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Deneb

Deneb

Project Blog by davehawes

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About the Project

Deneb is a highly tactical miniatures game featuring small skirmishes in a unique fantasy setting designed and created by me! This project carries on from the forum on the old site (will add a link when I find the archived content) that details my progress on bringing this game to life.

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I’ve recently made some fairly major edits to previous posts which featured art for various parts of the world of Deneb, primarily to integrate two things.

  • An edited version of the world map designed to highlight where in the world that particular location is situated.
  • A timeline of key events that have some relation to that location. The timeline posts are a little rough, but give a good insight into the world history.

The posts in question are

  • The Lair: A military location controlled by the elite dragon riders of the Draco Republic.
  • The Black Oak Grove: At the heart of an ancient forest, where the greatest witches in the Coven meet.
  • Tower College Armand: Where Mages to this day learn the art of aethermancy.

The next area to be covered will be the Lyran port city of Ostia!

A note on dates in the world of Deneb

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As previously mentioned, I will be posting a few notes highlighting certain areas on the map, and talking a little about their history. I thought it might be helpful to talk in very broad terms about the history of the world and the date system used. The lore and history for the game are primarily written as if the reader had access to the great library at the centre of Deneb. This not only contains a vast sum of human knowledge, but also books from pre-human civilisations, and as such is an excellent resource. However it is biased by the perceptions of those who have contributed to it, and it is certainly not infallible. All the same, it is a good start to understanding the world.

 

The history of the world is split into distinct eras

The 1st era: Before Life

Little is known of this time when the world was first formed. There are many theories and stories about, but little is known for sure.

The 2nd era: Dawn of Life

A period that lasted for around 270,000 years. It saw the rise of the first intelligence life, the Siblings. The true dragons were born, the Wyrms. The discovery of the aetheric world between worlds. The manipulation of which allowed feats that would seem like magic to many. The Draug tribes gradually conquered the frozen land of Nifl. The Khepri race rose to build an empire along the equator of the world, which would eventually conflict with the Dragons and the Siblings. The terrible war that ensued significantly reduced the Sibling population, but ultimately wiped every last Khepri from the face of the world. The Dragons returned to warring with each other, changing the mountains across the world as they sought larger lairs and tactical advantages against neighbouring families.

3rd era: Fury of Life

A period that lasted for around 140,000 years. It was early in this era the first humans evolved from ape-like creatures. These early hunter-gatherer tribes were recognisable to the Siblings as much like their ancient selves, though more warlike in nature. The Siblings sought to teach humanity, to guide them. This had dire consequences. Dragons and humans began to come into contact, often with the Dragons becoming objects of worship. Whether they were benevolent or tyrant gods, very much depended on the attitude of that particular lair of dragons. At least one dragon grew so large he travelled beyond the northern barrier mountains and triggered a sequence of event that would lead to the Draug ending their nomadic lifestyle and founding the city of Skiringssal. The pact that would end the true dragons as they had been since the 1st era was unleashed by humanity during this era. Eventually, Siblings and humans would work together to try and undo this curse, but the damage was done and dragons would never be the same again. This is also the era where the largest human civilisation in history, the primitive kingdom of Lyria is formed. Towards the end of this era, the Siblings ascended to what (from a human perspective) appeared to be god-like beings. This was not under ideal circumstances, and many Siblings disagreed on how to proceed at this point. One, however, The Obsidian Sulcata (or simply Sul), as it was known, was convinced that humanity was key to the future, and sought to correct past mistakes when it came to teaching humans. Sul travelled to the heart of the western continent of Xi (as the Siblings had named it). There was a burgeoning human settlement, one that Sul quite openly conquered and took governance of. That city was Deneb.

 

4th era: Civilised Life

The current era, many human calendars consider this to be the beginning of the modern time period and refer to dates as P.D. or Post Deneb. In part, because of the seemingly eternal and consistent nature of the city (at least from a human perspective). So 1 P.D. would be 1 year into this era (when Sul first took over Deneb, and when the construction of the great library first began). 1450 P.D. is 1,450 years after this era began, and is “present day” for the purpose of the core book. So all conflicts that would be played out now are likely to be set during the year 1450 P.D. for narrative purposes.

 

Painted Grimalkin

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Thanks to our friends at wingsmoothpainting.com here we have the next of the studio painted pieces. The Grimalkin for the coven faction! Like many of these pieces, still work to do on the base, but I think it’s still cool to see at this stage.

