Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Lohwand: Some Preliminary Basing Ideas

Unit Bases (i.e. one figure = multiple persons)

OK, more-or-less final basing ideas:

1) Units get square or rectangular bases;
2) Single entities get round or oval bases;
3) Regular units are based with an even number of figures;
4) Irregular units are based with an odd number of figures;
5) My standard base is 4" x 5".

I have an idea that a phalanx sub-unit might be four bases, as above, but with the front edge being 4", not 5". So each base would be two figures wide by three deep, with the whole sub unit being four figures wide by six figures deep. Perhaps in this configuration it would have six bases instead of four, arrayed three wide by two deep. 

More later...


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Lohwand: Keoland - The Great Kingdom


The Great Kingdom

Borrowing names again, this time from Greyhawk, today's post looks back into the history of my northern kingdoms known as The Shield Lands: Furyondy, Jemmerdy, Valon, Olokand, Ulek,  and Vanch. Over 500 years ago these were part of Keoland, a mighty kingdom with a history going back another 300 years or more.

Keoland is sometimes called The Great Kingdom, but this only during the reign of the Hestolian Dynasty, the last great family to rule the united Kingdom. King Hestol I expanded the kingdom south into Toonol and Wenelia. Hestol II pushed into Vanch, and south through the Forest of Rist, starting construction of the Great South Road. That work was completed by Hestol III who expanded further south and established Imther and the Great East Road to Torrel. Hestol IV consolidated the southern domains. In his long reign Castle Blue and Lossang were established as colonies on the north shore of Lake Van. He expanded eastwards, extending the Great East Road to the Pavis oasis, turning a squalid village into a thriving city controlling the caravan route to Turan.

The greatest extent of the Keoish kingdom was not reached until the reign of Hestol V. Ascending the throne at a young age, he expanded Keoland southwards, not stopping until Keoish armies had reached the southern seas. He expanded the Great South Road and established the stronghold of Dol Amroth at the edge of the Evervast Sea. He ruled long and the kingdom prospered, and it was under his rule that Keoland was first styled "The Great Kingdom". There were further wars, of course, against Dara Happa and Turan, and the Tharkian tribes to the west, but the borders were not expanded any further. 

The end of the kingdom came after Hestol V had been on the throne for over forty years. According to the legends he came under the spell of a witch who ensorcelled the king and caused him to embark on a mad crusade against the sorcerous realm of Pan Tang. Taking ship with a large fleet the King sailed into the Unknown East and neither he nor any of his army were ever seen or heard from again.

After a period of years, and several expeditions had been sent, and failed to return, the High Steward whom the king had left in his place declared that he would continue to rule "as the king had wished, in His name". The High Steward passed on his duties to his son, and so the tradition continued for three generations which each subsequent steward taking more powers and behaving more and more like a king himself.  

At this point factions began to develop. Nobles and subject tribes rebelled, and within ten short years the entire southern part of the kingdom was lost. The Stewards were disposed and the Keoish kingdom ceased to exist. The southern cities lingered for a time but were all eventually sacked. Pavis survives, in a much lessened form. The Great Forest of Rist reclaimed what was rightfully its own, and the Great South Road became little more than a track known as the Old South Road. Imther carried on as an independent kingdom and the two enclaves of Khauran and Khoraja still survive, but have no contact with the Shield Lands. The colonies on the shore of Lake Van fell into disrepair and were overrun by the forest tribes.

After generations of conflict the borders of the present day Shield Lands were more-or-less established as shown on the Lohwand campaign map. Dol Amroth has grown into a independent fortress island, the domain of the Order of the Swan. The Margravate of Jemmerdy was established to protect the southern border of Furyondy and is now a semi-independent entity. 

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Lohwand: The Legions of the Tharkallan Empire, Part 3

Roman Centurion Portrait 
by Andrea Mazzocchetti

I've been working out some more things about the Tharkallan Empire which, as you know, is my "Not Rome". I've been pulling a few things together that I'd already thought out, like naming the legions after gemstones and associating them with the provinces, and also the order in which the provinces were incorporated into the Empire. See my previous posts for all that.

Today I thought I'd try working out latin names for the various gemstones. I also looked up the Roman legions on wikipedia and learned about how they were named - which seems a bit of a muddle. Not that that is a bad thing, and in the end I have come up with my own muddle. 

One thing I learned was that Augustus disbanded many of the legions he inherited and renumbered the rest in numerical sequence. So this is how I started out. I decided to use the format:

Legio <number> <province of origin> <gemstone>

When I started looking up latin versions of the gemstones, I discovered that Sapphires and Rubies are different forms of the same stone (IIRC) and that made me turn those legions into sister legions from the same province.

