Today I begin the first of a series of articles on the factions of Dark Age. We’ll start with the Forsaken.
Before we dive into lore, you might want to check out the intro to the game I wrote a little while back. Now, without further ado…
The story of the Forsaken begins long before the current Dark Age era. The planet A23-Q4B, now called Samaria by the Forsaken, was discovered many centuries ago on the outskirts of known space. Its extremely hostile environment made it a poor planet for habitation. Still, it had air and it had water – enough to support life. Strangely it was the planet’s extreme isolation that drew humans to it. Samaria was the perfect place for galactic corporations to set up shop and conduct the kind of experiments that would draw the attention of authorities on other worlds. The arrangement proved lucrative enough to bring millions of workers from across the galaxy – all of them dependent on off world shipments of food for survival. In the end the world’s fall was brought about not by a war or natural disaster, but by an economic collapse. Ships stopped landing on Samaria. Anyone with a ship of their own, or the means to board one fled. Those without quickly took to killing one another for whatever scraps of food could be found. The “Prophet” Zebediah Stane and his followers helped minimize the rioting but the fate of Samaria’s population was still sealed.
Before long, humanity was reduced to a fraction of what it had been. With time, husbandry and agriculture emerged in those few places on the planet suitable for it. Different factions continued warring against one another for decades. Eventually it was descendants of formerly wealthy families in the former capitol of Port City who emerged as the would be rulers of humanity. A pre-collapse discovery was pivotal to their dominance. It wasn’t a weapon they’d found in the rubble, but religion. With this powerful tool to dominate their fellow humans, the Prevailer council have led the Forsaken ever since.
The society today remains a theocracy, though the ruling members of the Prevailer Council have no real piety. Dogma keeps both the civilian and military population in line. Spiritual leaders like Deacons and Shepherds take up arms with the troops to inspire them. Some of the Forsaken’s most powerful weapons, are fashioned in the form of Archangels to create a sense of divinity within the Forsaken forces. While these titans represent the pinnacle of human achievement, the overall level of technology in Forsaken society is starkly anachronistic. Pre-collapse marvels like the Archangels clank along the battlefield side by side with troops armed with simple clubs and halberds. The harsh conditions on the planet ensure that maintaining any weapons with moving parts is extremely costly. Guns are a luxury for officers and the most well trained of troops.
This means the troops of the Forsaken have diverse and specialized training. It all starts with the Bane corps. These soldiers are trained to use a simple club to devastating effect. Particularly skilled and resourceful Banes may live to join the more elite Ravages or perhaps even the Strikes. From there they may be singled out for Warwind training. Conscripts with other aptitudes may be inducted into the Coils where they will be given simple ranged weapons. Skilled Coils may be promoted to Diskmasters or even Deathstrykes. Recruits with wilderness training may make good Haniels and function in the role of scouts and assassins. Those guilty of frequent insubordination may end up among the Firestorms. Armed with crude explosive flamethrowers these troops have a short life expectancy. The Forsaken army’s ranks are bolstered by Flock and Militia: eager conscripts with a zeal that is no substitute for actual training. Then of course there are the Medics to tend to the wounded, and the Weaponsmiths to try to keep the guns in good working order. Here’s a link to the cards for the unaligned Forsaken.
These troops are some of the most straightforward in Dark Age. They do exactly what you’d expect of them and they do so fairly reliably. There are no counter-stacking tricks like like those used by the Outcasts. No Bio-Energy like the Kukulkani. No Psychogenics like the Skarrd or Brood. What sets these troops apart is their training. Most Generic Forsaken troops can be joined by a leader if at least one of their base troop type takes to the field. These leaders cost the same number of points as their base troop type, and have identical stats. But they impart a special skill on their subordinate troop types when they squadlink with them.
Those are just the rank and file of the Forsaken army. Each Dark Age faction also has subfactions of troops to add more variety. After you’ve chosen a primary faction, you may also choose a subfaction which unlocks more troop choices; usually cooler and more powerful ones. This is where all the Forsaken Saints come in, as well as the forces of the Prevailer Council themselves. The council and the individual saints tend to have their own way of doing things and their own agendas. They bring along unique hand-picked troops to help them. Once you’ve chosen a subfaction, all other subfactions are off limits. You’re still free to take any generic troops you wish. The purpose of the subfactions is to make sure players have new ways to expand their factions without worrying too much about upsetting game balance. If every Forsaken model could potentially fight alongside each other, it would be nearly impossible to keep all their potential interactions in check.
Let’s have a look at each of those Subfactions. I’m going to keep it brief since there are 8 of them. If you want more you can browse previous articles about the Forsaken. Those should have enough content to keep you going for awhile.
This chart shows which subfactions can take which troops.
Seeing the grip of religion on the Forsaken people, Mark set himself up as a Saint to gain personal power. While his motives are ultimately selfish, the power of his weapons and the skill of his followers make him a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. He holds the back field with his powerful energy weapon God’s Light’ while his Shades harass and delay the enemy, and his Junkers lay waste to any heavily armored targets. Read this article for more on Saint Mark. Click this link for Mark’s cards.
