“I awoke to a loud commotion in the darkness. Taking my lamp pack from beside my bunk, I walked to the door and peered out.
There, in wet rags was Captain Skraan – hanging from the bulkhead. His eyes moved in a sea of red, framed by a jaw that had been brutally disconnected by something sharp on one side.
Beside him and devoid of armour, a lanky figure who was clearly Nostraman Astartes stock stood alone. It was evident by the scraps of armour on the floor that Captain Skraan had been torn out of his battle plate in a vicious assault that had lasted only a few seconds.
It was evident by the blood patina on his skin that this individual had been the one to do it to him.
A lone black hatchet was half embedded in what was once the faceplate of Captain Skraans helm.Remembrancer Aleksenter Malaek, assigned to the VIII Legion.
The figure stepped forwards into my lamps light and uttered, in perfect Nostraman:
I, am Nakrid Thole; and I am the Captain now.“
Nakrid Thole is a true Son of Nostramo. He has never seen the surface of Terra, never seen the light of the Emperor. He has only known a brutal form of warfare; the spite, the terror and hatred that the Night Lords unleash upon worlds.
Those Commanders that Thole deems are weak or show incompetence find themselves dealt with by The Devils Due, his signature power-hatchet. Such action was something Thole brought with him from the Nostraman gang culture, something that was never trained out of him.
When the Night Haunter left the Legion to pursue his own guerrilla war against Imperium Secundus; Thole rallied forces loyal to his command and created The Cross of Bone. With this force, a vehicle from which he would further drag the Legion into the dark and bloody shadows; Thole ushered in the new era of the Warband out for itself instead of the benefit of the Legion.
Thole is a solid narrative build and has a stat line straight out of the Legion Praetor datasheet for 185 points.
With a Weapon Skill of 6 Thole is comfortable in melee against his peers, especially with supported by an Initiative of 6. This means that he will fight before a standard Legion Praetor – which is to be expected from a character costing what he does.
He comes complete with Artificer Armour and a Refractor Field; providing him a 2+/5++ save characteristic. This means that he has an average vulnerability to AP 2 but will be able to deal with AP 3 and above fairly convincingly.
However, it’s his rather solid set of special rules that makes him stand out.
First off, Thole has Legiones Astartes (Night Lords) meaning he has full access to the Night Lords Legion traits, making his already good capabilities in melee enter into the realm of solid-performing.
This is made a little better by the fact he has Trophies of Judgement granting him Fear.
He is also a Master of the Legion, meaning you can take Rites of War with him. This clearly is not a surprise when you consider he is the Leader of The Cross of Bone, which is able to be portrayed in game thanks to the Rite of War by the same name.
Thole has Counter-Attack, giving him +1 Attack when he is charged by a unit (until the end of the phase). This means he is particularly dangerous as he is likely to strike before any chargers due to his high initiative and as we will find out below; he has a few tricks up his sleeve in melee.
Finally, being a character who has employed tactical cowardice to great success over his years of service, Thole has Valour’s Shadow. This rule means that when he is reduced to 0 wounds, the controlling player rolls a D6; on a 5+ he is removed from play but does not count as being destroyed for the purpose of scoring Victory Points or achieving Objectives. This means that even if you go in for a high risk or aggressive play; you have the chance to limit the damage to the overall game if it goes wrong. Denial of Victory Points is always a nice rule and frankly fits in nicely with his narrative.
Overall, for 185 points, he has very few special rules; but they have definite narrative and game mechanic purposes.
|Volkite Serpenta||10″||5||5||Pistol, Deflagrate|
Thole is equipped with a Volkite Serpenta, meaning that he has a fairly good weapon combined with his Ballistic Skill of 5. Volkite Serpenta have a hidden potency and always seem to do better than their stats suggest.
Clearly, being a Night Lord; Thole is geared towards melee. In this regard he doesn’t disappoint, bringing with him some genuinely out of the box weapons and a rule that only serves to enhance the narrative of a gang-culture warlord let loose among the galaxy.
|Flay-Whip||–||User||4||Melee, Rending, Electro-Charge, Web of Steel, Specialist Weapon|
|The Devils Due||–||+2||2||Melee, Unwieldy, The Devils Due, Murderous Strike, Mastercrafted|
The Nostraman Flay-Whip is a nasty design of electrified wire studded with viciously hooked spikes. Its Tholes primary weapon and the one he may initially make close combat attacks with; it’s also a Specialist Weapon, meaning he doesn’t get the extra attack for having the Volkite Serpenta and the Flay-Whip. The weapon has Rending, meaning that on a roll of a 6+ the weapons AP 4 is commuted to AP 2. This is a nice rule, but things really get exciting with Electro-charge and Web of Steel.
