The Irondogs – Part 6

Today we’re going to take a look at two of the key elements of the Necromunda set-up I’ve been working on; my Goliath gang boss Korak Kingbreaker and his old stomping ground, the territory of Ironhouse. Be warned, I ramble on a lot!

Goliath Gang

Let’s talk about Korak first. Developing the  personalities and backgrounds of our gangers and charting their exploits on the tabletop is right at the heart of everything Necromunda fans love about the setting. I’m a huge fan of the orks but with 70 boys in my army I can’t pretend that any of them stand out to me as individuals. Pick out a random skeleton warrior and ask its owner who it was before it died and your likely to get a very long-suffering look at best. Inquire about the backstory of an Orlock juve on the other hand and prepare yourself for a lengthy explanation of how they came to join the gang, their goals and aspirations and the adventures they have taken part in so far.

Now of course it hardly needs to be said that I encourage getting to know the characters in any army, the extra depth that develops as a result is quite unparalleled. However whilst you may well write pages and pages of notes on the life history of your Chapter Master only the most dedicated of hobbyists would dream of doing something similar for every tactical marine (if that’s you by the way I salute you, you are a hero to me). Nonetheless I would argue that beyond the world of Inq28 you will never find gamers who get to know their characters as well as those of us who dwell in the Underhive.

Despite this some characters will inevitably end up being more influential than others. As the leader of my gang Korak shapes the direction that the whole crew end up taking. His story is the story of the Irondogs, stamped indelibly upon the gang, their rivals and their territories.  It all begins with the soon to be infamous atrocity know as the Feast of Khorg…

Before we get into all that however that take a look at Korak himself. That way if you’re finding all this rabbiting on terribly dull you can skip the rest, having at least seen what is hopefully a nicely imposing miniature!

Convert Or Die Wudugast Goliath (6)Convert Or Die Wudugast Goliath (9)

Incidentally I’m aware that I’ve made a poxy job of drilling out the barrels on his gun, best to salve my ego by not mentioning it eh? At some point it will begin to annoy me so much that I replace it, I do have a few spares of that gun kicking around.

Convert Or Die Wudugast Goliath (3)Convert Or Die Wudugast Goliath (4)Convert Or Die Wudugast Goliath (5)

If you plan on surviving long in the Underhive you’re going to need plenty of willpower and determination. Korak is a survivor. He has battled the worst that the Underhive can throw at him, pulling himself up by the bootstraps and crawling over the corpses of friends and rivals alike. Naturally, as a Goliath, he’s also gifted with phenomenal strength married to a willingness to indulge in act of supreme violence at the drop of a hat. This doesn’t mean he’s stupid however. There is a pernicious rumour going around which states that the Goliaths are all a bit thick (I blame the Eschers personally). Often they find themselves conflated with the Orks, on the grounds that the two are muscular, violent and love big, loud guns. However I would go so far as to suggest that they actually have as much, if not more, in common with the Dwarves. They are a proud and stubborn people, they are skilled smiths and metal workers, they are hardy and – most of all – they are exceptionally practical. If a tool can double as a weapon then that’s one less thing to carry. Why kill with flair or flourish when the main thing is making sure your enemy is dead? When a Van Saar’s fancy gun jams on Underhive filth, or an Escher’s stiletto snaps against furnace plate a Goliath’s fists will be more than enough to keep him alive. You might not catch a Goliath reading poetry (although if called upon to do so he might beat you around the head with the hardback edition) but offer him a book on tactics or advanced furnace maintenance and – assuming he’s learnt to read, hardly a given in the Underhive – he’ll be a happy man. Korak then is an intelligent, cunning and at times almost political, character. However this doesn’t mean that he is any less ruthless when he needs to be. He may have a good friend in Ugly Gabe (more on him soon!) but the Goliaths are a recalcitrant bunch. They respect strength above all because a weak leader is a death sentence in the Underhive. It’s nothing personal, they may even like him as a man, but if he can’t demonstrate ruthless authority when he needs to then he has to go. Most of the gangers would love to be leader someday and Bosrak in particular is an unhinged maniac, his brain turned to porridge by too many combat stims. On a bad day he’d beat up his own shadow on a bulkhead wall. So long as Korak’s authority remains absolute however Bosrak serves willingly as his most fearsome enforcer and attack dog (even more frightening than Snuggles – more on her below).

