Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Continent of Westerness.

The Continent of Westerness
The smallest continent in the known world is called the Westerness.  It is the western most lands in the known world at this time.  At one time the Westerness was ruled as a single kingdom from the Iron Throne in Valinor, but today it is made up of several small feudal petty kingdoms all of which vie for that ancient throne.  Nominally the petty rulers of the West come together once a year in the “House of Lords” in Valinor to elect a ruler for life from among themselves to sit upon the Iron Throne but that hasn’t happened in 30 years.  No single princeling can manage enough votes from his peers to win the throne outright.  To be king the candidate must garner at least 6 votes.  In the last 100 years the voting privilege was extended to the two prime cults and the Grand Ranger of the Rangers’ Guild.   Recently however a new voting block has emerged, the two counts of Saargaten and Praav are cousins on their mothers’ sides and grew up close together.  In last year’s election they both voted for the Count of Finnacht, but he was still 3 votes shy so no king and adjournment for another year.

The Westerness is unique in that humans are the majority race.  There are small Elven Enclaves in the Black Forest as well as Dwarf Holds in the World's Edge Mountains. There are a few monstrous races and threats to society.  As with the rest of the world there are goblinkind although in the least amount anywhere.  Goblins and orcs were all but exterminated in Westerness in ages past but a few tribes managed to escape and survive high in the mountains and in the wastes above Wolfthorn.  The greenskins have very rarely had the numbers much less the unity to make a concerted attack southwards.  Necromancers on occasion spring up but rarely do they live long enough to cause serious trouble.  Also as in the rest of the world daemonic shadows lurk about and have been known to rise up to strike at one of the counties and in one instance many hundreds of years ago actually made a serious threat to all of the Westerness.

The Grand Duchy of Wolfthorn
Located in the cold rugged North.  Wolfthorn lies in snow most of the Aeyrian year.  It is said that Duke Wulfgar’s rule is both fair and grim.  His warriors are hearty and rugged, preferring leather armor types for warmth and to avoid having their skin stick to their armor.  Wolfthorn and Hawkridge are also known as the Wodenlaw. Sigil is a dark blue standard with the head of a white wolf.  Gen1, LH3, Sp2, Wb4, Bw2.

The Grand Duchy of Hawkridge
Duke Jokril III sits on the Aerie Throne from the lowest known mountain top in the World Edge range.  To be a flying knight is the greatest honor among the Hawkridge warriors.  Their sigil is a gold hawk on a red standard.  Gen1, Kn2, Sw4, Bw2, Flyer3.

The Principality of Valinor 
Valinor lies on the eastern shore. Valinor has been made wondrous by the former kings.  Its sigil is a golden crown on a purple standard.  The future king always bears the title of King of Westerness, Prince of Valinor followed by his home title.  In the absence of the king the Steward, Johaness I rules and care takes the Iron Throne.  The Steward has a smaller throne in the royal court as he is not permitted to sit on the Iron Throne.  In the past the Steward held no vote nor could he stand for election but over time this changed as the other lords all sought the Stewards favor in the election.  Gen1, Kn2, Sp6, Bw2, Art.

The Grand Duchy of Foxcrest
Duchess Inyanna holds power in Foxcrest.  She is quite possibly the most politically cunning of the 8 Great Lords of Westerness and there is an iron fist beneath her velvet glove.  Sigil is black fox on an orange standard. Gen1, LH3, Kn3, Sw3, Bw2.

The Grand County of Saargaten
Saargaten, Finnacht and Praav are an area of the Westerness with its own distinct culture, and language.  They used to be a separate confederation but were unified with the rest of the continent in the ancient past.  Sigil is a black bull on a red and white standard.  Gen1, LH2, Kn2, Sw4, Bw2, Art.

The Grand Duchy of Starfall
Duke Emerys VII rules Starfall.  Starfall has it's name because every century there is a comet that sails by in the night sky and Starfall is the best place in the world to see it.  Sigil is a white star on a black standard. Gen1, LH3, Kn3, Sw3, Bw2.

