IK Widower`s Wood: Helden und Monster
Privateer Press werfen einen ersten Blick auf die Helden und Monster im kommenden Brettspiel Widower`s Wood.
We started discussing who the heroes would be after our discussions about who would be up to nefarious shenanigans in the next game of the series. Part of the conversation was from the perspective of what would be the most interesting new rules, and the other was considering how the new heroes would contrast with existing ones in the setting. I was looking primarily at the four heroes in The Undercity, but I was also considering heroes from other sources, such as the Iron Kingdoms Unleashed Adventure Kit.
At the top of my list for inclusion was a new ranged fighter. Canice was an interesting challenge while working on The Undercity, and certain aspects of her rules set a baseline for how other heroes would work. I wanted the new primary ranged attacker to feel different from Canice, without simply replacing her as the go-to gunslinger of the team. Since we were exploring the wilder side of the setting in this game, it made perfect sense to use archery instead of more advanced firearms. When considering what kind of archer would be the most different from Canice, there was only one real choice. I went with a male Tharn, taking much of his character concept from the Tharn blood pack. I ended up with Skarg the Voracious. In addition to being a ranged attacker, Skarg acts as a scout for the team and brings the ferocity of his Devourer-worshiping race to the game.
Next on my list for the heroes was a main-line melee character. Gardek and Doorstop share this role in The Undercity, each handling things in their own way. This new character would need to shoulder most of the work on her own—“her” because, along with talking about who the characters were, we had a few discussions to determine which ones would be male or female. The Iron Kingdoms is a realm frequently rocked by conflict and its inhabitants can find themselves fighting for their own survival and the survival of their people. The physiological differences between male and female Tharn necessitated that Skarg be a male, but we had no similar restrictions with this character. The boar-like farrow race is one of my favorite aspects of the Iron Kingdoms setting, and within its tribes the slaughterhousers are some of its most capable fighters. So, when choosing who would be up in the villain’s faces to save the Widower’s Wood, I created Agata. She fights with a pair of bladed gauntlets and a set of abilities that let her stand toe-to-toe with any villain.
With a primary ranged fighter and melee fighter in the party, I started thinking about support. In the more industrialized human nations, mechanics and alchemists keep things functioning, but in the more untamed areas of the world mystic powers often fill this role. The druids of the Circle Orboros are connected to most of the activity in the wilds, and what they aren’t involved in, they observe. This gave us an easy place to put a variety of interesting support abilities, and it gave me the chance to incorporate a magic-user into the game. As I mentioned in the developer diary series for The Undercity, I had skipped putting “real” magic into the game in favor of developing core ideas for how combat worked. After finishing work on the first game, I immediately started working to figure out what magic looked like in the game. This work contributed to Vaskis the Knotkeeper, a mysterious figure who joins the Widower’s Wood party for his own reasons, and it also formed the core of how Eilish works in the Black River Irregulars Heroes expansion.
The last hero we’re going to discuss was also the last to be decided on. I wanted a character who could fill any needed role gaps and would be a natural fit for unique abilities. We briefly considered an elf but decided that Vaskis was the only human-looking hero that we wanted on the team. We also discussed a trollkin or an ogrun, but I felt that having another large hero in addition to Skarg wasn’t the way to go. We were in a meeting talking about a possible swamp gobber bandit when Matt Wilson suggested a “Croak Freedom Fighter.” Everyone agreed that was the perfect fit. Who better to take on the gatormen and bog trogs that were threatening the swampy peace of the Widower’s Wood than another amphibious character? Around the same time, the Croak Raider unit was being worked on for HORDES. Once I saw the gourd-throwing sculpt, Olo the croak hunter was locked into my head. He came together quickly as a support character that could handle the secondary melee fighter role, throwing gourds filled with useful concoctions while also fighting up close and personal with his dagger.
The savage gatormen of western Immoren’s swamps make perfect villains for a board game because they are dangerous alone and outright deadly in groups. As I mentioned in the first installment, I created a standard gatorman warrior and bokor during my early work on The Undercity. When working on Widower’s Wood, I refined these two villains and used them as the baseline for the rest of the game.
The first thing I needed for the game was a thug level villain, someone to put constant pressure on the players seeking to cleanse the swamp of baddies. Taking inspiration from the Blindwater Congregation Minion pact in HORDES, I chose the humble but fierce bog trog. These fishmen aren’t a match for the heroes one on one, but a group can quickly overwhelm the players. The first villain created specifically for Widower’s Wood was the first of many opposing bog trogs: the spear bog trog.
For illustrative purposes only. Final product may vary.
With the spear bog trog armed and ready to stab an unwary player, the most fitting thematic addition to the game was the swamp shambler, an undead creature reanimated by the dark magic of the swamp. In HORDES and Widower’s Wood, we focus on swamp shamblers created by gatormen. While any corpse can be used for their creation, swamp shamblers are commonly made from the bodies of dead bog trogs. The swamp shambler satisfied the need for another thug level villain—and provided the first undead villain in an Iron Kingdoms Adventure board game! Not only are these villains difficult to destroy in one hit, but they can also ignore certain rules and spawn from slain bog trogs in some situations.
In addition to thug villains, I also needed to create leader villains. The first of these added to the game was the third bog trog, the mist speaker. The mist speaker is both a leader and a magic user. It provides support and a ranged threat with a spell that can hit multiple targets in the same space. Being a tribal leader, unlike any of the villains in The Undercity, the mist speaker allowed me to add a new tactic to the game: goad. When a villain follows the goad tactic, it orders another subordinate villain in its space to activate instead, keeping the leader out of harm’s way.
For illustrative purposes only. Final product may vary.
The next villain started as a hero concept. As I mentioned in the last installment, there was originally going to be a gobber on the players’ team. But when a croak was added to the cast of heroes, the gobber changed sides. The swamp gobber pirate is unique because it’s one of only two villains in the game that are not amphibious, in addition to carrying a gun, a rarity in the wilds of Immoren.
We had a few discussions about some even more monster-y villains before we settled on the next inclusion. The gatormen, bog trogs, and gobbers are creatures, but they are all people shaped. The game needed something else, but what could it be? Looking through the Monsternomicon, I came across one of my favorite beasts and knew what I wanted: tatzylwurms.
Tatzylwurms come in a variety of sizes. The tatzylwurm sculpt from HORDES would give us a great large monster, but I thought the game still needed small villains. I decided to add figures that could represent viper tatzylwurms or newly hatched tatzylwurms from one of the larger breeds. This gave Widower’s Wood another small-based threat and added versatility. Additionally, now Game Masters would have a new sculpt in the toolbox to use when running RPG games.
Next time, I’ll dive into the Widower’s Wood story and the campaign built around it, revealing a few new monsters along the way.
Der deutsche Vertrieb für Warmachine & Hordes liegt bei Ulisses Spiele.
Quelle: Privateer Press