Convert Or Die Wudugast Goliath (10)

Those of you who’ve stock with me as far (well done by the way) may well be wondering who the aforementioned Khorg was, what happened at his feast and what kind of place is Ironhouse? Well I’m so glad you asked! Having found out a little about Korak let’s take a look at his old boss Khorg.

Convert Or Die Wudugast Goliath (7)

For those living in the lower reaches of Hive Araneus Khorg’s word was law and his influence absolute. His was the iron fist that had claimed a great swath of territory, covering hundreds of levels, dozens of domes and manufactora and thousands of kilometres of rusting corridors. Countless overseers feared him over their own house lords and countless more workers toiled in terror of the coming of his enforcers. In time his holdings spread from the toxic depths at the hive core to the ash shantys beyond the walls and up, creeping like a cancer closing its fist around a heart, towards the spires of the Hive itself. One after another, Goliath gangs bent the knee to him whilst his rivals were swept aside and so his forces grew into a true army, fiercely loyal and – to those seeking to maintain the status quo especially – desperately dangerous. Few dared challenge him openly and of those who did none survived long. High above, in the filtered air and well-lit chambers of the spires, his name was being spoken with increasing loathing. His ambitions where plain and all the Hive Lords knew that in time he would seek first to claim a place among them then to see each deposed until only he remained. Even amongst the lords of House Goliath such a thing was intolerable, for when it comes to their rivals a shared bloodline offers no safety and the thought of a pretender gang-lord taking a seat at their table was more than they were willing to suffer even to further the goals of their House. Who can say what pacts were struck among them but the men and women who rule Necromunda are like sharks that swim in black water, predators without compassion and ruthless in defence of their power.

In a grand display of strength Khorg called his army together. Many hundreds of Goliaths gathered for a festival of feasting, gladiatorial combat and feats of strength. It was a show of power intended to rival the greatest excesses of the spires, and to remind those dwelling in the lower reaches that Khorg and not Helmawr ruled here. Some even believed that Khorg intended to conclude with a declaration of war and send his troops rampaging upwards through pre-mapped tunnels and shafts to tear the head from hive governance in a single strike. If he had been so foolish he would have been sorely disappointed, the roads into the spires are well guarded, built to withstand a frontal assault and patrolled by legions of ruthless house veterans. As it is more subtle agents were in play, and the Hive Lords also wished to use the Feast as an opportunity to display their power and displeasure to all who might harbour thoughts of sedition.

Who, now, can truly say what Khorg might have planned? At the height of the Feast an explosion raged through the hall, bringing down the roof and crushing Khorg and his army beneath a tidal torrent of rubble. Of Khorg’s senior lieutenants Korak was one of the few to survive, pulled from the wreckage by his old gang-mate Ugly Gabe. With most of their gang-mates lost the two decided to return to their old territory in Ironhouse, from which to consolidate their turf and do what they could to survive the coming storm.

Convert Or Die Wudugast Goliath (8)

