I have been a very lucky boy indeed as Games Workshop sent me a copy of the new Broken Realms: Kragnos book to take a look at and I want to share lots of my thoughts with you here on this truly monstrous tome. And by that, I don’t mean it’s enormous of course (though it is bursting with content and will give you plenty to digest) but that it is a book all about big models from the titular Kragnos to Lord Kroak, from Alarielle to the Voice and the Talon of Slaanesh, and from Morathi to Gordrakk – this book is where the wild things are, and where the big minis come to play. Let’s take a closer look…
Also, there may be some spoilers in the below so look away now if you’d rather wait to get the book in your own hands – I promise not to do any really big spoils but there’s going to be some little ones for sure.
The Book Itself
First thing’s first, I want to give a shout out to the people who actually put these books together. There are some very dedicated individuals at GW who actually build these books, taking lore, rules, illustrations, photography and everything else and they actually craft these books from all of that disparate material. This book, like those in the series before it, and those in the Psychic Awakening series, is a testament to their skill. It flows wonderfully, looks sumptuous and has an enjoyable logic to it. I don’t think these folks get much of a shout out and I wanted to correct that before going further, because this book is a real stunner, and every page stands out and does what it needs to do and more. Great work!
So What’s It All About?
Briefly, as Warhammer Community have no doubt covered the majority of this already, but because it serves us all well to be reminded, it’s about the awakening of Kragnos, a being of pure destruction that has been trapped for eons. Well, now he’s free and he’s not best pleased. He sets off on a new wave of destruction, bringing gargants, troggoths, orruks, ogors and grots along with him to besiege the city of Excelsis. Excelsis is not somewhere you want to be right now as not only does it have an enormous Waaagh! bearing down on it with Kragnos at its head, it’s also fighting off some Skaven, and dealing with the minor issue of Slaanesh’s new favourite children, the Voice and the Talon, who are doing the ol’ daemonic incursion right in the heart of the city. If Excelsis was on your summer holidays list, it’s probably worth crossing that out now.
Phil Kelly and his team of writers are, as usual, doing an incredible job with the lore for Age of Sigmar. As an overarching thing, I really enjoy how I never feel lost with AoS lore. There are a billion things going on, but the overall picture is easy and accessible, and if you want to delve deeper, there’s a vast trove of ideas and information for any individual to take from – perfect for casual and obsessive devourers of fiction alike.
In BR:Kragnos, Ghur as a place is incredibly fleshed out. There’s a tremendous sense of scale to the place which the writing team here have made even more brutal and gargantuan than we have seen before. There’s a part in the section about Kragnos’ history where he is on top of a mountain which he then realises is “not a normal rocky mass but the hollow granite horn of some colossal, long-dead creature” and I love that – what it would have been like to see such a place. Ghur is the low-key star of this book and it’s had my imagination popping all over the place thanks to this writing.
The backstory for Kragnos too is a great read because it paints him out to be a proper dick. In the time before his longtime incarceration, he is painted as a petulant, cruel and frankly unlikeable monster which is what he needed really. It would have been easy to fall into the trap of making him a sympathetic character (last of his kind, misunderstood nature, etc) but that wouldn’t have worked with the forces of Destruction and so he needed to be, frankly, a bit of a bastard.
And after his release, he’s still a bit of a bastard too – I didn’t think I’d feel sympathy for a mob of mega gargants but, as they’re the first thing he meets, briefly, I do because Kragnos just kind of steam rollers them. You get the sense that he is a force of nature and just not someone you’d want to be friends with. This is great because it gives the forces of Destruction a character like the Chaos Gods, or Nagash, who is “the Big Bad”. He’s a focal point that unites those forces under him and can be a genuine threat to everyone else in a way that Destruction didn’t have before.
Skragrott and Gordrakk are big winners in this book too, with the former being painted as a scheming little git you just want to strangle, and the latter adding to his legendary destructive ways. I won’t spoil it here, but Gordrakk’s attempt to breach the walls of Excelsis is one of the funniest and purely “Orruky” things ever – had me amazed and chuckling at the same time. His stature really grew in this book too, and considering how great his mini is, that’s excellent news.
