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Dor'gokaan Sculpt Reveal

Dor'gokaan Sculpt Reveal

It took a lot of convincing the early playtesters that neutral monsters were an essential element of the game. Over time, the task of convincing players that monsters are more than a gimmick became a lot easier. Now, they usually are singing the praises of monsters to us. Our monster designs have come a long way since Gloom. The shadow hound was the equivalent of the designers dipping their toe in the water, in terms of monster board presence. From Gloom we moved to Ashtooth, then Inferno, the first monster with a ranged attack and then, boldly, we introduced Vujasha into the game.

At that point, we all took a collective breath and gave the game some time to breathe. The last 12 months have seen unprecedented growth in Judgement's player base and the introduction of new heroes and a new 5v5 Scorched Earth map. Dor'gokaan represents a natural progression in the evolution of Judgement monsters. He has the most rules, the highest potential damage output and being a demon, can be summoned by Warlock heroes! 

Something that Jeff and I keep in mind when designing new heroes or monsters is to make sure we maintain the Judgement model range's variety. Of the three official Judgement illustrators, Helge C Balzer is the one who pushes character design into areas we would not usually go. Vujasha is the most obvious; however, his Styx, Loribela and Nephenee illustrations have all introduced unique elements. Safe to say that Helge's Dor'gokaan tops them all. From the outset, Helge had a vision for the demon that none of us would have taken from the design brief. Before too long, Dor'gokaan had a life of his own, and the final product became a fusion of various archetypes and genres.

Dor'gokaan Illustration

Dave Whitaker, the sculptor who recently sculpted Sharn for us, was commissioned to turn Helge's vision of Dor'gokaan into a 3D sculpt and he nailed it. We are itching to produce Dor'gokaan and get him onto the battlefields of Judgement players everywhere, as a neutral monster and a summoned minion of Viktor Clerval.

Dor'gokaan Sculpt 1

Dor'gokaan Sculpt 2

Dor'gokaan Sculpt 3

Dor'gokaan Sculpt 4

Dor'gokaan Pre-Release at Warfaire Weekend

If launching the Judgement North American Championship at Warfaire Weekend was not enough, we are also going to pre-release both Dor'gokaan and Fazeal at the convention. Both models will be available to pick up on the Friday, and they will be legal for all the Judgement events, including the JNAC. 

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Skye, Elf Monk Sculpt Reveal!

Skye, Elf Monk Sculpt Reveal!

Skye is the 12th, and final, hero to be sculpted from our wave 2 range, and we had a lot of fun with this one. He is the 3rd hero from our "space" genre, alongside Styx and Nephenee, however despite being from the future, he still adheres to the ancient monk ways, preferring to fight with a bo staff. 

Skye is our first AGI base defender, so unlike Thrommel, Doenrakkar, Marcus and Skoll, he relies on not being hit rather than soaking up the critical hits of his attackers through high health or RES. This means Skye will take a bit more time to master, however his high skill cap, once mastered, can elevate the effectiveness of your Warband to a high level.

 Skye, Elf Monk Defender

We drew a lot of inspiration from various futuristic cinema releases to get the look and feel for Skye. Our aim was to get a perfect blend between traditional fantasy and the space genre, which best describes the hero himself. James W Cain was commissioned to sculpt Skye, and as usual he is risen to the occasion spectacularly, setting the entire model off with an amazing scenic base.

Skye, Elf Monk Defender

With Skye completed, the only sculpts left to do are Viktor's demon, Al'garath, Vujasha the sea witch, and then of course Barnascus, the 13th hero designed in conjunction with, "Become a Hero!" backer, Shane. However with the core 12 done we are ready to launch our pledge manager so will do so in the coming days.

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Lich Dance - Part 2

Lich Dance - Part 2

Continuation of Lich Dance - Part 1

“Hmph”, grunted Styx. “We both survived. Interesting”, he thought, filing away the memory in his data-bank for retrieval once he had returned to his master. But for now it would have to wait. First, to battle.

