Ushoran

From 1d4chan
Ushoran on the cover of his own Black Library book.

Originally a clever bastard, later the head of the Strigoi Bloodline of Vampire Counts. He's about as unlucky as they come, and were it not for the forces of the universe conspiring to make his life hell he could have succeeded where other pathetic failures hadn't and conquered humanity.

The Legend[edit]

Young Ushoran in a nutshell.

Like the other Bloodline pat/matriarchs Ushoran was originally a nobleman from the province of Lahmia in Nehekhara, the Warhammer Fantasy analogue to ancient Egypt. Cousin to both Queen Neferata and her older brother Lamashizzar,

Ushoran, like Ankhat and W'soran, was born to an ancient noble bloodline. Despite being a distant relative to the Lahmia's royal family, he did not receive Asaph's blessing of looking beautiful and handsome, looking rather like a plain commoner (which is a useful trait that allows him to shake off his pursuers by blending himself with street crowds). He is also an incredibly smart and a cunning schemer who do not leaves any deep impression of himself to others, making him a natural born spy when combined with his aforementioned trait. He put his talents to use by covering up his cabal's little activities from leaking out to the public, and had never risk them into his own scheme.

Ushoran too, like other members, grew tired of Lamashizzar's incompetence and switched sides when Neferata revealed her superior mastery of the dark arts over her brother.

After Neferata became a vampire and took the throne, Ushoran became her spymaster and was given the title of Lord of Masks. His spy network stretched far and wide, extended to every great city in Nehekhara, even in Cathay where their vampire agents has made a firm contact with its local vampire for decades. Upon turned into a vampire, Ushoran became even more unpredictable than before, so much that Neferata noticed minor changes on his face, as if he could physically alter it at will.

Hilariously, Neferata once had a carpenter who was skillful enough to craft a forgery of the original throne, but the carpenter was never seen again after the throne was finished (since no corpse was left behind), and Neferata never asked about the carpenter's fate. She hinted Ushoran might've made him "disappeared" to ensure no such throne will ever be made.

Despite achieved immortality, he shared the same sentiments with the other members about Neferata's new husbandry obsession with the Rasetran prince, which they believe will led to Lahmia's destruction.

Being the scheming bastard he is, he made a secret contact with W'soran, who was busy isolating himself in the library to study the Book of Nagash. After Ushoran passed his charisma check and made W'soran confess his big plan to summon Nagash (with which he was having trouble) and how he felt about Neferata's obsession (as well as his own critique about Neferata as a ruler), Ushoran agreed to help him in exchange to work together and overthrow Neferata before she doomed Lahmia.

To help W'soran, Ushoran put on a disguise (using some makeup as well as a little bit of his talent) and hired a tomb raider to obtain Thutep's remains, only to kill the raider afterward in a display of vampire ninja assassination. Ushoran gave Thutep's remains to W'soran but W'soran's ritual did not succeed (at first).

After Alcadizzar escaped, Neferata ordered the cabal and her soldiers to find him. Ushoran was specifically assigned for this task (being a a spymaster and all), and had to interrogate many innocent Lahmians at the Temple of Blood (now with its own torture chamber and tools). Ushoran was permitted, even encouraged, to abduct people freely from the street to interrogate them about Alcadizzar's whereabouts. He tracked his living prey like a vampire Spiderman, jumping from street to building and using his vampiric senses. When convinced his victims didn't know anything, they were not released, but instead imprisoned inside his private torture dungeon for his own entertainment, Ushoran using torture methods he'd learned from Nagash's book, which Nagash himself had learnt from the Dark Elves. Ushoran came to enjoy hunting and torturing people so much he stopped caring about Alcadizzar and hoped he'd never appear again.

Ushorn was there when W'soran finally made contact with Nagash and confirmed his survival, but unfortunately for them they were caught unawares by Ankhat and Neferata. After W'soran was staked and put inside a casket, Neferata angrily question Ushoran was and once again ordered to find Alcadizzar, threatening to inflict worse suffering on him than what W'soran got him if he failed.

