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The Deathguard of Drakkenhold

Discussion in 'Soulblight Symposium' started by Malisteen, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. Malisteen

    Malisteen Vampire Count True Blood

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    This is the Homebrew forum for Age of Sigmar, right? It's kind of hard to tell with the non-descriptive forum names which also lack any sort of subtitle... Anyway, assuming I'm in the right place, I've been thinking recently on what the living civilizations of the Realm of Death might look like, and here's a sketch of what I've come up with, including a homebrew unit based on the idea, sort of a less offensive, more defensive counterpart to grave guard, emphasizing an alliance between the living and the dead with a bodyguard rule for vampires and the ability to fight on as zombies after their death.


    DRAKKENHOLD

    When chaos claimed the mortal realms and the gods withdrew - Sigmar to his Golden City, Nagash to his Underworlds, other gods to their own sanctums - there were some who fought on, pockets of resistance within the realms that managed to remain free from the depredations of chaos, whether through guile or strength of arms or both. In the ensuing age, most of these refuges were eventually hunted down and crushed by the legions of the dark gods, but a few managed to survive the centuries on their own terms, and now witness the return of the gods with a combination of relief and resentment.

    One such bastion against chaos is the benighted land of Drakkenhold. It is a realm of contradictions, where the living and the dead live and work and fight side by side, shoulder to shoulder. Desperation and necessity have stripped from the human citizens of Drakkenhold all fear of the undead. Indeed, corpse-servants and laborers are a common and necessary part of Drakkenhold life, while the tithe of blood demanded by Drakkenhold's vampiric nobility is a paltry price to pay compared to the horrors of Chaos.

    The human citizens of Drakkenhold are a grim lot indeed, and their soldiers even more so. These fearless men and women defend their homes whether in life or death. Every one of them is willing to lay down their lives for their vampyric masters, for without their power Drakkenhold would have long ago been overrun. Their dedication is not purely born of necessity, but rather out of genuine respect and gratitude as well, for when even the gods abandoned the Mortal Realms to Chaos, the vampires of Drakkenhold stayed to protect their flock.

    The ruler of Drakkenhold is the ancient vampire Isabella Von Carstein, beloved by her servants whether mortal or undead. It is her power which shrouds Drakkenhold from the eyes of the dark gods, and ensures that it can never be found in the same place twice. As a result, while their land has had to fight off wandering armies of the enemy, in all the centuries of Chaos rule Drakkenhold has never faced a protracted siege.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    DEATHGUARD
    Whether in life or in death, the grim Deathguard of Drakkenhold will fight to defend their benighted homeland and its immortal aristocracy.

    Wounds: 1
    Move: 5"
    Save: 4+
    Bravery: 6

    Melee Weapons
    Drakkensteel Blades
    Range: 1"
    Attacks: 1
    to Hit: 3+
    to Wound: 4+
    Rend: -1
    Damage: 1

    Drakkensteel Glaives
    Range: 2"
    Attacks: 1
    to Hit: 3+
    to Wound: 4+
    Rend: -1
    Damage: 1


    DESCRIPTION
    A unit of Deathguard consists of 5 or more models. The unit is armed with Drakkensteel Blades and Crypt Shields, or may instead be armed with two handed Drakkensteel Glaives.

    SENESCHAL
    The leader of this unit is a Seneschal. A Seneschal makes 2 attacks instead of 1 with their Drakkensteel Glaive or Drakkensteel Blade.

    STANDARD BEARER
    Models in this unit may be Standard Bearers. Add 1 to the bravery of the unit if it contains any Standard Bearers, or 2 if there is a friendly Vampire Hero within 12" of the unit.

    HORNBLOWER
    Models in this unit may be Hornblowers. If the unit includes any Hornblowers, it can always move up to 6" when it charges, unless its charge roll is higher.


    ABILITIES:

    HONOR GUARD
    Whenever a Vampire Hero in your army with 5 or fewer starting wounds on its profile suffers a wound or mortal wound, you may nominate a unit of Deathguard within 3" of the hero and roll a die; on a 4 or more the Vampire ignores that wound and the Deathguard unit suffers a mortal wound instead.

    EVEN IN DEATH
    Whenever a Deathguard model in the unit is slain, roll a die. On a 2+, you may immediately add one model to a unit of Zombies within 9" of the Deathguard unit. The new model may be placed anywhere in coherency with the rest of its unit, and may act normally this turn. If you add a model to another unit in this way, then no other units or models can be created as a result of the Deathguard model being slain, and no effect may restore it to life later in the game.

    CRYPT SHIELDS
    You can add 1 to the save rolls for a unit carrying Crypt Shields against attacks that have a Rend of '-'.

    KEYWORDS
    Death, Human, Drakkenhold, Deathguard


    EDIT (2/11/16): changed background to have Drakkenhold ruled by just Isabella, not Isabella and Vlad, in line with the fluff from my homebrew Isabella rules, reduced number of attacks, increaed rend, added a special rule for the Drakkensteel Blades.