There are some other delightful bits of lore here too, including the stuff about Kroak, who, apparently at some point in history was known as “Kribhet”, and I was delighted to find this singular nod to the charming naming conventions of yesterday’s Lizardmen within these pages. And the Slaaneshi lore too is fascinating though I want to spend a bit more time with that as I think there are some wonderfully intriguing things in there and I spent most of my time focussed on Kragnos to be honest. He’s a bit (appropriately) all consuming.
All in all, it’s a tour de force from the background writing team – top stuff. I’ve found nothing to be critical of, and I was looking – I don’t want this just to be a puff piece but honestly, when it comes to the lore, this is great. Really, genuinely fascinating and it had me devouring every page – fitting given the subject matter. I’ve not been this excited about lore since the Gathering Storm books, so if you love your AoS stories, this book is worth the money just for that.
It’s worth pointing this section out. We all know these bits – the section in the middle of the book with all the pretty Eavy Metal miniatures but I do think this one is special as it is full of some of the prettiest miniatures ever made. Kragnos, Dexcessa and Synessa, Kroak… it’s a showcase of some incredible imaginations and some unparalleled skill when it comes to shaping plastic. And the paint jobs, especially on Kroak, are why Eavy Metal remain at the top of their tree – top stuff all round.
Battleplans & Rules
I’m not the buggest rules buff as regular readers will know, but I love the battleplans in this book, and the imagination the rules teams have used to create some unique scenarios. Among my favourites are the Last Flight Of The Scarlet Scourge (which looks like a good laugh), and Of Gods And Monsters (which just looks insane). I’m tempted to put together the appropriate forces for both of those!
And given the size of the minis in this book, the battletome updates you’re getting are stonkingly fantastic. Kragnos is a phenomenal monster available to all forces of Destruction. I’m not going to give all the rules away, but 18 wounds with a 2+ save should tell you just how much of a double-hard bastard he is. And he’s no fan of magic either with some nasty tricks up his sleeve there. He’s bloody pricey in points terms, but you get the distinct impression he’s worth every point with the amount of damage he can take and dish out.
Alarielle gets a nice update too – I do enjoy how these books can help give characters like this, who may have been left behind a little with the inevitable power creep, to get a refresh. Honestly, in a one on one fight against Kragnos… I’m still picking Kragnos, but I bet he’d get a bit of a kicking in the process. Oh, and it was lovely to see the Jabberslythe get an update too – a classic and woefully underused miniature that will hopefully see some more time on the table now.
The one that maybe disappointed me a little was Kroak. I remember when I first saw Teclis’ rules I immediately dubbed him “the magic bastard” and I thought Kroak would be on a par or at least only slightly behind the big elf. I dunno – I’m going to leave it to those more qualified than me to review his rules but I wasn’t saying “wow” when I read them. That being said, that model is utterly gorgeous and I’m so not going to be able to resist picking it up – a proper stunner.
Round Up Time
I’ve waffled on long enough with this. Here’s a quick breakdown of my thoughts:
Best Bit: The Lore About Kragnos. The lore is wonderful as a whole, but I like that I already dislike the character of Kragnos in the lore, and yet I love that he’s there for me to hate.
Worst Bit: Maybe some of the rules are a little underwhelming, but to be honest, I’m scrabbling to find anything in this book I don’t like. And some of the rules look amazing, and I could be wrong (it’s happened before) – there are plenty better suited than me to make that call.
Favourite Pages: There’s four at the end of the lore section with some very short stories – these are just great. A highlight among highlights.
Favourite photo: I didn’t talk much about the Van Denst pair, but I love this photo – still my favourite Endless Spell that.
So, if you love reading the continuing lore of Age of Sigmar, and you like big monstrous kits, yes, you should buy this book. I shall continue reading it and flicking through it, and I will be looking forward to seeing what happens next. I may even find the time to get some more articles out of it in the coming week. Until then, may your monstrous hordes trample all your enemies to dust! Onwards!