Styx entered the fray swinging his chain scythe in a wide arc, the keen blades whistling as they cut through the dull air of the shadow plane. His cyber-mind scanned through data stored from previous battles, formulating plans that would optimise the synergy between his allies and his own considerable powers. There was no data on the hooded minotaur and any attempts to read its mind were being met with considerable resistance. “Curious”, mumbled Styx. It seemed that today was full of the unexpected. Pushing the distractions from his mind, Styx sprinted like a madman towards the centre of the enemy’s battle lines in what appeared to be a suicide mission. His target was the orc, Rakkir. He knew full well how dangerous an adversary the rogue could be if left unchecked. Nephenee, who was still finding her bearings and trying to work out exactly where she was, watched incredulously as the cyborg ran off into the gloom. 

 

Rakkir readied his blade, dripping wth toxin, as he saw the half-man, half machine, hurtle towards him. A snarl formed at the corner of his mouth. “What was this idiot doing..?”  Rakkir’s blade began its descent, aiming for a deadly blow to the base of the cyborg's neck. Moments before the blade hit home, Rakkir heard Styx utter an incantation before the cyborg began phasing in and out of the orc's vision. Then, with a faint blue pulse of light, the half-man disappeared completely, before a giant werewolf appeared exactly where he was a moment before. “Ashtooth!”, Rakkir exclaimed, in an attempt to rally his allies around him. The orc had fought the beast numerous times before, however it was normally on his terms. The blood shadow admonished himself for underestimating his foe, before hastily dropping a shadow orb to escape the predicament the cyborg had placed him in.

 

Styx braced himself as the enemy’s effigy exploded, hurtling the heroes bound to it back to the prime material plane. It was a hard fought victory, secured when the she-elf, Nephenee, launched herself over the enemy defensive line and sunk her twin laser blades deep into the effigy itself. She had fought well, and Styx managed to glean much about her abilities through the course of the battle. Invaluable information for his master Zaron, no doubt.

The minutes after a battle were always surreal, Styx mused. First, each of the victorious heroes was momentarily connected with the demigod that had summoned them, a mind link that allowed the briefest of dialogue. This was followed by a permanent transfer of a fraction of the demigod's powers to the summoned mortals. The five were then left alone on the plane for a time, until the power of their effigy faded, at which point they were transported back to their bodies on Athien. Some of the heroes used the time to explore Between, although there were limits to how far the ethereal chord connecting them to the effigy would allow them to wander. Most of the time, they would just sit together and go over the battle they had just fought. They would compare strategies and tactics on how best they could work together the next time they were summoned. Because, while they could just as likely be enemies next time, the reward of power gained whenever they were victorious meant that the vast majority of the summoned considered the others their allies, and would work with them to secure victory whenever they could.

It was so odd, thought Styx, that these heroes had become his friends of a sort. Back on Athien, most of them did not really know each other. This was especially true for him, who through his master’s work was actually summoned from another timeline. Despite this, all of the summoned shared a common bond, one that set them apart from all of their kind back home. None of them knew where this would lead, but all of them considered it a tremendous gift and they all enjoyed the power it bestowed. 

“I don’t know what this place is, or what just happened to me, however I will find out once we return to our homeland”, Nephenee said quietly as she sat down beside Styx. He had forgotten all about her. He turned to her: “Truth be told, I hoped it would kill you. However, now that you have survived and joined the ranks of the summoned, you will learn that I have bestowed upon you a priceless gift, she-elf.”

Nephenee found herself getting angry without really knowing why. “Don’t try to twist this, beast”, she spat out in frustration. Not being in control of things irritated her no end. “I will continue to hunt your master down. And after this treachery, I am certain you will be added to the list of wanted.”

Styx smiled wryly. He stared at her, his mechanical eye boring into her soul, making Nephenee uncomfortable. “Don’t be a fool. We are the only two summoned from our time. We should work together; we are brother and sister now”, he said, before turning back to gaze at the hooded minotaur who busied herself idly carving glowing runes into the earth. If Styx's cyber computer was correct, she was Xyvera, however if true, it was certainly a significant turn of events. What would master Zaron say...

