lunedì 17 aprile 2017

Grenadier Undead Villains - back from 2001

Not only heroes (or better said, anti-heroes) came out of the jar last week. There were also villains, well represented by two figures from Grenadier (now Mirliton) Undead range, sculpted by Bob Naismith.

The first one was Skorgan, one of the best developed villains I ever created as GM, although half of the credit goes to my fellow GM in the group, whom I took turns with. The best part of Skorgan is, basicly, that he died long ago and never really came back. He didn't do anything involving the PCs, ever. And yet he was, for years, a terrifying presence in the campaign.

Skorgan was essentially an ancient necromancer, possibly a liche, nobody really knows, because centuries ago the eastern Border Princes were a region even more wild than today, so nobody really bothered to keep a detailed account of Skorgan's life. Whatever is known is that he really was a poweful necromancer, and that at some point he was sealed in a tomb on the western foothills of the World's Edge Mountains, there awaiting his return.

Ossian, a half-elven wizard PC, learned about Skorgan from one of his contacts, a follower of Malal, who suggested him to go look into the tomb of the Necromancer to find his legendary sword, Xambarg. Ossian gathered a group of friends, including the Dwarf warrior Otto von Krautt, the disowned Imperial nobleman Axel and the Norseman Olaf, and together they entered the underground complex.

Getting rid of traps and magic protections, including undead guardians, was quite straighforward. Stripping the dead (yes, actually dead!) body of Skorgan, obviously a follower of Tzeentch, was relatively easy. But then, never underestimate the stupidity of PCs. I, as the DM, did not: in the loot box, along with several magical items, the heroes found a skull of metal. Its function was possibly to be a key, because it seemed to fit perfectly a shape carved in the wall, inside the wider carving of a door.

You are in the tomb of a Tzeetchian necromancer underground, and you see a magic key in the shape of a skull, and a possibly magic door carved into the rock - a portal of some sort. What do you do?

Next thing you know, a portal on the Warp opened, and a very nasty one since on the other side there was only molten Warpstone. Imagine the wave of blood in Shining, running through the corridors of the Overlook hotel. Now picture it as Warp-lava running through a dungeon.

Run for your life!
The PCs barely made it out alive, and they ran, ran for days. Behind them, a volcano of Warpstone was being born.

But that wasn't the end. One of the PCs, Otto, who had been the one putting the skull into the portal, was having nightmares about it. He wanted to be forgiven. So month later he decided to go at a temple of Alluminas and confess.
The priest told him that the only way to atone would be to close the portal. So Otto travelled back to the place, finding now the small volcano being mined by Skaven. Otto was able to kill Skaven resistance and, calling upon a demon of Alluminas, close the portal.

But Otto wasn't the only one having nightmares: Ossian had them too: he was dreaming of Skorgan, or maybe another necromancer, Thmerr, it was never clear. There was a body lying on a tomb, covered in bandages: and as Ossian got close, the body would spring to life and its hands would grab the wizard's neck.
"Ossian! Ossian!" he would hear before waking up in a pool of sweat.

It's... youuuu!!!
Ossian eventually went back looking for the source of his nightmares. He found the now dead volcano had been digged again beyond the mines, and the body of Skorgan had been freed of the Warpstone. But now the bones were a shining black colour, and the body protected by a cage of transparent crystal.
Ossian smashed the crystal open, stabbed the body to kill it and then, just to make sure he would not come back to life, decapitated it with Xambarg and took the head with himself, leaving the body behind.
Little did he know that a cult of Skorgan had emerged, and that the cultists believed he would come back to lead them. They had temporarily put the necromancer in a cage of Fixstone, a variety of Warpstone that worked the other wat around, blocking all magic. They had this ritual to bring him back: they needed to stab his heart and then decapitate him, but the ritual would only work with the necromancer's own blade! They had been looking for Xambarg everywhere without success. Thmerr, the leader of the cult, had tried for long time to look for Ossian, but he had no clue where to find him!
It was certainly Tzeentch's blessing that made possible that Ossian travelled all the way to the tomb and carried the ritual by himself! Truly the ways of the Lord of Change are mysterious, unfailing and full of irony.

If the wizard did everything by himself, I might as well go home
Now with the ritual completed, Skorgan's skull became a catalyst for Warp: magic energies would gather in the skull and then, at the right time, Skorgan could be brought back. The only problem was that Ossian had the skull now! And if the awakening ritual was not carried on properly, the skull would overload and, well... boom! The sort of boom that razes everything in a range of several kilometres and opens a Warpgate in the process.

