Talk:Beastclaw Raiders

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The second major culture within ogor society is that of the Beastclaw Raiders. These brutish nomads are driven along their migratory paths by the magical blizzard that bites at their heels. Known as the Everwinter, it forces the ogors ever onwards, else they become frozen amidst its icy depths. Riding upon massive beasts of the mountains, they stampede over their foes like a living avalanche. Lolloping, shaggyfurred horrors and vicious hunting cats run at their side, driven by grizzled ogor huntmasters. Defeated enemies are either eaten on the spot or gathered up in the ogors’ saddlebags to be consumed at a later date.[1a]

TRIBES OF THE FROZEN WASTES

The origins of the Beastclaw Raiders are shrouded in the half-remembered legends of the Age of Myth. The truth behind the icy curse that haunts them may never be known, but it is certain that their existence of constant hardship and war has forged them into one of the most fearsome fighting forces in the Mortal Realms.[1c]


Perpetual winter and gnawing hunger drive the Beastclaw Raiders ever onwards to find fresh hunting grounds. The ogors ravage the regions they cross, leaving only ruin in their wake. Taking as much food as they can, they flee before the arrival of the Everwinter – the supernatural blizzard that pursues them eternally. It is the destiny of these tribal raiders to forever seek new prey, while it is the fate of their victims to be mercilessly devoured.[1c]


It was not always so, and though only myths remain of their past, the raiders still tell tales of the first Alfrostun and the Beastclaw raid from which it was born. In those ancient days, the ogors were the skilled hunters and trackers of Gorkamorka’s armies as well as its heavy cavalry. There are many stories of the Beastclaws riding into battle before the assembled hosts of the Gulping God.[1c]


For an age, the legends say, the Beastclaw were favoured warriors of Gorkamorka and their rewards were foes to fight and mounds of meat – but it was not to last. Some say it was Baergut Vosjarl, the first Frost King, who betrayed Gorkamorka and was punished with the first Everwinter. Others claim that it was Sigmar who cursed the Beastclaw tribe for their gluttony, that the God-King created a winter storm to deny the ogors prey, though they learned to stay ahead of its killing cold. There are also legends of how the ogors opened the Icefell Vaults of Shyish, unleashing the dreaded Winter Gods from the prison Nagash had crafted for them. The tales claim that these fell creatures follow the ogors still, granting their saviours the gift of endless cold.[1c]


Many of the great Ogor Mawtribes are ruled not by Gutbuster Overtyrants but by Frost Kings, immense warrior-emperors of the frozen winter. Unsurprisingly, these Mawtribes are dominated by the Beastclaw Raiders’ distinct culture, though they also boast many conquered warglutts within their ranks.[1c]


These Gutbuster Ogors must swiftly learn to handle the deadly extremes of life at the edge of the Everwinter – as well as the derision of the Beastclaw Raiders, who see them as coddled weaklings. Yet even the most scornful Frostlord would admit that Gutbusters have their uses. Butchers and Slaughtermasters are particularly prized, for they have mastered the art of cooking and seasoning their meat – an enticing concept to their Beastclaw cousins, who are more used to crunching up frozen meat-shards and chewing on weeks-old strips of hide.[1c]


TONGUE OF THE ICE LORDS

Svoringar, the ancient tongue of the Beastclaw Raiders, is a harsh, guttural language influenced by the nomads’ strong tribal traditions and age-old hunter wisdom. It is spoken still by many Alfrostuns, and there are numerous local variations and subdialects.[1c]


The core of the language seems simple at first, with a meagre vocabulary and only a smattering of verbs. However, the meaning of a single word can change greatly depending on its intonation. For instance, the word Atta is the Beastclaw term for a mountain, but it can also be used to indicate strength or dominance over one’s rivals or uttered as a direct threat.[1c]


Each of these words is depicted by an angular rune, which can often be seen daubed upon flesh, armour or the hides of war beasts.[1c]


