Solthecius!

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Given the recent teasers of Benediction and Grace as well as ‘Union Captain’ there is a bit of a buzz around the community about Solthecius and the Solthecians so I though I would recap what we know so far:

The Solthecian Cult/Church is one of (probably the) biggest organised religions in the Empire of the Free Cities and is built around the worship of Solthecius (presumably montheistically) and draws a lot of parallels with the historic catholic church.

Solthecius was originally just a sun deity (hence the symbol) but seems to have developed into something more.

The Solthecian Cult is widely regarded as being heavily involved in the creation of Guild Ball as a sport.

Although Skald and it’s people are known to have their own style in all things; from fashion to eating habits, they are extremely resistant to outside influences from the other Sovereign States. The only element that appears to have been able to permeate this cultural ideal is religion. Skald is almost exclusively given to the worship of the Solthecian faith, robust churches standing proud in most villages and towns. In the cities, the walls and roads are lined with spectacular stonework and artistry of saints and blessed angels, spectacular cathedrals dominate the skyline.

Piervo is the holy city of the Solthecian Order, which has offered the Sovereign State a great deal of protection.

The head of state of both Piervo and the Solthecian spiritual faith is known as the Bacchus and is elected by mandate of the god Solthecius; his divine will manifested by the archbishops and cardinals.

The role is unlike any other clerical or royal position throughout the Empire of the Free Cities; the Bacchus is able to influence several Sovereign States where the faith has any sort of foothold and even more so where it is the predominant religion.

During the Century Wars, Bacchus Alexandria IV and his successor, Bacchus Galbratii, were able to successfully negotiate with any Sovereign State that turned her sights to Piervo. They spared its people from the horror of the conflict beyond the walls and saved the city and its ancient religious landmarks from ruin time and time again.

Although to believers this leader is the chosen of Solthecius, in reality, any election of a Bacchus is a process of shrewd manoeuvring, underlying threats, and careful alliance. Thus, the head of state is often possessed of a considered political mind. Many followers would likely be surprised to learn how deep corruption runs within Solthecian faith and how self interested its leaders tend to be.

The Holy City is home to spectacular architecture and beautiful gardens; high domed cathedrals compete against monasteries with spires that point into the skies like crooked fingers. Statues old and new line every boulevard and street. Every hour, bells ring out and the scent of incense is thick in the air. Wherever an individual might stand in Piervo, there is at very least a low hum of penitent followers deep in prayer and every day the city is flooded with pilgrims come to demonstrate their faith.

This is not to say that industry does not exist within the walls, far from it. The Butcher’s Guild’s ruling house is in Piervo and has existed as the sole purveyor of sacred meat to the Bacchus for generations; something which its many Magisters and Chamberlains are keen to remind both visiting officials and those of other guilds. The Mortician’s Guild also holds significant influence amongst the clergy in Piervo; the two bodies frequently working hand in hand in the day to day lives of the population.

The symbolism of the Solthecian faith draws a lot of parallels with the Christian church and images of Angels (such as Angels of Conflagration) and devils are rife. The Church also denounces Mechanica constructs as devils.

The Churches of Solthecius are organised by Sovereign State and have their own military orders, as demonstrated by Michele Cesare de Corella, Knight Paladin of Divine Solthecius, praise be to his name and noble legacy, First High Priest and august Lord of the Valentian Church of the Solthecian Cult who captured Ox in Season 1.

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Spigot is a reformed character, now sober he is a devout (but secret) follower of Solthecius.

Bonesaw

Bonesaw was once a priest in the Solthecian Cult but has been exiled. He still offers prayers to Solthecius during the funerary rites when working with the Mortician’s Guild. Solthecian priests and monks are known to participate in calisthenics as a way of purifying the body.

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Mist also has an as yet unexplained link to the Solthecian Church. There also appears to be a strong but as yet unexplained link between the Union and the Solthecian Church.

Until next time sports fans!

 

The story so far…Engineer’s Guild

gb-teams-engineers

Next up the Cogs.

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Season 1 – Engineer’s Guild

The relatively new Sovereign State of Ethraynne (having broken away from Valentia) is known for it’s inventions and scientific innovations and is host to large, influential houses for the Astronomer’s, Alchemist’s and Engineer’s Guild.

The Engineer’s Guild themselves are still relatively new (although not as new as some) and was first formed just before the beginning of the Century Wars, as States began to build siege engines and fortifications. The Guild’s principle purpose was the technical knowledge and regulation of such construction, as well as the understanding of the forces that drive them. In the years since the end of the Wars they have focused their efforts on public developments and whilst elder members of the Guild are content with these accomplishments, the newer members only see this as the beginning. These newer members have focused their efforts on clockwork instruments and devices.

The Engineer’s team is one of the few where most or all of the players actually practice their craft.

Ballista

The team is lead by Ballista, known for his diligence and attention to detail. He made his fortune (and that of the Guild) during the Century Wars by creating weaponry and siege engines. Some examples include giant trebuchets, bolt throwers, steel-clad towers and flame throwers. He tried to introduce the latter to Guild Ball once and had a lot of success until the Engineer’s came up against the Alchemist’s (the Guild who produced the fuel for the weapon) and an ‘accident’ caused the weapon to explode, killing his apprentice – the weapon hasn’t been used since. Ballista is known to be sentimental with a strict code of honour and pride.

