With Nightstalker pre-orders now live on the website – and remember folks, if you order from Mantic you get a FREE Mind Screech with Mega Armies – we thought this was the perfect time to delve into their shadowy background. During this week, we’ll be looking at the units in more detail, plus we’ll have some tips from a Nightstalkers expert. However, in today’s blog we’re diving into their backstory. Don’t have too many nightmares.
Nightstalkers take many forms – often perceived by different races in different ways depending on the superstitions and fears of a culture or individual. As in the life they were so cruelly ripped away from, there are many different types of Stalker, sometimes even shaped by remnants of memories and personalities of their lost mortality. Sometimes, when the powers of the Abyss are strong, the presence of the Nightstalkers rips a portal in the fabric of reality – a doorway between dimensions.
The power of the Abyss is channelled through such rents that seethe and boil in the air, painful for mortals to see directly. At the edge of vision the portal seems like a cage of glossy black, writhing serpents, screaming in perpetual agony. Nightstalker shadow-hosts burst forth into reality: a gibbering, cacophonous explosion of fear wreathed in the purple lightning of the portal. The baying of spectral hounds goes before the ravenous host, while the soul-rending screams of heartless Banshees chills their foe to the bone.
Most numerous of the shadow-hosts are Spectres – hollow remnants of once-living ancients. These are the creatures that often haunt places where the dead are interred. They are mournful, skeletal creatures, wreathed in cloaks of mist and shadow. Cowardly beings, they huddle in vicious packs, lashing out at any mortal that comes near with tendrils of soul-mist. From their obfuscating presence, shambling, zombie-like Scarecrows emerge. Their presence is often heralded by wriggling swarms of bloated Blood worms, which congregate around the Spectres’ victims, sucking the blood from the dead and dying.
Manifesting from the primal fears of their enemies, blade-limbed Reapers and skull-faced Phantasms are the harbingers of the horde, whose purpose is to sow the terror required for the rest of the host to manifest. Wherever they appear, Doppelgangers are not far behind, whose mimicry of the enemy often leads to mistrust and bloody murder. And it is not merely the twisted spirits of men, Elves and Dwarfs that join the host: monstrous Stalkers also exist, such as the Shadow-hulks, seemingly fused from the souls of several giant Cyclopes and now filled with the hunger of the void.
And from the void come those emissaries of the ancient star-gods. If these creatures were ever mortal at all, it must have been some bizarre form of life that no longer exists on Mantica. Unspeakable and indescribable things, they have lived in the dimensions between worlds for an eternity. Some, like the monstrous Void Lurkers, have an intelligence of sorts and understand enough to sense the rents in the fabric of the universe and know how to locate them. They attach themselves to Nightstalkers as they stream into reality. There, they coalesce into mismatched and petrifying shapes. Other squamous horrors accompany these beasts, from vaguely arachnoid Fiends, to flickering, tenebrous Planar Apparitions.