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
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!