Mainspring

The season 1 mascot is Mainspring (or at least one of the Mainsprings as there multiples) an automaton designed and build by Ratchet.

Salvo

Salvo (also known as Salvatore) was born on the streets of Annamura and had always held an interest in the Engineer’s Guild and it was no surprise that both he and his older sister, Quistis, were both apprenticed to the Guild and specifically to Ballista. However, Quistis was the apprentice who died in the tragic flamethrower accident, but her death allowed Salvo to join the team.

Velocity

Salvo, deeply affected by his sisters death, build Velocity in her image as a tribute to her and with Ballista’s skill, influence and knowledge the project was completed and Quistis lives on in Velocity.

Collosus

Not every team boasts a monster like Boar or Ghast and such a disadvantage can severely hamper an team ambitions. Ballista was aware of this and along with the Raed Engineer, Axle, he built Colossus as an alternative. Axle pilots Colossus on the pitch to great effect.

Ratchet

Ratchet is a maverick and revolutionary as well as an exceptional inventor who created the Mainsprings. A native of Indossa, he left to escape the torment of being overshadowed by its backwards thinking. there is tension between him and Ballista who he sees as slow, lumbering and too stuck in the old ways. His first creation was an automaton that was shaped like a man and moved on tracked wheels (presumably Flask). The Mainsprings were a far greater success and the addition of outlawed explosives and a few design changes yielded a powerful new weapon. He did however meet with resistance from older members of the Guild who remembered the horrors of these weapons in the Century Wars, something he cared nothing for.

Season 2 – Engineer’s Guild

Season 2 begins with the Engineer’s playing the Alchemist’s in the Frontiers Cup (a game the Alchemist’s believe the Engineers are going to throw). However, the agreement between the two Guild’s isn’t kept and the Engineer’s win. During the match Velocity is ignited by Mercury which results in her being severely damaged. Salvo almost kills Calculus in revenge (whether for damaging Velocity or Quistis’ original death, or both is unclear). We also get an insight into the Guild’s goal post which is described as “a tall clockwork column which belched smoke into the air as it revolved around a central gear shaft”.

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The team in Season 2 is captained by Pin Vice, who is as cold and calculating as any machine – exemplified by her killing her apprentice when they are no longer useful to her. She sees Ballista as flawed as he has a sense of empathy and sentimentality. Ballista is ousted as the captain for his betrayal of the Guild by not fulfilling the deal with the Alchemist’s. She plans to redesign the team as an unstoppable extension of her will. Outside of the game she is part of a secret sect whose goal is to reignite the wars between the Sovereign States, securing the influential status of the Guild. Pin Vice’s only interest in the game is to use it to further her own agenda. She is a mysterious individual who spends most of her time in a mechanica tower of her own design known as the Spire of Gears. The tower turns as the day progresses (for reasons unknown). Pin Vice sports many mechanical augmentations, believed to be as a result of her design to overcome her biological limitations.  Pin Vice also sees the turmoil within the Union as a potential avenue to an unexpected ally.

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The season 2 mascot for the Engineer’s is Mother, a mechanical spider and her brood. Presumably built by Ratchet again although this is unclear.

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Following Velocity’s destruction against the Alchemist’s Guild, Pin Vice managed to obtain and rebuild her to her own specifications, much to the chagrin of both Salvo and Ballista. velocity is now less of a tribute to Quistis and more a practical and adaptable instrument.

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Pin Vice also managed to discover the secrets of making semi-sentient mechanica whilst reconstructing Velocity and utilised this knowledge to create Hoist. Something that delighted Pin Vice as she can replace argumentative and emotive humans with responsive and controllable mechanica. Hoist was built as a replicator, able to adapt to the teams needs as the game progresses. Hoist has also caused a lot of controversy amongst all of the religions throughout the Empire of the Free Cities.

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Compound is introduced a player for both the Alchemist’s and Engineer’s team in Season 2. An Alchemist during the Century Wars he was know to have developed chemical weapons used to break sieges and was known as the Rat Catcher as he lead men, women and children to their deaths. He was caught and disfigured by survivors and presumed dead. He wasn’t, however, and had been kept by the Engineer’s Guild in Svardlett. Pin Vice has rebuilt him, giving him new arms and eyes.

Until next time sports fans!

The story so far…Butcher’s Guild

butchers

After a bit of a break we have the Meatheads…(it’s a bit of a long one).

Butchers

Season 1 – Butcher’s Guild

The Butcher’s Guild are known for their hard-hitting, attacking playstyle and aren’t averse to ‘forgetting’ the rules when it suits them. They are also one of the oldest and most prolific teams.

The Butcher’s Guild ruling house is in Piervo, seat of the Solthecian faith. The Piervo Butchers are the purveyors of sacred meat to the Baccus (Head of the Solthecian Church) and have been for generations. They also have a significant presence in Figo.

Ox

The team is lead by Ox, previously a mercenary who has drilled the Butcher’s into a dependable, unified team.

Princess

The Season 1 Mascot is Princess, who was owned by a previous player and although they have since gone she has remained.

Boar

Boar is a towering, deranged man who is only out for himself. He isn’t really interested in Guild Ball, merely using it as a legitimate way to kill and maim.Shank

Shank is a man with a dark past. Coming from a life as an inner city gang member, he traded that life in for a better paid one on the Butcher’s team.

