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.
The rise of the powerful warlord Budahk Chain-Gor is a lesson in the Minos society.
Of huge stature early in life, he soon gained the respect of dark warrior kin and orc-foe alike, due to his shrewd tactical awareness and ferocity in battle.
Minos culture has two clear methods of promotion. One is to kill the incumbent in a straight fight. The other is staggeringly subtle, and would be missed by most. A simple nod of submission and the leader submits to his superior challenger.
It is said that Budahk, having defeated a particularly cunning and brutal Orruk Warboss, laid his kill as a sacrifice before the venerated Cygor, Bogut the Unworldly. Bogut, struck by religious fervor, then laid prostrate before Budak. A sign that Budahk had truly honoured the gods and was marked for greatness. Upon seeing this Budahks warmaster, Hacker Bloodhorn, submitted with a simple nod, and Budahk was now Warmaster of the Northern Herds.
Upon killing the last rival warmaster, Gruffen the Three Armed, King of the Southern Herd, by butchering him alive and finishing him by strangling him with his chain whip, Budahk enjoys an undisputed autocracy. Having unified the Minos, the brayherds, and beasts of the Uilebheist Plateau, he has brought the Orruks to a tepid truce based upon fear, respect, and a healthy stream of trade, mostly slaves.
~Excerpt by Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Thériology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din , and author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”
~ Written by Phillip Starr, edited by Mark Talmer.
In the primordial times before the Age of Myth and the coming of Sigmar, the mortal realms were forged, bound and molded by the magics they embodied. But in the aetheric void, the ash and embers of the reforging of the world-that-was came together to form the Shard Realms, a multitude of fragmentary worlds rendered into curious aspects by the debris that formed their mass, realmstone scoria and crystal fused into the essence of the shard realms creating strange fusions of magic that permeate the lands and infuse the environment, spawning creatures both fantastic and fel. The permutations of these fusions are endless, realms of fire and death burn in the void with a baleful glow, plains stalked by beasts of molten metal spawned of Chamon and Ghyran magic, cavernous deeps inhabited by shadowy beasts. These realms are only as limited as the realmstone that makes up their form, some only fusing a handful of types, to some riddled with debris from each of the realms creating a Shard Realm of infinite variety. The Shard Realm of Yss is such a place……
The Shard Realm of Yss
Yss is a shard realm filled with a myriad of environments, from the mundane to the reality defying. A realm of ancient kingdoms and fresh frontiers, treacherous oceans and unfathomable subterranean expanses. As such, its inhabitants are as varied and colourful as the places they inhabit.
In the Grunvale and its surrounding regions the Free People settled, building great cities and forging vast nations. In the distant west on the Al’Arkan peninsula, explorers led intrepid colonists from beyond Yss to settle the coastal regions, with powerful city states blossoming on the fringes of the great deserts, the vast savannahs, and primordial jungles. Amongst the alpine peaks of the Reach lies the great elven province of Ahmarha, its citizens hardy and pragmatic. In times of war, hunters, woodsmen, and pathfinders answer the call to protect their secluded alpine realm.
In the north lies the the Uilebheist Plateau, a nest for all manner of primal horrors too terrifying to describe. And beyond that is the Sundered Veil, a vast stretch of lands tainted and misshapen by fel magics during the Age of Chaos, a realm of unnatural horrors. Gibbering men cavorting amongst the ruins of lost kingdoms seeking eldritch power and the patronage of abyssal beings. To the east of the Uilebheist Plateau is the Isle of Elthuin. An ash choked volcanic landscape with vast tunnels that lead deep into the under realms below. Few travel there, the stories of the Ashen keeps sane folks away.
These are just a small number of the many realms, wild regions and savage hinterlands of Yss, there are many more to be explored and revealed. An endeavor I hope you will join me in……
~Jhez Al’Waide, Explorer and Scholar at the University of Fyrdhathen, Professor of Psariology, Amphiviology, and Yssian History. Author of the “The Fulminous Kings: The Concise Lineage of Esel’s Royalty” and “The Spined Merwyrm: The Fisherman’s Bounty”.