The Beastclaw Raiders guard the secrets of their language carefully, typically conversing with their Gutbuster kin in basic ogorspeak. Thus, the majority of ogors refer to the Beastclaw-led Mawtribes by their ‘common’ names; the Boulderhead Mawtribe, for example, is known as such by all except the Beastclaw, who still proudly use the svoringar term Svard. Likewise, the Thunderbellies Mawtribe refer to themselves as the Olwyr and the Winterbite as the Fraya.[1c]


THE EVERWINTER

A frozen shadow that looms over the shoulders of the Beastclaw Raiders, the Everwinter is a mystical snowstorm of terrible power, capable of instantly freezing anything that falls into its grasp. It is not a single force of nature but a gathering of ice storms that sweep across the realms in pursuit of the scattered Alfrostuns and Beastclaw-dominated Mawtribes. To the Boulderhead Mawtribe, this magical storm appears as a furious barrage of fist-sized hailstones; the ogors of the Winterbite march to war enveloped in a blanket of white fog; and the Thunderbellies charge into battle behind a booming gale that drives their foes inexorably backwards.[1d]

While their blubberous bodies and thick skin make them well equipped to deal with extreme cold, even Beastclaw ogors cannot withstand the mystical temperatures of the Everwinter. Any who find themselves in its icy embrace are frozen to the ground, rendered unable to move while their hunger remains unabated. Though this does not kill the ogor, it subjects them to a far worse fate – they must stand, immobile, while their hunger grows ever more agonising and insistent.[1d]

There are places in the realms where entire Alfrostuns of Beastclaw Raiders stand in frozen formation, having been rooted to the spot for generations. Woe betide any who stray into such locations. Most of these foolish adventurers are frozen alongside the brutish creatures, but some suffer a more violent fate, as the tantalising presence of fresh meat can make the ogors strain hard enough to shatter their icy bindings. When such beings are freed, the results of their ravenous rampages are gruesome indeed.[1d]

The Alfrostuns ride on the edge of the blizzard’s fury, always on the very cusp of disaster. Yet the paradox of this existence is that the Everwinter is also the source of their power. The shamanistic warleaders known as Huskard Torrs can channel the ferocious power of the storm in order to batter their foes with deadly missiles or shroud them in freezing palls of fog.[1d]

The coming of the Everwinter can be just as horrifically devastating to the Raiders’ victims. Those few who manage to survive the spears and blades of the ogors might give their praises to the gods for a brief moment as their attackers depart – only for relief to turn into horror as a freezing blizzard rushes down from the mountains to swallow them whole. Instead of the barren wastes left behind by the Gutbusters, Beastclaw Raiders leave frozen, featureless tundra haunted by the savage beasts of winter.[1d]

For their part, the Gutbuster tribes look upon the Everwinter as a curse that haunts those who have failed to properly appease Gorkamorka. Many Tyrants and Overtyrants openly scorn the Beastclaw Raiders for this great shame, and more than one brutal civil war has been initiated as a result of just such an unwise insult. Though the great blizzard does not chase after the Gutbusters directly, they are no more immune to its ravages than their wild kin. The warglutts that swear allegiance to the Boulderhead, Thunderbellies or Winterbite Mawtribes soon come to appreciate the Everwinter’s terrible ferocity.[1d]

DEATHLY WINDS

In the wake of the Shyish necroquake, the pattern of the Everwinter has become ever more erratic. As the immense surge of deathly magic birthed in the aftermath of Nagash’s spell swept across the lands, it battered against the blizzard’s fierce storm front. This resulted in a series of intense supernatural tempests that devastated great portions of the realms. Swirling ice blended with clouds of ethereal matter, and wherever the black clouds gathered, hosts of ice-taloned gheists spawned. Worse still, many Alfrostuns found their hunting grounds stripped of prey and rendered barren and lifeless by the spectral tempests. Forced to divert, they ranged across new frontiers.[1d]

