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The Saga of Symbaroum

The Saga of Symbaroum

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The Iron Pact Elves

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The Iron Pact is an organisation, not exclusively but certainly predominantly, made up of Elves. Elves have a much longer lifespan than humans and thus their memories and cultural memories are much longer. The Elves remember the fall of the Empire of Symbar and it’s cause, or at least they claim to. They also claim memory of a pact between the human and the Elves in the wake of the collapse of the first empire whereby the humans granted dominion over the deep forest to the Elves and promised never to enter. They claim that the pact was sealed by the human rulers by gifting the Elf lord Eneàno six thousand rings of iron which is where they now draw their name. The Iron Pact feel that the humans, and in particular the Ambrian invaders, have reneged on that pact. They act overtly, attacking travellers, settlements and Barbarian holdings within the forest and also covertly via their diplomats, spies and agents in the Human settlements. They are viewed with great suspicion by the humans who oftentimes feel the Iron Pact leans far too heavily on events from a distant past that no human can remember and that the Elves could easily be twisting to their own ends if not fabricating the entire story.

As these are required in a little over 3 weeks, I have accelerated plans to paint some Elves.  The Elves of Symbaroum are a little different to the elves that we might recognise from many Tolkien-esque works of fiction.  Much like Tolkien Elves, they are incredibly long lived (although not necessarily immortal) but during that time the change, grow and evolve.  In an attempt to put the life of an Elf into terms the inhabitants of Symbaroum can understand, the Elvish life cycle has been likened to seasons.  Elves start as “Spring Elves” (or Faeries) during which they are, much like humans, juvenile growing to no more than 4′ tall.  They are playful, curious but also slightly ferral (The Ordo Magicka often likens them to kittens).  They are well known to play cruel (and often lethal) pranks on human travellers in the forest of Davokar and even their older relatives.  However Spring Elves are also cautious, almost never leaving the forest  and somewhat cruelly, if captured they can fetch a high price in Thistlehold.

After around 50 years, they then enter a period of hibernation, known as a dormancy, and those who awake from this transition into Summer Elves (or Elflings).  Growing to around 5′ 5″, Summer Elves are notoriously hot-headed and with a life of around 150 years, have a lot of time to train.  Notoriously aggressive, preferring to attack rather than defend, they are generally lightly armoured and favour the use of bows but if necessary they will fight with spears and other reach weapons.  Summer Elves are the backbone of the Iron Pact forces and are generally led by an Autumn elf.  However it is not uncommon for bands of Summer Elves to abandon the leadership of a more sensible elder and raid towns and villages outside of Davokar, rather than the more usual Iron Pact targets of forest outposts and settlers or trade caravans.

After around 150 years, Summer Elves enter a second dormancy which may last for up to 50 years, after which they become an Autumn Elf (this the Elf’s true, adult form).  Autumn Elves are much taller than humans, standing around 7′ tall.  They are much more even tempered than younger elves and are generally considered to be leaders and diplomats due to their age, wisdom and temperament.  The younger elves simply cannot be relied on to interact with the wider world without descending into violence.  An Autumn elf will live for around 400 years

Finally, there is the concept of a winter elf.  There have been no sightings of winter elves and the Iron Pact do not speak of such beings;  however rumours of their existence persist.  If they do exist, they would be beings of immense power and wisdom.

So for Saga, it is unlikely that there will be any need for Spring Elves, only the Summer and Autumn Elves.  Furthermore, it is unlikely I would need more than a single Autumn Elf to act as a leader.  I have, so far, opted to use almost exclusively Middle Earth SBG Elves for the Summer Elves.  The main reason for this are:

  • They’re the right scale
  • They’re relatively cheap
  • I have a selection already at home unpainted
  • They strike a perfect balance between looking grounded in reality and also looking suitably other worldy to be fantasy

In addition to the Elves I have in my collection, I have found a couple of 3D model makers who have lots of nice alternative Middle Earth Elves (Medbury Miniatures, Davale Games to name a couple) so I can flesh this out with new units and even cavalry in the future without having to rely on Games Workshop.

I have painted enough Elves now for a 5 point warband:

  • 8 Early Summer Elf Archers
  • 8 Early Summer Elves at Arms
  • 4 Late Summer Elf Archers
  • 4 Late Summer Elves at Arms (swordsmen)
  • 4 Late Summer Elves at Arms (spearmen)

Saga Age of Magic doesn’t really have set armies, it gives you archetypes and you can choose pretty much any archetype you wish for your army.  Obviously some archetypes are going to look a little strange used with certain miniatures but it really is down to the player what they want to use.  For the Iron Pact the Lords of the Wild archetype seems like a good match, however the Great Kingdom archetype also contains a Legendary Warband called the Sapphire Elves. This warband cannot take Levy units but their Hearthguard and Warriors may all be armed with bows so that is another possibility.

I decided to use gold for the armour to symbolise the Sun of summer and then use warm greens and browns for the clothing to tie them to the forest.  The warm colours also tie in nicely with the theme of Summer

Early Summer Elf ArchersEarly Summer Elf Archers
Early Summer Elves At ArmsEarly Summer Elves At Arms
Late Summer Elf ArchersLate Summer Elf Archers
Late summer Elves At ArmsLate summer Elves At Arms
Late Summer Elves At ArmsLate Summer Elves At Arms

I haven’t got an Autumn Elf Leader yet – I wasn’t asked by our GM to source one.  Which is good because I haven’t managed to find a model that I am happy with yet to represent one.  I have got an “Elven Witch” (I can’t believe it’s not Galadriel) that I could probably scale up a bit and use as an Autumn Elf, so I might do that.  But I would like to also have a more militaristic looking one too, so I can choose on any given day what my warband might look like and why they might be fighting

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