Realizing Neferata had finally lost patience with him, Ushoran secretly met with Zhuras, one of Lamashizzar's cousin and the loser of the cabal who had spent his immortality on gambling in the slums. Using promises of becoming royalty and gaining power, Ushoran drew him into a plan to destroy Neferata with Nagash's assistance. To do so, however, Zhuras had to act as an envoy to Nagash at Nagashizzar by crossing the northern plain, aided by six elite bodyguards while avoiding travel by boat (because Ankhat's agent patrolled the harbor). Ushoran also secretly planned to get rid of Zhuras after Nagash dealt with Neferata....which didn't work out how he hoped.

Due to a prophetess revealing where Alcadizzar would get the evidence he required to start a war against Lahmia, Zhuras and his bodyguards were ambushed there and killed. Zhuras' head, along with important documents he carried about Lahmia's vampires and Nagash's whereabouts, was sent to the Rasetran king and led to the formation of a coalition army of the great cities.

So yes. Ushoran's little scheme was the final nail in the coffin to finish off Lahmia. He had tried to overthrow Neferata but instead ended up securing her reign and destroying the city.

Although Ushoran had tried to escape, Ankhat caught him since he had his own agents watching Ushoran at all times. Neferata was also there and forced him defend Lahmia alongside the released W'soran.

On the battlefield, Ushoran hopped around slashing Nehekharan soldiers with his claw like a sadistic animal. His appetite and bloodlust, further stoked by the years of torture he'd perpetrated, made him go on an uncontrolled rampage.

His rampage ended when a group of desert horse archers shot him with barbed arrows dipped in flammable oil to immobilize him and set him alight. Ushoran could do nothing but howled in pain until his death.

But Abhorash's arrival gave the vampires time to escape and the fire died out before it could finish off Ushoran. As he slowly regenerated he limped to the top of a hill in time to see Lahmia's final moments and wondered if any of his fellow cabal members had survived.

Mourkain: Rise and Fall[edit]

Meanwhile a Necromancer called Kadon, who was the son of the chieftain and the shaman of the Lodringen tribe (which had been neglected by Sigmar's unification), found Nagash's Crown of Sorcery in the hands of the corpse of Alcadizaar washed up on the shore of a river. The crown instantly filled his mind with knowledge, and he used his newfound necromantic powers to reanimate the corpses of the dead to serve the living. A massive tomb was built for the body of Alcadizaar which also doubled as Kadon's palace and a place of burial for the Lodringen. Mourkain (known as "Morgheim" to the Empire) became the name of the capital city, while Strygos became the name of the people.

Ushoran and his followers at this point crossed the impassible mountains separating the land of the Tomb Kings from the Old World and after arriving in Mourkain, Ushoran immediately used his charm to become the main adviser to Kadon. The two of them made a powerful and expanding empire that rivaled that of the Empire of the time, and Kadon worked with Ushoran's more arcane-minded Vampire servants to create many powerful magical items as well as refine the magic of Nagash (giving rise to the Lore of Vampires used by the Vampire Count army).

Mourkain palace.

In the meantime, Ushoran rebuilt his Bloodline from the loyal citizens of Stygos. At some point after Kadon's death, Ushoran then channeled the most dangerous power in any Warhammer settings (common sense!) and instituted laws prohibiting his vampire minions from feeding on the general populace: they only drained the blood from willing servants, or criminals, prisoners of war and slaves. The protection of the Vampires combined with the growing power and luxury provided by the wise rulership made the people of Strygos very loyal to their rulers in a way that rivals that of current Bretonnian Peasantry.

Once the kingdom had grown enough in power, Ushoran sent messengers to the other Bloodline leaders with plans for a united Vampire race. Only W'soran answered his invitations. The two of them further refined the Lore of Vampires and created many more magical objects, eventually unlocking the full power of the Crown of Sorcery for Ushoran's use.

So at this point, things were going fantastically for Ushoran and the Strygos. As one might expect, this is the point in the story where everything went to hell.

Neferata took the invitation of Ushoran as an implication that she was to serve him (and she might have been right). She was so incensed by the idea that another Vampire would rule over her like she had all of them only a short time ago (by Vampire reckoning), and that Ushoran was making such an offer after his role in the fall of Lahmia, she manipulated the young Empire into gathering an army and attacking Strygos. While he could have easily beaten them and added the Empire to his ranks, an Orc WAAAGH had gathered both due to Abhorash and the first Blood Dragons nearly wiping them out in the nearby mountains and the slow encroachment of the Strygos on their lands. The greenskins destroyed a straight path to the foot of Mourkain itself.

