Or at least a nice cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit.
It's all the Mad Padre's fault, really. Positively forcing me to play War of the Ring and trotting out his 28mm Lord of the Rings troops on numerous occasions. He got me feeling all Middle Earthy.
Then he says he's ordering some Wild Men from Vendel and would I like to add a few packs to the order?
Ooooooo-er! Yes please, Vicar!
So what do I want from some Middle Earth gaming?
- Magic and monsters but they have to be extraordinary not ordinary like in Warhammer Fantasy
- Heros need opportunities to be heroic
- But heroes, magic and monsters can't dominate the game either
- Big enough to be satisfying without letting my megalomania overwhelm the project
- Fun. Dragon Rampant seems to satisfy all of the above conditions
- No crossbows! Not in the books, so there you go.
- Same with dwarven steam tanks or gunpowder weapons
- Same with plate armour
- Basically I want to avoid any cross over with/contamination by Warhammer Fantasy Battles or various D&D backgrounds
I'm thinking something like T.A. 1000 or so. Dwarves and Elves are still forces to be reckoned with. There is a Dwarf kingdom in Moria and Elves in Hollin (the abandoned wilderness the Fellowship cross before entering Moria). The Istari have arrived to rally the Free Peoples, the Nazgul are stirring. I can use my early feudal troops for the men. The Black Company is obviously in the service of the Witch King. With the others I might think about new banners and perhaps replacing the Crusader heater shields with Norman kite shields. Or I might just paint up some more Normans. Although my men only have crossbows as missile troops, so the Elgves will have a decided tactical edge until I can correct that. I'd been thinking a box of the plastic Conquest Norman archers would be good thing to get anyway.
For starters on the fantastic side of things, I've got a lovely Grenadier dragon and an old edition Games Workshop ent, neither of which have ever been in a game. I got them many years ago, in an earlier foray into fantasy gaming with the old plastic Games Workshop High Elves. Sold off the elves but kept the ent and dragon because I liked the models and I was quite pleased with the work I'd done on them.
So looking at my collection I've got a good start:
|Old GW ent|
|Add three units of skirmishing bowmen and an elven sorceress|
|Dragon plus the Black Company|
|Might not look evil enough to be the Big Bad but at least an evil lieutenant|
|Perhaps more Shakespeare than Tolkien but maybe acolytes of the Witch King|
Then for the Bad Guys start accumulating uruks and snagas (big fighting orcs or hobgoblins vs little orcs or goblins) and trolls. The Ettenmoors from which the trolls in the Hobbit came from are in the region, so I'm sure the Witch King would have some in his armies.
For castles etc. I'd been pondering a Norman style fortification with a stone tower and wooden palisade for years. I think this would fit nicely with both straight mediaeval games and the idea of strongholds of men far from the technical expertise of Gondor. I'll have to think more about elvish fortifications and maybe a dwarven outer work or watch tower protecting the approach to the main citadel.