The coastline of the fertile lands in the south is an affluent area, home to many coastal trading cities and fishing hamlets. But while the seas bring riches from trade and from the bounty beneath the waves, it is also home to a danger that grows greater every year.
For from across the stormy and bleak seas of the north come the harbingers of doom. The Norscans, some of the fiercest and most violent warriors to blight the earth. A race of ferocious raiders who must kill, loot and plunder in order to survive the winters of their frozen homelands.
Striking from their hideously decorated longships, the brutal men of the north raid the coastal towns and cities. Their tactics are as simple as they are effective. With their fast ships, the men of the north overwhelm the defenses of a single city and disappear with loot and slaves before an effective defensive force can be gathered.
“From the harsh snowlands they come, blue of eye and blonde of hair and tattooed upon arms, face and chest. Their eyes are mad with bloodlust, for blood they thirst, driven forth on the whims of the gods they seek to appease. Clad in few garments and wielding clumsy and brutal axes and maces, they rage against the civilized lands of the south, burning, pillaging and looting all before them as a sacrifice to their uncaring masters beyond the gates of hell in the northern wastes.”
The heart of the Norscan battleline are the bloodsworn. The bloodsworn are experienced huskarls that have sworn a blood oath to their Jarl and to one or more of the Norscan Gods, binding them in service to their Jarl until they die or they can best him in personal combat. Amongst the bloodsworn are many rising champions of the Norscan Gods. The men of the bloodsworn know that the Gods watch them, and thus strive to always be the most vicious, brave and brutal amongst their shieldbreathren.
Spurred on by a painting contest, I managed to get my two hordes of bloodsworn finished. For army basing, I ended up with “looting / raiding their way through a civilized city.” The first of the hordes, lead by a Jarl on a juggernaught, has already crushed any opposition and is busying themselves carrying loot, capturing slaves and generally showing off.
You can see some civilians pleading with their captors on the left side of the horde. Will they be brought back to Norsca or sacrificed to the dark Gods? Another bloodsworn is carrying a chest of valuables on his shoulder. On the right side, a mighty champion strides forward to claim more skulls for his Jarl. By his side are the Valkyres, dangerous female bloodsworn. Click images for larger view:
The other horde is pushing their way into the city and have apparently meet some resistance, forming up into a “fylking” (shieldwall). Click images for larger view:
I´ve played one game with these hordes as the core of my Varangur army. It is a very different feel from my Kislev army. The hordes can certainly take a punch and stick around with defense 5+ and 22/24 nerve, but they are also slow and will get stuck not far from where they are deployed, so getting them deployed correctly will be critical to getting them to work properly.