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Patch Notes #10

Patch Notes #10
Herein lies the tenth clarification and errata document for Judgement. From the very beginning, we socialised the fact Judgement would be a regularly "patched" game, to stay true to its MOBA origins, and to ensure the game's rules are kept in an optimal state. Our patch schedule is quarterly, with the changes becoming official on the 1st day of the start of the next quarter. Therefore the official date for this patch is the 1st of April 2020. Continue reading

Lich Dance Prelude - Part 2

Lich Dance Prelude - Part 2
Bastian woke suddenly, his chest heaving. Beads of sweat trickling steadily from his temples to his jawline. The gems embedded in his head tingled, as they were wont to do during times of stress. He was sure it was just a dream. However, the line between dreams and reality had admittedly blurred of late.

Dream or not, the risks of it being reality were too tremendous, so Bastian was determined to act, and soon. There were a lot of things happening in the world that had the potential for catastrophe, however, if Zaron succeeded in becoming the first undead to walk upon the mortal realm of Athien, well, that could end all life on the planet.  Continue reading

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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Judgement Patch Notes #2

Judgement Patch Notes #2

Herein lies the very second clarification and errata document for Judgement. From the very beginning we socialised the fact Judgement would be a regularly "patched" game, in keeping with its MOBA origins and to ensure the game's rules are kept in an optimal state. Our patch schedule is quarterly, with the changes becoming official on the 1st day of the start of the next quarter. Therefore the official date for this patch is the 1st of April 2018.

Clarifications

Fate: Try Again

Using Fate to re-roll dices one of its most common uses, however it was not clear what to do when multiple re-rolls are triggered on the one dice pool. We have named the Fate re-roll as "Try Again" to help with distinguishing it from other re-rolls.

When used for Try Again, the model spends 1 Fate point to re-roll the entire pool of dice they just rolled. Any dice roll in the game can be re-rolled using Fate (except monster attacks). However, dice can only be re-rolled once, regardless of the re-roll source.

In some circumstances dice can be re-rolled by other means, for example by magical artefacts or hero abilities. In those situations, a player can use Fate to only re-roll the remaining dice that have not been re-rolled. For example, Kogan uses his Battle Cry ability to re-roll two dice from his attack pool of 5 dice. The active player has the opportunity to use a Fate to re-roll the remaining 3 dice that were not re-rolled via Battle Cry.

Forests and Line of Sight

We felt we needed to clarify how forests work due to confusion with how they work in other games.

Forests do not block line of sight to, or from, models that are within the forest, regardless of how big the forest is.

Healing an Effigy

Clarified that the health reduction on Effigies, by opponent's capturing Souls, cannot be healed.

Heroes can use certain active abilities to heal their Effigy during a game, since it is a friendly model to their warband. However only direct damage can be healed this way, damage reduction from captured Souls cannot be healed by heroes. Similarly, heroes are unable to provide temporary health to their Effigy, by any means.

Killing Heroes

Clarified the order of things when a hero dies.

The death of heroes is an integral part of Judgement. There are two stages that trigger when a hero dies.

Stage 1 “Zero Health”: Trigger any ability, or effect, that relies on a hero reaching zero health.

Stage 2 “Death”: Trigger any ability, or effect, that relies on a hero dying.

If multiple abilities, or effects, trigger on either stage, the active player decides the order the abilities, or effects, are triggered.

Dead heroes will always re-spawn at their Effigy next turn; there are no permanent effects incurred as a result of dying (see step 5 of the Communion Phase).

New Game Definition: Damage

There was some confusion around what a hero getting damaged actually means.

A model is considered to have suffered damage when the model has its health reduced by 1 or more.

Soul Harvesting

The intention was always that a Soul must be targeted to be harvested, however the word target, up until now, had been omitted from the rule book.

Souls that are not bound to a hero are unbound. A hero can harvest a target unbound Soul by successfully rolling a Soul harvest skill check while within 2” of it.

There were instances where players were including a +1 bonus for heroes that other heroes were Soul harvesting through, such as via Xyvera's  Unholy Harvest.

The following modifiers apply to a Soul harvest skill check:

  • Add the hero’s Soul harvest ability.
  • +1 for each friendly hero within 2” of the Soul other than the hero attempting the Soul harvest, or a model the hero is attempting the Soul harvest through.
  • -1 for each enemy hero and/or monster within 2” of the Soul.

 

Order of Application

As we increase the number of heroes in the game there has been a greater need to have a clear order of application blanket rule to resolve the timing on various triggers.

There are times where the interaction of rules and abilities results in tricky situations. The following section provides rules on how to deal with those situations. If a particular situation is not covered by these rules, we suggest you roll a dice to determine the order of execution.

Effects & Conditions

In a game, models can be affected by multiple effects and conditions. When this occurs, the effects are applied in the order in which they were placed on the model chronologically.

Re-rolling Dice

When two or more rules allow the re-rolling of dice, apply the following to determine the order.

The active player is given 1st option to re-roll any dice they are able to. This could include multiple re-rolls, such as using Augury (Saiyin’s ability) and then a Fate for the remaining dice. 

The non-active player is then given the option to force the active player to re-roll any dice that have not already been re-rolled. Even if the non-active player has the ability to force the active player to re-roll their entire dice pool (such as through the Gift of the Gods artefact), only dice that have not been already re-rolled can be re-rolled at this point.

Finally, if a monster has the ability to force a re-roll, its ability will execute last.