The Grand County of Finnacht
Sigil is the white rune for peaceful night on a blue and orange standard. Finnacht lies just south of the Black Forest. Finnacht has had a long troublesome history with a few of the Wild Elf clans that inhabit the forest on near their border. Count Fritz von Gustof has forbade the construction of any new settlements near the border and errected instead a series of frontier forts.  Gen1, Kn4, Sw4, Bw2, Art.

The Grand County of Praav
Sigil is a black bear on a yellow and white standard. Count Karl von Alexander is cousin to the Count of Saargaten. Count Karl is young and ambitious.  While a prince he once pushed for his father to send the army into the Black Forest to claim a large swathe of land there.  His father wisely declined.  Gen1, Kn2, Sw5, Bw2, Art2.

The Cult of Woden 
The Arch-Priest of Woden is a voting but non-electable member of the House of Lords.  The Cult of Woden teaches that bravery in life and especially battle will grant you entry to the eternal summerlands when you pass.  While you can find a shrine or follower of Woden throughout the realm, his primary worship is centered in Wolfthron, Hawkridge and Foxcrest.  Woden maintains a small military force, however in ages past when the Arch-Priest called for a Gathering, thousands showed up armed and ready to fight.  Mage, Wb9, Bw3

The Cult of Garacaius
The Grand Theoginist is a voting but non-electable member of the House of Lords.  The Cult of Garacaius teaches that in the ancient past the Mage-Emperor of Darien traveled to Westerness and taught the men here science and magick.  The worship of Garacaius is more widespread than Woden or other beliefs.  Also the cult fields its own small full time army.  Its sigil is the mark of G on a white and blue standard.  Mage, Kn3, Sw3, Sp3, Bw2.

The Rangers’ Guild 
The Grand Ranger of Westerness is also a voting non-electable member of the HoL.  The Rangers are a militaristic monastic order that patrols the wilderness and roads of Westerness.  Each county contributes men and usually a tithe to the guild once a year.  Though the men granted are usually those rotting in county jails and young princes whom have no inheritance due to being too low in their families pecking order.  Most rangers practice the ancient pagan nature based religions’ of old Westerness as taught by the guild’s druids.  The Rangers hold Skara Hall near Hawkridge as their own barony and derive a small income from it.  They also provide merchant escort and often collect bounties on fugitives and monsters.  A typical road patrol consists of 3 rangers.  However a wilderness patrol consists of a captain, a sergeant, at times a druid and 7 to 8 rangers.   The rangers are sworn to remain neutral in any conflict among the members of the House of Lords.  However at times of invasion or dire threat they’ve served as scouts and light infantry for the great armies of Westerness.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Starting Campaign: Lands of Darien...Part 2

Wasteland of Zhon
Capital City: None
Ruler: Thrisha the Vile
The Demon Princess Thirsha the Vile is the defacto ruler of Zhon as she is the most powerful being to continually inhibit those lands.  Zhon is east of Aramon but west of Taros.  Zhon is home to many creatures, especially beastmen & orcs.  Thirsha is a disciple of Thulmos the Lord of Fire and her minions honor him with their sacred fires.  The number 6 is considered magickal and as such the hordes of Zhon organize their tribes and clans around it.  There are no towns or villages in Zhon as no civilized folk dwell there.  The creatures that inhibit the land dwell in caves, dens or burrows.  On occasion an outsider will venture into Zhon but usually just ends up eaten, enslaved or as a sacrifice on a sacred fire.  On rare occasion one will emerge from the flames changed, maybe with a rams or bulls head, or tentacles and wings instead of arms.

Special Rules
Beasts +1
Behemoths +1

Thirsha the Vile, Demon Princess of Zhon.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Campaign World Reduction, Starting Small and Simple: The Lands of Darien... Part 1.

Alright, I've had it with this flux on starting my campaign.  Too many things I like from too many fantasy settings to try and meld them all together.  At least as grand as I had first envisioned.  So finally and I mean finally settling on a starting point.