Lol, sucks to be you, Ossian!
There were several attempts at deactivating the skull, but all proved unsuccesful. At last, Ossian, now chased by Thmerr's lackeys, through the help of Gelmir, Gelmir's brother Brandir, and the elven outlaw Charmian, tracked a spectral wizard in Tilea, Mario, who was able to help out. The ritual succeeded in releasing the energy of the skull in a controlled way, by making it sentient with a different identity - not Skorgan's, but Skorgan's skull's! The skull was very happy to be born as a magical being made of the Purple Wind of Magic: indeed he opened a portal to a new dimension of undeath, jumped right in with Mario, and closed the door behind himself, thanking Ossian for the help!

It took six years of game time (2502 to 2508 I.C.) and possibly nineteen years in the real world (1998 to 2017) to get rid of Skorgan, but now it's done. Now there is only a very pissed Thmerr. But that is a story for another time...

martedì 11 aprile 2017

The Merry Mariners - back from 2001

Towards the end of 2000 our WFRP group was exhausted. We had played for four intense years but, for a number of reasons, several members had dropped out of the group and only three were left. We found a fourth member and we took turns in GMastering sessions, creating a new party interly composed by Elves, brought together by being members of the crew of a ship.

It lasted less than one year, but it was fun. At some point I painted miniatures for all four PCs, and last night they were found in a jar at the house of my friends, so I took some pictures - forgive the light, it was night and the kitchen lighting was not ideal for photography.

Without further ado, I give you Fanirrlan, Sea Elf pirate. Greedy, adventurous, curious. Raised in the Old World with the healthy principles of survivalist Elves living among Humans. In Lustria, he learned about the Turtle-god Washoon, living under the Sea and emerging occasionally as a moving island - and he became its follower, hence the turtle pattern on the shield.

This miniature is a Jes Goodwin sculpt from Citadel 1987 Elf Warriors, and identified by the name Kaledon.

Then there is the other Sea Elf, Galentil of Breataine, from the stormy coasts of Cothique. Introverted, contemplative, melancholic, Galentil finds peace only at sea and away from people. He can, at times, become actively aggressive and utterly anarchic when confronted by crowds and civilization. A devotee of Mathlann, he finds himselfs very confused when he falls in love with Lilegon (see later), having puberty hitting him very hard.

Another Jes Goodwin piece, this belongs to the Citadel 1985 Silvan Elves for Lord of the Rings, later re-released in 1987 as Warhammer Wood Elves (074213/1). A very fine sculpt, if you ask me.

Now we come to Lilegon: daughter of a Wood Elf witch and a Dark Elf champion of Slaanesh, Lilegon grew as an outcast and quickly learned to survive in a hard world and only trust herself, resulting in a very introverted character and melancholic nature. She and Galentil are basicly dynamite, attracted by their common traits and plagued by bad communication and unspoken words.

I had lots of fun painting this Bob Naismith sculpt from Citadel 1986 C09 Dark Elves, the "Death Maiden". To be true Citadel has always been short of female figures, except for Dark Elves. The original had a spike on her tiara, which I removed to lighten the figure.

Lilegon always went around with a pet Wild Cat, Grinn, who later turned out to be a reincarnation of her witch mother.

This piece by Jes Goodwin is from Citadel 1987 Elven Beastmasters.

Lastly, we have Neferet, an Elf from Astartis, a house-made kingdom set in the deep Dark Lands, with an egyptian mood. Curious to see the world, Neferet was famous for her disdain of "barbarians" as well as her promiscuity, which made Fanirrlan very happy.

This is a fine Bob Naismith piece from Citadel 1986 RRD11 Regiments of Renown: Mengil Manhide's Dark Elves, named specifically as "Witch Elf". When I ordered it, I didn't notice the womanskin on her back, which hardly fits the PC, but then again it was nice painting it.

To be frank I am quite surprised by the quality of my brushwork from that time, considering I only had a dozen colours and a very lousy brush. But then my eyes and hands were probably better, and I had a lot of time to paint.

