Thursday, 17 January 2013

Stygia and Aquilon Mythology and Peoples.

Ok so here some fluff I worked on the other day to try and expand the Executioners some.  C&C's are more than welcome, and again please remember this is FICTION, it may borrow heavily from a culture, but it is still fiction about humans in the grim dark future on a binary world far away!

On the Imperium's fringes along the desolate void wastes to the galactic south-south-west can be found the binary worlds of Stygia and Aquilon, the infamous worlds of ice and fire.  Locked in orbit with each other they trace an elliptical around their slowly dying sun.

Aquilon is the larger of the two twin planets, and supports all manner of life on its rich volcanic soils, while Stygia is a frozen tundra devoid of plant life and inhabited by dangerous predators.

Aquilon while verdant and full of life, is unable to support human life due to the constant volcanic activity and chemical make up of its water supply.  The water while drinkable releases a noxious gas when boiled.  This gas builds up in the atmosphere over night, only to ignite in the upper atmosphere each morning, creating the illusion that the planet itself burns.

The Stygian people believe that in the long distant past they all lived on Aquilon, a life of ease and luxury.  The sun was  praised each morning, but the moon was teased and large fires were lit to keep the dark away.  This made the moon jealous, for it was stuck on the frozen world, never looked upon.  One day in a great flash of light that blocked out the sun, the moon sent an emissary to Aquilon.  The Emissary took the form of a large dog walking on its hind legs in a mockery of the Aquilon people.  He told them that the moon wanted to apologise for the darkness in the night and invited them to a banquet.  All accepted this offer, and went with the emissary.

However the moon had tricked them, upon arriving on Stygia, the Aquilons were set upon by Topilaq, and forced to fight for their very lives the weak died quickly, but small groups managed to break free from the trap and became the first of the tribes.  Now each night they look up into the sky and see their bright fiery world, promising warmth and an easier life, but they can only go back strong and wise, for defeating the moon in battle is the only way they can reclaim their world.

The sun saw what had happened and vowed to support the Aquilons.  As such after each dark cold night on Stygia he still rises and gives them what heat he can.  He taught them to make fire in a land without wood, and promised that the worthy would be taught by his warriors to retake Aquilon.

The Stygian people are fractured and divided into tribes, forced to eke out an existence on the vast frozen tundras.  With food and shelter hard to come by, war between the tribes is common.  However the Stygians see this as a chance to prove themselves as warriors and emulate the great white Ursus that share the tundra with them.

The Stygian have many folk tales featuring the Ursus including legends in which Ursus were humans long ago like them and they too were tricked into life on Stgyia.  These legends reveal a deep respect for the Ursus, which is portrayed as both spiritually powerful and closely akin to humans. The human-like posture of Ursus when standing and sitting, and the resemblance of a skinned Ursus carcass to the human body, have probably contributed to the belief that the spirits of humans and Ursus were interchangeable. Stygian legends tell of humans learning to hunt from the first Ursus, Nanook.

This does not mean that the hunting of the Ursus was forbidden, far from it, for to deny a food source on the tundra would be foolish.  There was however a longstanding shamanistic ritual to the hunted Ursus. After killing the animal, its head and skin were removed and cleaned and brought into the home, a feast was held in the hunting camp in its honour. In order to appease the spirit of the Ursus, there were traditional song and drum music and the skull would be ceremonially fed and offered a pipe. Only once the spirit was appeased would the skull be separated from the skin, taken beyond the bounds of the homestead, and placed in the ground, facing north to scare away the evil Topilaq.

The Topilaq resembled large wild dogs.  Individually not large enough to challenge an Ursus but in numbers they are a far more frightening prospect.  They stalk the wilds day and night watching and waiting for the perfect moment to strike, never seen except out of the corner of an eye.  When they do attack it is always in the middle of a terrible storm, striking fast and from every direction.  Most parents teach their children to behave with the threat of Topilaq snatching them at night if they misbehave.

The Shamans of each tribe were referred to as Death-Speakers.  It was these Death-Speakers that conducted important ceremonies and acted as ambassadors between tribes.  The most important task of the Death-Speaker however was to judge ones worth upon their death, and decide wether they should be allowed to soar to Aquilon or be thrown to the wild dogs of the far north.  As such after a particularly successful hunt or tribe war, Stygian warriors would take a trophy off of their victims and place it by the entrance to their hide tents, or worn upon their clothes.

