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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

LoM Part 5 - The practicalities of Fantasy

Hi folks,

In this update I want to address the issue of 'fantasy' within LoM.

The original old LoM stood for 'Leaders of Men', it then went on to include rules for fantasy creatures and came to mean 'Leaders of Monsters', this reincarnation of the rules has evolved into a mix of the both - Men, but in a fantasy setting.

But what do I mean by 'fantasy', and where does it stand against the traditional view of fantasy -  Elves, Dwarves, Magic and Monsters?

When I first started gaming as a youngster many years ago, it was enough for me that Orcs were green, and evil was bad. Then as I progressed to historical gaming, the practicalities of logistics became more relevant.

Having a tribe of viscous green savages, living in huts, was fine at first, but then I got to thinking on how that tribe survived. I always saw Orcs as a kind of mix between African Tribal people and the ancient Celts, but there was never any of the practicality of the lifestyle attached to the creatures.

An easier example is perhaps with Dwarves. The traditional image of the Mountain Dwarf, living deep underground, mining amazing dwellings, is fine when it comes to believing they have developed a great skill in underground architecture, but not so when it comes to thinking they have a self sustaining agriculture. Crops don't tend to grow underground.

Somehow the appeal of Dwarves was lost when I thought about the practical aspects. How can you build such amazing underground structures when you are needed up top to plough the fields.
And what good is a high level of craftsmanship, when you cant sell or trade it? Flat packed underground hall anybody?

The other part of fantasy that always amused me was in the variety of creatures and races. In the real world man is dominant and this combined with natural elements has lead to the extinction of numerous species, with many more, from butterflies to giant pandas, under 'protective status', .

Consider then, if a region contains only two sets of mating Trolls. How eager would those Trolls be to line up on the battlefield and get themselves chopped up.

Or how large the world would need to be, or how small the populations, to support such diverse creatures and peoples.

Staying with the Trolls, or Ogres, or other similar large creature. What is the theoretical amount they could bench press? If they were even 5 times stronger than a man, its safe to bet that a simple punch would be enough to guarantee instant death. Yet we often see them swinging whole trees and doing nothing more than knocking the hero 30 feet through the air and causing nothing more serious than a few bruised ribs.

Such creatures on the battlefield would have, or should have stats so high they make fielding the average spearman a little, excuse the pun, pointless.

All that aside, I LOVE FANTASY!

But its not the kind of fantasy I have envisioned for LoM.

Instead players of LoM can look forward to bizarre and enthralling races of fantasy, but all which hold a common theme - they are based on the reality of the situation.

Horses may come in a variety of colours, suited to a fantasy world, but in the end they all behave like a horse would - some may be faster, stronger, can jump better than others, but none will fly or breath fire.
People may look, dress, act, believe in different gods and wield a variety of weapons, but steel is steel, and a sword is a still a sword.

That's not to say LoM doesn't have fantastical creatures, ghosts, spirits, magic of sorts - it does.
But all races are grounded in reality, and all will field armies and troops that would be found in a bizarre version of the real world.

This allows the rules to be very flexible and if needed to be substituted in places of other reality based rulesets. If you want to fight Rome v Germania you can, if you want to fight Normans vs Saxons you can.

Or maybe, hopefully, you will enjoy one of the variety of fantasy races or people coming to LoM.

Thanks for reading

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