Regular readers may remember my Witch Hunters and Witches warbands for the Song of Blades and Heroes rules. Well, it's been on my mind for quite some time to expand my game by adding new factions.
Various ideas for forces which might fit into a loose version of mid-17th century England have come and gone. I have recently built a 3rd, small force of French musketeers (on a secret mission abroad to find Milady, or fighting for or against the Puritans?). Additionally, I may someday do a troop of hidden ghouls/cannibals (think Sawney Bean or "The Hills Have Eyes"). I might even build a force of Scots Covenanters, if only to have someone more fanatical than the English Puritans!
However, tonight I'm going to describe my 4th faction: the rats!
The Head Rat
So, here's the fluff: somewhere in the growing towns and cities of 1650s England, at least a few super-rats have evolved. Either these are the discarded experiments of some careless natural philosophers, or they are the product of satanic dark magic. However they came to be, the dark alleys and deserted barns are now infested with a huge number of variously-sized plague-carrying vermin!
The leader of the band is the creature above. He (she?) doesn't have a name - at least, not one that I could pronounce. However, the head rat is man-sized, intelligent, bipedal and understands people well enough to attempt to disguise its appearance so as to be able to pass amongst them without challenge. I suspect that it has unholy powers as well...
This model is from Black Tree Design.
As I understand it, all swarm models of the same type in Song of Blades and Heroes must remain in base contact. That makes this just one very large swarm of rats, rather than a number of smaller swarms. Hopefully this will provide an unusual challenge for their enemies!
The rat swarms are from Black Cat Bases, who make (in my opinion) all of the best swarms for 28mm figures. They really do look like a seething mass of small animals, rather than 4 or 5 separate models which just happen to be sharing the same base.
Mind you, looking at the other models in this band, the rat swarms' bases seem a bit bare. Hmm, perhaps I ought to put a little grass on them, to add a bit of different colour and texture?
About the size of a large dog, these critters aren't a match for a human soldier one-on-one. But whoever said that they would attack one at a time? There are enough of them to surround a careless person and give him a whole load of grief.
Models are old Games Workshop plastics; I've had these for quite some time.
At the other end of the spectrum, the warband has one huge, nightmare rat monster! Although sold as a "Giant Wererat" (it's a Reaper Bones model), the animal has huge chunks of flesh peeling away from both flanks. Either someone has already carved it up a bit or the stress of its mutation is tearing its body apart.
I think that I prefer the latter explanation; it's clearly a diabolical abomination and if such a creature was unstable (with a lifetime measured in hours after its transformation, at most) then the world would be a safer place for people like me. Not much safer, but every little bit helps, right?
I've collected and painted these models over quite a period of time, so the styles and colours aren't quite the same. Rather than repainting any of them, I'm tempted to just paint up more models instead (I've still got many of the dog-sized rats). I'll probably add some grass to the swarms, but other than that these are all completed.
So, is this a good warband? What powers or vulnerabilities might it have? Are there any obvious gaps in its composition? What do you think?