Turm 2023 Report
Posted: 25. 07. 2023.
On July 1st 2023, we had our Turm 2023 Forbidden Psalm event. Just like my past two events Legen and Sunhold, Turm was hosted at the local modellers’ and wargamers’ association UMS “Agram”. Unlike my past events, this time participants weren’t selected and invited, but the event was open for anyone - fist come first served until all eight spots were filled. The venue is small underground room, and 4 tables is the maximum we could comfortably fit.
In the underlying narrative, The Tower City, home for centuries to the yellow-robed necromancers, was hit by a devastating bolt from the sky and reduced to rubble. In the damp caves beneath the deep dungeons of the city dwells their god Vvolos, who eats souls and shits gold. The player warbands are there to take advantage of the disaster situation and take away what they can. There’s resistance from the still surviving Cult of Vvolos: the council of necromancers, with their living and their undead minions.
The system used was Forbidden Psalm: a tabletop miniature wargame by Kevin Rahman, based on the TTRPG Mörk Borg. The day’s gaming on Turm was organised into three rounds of player vs player encounters, with the addition of a special battle royale round in the end. Encounters took the warbands exploring the disaster site and fighting Turm’s denizens and each other. The scenarios were modded from ones in the Forbidden Psalm rulebook, only reskinned and with added custom monsters and spells.
In Scenario 1: Vultures Descend the player warbands arrive in the outskirts of Turm and begin looting corpses, while fighting off undead creatures. Each table was assigned one of the four necromantic doctrines: Flesh, Bone, Blood, and Spirit - and spawned corresponding undead minions: Zombies, Ghouls, Skeletons, and Ghosts, respectively. That way everyone is playing the same scenario, but there is slightly different flavour with monsters on each table.
In Scenario 2: The Yellow Robes, the warbands run into Turmian Necromancers: Vedrana Gangrena, Ikorid the Duplicitous, Iulia Docta-Sophosse, and Havok the Archwraith. Again, each appears on their own table and summons their own type of undead minions. Killing and robbing the yellow-robed wizards is the goal for players here.
In the third scenario, Eats Souls and Shits Gold, the players happen upon cultists performing a ritual which summons a Spawn of Vvolos from the dungeons underneath the city. The creature is huge and has the ability to petrify with its gaze. More cultists come to help their reptilian demigods as the game progresses.
This is where the campaign portion ends, and the final round is a battle to the end among eight champions. Each player chose a single warband member, kitted them with the best equipment they accumulated during the campaign, and sent them into the arena. This was utter chaos, particularly because they had Relics that created insane situations I didn’t predict, including a plague of vampires and an invisible giant tadpole!
The tables, scenery, and monsters were from my personal collection. You may recognise them from my battle reports, and from Sunhold last year. The fully 3D printed Vvolos cultists and Spawn were painted specially for the event. 32 Cultists and four Necromancers were kindly sent to us by one of our sponsors Bestiarum Miniatures, while the four Spawn of Vvolos are Basilisks purchased from Asgard Rising.
Cameron Biringer (United States) @golden_dagger_studios
"As the world unravels in the midst of the apocalypse, many nobles get desperate for new hires (and meatshields). That is when a noble turned to his local (overcrowded) prison! With a couple of gold and an official stamp, the Heretics of Grift were formed. Featuring Tiny Tom, Wormtail Will, Stabby Steve, Pigrider Paul, And bookworm barry, they were… expendable!
For my mercenaries, I wanted to reflect the lopsided style of Morkborg. Most, if not all, of the parts used for these models were from my bits bin. I wanted to create completely different shapes and sizes, while tying them together with similar paint schemes. I'm really happy with how they turned out, and it was a blast playing with them!"