    Second EDIT (2/11/16) added 2 handed glaive variant that trades the shield for reach.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
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  2. Aranei

    Aranei Ghoul

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    Great idea! I believe I used a similar-themed "Sylvania" nation mode for Dominions 4 (a computer game). It contained various living infantry turning into identically equipped zombies upon death, vampiric commanders, fallen priests of Sigmar/Morr worshiping the God of Death and some fallen Knights of the Black Rose (who were sacred units and didn't turn into zombies upon death).
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
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  3. Malisteen

    Malisteen Vampire Count True Blood

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    That's more or less the exact run down of the sorts of units I was imagining here. Plus maybe some von Carstein style 'creatures of the night' - fell bats, bat swarms, dire wolves, etc.

    EDIT: So, in addition to the Deathguard, I'm thinking of the following for new Drakkenhold units:

    Blackfeathers - like deathguard, but trading their melee weapons, shields, & bodyguard ability for crossbows

    Revenant Knights (name?) - all revenant cavalry (because the swapping out models thing seems like it would be more awkward on a cavalry unit). Again, more defensively built, with the deathguard's bodyguard rule to protect nearby non-monster vampire heroes.

    Maybe a new hero unit? Alternatively a living hero who becomes a revenant hero upon their death in the style of the blackguard? Then again, the nobility/leaders of Drakkenhold are supposed to be vampires, so maybe a more explicitly von-carsteinian generic vampire with the ability to carry a BSB?

    Or maybe not. I think the existing vampire lord and necromancer heroes fit this subfaction well enough already. If this were a hypothetical GW release, a new plastic vampire hero model would obviously accompany these units, but I don't think it would need new rules.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
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  4. Menkeroth

    Menkeroth A Knight of Blood

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    Yes, a very good move, I've been thinking similar, and I guess, it could be so, because there are indeed humans in Shyish. Also one could add here some kinds of spirits, but perhaps it suits more a some other faction.
     
  5. Malisteen

    Malisteen Vampire Count True Blood

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    One could throw in spirits, but I don't think they quite the right match for this bunch thematically. More to the point, however, even if you did add spirits, I'm not sure what new units would be needed for that. Spirit Hosts, Hexwraiths, wraiths, and banshees already has you covered pretty well.

    More in theme for Drakkenhold would be creatures of the night (dire wolves, fell bats, bat swarms), the more aristocratic style vampire units (vampire lords, blood knights, the black coach, as opposed to bestial vampires like vargheists or vargulfs), necromancers, and lesser undead like zombies and skeletons - maybe grave guard, though their role is sort of covered by revenants, here.

    But again, all of those units are quite well covered by the existing war scrolls, so while I might include them in a few formations with the new Drakkenhold units here, I wouldn't bother writing new rules for them. There's no point coming up with 'drakkenhold bat swarms' when 'bat swarms' already exist and work fine.
     
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  6. Menkeroth

    Menkeroth A Knight of Blood

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    That's true. I think formations will do better indeed. Anyway we have to think it out, as well as other factions (despite the coming of the Age of Sigmar, I'm still making my forces more of the Blood Dragons style - blood knights, dire wolves, fell bats, black knights - everything to be fast and hit hard in close combat).
     
  7. Malisteen

    Malisteen Vampire Count True Blood

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    BLACKFEATHERS
    Deadly hunters, the halfling Blackfeathers of Drakkenhold skulk in the shadows of their vampyric masters, ambushing any enemy who would threaten them with deadly Drakkensteel bolts from their wicked crossbows or cutting them down with cruel Drakkensteel daggers. Just as with the human warriors of Drakkenhold, when a Blackfeathers is slain, its corpse may rise again to join the battle once more.

    Wounds: 1
    Move: 5"
    Save: 5+
    Bravery: 6

    Attacks:
    Ranged Weapon: Drakkensteel Barbs
    Range: 12"
    Attacks: 1
    to Hit: 3+
    to Wound: 4+
    Rend: -1
    Damage: 1

    Melee Weapon: Drakkensteel Dagger
    Range: 1"
    Attacks: 1
    to Hit: 3+
    to Wound: 5+
    Rend: -1
    Damage: 1

    DESCRIPTION
    A unit of Blackfeathers consists of 5 or more models. The unit is armed with either paired Drakkensteel Daggers or single Drakkensteel Daggers and crossbows which fire Drakkensteel Barbs.

    SENESCHAL
    The leader of this unit is a Seneschal. The Seneschal makes 2 attacks instead of 1 with their Drakkensteel Daggers.

    STANDARD BEARER
    Models in this unit may be Standard Bearers. Add 1 to the bravery of the unit if it contains any Standard Bearers, or 2 if there is a friendly Vampire Hero within 12" of the unit.

    HORNBLOWER
    Models in this unit may be Hornblowers. If the unit includes any Hornblowers, it can always move up to 6" when it charges, unless its charge roll is higher. In addition, a Blackfeather unit with a Hornblower may shoot even if it ran in the same turn.


