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Thank you to Calixtus for the background and the basic Codex Material – Edited by Mossmac
Origins of the Hrud
The founding of Clan Skyre can be traced back to the origins of the Hruds when they first achieved sentience as a race.
It all started when a Prospector Fleet of the Demiurg discovered the presence of an unknown ore within the underground cavern of a moon of a planet at the center of the galaxy.
A Bastion Class Commerce Vessel was sent down to investigate the occurrence of the ore. The Bastion Class Vessel drilled a hole through the rocky surface of the moon, just big enough for it to descend into its confines. Starlight descended through the hole, unto the center of that immensely large cavern. The Bastion Class Vessel discovered huge deposits of Warpstone beneath the ground of the cavern.
The Demiurg had encountered Warpstone prior, through their endless travels through space, as such, having found a purpose for them as fuel for their gigantic Commerce Vessels, among other things. As such, the finding of these huge deposits of Warpstone was an unmissable prospect to be seized upon by the Prospector Fleet.
Mining crafts were sent down in due course to gather the Warpstone for the purposes of the Brotherhood. The mining crafts drilled through the surface of the underground cavern where the deposits were largest and most abundant. In this way, the Warpstone was exposed to the surface. As they were raw Warpstone in its most unrefined and purest form, these deposits were highly radioactive, and would have produced mutations among the Demiurg were they not within the protective confines of their craft.
The Demiurg were not the only lifeforms within the underground cavern however; the Hrud in their presentient forms were highly similar to the rodents of Holy Terra. They populate the cavern in their millions, living off all manner of things, including their own carcasses.
The reason their population continued to grow was due to the fact their females produced hundreds of pups in a single litter.
These presentient Hruds lived pretty much like beasts, and were largely ignorant of the huge amounts of Warpstone that lay beneath their paws. However, the actions of the Demiurg in extracting the Warpstone left them exposed on the surface of the cavern.
The rodent-like lifeforms in their constant roaming came into contact with the Warpstone on the surface, drawn by the bright light emitted in its raw form. Some even brought back pieces of Warpstone to their dens.
Thus, in this way, the raw mutagenic essence within the Warpstone came to be exposed to the population of the rodent-like lifeforms at large. All sort of physical deformities erupted within the lifeforms; however, some were fortunate enough to experience the mutations at the genetic level that would give rise to sentience within them. Slowly, the lifeforms grew to become aware of their immediate surroundings, and the conditions of their existence. Some of the more progressive lifeforms soon stood upright on their hindlimbs, imitating the evolution of bipedal lifeforms. By reaching a bipedal form, these lifeforms were that much closer to achieving full-blown sentience.
Soon, they became aware of the presence of other lifeforms besides their kind. They marvelled at the shiny surfaces of the mining crafts, at the deliberate, mechanical movements of the craft as they excavated the Warpstone deposits. What caught their attention most however, was that big hole right at the center of the roof of the cavern, from which the only source of light poured in. Through that single patch of sky, they watched entranced, by the multitude of stars that dot the spaces between and the infinite worlds that lay beyond. To them, it presented the existence of a larger world, beyond the confines of the cavern they were born in.
The arising of sentience within the population of the lifeforms reached a critical mass. Most were now capable of bipedal movement, standing upright on their hindlimbs. The ends of their forelimbs developed into nimble digits, capable of much dexterity, able to wield simple tools with what can be called, "hands".
The Demiurg were largely ignorant of these developments in the native lifeforms of the cavern, concerned only with the speedy gathering of the Warpstone ore deposits. Only one thought resonated within the entire chittering mass of rodent-like lifeforms, and that was that their only recourse and escape from the dungeon that was the cavern was through force of arms, overwhelming the Demiurg occupants of those shiny vessels and seizing them from their own. So it came to be that the lifeforms, through force of numbers, wielding all manner of crude weaponry in the form of sticks and stones they could scavenged, rose against the Demiurg, and overthrew them, killing them in an event that was to be known as the Great Uprising.
Although caught off-guard and vastly outnumbered, the Demiurg provided a stout resistance. When every single last one of them had succumbed, the lifeforms became divided; where once they shared unity of goal, now having achieved that goal, all that was left was the spoils of war, and the lifeforms selfishly took whatever they could for their own. The lifeforms banded together into tribes that was based on familial ties, sharing familial origins within the same brood. These tribes degenerated into warfare and conflict, in a bid to seize the most of the spoils. In an era of warfare, where only the strongest are recognised, the leaders of the individual tribes were more often than not Blackfurs, that referred to themselves almost exclusively as Warlords. This gave birth to a new era, the Age of Warlords, where the rules of war were established by the actions of the most successful Warlords. Soon however the conditions among the tribes calmed down to some degree, and the grounds within the cavern was divided into territories demarcated through some landmark or another, for instance, the presence of a Warpstone mine deposit.
Through this development, an idea occurred within the Warlord of one tribe, which happened to be one of the more successful tribes during the Age of Warlords, by the name of Skyre. He noticed the Demiurg had expressedly arrived within this cavern to exploit its vast amounts of Warpstone. He deduced that the Warpstones by their nature, possessed incalculable power, which he vowed to tap into.
While the rest of the tribes were engaged in petty territorial disputes, he seized the moment by gathering the cleverest, most talented of his Chieftains, charging them with manipulating the essence of the Warpstones, through whatever experimental means, and develop weapons of war based on the Warpstones, from which the Tribe could then rise to prominence and pacify the rest of their kind with their superior firepower.
These Chieftains came to be known as Warplords, after the art of Warp-engineering. Under the astute leadership of Skyre, the Tribe became the most organised and efficient among the chittering mass that characterised the "lesser" tribes.
Through determined invasions, Warlord Skyre managed to secure and expand the existing Warpstone mines under their possession. The Warplords were thus free to experiment at will, using up their Warpstone stores with abandon, as they sought a means to tap into the power of the Warpstones.
The Warplords made much progress in their search when certain individuals decided to use the technology present within the mining crafts to "empower" their research. Through their experimentation, they came to establish the Warpstones into a variety of forms: Warpstone in its pure solidified state; Warplasma when the Warpstone is superheated into a molten, liquid state; Warpwind when the Warpstone is decomposed leaving only its core essence and the fumes produced as a result; and Warpfire, when the volatile fumes of Warpwind is ignited through some external source.
All of these various forms were harnessed into weapons of war, fueled partially by the technology of the Demiurg that was put to good use by the Warplords.
The main infantry of the Warlord Skyre's forces was comprised of units of Warplock Riflemen, supported by devastating Warpflame Throwers and the noxious Warpwind Grenadiers. Units of Warpstone Shooters, troops that shot raw Warpstone directly into the blood stream of their targets, acted in the role of snipers, taking out the leaders of the various tribes that challenged the advances of the Warlord Skyre's forces.
The lesser tribes had nothing to counter the Warp-based technology of Warlord Skyre's forces, rather they did not have any idea of handling the technology of the Demiurg crafts within their possession.
As such, slowly but surely, each tribe succumbed to the advances of the Warlord's forces, until every single tribe was forced to acknowledge Skyre and his Tribe as the foremost Tribe among their kind, during an event that was known as the first Great War.
There was one tribe however, that provided some form of resistance against the might of Warlord Skyre's forces. The Warlords of these particular tribe had gained a keen interest in the workings of Demiurg technology, and fastidiously studied the mining craft and the workings of the objects within.
So it came to be that when the Warlord Skyre's forces advanced within the domain of that tribe, the warriors of the tribe were armed with the firearms they could scavenged from within the mining crafts, a whole assortment of gear from Lasrifles to Photon Blasters. Thus, the tribe provided the fiercest resistance the Warlord Skyre had faced so far and for the remainder of the Great War, but alas!, the firearms found within the mining craft were insufficient to equip all the warriors of the tribe, and they had to surrender soon enough or be brutally slaughtered by the Warlord's forces.
During their great moments of defiance against the superior firepower of the Warlord's forces, the tribe drew the backings of many lesser tribes, seeing them as the only hope of defeating the Warlord and his forces. The tribe thus grew to become the largest of the tribes, essentially a conglomeration of hundreds of lesser tribes. This tribe came to be known as Tribe Rictus, or the Tribe of the Heavens, so called for their greatest dream is to leave the cavern that is their birthplace in a grand starship and sail the places between the stars, a dream that happened to be the driving motivation that powered their interest in the technology of the Demiurg.
Skyre changed several things immediately upon gaining complete dominance among their tribes. First of all, to distinguish his Tribe from the lesser, weaker tribes, he declared that his Tribe from now onwards be known as Clan Skyre, after his chosen name, and from that time onwards all Tribes that have reached a similar level of prominence uses the title of Clan in place of Tribe.
The Warlords of Clan Skyre acknowledged Warlord Skyre as having singlehandedly engineered the rise to prominence of their Tribe, and thus deferred to him as the supreme leader of the Clan, with the title of Overlord. He declared the domains of the immense cavern that was their birthplace and all the tribes within, the Underempire of Clan Skyre.
In order to instill purpose within their kind, a purpose not felt since the Great Uprising, and to prevent them from succumbing to infighting once again, he organised the first Great Council, a gathering of the representatives of each major Tribe, which totalled 12, inclusive of Clan Skyre. He declared that there will be a thirteenth seat within this council, occupied by the Great Horned One, the archetype that represents the foremost of their kind.
This invisible seat was the means in which the Great Council would maintain an odd number of seats, to destabilise any possible leagues or coercions between the Tribe representatives, such that all came to be viewed as equal.
The formation of the first Great Council, and the many after it, came henceforth to be known as the Council of Thirteen. During the Great Council, Overlord Skyre declared that the true intention of the formation of the Council was to revive the purpose their kind once shared as one, which was to escape their existence trapped within the confines of this great cavern, through the use of the mining crafts of the Demiurg. He revealed that his chosen name, Skyre, was directly inspired from the patch of sky observable from the hole at the center of the roof of the cavern, from which soft starlight descended into a spot at the center of the cavern. His entire name was dedicated to the promise held within that patch of sky, of a greater world beyond the suffocating confines of the cavern they seemed condemned forever to dwell in.
To this end, he revealed that his own probings into the workings of the mining crafts had proven fruitless, and as to how to control them for their own ends, that remained a mystery to be discovered. He progressed from there, declaring that if the best of his Warplords could not discover the means of controlling the mining crafts, there was little the other tribes could possibly progress in that department. (Tribe Rictus occupied one of the seats in the Great Council, having been acknowledged as the second militarily strongest tribe by the other tribes, as proven during the events of the Great War. They too, despite their efforts into studying the mechanics of the mining craft, could not deduce how they worked.)
He then suggested the building of the Tower of Heaven, a vast tower built right at the center of the cavern, made from the rocks and gravel that formed the composition of the ground beneath them, that will reach the hole at the roof of the cavern at its height. None among the Council challenged him, and all deferred to the wisdom of his words. As such, effort was made towards this end, with each tribe contributing the manpower needed to lay the foundations of the Tower of Heaven.
Within the timespan of a couple of starlight cycles, the foundations of the Tower of Heaven had been laid and progress had reach such a point that half of its proposed height had been reached.
It was some time during this point, that another Tribe rose to the prominence of a Clan, rather than through strength of arms as Clan Skyre had done but through its grip of influence over the lesser tribes.
This Tribe was to be known as Clan Skaven. Skaven was used with various connotations to mean "select" or "chosen" within their tongue. Such was this view that the Skavens had of themselves that they sought to undermine the power and influence that Clan Skyre enjoyed, and replaced them as the foremost Clan amongst their kind.
That was their ambition, and the social order of Clan Skaven proved to possess the most Machiavellian tendencies among the tribes. Theirs was an order based on ruthlessness and will to power, fueled in large part by the actions of the Greyfurs within the Clan. I
t appears the Blackfurs of Clan Skaven were especially large and aggressive, so much so that the Greyfurs within the Clan had to resort to much backstabbing and manipulation to reach positions of equal standing among their darker kindred.
Likewise, through much deceit and cunning had they spread their influence and established control over a large number of tribes.
The Chieftains of Clan Skaven were known as Seers, for a large part of their rise to power was through the deception of their reputed ability to manipulate the Warpstone through mystic, secret means they had declared they possessed.
In truth, there was much doubt regarding their mystic abilities, but as of yet, they had managed to convince a large part of the tribes that they had found a way of escaping the Underempire and the labour of creating Skyre's fatuitous Tower of Heaven. But first, they declared, much preparation had to be made if their method was to succeed.
Their first act was to secure many Warpstone mines, from which their Grey Seers, what they called the elder Seers of their Clan, would congregate and work their magicks within.
All this while, the Tower of Heaven progressed ever upwards, and was nearing the pinnacle of its height, reaching the hole at the roof of the cavern, and jutting into the space beyond.
Actually, the crafty Seers of Clan Skaven had deduced the true nature of the Warpstones as the solidified substance of the Immaterium. From there, their own calculations had suggested that the Warpstones could be used to open a portal into the Immaterium, from which travel to other planets became possible.
Even now, the Grey Seers were capable of making mini-Warportals from which they could observe other realms while remaining safely detached within the Underempire, studying the nature of the Human population residing within these worlds.
It was thus decided when the Warportals were opened, that each would directly lead to the under sections of the cities of the new worlds the tribes were to inhabit.
A large part of the supposed "mysticism" of the Seers of Clan Skaven stemmed from their own innate ingenuity and cunning, a result of the utterly ruthless nature of their social order, where only the strongest and smartest reached positions of power.
Such a social order encouraged an extreme form of natural selection to take place, as a result, the Seers of Clan Skaven in their attempts at obtaining status within their Clan, were forced to develop the cunning and willpower needed to manoeuvre themselves within the social politics of the Clan.
Having reached the highest positions possible as the Grey Seers of the Clan, the Grey Seers abandon their old ways of backstabbing and manipulation, instead consolidating their positions from ambitious Seers vying to rise in status, through joint alliances with other Grey Seers.
From there, they convened amongst themselves, conducting all sorts of plans to further strengthen the influence of their Clan among the other tribes.
One of these plans was dubbed "The Great Migration", manipulating the burning desires within every single individual within the tribes to leave the confines of their birthplace, and explode out into the great unknown in one massive migration. From there, the tendrils of their influence over the other tribes would solidify, forever indebting them to Clan Skaven.
The Grey Seers' knowledge of the true nature of the Warpstones was leaked out however, and their attempts at transforming the Warpstone mines into dimensional portals inspired the Chieftains of Clan Rictus(at some point, the Tribe of the Heavens came to be awarded the status of a Clan due to its sheer size) into thinking that perhaps, the mining crafts were not navigated through physical means, but rather required a sort of psychic symbiosis with the navigation systems of the craft.
The knowledge that the arising of sentience within them was a direct result of their exposure to raw Warpstone was ingrained in them at the primal level of the psyche; indeed many of them had unconsciously carried out the process of the arrival of sentience within them as a race, when they in the innate inquisitive nature of their rodent-like species, had brought back with them small pieces of Warpstone into their dens.
As such, the Chieftains of Clan Rictus experimented with having various subjects ingests various amounts of raw Warpstone, to induce psychic powers within the subjects.
As raw Warpstone is poisonous to the bodies of living organisms, the Chieftains of Clan Rictus only succeeded after numerous dead subjects, having managed to find the right amount that would induce psychic abilities while still being under the lethal dosage of Warpstones.
These psychic navigators came to occupy a position of power within the Clan, for the Clan entirely depended on their ability to control the mining crafts.