By setting things in the aftermath of the Feast we find the depths of the hive in a state of turmoil. A power vacuum has suddenly opened up and an enterprising gang can seize prime turf and, if they can hold onto it, make a name for themselves. Ironhouse is one such territory, a settlement crammed with the thousands of sweating workers that are needed to maintain the ancient machines of the Halcyon Gate, packed alongside the destitute and the desperate. It is a gateway in its own right, a half-hidden back door by which illicit goods may enter the Hive, and in the days of Khorg’s reign was a Goliath stronghold ruled by Korak as Khorg’s vassal. Now Korak intends to hold it for his own, but that won’t be easy. His gang now has only a fraction of their former numbers whilst covetous enemies are muscling in on their turf. Both Orlock and Cawdor have large and influential presences in the local area and could easily decide to stamp out the Goliaths once and for all. More pressingly however a gang from House Escher calling themselves the Ladykillers are moving in whilst whispers of sedition run through the local populace like rot through a sack of corpse starch. For a long time the workers have been oppressed by the boot of House Goliath and there are those who say there shall never be a better time to be rid of them, even if calling for the strength to do so accrues a bloody debt to be paid to sinister allies from beyond the veil. Perhaps most pressing of all are the local ash-crust miners. Having armed themselves to defend against raiders now they’re seizing territory from the more established houses. Rumours that they harbour strange mutants amongst their number remain unsubstantiated however.

If Korak intend to hold off these rivals he needs support. He has put out a call to other survivors of Khorg’s army to gather beneath his banner, although as yet very few have done so. Furthermore in all of the confusion his beloved pet Snuggles has vanished into the flooded corridors beneath Ironhouse. Time to gather the boys and lure her out again.

Convert Or Die Wudugast Goliath (2)Convert Or Die Wudugast Goliath (1)

Inventing a detailed background for both Korak, his gang and his turf had got me really excited about this project again. I’ve already started doodling maps of the territories around Ironhouse that will soon be echoing to the sound of gunfire as the gangs set to carve out a home for themselves from the corpse of Khorg’s empire. First order of business will be painting up Ugly Gabe as he’s right at the core of the gang as well, then I’ll start on some of the other characters I’ve been inspired to create.


27 responses to “The Irondogs – Part 6

  • Alex

    Love it mate – a great background makes all the difference to any force, but especially in a skirmish game like Necro… thanks for sharing it dude, keep it coming!

  • Thomas

    So cool! The model and paint job is great, the lore lifts it to another level.

    • Wudugast

      Thank you! You know this of course but I’d recommend it to anyone, getting to know the character I was working on really gave me a push to do a better job. I can cut corners when it comes to some old random Goliath but this is Korak, I’ve got to get it right! Glad you enjoyed the background, there will inevitably be more.

  • Ad

    Nice ones, gotta love the subbtle conversion, and the great effect a simple headswap can do.

    • Wudugast

      Cheers! Yeah, it’s not the biggest change but I think it really personalises him. I really like the look of the studio Goliath boss, there’s so much power and aggression in that pose, but at the same time I wanted to make someone who was uniquely mine so I couldn’t just copy it exactly. As soon as I tried out that head he just came to life.

  • warbosskurgan

    Great looking gang and a fab background.

  • castigatoruk

    Splendid stuff, I’m glad to see it isn’t just me that gets really involved their gang.
    Looking forward to seeing the rest of your crew….and My Escher are more than a little jealous that you have a pet already 😉

    • Wudugast

      Oh yeah, getting over involved in the background of your gang is half the fun 😀 As for the pet, my partner’s Eschers sympathise completely. Plus neither of us are that keen on the WIP they showed of the cats a few months back. I’m wondering about the beast that comes with the Darkoath warband for Nightvault, it looks feline so we might use it to convert a pet for the Eschers instead.

      • castigatoruk

        Yeah the Phyrr cats they showed were a bit disappointing. I’ve been racking my brains for something to use instead but it’s looking increasingly like it will have to be Gryphon Hound with a scratch built head.

      • Wudugast

        That sounds like it could be amazing, well beyond my sculpting skills at the moment though. I thought about using the gryph hounds to make cyber-mastiffs but in the end I just bit the bullet and bought Slate and Macula.

  • theimperfectmodeller

    Enjoyed the narrative and really love the figures. As for the barrel drilling, surely a case of wear and tear from excessive weapon firing, in which case you’ve captured added realism. I love detail!

