Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Ancient Spyglass

The Dwarves of Karak Debaz had toiled beneath the Cicatrice Peaks for decades, carving great halls and vaults into the earth that could rival those legendary keeps of the World’s Edge Mountains. Great was their splendour, and King Undin was pleased. Yet deeper still the Dwarves delved through and beneath the mountains and their efforts did not go unrewarded. The Dwarf miners discovered a lost treasure vault beneath Mount Uvala. Who had left this hoard remained a mystery to the Dwarf miners- many suspected it to be the plunder of some long-departed Dragon. Whoever (or whatever) had left this fortune, it appeared they had vanished without any other trace save the wealth they left behind.

Amongst the hoard were untold rubies, diamonds, sapphires and other gems, and hundreds of golden coins marked one side with an eagle and the other with the portrait of a human king. Still there was more, ornate ceremonial weapons and armour, jewelled plates and goblets, and marble statues of ancient heroes of some long-dead civilisation. In amongst all this there was a spyglass; a delicate object no larger than a roll of parchment, exquisitely crafted in ebony and decorated with a lattice-work of gold filigree. At its end were eight sliding arms each circling a differently coloured lens, and each could be moved to overlap the others. When presented with the treasure, the Dwarf King was duly impressed with the craftsmanship of the spyglass but no Dwarf at court could fathom the purpose of such an ornate device. It was Elthruin, the ambassador from Mellvellon, who seemed most interested in the spyglass. He explained to Undin that this was a legendary artefact and assured the king that the Elves of Mellvellon would pay a handsome sum should he be prepared to part with it. Undin was at first hesistant, but distracted as he was by the other great treasures before him he soon forgot the spyglass and it was locked up with all the other trinkets for which the Dwarves could find little use. Meanwhile Elthruin sent word of the find to the court of Dragonspire.

It was not until some years later, when Prince Saravael of Mellvellon landed his fleet at Kazad Varr, that the spyglass once again came to King Undin’s attention. The Prince arrived with all the pomp and circumstance that the Dwarves had come to expect of Elven kind. He hailed the noble King Undin and showered him with accolades and tributes. He sought the eternal friendship of Udin and his kin. Saravael presented his offering to King Undin; his retainers brought forth seven golden statues, each the size of an ogre, all crafted in the likenesses of one the ancient dragons of legend. All he asked in return was that King Undin seal their friendship by making a gift of the ancient spyglass. Undin was a wise king and saw the value of making allies of the Elves of Mellvellon (not to mention the value of their gold!). Ever the Dwarf, he could not resist a good haggle. Undin declared that a gift of seven golden dragons was somewhat miserly but that twelve such statues would be a sufficiently kingly gift to prove the friendship of the Elves. Negotiations quickly began to ruffle the various egos, and the talks degenerated into argument and insult. With pride dented, there could only be one outcome.

So it was that, ten days later, the army of King Undin marched out onto the foothills of Karak Debaz to meet the host of the Dragon Lords on the field of battle, that honour might be restored in the greatest and most elaborate duel ever staged on Palurin. Spectators gathered on the ramparts of the fortress, and the two great lords themselves watched from the balcony of the King Undin’s chamber. Each had named his champion to lead the respective armies. Gil-Falain the Fair commanded the Elven warhost, and Algrim Stonebreaker stood as defender of Dwarven pride.

The duel raged fiercely for the whole afternoon, with neither side prepared to give quarter for fear of losing favour as their liege-lords looked on. So it came to a swirling melee at the centre of the battlefield with both armies seemingly in deadlock. It fell to personal combat between Algrim, borne above throng on Undin’s own shield, against Gil-Falain, who sat astride the fiery-tempered drake Taurvellon. The fight was fierce but brief. Though Algrim landed many grievous blows he was unceremoniously squashed beneath Taurvellon’s scaly claw. King Undin’s guard, outraged by the defeat of their champion, promptly hewed down the great wyrm where it stood.

But it was too little too late. The Red Dragon’s, Saravael’s household guard, swept in to the fray to cut down the remaining Dwarf warriors and thus carry the day for the Elves. The matter had been decided, and Undin was forced to concede victory to Saravael. His pride forced him to choke back his grievance that Saravael had sent a dragon into the duel (after he had boasted that a Dwarf champion of such renown could best any foe).

Saravael left Karak Debaz with the ancient spyglass. He had been hugely impressed by the martial prowess of the Dwarf warriors (and secretly he had feared at one point that he had lost the contest). As a mark of deference to such skill in battle, he gifted King Undin with nine golden statues. Seven were the dragons he had brought from Mellvellon. The final two were newly-crafted, one in the likeness of King Undin and the other that of Prince Saravael. He suggested that they might stand side by side in Undin’s hall as a mark of friendship between the two rulers. Even the flinty Undin could not help but be moved by the gesture and the respect shown to the Dwarf warriors. Oaths of comradeship were sealed that day and thus was formed the alliance between Karak Debaz and Dragonspire.

Back on Mellvellon, Saravael had the arch-mages of Dragonspire demonstrate the secret of the spyglass to the Dragon Lords assembled at court. Each of the different lenses could allow the user to observe the ebb and flow of one of the eight winds of magic. With newly-built ships flying enchanted sails the fleet captains would be freed from relying on the four winds to steer their vessels. Now they would be able to harness the winds of magic to power the Elven fleet to victory.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Holy Sigmarite Empire 185-195PC

In the latter years of the 2nd century PC the Holy SIgmarite Empire suffered a setback. Under the rule of Heinrich III the skaven came to the Empire, defeating the King's army in the field at Hardor before raiding Ravensgart. Over a thousand men were taken as slaves to the Typhonian Enclave, and Heinrich's realm had suffered an embarrassing defeat on its own territory. The Emperor's reign began to look shaky.

Heinrich's problems were somwehat eased in 190 and 193PC with two glorious victories by the Navy. Privateers sailing west were twice engaged in battle by the fleets of Cuitlaxaochitzin, and twice the Empire was victorious, allowing prospectors to exploit much of the coast of Armaethor unhindered. This was helped by the inactivity of the Dark Elves during this period.

Meanwhile the situation at court was becoming tense. Heinrich desperately wanted a male heir to carry on his line and protect the Alptraum dynasty and name. The arrival of a girl, princess Isabella in 188 was of no concern, but the birth of a second daughter, Maria in 193PC began to worry the Emperor and his hold over the Empire looked ever more insecure as his rivals plotted behind his back...

Dwarf Expansion 185-195PC

The Pan Coron Ocean continued to be fought over, during this period, as it’s value in trade and transportation became apparent to more races on Palurin. The dwarfs continued their attempts to secure their coastal regions, with the Battleship ‘Undin’s Pride’ leading a series of engagements against any fleet nearing what they saw as their own waters. When a fleet from Mellvellon strayed too close to Kazad Varr a day long battle saw both fleets reduced to crewless hulks or cinders at the waterline.

Later the same year, refitted and re-crewed, the dwarfs struck at a foreign fleet of unknown origin. These ships did not turn to bring about broadsides, but struck straight for the iron clad fleet, guns and rams bristling from their prows. Many of these strange vessels, crewed by walking lizards, were blown to smithereens by cannon but enough got through the bombardment to smash into the dwarf fleet, sinking most with ease. ‘Undin’s Pride’ was lost with all hands.

Whilst the Elves and Dwarfs settled the details of their new alliance on land, at sea no peace was to be found. Admiral Thorgir Seabeard had ‘The Hammer of Grungi’ on patrol whilst more ships could be built.

“Bloody dragons!” He spat, hobbling to port side as more small dragons few overhead, spitting fire at any dwarf ship they passed by. The dwarf didn’t know whether to put out fires, man their stations against the enemy fleet or return fire against the dragons as they swooped overhead.

“All ships, fire on the fleet! Leave these scaly bastards to me!”

The fleet jumped to action, as much as dwarfs can jump, and set about sinking the magical elven ships that seemed to leap and glide around the cumbersome Dawi ironclads. Soon, their guns saw the enemy destroyed or fleeing.

Still, the dwarf admiral strode around the brige of the Hammer like a man possessed, firing his pistol into the sky, trying to kill the drakes of the elves in vain.

“BLOODY DRAGONS!” He screamed.

Noticing his second in command at his side he spat, “Bring about all guns.”

“Sir, we will be firing just over our own cruisers.”

“Do it! I’ll kill these fiends or sink my own fleet doing it!”

