a gentlemanly army showcase
Happy Orktober everyone.
For many wargamer, the narrative element of the game is equally, or even more important than the competitive aspect.
So here comes the first post in a new ongoing series called “Army on parade”, where we present some of our armies and their respective background, as well as the the thought process behind the creation and army composition.
Giving your army a proper background and a clear(er) concept does more than add flavor to your game. Stillmania oblige… as they say.
It also helps you create a relationship to your fighting men, as any good officer should 😉 and maybe you’ll think twice if you want to send them into that impregnable breach next time.
As mentioned above, orktober is well on its way. Soooooo… let’s have a look at the elvish warband I use for Daniel Mersey’s Dragon Rampant game system.
Long ago, before humans settled on the Long River to build Mettfrauenstadt, before the Greenskin horde migrated south, before the Undead Rising, before the elvish kin of the North was no united kingdom and their great silvan kingdom of Charis was a distant dream.
When the first elven settlers wandered north, they found a harsh land. The great plains plagued with primitive human and Greenskin tribes, the distant mountains uninviting and forbidding, the bogs and marshes poisonous and dangerous. The nights were even worse, as horrors and nightmares stalked the land.
The elven clans that ventured north settled in the many hidden clearings of (what was later to be known as) Charis Forest and along the meandering river Milias.
Divided by nature, the many clans of the northern kin formed a loose alliance based on interdependence, trade and the very vague notion of kinship. Indeed, we are generations away before Dorelion IV Tileth, Lord of Clan Dorel, will build his mighty stronghold and set the base stone for the mighty Kingdom of Charis.
Before it’s ascend to power, Clan Dorel was one among many clans living close to the northern border of the forest.
Led by Prince Dayarion Tileth, son to Dorelion the Crafter, the warriors of clan Dorel fought of the many threats from the outside world. With his retinue, he defended the essential trade routes near the river Milias mostly against Greenskin and marauding hordes from what will later be known as the Badlands. Unlike most border-clans, Clan Dorel, upon initiative of Prince Dayarion, created the first permanent army of the northern kin. Relying on armored foot soldiers and well trained bowmen, those warriors in their bright red clan colours are to become the predecessors of the mighty elven army of the North: the Emberwell Host.
Design and army creation
The eternal quest for a fine elvish figure …
The GW high-elf range from the early 1990es to the end of the 2010s… and the ascend of AoS, is still my favorite elven design on the commercial market. It is, after all, the Warhammer version I grew up with. Especially the multipart army regiments (foot soldiers and bowmen) made the creation of a large and homogeneous elven host possible for this badly paid Masters degree holder ;).
But for this warband, the predecessors of my larger KoW- / WHFB-army (presented in a later post), the imposing look of those elves would not do. They were too heavily armored for an ancient clan army. Just think of the design and technology gap between bronze age warriors and the late roman imperial army.
I wanted something more archaic. In my mind, I pictured older illustrations of elvish hosts and cultures, mainly from the 70es and 80es, or at least the pre-PJ-movie-trilogy Tolkien-elves.
Luckily Northstar and Osprey were to release their new Oathmark range, including a first box of elvish warriors. Even though I am not fond of the cover art of the box, the miniatures themselves were what I am looking for. Each box contains up to 30 multipart models that can be assembled as either swordfighter, spearmen or archer.
A small note on the quality of the miniatures: They are made of grey plastic and easy to assemble. They are very easy to paint, since the details on the miniatures are well defined.
They also came with conic helmets and longshields. These two details sold these models to me, since both helmet and shield would make the design-link to my WHFB-elves. The idea was to pretend, elvish society evolved further and designed more elaborate and imposing headwear 😉
As you will see later in the pictures, I won’t kitbash and use (almost) exclusively the bits form the Oathmark-sprues.
I stuck to the same colour palette I used at my other elvish army: predominantly red for cloth and metal for… errr… metal… The chainmail will be in no-nonsense grey metal. I never got the hang to paint “mithril” and shiny shiny metal. In order to emphasize the nobility and grandeur of the elvish kin, the “lining” of the chainmail, aswell as certain details would be colored with yellow metal (gold and brass).
The army compostion follows the classic “sturdy close combat with bowmen support”-pattern.
Usually, I favor a ratio of 3 units of CC to one ranged unit. Furthermore, I prefer smaller units to large hordes. This gives me the versatility and mobility I need, to quickly adapt to changing situations.
This warband won’t have any cavalry, since their background makes them predominantly forest dwellers… a cavalry-charge through a dense undergrowth won’t end well. Also I have a strong dislike to paint horses -_-
Prince Dayarion , Warlord of Clan Dorel.
He counts as elite foot, having 6 Strength Points instead of being a unit of 6 doodas.
He has the ranger special rule by default and wears a mystical armor.
DR value : 8pts
With the exception of the Cape an the shield, all the parts are from the Oathmark-sprue. To indicate his status I used a spare WHFB-shield (I think it was from the dragon rider), a cape from the WHFB-elf archer-sprue and the fancy triple feathers and the brandished sword from the Oathmark-sprue.
The model is a placeholder, until I lay eyes on a more suitable miniature.
Elite foot : Silbaris the wise-a%&
Silbaris, wizard and healer in Prince Dayarions retinue. He serves as counselor to the prince and provides much needed arcane knowledge (aka magic missile… whoosh… kaboom) to the battlefield.
He counts as Elite foot element with the spellcaster upgrade.
DR value : 10pts
This is, until now, the only metal miniature in my warband. I forgot where it’s from… might be a DnD or something figurine (feel free to tell me).
Unlike the rest of the warband, I combined the Red of the cloth with lighter colours to emphasize his non-military origin.
Elite Foot : House Guard
Prince Dayarions household guard. Elite foot element at 1 SP per model. they are armed with shields and swords. They are supposed to protect the Lord and his family within and outside of his mansion. A spear, being less effective in a corridor, would not do. To further underline their special status, they got a feather at their cap :-). The fellow with the larger plume got a spare (and very old) GW-shield.
The house guard counts (yet again) as Elite foot. Each miniature counts as 1 SP.
Their ranger special rule will make them a hard hitting intervention unit.
DR value : 6pts
Heavy Foot : Spearmen
One “heavy foot”unit of (mostly) spearmen will be the main CC-unit of the warband. The size of the unit and the very prominent banner are supposed to attract the opponents attention and their “wall of spears” special rule should enable them to tank most of the CC-attacks.
DR value : 4pts
They are equipped with long shields and spears. Two of them carry swords and have a feather on their helmet. (tell you a secret… they used to be household guard 😉 ) They are officers for narrative reasons only.
Spearmen and officer account for one SP each. The banner is just there to look good. He counts as two strength points… because I miscalculated the number of models and I cannot be bothered to build and paint one right now -_-‘ … or ever…
Thus the total SP-count amounts to 12. The banner design is an old one I used on several occasions. The crescent moon and eye of Tileth… it was supposed to be the personal emblem of an old RP-char of mine. I stuck with it as my main banner design for both my elvish armies.
Light missiles : Archers
Finally a unit of 12 bowmen counts as light missiles unit. They are no-nonsense bowmen… ‘nuf said.
I gave them heads without helmets to emphasize that they are lighter units. One of them got a helmet with a feather. As with the spearmen, he counts as an officer for narrative purposes.
As I mentioned above, the miniatures are very detailed. I realized that while painting the faces of the archers. Kudos to the designer.
Well…that’s it… not a lot more to say/write. In a later post I will present their successors, the Emberwell Host, my KoW elf army. Many design and background ideas apply for both.