Thursday, 7 July 2011

Alongside my commission service, I run an optional extra to design and work up a comprehensive design brief. This design brief involves delving into the context of your force, looking at the classical influences of your race or faction, then working up an overall narrative which I base my work upon. Below is an example of the process Aenaerion and I went through when designing his Karond Kar force.

Please note; these notes were designed before the Storm of Magic expansion. Now it is even easier to get all those weird and wonderful rare creatures that inhabit the Warhammer world. 

Aenerion’s Dark Elves of Karond Kar.

Karond Kar, the Tower of Doom - Slave trader costal city renowned for its corsairs and trade.

Try and replicate the current beastmaster models throughout your army. Make your Dark elves a bit more feral, less armour, more furs. I would use these as the archetypes for the look of this army:

The Army

For a heavily themed force, I wouldn’t too much about what is tournament legal and instead concentrate on what you envision this army to look like on the battlefield. The Elves from this area sound like they take a Druchii's natural flair for domination to excess. I would have this as the core character of the army. Have barbs, chained animals, animal pelts, hooks, whips... anything that can be used to beat and break the spirit. Reflect this as much as you can in the army list itself. Anything that helps breaks a unit, or dominate it in some way is a must! Crown of command springs to mind, perhaps you can model it as an iron crown with barbs stinging the owner. When I think of how a host from Karond Kar looks on the field, the predominant imagines in my mind are of big fantastical monsters, so let’s start with the characters.

Lords and Heroes

There are a variety of themes to be explored with this force. Perhaps the Druchii lord is a collector of the exotic, travelling the world to find elusive monsters? Perhaps it is a twisted Sorceress who is obsessed with creating the mythical Black Chimera? Maybe the lord of this host a rather bombastic fellow who visits his own Carnival of horrors upon the old world as entertainment for on looking lords and ladies?

Whatever their thing is I would encourage you to equip your lord with a suitably impressive and exotic animal. Remember, the mount is as much about status as combat efficiency. The more exotic and dangerous the beat, the more accomplished beast master you are. That’s not to say however, that one of your underlings wouldn’t try and out do you…

Some examples of cool creatures:


Dark Elf Heroes are blessed with the option to ride beasts that only lord level characters from other races have access to. Take advantage of this!
And don’t be afraid to use substitute models that aren’t in the dark elf army book; use griffons, wyverns or whatever creature you like. Why not have a character riding a chariot, but have the chariot drawn by harpies? Gorgons? Or cockatrice? Substitute the chariot model all together for some cool monster.

Banebeasts have created some amazing creatures, and the Raging Heroes Chimera may be the most dynamic monster model in any range.

Again, remember the monster you ride is indicative of your status within the society. I imagine that a Dark Elf would go to ridiculous lengths to make his creature as ostentatious as possible; using magic, fetishes, totems and decorative skulls to trick out his ride as much as possible, much like modern day street car racers do to their cars.

And for the spell caster, well do you remember the old transformation of khadon spell? Of all the sects of Naggaroth, I imagine that Sorceress’ stationed in Karond Kar would be the ones that practice ritualistic mating with magical creatures the most; and would be more practiced at transformations. I think a cool project would be to create a sorceress mid change - half elf, half beast.


Instead of spearmen, have a gang of slaves with no armour, banner etc (you can model a champion whipping them forward quite easily and count him as a banner). Empire Flagellants would be excellent for this, but they are a little pricey for a horde unit. My preferred option would be the mantic zombie boxed set.

With a few easy touches with greenstuff, you can easily turn 30 zombies into ragged, beaten human slaves. Or, if you’re no good with greenstuff there is a passage in the new Dark Elf army book that can explain why you would have zombies in your army:

“Using the Blackest Magic, the sorcerers of Karond Kar bind the souls of these unfortunates to their mortal remains, and the city trembles with the wails of these desperate spirits. Even in death the slaves are put to use…”

For the Spearmen, create a feral feel. I'd imagine these guys would be used to pin down and transport vicious creatures from battle to battle. They would be quite skilled at manipulating creatures, although  not possessing the raw talent that beastmasters display.

For the Corsairs, why not have a unit of baby cold ones (on cavalry bases, each cold one counting as two corsairs with a banner of frenzy represented by a slave-master). You could even justify upgrading them with handbows, representing the toxic slime a cold one can spit.

Taking a que from the Malus Darkblade comic, why not mount dark riders on terradons?

Harpies are readily suited for the bestial look of this army and are excellent screening units for your characters.


It's a shame that ogres can no longer been taken as allies. Think what you could have done with enslaved ogres?

Cold one knights are a great unit, one that is in keeping with the style of the army. Do you remember the cold one knights from Malus Darkblade's retinue? Using them as a basis, I would advise making your own cavalry as close to them as possible.  To do this,  don't use their gorgets and breastplate, instead substitute them for the new wynch torso's and sculpt heavy fur etc. Have them all bare headed with some bare arms as well to emphasise the difference between the Cold one riders from Naggarond.

Scouts would also be quite interesting, as I imagine they would be used to track beasts for the beastmasters to hunt. Use the new winch set for ultra dynamic scouts.

And of course, the creatures. I’ve already mentioned the different ways you could model unique cold one chariots, but there are a host of mythical creatures that you could count as chariots.


Hydras, and lots of them.

A final note:

I'd delve into the old monster bestiary and raid it for models (or just buy all the new Storm of Magic. Don’t be afraid to stretch the count’s as rule. The theme is the most important part of this kind of army, not the game mechanics.

One final piece of information I would like to leave you with is the legend of the Chimera. Although the Chimera has become identified with having the head of goat, a lion and a wyrm, its origins are of the alchemical fusion of two or more creatures. Therefore I would encourage you to devise your own chimera patterns: cross a cold one with a harpy, and elf with Lion, a sheep with…another sheep!

Really push the theme as far as you can and you will end up with one hell of an army.



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