 

GrimalkinGrimalkin

Learn more about the unit and the faction here

Rule card for the GrimalkinRule card for the Grimalkin

Painted Aegis Mage

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Thanks to our friends at wingsmoothpainting.com here we have the next of the studio painted pieces. The Aegis Mage for the tower faction!

Aegis MageAegis Mage

Learn more about the unit and the faction here

Rule card for an Aegis MageRule card for an Aegis Mage

Map of the world!

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I shared a WIP version of this recently, but this is more or less final as it stands. This includes full labelling and a scale. This shows the continent where the city of Deneb is situated. As per the wonderful suggestion from @oriskany, I will be including a few more posts highlighting certain parts of the map and telling a little of the story of that part of the world.

Map of XiMap of Xi

Painted Axeman

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Thanks to our friends at wingsmoothpainting.com here we have the next of the studio painted pieces. The Axeman for the Coven faction!

AxemanAxeman

Learn more about the unit and the faction here

Rules card for the AxemanRules card for the Axeman

Painted Enchanter

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Thanks to our friends at wingsmoothpainting.com here we have the next of the studio painted pieces. The Enchanter for the tower faction!

EnchanterEnchanter

Learn more about the unit and the faction here

Rules card for the EnchanterRules card for the Enchanter

Painted Gatekeeper Mage

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Thanks to our friends at wingsmoothpainting.com here we have the next of the studio painted pieces. The Gatekeeper Mage for the tower faction!

Gatekeeper MageGatekeeper Mage

Learn more about the unit and the faction here

Rules card for the GatekeeperRules card for the Gatekeeper

Painted Arc Mage

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Thanks to our friends at wingsmoothpainting.com here we have the first of the studio painted pieces. The Arc Mage for the tower faction!

Arc MageArc Mage

Learn more about the unit and the faction here

Rule card for the Arc MageRule card for the Arc Mage

Map of Xi

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Xi is the name of the continent in which the main story of Deneb is set. The map is still a work in progress but wanted to share what we have so far.

This version is unlabelled, just because of how the process is working from a graphics design point of view, but hopefully can update with final labelled version soon.

Map of XiMap of Xi

To answer @oriskany’s question from the comments, here is the roughly labelled version with a scale indicator included

Rough labels and scaleRough labels and scale

The Lair

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Well, it’s been a while whilst we’ve been busy working away on a few things for Deneb. First of those is ready to show today. One of the many specially created pieces of artwork for Deneb. This is another of a small selection of pieces aimed at revealing a little bit more about the world itself and some of the key locations.

The LairThe Lair

More than 1,400 years ago, a group of naturalists, funded by the Harridan military, set out on an expedition into the northern barrier mountains. The peak in question was (and indeed still is) located north of The Draco Republic’s capital city. It is one of the first real mountains a traveller would encounter as they headed through the foothills into the northern barrier range. The mountain’s shape and form were significantly altered by the ancient true dragons when they modified their lairs for war hundreds of thousands of years ago. The naturalists’ goal? To observe, and perhaps in time, domesticate the dragon population rumoured to live there. This project was successful, though it was decades before they had formed a close working relationship with these wild creatures. In that time they began to ride dragons, and even start to understand their breeding habits, and how they raised there young. Eventually, a captive breeding program was established, and about half a century after they first encountered the dragons, they flew their first military mission.

Harridan had been using dragon’s in their military for about 20 years before they formally established the elite Ordo Draco. A special-forces military arm focussed on using dragons. This was a little less than 1,400 years ago. They were so successful in using them to extend their borders that when they declared themselves a nation, they took the name The Draco Republic. The Ordo Draco ride descendants of the ancient true dragons, who were much reduced by a curse placed on them over 5,000 years ago. Still, the dragons are terrifying and powerful mounts, loyal to the death to their riders.

The ancient dragons that created the cavern would move deeper into the mountain range, looking for more massive peaks to turn into lairs. Some-time after the curse and war had altered the species almost beyond recognition, this particular lair was abandoned entirely. Generations later, the more modern form of dragons founded a colony here that became a regular breeding spot. It was this colony that the Harridan naturalists had first made contact with, and would eventually become the headquarters of the Ordo Draco. The Lair itself is both a military base, training facility and dragon breeding colony. It now houses around a thousand soldiers, a hundred dragons, and all the stores, supplies, weapons and equipment needed to carry out their function as the most advanced military force in the known world.

The Ordo Draco are one of the playable factions in Deneb. Full rules for six of their models are included in the core book that will be in the starter set.

