Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Born of Blood
In the forsaken lands of Sylvania, ancient evils stir and armies long dead stand ready for battle. Raised from mass graves and despoiled tombs, the Undead battalions of the Vampire Counts gather amidst the tumbling ruins and blasted groves of this ill-favoured realm. Upon fen and moor, creatures of darkness that have haunted the nightmares of Men for millennia break free from ancient cairns and age-worn mausoleums. In the eternal gloom can be heard the scrape of bone on bone, wordless moans, and the clank of rusted wargear. The unliving host advances, a tide of resurrected corpses, driven on by necromantic magic and the undying will of its Vampire general.
The living dead strike fear into the hearts of their foes, for they are a blasphemy against nature and reason. Legions of shambling soldiers wear down their enemies in a relentless tide, whilst monstrous beasts and deathless knights crush all opposition. Those that fall to the Undead armies soon rise again - where once stood defiant enemy soldiers now stand the twitching corpse-puppets of a morbid fiend.
Vampire Counts on the Battlefield
The armies of the Vampire Counts are unlike any other Warhammer army, combining rock-hard characters and huge, shambling hordes with necromantic magic that can replenish slain warriors or even summon fresh units to the battlefield.
Lords of the Night
The eponymous leaders of the Vampire Counts army, Vampires are amongst the most powerful characters in Warhammer. Not only are Vampire Lords, Vampires and Ghoul Kings potent warriors in combat, but they are also magic users of no small ability. Vampire Counts also have access to a range Vampiric Powers, allowing them to be customised with nasty abilities from Aura of Dark Majesty (nearby enemy units take a -1 Leadership penalty) to Red Fury (unsaved wounds the Vampire causes grants him extra attacks).
Vampire Lords can be mounted on a variety of monstrous mounts, further extending their deadly reach, from the rotten hulk of a Zombie Dragon to the horrific yet beguiling palanquin known as a Coven Throne. As well as vampiric characters, the Vampire Counts army also includes a number of units and other fell creatures that are Vampires, with all that entails (tough, fast and extremely dangerous). Amongst the most deadly of these are the Vargheists, corrupt and twisted winged Vampires that savagely feast upon the foe.
Just as Vampires are expensive, eternal and extremely deadly even whilst alone, massed units of Skeletons, Zombies and Crypt Ghouls are cheap, expendable and dangerous when faced in large numbers. Because they can be fielded in such large numbers, it's a matter of course that a Vampire Counts army will outnumber the foe, and with the aid of the Lore of Vampires (see below) it's entirely possible to end the game with more models than you started it.
But it's not just shambling hordes that march under the rotten banners of the Vampire Counts, for the Lords of the Night can command elite Grave Guard, deathly riders known as Black Knights and worse creatures such as the over-sized Ghouls known as Crypt Horrors.
The Dark Arts
The lynchpin of the Vampire Counts army are its masters of necromancy, its Necromancers and Necromancer Lords. Without these masters of the dark arts the restless dead would remain firmly buried within their graves. The Lore of the Vampires is the signature magical lore for the army, containing a range of spells to enhance the Undead hordes or slay the foe. But the hallmark of the lore are spells like Invocation of Nehek or Raise Dead, which resurrect fallen warriors either into existing units or to create new units to serve you.
Amongst the most potent artefacts wielded by the Vampire Counts is the necromantic war machine known as the Mortis Engine. This potent device has at its heart a Reliquary, whose baleful energies can be unleashed to devastate the foe.
More than any other army, the Vampire Counts have access to a number of Ethereal units and characters, which are not only deadly assassins in their own rights but nigh-on unkillable except by magical attacks. Hex Wraiths, units of ghostly riders whose magical scythes harvest the souls of the living, are formidable for this very reason.