Ryan Poliakoff - Beastmen

The Cult of the Slaughterer's Blade

by Ryan Poliakoff

"Hello, my name is Ryan Poliakoff. And I'm a newbie."

"Hello, Ryan!"

"It's been five months since my first Warhammer game, but I'm making progress. I rarely let my chariots get charged by dwarves anymore, and I've even won a couple of games."

*Polite clapping*

"And I can paint a little, too. See?"


Enough with the introductions. You're not interested in me; you're interested in my project! I hadn't even finished painting my first Fantasy army when I got the e-mail from Matt "GT Champion" Birdoff. Did I perhaps want in on a group project for the Baltimore GT? We need another Nurgle army. His timing was uncanny. Like many of us, I had quickly become hooked into the world of Warhammer Fantasy, and I was already thinking about a second force. And while Hordes of Chaos wasn't particularly exciting to me, the new Beastmen models had been catching my eye. As for which lord to worship, there was never any question that it would be Nurgle. I'm an aspiring satirist and a little germ-phobic. Like the ad says, "It just feels right..."

My first army is a heavily converted Tomb Kings force based on the story of The Ten Commandments. Moses is my heirophant, Joshua is my Tomb King. The Casket of Souls is--well, you know. It's a speed/assault army--two big units of heavy cavalry, a unit of chariots, three Scorpions, Carrion, the Casket of Souls and some fast cavalry and archers. It can win some games.

For this reason I had already decided that my second army would be cavalry-free--the cultist project fit perfectly.

I decided to jump right in. But first I needed a theme. I always need a theme. I can't get my head around an army without having a theme. So I started playing with combinations of disease and animals. I considered lycanthropy; a werewolf force--but that's really a Vampire Counts army. Rabies was a concept, as well--but you can't do rabies without rats, and Skaven already own that territory.

From the start, the idea of lots of Minotaurs had appealed to me. I like cows. Look nice, wear well, taste great. So I started to wonder if I could combine cows and disease. Cows, disease. A disease of cows. Mad Cow Disease!

"Hey, Matt, how about a Mad Cow Disease army!"

"What does that have to do with cultists? And how do they fit in a city?"

"Um, what cultists? What city?"

It seems that Matt had invited me to play along without explaining the rules of the game. Now that I was on the same page as the rest of the tribe, I had to figure out a way to integrate Beastmen into a city environment. But why the heck would animals be in a city? Was it maybe a zoo gone bad? Or a pet store? Or maybe...

A slaughterhouse. It was the perfect concept. The animals of a slaughterhouse, corrupted by the powers of Nurgle, rise up against the butcher and worship the killing stone. It's dirty, it's corrupted, it's ironic--it's me.

As for composition, I still wanted a bunch of cows, so I decided to run with a Doombull general. And I gave him the Slaughterer's Blade. I mean, could I not? It's not that great a weapon, but it's 40 points for fluff. Good fluff is worth 40 points. Heck, I spend 300 points on the Casket of Souls for my Tomb Kings. And it does give him some staying power.

I needed goats and sheep, and that meant Gors, Ungors and Pestigors. I imagined that there must be packs of wild dogs that feed off of the garbage and scraps near the slaughterhouse, so Warhounds were in. And mutated chickens? Born to be Furies.

No Centigors (too much like cavalry), no ogres, no trolls, no chariots, no spawn--just the beasts. It should be a fun force to play, and I doubt anyone will accuse the list of being overpowered. I'm also using a 2000-point list--the rumor is that's going to be next year's number.

So without further ado, here's the first draft of The Cultists of the Slaughterer's Blade:

Lord & Heroes
Doombull (General)
Mark of Nurgle, Heavy Armor, Slaughterer's Blade

Bray Shaman
Level 1 Shaman, Undivided, with two Dispel Scrolls

Core Units
7 Minotaurs of Decay with Great Weapons, Light Armor and Standard
4 Minotaurs of Decay with Great Weapons, Light Armor
4 Minotaurs of Decay with Two Hand Weapons, Light Armor
24 Pestigors with full command, War Banner
10 Gors with Two Hand Weapons/15 Ungors, full command
4 Units of 5 Chaos Warhounds

Special Units
6 Chaos Furies

That's it! No rares, none of the crazy broken units (though some might say sixteen angry cows is up there...) My central assault units are the ranked Minotaurs led by the Doombull, the Pestigors with the Bray Shaman, and the Gors/Ungors. The 2 extra Minotaur units and the chaos hounds are for flanking. The Furies are for march blocking/war machine intervention. Lots of high strength attacks, lots of fear and reasonably fast. Simple design, but will it work...