World: Aeyr
Starting Continent: Darien
Starting Factions:  Aramon, Veruna, Taros, Zhon and Creon. (Some of you might recall these. :)

Kingdom of Aramon
Capital City:
Ruler: Elsin I, Mage-King of Aramon.
Aramon lies in the southwest of Darien.  Elsin I is the Mage King.  Aramon is a feudal society with a hierarchy of lords and nobles.  Magick and its users are kept under strict control by the College of Magick.  Archers have a special place in Aramon society and are taught how to enhance their craft with magickal cantrips.  Elsin has a large army and access to a massive feudal levy when needed.

Special Rules
Knights: +1.
Archers: +1
Mages: -1

Elsin I, Mage-King of Aramon.
_______________________________________________________

Principality of Veruna
Capital City: Veruna
Ruler: Kirenna, Princess of Veruna, Chief Priestess of Danu
Veruna is a truly unique place on Aeyr.  It lies in the northwest corner of Darien.  It is ruled by the Sea Sprite Kirenna along with the Burgomeisters of the city.  It’s a true metropolitan city where you will find humans, elves, gnomes and even centaurs walking the streets.  Veruna’s alchemists, priests and wizards work tirelessly to protect the city.


Special Rules
Mages: May pass over water.
Water Lurkers: +1.
Kirenna the Sea Sprite, Queen of Veruna.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rules Review: Mighty Armies...A Second Chance

Spurred on by talk over at TMP and one of my gaming buddies I've decided to give Might Armies by Rebel Minis another go. So I used my royalty credit at Wargames Vault and picked up the new edition.  Apparently there have been some major changes to the game. The rules have grown from 16 pages to 43.  However there are still some things I dislike and will have to create house rules for. Such as:

MA House Rule 1: 40mm frontage bases. Non-negotiable. I know I can't use them in an MA tournament but you know what, MA should have realized that a great ebb & flow of 15mm gamers out there use 40mm.

 MA House Rule 2: Group Combat Mechanic. Never liked this. One of the TMPers has a house rule that states losses must come from the fighting side rather than the back. Also that if a group is hit in the rear or flank those units hit must break off from the group and turn to face. I really like that.

Now that being said I've liked their shooting and movement rules since Mongoose first came out with them.  Anyway I'll give it a good read and playtest this weekend and report my findings here.  Also I want to be able to have a ruleset that I convert as easy as HOTT.  I think MA can but I am not certain.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Wulfgar and the Dungeon of Zuenzgfar

As we said before Wulfgar and his loyal followers met up in Stormfell and discussed their next move.  Wulfgar needed funds to raise an army and having just returned from his coming of age trip he was nearly broke.  Broke enough he could not care for the men in his service.  He decided to send his men home to their families saying he would call upon them in time.  Leaving them with a warning not to mention his return nor their loyalty to him lest his vile Uncle should harm them or their loved ones.  The party disbanded and Wulfgar set out to find his fortune and take the first step in reclaiming his father's hall and banner.  

Most know of the ancient ruined mountain city of Zuenzgfar.  Tales of riches and splendor but dire evil and death to all whom enter, save but a scarce few who dared but to brave the entrance and then only to barely escape with their lives.  Wulfgar decided it was here he would start.  

He set out on the 7 day journey up the trade roads leading to the Dwarf holds but after 4 days he turned to the east towards Zuenzgfar.  While on the trade roads he could make use of the safe haven camps at night along the way.  These camps are specially warded to fend off daemons and the undead, which prey on good folk at night.  Off the main trade roads Wulfgar had to find adequate shelter and setout his own protective wards to keep the daemons at bay.  The first night off the trade road, he setup his wards and covered himself with his cape and used his pack as a pillow.  He was very nervous.  This was his first night ever in the wild, alone and depending upon his own wards to protect him.  As dusk fell he could hear the sounds of the daemons creeping from the shadows of the abyss with their primordial howls.  Soon, a vicious red daemon spotted him, it howled as it charged him, Wulfgar did not dare move as his wards left no room for a fight, but he did pull his sword up just in case.  The daemon came racing in with hunger in its eyes.  Wulfgar's heart beat faster, his throat began to swell.  But as the wicked thing reached him, Wulfgar's wards activated with a flash of light and sent the daemon sprawling backwards.  It tried again and again, only to be repulsed each time.  Wulfgar finally relaxed and took a deep breath.  He made a quick prayer to Ulric, sheathed his sword, cleared his throat and spat it at the daemon.  The vile creature kept him company all night, it was a fitful night, with no sleep coming.  As the night began to give way to the day, the dark creature gave him one last glare then retreated back to the shadows.  Wulfgar allowed himself to sleep.  