It's nice to see these pieces emerging from the past! Will post a couple more in the next days.

giovedì 30 marzo 2017

Gelmir the Adventurer - Citadel Silvan Elf ME31 (1985)

This miniature couples with that of Lamshâr, so there's not much more to say. They look similar indeed, except for the head, and they are Jes Goodwin sculpts released in 1985 as LotR Silvan Elves and, later, in 1989 in the Late Summer Catalogue.

This miniature, though, was painted with the nemesis of Dark Elf Assassin Lamshâr: the Sea Elf Hero Gelmir, my first WFRP PC whose origins were briely touched in this earlier post.

So here goes, very briefly, the first part of the great tale of Gelmir, Harpist of the Gates, Chosen of Quesshan and Regent of Dralas, which covers possibly four intense years of gaming between 1996 and 2000.

Gelmir was the son of poor Sea Elf settlers in the Wasteland, living in the village of Grilm. His father died at sea when he was infant, and the mother was slain by Goblinoids when little Gelmir was but a child, hiding under the bed with his siblings. Survivors of the pillage of Grilm, Gelmir and his siblings made a living as street urchins and beggars in the nearby town of Zeaburg for a few years until one day they were found by another Sea Elf, Elmerin, who brought them to Lothern and adopted them as his own.

Gelmir came back to the Old World when he reached adulthood, on a trip to revisit his past and perhaps find Brandir, his brother who had been lost before Elmerin found them. He travelled to Marienburg and then along the Reik until Nuln, where he found a job as bodyguard of Counsellor Oldenhaller. At this time, together with some companions, he uncovered a net of warpstone smugglers covering a good part of the Empire: this criminal organisation was led by Skaven Champion Boneface. With the help of three mysterious Old Slann spectres, the heroes vanquished the organisation and chased Boneface to Marienburg where they killed him, finding out he was the reincarnation of a fourth Slann spectre. They four undead were in possession of a piece of music which could expand or reduce portals to the Warp: Boneface was bent on expanding the Northern Warpgate with it (reached by a convenient portal), but Gelmir just in time played his harp and brought back the Gate at the original size - no less. This was the first feat of Gelmir as a hero, and one that put him on the list of the servants of Chaos as an enemy, and as the possessor of a piece of the Melody of the Gates. 

Begore disappearing, the four spectres indeed prophesised that one day, not far away, the representatives of the Free Peoples of the World would have the chance to close the Warpgates. This was a key event in Gelmir's life, who believed from that day that he had a destiny to fulfill and save the world, a belief that later, after a number of failed Coolness Tests, developed first into Megalomania and then into Heroic Idiocy.

With his newfound Slann blade Myrmidag, Gelmir left the Old World and travelled to Lustria, looking for someone who could translate some Old Slann books which had been owned by the four spectres. In Lustria he found a friend, the scholar Balgar, but also a lot of enemies. Balgar was kidnapped and brought, ironically, to the Old World, where a group of Malalite Dark Elves were trying to tackle with a Moon Gate, an alternative to Warp Gates. Gelmir chased the kidnappers but could not save his friend. In a fit of rage, Gelmir killed his assassin but also broke his blade, already weakened by thousands of years of exposure to Chaos radiations.

Back went Gelmir to Lustria, carrying the body of Balgar, the untranslated books and the pieces of Myrmidag. Again he found somebody willing to help, but not openly as the Church of the Snake-god Quesshan, the main religious organisation of the Slann, was not kind to foreigners and those who owned artefacts which they considered their own. It was at this time that, frustrated by his inability to find allies, Gelmir defied the laws of the Slann and travelled inland into Lustria, reaching incognito the capital Aztelcahuan: captured and risking death, he managed to pass himself as a pilgrim delivering gifts to the Great Emperor - the Old Slann books. Awed by the precious gift, the courtesans of the Emperor allowed Gelmir an audience with the Lord of the World, where he was kindly blessed and then sent back to the coast, but not without hearing legends about Myrmidag being part of a trio of ancient swords, sacred to Quesshan.

In coastal Lustria, once again Gelmir was attacked by Chaos servants, this time the Champion of Slaanesh Lamshâr who stole the Melody. One again, Gelmir gave chase, helped by other heroes, finding the enemy at Karak Azul. Here, with a portal, they reached the Souther Warpgates and stopped the Dark Elf from becoming a Chaos Prince. 