Electro-Charge is a rule that means any model that suffers an unsaved wound from this weapon immediately reduces its initiative to 1 until the end of the controlling players next turn. Whilst the change of Stasis Anomaly causing weapons has been close to game-breaking, Electro-Charge is internally balanced by the fact only a single model has this weapon, it’s AP 4 and melee only. It is a good and narrative driven rule – reinforcing that this is a character that takes the Night Lords strategy of asymmetric warfare and takes it as far as possible – just like on the streets of Nostramo.
Web of Steel is a lovely little rule that once again takes a narrative approach – being a whip, a model equipped with a melee weapon with the Web of Steel rule may choose to forfeit all of its normal attacks in order to make a single attack against each enemy model from a unit that is locked in combat and within 2″ of the wielder, using the Flay-Whips profile. However, Electro-charge does not trigger when used like this. So he has the ability to do a single sweeping attack that has the potential to have Rending. Something to potentially consider when you find yourself surrounded.
The Devils Due is where the narrative reaches its pinnacle for Thole. It’s effectively a Power-Hatchet able to cut through armour like flesh and flesh like butter. He wielded the weapon in his left hand, concealed from view until the perfect opportunity to strike presents itself.
If an enemy model in base contact has its initiative reduced to 1 by the effects of any other weapon or special rule then this model may make a single additional attack against the enemy model. This attack is made immediately before the enemy model would attack and uses the profile for The Devils Due.
In effect, this is a Strength 6, AP 2, Mastercrafted, Instant Death on a to wound roll of a 6 version of:
“Parry this you filthy casual”
It’s genuinely refreshing to see a new character released with no rules bloat, but instead a narrative driven game mechanic that is internally balanced. It’s typical Night Lords.
Lets look at a typical round where you’ve charged in – as said, there’s Fear baked in via Trophies of Judgement, so a Fear test occurs first off. If the enemy fails, they are reduced to WS 1 for the remainder of the fight phase.
With 4 Attacks base and 1 for charging, Nakrid Thole gets 5 attacks. Remember that the Flay-Whip is a Specialist Weapon and therefore cannot generate an extra attack from also having the Volkite Serpenta.
Weapon Skill 6 means that against humble Tactical Squads you’re hitting on 3+, but with Legiones Astartes (Night Lords) granting A Talent For Murder you’ll be hitting on 2+ at Initiative 6. Don’t forget that if it’s Night Fighting with Terror Assault you also gain +1 Initiative; something that is faintly terrifying.
So you’ve hit at Initiative 6 (or 7) and at Strength 4 you’re wounding Tactical Squads on 4+. This is when A Talent For Murder triggers again for the 1+ to Wound, bringing us to 3+ to wound. Now, this is where Rending also kicks in, whereby any rolls of 6+ cause the wound to be AP 2.
Should any unsaved wounds occur, that model is reduced immediately to Initiative 1. Whereby Thole then steps in again, just before they attack and whips out the power-hatchet that is The Devils Due. Now, if you’re rolling a 6+ to wound then clearly that’s a model removed if you’re fighting his peers or any that lack Eternal Warrior.
Nakrid Thole is a statement in narrative character design.
There’s no bloated rules making him overpowered, there’s just a core mechanic that he is based around. Now that core mechanic of The Devils Due has the ability to be quite effective in a turn where you get the electro-charge to trigger; but you have to jump through a few hoops to get there first. That’s why it’s balanced and narrative and overall, fun.
He isn’t super strong, but will definitely be a lovely addition to any Night Lords army. Being the Leader of The Cross of Bone, you’re likely to see him leading armies using the Rite of War named after it. This will only make him better, as it adds +1 attack if he is the only Independent Character in a unit via the rule of The Strong Are Strongest Alone.
Thole is a character who in my opinion you can be a bit looser with due to Counter-Attack. That doesn’t mean to say be ignorant of him as that 5+ will bite you. However, a decent amount of attacks base, decent rules and wargear with a really nice special weapon means that you can lead the army more from the front than you might with a normal Praetor.
Don’t forget too, if Thole removes the final wound from the enemies Warlord when using The Cross of Bone that’s an extra VP. All whilst Valour’s Shadow means that if it all goes wrong for you whilst trying to achieve that; you can deny the enemy the Victory Points for killing him on a roll of a 5+.
AVE DOMINUS NOX!