Marcello Rizza (Italy) @uollas_uolsh
"The Purple Hag Bunch is a group of disgraced beings, sent to Turm to pillage by their patron (or owner...their life is so expendable!). As soon as I realized I got a spot on Turm2023 I wanted to do something different... using the event as an excuse to do something with friends. The idea was to ask friends to join me in the making the warband: each one of us would do a warrior sent to Turm. Giuseppe Del Buono (@gdbmakesweirdthings), Giacomo Lunardon (@addio.tensing), Eugenio Favaretto (@__malvino), Brian Roussel (@rojasnoirlac) and Fabio Veronelli (@fabio_morghot) agreed to do this project with me.
I didn't want to simply ask them to convert a mini for the event (that would have been boring to me and them, I think) so each one of us (aside for Giacomo and Eugenio who did a mini together) rolled everything and decided the stats of their warrior. Each one of us worked alone since we all live far from each other (again, except Giacomo and Eugenio.) We made a WhatsApp group to keep up with what the others where doing. The color palette was pretty much decided by Brian.... simply because he isn't a lazy italian and was the first to finish his figure. He asked for suggestions on the palette, but the answer was: "do whatever you want, we will follow". And we did.
When all the minis were finished, they were shipped to me. I did the basing and coated every mini in matt varnish since I thought that would help tie them together. We were pretty happy with the end result and, most importantly, we had loads of fun! So I headed to the event with a bunch of miniatures of misfits that weren't used to fighting together, hoping for the best."
Lüder Ansorg (Germany)
He looked over to the old ruins. The group came from far away to reach their target. El’Thain looked down from the hill crest while his retinue camped on the backside. They travelled far by caravan and boat to enjoy this view. Their task was mysterious, long forgotten knowledge should be gathered, ordered by the high Lords of the distant southern oasis. A place laying in everlasting shadows, a dry region even if it is always under a cloudy sky in opposite to the dense woods and lakes in front of them. El’Thain saw his scout Min’Zoran coming. A fast runner only carrying a spear for his defence: “The path ahead of us is free, only some insects crawling around.” With two hits on his shield El’Thain gave the signal and the group headed down to the, maybe not so left, ruins.
"For three of the models I had in mind how they should look like. For the rest I built 7 more miniatures and picked the two I liked most in terms of their looks and possible equipment. Inspiration for the warband came from various sources: a little H.P. Lovecraft, Conan the Barbarian, my fragmented memories of the Disney Aladdin Series I saw in my childhood, and the steampunk novel “Jack Cloudie” by Stephen Hunt.
Their backstory is that they come from an Arabia-like place that is really dry and cloudy, so it is always in a twilight. The vast sandy desert is dotted with small oases inhabited by the people of this region. These people base their magic on the gifts of the demons they worship. The ruling caste of their cities are the High Lords, coming from the highest ranks of magicians. The inhabitants of the Southern Oasis are always in search for scrolls of magic from places all over the world, so they send groups to find new knowledge for their great libraries.
Overall it was a great tournament with nice people in a great atmosphere, with lots of fun. The other players’ warbands looked amazing and the stories behind them were creative as well. I will definitely come back next time, but maybe not by train."
Luka Jare (Slovenia) @turbine_mill
"Innumerable strata of urban accretion upon which Bastion lies result in a particular set of challenges, when sewers, cellars, canals and building sites all run a chance of happening upon more ancient, unexplored and dangerous parts of the city. Among the varied dungeoneering associations, exploratory academic bodies, cryptonaut companies and individual adventurers that occasionally get employed by the city council is the ‘deBrass Dungeon Delving & Cryptonaut Company’, established and run by Jacques deBrass, a retired marine thaumaturgist. While not as well known as some other groups with better PR and flashier uniforms, the crew has a reputation that has earned them a begrudging nickname from the dungeoneering community, one that betrays a degree of respect (and the address of their offices) - ‘the Brass Balls of Bering Street’. Now the word on the docks is that Jacques and his gang boarded the ‘Skipping’ Milan’s battered old smoke-bucket bound east, with enough equipment and provisions to fight a small war.
The crew consists of:
- Jacques deBrass - Retired marine thaumaturgist, who applies ocean diving principles to dungeoneering, prefers to hang back and cast spells. His old diving helmet helps channel the energies and prevent things going spectacularly wrong on inevitable miscasts … in theory.
