Saga: Age Of The Wolf. Warband and first impressions.

So Omer my good friend and main Saga adversary managed to get a copy of Gripping Beasts Age Of The Wolf, a new campaign system for SAGA, which we have both been eagerly awaiting.

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My Four point warband for Age Of The Wolf. Made up of some of my newly painted Irish figures. Lead by Máirtín Mahon (Warlike Bear), Scourge of the Jomsvikings.

I first learnt to play saga using a 6 point warband and we had just start playing regularly with 8 points, so going down to 4 points, which is what you begin your AOTW campain with seem strange to me at first though I soon adapted and have tabled Omer on our first 2 campaign seasons. (Although casualties and warlord death are handled differently in AOTW.)

The first thing I really liked about AOTW was the fleshing out of your Warlord who is named and given a motivation which you choose then 2 traits and 1 extra special rule  which are randomly generated using dice making him a lot more varied and fun.

 AOTW brings more of an ongoing story into your SAGA game something myself and Omer being lovers of stories myths and legends have always incorporated into our games anyway. A game called SAGA just begs the players to create one.

I liked how each season was also made up of randomly generated scenarios which are also affected by your style of play. Whether or not you chose to raid defend or campaign. As are your rewards of land wealth and reputation.  Land, wealth and reputation also affect how many units of men of each type you can have in your warband. You also roll for fate at the end of a campaign as the name suggests the out come of this roll can be good or bad. This lends a lot of both diversity and tactics to the campaign giving the game play a lot of depth. 

I like the system and am enjoying playing it🙂

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AOTW Roster Sheet available to download from the  Gripping Beast website.

My Irish forces are made up of a mixture of figures from Footsore Miniatures, Crusader Miniatures and Warlord Games.

For an in depth technical review of  AOTW works check out Lee Brady’s excellent blog Harold’s Revenge.

There is also of course a great thread on the Studio Tomahawk Forum.

Check out Omers facebook page CAN’T SLEEP MUST PAINT.

Thanks to Brad of Suppressing Fire for picking up AOTW from Salute as neither Omer or I were able to attend.

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Arthur

 

arthur_merlinBeing a great lover of bears, growing up on the stories of King Arthur and fiercely proud of my Celtic heritage it was natural that I would gravitate towards the etymology of Arthur being derived from the Celtic bear gods Artos or Artio.

Arthur as a historical figure is of course shrouded in legend, bias and conjecture. I am totally guilty of this and totally support the belief that he held power in Wales, Cornwall and the West Country the lands of my forefathers. 

The fifth century Welsh word art  means ‘bear’. One theory is that art and ur, meaning ‘man’, gives us the name Artur – literally, bear-man. This is supported by late Latin writings which give the name Arturus.

There are other variants have been put forward, including Arturius, Arcturus, Arturos and Artursus combining the Welsh for bear – art – along with its Latin counterpart – ursus. 

I used to play Arthur as  my mounted Welsh warlord in Saga, although I almost exclusivaly play as the Irish these days.

I am putting together a more extensive and legendary Arthurian War-band for play in Dragon Rampant. Complete with more bears, magical boars and a dragon.

Arthur is a Welsh, mounted, Teulu, (Hearthguard),  figure from Gripping Beast,  mounted on an old school Citadel Miniatures Wood Elf Bear from the 1980’s.

Shield transfer by Little Big Men.

Merlin is from the exceptional  Footsore Miniatures.

Work in Progress 1 (Irish War Band)

So my 8 point Irish war band for Saga is now well under way. A good proportion of the troops have got some paint on to one degree or another, however no one is at a finished stage yet .

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Most of these just need highlighting and detailing work now followed by varnishing and finally bases flocking. 

The group of slingers up on the box are a stage behind and still need an initial wash to dull them down before highlights and details.

One poor fellow is just recovering from some major re-constructive surgery on his hand as I chose to use plastic Javelins rather than the wire spears and the diameter was considerably larger making the drilling process quite hair raising! Fortunately only one casualty occurred.

So far there is 1 point of Kerns, (Levy), 12 models in a point. 2 points of Bonnachts, (Warriors), 8 models in a point. 3 points of Fianna, (Hearthguard), 4 models in a point.

The 3 points of 4 Fianna, (12 men in total),  have been broken down into 2 units of 5 Fianna, (10 men in total),  the other 2 will be upgraded to Curaidh, (Champions).

Irish Champions

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The second unique feature of the Irish in Saga is the ability to upgrade 2 of your Fianna (Heathguard) figures to Curadh (Champions). So these were the next figures added to my Irish war band.

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Curadh act as individuals so a single figure makes up a unit. They can be mounted or unmounted. They share some of the abilities of a War Lord, although are obviously not quite as powerful. (Full rules are in The Raven’s Shadow Saga rule supplement.)

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These guys came in the pack with the figure above the 2 in chain mail have served as Fianna in my interim war band. They will probably become alternative Curadh models now, as I have 3 points of nasty Dane axe wielding manics awaiting final touches, varnish and flocking on the painting table as I write ready for my all new Irish war band 😀

The chieftain in the centre has thus far only made the table as a N.P.C.

The big fellow at the top is from Reaper Miniatures which I picked up in the UK from Miniature Heroes and was originally bought for use in D&D.

The rest of the figures came from Crusader Miniatures.

Irish War Dogs

IMG_1888The first thing I did when I decided to start playing the Irish in Saga was purchase one of the speciality units that the Irish can field, war dogs. Initially they went on the table with my welsh forces, who were now, temporarily, subbed as the Irish, whist I built up and painted my new troops. The dogs replaced my mounted half guard in my new war band. War dogs are played as Bonnachts (Warriors) with some differences in movement and armour.

With the long movement of mounted troops, they are able to move through uneven terrain with out penalty, they do have a lower armour but if you load them up with the right dice and abilitys and the dice gods are on your side they can be devastating !

They are NOT armed with javelins! There some debate about this in saga forums. My view on this is in a proper game of saga which is a historical war game, of course the dogs should not have javelins. At most the handler could throw one once the dogs are released. However, it would be fun in a fantasy based game like Dragon Rampant to make the dogs anthropomorphic beserker warriors armed to the bloody teeth! 😀

I picked these miniatures  up from Northstar  Military Figures who kindly put a package together of the right number I needed for Saga.

Seiðr

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A Seiðr was a Norse shamanistic sorcerer.

I don’t play any Norse War Bands so this character will be a story catalyst. I’m really into the idea of multi world campaigns at the moment, with various magical practitioners opening portals into different realms, possibly even played across multiple tables of terrain simultaneously. I’m hoping this is something I can explore in Dragon Rampant if not then I guess I’ll have to start looking at developing my own rule set. I think he’d make a good wizard for a Frostgrave party also, although I already have mine set aside ready to paint.

This figure comes from Hasslefree Miniatures.