    ABILITIES:

    SHADOW STALKERS
    You may choose to hold any units of Blackfeathers in your army in reserve during deployment. During any of your hero phases after the first, you may deploy the unit anywhere on the table within 3" of a friendly vampire hero and at least 6" away from any enemy models. The unit may not move in the following movement phase, but may otherwise act normally that turn.

    BLACKFEATHER AMBUSH
    Blackfeather models gain a +1 bonus to wound rolls with their weapons if their unit was not on the table at the start of the current turn.

    PAIRED WEAPONS
    Blackfeater models armed with paired Drakkensteel Daggers make one additional attack in with their weapons in the Combat Phase

    EVEN IN DEATH
    Whenever a Blackfeather model in the unit is slain, roll a die. On a 2+, you may immediately add one model to a unit Zombies within 9" of the Blackfeather unit. The new model may be placed anywhere in coherency with the rest of its unit, and may act normally this turn. If you add a model to another unit in this way, then no other units or models can be created as a result of the Blackfeather model being slain, and no effect may restore it to life later in the game.

    KEYWORDS
    Death, Halfling, Drakkenhold, Blackfeathers


    EDIT (2/11/16): changed weapon names, cleaned up a few mistakes left over from previous edits, shortened range of 'even in death', swapped hit and wound values of the crossbow shot, increased rend, added special rule to blacksteel barbs (to give blacksteel weapons a bit of unique flavor, and make the blackfeather unit interact favorably with my homebrew version of Isabella), changed how the stalker deployment and ambush rules work, made them halflings instead of humans, reduced their save.

    SECOND EDIT (2/11/16): Made them halflings instead of humans, added a paired dagger melee variant.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
  8. Aranei

    Aranei Ghoul

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    While the changes kill the whole "Rise as zombies, but with the same equipment" idea, they both remove the awkwardness of replacing models with models and create synergy with skeletons/zombies, so I do like the changes.
     
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  9. Malisteen

    Malisteen Vampire Count True Blood

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    There's also the fact that, if this were a real unit, you know what people would do under the old version is just say 'this model is a revenant now' when the living version was killed, so as not to have to buy/assemble/paint double the models for the unit, and that would dramatically add to the confusion of an already somewhat awkward mechanic. Not that 'how it would play in real life' necessarily matters all that much for a hypothetical homebrew unit, but still. Players still might do that, taking the slain models from the mortal unit and just adding them to the skeleton or zombie units, but since they'd be in a completely separate unit, that would still be much less confusing.
     
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  10. Malisteen

    Malisteen Vampire Count True Blood

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    Made some changes to bring the fluff and rules of these units more in line with those of my homebrew version of Isabella,

    specifically:

    Deathguard: changed background to have Drakkenhold ruled by just Isabella, not Isabella and Vlad, in line with the fluff from my homebrew Isabella rules, shortened range of 'even in death', changed it to just add to zombies not skeletons, reduced number of attacks, increased rend, changed the weapon names, added a special rule for the Drakkensteel Blades (to match the Drakkensteel Barbs of the blackfeathers), added 2 handed glaive variant (trades shield for reach, otherwise identical).

    Blackfeathers: changed weapon names, cleaned up a few mistakes left over from previous edits (champion's number of attacks), shortened range of 'even in death', changed it to just add to zombies not skeletons, swapped hit and wound values of the crossbow shot, increased rend, added special rule to blacksteel barbs (to give blacksteel weapons a bit of unique flavor, and make the blackfeather unit interact favorably with my homebrew version of Isabella), changed how the stalker deployment and ambush rules work, made them halflings instead of humans, reduced their save, Made them halflings instead of humans, added a paired dagger melee variant.

    Re-edit, removed weapon property from all drakkensteel weapons, changing Isabella's ability to be more friendly instead.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  11. Malisteen

    Malisteen Vampire Count True Blood

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    Between this and the isabella thread, my hypothetical 'Battletome: Drakkenhold' project is comming along. Overall, the subfaction looks to include the following units from the VC rules:

    vampire lord
    necromancers
    zombies
    corpse carts
    dire wolves
    fell bats
    bat swarms
    Black coaches
    Blood Knights

    plus the following new units
    isabella
    deathguard
    blackfeathers

    I like the idea of the blackfeathers as halflings, something that occured to me after remembering that the halfling survivors of the old world were also holed up in Sylvania with Neferata, Isabella, and Khalida at the end. I imagine them culturally as traders, the only ones easily able to find the city again after leaving it, traveling in caravans hidden from chaos marauders, bartering Drakkenhold steel and wood products for food and other supplies from other holdhout settlements.

    I think there's still room for some additional new units in there, particularly in terms of heroes. Maybe a halfling vampire? A human deathguard hero, similar in role to a wight king? Maybe one that has a chance of becoming a wight king if they die? On that note, I like how the 'get back up as a dead thing' mechanic ties in thematically with the carstein ring.

    That and some sort of 'big thing', I'm not sure what, though. A souped-up black coach?

    And maybe a cav version of the deathguard?

    I don't know. I don't want to overdo it, or include obviously more 'new things' than most new AoS factions get.
     

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