The settings are beautiful. The miniatures are perfect for the buildings.
But what if we could play inside the buildings too?
What if the roofs came off?
What if all the roofs came off?
The settings are beautiful. The miniatures are perfect for the buildings.
But what if we could play inside the buildings too?
What if the roofs came off?
What if all the roofs came off?
We wanted to explore trade and transport in the lands of Gautria, so my husband began plotting a Caravan Campaign.
Before we could start our travels in North Gautria, we would need wagons.
These were mostly constructed with balsa wood. My husband made a few rough sketches and started building.
My character, as the caravan leader and primary financial backer, got the fancy wooden carriage. This wagon came complete with locking door and attached chests.
The other merchants’ wagons were constructed of balsa beds, with canopies of glue-dipped packing paper draped on wire frames.
All of the tops come off, and various cargoes can fit inside.
Our Great Northern Orc Tribes needed some heavy fortifications (and feasting spots!) of their own.
“What does a Great Northern Orc Temple look like?”
That question was asked at the crafting counter one fateful day. Those type of questions usually result in a hobbying frenzy and output of newly-actualized factions or architectural style. This question was no exception to the tool.
After construction on both the Great Northern Orc Temple and Orc Hall was complete, the workers and lesser chiefs got housing as well.
The most recent (and ambitious single building) project in our workshop is a jarl’s hall/inn with front deck, rear room overhanging the street, removable roof, and removable top story.
This building went from idea to foam pretty quickly.
Here you can see the roof removed, and the upstairs with wood-grain carved foam floor.
The upper story comes off, revealing a large common area with 2 smaller rooms.
The two downstairs rooms have doors that open into the main hall. What appears to be the front door in the ground floor is mostly a hallway, as you’ll see further down.
The details outside are balsa, placed into a layer of wood glue.
The foam is then carved on the inside to match the posts. Wood glue is then smoothed onto the carved side, and the details are scraped clean of excess glue with a toothpick.
The “wooden” overhang is foam, carved and coated in wood glue.
Even the roofs are carved foam.
We wanted a stone floor in this hall, I like the way the ground looked in the orc fortress. That needed to be carved and plastered.
You can see the front hall, and entry door set in place here.
So, time to paint 24 individual sections, front and back.
My husband began to glue the walls by himself, but soon needed another pair of hands.
I had to put the camera down to help, and by the next day, we were able to play with this:
The top roof comes off to reveal the upper story.
Then the upper story comes off.
Many patrons were found in the inn tonight!
Some patrons retired early,
While others drank the night away.
The workshop wheels are turning. Since repainting the castle & walls, we decided it was time to replace the 20+ year old card houses with something a little more fitting.
Choosing pink foam and balsa wood as our materials, my husband designed a set of four buildings that would fit up against the inside of a castle courtyard set-up. The roofs are removable.
He began with simple walls.
Then applied a layer of white glue, and the balsa for timbers.
(on the left is a trial piece, we kept the spacing between timbers much smaller in the final pieces).
The bottom piece of foam was carved, then layered in spackling.
Timbers on the inside walls were carved to match the outside, then a layer of glue to give the foam tooth, followed by a couple coats of black paint.
The front wall detail:
and the rough out:
I took over with paintbrush, and laid down a base coat of dark browns: one for the plaster walls, another for the “timber”.
A few dry-brushes and washes later, and the walls looked liked well-worn wattle and daub.
However, a slight miscalculation has resulted in the bases being too small, so we made other houses to fit the finished bases.
The rooftops are a very simple construction of carved balsa wood.
Some glue on each edge-to-side and a little tape to allow the house to dry in shape.
Then we glued posts over the corners, and secured the walls to the bases.
Completely painted, the half-timber houses were ready for use in the capital city of Mosveld.
King Kvig led his army to victory over the Varak orcs who had appropriated the mines of Hellgate from Kvig’s vassal Vestar Vastar. (Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #52- The Battle for Hellgate Mines). Kvig now had to decide who to install as jarl over the newly-recovered mines.
The Kildarian knight Baron Vulmar was outspoken, “We Kildarians have won many battles for you, King Kvig. Vestar has wasted the lives of many warriors and many more miners. Give me the mines and let Kildarian expertise get you rich! I will have these mines spilling forth silver the Vastars’ couldn’t even imagine.”
Vestar Vastar was enraged. “Generations of Vastar blood have paid for Hellgate silver! My clan has fought the Varak orcs time and again. These are my lands by right!”
