Light flickered across pages of an ancient tome, a candle wick burned down to about an inch off its base. Viktor had been at it for 18 hours straight, however he was still alert as ever, eyes bright and focused, mind sharp. The halfling’s previous genius level intellect, and god-like mental capacity, had continually improved since he had become one of the summoned. The journeys to Between affected the heroes in different ways, however universally they became stronger each time they were victorious in their service of the demigods. Viktor was still grateful that his theft of Aris Demonica, from the library of Bastian Oriel, the timeless one, had yet gone unpunished. He was sure that Bastian would come for him at some stage, and silently Viktor relished the opportunity to lock horns with the lore keeper on Athien, where the stakes were so much higher than Between. Quickly, he brought his mind back to the task at hand.
Extracting the true name of Al’garath had been relatively easy compared to his current pursuit. Yes, this one had proven to be very difficult indeed. Every waking hour for the past 50 days had been spent poring over the tome, and as yet, Viktor had been unable to make any major progress, until earlier today. The halfling finally learned the name of an ancient demon, a fire beast that swam the lava pits of the plane of fire, and as with all demons, having knowledge of its true name meant it was possible to summon it to do your bidding. Possible, yes, however there was no guarantee such a beast could be controlled for any length of time. Summoning demons was always a tricky business.
The demon Al’garath had thus far proven to be a powerful ally and, beyond the occasional eldritch burn, Viktor had been largely unscathed, however that provided no correlation towards any future summons, since all demons were frighteningly unique. Despite knowing his name for several hours, Viktor had so far resisted the urge to summon Dor’gokaan, because the halfling wanted to be sure he could safely dismiss him if things got out of hand. Hidden among the names of several powerful demons, the tome contained a spell of banishment which empowered the summoner to vanquish any named demon to its home plane. It could mean the difference between life and death should a summons go awry.
It took several hours more before Viktor, about to end the session, deciphered the final rune that gave him knowledge of banishment, the spell forever etched into his brain. With a sense of relief, he slowly closed the tome, fastened its metal bindings and placed it into a large rune-encrusted chest sitting in the corner of his laboratory. Viktor closed his eyes for a moment to settle his mind and make sure he still had the mental strength to risk a summons after nearly 24 hours without sleep. Even now, the power of his enhanced mind still surprised the halfling, as his everything came into sharp focus enabling him to begin preparations for the summoning ritual.
The air crackled with energy as parchment flew off a solid oak desk that stood to the side. Viktor sat within a glowing star etched into the stonework floor of his laboratory. A swirling vortex of purple flame which began as a flicker, erupted into a blaze 12 feet into the air, licking the ceiling above. The flame originated in a second glowing star, much larger than the first which, all going well, was the intended destination of the demon. Beads of sweat formed on the halfling’s brow, trickling down the crevice of his right eye, pausing as it came in contact with the crows feet wrinkles that gave some indication of the halfling’s age.Viktor’s concentration was unwavering as the roaring flame caused a noise loud enough to invoke a response from the ravens that nested in his loft. Then, silence, both within the tower and outside. It seemed nature held its breath in reaction to an alien intruding on the world. Athien herself knew that the demon did not belong here.
A low guttural growl broke the silence. Viktor opened his eyes and before him stood an immense beast like nothing he had ever seen. A gaping maw, its lips parting to reveal sharp jagged teeth, appeared where the demon’s stomach should be. Four appendages protuded from its upper torso, two that resembled arm and hands, another a crab-like claw,and the 4th splitting into two demonic eyes that peered around the room unnervingly. Grasped within one of the hands was a fantastic sword, runes writhing along its blade in an endless macabre dance. The creature focused its gaze on Viktor, hatred oozing with the knowledge of what had just occurred. “Dor’gokaan…” Viktor whispered. The beast instinctively lurched forward at the sound of its name, only to howl in pain as an invisible barrier burned its flesh the first time a part of its body cut the vertical plane rising from the star on the floor. Dor’gokaan retracted to the centre of the star, not taking its gaze off Viktor for a single second.
Viktor smiled. The repercussions of today’s achievement playing out in his mind. He would now be the most powerful of the summoned and before long, Viktor was sure, he would have the power to challenge the gods themselves. Let Bastian come now, he thought, for death awaited him.
The halfling spoke an incantation before clapping his hands together loudly. With a deafening pop, the demon vanished, leaving wisps of smoke tendrils floating in the air. Weariness suddenly overcame him so he stumbled to his cot and slid under the heavy furs. Sleep came swiftly.
We are currently experiencing a very special time for Judgement, with the game moving from Kickstarter to retail, growing its player base, and now in the wonderful world of releasing new heroes that can have such a positive and massive affect on the meta. The fact we have seen such huge growth in the game recently has enabled us to do something like a special pre-release model at a major convention, in this case GenCon, and we cannot think of a model more fitting than Sharn. She encapsulates so much of what we strive for with Judgement. A strong female hero, a realistic and dynamic pose, and a sculpt that will appeal to gamers and artists alike.