- Pinhead Charlie - Left with a body of an ox and a mind of a child after a sentencing by a particularly cruel and creative magistrate, Jacques bought Charlie from a disreputable longshoreman outfit and now he is indispensable at the front of the group, as it makes its way through unexplored underground. Charlie refuses to go anywhere without Tank, his trusty pet tortoise. Good thing no-one has the heart to tell him that this is the fourth Tank already (dungeoneering is a dangerous profession).
- Tomb the Iron Dwarf - Goes way back with Jacques, to their first misguided attempt at raiding some crypts in the pastel City that they barely escaped with their lives. Not that you’d know, with the choicest of Tomb’s volatile rebuke and curses reserved for his old friend and employer.
- Fishy Frank - A singer so bad that he is (by Tomb’s unanimous vote) required to wear his frog-mouth helm and cuirass for an hour before and after every delve. His sense of rhythm however, is impeccable, which comes handy when he goes to work with his glaive.
- Hood - Nobody knows much about Hood's origins, except that the silent and deadly huntress came from the deep country up north and not even Tomb dares ask if her canine form is indigenous or a result of a terrible curse. Unknown to the rest of the group, she volunteered for the expedition when she learned that a group of cynocephali adventurers was also headed for the fallen Tower City. "
Miran Bratuš (Slovenia) @miranmakesstuff
"The boggards of the Murky Lake", "The Intrepid ones", "Freking pests" and "Hey, That is my shoe!" are some of the names the self-appointed Knights of the Oozing Stone have been called. The goblins have long "coexisted" (in the loosest term of the word) with the local human population of a village near their swamp. Until one year the war rolled in and devastated the nearby landscape. But the Goblins, largely ignored by the invading forces and attracted to shiny things, have taken to looting the corpses of the fallen. Growing ever more courageous and attempting to mimic the behavior of the new humans they observed.
These capable warriors (by goblin merits) started lusting for glory and fame which couldn't be found in the swamp or the destroyed village. Not fully understanding the finer points of arms and armor nor a lack of proper training could stop these go-getter goblins. Where there is a will there is a way! Nobody ever said wit was a requirement.
If it was shiny, they wanted it!
Over time, these goblins started raiding nearby settlements in search of more shiny things and colorful clothing. And as luck or fickle gods would have it, the goblin "Ron Swansong" happened upon two magic scrolls along the way. And never has a goblin found himself inconvenienced by such a thing as the inability to read. Scrolls in his hands, he was determined to prove himself a magician.
Every band of whatever the closest equivalent of brothers is in goblin culture (or lack-thereof); needs heraldry. The goblins observed... So the band picked a symbol that would represent them well. A toad they found near a particularly slimy rock was an obvious choice. Into the backpack it went and they headed on their merry way.
As it turned out later in their adventures, the toad seems to be exhibiting some magical properties, and possibly the ability to read, as it has enabled the successful casting of one of the found scrolls... once... The goblins aren't sure it can happen again.
The self-proclaimed "Master-at-arms, Kni'git", found a particularly long stick (lance) which he deemed a weapon worthy of his stature. (Seeing as he was holding a pretty big stick, no goblin chose to correct him on his claims). He wields his mighty weapon into battle with varying degrees of success, but to the amusement and amazement of anyone who beholds the sight of the whirling piece of wood slamming down on the heads of often distracted foes.
The supposedly most noble and righteous of the bunch is "Sir Gen Eric", who sadly was not yet able to procure himself a proper sword. Took to battle with a particularly flashy piece of wood and a shield. But not to be outdone by his brothers looting ability or what they understood as "knighthood", Gen Eric was able to strip down one of his enemies to his breeches mid battle and made off with all their gear, thus properly arming himself.