Similarly I discovered that Carnelian had a darker version, Sard, and that gave me two legions associated with that province. 

What I did was keep the sequential numbers for the overall list and then add a second legion for those two provinces. So, Legio <number+1> etc. This gives me multiple Legio II's and IV's which I think nicely parallels the Real World. (You'll understand when you see the list.)

When I came to the end I realized I'd forgotten one: the Chromatic Legion, which is to be a sort of Praetorian Guard. I'd also decided to have a Diamond legion, so that added another, and not wanting to have an odd number of legions I added a third. These all I listed as under the capital: Thark.

So here is my list:

1) Legio I Jharkor Corneolus [Carnelian]
2) Legio II Jharkor Sarx [Sard]
3) Legio II Dharjiin Obsidianus [Obsidian]
4) Legio III Dharijor Sapphirus [Sapphire]
5) Legio IV Dharijor Ruber [Ruby]
6) Legio IV Doblian Topazus [Topaz]
7) Legio V Dorel Esmaraldus [Emerald]
8) Legio VI Bisset Amethystos [Amethyst]
9) Legio VIII Voria Ambar [Amber]
10) Legio IX Kostaddi Turchesius [Turquoise]
11) Legio X Karasal Onyx [Onyx]
12) Legio XI Nemedia Beryllus [Beryl]
13) Legio XII Filkhar Gagates [Jet]
14) Legio XIII Granbreton Achates [Agate]
15) Legio XIV Arolanit Iaspis [Jasper]
16) Legio I Thark Chromaticus [Chromatic]
17) Legio II Thark Adamantem [Diamond]
18) Legio III Thark Basaltes [Basalt]

This is not to say this list is final, of course! And I'm not sure yet whether it includes Auxilia or not. Probably not...

The other thing I did today was start making other legion associations: protector gods and goddesses, symbolic and animal associations, etc. This came about quite easily based on the associations of the gemstones.

I still have to work on that so I won't show it just yet.

Edit: I've just realized that I've missed a number. When I reorganized the list, likely when moving Ruby to join Sapphire, I didn't renumber the others properly. So Legio VII is missing. A Lost Legion! 😎

Now I have to work out what that is all about...

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Lohwand: Research...


Fantasia 1940

My head is swimming a bit from all the research I've been doing the last little while; the more so because today I unearthed yet more resources from my own collection that I'd forgotten about: issues of "Ancient Warfare" magazine, for example. Or "Kmt: a Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt". 

Also role-playing games: Cthulhu Invictus, along with the companion volume; Basic Role-Playing: Rome; Cthulhu Dark Ages. It's almost like I've been working on this project for years subconsciously!

And, just before lunch I stumbled upon the Maze & Minotaurs RPG site yet again. I'd downloaded everything in the past but I made sure to download it all again. (It's free!) Doing so reminded me that there might be a lot of relevant material within its rules and supplements.

The Lead Adventure Forum

Also this morning I posted a reply to a query about what figures I am planning to use. I quote it here:

I'm planning on using 60mm plastic figures where possible, 54mm (1/32nd scale) otherwise. I haven't gotten rid of my smaller scale force either so maybe at some point I'll use them as well.

For the Tharkallan Empire I've decided on Expeditionary Force (XForce) 60mm figures:


In addition to the Early Imperial Roman range [i.e. Tharkallan Empire], they make Celtic Barbarians, Early Germans, Classical Greece, Ancient Macedonians and Ancient Persians.

They also have a range of Hundred Years War French and English.

Their future plans include Punic Wars, Ancient Egypt and Biblical Era, IIRC.

For immediate Enemies and Allies(?) of the Tharkallan Empire the western "Celtic" tribes are covered: Kost, Celtos, Teleos, Soleos, Brithos, Erin, and, possibly, Slontos. I will try and give them some sort of tribal identity. I don't mean collecting an army for each, but finding some way to swap them, either standards, or shields, or having detachable figures that can be switched around on the bases to make the unit look more like one tribe than the other.

The Early Germans will work as Wenelian barbarians, and also Toonolian Marsh tribes.

If XForce does come out with Ancient Spanish, then I will use them for Shem and Zingara.

Imther (and my Dunlendings) will be Ancient Thracians (part of the XForce Macedonian line).

For Amazons I am planning on using LOD figures which are also 60mm. Oronin, Oraya and Ologog comprise the Amazon Confederacy.


They have a War of Troy range which also includes Greeks and Trojans.

The XForce Classical Greeks will supply: Ilmoria, Vilmir, Lormyr and Holay. Perhaps Sylila, but it just occurred to me that a non-Confederacy Amazon nation might be a good idea. Some Macedonians might find there way in as well.

