Sunday, January 6, 2019

Rangers of Shadow Deep : Building Tor Varden

Tor Varden is one of three beacon watchtowers mentioned in “Mission 2: The Beacon Tower “contained in the Rangers of Shadow Deep rulebook.  In scenario 2 you must assault the tower and take it back from the Shadow Deep  invaders that are using  the captured the watchtower ‘s alight with green fire as the front line of its creeping dominion.  A forboding signal to the people of the Kingdom of Allladore that the Shadow Deep , now fully in control  of the neighboring Lorenthia , is coming for them- next.  Breaking the line and taking back Tor Varden will return it as a key stronghold to Keep the forces of Shadow Deep at bay , for now.

So one of the many things I really like about this game is get to break out a bunch of stuff I haven’t used in years or use stuff  I built that’s on display on my table as background scenery but haven’t really got to use yet And of course motivate myself to paint more miniatures this year  and shrink the great unpainted pile.

The plan wasn’t ever to buy or build a bunch of “new stuff” . When I read the scenario for The Beacon Tower and say the artwork  ( add picture here), I was like “well cool I have two really great towers already built!”. Then I read the scenario. 

Firstly the watchtower isn’t very tower like . Its large lower level made up of three rooms, (and I am assuming and am designing it  “L” shaped)  with stairs at the end of the Third room the go up into the tower of unspecified height where you battle it out on top level which has an exterior walkway.
The  upper section of the tower is a square watchtower more the  late Roman/ early Saxon era and much less like we envision a standard fantasy medieval type “tower”

A late Roman era watchtower similar in appearance to what described in the scenario abet about 10 times smaller

Secondly the rooms are huge.. Described as 1.5”  x 1.5 each or 18”x 18” is game scale that’s  90 feet each side  of 8100 square feet per room all the rooms and the tower itself are this dimension. The 4 areas mentioned  adding up to 32,400 Square feet are the size of a small Keep  not a Watchtower..but regardless , .

I built this over 2016-2017 its roughly 2 x its about 15,000 SF..125 frontage with 30 foot battlements..
I get why Mr McCullough does this- the players need space to move around. He’s trying to keep the scenarios on a 3x3 -2.5 x2.5  playing area.  I probably would have shrank the interior spaces and added an encounter in the outdoor space to fill up the area of the game setup because  at certain point  playability and reality need to intersect when the rooms you encounter at that huge size are a Storeroom, and Armory, a Torture Chamber and a Workshop.

This is just a minor critique.  This is a great double blind scenario where you have no clue what the next room is until you play the card. I am very excited to play it but the bottom line for me , My main point and the idea for this post was I really didn’t have any terrain,( and if you read this blog at all in the past , you know I have the proverbial “shit-ton”)That worked for this.

 I thought about rewriting it a bit making the tower a small keep as above and the lower section a dungeon. with the final battle in the keep courtyard with archers on the castle walls .but my dungeon isn’t  modular and the room are very dungeon like. (i.e small) and that just didn’t have the right vibe
One way to go about it , thou it kind of defeats the purpose of building war gaming terrain since 06'
So , lets build it then.  I recently watched Ash at GMG play this scenario and he downsized it considerably using some Laser cut dungeon walls and it played out great.  I figure I split the difference and go modular dungeon as it’s the one thing missing for my collection that does come up form time  I don’t have,  and I know I’ll use it and don’t I always do a Hirst Arts project in January??

 The self-convincing was easy. I decided on a 12 x 12 room for the 1st room of the lower level and that will also double as the tower upper section /roof  for scenario 3 by just adding the wooden walkway, the other rooms will be  8 x 8 Most of its cast up already, half of its painted, Store room , check, Torture Chamber, check Workshop, yeah sure , Armory, (wishes he saved those empire weapon racks) I’m pretty slammed this week hopefully I can get the game in this coming  weekend.

My Tor Varden the lower level 1st room what ever it may this WIP is the first model up after all the pieces dried and base can see my wooden walk way to the right are the GW pieces from Goblin Town I sliced up..they've never been used till now. 


Phil Curran said...

Well it's your game and as long as the changes work for you then I do not foresee any problems. I don't have much scenery left so my approach is back to graph paper or on the grey gaming board with Jenga block walls.

Simon Quinton said...

Looks cool.

Simon Quinton said...

Seems like a cool compromise. I would of just tweaked the scenario to fit my collection.


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