While Ushoran and Kadon devastated both armies, Kadon was slain and the Strygos and Strigoi forces took massive casualties to the point that the greenskins and Warboss that remained were able to smash through the city gates and destroy it. Ushoran and his remaining Bloodline held the line near the rear of the city so that the human population, fanatically loyal to him, could flee to the distant hills. At this point W'soran and his followers betrayed the Strigoi (according to the Necrarch account because the Crown of Sorcery had begun to take control of Ushoran and W'soran wanted to save the only man he had ever considered a friend, although this would hardly have been a bad end for them as he had worshiped Nagash as a god shortly before draws the story into doubt). W'soran weakened the Strigoi until they could no longer stand against the WAAAGH, and after being beaten by Ushoran fled for his life to the mountains.

The kingdom of Strigos fell and became know as the Badlands to the people of the Old World.

Ushoran was separated from his kin during their retreat and seemingly crushed under a sea of green, so the remaining Strigoi Vampires broke ranks and fled in different directions. Without leadership, the Bloodline degenerated and most gave into their animalistic urges. Where before they had been restrained to non-lethal blood drinking or to consuming the dregs of society, they indulged themselves to the point that a single Strigoi was capable of consuming all living creatures from mice to giants for miles before rest.

The other Bloodlines became exceedingly hostile to the Strigoi. The appearance of a Strigoi in the midst of an area controlled by Lahmians brought Witch Hunters on their heads, so Lahmians were quick to personally kill them or hire mercenaries to put them out of their (their meaning the Lahmian's) misery. The von Carsteins saw them as beggars, and did to them as the inspiration for their Bloodline did (hint: it involves fire and impalement). The traitorous Necrarchs saw them as a source of crafting materials with which to make new monsters and dissected them with glee (although they DO still trade with them and make deals with them, as Necrarchs are smart not to burn their bridges entirely). The Blood Dragons saw them as mere beasts to slay and drink the blood of for a challenge. As a result, Strigoi Vampires became more and more a group of loners.

During the early centuries of the Empire, the threat of Vampires was considered very real. The first Witch Hunters relentlessly pursued the Strigoi Vampires, despite the ineffective forces knowing very little about them. More often they attacked the people of Strigos, who had since become Warhammer's gypsy analogue and lived on the outskirts of most towns and cities in the Empire. As the years went on, the mistreatment of the Strigos grew until many (often those in positions of political clout amongst the isolated clans) began to behave as the Witch Hunters believed them to have always been: witches, necromancers, and seekers of Vampirism. Ironically, the attacks of the von Carsteins under Vlad made the Witch Hunters far less focused on Strigos, but FAR more effective at hunting the Vampires themselves. But the damage had been done, and the Strigos are oftentimes the allies of Vampires who in turn usually treat them with a degree of respect (to the point that a Strigoi Vampire may literally ONLY restrain his urges from preying upon the gypsy Strigos bands...and instead consuming every man, woman, child, and animal in the nearby Empire town then fleeing resulting in the Strigos moving in to loot and live, benefiting the still loyal Strigos greatly).

For his part, Ushoran did NOT die. He has lived primarily in isolation, learning that his kin from other Bloodlines were far less loyal than ordinary mortal humans and that his own Bloodline, however loyal when he was around, were weak willed without him.

During the time of the Three Emperors of the Empire, the Strigos were persecuted more than they ever were, to the point that when the (then) Elector Count of Averland formed a group to genocide the Strigos, much of the Empire considered him a hero. Needless to say, Ushoran was NOT impressed when he found out. He wiped out an entire greenskin WAAAGH that threatened the Strigany who had returned to Mourkain, then single-handedly wiped out the forces and leaders who had sought the destruction of his gypsy followers.

The Elector Count of Averland was turned and made one of the Strigoi Bloodline: Ushoran enjoyed watching the former tormentor struggle with his Vampirism, with the man only capable of restraining himself out of fear of becoming like the other Strigoi. Ushoran returned to Mourkain and sent a call for his Strigoi Vampire family and the Strigany humans to return to the city to rebuild.

As the Storm of Magic (or Age of Reckoning grew in strength, the body of Kadon became reanimated as a Lich and sought to rebuild his former kingdom and reclaim the Crown of Sorcery.