Map location of the LairMap location of the Lair

Key dates in the history of “The Lair”

  • Early 2nd era – The first true dragons, the Wyrms, began to hatch in the forbidding mountains that the Siblings had left unexplored. How they came to be is unknown to us. We know they were unlike any other animal that roamed the world. Vast creatures, size almost incomprehensible to modern eyes, beautiful, and brutal. You might perhaps consider them intelligent, certainly, they thought themselves so. Filled with arrogance and avarice they fought viciously for territory, for mates and most voraciously for treasure. Dragons were born with an innate sense of superiority, not entirely undeserved. Nigh indestructible, able to breathe fire hot enough to sublimate steel, and talons driven by muscles strong enough to carve caves into mountainsides. Fiercely loyal to their families, living together in a mountain lair. Hatchlings fought side by side for centuries, along with their parents, grandparents, and eventually children and grandchildren. The hierarchies varied from family to family, and it wasn’t unusual for a younger member to prove themselves as the more capable leader and become the head of a lair. Equally, in other families, the first dragon to have sired a clutch of hatchlings still ruled.

 

  •  Mid 2nd era – The older true dragons got the bigger they got, though the rate of growth slowed with age. In their constant warring between lairs. The oldest dragons were like great naval capital ships, slower and heavier, but almost impossible to deal enough damage to kill, and with titanic destructive power. The younger dragons like little quick craft zipping around and under these huge behemoths. Thirty-year-old dragons might be the size of a stagecoach, compared to a ten-thousand-year-old dragon that might be the size of an entire village. Still, as they grew bigger they would either expand their current lair or seek out a larger mountain. Often moving towards the largest mountains in a range and abandoning older smaller lairs.  It is believed that a dragon family from the eastern Ladon mountain ranges travelled west, past larger mountain lairs held by stronger dragon families, to find the mountain where “The Lair” now resides. These dragons used their immense power to actually reform the top of the mountain to an odd angle, before proceeding to carve up from the bottom, creating the cavern we know today as “The Lair”.

 

  • Late 2nd era –  For a brief few weeks in this time period, the first Wyrm war was fought. The combined might of the soldiers of the Khepri and the Dragons of the Ladon mountain ranges crashed into each other and the Khepri learnt the true meaning of folly. Whilst the Khepri did indeed manage to slay one of the mighty Dragons, the retribution was swift and terrible. Fire scoured the soldiers of the Khepri and left nothing but ash. Killing one of their own united the Dragons like nothing had in hundreds of millennia. Seven different Lairs united and obliterated not just the fighting forces of the Khepri but any part of the Khepri empire within a hundred miles of the foothills of their mountains. The Khepri had thought to conquer the Dragons and wield their power against the aethermancy of the Siblings. After those few weeks of devastating loss of resources, the Empress realised she had made a mistake. That instead she should focus her efforts on conquering the Siblings and then turn their power on the Dragons. This would end in the total destruction of the Khepri race. During this time the many Dragons moved ever deeper into their ranges seeking larger mountains to make their home. We believe it was during this period the last true Dragons abandoned “The Lair”.

 

  • Early 3rd Era – Sometime in the in these years, the first humans began to emerge. They were nothing special at first, just another animal, evolved from some offshoot of some less intelligent animals. Hunter gatherers at first, they did in time begin to build settlements, farm and expand much as the Siblings had so long ago. Though unlike the Siblings, the humans took to warring with each other easily and often. Many Dragons were interested in these new hairless apes, the humans that had started to pop up everywhere. To the humans, the Dragons were like gods, and the Dragons own ego’s happily fitted into this mould. Some would demand tribute in gold and gem stones, others would ask for elaborate sacrifices, bloody or not. Some would ask for food or slaves. Others simply took sport in obliterating and terrorising the humans. Those humans that lived in the shadows of mountains all across the world, learned to hate and fear the dragons. As they had at many times throughout history the Siblings tried to educate the Dragons, but every attempt eventually ended in disaster.

 

  • A pair of Siblings disguised themselves as animal spirits to help guide the development of humans living in the northwestern part of the Pallas Forest. The Siblings believed this more subtle approach might allow them to nudge the humans in the right direction without things moving too fast. Eventually, the humans had started to grasp the basic concepts of aethermancy.

 

  • Mid 3rd era – A council of wise women ruled the woodland settlements in the North West of the Pallas Forest. For decades the woodland settlements had paid homage and tributes of fruit and animal flesh to the Dragons who dwelt within in a lair in the southernmost Typhon Mountains. The dragon Jytomachia eventually usurped the current leadership of this lair and decided he wanted bloody human sacrifices to his glorious leadership. The woodland people refused, and Jytomachia’s response was brutal. The wise women had seen and heard quite enough and thought how to turn the magic they had learned against the Dragons, forging what was to become known as the first true pact. They realised that despite their great will they could not hope to directly kill a dragon, or even really harm one with their magic. However, they saw a weakness in their foes, their short tempers, their jealous and suspicious nature. They created what later generations would call the wyrm’s curse.