Kvig surveyed Vestar and his many injured and poorly-armored bonders. Then King Kvig looked to Baron Vulmar and the Kilarians. The elite knights stood tall in their bloodied chainmail. It seemed an easy decision.
“Baron Vulmar shall have Hellgate mines and the keep at Sigivald Hold,” announced Kvig. “Any of Clan Vastar who wish to stay will be given positions defending the lands, or working the mines.”
“Odin curse you, Kvig Melgarson!” exclaimed Vestar. “You and your witch-queen have brought my son to death’s door and cheated my clan. I will have repayment for all your wrongs.” Vestar Vastar gathered a few loyal men and left Sigivald Hold.
As the rest of the warriors of Clan Vastar prepared for battle, Bleddyn’s ulfhednar scouts brought a respected adversary to him. Bjorn the Mighty (Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #50- Sword and Sorcery) had come to fight against the orcs. Bjorn looked to show his gratitude for the mercy Kvig and Bleddyn showed him (Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #51- The Warbringer).
“The orcs gather at Hellgate Pass. I have brought my men and those of my kin who would join you and push the orcs back into the mountains,” said Bjorn. “Bleddyn, take my brothers among your ulfhednar.”
Bjorn introduced his cousin Karlsefni. Karlsefni had been a slave to the Varak orcs in the west.
“The Varak orcs look to reclaim these lands on the lake,” said Karlsefni. “We have tracked a new group through Hellgate Pass. They scream for blood, King Kvig, and they are coming with a War-God.”
“War-God?” asked Kvig.
“You will see on the battlefield,” answered Karlsefni.
King Kvig, Bleddyn and Wynston marched their troops to Hellgate Pass, and saw the orcs there ready for battle.
Scores more orcs assembled in tight formations, blocking the road through the pass.
King Kvig’s men responded in kind, spreading their forces in a long line across the pass.
The War-God stood before the orcs and bellowed to his troops.
The heavy infantry of the Gautrian army trudged into the pass.
The speedy ulfhednar and mounted knights sprinted across the gap.
The War-God held his ranks in check.
King Kvig, Wynston, and Bleddyn charged the two-headed War-God with uncanny speed.
Wynston’s picked men ran up the hill in pursuit of the wild orcs and shaman.
The shielded orcs lined up against the human cavalry on one flank, and the heavy infantry on the other.
The War-God held fast in the center against King Kvig, Wynston, and Bleddyn.
The Gautrians’ left flank was pushed hard by the armored orcs.
But it was not enough to threaten the integrity of Kvig’s line.
The unarmored orcs fell to the ulfhednar on the human’s right flank.
The wild orcs all routed, or were slain. The last kill was up to Wynston, Kvig and Bleddyn.
Soon, all that remained of the War-God were two severed heads waiting to be tied to Kvig’s saddle.
“They will return from their side of the mountains, King Kvig,” said Karlsefni. “You cut through their War-God in this battle, but the Varaks will send more fighters. On the other side of Hellgate pass lies their fortress of Langar. They have many of my people enslaved in that compound. Lead us there King Kvig, Orc-Slayer, and we will destroy their stronghold and keep the Varak orcs from returning to Gautria!”
Kvig thought for the briefest of moments before turning to his champion Bleddyn and minister Wynston. “There is only one way to push the orcs out of our lands. We must take the fight to them! To Langar!”
What will King Kvig find through Hellgate Pass? Will the Varak orcs fall before the advancing North Gautrian army? The adventures continue…
The orc fortress of Dakagog was hard-fought for, and King Kvig the Orc-Slayer was the victor (Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #51- The Warbringer). The orc shaman Tiazig retreated into the stone walls of Dakagog with a handful of fervent followers. King Kvig had his men break down the door but once inside they could find no sign of the shaman.
The King was furious at the strapping young hero Thrand Vestarson that his father Vestar Vastar had let the orcs establish such a firm base this close to Kvig’s silver mines at Hellgate. Kvig refused to leave needed troops to secure Dakagog until the mines were reclaimed from the orcs. Instead, Kvig demanded they take to the boats and sail to Vestar’s wooden keep at Sigivald Hold before night fall.
Kvig, Wynston and Bleddyn each led a fast ship away from the orc fortress of Dakakog. Dark strings of clouds spun unnaturally over the waters. A mist covered the 3 boats.
“This is evil sorcery I’ve not seen before,” spoke Thrand to Wynston.
“Storms from the Shaman Tiazig?” asked Wynston.
“It could be him,” replied Thrand, “or it could be Queen Svala instead.”
