The latest limited release faction for Hordes, the Grymkin is for anyone that always wanted to play with an army of fairy tale and folklore characters. No, we are not talking about your common Disney sunshine and rainbows kind of theme here. We are talking about the sort of creatures that lurk out in the shadows and in the depths of the woods, ready to pounce on the foolish and devour the wicked at a moment's notice.
Overview - the history and background of the Wicked Harvest
Ages ago, so long in the past that God-Emperor knows when it was, Menoth, God of Man, decided it was high time that humanity stopped sucking and actually did something useful for once, i.e. doing what Menoth ordered without complaint and telling him constantly what a cool dude he is. Basically he created a whole bunch of laws that men had to live by; they were given no choice in the matter unless they wanted to end up being tied to a pole and set alight for daring to think they had anything like free will.
Naturally not everyone agreed with that and five individuals with tremendous will of their own rejected him so strongly and fundamentally they ended up tapping into some part of the divine power all humans have in their souls and going over 9000! instantly in terms of badassness. Unfortunately Menoth was not too best pleased with these 'upstarts' and threw them all into Ur-Caen (the afterlife) while still alive. Now trapped in this spirit world these Defiers were endlessly tormented by their own nightmares made real for thousands of years, an endless agony that quite understandably lead them to swear revenge against Menoth and his twisted creation.
Despite their imprisonment the five Defiers had become demi-gods and in time they learned to control their divine power. Through careful study the Heretic was able to learn how the Defiers could bend their own nightmares to their will, bringing them under their control and giving them access to an army that would make you crap yourself if you saw them coming at you. It was not just their nightmares that would become the Defiers' underlings, for those wicked souls who end up in the wilds of Urcaen were judged and transformed by the Defiers as an eternal punishment into forms suited to their crimes, cursed to hunt down those with evil in their souls. This growing gathering of vengeful demi-gods, nightmares given flesh and damned souls would in time become known as the Grymkin, dedicated to unleashing judgment on a cruel and corrupt world.
For centuries, the Defiers awaited their chance to return to Caen to unleash their wicked harvest on Menoth's civilization (and anyone else that needs a good kicking, a certain dragon springs to mind..). The Old Witch Zevanna Agha knew of the Grymkin and looked for a way to set them free to further her own plans. She managed to find a lady in an insane asylum and used her as a conduit to negotiate terms (who knew an old hag was so well versed in contract law?) and arrange to open the gates to Urcaen for them. Now the Grymkin are ready to unleash their sweet brand of whoop-ass on anyone with a shred of wickedness in their hearts, mainly by using nightmarish creatures that is just straight out of your worst fears or finding ways to punish you for your own cowardice or greed.
Surprisingly there is a delicious element of irony to the release of the nightmarish Grymkin upon the world as they may be its best chance for survival. The Old Witch's motive for unleashing these bowel-churning horrors was oddly enough so that the Grymkin could slow the spread of infernalism within the Iron Kingdoms that may one day end up bringing about a true hell on earth if left unchecked. By seeking out and killing those evil enough to deal with the Infernals and by toughing up good men through the crucible of the Grymkin's judgment it is the Witch's hope the spread can be stopped or at least muted enough that if the Infernals did invade the world would have a fighting chance of stopping them. If Infernals ever invaded Caen in full force, it would mean the end of the world and the eternal torment of all living souls. The Grymkin, then, are the world's twisted salvation from annihilation. Told you the irony was sweet.
Considering the fact the Infernals have been announced as the next limited release faction for Hordes due out in Summer 2019 it seems the Old Witch's plan has failed sadly. Time to get out the holy water and salt...
Hilariously the only thing the Grymkin warlocks (Defiers) are truly scared of is their warbeasts which are in truth their own nightmares. I'm guessing obedience school didn't work then.
Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper (Grymkin) - the crafty old witch is at it again. She was the one responsible for stirring up the Grymkin in the first place and arranging for them to be let loose upon the mortal plane once more. Now she lends her aid (occasionally) to the Grymkin forces which also gives her a chance to keep an eye on them. Has a pimping ride; a two legged battle engine with a small shack on top of it that looks a bit of a mess but packs a punch. Little Scrapjack never skips leg day! Like any good schemer she has put assets aside that will help her fight back the Grymkin should they prove to be more trouble then they are worth - Tzeentch would be proud.
