Thursday 22 October 2020

Painting a World with Monster Blood

Before I get into the post, it's time for me to once again remind you that if you've been enjoying GRIMLITE and reading about its development, you can support this blog over on the Bastionland Patreon

Onto the post. 

 The world of GRIMLITE is born out of three main sources:

  • Whatever miniatures I'm kitbashing this week - I really like these Frostgrave kits, I should put in more viability for fielding medieval-feeling units alongside my 40k kitbashes.
  • The way that actual gameplay unfolds at the table - Leaders really make or break a lot of games, feels like more of the spotlight should be on them. What makes them so special? 
  • The requirements of the game - I need a big list of Horrors. How should I categorise them?
It actually gets easier as you go. Those first few bits of setting are agonising to create, and they sit there totally unsupported, like unwanted lore stains on a nice clean game system. Then you eventually have enough scraps of a world that you can start to web them together. It starts to actually feel like something. You'll know you're on the right path when you feel like your setting is answering questions without you having to think about it at all.

GRIMLITE isn't quite there yet, but this week I reached the question highlighted in the third bullet-point above. What's the deal with these horrors? Are they just a random assortment of monsters designed to both inspire cool kitbashes and provide a place for the miniatures you already have lying  around? Well, yes, but it's also a good opportunity to let the world speak for itself.

Horrors aren't categorised into Factions like Warbands are. I mentioned before that Factions are really just a best-fit for your warband and don't necessarily represent a larger organisation. To use a 40k analogy, you can be an Inquisitor without having to belong to the Inquisition. Your ambitions are your own, but you can't really rely on support from above. 

For Horrors, they're divided into Themes, and for now there are 5 because that's how many pages I needed to fill to maintain a nice printable booklet form. Sorry for the peek behind the curtain there.

These Themes represent the world of GRIMLITE, or at least the hostile part of it. What are the forces at work that want to see you dead, and why aren't they forming Warbands of their own?

Keen followers of GRIMLITE's development will notice that some of the Horrors pictured here have also been used as Warband members. I really want to encourage this. You don't need to have a shelf full of bespoke miniatures in order to enjoy the game. Sometimes a miniature can perform double duty.

The lines between Themes are fuzzy, but that's very much the idea. Think of them more like starting points for creating Horrors and linking them together rather than clearly distinct boxes. If you find yourself wondering whether a Horror fits into one Theme or another, that probably means you've created something that embodies parts of both. Bonus points to you. 

Let's look at them and add in some brand new Horrors to fill out their ranks. I'll give each one a brand new ability that fits their Theme.

Beasts that just want to survive.

Some creatures just want to eat, protect their nests, and keep their territory free from warring humans. It's understandable, really, but your survival might also involve killing them. Even the more mundane-looking entries like spiders and wolves come with an unpleasant twist. 

This is a desperate, wild world, where you must do everything you can to survive.

Lesser Horror
Bloodhawk (Nimble 5+)
Tearing Claws (T3x1)
Flight: When this Horror moves it ignores all terrain between itself and its destination. Note that it can still only move to a destination that it can see. 

Greater Horror
Furious Behemoth (Tough 3+)
Horns and Hoofs: (T2x2)
Implacable: This unit cannot be killed as long as it is Standing.
Crush: When this unit moves into contact with an enemy it causes d6 Damage.

Beings warped only to fight.

Whatever happened to these beings, their existence is now dedicated to a war against some perceived enemy, which includes you. Maybe a Splice went wrong, maybe their mind was twisted to rage, or maybe they were deliberately made this way.  

This is a fractured, bloody world, torn apart by hatred.

Lesser Horror
Many-Horned Hound (Fierce 5+)
Horns (T3x1)
Impale: x2 Damage if this unit hits with all of its dice in a single attack. 
Scent: Treat this unit as if they can always see the nearest enemy. 

Greater Horror
Crafted Aberration (Nimble 3+)
Grasping Form (T1x3 - see below)
Fuelled by Hate: When this unit fights, replace its number of Dice with the number of Enemies it can see. e.g when it can see 3 Enemies it Fights at T3x3. 
Regenerate: After being Wounded, make one more Roll. On a pass the unit is not Wounded. 

Those wish to subjugate you.

This might sound like a unified enemy, but nothing is really unified in GRIMLITE. Any organisation attempting to stamp their control on the world is sure to face more resistance than submission, but that doesn't stop them trying. More than any other, these Horrors probably see themselves as the heroes.. 

This is a world where no authority can be fully trusted, always carrying a selfish agenda.

Lesser Horror
Red Warden (Precise 5+)
Subsonic Blaster (R2x1 - Push: If the target Saves against all Damage, push them directly away from you. If they hit something solid they take 1 Damage.)
Shield-Hound (+1 to Saves when Standing. If this unit Saves against all Damage from an attack the attacker takes 1 Damage)

Greater Horror
Eliminator-Drone (Precise 3+)
Seeker Missile (R1x4 - Can always fire at the nearest target, visible or not, and ignores Cover.)
Dismemberment Claws (T2x2 - Targets that roll at least one 1 on their Saves are instantly killed)
Regenerate: After being Wounded, make one more Roll. On a pass the unit is not Wounded. 

Things left without a purpose. 

The Company's legacy lives on in creatures and machines that no longer have structure to their existence. Even beyond the Company, powers constantly wax and wane, and those that were created for one thing have nothing else to cling to. Guardians protect, warriors fight, and hunters seek new prey.

This is a ruined world that cannot escape its past, and those that abandoned us. 

Lesser Horror
Sworn Vivifier (5+)
Injector (T1x3)
Deathless: At the start of this Unit's turn, any other units of the same type that can see it automatically Recover. 

Greater Horror
Bound Hulk (Fierce 3+)
Crushing Fists (T2x3)
Rage without Purpose: At the end of its Turn, if this unit cannot see an Enemy, Scream, causing 1 Damage to the d6 nearest enemies, visible or not.
Regenerate: After being Wounded, make one more Roll. On a pass the unit is not Wounded. 

Echoes that should be silent.

The natural cycle of things was broken the minute that the Company started toying with our world in ways thought to be impossible. Few would disagree that our world is dying, but some forces seek to outright hurry that process along. 

There's a lot of overlap with Ruin here, but Horrors of Ruin are focused on acting out their past purpose. Horrors of Death either cling to a more hollow existence or find purpose in death itself.

This is a dying world, where the Company meddled with powers even greater than themselves.

Lesser Horror
Pale Knight (Tough 5+)
Glaive (T3x1)
Shadowfeed: If a Unit has died this Round, this unit acts at QL3+.

Greater Horror
Grave Heap (Tough 3+)
Grasping Hands (T6x1)
Spawn: At the end of its Turn, place d6-3 Restless Dead touching this unit.
Endless: +1 to Saves when Downed.


  1. They just announced Spacegrave rules, so we'll probably be seeing scifi kits in a year or two.

  2. I am loving following GRIMLITE development! A question about this one:

    Red Warden (Precise 5+)
    Subsonic Blaster (R2x1 - Push: If the target Saves against all Damage, push them directly away from you. If they hit something solid they take 1 Damage.)

    With the push, wouldn't the target either hit a wall or fall off something? Maybe I am thinking of movement the wrong way.

    1. The intent is it's only if they hit a wall or something similarly solid. I to a like of crates or a bush won't do damage. I'll fix the wording.

    2. Ooooh I got it that makes total sense. I think in my head I was just picturing the solo game you ran with the towers.