I’m back for another look at the factions of Dark Age. This time it’s the Dragyri I’ll be discussing.
The Dragyri will be getting their new faction book later this year. While this might make an article about the Dragyri seem a bit premature, I really wanted to go over the Dark Age factions in order of their initial release. Since the Dragyri first appeared in the book Genesis along with the Forsaken back in 2005, that means they go next. As such I’ll just be going over the fluff and the broad strokes of the faction’s playstyle since I don’t think either of these things will change too much in the new book.
Dragyri society consists of two distinct species joined together into one culture. The massive Trueborn are primarily concerned with combat and martial superiority. Even their spiritual leaders, the Soul Wardens take to the battlefield with their fellow warriors to use their powerful focus abilities against their enemies. The menial tasks necessary for maintaining Dragyri society are performed by their slave class. These wretched creatures cater to the Trueborn’s whims, proud to serve such powerful masters. This includes rushing headlong across the battlefield straight into the weapons of the Dragyri’s enemies. It was not always so.
The Dragyri are no more native to Samaria than the humans with whom they share the planet. Centuries ago, the Alteghrans came in search of riches. What they found exceeded their wildest dreams. The caverns beneath the surface of Samaria are laced with deposits of crystals the likes of which are found nowhere else in the galaxy. Rich in energy, they could be used variously as a power source, jewelry, or simple novelty. To mine them the Alteghrans brought in their K’tarl slaves. Normally used as shock troops, the powerful beings were soon harvesting vast amounts of crystal with heavily armed Alteghran overseers watching their every move. The crystals brought untold wealth to the Alteghrans. So preoccupied were they with collecting them that they failed to notice the comet racing towards the planet.
Those on the surface perished. Those underground went relatively unharmed. A short struggle ensued but in the chaos, the slaves quickly overwhelmed their former masters. Free for the first time in generations, the K’tarl sought appropriate justice against their oppressors. Stripped of their weapons, the Alteghrans had little choice but to become the slaves themselves. The K’tarl then turned back to their cultural roots. The energy-rich crystals supported a vast underground ecosystem spread throughout miles of caverns. Here there were great beasts to hunt. With no shortage of food, the K’tarl had the time and energy to focus on their favorite pastime: combat. Over time, the two races would come to know themselves only as the Dragyri.
The ensuing centuries wrought changes to both races. The comet had brought with it mutating toxins that eventually seeped into the soil and water deep beneath the earth. The Alteghrans grew sturdier and stronger, though still remaining drastically physically inferior to the K’tarl. Their intellect was comparatively diminished and their servility became part of their cultural identity. The K’tarl underwent few physical changes, but were affected nonetheless. A select few began to exhibit strange powers. While these abilities could be as varied as a blast of fire or skin turning hard as stone, there did seem to be a common thread between them. All of them seemed to be manifestations of the four elements of K’tarl mythology. Moreover, those individuals possessed of these unique gifts almost always exhibited powers linked only to one element. As their control over these new abilities grew, the Dragyri found another use for them. Focus could also be harnessed to forge weapons and armor from the crystals abundant in their cavernous homes.
It wasn’t long before the Dragyri began to separate themselves based on their elemental predisposition. With their society already divided along a rigorous caste system, this course may have been inevitable. As their numbers grew and they were forced to spread out across the planet the elemental castes tended to keep to themselves. In the time since they’ve developed their own cultures and traditions, frequently warring with one another. Having finally begun to colonize the surface, the Dragyri have discovered a new enemy. Will the humans be seen as enough of a threat to reunite the castes?
While some of the finer points of Dragyri tactics may change from those found on the cards you can download right now, I suspect the general Dragyri playstyle will stay the same. Dragyri Trueborn are, unsurprisingly, always Elite models with at least two wounds each. Since the Dragyri focus largely on melee combat, they send hordes of their slaves ahead in the hopes of pinning down their foes long enough to take them out one at a time.
While any Dragyri is a foe to be reckoned with, each Dragyri Caste can also field an Arbiter. These Elite individuals lead their caste, and their natural physical prowess makes them a match even for the advanced weapons and armor of the Forsaken Saints. Their counterparts are the physically weaker Soul Wardens that unleash powerful elemental focus abilities. Then there are the Spirit Lords: decent fighters that can also wield focus.
In addition the Dragyri can bring elemental creatures to the table. Lesser elementals are roughly a match for a man while the greater elementals are amongst the most powerful combatants on Samaria. To make them even more fearsome, they can shunt damage they suffer onto one another.
Ice Caste: The Ice Caste is the most powerful of the splinter castes. While they are not the only caste to form around a single aspect of a major element, they are the only one to prosper doing so. The founding members of the Ice Caste were weary of the never ending series of defeats being handed to the Water Caste and split off in search of a way to make their element stronger. They found their answer in the frozen caves beneath Samaria’s highest peak. Now they embody strength and durability of Ice. This would appear to have been an ideal move, since the Water Caste seems to have been annihilated by the Fire Caste.
