Sunday, 30 June 2013

A Wilderland of Thrones?

I don't know why but every autumn I get all nostalgic over D&D. It's probably linked to the start of the  school year in some way and memories of walking to my friends house on a autumn morning to play D&D. What I do know is that I have never really stopped dabbling in fantasy wargaming (with a strong dash of RPG influence). The fact that I am mainly a solo gamer makes it both interesting and difficult. My last attempt was to fight through Tegel Manor one room at a time......

The question is this - what bits of fantasy geography influences my fantasy wargaming world? In no particular order:

Mirkwood from Tolkien

Bits of Newhon / Llankhmar

City state of the Invincible Overlord

Wilderlands of High Fantasy

Against the Giants




Early Warhammer - Thorgrim Branedim and Air Dressair for example And more recently...... Game of Thrones

Any attempt to gather all this into one world, while entertaining, foundered due to conflicting styles and moods of the originals. A map incorporating it all seemed impossible.

My first reaction was to just have a rough map - this in the north, that wherever for example, but that too got stuck probably because I was quite fixated still on the originals in all their contradictions.

Recently though, watching Game of Thrones, I thought how Minas Tirith figures from the GW LOTR range looked like a sort of Westeros infantryman. The Gondor fiefdom figures also looked quite "northern".

Here, men at arms of House Casterly realise why property prices have slumped in the North.
 Minas Tirith soldiers simply painted red and gold.

This seemed to marry the look of the figures I liked with a bit of a background but keeping the human forces as quite generic. So,  my human fantasy forces are now settled as, in the north, Gondor fiefdom figures will feature as the Tunnocks and Garstangs, with a few rangers as hunters of the tumbledown tower. Their leader is Lord Riddick Craven, Warden of the Riding. In the south, the minas tirith figures (in red kit) became the Casterlys of Rosemount under Lord Tarquil Casterly. The original black painted minas tirith figures are the Kingsmen (though their shield device is the Casterly tree) whose role is uncertain; my dullendings are the wildmen of the howling hills and my ex citadel feudals are the retinue of sir Hubert of Haghill (now a royal messenger at arms). That combines Tolkien, GoT and Judges Guild references into one set of semi coherent human forces. The original City State could be seen as a plot riven backdrop for the north-south feud and also a point of entry for the more D&D element (eg the orcs of the purple claw).

I have some mordheim adventurers who look very piratical so they easily become the pirates of the Roglaroon, led by Strombanni - marrying in a hyboria reference but also reinforcing the judges guild Wilderlands theme. And so to the awkward bit. How to fit in the D&D elements of monsters - orcs, goblins, trolls, giants ?

In a typical D&D setting you could encounter monsters remarkably close to a human settlement - in the City State of the Invincible Overlord, they were a major and active (and accepted) part of the population . That did not quite gel with some of the other settings such as Hyboria which are less monster based and GOT in which humans are the most common monsters in all senses..

My tentative idea here is to think of concentric rings of increasing fantasticality. The further away you are from "the capital" the more D&D it gets. I had thought of CSIO as the capital; perhaps it isn't? Perhaps that is some fantastical city out on the edge of (ahem) the Wilderlands?
Food for thought all round and a small sense of achievement in terms of vision.

Now, to actually convert all this to a game. An AAR, musings on rules and some pictures to follow in due course.