The tall hero straightened over the steerboard. “Since crossing Lake Tagova, I’ve felt a mist lifting from my mind. I no longer have such…devotion for the Queen and I fear she knows it. She has sent this fog to keep me from aiding my father.”
“Kvig is come now to Sigivald to kill the orcs,” Wynston assured Thrand. “He will see your father’s keep defended.”
“The Queen dominates Kvig’s mind, as she once ruled mine.” Thrand was resolute. “Through him, she will claim all our family lands.” Thrand scanned what little he could of the lake’s surface through the fog. “She will swallow our boat with this mist and my father will never know of my end.”
The warriors grew more uneasy as they heard Thrand and the mist turned their fellow ships to shadows.
Several javelins arced from the canoes into Wynston’s boat, all aimed at the helmsman, Thrand. He fell to the deck, skewered by orc spears. Wynston’s picked men were able to quickly bring the unarmored orcs to heel, but the mood was somber.
Bleddyn’s men fought the attackers on board their ship. The shielded orcs fell to the savage wolf-skinned warriors.
Bleddyn ordered the attack onto the orcs’ boat. His ulfhednar slew the orcs, threw their bodies in the lake and took their ship.
As the orcs were defeated, the fog dissipated and Kvig’s boat was seen untouched nearby. Poor Thrand was unconscious, bloody and pale in Wynston’s boat. King Kvig ordered all 4 boats to make haste to land near Sigivald.
The troops arrived without further incident and disembarked. When they came through the forest, the ulfhednar reported orcs ahead in the hills.
From the heights, he hurled magic fires at the wooden fort.
Kvig’s forces broke through the treeline and marched for the hills. The orcs rained javelins down on the fighters. Sigivald’s gate burned brightly, but Kvig was firmly in control of the field.
The slow-moving fighters closed the distance to the hills and scattered the orcs into the forest.
Vestar Vastar commanded the people of Sigivald to escort King Kvig and his close advisors inside. When Vestar saw his gravely injured son, his thanks to Kvig died on his lips.
“Kvig Melgarson Orc-Slayer! This is how you return my son to me?” Vestar cried. “I send him to your Queen seeking aid seasons ago, and you finally answer with his soon-to-be-corpse?”
“If you held the mines, your son would have been by your side ruling over Sigivald,” said Kvig. “Thrand was wounded fighting honorably and valiantly for his king. Send him back over the water and my Queen’s personal physicians in Mosveld will see him standing again.
“But you, Vestar, have not so nobly acquitted yourself,” continued Kvig. “Have my men fed and sheltered inside your gates. Assemble what warriors clan Vastar has remaining. We take back Hellgate Mines in two days.”
While King Kvig received scouting reports from the ulfhednar, Wynston listened to the rumblings of the clansmen unhappy with Vestar and the state of the orcs around Sigivald. The loyal Vastars left in Sigivald bid a tearful farewell to an unconscious Thrand.
The next day when Kvig called for the troops to assemble, a unit of Vastar bonders pledged their service to the King.
Vestar himself showed ready for battle. “Clan Vastar honors its Land and King! I will defeat the orcs in your name!” Vestar shouted at Kvig.
Kvig took the hero Vestar into his retinue, and marched to Hellgate mines with a unit of heavy Kildarian infantry, a unit of ulfhednar, Wynston’s picked men, and the bonders from Sigivald. They found the orcs encamped outside the mines, but the orcs saw them and had time to form up in response.
The ulfhednar and picked men sprinted to occupy the right flank.
But how long could the lightly-armored right flank hold against the heavier orcs?
The Kildarians assessed the orc units.
The disgraced Vestar fought heartily in an attempt to win King Kvig’s favor back.
The Kildarians led by Vulmar slew many orcs and held firm the left flank. Our heroes fought in the center, challenging the urogs.
Humans and orcs fell to swords and axes until only Kvig, Wynston and Bleddyn remained.
Hellgate Mines once again belonged to the kingdom of Gautria. Would King Kvig show his magnanimity and allow Vestar Vastar to work the mines? Or would Kvig give the holdings to a more reliable vassal? Will the orcs let this defeat go unanswered? Find out in Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #53.
The reunited people of Rathus thanked Aedelfrid and Melkor for defeating the bandits who were plaguing their village. There were a few healers among the villagers and they found woundwort and hemus in the bandits’ loot. Aedelfrid helped them treat the wounded warriors and prisoners. Her betrothed, Ottar, son of Jarl Gudmar, was most grievously injured. They bound his wounds, but wanted to get him to a bed in Rathus quickly.
