Dark Conspiracy – The Battle for Antoch Plains

We talked about Warmaster earlier this week, and one of the settings that really spoke to me, was the conflict of Lizardmen vs Bretonnians from the 5th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battles starter set. It would be something different than the End Times or Storm of Chaos, and for that reason I want to give you an overview.

To validate my ideas of those armies, I grabbed the two army books and gave them a proper browse, if there is something that either would increase my interest or pop up some red flag for it. So far, only a strong breath of nostalgia leading me further down the rabbit hole.

Warmaster - Bretonnia and Lizardmen

And to support the release, there were campaigns that were played in the stores all over the world and partially in clubs or at home. And those had some interesting backstories, which are going to be the core of this project.

White Dwarf - Issue 205 January 1997 White Dwarf - Issue 206 February 1997 White Dwarf - Issue 207 March 1997 White Dwarf - Issue 208 April 1997

Jervis Johnson, Rick Priestley, Nigel Stillman and Andy Chambers came up with the idea to pick up the format of Ichar IV (a world wide campaign in 1995 and was reconnected into the lore as part of the Second Tyrannic War) and translate it for the release of the new (5th) edition of Warhammer Fantasy. And due to Jervis Johnsons fascination for the X-files, he came up with the name A Dark Conspiracy, which was announced in White Dwarf #205, January 1997.

The initial action, that set the campaign off happened in 1847, when the Duc d'Lorrain set his sails from Bordelaux towards Lustria, was the looting of the city of Huatl. This caused for a counter attack by the Lizardmen, pushing the Bretonnian war party back towards the Lustrian coast and they had to retreat after taking massive losses. But they didn't retreat empty handed and were in possession of many ancient artifacts, they stole from the ruins of the Lizardman temples in Huatl. But on their journey back towards Bretonnia, the fleet mutinied and was scattered all over the west coast of the Old World,

And now, almost 700 years later, the Lizardmen under the command of Mazdamundi went off to reclaim these artefacts

In White Dwarf #206 (February 1997) the matches fought during January in the Games Workshop stores and at home, would represent the Lizardmens (and their agents) search for the artefacts, in small battles and skirmishes. Growing ever bigger, the closer they come to finding one of the artefacts, and one of those - the Staff of Jade - would be located in the Crusader City of Antoch, in the lands of Araby (a very clear nod to the Siege of Antioch, an actual Crusader City in present day Turkey). And for this Battle for Antoch Plains (Siege of Antoch), a huge table was build for Games Day and later exhibition in Warhammer World. The games played would decide the fate if Antoch stands or falls. I was lucky enough to see the table on my first visit to Warhammer World in 1999.

Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or

In White Dwarf #207 (March 1997), the Dark Conspiracy revealed, that the Lizardmen not just wanted to reclaim the artefacts for revenge, but because it was necessary for the balance in the World of Warhammer, as the winds of magic open a connection to the realms of chaos and unless the Slann were able to take control of the Staff of Jade, to stop the forces of chaos. And in April 1997, in White Dwarf #208, - Dark Conspiracy - The Final Chapter was released. 1,283 battles were fought and sent in their results, creating the cause of the fall of the city of Antoch, with the Lizardmen reclaiming the Staff of Jade, just barely stopping the invasion by the Realm of Chaos and returning to Lustria, without further conquest of the Old World.

Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or

In Germany anyhow, there was no Dark Conspiracy but the Battle for Chateau d'Or. This was a similar store driven campaign, similar to the english one, yet another story. The Lizardmen wouldn't land in Araby, but on the Northern Coast of Bretonnia and would fight their way deeper into the country.

Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or

A special thing about the German campaign, was the special reward for participating in the games played in the stores. Those would determine winners of the campaign - six in total. And those winners were invited to Nottingham, to play out the final battle for Chateau D'Or, get to visit Warhammer World even had a guided tour to the studio and production plant.

Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or

To a certain degree, it is a bit irritating, that the fight took place in the Dukedom of Gisoreux. If you take a look at the maps of the Old World, and the one from White Dwarf 205, you can see the returning fleet was scattered across Antoch, Sartosa and Bordelaux (or rather Lyonesse, according to the map). Yet, the battle wasn't fought in one of the Dukedoms on coast, but actually deeper inside the country. And they had to pass multiple other Dukedoms to arrive at Gisoreux. Yet, Chateau D'Or is something, that purely exists in the German White Dwarfs, not part of any lore beyond those White Dwarf issues.

White Dwarf - 205 January 1997 Dark Conspiracy White Dwarf - 205 January 1997 Darkness over Bordelaux

Warhammer Fantasy - Old World Map Warhammer Fantasy - Araby Map Warhammer Fantasy - Bretonnia Map

Anyhow, this project covering Lizardmen and Bretonnians would give me the option to fight both, the battles in Lustria as well as in the Old World. And while Bretonnians usually wouldn't use Dogs of War, with battles fought in Araby or Tilea, I could squeeze in a unit or two with proper cause (not for the rules, just to give the miniatures a bit more variety). I'll build the Lizardmen army of Mazdamundi, the Host of Hexoatl, and the Dukedom of Gisoreux and cover the lists and progress in the upcoming articles.

Posted by Dennis B.

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