Sharn's illustration was masterfully put together by Shane L Cook, who is a pleasure to work with and continually astounds us with awesome concept art for the majority of heroes in the Judgement universe.
Sharn illustration by Shane L Cook
We wanted to capture the fact Sharn is always in the thick of the action, taking hits for her allies and revelling in the most dangerous areas of the battlefield. As with many of our sculpts, we also wanted to capture her in the middle of executing her signature plays, leading with her shield (Shield Slam) and following up with her mighty hammer (Hammer Smash).
We would like to introduce a brand new sculptor into the Judgement family. Dave Whitaker has come on board and Sharn was his first assignment. Safe to say that Dave did an amazing job. He has been a natural fit into our process and worked with Shane from the outset from concept, to illustration and finally sculpt, and it shows. We are super excited to have Dave on the team and look forward to working with him on a lot of projects in the coming months and years.
There is ample evidence Sharn loves bearing the brunt of anything her enemies want to throw at her. Lots of wear and tear on her cloths, and armour, coupled with the odd flesh scar resulting from brutal battles she has partaken in over time. You may notice the one part of Sharn that remains pristine is her hammer, which also looks decidedly dwarf-like! Her hammer is in fact the ancient dwarf artefact "Dream Crusher", a relic she stole earlier in life with the help of her unlikely companion and ally, Rakkir.
One of the main features of Sharn is her parvise shield, and it is a dominant part of her in-game kit, so it was important to make it impressive on the model. Once again Dave killed it. The shield looks amazing.
In-Game Statistics Card
The defender class is full of awesome heroes that bring something unique to the battlefield, beyond just protecting their allies and contesting objectives. With Sharn, we wanted to capture the effectiveness of a parvise shield, and what better way to do that than by making her mobile hard cover! She can also use her shield offensively with Shield Slam, which is a devastating combat manoeuvre in the right situation. Get Behind Me is also a very characterful active ability which will see Sharn quickly become a favourite among ranged hero allies. Offensively, Hammer Smash is a powerful model displacement ability that is empowered by "Dream Ender", her stolen dwarf artefact. Perhaps her strongest ability, in the right situation, is Beguile which provides a very strong control aspect to Sharn's kit.
GenCon Pre-release and Retail Launch
Sharn will be available for pre-sale at GenCon 2019, which runs from the 1st-4th August. Sharn will then be available via retail on the 1st of September. Individual GenCon purchases will be limited to 5 at a time. Note that while we are doing a decent 1st run of Sharn, he numbers are limited, however if we sell out we will be doing another run early in 2020.
Our GenCon booth is #2861 and Twitch stream partner, and amazing artist, Shoshie, will be painting Sharn, across Friday and Saturday, in the Judgement booth!
Tomas shifted in his chair, the soft leather moulding itself to his body as he made himself comfortable. The warm glow of the hearth reflected the heat from a large fire burning within the room’s impressive fireplace. Tomas had fashioned the room, and the rest of his fortress, on Between, in the image of the castle he had owned when he lived as a mortal upon Athien. Despite it being over 300 cycles since ascending to demigod status, Tomas continued to live much as he had done in his former life. Demigods could choose their form at will, and alter Between as they saw fit; theoretically, he could be living in whichever castle, tower or fortress he fancied. Despite this, he usually chose the form that mirrored his mortal body the day he travelled to Between shortly after The Gathering. To his immortal mind, it seemed like yesterday; mere seconds in the grand scheme of things.
Much like his contemporaries, Tomas continued to build up his power by harvesting Souls, utilising the ever growing band of mortal heroes who willingly transported to the Shadow plane to partake in the demigods' private war. There would come a time when Tomas would feel powerful enough to roam Between himself, however he knew the power of the old gods, and at the moment, the risk to extend himself was still too great. He stopped his train of thought, and brought his mind back to the present, because today had thrown up something unexpected, a rare occurrence in the life of a demigod. Some thirty minutes ago, one of the most powerful natural inhabitants of Between had crossed the boundary into Tomas’ domain. A score of the demigod's minions had died trying to stop the advance of the individual before Tomas sent word to let him pass. Despite having more powerful minions available that could probably kill him, Tomas had decided to meet and find out why one of the most powerful undead creatures on Between sought an audience with him.
Lord Fazeal commanded an army of undead soldiers and, similar to the demigods, had carved out a domain on Between that he undisputedly owned. Tomas did not doubt for a second that he could kill Fazeal if he chose, however it would not be a trivial exercise and did pose risks. Unlike the demigods, Fazeal was free to roam Between as he wished, since he was not a target of the old gods and had many allies on the Shadow plane. Today, Fazeal looked to flaunt the fact that he was free to roam, because as far as Tomas could tell, he travelled without an entourage; just the undead lord astride his mighty nightmare Acheron. Tomas closed his eyes so he could see the vision of Fazeal in an attempt to glean what he could before their meeting, however he doubted that the undead lord would give anything away.
