- "I’ve fought my share of battles against the beastmen of the woods, but these ratmen are different. The warherds are always driven by their bestial nature. They fight hard, but direct. The ratmen are cunning, clever."
- —Markus Kruber
A veteran from the battlefields of Ostland, Markus Kruber is a highly skilled but war-weary Empire soldier. As the sole survivor after his regiment fell prey to the gruesome death magic of a necromancer, Kruber is emotionally scarred but keeps up appearances by clinging to his old self, the affable soldier trying to do right in a world of wrongs.
Having fled farm life outside Ubersreik, a young Markus Kruber found himself in the Grunburg local militia and quickly rose through the ranks. A schism with an inept superior eventually spiraled out of control and resulted in a relegation to Ostland. Being sent from the richest province of the Empire to one of the poorest and most war-ravaged was clearly a punishment, but Kruber welcomed the change. He hoped that competent leadership and a steady stream of purposeful action would await him at his new post.
Leading the 8th Ostland Swordsmen, Markus drilled his troops until perfection, not content until their swords and shields felt like natural extensions of their own bodies. His leadership style was somewhat unconventional, inspiring confidence and loyalty not only through his prowess, but also due to his innate charisma and wit, making him immensely popular with his men. His unit was distinguished in several battles, whether it was breaking through greenskin lines, repulsing marauding beastmen, or hacking down ravaging berserker northlanders.
It was a necromancer who was to be Kruber’s undoing. The undead marched on a grand muster of Imperial might. Kruber’s regiment was on the east flank, forming an impenetrable barrier against the skeletal forces they opposed. For a while it looked as if the Ostlanders sensed victory and fought with extra ferocity to that end, but then the sergeant caught sight of a wizened old man leading a horde of zombies. In a freak moment their eyes locked, the necromancer grinned, and let loose the wind of Shyish. Moments later, a colossal orb of purple-edged darkness swept through the swordsmen, killing all it touched while sucking the souls from hapless bodies. One of the men pushed Kruber out of the way, his own soul selflessly sacrificed.
At the end of the battle, the undead had dissipate and the Empire was victorious, but it was a pyrrhic victory for Markus. His regiment had been destroyed, and he emerged as a traumatized lone survivor. In a state of shock, Markus applied for leave, wishing to quit military life and simply head for home, but was denied.
However, after some time, Victor Saltzpyre, a witch hunter on business in Ostland, crossed paths with Markus. The witch hunter was recruiting for an upcoming mission, and after witnessing a display of Kruber’s talents in a roadside ruckus with bandits, he convinced Kruber’s superiors to let him go.
Markus Kruber is a fearsome melee warrior, trained to excellence in numerous weapon techniques. When wielding large two-handed weapons, such as the great hammer or greatsword, he is capable of mowing down several enemies in one hefty swing, engaging a horde of ratmen all on his own. He is equally skilled with the mace, the longsword, or sword and shield combo, his versatility enabling him to tackle any conceivable situation on the battlefield. For ranged combat, he is equally well-prepared, wielding the devastating close range blunderbuss, the armour piercing handgun, or unleashing a high volume of fire with the repeater handgun.