Brisket

Brisket is a second generation Butcher, her mother was a low ranking guild official and her father a highly regarded Guild Ball player. She is touted as one of the most desirable players in Guild Ball history and is however stubborn, hard, cantankerous and spiteful. She is also the Guild’s highest goal scorer in decades.

Meathook

Meathook is from Erskirad and has a vicious, vindictive streak as cold as the land she hails from.

Boiler

Boiler is the rookie of the team, still finding his feet. He is already making a name for himself as a vicious killer, as cold as a Mortician. Although there is a question over whether some of his actions are accidental rather than intentional.

The Season 1 story begins with a Butcher’s team (Ox, Brisket, Boar, Boiler, Shank, (presumably) Princess) facing off against the Fisherman’s Guild (Corsair, Siren, Kraken, Shark, Greyscales, (presumably) Salt).  The game culminates with Ox cutting Corsair’s foot off.

The story continues at the Butcher’s Guild House in Albrecht with hopeful apprentices training in front of Ox, giving an insight into the hard life of a rookie.

Magister Lundt of the Butcher’s Guild then visits Magister Abendroth of the Mortician’s where it become apparent that the attack on Corsair was in payment of a debt between the Butcher’s and Mortician’s.

Ox then attends a game between the Brewer’s and Mason’s (in the Brewer’s end). As he leaves he walks upon a youth being assaulted by four thugs, where he reminisces about his lost brother, Jacques.

The story then moves on to the team getting ready for their next match in Erskirad, again against the Fisherman’s Guild. Prior to the match Ox and Boar are talking to the mysterious Longshanks (of the Union) who warns them the Fishermen are after revenge for Ox’s attack on Corsair.

The game sees Ox, Boiler, Meathook, Brisket and Boar facing off against Shark, Kraken, Greyscales, Jac and Snakeskin (of the Union disguised as a rookie Fisherman). The game is going well for the Butcher’s until Snakeskin fulfils her contract and guts Brisket, leaving her for dead. Ox vows revenge on the ‘unknown’ perpetrator.

The season 1 storyline concludes with Ox and Boar in Valentia, going to enact revenge against Fisherman’s Guild along with two guild thugs (one of which is actually Snakeskin in disguise).

They are lead down an alley and into the city’s sewer network. The group travels through the sewers and up into the courtyard of the Fisherman’s Guild house. It becomes apparent that Ox has taken Boar rather than Shank with him to kill Lord Chamberlain Laurentis as he doesn’t trust Shank yet and does Boar from prior experience.

The group make there way through the Guild house to the room previously indicated by their guide, they take down the guard waiting outside and Ox burst into the room to confront Laurentis. He grabs him by the throat and takes out a dirk that he claimed from a Raed officer during the Century War, before plunging it repeatedly into the Lord Chamberlain’s stomach.

Ox, Boar and the Butcher’s thug (Snakeskin has since departed for her own purposes) then run through the house grounds, trying to escape. Boar then breaks down an old wooden door, but not before the thug is killed with a crossbow. Ox and Boar then flee through the doorway into the city.

The pair walk past a church (presumed to be a Solthecian one given it’s size and location) and as they turn the corner to their final destination they are confronted by a man in clerical robes and ornate, lacquered armour who introduces himself as Michele Cesare de Corella, Knight Paladin of Divine Solthecius, First High Priest and august Lord of the Valentian Church of the Solthecian Cult. They are then surrounded by heavily armed guards. The Paladin then turns to Boar and gives him the chance to leave as his agenda is with Ox. Boar then leaves Ox to his fate and plots to take over the Butcher’s team.

The story ends with the Paladin drawing a claymore and Ox walking forward to accept his fate.

Season 2 – Butcher’s Guild

Ox is presumed dead and the once unified team is fractured and the killing of a Lord Chamberlain is having repercussions amongst all of the Guilds.

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The team in Season 2 is lead by Fillet, who is seen as fairly level-headed for a Butcher. The team itself has split into two main factions, with Ox’s old guard (Boar, Brisket and Boiler) facing off against the other’s behind Fillet who she has got on side by a variety of methods including taking Meathook to bed.

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The season 2 mascot is Truffles, Tenderiser’s pet pig who bites anyone that goes near other than him

.Tenderiser

Tenderiser joined the team in season 2 and is a towering giant of a man loyal to Fillet, who has an intense dislike of Boar.

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Brisket survived the attack by Snakeskin but has returned a changed woman. Leaner, harder and more vicious than before. Where before she was content to manipulate others into fighting her battles for her, now she embraces conflict with a savage, spiteful mean streak. The only time her mood eases is when she is with Boiler. Brisket only has one true loyalty now, to the memory of the Master Butcher, Ox. She has also allied herself with Boar, whom she believes Ox chose to take over the captaincy in his last moments.

Unlike in season 1 there is relatively little direct storyline concerning the Butcher’s. Obulus is seen attending a Butcher’s vs Brewer’s game and discussing the possibility of the Butcher’s throwing the game with Magister Lundt. Lundt agrees, not least because the division in the Butcher’s team will prevent them proceeding without any external interference.

Butcher’s Civil War

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The tension in the Butcher’s team becomes too much and the fractured team finally breaks into the competing factions.

