Things are really beginning to take shape for this project now as I have assembled all the minis needed for the first scenario. If you haven't seen it yet Warlord Paul has done a great job breaking down the narrative of the story into a series of scenarios here.
We'll be kicking off the action much as the book does with the ambush of Zharradan Marr's Cunnelwort Caravan by Balthus Dire's Hill Goblins.
Cunnelwort is a very rare and powerful herb that Marr intends using to enable him to explore the Spirit Planes. He already inhabits the netherworld of his magic mirror, the only physical gateway to the physical world of Titan. In his mirror he is impervious to physical harm but it comes at a cost - his universe is a limited one. Cunnelwort offers him the chance to access the wider spirit world, to communicate with the beings there and to search out the source of their power. Who knows what such power and otherworldly allies would enable the sorcerer to do back in the material plane?
Balthus Dire also covets the mystical herb, although for slightly different reasons. Having already made contact with denizens of the Spirit world in the form of the inscrutable Ganjees.
Unsuccessful in deciphering the secrets of their Battle Magic, Dire did learn one thing from the Ganjees - that his immortality would be assured should he gain access to the spirit planes. To quote the book - this prospect filled him insane and gloating longing - so much so that he is willing to risk war with the Legions of Zharradan Marr.
The race between the two sorcerers to obtain a supply of Cunnelwort began before the events of the book.News of a travelling merchant in possession of the herb spread quickly around Salamonis, but it was sold cheaply as a new smoking weed to a group of Strongarm mercenaries. The mercenaries all died within a week of taking the herb but not before local herbalists learnt of it.
Balthus Dire sent his Citadel guards to interrogate the merchant but he died of fright before revealing any information. Fearing for their lives, the guards fabricated a tale that the merchant had arrived from Frostholme. Dire sent many parties out on fruitless searches to the North East of Allansia.
Zharradan Marr tried a different tack and had one of the dead Strongarms disinterred. On re-animating the corpse, he learnt that Cunnelwort grew only on the shores of Lake Nykosa, far to the East. A caravan was dispatched and we arrive at the events that trigger the Trolltooth Wars - the ambush of Marr's Cunnelwort caravan by Balthus Dire's Hill Goblins.
So what are they going to look like on the table top? I must say I'm rather excited to have my first Trolltooth force sorted out and can't wait to get painting after a bit of a break from the furious brushwork that went on in preparation for BOYL 2014.
The caravan is made up of wagons from the excellent 4Ground, makers of a superb range of lasercut MDF terrain.
Leading up the column are a number of mounted troops in the form of the Severyan Winged Dragoons from Ral Partha's Schwarse Auge range.
The chap on the barded horse with the warhammer is the Winged Dragoon leader and he'll represent the captain of the section of Marr's Legionaries sent out to escort the caravan.
I was originally going to leave off the wings and fill in the holes on the Dragoons' backs but I really like the look of them. Besides I think it fits in quite well with the idea of Human legionaries working for an evil Sorcerer like Zharradan Marr - they're not going to look like chivalrous knights in shining armour!
They should also fit in nicely as a small unit of Kislevite Winged Lancers should I choose to use them in my yet to be painted Old Worlder army.
The Strongarms are a group of human mercenaries that were picked up to replace casualties amongst the original Legion escort after a Dark Elf ambush in the Forest of Night.
I decided that the old plastic Henchmen from Advanced Heroquest would fit the bill nicely as I wanted a different look to the usual Warhammer style Empire infantry or War of the Roses Men-at-Arms.
I've managed to amass 30 of them thanks to Niibl on the Oldhammer forum and ebay.
I also happened to have a few AD&D miniatures from the Player Character Packs lying around not doing much. You should be able to spot the mid and high level characters from the Fighter set and the Paladin set, distributed amongst the henchmen as sergeants. Again they just felt a bit more Fighting Fantasy than Warhammer.
In fact I'll be using the high level Paladin as the leader of Marr's foot troops and he may well pop up as the unit champion for the Human Legionaries that will feature in the Battle for the Pass. Not sure whether or not to search out another set of minis to represent those legionaries or just reuse the henchmen...
You may also have noticed the draught horses and the wagon crew - they are both from Front Rank Miniatures and are not only very good value, but also very handy to have around.
I wondered about using the mounted wagon crewman below to represent Donnag Kannu, the Caravan leader - especially as there's a great chase scene in the novel where Foulblade, the Goblin Chieftain pursues Kannu on horseback. Kannu flees the scene by leaping onto the horse pulling his wagon and cutting the wagon free.
However, I also had the high level Assassin miniature, again from the AD&D range, and couldn't resist the prospect of painting him up!
So there you have it - the first of several forces to represent the legions of Zharradan Marr. Hopefully I can get this lot painted up soon and who knows we might be playing the first scenario before Christmas?