This trip allowed Gelmir to talk with Dwarfish smiths about the properties of the legendary mithril steel and the reforging of Myrmidag. Gelmir then went looking for the ruins of Boneface's underground lair where he thought he could find more about Old Slann lore, but there he found contemporary Slann, also looking for the same answers! Fighting his way out, Gelmir discovered to be on the enemy list of not only Chaos followers, but also the great Slann archmage Anguissh, who believed the Sea Elf was withholding secret Slann lore and, quite correctly, that he had the pieces of Myrmidag. The wizard was looking forward to collect the three blades of Quesshan because together they would have merged into the Sword of Quesshan, an ultimate weapon destined to be wielded by a Champion of the Slann against Chaos.

Gelmir travelled far and wide the Old World and over to Ulthuan to put together information about the swords and reforge Myrmidag, always chased by minions of Anguissh. Gelmir and Anguissh's champion met in a final showdown in Tilea, where the three swords were finally collected in the same place: ironically, when the three swords merged into the legendary Quesshandag, the sword refused to be wielded by the Slann and instead accepted the grip of Gelmir, who slew all his enemies except for the archmage, who beat a hasty retreat. It was this event that convinced Gelmir even more that he was the Chosen One of Quesshan, that he was the Hero of the Free Peoples against Chaos.

Committed to the prophecy of the Slann spectres, Gelmir made peace with Anguissh and invited him at a Council in Nuln, where all loremasters from the Old World and Ulthuan would gather to discuss a plan to close the Warpgates. Together, these great minds were able to complete a larger part of the Melody and then divided into groups to further study different aspects of the plan.

But a Hero can not fight Chaos alone: he needs an army. And to sustain an army, he needs a kingdom, thought Gelmir. So he started looking for one, in the Border Princes. It took him months of preparations and several failed attempts but, at last, he was able to sneak into the port of Dralas and hold hostage his Prince, obtaining his sister in marriage and the title of Regent.

That was the start of Gelmir's life as a nobleman, and another chapter of his tale...

lunedì 6 marzo 2017

Gelmir the Sea Elf - Citadel Elf Command Musician (1987)

In the beginning, there was the glorious and embarassing original setting of Warhammer Fantasy. It was glorious because it was simply one of the most imaginative and cool settings ever. It was embarassing, because it blatantly stole elements from Tolkien and Moorcock, mixed them with pop culture and sprinkled a good bit of stereotyping on top.

There were Slann, of course. There were Amazons. There were Pygmies. And there were Sea Elves. All things that were happily retconned in the 90s because the creative management at GW thought they veered too much on the embarassing side of the spectrum, no matter how glorious they were.

This is what WFRP 1E had to say about Sea Elves:
The Elves living around the coasts of the Elven Kingdoms have a tradition of seamanship and fighting, and lack the normal Elven disdain of physical labour.  Because of this, the High Elves look down on them, thinking them rough and uncouth.  They are brave warriors and tireless guardians of the seaways, and it is thanks to them that the sea routes between the Old World and Lustria remain open.  Sea Elves are quite venturesome, and can often be found as merchants and traders in old World ports.  Most of them speak Old Worlder as well as Elvish, and many have a smattering of the Norse language too.  The Elven trading posts of the Old World are run almost exclusively by Sea Elves.

In later years, Sea Elves were simply absorbed into the High Elves or, as the Lore, named them, the Asur. A memory of their existence could be traced in the division of High Elves between those belonging to the introspective inner realms of Ulthuan, and those hailing from the hardy and seafaring outer realms.

But in their glory days, the Sea Elves were the Warhammer Sindar, the Falathrim of the Old World, the link between the lands of Men and Ulthuan, Lustria and the rest of the world. They were cosmopolitan, adventurous and interested in trading. Basicly the opposite of the isolationist High Elves, the secretive Wood Elves and the decadent Dark Elves.

No wonder that my first WFRP PC was a Sea Elf then. Gelmir, he was named, son of Handir, born in the miserable harbour of Grilm, on the coasts of the Wasteland, not far from Marienburg. He was an orphan, a bodyguard, quite ugly by elven standards (which still made him the most handsome of the party) and blessed with the boon of having a morality closer to Man than Elf. In other words, he was elvish, good and a lover of beauty and all, but at times a huge son of a b$%£h.

