24 February 2020

Althammer: Of Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins, and Half-Orcs

Since I recently received, posted about, and already started painting a few of the Midlam Miniatures hobgoblins, I've been thinking about how they fit within my Althammer setting.

My Althammer setting is the Warhammer Old World, with a twist -- and centered on Marienburg & the Wasteland. In this universe, orcs & goblins have been largely driven off from the area, as well as the adjacent Empire & Bretonnia for almost a century. A few (very few) orcs have been assimilated into the mercenary culture. And there are still some small, stray bands of goblins skulking around the wilderness.

Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Half-Orcs.... who are they?


Orcs. The orcs are a more or less homogeneous species. Sub-classifications (black orcs, savage orcs) are arbitrary or cultural. As mentioned above, they were driven out of the area as a large-scale population. A rare few have ended up in small mercenary bands and have partially taken on a semi-civilized lifestyle. Far more numerous in more distant regions, there are no immediate threats of large scale invasion.

Mercenary orc, warlord Zogmar, and an orc warrior


Goblins. Goblins are a far more heterogeneous group of species, classified together (and frequently living/working together) due to a few similarities... most are physically smaller and less numerous races thriving by stealth, trickery, and manipulation. Some may ally themselves with other groups (orcs, trolls, etc.) but all are ultimately self-serving due to the necessities of survival. They may appear in mixed groups or homogeneous bands, and are more numerous than anyone in Marienburg suspects Each population or warband may have it's own quirks and characteristics.

An assortment of "goblins"


Half Orcs & Hobgoblins. Both are terms used by outsiders (mainly humans) for largely (but not always) mixed race populations who don't quite fit in with any of their parent cultures for one reason or another. Sometimes their communities are simply a destination for those who don't feel they fit in with the society in which they are born. Differences between half-orc, hobgoblin, and other similar names are typically just a difference in regional terminology. The Grey Mountains and its foothills are home to significant half-orc populations who have mixed relations with their neighbors -- and each other.

Half-orcs, hobgoblins


19 February 2020

Stuff! In the Mail!


I backed the Midlam Miniatures Raiding Party KS. They just arrived and look great. A little larger than I expected (see second pic) but that's OK. Got a few extras so I can have a warband of 12 melee, 6 archers, and a handler with 3 hounds.

Looking forward to painting these (soon)!



17 February 2020

Master of Hounds - Conversion


Inspired by a conversion contest that's taking shape at Warhammer-Empire.com, I quickly put together this Master of Hounds.





02 February 2020

Ambushed by trolls! (Preface)


IC 2437

The small trade convoy had made it's second trip to the highlands, and was on its way back to the Little Country. Two wagons were loaded with some sort of exciting new crops, or so everyone had been told. Nob was certainly excited, and the odd half-orc he had met with at the caves was certainly excited as well. Or maybe the latter was just exceptionally odd.

The details weren't much concern to the escort. They were a mix of hired, uniformed guards and mercenary scouts. The former were beneficiaries of Nob's first mission to the highlands. His trade in exotic crops between the hills, the Little Country, and Marienburg were quite a mercantile success story. One worthy of the City of Gold, but unusual for the hinterland. After those first journeys, many of the young hobbits who had accompanied the ambitions entrepreneur were signed on as Company Regulars, provided with high quality equipment and gaudy purple uniforms.

A successful second mission, they were told, would bring increased reward. Naive as they were, they didn't expect increased danger. The first mission had passed without incident -- a few simple hikes through the Broken & Waste Lands. Those first missions had been relatively quiet. But now, on the first leg of their second mission, they found themselves ambushed by a band of trolls. The beasts descended on them from the hills just as the convoy had made camp beside the sparse dirt road for the evening after leaving the half-orc village.

Even Nob didn't expect trouble. Fried and his half-orcs held great influence over this part of the highlands. But trolls were notoriously unpredictable. Were they double-crossed? Were the trolls a rogue element in the plan? It didn't matter, the only thing that mattered was fighting off the brutes and making it back home...