 

  • It was a subtle vicious thing, an unquenchable anger, an inflamed emotional state, paranoia, hatred and aggression. The magic they wrought over several nights of rituals and aetheric manipulation, slowly but surely started to worm its mental twisting into the minds of the Dragons that lived by them. What they perhaps had not fully understood was that this madness would not only affect the dragons near them but that in time it would spread throughout the aetheric world tainting all Dragons with this madness. At first, no one noticed the difference, dragons had been warring with each other since more or less the dawn of life. But the wars escalated, more and more lairs getting involved, and for the first time in recorded history, even dragons within a lair began to kill each other. Hatchling on hatchling violence was extremely rare, but fratricide started to become a common occurrence. The humans at the time were glad that the Dragons seemed to have more or less forgotten them, and for the first time in centuries, they were left alone and unmolested.

 

  • The Siblings began to notice the Dragon population was dwindling dangerously, they were killing each other far faster than they were hatching new young. The Siblings took a closer look and realised something was amiss, that this great war amongst the dragons was unlike any behaviour they had seen before. The Siblings eventually traced the problem to this subtle and hidden curse within the aetheric world. They saw in it a magic unlike any they had ever known or created, they eventually recognised it as the handiwork of the humans. They tried to reverse what had been done, but to their great amazement, they found they could not undo what had been done. Despite their great mastery of magic, the humans had created something that they didn’t seem able to understand or deconstruct. Eventually, those who had posed as the animal spirits returned to the council of wise women and asked for them to undo what had been done.

 

  • The Siblings decided it was time to drop their charade and explain who they truly were, and why they were asking for aid. The council felt betrayed and considered the Siblings had revealed themselves as deceivers who could not be trusted. However, some of the council saw that the Siblings had chosen truth now because they wanted to talk as equals (or at least as close to equals as the Siblings were capable of considering humans). The council revealed they had not built a way for the curse to be undone, as they had wanted to be sure the Dragons did not find a way to end the curse themselves. However, they agreed to work with the Siblings to find a solution.

 

  • Time was short, if they did not find something in the coming weeks there would likely be too few Dragons left to form a breeding population. There was no easy solution, but they did figure out a potential way to mitigate the worst effects of the curse, but it was not without cost. The only thing they could figure to do was to twist the cursed minds of the Dragons, destroying much of their intellect, reducing them to something more like a smart and cunning animal. It was a terrible choice, reduce the intellectual capacity of an entire species, or allow them to go extinct. In the end, they decided the world would be lessened without such creatures as the Dragons and so they enacted their solution.

 

  • Late 3rd Era – The Dragons, who for the most part had the intellectual capacity of a curious and terrible human child, was now reduced to something more like a very smart dog. The curses’ grip had not completely been removed, and at times it could flare up causing the dragons to fly into unreasonable and destructive rages. The population had been so decimated that the limited breeding pool meant each subsequent generation seemed a little smaller, and a little weaker than the last, and much shorter lived. Though one good thing was that the grip of the curse seemed to lessen a little with each generation. Though their intellect did improve a little, it seemed it would never return to its former heights. It was during this time that “The Lair” became a breeding colony once again for these newly returned lesser Dragons.

 

  • 15 P.D. Graduates of a Deneb education, Harridan citizens return ready to put their studies to good use. Amongst them, a group of Harridan naturalists take an expedition out into the mountains north of the city to study the Dragon population rumoured to live there.

 

  • 18 P.D. Harridan naturalists manage to build a functioning relationship with the Dragon population and begin to domesticate the species.

 

  • 25 P.D. The first dragons are ridden by those Harridan naturalists who had built up enough rapport with those few dragons.

 

  • 27 P.D. First dragons mating and hatching occurring under the observation, and even integration with the Harridan naturalists.

 

  • 44 P.D. First captive breeding program for Dragons near Harridan has some success in a project co-funded by the naturalists and the cities military.

 

  • 60 P.D. The first military use of Dragons ridden by Harridan militia used to protect the borders of several townships that agreed to align themselves with Harridan.