Nephenee followed the cyborg's gaze towards the hooded minotaur. The crone adjusted her hood until she was able to match the elf's stare. Nephenee immediately lowered her gaze. She then turned to ask Styx about the crone,  however she was interrupted by the tug of her ethereal chord as the effigy that bound them all to the plan of shadow became dull, its last energy fading.

Moments later, Nephenee found herself floating, moving ever faster through the ethereal plane before she broke into the atmosphere of Athien. She could see her prone body lying where she had left it on the floor of the decrepit building. Seeing herself from this vantage point highlighted how slight and small she was. For the first time in a long time, Nephenee felt vulnerable, even afraid. She knew the last few hours would change her life forever, for good or ill, she did not know.

With a start, Nephenee took a big gasp of air as she entered her body, then sat up trying to take it all in. After a minute or so, she rose to her feet, adjusted her armour and jet pack, and climbed the stairs to the parapet so she could look towards her home city. How she loved that place. To her right, a bright glare caught her attention, the sun's rays reflected off the metal plates of the cyborg. For several minutes Nephenee watched him walk off in the distance, pondering what the cyborg had told her on the shadow plane. “Until we next meet…brother.”

-- by Andrew "Guns" Galea --

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Lich Dance - Part 1

Lich Dance - Part 1

A short story featuring Nephenee & Styx

Nephenee eased the thruster of her jet pack and landed softly on the cobble stones, moving seamlessly into a crouch position behind one of the parapets. She absentmindedly reached behind her lower back, flicking the switch to shut the jet rotors down; even when idle they emitted a low hum. All was quiet except for the call of an owl, and the wind whirling through the gaps in the stonework of the old bell tower she had landed on. The structure was several hundred cycles old, and it was over a hundred cycles since it had been used as a bell tower. Today it was dilapidated and abandoned; a sentinel watching over the rubble of the town it once serviced, a remnant of a period of Athien largely forgotten.

Nephenee glanced at her watch irritably, then lifted her gaze to see the sun descending behind the mountains in the distance. For a moment, she lost herself as she caught sight of the tall spires and delicate towers of her home city, reflecting the golden rays of the setting sun on this balmy evening. 

Her thoughts were broken by a movement off to her right, a lone figure walking solemnly towards the tower. Nephenee had been tracking this one for some time now, slowly unlocking his secrets. A complex web shrouded the man in mystery. He was a cyborg; one of the first apparently, a product of his master’s experiments long before the process had become humane. If the cyborg held any animosity towards his master, there was no evidence of it. The devotion had lasted almost five hundred cycles. It had evolved into adoration once his master, Zhim'gigrak had completed the journey to become a lich. Five of the state run Special Investigation Units, or SIU as they were known, had been assigned to investigate the lich. Nephenee was one of them, which is what had brought her to the tower today.

The fact that she had been assigned to follow the lich’s disciple, rather than the beast himself, irritated her no-end. It was a slight, to be sure, however she was determined to complete the task to the best of her ability regardless. Nephenee was certain that this tower was a key piece in the puzzle. The cyborg would regularly travel to the tower and lock himself inside for days at a time. She had entered the tower several times after his visits and searched every corner of the structure, yet uncovered nothing. It made no sense. Today, she was determined to unlock the mystery.

The cyborg felt a tingle from the v-unit implanted in the back of his head, a precursor to the optical display attached to his right eye presenting a new message. The tiniest movement in the very corner of his lips, was the only sign of emotion he showed from the message contents. The she-elf was near, as his master had predicted. Her impatience had made her rash, and today she would get far more than she bargained for. 

