When Jeff first suggested a long term project based around the idea of building an army over a year then playing a healthy 7 day long campaign my mind was lit up with ideas and possibilities. However, the organized part of my brain took over and I was full of questions. Which system? What points value are we aiming at? What stage in the time line? What is the narrative? Is there any way of including lots of tanks? After a series of emails going between us we came at the conclusion that Warhammer Fantasy is where it’s at. 2000pts is a good solid army size, you can have some epic games at 2k but it isn’t too large that the fatigue sets in. After all this was decided it was fairly late in the day and my head was full of ideas and schemes and plots and tea. That night I couldn’t sleep, my mind was too full of ideas. However, the one central theme to these was that I didn’t actually know what I wanted to do. I had recently started on the Island of Blood Skaven, partly as a way to introduce Emma into the hobby and partly because I really liked the models. So my I rested my thoughts on expanding the Skaven to 2k, but it just wasn’t doing it for me. I continued the exercise with different races in the range. Letting my brain toy with the models, the feel and the possibilities of each one. Each one just not causing anything more than a slight tingle. There was a Empire Steam Tank army that has a slightly bigger tingle but not big enough. Then I had a think through the Vampire Counts…
… and a bit more of a think…
… and a little more thinking happened…
Three hours later I had my back story. Well the beginnings of one anyway but the Vampires had captured my imagination. This was a surprise, mostly because I’ve only really done ‘good’ guys before (Empire, Bretonnians and High Elves) but the image of rank upon rank of the ice cold grins of skeletons being led on a relentless march across the withering fields of terrified peasants by a merciless and all powerful Vampire and his soulless lieutenants really took me.
So I had decided on which army I wanted to do and had the story in my head.
The story begins with two brothers, both Bretonnian Knights, Philippe and Etienne De Crecy. Philippe is the older brother and is a full knight of the realm. He was an arrogant and proud man. The common folk were beneath his notice and his singular purpose was his own gain. He fought for his own glory, his political machinations where all geared towards making himself and his family more powerful within the realm. Etienne couldn’t have been more different. Etienne was in touch with the people under his father’s rule and was popular. He made friends with everyone, not just those who could advance his standing like his brother would. Etienne was still a Knight Errant and had yet to properly prove himself but was devoted to the Lady and to his family. He got his chance when Philippe asked him to join him in a quest to slay a Necromancer by the name of Olak Kochmann who had been deemed responsible for the disappearance of several serfs.
The brothers rode out to where he had been last reported. On arriving they could find no trace, but a local famer told them that he had headed toward the boarder of the Empire. The brothers followed Kochmann deep into the Empire. They finally pinned him down him an old manor house on the outskirts of a village. Etienne suggested that they rested up for the night before confronting the Necromancer, just so they where best prepared for the encounter. Philippe reluctantly agreed, he was not one to take orders from anyone, especially from his younger brother.
As Etienne slept, Philippe slipped out of the coach house and rode out to the manor house. He broke through the door to find the house seemingly empty. Sword in hand he checked every room. Finally he crept his way into the attic to find Kochmann sat in a simple chair facing the door. As Philippe prepared to charge Kochmann spoke. ‘ I know what you crave, you want power Philippe. I can give it to you, for a very simple price.’
‘I thought that would get your attention. Now, I can give you power beyond anything you can imagine, as well as eternal life’.
Philippe put his sword away and walked over to Olak. He knelt down in front of him and whispered ‘How?’
‘By letting me live and by opening the coffin in the cellar of this building.’
Etienne woke to find his brother missing. Angry he threw on his armour and rode hard out to the manor. He knew Philippe had ridden on ahead so he could Kill Kochmann and gain the glory for it and keep him from becoming a full knight just like him. Etienne found the door to the manor hanging from the hinges after Philippe’s entrance. He heard voices from the cellar and rushed down the stone steps to find his brother, out of his armour laying at the feet of a vampire and Kochmann standing at the side of the vampire. Etienne heartbroken and maddened charged forward and in his rage cut down Kochmann where he stood and threw himself at the vampire. The vampire dodged and parried Etienne’s wild swings but couldn’t get clear when Etienne body tackled him to the ground and for all of his strength couldn’t fend off the wild stabbing of the now frenzied youth. Etienne’s dagger connected with the vampires chest and neck over and over again. He pulled himself up and severed the head of the vampire from his shoulders and flung it across the vaulted room. Etienne turned to his brother, he knew he would have to kill his brother to stop him turning. He raised his sword, ready to plunge it down into his brother's heart just as Philippe stirred from his sleep. Etienne hesitated, he couldn’t bring himself to plunge his sword into his brother. Philippe looked up, ‘Brother!’ he croaked, ‘join me’ and leapt up and grabbed Etienne before he had any chance of reacting. Philippe had sunk his teeth into his brother's neck before Etienne’s sword hit the ground.
The brothers took over the manor house, making it their own. Philippe kept his pretentions of being a noble knight and began to work the surrounding villages and built himself up as the lord of the region. However, Etienne didn't embrace his newly found power in the same way and became increasingly bitter and hateful toward the world. Philippe began to manipulate his brother’s anger into something useful for himself. He used Etienne as his sword arm and lieutenant, sending him out when someone needed to be physically intimidated or killed, whereas Philippe styled himself as the knight and the politician.
So now I'm set with the main characters of my army. Next step is to work out what units I'm going to include and what the colour scheme will be (HINT: It wont be red!). This however, is a story for another time. Mostly because as Jeff hinted at in his earlier post there seems to be a new vampire book on the way so I'll be waiting for that before getting stuck into the army list details.