Errata

Aiming Bonus

Add a few more restrictions to what a model can, and cannot, do when claiming the aiming bonus.

Aiming Bonus: +1 dice if the attacker does not perform an advance action (aiming bonus), for all ranged attack actions this activation. Once a model claims the aiming bonus, they are unable to perform an advance action, attack action (using a melee weapon), or Effigy recall later in this activation. However they can use symbols to push themselves via the combat manoeuvre mechanic.

Heroes - Wave 1

Bastian Oriel

Bastian's nerfs from the previous patch placed him in a decent place, we just wanted to ease him back slightly with an increase to his staff's critical damage.

Bastian Oriel, Lore Keeper

  • Clarified Time Bender to explain what happens when the model dies with conditions on it
  • Staff critical damage increased to 4

Istariel

Istariel has always occupied a decent level, however with the introduction of a few RNG based heroes we felt she needed a bit more of an edge. Her kit as a fire mage is pretty much perfect, however a little more damage for her Conflagration ability will keep her in the mind's of the demi-gods.

Ista

  • Conflagration damage increased to D3+2

Skoll Bonestorm

Skoll was arguably the player's choice for most powerful hero when wave 1 was released. This was understandable as he was able to pretty much excel at all facets of the game. Skoll was nerfed fairly heavily in the last patch, and while we felt he was still a strong choice, the fact he had been nerfed saw his use drop a fair bit. We don't want to swing back and forth with hero changes, however we did feel there were a few areas where he could be improved. The most notable is the fact, unlike all other defenders in the game, Skoll was not really able to "defend" his allies until he reached level 2 and gained access to Bulwark. We believe this was one of the main reasons other defenders were chosen instead. Besides that change we brought his Soul harvest ability in line with most other defenders.

Skoll Bonestorm

  • Soul harvest increased from 3 to 4
  • Bulwark swapped with Combo Strike, so is available at level 1
  • Bulwark can only be cast on hero models

Zaron Bogdan

Simple wording update to reflect the changes to the Leech ability.

Zaron Bogdan

  • Leech can only be triggered once per attack action.

 Heroes - Wave 2

This patch signifies the official release of the wave 2 hero rules. Wave 2 heroes are now officially part of the game, and will be treated exactly like wave 1.

We took the opportunity to errata a few of the heroes before they were locked in for 3 months, so we listed them first, along with the changes.

Allandir

With no RNG heroes making the cut from wave 1, it had been a long time since the RNG heroes had been heavily play tested. Once they were thrown in to the mix we felt that 10" range on their weapons was pretty strong, particularly in light of the fact that 3v3 is now a legitimate long term game mode.

Allandir

  • Range of Bow dropped from 10" to 9"

Skye

Skye has been an interesting addition to the defender ranks, being a AGI based defender. We just wanted to tweak his kit slightly.

Skye

  • Heroic Stand cost changed from 1F to 1A+1F
  • Heroic Stand can only be cast on hero models

Styx

Simple change to his Cyber Repair ability to reflect the global change to Leech.

Styx

  • Leech can only be triggered once per attack action

Xyvera

Removed a loop hole for her Soul Link.

Xyvera

  •  Soul Link cannot be cast on Effigies. Just hero models only.

Zaffen Ironhelm

With no RNG heroes making the cut from wave 1, it had been a long time since the RNG heroes had been heavily play tested. Once they were thrown in to the mix we felt that 10" range on their weapons was pretty strong, particularly in light of the fact that 3v3 is now a legitimate long term game mode.

Zaffen Ironhelm

  • Range of Bow dropped from 10" to 9"

Magical Artefacts

One area of the game we have always been keen on expanding is Magical Artefacts. However before we look to introduce new artefacts we wanted to make sure the initial artefact deck was balanced and all were viable options in the game. In light of that we decided to buff two rarely used items.

Blood Sucker

  • Leech increased from 1 to 2
  • Includes text about the global change to Leech only triggering once per attack action

Minotaur Essence

  • Regeneration increased from 1 to 2
  • No longer stacks with other Regeneration
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Styx Sculpt Revealed

Styx Sculpt Revealed

Styx is an enigma, partly because he has been alive for almost 1000 years, and partly due to his utter devotion to his master, Zaron Bogdan. Styx originally served as a mortician in Zaron's morgue, and it was during this time he uncovered Zaron's obsession with necromancy. Before long, Styx was assisting Zaron with his experiments on the dead, and later saved his master from certain death when an angry mob of local villagers stormed their manor seeking retribution for their loved ones. Styx's "reward" for his loyalty was to be slowly, and agonisingly, transformed into a cyborg, which was the only way he could delay his mortality, and continue to serve Zaron following his transformation into the ranks of undead. 

Styx was a rules and sculpting challenge for the design team. We have said it before that creating heroes devoid of straight up damage are normally more difficult to get right, both in terms of balance and being interesting to play. Similarly, we continually push ourselves to come up with unique characters and with Styx, being a mortician cyborg, we had a wonderful idea palette to work from.

James W Cain was commissioned to sculpt Styx with a directive to maintain clean lines to reflect his cyborg elements, however we also wanted to pay tribute to his time, earlier in life,  as a finely dressed mortician. For the scenic base we opted for a simplistic industrial theme, which once again suited his background.

Once again, a wonderful job by James, and he held true to the equally impressive illustration by Helge C. Balzer.

Styx will be available in our wave 2 Kickstarter which goes live in just under 2 weeks, and we have continued our drive towards raising the bar across our range. 

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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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