These days his master was known as Zhim'gigrak, although some called him Shadow-Walker and others even spoke of him as if he were death itself. However, to the cyborg, he would always be Master Zaron. The cyborg had begun serving him almost five hundred cycles ago, when Zaron was still a mere mortal. He had assisted him on his first journey to the Shadow Plane, helping him build the Shadow Orbs, and finally complete his ascent to a lich. The reward, from his master, was eternal life as a cyborg. A merging of machine and man into a form superior to both. Cyborgs were more common these days and all were gifted with an increased lifespan, however none came close to the five hundred years that he had lived. Another gift from his master. Even after all this time, the cyborg preferred to go by his mortal name, Styx. It grounded him and kept him in contact with his inner being, lest the machine take over completely.

Styx pondered his master’s plans for the elf, running the role he would play through the mortal part of his brain. It was slower and more prone to mistakes than the cybernetic portion. However, Styx had learned that at times, relying on his old human instincts could serve him well in crucial situations. Once again, Zaron was attempting something that had never been done before. He planned to tether a second person, the elf, to a single astral chord; the one intended for Styx alone. Neither of them was sure what would happen if a sixth hero answered the call of an Effigy’s summons. The assumption was that the elf would be caught in limbo, the astral plane that connects the shadow plane to Athien, or that she would simply die. Another theory was that the Effigy would explode, hurtling the summoned heroes back to their mortal bodies. The cybernetic portion of Styx’s brain interrupted with the thought that he was just as likely to die as the elf, before kicking off a thread to research how to survive in the astral plane.

Styx pushed through the decrepit door, swinging on the rusted hinges that barely kept it attached to the door jam. His optic display told him that the she-elf was on the move. “Come, bitch…”

Nephenee peered over the parapet, to see the cyborg entering the building below. Without a sound, she leapt over the edge and used her achilles-boosters to lower herself silently to the ground. She waited a few moments before carefully pushing open the door just enough to squeeze her lithe torso through the gap. Once inside, her elf vision kicked in, allowing her to see more clearly in what was almost total darkness. The outline of her prey’s heat aura was visible to her a little to the right. He was lying down. She began to edge closer, but paused. A strange wispy column of light was visible, seemingly emanating from the cyborg’s chest. It could not be. Nephenee knew stories of the summoned; mighty heroes who were transported to the plane of shadow at the behest of demi-gods. But none had been seen or heard of for hundreds of years. They had almost passed into legend. Could the cyborg be a summoned?

Nephenee turned on her heel. She would have to report this discovery to her superiors immediately. This explained so much, and unlocked some of the mystery surrounding this half-man. Her mission was complete. Two strides from the door, she felt a soft, feathery sensation on her back foot. She whirled around to find a tendril of the wispy light wrapped around her ankle. Before she had time to think, her foot was pulled out from underneath her and she landed hard on her back. She frantically tried to regain her footing, however she was powerless against the unknown force and found herself being dragged by her ankle across the floor towards the cyborg's still form. Nephenee began to lose consciousness, and a powerful feeling of deep sleep overcame her. She felt weightless. Serene. Peaceful. Like slowly sinking to the ocean floor. 

All sense of time was lost. At some point, a week, a day, a few seconds later perhaps, Nephenee felt consciousness return to her, although not entirely. She was standing before a towering edifice, a weird union of stone and organic materials. She could see a pulsing heart within the structure, and glowing runes provided a sharp contrast to the gloom all around her. Nephenee had never been here before, however she immediately knew this to be the plane of shadow. A thin, smoke-like chord connected her to the structure. She looked to her right to see a similar chord connecting a minotaur, hunched over with a large hood concealing its face. Next to the minotaur was a crazed-looking orc shaman, eyes wide and focussed straight ahead. Beyond him, a two-headed half giant bellowed a deafening war cry, and finally she saw the cyborg. He too was looking into the distance, and did not appear to notice her. Five of them connected to the stone edifice, including her, and a 6th strand hanging loose with no one attached to the end. "What was this place?", she thought, trying to calm her senses in preparation for what came next.

“Hmph”, grunted Styx. “We both survived. Interesting”, he thought, filing away the memory in his data-bank for retrieval once he had returned to his master. But for now it would have to wait. First, to battle.

-- by Andrew "Guns" Galea --

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