The Heretic - The jack of all trades, the Heretic is the closest the 'Kin have to a general style kind of Warlock and has something to deal with most situations. Once Menoth's right hand man the man who would become the Heretic realised his power didn't come from the god but from inside himself and so turned his back on his former god to take a stab at divinity too. This betrayal didn't go down well with Menoth who isn't the forgiving type and so he cast the Defilers all down into their prison. Before he fell though the Heretic issued a prophecy that basically said they would be back to wreck Menoth's plans and his followers in the future...and lo and behold was it so.
The Dreamer - Your control/defensive warlock, her playstyle is best described as strange, but powerful. She wanted freedom to dream, forever, and basically wouldn't get up or do anything every morning, and the made Menoth mad. Most things do. As a result, she was the progenitor of a lot of nightmares when the Defiers got sent to Hell, refusing to wake up even then. Unfortunately being trapped in infinite nightmares when you insist on not waking up AND those nightmares keep animating against you is a bad time for all.
Through some clever manipulation on the other Defiers' part, she inadvertently made "Dolly" when the Child got pissed at being tortured indefinitely, and animated her doll into a giant ogrething. That began the process of the Defiers dominating and enslaving their nightmares into Grymkin. She thinks Caen sucks, and wants to dream it into something better - whether you like it or not. So be prepared to become a tiny mouse in a hat or a sentient pile of scattered puzzle pieces if she thinks you or the world would be better off that way.
The Child - Your aggressive play style, melee focused warlock. No really. She can really dish out the pain, as the more she is wounded the higher her damage output gets. Her minions and warbeasts then favour a player who is willing to press advantages and takes risks when needed. In the lore she was the first of the Defilers, a child that didn't want to be told what to do by anyone and woe betide those that think differently.
The King of Nothing - A Defier that just wants to be left alone, he's a total nihilist who hurts even his own things for being nearby. He is a spell-assassin type character, with high Fury and a decent selection of AoEs and other effects. He can also teleport by telefragging one of his own soldiers. Hilariously, despite whining about how much he hates the other Defiers, he can't manage to actually leave them for long. He does want to permanently destroy them as well, but basically he's a little edgelord.
The Wanderer - Your mobility/tricky caster. Grymkin are pretty slow, but the Wanderer is all about making confusing choices and moving his beasties along. He puts down three "crossroad" tokens - he can teleport between them if nobody touches one, and if an enemy does touch one, he can send a beast running at their face. Stylistically, he hates walls. Hates them! He loves to wander around, and thinks walls, tolls, borders, and stuff that stays in one place like cities and houses all suck. Now that he's back, he's intent on destroying all of that so everyone can wander around forever like him. Has a lantern that acts like a monster magnet - if he shines it on you, odds are great something horrible is going to pounce on you.
Crabbit - pink, bouncy joyful rabbit-looking critters with way, way too many teeth. Each one carries a small warning around its neck saying 'Don't pet the bunnies!' Bounce around happily, usually into the path of oncoming bullets. This probably annoys the bigger Grymkin, who perceive killing the murder rabbits with crab claws as poor form. You can probably blame a mixture of the Child and the King for this one... or Slaanesh
Rattler - Mix a Chain Devil and a Crypt Ghoul with knife hands, and you have a Rattler. A blender for light infantry, but not too fast or tough.
Gorehound - Hounds of Tindalos - cute little human hands for paws, a weird Slaanesh-like head, and a long acidic tongue. About what you'd expect - fast Long Leash skirmisher, hits people with tongue and drags them towards the slower, nastier Grymkin. Many Choirboys of Menoth have gotten hauled away into the night.
Frightmare - You know those nightmares you have when everything gets totally messed up in a way that is weird and frightening at the same time? The frightmare is exactly that. If you stare too long at the moment it will freak you out. Also according to the unit description it is constantly disgorging foul bile as a means to punish the enemies that stand against it...yeah...really messed up.
Cage Rager - Probably the Wanderer's fault. Big slow beefy boi with gibbets that he stuffs sinners into. They suffer weakness, despair and misery until they burn away to nothing. He uses corpses to negate incoming magic, acting as an aegis for troops or other heavies, and he hits pretty good. Most importantly if you hand him a guy for his cage, he is an arc node, extending the range of nasty Defier spells while being a chore to remove.
Skin & Moans - Freddy Krueger on steroids, he'll mess you up badly if he gets anywhere near you... Also corpse powered, he gets stronger the more corpses he has, heals by spending corpses, boosts or buys using corpses... he likes corpses okay? Wears an outfit made of people's faces because he's made of naked meat, which their souls are still stuck in, and whine. The whining sounds like the King's touch. A callback to Gristle and Flay from Old School Iron Kingdoms.
