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.
There has been a consistent buzz ever since we released the illustration for Lord Fazeal, not only because he looked amazing, but he also heralded the introduction of the undead race to the Judgement universe. The design team worked very hard in bringing undead into the game because we felt, over the years, many game designers have struggled to stay true to the traits of undead while also ensuring game balance. Adding to this already daunting task, we decided to make our first undead hero mounted. While that was a risk, we knew that we had an opportunity to launch a 54mm scale mounted death knight, and you don't get to do that every day.
The task of sculpting Fazeal was given to Stan Kolev. Astute Judgement fans will know that Stan previously sculpted Svetlana and the dynamic duo of Viktor and Al'garath, three of the most iconic sculpts in the Judgement range, so we were very excited to get the opportunity to work with Stan once again. The final sculpt has absolutely blown us away, and I am sure Judgement players everywhere are going to chomping at the bit to get their hands on Lord Fazeal mounted on his mighty nightmare Archeron. Well here is the sculpt in all its glory. Enjoy.
The next model to be available is Jaegar, Goblin Hunter who we estimate will be up for pre-sale within the next 2 weeks. Jaegar will then ship around the end of June. Fazeal production will begin shortly and we estimate he will be available around October, with pre-sales up a month before that.
We will keep everyone up to date with the schedule in the coming months.
Ever since our announcement of the 2019 release schedule, we have been inundated with questions about Lord Fazeal, the undead death knight. Introducing two races, undead and goblins, within the one year is ambitious, however we are so keen to push the game to its limits and provide a fantastic variety of heroes for our players to enjoy. We have set our stall out and stated that we want to be the first miniatures game in the world to balance the undead race against all other races...so let's see how we are going so far. :)
Before we dive in to look at Fazeal's rules, we do want to caveat the discussion by pointing out the version number on the card is v0.8, so there will most likely be changes between now and when Fazeal hits production. In saying that, the v0.8 rules are pretty solid and have survived many play tests.
Let's start by look at the race rules for undead.
All undead heroes permanently suffer the cursed condition. This means they are unable to contest Shrines, cannot contribute to friendly Soul Harvest attempts and similarly, are unable to detract from enemy Soul Harvest attempts. It also means undead are a prime targets for heroes such as Nephenee (Laser Storm) and Viktor (Hex). Astute readers of the Judgement lore would know that Nephenee is a member of an elite civilian military unit whose primary task is to hunt down undead that have infiltrated society. We that has just been reflected in the game. :)
The Soulless rule is very interesting. Giving up an auto-banked Soul whenever an undead hero is killed is a huge negative, however the flip side, when an undead hero kills an enemy hero, can be a positive. The Soul is harvest by the nearest friendly hero model that is not cursed, which provides a good opportunity to manipulate this so an ideal model, such as a Doenrakkar, is the nearest hero whenever Fazeal kills an enemy. It also allows you to dive Fazeal deep into your opponent's backline to make a kill, safe in the knowledge you will not lose that Soul if Fazeal dies later in the turn.
Drain Life is a nice ability that promotes combat, something that Fazeal is built for. Lord Fazeal also gets a very nice boost to his Drain Life at level 2. Flammable is another small negative making them take an extra damage from the fire condition.
This is an interesting ability that all undead will inherit, however we have added a twist so that each undead hero will gain a different buff when they do consume a Soul. In Fazeal's case he gains 5 health. Consume Soul immediately places all undead in the anti Soulgazer category, with Soul denial a legitimate strategy.
Fazeal's kit is fairly simple. Two Combat Manoeuvres and one Active Ability that scream melee monster and reflect the aggressive nature of this powerful hero.
Weaken is a standard condition generator with the bonus of letting the Fazeal player choose either the poison or curse condition. Weaken is good, however the signature play for the mighty death knight is without a doubt Decapitation. Double J is not easy to roll, but the reward has the potential to decimate even the most tanky foe.
Decapitate means any damage to the target is doubled. The +1 damage Fazeal receives on the charge, being mounted, means he can do a hefty 12 damage against an enemy he charges that does not have RES. Note that RES is used to reduce the initial damage before it is doubled.
Pestilence is a Fate fuelled Active Ability that does d3 True Damage and a power de-buff to any heroes within 6" that are suffering the poison or curse conditions. It is definitely situational however under the right circumstances it can be devastating.
Gaining levels on Fazeal is all about improving his survivability, something that is his achilles heal at level 1. Vampiric Touch can drastically improve his staying power allowing him to heal 5 health above his maximum via Leech, and Life Drain is an AOE True Damage dealer that can also heal the death knight significantly. At level 3 you basically want to get this guy in amongst the enemy as much as possible and let him unleash the fury.
Jeff and I are extremely pleased with the undead race in the Judgement universe. We believe we have successfully captured the spirit of the undead, pardon the pun, while keeping them balanced and challenging to play. We have a lot of plans for future undead heroes however for now it is the might Lord Fazeal that will lead the way for the kings of the night.