Showing posts with label Wargaming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wargaming. Show all posts

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Circle Orboros


Another 'cheat' post where I get to talk about my love of miniatures with my interest in role playing games.

I've been playing Dungeons and Dragons for a long time. I know there are man, many people who started before I did around 85', but I'm just putting out my own reference point here. One of the things I remember when I first started gaming, was how different druids were back then.

I don't want to say that druids have become some green peace hippy thing but it seems to me that a lot of focus on druids being the old religion so to speak, the old ways, the old gods, is left by the doorstop in order to make druids a still useful part of the game. Even in the old Village of Hommlet, the druids were on the way out. The reader could easily get the idea that the only reason that the druids were there at all was because it was an out of the way location that bordered on the wilderness.

And part of the problem with this is that D&D is so enmeshed in making things equal that you'd almost never know that druids are on the way out in the setting proper. They tend to be everywhere adventurers are. The urban druid is actual a thing now.

I think part of this borders from the way the alignment system works. Good and neutral faiths aren't necessarily going to go out of the way to crush the old ways and replace them.

So what does this have to do with the Circle Orboros? These druids are some of the first I've seen where they have a very detailed structure and have their own allies and enemies. Some of which can port over to almost any fantasy setting. Unlike the steam driven side of Warmachine, the druids here rely on monstrous allies, both unique or rare beasts and humanoids who fit that criteria. They train their soldiers off away from the beaten paths.

But they have deep religion on their 'side' too if you will. They are not peaceful. They are not content to tend the woods. They have ties to the ley lines of the world. They see the rise of man, of civilized man as something that must be pushed back and rendered out. But prior to that, they have numerous invaders from other venues and have issues with creatures that blight the very land itself.

This makes them an interesting faction in that they consider their goals noble, they wind up often fighting those who are vile, and they have internal politics where some of the factions are actually noble but are caught up in others intrigues.

When looking at druids in a standard Dungeons and Dragons game, how do they fit in the overall setting? Why do they fit? Ask if these druids are really necessary and make them earn their keep. If you're running a campaign on the borders of civilization, its much easier to rationalize why druids and their standing stones and sacrificial stones would be up and about but when adventuring primarily in a city based dwelling, why are they there? Other 'wilderness' based classes aren't necessarily religion based so the barbarian may be uncouth wherever he goes, but he's still a warrior. A ranger may not feel comfortable around the civilized world, but depending on how you look at the ranger, as original done, someone who gives up the comforts of civilization to safeguard civilization or a tree hugger who couldn't cut it as a druid, their city life may be a natural fit.

The Circle Orboros provides a lot of thought not only in how such an old faith might worship, but what allies it might have and since its free of the tech, is easily ported to most fantasy based campaigns.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Retribution of Scyrah

As I've mentioned in the past, I'm a bit of a miniature painter as well as a traditional role playing fool. One of the games I own a lot of figures for but don't play is Warmachine. I've owned several sets since it first came out at Gen Con many many moons ago. Some of them I still haven't painted. When I'm not playing a game I'm not as pressed to paint something for it as I would be if I knew I was going to be using it in an actual campaign.

What does that have to do with anything? In terms of gaming, its easy to get bogged down into a standard. Elves are always aloof mysterious masters of arcane magics better off forgotten for one. While there are many of those elements present in the Ios force known as the Retribution of Scyrah, they are also some of the most technologically advanced people in the setting.

In some aspects, this makes sense to me. Progression is usually based on a timeline. Elves are most often some of the oldest races in a setting. Too often it's an elf sitting in a tree picking his teeth like some hill folk with a sense of serenity about him. Warmachine takes the Iosian people in a different path. They have power. They have technology. They have advancements undreamed of by men. Their war machines are slick and sleek and things of wonder to behold. they are not lunkers and stumblers spewing forth black smoke and steam onto the battlefield.

By making this contrast but keeping other elements, such as having a small population, being fairly isolated from the mainland, and other bits, the authors are able to take the standard with the fantastic and make the Retribution of Scyrah something different.

When making your races in your setting, look at see what the Halflings in Eberron are like, peak around at the Skaven in Warhammer, noisy about at the Tyranids in Warhammer 40K. There might be something worth stealing for your own campaign.