The battle was fought on my tiny little auxiliary table, 3' x 3'.  It was fought using the Dragon Rampant rules, my first attempt at adapting a miniatures game to solo play. Dragon Rampant works pretty well for that, due to the random activation rolls. Additionally, the scenario was fairly straight forward. The trolls were after the loot in the wagons. The hobbits were defending. Trolls would head directly toward the wagons unless they had been wounded by hobbits the previous turn (in which case they would attack in a 50/50 roll off) or hobbits were directly in the way. The hobbits would react based on their roles. Archers would avoid combat and shoot, militia and guards would protect the stuff..

Initial set up...






There were a LOT of failed activation rolls on both sides. That made for an unpredictable game. As soon as I thought one side was screwed, the other side would roll just as poorly. Here some hobbit archers had miraculously chased off some trolls from combat, only to blow their roll to shoot them in the back! Meanwhile, another group of trolls charges unstoppabley at one of the wagons!



Things get messy. No hobbit wants to melee with a bunch of trolls. But they manage to fend them off for a moment! Even one group who has already looted the wagons has dropped their precious reward and run of to further trouble!



In the end, the hobbits defend their camp and cargo. The trolls are beaten and chased off. For the moment....



This was my first time trying the Dragon Rampant rules. Although I've played some other solo games (mostly board games), this was my first attempt at crossing over. The solo rules were simple. The trolls were after the 'shrooms in the wagons. They would head there as their primary task. If there was a hobbit unit blocking their way, they would fight through. If they were wounded by a hobbit unit within charge range, they would have a 50/50 chance of pushing through to the chests on the wagons, or attacking whoever had hurt them.

There were some distractions, but for the most part the trolls carried on to their objectives. There were poor dice rolls on both sides. I'd say the rolls for BOTH sides were far, far worse than average. Every time I thought one side had really blundered in tragic fashion, the other side would follow suit!

That brings me to my next point... the game really seems to be a matter of random luck & dice rolls. Due to the simple mechanics, maneuvering and table-top game-play seems to have minimum impact. I played the whole thing out over the course of several 10-minute sessions.

Nothing mattered much except that there are two units in combat -- probably with similar stats. The game is all about the dice rolls. A little disappointing, even for a  solo or "beer & pretzels" game. It took longer to select forces and set up than actually play the game. There were tense moments -- will a certain unit survive before being overrun, etc. But, as mentioned, that was more a matter of dice rolling than anything like position, abilities, etc.

EDIT: Although I'd like a little more from the rules. I still had fun & don't want my criticisms to make it sound like I didn't. I'm going to give the game a few more tries. If nothing else, it was easy to put the game together, quick to play, and I didn't have to get bogged down with a bunch of complex or unfamiliar rules.





27 January 2020

OWAC3 - January Wood Elves

I've completed my first month's entry for the Old World Army Challenge. More photos & words at my entry on the OWAC site. Expect a lot of other participants monthly updates in the coming week or so as well!





I got a new bulb for my adjustable lamp. I can now match the temperature of the bright overhead lights -- hoping to improve photos.


08 January 2020

Troll!


Continuing to wrap up half finished figures from last year when I should be focusing on painting the wood elves I'm doing for the Old World Army Challenge this year! (I am making progress on the elves...)

Troll shaman by Artizan Designs, from North Star. As you can see in the photo that I previously posted, he's a little shorter than the Marauder & Satyr trolls, but given that he's squatting down I think I'm OK with that. I like the idea that trolls (much like humans) are heterogeneous in size and shape, and this seems within a reasonable range.



What will I finish next? Well... hopefully some wood elves! But at the rate I'm going, probably some more of the other neglected, half-painted figures still on my desk!


04 January 2020

A Tale of Two Hobbits


Second hobbit of the new year. A contrasting counterpart to the first. One a member of civilized and courtly society, the other a spirit of wild nature. This one from Reaper Miniatures.