 

  • 68 P.D. A conflict over a tax on spice shipments between Sybaris and their nearest Harridan controlled trading settlement, Damasia, escalates into a brief violent conflict between tax officials, importers in Damasia and Sybaris bargemen. Harridan sent in Dragon riders, for a brief display of military superiority. Killing a small number of citizens of Sybaris quickly ends the conflict. The military superiority of Harridan is clear, and reluctantly the Sybaris traders comply.

 

  • 80 P.D. The continued successful use of the Dragons to expand and protect their territory leads to the formal creation of the Ordo Draco as an elite arm of the Harridan militia. They still have far more humans soldiers than dragons and so only the best get a shot at becoming dragon riders to maximise the value of these extraordinary assets.

 

  • 310 P.D. Draco Republic is by many measures the largest and most powerful nation militarily, it’s continued to press its borders against both Lyra and La’Certa. But growing tensions with so-called “foreign education” from Deneb, as well public opinion considering Deneb a rogue state that needs to be brought under civilised government, leads to a declaration of war.

 

  • 312 P.D. A Draco Republic army marches on Deneb. When they are closing in on the city limits, Sul appears before the army and asks them to turn back or be destroyed. The commanders decided to continue their forward march. Shortly afterwards the entire army vanished. None would appear again, bar the commanding general Felix von Scheer who awoke a day later outside the gates of Harridan, unable to recall how he had gotten there, or anything about the others who apparently had been destroyed.

 

  • 314 P.D. General Scheer’s story significantly emboldens the Silencers. The Silences are a group which splintered from the Salbei Sages in 49 P.D. convinced that magic was abhorrent. They and conservative senators push through tighter regulation on magic use within the Draco Republic. With so many families affected and such a crushing blow delivered to their army, there is a lot of hatred for Deneb throughout the nation. However, some liberal senators give speeches in the Senate suggesting that perhaps the Republic has too often of late taken the form of the aggressor and conqueror. That the desire to extend democracy and freedom has, in fact, lead to arrogance. That the military superiority provided by the dragons lead to complacency when it came to using diplomatic solutions to solve their disputes with their neighbours.

 

  • 319 P.D. The Draco Republic senate pass non-aggression legislation that limits the use of military force to matters of defence of the nation, any use to solve conflict beyond the current borders now requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate. The Ordo Draco is given an exception within the legislation for their small strike teams to resolve emergency matters, but if a Grandmaster of the order does so, they can be called before the Senate defence committee to explain the nature of the emergency. If the committee decide that the Grandmaster has abused this trust, they can be removed from office. The bill passed at least in part due to the subtle influence of the Syndicates on key senators, they saw it as part of their duty to protect Lyra.

 

  • 1423 P.D. Johann Richter’s unit in the 5th infantry division of the Draco Republic are awarded medals for valorous conduct on the front lines during the “war of the little lion”. Johann is plucked from the infantry division and given a place within the Ordo Draco, the republics elite special forces division. He travels to The Lair and begins his advance training (see core book story “Fruits of Grief“).

 

  • 1429 P.D. – 1441 P.D. Several events at the Lair as described in the short story “Fruits of Grief” in the core book.

 

  • 1442 P.D. Preservation of Deneb Independence treaty signed by representatives from the Draco Republic, La’Certa, Pegasus and Lyran governments. The current Grandmaster of the Ordo Draco, along with some key republic senators however puts plans in motion for several covert operations in Deneb.

 

  • 1446 – 1447 P.D Events from the end of the short story “Fruits of Grief” in the core book.

Tower College Armand

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College Armand was the first of its kind built by the Tower. In fact, it was this building that earned the splinter group from the Salbei Sages their name. Armand was a Salbei Sage and court mage to King Hugo of La’Certa over 1,300 years ago. Armand wanted a tract of sovereign land, and resources to build the college. King Hugo agreed in exchange for the slaughter of the Pegasus Nakbeast tribe, who had recently inflicted a stinging defeat against Hugo’s armies. Armand and some like-minded Salbei Sages agreed to the terms and used their mastery of magic to commit an act of violence that the modern day Tower would perhaps prefer was forgotten.

Based in the pleasant climate of Southern La’Certa, halfway between the Capital and the city of Bourbon. The open plains and farming country of La’Cera stretch far out to the east. To the west, and much closer, are the foothills of the Typhon mountains.

The College Armand is now the most prestigious place in the world for students to study the art of Aethermancy and be inducted into the ranks of the Tower.

The Tower are one of the playable factions in Deneb and will be one of the factions included in the starter set.

Tower College ArmandTower College Armand

This is one of the many specially created pieces of artwork for Deneb. This is part of a small selection of pieces aimed at revealing a little bit more about the world itself and some of the key locations.

