Thursday, October 5, 2017

Vengeance of the Lichemaster: Bagrian the Master of La Maisontaal



The Vengeance of the Lichemaster from 1986 is a battle with everything: undead cavalry,  kung-fu monks, an Ark of the Covenant, the first appearance of the Skaven in print and a Dalek. It requires lots of rare Citadel miniatures, and I've just finished painting all of them. I'm happy to share the results with you over the next few weeks.


The Vengeance of the Lichemaster is the sequel to the three-battle campaign The Terror of the Lichemaster (1986) which was released by Games Workshop in a boxed set for Warhammer Fantasy Battle 2nd edition. Both were written by Rick Priestly. However, Vengeance wasn't a stand alone product but was published in that fabulous magazine, The Citadel Journal Spring 86. Vengeance provides one final battle for the Lichemaster Heinrich Kemler. But unlike Terror, which was a straightforward contest between the evil necromancer and the innocent denizens of the Frugelhorn Valley, Vengeance is a crazy three-way melee. The forces of the undead face off against a power hungry abbot and his magical monks, and both have to contend with a rampaging warband of chaos ratmen. Like any other ménage à trois, it will take up a whole afternoon and involve a lot of mess.

The scenario begins with the premise that the Heinrich Kemler successfully overcame the forces of goodness from Terror. He emerges from the Frugelhorn Valley with his undead army swollen with the freshly killed villagers and his magic powers surging to new heights. The next obstacle in his way is La Maisontaal, a monastery dedicated to the nature god Taal. Attacking this temple is especially important to the Kemler because its abbot, Bagrian, was once his collaborator back in the days when Kemler was a world-renowned master of the magical arts. However, when Kemler was branded as a heretic, weakened by his enemies and hunted across the Old World, Bagrian turned his back on him. Now that Kemler has recouped his strength, he is eager for vengeance.


Bagrian steals the Black Ark illustrated by Tony Ackland
However, when Kemler arrives at La Maisontaal, a surprise awaits him. The monastery is already aflame. A small army of Skaven have been attacking the compound all day long and are now gathering their forces for one last push. They are there because Bagrian stole something from them. He had sneaked into their hidden city, Skavenblight, and made off with one of their most holy artifacts, the Black Ark of the Covenant. After this outrage, armies of chaos ratmen had been fanning out across the land searching for the culprit. Now, finally, a Skaven wizard named Gnawdoom has pinpointed the location of the Ark with his magic seerstone. He will reclaim the Ark or die trying!

At the centre of this drama is the enigmatic figure of the abbot Bagrian. At first glance, we expect the monkish Bagrian to be a "good guy". However, on closer examination, he turns into a more ambiguous figure... a sort of mad scientist in the mold of Victor Frankenstein, C.A. Rotwang or Dr. No. And like the latter two gentlemen, he's suffered horrible injuries from his experiments leaving him with mechanical limbs (in Bagrian's case, he has a silver hand and metal plates over half of his body). And like any mad scientist worth his salt, Bagrian is obsessed with creating new life. 


In Bagrian's case, this is "the Mechanical Warrior", a metal golem with inhuman strength. Unfortunately, until now Bagrian has been unable to bring this metal shell to life. But that's why he stole the Black Ark of Skavenblight. This is "a huge chunk of solid warp-stone, pure chaos stuff that burns fiercely with its own black light" that's kept for safekeeping in a magic chest. Bagrian has been unable to open this magic chest. And he does not know that his assailant, the Skaven wizard Gnawdoom, is carrying the only key.


A detail from "Bagrian's Doom" by John Blanche, the cover art for The Citadel Journal 86

If Gnawdoom succeeds in retrieving the chest and revealing the Ark, all hell will break loose. Black lightening will flash from the artefact, incinerating his enemies. But a bolt of this energy may also strike the Mechanical Warrior... At that point, I think we can all hear Bagrian exclaim, "It's alive! IT'S ALIVE!"

Here's my rendition of Bagrian:






His miniature was originally named "Seerstone" and was part of Citadel's C02 Wizards range sculpted in 1985 by Aly Morrison. I love his outstretched hand with its mechanical hand, and the imperious expression on his face. This is Aly Morrison at his best! You can also check out some other gorgeous renditions of Bagrian by Nico and Dral.

Stay tuned and in a few days we'll meet Bagrian's wizard companions and his Mechanical Warrior, plus we'll examine one of the few miniatures ever sculpted by Rick Priestly.





 And you can see all of the miniatures from Terror of the Lichemaster here!



19 comments:

  1. Absolutely wonderful paint work as always M8!

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  2. Beautiful figure and intriguing story. I had never heard of Bagrian or this story before.

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  3. Love the back ground to this. Early Citadel at it's finest.

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  4. Woooooow! Bagrian looking fantastic!

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  5. Excellent paintwork on Bagrian, looking forward to your take on the mechanical monstrosity! The Spring 86 Citadel Journal marks one of the all time high-points of creativity in Warhammer to me.

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    1. I couldn't agree more that the Spring 86 Journal is the high point. It has Blanche, Priestly, Goodwin (and editor Ansell) working full steam.

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  6. There should a be a spoiler alert for this post !
    We played that one with Nico (Realmofchaos blog) a couple of years ago and it was great fun. Youd did a fantastic job with the whole set but Bagrian is up there !

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    1. Yes, I poured over the pics of Nico's game and his miniatures. Frankly, his Bagrian (and other miniatures) leaves mine in the dust. What talent that man has!
      Anyway, I am happy that the scenario got the deluxe treatment from you guys.

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  7. Simply perfect. Wonderful in its all extent; the mini is gorgeous and the campaign sounds terrific!

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    1. It will be a fun few posts! Thanks Suber.

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  8. They look stunning! You've perfectly captured Bagrian. This Citadel Journal was one of the first magazines that I bought and is responsible for my love of all things Skaven - the cover makes them look properly terrifying.

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    1. It sounds like the warpstone got into your veins early. I think you might be a terminal case!

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  9. What an insane scenario! Anything could happen. I love it. And your Bagrian is great: the checkerboard trim on his robe makes him look like some sort of proto Adeptus Mechanicus type :D

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    1. Jeepers -- I had never made the connection with the Adeptus Mechanicus, but you are absolutely right. Good call!

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  10. I like reading and watching almost everything that was printed before I get addicted to miniatures in 90's. I'm really interested in this scenario. Your Bagrian is great - just like original art. I will be back here for sure.

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