The undead were a wicked twist on the natural order of things, being “born” whenever a powerful Athien hero managed to hold onto enough fragments of their soul once they died. While alive, there were rituals that a mortal could perform to increase their chances of maintaining un-death once their souls passed to Between, however the rituals themselves were fraught with danger and frowned upon by most civil societies. A mortal transforming to undead was extremely rare, however since undead never died of natural causes, over the centuries there had been a steady build up of literally thousands of them roaming the planes of Between. Thankfully, like the mortal races of Athien, the undead often waged war on each other, usually whenever two powerful undead rose to prominence and wanted to extend their domains and influence. This had, at least, kept their number to a manageable level.
Like the other demigods, Tomas had always considered the undead to be natural denizens of Between, and only learned how they came about while studying the soul phenomenon in their quest for immortality. The fact that the undead always kept to themselves in the growing conflict between the gods, meant that Tomas had not given them too much thought, until now. The only interaction Tomas could recall was that one of the summoned, the powerful necromancer Zaron, was able to summon the weakest of undead, skeletons, during his battles on Between.
Tomas was not sure what to make of the sudden appearance of Lord Fazeal in his domain. He stood from his leather chair, closed his eyes and through the power of his mind, transported himself to the gates of his fortress. It was time to find out what Fazeal wanted.
Fazeal kept his head down, his hood pulled low to obscure his face. Locks of silvery white hair dangled past his jaw-line to flutter on his chest as a gentle breeze blew across him. Acheron’s hooves padded softly on the damp earth, each step emitting a hissing sound as the flames on his hooves met with moisture. Like most powerful undead, Fazeal was able to spare enough life force to keep Archeron in a permanent state of un-death, the nightmare proving to be a powerful steed and companion. For 200 cycles, Fazeal had watched the god war from afar, quietly extending his domain and building up his army of undead to the point where, outside the demigods, he was one of the most powerful beings on Between. It was through his studies of the god war that he discovered the source of their power, mortal souls, which naturally led him to learn more and find out whether such a thing could enhance his own powers.
Fazeal was driven by one thing, and one thing alone: to return to Athien with an army of undead behind him, to conquer, and subjugate, the entire plane. No undead had ever been able to walk the mortal planes, being forever restricted to the plane of shadow. He would be the first. He understood that if he could restore his soul enough, he would be able to take physical form on Athien. Never enough to be truly alive, however a creature of un-death with one foot on the material plane and another on Between. Once on Athien, he could summon an army of undead from the battlefields scattered all over the plane.
His original intention was simply to capture souls himself, much like the demigods were doing. However, there was something in the makeup of the undead that made it impossible, regardless of how much he tried. Eventually, Fazeal came to realise that by offering his services to the demigods, and partaking in their game, he would be able to siphon fragments of a soul’s power every time he killed one of the summoned. This would take a lot longer than harvesting the souls directly, but he was undead. Time had no meaning or consequence for him.
The challenge was to get the demigods to accept his offer. Fazeal knew how ambitious the demigods were, and none of them would want to have the undead as an enemy. He was sure they would acquiesce to his request.
GenCon is looming large on the horizon and Judgement will be making its debut there in 2019 since we were fortunate enough to be given a booth in Entrepreneur's Avenue. Jeff and I are super excited to make the trip to Indianapolis, on the 1st weekend in August, and hope to meet as many Judgement fans as we can across the 4 days.
Earlier today, on stream, we made two huge announcements for GenCon.
Shoshie Painting in our Booth
Shoshie, of ShoshiesMinis, one of the most popular miniature gaming streamers in the world, will be painting in our booth on both the Friday and Saturday of GenCon. Shoshie is a renowned artist, and instructor, who held classes at Adepticon earlier in the year. We are very excited to have Shoshie as part of our booth at GenCon where she will be painting the new con pre-release hero!
Shoshie's Gnome bust made the 1st round cut in this year's Crystal Brush which is a fantastic achievement in itself. We are pumped to see what she can do with the new Judgement hero. :)
GenCon Exclusive Hero
That's right folks, we are pre-releasing a Judgement hero at GenCon! We have been working on the new hero for the last few months, under a veil of secrecy, so the sculpt and rules are completely finished and ready to go. We are manufacturing an initial run that will be available from our GenCon booth, and will not be producing any more casts until 2020. Combined with the imminent release of Jaegar, it means our hero pool will grow to 30 heroes in the next few months!
Shoshie will be in the booth, on both Friday and Saturday, painting the new hero so if you are there, drop by and say hello, pick up a new hero and get some tips from one of the best!
We will be revealing the new hero's illustration, sculpt and rules, on stream this Sunday night (North America time) so tune in to join in on the hype.
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