The Civil War story begins with an unknown prisoner (although presumably Ox) languishing in a jail. The prisoner has been beaten and tortured but had fought back against his captors and had broken at least one set of chains. The prisoner then ponders on the outside world and particularly the state of the Butcher’s Guild. He believes the ‘murder’ of the Master Butcher woudl have lead to infighting amongst the team and left the Guild in turmoil. Without Ox’s firm hand a bloody transition of power would be inevitable. The prisoner believes that the only logical choice for a successor would be Fillet, however had he been able to make on the Master Butcher’s choice for a successor would have been Brisket.

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The story continues with Brisket convening a meeting with a number of the major, currently active Guild Ball teams (possibly the first since the end of the Century Wars) in a bid to secure support. In attendance are Silence of the Mortician’s, Stoker of the Brewer’s, Harmony of the Mason’s, Decimate of the Union and Jaecar of the Hunter’s Guild, Pin Vice of the Engineer’s and Corsair of the Fisherman’s Guild. Brisket sets out her position that the Butcher’s Guild is fractured and she is seeking support and help when the time comes. Stoker, on behalf of Esters, agrees to support as long as it were reciprocated (after all the Brewer’s are not unused to in-Guild conflict). Pin Vice also agrees to support Brisket, but only for as long as it suits her. Decimate agrees to take the proposal to Rage, Brisket responds with an offer of coin for their support.

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Next Fillet meets with Rage in the undercity, he asks her what she seeks in the undercity to which she responds that she is after the truth about who killed Ox and asks whether it was the Union.  Rage offers to tell Fillet this largely unknown secret for a price – seemingly knowing more than he is letting on. The resulting exchange leads Fillet to believe that it wasn’t the Union that killed Ox and leaves.

Boiler then reminisces about how Brisket was before Snakeskin’s attack and how her attitude has changed since her recovery – her friendly, flirtatious nature replaced with aloofness and uncompromising hostility. The apparent death of Ox has hit Boiler hard and his loyalty to Ox is born out of him seeing Ox as the father he never had and Brisket as a sister. The story continues at the Butcher’s Guild proving grounds with Boiler discussing with Shank how things had got to where they had before Tenderiser’s appearance and threats cause Boiler to leave.

The story concludes with a meeting inside the Butcher’s Guild house between the two sides. The civil war had drawn in other Guilds, with different teams and individuals throwing their support behind one side or the other. this disgusted Fillet who believed that it should have been dealt with behind closed doors. Following a dialogue between Brisket and Fillet it is agreed that the two will undertake the trial, the pact sealed in blood. The trial is an old Butcher’s tradition  where disputes are dealt with in a gladiatorial fighting pit, where only one person is expected to come out alive (if any).  It becomes apparent that neither are strangers to the pit and it is the third time that Fillet has stood in the centre, principally due to her quick ascension through the ranks. Before the fight begins, Brisket tries to come to a final resolution with Fillet but to no avail. The duel begins using long curved ritual knives called khukuri (which gives Fillet and advantage as they are more similar to her usual weapon of choice than Brisket’s). The fight continues back and forward until Fillet manages to throw Brisket to the ground, mounts her and begins to pound her into unconsciousness (the knives lost previously).  Brisket desperately manages to throw Fillet off before smashing her head into the floor repeatedly, recovering Fillet’s knife and holding it to her throat. Against the odds, Brisket had managed to win. However, Brisket never delivered the final blow and allowed Fillet to live (but not before Fillet tried to impale herself of the knife). In allowing Fillet to live she had sealed her own fate and had betrayed the trial. The Butcher’s surrounding the pit turned their backs on Brisket exiling her from the Guild. Although Brisket had one, Fillet still retained control over the team. The story ends with the revelation that going into the trial she had planned this outcome and that her shame was the price she paid for the good of the Guild and to pave the way for the future.

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Until next time sports fans!

 

The story so far…Alchemist’s Guild

gb-teams-alchemistsSo apparently I started writing this blog a year ago (who knew?!), so as a sort of celebration I thought I’d summarise the Guild Ball story so far. First up,

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Alchemist’s Guild – Season 1

Introduced in Season 1 as one of the newer Guilds within the Empire of the Free Cities, it’s ruling house is based in Ethraynne – known for it’s great inventions and scientific innovations.

Due to it’s forward thinking ideology it is met with suspicion by a lot of the general population of the Free Cities. The Guild’s Guild Ball team is seen as a way of ingratiating themselves with the people and making their science more acceptable.

midas

In season 1 the team is lead by Midas, an arrogant figure who is seen as one of the greatest minds known in the Empire of the Free Cities. The son of a noble Valentian family, he grew disenchanted with life as a noble and fled to Ethraynne on his 16th name day. There he found a community of like-minded individuals, but as brilliant as they were they lived as squalid life. This was not the life Midas wanted so he started to conduct his own experiments and created the Crucible, which gives him the ability to turn base materials into precious metals. This attracted the attention of the Alchemist’s Guild, where he has steadily been rising up the ranks.

flask

Flask was a gift from the Engineer’s Guild to the Alchemist’s Guild as a token of the long-standing relationship between the two Guilds. A relationship that seems to be becoming increasingly strained.

calculus

Calculus is the vice-captain of the Alchemist’s team and is seen as a level-headed and straight-laced individual and she’s annoyed by those not following protocol. She was seen as the future captain of the team until Midas’ arrival, but she is more interested in science than Guild politics.

mercury

Mercury is seen as a roguish, attention-seeking womaniser, a reputation he does nothing to dismiss.