Age of Sigmar[edit]

"They say I'm crazy, HA! I'LL SHOW THEM, I'LL SHOW THEM ALL! Won't I, Mister Sqeaky-Bones?! FILTHY FUCKING BARBARIANS, REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

– possibly Ushoran, upon escaping the Shroudcage.

Ushoran did not survive the complete destruction of the Old World, but since he was undead and Nagash had become a god, Ushoran was brought bac in the new setting. Then Nagash had him trapped in something called the Shroudcage, like a fancy parrot you torment for a week before forgetting of their existence. But when bone daddy got uppity and tossed a wrench in everyone's favorite golden idiot's plans, the Fantasy God Emperor personally came down to Shyish to smash his skull, and in attempting to do so he accidentally toppled the Shroudcage over.

Ushoran escaped, but after being locked up for so long there, he has gone completely mad and sees himself as a sophisticated king traveling the Realms with a court of majestic gold, noble men and women joining him as impeccable courtiers everywhere he goes, which quickly lead to an impressive list of new names and titles his followers come up with.

Needless to say, this isn't quite the case.

What in his eyes are brave paladins and diligent men-at-arms are in truth filthy, frenzied, mishappen creatures feasting not on elaborate banquets but on the corpses of their foes, who are more often than not scared peasants and city guards rather than horrible monsters needing to taste the blade of a knight.

The thing is, his madness is contagious. Everyone in Ushoran's court and the ones he infected with his vampirism and later left to form their own bands (called Abhorrent Ghoul Kings) suffer these delusions as if they saw everything through their "kings'" warped perspectives, and consume anyone who may be disagreeable to their madness.

These "noble courts" join all sides, draw from all sides, and war against all sides in an unpredictable clusterfuck that messes with everyone equally. Nobody likes them, though Nagash considers them under his rule due to all the Death magic permeating them, but is unable to really control them and has promised great rewards for anyone who comes to a Mortarch with any information on Ushoran (said reward likely being some form of undeath, but not necessarily a comfy seat in Nagash's forces).

Strigoi[edit]

Unlike other Vampire Bloodlines, the Strigoi mostly lack central leadership. During the seclusion of Ushoran they spread out throughout the Old World, giving in to their base natures and degenerating into hulking brutes. Initially they ate solid food out of inability to restrain themselves and often vomited it up as Warhammer Vampires are mostly incapable of consuming anything but blood without conditioning. Strigoi Vampires eventually overcame their weakness, becoming almost as capable of digesting anything as an Ogre.

Strigoi rarely find themselves in the company of others for long, although Ghouls being the human equivalent to themselves are the company they are found in more than anything else. Rare is the Strigoi capable of much advanced thought, but those that are (for various reasons like being only given to periodic indulgence rather than constant, regaining some level of self control after a traumatic event, almost starving to death and returning to rational thought, conditioning by another intelligent being, or the rare guidance of Ushoran) will seek out Strigos Necromancers, resurrect Zombies (who despite being slower than molasses running uphill to the frustration of feral Strigoi, are simple enough to animate and useful as minions), then advance the goals of Ushoran or join the von Carsteins. The most intelligent (or the most feral and powerful) can easily find themselves beasts to tame or packs to join amongst the various monsters of the world. The Necrarchs can be quite helpful at assisting them in both cases.

On the Tabletop[edit]

Ushoran has never had a model. Only released in 6e where Vampire Counts saw a trimming of their named characters rather than additions, he remains something that can only be emulated on the tabletop.

If you want to use him, it's tempting to use a Strigoi Ghoul King. Remember though, Ushoran never gave into his primal nature.* Although he somehow came to resemble his Bloodline (unless this is an illusion of his to inspire kinship amongst them anyway), he still retains his intelligence. Being a manipulative bastard, he should be used as a Vampire Lord kitted out like a Lahmian with abilities like Beguile. He should also have Necromancers, representing his loyal Strigany followers.

  • EDIT: Not exactly true. Ushoran is noted in Ancient Blood to have been feral for some time, and only came back to his senses and return to sapient life after receiving the blood of a specific strigany boy and then going on a serial killer rampage through the Western Empire in revenge for the aforementioned Strigany. So if you played a pre-blood Ushoran, you could field a Ghoul King (or an Archregent if you're playing AoS, as he's so insane in that that just being near him drives you insane too).

Gallery[edit]