Thursday, May 30, 2019

Lore Review: Forbidden Power

Today I want to try something I don’t normally do, but it is something many of you have been asking to see for some time now.  Having just picked up a copy of Forbidden Power I plan to review the rules, lore, and the box contents in today's post.  I dive deep into the lore section of the book and it does contain a fair number of spoilers so if you are planning to pick up the supplement and give it a read yourself you might want to skip that section.  I am curious to hear any feedback on what you like and didn’t like regarding my review so I can continue to improve this type of post going forward as they will likely become much more regular.

Box Contents:
The box contains all the sprues for the new Endless Spells and Penumbral Engine, tokens for playing the campaign, the Forbidden Power book, Basic Rules, and a nice piece of art to frame and hang in your hobby room.  It's a pretty standard setup, but the art piece was unexpected and a nice bonus to the box which is more than worth its cost with everything you get inside.

The models themselves are great looking when built, but be ready to spend more time than expected cleaning.  Especially the Soulscream bridges as there are a lot of injection points that you can quite snip off and need to be removed with a hobby knife.  It is worth the time to do this and only being a few models it wasn’t anything to really complain about.  The models look great and I am excited to get them painted up.

The lore section is over half the total book and is clearly setting up the coming events in The Soul Wars.  It begins with a brief interaction between Sigmar and Teclis during The Age of Myth as The Aelven god of Light gifts Sigmar his Enlightenment Machines to grant humanity knowledge beyond their mortal capacity.  Teclis does this to honor a time during The World That Was when the Aelves gifted Humanity the knowledge and ability to control the winds of Magic.

We then are given a recap of The Necroquake and the beginning of the Soul Wars in order to help get everyone up to speed on the current story.  After we are caught up the book dives more into the Stormvaults spread across the Mortal Realms and some of the Realm changing weapons and beings that are held within them.  The snippets of the various treasures and creatures hidden in the Stormvaults are some great bits of inspiration and adds a nice bit of mystery to the Realms that had been missing.  A Stormvault could be almost anywhere and hold almost anything!

Knowing a lot more about the nature of the Stormvaults we finally get to see Sigmars folly in a conversation with Grungni back in The Age of Myth.  Sigmar tasked Grungni to reverse the power of Teclis’s Enlightenment Machines in order to obscure the mind.  Grungni, knowing that the aelf god would find out eventually, agreed to help and finished his blasphemous work.  I very much enjoy the insight we get into Sigmar and Grungni in this bit of conversation.  Sigmar is still very clearly human in nature as he is only looking at the immediate result of his actions.  Grungni can look much farther ahead seeing the fallout that will happen when Teclis discovers what Sigmar has done, but in typical Duradin fashion, he takes satisfaction in knowing he has one-uped the aelf.

We are then greeted to the major conflict of the lore in Forbidden Power as the city of Lethis in the Realm of Shyish is under attack by Lady Olynder and her Legion of Greif at the command of Nagash.  As the wave of Nighthaunt sweep over the large Lake the various defenders of Idoneth, Anvils of Heldenhammer Chamber, Free People, and some unexpected Fyreslayers (who were stiffed on a payment by the city in the past) are pushed back to the city walls with their goal of stopping Lady Olynder’s plan to release the being of great power imprisoned in the Stormvault below.

The story then follows a traditional siege battle, but it is worth noting another snippet of lore where Sigmar sends The Celestant-Prime to lead the defense.  What is most interesting about the exchange is how the Celestant-Prime doesn’t simply take on the color of the Stormcast Chamber he is fighting alongside, but also takes on their persona and nature.  As the Prime is being sent to join the Anvils of Heldenhammer his armor is now black, but he begins to take on a purple aura and can hear the voices of many souls inside his head.  He is aware of his change from his time fighting as a Hammer of Sigmar so there is a personality inside the Prime that I hope to see explored in the future.

As the battle unfolds we see the new mercenary mechanic come into the lore itself as the Fyreslayers turn on the defenders having been paid off with Ur-gold by Lady Olynder allowing the Legion of Greif to penetrate deep into the city and the Stormvault itself.  The defenders are not without their own unexpected aid as an old alliance formed with a nearby Flesh Eater Court is paid and they come charging in to aid the besieged city.

Despite Sigmar’s efforts, the Stormvault is breached and the being released.  The city will likely be rebuilt, but the damage has been done.  As Sigmar broods over what to do he is confronted by Teclis who scolds him for perverting his gift of knowledge into a weapon.  Sigmar urges Teclis to join him as all he has done was not in spite, but to further his goal of destroying the Chaos Gods.  Teclis declines and heads off to prepare on his own as Sigmar seethes with anger and summons his war council for the battles to come leaving us with a nice story hook for what is to come next in The Soul Wars.

Allegiances and Mercenaries:
The book introduces us to two brand new allegiances to use in our games.  The Legion of Grief and Lethisian Army which represent the two armies battling in the lore.  Both contain all the rules, artefacts, abilities, prayers, and spells you need to use them in Matched Play.  I really enjoy seeing additions like this to accompany the lore with keeping in mind their use in all three ways to play.  I am not sure how many Lethisiain Armies we will see in the future, but I have no doubt the Legion of Grief will become much more common on the tournament scene.

We also get two mercenary forces to add to our armies as a brand new mechanic in the Age of Sigmar.  Currently, we have one for Fyreslayers and one for Flesh Eater Courts, both are limited and have some steep requirements in order to add them to your armies in Matched Play.  They are a fun addition, but not anything that will break the game.  I am excited to see what mercenaries they might add in the future as they look like a bit of fun and hold true to the lore.

Spells and Universal Scenery:
The core aspect of the box is the release of new Endless Spells that were trapped within the Stormvault below Lethis as well as a universal Scenery piece any army can add to their list in the form of the Penumbral Engine.  The Spells are all based on Shyishian magic and as such become much more powerful if you are playing in that realm.  There is some potential use for the spells, especially to teleport units forward...for a price.  They are a good addition and I do hope we see more realm themed box sets for more spells in the future.  The Penumbral Engine is a smart addition to the game as it gives all armies a Scenery piece to add to their army and there are still a number of factions out there that do not have their own custom Scenery piece.  It isn’t too powerful and it does have a point cost associated with it, but I can see some players taking it in their lists for armies that don’t have a Scenery yet.

Campaign and Realm of Battle:
The last bit to cover form the supplement is the Campaign and Realm of Battle we get in order to relive the story and battles in the book.  The Realm of Battle is set in the area of Shyish that Lethis is built, Stgyxx.  It gives us a magic spell to use, Command abilities to use in the realm and a custom realmscape feature.  The campaign gives us all the narrative fun we would want to play in a themed campaign.  The best part, in my opinion, is the Awakened Aretafects which grow in power as the campaign continues.  This feature is easily portable and adaptable to any campaign or narrative event you might want to run.  We are also given four Narrative Battleplans and four Pitched Battle Battleplans to use for the campaign or any of our games.  I am happy that they differentiated the two sets of Battleplans as I can potentially see the Pitched Battle Battleplans making their way into various Matched Play Tournaments.

All in all, it is a great supplement no matter if you are a narrative, matched play, or open player.  The book adds a lot of extra fun to the game without breaking anything in a negative way.  The lore is well written and really sets up some future events.  I tried to cover the basics of the lore, but I did gloss a fair bit so it is worth reading through it yourself.  The models look great and they will see use on the tabletop especially if you play through the campaign and all the new Battleplans.  I wouldn’t say it is a must buy, but it is more than worth picking up.

Happy Hobbying.

Chuck Moore