His second strode off, knowing that a long and dangerous afternoon lay ahead. He made a mental note to check how much ale was left in the Admiral’s cabin.

Mellvellon mixed fortunes

The High Elves of Mellvellon had mixed fortunes in the closing years of the 2nd century in Palurin. In 187 the Ogres of Cuitlaxaochitzin, on their regular campaigns against chaos in the frozen north, found themselves with little to eat. Wandering east the Ogres happened on an elf caravan carrying goods back to Drakes Landing, and raided it. This led to the Dragon Lords sending out an elf warhost to track down the Ogres, which they duly did, defeating them in southern Canabrin. The Elf army was attacked on its return journey by the Beastmen of the Kaalroen Empire, meaning that an expedition to resore pride ended up being far costlier than the high elves would have wanted.

In 195PC good relations between the realms of Dwarfs and Elves were put on hold as Elven ships were spotted landing close to Kazad Varr. Dwarven messengers sent were simply butchered, and Elthruin, elven ambassador to Karak Debaz was at a loss to explain why his kin were undertaking such a force of aggression.

The king was quick to send a force from Kazad Varr, lead by commander Frongol Silverthrone. They reached the invaders as the Elves were investigating two ancient stone edifices. Frongol's plan was to hold off, using the firepower of his war-machines to destroy the weakly armoured Elves. Unfortunately for the commander the usually potent force of cannon and stone-throwers failed to find their marks and the Elves were swiftly upon them.

From above swooped the Elven general riding a fearsome Griffon, whilst Swordmasters and Sea Guard closed the lines. In the centre was a formation of halberd-wielding female warriors whose strong blows and magical protection allowed them to overcome the doughty Dwarven Longbeards. Frongol and his bodyguard were swiftly dealt with by the Griffon-rider and elite Swordmasters. The Dwarven commander was run down and killed, the army shattered by the force of the Elven attack.

But if the Dwarfs feared further invasion it was not to come. The Elves were seemingly satisfied with what they had found and returned to their ships. Demanding explanation Ekthurin assured the king that the attackers were not representatives of The Dragon Lords of Mellvelon. Indeed he recognised reports of the Elven banners as belonging to house Wenohtar, a family ruled by their matriarch Atara.

Off the coast of Boiling Peak (193PC)

Typhus stared into the the grimy lense of the farsqueaker in puzzlement. A puny fleet of human ships approached, heading directly for Boiling Peak and seemingly intent on making a landing. He assumed they wished to rescue the slaves he had appropriated. Typhus felt a black fury descend on him. The fleet was tiny! Did they not understand his minions were legion? Did they not appreciate the magnitude of his armies, the might of his fleets and the superiority of his technology? It was disrespectful, that was what it was!

He would show them the true power of the master race! He watched with satisfaction of the steaming ironclads of the Boiling Peak defence fleet came into the farsqueakers field of view. Powered by warpstone reactors, armed with banks of lightning cannons and with flanks off inch think metal they were far superior to the pathetic human ships

Sure enough the battle was brief and brutal and soon the human fleet lay at the bottom of the ocean, blasted apart by the unstoppable techno-magic of the Skaven! Surely the humans would not be so stupid as to try such a thing again after such a demonstration of Skaven superiority? Typhus frowned. Actually they probably would. Typhus ordered the fleet enlarged just in case.

Battle of Hardor Ruins (187PC)

As the Skaven's arcane workshops and factories continued to expand more slaves were needed to man them. Without other skaven factions to force into bondage Typhus was forced to look elsewhere. The race of men were ideal candidates, being capable workers and their spirits easily broken. Despite his “understanding” with the lords of Lamentation Typhus did not trust them, so rather than sail directly into Galamor Bay and run the gauntlet of both the Dark Elf and Holy Sigmarite fleet Typhus landed his forces on the south coast of the Armaethor peninsula and marched them overland to Ravensgart.

Typhus sneered at the pathetic army of soldiers that had sallied forth to meet him. Their brightly coloured uniforms and pretty flags looked very impressive, but their technology could never match the advanced science of the Skaven master race! Typhus smirked as the enemies right flank broke apart and men began streaming back towards Ravensgart. His Eshin agents were already at work sabotaging their clumsy war machines.

The winds of magic seemed unusually weak and his conjurations fizzled and died. He tried again with similar results. Some accursed force protected the humans from his arcane might! He pretended to be just gesticulating to encourage his minions and hoped no-one had noticed his temporary impotence.

Things seemed to be going well despite this so Typhus settled down to watch the entertainment, cackling with evil glee as he watched humans running around screaming as they burned to death or collapse vomiting their dissolving innards amid clouds of toxic chemicals.

Just as victory seemed assured a desperate push broke through the centre of the Skaven lines and Typhus let slip the musk of fear. A small party of armoured warriors lead by a chanting priest with eyes of holy fire were headed straight for him! Desperation and a strong desire for self preservation lent him strength and he vanished in a puff of smoke, abandoning his slave retainers to certain death.

His conjuration had been mighty but hasty and he felt the aether slipping from his control. When he re-appeared it was in a mighty explosion rather than the usual pop and smell of burnt liquorice. As he blinked and regained his vision he was pleased to see the bodies of enemy cavalry lying about him, annihilated by the titanic energies. This pleasure swiftly evaporated when he realised no-one else had noticed.

Still, the enemy were defeated and all that remained was to mop up. A tiresome enemy wizard leapt out of a forest and tried to duel with Typhus, but his abilities were beneath the all-powerful Grey Seers prodigious talents so he once again snapped his fingers and teleported away, content to let his army dispatch the troublesome mage and not because he in any way felt threatened by the feeble and inferior magics the human commanded.

Typhus returned to Boiling Peak with the holds of his fleet crammed with slaves. The roiling ash clouds and brilliant flashes of larva above Boiling Peak were clearly visible from Kazad Varr as the complex went into full operation.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Top Ten Lists!

Population
1 Kaalroen Empire 1,840,000
2 Holy Sigmarite Empire 1,180,000
3 Dark Elf Dominion 1,060,000
4 Cuitlaxaochitzin 970,000
5 Karak Debaz 850,000
6 Wood Elf Realm 850,000
7 Mellvellon 820,000
8 Skaven 430,000
9 Cloudy Mountain Orcs 220,000
10 Aquilan Empire 210,000
Biggest Cities
1 Lamentation 220,000
2 Boiling Peak 185,000
3 Sigmarheim 180,000
4 Sudhafen 165,000
5 Dragonspire 165,000
6 Karak Debaz 160,000
7 New Har Ganeth 120,000
8 Karak Brynaz 115,000
9 New Skraeland 115,000
10 Phallucia 115,000
Wonders of the World
1 Boiling peak Complex 13
2 Great temple of Cuitlaxaochitzin 9
3 Cathedral to Sigmar 5
4 Tower of Phallucia 4
5 Tower of Skraeland 3
6 Temple of Mannan 3
7 Dragonspire 2
8 Tower of Tragean 2
9 Herdstones of Ug 2
10 Karak Debaz 2

Thursday, 25 November 2010

A Diplomatic Exchange (186PC)

An ambassador from the Typhonian Enclave delivers this message to the Lords of Lamentation:

Greetings Elf-things, message I bring you from his awesomeness Grey Seer Typhus, most terrible and all-powerful ruler of the Skaven of Palurin and rightful despot of the entire Skaven race!!!

A proposition he has, yes yes! Your fleet is mighty, yes yes?, but Skaven also have mighty fleet! Squeak! Slaves we desire, obtain them from the race of man we would like. If you will permit mighty Skaven fleet to pass Lamentation and raid the cities of men, Skaven will not interefere with your ships passing our shores. Reach your southern colonies in safety this would allow, yes yes!, and attack nasty snooty elf-things in the east you could!

Just first in long and profitable relationship this could be? For the glory of both our races!!! Squeak.

***

*the arrogant lords of Lamentation despatch a Black Ark, a towering floating citadel that sails to Boiling Peak bearing a message*

Grey Seer Typhus.

The fleet of Lamentation goes where it desires and can reach its southern colonies with or without your permission.

However, we find it entertaining to watch the lesser races battle amongst themselves, and will allow your fleet passage to raid for slaves. We are sure that we can agree that blood is an entertainment that never grows old?

Entertain us well and we may even formalise the agreement.