And leading this band of intrepid goblins is a particularly vile and nasty goblin atop his Giant tadpole. "Toady McToadface and his trusty companion, The knight". There is chatter and speculation among the goblin tribes as to which is which. But any direct line of questioning presented to them ended swiftly with the asker being devoured by the Oversized Tadpole.
In modelling terms; The miniatures were put together by kitbashing (and digital kitbashing) of several medieval and goblin sets."
Vane Dolenc (Slovenia)
"The great whale is come, eater of worlds, and all is lost. But the Church of Sin will not sit idly by while the world dies. There is still work to be done while we draw breath. We must travel in all directions as far as our ships, steeds, and legs will take us in the time we have left. We must seek out the savages, the primitives, and the unbelievers of distant lands languishing in their blissful ignorance and we must bring them the word of Sin. We must tell them before time runs out, before they perish without knowing. Tell them that it is their fault.
Modeling-wise these are mainly just kitbashed Wargames Atlantic plastics and prints with heads by the illustrious Saint Decent, painted purely in Contrast over a creamy zenithal."
Vladimir Matić-Kuriljov (Serbia) @vmkuriljov
"I wanted to explore the theme of cynocephali in gaming miniatures for a while now, I was just waiting for the right opportunity. My favourite take on them is from the book Ale i Bauci, a humorous fake encyclopaedia of fantastic creatures, which literally equates them to ghouls. That makes some sense to me and ties into Lovecraft's depiction of ghouls, but since ghouls are already a thing in the Mörk Borg universe, I had to figure out something different for Turm but I wanted to keep the connection to dead bodies and graveyards. And so I came to the obvious idea to make them guardians of the dead, which brings them in direct conflict with necromancers and the undead, the game's antagonists. Finally, all they needed was a tragic backstory of loss and failure to set them on their quest for redemption while the world is slowly falling apart.
For the models I had high expectations of myself but not too much time, so I made it easy by just sculpting the heads, not complete models from scratch like I did for Sunhold, Ana's last event. The perfect opportunity presented itself in a very lovely crazy woman model by Andrew May of Meridian Miniatures, which I was saving for something special, but I had also dropped it and its head broke and got lost. Once I completed that first model by sculpting her new head I felt very pleased so I quickly finished the other four. I'm also very satisfied with how I painted them - recently I significantly upgraded my patience level when it comes to painting, so I allowed myself the time to do my best, methodically painting one model at a time, surface by surface, detail by detail. I only used a wash as a starting point, and while I stuck to a desaturated brownish palette I tried to use as many colours and hue shifts as possible while keeping the contrast limited. In the end my models landed on the lighter side of grimdark, but I feel it worked out.
I must admit I was aiming for the "Best Painted Warband" award, but I'm proud of the work I did, not that I got the medal.
The game went extremely smooth for me, all of my opponents were awesome and we played our games quickly. I think we only forgot about some morale rules, but it’s wasn’t that important. What I loved most about the game are the relics, which provided the spontaneous gameplay elements, like the surprise boss fight with the vampire. As for the rules system, two of my favourite things are how shields work, and throwing weapons. It’s really fun to stock up on axes and just start flinging them!
Story-wise, my dogheads accomplished everything they wanted, killed some necromancers, fought some undead, found a couple of trinkets to bring back home, and all of them made it back alive, with newfound sense of honour and worth, ready to face the upcoming end of the world in peace with themselves. I was a bit sorry that I wouldn’t get to use any of my replacement models, so I found a way to switch out one of them without affecting the game mechanics, I really wanted to show off my anti-grimdark warrior princess!
The only thing I would add to the game narratively is some kind of relationship between the player warbands, like maybe we would each roll something on a random table, or pick an option or something. This could be another element to incorporate into the backstory, and a definitive motivation to fight or cooperate during gameplay.
Overall, the tournament was a huge success, especially since it cost Ana a lot less time and effort to prepare then her previous events, but it was just as fun. This time she made it feel easy, like anyone could do it, and I do hope others will follow through, myself included."
