Dawnbringers: Reign of the Brute – Part 1: Narrative

This review was completed using a free review copy of Dawnbringers: Reign of the Brute provided to us by Games Workshop

It’s time for Part 2 of the big (possibly end of edition?) narrative campaign, Dawnbringers. The twin tailed city of Hammerhal has pushed back against the invaders seeking to undermine them from two seperate realms and is ready to venture out into the world to claim more land for Sigmar. The forces of Destruction aren’t going to make it easy, it’s still the era of the Beast and this is their land.

What’s in the book?

Unlike the last Dawnbringers book, there’s stuff here for both the narrative and Matched play players in your life.

  • Fiction covering the second chapter in the Dawnbringer crusade as the Cities of Sigmar stake their claim in both Aqshy and Ghyran
  • Path to Glory campaign rules for Cities of Sigmar players to play through the Dawnbringer crusade themselves.
  • Unique, standalone path to glory battleplans for the Armies of Renown included in this book.
  • Armies of Renown for Gloomspite Gitz, Kharadron Overlords, Ironjawz and Sons of Behemat.

What are Armies of Renown?

Reign of the Brute contains a new way to build your army for a handful of factions in the game. “Armies of Renown” are themed lists restricted to specific types of unit, in exchange for their own exclusive allegiance abilities. Each Army of Renown will name a specific keyword restriction you must follow for list building in order to be able to use it.

While Armies of Renown still count as part of their parent faction (effectively functioning as a brand new subfaction), there are some differences. Armies of Renown have their own Army Rules which replace the core battletome the faction comes from. This means you cannot use the following from the original battle tome:

  • Battle Traits
  • Command Traits
  • Artefacts of Power
  • Sub-factions
  • Heroic Actions

In addition, you cannot use the book’s original:

  • Grand Strategies
  • Battle Tactics
  • Core Battalions (Core Rule and General’s Handbook core battalions are still OK)
  • Warscroll Battalions (if in Narrative Play)

You can still use the army’s terrain piece, if applicable. Ultimately this means that the factions portrayed in Rise of the Brute are standalone. Since all the necessary Warscrolls and pitched battle profiles are freely available you do not need the original Battletome to play any of the Armies of Renown in this book.

Each of the armies of renown will be covered in separate articles going up after this one, to be able to cover them all in depth. The above explanation will also be repeated.

Cities of Sigmar. Credit – Soggy

The Lore

After a rocky start, the twin expeditions in Aqshy and Ghyran begin in earnest, with the two halves of Hammerhal venturing off into their respective realms. The realm of Aqshy must contend with a legion of Troggoths lead by the newly risen Trugg, King of the Troggs. Meanwhile, Ghyran faces foes of Destruction on multiple fronts, fighting both pig riding Ironjawz and reaching a climax with Gardus Steel-soul fighting King Brodd, lord of all Gargants.

Overall the lore here is…short, it pads it out with some explainations about the makeup of the crusades and the new units introduced in this book. Overall though not a ton happens, which is a bit of a disappointment when Broken Realms was such an earth shattering expansion to the worlds of Age of Sigmar. It’s still possible it’s leading somewhere, but for now it’s still making short progress in these crusades.

Path to Glory: The Twin-Tailed Crusade

The structure of the Twin-Tailed crusade is…interesting, and while I like it in theory, it could use a bit of work.

Importantly, these are intended for Cities of Sigmar only. While your opponents can be whatever you want, the factions inside this book will give you an idea of what is most lore appropriate. This is a bit disappointing after the first book really did try and make an effort for every army in the game to feel like it was getting some new rules through the Harbinger rules.

When you decide to follow the Twin-Tailed Crusade you choose to either follow the Aqshy Campaign or Ghyran Campaign. Both work very similarly, but offer unique traits, Veteran abilities and Setbacks and Blessings (A mechanic from the new Cities of Sigmar battletome).

Once you’ve decided which, you follow a flow chart that works sort of like a Choose your own adventure book. Depending on if you win or lose your first game, it decides which battleplan your second will be. Win or lose that one and you may get a reward to help you with the final battle.

These are…fine but not as exciting as they seem at first. No matter what you do you will end up at the same first and final battle – the middle is based on whether you won or lost the second with no other variables. It’s on the precipice of an idea of something more interesting but it doesn’t quite get there and being so narrowly faction locked means most won’t get to enjoy it.

Once you finish your story you’re given the option to finish the crusade, per the Battletome’s Path to Glory rules, or simply…wait. Yeah that’s it, you will get your follow up material in the next Dawnbringers book. Bummer.

What’s Next?

If the Narrative stuff seems brief, that’s because it is. I feel like the ideas in play here are interesting but they don’t carry themselves alone, and we need to wait for the next book for any resolution. Possibly the next 2 books. Playing along the more or less linear path of the fiction isn’t really the most exciting thing and not what Path to Glory players typically want, which is to explore the story of Their Dudes.

That said the Armies of Renown contained within are playable in matched play, so theres a lot more to talk about there. To give them sufficient breathing room they will be in their own separate articles.