The miniature for this PC is a 1987 Citadel cast for the Elf Command Group (#10, Musician), scuplted by Jes Goodwin. It is a nice figure, with good proportions and very nice hair. It's perfect for an adventurer, with its causal garments and big belt with satchels. I choose it for the harp, which was a key element of Gelmir the Sea Elf - he had learned a melody from some Old Slann ghosts, by virtue of which he could widen or narrow warp portals, and this skill was instrumental more than once in limiting the power of Chaos champions and sorcerers.

Any opinion or memories with Sea Elves? Let me know in the comments!

domenica 19 febbraio 2017

My first miniature - Metal Magic Elf Archer w Cape

It was sometimes between 1993 and 1995, I guess. There was this shop, Pergioco, on the back of piazza Cordusio in Milan. It looked like a tiny shop, but there was a stair leading downwards into a very large room packed with boardgames, role-playing games, miniatures, dice and such. It was Saturday afternoon paradise, for an early teenager like I was.

Not that I had the money to buy anything. The subway tickets to the city centre took away about 40% of my weekly budget. But still, a few months after playing my first session of RPGs, I decided to buy a miniature. It was though deciding which one, but finally the choice fell on this one.

Elf Archers with Cape (1033e, 1992) from Metal Magic, a brand at that time owned by Hobby Products, a German manufacturer. To this day, I consider this one of the finest miniatures ever produced, and one that has shaped my aesthetic taste in fantasy. Truly, Josef Ochmann did a hell of a job on this one.

Take the perfect dynamic pose, for example: this Elf is loading an arrow and is set to shoot at a distant point, aiming slightly upwards to achieve a longer range. He has a distinctive elfin physique, slim but proportionate. Then there are the details: the trimming on the tunic, the fishlike scales of the armour following the shape of the chest, giving the idea of a lightweight armour and not a heavy one falling vertically. The sword on one side and the quiver on the other. High boots and a long cape. This is the hyperuranic elvish adventurer.

This was, for a long time, Haldir, the Sinda warrior from the Grey Havens, whom I played in MERP. Too bad I had no idea how to paint it and no budget to buy the expensive sets for painting at the time.

So I gave it to one of the guys in my playing group, because he claimed he was good. He held it for about 6 months and, after repeated requests to return it, gave it back with the lousiest paintjob ever. It was, quite literally, a clumsy brush of pink on the face and hands, one of grey on the armour, and one of green on the cloak. End of it (WIP, he claimed). But what made me really mad was that I made ONE request: that the cape was to grey. Haldir was a Grey Elf, after all, and having read the Silmarillion quite recently, I was adamant about it.

Years later I found another friend (I had left the old group since, and wasn't playing MERP anymore) who could paint, and graciously offered to paint my miniature. He did what you see now, a very nice paintjob, at least for a teenager from the 90s. We didn't have much money fro colours and brushes, and we didn't have any access to GW's paint courses or youtube tutorials. Everything was perfect, except for one detail: the cape was, again, green.

If you want a job well done, they say, there's only one way to do it. So I did it myself. Meanwhile the GW shop had opened in Milan, I got myself a set of colours, and painted the cloak in grey. And that's how, over the course of several year, this miniature got painted.

What was your first miniature? Any interesting story to share? Let me know in the comments!

domenica 15 gennaio 2017

Berengar Took - Mithril Hobbit Scout on Pony (M60)

It's funny how you start painting a miniature with no idea or inspiration, and you end up with a piece that's not only above your average, but also developed in your hands, way beyond your original intention, and actually came to represent a character with an appealing background story.

That's what happened with Mithril Hobbit Scout on Pony (M60), which I started painting in October 2016, and finished in the last days of the year. During its painting I put it down and picked it up again a number of times, choosing to focus some days on other miniatures that were, at the time, more interesting.

The only ideas I had, when I started, was that the hobbit should have dark brown hair and a green cloak. In the end it had a green cloak, indeed. The hair somehow started with a light brown and came up almost blonde.

