Sunday, 25 July 2010

Palurin Introduction


Make history with a new type of Warhammer campaign

A new type of campaign? How so?

In the background section of most army books is a chronology of important battles in that race's history. We thought this was pretty cool, looking back on great events, and something lacking from the usual campaigns where individual battles lack significance. A battle should be important, and a campaign should form an epic history.

Other inspiration comes from empire building games like Civilisation, where the history of a world unfolds over centuries and empires rise and fall. We want things to be epic! No more fighting over a corner of the world for a few months, it is time to rule a mighty domain over hundreds of years.

So what do I play?
Each player's armies are part of an empire. At the beginning of the campaign the empires will be grouped by army book, so all Dwarf armies belong to the Dwarf empire and so forth. Within that empire you play a faction, with whatever background you want. Perhaps you represent a particular family dynasty, a social class, a clan or a religious faction. Remember the campaign is covering hundreds of years, the games you play show how important your faction is within your Empire.

Example: Duncan and Simon are both playing Empire armies. Duncan represents a family dynasty – the Alptraums, Simon wants to represent the church of Sigmar. When Simon is playing (and hopefully winning) a lot of games it shows the church is powerful and controlling the Empire. But if Duncan starts doing better then the Alptraums are trying to take control from the church and into the hands of a a powerful family.

Through this a history of the empire begins to grow.

Is there room for individual characters in the factions?
Sure, but as time passes your generals age. It's up to you when they die, but take into account the short lives of men and skaven or the longer lives of elves and dwarfs. But knowing that characters will die lets them live heroic lives and die in glorious battle. In previous campaigns whenever your general that you'd named died during a game you'd fudge it, say he wasn't really dead. But now it can become part of history, when he died in a heroic last stand against opposing forces, or maybe he was run down like a coward. Either way it's an important moment to be recorded for posterity.

How are the battles important?
It's up to you. Think of each game you play as an important part of history. Maybe a purge to remove chaos from the lands, defeat a marauding orc warlord or banish a plague of undead. Use the scenario played or a particularly influential piece of terrain in the game as inspiration. A battle over a ford maybe, or the destruction of a city. Discuss with your opponent and come up with a brief bit of background (it needs only be a line) or suggest something to the campaign organisers who'll write it up.

So how do the rules work?
We'll send out a separate rules explanation but as a quick overview, each game (played by any player) takes place a number of years after the last on the world of Palurin. We have a map, showing the continent the campaign begins on, with room for other continents to be revealed should the campaign prove popular.

Games get your empire points. These can be spent on taking new territory to expand your empire, and some areas of Palurin contain remnants of previous civilisations which will give you bonuses if you capture them. Points can also be spent on improving that territory (with cities) or increasing three empire ratings; culture, army and navy. These all have effects on the campaign map.

Simply playing gets you a point so there's nothing to lose from playing a game and you wont be letting any other player in your faction down if you lose a game. In fact playing games is important to avoid your empire going into decline.

Whilst armies are fighting it shows that their empire is active and thriving, but if no-one is playing then the empire is languishing and is placed in decline, after a while it will begin to shrink. After a long while the civilisation may eventually disappear.

That sounds bad
People change armies all the time, and sometimes there will be no-one playing a particular army for months at a time. In past this has caused problems, as the lands they own hang around on the map getting in the way. This is our attempt to fix that. If no-one is playing Vampire Counts, for instance, then what's the point in keeping them around? It also nicely represents the historical decline of empires. But if you're worried remember that only one player from an empire has to play to keep it active, and even a small game will do.

What if I'm not too interested in fluff?
Obviously you can play and not worry about spending points or deciding the importance of each battle. The campaign organisers, other members of your empire or even your opponents can decide that sort of thing. We would like you to at least think of the sort of faction you would like to play and we can do the rest, and you may start to get more into the campaign as your history develops.

So can you 'win' the campaign?
There is no fixed end to the Palurin campaign. However every so often charts will be published showing how different empires rank against each other. Which empire has the most territory? Which is the most cultured? Who owns the biggest navy? In this way there are different goals to attain. One empire will find it hard to dominate in every aspect, and if another army finds it hard to compete in one aspect then they can try and do well in another.

Monday, 19 July 2010

The Origins of Palurin

For thousands years there had been stories in the old world of strange disappearances, of people and ships vanishing with no trace. Most of the time this was attributed to an unfortunate event or particularly ravenous sea creature, but tales of other worlds, other planes of existence abounded. Usually these stories were silenced, often brutally in the Empire where talk of other worlds was usually a sign of Chaos taint to ardent witch hunters, but in fact, the stories were true.

The Elves and the Lizardmen knew of Palurin, for the Old Ones had passed on their knowledge of the original world they had nurtured, before it had been lot to them. The Elves now know only a little, only that another world exists much like their own, and that sometimes a portal may be found joining the two, at least for a time.