Clan Rictus withheld the secrets within their possession from the other tribes of the Underempire, and especially from Clan Skyre, for it was their one means of achieving their dream and they would not allow it to be lost by the meddling of Clan Skyre or any of the lesser tribes.
Towards the ends of accomplishing their dream, they salvaged as many of the mining crafts that had come to be abandoned by the other tribes, having little need of it with the erection of the Tower of Heaven. Having done all they could to secure their dream, all that was left was to await patiently till a wandering starship would so happened to pass by within the vicinity of the Underempire. Little did they know, such an occurrence was about to take place...
It was at about this time that the Demiurg Bastion Class Commerce Vessel that had continued through space in prospect of other ore deposits after deploying the mining crafts, had returned, to check on the conditions of the mining crafts and to collect the harvested Warpstone ore.
It returned to find the hole it had created at the center of the roof of the cavern, blocked by a huge, tower-like construct, hindering it from descending within its depths. In order to remove the obstruction, it sent a death beam blast that tore off about a quarter of the top portion of the Tower of Heaven, and sent it toppling down into the bottom of the cavern, killing thousands of Hruds in the process.
As they descended back into the cavern in an attempt to recall the mining crafts, its sensors indicated that the cavern was teeming with activity. Millions of diminutive lifeforms scurried about the grounds of the cavern, and among them the remains of the mining crafts can be seen jutting up from the seething mass as shiny objects amidst a sea of darkness, due to their reflective surfaces.
As the mining crafts were not responding to the signals of recall sent by the bridge of the Bastion Class Commerce Vessel, the Demiurg deduced that the worst had happened, that the occupants of the mining crafts had succumbed to the as yet unknown lifeforms that populate the subterranean cavern of this moon.
Meanwhile, the intrusion of the Bastion Class Commerce Vessel and the toppling of the Tower of Heaven had led to other developments below, within the domains of the Underempire.
Clan Rictus knew the arrival of the Bastion Class Commerce Vessel presented the only chance of accomplishing their dream of obtaining a starship of their own. They boarded the mining crafts within their possessions in their tens of thousands, squirming and wriggling into every possible space as they made room for the rest of their kin.
The psychic navigators of the Clan powered up the mining crafts and directed them ever upwards, towards the great starship that covered the sky. The bridge of the Bastion Class Commerce Vessel, although stunned by the sudden arrival of the mining crafts, had decided that indeed, some Demiurg had survived and in the commotion of the moment, had failed to respond to the recall signal sent by the bridge.
The mining crafts were thus allowed to dock within the Bastion Class Commerce Vessel, and they came in their hundreds, an unexpectedly large number by the estimations of the command bridge. Unbeknownst to them, the mining crafts were infested with the rodent-like lifeforms, and they poured forth in their tens of thousands, overrunning the defenses at the docking bay of the Commerce Vessel.
Soon, Clan Rictus had gained entry into the lower levels of the Vessel and were still advancing at a progressive rate like a seemingly unstoppable tide. In what came to be known as the Great Invasion, the first war between the Demiurg and Clan Rictus was fought.
The Demiurgs referred to the rodent-like lifeforms that infested their Vessel as Hruds, which in their tongue meant vermin or pest. The word came to be used self-referentially by the population of Clan Rictus, as a definitive noun that meant the individual or one. Thus, the usage of the word Hruds spread from Clan Rictus to the rest of the tribes of the Underempire, and came to be the term of reference for them as a race.
Meanwhile, the Grey Seers, through their cunning and intellect, had succeeded in opening the first of the Warportals, by freeing the essence of Chaos solidified within each and every Warpstone.
The tribes began the Great Migration, selecting a Warportal specifically for the use of their tribe only, so that they would not be forced into territorial disputes with another tribe within the new world they arrived in.
Overlord Skyre was rendered helpless against the events of the Great Migration, being unable to stop the actions of thousands of tribes as they left en masse. He contented himself with the knowledge that although the power of Clan Skyre had been much diminished, they still remained the foremost power amongst their kind, and at the very least the dream of exodus from their birthplace on the moon of the planet at the center of the galaxy was achieved by the majority of their race.
Acknowledging that the events of the Great Migration were beyond his power to stop, the Overlord proceeded to solidify his hold over the lesser tribes that had remained, securing each and every Warpstone mine within the Underempire for the use of the Clan in producing their weapons of war.
Thus, Clan Skyre remained the foremost power within all of Hrudom, until they were ousted from their lofty seat by the actions of Clan Eshin during the Great Skirmishes.
The remains of the Tower of Heaven, at once representative of Clan Skyre at the height of their power and the greatest accomplishment achieved by their race as a whole, became the Hive Warren, an intricate network of tunnels and dens that formed the home of Clan Skyre. At the base of the Tower of Heaven were the burrow exits from which the forces of Clan Skyre could pour forth at will, to match all who would challenge the supreme authority of Clan Skyre within the domains of the Underempire.
The Power of Clan Skyre
After the Great War which resulted in the total dominion and the rise of Clan Skyre as the ruling Clan within the Underempire, the territory of Clan Skyre was vastly expanded, and so too were the Warpstone mines in their possession.
The Warpstone mines were put to use by the Warplords in manufacturing the Warpstone-based weapons of war of Clan Skyre, and mass-production of Warplock Rifles commenced. During the peace established by the union of the tribes by Clan Skyre, in the era known as the Age of the Council, trades between the various tribes were common. In an era of peace, the progressive, competitive tendencies of their race was present through exchanges of the various information and produce unique to each tribe. In this way, the technology of the race as a whole was increased, as each tribe shared what technology it possessed with the other tribes.
One such commodity was the Warplock Rifle, which Clan Skyre was able to produce in abundance, due to the simplicity of its make.
Thus, the Warplock Rifle was a common item of trade for Clan Skyre, in its various exchanges with the lesser tribes. The Warplock Rifle thus proliferated among the various tribes, and came to be the standard firearm of the race as a whole. This case of issue was received with much displeasure by Overlord Skyre, who wanted to maintain the superiority of the forces of Clan Skyre, relative to the lesser tribes.
The Fusil was thus developed to replace the Warplock Rifle as the standard firearm of the forces of Clan Skyre. The Fusil is almost entirely similar to the Warplock Rifle in all respects, with the sole exception that its ammunition is in the form of pellets instead of the Warplasma shells used by the Warplock Rifle. Up to three Warplasma shells are contained within a single pellet. When fired, the pellet scatters the Warplasma shells contained within, causing multiple explosions as the shells collide with the target.
As such, the Fusils are heavier due to the large pellets that form their ammunition, resulting in a larger bore. The mobility of the Fusiliers are much reduced as a result, being hindered by the weight of the Fusil and the complications involved in its usage.
As it is with the rest of the infantry that comprise the forces of the war-like Clan Skyre, the Fusiliers are well-trained and disciplined, unlike the troops of the lesser tribes. The infantry of Clan Skyre are well-armoured too, due to the wealth of Clan Skyre as a major power.
The Veterans of the first Great War are seasoned warriors of many battles during the advances of Warlord Skyre's forces in his ambition to unite the lesser tribes. The Veterans are considerably lesser than the regulars of Clan Skyre, so instead of having them form their own units during times of war, they are called upon instead to lead troops of infantry into battle.
As the Greyfurs are used exclusively to wield the Warpstone-based weapons of Clan Skyre, Blackfangs are not used to lead them in battle as it is with most tribes, but are instead banded together in a single unit. They are used as close combat support to the main troops of Fusiliers, overwhelming the enemy with weight of numbers rather than through feat of arms. They are led by Fangleaders, who are larger, stronger Blackfangs that are potential candidates for the Black Guard. The Blackfangs naturally defer to their leadership, but should they fall, the Blackfangs will erupt into infighting to determine a new leader.
It has been speculated that Vermin Tides are Hruds in their infant forms gathered into swarms. The question is why would the Hruds sent their young in their diminutive forms into battle when they would have a near survival rate of 0%? It has been suggested that the Hrud Queen produces too many offspring at times, going beyond the ability of the clan to provide for the increase in mouths to feed. This would be highly agreeable for indeed the Hrud Queens are capable of producing many offspring in a single given brood. Yet the rare Black-furred pups have been spotted in Vermin Tides. If the Hruds within a Vermin Tide are meant to be expendable, it would almost certainly be composed entirely of Greyfurs. The truth of the matter is that the pups that compose a Vermin Tide do not have the necessary means to achieve sentience, becoming stunted in a primitive state. The Hrud Queen is able to sense which among the brood are born without sentience.
These defects are gathered into a single swarm and thrown at the enemy to act as fodder and a distraction for the more integral parts of a Hrud force. The fact that there is the presence of Hruds that lack sentience within the broods gives relevance to the fact that the Hruds achieved sentience as a species from an external source rather that through the rigours of evolution. Although it is uncertain as to how the Hrud first came into contact with Warpstone, it is undoubtedly that the mutational effects by being in the presence of Warpstone allowed for the arising of sentience within the Hrud. The Hrud Queens knowingly repeat this process by ingesting raw Warpstone particles and allowing the Warpstone to influence the developing foetuses within Her womb. When the damaging effects of the Warpstone becomes too much for the Hrud Queen, She regurgitates the Warpstone, now in a liquefied state, which is either fed to a developing Whitefur or left to be crystallised once again into solid Warpstone. This explains the close relationship the Hruds share with Warpstone. To them it is more precious than gold for it is their lifeblood.
Warpwind Grenadiers are support troops to the Fusiliers who are the main infantry of the combat forces of Clan Skyre. The Warpwind Grenades are glass orbs containing clouds of noxious Warpwind fumes created during the decomposition process of Warpstone. When the glass orbs are broken through contact with a hard surface on the battlefield, the noxious Warpwind fumes are released into the air and lingers, until a passing wind dissipates the fumes. Due to the lingering effects of the denser-than-air Warpwind fumes, Warpwind Grenades are used to create deterrent zones to enemy units, especially enemy close combat specialists, who could potentially cause havoc within the ranks of the infantry troops of Clan Skyre.
Warpwind is created when a Warpstone is allowed to decompose through heat, and the noxious gas released as a result is the Warpwind. As such, if inhaled, the mutagenic essence of Chaos takes its toll upon the internal systems of a body. Over time, the body succumbs to the mutating effects of Chaos, and the organs of the body are attacked internally. This continues for an interminable period, as such it is called Warpwind Sickness. The cloud of Warpwind Fumes linger in the air, dissipating with the passing of the wind.
Warpflame Throwers wield Warp-based weapons that are equivalent to the Heavy Flamers of the Imperium. The Warpflames thrown from the Warpflamer is created by the igniting of the Warpwind fumes produced from the decomposing Warpstones contained within the fuel pack of the Warpflamer. Through atmospheric pressure, the Warpwind is forced to the nozzle of the Warpflamer, where it is ignited from sparks created by drawing a flint over an abrasive. The sparks upon meeting the Warpwind, results in a blast of superheated air that is funnelled out of the nozzle, resulting in a cone-shaped spread of Warpflames.
The Warpfire is not ordinary fire, as such burns from Warpfire linger as the Warpfire feeds off the flesh of the enemy. Warpflame Throwers are used in a support role to the main troops of Fusiliers, by acting as a deterrent to any foes attempting to engage the main infantry line in close combat. During the Great War, Warpflame Throwers were used to devastating effect, steadily advancing while pouring gouts of burning Warpfire on the clustered packs of the warriors of the lesser tribes. When used in conjunction with the Warplasmic acid contained within the ammunition pellets of the Fusils, the Warpflamers are able to blast through any armour, cutting right to the flesh.
Detachments of Warpstone Shooters are almost entirely comprised of Great War Veterans, due to the low casualty rate of the role they play on the battlefield. They are the elite of the elite among the forces of Clan Skyre. They are used exclusively in the role as snipers, to take out key targets within the enemy ranks. When they run out of key targets to take down, they fit Warplasma shells into their Warplock Shooters and fire them into the ranks of the enemy's infantry. To fulfill their role, they infiltrate into a position of cover far ahead of the rest of the army. They are masters of their role, often staying in cover for many nights, not moving an inch from their positions, as they look out for potential targets. As a result, they receive the best training among the various troops of Clan Skyre, and live up to their reputation as the elite of the elite.
The Warplightning Tower is a Warpstone-based construct inspired in form from the fallen Tower of Heaven. It is made of countless coils of Warpstone bundled together that are polarily-charged. The Warplightning Tower works by placing a tractor beacon that's polarity is opposite those of the Warpstone coils. The coils within the Warplightning Tower will then generate a bolt of Warplightning for which the tractor beacon acts as a basis for the Warplightning to travel. These Warplightning Tractor Beacons are deployed by the infantry troops of Clan Skyre, whenever they are engaged in close combat with the enemy. They will then use the opportunity to plant the tractor beacons into the ground, within proximity of the enemy, in the hopes that the enemy will get blasted by the Warplightning. It is especially dangerous for the planter for the Warplightning bolt blast a sizeable area, such that all in the immediate vicinity of the tractor beacons are in danger of getting vapourised. The Warplightning bolt generated by the Warpstone coils reach such tremendously high voltage that all caught in the blast are simply torn apart by the sheer force of the blast, regardless of the class of armour worn. When multiple tractor beacons are placed simultaneously, the Warplightning forks to the various tractor beacons, with slight diminishes in power depending on the number of forks generated.
Clan Skyre is ruled by a caste of Warlords that are selected from the Black Guard through a brutal display of natural selection. Overlord Skyre is the current leader of the Clan, and has been for many decades since the Clan rose to a position of dominance amongst the lesser tribes. His fellow Warlords have been tempted many times in supplanting the Overlord's position as the supreme ruler of the Clan, but so far none has succeeded. When a Warlord goes forth to battle, he rides in the company of his elite bodyguards, the Black Guard. They are the largest and most aggressive of the Blackfurs within the Clan, specially selected for these various qualities to form the Black Guard.
The Black Guards are Blackfangs that are noted especially for their prowess in combat and has been specifically selected to form the bodyguard retinue of either a Warlord or Chieftain. The Black Guard can be seen as the cream of the crop of the various forces of the Hrud, for indeed they are. Amongst the various coloured subspecies of Hrud, the Blackfurs are the fiercest and imbued with the greatest physical strength. Then, even among this strongest of subspecies, there are those born with the raw strength that set them apart from their peers. There are those too, individuals of lion-heart and iron determination, that by their personal strength have risen against the odds and established their names on the field of battle. Whatever the means, these first among equals have garnered the attention of the ruling Warlords and have been handpicked to form his elite retinue.
As the Warlord lives, these chosen warriors fight with dedication and pride, knowing that they are the elite of the elite. If any of these prideful soldiers have any designs on the seat of the Warlord, no emotion is shown, for indeed the Warlord has risen to his position not by luck or chance. Even if the Black Guard has confidence in his ability to challenge the Warlord, his intentions will not go unnoticed by his fellow Black Guards. He must contend himself with his current position, lying patiently in wait till such an opportunity presents itself to take that one step closer towards absolute power.
So it comes to be that within the midst of battle, great as he may be, the Warlord will fall, and then the Hand of Fate beckons, enticing these mightiest of warriors. The tension mounts, as the mistrust and hate built up between them all this while threaten to spill out. Ambition fill their hearts; if not now, when? The vacuum created by the fall of the One has to be filled and who better than me? At last, one amongst these proudest of warriors succumbs to his inner desires, to the beast within. He is the trigger that catalyses a whole chain of reactions, the go button they were all waiting for. Now the dam has burst, the torrent of emotion rushes forth; nothing is left but for that one prize. All pretentions are abandoned, as brethren turn against brethren in this battle for one's worth. As the dust settles, one is left standing. The Fates has chosen, and as it is and always has been, there can only be one...