Map location of the Tower College ArmandMap location of the Tower College Armand

Key dates in the history of “Tower College Armand”

 

  • 63 P.D. – King Louis Laurent of La’Certa permanently retains a court mage provided by the Society of Salbei. They agree to a never-ending contract, as they have been much reduced in recent years after splitting into three sub-factions, one of which left the society entirely in 49 P.D. The yearly funding provided in exchange was dearly needed.

 

  • 150 P.D. – King Hugo (grandson of Louis) orders the conquering of the Nakbeast tribes. The first assault ended in a massacre of Nakbeast tribes-folk in the city of Nyadalgaakhot. Hulagu of the Pegasus tribe leads 10,000 mounted warriors in a retaliatory strike against southeastern La’Certa. Causing devastation an order of magnitude higher than that visited on the tribes-folk.

 

  •  152 P.D. – King Hugo wishes vengeance on the Hulagu’s Nakbeast tribe. The current court mage, Armand, promised to deliver justice in exchange for a major boon for the Salbei Sages. He asked Hugo to grant the Salbei’s a tract of land that would be under the protection of La’Certa but legally independent. Armand convinces several other members of the Salbei to assist him. They portal into a Pegasus camp and rain down fire, lightning and acid on the unsuspecting elderly, children and other non-fighters. Many of the Salbei were appalled by the actions of Armand and his comrades, however, they leave before they can be expelled. Armand and his fellows began building the Tower on the tract of land Hugo granted to Armand. Nakbeast tribes came to the Salbei Sages looking for answers for the atrocity committed in the Pegasus camp. The Salbei do not get a chance to explain they had not approved of the attack. They were cut-down and those taken alive left on stakes as a reminder to the La’Certa border towns what would happen if they struck at the tribes folk again.

 

  • 153 P.D.  Hulagu Pegasus was not satisfied with this, his own children died slowly and painfully from acid burns over several days after the initial attack. He was determined to destroy Armand and his Tower. He began a great and long personal crusade of uniting the tribes-folk under one banner, that of the Pegasus.

 

  • 175 P.D. The Pegasus charge against the La’Certa border town of Amaya marks the official beginning of the so-called “century of war”. Amaya is destroyed, King Hugo ordered a border fort to be built in its place.

 

  • 275 P.D. Ogedei Pegasus signs historic peace treaty with King Francis of La’Certa finally marks the end of the “century of war” between the two nations.

 

  • 300 P.D. The Tower opens up colleges close to Harridan and Berlingozzo greatly increasing both their recruitment and political reach. However despite the peace between Pegasus and La’Certa, Pegasus will not allow the Tower to build a college on their land.

 

  • 302 P.D. Abuse of magic by teenagers in Damasia, a city in the Draco Republic leads to the death of several other teenagers. Senators call for an all-out ban on magic, the Tower strongly condemns the move, suggesting that better education and knowledge of magic is what will prevent such tragedies in the future. A compromise is finally reached, use of magic requires a licence, and the military bans all use of magic throughout their regular forces.

 

  • 1433 P.D. 13-year-old Crown Prince Louis Laurent of La’Certa enrols as a student in the Tower College Armand.

Black Oak Grove!

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On the continent of Xi, the Black Oak Grove is located in the Pallas Forest, a huge forest that separates that nation of La’Certa from the Dying Wastes.

A clearing in the heart of the forest. At its centre, the massive, ancient oak tree, dripping with black-green sap. The clearing is lit by a metres high intensive bonfire. It’s a night with minimal moonlight and the flames cause shadows to flicker everywhere. A few figures are roughly silhouetted around the blaze. The Coven leadership meets here once a year to resolve disputes amongst their members.

The Coven are one of the playable factions in Deneb and will be one of the factions included in the starter set. 

Black Oak Grove!

This is one of the many specially created pieces of artwork for Deneb. This is part of a small selection of pieces aimed at revealing a little bit more about the world itself and some of the key locations.

Map location of the Black Oak GroveMap location of the Black Oak Grove

Key dates in the history of “Black Oak Grove”

  • Late 2nd era – The Dying Waste is created, possibly as a result of warring between Dragons, or possibly due to the aethermancy enacted by the Siblings to obliterate the Khepri race. This deadly landscape seems to be slowly growing, expanding further and further north.