Kos, Kroy, Ossary and Corlay will use LOD Greeks and Trojans.

Dara Happa, Saird and Turan will be a mix of Ancient Persians and Macedonians. Dara Happa being more Persian and Turan more Macedonian.

Deelguy and Eyagi are desert tribes, but otherwise I know nothing about them. The Hyrkanian Steppes and the Redlands have horse nomads. Erigia and Pent are still a bit nebulous as are the further Eastern nations, except Pan Tang, which I am intending to be very Chaotic, with Samurai as warriors, and many demons and monsters of various sorts.

The Shield Lands, comprising Furyondy, Jemmerdy, Valon, Olokand, Ulek and Vanch, I am planning on using the XForce Medieval range.  I think the character of the nations becomes more "Rus" as one goes eastward. Vanch is a frontier nation, mostly wilderness. The conflicts there will be small scale, between local Marcher Barons and the Forest Tribes.

Dol Amroth will also use Medieval figures. They are Swan Knights per Tolkien, but are NOT Elves or Half-elves*. I have already sourced the helmets that I think will work with the XFoce knights. They are my version of the Knights of St. John, only I am not using Christianity or Islam as religions. For religions I am doing something else. A blend of Glorantha and other sources. So, Humakt as premier War God.

* I don't want to use Elves and Dwarves, nor Orcs. At least not, the Tolkien, or D&D or GW versions. Trolls, along the line of Gloranthan Trolls, and half-trolls, like the Tusk Riders I like. I'm working on Tusk Rider conversions right now. I have some mounts, and am just waiting on suitable rider figures (in transit.) Sprites as found in the Thane Tostig saga, definitely, and Evil Dwarves as suggested in the Narnia stories, maybe. Beastmen, yes. Giants, yes. In Lohwand they are about 6" tall.

Shazar, Tarkesh, Haradwaith, Calormen and Carmania are the Turks. But they are not Islamic. They probably all worship a pantheon headed by Tash - see "A Horse and His Boy" by C.S. Lewis.

Umbar are a mix of Carthage and Corsairs, ala Tolkien.

Haida Pakala are also pirates or corsairs of even more irregular appearance.

The Chakan Forest area is veing populated by Chintoys Aztecs, Mayans and Incans.

Stygia is Ancient Egypt, of course. I have some figures for them from an old manufacturer and they are part of XForce's plans. The rest are a bit more muddled, and subject to change.

After posting my reply I had a flash. I've been thinking a lot about the Auxiliary cohorts of the Tharkallan Empire. In Roman times they were recruited in regions outside Italy (i.e. non-heartland regions) but they served away from their recruitment areas. So, in Lohwand, I might reasonably recruit Auxiliary cohorts from conquered areas like Granbretton or Filkhar, etc. And those contingents would be found serving elsewhere. 

And then I began thinking what do the Granbretton Auxiliaries look like? Do they have beast helms, for example? Or at least horns on their helms? 

Scanning an issue of Ancient Warfare magazine featuring articles about the army of the First Princeps (Vol XII, Issue 1), I found an illustration of a marble frieze (p14-15) dated to the 1st century AD and showing helmets with side feathers. The Legio V Alaudae, "The Larks", is suggested. And I know from the WRG book on the Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome that the Romans were a lot less "uniform" that wargamers tend to portray them.

So perhaps I will make some embellishments to the basic figures.

Another flash of inspiration I had while typing my LAF reply was that one of my southern nations - Slontos - might be of "Celtic" origins. (This because of the similarity in spelling to the others.) It is on the north coast of the "Southlands" continent, essentially like the Vandals in North Africa. 

Downloading the Mazes and Minotaurs material all over again reminded me that there are Amazons in the game. And since I am still working out what to do about them I took a look; I might use some of the M&M ideas. One idea I did have about them otherwise was that they might be similar to the Alans (IIRC) in that they use their subject peoples as warriors. I'm still deciding about that option.

The Perfect Captain

Lastly, one of the things I found today was an issue of Medieval Warfare magazine which had articles about Ireland (Vol VI, Issue 4), and in that I found reference to "Strongbow". And that reminded me of the Perfect Captain rules of the same name.

And that reminded me that they had sent out an email saying their site would be disappearing sometime in October! i.e. Next week, perhaps! 😨

So, if you haven't seen their stuff, and you like good period rules, then I advise checking it out while you still can:

The Perfect Captain

You won't be disappointed! :-)

Friday, September 25, 2020

Lohwand: Come Together

The Beetles - Abbey Road

Things are starting to come together with my Lohwand campaign. I'm advancing on a wide front, what with tinkering with rules (see my Armatura posts), and pondering map scale, to doing research on the Roman World. All aspects of the Roman World. Lots of reading: books, lots of books, magazines and PHD papers from Academia.org not to mention the online sources: blogs, re-enactment sites, and the like. I'm going to have to set up an "Appendix N" page to highlight the sources.