Warplords are the Chieftains of Clan Skyre, specially selected by Warlord Skyre during the early years of the Age of Warlords to figure out a means of manipulating Warpstone into weapons of war, for he recognise the innate quickness of mind and intellect of Greyfurs in comparison to Blackfurs. They each carry with them a single Warpchannel Orb, from which all manner of Warp-based destruction can be wrought on the enemy. The Warpchannel Orb is a summoning portal to focus the intentions of the Warplord and allow him to establish contact with the Warp.
During the Great Migration, the process of exodus in which the Hrud Tribes left the Underempire, the original birthplace of the Hruds, in their untold thousands, the Tribe that would rise to become Clan Eshin was one such Tribe. Through the Warportals generated by the Grey Seers of Clan Skaven, the Tribe made their great exodus from their homeworld, eventually finding themselves in the sewers of Grand Cathay.
Cathay was a Medieval World of the Imperium, living in a feudalistic society centered around the mastering of the martial arts, and even more esoteric arts such as the manipulation of an etheric substance they call "Ki". Greater still was their mastery over the ways of subterfuge and stealth, such that whenever the Tribe sent their scavengers to forage for food and sustenance on the surface cities, they would fail in their attempts, coming back empty-handed, or in the worst of scenarios, ended up slain, by the ever watchful Night Sentinels maintained by the feudal lords as a necessary precaution against possible schemes of assassination by rival lords.
The social situation within the Tribe soon degraded into infighting as kin fought against kin for the scarce supplies of food. Some Blackfurs, in their desperation, resorted to cannibalism, preying upon the weaker Greyfurs. The Greyfurs were forced out of the sewers and onto the surface, to escape the predations of their stronger kin. This event was known as the Great Exile of the Greyfurs. Being faced with a dilemma of which they found no escape, having been forced out of the underground by their stronger kin and having no place among the Humans on the surface, the Greyfurs were forced to adapt in the face of circumstances, resorting to acts of stealth to outwit the ever-vigilant Night Sentinels, and to conceal their presence from the rest of the Human populace of Cathay.
Their existence was eventually made known among the Humans however, as small as they are, their huge numbers left little places where they could stay hidden for long periods at a time. Eventually, faced with having to continuously be on the roam for shelter and food, the knowledge of the Greyfurs' existence and their scavenging of the supplies of the Humans were made known at large to the populace. They were treated as pest, with large rewards granted for their bounty. Many took to the job of their extermination, forcing the Greyfurs to face the doom of their inevitable extinction.
Fate had other plans in stored for the Greyfurs however, and the fugitive Greyfurs chanced upon a Sensei, whom they revered by the name of Master Eshin. Master Eshin took pity on the plight of the Greyfurs, and the Greyfurs came to seek refuge within his domain, where they remained safe from facing total extermination, at least from the time being. Master Eshin knew he could not protect them forever within his domain. Soon the Greyfurs he has taken in would have to face the harsh reality of their existence. Towards this end, he trained them in the arts of the Night Sentinels, hoping that through mastering the ways of stealth, they would develop the necessary skills to adapt to life within the great cities of Cathay. Some of his Greyfur disciples were so adept at manipulating the energies of "Ki" that he dubbed them as Sorcerers. These Sorcerers came to hold a position of seniority among the Greyfurs. Having learnt all they could from Master Eshin, the Greyfurs turned against him in their numbers, taking his skull as a trophy. They are now the Nightbound, bound to dwell eternally within the Night, in secrecy and stealth, where they see themselves as being condemned to live in, in order to survive. So are they also eternally bound to their duty of laying the foundations of Clan Eshin, and they shall leave no trace behind of their work, as they ruthlessly pursued whatever was necessary in their path of ascension.
The first step the leaders of the Nightbound decided upon was the reclamation of the sewer network that was their former homes before the Great Exile. Towards this end, they lived an existence of stealth and concealment, ever-vigilant of the bounty hunters and Night Sentinels, as they made necessary the preparations of their plans in reclaiming their former homes. When all was made ready, the Nightbound descended back into the depths of the sewers, in the knowledge that they could not hope to overcome the Blackfurs in a direct confrontation. Instead, they employed the best of their assassins, having honed their skills through their constant struggle for survival on the surface, to silence each and every one of the leaders that comprise the social hierarchy of the Blackfurs. They quickly traced down the leaders of the Blackfurs, and taking them on the surprise, cut off their heads, which they retrieved and placed before the Ruling Council of the Nightbound. Having undermined the command structure of the Blackfurs, the Blackfurs collapsed into infighting, turning against each other in a bid for dominance. The opportunistic Nightbound seized the moment, exploiting the confusion of the Blackfurs in their infighting, and by engaging in a war of skirmishes to minimalise their casualties, the Nightbound wrested dominion of the sewers from the Blackfurs. This was not the end of the agenda of the Nightbound, for they hunted the remaining Blackfurs in a merciless campaign, down to the last Hrud. These ruthless and vengeful traits came to characterise the Nightbound's outlook towards life.
Having regained their lost homes, the Nightbound were thus in a position of relative safety to contemplate the movements of the Tribe on the whole, as they plot their way towards their ultimate goal of becoming the strongest Clan in all of Hrudom. Their first act as Tribe Nightbound was to restart the Warportals that brought them to the world of Cathay in the first place, through the mystic means of the Sorcerers to manipulate the essence of Warpstone within the Warportals. Upon reentering the Underempire, Tribe Nightbound went about on a campaign of stealth that very much mimicked the circumstances of their existence during their struggles on the surface of Cathay, living a life of concealment from the eyes of their kindred Tribes. Their second act was to locate the Warpstone mines scattered over the domains of the Underempire. They would then seek to reclaim these mines from the control of Clan Skyre, then the most powerful Clan in all of Hrudom.
Clan Skyre rose to prominence through their monopoly of the Warpstone mines. Through the ingenuity of their Warplords, master engineers of Warpstone technology, they manipulated the essence of the Warpstones into various weapons of war, and through the power of these weapons, Clan Skyre remained unchallenged by the other Tribes who could not hope to face Clan Skyre in a direct confrontation.
Thus, Tribe Nightbound saw Clan Skyre as the main obstacle posed to the Tribe in their quest for total dominance, and sought to undermine their power base by attacking them at their source. The first few mines were reclaimed without much hassle, as the vigilance of Clan Skyre had waned during their periods of unchallenged dominance.
Soon, however, it fell to the attention of the ruling Warlords and they proceeded to fortify the rest of the mines still in their possession. The fortified mines proved resilient to the advances of Tribe Nightbound; much like it was with the other Tribes of the Underempire, the raw firepower possessed by Clan Skyre presented an impregnable fortress even to the battle-hardened veterans of Tribe Nightbound.
The Warlords of Clan Skyre, motivated by fear and ambition in equal measure, sent out their forces to secure the lost mines forcibly taken from them by the agents of Tribe Nightbound. The troops of Clan Skyre, the mainstay of which were the Fusiliers, devastating ranged infantry, supported by the ranks of the elite Warpflame Throwers and Warpwind Grenadiers, were sent against the forces of Tribe Nightbound.
In open, direct conflict, the stealth of the Nightbound was ineffectual as the forces of Clan Skyre could easily pick them off from range. Furthermore, the style of warfare that was ingrained into the warriors of Tribe Nightbound was geared towards the terrain and circumstances of the grand cities of Cathay. As such, they were ill-suited to navigate the jagged, rough terrain that formed the landscape of the Underempire.
The Nightbound was not to be thwarted in their schemes however. To cope with the situation, the best of the agents of the Nightbound were hand-picked to form a group that were trained and geared towards warfare within the lightless domains of the Underempire. The Night Runners were thus born.
As such, two distinct classes of warriors was formalised within the social hierarchy of Tribe Nightbound, the Gutter Runners, so named from their origins within the sewers of the grand cities of Cathay, and the Night Runners, so named after the eternal nights of the Underempire.
Even then, the Night Runners were barely able to halt the advances of Clan Skyre, eventually reaching a stalemate between both forces. The Warlords of Clan Skyre, decided they were content with their present amount of Warpstone mines, and to commit too much of their attention to their war with the Nightbound might jeopardise their positions with the other Tribes that populate the Underempire. Thus, Tribe Nightbound was left to its own devices for the time being, free to formulate whatever schemes of domination within their Warren.
Clan Skyre however, was known still to engage in skirmishes within the Warpstone mines possessed by Tribe Nightbound, as a means of keeping the actions of the Tribe in check. Within these short engagements, the Night Runners saw them as opportunities to perfect their techniques.
The Ruling Council of the Nightbound however viewed otherwise, seeing the conditions of their current circumstance as a repeat of the situations during their time in Cathay, having to resort to a covert existence, forever hiding in the shadows. They swore never to allow the Tribe to suffer the humiliation of the Great Exile again, and sought a means to undo the circumstances of their situation.
The Night Runners were thus motivated to experiment with the Warpstones in their possession under the guidance of the Sorcerers of the Tribe, in order to develop Warpstone weapons capable of countering those of Clan Skyre in their war of ascension against Clan Skyre. They fashioned blades made of pure Warpstone, to suit their style of warfare of close confrontation. The Night Runners were known too to wear protective amulets made entirely of Warpstone, in their superstitious belief in the Warpstone's supernatural powers.
Most important of the tools of war developed by Tribe Nightbound during their experimentation with Warpstone was the Warptunnel Orb. The Warptunnel Orb is basically a self-contained Warportal, allowing instantaneous teleportation to any point, anywhere, as long as the bearer has the location strongly visualised in his mind. However, due to the instability caused by projecting a teleportation field too big within the dynamics of such a small orb, the Warptunnel Orb is capable of transporting only the bearer himself. As such, only the most skillful and adept of the Night Runners are called upon to bear the Warptunnel Orbs. These are the Warp Runners, and they are the elite of the elite within the forces of Tribe Nightbound.
Having found a means to break the stalemate between the two forces, the Ruling Council of Tribe Nightbound employed the Warp Runners to hunt down the ruling caste of Warlords of Clan Skyre. Through this way, Clan Skyre was brought to its knees in submission, having to acknowledge the superiority of Tribe Nightbound. Tribe Nightbound, after fulfilling their duty of raising the Tribe to its position as the absolute power in all of Hrudom, abandoned the title of Nightbound, instead, declaring themselves Clan Eshin, after their benefactor.
It was during this time that the Ruling Council started calling themselves the Council of the Night. This was not the end of the struggles of Clan Eshin in maintaining its status as the most powerful Clan in all of Hrudom however. The Warlords of the Lesser Tribes, realising Clan Eshin could easily deal them the same blow, thus removing them from their positions of authority within their respective Tribes, banded together in a single Great Kinship, and in their alliance sought to overthrow the supremacy of Clan Eshin.
In the ensuing war, even Clan Eshin could not hope to match the combined arms and numbers of all the Lesser Tribes within the Underempire. The Great Treaty was signed between Clan Eshin and the Great Kinship, which stated that the Lesser Tribes would recognise Clan Eshin's status as the most powerful Clan in all of Hrudom if the Lesser Tribes of the Underempire were free to employ the assassins of Clan Eshin in their own dealings.
Clan Eshin readily agreed to the signing of the Great Treaty, for indeed, the Clan saw it as an opportunity to maintain their hold over the Lesser Tribes. The Lesser Tribes in their own struggles for supremacy between each other, would be reliant on the assassins of Clan Eshin to regulate their war.
Thus, Clan Eshin would be able to control the outcome of these battles through determining the employment of their assassins to the Tribe of their choosing, preferably the underdog. In this manner, none of the Lesser Tribes would be able to reach such a position of power as to threaten Clan Eshin's standing, through the Council of the Night's manoeuvring and manipulation of the politics of the Lesser Tribes.
The petty struggles of the Lesser Tribes came to be viewed as the War of Assassins, for the employ of the Runner Assassins of Clan Eshin was common in these forays. Among the Lesser Tribes of the Underempire, the assassins of Clan Eshin have come to be feared as the long arm of the law, with the Council of the Night of Clan Eshin as its judges.
The Greyfurs of Clan Eshin are banded into packs during times of war and are known as Greyclaws. Unlike the Greyfurs of other Tribes which are used as ranged infantry, the Greyfurs of Clan Eshin are known as Greyclaws for they favour the use of close combat weapons. This choice of weaponry is by all means purposeful, for it is one of the means in which the Greyclaws are conditioned into becoming the Runner Assassins of the Clan, who are almost exclusively geared towards engaging the enemy in the melee.
Although not the best of warriors, their life of constant skirmish and stealth within the great cities of Cathay has left its mark, turning them into relatively skilled close quarter combatants. Hardened by the constant life of refuge and danger in Cathay, the Greyclaws are determined foes in combat, who will not relent easily. In combat, they make up for their lack of physical strength by overwhelming the enemy with sheer weight of numbers.
Clan Eshin exploits its position as the strongest Clan in all of Hrudom by pressuring Clan Skyre into engaging with them in one-sided trades. In this way, Clan Eshin are able to field Fusiliers in the form of their Greyclaws, and are the only Clan besides Clan Skyre to be able to do so. Greyclaws are also responsible for the digging and expanding of the burrow Warren that forms the home of Clan Eshin within the Underempire.
Even as Greyclaws, the Greyfurs of Clan Eshin are expected to practise the ways of stealth during times of war. Greyclaws are thus adept skirmishers, even in their numbers, easily outmanoeuvring the forces of the enemy in close engagements. Forming the bulk of the forces of Clan Eshin, the Greyclaws form the vanguard of the army, as forward scouts sent ahead of the rest of the warriors. The true intention however, is to increases the chances for the Greyclaws to face situations of certain death. In this way, natural selection takes place, and the best are left alive to be selected to join the ranks of the Gutter Runners.
Clawleaders are the Greyclaws who have the potential to become the elite Gutter Runners, having the finesse and physical strength necessary, only lacking the skills and training to become Gutter Runners. Clawleaders are the Greyclaws who have survived the many skirmishes they have been led to engage by the Ruling Council of the Clan; to weed out the weak and worthless, so that only the strongest are left to be selected to join the ranks of the Gutter Runners. In battle, the Clawleaders are left to lead packs of Greyclaws in forward positions, acting as scouts for the rest of the Clan. Clawleaders are natural leaders, leading the packs of Greyclaws from the front.
Gutter Runners were the warrior adepts of the Nightbound during their times of scavenging and survival within the grand cities of Cathay. Living a life where they constantly faced the prospect of death at any moment amidst the streets of Cathay, the Gutter Runners had to resort to the ways of stealth in order to survive. They perfected their skills under the guidance of Master Eshin, before killing him and taking his skull for their own. It is said whoever possesses the skull of Master Eshin would be possessed by him, allowing his prodigious skills to be made manifest through the bearer in combat.
The Night Runners was formed to deal with the unique terrain features that comprised the landscape of the Underempire. The Gutter Runners foremost of the warrior adepts of Clan Eshin, were ill-suited to such an environment where their skills of urban warfare could not be applied. Thus, the Night Runners were born out of this necessity, as a means of dealing with the troops of Clan Skyre in their own domain. Only the very best of the Gutter Runners are selected to join the ranks of the Night Runners.
