"Knowledge without justice ought to be called cunning rather than wisdom."
- – Plato
Warlord Skarsnik of the Crooked Moon Tribe is a Night Goblin Warboss, most famous for besieging Karak Eight Peaks and his mastery of underground warfare. Alongside Grom the Paunch, this makes him one of the few goblins to have ever made much of an impact on the Warhammer world.
Followed by the unnaturally belligerent yet loyal Cave Squig Gobbla, Skarsnik is the uncontested ruler of all greenskins within and around Karak Eight Peaks, fighting an endless war against the Dwarfs and the Skaven of Clan Mors to cement his hold over the region.
There is an account of Skarsnik's life, given by the playwright Baron von Bickenstadt, who was captured by Skarsnik's warband and given the choice of writing Skarsnik's biography or being dinner. He chose the former. Skarsnik was born like any other Greenskin. The goblin that would later be known as Skarsnik started out life by clawing his way out of the dirt, and into the darkness of a glowing mushroom-lit cave, along with the birthing of his brethrens. In time, these small Goblins began to venture into the domains of a Goblin warband called the Backstairs Boys (yes, that is their name), a small tribe that was a faction of the larger Crooked Moon tribe. Even upon his birth, this particular goblin showed an aptitude of intelligence by being able to spurt out his first words moments after birth, helping his fellow goblins rather than climb over them for personal gain and being able to command his brethren through the dangers of the caves.
When they reached the main base of the Backstairs Boyz, the small Goblins were forcibly integrated into the Tribe as slaves. They were given the task of harvesting the many mushrooms that infest the lairs of the Backstairs Boyz. During this time, he was known simply as Runt, due to being significantly smaller then the rest of the other Goblins. As years passed, Runt was still a lowly flunky in the tribe's slave pens, while his former brethren had since grown up and left him. His small stature, however, did not stop him from rising through the ranks of his tribe. After a few years of personally leading the newer spawnings by himself, Runt was finally elevated to the position as a true member of the tribe, and was renamed as Runtgit, for he still was fairly small. He began using this new found power to gain more influence over the tribe. At one point during this time, he saved a runty squig from being eaten by his rival, Runtboy Snotruk. Runtgit’s first claim to fame was a secret edge he used against the other goblins; he gained a powerful ally by freeing Skreekrit Yellowtooth, a Skaven stormvermin and former captive of the Backstairs Boyz. Skreekrit became a Fangleader of Clan Mors and Runtgit fed him information on Goblins whose interest clashed more directly with his own.
The secretive trade between the Skaven and Runtgit had made his tribe, and more specifically himself, incredibly wealthy. However Snotruk soon found out and revealed Runtgit’s secretive dealings to Big Boss Tarkit. Tarkit ordered for the treacherous gobbo’s execution. However, thanks to the timely arrival of a Dwarf expeditionary force attacking the camp of the Backstairs Boyz, Runtgit was thrown into an underground river and washed up on the outskirts of Karak Eight-Peaks. He was found by a marauding warband of Goblin Wolf Riders and taken as a slave. The leader of the Wolf Rider tribe was a grotesquely fat Goblin known by his official title as the Great Grillzer-Griff Makiki da Cunning. Makiki saw potential within Runtgit, but he wanted to made sure by seeing what the tiny night goblin might do during his time in captivity. As such, Griff Makiki confined Runtgit to a small wagon-cage for a few years. During his confinement, Runtgit studied the habits of the Wolf Rider tribes and hatched a cunning plan that would grab Griff Makiki's attention.
As the Wolf Rider caravan went from place to place within the Badlands, Runtgit somehow learned the Dwarf language of Khazalid and the human language Reikspiel and instigated a brawl between himself and a Dwarf by implying something sexual between the Dwarf's mother and a mountain pony. The ensuring scuffle got the attention of Griff Makiki, who out found the full extent of Runtgit’s cunning. Impressed with his ability to learn and speak both Reikspeil and Khazalid during his time in captivity, Runtgit was released from captivity and became a spy for the Griff as a reward. Like in his former tribe, Runtgit quickly rose through the ranks of the Wolf Goblins, even going as far as to be feared by the other members of the tribes. By fighting alongside these plains goblins, he actually started to grow bigger, larger than most night goblins even, although he was still considered a runt by his surface-dwelling peers. Eventually, Runtgit ambitions would outgrow that of the Griff, as he grew frustrated that the Griff would sell defeated Goblin tribes into slavery instead of assimilating them and forming a WAAAGH! (also because he was a night goblin and was pretty tired of the giant ass ball of fire baking his skin). Runtgit eventually murdered him and took over the tribe, his first act as boss being to return to Karak Eight-Peaks where he would take revenge on his old tribe.