A tale of Typhus (171PC)

Grey Seer Typhus stood proudly at the head of his mighty army, gazing at the shield wall of chaos warriors arrayed against him. The Skaven enclave required ever greater quantities of warpstone and, tiresome though it was to keep making the long journey, the best source of the substance was still to be found in the frozen north, defended by the mortal minions of chaos. Still, at least the new airships meant that the journey could be undertaken in weeks rather spending months of risky sea voyages and lengthy overland marches through hostile empires.

Typhus puffed up his chest and cracked his hands together. He'd make short work of these meddlesome chaos lackies so they could lay their paws on the warpstone and get back home to the comforting lava fed fires of Boiling Peak. He took a snuff of warpstone powder and with an imperious wave of his hands blew up.

When the dust settled a score of slaves lay dead around the enraged Grey Seer. Someone had spiked his warpstone snuff! It was a plot to assassinate him, of that Typhus was sure. Come to think of it, his personal slave Squawl had seemed more than usually nervous and in awe of his august personage than usual before the battle. Waves of red hot rage beat through Typhus' skull like a hammer blow, the Grey Seer's already volatile temper not helped by a bad warpstone trip. Screaming threats and obscenities Typhus stormed back towards the Skaven encampment with the intention of finding that treacherous Squawl and ending his pathetic existence. His gaggle of slaves scattered before him as he flounced off oblivious to the uncertain glances of the rest of his army.

Abandoned by their supreme overlord and fearing they had been set up as sacrificial pawns in some nefarious scheme the rest of the army took the first available opportunity to run away, with their battlefield commander leading by example in best Skaven tradition.

Monday, 22 November 2010

168PC War of the elves (Part II)

While the Kaalroen Empire was expanding and threatening the Elven Kingdoms to the south and east, the Elves once again involved themselves in a petty rivalry which threatened to see the destruction of both realms in the long run. The Wood Elves of Arnar had never accepted the superiority of the high lords of Mellvellon, and the High Elves were still stinging from their defeat to the Wood Elves in 93PC.

Some factions of Mellvellon were arguably looking for a reason to start a war with Arnar, and in 167PC they got their excuse. An expedition sent to the southern coast of Arnar was ambushed and forced to flee when approaching the circle of stones the High Elves had previously discovered ,then lost.

Mellvellon was outraged by this action and demanded that the lords of Calminaion recognise the High Elf claim to the land. The wood elves refused and a year later the dragon lords had arrived on the borders of the wood elf realm. The wood elves came out to meet them and the battle which became known as the second war of the elves climaxed with the untimely demise of the wood elf high mage, followed by a general collapse of their army.

Mellvellon utterly crushed the wood elves, got them to accept their claim to the southern coast of Arnar, then left, with no intention of stationing troops or colonists in the land. The entire affair had been an act of revenge, one which led to long feelings of bitterness between the two nations.

The difficulties for the wood elves were only just beginning however. Some years later a warhost of lizardmen from Cuitlaxaochitzin arrived in Arnar, having made a perlious overland journey from their home. This took a long time, and the Slann decided they would need a fleet to carry the armies of their realm, recognising they could not rely on the Ogres to fight all their wars for them.

In 172PC the Lizardmen arrived in Arnar and demanded to know why their Ogre allies had been ambushed in 143PC, and they also questioned the wood elves as to why they had been warring with the High Elves of Mellvellon. Neither query got a satisfactory answer and, enraged by the Lizardmen army on their doorstep the Wood Elves marched out to meet the host of Cuitlaxaochitzin. Once again however the gods did not smile on the land of the Quiet Glade and the Slaan's army resisted the most powerful attacks from tree-kin and glade riders. More Arnarian elves were slain and the lords of the wood elf realm were forced to call a truce.

The Lizardmen were compensated and forced the wood elves to declare their alliegance to the two "powers of light", Cuitlaxaochitzin and Mellvellon. The wood elves agreed, though more in order to rid themsleves of more unwanted attention from meddlesome outsiders. These two events, known as the War of Light, improved relations between the High Elves and Lizardmen, powerful "book end" nations at each end of the northern Palurin continent, while the Wood Elves of Arnar became ever suspicious and mistrustful of any other kingdom, whoever they worshipped and whatever values they held.

Kaalroen Empire 160-185PC

Towards the end of the 2nd Century PC the Kaalroen Empire was the largest Empire once more, the Dark Elves having curbed their expansion and once again turning inwards with intrigue and plot at court their primary interest. By contrast the Kaalroens continued to expand aggressively and by 160PC they had extended their dominion to the mouth of the river Cenebrae. Here the High Elves already had a settlement, protected by the Fortress of Eternal Dawn, but the forces of Chaos were not ready to launch their assault on it just yet.

In 163PC the battle of Mallend gap, the lowland pass between the Mallvass Mountains and the northern range, saw a Kaalroen army defeated by the Ogres of Cuitlaxaochitzin. This was a continuation of the Lizardmen policy of campaigning against chaos, usually with Ogre mercenary armies. It suited the slann as it ensured that the most aggressive members of their Ogre allies were away causing havoc elsewhere.

The defeat of the Nurgle army would not have been remarkable, but the Nurgle tribe abandoned its wanderings in Canaur and returned to the Empire. By 170PC the Nurgle faction had moved its base to the south of Skraeland, encompassing Hermansverk in its influence. By 180PC the faction had grown tremendously, attracting new followers from the previously unknown inhabited areas of the Branmeren hills. This strengthened the tribe's influence and would be critical in the events leading up to the union of chaos in 180PC.

The Domain of Ug, having been in decline since the defeat to the Kaalroen Empire, has remained largely quiescent since the Battle of Beasts in 141PC. Then in 165 an elven warhost from Drake's Landing arrived in Northern Canabrin intending to rid the world of the Beastmen threat. Ug himself was present with the army which met the elves, but the elves were victorious after a vicious and bloody battle. Ug himself was killed in the action, and the beastmen suddenly found themselves leaderless. Their Empire threatened to collapse, but soon shadowy and mysterious emissaries from Skraeland began arriving in the northern forests of Canabrin. It soon became clear that these emissaries sought the unification of chaos.

In 167PC the beastmen swore fealty to the Nurgle tribes of Hermanssverk, but had not yet sworn allegiance to Tragean in Hovedstaden. However in 171 Tragean's armies set out from Hjemland to meet the skaven of Typhus who had once again landed in Canabrin searching for precious warpstone. Typhus had brought a large army, but as battle was joined Typhus apparently lost his nerve in spectacular fashion, fleeing the battlefield in terror. Hours later the skaven had been utterly crushed and the beastmen swayed into Tragean's orbit. The Kaalroen Empire officially swallowed up Ug's old domain, the region known now as the Domain of beasts becoming a mere outpost of the might Kaalroen Empire.

The union of the two chaos realms appeared to stabilise the beastman decline, and in 180PC the beastmen of the north smashed the Lizardmen ogre mercenaries in the north of Canaur, who had once again travelled north to campaign against the Kaalroens. This time their raids were cut short as the beastmen routed their army and sent them back to Cuitlaxaochitzin rather empty handed.

The effect on the rest of the Kaalroen Empire was less marked. Buoyed by their recent success in adding so many new followers to the Empire, the nurgle tribes of Hermannsverk decided in 178PC to launch a full scale attack on the Fortress of Dawn. The assault was an utter fiasco and the army was destroyed, but the High Elves chose not to follow up the attack. They remained passively watching as a new settlement grew on the shores of the sea, and Storavattenstad became the new home of the Kaalroen fleet.

By 180PC the Kaalroen Empire dominated Canabrin and now reached as far as the great easting road in the south, where Gratisstad grew up on traders passing by. The Empire ran to the wastes of the north and all the way along the Cenebrae, and the tribes of the Branmeren hills were falling under the chaos realm's influence. The elven realms warred amongst themselves while the Empires of men and dwarfs fought each other on the sea. The only realm making a real effort to stand against the Kaalroens towards the end of the 2nd century was Cuitlaxaochitzin, and they were having little real impact.

Holy Sigmarite Empire 160-185PC

During the second half of the 2nd century PC the Holy Sigmarite Empire remained prosperous. However the expansion of the realm had slowed, her campaigns wained and, like her Emperor, the Empire was becoming tired and reflective. Konrad was getting old, and the HSE waited for the new king to breathe new life into the Empire of man.

Konrad died in summer 171PC, the oldest of the Emperors at 73 and the longest on the throne, having reigned for an astonishing 62 years. Frederick was crowned the following year and by 174PC the Emperor was beginning to make plans to reinvigorate the stumbling fortues of the land.

