen (Fairhaven as it was). Once we established the core kingdoms, numerous others started forming and growing, their politics, their themes, and how they all interplay with each other. Naturally this has made writing down everything even more complicated.
Despite all of the kingdoms we’ve created, we have yet to actually make anything from those kingdom for the tabletop (bar a few rpg characters), instead focussing on Urzod’s mercenary greenskins, Budahks herd, and some of the Revenant forces that roam Yss. We may get round to making skirmish groups and RPG character for these other regions, but we may not. However, we want to share everything that we possibly can. So we plan on writing up some descriptors and army suggestions for the kingdoms we have so far in the hope that we, but more importantly so others, can potentially use them as guidelines and build one of the many and varied forces that inhabit Yss. I hope that some of you will at least take some inspiration from the forthcoming scrawlings and ruminations, and doubly hope that some of you may wish to join us in building Yss and a community around the concept.
The first three kingdoms we will cover will be the core ones that we have built up the most, The Kingdom of Esel, The Republic of Fyrdhathen, and the Mere March.
The Orruks of the Iron Moonz Clan are well known across Yss, their exploits are legendary. A nomadic clan originating from the Orrgedon Crater, the Iron Moonz have fought an unbroken chain of wars for just over six decades. Some of these conflicts have been driven by the inherent Orruk need to destroy, but just as many have been for pay. The Iron Moonz have a strong mercenary bent, willing to take payment in many forms, from whomever is willing to stump up their fee. Hiring the Iron Moonz isn’t without risk though. The fractious nature of Orruks coupled with the capricious and eccentric personalities noted amongst the Iron Moonz clan has led to many employers falling to a grisly fate at the hands of their erstwhile “allies”, either accidentally or with vicious premeditation. Yet many still take the gamble to secure the Iron Moonz muscle, often at times simply to deny the opposition their strength, or to assuage the clan and hopefully prevent them from turning their attentions to their lands.
The clan travels as a vast caravan mounted upon all manner of contraption and beast. Most travel upon squiggoths, living on howdahs made of iron and steel alongside their compatriots, while some choose life in the saddle riding a Grunta. The clan leader, Urzod, resides in a towering pile of metal atop a titanic Squiggoth. So large is this beast and it’s howdah, that it comfortably holds Urzod, his lieutenants, an army of grots, and his Maw-Krusha mount, all in something akin to Orruk luxury. It is a truly terrible sight to behold, a moving castle, jutting metal bourne by tusks and teeth. There are a number amongst the Clan that use more unusual mounts and contraptions as homes, Rukgob and his “Raiderz” ply their trade from a captured Arkanaught Ironclad, while Oddboy Krug and his Bolt Chukka Boyz operate from a multi legged mechanical tower littered with loopholes.
The clan is unusual compared to other Ironjawz clans, as they keep large numbers of grots and snotlings around to perform menial tasks, tend to the clans squigs, act as fodder, or as part of the entertainment between brawls (A squig fight isn’t “proppa” without at least one terrified grot hurled into the ring!). For the most part, the grots and snotlings live with their respective owners, but many live in their own caravan of cobbled together carts, sledges, and land skiffs. The grots and snots, when not herded into fighting, are usually found looting everything they can. It tends not to matter if it’s battlefield loot, the local villages prize pig, or the spare set of fancy pantaloons that their employer left in his camp tent, everything is fair game to them. Their hierarchy is fairly simple, dependent on the Orruk you are “favoured” (i.e, least brutalised) by, the higher your standing amongst your fellow grots and snots. As such, Urzod’s favoured grot, Skabbi Legshanker, is leader of the clans grots and snots. A position he unexpectedly came to hold after he was randomly selected from a brawling pile of grots by Urzod to care for his favourite pet squig, Gitbiter.
The clan has been involved in numerous conflicts across Yss, starting a great many of them. The rampage through the elven Kingdom of Amhara with Arch-Loon Grimflint of Skizzlepeak. Their wrecking raids into Esel at the behest of neighbouring rivals so as to weaken their forces prior to invasion. Subduing the Hrahk tribes and becoming the saviours of the Rand Confederacy, then becoming enemies of Rand for assisting the remaining Hrahk and the slavers of Kulsehir in raiding the coastal region north of Middentoll. The Scouring of Aqu’Selaq, a city in the Al’Arkan Peninsula long abandoned due to an infestation of monstrous ghouls, the clan drove the beasts out into the desert allowing the city to be reclaimed by their employers.
The clans tales are many, as are its characters. As such I will endeavor to catalogue them as thoroughly as humanly possible within these pages, and in as much detail as possible.
~ Excerpt from Wilhelm Kruper’s “A Study in Green”, compiled (with permission) into “The Lore of Yss: The Encyclopedic Study of Yssian Culture and Lore” by Jhez Al’Waide, Explorer and Scholar at the University of Fyrdhathen, Professor of Psariology, Amphiviology, and Yssian History.