Upon a warriors death, the are taken to a sacred, sheltered ice canyon far to the north, known as Nanooks Trail.  The route to to the canyon, and the entrance itself is marked out by large Inuksuk.  Inuksuk are stone cairn structures, made to resemble a man or Ursus standing with arms spread. Before the journey the tribe places each of the dead on a crude sleigh made of bone and animal hides, they then pile the trophies that warrior has taken in its life on top.  Upon arriving at the entrance to Nanooks Trail the tribes Death- Speaker raises his arms to the sky and asks Nanooks permission to enter, before choosing the strongest of the remaining warriors to drag their fallen tribe mates deep within the canyon.

For anyone apart from a Death-Speaker to talk once in the canyon is to invite the Topilaq to enter ones body.  Deep within the canyon is the largest Inuksuk, depicting Nanook himself.  Here the Death-Speaker presents each fallen warrior, and tells Nanook of the great deeds that each warrior has accomplished and the stories behind each of the trophies, if Nanook was pleased with the warrior, his sleigh and trophies were set alight so that the Warriors soul could soar high in the flames and reach Aquilon.  There they would fight the Trickster moon, and each morning beat back the darkness with flame.  If the Death-Speaker had no story to tell or if the story was one of deceit or treachery, then the body was dumped on the ground and left for the Topilaq to take.   Their sleighs and any trophies they had were then burnt, releasing the souls of these animals to escape and continue their life.

It is this belief of all creatures having souls, that has led certain tribes to associate with certain animals on the planet.  The chieftain may see in the eyes of a massive oceanic Narthulu, the spark that he saw in his father eyes, and may take it as a sign that his father is watching from Aquilon and has sent part of his soul back to Stygia to protect and guide the tribe.

The Space Marines of the Executioners chapter, saw amongst the Stygian people a fierce determined and prideful people, who would make excellent neophytes.  When the Executioners first teleported to the planets surface it was in the midst of one of the worst storms in Stygian living memory.  The displacement of air created an eye to the storm and for a mile in all directions the storm was quiet and still.  The bright flash of their teleport attracted a large group of Topilaq who immediately attacked the small band of Space Marines.  The Topilaq are not the only ones who witnessed the teleportation flare.  Several tribes also saw it and made their way to the source.  Upon arriving at the teleportation site, the collected tribes saw men half the size of a full grown Ursus, spitting fire from their weapons and slaughtering the Topilaq.  In an unprecedented event, the Death-Speakers of the tribes came together and spoke in hushed tones.

The last of Topilaq faltered in their attack and they slunk back off into the raging storm.  As the Executioners reassessed their situation the Death-Speakers moved forward and together lifted the corpse of the largest Topilaq and on their knees presented it to the Astartes.  When a skull helmed Chaplain took the beast off them and in one gauntleted hand raised it above his head the assembled tribes cheered.  To the Stygian people these were the warriors of the sun, with fire in their weapons and the strength of Nanook in their hands!

The Chaplain spent a long time talking to the Death-Speakers who had presented him the trophy.  He bade them to go to their tribes and unite those who had gathered together under one banner.  Then they were to head across the tundra and tell the other tribes of what they saw, and bring them into the fold.

The tribes did unite but it was not an easy peace, old habits and hard fought battles were difficult to forget.  As such disputes were common and often ended up with entire tribes fighting and would only end with the intervention of the Space Marines.  Rather than discourage this rivalry the Chaplains of the Executioners, laid down rules and traditions to be enforced by the Death-Speakers.  On a perceived slight the aggrieved party would take the matter to a Death-Speaker, who would act as judge and jury.  If deemed appropriate the Death-Speaker would order a trial by combat.  Death or maiming (which on the harsh world of Stygia was the same thing) were the only ways it could end.  Any outside interference was met with banishment from the protection of the United tribe.

New Year, new start!

Well that was a longer break than I intended!

I have not been completely idle however!  I have simply turned my intentions on my mental although and family for a while!  I have gotten some hobbying in however.  I have assembled 2k worth of Chaos Iron Warriors which I am busy painting before moving on to anything else which is proving quite difficult at the moment!

See for a while I have been toying with the idea of using Dark Angels as the basis of my Executioners.  The Executioners have never struck me as a Codex chapter, and while Pedro and Lysander can give that stubborn feeling, it was never quite enough for me.