The lizardmen, particularly the older Slann are more knowledgeable on the subject, but few if any would dream of divulging this information to an outsider, not until 2525 that is...

Palurin was indeed nurtured and crafted by the Old Ones. The great races were settled there and carefully watched, just as in the warhammer world and civilisations of dwarfs, elves and men grew up, until a time just before the fall. Somehow the land of Palurin was lost to the Old Ones and the warp gate became inaccessible. Left to fend for themselves the civilisations of Palurin were less fortunate than those of the Warhammer world. Many fell when the great incursion of Chaos erupted through the Old Ones' ruined warp gates and by the time the Warhammer world had begun to recover, there was little left of the peoples of Palurin.

Some Elves believe Palurin was in fact the first world settled by the Old Ones. Others believe that Palurin was a second attempt at perfection, having seen their mistakes in their first. Either way another world exists, sparsely populated by a variety of races, some deliberately placed there and some an accident of fate, and this world can sometimes be reached.

The surge of magic which accompanied the fall of the Old Ones washed over both the Old Ones' creations, and between them a flux of magical energy continues to writhe and boil, creating wormholes linking the two worlds. Some are fleeting, lasting perhaps a few days never to return while others are more stable, often existing for thousands of years.

Following the Albion campaign it was a man of the Empire, Ludwig Raustaber, who came back to the Empire with tales of a wondrous world ripe for colonisation, only unlike similar stories considered the work of madmen, Raustaber brought evidence, introducing the Empire to a strange new root vegetable the like of which had never been seen.

And so in 2525 the Empire started to take the idea of a "strange new world" more seriously. Unfortunately they weren't able to keep this discovery quiet and soon fleets of Bretonnian, Estalian and even Dwarf adventurers were setting sail to the mysterious Isle of Albion. Further investigations found several quasi-static portals, some onshore and some out to see, which did indeed show a mysterious land beyond. Eventually these expeditions gathered enough courage to enter and before long several expeditions had set out and return safely.

Just as the nations of the old world were beginning to exploit this new resource, even establishing colonies in the new world, each one was visited by strange and powerful individuals. Representing the High Elves of Ulthuan and the Lizardmen of Lustria, an ancient Slann and the Loremaster of Hoeth travelled the Old World warning each government in turn to stay away from the portals.

In essence, they explained, the portals were unstable. Not only would these new ones be likely to close at any moment, the humans and dwarfs had not understood the wormholes' true nature. For now all seemed well, but no portal would remain so for long. Dangerous time dilation and warping would likely occur. A traveller might pass into the new world hundreds of years after a man who entered just before him, and then return hundreds of years later back to his old world, having stayed for just a few minutes in Palurin. Worse, it was possible for a man to cross over the magical void, and find himself returning into the past, or into a world changed through accidental changes to history.

By now however it was too late, as the Empire and Bretonnia had already sent vast contingents across to the new world to claim it for there own. Worse still, news from Albion reported that Malekith, ever eager to exploit an opportunity (and possibly lose a few troublemakers at the same time) had sent a huge host of Dark Elves through the portal.

Fear gripped the high elves. What if the Dark Elves were to return in their past and defeat their Kin? Ulthuan would be lost! With no other solution appearing viable, the King of all the Elves sent through a mighty warhost, instructing them never to return, and to make sure no one else did. In honour of their ancient alliance, the Lizardmen followed, casting a powerful spell as they did so, causing the Albion wormholes to destabilise and vanish after less than six months. In the Old World talk of the portals was suppressed, with the expeditions to the "New World" being understood as lost expeditions to Lustria, as many had actually thought was the case in the first place. The great migration was over and Albion once more treated with suspicion and dread.

Meanwhile on Palurin the new arrivals did not find the world empty. Though the ancient civilisations had long since collapsed, the world was inhabited by tribes of men, beastmen, greenskins and even Vampires. Many had been seeded there by the Old Ones, but some were later arrivals. Many man of the north had blundered into the world of Palurin over many centuries, as had roving orc and beastmen warbands, and in the deep forests of Palurin were secretive wood elves, descendents of wood elves who had found their way into Palurin through a quasi-stable gateway in Loren. In fact the wood elves had long since used this portal as a punishment (in the form of permanent banishment) for a millenia, and so a mirror kingdom of the wood dwelling elves had been established on the other side of the wormhole. The elves however knew better than to try to return.

Fortunately for the Warhammer World Palurin has far fewer portals, so that most find themselves on a one way trip to a new world, as did the expeditions of 2025. Occasionally word would come from the Old World through a new expedition, usually small, or a disoriented stranger who had wandered off in the forest, but for the most part the world of Palurin was now home to these colonists, whether they liked it or not.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Palurin North Preview

Welcome to the new Warhammer Campaign!

OK, it's not started yet, but this will be the home of the new Sheffield University Wargames & CCG Society Warhammer campaign, set in the new world of Palurin. More to come soon!