The damage wrought upon the ogors’ migratory trails has brought the Gulping God’s children into conflict with new prey. The Boulderhead Mawtribe has found fine feasting grounds in the Grachwold Valleys of Ghur, the domain of the Allherd Greatfray. Their Stonehorn stampedes thunder across the plains, seeking out the throngs of beastmen cavorting about the Herdstone and falling upon them in a ravenous frenzy. The Thunderbellies battle for control of the Lodebridges of Ayadah in the face of stubborn resistance from the sky-fleets of Barak-Urbaz, while the icy mists that herald the Winterbite Mawtribe have frozen the shores of the Dwindlesea from the Glittering Marsh to the Desert of Bones – neither living nor dead are safe from the Winterbite’s sudden attacks. Meanwhile, offshoots from these Mawtribes have diverted from the Mawpath and formed their own raids into hostile lands.[1d]

While several Alfrostuns and warglutts were entirely consumed by the raging deathstorms of the necroquake, frozen in the final throes of death, other Frostlords looked behind them to find the skies were bright and clear in all directions and the Everwinter’s grasp had loosened. However, the Huskards of these Alfrostuns have warned that this is merely a temporary reprieve – Gorkamorka’s hunger is eternal, and even death cannot quench it.[1d]

THE GREAT THAWING

As the death-gales of the Shyish necroquake battle against the icy storms of the Everwinter, the freezing embrace of the latter has been driven back in many regions, leading to a great thawing. As a result, many imprisoned Beastclaw Raiders have at long last been freed from their icy prisons. Driven entirely mad by their long existence without the taste of fresh meat and gore upon their lips, these ogors – and in some cases entire Alfrostuns – have embarked upon a desperate search for food. The Coast of Tusks in Ghur has been savaged by the packs of Beastclaw Raiders known locally as the Snow Fiends.[1d]

Having glutted themselves upon a shipment of prophetic augur-stones from the nearby city of Excelsis, these animalistic savages have launched unerringly well-timed raids upon Freeguild Outrider formations, merchant caravans and shore patrols. All attempts by Vanguard-Hunters of the Knights Excelsior to hunt down and slay the deranged creatures have proved costly and fruitless.[1d]

BEASTCLAW ALFROSTUNS

An Alfrostun is an extension of its Frostlord’s will. Each of their Huskards, the tribal chieftains that enforce their orders, commands a separate and distinct arm of the tribe. The Jorlbad is the ‘Fighting Hand’, the Eurlbad the ‘Eating Hand’ and the Torrbad the ‘Hand of Thunder’.[1e]

The Beastclaw equivalent of the Gutbuster warglutts, Alfrostuns are the traditional nomadic tribes of the Beastclaw Raiders. Most Mawtribes boast at least a few of these roving bands, though they are most commonly sighted fighting under the banner of Beastclaw-dominated Mawtribes such as the Boulderhead or Thunderbellies. The masters of the Alfrostuns are the Frostlords. These hulking chieftains are the biggest and toughest of their kind, second in prestige only to the Frost Kings, the legendary overlords of the Beastclaw Mawtribes. While a Frostlord’s dominance is unquestioned – at least until a challenger decides to make a play for leadership – these war leaders maintain a trio of subordinate chieftains who control the three major arms of the Alfrostun.[1e]

The most prestigious arm is the Jorlbad, or the ‘Fighting Hand’. Formed from the tribe’s most celebrated warriors, the Jorlbad is granted the greatest share of meat upon a triumphant raid, for it is they who are found at the thick of the fighting. Its Huskard is typically the Alfrostun’s most fearsome champion, second only in skill and ferocity to the Frostlord.[1e]

After the Jorlbad comes the Eurlbad, or the ‘Eating Hand’. The role of this arm is no less important than that of the Jorlbad, though it is viewed as less prestigious. It is tasked with securing the areas overrun by the Alfrostun’s vanguard forces, slaughtering any last pockets of resistance and harvesting every last scrap of meat.[1e]