Saint Mary is one of the few “Good Guys” to be found in the Dark Age setting. She earned her Sainthood after not only single-handedly killing her Skarrd captors, but also carrying her dying friend Ann across miles of desert to freedom with her. Humble and pious to the end, she only accepted her sainthood as a means to help others. Her specialized troops are misfits, drawn to Mary’s cult of personality, or unable to fit in elsewhere in the Forsaken military. Mary’s Clergy Anns and Flenses tend to emphasize Defense over Armor. Mary herself has a nice Spray weapon that can be wielded at range against multitudes of troops. She gets stronger as she is damaged, and after suffering a couple of wounds can charge in and take on the toughest of adversaries. Click this link for Mary’s cards.
John is the one Saint that really believes he is an instrument of god. This naivete once cost him the lives of an entire army, but he has since learned the lessons of pragmatism. His followers are as Zealous as he is. Difficult to kill, his Faithful and Paladins charge across the battlefield to slay their enemies in melee. Few are the foes that can withstand an assault from Lawbringer, John’s Hammer. Read this article for more about Saint John. You can find Saint John’s cards here.
Saint Luke was orphaned at a young age after his parents were arrested for preaching a religion of peace and love. With nowhere else to turn, Luke enlisted in the military and excelled. His genius as a commander helped him bring stability and prosperity to several small settlements who beatified him in gratitude. His concern for the common people has brought him no end of misfortune and he’s survived a few assassination attempts. It’s almost certain Luke still has some scores to settle with the Prevailer Council for what they did to his parents as well. Luke and his Arsenals can play a decent ranged game while deploying smoke grenades to make them much harder to kill. Once the force becomes engaged, Stingers deliver the finishing blow. Unique among the saints, Luke can be deployed in two versions: one that excels in melee, the other at range. Check out his cards here.
The mad scientist Saint Johann was nearly executed for his heretical pursuits in the forbidden art of human Grafting (cybernetic augmentation). He fled to the desert with his most loyal followers and has allied with the Skarrd, sharing with them his knowledge of forbidden science. A Johann force may take certain Skarrd models as allies. The Heretic thinks nothing of injuring his own troops if it can push them to perform even harder. While there is no mounted version of Johann, he can field the monstrous Scorpius. Read this article for more on Saint Johann. Download his cards here.
Isaac lost his mother under similar circumstances to Luke. His genius also ultimately earned him a Sainthood, although it’s robotics, not battlefield tactics, at which Isaac excels. His robots and their controllers can lay down massive damage, but their risk of Malfunction is disproportionately high. Fortunately the Saint excels at maintaining them. Isaac has no mounted version, but can instead be fielded in his massive robotic suit Ajax. Ajax brings the pain, but will be too preoccupied with fighting to keep his force’s weapons from jamming and overheating. This article has more info on Isaac. Click here for Isaac’s cards.
Joan is another orphan. Her greatest weapons are her Psychogenic abilities. These are just the sort of thing that could get her killed in the devout society of the Forsaken, so for now the cover story is that her father was an angel. This couldn’t be further from the truth, but so far the people are buying it. On the battlefield, her powers help her cripple her opponents, setting them up for the rest of her army to take down – although she is a decent enough fighter when needed. While there is no mounted Saint Joan, she can be joined on the battlefield by the incredibly powerful Grey Lady. Click here for more info on Saint Joan, and here to download her cards.
Last up we have the Prevailer Council. The governing body of the Forsaken sees the saints, who are very popular among the people, as something of a threat. They continue to tolerate and support them since the saints do share common enemies and killing a saint might provoke an uprising. As head of the Prevailer Council Lilith wields more power than any other human living on Samaria. She alone seems to understand just how fragile human civilization is on this planet of horrors. She has created technological marvels and reorganized the Forsaken military to empower humanity against it’s many foes. The problem is she only really cares about the survival of humanity insofar as it relates to her own. She’ll sacrifice whoever she needs to achieve her goals and maintain her position of power.
As the most diverse of the Forsaken subfactions, the Prevailer Council doesn’t really have a distinct playstyle. You can field three Archangels and have a hard-hitting, hard to kill, low model count army. You can take Skylancers and try for a more skirmish-y ranged force. You can even take Repentants who will blow themselves up in a powerful psychogenic explosion as they try to take out as many enemies with them as they can. There are also the very cool “battle nuns” (my designation) of the Red Sisterhood and of course the less elite War Knights. You can read a little bit more Prevailer background in this article, and check out their cards here.
If you have more questions, you might consider joining the Samaria reborn Facebook group. It’s a closed groups so you’ll have to request to join, but it’s a lot more active than the Dark Age Forums. Now is also a great time to like the main Dark Age Facebook page. They’re trying to get 4200 likes before the end of June, and if they do they’ll be giving away some Kukulkani.
~Hope you enjoyed the article. I realize that was a lot to digest, but Forsaken are the largest faction by quite a margin. Next up I’ll be covering the Dragyri.