February 26, 2018 by crew
We’ve been posting about the work from Lucid Eye for a while now and so thought it would be a good idea to find out exactly what The Elf King project is all about, delving into the world, general gameplay and more. Joe gives us the lowdown…
What Is The Elf King?
The Elf King project has been percolating for quite some time and we had discussed the nature of the background a number of years ago. The task became, therefore, what to leave out, rather than what to add once we had begun setting it down on the page.
Artwork by Julien Delvant
What appeared arrived pretty much fully formed as a setting. Always mindful of the fact that this was going to be primarily a game book with mechanics for a miniatures game, rather than a novel, it was important for us to get the balance between mechanics and setting just right, neither a dry vanilla game, nor one so cluttered with background detail that the player feels like an onlooker.
Obviously, the setting is inspired by literary sources, (too many to mention individually), so that the flavour of the game is informed by a narrative, but we have made it clear that the events within the storyline are always mutable and the chronicles, being written by the victor, may be erroneous propaganda and one-sided accounts. The players of the game rewrite the histories!
Generally, elves in modern fantasy literature and gaming tend to be humans with pointy ears. They have a slender physique, wear tall helms and sail on ships that look like swans. They dislike dwarves and hate orcs. This sort of thing works, it’s a trope and everyone knows the deal. We at Lucid Eye, like to do things a little different, however, and we wanted to see this difference right from the ground up.
We went back to the source, back, even before Tolkien! We went all the way back to the sagas and later retellings of those sagas. We did not reject more modern interpretations, but those we looked at tended to have some connection with the original mythology. Obviously, these original sources are Northern European, but most cultures have myths which include immortals and powerful spirits.
Elf King Elves, therefore, are not at all human. They are tall, (over seven feet tall generally), they are immortal, they are powerful, they do not possess souls but spirits because they are the manifest dreams and memories of the gods. Any similarity to human society is only by way of incidental likeness, and when elf society is described, it is by way of approximation.
Elves do not reproduce biologically, they do not marry nor have wives or husbands and there are no elf children. One crucial aspect of elf society is especially important to mortals when dealing with the fae and that is the notion that every word is a bond. Because elves exist within and without time, everything an elf says is fact, it will come to pass or already has. A mortal must be very careful when promising anything to an elf!
All of this may lead us to think that elven society might exist within a static perfection. This is far from true. The fae are subject to extremes of emotion. They hate, fear and covet with the intensity of a thousand suns. And this, essentially, is their downfall.
So, What’s The Story?
The Red Book Of The Elf King game is set at a time of upheaval. The King has disappeared and his extended family, who had previously been held in check by the King who acted as a balance in all courtly matters, have begun to plot, or to fear others plotting, to spy or to purge spies from their own circles, even if these are only imagined through fear.
Things are on a downward spiral. The Fimblewinter has set in, an ever-present and harsh winter upon the domains of the Fae. The Fauraur Trolls are mobilising upon the borders and planning sea raids or outright war. All the while, the lands of the Fae are being beset by self-inflicted wounds.
The Red Book
The Red Book chronicles the current wars erupting over the Isles Of Eas. Six especially powerful Circles are at odds with each other, and there is constant strife. It is foretold that this state of affairs will eventually lead to the Fall Of All; the Fimblewinter heralds the Troll invasions, and the Fae Circles will destroy each other whilst this happens.
All of this will be catastrophic for the Elves and they will pass into nothingness or be so diminished that even the greatest Elflord will be reduced to a mere wisp passing over some marshland in the mortal realm of Men.
Each of the six forces is characterised by their Thane, who is crucial to the success of the player. The Thane is powerful, but not unbeatable and must benefit from some protection from his Companions, who are the rank and file of the Circle force.
The Companions as a group, have a character of their own and differ from the Companions of other Thanes in subtle ways, though all are able to use Rhud Magic. Rhud Magic is the manipulation a raw elemental force and serves as bolt type effects. The Thane has a more sophisticated set of spells, known as Glamours which may be either chosen randomly or carefully selected, according to preference or speed of play.
The Nature Of The Game
The aim is to defeat the enemy Thane, either by the sudden death of a Thane or by accruing a number of Victory Points by the end of seven turns. Players must use manoeuvres, brute force, Rhud Magic, Glamours, and the awesome power of the Thane to win over their opponents.
The pace of the game speeds up towards its conclusion and a fresh reserve unit can be crucial at this point. There are also scenarios which detail specific events from the Red Book histories and even a chance to meet the Elf King himself! Though you may not think it well in the aftermath…
A Thane miniature and six units composed of three Companions each. The rulebook, a number of D6s and D10s, some markers and tokens, Glamour Cards and perhaps a force card detailing the Circle stats.
All of these are gradually being released by Lucid Eye, so that, at release of the rulebook, everything necessary will be available. Take a look to see what is already available right now on our Webstore!
The Future Of The Fae
There are plans afoot for expansion, The Fauraur Trolls, the Vrashae and others spring to mind for us, more Glamours perhaps, more scenarios and more background and detail of the Isles Of Eas.
Til then, happy gaming!
"Generally, elves in modern fantasy literature and gaming tend to be humans with pointy ears [...] We at Lucid Eye, like to do things a little different..."
"The aim is to defeat the enemy Thane, either by the sudden death of a Thane or by accruing a number of Victory Points by the end of seven turns..."