As Night Runners, they undergo further training and conditioning, to navigate the jagged, rough terrain of the Underempire. In the period known as the Great Skirmishes between the forces of Clan Skyre and Clan Eshin, the Night Runners were instrumental in forestalling the forces of Clan Skyre, eventually leading to a stalemate. The Night Runners were also responsible for the crafting of the Warpstone-based weapons, in their pursuit to an answer to the stalemate between both opposing forces. Under the guidance of the Sorcerers of Clan Eshin, the Night Runners sought to hone their techniques of assassination through the power of the Warpstone weapons, and thus break the stalemate and ultimately deliver victory to the Tribe. As such, the Night Runners have the greatest access to the Warpstone arsenal of Clan Eshin, besides the ruling Nightlords and the elite Warp Runners.
Warp Runners are the elite of the elite among the warrior adepts of Clan Eshin. Due to their ability to tunnel through the Warp to any location upon the battlefield, they are the most capable of assassins, easily able to track down their targets and deliver death to them. The key instrument within the arsenal of the Warp Runners is the Warptunnel Orb. This device is a miniature Warportal. The Warp Runners learn to focus their will into the Warptunnel Orbs, projecting an image of where they want to appear at within its swirling depths. As the Warptunnel Orb is only capable of transporting one individual at a time, the Ruling Council of Clan Eshin select the best among the Night Runners to undergo further conditioning and training to become the lethal Warp Runners. The training undergone by the Warp Runners is extremely tough and requires considerable physical strain. The Warp Runners put their extremities under immense strain, till their tails become highly prehensile, able to grasp all manner of weaponry. The Warp Runners use their tails to wield secondary weapons, whose purpose might come to use amidst a conflict. In combat, the Warp Runners become a spinning tornado of whirling blades, as they able to exercise control over their tails to such an extent that they are as if simply another appendage. The Warp Runners are utterly single-minded individuals, obsessed with their purpose of assassination. They are solitary figures, who operate independent of the rest of the army.
During the times of the Great Exile, when the Greyfurs were studying the ways of stealth and subterfuge under the Venerable Master Eshin, Eshin recognised the talents in some of his disciples to manipulate the etheric substance called "Ki". He specially segregated these disciples from the rest of the Greyfurs, and taught them firsthand how to manipulate and exercise control over "Ki", by learning to sense the flow of "Ki" around them by calming the nerves of the body. He taught them as "Ki" is flowing amidst their surroundings, so too is "Ki" to be found flowing within individuals. When a warrior is in combat, the "Ki" within him is especially excited, and it is this inner source that powers his blows. So adept were the Greyfur disciples under the tutelage of Master Eshin that they were able to affect the flow of "Ki" not just within their immediate surroundings, but within each other. The other Greyfurs recognise the sorcerous talents of these "Ki" adepts and deferred to them. The Sorcerers of Clan Eshin thus came to occupy a position of seniority among the Nightbound, some of them even occupying seats within the Ruling Council.
The Sorcerers are adept warriors in their own right, easily the equal of the best of the Night Runners. During the Great Skirmishes against Clan Skyre, the Sorcerers were instrumental in these engagements, for the forces of Clan Eshin were greatly outmatched by the firepower of Clan Skyre.
Through their sorcerous manipulations of "Ki", the Sorcerers were able to make up for the deficiencies within the forces of Clan Eshin, which were mainly its lack of range troops. The Sorcerers would gather the "Ki" within their immediate surroundings and launch immense bolts of pure "Ki" energy.
These Sorcerers would gather in covens of up to five upon the battlefield and tap into the collective "Ki" generated by the manipulations of the Sorcerers. Needless to say, the devastation a coven of Sorcerers can unleash is many times more than what a single Sorcerer can manage. On top of the range support the Sorcerers provided to the forces of Clan Eshin during the Great Skirmishes, the Sorcerers also provided support when the gangs of Night Runners clashed in close combat with the forces of Clan Skyre, through their manipulation of the flow of "Ki" between the two forces.
The Sorcerers would force the flow of "Ki" to favour the side of the Night Runners, allowing the Night Runners to overrun the troops of Clan Skyre. The Great Skirmishes would eventually lead to the inevitable stalemate, as the skill of Clan Eshin matched the firepower of Clan Skyre in equal terms, none being able to overcome the other. The Sorcerers however, was recognised by the Council of the Night after the establishment of Clan Eshin, and they form a caste of seniority just below the Council of the Night. In the future War of Assassins between the Lesser Tribes, the Sorcerers was the hand by which the Council of the Night could regulate the movements and intentions of the Runner Assassins, ensuring their absolute control over the Clan on the whole.
Nightlords are veteran Warp Runners, who having left their prime, now act in a supervisory role within the social order of Clan Eshin. They are seasoned warriors of many battles, and although their senses may have dulled with age, their skills have not, and as they are actually aged Warp Runners, their combat skills are even greater than those of the Warp Runners, having experienced through many more battles. Much of the Council of the Night is comprised of Nightlords, indeed the representative of Clan Eshin in the Council of Thirteen is a Nightlord. They are the only warriors within the Clan to have the privilege of adorning the rare suits of Warpstone Armour. The only article within the arsenal of the Clan that they do not have access to is the Warptunnel Orbs. Those remain exclusively in the possession of the Warp Runners. It is a rare sight to see a Nightlord in battle, for they are so few. When they do go to war, they ride forth in the company of Night Runners. Indeed, they are known to hide themselves within the ranks of a Night Runner gang, only to emerge and surprise the enemy in a full-blown assault.
In dire times when the fate of the Clan is at stake, the Nightlords will bring out the severed head of their revered Master, and adorn it as a trophy around their necks. They then await for the soul of their dead Master to possess them. When the Greyfur disciples turned against their Master and cut off his head, it seems the Sorcerers bound his soul to his severed head. By adorning his skull around their necks, the Nightlords can attempt to allow the soul of their dead Master to descend into them. They are then totally lost in the conscious stream of their dead Master, but yet imbued with his deadly skills. Through this way their dead benefactor lives again, and they then beseech him to seek vengeance upon their enemies. All tremble in the wake of the "revived" Master Eshin, friend or foe alike. The Nightlord has to fail a Psychic Test in order to be possessed by Master Eshin. Upon failing the Test, his WS, S, T, A, W and I are boosted by 1. In addition, in close combat, he may reroll all failed to-Hit and to-Wound rolls.
Clan Eshin is a Hrud society dominated by the Greyfurs. To prevent an occasion similar to the Great Exile from happening again, all Blackfurs from young are gathered into packs, which are then sent into battle as fodder and a distraction for the more integral parts of a Clan Eshin Assassin force. These young pups in their premature forms are sent to face the rigours of war. As such, almost no Blackfurs make it into adulthood. Those that do are sent to work as slaves and servants of the Nightlords, lacking the numbers and organisation to make a bid for freedom.
Hrud Social Standings
Scavengers: Hruds are known to live in huge underground Warrens beneath Hive Cities. In such situations, the Hruds are forced to subsist on scavenging, emerging from their subterranean dens to snatch whatever food supplies or equipment they can get their hands on. So too it is with technology. Much of their progress in science has been through the acquiring and dissecting of the gadgets of other races. This is much to do with the fact that the dens they live in do not harbour the appropriate conditions for the manufacturing of firearms or any other such technological products. So it comes to be that Hruds residing within the underground of Hive Cities resort to a life of scavenging for all manner of things, from food to weaponry.
The Hruds being a race that relies on the scavenging of technology of other sentient species to make up for their lack of it, create crude implements of armour by fusing together the various elements of pieces of armour scavenged from other races. These are the Shell Armours, so called for their protuberant shapes. The Shell Armour distorts the silhouette of the bearer, as its protuberant form causes the shape of the bearer to bulge out, eliminating the effects of the Mirage Cloak to conceal the form of the bearer through visually garbling the outlines
During peacetimes, the Hrud do not have any distinctive hierarchy that separates the Greyfurs from the Blackfurs. However, in times of war, the Greyfurs recognise the Blackfurs for their superiority in combat and so rely on them to lead packs of Greyfurs into combat. In this role, the Blackfurs are known as Blackfangs. While the Greyfurs are all equipped with Warplock Rifles, the Blackfangs may instead opt to exchange their Warplock Rifles for an additional hand weapon.
The Black Guards are Blackfangs that are noted especially for their prowess in combat and has been specifically selected to form the bodyguard retinue of either a Warlord or Chieftain. The Black Guard can be seen as the cream of the crop of various forces of the Hrud, for indeed they are. Amongst the various coloured subspecies of Hrud, the Blackfurs are the fiercest and imbued with the greatest physical strength. Then, even among this strongest of subspecies, there are those born with the raw Strength that set them apart from their peers.
There are those too, individuals of lion-heart and iron determination, that by their personal strength have risen against the odds and established their names on the field of battle. Whatever the means, these first among equals have garnered the attention of the ruling Warlords and have been handpicked to form his elite retinue. As the Warlord lives, these chosen warriors fight with dedication and pride, knowing that they are the elite of the elites. If any of these prideful soldiers have any designs on the seat of the Warlord, no emotion is shown, for indeed the Warlord has risen to his position not by luck or chance.
Even if the Black Guard has confidence in his ability to challenge the Warlord, his intentions will not go unnoticed by his fellow Black Guards. He must contend himself with his current position, lying patiently in wait till such an opportunity presents itself to take that one step closer to reach the height. So it comes to be that within the midst of battle, great as he may be, the Warlord will fall, and then the Hands of Fate beckons, enticing these mightiest of warriors.
The tension mounts, as the mistrust and hate built up between them all this while threaten to spill out. Ambition fill their hearts; if not now, when? The vacuum created by the fall of the One has to be filled and who better than me? At last, one amongst these proudest of warriors succumbs to his inner desires, to the beast within. He is the trigger that catalyses a whole chain of reactions, the go button they were all waiting for. Now the dam has burst, the torrent of emotion rushes forth; nothing is left but for that one prize. All pretentions are abandoned, as brethren turn against brethren in this battle for one's worth. As the dust settles, one is left standing. The Fates has chosen, and as it is and always has been, there can only be One...
Warlords are Blackfurs who have risen in power through strength of arms. Among the offspring produced by Hruds in their mating dens, about 20% of them are Blackfurs, while the rest are Greyfurs. Within each batch of newborns, it is rare to find even a single Whitefur. Within the litter, the Blackfurs natural aggression causes them to fight amongst themselves in a bid for dominance. The weaker Greyfurs, being less aggressive, would avoid the Blackfurs, taking safety in their numbers as a deterrent from the predations of the Blackfurs.
Thus, it is imprinted into the mentality of the Greyfurs from infancy of the supremacy of the Blackfurs, and this stigma is carried on even onto maturity. Due to the instilling of the dominance of the Blackfurs onto the Greyfurs right from infancy, the societal structure within the Hrud Clans is very much determined by the nature of the Blackfurs, thus, due to their innate aggression, the dominant philosophy pervading Hrud society is based on the survival of the fittest. Even right from infancy, among the Blackfur litters, there is a struggle for dominance.
In display of strengths and outright conflicts, the chief Blackfur is determined. Undoubtedly, this Blackfur would be naturally imbued with the physical strength that marks him above his peers. This, coupled with the fact that his is born into a harsh environment in which he is tested in the extreme in order to ensure his own survival, toughens him up, preparing him for the struggles up the hierarchical order within the clan. The mindset developed from exposure to the harsh reality during his time as a pup hones his natural instincts such that the driving forces of aggression and self-preservation override all other emotions, eventually leading to outright war, as he come into conflict with other such individuals who are similarly motivated.
The Greyfurs are helplessly pulled along by the whims of these powerful individuals, as they struggle for supremacy. As such Hrud society is splintered with civil wars intermingled with periods of fragile peace when the balance of powers reaches a stalemate. These Blackfurs which come to determine the fate of Hrud society at large are called Warlords. As a Blackfur ages and survives through countless battles, the natural bulk of their body increases due to the metabolic processes incurred within their bodies through facing near-death situations. As a natural consequence of this, the pronounced incisors that are native to Blackfurs become larger and sharper.
Although Blackfurs dominate Hrud society, there are Greyfurs which rise to positions of power, some even having Warlords serving beneath them. More often than not however, the opposite is true. In a society ruled by physical strength and power, it is impossible for a Greyfur to rise up the ranks through the norm. Ultimately it is a mixture of deceit and cunning, with the right amount of tact and the careful manipulation of circumstances that a Greyfur achieves an equal footing among their Black-furred counterparts.
As such a Greyfur of such a standing would be in possession of tremendous willpower and force of personality. Other traits that characterise these remarkable individuals are highly developed senses of perception by virtue of birth. More probably though, it is an instinctive sense cultivated through a constant need to watch their back given the precarious nature of their positions. The Greyfur in all possibilities, has made countless enemies in the extent of his career, by his own unscrupulous actions of backstabbing and manipulation, not to mention ambitious younglings waiting patiently in the shadows to deliver the very same fate the upstart has so ruthlessly gifted to many before him. He is constantly on the watch and within the scheme of the survival of the fittest, he has been transformed into one of iron will and unshakable determination, fueled by ambition and self-preservation.
These notable individuals are delegated as Chieftains by the Warlords above them, leading entire sections of the army during times of war. During times of peace, the Chieftains hold judicial authority over parts of the clan. Due to the circumstances of their rise to power, these Chieftains are often highly paranoid amongst their fellow Greyfurs, and are thus accompanied at all times by two Black Guards who act as his personal bodyguards. It should be noted however that Greyfurs are by their nature passive and not inclined to the power struggles of their darker brethren. This further distinguishes the Chieftains as individuals of tremendous personal strength, forced by circumstances to resort to Machiavellian means. Their true motives are not always clear; it may be that they are entirely self-motivated for position and power in a world dominated by their darker brethren, or it may be that they are acting with altruistic intentions, as a bastion of pride and strength for the Greyfurs against the supreme authority of the Blackfurs. Whatever the case, they are highly complex individuals, both loathed and admired in equal measure.
One out of every hundred pups within a litter, a Hrud with fur of the purest white is born. Normally, it is within the instincts of the Hrud Queen to kill off any defective offspring who reveal any abnormalities in physique, a preprogramming stemming from the need to maintain the survival of the fittest. Its eyes are red, an almost certain indication that it is an albino, a mutation, an anomaly. Even more ominous, whereas Blackfurs are predominantly male, the Whitefur is without sexual organs, an outright abomination of nature.
Even amongst Greyfurs, its constitution is weak, vulnerable even to the weakest of the Greyfurs. Yet, it is left alive, even nurtured, with the utmost care and concern. This is most unusual, given as how the incessant infighting of the Blackfur pups as they turn on each other, even unto the extent of cannibalism, would be disregarded by the Hrud Queen despite being aware of it, as if silently encouraging these acts. The Hrud Queen would seclude the Whitefur from its coloured brethren, although there is little need to, for despite the frail constitution of the Whitefur and the indiscriminate aggression of the Blackfurs, the Whitefur is left untouched, almost as if revered as an object of sanctity. Or perhaps it is fear that drives them away, a creature not to be associated with and to be cast aside? It has been conjectured that the Whitefurs produce a natural pheromone that affects and allows them to control to some degree their coloured counterparts, staving them off away when it would easily succumb otherwise to their superior physical strength.
