Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago

Frostgrave: Ghost ArchipelagoIt's available, and it looks fantastic.

I've yet to get my hands on a copy of this - I devoured Frostgrave when it first came out and got hold of all the print books, as well as interview author Joseph McCullough - and I love the setting and the rules system. I had gotten back in to tabletop wargaming with Mantic's Kings of War (1st Edition) years ago, and as much as I enjoyed that I was looking for something a little more focused, with fewer models; I'm not that into models, and as much as I like them I never had the painting skill - or patience - to be any good. In fact, I'd just dip my already assembled figures in red paint and say 'They're mine'. I used to play Blood Angels a lot.

It's a stand-alone game in the same world as Frostgrave - an excellent setting with a vague background. I did try to push Joseph for more details at this year's UK Games Expo but he's keeping it tight to his chest, and quite right too. The mysterious background of Frostgrave is what gives it it's power, and the small details that come out make it quite compelling.

I also wanted to see if I could use the rules for a roleplaying game set in the world and have players roleplay out certain encounters, using the rules for the general combat. It was still a skirmish game at heart, but I added a few skills and social mechanics to flesh it out. It was fun - it certainly wasn't perfect - but first and foremost this is a wargame and at that it excels.

The setting is great for some really melodramatic roleplaying, especially if the players are wizards; why do they feel the need to enter this dangerous city? What drove them there, what are they looking for, what are they trying to prove? What do they hope to do with whatever they discover outside the city?

And if they play a warband member, that opens up all kinds of new possibilities. Why risk themselves for the ego of a wizard? Are they going into the city for any other reasons, personal reasons? How bad was life for them away from the city that they felt the need to face almost certain death?

It'd make for some great gaming sessions, especially if each of the players have their own secrets that may sometimes clash with the goals of other players...

Anyway, I'm looking forward to Ghost Archipelago. With another swathe of excellent art by Dmitry and Kate Burmak, this looks to be another winner.

'The Ghost Archipelago has returned. A vast island chain, covered in the ruins of ancient civilizations, the Archipelago appears every few centuries, far out in the southern ocean. At such times, pirates, adventurers, wizards, and legendary heroes all descend upon the islands in the hopes of finding lost treasures and powerful artefacts. A few, drawn by the blood of their ancestors, search for the fabled Crystal Pool, whose waters grant abilities far beyond those of normal men. It is only the bravest, however, who venture into the islands, for they are filled with numerous deadly threats. Cannibal tribes, sorcerous snake-men, and poisonous water-beasts all inhabit the island ruins, guarding their treasure hordes and setting traps for the unwary.

In this new wargame, set in the world of Frostgrave, players take on the role of Heritors, mighty warriors whose ancestors drank from the Crystal Pool. These Heritors lead their small, handpicked teams of spellcasters, rogues, and treasure hunters into the ever-shifting labyrinth of the Ghost Archipelago. Using the same rules system as Frostgrave, this standalone wargame focuses on heroes who draw on the power in their blood to perform nigh-impossible feats of strength and agility. This game also includes 30 spells drawn from five schools of magic, a host of soldier types, challenging scenarios, treasure tables, and a full bestiary of the most common creatures that inhabit the Lost Isles.'