As stated before, the Tharkallan Empire is my Rome. I even called them the "baddies". Sort of an evil empire, with the goal of World Conquest. That was probably a bit harsh. Lohwand certainly has other "Baddies" and to say that the Tharkallan Empire will turn out to be the worst of the lot is a bit pre-mature. It might not end up that way at all as the campaign plays out, for it is my intention for it to play out as it will, with only as minimal direction from myself as necessary.

Comparing Tharkalla to Rome, I see I've already got things backwards, giving them Britian (i.e. Granbretton, in my campaign) before they have Greece or Egypt or Spain. (The Lormyrian League region, Stygia and the region bordering Shem on my Lohwand maps.)


That is fine. It's a fantasy campaign after all, not a historical one. I'm afraid they aren't going to get to Aegyptus/Stygia for a little while yet as there is an internal revolt they have to suppress first, in the provinces of Voria and Bisset.

This is not my idea completely, but rather comes 1) from the Everway card results for those provinces and 2) the arrival of the comet, which I posted about earlier. The comet has quite innocently provided an interpretation of the Everway cards that might just fit!

More later...


The Heartland Provinces

The Western Heartland

Some more mapping, this time trying to detail a bit more the Heartland Provinces of the Tharkallan Empire. Borrowing names from popular works liberally here: Michael Moorcock's "Elric", Greg Stafford's Lunar empire (Glorantha), R.E. Howard's Conan stories, Tolkien, ERB's Barsoom.

The Tharkallan Heartland Provinces I listed previously: Jharkor, Dharijor, Dharjiin and Doblian. The Western Heartland consists of Kostaddi and Karasal, recognized only after they were conquered and incorporated into the Empire. The Heartland Legions are raised in these six provinces.

The other Tharkallan provinces, like Nemedia, Voria, and Bisset, do not have the same status; the legions raised there are the equivalent of Ancient Roman Auxiliary legions. They do not serve in the province they were raised, but are posted elsewhere in the Empire. 

Map Scale

I've decided two things, or at least am pretty sure about two things: 

1) I'm going to use kilometers as the unit of measure. I had toyed with using tsan (from Tekumel) but decided it was too much monkeying about and would needlessly complicate things. (A tsan is 1.333 km);

2) I think I've settled on how "big" Lohwand is, making 50 km roughly the width of the capital 'O' (Font: Book Antigua).

I've been playing around with making scale rules to show on the maps. I just have to come up with a way to ensure they remain consistent at the various zoom levels as I highlight one region or another. I think the key is to insert the scale into the region before I zoom in to do a screen-cap, move it about to a suitable spot where it isn't too much in the way, and then do the "print screen" to put the image on the clipboard. I didn't do that for the second map shown above. I just sort of fudged the scale "by eye".

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Lohwand: Tharkallan Imaginifers of the Heartland Legions


Roman Imaginifer

Each of the Tharkallan Heartland Legions has an Imaginifer who stands with the Legate's command party overseeing the legion's part in the battle. The standard is topped with a golden image of the Emperor and is an embodiment of his authority and power; it is a symbol of the Empire's reach and indicates that the legion bearing it acts according to the Emperor's commands. But, in Lohwand at least, it is more than just a symbol.

Imaginifer Magic

The Imaginifer standard can act as a conduit for a Far-Seeing spell cast within the Imperial Palace. The standard bearer provides the power to allow the standard to function in this manner. As such the bearers must be specially chosen and trained. 

When activated a connection is facilitated between the Emperor's Far-Seeing device, either a Palantir or a Scrying Bowl, and the Imaginifer. Range is not generally a factor; at least it has not been to date, though stormy weather at either end can disrupt the spell. When used in this manner the Imaginifer image acts as a sort of viewport, allowing the Emperor to see what could be seen from the vantage point of the standard, just as if he were standing there himself. The Emperor can only see in the direction the standard is facing but the spell allows commands to be transmitted to the bearer who then shifts the banner as appropriately. 

The Emperor does not cast the spell himself, of course, but has a High Seer from the College of Magic enact the spell. The standard "sees" with excellent eyesight, which can be further enhanced to many times magnification by the High Seer. 

It is possible for the Emperor to issue missives or commands to the legion through the voice of the standard bearer though this adds an additional drain on his stamina and so must be used sparingly.