The one part that drew me to the DA's more than anything else was the parallels I could draw between the Death Wings Native American influences and Dorns frozen home world of Inwit.

So using the Inuit as a rough basis I came up with a background for the peoples that the Executioners recruit from.  I will put this in another post as it is rather long.  It is intended as a piece of fiction to fit within the 40k grim dark universe an no offence to anyone, or anyone's culture is intended. (Not that I think it is offensive or puts a negative view on beliefs or mythology, but for the sake of being PC, I apologise if you are offended)

Monday, 13 August 2012

TFP: The Badab Project.: Crown of Blood Trilogy Competition

TFP: The Badab Project.: Crown of Blood Trilogy Competition

Hey guys, The Fallen Princes: The Badab Project have a great (and easy!) competition for an amazing set of signed books by Gav Thorpe!

If it wasn't for TFP I wouldn't feel as welcome as I do in the blog'osphere and wouldn't have been able to find so many inspirational Badab enthusiasist, to keep me motivated.  So head on over and check it out!

Friday, 10 August 2012

The joys of getting older!

So , getting older sucks in some ways, but in others it does get better!

One of these ways is getting better presents as an adult "from your kids", at least that is the excuse I use to pick stuff up for myself while the kids are too young to realise that I am pulling the wool over their eyes!

So they were excited to "gift" me this nice package!

A nice bunch of Forge World stuff, to make a BIG start on an Siege Vanguard list for my Executioners!  Now I am not a player who likes to win all the time!  I much enjoy trying to theme a force and then roll a bunch dice a couple of times a month, win or lose!

My plan is to take Pedro (or whatever I name his Executioner equivalent for my army), a Siege Assault Squad, a Dreadnought Talon, with 2 Ironclads and a Siege variant, as well as 10 Sternguard, and thanks to the 6th allies rule, I added Lysander, a Tactical Squad and for anti air support and cause he looks cool a Contemptor Mortis also another Dreadnought wouldn't go astray!

So here is what I have got together so far, 3 of the Dreadnoughts, half of the Assault squad and I fiddled with the arms of my Pedro.

Chain Axes are from the Chaos accessories range but where possible I want all my guys to have axes.  I have also magnetised their back packs and will put magnets in their jump packs later, so I can use them as regular assault guys in standard SM lists if I need to.

I am going to go on a good scrounge for a set of terminator legs, torso and shoulder pads and convert up a Lysander as well.  Plus save money for another order, including a Contemptor Cyclone Missile Launcher, and another 20 Marines of different marks for the Tac and Sternguard!

I also kitbashed a Thulsa Kane the other week, and also grabbed a second Death Speaker.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Stop! Banner time!

Ok quick update today, placed an order with Forge World for some dreadnaughts' and assault marines!  Going to work on a Siege Assault list for my Executioners first up!

To go with them I am converting up a High Chaplain Thulsa Kane, and trying to get together ten combat shields!

While waiting on my order to makes its merry way across the globe I quickly knocked up this banner, hope you guys like it!

I used the Dark Elf Har Ganeth Executioners logo as the basis for it and simply did some recolouring in photoshop!  As such the original images contained within are not mine and used without permission and all rights are still held by the owners!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Lizardmen reboot

So while waiting to see what exactly this past Saturday would bring in terms of 40k, I invited a couple of mates out to play a game of Fantasy!  As always we took it about as seriously as a circus act!

Now I must say that as of RIGHT now I much prefer Fantasy to 40k ( I still bought the Gamers Edition of 6th!) and I love 8th edition more than just about any previous edition I have played (I started back in 2nd edition, with the High Elf and Goblin box set!).  I am not a serious gamer by any means.  For me the joy is trawling through background, creating any army and then proceeding to play a game and throw a bunch of dice!

I love the narrative that naturally comes out of a game, for example in the Storm of Magic game I played, my friend took Dwarfs and then proceeded to add a Fimir, who did very little, except miscast and blow himself and his fulcrum to smithereens!  Just goes to show that the Dwarfs should have put their faith in the Runesmiths and not tricksy daemon-spawn!

Anyway I digress, after this game my friends and I worked out a few more rules for a campaign weekend we want to run soon, and I began mulling over what army I could take!  I was originally going to take Tomb Kings, but I need to buy a few more things for them and I want an airbrush to finish painting them.

