For those not in the know, SmogCon is essentially Privateer Press’ big European convention, held somewhere in the general vicinity of London (it keeps growing too big for its venues). A couple of years ago I foolishly mentioned to organiser-bloke Jon Webb that I’d be up for running some Iron Kingdoms RPG tables if he needed me to, and when we ran into each other at Salute earlier in the year it turned out he’d remembered. This started off a process of escalation and a renewed interest in all things Privateer, and… I cracked.
One: I wanted some antagonists for the IKRPG demo, because that is the supposed point of my presence there. Secondly: it was going to be an Unleashed demo, which meant a Hordes army, which is fine by me because I find the Fury system more fun than Focus. (I’m not going to say it’s better, but more things happen with Fury and things happening is generally cool.) Thirdly: it was going to be Skorne, because Skorne rock. Necromantic, sado-masochistic, pseudo-Persian hate-elves with a warped samurai aesthetic – and that’s the most fanboy sentence I’m going to type this year. I innocently asked around on the UK WM/H trading community to see if anyone had any spare Skorne, and it turned out that Rob from Arcane Scenery & Models had an All-In-One Army Set and some other odds and sods going begging, and now here we are again.
Here’s what I have to work with:
- Supreme Archdomina Makeda (solid infantry ‘lock, decent in a scrap in her own right)
- Xerxis, Fury of Halaak (‘beast ‘lock, not sure about him: looks hard to protect but I’ll give him a whirl)
- Aptimus Marketh (useful free-spell-and-free-upkeep support solo)
- Molik Karn (the All-In-One box is basically built around the Molik Missile tactic as far as I can see; the things that make Molik go faster plus the infantry power to clear the field for his remorseless charge)
- Two Titans. I’m thinking one Gladiator, for the animus and the second-line beatstick, and Tiberion, for a super-tough Shield Guard to chill with Xerxis)
- A Mammoth. Having pissed and moaned about Gargantuans and Colossals since they arrived, I have now resolved that if they can’t be beaten, they must be joined, and having joined them, I can take careful notes on how I get beaten and therefore learn how it works. Also, it provides a smooth way to progress to the standard-issue 50 point game from my preferred 35; it’s a single model and thus doesn’t clutter my head with extra activations, and it does a lot, what with the ROF3 gun and the bulldoze and the impressive melee punch.
- Two units of Cataphract Incendiarii, which might be one more than I want; we’ll see. I do like heavy infantry and guns and Fire and these are heavy infantry with guns that set things on Fire.
- One unit of Praetorians, about which I am in two minds. The Supreme Archdomina wants Swordsmen, for the Vengeance and the multiple attacks on her feat turn; my heart wants Keltarii for the Parry, the Reach, the higher DEF and the general jamming potential, also because they look cool. I’ll probably go for the Swordsmen: they are the signature Skorne unit and that makes them perfect mooks for the IKRPG scenario.
- The obligatory unit of Paingiver Beast Handlers, without which no Skorne army is truly happy.
- A Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer, for bullying the Praetorians into running faster and not away from scary things. Also a great boss for the IKRPG scenario.
My plan for SmogCon, then, is to sit myself down and run two IKRPG: Unleashed demo games per day, except for whatever day when the Hardcore event is on; on that day I shall be playing in Hardcore. I’m unsure with which of the two warlocks in my possession I’ll be scrumming down for that, or whether I’ll sneak off and pick up one of my other favourites between now and then. There are a few more bits that I’d like for the army – an Extoller Soulward, Mortitheurge Willbreaker and Cyclops Raider, i.e. the usual support network for the Mammoth – but I don’t think the Raider is essential for Hardcore since everyone’s going to be barging into the middle anyway and things should be moving within range of its guns of their own accord. Also, both Makeda and Xerxis can make the damn thing move faster. It’ll need some testing.
I’m not talking about the demo scenario too much, because I don’t want to spoilerise it before the event, but if it goes well I will be typing it up properly and distributing the PDF for great justice. At the moment I’m trying to decide if it’s worth me investing in some new models for Unleashed protagonists, or if I’ll use stuff in my existing collection and build a party from the conventional game.
I will be talking about painting, once I’ve worked out how I’m going to paint them; the one thing I’m not doing is setting myself up to paint any bloody filigree. Step one will definitely be “ink or drybrush armour so that the trim ends up the colour I want it”, and step two… I haven’t decided yet. It might involve painting in the flat of the plates like I did with my Circle (although there’s a lot more armour on the Skorne and a lot more of them), or it might involve going for plain unlacquered armour like one of the houses detailed in the most recent No Quarter Magazine, and saving my effort for the skin and cloth which are less frustrating to do. I did try to find my notes on how I painted my Epic Skarre, ’cause the idea of painting my badass desert-dwellers with appropriately coloured skin appeals to me, but to date those notes have not surfaced. I’m also thinking about adapting the technique I used for my Revenants and inking them with off-white hide armour, with the mandatory vermillion of House Balaash displayed on the cloth. Off-white armour, red cloth, black skin. That seems like it has legs…