The true reason for the Whitefur's seclusion however, is not for its protection but for its nurturing. It appears the true threat to the Whitefur is not the predations of its brethren but its own fragile constitution that would almost certainly deteriorate without the proper care. The Hrud Queen places the entirety of her attention upon the Whitefur and it is only upon the maturation of the Whitefur that the Hrud Queen's breeding cycle begins anew. Should the Whitefur dies under the nurturing of the Hrud Queen, the Hrud Queen would enter into a state of depression and be unable to reproduce for many cycles.
As such indirectly, the progress of the Whitefur's growth forms the cornerstone of the survival of the Hrud species as a whole. As a further complication of matters, the Whitefur's maturity is not determined by its physical growth. Indeed, the Whitefur retains its infant form throughout its life. In its premature stages the Whitefur utters not a word and is incapable of much movement, subsisting by suckling from the Queen. At regular intervals, the Whitefur is made to ingest raw Warpstone that has been regurgitated by the Hrud Queen. The regurgitated Warpstone appear as a viscous liquid, having been digested by the stomach acids of the Hrud Queen. In this form as viscous liquid, the infant Whitefur is able to swallow it whereas it would be unable to if it was raw solid Warpstone.
These are the most perilous moments in the nurturing of the Whitefur, for ingesting raw Warpstone in any amount is lethal by itself. The Whitefur is able to consume them in certain amounts, yet indeed the Warpstone is anathema to the digestive systems of the Whitefur too. What happens is that the Whitefur is able to transmute the toxicity within the Warpstone and thus bypass its otherwise harmful effects.
The reason why Warpstone possesses such malevolent effects on organic lifeforms is because Warpstones are condensations of pure Chaos energy. By ingesting Warpstones, the tremendous mutating powers of Chaos is able to directly affect the inner workings of the body. Chaos is utterly defineless, as such the structural integrity of the molecules of the organs is undermined at the fundamental level, as they lose form due to the potency of the influencing power of Chaos. However, the Whitefur is able to transmute the mutational energy of Chaos, controlling the direction and flow of the volatile Chaos energy through sheer willpower, subverting its volatile nature entirely, the resultant product being a high energy substrate that enriches the entire being of the Whitefur.
Yet if the Whitefur were to receive too potent a dosage, it would most certainly die. This is why it is so crucial that the Hrud Queen exercises the most precise of judgements, giving what is sufficient and no more. As the Whitefur progresses towards maturity, its tolerance towards the Warpstone increases and it is better able to cope with larger dosages of Warpstone. At the penultimate point of reaching full maturity, as that last dosage of Warpstone is consumed, a sudden change overcomes the entire being of the Whitefur, as if taken by some otherworldly force. The red eyes emanate with a strange luminosity that burns with a steady gleam. To peer into them is to see two glowing disks that shine with an intense light that appear to radiate from some inner source.
The burning intensity of that light pierces right into the soul, as if all is laid bare, yet one is unable to turn away, entranced by its inexplicable intensity. Even the form of the Whitefur, once crumpled and diminutive, lacking in definition and shape, becomes slender and upright. It is then declared that the Prophet has arisen, the One to channel the powers of the Warp has been made manifest.
In truth, the Whitefur is indeed a mutation, an anomaly amongst Hrudkind, and the Hrud Queen recognises it for what it is. The closeness the Hrud shares with the Warpstone is due to the fact that the genesis of sentience within their species was a direct result of their gradual exposure to the warping influence of the Chaos within the Warpstones. Amongst the Hrud in their presentient state, white albinos were indeed rare yet not unheard of. Upon influence of the Warpstones that led to their genesis as a sentient race, white albinos that were born were more susceptible to the mutating influence of Chaos that is the source of their sentience. When they are born thus, they exist in a semi-vegetative state, unable to fully access their consciousness. As the Warpstone is fed to the Whitefurs, they are forced to undergo an excruciating process. The pain awakens them temporarily from their vegetative state, and the immediate reflexive response of self-survival causes them to instinctively transmute the Warpstone within them. This act requires tremendous willpower and self-control as the Whitefurs extend their will even over the inner workings of their bodily functions. Thus the process of nurturing of the Whitefurs can be said to be a manipulation of circumstances in order to create a situation where the Whitefur is forced to attain absolute dominion over the entire workings of its body. When the Whitefur reaches such a stage, it becomes "awakened", attaining instant recognisition of the self. To the Hrud, they interpret it as the descending of the One, possessing the vehicle that is the Prophet.
The entire act of nurturing is seen as a process to prepare the Whitefur for the Descent of the One. In actuality, the Whitefur has simply unlocked the potential within it through force of will and freed itself from its vegetative state. Whitefurs, due to their own lack of pigmentation and other associated defects of albinism, have an exceptionally low resistance to the influence of Chaos. This makes them exceptional Psykers, able to easily tap into the flow of Chaos within the Warp.
The process of the Whitefurs in attaining full mastery over their body does not stop upon the Awakening. Upon achieving consciousness, the Whitefurs focus their attention into manifesting their inner psyche, their true essence, into the physical world. Such is their psychical control over the sensitivities of their body that they can cause actual physical transformations over parts of their body, influencing their shape and figure in a similar fashion to the changes wrought when Chaos affects the physical plane.
This manifestation, more often than not, happens in stages, resulting in partial manifestations, due to the extreme difficulties involved in the manifestation process. The Whitefurs, having attained full awareness over the functions of their body, attempt to go beyond even that, for even complete self-control is a limitation in of itself, and all barriers and limits are broken when consciousness is utterly surrendered and control is utterly given over to one's inner instincts. That is the true manifestation. Unfortunately for the side of the Hrud, it is highly possible that a fully manifested Prophet would lash out even against their own kind, for It is given entirely to Its own instincts and in Its absolute state sees only Itself and no other.
It has been conjectured that there is an even greater form than the Manifest Form, of which they call the Verminlord, after the singular deity of the Hrud, the Great Horned Rat. In this Form of the True Avatar, the Verminlord maintains Its essential form yet retains Its awareness. In this state the paradox of giving over to one's instincts while maintaining one's logical processes is eliminated as the Verminlord's instincts becomes indistinguishable from Its willful intentions. It should be noted however, that contrary to the belief of the Hrud, the Whitefurs are not Prophets that are able to make manifest their God, the manifestation of the Verminlord is a reflection of the true inner psyche of that particular Whitefur, and thus It differs from each individual to the next.
It has been speculated that Vermin Tides are Hruds in their infant forms gathered into swarms. The question is why would the Hruds sent their young in their diminutive forms into battle when they would have a near survival rate of 0%. It has been suggested that Hrud Queen produces too many offspring at times, going beyond the ability of the clan to provide for the increase in mouths to feed. This would be highly agreeable for indeed the Hrud Queens are capable of producing many offspring in a single given brood. Yet the rare Black-furred pups have been spotted in Vermin Tides. If the Hruds within a Vermin Tide are meant to be expendable, it would almost certainly be composed entirely of Greyfurs. The truth of the matter is that the pups that compose a Vermin Tide do not have the necessary means to achieve sentience, retaining in a primitive state. The Hrud Queen is able to sense which among the brood are born without sentience.
These defects are gathered into a single swarm and thrown at the enemy to act as fodder and a distraction for the more integral parts of a Hrud force. The fact that there is the presence of Hruds that lack sentience within the broods gives relevance to the fact that the Hruds achieved sentience as a species from an external source rather through the rigours of evolution. Although it is uncertain as to how the Hrud first came into contact with Warpstone, it is undoubtedly that the mutational effects by being in the presence of Warpstone allowed for the arising of sentience within the Hrud. The Hrud Queens knowingly repeat this process by ingesting raw Warpstone particles and allowing the Warpstone to influence the developing foetuses within Her womb. When the damaging effects of the Warpstone becomes too much for the Hrud Queen, She regurgitates the Warpstone, now in a liquefied state, which is either fed to a developing Whitefur or left to be crystallised once again into solid Warpstone. This explains the close relationship the Hruds share with Warpstone. To them it is more precious than gold for it is their lifeblood.
Storm Runners are the elite fast attack close combat specialist of the Hrud Clans. Like their name suggest, they are meant to storm the front of the enemy, closing in at breakneck speeds before tearing the enemy in the melee. They are composed entirely of Blackfurs and only the fiercest and strongest of the Blackfangs are allowed to join. The early origins of the Storm Runners began when the strongest of the Blackfangs started banding together as a single fighting group during times of war. This was unheard of in the past because the natural disposition of Blackfurs when gathered in groups was to turn against each other. The Warlords of those times found a solution by splitting up the Blackfangs amongst units of Greyfurs, eliminating any chance of infighting. When the ruling Warlords first learnt of the gathering of this large group of Blackfangs, it was largely disregarded as the possibility that any sort of determined organisation arising from such a group, especially one as large as this, was met with derision by them.
Great as a threat such a large number of Blackfangs would pose, the huge size of the group meant that the Blackfangs would be all the more uncontrollable, and it was their faith in the latter that the Warlords so trusted in. Surprisingly, the group did not succumb and the rumours abound of their sightings at critical moments on the battlefield, striking with alarming speed then quickly withdrawing. All this revealed an alarmingly high level of discipline. What was even more puzzling was their unpredictable behaviour, withdrawing from the scene as quickly as they came, reaping none of the spoils they had so surely earned. Not surprisingly, this renegade group adapted to a fighting style that most suited their nature.
Being amongst the fiercest and strongest of the Blackfangs, they revelled in the melee, abandoning the use of weapons so that their claws and fangs can perform unhindered. This became their hallmark; indeed such was their prowess in combat that mention of their name caused ripples of fear among the Warlords. The Warlords, once rivals and enemies upon the battlefield, convened together for the first time in response to this threat. To the Warlords, the renegades represented a threat that would destabilise the natural order of Hrud society. They presented a direct challenge to the supremacy of the Warlords, for only a Warlord had the right to wage war as per the traditions. This roaming renegade warband was against the traditions established during the Age of Warlords. If the traditions were to fall, so too would the primacy of the Warlords be questioned by their subordinates, and in the worse scenario the entire Clan would be torn apart by civil strife. The Warlords decided to parley with the leader of the renegades, offering him and his band the position of Black Guard of the ruling Overlord.
From their conference, the Warlords learnt that Blackstorm, leader of the renegades, had rallied the other Blackfangs with the promise of power. Through sheer feat of arms, he quelled the inevitable bickering and infighting of the Blackfangs. Upon gaining their utmost attention he revealed to them his plans in forming a specialised fighting troop that relied on the very essence of the natural instincts of the Blackfur and manifest them in combat. The random sightings of Blackstorm and his band were simply the first few forays to test of the effectiveness of this new fighting formation. Blackstorm, however refused their offer, insisting that he be recognised with the title of Warlord. Discussions fell apart after that, the Warlords being unable to accept this young upstart as their equal. Against the combined might of the Warlords, Blackstorm and his band was forced to resort to living a guerrilla existence, relying on their superior speed to ambush and then withdraw, slowly depleting their forces through attrition. During these grueling months, Blackstorm and his warband lived an existence of constant warfare, and through trial and error, perfected their fighting style. Such was the height of their combat ability that the persistence of the Warlords wore off, and Blackstorm was eventually recognised as a Warlord by the Clan. Blackstorm's first act as Warlord was to formalise the Storm Runner elite fighting regiment, which recruited Blackfurs on the basis of speed and strength.
Clan Moulder utilises the mutagenic essence within the Warpstones to create various beasts of war by inducing horrific mutations to empower them. Clan Eshin in comparison, craft tools made of Warpstone, such as the potent Warpstone Blade that cuts through the Immaterium with ease, ignoring Invulnerable Saves. Or for instance, the Warptunnel Orb, carried by Warp Runners, the master assassins of Clan Eshin, allowing them to teleport onto any point on the battlefield, provided they pass a Psychic Test as they channel their will into the Orb. In other words Clan Eshin utilises Warpstone to develop tools and weapons that would serve their ends. Clan Skyre needless to say develop technology directly based on Warpstone. Clan Pestilens is the one exception, representing rats in their archetype as disease carriers.
Within Hrud society, the Greyfurs have always lived in an oppressive state, being dominated by the whims of their stronger and more aggressive brethren. It so happened that in one particular Tribe, certain Blackfurs of high status started dabbling in the mutagenic effects of Warpstone upon living organisms. Despite the seeming moral implications of such an act, using Warpstone to induce forced mutations in fellow lifeforms is not much of a taboo within Hrud society. After all, the direct cause of their genesis as a sentient species is entirely related to their exposure to raw Warpstone.
The dark experiments of these Blackfurs went largely unnoticed, until an increasing number of disappearances were reported among the Greyfurs. These Blackfurs of like mind banded together into a coven, naming themselves as Moulders.
These Moulders, as they called themselves, deemed the Greyfurs lesser by birth, and thus felt it entirely excusable to experiment exclusively on Greyfurs. When the Greyfurs finally learnt of the horrific, abominable acts perpetrated by these "Moulders" against their fellow Greyfurs, they were incensed. Open revolt erupted within the entire Tribe as Greyfurs banded together against their former masters.
The Greyfurs, carried with the moment of the times, saw it as the perfect opportunity to overthrow the authority of the Blackfurs and upturn the dominance so unjustly imposed over them through the hierarchical order within the tribe.
The Greyfurs, taking strength in their numbers, were worked up in an incensed fervour. Though stronger and more adapted to war, the Blackfurs were vastly outnumbered by at least 5-to-1. The Greyfurs proved to be an unstoppable tide that the Blackfurs were helpless to stem, and they lost control of the order within the tribe. In their desperation, they turned to the Moulders for help, striking a bargain that they may lawfully conduct any manner of experiments as per their whims if only they would restore the authority of the Blackfurs.
The Moulders, scheming and working for their own selfish ends, simply viewed the situation as the perfect means to test their creations. Advancing forth from deep within the subterranean dungeons of the Moulders came shambling huge creatures five times the height of even the largest of Blackfurs, and running alongside them, tiny pups that have been twisted into slavering beasts stronger than a Greyfur.
The Moulders named their creations collectively as Rats, a humiliating term in their language that roughly translates to "created slave". These Rat beasts overwhelmed the Greyfurs entirely, as each resistance met was slowly worn down by the waves after waves of mindless beasts.
The Greyfurs in their desperation, discovered that the Rats, mindless as they were, were controlled by various Packmasters, who drove them forth through fear of pain. The Greyfurs then prioritised their efforts in taking down the Packmasters, hoping with the collapse of the command structure, the Rat beasts would lose their will to fight. But ultimately it was not to be, for the Packmasters were formidable opponents on their own, and able to expertly exercised control over the Rat Packs, forming them around into a living shield.
Left with inevitable defeat, the remaining Greyfurs were subdued by the Moulders and forced to work as slaves in their laboratories within their dungeons. Once in a while, a Greyfur slave would be selected and dragged into the deepest depths of the dungeons, never to be seen again. No one knows what exactly happens within, but the agonising cries surely reflect the committing of unspeakable horrors.
Fear is instilled within the hearts of the Greyfurs, for no one wishes to suffer such a fate, and it is this fear that keeps them in line, repressing any desire for rebellion or freedom. Having settled their end of the bargain, the Master Moulders demanded that the tribe be renamed after them. Thus, from that day onwards, Clan Moulder was born.
Within the brood produced by a Hrud Queen, there are some pups that are born without sentience. These pups are gathered inside the laboratory of a Moulder where he exposes them to high amounts of raw Warpstone. The radiation from the raw Warpstone accelerates their muscle growth such that they become compact killing machines of muscle and sinew. However, the high exposure to the radiation from the Warpstone damages the processes of their minds, turning them into little more than mindless killing machines.
