Friday, September 23, 2022

Hobby Update: Abyssal Oathbreakers

One thing I have really struggled to do in my wargaming career is embrace "legendary" things for myself. They were neat and I appreciated the lore and world-building, but gameplay-wise, I never really "got" them and avoided them. For Warhammer Fantasy, I think it ruined the immersion for me, with every battle in this supposedly massive and uncaring world having the same larger-than-life characters show up every time just felt weird. I wanted my little army to be skirmishing with other little armies and leave the big boys out of it except for rare occasions. This approach hamstrung me a bit, as often times, those legendary choices had a greater amount of survivability or other cool abilities that made them worth taking. In retrospect, the game wanted you to jump into the big clashes and ignore the skirmishes. The game wanted you to take these paragons and build around them and I missed that boat. 

I've gotten a little better, comprehension-wise, when it comes to legendary stuff. Kings of War is building up its own lore still, and there are powerful players to be sure. But a lot of legendary things are more generic, limited more for balance than because there is only one around in the world. There is only one Gnaeus Sallustis for the Basileans, but Kingdoms of Men Captain is unnamed, limited because of their special ability. Formations are another thing: legendary and exceptional elite units to utilize, but elite enough that they can't be spammed no matter the size of the army. I am slowly coming around to utilizing these for myself.

The Oathbreakers.

I made a bit of a speculative purchase over the summer and picked up some Frostave Demon sprues via ebay, seemingly my go-to retailer these days. I decided to turn them into the Oathbreakers, a legendary unit from the Forces of the Abyss. 

The Oathbreakers, from another angle.

I know virtually nothing about Frostgrave, but I really liked this kit. Each sprue has 5 minis and a small assortment of weapons. The weapons are limited, but for outfitting a skirmishing warband, this has a lot of options. While you can't uniformly outfit a group of 5 from one sprue, each sprue does come with multiple weapon options (two sword sculpts, two crossbow sculpts, etc),  giving you a little more variety than usual so even kitted the same, things won't look too "samey" if you want to build up a uniform unit. Being a warband, the sprues also come with shield options, which are extra-nice as they are distinct and don't have arms already attached. If you are starting up an Abyssals army, consider buying a box or two and using these as your Abyssal Guard!

The sprue.

Hobbying them up took some extra effort though. The minis came with stands, which would be great for a skirmishing warband, but were not going to play well as a full unit with my basing scheme of paste and lava pools and cork rocks. Thankfully the stands were thin. I kept a few around to help get the feel of the unit, but clipped it off about 2/3 of the stands from the rest of the unit, going back with a knife to clean it up around the feet. 

WIP shot. I figured having a few with stands would help me organize the rest of the unit.

Game-wise, they are kind of an elite Abyssal Guard unit, but with a fluffy Vicious vs Heroes special rule, and an odd Rallying 1 to other nearby infantry. I could see them supporting some Lower Abyssal Hordes in a wide line or something... but lacking those hordes myself, I'm not quite sure how I will utilize this unit quite yet. I guess I will just have to experiment and see who they play well with! I will try to give these a try in my next Abyssals game.

A little tiny, but he'll do for now. 

As a bit of an afterthought, I also hobbied up a mini for Zaz'u'szu the Betrayer, trying to really embrace these legends. I originally thought it would be an infantry-sized bloke, like, a famed commander of this regiment, and be a more feisty Abyssal Champion. Instead, he looks to be more based off of the Abyssal Warlock, a large infantry spellcaster.

A while back I picked up some 3d printed minis online from a  shop, and figured I'd put one to use. This was Aaron, the knight. It was a little too big for the D&D stuff I had planned on using it for. it seems a little bit small for this. He seems at home on a 32mm base, and does stand head and shoulders above the Lower Abyssals, so I'm ok with this use for now. I added some horns to tie him to the other abyssal units, and a cape to spruce him up, and then a few skulls to the base aesthetically set him apart from everyone else. The big sword might be a bit much since he lacks CS, and nothing about him screams spellcaster, so I feel I am slightly lacking on the wysiwyg front, but he should be the only thing that size on the table, so should do just fine for now. If I see a better model, I can always upgrade I suppose.

On the table, this guy looks like a lot of fun. He inspires, which seems odd for someone known as a betrayer, but is a definite boon for running him. Bane-Chant and Lightning Bolt are desirable spells as well, and being able to boost his Bolts up to LB 8 seems awesome. The betrayed unit won't be able to Regenerate the same turn, but with so many regenerating units in the army overall, I think Zaz should be very fun to run. We'll try to get him on the table sometime soon!

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