Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Fantasy Wargaming and the Crusades
Zak's post along with my recent ramblings about miniatures have given me a neat idea for a miniatures campaign. The particular impetus of this idea is found in the episode "Pilgrims in Arms" of Terry Jones's documentary on Crusades. In general, Jones's treatment is good, though I have some issues with his presentation of the papacy and a few other things. On incident discussed in this episode is a miracle, which Jones hypothesizes is the product of starvation-addled minds, in which armored saints and risen dead crusaders come to the aid of their still living brethren. Now, I've not read the account that reports this, and Jones does not name it specifically but his use of other sources is good enough that I don't think he just pulled it out of thin air.
Here then is my idea: use Hordes of the Things to model a kind of psychedelic, fantasy version of the Crusades. The Crusader army list would be roughly modeled on the above story. They would have normal men and knights, but also be accompanied by zombies and have the ghosts of martyred saints leading their armies into battle. The Byzantines could have mastered strange sorceries and sciences allowing them the use of arcane weapons of war. If I want to buy into Crusader propaganda, and add further fantastic elements, I could also have the emperor make a pact with the Adversary giving them access to demons of various sorts and heretical fanatics. This is a tad offensive to the Byzantines, but I doubt Alexius Comnenus is going to pound on my door tomorrow asking for an explanation. The Saracens possess fire sorcerers and genies. Again, not the most enlightened view, but I like Sinbad movies too much so I'll deal. Plop out a big map of the Levant with various towns, cities, castles, holy sites, and other points of strategic import and have at it.
I might use some of the material I generate for this in the Nightwick Campaign. I can see this setup working very well for the Desert Lands, though obviously with a severely edited map. If I do decide to use this material, then it will have some pretty big implications, especially in regards to the portrayal of the Sword Brothers.
EDIT: Weird timey-wimey stuff happened to this post. Not sure how.