One friend is going to borrow my Ogres, so that rules them out, so what could I take?

Then it hit me!  Knowing we were going to have a great big 4 way Storm of Magic game I could dust off and reboot my Lizardmen!  I always loved Dinosaurs, and have dabbled in Lizardmen since 3rd edition!

Even better, next to nothing was painted for my Lizardmen, as until recently I could have cared less about actually completing an army!  I have enjoyed working with the new Citadel paints and bright colours on the Mondrian Necrons, and wanted to keep going with that.

A quick flick through the army book, new and old and I had landed on doing a Sacred host of Tepok!  Purple dinosaurs! And sadly I just then realised that  I will have to name one of them Barney (sigh)

The frog who went to get the milk, his Palanquin was already done, so I just popped him off and gave him a fresh coat of paint!  I will most likely run him with Light magic, the bonuses to WS and I sounds very solid buffs for Saurus!

Engine of the Gods!!!!  I love this thing, so much potential and takes a few hits and focus away from the Slann!

Not entirely sure how effective this guy will be, but I have always liked the idea behind the cloak of feathers, and a Slann taking over his mind to cast spells!

I haven't got a spot in the list for this guy yet, but a Dinosaur named after the King of the Dinobots? Yes please! At the very least he will see action during the Storm of Magic game!

Still on the bench to paint are 40 old school skinks, 10 Cold Ones, 40 Saurus and 16 Temple guard and an old school stegadon!  Then to get some chameleon skinks and I will be where I am happy to have some variety and choices putting a list together!

And in between all that I will have my "counts as" Executioners Thusla Kane arrive, 6th edition of 40k to pour over and signing up to finally do university (only been a "gap year" of around 13 years in length!)


Monday, 11 June 2012

Compulsive non finishing!


Seems like I have once again started something with all intentions of following through and not doing exactly that!  Oh well lets give this another crack!

I have been busy (ish) since my last post.  On the Marine front, I started painting some Crimson Fists, thanks to the anniversary model, and some Forge World goodness.

Pretty happy with the results and it is a nice easy paint job.  Start with Necron Abyss and then dry bush right up to ice blue.  Follow with a nice heavy wash of Asurmen blue.  I used this technic based on an article I read on Kantor Base.  Hugely helpful!
The bases are from Back 2 Base-ix as I was planning.  These are great quality resin bases made right here in Australia.  I also added some Swamp Tuft from Army Painter that I won in a local Blood Bowl tournament for my Lizardmen Stadium.

I have also added some paint to the man eaters that I showed last post.

The water turned out really well I think, it was simply some sausages of green stuff that I flattened down one edge in a rough uneven manner to try and create some ripple.

Below is a purchase that I would not have made if not for my 5 year old son and his love of skeletons!  Amongst everything else, he told me one day he wanted some "Space Skeletons" and he wanted me to paint them!  How can you argue with a kid who wants you to buy more miniatures??

Painting and theme wise I decided to do something quite different.  I had been watching an episode of Grand Designs Australia and one of the people on there wanted a Mondrian inspired interior.  I determined at that moment to tap into my dutch heritage and do something outside the box.

All bodies in the army will be a nice rich red, all vehicle blue, all weapons green.  Cloaks will be yellow and detail white or black.  I plan on placing them on some sort of tiled base and continue with the Mondrian look on those with nice big white flag stones, black lines between and primary colours on some of the smaller flagstones.

The barge has been painted using only the new citadel paints and they are a pleasure to use.  Each colour I started with Base paint and then built it up through layers, followed by a shade and then a glaze.  The white has gone straight over the top of these colours in practically one layer!

The other thing about the new paints is I have no found a way to the Executioners armour justice and in an easy enough method for my poor painting ability!  Again simply dry brushing starting with Leadbelcher Base and working right through to Runefang steel.  Wash with the new blue shade, and then two covers with the blue glaze and you end up with this:

Bad iPhone picture I know, but you get the idea.  A really nice blue steel look, now to just win the lottery and buy everything I need and I will be good!  I still want to wait for 6th to make any MAJOR purchases for these guys, but may well end up buying some more older mark armour from Forge World.  I figure there will always be Tac marines and a veteran squad of some sort should be fine!

Ok well I think that just about brings me up to date!  I will try and post more regularly from now on.  really I will!