After a few hours, Wulfgar awoke at almost mid-day.  He picked up his wards, threw them in his pack and continued on his way.  Repeating the process four more nights until he reached Zuenzgfar.  He waited till early daylight to enter.

The Ruins of Zuenzgfar with Wulfgar at the entrance.

Area 1: Upon entering Wulfgar disturbed a hobgoblin which
sprang to attack him.  The hobgoblin was fast and it hit him
hard leaving his shield arm knumb with pain.  Undeterred
Wulfgar attacked back and just a few moments later Wulfgar
had slain the creature.  Wulfgar found a magical ward crudely
pinned on the hobgoblins ragged armor.  It failed to protect
the hobgoblin but Wulfgar knew how to use it and set it
upon his own armor.  It soothed the pain in his shield arm. He
also found a magickal health potion which he drank.

The hobgoblin knocked Wulfgar down to 2 wounds before
he killed it.

Wulfgar enters a long tight tunnel.

Encounter Rules

Area 2: In the tunnel Wulfgar encounters a Tunnel Worm!
He easily defeated this enemy and in the hole in the floor
from where it slithered out he found 2 gold coins! Enough
to feed his current men and their families as well as himself for months.
He also found a potion but upon picking it up his hand burned
and he dropped it feeling ill.  The bottle was laced with poison.

Area 3: As Wulfgar enters this cross section a giant spider
leaps out towards him.  After a scary battle his slays the beast.
Finding a strange unknown potion and what luck a health potion.
But as soon as he picks up the health potion is burns his hand
and makes him even more sick.



Area 4:  Wulfgar finds an empty room, which was probably
a guard station in the ancient past.  In the back he spies a
chest.  He opens it to discover it was trapped!  A
spring loaded dart shoots out and hits him hard.  However
inside he finds another potion which cures his disorientation
from the poison laced bottles he found earlier.  He decides to barricade
door and ward the room and get some much needed rest.


After resting he reenters the dungeon from the room and decides
to investigate the other end of the hallway and he encounters
another giant spider.  Another pitched battle but our hero
survives.

After slaying the spider and feeling on the verge of collapse
Wulfgar decides to take his 2 gold and new found magick
ward and leave for Winterfell.
Played out this little adventure using the Dungeons Solo Adventure Rules.  Fun game but the rules need lots of work, tempting me to write my own solo dungeon game.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My First 25mm HOTT Army: Human Feudal Lords

I finished my first ever 25mm army for HOTT.  I've done plenty in 15mm but never before in 25.  I assembled this army to sell on eBay but I am tempted to keep it.  These are mostly old 25mm Minifigs.  The mage is a 1/72 plastic Caesar Mini, and her familiar is from Reaper.  The sneaker is an old model from Grenadier.  I know some will say too shiny, but you ever hear of knights in shining armor? *grin*

"The army is mustered my lord."

"Behold the Dragon Priestess and her pet."
"Aye and watch that lurking assassin"

Ran out of crossbowmen so I used a batch of arrows to
complete the base.  Works for me.



"Men of the Army!  You have come to serve & protect our lord, our country,
your homes, your families and your very lives.
The threat before us is terrible.
But keep faith with me and pray that our Lord Teraxiaeyr
 the Great Blue Dragon will see our faithful service and
awaken from his slumber to descend upon our enemies as
we smote their ruin upon the countryside!"
-Lord Donnuil Mac Athol before the Battle of the Augury Fields

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Campaign Starting Location: Winterfell & the North (Northern Westermark)

Starting Location:  Northern Westermark (Westermark = The West)

Winterfell & Northern Westermark

Northern Factions
  • ·         The Black Watch
  • ·         Winterfell
  • ·         Barbarian Clans
  • ·         Frozen Wastes
  • ·         Northern Barons.
  • ·         Dun Garok (Dwarfs)

Nominal Ruler: The Winter King of Winterfell.

