The Cervidian

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”

The Kheranox

An example of Bestia Kheranoxis, or the Kheranox.

The Kheranox are native to the savannahs and jungles of Ihlshana, though other subspecies have been noted in the frigid Isval to the far north, and the Taldegun Range in the west. 

A highly aggressive and territorial species, the Kheranox are a destructive blight on the people of Ihlshana. The nomadic peoples and the coastal cities have all felt the single minded brutality of the Kheranox. Of all the bestial forms that wander Ihlshana, they are the most feared. Their rage coupled with their thick hides make them formidable opponents, even for seasoned warriors. They show little regard for other creatures, viewing themselves as the undisputed inheritors of Ihlshana and it’s lands. The humans are interlopers to be eradicated. 

Along with the free people of Ihlshana, the Kheranox are often in conflict with other bestials and human followers of the fel gods. The beast are to be dominated, the human followers mere pretenders calling upon the primordial gods power to make up for their inherent weakness. 

The Kheranox like so many other bestials clad and armour themselves with scavenged materials and weapons. They particularly favour the tall shields and heavy wooden clubs used by the human inhabitants of Ihlshana, both free and fel.  

The only being they respect that isn’t of their kind or one of the primordial gods, is the legendary Ekuqaleni, or the First, The Alpha, The Beast of Beasts. To meet and serve under this legendary figure is an aspiration for all Kheranox. Many a young Kheranox has taken the quest to seek this creature, exiling themselves to wander Yss and find it, or die trying.

Though rare, it is quite possible for one of these creatures to be found wandering the paths of the ‘vale, or the mountainous reaches that surround it. It is best to avoid them, interfere with their wanderings at your own peril.

~ 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 Invitation…….

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.

~ Mark Talmer & Phillip Starr

The Lore of Yss ~ An Introduction.

Introduction

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”.

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   Illustration by Karl Kopinski

~ Written by Mark Talmer.