A blonde hobbit? Why not? Before repainting my mistake, I did some research, and came up with a quote.
Before the crossing of the mountains the Hobbits had already become divided into three somewhat different breeds: Harfoots, Stoors, and Fallohides. The Harfoots were browner of skin, smaller, and shorter, and they were beardless and bootless; their hands and feet were neat and nimble; and they preferred highlands and hillsides. The Stoors were broader, heavier in build; their feet and hands were larger, and they preferred flat lands and riversides. The Fallohides were fairer of skin and also of hair, and they were taller and slimmer than the others; they were lovers of trees and of woodlands.
Well, Mithril said it's a scout, so... Fallohide it is. Fair-skinned and fair-haired, our hobbit needs a name now.
In some old families, especially those of Fallohide origin such as the Tooks and the Bolgers, it was, however, the custom to give high-sounding first-names. Since most of these seem to have been drawn from legends of the past, of Men as well as of Hobbits, and many while now meaningless to Hobbits closely resembled the names of Men in the Vale of Anduin, or in Dale, or in the Mark, I have turned them into those old names, largely of Frankish and Gothic origin, that are still used by us or are met in our histories. I have thus at any rate preserved the often comic contrast between the first-names and surnames, of which the Hobbits themselves were well aware.
RotK, Appendix F
Took. Everything seems to fall into place, now! I think I'll call him Berengar, just because I'm a big fan of Berengar I of Friuli, king of Italy (888-924) and son of Eberhard the Saint, one of the closest advisors to emperor Louis the Pious.

Berengar Took. The Scout. Or, even better, the Adventurer!
[...] certainly there was still something not entirely hobbit-like about them, - and once in a while members of the Took-clan would go and have adventures. They discreetly disappeared, and the family hushed it up; but the fact remained that the Tooks were not as respectable as the Bagginses, though they were undoubtedly richer.
I can almost hear Berengar's mum, complaining that all the family loved trees and woodlands, but it was certainly not normal for one of them to go and visit the great forests beyond the Brandywine! 
"Where did all that talk of elves and dragons, and magic rings and shining swords came from?" wondered Berengar's mother.
"I tell you where it came from" muttered his Uncle, Ludovic, while sucking on his pipe "from that ol' Wizard that comes every now and then. He looks all jolly and friendly, but he's up to no good, mark my words!"
"The Wizard?!?" gasped the woman.
Not the fellow who used to tell such wonderful tales at parties, about dragons and goblins and giants and the rescue of princesses and the unexpected luck of widows' sons? [...] Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures. Anything from climbing trees to visiting Elves - or sailing in ships, sailing to other shores! 
Yep, that one.

That Gandalf better stay away from my children!
Anyway. The miniature is lovely, really. One of the best I've seen so far from Mr. Tubb. The date on the base is 1988 and the sculpt belongs to the group "Gandalf and the Shire-folk".

What I really like about this miniature is that it manages to be full of realistic detail and, at the same time, have something magical and poetic.

The drapery of the cloak is just perfect. And the way the hobbit looks around - perhaps scanning the landscape, perhaps marvelling at it - is just glorious. Also the pony is finely sculpted, with the right proportions and a strolling pose matching the relaxed position of the rider. 

The baggage is very well done, and so is the short sword hanging from the side.

And did I mention the drapery of the cloak, yet? No, this is probably one of my favourite Mithril miniatures so far. Ride, Berengar, follow the Road to wherever it goes!
           Farewell we call to hearth and hall!
           Though wind may blow and rain may fall,
           We must away ere break of day
           Far over wood and mountain tall.

           To Rivendell, where Elves yet dwell
           In glades beneath the misty fell,
           Through moor and waste we ride in haste,
           And whither then we cannot tell.

           With foes ahead, behind us dread,
           Beneath the sky shall be our bed,
           Until at last our toil be passed,
           Our journey done, our errand sped.

           We must away! We must away!
           We ride before the break of day!

venerdì 6 gennaio 2017

Lamshâr - Citadel Silvan Elf ME31 (1985)

I got on eBay this cool Jess Goodwin sculpt from 1985, which was sold by Citadel as Silvan Elf ME31. Interestingly, the same figure was later included in the 1989 Citadel Late Summer Catalogue (item 074213/2) as Wood Elf Champion. I bought it without a clear idea of what to do with it and then, on a whim, last month I decided to paint like one of the main NPCs, and by far one of the best villains, of my WFRP campaign.
The miniature was missing the original shield and I had to make do with a different one - full shield, to which I added a hole with a hot screw, and by sheer luck it fit perfectly.

So I give you Lamshâr, Dark Elf Assassin and Champion of Slaanesh.

