‘Leading northwards from Stirland, through the Jagerforrst Woods, we are met by the Empire’s mightiest river, the Stir. Upon its banks, one can see the emerald fields and woodlands of Ostermark, the Northern edge of the Imperial domain. Look to the East to gaze upon the mountains marking World’s Edge, to the North to see the barbarous land of the Kislivite.
But do not gaze too far, dear traveller, lest you miss the real jewel of this fair land. Mordheim; a city of wonders, where, by the invitation of the honourable Count Steinhart, our party diverted to lodge the night…’
From Jorrin van Urshlecht’s The Passage of the Honourable Count of Middenheim in the Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Ninth Year of Sigmar’s Coronation.
Sometimes the story comes before the model. This was the case for my upcoming Sons of Horus: I knew who I was making before I cut the first piece off the sprue.
This was not the case for my Witch Hunters.
Mordheim was the first game I really played by GW. The earlier editions of the Warhammer were too clumsy for me, too much book-keeping. I was younger then as well, so the price was a factor, and the large model counts of the mainline games wasn’t so much a put-off as a physical impossibility.
Mordheim was where I found my niche. I came to Games Workshop from a role-playing background, so that element appealed to me, then the ability to form a playable force from only a handful of miniatures allowed me to actually partake. Then I got my hands on the rulebook.
GW has never produced a finer book. It is simply gorgeous. Every page oozes with Grim-dark character. Blanche and the others really did a number there. I still own my original rulebook (it’s a bit worse for wear and I daren’t use it for gaming anymore) but it is still my first port of call for inspiration in the murky depths of the Old World – now the World-That-Was.
When it came to my Witch Hunters, the visual, inspired by the book, was more important to me than the narrative. Just as the artwork in the rulebook lacks a written context, allowing us to wonder and imagine at the story of these characters, I wanted my Warband to do the same for me. So I started with the visual and I assume that the story will come, to be forged on the table top. Here’s the first few, ragged and dirty after a long journey to Mordheim. Their weapons are dull, basic, their armour is battered and rusted. All that seemingly connects them is a common zeal, a faith whose expression is death and fire. Where they have come from is uncertain, what’s drawn them to the City of the Damned is not clear, what shall come of them is not yet written.
Welcome to Mordheim, Jewel of the Empire. First things first: breathe a sigh of relief that we made it here at all, but don’t get comfortable – the worst is yet to come.