Frederick backed private enterprise, especially the sailors and traders of Sudhafen. A great tradition of privateering, trading and downright piracy established itself in the Empire, leading to several brushes with other nations' navies, most notably the fleet of Karak Debaz in 174, which saw the loss of several Empire warships. Later, in 185PC the fleet of Mellvellon encountered Empire vessels near the great cape, and destroyed it. Even so the fleets of the Empire were rebuilt with wood from Armaethor, and the exploration and exploitation of the Pan Coron Ocean continued.

None-the-less the Empire now had the taste for overseas adventure and continued to send her navies forth, always thankful that the Dark Elves of the Dominion seemed to show no interest in their affairs. However the swashbuckling spirit of the Sigmarites was dented in 175PC, when an outbreak of red pox decimated the population of Sigmarheim, claiming the lives of Emperor Frederick and his only daughter and heir.

The death of Frederick threw the Empire into chaos. The Emperor had died, aged 39 with no heir. His wife, Queen Sarah, attempted to rule on her own for a time, but it soon became clear that this was unacceptable, especially in the south of the realm who supported the claim of Heinrich, who was the legal heir to the crown. Months passed with much legal wrangling. The Grand Theogenist, to his credit, kept out of the affair, and eventually Heinrich II was proclaimed, Grandson of Otto III and cousin to the deceased Frederick.

The succession crisis had left the Holy Sigmarite Empire and uncertain place, and Heinrich's hold on the crown was not a secure one. Heinrich needed the presence of the army to maintain his posiion, a deterrent to those who would establish other forms of government or attempt to seize the throne. For this reason the armies of the HSE stayed within their borders, and until late in the 2nd century the nation looked inward, with only the privateers of the HSE navy exploring the oceans.

Dwarf expansion 160PC - 185PC

After his initial adventures against the forces of chaos and skaven, King Undin Greybeard spent the later years of his life slowly clearing the Cocatrice Peaks of the threats that inhabited them. This action culminated in the local ogre tribes amassing a fierce army under the rulership of a particularly large and noxious tyrant, Gralg RustyClub. The Ogres, seeing such shiny wealth on small creatures, rushed forward and immediately set to the slaughter of the dwarfs. At a key moment, the ogre leaders were too keen on celebration, and missed the remaining dwarf forces sweeping up their flanks. Despite the best efforts of their largest brethren, the ogre's lack of discipline showed through and the army's back was broken. The remaining ogres scattered, accompanied by some very excited looking halfling mercenaries, loaded down with pockets and arms full of whatever shiny objects they managed to 'liberate' from dwarf and ogre bodies alike.

This victory allowed King Undin to expand his realm all the way north of the Lothlaer forest and begin construction of a new hold, Karak Brynaz (Shining Peak). Contrary to tradition, Undin claimed Lordship over both holds, much the consternation of the council of elders.

With this new land came new mining opportunities. After many years of searching, miners uncovered an ancient tomb, containing magic beans. Unfortunately for the dwarfs, the mysterious protectors of these beans were angered by their removal, and several throngs were lost in subduing the underground menaces.

War for control of Pan Coron Ocean escalates

Naval tensions between dwarf and human empires increased in 174PC when a Sigmarite fleet was hunted down by a newly expanded dwarf fleet. "Undin's Pride", the second battleship to be constructed in the yards of Kazad Varr was accompanied by the latest invention from the guild of engineers - a submersible craft. As the fleets closed, the Sigmarites punished the dwarfs for their eagerness for battle, sinking frigates and cruisers with apparent ease. Up close the might of "Undin's Pride" changed the balance of power, and after a raucous exchange of views and cannon fire, the dwarfs were left controlling the sea. Celebrations were short on the deck of the battleship however, when Captain Bolni received reports of the extent of the damage to his fleet, including the ineffective attacks and destruction of the 'belcher' submarine. No dwarf on deck could contain a shudder thinking of the fate of the crew, dragged to the depths, trapped in a metal coffin.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Battle on the Pan Coron Ocean

161PC. Barely a few months had passed since the navy of the Holy Sigmarite Empire had seen off the threat of Elven privateers in the employ of Mellvellon. Buoyed by their victory the Sigmarite captains became ever more adventurous. They became progressively more daring in their exploits where once they would have simply desired to avoid the predations of corsairs or the ever-present threat of the massive Dark Elf war-fleet. Eventually their voyages would bring them into contact with the fledgling fleet of the Dwarves of Kazad Varr. The Dwarves had occupied and colonised the western coast of Aranur many years before. However they had remained isolated and introspective, content to mine beneath the mountains. Only over the past twenty years had they given any thought to the wider world, constructing a small but redoubtable fleet of ironclad ships, keen to explore further afield rather than simply protect their coastal interests. Such expeditions woudl bring them into contact with the roving Sigmarite fleet.

When he sighted the battleship “Sigmar’s Blessing” through the periscope, Captain Thorgir Seabeard was inclined (as Dwarves always are) to misgivings. This far out in the Pan Coron ocean, many leagues from port, they would be vulnerable to attack. His ships may be tough, but they weren't going to win any races. And after all, the last time they had met an unknown vessel it had fired upon them without the slightest provocation. “This time”, he thought, “we won’t be so easily caught out”. He sent the signal for the fleet to form up. Beneath his feet he could feel Hammer of Grugni’s gargantuan steam pistons strain and thrum. Good solid Dwarf engineering.

The sail-ships were beginning to close. Definitely - “Sigmar’s Blessing” - he could read the name much more clearly now she was closer. He drew a breath to call out the order to bear to starboard, but he was interrupted by the clatter of shot bouncing against the outer hull. Beard bristling, he swung the periscope round to see several sail-frigates zipping across Hammer of Grugni’s bow.

“Cheeky buggers...” he muttered. Right, let ‘em have it. “Prow guns to open fire on the lead sail-cruiser” he bellowed. The word ‘sail’ could almost amount to a Dwarven jibe. It singled out ships of inferior design and craftsmanship.

The noise of battle quickly rose as the two fleets exchanged fire. More cannon balls rang across the armoured hull, the gun decks thundered back in response, Saltbeards dashed to and fro to quench fires and patch up the odd hole where a shot or two had made it through. All the while the bridge was a clamour of reports and signals from the rest of the fleet. Thorgir took it all calmly. He had his eye on something far more important. Every second that passed Hammer of Grugni steamed closer to the Sigmar’s Blessing, the largest ship of the foe’s fleet. She may be powered by bed-sheets, but she had more guns on her than an artillery train. Enough to give even the Hammer a run for her money.

“Almost, almost...” He paused. “Two points to starboard!!” Almost... Now! “All guns... FIRE!!”

Hammer of Grugni turned hard across the path of the oncoming battleship, taking her in an oblique sweep along its port bow. As she did, she crossed behind one of their leading cruisers. Placed between the two, at this range, there was no way that they could miss. There was the almost deafening drum-roll of both of the Hammer's gun decks loosing their shot. As if it were the echo, the sickly splintering of timber hulls and distant muted screams as the sail-ships crumpled under the storm of lead. Then, as if the world itself had cracked open, the magazine of Sigmar’s Blessing went up in an incandescent cloudburst that sprayed blazing gunpowder, shot, decking and canvas across the ocean surface.

As Hammer of Grugni rocked in the blast wave a resounding cheer went up from the Saltbeards on the gun decks. Steadying himself against the balustrade, Thorgir allowed himself a satisfied grin. “That’ll teach yer to make yer ships out of wood”.

In the taverns and trading houses up and down the coast the Hammer of Grugni would become a name of awe and dread. She would become a legend of the seas.

Old grudges fan the flames of war

160PC Battles of the Privateers

By the year 150PC a renewed peace between The Holy Sigmarite Empire and Mellvellon saw trade and commerce between the two nations flourish once again. However the alarmingly common raids of the Kaalroen Empire upon the trade routes caused the Council of Sigmarheim to send an entire army along the Easting Road in 159PC as it saw an increasing need to deter further ambushes; the Kaalroen Empire had managed to extend its reach as far as the southern Branmeren Hills.

The Dragon Lords of Mellvellon took an entirely different perspective. Insular and haughty, they refused to accept the Kaalroens as anything other than barbarians and savages. Even after a number of military defeats at the hands of the Kaalroens over the past century, dogged High Elf pride refused to let them acknowledge that the Kaalroens proved a credible threat. So it was that when an army flying the banner of the Holy Sigmarite Empire marched up the Easting Road towards Averacium the Dragon Lord’s took great insult at the thought of foreign armies on “their” soil. They could only assume that the Sigmarites had once again reneged on their treaty. Conflict was inevitable.