 

  • Early 3rd era – A pair of Siblings disguised themselves as animal spirits to help guide the development of humans living in the northwestern part of the Pallas Forest. The humans there believed that animal spirits were guardians of the forest and their people, guiding them to live in productive harmony with the world around them. The Siblings believed this more subtle approach might allow them to nudge the humans in the right direction without things moving too fast. The Siblings lived amongst this community through about ten generations or so. The humans had learnt to heal far beyond many of their kind and developed a deep connection with the woods and it’s animals. The humans had started to grasp the basic concepts of aethermancy, which would eventually lead to disaster…

 

  • Mid 3rd era – A council of wise women ruled the woodland settlements in the North West of the Pallas Forest. For decades the woodland settlements had paid homage and tributes of fruit and animal flesh to the Dragons who dwelt within in a lair in the Southernmost Typhon Mountains. The dragon Jytomachia eventually usurped the current leadership of this lair and decided he wanted bloody human sacrifices to his glorious leadership. The woodland people refused, and Jytomachia’s response was brutal. This eventually lead to the wise women using their uniquely human understand of aethermancy to create the first true pact and curse the entire species, an act that would change Dragons forever. The Siblings revealed themselves to the women at this point, and in the end, they worked together to try and undo the curse.

 

  • Late 3rd era – The Siblings finally achieved the true ascendancy through mastery of aethermancy, something they had been chasing for hundreds of millennia. They had failed to achieve the accord they had sought to make with the “mortal” races prior to their ascendancy. However, they knew they wanted to stop the advance of the Dying Wastes. They imposed their will and the Dying Wastes ceased their advancement. The wastes stopped just south of the Black Oak Grove.

 

  • 400 P.D. – Human settlements in the Pallas forest extend south of the Black Oak Grove and start to reach the Dying Wastes. Nothing can live in the wastes for long. Smaller creatures die within hours, even humans and horses are killed within days if they remain within the border of this dreadful landscape. As hunters and lumberjacks in the southern part of the forest are sickened or even killed as they explore, it starts to become a major concern, spreading terror and misery through the forest.

 

  • 452 P.D. The Coven formally establishes itself in the form of the modern organisation known today. They hold the 1st Crone Council of Gaia at the Black Oak Grove. It was at this time that they enacted a true pact to try and reverse the advance of the dying wastes. Thanks to the pact enacted by the Coven it finally started to retreat, and the Pallas forest could finally start the long road to recovery.

 

  • 600 P.D. The Coven first master the art of growing the naturally crystallised from the sap of the great Black Oak. Each an 8 foot tall,  dark, almost black green gemstone held in place by a thick growth of gnarled tree trunks and heavy vines. These prove to be a great tool in aiding the Coven in combat.

 

  • 1417 P.D. Mother Annis is promoted to Crone Annis, one of the youngest to achieve the rank, aged 47 years. She attends her first Crone Council. It is the 965th such council at the Black Oak Grove. It is challenging to get her voice heard, given the controversial nature of achieving such a rank so young.

 

  • 1425 P.D. Assassins, masters unknown, succeed in killing 4 of the 5 eldest Coven Crones. The witches were making their way to the 973rd Crone Council of Gaia. The eldest, Crone Seem, survives the assassination attempt. The Coven initiates plans at the Council to prioritise finding out who was responsible and to bring them to justice.

 

  • 1427 P.D. All the assassins sent after the Crones have been found and brought to Coven justice. However their masters remain unknown, magic had been used to eliminate the knowledge of how they had gotten the contracts from the minds of the assassins. A magic so well crafted even the Coven could not break past it. Still, they re-work the centuries-old practice of creating Black Oak Crystals, so the artefacts specifically target assassins, as a measure to protect the Coven in the future.

 

  • 1431 P.D. Crone Seem passes on, and so at age 61, Crone Annis of the Schwarzwald becomes the eldest member of the Coven’s Crone Council.

 

  • 1449 P.D. The 997th Crone Council of Gaia is held at the Black Oak Grove, and Bone Mother Eri is denied her request to the council (see the short story “Mistakes” in the core book).

 

  • 1450 P.D. The 998th Crone Council of Gaia is held, and Crone Ceridwen brings troubling news from beyond the Endless Sea (see the short story “Mistakes” in the core book).

Rules Update

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Just a quick update to say that the v0.9 version of the rules have been released and can be found here

Main changes from the v0.85 release

  • All the unit cards have art now for all units in all factions.
  • Many minor wording tweaks from playtesting.
  • Some minor re-arrangement of content in preparation for final art pieces.

Worth noting this is a heavily compressed PDF from the print version, so images lose some sharpness and there are some minor visual artefacts.

Final Unit Card!

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37 of 37!