Hollowmen - The deserters of any army, led by a will'o wisp Lantern Bearer, whose lantern broadcasts either illusions of safety, daydreams of placidity, or memories of when times sucked less. If you follow him, you end up a withered ghost-thing, blind and mindless. Grimdark. Lantern Bearer - CA Holden - Character WA - a league character who we got to choose the fate of, between coward or hero. A Cygnaran Long Gunner who had an open or null fate, the Witch tried to get him to snipe the Heretic with a special gun made from Wurmwood or something. Sadly, he choked when the time came, missed, and ran away. Heretic did not like that. Now he's a Hollowman sniper, and a Gremlin keeps stabbing him in his one remaining eye - a "gift" he got to keep from the Heretic, so he'll always remember who he was, and still see and feel terror instead of nothing at all, like the rest of the Hollowmen.
Dread Rots - Obligatory evil pumpkin-headed murderers - formerly farmers and people who withheld help or food from the needy, trying to mind their own profits. These guys "grow" in people's crops Color Out of Space style, until they get big enough to grow a face. When someone doesn't reform "A Christmas Carol" style immediately, a troop of these dudes break into their house, kill them, and pop the pumpkin onto their head/stump and a new Dread Rot is made. They then go hunting for more rotten assholes who deserve to be brought to hell. Carry people in bags off to hell like a farmer bringing produce to market. Slow, hit hard, die easy. Hands out their corpses (their own or others) to meaner Grymkin. What nice guys. • Isaiah, the Dread Harvester - a Grymkin Dread Rot Headless Horseman, riding a Frightmare. A psychotically angry Dread Rot, known for destroying entire villages for the crimes of the few. Leads Dread Rots and makes them Incorporeal. Throws his head at people if it gets knocked off.
Piggybacks - The other brand of Grymkin in charge of punishing greedy assholes. In this case any other form of miserliness. Some fat, greedy, horrible pigs in fancy outfits break into somebody's house, and ride that person like a horse. That person is warped into a little old goblin-thing, and forced to carry around a vainglorious stupid pig on their backs while being treated like an animal by them. Irony. Mechanically they're slow, hit hard on charges, and pretty tough since they're so fat weapons magically bounce.
Neigh Slayers - Gremlins playing at war - they have stick horses (with actual horses heads!) and pretend they're amazing knights. Hit like trucks, pop like tomatoes. Now have a bossy gremlin on a (demonic) rocking horse as a leader and general - that gremlin makes up rules to games, and the rest play along. Stuff like "We're all dead!" Everyone hammily pretends to die, and is subsequently untargetable while monologuing, hamming up their violent demises, or just playing dead.
Murder Crows - sneaky birdmen/plague doctor-looking dudes. Murderers and assassins that don't get to talk anymore and get to kill forever. Usually used to kill other assassins/murderers, then take their souls with them to become abother Crow. Do exactly what you'd expect - outflank stealth gang etc. Not sure who thought this one out. Probably the King.
Mad Caps - Another Iron Kingdoms monster! Alcoholism-punishers - they tempt boozers into trying their wild knock-your-socks-off stuff, which is amazing, but also causes you to turn into a comical alcoholic Cask Imp. Proof is so through the roof you are now permanently flammable, and if you trip and fall you explode.
Twilight Sisters - a pair of Grymkin Witches offering the classic hag deals - the hideous one will offer cures or wishes, but you'll have to kiss her or cut out a pound of flesh or something. The absurdly hot one offers similar ... for worse prices. Neither are actually very nice or honest people.
Witchwood - a seductive hot lady and it's treeman friend. The whole forbidden fruit trope except with extra violence courtesy of the aforementioned tree. Not quite - actually its the tree - the lady is an illusion or lure. Made when women or innocents who are killed, like by being hanged or burned as witches - the trees get really mad, and absorb the spirits to rest in their roots peacefully, but steal their forms. They then use those forms to try to tempt people close, and figure anyone, even someone trying to help the lost lady, must just be trying to get some or is otherwise out to harm innocents, since the only innocents are dead and go ham on them. No one said grymkin trees were deep or rational thinkers.