katalyst

Whilst many of the Alchemist’s Guild are interested in chemistry and inorganic materials, Katalyst’s interest are in the organic. He was one of a number of scientist’s looking to do battle with time and extend the life of man. The compound that Katalyst developed, and apparently tested on himself, has resulted in his growth into a mass of muscle and brutality but also is slowly killing him. Katalyst was never known for his patience and strives to achieve greatness whatever the cost.

vitriol

Vitriol was once known as Meredith Tieger, a gifted child who grew alienated form her community in Skald and fled to the sanctity of the Alchemist’s Guild. Her abilities grew here and she soon outshone her peers. Meredith was working late one night in one of the guild’s laboratories when tragedy struck. The exact details aren’t known, but an inferno engulfed a wing of the guild house and woman that emerged was changed forever.  Although not personable before the accident she became a dangerously introverted and isolated woman. Vitriol now confines her experimentation to corrosive acids and sulphuric materials alone and is the only drive left to the broken woman and for her guild, leaves them only one suitable home for her, where her destructive capabilities can be fully appreciated.

Alchemist’s Guild – Season 2

The story in Season 2 starts with the Alchemist’s team travelling by boat to the Frontier’s Cup in northern Eisnor. The tournament itself is a regular fixture and has made or broken a lot of team’s seasons.

The Alchemist’s have high hopes for this season and head up early to get ahead of the game. The Alchemist’s Guild had decided to invest far more heavily than their rivals in a bid to gain an early foothold as an established team. The tournament had started well with wins against the Farmer’s and Fishermen’s Guilds but it had all gone wrong in a game against the Engineer’s Guild. There had been an ‘agreement’ that the Engineer’s would throw the game but this didn’t materialise and the Alchemist’s lost.

Midas was still Captain at the beginning of the Frontier’s Cup but was replaced by Smoke as the season progressed. Whether this was because of an injury sustained against the Engineer’s, the Guild’s unhappiness at losing or because Midas had lost favour for some other reason is unclear.

During the Frontier’s Cup match, Calculus is shot in the back by Salvo of the Engineer’s Guild for killing his ‘sister’ and almost drowned in a puddle and is only saved by Katalyst’s intervention.

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Midas is replaced as captain of the team by Smoke. A woman described by her lover, Calculus, as ‘as brilliant as Midas, although as compliant, obedient, and efficient as Midas is wilful, cantankerous, and wasteful’.

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Venin is introduced as a rookie for this season and has little time for either Midas or Smoke.  He is a rebellious character who is only looking out for himself. He is low-born orphan growing up in the slums and dislikes the nobility. He has an affinity with poisons and the new mascot, Naja, is his pet. He uses her poisons as the base for his alchemical projects. Venin has an ulterior motive for travelling to the Frontier’s Cup with the team, to complete a contract with his nameless benefactor (presumably Obulus given his description of Venin, “If he was not so useful in his current place, I would take him for my own team. I predict he will be a useful asset in the years to come”).

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The contract is to administer a poison to Katalyst, a man Venin sees as an imbecile, who being on the cusp of creating an elixir that could cure any illness, enhance the body permanently to near superhuman levels, but squandered the opportunity to sate his need for recognition and his lust for fame by damaging his own body by consuming the imperfect mixture in large doses, thereby stalling any further development of his research. The intent of the poison isn’t to kill Katalyst but to accelerate the effects of his elixir, leading to widespread mutations and driving him insane, which it does with spectacular effects.

compound

The other Alchemist player introduced in season 2 is Compound. He had darkened the name of the Alchemist’s Guild during the Century War when he was know as the Rat Catcher because he used canisters of lethal gas to break castle sieges; to drive the defenders out onto the swords and arrows of the enemy. He had earned his name by herding men, women, and children to their death like cattle to the slaughter.
The man was finally caught by some of the vast number of enemies he had made amongst the grieving survivors. He was horribly disfigured by them; forced to watch both his arms
melted down to the bone by the very chemicals that were the tools of his trade. Then they used those chemicals to burn out his eyes, ensuring his last sight was his own disfigurement. He was presumed dead but found by the Engineer’s Guild and given new limbs and sight by Pin Vice of the Engineer’s Guild.

Alchemist’s Guild – Season 3

We don’t know much about season 3 other than that the story is more a continuation of that from season 1, rather than season 2. There are some questions that need answers, particularly around Midas and his role in the Guild going forward.

Until next time sports fans!

 

What’s in a name? – Season 2 Mascots

It’s been a while and as the Season 2 Mascot models are due to be released shortly, I thought I would round off the ‘What’s in a name?’ for Season 2. Some of these are fairly obvious, but others have more depth to them.

Alchemist’s Guild

Naja, Venomous Viper

Naja

So Naja is Venin’s ‘pet’ snake and ties in well with his poison theme.

Naja is the taxonomic game for the genus of snakes more commonly known as cobras and derives from the Sanskrit for snake, Naga.

 

Brewer’s Guild

Quaff, Faithful

Quaff

Quaff is modelled on a St Bernard, a breed of working dog common to the Alps and bred for mountain rescue. They are famous for carrying a barrel of brandy around their necks.

The verb quaff means to drink ( a usually an alcholic drink) heartily.

 

Butcher’s Guild

Truffles, Cantankerous Swine

Truffles

Truffles is a pig and the name is likely to arise from the domestic pigs (also known as truffle hogs) used for locating and extracting truffles from forests in Europe.

