Part II, III and IV)
It is not quite spring, but I thought I might do a little spring cleaning around here. I have resettled to Boston and my interests have similarly been struck by wanderlust, migrating like nomads to fertile new territory once the mountain passes have thawed. In my ranging I have rediscovered Warhammer Fantasy Battle, and specifically the 3rd Edition (1987). In the growing old school wargaming renaissance scene, this version of the venerable grandfather of fantasy wargames is known as "Oldhammer." I quite approve.
Thus this blog has been repurposed, at least for the time being. I will still keep the old address from Swords of Minaria, but I thought it might be fun to give the page a new name and styling. The Border Princes, for those in the know, is an outlaw region beyond the pale of civilization: a no man's land well beyond the furthest frontier, where ignorant armies clash in the brutal wilderness in a vain effort to carve out a meek kingdom for a short while. If this sounds something like a roleplaying module you have played, then you would not be far from the truth. In reality, Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd Edition borrowed as much from roleplaying games as wargames, and was the only version of the game to date that was developed to be fully coterminous and complementary to a roleplaying game (the much lauded first edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay). The things WFB3 has in common with an old school roleplaying game (not the least of which is the requirement of a gamemaster) are enough to term it a hybrid roleplaying-wargame, but the full extent of this is better tackled in a future post.
For the first article that explores the rules and roles in Oldhammer, I wanted to begin a "grande review" of the armies and factions of the Old World. Those who came to the game after the late 80's might be surprised at the sheer diversity of troops available to an aspiring general. The familiar armies are all there, including Dark Elves, Wood Elves, High Elves, the Empire, Bretonnia, Chaos, Skaven, Orcs and Goblins, Dwarfs, Slann and the Undead. Joining these are many other warbands of lesser races, including Chaos Dwarfs, Fimir, Old Worlders, Pygmies, Halflings, Zoats, Giants, Ogres, Half Orcs, Hobgoblins, mercenaries from Nippon and the Norse. This diversity in choice really comes into its own when one takes into consideration the rules for hosts, allies and mercenaries. Each main army can choose up two, three or even five factions as allies and/or mercenaries, making each force truly unique. These warbands are often further bolstered by hosts of monsters, ethereal spectres (including wraiths, wights and ghosts) and Chaotic creatures. Each army certainly has a unique feel, with strengths and weaknesses, but is also able to greatly tailor its strategy with these supporting forces. To get a better sense of this, we will take a closer look at the Dark Elf and Wood Elf forces.
The next article will cover the armies of the High Elves, the Empire and Bretonnia.