After the defeat of the Sigmarite host at the Battle of Averacium, Prince Saravael decreed the alliance over. In 160PC he loosed the Elven privateers upon the high seas so that they might seize Sigmarite goods and ships as they had tried to some twelve years earlier. Over nine months a number a small skirmishes, chases and minor engagements took place between the Elven privateers and the navy of the Sigmarites.

The conflict came to a head in the winter of 160PC. The Elves massed their efforts to ambush a large Sigmarite convoy bound for Cacauaxochitl as it passed the southern coast of Armaethor. The convoy was protected by a number of cruisers and lead by the mighty battleship Sigmar’s Blessing. Arrayed against them were the nimble vessels of the Elven battle-group led by the now infamous battleship Tears of Isha – she had accounted for more than a dozen prized Sigmarite merchant vessels in the past year.

At first the Elves looked to have the upper hand, their swift craft easily out-pacing the Sigmarite warships. Yet as battle was joined, the fates turned against the Elves and the winds changed direction. Now favouring the Sigmarites, they were able to close quickly upon the privateers. Well-drilled gunnery proved its worth and the fragile Privateers ships were pounded at close range. Sigmar’s Bleesing drove into the heart of the enemy fleet and blasted the Elven crusiers.

In an attempt to turn the tide of battle, the Elven mages aboard Tears of Isha began to summon a magical tempest that would wrack the Sigmarite ships. Yet as they reached the climax of their incantation Sigmar’s Blessing levelled a devastating broadside that tore through her Elven counterpart. As Tears of Isha splintered and sank the mages were disrupted from their sorcery and lost control. The eldritch storm swept out in a cataclysmic explosion that destroyed the remaining Elven cruisers and caused heavy damage to nearby Sigmarite ships. The remaining privateers took flight, denied their chance to seize the valuable convoy.

The Sigmarite fleet limped into port at Cacauaxochitl two weeks later. It took many months of repairs before some of the ships were once again sea-worthy.

Clashes on the High Seas

148PC Battle of Cape Melthu

As Prince Saravael, the fifth High Lord of Mellvellon, smashed the armies of Grand Theogonist Rickard at the Battle of Easting Road so too did the grand fleet of Mellvellon set out from Dragonspire in defence of Elven interests abroad. Saravael had tasked them with seizing Sigmarite convoys as an act of retaliation against the capture and detainment of Elven merchants by the Ecclesiarchy of the Holy Sigmarite Empire.

The van of the fleet approached the coast of Melthu when they spied unknown ships upon the horizon. As they drew closer they saw that these mysterious vessels appeared to be clad in armour and spouted smoke and steam as they travelled, seemingly independent of sail or oar. The Elves, though somewhat perturbed, continued upon their course. They let fly their banners and arrayed their warships in battle formation as a show of strength. The other ships manoeuvred in response but showed no flag nor banner to identify themselves. In his arrogance the Elven commander ordered a warning shot to be loosed from the battleship Asuryan’s Blade, that he might demonstrate the might of the Elven navy to these upstarts who failed to show him the courtesy of introducing themselves. It was to prove a terrible mistake.

The opposing fleet returned the favour with a thunderous volley from their leading cruisers, searing-hot shot ripping through the Elven frigates at the head of the battle-group. The Dragon Lord’s cruisers quickly responded in kind, streaking ahead and setting upon the enemy ships with fierce broadsides as they swept by. Yet the bolt fire was no match for the gunpowder and shot of the foe, and as they closed the gap between the two fleets the newcomers raked the dragon ships until they were reduced to nought be splinters and ragged sails. A few of the dragon ships well-placed bolts found their target’s weaker spots, and one of the enemy was finally brought down, bristling with burning bolt shafts as she sank.

Yet gradually, with the distance between the two fleets leaving the foe’s cannon little room to miss their mark, the iron ships gained the upper hand. The Elven commander realised his costly mistake - the armoured hulls of his anonymous enemy proved too tough for even the broadside of Asuryan’s Blade to best. He belatedly tried to use the superior agility of his ships to break off from the doughty ironclads, but it was too little too late. Now the fleets were entangled, and trapped as she was amongst the enemy ships, Asuryan’s Blade was mercilessly pounded. With numerous holes in her port side Asuryan’s Blade succumbed to the briney embrace of the sea... Standing aghast on the bridge, the Elven commander’s last sight was of the runes emblazoned across the hull of the enemy battleship as she steamed by. He instantly recognised them as Dwarven runes. They read “Hammer of Grugni”.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

War of Dwarven Expansion

After years of thorough exploration the dwarfs had a good idea of the continent on which they begrudgingly named home. Rangers had identified the foul Skaven to the south, strange pale humans to the north and had some idea of the barbaric humans and elf-kind inhabiting woods and lands to the north, north east and north-west. King Undin declared that once his armies were properly prepared the mountains would belong to the dwarfs entirely.

Whilst these armies were being trained and armed, pressure grew from migrating north-men and foul rat-kin from the south. Skirmishes flashed with greater intensity until 152P.C, when King Undin declared that the clans would march forth to smash both intruders.

Despite some troubling grumbles from the veterans, Undin struck out north first, seeking the barbarian men. He quickly found a huge army gathered to greet him, surrounding their dread lord Traegon. Misfortune dogged the dwarfs as war machines exploded upon firing, whilst the terrible daemonic engines of chaos sent up spumes of dead dwarf warriors with every shot. As the lines of warriors clashed, the dwarf King fell from his shield, disgusting magics crackling about him. As he was carried away he was conscious enough to hear the screams of pain and roared oaths of his dwarfs as they were completely massacred by the superior might and tactics of the chaos men. He returned to Karak Debaz with a handful of warriors and engineers, declaring that the first grudge of Karak Debaz had written in blood.

A second army was swiftly gathered, and with many a worried brow, marched south to confront the skaven menace that had grown so quickly in the southern ranges of the mountains. Under a cloud of volcanic ash, the skaven came upon the marching army. Numberless, they swept on against their ancient enemy. A plague priest’s chittered encouragements were cut short as he exploded in a red mist and his plague furnace collapsed around him in splinters, much to the joy of the dwarf gunnery crews. The main battle was bloody for both sides, but the skaven’s natural desire to be alive led to flight after flight, much to the chargrin of Greyseer Typhus. Having been slightly dazed by a grudge stone bouncing off his head, Typhus watched his last few skaven flee or be butchered, shook his fist in fury and disappeared.

In the wake of this first campaign, Karak Debaz grew and the dwarfs secured more of the surrounding territory. Mining expeditions came back with mighty treasures and a fleet was constructed swiftly for greater exploration. Ambassadors were also sent out to find allies against the threats that surrounded them.

Daemonic curse increases in Palurin

The Wood Elf Realm of Arnar suffered further setbacks in 148PC following their unfortunate defeat to the Ogre mercenaries earlier in the decade. Since then the wood elves had, as they always wished to, kept themselves to themselves and not involve themselves in the affairs of others. "Foreign wars" were not welcome, and the wood elves wanted to keep their focus on the trees, creating and idyllic realm to rival their long lost home in Loren.

For the most part the wood elves achieved splendid isolation during the middle of the 2nd century PC, and the lords of Calminaion rejected the overtures of Mellvellon to join them in a crusade against chaos. In 148PC chaos came to Arnar. Just how the daemonic horde managed to appear in the depths of the Arnar woodlands is unknown, but since it had been explored, the great forest of Anrar was known to harbour dark secrets, as the high elves found out in 160PC when their explorations along the coast met an untimely end when the coastal settlement was destroyed by a horde of the undead.

The daemonic incursion of 148PC was almost as costly. Thousands of wood elf lives were lost and whole regions of the forest devastated as the incursion ran its course. The forest king of Arnar sent an army to deny the abominations, but in a clearing in the forest the army of the elves was shattered by the children of the Dark Gods. The daemons did eventually disappear, back to their unearthly realm, but the exapnsion of the wood elves into eastern Arnar had suffered a serious reverse.