 

Engineer’s Guild

Mother, Arachnid Queen

Mother

A mechanica created by the Engineer’s Guild that resembles a spider (although the art work has 9 legs) and it’s brood. The name is a possible reference to Broodmother from DOTA 2. She is possibly modelled after Wolf Spiders which carry their spiderlings on their backs.

 

Fisherman’s Guild

Tentacles, Eastern Mystery

Tentacles

Modelled on an octopus and named after the flexible, mobile, elongated organs the species is famous for.

 

Mason’s Guild

Wrecker, Giant Shrew

Wrecker

Although described as a shrew, it doesn’t really resemble one and is modelled after an armadillo, a small armoured mammal. The name probably follows the Mason convention of names deriving form tools and is a possible reference to a wrecking ball.  There is also a link to Rammus from League of Legends due to the game being a favourite of many at Steamforged games.

The Rolando is in homage to the Guild Ball Tonight desire to have a baby elephant Mascot.

 

Mortician’s Guild

Vileswarm, Fearful Tide

Vileswarm

Vileswarm is a swarm of rats, which are often reviled. Not much more to say…

 

The Union

Strongbox, Tribute to the Pirate-King

Strongbox

Strongbox is a tortoise carrying a chest on it’s back. A strongbox is a small lockable box, typically made of metal, in which valuables may be kept.

Strongbox is ‘Rage’s idea of a tribute to the Pirate King apparently, one last piss-take. Strap a treasure chest to the top of it, fill it with Blackheart’s gold, and parade it around’

 

What’s in a name? – The Union

Next up, The Union

Union

Blackheart

Bheart

Blackheart was the ruthless Pirate King of the sea, terrorising every Sovereign State of the Empire of the Free Cities. The day he gave up the life at sea was a bloody one indeed, slaughtering the entire crew of his ship to ensure its safe location remained a secret until he needed her again. He now makes his fortune through Guild Ball, murdering anybody who becomes between him and more wealth, or getting one of his crew to do the deed for him.

There are a number of possible reasons for Blackheart’s name. It could be based upon the pirate Blackbeard as he was previously a pirate before joining The Union. It’s also possible that it is a description of his personality as someone who is black hearted is cruel, wicked or evil.

Coin

Coin

Coin is a huge snake that Blackheart feeds his fortune to. There is no love for his unorthodox bank, which he daily subjects to the suffering of being forced to swallow indigestible gold. The alien eyes of the snake show no comprehension of Blackheart as anything other than the source of its torment, as he has been for so many years now.

A coin is a piece of hard material used primarily as a medium of exchange or legal tender.  This has strong connections with the mercenary ethos of The Union.

Decimate

Dec

The woman known as Decimate is properly known as Svetlana Leonid Volstov III, a princess of Erskirii nobility. Born late in to a wealthy and influential family with no hope of succession, she quickly found a far more exciting life for herself in an organised and well-funded Brewer’s Guild gang. Ever ambitious, she quickly rose to a place on the Guild Ball team, becoming Decimate the duelist to her roaring fans. This all came to an end when a coup was staged within the guild by a rival gang, and Decimate was forced to flee following a failed assassination attempt. She now plays as a free agent for the Union, her flashing blades swirling in a dance of destruction.

Decimate means to kill, destroy, or remove a large proportion of something, usually a body of people. The term derives from a form of military discipline used by the Roman Army to kill one in every ten of (a group of people, originally a mutinous Roman legion) as a punishment for the whole group.

Gutter

Gut

Once a princess from the far north, Gutter’s life soon took a dark turn when she was captured by Blackheart. When he realised there was no profit to be made in ransoming her, she became a slave on his ship, living a miserable life below deck. In a strange twist, she fell in love for the ruthless captain, an opportunity he soon exploited by making her first mate, completely loyal in her insane devotion for him. She now plays the game at his side, using her deadly skills with hook and chain to ensnare her victims.

Again there are a number of different possibilities with this name it could derive from the description of one who guts (disembowels), or from the word to make channels or furrows in something (again a description of her usual method of attack) or something that flickers or burns unsteadily as a reflection of her personality after her ordeal on the ship.

Harry ‘The Hat’ Hallahan

Harry

A crossover model from Infamy. He has a big hat. Rumour has it that the Hat has powers and has taken possession of Harry (inspired by  the Buffy episode ‘Him’ where a jacket makes whoever wears it irresistible to women).

Hemlocke

Hem

Hemlocke pays fealty to an ancient and primordial divinities, those with shrines overgrown by weeds, and ancient monoliths long since toppled. To most that have dealings with her, she is an eccentric hermit, a deluded outcast that seems an odd fit for the shadowy and sinister Union. She is unusually popular for a Union player, due to the gentle manner with which she administers herbs and potions. This hasn’t stopped her killing dozens of people that have crossed her path, influencing the fate of the universe at the will of her gods.

Hemlock is a highly poisonous flowering plant, previously used as a method of execution. It also is strongly associated with witchcraft in folklore.

Minx

Minx

Minx is a savage, undomesticated animal. She is kept chained like a dog in the depths of some dungeon by her master, starved and beaten until she bites any soul foolish enough approach her. When a particularly brutal match is scheduled, she will be lead from her hole, blinded by the unfamiliar sunlight and disorientated by the loud cheers of the crowd. Once she is truly rabid, she is unchained, stalking the opposition; no thoughts of the sport, but only an opportunity to hunt, becoming a lethal predator once again, her ample scalps testament to her skill.

