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The Saga of Symbaroum

The Saga of Symbaroum

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Faction - Barbarians - Gaoia

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The Gaoia are the most northern of the Barbarian Clans, at least those who owe allegiance to Karvosti, the seat of the High Chieftain and the Huldra (a coven of witches who act as an advisory, some may even say authority, capacity to the High Chieftain). The Gaoia live in what is referred to by the Ambrians as “Dark Davokaar” the part of the forest that is less travelled and explored and, being less populated, home to many more dangerous creatures. They are seldom seen, only rarely travelling south from their lands and they speak a dialect of the barbarian considered base and gutteral by the other clans. The exception to that rule is the Wrathguard, the warriors each clan is expected toa send to guard Karvosti and the High Chieftain. Despite the clan’s somewhat insular nature, they still maintain their obligation and ensure that the full complement is sent. But for most travellers, Ambrian and Barbarian alike, this is the only contact they will ever have with this clan. In battle, the Gaoia are known to utilise poisons and some of them also capture some of the many large and poisonous spiders and herd them towards and even throw them at their enemies.

Partly because I know our next RPG session will take place in the forest of Davokaar, the home of several barbarian clans, and Karvosti, a sort of defacto “capital” for the clans (although it’s more of a sacred site than a city), I am painting up some Barbarians and fleshing out the world beyond the lands of Ambria. I think it’s here where the Symbaroum setting really starts to grow and shine.  Several of the barbarian tribes have names that are not a million miles away from the latinized names for the Celtic and Germanic tribes in the way they sound, especially those towards the north of the map and so that set me down a path.  Rather than approach the barbarians in the trad fantasy sense of musclebound hunks in fur underpants or deranged beserkers foaming at the mouth or high on some kind of hallucinogenic mushroom, I wanted to represent the barbarian clans as cultures within their own right.  While the Ambrians may consider them “backwards” they are by no mean primitive or unintelligent.  They may not be as societally or technologically advanced as the Ambrians but they are each a vibrant society with cultures and traditions of their own, although the influence of the Ambrians is spreading among some of the clans (very much by Ambrian design) and it’s starting to change the look and feel of the clans.  However, the tribes in the north are closest to their traditions and roots with the least contact with and thus influence from Ambria so it makes sense to give them an appearance that looks older and for this I have gone with Classical period Celts for the Gaoia (a theme I will continue with the other northern clans). I think this definitely makes a nice change from the typical Conan-esque portrayal of barbarians and it also leans into the historical roots of the word, which was essentially the Roman way of describing certain “uncivilised” foreigners.  However the Celts and Gauls were far from uncivilised, they had a vibrant culture and created many beautiful works in metal.  What they essentially lacked compared to their Roman contemporaries was a strong societal order and central government that enabled the creation and maintenance of large bodies of professional soldiers and the Military innovation that goes with it.

Getting the models was relatively easy – I purchased a couple of sprues of Victrix Celtic Warriors, including a command sprue and also a chariot. I doubt that the Chariot with feature in the RPG however I am planning now to make an army based on a coalition of the northern tribes and it will be most useful for that. I also have some Germans/Dacians which I am going to use for one of the other tribes and I stole a couple if weapons off them for these, equipping a couple of models with a Falx and another couple with bows.  The inclusion of the Falx may not be historically accurate but this is, I feel, an example of how you can use historical Miniatures to make believable and relatable fantasy miniatures with very little effort. It also means, when I come to do the next tribe they will also be armed with Falx and it creates some common themes between them

To paint them, I am using almost entirely speed paints and having dabbled with the slapchop method and being reasonably happy with the results, I decided this would be a good test of that method at scale. All in all, it took me two evenings to paint all 10 of the miniatures, although the first evening was mostly preparation – priming and drybrushing – and I reckon I could probably have doubled that number if I’d had more to paint. I designed them using a simple palette of 3 colours, each Miniature would be painted with a combination of two of the three colours likewise the shields. I also stuck to ginger and blonde for hair colours and deliberately tried to thin the flesh tone to make it quite pale. The final step was picking out details with bits of gold and silver and then adding some very thin turquoise body paint.

Obviously these aren’t going to win any awards but the shading and highlights that you get from Slapchop are really pronounced and when you view them from distance, they look really good.  Combine that with the quick basing glue and base mixes (I use Geek Gaming but you can make your own) and I think this is a great method for getting large volumes of average painted Miniatures to the table in next to no time – and that is a very useful thing indeed

I spent another evening painting the 4 nobles (basically the command sprue and the Boudecia model from the chariot). I put a little more effort in here because I wanted the armour to be metallic. I also had to delay painting these because I upgraded the shields. The shields were created on Tinkercad by “lifting” a Celtic design from something else and combining it with a couple of basic shaped to create oval shields.

After printing I was really, really pleased with these. The details are a bit fine in some places and I probably need to increase the depth of the designs by a few fractions of a millimetre to compensate but overall they are a nice upgrade to the models that help further set them apart from the other soldiers. And in terms of the detail itself, I have purchased 3d printed shields with similar designs in the past and they were no different, so my own efforts are at least as good as the ones I purchased on ebay.

To paint the nobles I also stuck to the same simple colour palette of red, blue and green so it’s very easy to see they are the same tribe. I was particularly happy with the way the Boudecia model turned out.

All in all, 3 evenings of effort went into these and I think overall the quality of them is a more than acceptable trade been quality and speed.  15 miniatures could have easily been 20+ Miniatures in almost the same time.  If you apply that to something like Kings of War, that’s a standard regiment; for Saga that’s 1 point of Levy or 3 points of Hearthguard.  It’s not going to take very long to paint armies this way and they will look reasonably good

 

 

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