Holy Sigmarite Empire 142-160PC

By 148PC, around the time of Emperor Konrad's 50th birthday, the Holy Sigmarite Empire was once again flourishing, with the trade agreement with Mellvellon bringing in fine wares from the high elf realm. The town of Niederdam was expanding thanks to the trade along the Easting Road, but all was not well in the Empire. Grand Theogenist Rikard deeply distrusted the other kingdoms and races of Palurin, and his sermons became increasingly racist and xenophobic. By the middle of the 140s the Grand Theogenist was openly supporting extreme Sigmarite cults who conducted anti elf pogroms in Niederdam and Sigmarheim while Konrad did nothing to stop them.

Konrad had become detached and aloof by this time having lost his youngest son Boris to sweating sickness in 143. Then in 148PC the anti elf sentiment took a turn for the worse as nearly one hundred elves were taken prisoner in Sigmarheim. Still the Emperor did nothing, refusing to act against the official church of the realm, though privately he was furious with Rikard. Mellvellon responded with an ultimatum.The elves would be released or the army of the dragon lords would free them by force. Sigmarheim would be burned to the ground.

The battle of the Easting Road took place just east of Niederdam in 148PC. The Dragon Lords of Mellvellon were met by the Theogenist's ten thousand strong Ecclesiastical army, since Konrad refused to raise an army. In the Emperor's eyes the high elves were in the right. The gods certainly favoured the lords of Mellvellon in the battle, and the thousands of fanatical sigmarites were utterly destroyed, with the Theogenist Rikard himself slain. The elves then moved quickly west, and Konrad took swift action. A priest named Julius became the new Theogenist and the elf prisoners were released immediately. Konrad declared Sigmarheim and open city and apologised on behalf of the realm of men.

After a four day meeting with the dragon lords, Konrad managed to convinve the high elves that the church, not the state, was responsible for the state of affairs, and within three years trading had resumed with the lords of Mellvellon, though many on both sides now harboured bitterness and contempt for each other.

The new Theogenist, Julius, was eager to make amends for the debacle of the Easting Road, and instead launched a crusade against Chaos, who had once again begun raiding the tribes of Pellenar. Julius raised a new army in 154PC and sent aid to the chieftans of the Pellenar tribes. In 155PC the army of Sigmar, though somewhat smaller than had been hoped, none-the-less defeated the chaos army raiding the northern plains and secured peace for Pellenar. The Holy Sigmarite Empire accepted the eternal friendship of the tribesment of the region, promising aid in the future against the dreaded northern raiders.

Emperor Konrad was by now ageing, and had become even more isolated from the real world following the unfortunate death of the heir to the throne Heinrich, aged 22, in a horrific riding accident. Now Konrad spent most of his time with Frederick, his one surviving son. The council of the Empire now ruled the land, and in 159PC, having heard of renewed attacks on Empire caravans in Arnar, sent an army east with the traders to protect them.
Upon arriving at the gates of Mellvellon however, the army of the Empire was attacked suddenly and mercilessly by an elven warhost. After a long and protracted battle where the Empire army proved stubborn even in the face of a mighty star dragon, the Sigmarites were defeated and the trade caravan seized by the elves.

Whether or not the attack was ordered by all the lords of Mellvellon or led by a rogue embittered high elf lord is still a matter of conjecture. Either way it was the last straw for the Empire-Mellvellon alliance. Plans for a greater alliance against chaos and the Dominion were scrapped and while the two nations did not enter into a protracted war, the distrust between them ensured that the years of free trading between them were at an end. The fortunes of Niederdam, now a mighty city nosedived, and it soon became a denizen of the poorest most misfortunate citizens of the Empire.

Ogre Crusade 143-144PC

The middle of the 2nd century PC saw renewed expansion of the Lizardmen realm of Cuitlaxaochitzin and the Ogre Kingdom within it prospered. Frequently when the lizardmen were called on for aid, it was the Ogres who were sent, and well paid for their efforts.

In 142PC the northern tribes of Canabrin and the dragon lords of Mellvellon petitioned Cuitlaxaochitzin to send an army to fight the threat of chaos in the region. Again the lizardmen declined, but the Ogres of Graag agreed, for the right price. Mellvellon agreed, and they were allowed safe pasage once again through the Holy Sigmarite Empire. At this time the three nations of Mellvellon, Cuitlaxaochitzin and the HSE were on relatively good terms and were close to agreeing a joint venture against the Dominion and the Kaalroen Empire, but the "Alliance of Light", conceived by high minded individuals in all three Empires, did not come to pass in the 2nd century as petty rivalries and disagreement drove a wedge between mankind and the high elves.

the Ogres of Graag travelled via the Great Easting Road to Arnar in 143PC, but there they managed to get lost, and instead of turning north at the ancient corssroads, continued east. This brought them very close to the wood elves of Arnar, who warned them to turn away from their home. The Ogres however managed to miss the subtle warnings, and soon faced an army arrayed against them. The ogres were not about to change course and a battle ensued, the mercenary army managing to bludgeon their way right through the frustrated elven ranks.

Having defeated the wood elves the Ogres finally turned north, though on a course which saw them cross over the border of the Kaalroen Empire into Skraeland rather than Phallucia or Hjemland. Here the Ogres managed to prosecute a successful campaign, looting and pillaging the norsemen villages and culminating with a battle which shattered the armies of Skraeland.

Happy at their success, the Ogres managed to find their way back to Cuitlaxaochitzin by the winter of 143PC, after significantly outstaying their welcome in Weissbruck on their journey home.

Top Ten Lists!

Population
1 Kaalroen Empire 1,140,000
2 Dark Elf Dominion 1,060,000
3 Holy Sigmarite Empire 1,025,000
4 Cuitlaxaochitzin 880,000
5 Wood Elf Realm 690,000
6 Mellvellon 655,000
7 Domain of Ug 410,000
8 Skaven 385,000
9 Karak Debaz 290,000
10 Cloudy Mountain Orcs 220,000

Biggest Cities
1 Lamentation 220,000
2 Sigmarheim 170,000
3 New Har Ganeth 120,000
4 New Skraeland 115,000
5 Phallucia 115,000
6 Boiling Peak 140,000
7 Dragonspire 115,000
8 Sudhafen 110,000
9 Hovedstaden 95,000
10 Niederdam 95,000

Wonders of the World
1 Boiling peak Complex 9
2 Great temple of Cuitlaxaochitzin 8
3 Cathedral to Sigmar 5
4 Tower of Phallucia 4
5 Tower of Skraeland 3
6 Tower of Tragean 2
7 Herdstones of Ug 2

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Dwarfs of Karak Debaz

49 P.C After a decade of consideration High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer decrees that any Dwarf who so wishes may move through the magic portal... it is claimed by some to lead to another, far off land. Adventure-seeking and displaced Dwarfs flock through one of the last major portals into Palurin before it closes. Given orders to wait for the full deliberations of High King Thorgrim, they begin to build a stronghold to act as a beachhead should more Dwarfs be allowed through to Palurin. King Undin Greybeard is given command of the host.

57P.C Karak Debaz “The Untried/New Peak” is completed. No word from the High King is yet received. Palurin Dwarfs believe seven years isn’t nearly long enough to decide such weighty matters.

61P.C Kazad Varr, “The Sea Fortress”, begins construction. King Undin is criticised by many for his artless naming. The critics are set to work building sea defenses with many mutters of “See how good you are at building a new city”

77 P.C A small fort town is built at the site the Dwarfs originally entered Palurin. Named Kazad-a-Wutroth (“Fortress in the Oaks”.) Dwarfs patiently await the arrival of their kin. King Undin is again criticised for his artless naming of places. Many of these critics are sent to Kazad Varr to serve with the sea defenses.

93P.C The Honourable Guild of Coastal Guardians is formed by the political exiles. Nicknamed ‘Salt Beards’ they rise to ruling positions in the city.

94P.C King Undin sets up a ‘Sea Court’ at Karak Debaz, where beardlings are dressed suspiciously like the Salt Beards and encouraged to entertain any Dwarf in the court with their childish antics.

99P.C No word from the High King is yet received. Palurin Dwarfs believe fifty years isn’t nearly long enough to decide such weighty matters.