    • Wudugast

      Of course, it makes perfect sense! This is exactly what happens if you use a delicate and temperamental, not to mention highly expensive and valuable, gun as a makeshift bludgeon! Let’s agree that I did it deliberately after all!

  • Pete S/ SP

    Great figures. Love the story too. Will have to follow their adventures closely.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

  • Faust

    “A real boss never shows his face.” – Darth Vader

    Well, maybe not Darth, but he should have. Anyways, love the leader. I’m still not crazy about that huge hammer over the shoulder pose, but somehow your helmeted leader works. Possibly you did some other shifting around in your conversion to make the pose work better too? Either way, I’m contemplating making some changes to that model to try and get it to work better for me.

    Nice background, you obviously put a lot of thought into it. I think a narrative will begin to form in my head as we start playing and characters start doing cool and interesting things. I’m really curious about your maps and hope you share them sometime. I have so much to learn about this game.

    • Wudugast

      Thanks man. I don’t think I made any changes to the pose, I ended up messing around with it a lot when I first built him (rather a long time ago now) but I’m pretty sure in the end I went with exactly the studio set up for him (because personally I actually really like it, he looks supremely powerful to my eye). 🙂

      I think once you start rolling dice a narrative definitely takes off, whether you’ve thought about it before that point or not. I just like to have an idea in my head of who a character is prior to that. For gang leaders I really want to know a lot about them, for champions it’s less detailed, and for normal gangers just a few personality traits will do (so for instance there’s one of the gangers I’m working on at the moment who’s bitter and grumpy and had his hand bitten off by his boss’s crocodile). Undoubtedly though the more games you play the more these models develop a history and become characters in their own right.

      Out of sheer hubris I may well post some of my maps in future blogs but be warned, they’re sketchy/impressionistic/surrealist at best that probably only make sense to me (random scribbles is probably the best description) rather than anything a cartographer would recognise!

      • Faust

        I’ve gone both ways in developing characters in RPGs. Fleshing them out fully or broad strokes beforehand. Both kind have their pluses and minuses, and depend on the type of game someone is running.

        For myself though, I’ve found it usually works best to start with broad strokes. Then when my character starts to interact with other players and NPCs, their voice just starts to develop naturally. It also gives me some leeway in development as I work off some of their ideas. “Oh, you came from the North Woods? Do you happen to know Trethen? He was my mentor!”. That sort of thing.

        With Blood Bowl, which is a bit closer to a skirmish gang. I’ll name some characters and that might give me some notion. But they mainly develop a story as bad/good dice rolls are made and they gain new skills (or mutations). With the high mortality rate in Blood Bowl, most players don’t get much more than a name though.

  • Alexis West

    Excellent! It really is the process of digging into the backstory and all that makes these smaller scale games so great. I look forward to seeing how Snuggles comes out!

    • Wudugast

      Thank you! Yes, 100% agree. Of course you can dig into the background of a big army but with a Necromunda gang or a kill team it almost happens by itself, I think I’d actually have to work quite hard not to.
      Was struggling a bit with Snuggles to begin with but I did some more work on her in a spare five minutes last night and I’m happier now 😀

  • PunkHammer

    I always think of the background when painting miniatures, but writing it should be the next step. Thanks for giving me motivation ! Very nice painting by the way.

    • Wudugast

      I often don’t write it down myself but like you I always give it some thought. This time I thought I’d actually get it written out properly and post it up, wasn’t sure how popular it would be but it seems to have gone down fairly well so I’ll try to put together some more soon. Glad you like the models too 😀

  • Azazel

    Korak looks great, and I really like the background you’ve written for him. Now that head… where is it from? And is the “hammer over shoulder” a piece from the core Necro box?
    Asking …for a friend.

    • Wudugast

      You can tell your “friend” that the head is from the Bloodstoker from the 1st Edition AoS boxset with the Khornate crests snipped off, and the pose is otherwise built exactly according to the instructions in the box with no tweaking or converting at all 🙂 Glad you like him!

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