Tadej Murovič (Slovenia) @minisbydrtm
"In a distant land called Pigmoria, a realm filled with magic and mythical creatures, there existed a unique tribe of pigmen known as the Porkanians. These pigmen were renowned for their exceptional strength, untamed spirits, and insatiable love for adventure. Among them, there were five legendary treasure-seeking barbarians named El Bobo, Krust Baby Legs, Flem, Poog the Terrible, and Spam the Ham.
Together, they embarked on epic quests, seeking out ancient and hidden treasures scattered across the realm. They delved into perilous dungeons, traversed dangerous terrains, and battled fearsome monsters, all in the pursuit of wealth and glory.
The Pigmen were built from scratch by Tadej from Ljubljana, Slovenia. Mostly sculpted from Milliput and Greenstuf with minimal plastics involved. Tadej is grimdark-blanchitsu painter, miniature kitbasher and sculptor."
Since Forbidden Psalm can be deadly for characters, one can lose a member of warband in the middle of the campaign. So I made sure to have a selection of reserves to hire. Some of the figures were mine, some were brought by players, and some were sent by people who wanted to participate but couldn’t join us in person.
Pierre-Guy Auger @gregauryc / Youtube / Website
"Beset by strange dreams, Sand has surrounded himself with a motley band of poor devils. His instinct guided him, without words and without logical explanations. He was following a direction, quite incapable of explaining to his companions why... But the latter were following him, come what may, as if convinced by a superior reason.
They came to the outskirts of Turm as the sky filled with evil magic. A very dark quest awaited the hermit and his friends of fortune, but none hesitated and all advanced with a determined step, crossing the imposing portal of the city.
Since his forced hermitage, Sand no longer had any appetite for crowded cities and massive stone works. But it wasn't the crowds, the noise, or the smells that interrupted his thoughts. It is emptiness. A total desert, not a living soul in the city, depopulated streets, just the coldness of the stones and the dust stirred up by the wind.
Caressing the golden mask that covered his scarred face with his fingertips, Sand remembered how his companions had come to him while he was looking for them without really knowing it.
First there was Shorty Namtanby, a miserable wretched with miraculous hands: he was able to heal the worst of wounds. But his power, far from being a blessing, filled his body with a thousand ailments, from which he did not seem to suffer. Scaly patches, bedsores and decompositions of all kinds ran through his puffy being, while he tried to save others... Unfortunately, people don't allow themselves to be approached by so much ugliness...
Reed then came to find him. This extravagant didn't reveal anything about who he was but seemed to know a lot about Sand and his upcoming quest. His cryptic words implied that he was a deity excommunicated by the gods themselves who was trying to regain his status. Poor fool...
Anja Saint Froid was the most difficult to find, but it was easy to convince him. Lost in a dark forest that seemed to change every hour of the day, Sand and his companions found him by chance and got out of the cursed woods safely. But Anja reveals to them that he is the one looking for them, and not the other way around! This fallen knight dreams of glory and knows that a grandiose quest awaits him alongside Sand the Hermit.
Finally, the taciturn and mute Rizzen, child of the night, was waiting for them on the side of the road. He joined them without a word, following them. His annoyed and impatient look suggested he had been waiting here for some time. Was Sand late?
Several days before arriving in Turm, as their destination was finally becoming clearer, an armored giant appeared. He kept a good distance from the group, but never let himself be left behind. Was it an ogre? A man ? A monster ?
When Anja voiced his concern about the creature following them day and night, Rizzen's impatience encouraged the group to continue on the journey, not backtracking to hunt the monster.
They lost track of him as they entered Turm, not knowing if he was friend or foe..."
Brian Roussel @rojasnoirlac
"Reeking of sulfur, this small group of low-life petty criminals was banished from the pit of Gravenoire, a now half-ruined city of black stone erected inside a dormant volcano crater. At first out of spite for their former kin, the exiled took up to robbing and murdering travelers, exhilarated by maddening visions and spirits lurking in the wild around Gravenoire. Prompting a full militia detachment to hunt for them, their heads then turned to Turm, hoping to disappear in the depths of the Tower City and make coin as hired swords. There, in the muck of Turm, their common struggles would soon be forgotten in favor of the highest bidder.