104P.C Voices calling for greater exploration of the surrounding region and sea are silenced by the declaration of Undin that: “This is where High King Thorgrim wanted us and this is where we’ll stay until we hear from him”

113P.C Missives from Karaz Varr suggest that a ship was sighted far out in the western sea. The King believes this to be nonsense and denies any request to send out ships. He declares that “The High King told me that as far as he knew no other creature walks this land I’m not going to disagree with him. Are you? Thought not”

139P.C The peace is shattered when two Dawi travellers are found by rangers close to Kazad-a-Wutroth. They claim that they stumbled through a small portal accidentally, which closed shortly after their passage. They believe their cousins to be mad or drunk, as only three months had passed since the mass of dwarfs had trekked through the first portal. Realising that foul magic is at play, a shocked and elderly King Undin declares that another portal must be found, otherwise millenia will pass before Throgrim makes any decision. Until that time armies must be raised, fleets built and rangers set to every point of the compass.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Typhonian Enclave 143PC

Typhus chortled insanely as lightning arced within the warren of copper piping and arcane machinery that lay at the heart of the boiling peak complex. The warpstone obtained from his raids into the Kaalroen Empire would be used to create a new generation of warships the like of which had never been seen on Palurin or any other world. They would be the awe inspiring products of Skaven ingenuity and a monument to his own towering intellect. Typhus puffed up his chest, enjoying the feeling of unbridled power mixed with the fear and respect of his subordinates. So he was naturally rather annoyed when his most trusted warlord and second in command ruined the moment by thrusting his sword into the grey seers chest, piercing his heart and killing him instantly.

Picking himself up off the floor, Typhus let fly a stream of invective and warp spawned lightning, frying the treacherous warlord to a blackened crisp. He felt a warm fuzzy feeling as the astonished warlords eyes exploded from his head in sprays of gore. He withdrew the sword from his heart and tossed it casually into the raging fires of the volcano while his gaggle of lackies gaped in shock and bewilderment. Typhus smirked smugly. “My precious” he murmured softly to himself as he clasped his hands...

Monday, 8 November 2010

History of the Skraelings 120-150PC

In 135PC, with the High Elves of the Mellvelon blocking all access to the sea via the Cenebrae River the Jarls of the Skaeling tribes unanimously agreed they needed to conquer the lands to the East of the Kaalroen Empire and besiege the fortress of Eternal Dawn. Lacking a ruler the Jarls of the Skraelings convened to appoint a leader, 8 contenders emerged. With the council descending into a farce as each contender claimed to be King of the Skraelings, the Skalds of the tribes declared as one that the Norse Gods would only accept the new King if they agreed to a battle to the death to the decide who wore the crown. The Norse needed no further encouragement and after a bloody contest Jarl Uhtrik Rasmusson was victorious and crowned King of the Skraelings. His first act being to demand the Skraelings amass their forces.

Ignoring Lord Traegen’s demands to attack south the Skraelings went East, initially having little trouble subduing the small tribes bordering the Kaalroen Empire. In 140PC, 2 years into the campaign at the urging of Skald Horek, King Uhtrik made the mistake of splitting his forces leaving a significant force to guard the Skalds while they investigated the arcane ruins at Hermannsverk in the Branmeren hills, the rest of the army continued its conquest East.

What they didn’t know was that the Skaven from Boiling peak had their own interest in the ruins and a large war party descended on the Skald attacking the Skraeling camp and achieving near total surprise, the casualties were high on both sides, the norse warriors carving through the Skaven wherever they fought them but the Skaven magic slaughtering the Skraeling elite and most of their leaders early in the battle and the Skaven Grey seer’s magic destroying or mutating the infantry guarding Skald Horek. Isolated on the left flank with only a few men left to protect him Skald Horek attempted to flee rather than face the clanrats in honourable combat, angered by his cowardice the capricious gods of chaos withdrew their protection allowing the Grey Seer to turn the cowardly Skald into a clanrat, now unfettered the Skaven mage then managed to turn the battle into a Skaven victory.

The death of many of the Skraelings warriors and they foremost magicians at Hermannsverk encouraged many of the conquered peoples of East Skraeland to rebel, forcing Uhtrik to spend 2 years consolidating his hold over the land. However by now the elves of Mellvellon had learned of the Norse campaign, but with their armies still weakened from their defeat by the lords of Phallucia they turned to the wood elves of Arnar for aid.

The forest was awakened and marched to war winning the narrowest of victories on the banks of the river Cenebrae, the loss stunting but not stopping the advance east. From this battle also emerged a new spiritual leader for the tribe High Skald Jori showing the foresight and courage so lacking in his predecessor by forcing the wood elves out of their defensive positions with mighty comets summoned by the gods and then leading ordinary Skraeling Carls to break through the elven right flank.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Dark Elf Dominion

Dominion becomes most powerful Empire (128PC - 143PC)

While the Kaalroen Empire was facing enemies on every front, and losing to them, the Dark Elves continued to expand their navy, roving along the coasts taking slaves wherever they could. The city of Lamentation swelled with slaves of many races, though human tribesmen, mostly descendents of the once proud lords of Aranur, made up the bulk of the cargo.

During the period 125-150PC it was the lords of Lamentation who were most active, while the aristocracy of New Naggaroth indulged in the pleasures of intrigue and plot. The Dark Elves of the Dominion meanwhile aggressively expanded the empire, finding new lands to the south and west of the Pan Coron Ocean.

The Dark Elves of New Har Ganeth had by this time already established a colony on a windswept northern confident, though they found no inhabitants to enslave. They had travelled east too, but were halted in their progress by the power of Mellvellon, at great cost to the High Elves.

The navy of Lamentation established a new colony to the south, but once again the land was apparently uninhabited. Refusing to admit the voyage had been a failure, a new city was raised up, testimony to the power and span of the Dominion.

Experiments in dark sorcery continued apace, with the daemonic portal on Basslaer Isle harnessed by sorcery. The results by the middle of the 2nd century had been promising. No daemonic incursion had occurred and the Dark Elves were able to harness the power of the daemonic realm to further their own plans. The results of the experiments certainly gave the Dark Elves the resources to cross the Pan Coron ocean and establish their colonies in such a short span of time.

The meddling with dangerous dark energies on Basslaer attracted the attention of the Lizardmen of Cullinor in 143PC, and a mercenary Ogre army was sent to deal with the threat. By now Dark Elf raiding parties were achieving success in Prestaur, and the human tribes there looked soon to be swayed into the Dark Elf orbit, through fear and intimidation. The lizardmen, fearing for thier own heartlands, and appalled by events on Basslaer, had to stop them.

The Ogre army was intercepted before it reached Basslaer, as althought the lizardmen were powerful, their fleet was almost non-existant, allowing the Dark Elves to land at the pass between Prestaur and Cullinor, before the Ogres reached the Dark Elf raiding lands.

The battle however did not go well for the Dominion. Despite the power of their sorceress their army was defeated by the stubborn Ogre army, and the Dark Elf host was obliged to withdraw. This also meant the raiding of Prestaur had to cease, but the Dominion still retained dominance of the seas and their power grew steadily towards the middle of the 2nd century, by which time they had overtaken the Kaalroen Empire as the most vital nation of Palurin.

Kaalroen Empire Embattled (122-143PC)

Following the defeat of Mellvellon in 133PC the Kaalroen Empire then suffered ten years of defeats to various powers, specifically losing four major battles during the period 133PC to 143PC. Two of these defeats were suffered by the lords of Skraeland, but other chaos lords, including lord Traegan himself, were subjected to the sting of military failure. Having defeated the high elves in 133PC, Phallucia gained influence in the Empire, chiefly by managing to stay out of the troublesome wars the chaos realm faced during this period.

The first defeat came in 133PC when the Ogres of Graag from the kingdom of Cuitlaxaochitzin travelled from Cullinor, through the Holy Sigmarite Empire (with Emperor Konrad's blessing) and across the moutains of Mallvass, where the Kaalroens were beginning to reach the passes of the mountains. The Holy Sigmarite Empire was only too happy to allow the Ogres safe passage so that the threat of chaos to the north was kept at bay. The defeat was not a catastrophic one, but the Ogres were able to prevent chaos marauders from raiding Pelenar for at least a decade.

During the period 140 to 142PC the Kaalroen Empire suffered at the hands of Typhus, the suspiciously long lived ruler of the skaven domain in the far south. On the hunt for warpstone in the Branmeren hills, the skaven grey seer defeated the Empire twice in two years, first vanquishing the armies of Skraeland and then another chaos army before returning back to his enclave with his ships full of the precious arcane substance.

Finally the wood elves of Arnar, forwarned by prophecy (one of the more obvious ones) that the forces of chaos would again try to expand their domain towards their lands, and with some urging from the lords of Mellvellon, , sent an army northward and defeated a Skraeland force in a narrow pass in the Branmeren hills. It cost them dearly however as the wood elves lost a venerable mage during the battle who was much mourned.

