The Empress’s Hounds

An advantage of moving back to Leeds was bringing me closer to friends and family which brings with it the advantage that I have a much wider base of people to see and play games with. One of which is my Sister, who runs her own blog covering her hobbies. She is not really a wargamer, having only had the classic experience of being dragged through a game of Warhammer or two and collecting a few of the old Bretonnian figures. However, she is a keen board gamer and a fan of all things fantasy.

One day last year while we were hanging out (thanks to me being a single-person household I was able to bubble with family), she expressed an interest in giving my hobby a go. And as you might have seen, I have been lacking in wargames in the last 18 months. Because of this, the idea of running a game ever two weeks sounded pretty damn great.

However, the eternal question is what to play?

After a few weekends of thinking about it, as well as watching some classic swashbuckling films and trying out a ruleset, we finally decided we’d play some Fantasy skirmish (and not just due to the pile of models I’ve been collecting for it).

Part of this was also down to the rules – Open Combat is a system with plenty of potential for including a whole variety of troops (everything from hordes of rats up to large beasts), easy to expand with a collection of house rules and most importantly – it was simple. There isn’t 101 moving parts that need to be pulled together, there isn’t a host of cards that each player must learn. Instead, all you need is a few D6s, a few models, a small board and the 1 page quick reference guide.

The other part was down to the story telling element of wargaming. Neither my sister and I are rushing into games for the competitive side – it’s much more interesting to use them as ways of creating an exciting plot. For this reason, we both got especially excited about the idea of using our games as the starting point for content for both our websites – I’d be writing the game focused side (as well as detailing the scenarios) while The Sister on her blog (https://wolfishwritten.wordpress.com/) will provide the ongoing narrative written in universe.

However, we’d need a setting. And luckily I had one in mind…

The Setting

(map coming soon)

Midgard is a fantasy setting that I’ve been writing over the past few years as an excuse to let me use all the wonderful fantasy figures out there. It is a setting that contains elements of many other fantasy settings (such as the Old World from Warhammer, the Continent of the Witcher, Westeros, etc). At some point, I’ll write more about it but it’s a merging of low fantasy mud and grime while still containing elements of high fantasy and legends (such as encountering gods and there being other races without going too hard on the “humans are big racists”).

The main characters of the story so far are a group of the Swordmasters. These are the key agents of the main ruler in the world of Midgard, The Empress. At her command, they crisscross the realm to solve issues and protect her rule. It’s best to describe them as diplomats, spies and assassins all rolled into one, occupying the same slot as famous characters such as the Musketeers of the Guard in The Three Musketeers.

Going forward, we may encounter other groups working through the empire. There are a wide number of groups that go about their trade throughout the Imperial Lands and it’s kingdoms and into the unclaimed Marches, from the usual Mercenaries and Templars to Vampire Knights, Garou Scouts and Elven monks from secret temples hidden away where the average citizen would not expect to find them.

The Episodes

Of course, you can have all the setting you want but there must be a story within them. When writing the campaign, I’ve worked out that I want it to feel a bit like a premium TV show crossed with a little bit of the feel of the old Sharpe TV Movies. Each episode will contain a number of a scenarios (often using similar or the same terrain) while the actual plotlines may cross over between episodes, assuming the required dramatic cliffhanger is reached.

The Core cast will naturally move between Episodes and storylines (as well as having some bonuses to keep them around for longer), but you will see other characters join in for a few battles depending on how the fates go. Depending on how long we play, certain reoccurring characters might crop up, for good or for ill.

Prologue

In the Prologue, a group of the Empress’s Swordmasters went up against some death cultists that had captured a member of the Siccarian Nobility.


Episode 1: The Estate of Vorpass

In Episode 1, the group of Swordmasters headed out into the Marches (accompanied by another trainee) on a brand new quest:

Game 1 saw an intro game, explaining the basics of Open Combat in the form of a training fight.

– Game 2 took them to the ruins of the Estate of Vorpass, where they came upon a servant of the Emperess in distress. (Link coming soon)

– Game 3 followed up on the events of Game 2, the party being ambushed as they prepared for a trip into the vaults of the Vorpass Estate. (Link coming soon)

The account of this episode from the scribes of the Swordmasters can be found at Wolfish Written

Episode 2

Episode 2 continues the adventures at the Estate of Vorpass.

COMING SOON

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