This warband was first rolled randomly per the Forbidden Psalm rules. My goal was to fully kitbash the warband with what I had in my bits boxes (and a bit of green stuff) while trying to reflect as closely as I could the names, feats, flaws and equipment of each character. For example, Azazoth the Night Child, with his Barkskin feat, litterally got bark skin as I used the lower half of a GW dryad kit for his legs. His name implied that he would get “Night themed” so he got crowned with a moon crescent taken from a Victrix kit on his head, but I played around with the “Child” part, giving him a very long beard made out of green stuff. I had a blast mixing up fantasy and historical parts to make unique characters.
For the paintjobs, I wanted to limit myself to a small palette to tie them together as a cohesive unit, but also because I was preparing to move overseas, which greatly reduced my hobby time. Wanting to get the feel of my warband in line with what Ana had already shared of Turm, I decided to pick what I see as the holy colors of Grimdark: Red, Yellow, Black, Brown and Ivory, having been inspired by the amazing art of John Blanche for a long time. Oddly enough, he announced his retirement from Games Workshop on the same day I painted the first miniature, so I figured this warband would be my own little homage. Finally, to go with the warband, I made a little treasure token out of balsa sticks, miliput and plastic bits, which was straight out copied from a striking drawing by John Wigley and showcased in the latest issue (#5) of 28 Magazine."
I designed custom Omen decks to give away to players, but my shipment got lost and missed the event. Sometimes even when you do everything well ahead of time it still doesn’t work out.
Kevin, the creator of Forbidden Psalm, provided free PDFs of the rulebook to each participant. Thank you Kevin! He was going to join us in person, but unfortunately couldn’t make it in the end.
Players were awarded for different achievements:
- Vane Dolenc - Marauder (most treasure collected)
- Miran Bratuš - Slayer (most monsters killed and enemies downed)
- Miran Bratuš - Triumphator (last one standing in the Battle Royale)
- Vladimir Matić-Kuriljov - Best Painted Warband
- Marcello Rizza, Giuseppe Del Buono, Giacomo Lunardon, Eugenio Favaretto, Brian Roussel, and Fabio Veronelli were awarded the UMS “Agram” Best of Show medal for their awesome group-built warband.
The four title winners got figure sets from Bestiarum, but everyone else also walked away with goodies. The figures we gave away were courtesy of our sponsors:
I'd like to say thanks to UMS ”Agram”, to Kevin, to our sponsors, and to all participants, whether they joined us in person or sent their figures. The players were all wonderful and I had a great time hanging out with them! I’d love to run Turm again next year, with a few things tweaked based on what was learned from this one. This tournament format was far simpler for me to manage: everything ended up being done within scheduled time and the players could be left alone sine they were guided by written scenarios. My 100% narrative events Sunhold and Legen went on for far longer than predicted and they needed ceaseless involvement from a GM, who ends up completely mentally exhausted by the end of the day. However, adding more narrative moments to the game is extra interesting for the players. It’s a balance I’ll try to aim for once again next time.
Thank you for this amazing and very big report, feels bit like being there and helps to enjoy an event many would’ve loved to be part of. The warbands are absolutely outstanding ????
Thank you Faun23!
Sounds like a really cool event! I’m amazed by quality of material brought by everyone, being sceneray, scenario, models or painting. And really impressive to see peoples coming from all over Europe and even farther! Also, did you ask for specific vibe of warbands? All warbands share this grimdark/dark soul aspect, whatever the theme!
@MajorTheRed - oh yes, the guys really made an effort with their warbands and it shows! I didn’t give any instructions regarding the look figures this time, since Forbidden Psalm/Mork Borg already have a great established general mood. I wanted to see their vision of that.
All the warbands looked amazing. I cant wait to try the scenarios myself they all look like a lot of fun. Keep up the amazing work on such a fun and different game !