To exercise the greatest of control over such vicious, mindless beasts, an equally tough and brave individual is needed. As such, only the very best amongst the Blackfangs is selected to become a Packmaster. A Packmaster is armed with a Warplock Pistol and a Barbed Whip, which he uses with intricate skill. He wears Shell Armour, lest the wild abominations under him turn against him. He forgoes the Mirage Cloak however, as the Cloak conceals his entire visage and diminishes the power of his presence towards those under him. Beneath the Shell Armour, he wears the skintight Stillsuits. Even with the wealth of Clan Moulder, these Stillsuits are expensively procured from trading with Tribe Mors. Only Packmasters have the privilege of wearing these rare and expensive suits given the precarious nature of their work.
Dire Rats are full grown Greyfurs that have been exposed to the same levels of radiation as those pups in the Rat Packs. The Greyfurs become horribly mutated, most notably experiencing a tremendous increase in size and power. As it is with the Rat Packs, the mental processes of the Greyfur is severely traumatised by the experience, causing the Greyfur to regress into a primal state. The Greyfurs lose all sense of self-preservation and their natural senses are heightened to an extreme degree. Packmasters utilise their enhanced sense of smell to track down the blood scent of the enemy, allowing the Dire Rats to operate independently of the Packmasters as they hunt down their specific prey. Permanently falling down onto all four paws, the immense limb muscles of the Dire Rats allow them to make sudden bursts of movement to cross vast distances in a split second. All Hruds are capable of burrowing, seeing as how their Warrens are made out of an intricate network of tunnels. Normally, it would be unfeasible to rely on burrowing to travel across the battlefield, given the time and effort required. However, the forelimbs of the Dire Rats have underwent such an accelerated growth of muscles that they can effortlessly tear into the ground and tunnel their way to any point upon the battlefield.
Rat Ogres are created in much the same way as Dire Rats and Rat Packs. The difference however is that they are an amalgamation of various body parts from all manner of creations fused together albeit in a crude fashion. That is not the end to the growth of the Rat Ogres however; they are left in the deepest, darkest levels of the Hive Warren, with walls of raw Warpstone constantly radiating the mutating energy of Chaos, to fend for themselves.
Ultimately, left without food and faced with the prospect of death, they turn on each other in an orgy of cannibalism, all the while suffering a slow but sure transformation from the mutagenic effects of Chaos. These harsh conditions ensure only the strongest and fittest of the Rat Ogres survive and become the ultimate warriors of Clan Moulder. Some even after being retrieved from the Hell Pits as they are called, have additional appendages fused onto them through the use of pure Warpstone as a cohesive.
The process of fusing additional limbs onto the Rat Ogres dulls their reflexes and senses however. The hide of the Rat Ogres respond to the constant torture from the radiation within the Hell Pits by developing an extremely dense layer of dead skin and cellular outgrowths. All of this is not without its repercussions however, as the horrendous and traumatic experiences within the Hell Pits cause the Rat Ogres to become wild and uncontrollably aggressive. Prior to the start of the battle, the Rat Ogres have to be placed in chains of neosteel. Once released, the Rat Ogres would seek for a way to vent their anger.
As their anger mounts, the Packmasters will find it all the more harder to control them. In the worse scenario, the Rat Ogres will turn on their masters, easily tearing them limb from limb. Thus, in order to pacify the Rat Ogres into submission, the Packmasters will continually lash at them with their whips, hopefully containing them till the opportune time when they can be unleashed upon the enemy.
Within the hierarchy of Clan Moulder, Slaverats form the bottom rung of society. They consists of the Greyfurs who fought during the Great Rebellion, and were eventually squashed into submission. No longer referred to as Greyfurs, their Blackfur masters use the derogatory term, "Rat", to call them. They are a broken bunch, with their spirits crushed and their will to live diminished. In battle, the Blackfurs round up huge numbers of them into a single horde, and drive them mindlessly onwards towards the enemy.
They are equipped with the barest of weaponry, having to resort to their claws and fangs in combat. They have however been known to resort to scavenging on the battlefield, salvaging the equipment of fallen soldiers of both friend and foe alike. In combat, they are driven forward for fear of the barbed lashes of their Slavemasters who lead from the back.
Against a more powerful foe, they become sandwiched between two oppressive forces that are pressuring them in separate directions. Eventually, the entire mob succumbs to the pressure, either pressing forward relentlessly, or fleeing desperately from the foe, overrunning the Slavemasters through numerical superiority.
In order to keep the Slaverats in line and under control, Slavemasters are employed to lead packs of Slaverats on the battlefield. As the task of handling Slaverats is considerably less precarious than controlling the mutant Rat beasts of the Moulders, the selection procedure for Slavemasters is considerably less difficult compared to that of the Packmasters. Even then, the weakest of the Blackfurs is easily a match for the strongest of the Greyfurs, so there is little fear of revolt from the Slaverat packs. As a precaution though, the Slavemasters wear suits of Shell Armour, crudely forged pieces of armour made by joining the bits and pieces of scavenged armour parts. Just like the Packmasters, Slavemasters expertly wield Barbed Whips, both as a weapon and as a means of instilling control over the packs.
Due to the enslavement of the Greyfurs, the Packlords of Clan Moulder have to resort to using Blackfurs to form the core of their army. These groups of Blackfangs are led by warriors that have the potential to be selected as Packmasters, or even the feared Black Guard. These warrior leaders are known as Fangleaders. As Clan Moulder is a very wealthy Clan, it is able to equip even the lowest ranking troops with the best of equipment. Every single Blackfur within a Blackfang pack is equipped with Shell Armour, a privilege that cannot be said the same for rival Clans. The Packlords of Clan Moulder understand the limitations of the armies they can field however, noting the lack of range firepower in any form. Thus, despite being contrary to their nature, Blackfangs are known to be used as range troops in battle, creating stationary firing zones across the battlefield. However, the Packlords recognise that they are best suited to combat where their natural combat prowess show themselves. As such, within a pack of Blackfangs, it is not uncommon to find a variety of weapon types, some wielding deadly close combat weapons, while others using range weapons. A pack of Blackfangs is considerably smaller than Greyfur packs, due to their rarity within each brood. The Fangleaders are as rare to the Blackfangs as Blackfurs are rare to Greyfurs. Due to their superiority in combat, Fangleaders are almost exclusively deployed as assault specialists. Fangleaders are also essential to quell any infighting that may erupt among the Blackfangs when there is no established leadership. Blackfurs of all kinds when left among themselves, are prone to engage in fights for dominance to ensure the survival of the fittest. By installing Fangleaders into Blackfang Packs, the Blackfangs naturally recognise the strength of the Fangleader and submit to his leadership. Should the Fangleaders all fall in combat however, the Blackfangs will fight amongst themselves again to establish a new leader.
The Master Moulders are the descendants of those first Moulders whose actions sparked the Great Rebellion that ended in the enslavement of all the Greyfurs within the tribe. Within the Clan, they are viewed with a mixture of conflicting emotions, at once admired for their inventive brilliance and as the saviours of the Great Rebellion, on the other hand seen as mad scientists entirely obsessed with their work. During the aftermath of the Great Rebellion, the Warlords feared that that the popularity of the Moulders amongst the masses would force the leadership of the tribe to be wrested from them and given over to the Moulders.
However, the Moulders in their eccentricity, refused such an offer, contend simply to experiment with the mutagenic powers of Warpstone and its effects on living organisms. The Warlords were both relieved and pleased; in their eyes the creations of the Moulders presented a means for the Tribe to rise up in status and power amongst the rival Tribes. Through the power presented by their twisted creations, they would dominate the battlefield, eventually elevating the status of their tribe to that of a Clan. The Packlords as they soon chose to refer to themselves, saw the Moulder's work as a form of currency to be exploited, and were known to engage in elaborate trades, exchanging their created monstrosities with the secret technologies of other Tribes. Clan Moulder thus became amongst the wealthiest and militarily strongest of the tribes, eventually rising to become one of the four Great Clans.
When the Master Moulders go to battle, they surround themselves with the toughest of their creations. In their possessions are Warpcommand Orbs, devices of the same make as the Warpchannel Orbs used by the Warplords of Clan Skyre. The difference however, is that the Master Moulders use these Orbs as a portal to channel their influence over their subordinate creations, influencing the wavelengths of their minds, thus aligning them with the intentions of the Master Moulders. As such, they move as a single cohesive unit, needing none of the crude implements of the Packmasters to control the beast packs under them. The Master Moulders see the battlefield as an arena to put their creations to their test. They carry with them an assortment of all sorts of experimental gadgets, and being the mad scientists that they are, their only obsession is to see the successfulness of their implements in the practical field of war. One example of such a device includes the Corruptor Raygun, that has a crystal of raw Warpstone at its core that forms the fuel that powers the device. The Corruptor works by emitting rays of high radiation induced by the Warpstone, causing the flesh of its victim to erupt uncontrollably with all manner of mutations.
Within the arsenal of the Master Moulder are the Warpstone Grenades. These Grenades are composed entirely of raw Warpstone in its most volatile and unstable form. The essence of these Warpstones are contained within glass orbs that crack upon impact, allowing the Warpstone essence to spill out into the surrounding area. So potent are they that they are capable of inducing rapid mutations almost instantaneously upon targets within their immediate vicinity. Master Moulders are so named however for their ability to manipulate the forms of the beasts directly under them even within the moment of war.
The beasts under his control are either fed Warpstone Brew which greatly enhances its physical strength or are injected with Warpfire Brew that causes them to enter a state of frenzy. The trump within the arsenal of the Master Moulder is his own ability to induce mutations within his own body by imbibing a concoction of Warpstorm Potion. The liquid within is highly potent and invigorating, as the Warpfire scorch the insides of the Master Moulder. As such, the Master Moulder only resort to such moments when left with no other options.
The changes within the body of the Master Moulder occur nearly instantaneously. The muscle bulk erupts outwards uncontrollably, turning the Master Moulder into a hulking form of sinewy muscle. In this form, the Master Moulder is known as a Master Mutant. The Master Mutant is capable of spitting vile acid at targets far away. The effects of the Warpfire Potion only lasts so long; eventually the Master Mutant reverts back to his original form. The Warpfire Potion is not without its side-effects however, and leaves the Master Moulder very much akin to a drunken state. Over time, he slowly regains the full processes of his mind. Due to the considerable repercussions of imbibing Warpfire Potion, it is only used as a last resort, when the Master Moulder is faced with imminent death.
When the Master Moulder do appear on the battlefield, it is simply a situation where he attempts to gauge the effectiveness of his mad-inspired creations in the lethal conditions of the battlefield.
Packlords are the Warlords of Clan Moulder. During the times when Clan Moulder was still a minor tribe, the Warlords of that era saw the Master Moulders and their twisted creations as a tool for the ascension of their Tribe. That was how Clan Moulder was born, named after the very individuals that gave rise to the Tribe as a major power. The Warlords saw how the twisted creatures of the Master Moulders were superior even to the elite Black Guard retinue. Thus the Black Guard was disbanded and the Warlords started to use Rat beasts to replace the Black Guards as their retinue. However, to handle and restrain the bestial instincts of the Rat beasts is no easy task and many Warlords in their inexperience have fallen prey to their own creatures.
The Great Coup
This led to the Great Coup, in which the Packmasters who were trained all along by the Master Moulders to handle the Rat beasts, turned against the ruling Warlords to take their place as the true masters of Clan Moulder. Some Warlords did survive the Great Coup, through tenacious will finally mastering control over the Rat beasts. Thus it came to be that the hierarchy of Clan Moulder was to be determined by one's expertise in controlling the Rat beasts. The Rat beasts are creatures often possessing strong will and independent mind as they tend to follow their own inner instincts, so it is no easy task to tame them. The very best Packmasters are recognised for their skill and leadership by their fellow Packmasters and are elevated to the status of Packlords, individuals whose actions determine the overall movements within the Clan. The Master Moulders are an exception to the natural order of the hierarchy within Clan Moulder for they are the source of the Rat beasts and are so consumed by their own experimentations that they are very much unaware of the movement of power within the Clan structure.
Packlords come equipped with the very best of equipment the wealth of Clan Moulder is able to acquire. Their choice of weapons include the Barbed Whip, to control the Rat beasts that form their retinue, and the Weeping Blade, a steel blade dipped in a highly venomous poison. A single cut from a Weeping Blade can cause even the toughest and most strong-willed of individuals to succumb in a matter of seconds. For their protection, they wear the rare Stillsuits and the even rarer Warpstone Armour. The Warpstone Armour is intricately crafted by the greatest of the Hrud Smiths, offering protection superior to the Shell Armour. In addition, a single piece of raw Warpstone is embedded into the chest of the Armour. The Warpstone chestpiece radiates an aura that extends into the Warp, protecting the bearer from Psychic intrusions. In addition, the aura acts as an invisible barrier that is capable of stopping even physical attacks. Under the leadership of the Packlords of Clan Moulder, Clan Moulder has arisen to be the wealthiest Clan in all of Hrudom.
Tribe Mors is splintered into a series of lesser tribes, forced to live a nomadic existence within the harsh Desert World of Tallern. These tribes chart their course over the desert sands using the locations of oasis as stops. These oases are scattered throughout the desert at random points. The tribe never stops at a location for too long so as to prevent the water source from running dry. They chart their course in such a pattern as to avoid contact with fellow tribes, so as to not exceed the limits of an oasis to provide.
When they do chance upon other tribes, it is during their wanderings through the desert. A ritual exchange of information regarding the conditions of their respective tribes take place. In this way, the individual sections are made aware of the workings of the Greater Tribe on the whole.
During such exchanges, the tribes use this opportunity to replenish whatever they so happened to be lacking currently, be it food supplies or firearms. In this manner, the balance of power between the tribes is kept in check, for the tribes necessarily have to sacrifice something they have in abundance in exchange for what they are in dire need of. No tribe is thus greater than another, although this system of balance is not perfect and some tribes are indeed wealthier or more powerful than their fellow tribes.
Conflicts however, do occur between the tribes at times, despite the stance of mutual aid and non-aggression practised between the tribes. These are occasions when the land dries up and the scarcity of water drives the tribes into competition for rare pockets of precious water. All this further creates an environment of harsh existence, where only the fittest survive. The Nomads of Tribe Mors are thus tough individuals, adapting to the many dangers posed by life in the Desert World of Tallarn, one such adaptation being the evolution of highly developed senses of perception. A Nomad is conditioned to be intimately aware of his immediate surroundings, thus it is extremely difficult to take one off-guard.
The Hruds of Tribe Mors have developed many means to conserve water, even the water within their own bodies. When a Hrud dies, his body is left within the Deathstill, the water extraction system within the huge Sandtrawlers that serve as the mobile homes of the Hrud Nomads. The water within the dead body is drained and stored in the water storage tanks within the Sandtrawlers. The Nomads have derived ways to conserve water to such an extent that they have developed incredibly advanced Stillsuits, at least from the standpoint of their primitive existence. These Stillsuits are made from the leathery hides of Yuks, a native lifeform of Tallarn that subsist on the sparse vegetation scattered throughout the desert. The hides of the Yuk have high water absorbent properties and have even greater water retention capabilities. The Yuks as such do not imbibe water to quench their need for it like other lifeforms but immerse their entire bodies within an oasis. In this way they can travel many miles across the desert in search of the sparse vegetation that forms their diet, never needing to drink by subsisting on the water stored in the sacs beneath their hides. The Stillsuits work by absorbing the bodily waste products naturally generated by the actions of the body. A filtration mechanism within the Stillsuits extract the water, while leaving the waste byproducts to be excreted back into the surroundings. The extracted water is then reabsorbed back into the body of the Hrud. The entire water recycling system is powered by pumps built into the heels of the suit, thus the motions of the Hrud both causes the natural excretion of waste products and the powering of the processes of the Stillsuit.