The combined effects of these defeats were not devastating to the Kaalroen Empire, which remained whole and united as one nation, at least for the time being. The chaos realm did expand along the Cenebrae river in the 2nd century, as well as as far south east as the Mallvass mountains, but no further, and the Dark Elf Dominion had by now eclipsed the Empire as Palurin's strongest.

Plans of Mellvellon suffer setback (128PC - 142PC)

Following their disastrous defeat by, and reconciliation with, their ally the Holy Sigmarite Empire, the High Elves of Mellvellon returned to the pursuit of their ultimate goals, the destruction of the Dark Elves and the forces of chaos.

In 128PC the ruling body of Mellvellon was dominated by hawkish opinions and rulers. when they found out the Dark Elves were once again raiding in Aranur, along the east coast of the long peninsular, the dragon lords once again diverted an army to face their ancient foe. This ultimately led to the defeat at the hands of Konrad's army, but after a tumultuous battle for the crossings over the river Tiban, while the lords of Aquila looked on, impotent, the Dark Elves had been stopped from crossing into Arnar and raiding there. This was only achieved at tremendous cost and the Dark Elves were only stopped, not defeated.

The vast naval power of the Dark Elves led to a massive construction programme on Mellvellon, construction of ships. The High Elves needed a navy to counter the Dominion and an idea was put forward to serve two purposes at once. An attack on the Kaalroen Empire would weaken the chaos hold over the tribes of eastern Canavrin, where the elves intended to expand their settlements, and would also give them access to the wood they needed to create their ships, without offending the wood elves of Arnar.

The policy led to the battle of 133PC, where the lords of Phallucia battled the dragon lords of Mellvellon. The result was a crushing disappointment for the High Elves, and the defeat saw the armies of Mellvellon retreat back to their island fortress for over a decade. Trade and contact was maintained with the Empire, Cuitlaxaochitzin and the wood elves of Arnar, but the might of Mellvellon had been curtailed.

Holy Sigmarite Empire (128PC - 142PC)

Following Sigismund’s crusade the Holy Sigmarite Empire enjoyed nearly a decade of peace and prosperity. Emperor Konrad’s subjects expanded the realm along the Canaur and the settlement of Leipden was established on the banks of the great river. That period of peace came to an end in 137PC with the rise of the new Grand Theogenist, Rikard.

Unlike his predecessor Englebert, Rikard was not content to merely guide and influence the policy of the Emperor, who by now had become an experienced and less hot tempered leader. Rikard was pleased at the continued good relations with the High Elves of Mellvellon and fostered diplomatic ties to the Lizardmen of Cuitlaxaochitzin.

Rikard pressed endlessly for a war against the Dominion, but the Emperor would not deliberately anger the Dark Elves, even when they scoured the friendly tribes of Armaethor, taking thousands of slaves in the summer of 135PC. Tensions grew high at court and more than once Konrad thought of attempting to remove the priest from his position.

The cult of Sigmar was still strong in the 2nd century however, and Konrad couldn’t move against the Grand Theogenist. Neither could Rikard convince his Emperor to raise an army to crusade against the Dark Elves. Undeterred, Rikard raised his own army, calling to the faithful to crusade against the evil on their southern border.

The grand army of Sigmar, led by Rikard himself, marched into the lands to the south of the realm in 137PC, liberating the tribes of Armaethor and defeating a small band of Dark Elf slavers. Angered by this the lords of Lamentation responded, sending a warhost numbering thousands, landing on Armaethor thanks to their vastly superior navy.

The final battle of the crusade against the Dominion occurred in 137PC. The Empire army, led from the front by the Grand Theogenist, fought with faith and zeal, but were badly outmatched by the fast moving, disciplined units of the Dominion. Shattered by the battle, Rikard and his remaining followers fled back to the Empire.

Konrad was furious with Rikard and feared the Dark Elves would move against him, however the attack never came as the Dominion instead focussed on continued expansion and the enslavement of disorganised and leaderless tribesmen of Palurin. They had no reason to attack the Holy Sigmarite Empire, at least for the time being.

Konrad meanwhile had other issues. Near the Habdrung forest north of Sudhafen reports of Chaos cultists were becoming common and stories of heretical worship and ceremony filled the streets of a fearful city. The Emperor reacted by building up the garrison of the region and assigning witch hunters to the area. He reconciled with Rikard and began the construction of a new church to Sigmar in the southern city to bolster the souls of the faithful.

The reports did not stop however, and in 141PC several witch hunters went missing. Suddenly thousands of villagers from the hamlets near the forest were fleeing in terror and told tales of strange ethereal beasts marching towards the city of Sudhafen. Upon receiving these reports Konrad sent an army to confront his enemy, and Rikard warned him of what they might face.

In early summer 141PC Konrad’s worst fears were realised. A daemonic horde had materialised from the Habdrung forests and was marching towards Sudhafen, summoned certainly by the cultists who had been hiding out in the region for many years. Once again the ageing Templar Grand Master, Sigismund, led an army into battle, this time on his own soil.

The battle was an exceptionally bloody affair. Led by a lord of change the daemon army closed with the ranks of the Empire, facing massed hellstorm fire which decimated their ranks. The deciding moment came in the centre of the battlefield. Sigismund’s cavalry had become isolated, chasing down magical daemonic infantry, while the Empire’s elite infantry had become locked in battle with the strongest of the daemonic beasts. For over an hour the two sides clashed, with horrendous losses on both sides. Then, at a critical moment, just as it appeared the daemons would be routed, the Empire resolve cracked and the greatswords fled, run down by their enemy.

Worse was to follow. A hellstorm rocket salvo accidentally landed in the Empire ranks, causing havoc, and the fire wizard “Lucky Hans”, a veteran of Sigismund’s campaign, was vapourised by the daemonic gaze of the lord of change. Sigismund and his cavalry raced back to the main battle, destroying the remaining daemons, but the lord of change could not be overcome and it only left the field when reinforcements from Sudhafen arrived, cackling and mocking the mortality of mankind.

The threat to Sudhafen had been removed, but Konrad lacked the forces, or the will, to clear out the Habdrung forest of evil. The area was declared forbidden to all men, and rumours and stories of foul and heretical worship persisted.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Dragon Lords of Mellvellon

In ages past the High Elves knew of the existence of Palurin, yet for all their arcane knowledge they struggled to maintain contact with this distant world. The Elves were increasingly preoccupied with their bitter and protracted conflicts to defend their home of Ulthuan. Even so, some were occasionally able to venture to Palurin. There they befriended the men of the ancient Empire of Aranur and the friendship between the two civilisations flourished through their shared practices in law, science, art and craftsmanship.

It was not until recent years (2525 by the reckoning of the calendar of Men) that Palurin once again drew the attention of the High Elves as a series of eldritch portals began to open between the two worlds. The Elven Seers warned of the attempts of the Druchii to raid this lost realm, that they might use their ill-gotten plunder to further their wars against the High Elves. So it was that the Phoenix King commanded a mighty
host to set out to the defence of Palurin.

The High Elf host expected to find allies in Aranur with whom they could find common purpose to drive the Dark Elves from the world before they were able to secure a foothold. What they found could not have been more different. The Empire of Aranur lay in ruins as this once-proud civilisation had crumbled to nought after years of civil strife. Worse, the Druchii had not only raided Palurin but had gone on to colonise swathes of its lands. With them, other races had seeded new realms in the wake of Aranur’s civil war. They had surged through the portals in search of new provinces to claim as their own. The wars from the High Elve’s homelands were now reflected on Palurin as the rival factions vied for power.

Now the High Elves, isolated on the Isle of Mellvellon, seek to restore order to the war-torn lands of Palurin. The Elves were taken unawares by what they found yet they were by no means unprepared. Leading the war hosts are the Princes of Caledor, scions of the Dragon Lords of ancient times, and on Palurin they made the greatest find for an age... Dragons. Unlike the mighty titans of Ulthuan, these drakes do not slumber the centuries away, for in them the fire still burns fiercely. True, the Dragons of Palurin are not so civilised and dignified as are those of Ulthuan, those with whom the Elves had battled the Daemonic Hosts in the age of Aenarion. But what they lack in nobility they will more than compensate for in power and ferocity. The Lords of Mellvellon sing the Songs of Awakening and the Dragons answer the call to war.