I'm pretty late to the Cultists project, so I'll have to keep conversions to a minimum. There are almost 100 models to assemble and paint within the next three months. I'm aiming for a nice, clean, high-end paintjob, and I hope that it will be enough to carry me through.

As for the base, that pretty much builds itself. A crumbling abattoir, complete with human corpses hanging from hooks, rivers of effluence, destroyed cages and pens, perhaps even a cage or two with humans ready to be slaughtered. Very Nurgly, very beasty. I may even give it a couple of sprays of Demeter's "Stable" fragrance for verisimilitude.

Sorry there are no pictures yet--nothing to see. But by my next entry I hope to have my general painted and ready. I always start painting my important units--that way, if I get lazy towards the end of the army, it's not as noticeable.

Until next time, I leave you with a very short story--the origin of the Cult of the Slaughterer's Blade.

Sparks reflected in The Butcher's eyes as he ran his giant bloodstained cleaver across the spinning stone. He wrinkled his nose--the smell of hot metal couldn't mask the stink of the pens behind him. Even after all these years, he had never quite gotten used to the smell.

Over the icy grating of the blade he could hear the braying and shuffling of the animals. They knew what was coming. Even the bulls, their eyes slow and sad, started to fret when the spinning wheel turned. The goats and sheep paced their stalls, kicking and bleating. As the blade got sharper the moans got louder. But the butcher never turned around. He didn't like to look at them until he had to. Even then, he made sure never to look at their eyes.

The Butcher didn't like having to kill them. But he felt he owed it to them. The plague had spread too far already.

He heard a splash and caught the scent of fresh urine. The animals were beginning to lose bladder control, their fear overcoming them. He shifted his foot as a small yellow river snaked across the hard-packed floor. It ran down a valley into a pool of blood and effluence. The Butcher rarely bothered to clean the slaughterhouse--the air was thick with disease. Even The Butcher himself was covered with pustules and boils. He hoped that his customers were cooking their meat.

The Butcher stopped rocking his foot and let the sharpening stone slow down. Instead of quieting, the animals began to shriek. The floor vibrated with the mass of heavy footsteps. Now the chickens joined in, flapping against the insides of their cages. The dogs outside sensed the panic and began to bark in sharp bursts. They lived on the scraps and entrails that The Butcher allowed them, and they sensed that dinner was almost served.

"Mrwrwooo! Mmmrrrrrrrgh!" The bulls behind him called out for help, smashed against their pens.

"Settle down boys, it won't change a thing," The Butcher shouted behind him.

"Mmmmrrooo!" they screeched, sounding less cow-like, almost human.

The Butcher examined the edge of his blade. Satisfied, he ran his finger down from the top and pulled away as it drew fresh blood.

It was time.

He turned the cleaver and caught the faint reflection of firelight in its rusty face.


"Quiet!" The Butcher stomped his foot, and the room went silent.


The Butcher felt a hot grassy burst against the back of his neck. Had one of the bulls broken through the gate?

He raised his blade above his head and turned, ready to swing.

The Doombull grinned.

The Butcher's jaw and hands slackened, sending the cleaver skittering across the floor. As the Doombull reached down and picked up the weapon, The Butcher felt his bladder and bowels release. The blade was over two feet long; in the Doombull's hands it looked like a paring knife.

A quick blur, and The Butcher looked down. His body had been separated below the navel.

As his life spilled from his body his eyes began to blur. But before they dimmed entirely The Butcher saw the rest of the animals begin to stand, stretching their hooves into hands. In the darkness, he could hear them laughing.

And laughing,

And laughing,

And laughing.

Created by: system. Last Modification: Monday 26 of January, 2009 12:49:10 AM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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