Friday, May 20, 2016

Shieldmaiden Knights

It is not often that I can track an idea from initial concept to the point where I'm willing to put money into it. But this is exactly what happen with my latest multi-game project. Since it is still fresh in my mind I thought it would be interesting to write about the entire process here.

The idea started with me playing the game Bravely Default. One of the characters, Agnès the vestal of wind was raised by a coven female acolytes. As vestal, it is Agnès mission to tend to the crystal of wind, one of the four artifacts that are the life force of the planet. Since this was a job the require her entire waking moments, Agnès had almost no contact with the outside world. The coven did all of Agnès' necessities for her. This includes going to the city for supplies, cooking, cleaning as well as being Agnès' bodyguards. I know I've seen this trope in other media, though the only one I can think of is the movie Red Sonja. In that movie an order of all female priestess were guarding a world changing artifact. Of course in both these examples something bad happen to the coven. In Bravely Default's case, it force Agnès to face the outside world by herself for the first time in her life.

I took this concept and started playing with it in my mind. I toy around with some variables but at its core its a coven of all female warrior/priestess dedicating their lives to protecting something or someone. One of the things I thought about was if the coven was lead by someone like Lilith from the high fantasy setting of Anima. Lilith is one of the 4 Knights of the Seventh Heaven, each one said to have the strength to fight an army alone and win. To have someone of that caliber as leader would probably mean the rest of the coven strength would be much higher than the average small army. Going with this line of thinking, if the coven is protecting someone that is cloistered, like in Bravely Default, then that person wouldn't be aware of the power of the coven compared with other military forces. Now if an overwhelming force attacks and the person being protected escapes by herself, it would make sense for her to believe everyone in the coven had died.

This scenario can continue to play out in different ways. Where the protected will go, who she will allied with and how she learn about the survivors of the coven? I played out these scenes to figure out what would be the best way to tell a story. I soon realize my interest in this story idea is more than just a storytelling exercise. This seed of a story was now something I want to work on for as a long term permanent project. For that I need to decide whether to incorporate the seed into the series of novels I'm currently working on or make up a new short story/novel that is centered around the seed. At this point it still never occurred to me that any of this would be in miniatures. I took my time thinking about which way I wanted to go as both options had their positives and negatives. While I was thinking it over, I continue to play out various scenario in my mind. One of the variables I was constantly changing up were the side characters. Sometimes I used characters from my novel series to see how well the seed would work in them. Other times I use characters from other media to use as a blueprint for a new character if I went with the original story route. Eventually one of the characters I used was from my Chaos Magic mythology and that was when my prospective on this project completely change.

As soon as models entered the equation I knew the best fit for this story seed was in Holy Moon/Scarlet Nights. The focus of my thinking now shifted to rules and models. What game system can I use a coven of female warriors? I thought I would have more options but really Age of Sigmar is the only thing I'm interested in that fits. Since the coven is not a full size army, it doesn't fit into classic Warhammer fantasy. It probably could fit well into Kings of War but I'm not that familiar with the setting and I don't see myself playing it in the near future. Private Press's Hordes is a game I've been thinking about for a while. But that game is really more about monsters with very few (usually one) humanoid. Not how I envision the coven. Now that I'm thinking about it, there is one more game I'm interested in that I think might be a good fit. BattleLore! I still haven't gotten around to picking up the second edition box, or even playing it but from the reviews I've seen (and I enjoyed the first edition game) BattleLore is still something I really want to have. Unfortunately I will probably be unable to get the game any time soon. And with every other game I'm into being the wrong genre, Age of Sigmar is the system I need to plan for. I will be using both round and square bases so I would have the option to use the models in different game (since it really doesn't matter in AoS). I still haven't decided what warscrolls to use. Due to their background they should be from the forces of Order. Stormcast Eternals is close to what I'm envisioning but at the same time they are still off. To use a 40k reference, they are too much like Space Marines when I need Sisters of Battle. (On a side note, it didn't occurred to me how close the coven idea was to Sisters of Battle until after I started writing this post.) On second thought, if I can find large armored female models, I might have a couple coven members use the Stormcast Eternals rules. But for the majority of the coven I need to look at Bretonnian and Empire rules. Or maybe just wait for more human Order releases. That will probably be my best bet as I also envision the coven being mostly if not entirely on foot. As for models I will be starting with a couple of Reaper Minis that I like to use for commanders and a box or two of Mantic Games Basilean Sisterhood miniatures.

And that is as far as I've gotten on this idea. Initially I thought I would start on the Shieldmaiden models after I get 100 points of US in Team Yankee done and have assembly all the models in the Bretonnian Battalion box. But it has just been announce that West Germany will be in release for Team Yankee in July. So I guess after I get the West German book and Tornadoes (if they are in initial release) I will then start on this Shieldmaiden Knight project. At least that is the plan for now. I have a lot going on right now. In my next post I will discuss my Summer plans, some of which has already started, like being apart of a Team Yankee campaign. Until next time...

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