A minx is an impudent, cunning, or boldly flirtatious girl or young woman. Minx is a cross over model from Ax Faction where she is a Lycan Hunter.

Mist

Mist

An elusive and shadowy individual, the only clue about Mist’s origins is his otherworldly link with Siren. His talent lies in deception, disappearing from plain sight, vaulting with acrobatic grace to strike from an exposed flank. Before his victim can react, they have lost the ball, their clumsy strikes no match for his agility.

Mist is a cloud of tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere at or near the earth’s surface that limits visibility, it’s amorphous and impossible to catch.  The aesthetics of Mist are based on Vin (who is female) from the Mistborn Trilogy which might explain some of the gender confusion.

Rage

Rage

Some call him dirty scum, others a vile murderer, but this does not do justice to the man known as Rage. He is a thug for hire, willing to get his hands dirty if it earns him some gold and reinforces his brutal reputation. Underhanded guilds often use this to their advantage, using his fearsome skills with knife and cleaver to settle old grudges on, and off the pitch.

Violent uncontrollable anger. A perfect way to describe him.

Snakeskin

Snake

Known as The Chameleon by her fans, Snakeskin is a master of disguise. A sinewy and powerfully built young woman, she is the master of the hidden kill, using poisons and venoms to compliment the viperous bite of her blades. She is an invaluable tool in the eternal war between the guilds, her ability to silence a target quietly being put to regular use, all for a price of course…

Snakes shed their skin when they outgrow it, so her name is representative of her constantly changing appearance.

Fangtooth

Fang

Nobody is quite sure if the ponderous hulk known as Fangtooth is man or monster. He is a hideous sight to behold, covered in pus-filled boils and pox scars, but this is nothing compared to his horrific stench which has people retching if they stray too close…

A fangtooth is a type of deep sea fish. A fang is also a type of tooth so his name is actually toothtooth – weird.

Avarisse

AG

Avarisse & Greede make for an unusual sight on the pitch. Don’t let their comical appearance fool you though…these two are hardened criminals, performing the most underhanded deeds if the right coin is on offer. Greede can be considered the brains behind the operation, but Avarisse is far from just being muscle, his ruthless cunning proving invaluable in their chosen line of work.

Avarisse is a homophone (word that sounds like another) of avarice, meaning an extreme greed for wealth or material gain.

Greede

From greed meaning an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.

 

Guild Ball

This is my first proper foray into the Blogosphere and I thought I’d dedicate it to an amazing game called Guild Ball. Guild Ball is a game of mob football set in a low fantasy setting, loosely based on the medieval period with elements of Victorian gothic horror thrown in.

Each of the participating teams represents a Guild in the world that has its own political agenda and each team having a distinctive playstyle (more on this later).

The rules and paper version of the models are available here: http://guildball.com/#downloads, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t try the game!

I have been wargaming for the better part of 20 years having started with Games Workshop and then expanding into other areas. Skirmish wargaming (especially Mordheim) has always held a huge draw for me, in no small part due to the low model count of figures that need to be painted. I will be the first to admit that I come to this hobby as a gamer rather than as a modeller. I enjoy the preparation and execution of a plan far more than I do painting or modelling. I will quite happily sit down and digest rule books for fun.  I’ve read and played many rules but my three absolute favourites are Kings of War, Bolt Action and Guild Ball.

The Guild Ball rules have an elegant simplicity to them that belies the tactical depths the game offers. They are well written and offer a quick but effective (and fun) experience.  There are two main ways that the game can be won; either scoring goals or taking out your opponents players. These extremes are typified by the two showcase Guilds the Fishermen and the Butchers. Each of the Guilds has a different set of strengths and weaknesses that I will discuss below.

The game uses an alternating activation system where each player activates one model, followed by their opponent in initiative order (which is determined each turn).  Players have two main resources that they can use in a turn; Influence (generated by players at the beginning of the turn) and Momentum (generated by actions within the turn). This dual resource system leads to an even greater diversity in playstyles.

I’ve shamelessly borrowed this from a post on the Guild Ball Supporters Facebook group and the Guild Ball store, but I think it’s really helpful in understanding the Guilds. The development team behind Guild Ball have broken each team down into 30 points allocated to different strengths (the higher the better) and gives a good demonstration of each team’s playstyle.

Alchemists

Melee Damage – 5

Ranged Damage – 3

Ball Control – 6

Speed – 6

Toughness – 3

Special – 7

Alchemists’ play style is one of force projection. They utilise a lot of AOE to control space and deny their opponents manoeuvrability. Their combo play comes from layering AOEs and generating huge areas of danger across the pitch.

They are quick on their feet and capable with the ball, but not as resilient in combat as other teams. They excel in the early to mid-game due to their ability to cover a good amount of space.

Alchemists will reward players who can anticipate their opponent’s plans and block them through good placement and positioning of models and effects. On offense, Alchemists can use their AOEs almost as additional models in order to restrict the counter play options of their opponent. No one wants to charge the Alchemist with the ball if you have to go through an acid cloud!

Fantasy archetype: Kind of wizardy

Brewers

Melee Damage – 7

Ranged Damage – 2

Ball Control – 5

Speed – 3

Toughness – 8

Special – 5

Brewers are tanky. Plain and simple, they are incredible at soaking damage up.