This last one is the mysterious Nautilus Crystal, from the unaligned faction. A collection of models that can be used by any core faction strike team to supplement their force.

All the crystals are an interesting option for players who want something a little different. They are immobile so choose their initial deployment well. They grant an action to every other member of the strike team and generally have an aura of effect that can grow throughout the game if their charge criteria are fulfilled (in this case killing enemy models with the “Tower” keyword).

The Abyssal Wave action granted by the Nautilus Crystal allows your strike team to crash waves of water into their enemies. Forcing them to either stand fast in the brackish assault and suffer damage or give way to the tide and be forced where you want them.

Please let me know your thoughts on either rules, art or anything else!

Unit card for the Nautilus CrystalUnit card for the Nautilus Crystal

Yet more play-testing...

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So whilst focussing on all the art and mini’s is great, we are continuing to playtest the game. It’s a funny thing when you’ve been playing a game a lot. I kind of realised we had gotten to the point where we were playing the game from memory and the cards, and not really looking things up. This is a good thing, but it also means there is a danger that we’re playing and going “oh yeah, we always play that rule like that”, and that isn’t what’s written. Alex did some great work on rule-edits, and a few other tweaks have gone in over the other play-testing, so good time for a different kind of play-test.

Played a game today with a full 5v5 all the models in the starter-set game. Actually nice to have prototypes here for all but two of the models, and 99% cards and tokens from a proper prototype print of the starter set. Making sure to read the rules in the book and on-card before taking each action. The goal being that someone else who reads the rules should actually play the same as we have been when playtesting!

 

 

Some Model Pictures!

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As requested by Ben on the hobby hangout, here are some pics of prototype mini’s. I did post these deep in the old forums, but good to include them here to make it easier for folks to see.

Tower starter set models from in frontTower starter set models from in front
Tower starter set models from behindTower starter set models from behind

I stress these are prototypes, there is a bit of a scale issue with the enchanter that needs addressing.

I have recently managed to arrange professional painting services for the starter set models, so I hope in I guess a month or so I shall be able to share some nicely painted versions of these!

The Penultimate Unit Card!

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Well, here it is, number 36 of 37. Very soon that will be all the unit cards done!

The rules have been done for quite some time, but the art has taken longer 🙂

This one is the Wyrm Fury Crystal, from the unaligned faction. A collection of models that can be used by any core faction strike team to supplement their force.

All the crystals are an interesting option for players who want something a little different. They are immobile so choose their initial deployment well. They grant an action to every other member of the strike team and generally have an aura of effect that can grow throughout the game if their charge criteria are fulfilled (in this case killing enemy models with the “Coven” keyword).

The Beserker’s Fury action granted by the Wyrm Fury Crystal is a risky tactic. It can allow your models to deal a lot of extra damage, but they are quite likely to get killed from the damage they take themselves in the process.

Please let me know your thoughts on either rules, art or anything else!

Unit card for the Wyrm Fury CrystalUnit card for the Wyrm Fury Crystal

**EDIT**

So I couldn’t figure out how to post images in the comments below, but to respond to @oriskany and help give an idea about the size of these cards, here is a picture of me holding some. They are roughly a little smaller than A6, and double-sided.

 

Me holding the starter-set pack of unit cardsMe holding the starter-set pack of unit cards

A new chapter!

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So I am continuing to document my work on creating the game Deneb which has been my primary hobby focus for quite some time now. As soon as the old archived forums are back up and running I’ll grab some of the key intro bits from there on what the project is about, but to help anyone new looking at this…

  • The key mechanics are around choice rather than randomness. A game of Deneb has at most, two coin-tosses for random elements, and everything else is down to player choice.
  • It’s a skirmish-like game, but it uses tiles (which have built-in rules for elevation and other terrain effects) to build a grid for gameplay, and all movement and measurement is tile based.
  • It’s quick to play, with the smallest size games taking 30-60 mins, and the biggest 60-90 mins.
  • All the core rules are written, plus unit rules for 4 factions (plus an unaligned collection of models), these have been through a chunk of play-testing, and it’s down to number crunching and wording tweaks at this point. The art has been created fully for 35 of the 37 units, the last bits of art are in progress.

 

All the sculpts are complete for the planned 2-player starter setAll the sculpts are complete for the planned 2-player starter set
The prototype box and cards have been created!The prototype box and cards have been created!

Lot’s of info can be found on our official website here

https://www.deneb-skirmish.com

Also you can download the v0.9 Alpha version of the rules here

 

Quick references, quick-start rules, standees can all be found on the website!

More updates soon, in the meantime, enjoy some unit card art

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