© Mantic Entertainment Ltd
Into the Rift: Chapter I
Dorin plunged the ale soaked rag into the tankard for the fifth time that morning, despite the pewter cup being as clean as it was ever likely to be. He was distracted, he always seemed distracted lately. From his usual spot behind the bar he looked out at the distant peaks of the Halpi mountains. He couldnt put his finger on what, but something was causing his bones to ache in a way that they hadn’t since the war.
For three weeks Dorin had watched battalions of soldiers trudge past The Drunken Pony on their way to the Halpi peaks. There was nothing unusual in that in itself, wait long enough in any part of Pannithor and you had good odds of spotting the banners of one army or other before breakfast.
No, what troubled Dorin was the state of the soldiers coming back the other way. Some bore the unmistakable signs of battle in the frozen peaks of the mountains. Frostbitten and bloodied these were at least a familiar sight. But others looked as though they had been dragged through a blacksmiths forge. Their skin was burnt and cracked, with armour blackened by soot. Three days past Dorin had seen a band of mighty Ogre Hunters stalk past his window on their way to the mountain. The following day he watched in surprise as one of the Hunters tore past his tavern in full flight, a look of utter terror upon their face.
Then there were the new patrons in his bar. It wasn’t uncommon for The Bank’s bailiffs to use The Drunken Pony as a resting spot while they visited the surrounding farms to ‘remind’ the occupants of their debts; Dorin always made sure he was paid up on time. And representatives from The Family were always welcome here, half of the speciality bottles stacked on the shelves behind him had been procured by ‘special arrangement’ with The Family.
More unusual were the newcomers to the region. Immaculately dressed in matching uniforms that Dorin didn’t recognise, these strangers gave off an air of confident superiority, an illusion quickly shattered when their leader flinched and recoiled when Dorin had extended a grubby hand in greeting. Dorin suspected that these strangers were not accustomed to spending much time in the outside world, but they paid their tab and were polite enough. Besides, they seemed to know things and Dorin was no fool, he knew it was best to stay on the right side of people who knew too much.
Strangest of all perhaps was the man in the corner hidden under a thick black cloak. When Dorin had tried to start up a conversation with the man, he quickly regretted it. He raved to Dorin for over an hour about how the new Halfling Semaphore masts were causing plague. Dorin was a simple Dwarf, but he knew crazy when he heard it.
As he returned the tankard to the shelf above the bar for the fifth time, Dorin looked out across The Drunken Pony with somber eyes. Something was coming to the Halpi Mountains and the ache in his bones told him that it wasn’t good...
The four Institutions have marshalled their forces and have arrived at the edge of the Halpi Mountain range, each set on staking their claim to the treasures below.
But all is not as it seems. Advanced scouts report strange and ever changing landscapes. Paths which led to one location one day, suddenly lead elsewhere the next. Ice capped mountain passes give way to fields of burning sulphur and ash, only to be replaced with lucious meadows of wildflowers or fields of decaying corpses the next.
The fingertips of every Wizard within 100 miles crackle with new found energy. There are even tales of some who have never before displayed an aptitude for the arcane, summoning great bolts of lightning from their hands.
It had been assumed that the great conflict would begin once the Institutions reached the Rift, but they are quickly learning that reaching the Rift will not be as easy as first hoped.
Each of the Institutions have come to the same conclusion. What is needed first is a staging ground, a firm footing on reality from where further expeditions into the Halpi Mountains can be launched. The winners of this first skirmish will stake their claim to the most promising routes through the mountain, the losers will have to content themselves with the paths less trodden.
Marshal your Forces!
You play as an agent of one of the four Institutions with your actions and in-game results leading to the success or failure of their endeavours into the Rift – This is where the limits of who you are and what your motivations are begins. We strongly encourage you to come up with your own narrative for who you are and why you’re fighting your way to the Rift.
Do you choose to play the same army each round? A clandestine company from The Collective, a group of battle scholars from The College, a loyal Basilean Warband who are simply choosing to fight alongside The Bank as a convenient means of making it to the Mountains. Or do you change armies each round? In that case, are you an enforcer for The Family? Giving Generals from all different walks of life ‘offers they can't refuse’ in order to get them to fight in The Family’s interest.
The stories that you create shouldn’t be kept to yourself. One of the really exciting things about partnering with Tabletop Conflict is that the platform allows players to upload their own narratives at the end of each game. We’ll be reading through all of these after-action reports and the stories that you craft for your armies will be incorporated directly into the main storyline.
Round 1: The Material Plane
Round 1 will be played in the Material Plane and games should be played at 2000 points using the Dominate scenario. You may use whatever map / terrain you like, however we have created a pre-made scenario map available on Universal Battle 2 that lets you battle around Dorin’s tavern, The Drunken Pony. This can be found by searching for ‘Into the Rift - Round 1’ in the terrain map tool.