But their play style is more than just being hit. They excel in late game as they generally have superior numbers left at this point, but their mid-game is also strong due to their knockdowns and board control.

Not the most synergistic in terms of combo play, they do enjoy some degree of team buffing. Brewers generate the most momentum when pushing opponents in to and out of position with buffeting blows and plays.

Relatively slow up and down the field, the Brewers rely on long reach weapons and easy access to pushes and knockdowns, thereby giving them huge board presence and control.

Fantasy archetypes: Dwarves

Butchers

Melee Damage – 8

Ranged Damage – 3

Ball Control – 4

Speed – 6

Toughness – 5

Special – 4

Butchers’ play style has been designed to be quite straightforward. They are masters of the mid to late game. They excel at damage output and generate a lot of momentum through combat and damage effects. They provide each other with a good assortment of buffs and debuffs in order to allow combo play. Butchers mainly focus on raw damage.

That’s not to say that they don’t have some surprises up their sleeves – characters like Shank and Boiler can pop up and surprise you with their goal threats if you’re not careful …

Fantasy archetype: Orcs

Engineers

Melee Damage – 3

Ranged Damage – 5

Ball Control – 7

Speed – 5

Toughness – 6

Special – 4

The Engineers play style is one of accuracy and controlling space. They utilise all manner of gadgets, devices and traps to influence the flow and direction of the game. From a distance, the Engineers players move as one giant machine, perfectly in sync with each other…

Resilient in combat, accurate with the ball, the Engineers have a solid play style. Whilst not as mobile as some teams, they are able to move the ball great distances and accurately too. They excel in the mid-game, once all the pieces are in place they can control the pitch while pinging the ball around their opponent.

Fantasy archetype: Hard to say – ranged damage dealers.

Fishermen

Melee damage – 3

Ranged damage – 1

Ball control – 8

Speed – 8

Toughness – 5

Special – 5

The Fisherman play style is all about movement and raw goal-scoring potential. They are dominant in the early game and can easily draw one or two goals ahead very quickly. However, mid to late game they need to be wary, especially if they lose a player or two.

They excel at movement and kicking the ball – they are practically all about offense. Their combo play revolves around (re)positioning and exploitation of space.

Whilst not entirely equipped with raw damage soaking defence, they instead have far subtler defensive options that focus much more on space control.

Comparing the Fishermen to a fantasy archetype they would definitely have to be Elves.

Masons

Melee Damage – 6

Ranged Damage – 1

Ball Control – 6

Speed – 5

Toughness – 6

Special – 6

Masons’ play style is all about balance and subtle flexibility. They have strong but not outstanding offensive and defensive options available to them. With a good mix of buffs and debuffs forming the foundation of their combo play, they need each other to excel.

They are equipped to play well during all phases of the game without a definitive focus on any key area, which is why they are the most flexible of teams to play. They have the tools and the play style to adapt to every situation, as long as you can piece them together properly.

Mason rewards players who can see and build play to effect combos, and then take advantage of any situation.

Fantasy archetype: Humans

Morticians

Melee Damage – 6

Ranged Damage – 2

Ball Control – 4

Speed – 4

Toughness – 6

Special – 8

Morticians’ play style is about planning and execution. They control play with a huge amount of influence at their disposal, along with the ability to steal more from their opponent. Their play feels very much like setting traps, triggering the snare and then punishing their opponent. Mid-game is where they really shine – once well laid plans have turned to mush, Morticians can begin to dictate the play.

Morticians provide an interesting take on ‘force projection’ by making their opponents consider how and where they’re going to position models.

Morticians will reward players who like to dominate and control the game by playing mind tricks on their opponents.

Fantasy archetype: Aesthetically they have strong Undead influences but to me they play more like Slaaneshi Daemons (for anyone with Warhammer experience).

The Union

Melee Damage – 4-7

Ranged Damage – 1-3

Ball Control – 3-7

Speed – 3-6

Toughness – 3-6

Special – 3-6

The Union play style is one of role specialism and individual play. They have an array of strong options across attack. Their defensive game isn’t as strong due to their focus on assassin or surgical removal style play. You need a game plan; set them up to deliver it and you will win. Think of these like a team of precision scalpels – just don’t try chopping down trees with them!

Their strength and flexibility comes from matching the right players to do the job you need before proceeding. Each model is simply strong at what it does, and doesn’t require assistance to do it. This is a team with little to no buffing. Want a big tanky guy taken down, send in Decimate … Want their backfield defensive midfielder to stop playing out buffs everywhere, Snakeskin will deliver … Just want someone messed up, Gutter’s the girl.

Fantasy archetype: Dogs of War, Mercenaries…there to fill weaknesses in your own line up.  The standalone team is highly flexible and is a ‘jack of all trades’ team (like the Masons) but is comprised more of specialists where the Masons are more generalists.

The Secret Game

The more I play this game and the more I read the rules, the more I am convinced that there is a ‘secret game’ hiding beneath the actual rules. One where different player combinations open up possibilities that isn’t explicitly included in the rules.  I can see bits of the puzzle forming in a nebulous way but just can’t grasp it.  Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

The Morticians are currently the team that I am concentrating on at the momentum and I hope to provide some tips and tactics in future posts as well as ‘showcasing’ my quite frankly poor painting skills.

I feel that there are a lot of hidden combos available to the Morticians and Silence provides a lot of flexibility to the team.  For some reason though (for reasons I just can’t fathom) I just feel that Graves is the key.

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