Reality: The Northern Barons rule their own lands with little interference from Winterfell.  On rare occasion the Winter King will demand a levy but no WK has ever sought tribute although he could certainly enforce it if he desired.  While the Barons are bound on paper by the Glacies Carta the ancient artifact treaty between the Dwarfs and the IWK no one is forced to swear an oath.

The Frozen Wastes:  Lawless frontier.  Mostly scattered barbarian tribes but a few nomadic orckin tribes dwell there.  Every hundred years or so a Barbarian King will arise and unite the clans and invade south.  This was always a terrible time until the VIII Winter King along with help from the Southern lands built The Black Keep and established the Black Watch to guard the lone pass from the wastes to the Westermark.  Once a man “puts on the Black” he is bound for life to the Black Keep and being ever vigilant guarding the pass.

The frost tends to make metal stick so most warriors here fight with axes, bows, spears, clubs and maces.  Platemail does exist though it is rarer than in the rest of the West.  The most common armor is leather types, due to its warmth capabilities as compared to plate, chain or ringmail. 

Spring lasts about 3 months followed by a very short summer & fall with typical winter lasting 6 months.   Most available farm land is dedicated to livestock and a hearty wheat grain.  Fish is a main staple especially near the rivers, lakes and the coast.

Largest cities are Winterfell and Candlekeep.  Candlekeep has been ruled by a branch of the Winterfell Stark family for 300 years.  The XX Winter King is the young Robert Stark.  His older cousin Brenden Stark rules Candlekeep as Duke.

Religion:  The Pagan Cult of Ulric, God of Winter, Wolves and Battle is the largest religion.  There are a few animist cults and the Cult of Sigmar has a growing but minor presence.  Every so often a Krasian Cleric can be spotted but they are usually ignored.

Baronial feuds are common but usually don’t spread too far, rarely requiring intervention from Candlekeep or Winterfell.  At any one time there are 150 Northern Barons.  A warlord will arise & claim a new throne or one baron will conquer another.  Sometimes the common folk will simply upstakes and move to a new Lord with a better grasp on reality leaving the old Baron with no income and no militia.  This usually results in a stronger Baron taking over.  Sometimes Baronies change hands through marriage.  One sonless Baron will marry his daughter to the son of another and then their child inherits both lands only to have the lands split again among his own heirs.

The barbarian clans dwell in the far Northern Plains and in Northern caves and crags of the Dragonspine Mountains.  These are very primitive folk but are skilled craftsmen and will often trade with travelers, if they don’t kill them and take what they have.

The Dwarfs of Dun Garok tend to be reclusive.  They do send out trading caravans from time to time, in search of resources and gold.  Occasionally they will send out a punitive expedition to deal with marauding barbarians, orckin and occasionally they will parley with the Winter King if one of his Barons becomes a problem.  You can find Dwarf merchants trading at the Black Keep, some even have shops in Winterfell and as far away as Candlekeep.  It’s not unheard of for a rich Baron to have a Dwarf smith on his payroll.


Into this setting comes Wulfgar, son of a deposed Baron from the Wolf Clans near Winterfell.  Wulfgars father was slain by his jealous half-brother.  Wulfgar had been away on a coming of age trip south when the coup took place.  It wasn't until his return 2.5 years later that he learned of his uncle’s treachery.  Most of his father’s trusted men that survived had fled to other baronies and to Winterfell.  It was to Winterfell that Wulfgar returned with his travelling companions.  The XXWK could not intervene as Cult of Ulric forbids the WK from meddling in the internal affairs of the Barons.  If Wulfgar wanted his Barony returned and avenge his father, he would have to raise a small army to do it and that would cost a lot of money, more than he could acquire in a life time of work.  So it was that Wulfgar and his companions became adventurers seeking fame and fortune.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Campaign Settings: Too Many Choices

I've mentioned before how I enjoy the settings for Warhammer, Game of Thrones, D&D, Warmachine, some of the Magic TG worlds and many others.  I've tried for seven years to come up with a logical way to take from here and there and mix them all together.  The conclusion is that I simply have not been successful.  So I once again I am at the drawing board for a campaign setup.  Well, actually it's never left the drawing board.