When the bedraggled company arrived in Rathus, they were unexpectedly confronted by Jarl Hegg Melgarson of Timlin Town. He had an impressive contingent under his command.
Hegg was angered that Ottar was fighting in these lands at all, so far south of Gudmar’s holdings.
“These people came to us for aid, Jarl Hegg,” spoke Melkor Voclain. “We meant no disrespect to you, or to my father, lord of this village.”
“You do not need to remind me who should be protecting this hamlet,” said Hegg. “Vulmar Voclain has thrown in with my traitorous brother Kvig and absconded north. That doesn’t give your Jarl the right to be here. And,” Hegg sneered, “Vulmar has no legitimate son I’ve heard him speak of.”
“Men,” said Sverting, the bondi leader of Rathus. “Let us share the joy of the return of our kinsfolk, and feast together on the recovered bounty.”
“Take care of our horses, bonder, and bring me my portion inside,” Hegg demanded. “We march in a few days to join King Magnus. Have food ready for my troops to travel with.”
Hegg snapped at one of the foot soldiers, “Arnsten! Secure the prisoners.”
Hegg swung down from his horse and strode into the wooden hall.
As Hegg climbed the hill to the house, Aedelfrid got a long look at the hilt of his sword. It was just as her brother Thorgils had described their father’s heirloom sword, when Thorgils saw it on the belt of Hegg’s brother Kvig Melgarson a few years ago.
The exquisite sword was stolen from her father Ardgar, shortly before his death. Thorgils had told her Father’s replacement sword broke in battle with the orcs, then the orcs struck him down. Thorgils had blamed the Melgarsons for Father’s death ever since he saw the sword on Kvig’s hip. He would be intrigued to hear it was Jarl Hegg, and not King Kvig who wore Father’s warsword now (SGK #42).
After she saw Ottar Gudmarson and the other wounded to beds, Aedelfrid sent her followers to enjoy the celebrations.
A strapping man from the group welcomed her to their circle. He introduced himself as Henrik Modrak, longtime fighter for the Melgarsons.
The storytelling was interrupted by a drunken, shouting Hegg. The Jarl wanted all present to hear what the prisoners had revealed. A beaten captive was dragged up the longhouse hill. There he told of an agreement between Jarl Gudmar and their leader, the robber Baron Harolf of Aigist Hold. Hegg was furious Gudmar would encourage the bandits in Hegg’s lands, and called for Ottar to come forth and fight for his father’s honor.
Melkor stepped before the powerful figure of Jarl Hegg. “Jarl Hegg, we came in good faith, and had no knowledge of this secret pact. This is no matter for single combat to decide. Take these prisoners before the king, and let King Magnus listen to their words.”
Hegg swayed on his feet and tried to look Melkor in the eye. “Bah! There wouldn’t be any honor in smashing your upstart Gudmarson, hurt as he is. Magnus will hear of this deception by his father. The prisoners will march with me tomorrow.”
“But Jarl Hegg,” pleaded Sverting, “the bandits’ brothers are sure to retaliate! We need your protection!”
“You have the mighty Ottar Gudmarson to fight for you!” replied Hegg. “I leave tomorrow.” Hegg stormed back into the longhouse.
True to his word, the next morning Jarl Hegg took the prisoners and his troops and went on his way to join King Magnus.
And as predicted by Sverting, the next night, wolf-skin clad warriors attacked the village of Rathus with a vengeance.
Aedelfrid, Melkor and the cavalry were prepared.
It was a vicious battle in the near-dark.
Aedelfrid found her shortsword perfect for fighting in the cramped cabin.
However, she couldn’t flank these wild men.
Melkor and his shield-brothers had more success and were able to slay the ulfhednar inside and win through the door into the night.
A horn blast sounded from the village.
With her men of Var on the way, and Melkor in control of the door, Aedelfrid felt Ottar would be secure in their cabin. Her sneaky impulses served her well as she spied a cracked bar in the back window.
Melkor downed another wolf bandit, leaving only one in front of him. The men of Var were engaged with the other ulfhednar.
When Melkor and Aedelfrid brought down that bandit, the rest of the ulfhednar howled and retreated.
Melkor and Aedelfrid charged the other warriors to check the village, while they remained on guard over Ottar for the night.
Would the bandits return for more mayhem? Would Jarl Hegg’s petition to the King bring trouble for Melkor and Aedelfrid? Time will tell…