During the day, the Sandtrawlers of the Hrud seek out areas composed of soft soil. Great burrowing drills on the underside of the Sandtrawlers would dig deep into the ground, forming huge pits in which the Hruds would seek refuge from the scorching heat. The Hrud would then proceed to extend the depths of the pit horizontally through burrowing, creating a network of tunnels. These network of tunnels would have a main tunnel from which branch out the various sub-tunnels that lead to various dens.
Moving down the layers of the Warren are the mating dens. Any Hruds in heat would proceed to mate within, and the young litters produced are gathered in the nursing dens at the lowest levels of the Warren where they would be furthest away from the dangers present on the surface.
Having burrowed out the complex network of tunnels that comprise the interior of the Warren, the Hruds would then proceed to burrow sub-tunnels from the main tunnel route that exit onto the surface. These tunnel exits provide several routes of escape should an external force attempt to break into the Warren. The burrowing of the Warren is done by the Greyfurs of the tribe, while the Blackfurs act as sentinels guarding the Sandtrawler from threats.
The Hrud Nomads reside within the Warren temporarily, until such a time that the water supply within the storage tanks of the Sandtrawler runs dry. When night falls, the tribe would then proceed on their nomadic wanderings, heading towards the nearest oasis where they can replenish their water supply.
The Hruds occasionally encounter the Tallarn Bedouins in their travels, Human nomads who live an existence of constant travel much like the Hruds. The Hrud tribes usual disposition is to avoid contact as much as possible with the Humans they coexist with. However, Hruds and Humans have been known to enter into territorial disputes over areas rich in resources.
The Hruds of Tribe Mors have proven to be a resilient and resourceful foe, such that, out of respect of their adversaries, the Tallarn Bedouins have started to use Hrud terms in their everyday speech. The Hruds have likewise borrowed from the language of Man, calling themselves after them. The Fedayeen of Tribe Mors for instance, is a directly derived from the tongue of the Tallarn Bedouins, and roughly translated, means "one who is ready to sacrifice his life".
In their initial forays with the Humans, the Hrud tribes were at a disadvantage due to their relative primitivity, lacking in firearms compared to the Tallarn Bedouins. The Hruds, with their cunning minds, saw the solution to the problem by scavenging from dead Tallarn Bedouins. In the aftermath of a battle, the Hruds would return to the scene of the battlefield to salvage whatever firearms they can from the bodies of fallen Bedouins.
During times of peace, the Hrud would engage in a technological exchange with the Bedouin caravans they would meet, trading knowledge of the manufacturing of Stillsuits for knowledge of the manufacturing of firearms. Through these exchanges, the Hruds learnt to built forges for the manufacturing of weapons within their Sandtrawlers. The salvaged firearms from the fallen bodies of Bedouin Warriors were modified within these forges. These modified firearms, called Jezzails by the Hruds, are highly customisable, capable of having attached double barrels, allowing the firing of two rounds in a single shot. The Jezzails formed the standard firearms of the Greyfurs of Tribe Mors, known as the Nomad Warriors of the Hrud by the Bedouins. The Blackfurs of Tribe Mors, calling themselves Dune Warriors, use a sawn-off version of the Jezzail. Its reduced size allows it to be used as an additional close combat weapon in hand-to-hand engagements, but the range of the firearm is compromised due to its shortened barrel. The Sawn-off Jezzail may be used both as a pistol as well as a rapid fire weapon due to its highly customisable design.
Within the forges of the Sandtrawlers, the Weaponsmiths of Tribe Mors developed the Hrud Rifle, an entirely original creation specifically designed to suit the nomadic style of warfare of the tribes. Its components are derived from the parts of the various types of firearms the Hruds have come across through their scavenging. It is a high-powered, single-shot slug rifle, with a long barrel that gives it incredible range. The most innovative design of the Hrud Rifle is the recoilless firing mechanism, allowing the Hrud Rifle to be fired even on the move. The Hrud Rifle is upgradeable with a laser-sighted sniper scope that allows it to hit targets at critical areas with pinpoint accuracy. The Hrud Rifle is also designed to be compatible with various types of ammunition. Indeed, it has been observed of Hrud riflemen of Tribe Mors, firing pulse shots with their rifles after an encounter with Tau Empire forces. As of yet, the Hruds have refused the invitations of the Water Caste ambassadors to join the Tau Empire, for the Hruds are a secretive race that pride themselves on their self-reliance.
Hrud Rifles are used exclusively by the Sharpshooters of Tribe Mors. It can be said that Hrud Rifles were created to fill a need for mobile, long-ranged elite fighting troops in battle, especially against the more advanced races.
This motive was decided by the tribal leaders when they convened together during the Great Gathering, after the initial forays between Tribe Mors and the advanced civilisations of the Tau Empire and the Imperium of Man. Their superior firepower, and the lack of armour of the Hrud Nomads, resulted in an unacceptably high casualty rate among the Hruds. The course of action decided upon then, during the Great Gathering, was the formation of an elite fighting unit that had the range to engage the enemy at a distance where they would be safe from return fire, and the mobility to move across the battlefields should their positions be compromised, while maintaining a constant fusillade. Thus, the Sharpshooters of Tribe Mors was born.
Sharpshooters are selected from Greyfurs who have shown exceptional bravery in battle. The selection criteria is extremely strict for the Sharpshooters are forced to operate independently from the rest of the tribe. They are as such a highly disciplined force, that, due to the conditioning of their role upon the battlefield, have developed acute senses as a direct result of their honed instincts developed from learning to survive while operating independently, on their own judgement.
Sharpshooters are often in the most forward positions upon the battlefield, so that they are better able to target key units whose demise could possibly determine the fate of the battle. They would advance cautiously up the field of battle, moving from cover to cover in the knowledge of the vulnerability of their armour.
When stationed behind rocky outcroppings or other assorted terrain features, the Sharpshooters are adept at blending completely with the terrain, almost being impossible to spot.
Being desert-dwellers, Sharpshooters are expert at manoeuvering over difficult terrain, easily noticing where the land is roughest and moving in a shifting fashion over smooth ground in a pattern that mimics the movements of desert snakes.
Sharpshooters have also been known to use the burrow tunnels of their Warren to move quickly from point to point.
The true distinction of the Sharpshooters however, is their immense skill with the Hrud Rifles. They develop these skills by living a tough regiment everyday of their lives, perfecting their aiming skills through sheer practise. During the day in their periods of rest, they would sleep with their rifles slung to their bodies. The end result is that the Sharpshooters are able to perform unnerving feats of accuracy with their rifles, capable of targetting areas where the armour is most vulnerable, and bypassing even the formidable defences of the Terminator Armour of the Space Marines.
Unlike the other Hrud Tribes and Clans, Tribe Mors is distinguished by the lack of racial tension between the Greyfurs and Blackfurs. The Greyfurs and Blackfurs coexist peacefully, each fulfilling a role within the tribe that they are best suited to.
This culture is a direct result of a necessity derived from attempting to survive within the harsh desert environment of the world of Tallarn.
If the society within Tribe Mors was atypical of the disorganised mass that characterises the other Tribes, with a great social divide between the Greyfurs and Blackfurs, Tribe Mors would easily succumb to the harsh forces of their environment.
The Greyfurs, lacking the physical strength of their Black brethren, form the work force of the tribe, burrowing tunnels to create the Warrens, setting up the pumps to drain the water from oasis pools into the storage tanks within the Sandtrawlers, among other things.
When the tribe goes to war, the Greyfurs too take up arms in defense of their tribe, for the entire tribe lives as one and fights as one and no personnel can forgo his responsibility to the tribe. Besides, although the Blackfurs are the warriors of the tribe, it would be impractical to depend solely on them for the defense of the tribe for they lack the numbers of the Greyfurs.
The Greyfurs, forming the bulk of the tribe, are employed as range troops, where they would be safe from engaging in close combat of which they are ill suited to.
Tactically, the Greyfurs are used as stationary firing bases, as a defensive deterrent against advancing enemy forces. In their forays with the Human Bedouin Warriors of Tallarn, the most commonly encountered Hrud is the Greyfur, so the Greyfurs form the archetype of the Hrud in the minds of the Bedouin. As such the Greyfurs of the tribe have come to be known as the Nomad Warriors of the Hrud to the Bedouin. The Greyfurs have adopted this name for themselves, and the Nomad Warriors of the Hrud form the bulk of the forces of Tribe Mors.
The Spike Launchers are lightweight and highly portable, such that they can be fired on the move, much like they were as Grenade Launchers.
The ammunition fired by Spike Launchers, as the name suggest, are formed from the teeth of dead Sandworms, called Kryspikes.
Sandworms are massive creatures that reach lengths of hundreds of metres. Lining the interior of their mouths are innumerable jagged teeth that are composed of a diamond-hard substance called Krys. The Krys is then sharpened and refined into a form that can be used by the Hrud Nomads as Kryspikes.
When fired from a Spike Launcher, the Kryspike is capable of piercing the toughest of armour, save the armoured hulls of the tanks of the Imperium. In their encounters with the Terminators of the Space Marines during the Great War, the armour of the Terminators proved as resilient to the weaponry of the Hrud Nomads as the armoured hulls of the tanks. The only weapon capable of piercing Terminator Armour was the Kryspike Launchers, such that within every Nomad Warrior troop, up to five Warriors are delegated with the task of carrying these Spike Lauchers into battle, selecting the hard targets while leaving the rest of the troops to mob up the light infantry.
In the aftermath of the Great War against the Humans, the Frag and Krak Grenades raided from the Imperium were dissected and the workings of their mechanism studied by the Weaponsmiths of the Hrud. Through this, the Hrud Nomads acquired the technology to create explosives that fragment upon impact.
The Hrud Weaponsmiths, within their forges in the Sandtrawlers, started development on an explosive device that would be composed of several layers of fragment that shattered upon impact. Yet, instead of the scattering of mere shrapnel, the outer layer of the bombs would be composed of Kryspikes. Thus, the Spike Bomb was invented. On the surface, the Spike Bomb appears as a ball covered with spikes made of Krys protruding from every possible point.
Within the Spike Bomb however, the composition and structure is very similar to a Frag Grenade, with hundreds of tiny ball bearings lining the interior, with the exception that the ball bearings are substituted by Kryshards.
In other words, the Spike Bomb is a multi-layered Frag Grenade. Upon impact with an enemy unit, the Bomb shatters, showering the immediate vicinity with Kryspikes, the shrapnel of the bomb casing, and the Kryshards at the core of the Spike Bomb. The target unit is thus bombarded several times over, as the fragmentation reduces them into pieces.
Unless equipped with Power Armour or stronger, the survival rate from a Spike Bomb blast is extremely low.
In the disarray of the Imperial forces during the death raid of those brave Fedayeen death commandos, the Imperial forces were forced into retreat. In the haste of their evacuation, the Imperial forces left many of their equipment behind. These were salvaged by Tribe Mors for their own use. Predominant among the equipment left behind are caches of Plasma Guns and Mortars, which presented too heavy an object and were thus left behind during their evacuation procedures.
The Hrud Nomads disfavoured the Plasma Guns in exchange of their own hand-crafted Jezzails, for the Plasma Guns had the tendency to overheat with extended use, killing its wielder. Given the dangers already faced by the Hrud Nomads within the harsh desert environment of Tallarn, the complications of the Plasma Gun made it all too unfavourable a weapon.
However, they acknowledged the awesome firepower contained within a single Plasma Gun, and as such, the Weaponsmiths of the Hruds worked on harnessing the plasma power within the Plasma Guns and combining this power with the delivery system of the Mortar, thus reducing the casualties caused by overheating. The Plasmortar was thus born.
The Plasmortar is capable of firing a single Plasma Shell that contains the penetrative firepower of the Plasma Gun. It is also capable of a secondary mode of firing, in which it lobs a single Plasma Grenade that suffers from lesser strength and penetration compared to the Plasma Shell.
The designs of the Weaponsmiths were unable to completely removed the complications involved with the overheating of the plasma, but at least the feedback is contained within the Plasmortar itself, and no harm comes to those found within its immediate vicinity. The weight of the Plasmortar has its setbacks however, and requires it to be transported by two Hrud Nomads. The Plasmortar has to be set up before use, to compensate for the recoil of the projectile as it is fired.
The Blackfurs of Tribe Mors form the backbone of the fighting forces of the tribes. While the Greyfurs present the work force, Blackfurs are the warrior sentinels of the tribe, forming an ever vigilant guard against any would-be attackers. They tame their natural aggression by engaging in ritual combat among themselves, as a means to vent their pent-up energy. The ritualised combat instills discipline among the Blackfurs, suppressing their tendencies towards infighting. Indeed, over the ages, the ritual combats practised by the Blackfurs have developed into a highly technical artform. By understanding the flow of power between two opposing forces, the Blackfurs attempt to manipulate the outcome of combat by learning to apply force precisely at the right location and time.
This technical outlook towards combat differs greatly from the Blackfurs of the other Tribes who rely on pure aggression and recklessly throw themselves into the fray. Much of these techniques were developed through their encounters with the Bedouin Warriors of the Tallarns. Despite their seeming frailty compared to the physique of a full-grown Blackfur, the Bedouins were easily able to overcome a Blackfang in single combat. Through their exchanges, the Blackfurs learnt of the martial art practised by the Bedouin Warriors, called by them, "The Weirding Way". Its philosophy is based on being in control of the flow of combat by adapting to the opponent's movement and seeking the weak spots in their fighting style. The Blackfurs borrowed from them by copying these techniques and adapted them to fit their physique.
The constant life of warfare within the desert and the practise of ritual combat between the Blackfurs on a daily basis has made even the lowliest Blackfur a highly skilled combatant, capable of standing his own even against the combat specialists of other species. In battle, the Blackfurs would attempt to close in on the enemy, where their fighting prowess can be put to good use. The bare lands of the desert provide little places of cover, but the dunes, rising like rolling hills across the landscape, act as barriers between the Blackfurs and the enemy. The Blackfurs came to learnt to travel from dune to dune, relying on these mounts of sand for cover, till they were in such a position as to be able to engage with the enemy. The Blackfurs of Tribe Mors thus came to be known as the Dune Warriors by their Human adversaries. Even then, the Blackfurs have learnt that it is impractical to depend solely on unarmed combat and carry sidearms with them.
The Dune Warriors are thus versatile troops, capable of engaging both at range and in the melee. Through their encounters with the forces of the Tau Empire and Imperium of Man, the Dune Warriorss learnt that range weaponry and physical combat were insufficient in covering the entire dynamics of warfare. The firearms of the Hrud Nomads were unable to pierce the armoured hulls of the tanks of the Imperium, and in nearly every engagement, the Hruds were forced into retreat, lacking the technology to deal with armour. The Dune Warriors, seeing themselves as the warrior sentinels of the Tribe, resorted to raiding Imperial weapon depots to discover a means to deal with the seemingly invincible tanks. During their raids, the Dune Warriors took whatever they could carry with them, and the Frag and Krak Grenades, being lightweight and carriable en masse, were easy pickings.