Cask Imp - Mad Caps' punished patrons. People who are abusive drunk, cause accidents while drunk, or neglect people/just want to drink can get lured in by Mad Caps, and become Cask Imps. Considering how crappy the IK is to live in, that's a pretty wide range, and it's a little unclear if this is exactly a great punishment, since it would appear to be a very final death when the Imp explodes. Otherwise it's probably not a lot of fun to be horridly drunk all the time, vomiting, etc. Maybe blowing up's a mercy. In game they wander a random direction and frequently explode. Kind of hilarious, and as long as your Mad Cap's alive, you get more every turn. Wacky fun.
Glimmer Imp - Another IK classic - they punish vanity. People who spend all day in front of mirrors (or are selfish assholes who happen to walk by one on the wrong day) suddenly find a horrible reflection of themselves, then get their eyes scooped out by a silver spoon, as the Glimmer Imp reaches from out of the mirror. They don't have eyes, so they collect the prettiest they can find. Now that the Defiers have declared it open season, they're little suicide shock troops - hilariously fragile, but go on an eyespooning spree if you can get them close
Trapperkin - Goblin-like solos that can magically open trap doors anywhere. Unconfirmed word has it if you are unlucky to fall into one of these open doors then you will end up in an inescapable realm where Justin Bieber's music is endlessly being played on a loop, although such a torment would surely be too much even for the Grymkin.. It's pretty clear this whole category was a love-letter to old IK, but in the old lore, these were straight-up child abductors who would leave bits and traces of stolen children for their parents to find, and eat/destroy the children they took in a pretty final matter. In game they're pretty solid and hard-hitting, and if they go into Trapdoor, they can countercharge out from it to snatch someone. Can put a hurt on light warthings, petty much one-shots most infantry.
Gremlin Swarm - Machines beware, these little critters will mess you right up. The comic relief, comparable to Nurglings in many regards, but are Incorporeal, therefore a real pain to kick off of control points. Gremlins are the souls of children, and the Defiers aren't quite so omnicidal that they torment kids (they're all assholes, but they aren't extreme assholes), so many children lost in Urcaen for reasons or who die and are unburied may become Gremlins. Basically Gremlins from Gremlins.
Lady Karianna Rose - A poor mad woman who the Grymkin have adopted as one of their own whose songs can soothe or enrage the warbeasts of the faction. Heaven forbid that you lay a hand on her, unleash you want to unleash a tidal wave of pain right at your army. Lost her family and children, but could see gremlins and played with them. Was sent to an asylum, where the Old Witch found her and used her ability to speak to Grymkin to cut a deal with the Defiers, who let her out when they escaped.
Lord Longfellow - If you hate spiders then you will seriously not like this deadly arachnid sniper. He does however have an impeccable sense of style. He used to be a more general spirit-spider who ate and tricked the prideful. As times changed, he had to change his image; his old gimmicks were getting too well-known. After presumably a few centuries of crying in a Grymkin bar with the Gentlemen Caller, he reinvented himself - now masquerading as a fine gentleman in a mask, he provokes duels aand exposes liars and cheats. In one amazing case, he challenged a jerk noble to a duel - knowing he'd lose, the guy blew Longfellow off, Masque of the Red Death style - so Longfellow shot everyone ELSE at the party, leaving the guy to take the blame the next day. With six pistols and incredible skill, this old spider is a top-predator again.
Malady Man - A weird one - basically an organ grinder (not the Farrow kind) with an immortal horrible little monkey, he's a bard-ranger mix, buffing or debuffing with songs, and with a crazy rabid little monkey to bite people lured in by his music, Pied Piper style.
Grave Ghoul - The very fancy spirits running the Death Knell. They like digging up or burying people, and don't seem to get the concept of death too well. While getting hit by the gravemud-caked shovel of a nine-foot-tall phantom isn't great, the Grave Ghoul's real value is it's ability to warp fate and dice rolls. It also doesn't like undead very much, and beats them down so it can bury them properly. Offputting.
Death Knell - a corpse wagon brimming with the dark energies of the dead (probs stinks like crazy too; just as potent a weapon). Buffs up everyone in an aura based on how full it is. Also has a gremlin funereal band! Not a combat piece, it's 100% support and helps keep your Cage Ragers and S&M party going.
Clockatrice - based on the similar sounding mythological creature of the same name, it's a ridiculous bird. When it gets hit, it freaks out, causing time to warp and resume after the danger-chicken has run off somewhere. It can also freeze people in time with a stare, or beat them senseless with it's really-too-long tail. It used to be a little too powerful with the time junk and stop gaze, so it got some nerfs, but it's still an excellent cheap heavy. Funny to imagine it's a representation of Old Witch's fears about how much time they have before Oblivion hits.