Balance of Power is the second installment in the Realmgate Wars released by Games-Workshop. Like it’s predecessor, The Quest for Ghal Maraz, it contains a condensed version of the Black Library novel Warbeast, 8 new Battle Plans, and an assortment of new Warscrolls and Warscroll Battalions.
The story continues with a rag tag group of Stormcast Eternals and remaining forces of Alarielle the Everqueen’s Sylvaneth host and their desperate retreat from the forces of Chaos. The Lady of Vines, cradling Alarielle’s soulpod, leads this band on a quest to travel the Path of the Purified and reach the top of Blackstone Summit. Here is where the Lady of Vines hopes Alarielle will be reborn in her war form.
The entire time, however, the have the eyes of the Chaos gods firmly on them. Grandfather Nurgle himself can sense the end of his nemesis in the realm of Ghyram is near. He imbues his champion, Torglug the Despised, gifts and divine purpose to get the soulpod in a hope to corrupt it for Nurgle’s own vile purpose. Lorus Grymm, Lord-Castellent of the Hallowed Knights, does his best to keep the forces remaining organized and focussed despite being below combat effective.
At the battle of Blackstone Summit Torglug is about to take the soulpod from the Lady of Vines when the Celestant Prime wielding Sigmar’s Ghal Maraz arrives on a meteoric entrance and turns the tide of battle. The Celestant Prime kills Torglug and it is presumed the forces of Order win the battle. More importantly we find that Torglug was actually faithful to Sigmar but his soul was infected by Nurlge in his previous life and now that he was killed Sigmar saved his soul and reforged him as a Knight Venator.
Another major storyline introduces the new faction called the Fyreslayers. They are duardin descendents of Grimnir. They are cursed with seeking Grimnir’s soul witch has been scattered in the form of urgold. They not only use urgold as currency but use it to infuse their bodies with Grimnirs essence to enhance their battle prowess. The Fyreslayers fall under the Order Grand Alliance but are technically mercenaries that will fight for the highest bidder. They have one purpose and that is to collect all the urgold in the nine realms in order to reforge their god.
In Balance of Power a Stormcast warrior chamber is sent to hire the Volstag Lodge in order to get safe passage to a keep belonging to the chaos god Khorne. Lord-Cellestant Sargassus of the Heavenhost not only has enough urgold to get passage through a secret underground network to the keep but enough to buy the lodge’s help in breaking into it. It is thought to be a suicidal mission and almost proves to be.
Inside the keep is the greater daemon Skarbrand. He is technically imprisoned there by Khorne himself as Skarbrand has a tendency to kill everyone in site, friend or foe. Sigmar hopes that by breaking his bonds Skarbrand will cause havoc in Khorne’s own ranks and take a significant amount of attention away from Sigmar’s war to retake the realms.
This plan almost works but Sargassus triggers an alarm while Skarbrand was deployed in a battle. The alarm magically brings Skarbrand back to the keep where the forces of order are forced to retreat.
Interestingly, Skarbrand’s Warscroll is the only monster where his stats get better as he gets wounded. He goes from Angry to Incandescent gaining more and more attacks.
The final major part of the narrative is Vandus Hammerhand and his Hammerhand host trying to stop a greater daemon of Slaanesh from learning its true name. Initially a Guant Summoner is trying to take advantage of the greater daemon hoping to bind it to his will. Things start going bad for the poor sorcerer so he starts calling in favors and summoning daemons to his aid. He finally resorts to summoning Skarbrand but Archaon and his Varanguard come in his stead.
The Varanguard are Archaon’s elite fighting force. Having been champions to a Chaos god they have given up their allegiance to fight for the Everchosen himself.
Archaon’s true nature is to bind the greater daemon himself. He ends up killing the Guant Summoner and the tide turns against the Stormcast host. Vandus is able to challenge Archaon but is killed along with every Stormcast on the battlefield. A message has been sent.
There are a couple of short tie in with Neferrata and the Death Grand Alliance and the Seraphon on a covert mission to aid the Sylvaneth. These are a few pages and felt like they were added to keep most Age of Sigmar players happy that their armies showed up.
All in all it was a good read. If that is what you are looking for you would do better by saving your $74 and just buying the novels. What you do get is a great set of Battleplans that let you recreate the Realmgate Wars on the tabletop. It also include the Warscrolls, which are already free, and Warscroll Battalions that give rules that fit the narrative. Finally, you get some terrific artwork. The book immerses you in the Age of Sigmar universe which I am thrilled about. All in all I am happy with the book and looks great on the shelf.