Marr's Soulless Ones make up an important part of his legions which, although well trained, are relatively few in number when compared to the teeming tribes of Hillgoblins at Balthus Dire's command. They also feature prominently on the front cover of the novel in this amazing artwork by Chris Achilleos - a favourite of mine!
Without the rotting ranks of Soulless Ones to bolster the numbers of live recruits, Marr would be at a distinct disadvantage.
The Soulless Ones were Marr's proud creations - mindless, death-dealing zombies whose undead sunken eyes stared lifelessly upwards as they shambled along, dragging their rotting limbs. These seemingly pitiful creatures, were deadly in battle. Soulless, mindless and emotionless, they knew nothing of fear or danger. They simply carried out their orders to kill. Injuries might maim them, but they could not be destroyed. An opponent's only hope was to hack off theur putrid limbs so that they could no longer advance. But they came in such numbers that they overwhelmed their opponents. And any wound caused by their sharp nails of bony fingers almost certainly meant a slow, painful death, for their rotting bodies were covered in a foul slime which would immediately infect any clean flesh it could enter. The Trolltooth Wars, Steve Jackson
There are downsides to these fearsome creatures however -
As this legion of horror passed through the gates, the marching pace quickened until the Soulless Ones had reached their limit. A swift journey was of the essence, so a good speed of march had to be maintained. Soulless Ones were not ideal foot-soldiers because they could not match the pace of an Orc or Goblin infantry unit. But what they lacked in marching speed they made up for when it came to battle. These fearless creatures struck abject terror into the hearts of any opponents. The Trolltooth Wars, Steve Jackson
We get an interesting look in to the logistics of maintaining an Undead force - something I've always wondered about with large Undead armies!
And they were totally dispensable. The witch-cursed graveyard behind the Testing Grounds could generate as many Soulless Ones as Thugruff could use. All Vallaska Roue needed to do was provide the bodies that had to be buried there for the three day incubation period. During the third night following burial, a Soulless One would emerge from each fresh grave, ready to follow a master and do his bidding.
Even now Roue was arranging with a throat-slitter to bring fresh corpses.
"That's the best offer you'll get from me!" Roue announce to the weasel-faced little man whose beady eyes peered up at him expectantly. "Fifteen copper pieces a body. If you're not interested, there's plenty of others who'll not turn their noses up at easy cash. What's it t' be, throat-slitter?"
The grubby little rogue looked about him nervously, considering the offer. Eventually he flashed an angry look at Vallaska Roue and nodded. The pay was poor - but at least there was plenty of work; Roue had offered to take all the corpses he could bring with no questions asked. The Trolltooth Wars, Steve Jackson
Pretty cheap to raise and keep in the field all things considered!
As for models to get these zombies on the table I had a few things to consider: what I had in my collection already, what would look like the undead in Chris Achilleos' lovely artwork and what would be affordable as I needed a grand total of 80 Soulless Ones!
I've never had many zombies in my collection and my existing Undead army is mainly skeleton based. However a quick trawl through the pile of boxes yielded a few little gems!
First up a selection of C18 and C19 zombies (I think), a Fiend Factory Flesh Golem and a C18 Mummy - any corrections let me know in the comments! Shame the axe handle has snapped off on the one with it buried in his head - a repair with a bit of paper clip is in order...
Some more skeletal chaps - C18 Liche King, a few C17 Skeletons - slotta and preslotta - and a Fiend Factory Skeleton Warrior, who according to some excellent research by Springisfield, is based on a Russ Nicholson illustration - quite fitting really for this project!
Black Tree Design really saved my bacon however with one of their many sales and these lovely Zombies of the Sweltering Swamps! Here is a few of the sculpts with their extremely spindly spears and most of the command group. The champion looks a bit too much of a heavily armoured Chaos Warrior so I swapped him out for the Ral Partha Zombie Knight with ruined horse-head helmet (Dark Eye range). The Black Tree zombies' weapons and armour really reminded me of the Achilleos artwork.
Talking of Ral Partha, they stock a pleasingly varied selection of zombies from their Dark Eye and Heroes and Horrors ranges. I forget what the thin chaps gnawing at various body parts are called and can't find them on the website - shame as they're great minis. The pair of legs is one of them that I used for the rather gory standard for my Witch Elves - waste not, want not!
To make up the numbers and because I love the range I added in some of Nick Lund's awesome zombies from the old Fantasy Warlords range. I forget where I get them from - Mirliton possibly unless EM4 used to stock them?
At some point I'll have to get some more shots of my Undead army with these new additions and the other bits I've painted since I took the last pics.