Before each battle, the Frostlord will select which of their Huskards will command the Jorlbad and which will take control of the Eurlbad, a decision that depends on who has proven themselves most worthy during previous raids. Despite their differing duties, the composition of both the Jorlbad and Eurlbad is similar. Each is led by a Huskard mounted upon a Stonehorn. At the chieftain’s side ride Stonehorn Beastriders, deadly shock troops that form the elite Atta pack. Beneath these are packs of Mournfang riders led by sub-chiefs known as Skalgs. The exact size of these packs depends upon the wealth and prestige of the Alfrostun.[1e]

The final arm is the Torrbad. Unlike their fellow chieftains, the Huskard Torr will maintain their position until death. The Huskard Torr is a spiritual figure, shaman and wise advisor whose connection to the Everwinter is invaluable to the tribe’s Frostlord. Comprising the Alfrostun’s Thundertusks, the Torrbad is the herald of winter, and Frostlords use its freezing presence to great effect upon the battlefield. Its chill also serves to draw in other creatures of winter, such as Icefall Yhetees, that add to the Torrbad’s savagery in battle.[1e]

Unaligned with any of the Alfrostun’s distinct arms is the Skal. This is the Alfrostun’s scouting force, formed of veteran Icebrow Hunters whose task it is to seek out the richest hunting grounds. They answer directly to the Frostlord, though it is rare that the Frostlord exerts control over them; their hunter’s instincts are trusted implicitly and they are usually granted the freedom to roam and track as they see fit. Most Alfrostuns include a Jorlbad, an Eurlbad, a Torrbad and a Skal, though not all do. Some, such as the Thunderbellies’ beastrider clans of the Sky Roads, consist entirely of mounted Stonehorn riders, while others include several roaming Icebrow Hunter packs. The Winterbite Mawtribe particularly favours the latter.[1e]

THE RISE OF GARL GRISTLEBEARD

Frostlord Garl Gristlebeard rules over the Nibolg Alfrostun, one of the largest and most feared of the Winterbite’s tribes. His story is one that typifies the brutal, merciless way of life amongst the Beastclaw Raiders. Gristlebeard once rode with the Mournfang cavalry of the Nibolg, gaining a fearsome reputation as an outrider and prey-seeker. Over the course of hundreds of battles, he eventually earned the rank of Huskard, making the journey into the deadly mists of the Everwinter to find and break a Stonehorn mount. Naming his foul-tempered companion Bittertusk, Gristlebeard became a favoured chieftain of Frostlord Yorva, master of the Nibolg. He fought at the tip of the spear in the Battle of Black Peaks, grinding the Blood Warriors of the Fell Scythe into the sulphurous earth.[1e]

He personally slew the Jabberslythe of Jod, eating the mad beast’s eyes to gain its deranged insight. In time, his legend grew to rival that of Yorva himself. When the venerable Frostlord was slain in battle with a vampiric Terrorgheist, the ogors of the Nibolg observed the Rite of Hoctgar. The most powerful warriors, including Gristlebeard, left the main tribe and roamed into the wilds, searching for worthy prey to offer up to their kin. Gristlebeard sought out the very beast that had slain his predecessor – the Ravener of Icespine Pass. After a hunt that lasted many days, he cornered the Terrorgheist in its lair, impaling the undead horror with Yorva’s frost spear and lashing its rotting corpse to his Stonehorn. Upon arrival back at the Nibolg’s war-camp, Gristlebeard’s offering was accepted and his place as Frostlord assured.[1e]

Sources

  • 1: Battletome: Ogor Mawtribes
    • 1a:pgs. 4-5
    • 1b:pgs. 8-9
    • 1c:pgs. 10-13
    • 1d:pgs. 14-15
    • 1e:pgs. 16
    • 1f:pgs. 22-27