Through the process of trial and error, the Dune Warriors learnt of the use of the Frag and Krak Grenades. The Weaponsmiths of the Hruds modified the Krak Grenades, using Kryshards to replace the ball bearings that form the basis of the Grenades firepower. These modified Grenades came to be known as Krys Grenades, and had greater penetration power than a Krak Grenade. So it came to be that in any engagements with armoured companies, the Dune Warriors were sure to carry with them these Grenades. The Dune Warriors thus came to be multi-purpose warriors, capable of fulfilling any role upon the battlefield. Through merit of their efforts, the Dune Warriors have come to be recognised by the tribal leaders as being the backbone of the forces of Tribe Mors.
During one of the Great Raids upon the Imperial weapon stockades, the Dune Warriors encountered Plasma weaponry. The Dune Warriors recognised them as weapons of immense power, having seen them being employed by Imperial Guardsmen during the Great War. The Dune Warriors took the Plasma Pistols for their own use, disdaining the bulk of the Plasma Guns, as a possible option against the armoured hulls of the tanks of the Imperium until a viable alternative could be found.
Fedayeen, roughly translated from the Tallarn tongue, means "one who is ready to sacrifice his life(for a cause)". During the purges of the Hrud Nomads by the Imperium on the world of Tallarn, Tribe Mors was nearly brought to extinction. The Hrud Nomads were masters over the desert of Tallarn, having become familiar with the terrain through their numerous wanderings. Despite the superior firepower of the forces of the Imperium, the Hruds used guerrilla tactics and their familiarity of the terrain to their advantage, and managed through feats of bravery to fight the Imperium to a stalemate. Hrud Sharpshooters would lure Imperial Guardsman over difficult terrain, and as they struggled across the rough terrain to get their weapons in range of the Hruds, the Sharpshooters would pick them off one by one from the safety of cover.
However, the Imperium started employing the use of tanks against Tribe Mors. The weapons of the Hrud Nomads were incapable of piercing the armour of the tanks, and their mastery over the terrain was useless as the tanks had no difficulty transversing over difficult terrain. The Hruds of Tribe Mors were thus slow but surely driven back, despite their utmost efforts. It was only when certain Dune Warriors, through much personal risk, raided an Imperium weapon supply depot and brought back with them Frag and Krak Grenades. The Weaponsmiths of the Hruds dissected and studied the workings of these Grenades and managed to create their own versions of these explosives, modified with even greater firepower, using Kryshards as the source of the fragmentation.
Meanwhile, as the Weaponsmiths worked on the creation of these new explosive devices, the Hrud Nomads attempted to delay the advances of the Imperium. During these critical periods, in their desperation, Krak Grenades were used by the Dune Warriors in suicide raids against the tanks. But even then, the actions of the Hruds only managed to delay the Imperial forces temporarily, as the Imperial forces continued their march onwards. At long last, the Weaponsmiths completed their device they were working on, made from the components of the Krak Grenade, yet containing firepower of a considerable degree higher. At this period of the war, known to the Humans as the Great Xeno-Purge of Tallarn, Tribe Mors was in the face of imminent doom.
During these desperate times, a squad of death commandos were formed from the bravest of the Dune Warriors. These death commandos were christened Fedayeen by the Seer Chieftains of the Tribe, or "one who is ready to sacrifice his life for a cause". These death commandos adorned vest wrapped with these countless explosive devices, ready to be detonated by the single pull of a wire. In one of the final battles of the Great Xeno-Purge, the death commandos laid in wait in cover, while the rest of the forces of the Tribe distracted the advancing Imperial host. As the fighting grew fiercer, the Hrud forces suddenly withdrew, feigning retreat to lure the Imperial forces forward into the range of the death commandos lying in wait.
The commanders of the Imperial forces, believing their withdrawal to be a sign of weakness, sent their forces forward hoping to rout and crush the Hruds in one decisive blow. The commanders were tricked; in their forays with the Hruds, the commanders had come to believe their tanks were invincible and were unstoppable against the forces of the Hruds. The advance guard of tanks pushed onwards, heedless of the doom that awaited them. When the tanks finally drew into range of the brave death commandos who were lying in wait, the death commandos sprang from their cover, charging heedlessly towards the closest tanks. The tank commanders were utterly taken by surprise and were unable to respond at all before the first of the commandos crashed into the vehicles.
The collision triggered the detonation of the explosives within the vest. The detonation of multiple explosives, each with power greater than a single Krak Grenade, turned the tanks into nothing but flaming debris. One by one, the tanks fell as the death commandos collided with each one in a suicidal rampage. The Imperial forces were turned into disarray by these startling change of events. In the chaos of the moment, the Imperial infantry were taken by surprise as the retreating Hrud forces returned in full force, exploiting their moment of weakness and hunted them down to the last man. This was the first major turning point in the Great War against the Humans for Tribe Mors, and from then on Tribe Mors faced victory after victory, eventually forcing the Imperium to withdraw their forces and concede to the Hrud Nomads their territories within the desert lands of Tallarn.
In honour of these brave individuals who were solely responsible for turning the tides of battle in favour of Tribe Mors, the elite combat unit, the Fedayeen was formed. Only the strongest of the Dune Warriors are selected to join the ranks of the Fedayeen. Although the Fedayeen do not necessarily fulfill the roles played by their predecessors, they have been known to adorn the explosive vests in times of desperation when the Tribe is in most dire need again of the death commandos of the Great War.
In this role, the Fedayeen sees themselves as the guardians of the Tribe, sworn protectors who would sacrifice themselves for the Greater Good of the Tribe. In working towards fulfilling this role, the Fedayeen aim to perfect their martial skills through the practising of the Way. The Way practised by the Fedayeen is a fusion of the Way of the Claw and The Weirding Way of the Tallarn Bedouin Warriors. While the Dune Warriors of Tribe Mors practise a style of combat adapted from the Weirding Way, the Fedayeen delve even further by studying The Weirding Way as it is practised by the Bedouin Warriors.
Contrary to the Way of the Claw which is purely used in unarmed combat, The Wierding Way is a combat style that incorporates the use of a single blade. This single blade is harvested from the crystalline teeth of the great Sandworms that roam the ground beneath the deserts. When a Sandworm is near death, it beaches itself on the rocky outcroppings that divide the oceans of sand from each other. The Bedouin Warriors would then proceed to dislodge one of the many thousand of teeth that line the interior of the Sandworm's mouth.
These teeth is made of a diamond-hard substance called Krys. The Krys is further refined and sharpened into a form called a Krysknife. The Fedayeen copy the Bedouin Warriors and their harvesting techniques to recreate the Krysknife for themselves. A skilled warrior of The Weirding Way wielding a Krysknife, could easily overcome a stronger, well-armoured foe in a close confrontation. Thus during times of war, the Fedayeen are used as close combat specialists. Their mastery of The Weirding Way even allows them to confront the elite combat fighting units of the enemy. In times of peace, the Fedayeen do not slacken in their practise, engaging in ritual combat to keep alive their warrior instincts. They live a spartan existence, relative to the rest of the tribe, to hone their willpower and mental fortitude.
Among the many practises engaged by the Fedayeen in their peacetimes is the throwing of modified Krysknifes at targets, a training undergone to perfect their aims. These modified Krysknifes are streamlined, capable of reaching considerable distances. In times of war, the Fedayeen would carry with them multiple Krysknifes that they use to skillfully throw right before charging into combat. A fully equipped Fedayeen is capable of laying down a barrage of flying missiles, as he skillfully throws multiple Krysknifes within a split second of each other.
When the splinter tribes of Tribe Mors go to war over territorial disputes, the Fedayeen of both forces a a rule would not engage in these forays, for their allegiance is to the Greater Tribe, and they see the cycle of tribal wars as fitting into the scheme of the survival of the fittest, that would benefit the Tribe as a whole in the end.
There is a legend among the Tallarn Bedouins, of the Chosen One, the Kwisatz Haderach, that would arrive during the times of the Descent of Chaos at the end of the world. The Kwisatz Haderach would lead the Bedouins in a war of freedom against the Chaos abominations, finally triumphing over them through the sacrifice of his life.
During the practises of their ritual combat, it has been known at times for the Fedayeen to become caught up with the moment, losing themselves to their passion and accidentally killing each other. When this happens, the victor of the match is considered guilty of murder, for he could stay his hand right at the moment of the deliverance of death, yet he has chosen otherwise. The Fedayeen will choose the strongest among them to challenge him to a Deathduel, to deliver the death sentence that awaits those that commit murder against their own kind within the tribe.
The duel to the death commences, and no holds are barred, with one fighting for his survival and one fighting to deliver judgement. If the one who is under the death sentence were to triumphed even against the Fedayeen champion chosen to deliver judgement against him, the Fedayeen instead of turning against him in their numbers, hail him as the Kwizatch. His survival of the Deathduel has marked him by Fate, and in their eyes, he has undoubtedly been chosen to lead them in the coming battles. Kwizatch is a term borrowed from the legends of the Kwisatz Haderach among the Tallarn Bedouins, in fact being a shortening of the term. He receives special training from the Fedayeen elders, perfecting the arts of the Way and the wielding of the Krysknife in combat.
The Kwizatch is truly hailed as the One if he manages to combine the Way of the Claw with the techniques of The Weirding Way, called The Shortening of the Way, for it attempts to see through the differences presented by both martial forms. Towards this end, the Kwizatch trains constantly to see through the differences created by the Way of the Claw, adapted to suit the physique of the Hrud, and The Wierding Way, adapted to suit the physique of the Human. In mastering The Shortening of the Way, the Kwizatch has become a near peerless warrior, able to see through the movements of his enemies before their conception.
The true calling of the Kwizatch, however, is to lead the Fedayeen in battle. The Kwizatch presents an inspirational presence to the Fedayeen, fueling them into a fanatical state, leading them to accomplish great feats in battle.
Within the social dynamics of most Hrud Tribes, the Blackfurs gain a dominant position in society, often occupying positions of authority and being the overall leaders of the Tribe. Tribe Mors is an exception to this rule. The Blackfurs see the Greyfurs as being of calmer temperament and imbued with quicker wits, and overall show signs of greater intelligence. These are the necessary attributes for survival within the desert, for it is an unforgiving environment that tests the tribe at every step.
The oldest and wisest of the Greyfurs are selected to become the Seer Chieftains of the tribe. These Seer Chieftains have lived through many Sun cycles, and have seen nearly all situations that could possibly happen within the Desert World of Tallarn. Thus, they have an almost supernatural foresight that they apply on the onset of battle, organising the forces of the tribe to preempt the movements of the enemy. When they go to battle with the rest of the tribe, they inspire the troops around them with their mere presence, directing them in the heat of battle with an iron will.
The Seer Chieftain has gone through all possible occupations within the tribe throughout his long life. Thus, he has a total mastery over the ways of the desert and is at home within any unit of the tribe, save the Fedayeen who are sworn completely to the Kwizatch. As such, the Seer Chieftain is capable of wielding a wide range of weapons, depending on the unit he is joined with. The Hrud Nomads of Tribe Mors are known to encounter the Hruds of other Tribes. A trade of technology and information usually takes place during these moments, and it is through this exchanges that the Hruds of Tribe Mors have come to acquire the powerful Warplock Rifles, through much expense.
The usual trade of a Warplock Rifle is a single Stillsuit, and it is through this process that the Stillsuits fall into the possession of the other Tribes and Clans. Clan Moulder for instance, considered the wealthiest Clan in all of Hrudom, are known to equip every single one of their warriors with Stillsuits.
I'd strongly advise looking for a copy of Xenology, it has a pretty good portrait of the Hrud as a species.
1. In that book, at least, they aren't Scaven, they're walking piles of rotting meat with a central nervous system, and an ability to warp light around them.
2. They're ancient, about contemporary with the Eldar, and worship the same gods. So the idea of a recent climb to sentience is a bit off.
Have a good christmas
Basically, they're scavengers. Their bodies are mostly redundant and made up of things they've picked up, consumed or grafted on. Only the core central nervous system and vital organs are actually alive. This evolutionary tactic makes them very resiliant, as most hits just slough off the flesh rather than damaging anything important.
Normally, they're very hard to see though, due to their innate light-warping abilities.Xenology is quite serious for a black library book, and has several pages of background on the Hrud. I personally think it's a hell of a lot more serious than a space-skaven port.It is a fantasy universe and until we get some serious backround from GW we will just continue to make it up how we like to be honest - (Rotting Meat besides).
You can still work it, just say that they absorbed a bunch of rat corpses.
That even works out to a cool idea for a Rat King scenario. A Rat King, for those who don't know, is seven or eight rats with their tails tied together. In folklore, they were supposed to have greater intelligence than normal rats. Don't ask me why, but if the Hrud are just a nervous system that picks up dead things, what's to stop them being composed of dead rats?
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Come, sons of LO! Kneel before Poodle!
Mr_Wayne: "Some people believe that the World Eaters do not field any ranged weaponry. Those people often die at a distance."
Cheers and seasons greetings
Okay, now I just think you're diverting to a completely irrelevent subject. Xenology has nothing to do with Games Workshop's marketing ethics. It doesn't even impact on the game system at all, Hrud haven't had a rules set since Rogue Trader.
Hrud already have their background, they're a nervous system that absorbs nearby organic matter to form a makeshift and unique symbiotic body. A person can't just remake 40k Skaven and call them Hrud. I mean, I could go make a race of animalistic and savage man-beast hybrids caused by the Warp's extended effect on the human genome, but I'm sure as hell not going to call them Biel-Tan Eldar. And when someone comes up and says "But Eldar are slight, spry, and cultured," I'm not going to claim it's my prerogative to expand on the material as I see fit and that they're hampering my creative genius.
I understand this isn't your work and that it is really quite detailed, it's just that we already have Skaven for 40k. They're called Ratmen, interestingly enough.Just as an aside: what do you mean 'another' Ork codex? Orks have been waiting for a new codex for at least five years. The only race with less attention paid to it is Dark Eldar. It's hardly a regurgitation.For example, there latest regurgitation of 'same old, same old' as advertised in this month's WD is 'another' Ork Codex.
The new Ork codex is, in fact, probably the most anticipated thing they've produced for 40k in years, and it's a wonder they didn't realise this and capitalise on it earlier.
Aside to the aside: I think Demiurg are spelled without the second E.
The above poster = Totally a member of the Fluff Masters Clan. Click here for fluff pwnage.
Come, sons of LO! Kneel before Poodle!
Mr_Wayne: "Some people believe that the World Eaters do not field any ranged weaponry. Those people often die at a distance."
Goodwill to all men
Demiurge = gnostic deity.Hehe - I love it when I get growled at by a patronising poodle (e's in Demiurg(e?) - well I ask you -) .............
Demiurg = 40k race.
I apologize if the original post here wasn't very sensitive. To rephrase, by putting fluff on the internet you're seeking some form of collective approval or comment. It's therefore not a good idea to deliberately shut down any avenue through which people can comment on it. It kind of defies the point, and just comes out sounding very defensive. I don't personally care if GW is the voice of evil. As a 40k fluff forum, the shared consensus here is presumably that we're going to write 40k fluff, and since, unfortunately, GW and the black library are the only collectively available sources of background information, we're kind of forced to use them if we want to get any shared conceptual system going here.
So yeah, sure.. Saying 'this is my Hrud, back off' is a perfectly valid argument with a vast ammount of merit. Does it add anything on a forum, not really. Because I can't comment on 'your Hrud' anyway, they're yours, go play with them.
Have a good one