The Ice Caste hit hard, are hard to damage, but are relatively easy to hit. Their biggest disadvantage however, is that they are slow. While many of them have 4 AP their Move value is usually just 2. This means their net move is a mere 8. It can be easy even for basic ranged troops like Coils to shoot then retreat and kite the powerful Ice Dragyri around the table. While they do have a ranged model of their own to shoot back, the best way to counter these kinds of tactics is probably with Focus abilities. Foci like Obscuring Fog and Ice Wall make you harder to hit. Or you can turn the tables and attack at range yourself with Freezing Strike or Ice Storm. Check out the Dragyri Faction Document for all the Focus cards since there’s plenty of fun to be had with them.
Air Caste: Much like the wind itself, the Air Caste is always in motion. They never stay in one place for long leading a nomadic existence as traders and sometimes raiders. While all Air Caste sculpts are female this is just an artistic choice. While it’s true that the more nimble physique of the female Dragyri lends itself well to the fluid Air Caste fighting style, there are plenty of male Air Caste members.
The Air Caste are among the fastest forces in the game, and hit almost as hard as their Ice Caste Brethren. They are a bit more fragile though. Their Armor stats are generally a bit low, though their good defense scores make up for it quite a bit. This means that they are better prepared to pin down enemy ranged models, but can’t really stand up to a combined attack. The Air Caste may find themselves being the ones doing the hit and run attacks. The Air Caste can also take a few more ranged troops than Ice, and these warriors can each shoot up to twice per round.
Unique among the castes, Air must summon their Elemental to the battlefield. To do this you must take the three lesser elementals, Thunder, Lightning and Wind, as well as a Focus user to cast the ritual. This means investing considerably more points than the other castes would need to for just bringing their elemental along the old fashioned way. Of course whichever focus user you bring for summoning purposes will also have access to a wide array of other amazing abilities. The Air Caste have just as much to offer as the others in the focus department, including buffs to defense, offense, and plain old direct damage dealing.
Fire Caste: Until recently, Fire wasn’t so different from the other castes. Rath’zi Arbiter of Fire, already working hard to temper his warriors into an unstoppable force, was approached by three enigmatic beings. These tiny creatures were the last true surviving Alteghrans on Samaria. They had sheltered themselves deep beneath the planet’s surface, and survived the eons thanks to their advanced technology. They offered to share a cache of advanced weaponry with the Fire Caste. To the Dragyri, ranged weapons are dishonorable. This is why they show up so rarely in the other castes. But for now, the Fire Cast would rather win without honor on their side.
It would seem that even an inexperienced Dragyri armed with fully functional Alteghran weapons and armor would be a match for an entire force from any other faction. Of course rules are rarely written to precisely mirror a game’s fiction so the Fire Caste just play a little differently from the other Dragyri. When it comes to speed, they are every bit as fast as the Air Caste. Their Defense stats aren’t as great, but their armor scores are better to make up for it. Of course the most obvious difference is all the ranged weaponry they have available to them. Dragyri of the Fire Caste are more likely to have guns than not.
The Greater Fire Elemental is a truly horrifying monster, able to spawn tiny Embers from the remains of those it slays with its Emberspark Stream attack. While these creatures aren’t very good fighters, any ability that generates new models is going to be strong. Like all elementals, the Greater Fire Elemental can cause these tiny beings to suffer damage in its stead.
The Fire Caste’s newfound enthusiasm for technology doesn’t prevent them from using focus. As befits fire’s destructive nature, the Fire Caste is almost completely lacking in defensive Focus abilities. They do have a few direct damage abilities, but their preferred method is to place Fire Counters on their enemies. Not only do these cause damage when the models activate, but Dragyri with the Combustion ability will hit them even harder.
Shadow Caste: They will try to tell you the Shadow Caste doesn’t exist. This is a lie. The Shadow Caste fled into the deepest depths of the planet after suffering a string of defeats. Here they found an element of power unknown tho their K’tarl ancestors: Shadow itself. In the ensuing centuries they have emerged periodically from the darkness to subtly alter the course of Dragyri history. Their assassins have set off wars sparking dissension between the other castes. While this caste has been a part of Dragyri lore for years, it’s only in the past few months that we’ve seen models for them. It won’t be much longer now before we see their rules.
Earth Caste: This caste appears frequently throughout Dragyri history but we’ve seen no models or rules for them. There isn’t even a piece of art out there. Will they appear in the new Dragyri Forces book?
That’s it for now! If you think the Dragyri look awesome, go ahead and like the Dark Age Facebook page. When they hit 4,200 likes they’ll be giving away a miniature painted by Bigchild Creatives.
~Hope you enjoyed the article! Next up will be Skarrd.
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