Having discovered that the upper levels of Eight-Peaks were conquered by the Skaven, Runtgit decided to sneak in in order to negotiate a deal with the leader of the Crooked Moons, Ibrit Dungstrangler. There he was captured by his old nemesis Snotruk, who in the years since Runtgit left had become the new boss of the Backstairs Boyz. Snotruk forced Runtgit to fight to the death in an arena battle against a horde of squigs, only for the largest and meanest squig to turn on his fellows and protect the plucky gobbo. Runtgit realized that this squig was the same baby squig he saved on a whim all those years ago, and decided to adopt hi him as his pet, affectionately naming him Gobbla. Runtgit broke free, fed Snotruk to Gobbla and took control over the Backstairs Boyz. Then he turned his sights to ridding Karak Eight-Peaks of the Skaven, starting by assassinating his old mate Skreekrit. It was around this time that the shaman of the Backstairs Boyz would give Runtgit the proper name of Skarsnik, which loosely means “grim cutter” or “tough stabber”. He would eventually take control of the Crooked Moons entire by arranging the death of Dungstrangler.
From then on, Skarsnik became the foremost greenskin warlord in the Worlds Edge Mountains, with even orc warbosses being forced to submit to the cunning goblin or be fed to Gobbla. His main seat of power is still Karak Eight-Peaks, though he regularly has to defend his conquered territory from the forces of a vengeful Belegar Ironhammer and the insane Queek Head-Taker.
Skreech Verminking manipulated Skarsnik into helping in the murder of Belegar, promising that the Skaven will leave the Hold once the dwarves are dead. Of course, the Verminlord lied and so Skarsnik's army fight The Battle in the Great Vale* with the Skaven afterwards. During the fighting, Gobbla swallowed a particularly savage Clan Moulder beastmaster whole, only to be fatally cut open from the inside out. Dismayed by the loss of Gobbla, Skarsnik lost heart and abandoned the field. It was noted that he was forgotten during the End Times but it was implied he may have been present at the battle of Middenheim leading the Goblins alongside Grimgor's Beast-WAAAGH!
- note that this battle has a chapter devoted to it in the lore book of End Times: Thanqoul but no scenario in the rules book. This may be related to the choice to include the Forge World Collosal Squig in the army list.
On the Tabletop
Skarsnik has had various stats through various editions.
Like several other worthies, Skarsnik is mentioned during this time, but received no stats in the Orcs & Goblins army book.
Skarsnik is a Night Goblin Warlord who costs 205 points. He sports M4, WS5, BS3, S4, T4, W6, I5, A4 and LD8 for stats, wears light armor, and wields Skarsnik's Prodda (magical halberd, can cast a power level 5 bound spell that is a Magic Missile that inflicts 1 (+ 1 per unit of 10+ orcs or 20+ goblins within 12" of Skarsnik) armor ignoring Strength 6 hit). He and Gobbla fight as a single model with Unit Strength 3, effectively giving Skarsnik 4 more I4 S6 attacks that benefit from Killing Blow. Like all Night Goblins, Skarsnik Fears Elves and Hates Dwarves. His Sneaky Schemes rule lets him attempt to delay units, causing them to enter from their deployment edge in their first turn if he can roll a 6 on a D6 for each of them. His Tricksy Traps rule allows a Night Goblin unit that Flees as a charge reaction to rally, reform and move in the same turn.
Skarsnik's stats don't really change between editions. About the only difference is that Skarsnik's Prodda now does D3 hits when it is fired, which is increased to doing D6 hits instead if Skarsnik is within 12" of a Night Goblin Horde.
In Age of Sigmar
He's currently dead, so to keep the model on sale it was repurposed as a Loonboss with Giant Cave Squig (not to be confused with the Loonboss on Giant Cave Squig). However, the book mentions that the Bad Moon is followed by a smaller sphere of Badrock that smashes shit out of the Moon's way, and generally fights the shit out of celestial bodies. Various ideas on what the orb is include that it might be the Bad Moon's pet squig, the Moon's fist, or, most interestingly, the spirit of an ancient Grot warlord who conquered eight mountains, and in recognition for his kunnin' deeds, the Bad Moon allowed this ancient grot to party with it for all eternity.
Skarsnik in Total War: WARHAMMER
|Orcs & Goblins Gitz and Bosses|
|Orcs:||Azhag the Slaughterer - Gorbad Ironclaw - Gorfang Rotgut - Grimgor Ironhide - Grumlok and Gazbag - Wurrzag|
|Goblins:||Grom the Paunch - Skarsnik - Snagla Grobspit|