The PCs met Lamshâr for the first time in Karak Azûl, a Dwarfish hold at that time overrun by Goblinoids. Driven by a dream to explore the Lower Depths, they discovered the Goblins were under the rule of a Greater Daemon, Urmarcht. He, in turn, had been appointed by the Dark Powers to recover the Melody of the Gates, a piece of Slann music that could be used to open or close portals on the Warp. Said Melody (or a part of it, but that was not known to the PCs yet) was in the possession of a Sea Elf, Gelmir of Lothern, currently lodging in the great city of Quezzhar on the coast of Lustria. And Urmarcht, having a Goblinoid kingdom to rule, appointed in turn his right-hand man, the Dark Elf Assassin Lamshâr.

Now, Lamshâr was not a standard Dark Elf: for one, he was really dark - a Gift of Slaanesh, which made his skin as smooth and dark as ebony. Graced with unnatural charm and grace, he had a signature mocking smile which made women faint from lust and men seeth from offence. And indeed that's what happened, with the Wood Elf Knight Errant girl falling almost immediately for him, and the Dwarf Judicial Champion vowing to heave his head with his axe. He got a scar in the attempt, and she got a night of unspeakable pleasures, while the other PCs were asleep and he broke into her room at a local inn.

But I am hasting too much - off sets Lamshâr from Karak Azûl to Barak Varr, where he boards a ship directed to Ulthuan first and Quezzhar later. The PCs follow as they can, but he is always a step ahead of them. That includes finding Gelmir of Lothern almost dead and deprived of the papers where he recorded the Melody. In Lustria, they almost catch up with Lamshâr - almost meaning getting a scar or a night of decadent lovemaking. But by sunrise the Assassin has already boarded a ship back to the Old World.

The PCs try again to follow, on the Grey Wave, Gelmir's ship. They are slower than other Elvish frigates, but they can cut the stopover in Ulthuan and head directly to Barak Varr, in the hope that they can set a trap for Lamshâr there. But he's smarter than them, as usual, and avoids it, so he can reach Karak Azûl days ahead of them. Always a step ahead, but never really taking action against them. It's as if he enjoyed toying with them, rather than eliminating their threat once and for all. Or is he?

It is in Karak Azûl that the PCs finally confronted the Daemon Urmarcht, now in possession of the Melody, and uncovered his plan to enlarge the Southern Gate of Chaos to absorb its energy and become a Prince of Chaos, with the blessing of the Ruinous Powers. And they stopped it - with the help of Kar Knuurg, the legendary War Axe of the Kings of Karak Azûl, they fell the monster after an epic battle in the Lower Depths.

 It was then that Lamshâr, suspiciously absent until that time, reappeared. Just as Urmarcht was uttering a final curse on the PCs, the Assassin pierced his neck with a blade.

"I must thank you" he bowed mockingly to the PCs "I would have never achieved that by myself. With your help, though... but let me show my gratitude by allowing you to witness my own rise as a Prince of Chaos. Please, follow me, if you can!"

With that the Dark Elf started to run and jumped into a portal, with the PCs following suit. They could only look, while the Assassin, faster than them, played with his flute the Melody and enlarged the titanic vortex suspended in the stormy sky, over a living wasteland of limbs, tentacles and screaming mouths: the Southern Gate of Chaos. As the Eye in the Sky expanded, Lamshâr was pulled into it by an invisible force. And, moments after disappearing in the maelstrom of impossible colours, something started coming out of the Gate.

A colossal monster, whose head was half skull and half Lamshâr, barbed with six convoluted horns, slowly emerged from the Hole, as if it was climbing out from a blasphemous womb. Triumphant, he screamed with a thousand voices his victory. But just then, Gelmir started playing with his harp the same Melody - only backwards.

The Gate started to recede, slowly but steadily, and the Beast screamed again, but this time with fear and frustration. The Gate shrunk, cutting off his body in half. Iridescent blood, or whatever it was, fell on the living plain which fed itself off the ichor. With a fearsome groan, the Chaos Spawn that was to be a Prince of Chaos died, and its gigantic body sank into the teeming ground, gnarled and gnawed by invisible teeth. The Melody was over, at least the bit which Gelmir knew. The Gate was not closed, but it has receded to the same size as before. It was time to go, before the portal closed itself.

That was the end of Lamshâr, Dark Elf Assassin, Champion of Slaanesh and would-be Prince of Chaos.

Lamshâr's main weapons were a whip and a repeating crossbow - alas, difficult to find in miniatures, except heavily armoured Dark Elves. But a bow and a long sword will do, along with a nice shield painted with the wheel of Chaos.