So I've decided to start over again from scratch.  What's known or what is definite is that there are certain traits that must exist in my campaign world.  In other words these things listed below must be present but they do not have to be present all at once.  I know what I must do and that is to start small.  I've tried to fit in too many things at once, even tried making them all smaller and making the map smaller but there are simply too many.  Another issue is trying to decide what miniature scale.  However it seems pretty clear.

6mm:  Just not enough in fantasy to justify it.
10mm:  There are plenty of historicals and OOP Warmaster can, for now, be found on eBay.
15mm:  Obvious choice, abundant and plenty to choose from.
25mm:  Another good choice, however I like small game tables and the smaller scales are faster to paint up.  But that said I plan to do almost all dungeon delving in 25mm.  However I do have a good stash of Caesar 1/72 fantasy for that as well as 15mm.

Elves:  Now, my first thoughts are that I want High Elves and Wood Elves but maybe that's pushing it.  Maybe a combination of the two will work? Also Drow or Dark Elves, these guys for sure will be featured, the easy part for them is I do not have to mix them with the previous two.  Might take a closer examination of Elvendom in Warmachine, I believe they have them there but only as a single faction.  That's not to say that I am copying and pasting, not at all simply getting more information.

Imperial Humans:  Here's a tough one.  This comes from my love of the Warhammer fiction novels.  Love the Emperor, Sigmar, Witch Hunters, and Steam Tanks.

Low or High Magic:  Just a year or so ago I would have quickly said High Magic like D&D but Game of Thrones and the Warded Man series has given me a new found respect for a low magic campaign.  How do I find a middle ground on that one?

Dwarfs:  Warhammer and Warcraft Dwarfs, awesome in a small package.  The road block I run into is that I have many different models for Dwarfs.  So I thought of making two breeds of dwarf, Mountain and Hill or Imperial Dwarf.  Mountain dwarfs hardy and stoic like the Warcraft/Hammer dwarfs.  Hill or Imperial Dwarfs smaller in stature and live among humans.  I guess I need to inventory my "Hill/Imperial" dwarfs and see if I have enough to finish an army with a few left over for skirmish games and if not sell them.

Great Enemy:  In the barren lands of Nod, there rules the Great Enemy of the West.  You get the picture.

Orcs & Goblins:  Not much of a problem really.  Only issue is trying to decide between LotR/D&D orcs or Warhammer types.

Desert Army:  As in Krasia from the Warded Man.  Gotta have it.

Daemons and other monsters that stalk the night with the good folk using protective wards to keep them at bay.  More Warded Man stuff.

Winterfell from GoT.  Love the Starks and their sigil, like the Lannisters too.  Gotta have the Night Watch as well.

Creon: From Total Annihilation Kingdoms.  Very similar to Warmachine.

Border Princes:  A good place to plant ideas for new armies.

So what I'm thinking of is a campaign with few gunpowder weapons, they do exist, just rare and very costly.  Magick is evident but uncommon, seen a little more than rare but is not an every day thing.  People lock up at night behind warded doors and windows due to the daemon/monster threat.  Several interesting races and mysterious lands to discover.

Also I think once the Duchess and I move to our new home late next Winter this will really take off.  As I'll be settled into our new home for at least the next 10 years (crosses fingers) and I'll have a better inventory of my lead pile.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

HOTT Battle: Orcs vs. Early Imperial Humans (Romans)

I played an introduction game of Hordes of the Things for a friend of mine.  It was his first HOTT experience.  I let him play my Orcs & Gobbos while I played my Early Imperial Romans.  Late in the game I put my General out to flank an Orc warband which was successful but this left my General exposed and he was quickly killed and devoured.  






Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Back from Fall RECRUITS in Kansas City!

Made a day trip up to Kansas City for RECRUITS.  Had a great time.  Came back with some good bargains from the silent auction and the markets.  Learned a new game Freeblades, and broke their d6 record at the same time.  Really enjoyed it.  Here are some pictures of "blog related" items of the con