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Deneb

Deneb

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Project Blog by davehawes

Recommendations: 190

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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Book Proof!

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Apologies for the rough photos, but I just had to share the proof of the core book. Some minor tweaks needed, but it’s looking beautiful. Very pleased with the results, we are a few tweaks away from being able to produce a limited run of complete prototype starter sets.

Book Proof!

Ordo Draco Introduction Video Part 2: Gameplay

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The 2nd and final part of the Ordo Draco Faction introduction. I talk about their gameplay and the models you can select for an Ordo Draco strike team.

 

As I note in the video I don’t yet have painted miniatures or even sculpts for this faction (unlike the Tower and Coven videos). However, once these are completed I will do a re-edit of this video to include them.

Ordo Draco Introduction Video Part 1: Lore

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An introduction to the Ordo Draco faction. Split into two parts, this first part is all about their history and lore in the world. Part 2 will be more about their gameplay and the models you can select for an Ordo Draco strike team.

Coven Faction Introduction Video Part 2: Gameplay

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The 2nd and final part of the Coven Faction introduction. I talk about their gameplay and the models you can select for a Coven strike team.

Apologies for so many cuts in the edit. I had a nasty cold whilst filming this one, so lots of breaks for coughs and sips of weak cordial!

Coven Faction Introduction Video Part 1: Lore

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An introduction to the Coven faction. Split into two parts, this first part is all about their history and lore in the world. Part 2 will be more about their gameplay and the models you can select for a Coven strike team.

Tower Faction Introduction Video Part 2: Gameplay

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The 2nd and final part of the Tower Faction introduction. I talk about their gameplay and the models you can select for a Tower strike team.

Tower Faction Introduction Video Part 1: Lore

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So I made another video! This time an introduction to the Tower faction. Split into two parts, this first part is all about their history and lore in the world. Part 2 will be more about their gameplay and the models you can select for a Tower strike team.

Video recording is still not great, and I did get an issue where the cameras colour balance seems to jump a few times during filming this. Hopefully doesn’t spoil it too much, and hopefully, the map-graphics help place things a little better.

Still doing more work on photographing some nice scenes as well.

Battle in the Square!Battle in the Square!

Video Introduction To Deneb

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Ok, so I made a video to give a bit of an overview of how Deneb plays. It ended up waaaay too long at 45 minutes, but it ended up being a general introduction to the game. The game actually flows really nicely once you get used to it, but I am stopping a lot here to explain things. You can skip ahead to about 15 minutes in to see some actual gameplay!

 

As I say in the video, any comments welcome. Apologies in advance for the poor video quality and rough editing!

Also been doing some work on taking some nice scenic photographs of the miniatures.

Gatekeeper Vs AxemanGatekeeper Vs Axeman

Painted Wood Mother

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

Wood MotherWood Mother

Learn more about the unit and the faction here

Rules Card for the Wood MotherRules Card for the Wood Mother

Painted Blood Mother

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Thanks to our friends at wingsmoothpainting.com here we have the next of the studio painted pieces. The Blood Mother for the Coven faction! Some of you may remember this model from my original attempts to paint it!

Blood MotherBlood Mother

Learn more about the unit and the faction here

Rules Card for the Blood MotherRules Card for the Blood Mother

Rules Update!

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Finally! Beta version of the rules (v0.92) now available here

Please note this version is compressed for web, so graphics are much blurrier than in the final print version of the PDF.

Miniature photos and art finalised. Just waiting on another proofread to comeback. Once the edits from that are integrated it will probably be the last update before getting prototypes printed for beta testers.

 

Painted White Witch

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Thanks to our friends at wingsmoothpainting.com here we have the next of the studio painted pieces. The White Witch for the Coven faction! We had some trouble with the 3D printing on this model, so we will be working to resolve that. However, wanted to share what we have now regardless.

White WitchWhite Witch

Learn more about the unit and the faction here

Rule card for the White WitchRule card for the White Witch

Ostia

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As promised, Ostia. 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.

OstiaOstia

Situated in the drier, warmer southeastern tip of the continent, Ostia, the city by the sea. It has been both a major port for trade across the endless sea in times-gone-by to primarily a fishing town. Most of the trade ships now are from other parts of Xi trying to avoid tax or bandits to get goods onto the markets along the River Thefarie.  Passenger ships and fancier goods (silk and spices) primarily use the western docks on the rich-side of the river. The heavy fishing industry and less valuable goods operate out of the eastern-docks.

East of the river, behind the docks, everything grows progressively more poverty-stricken and disease-ridden as you travel away from the water. Shanty towns, street urchins, cut-throats, brothels and taverns where if the drink doesn’t kill you the clientele will. West of the river you’ll find moneylenders, merchants, courtesans and bistros’ that charge more for a bottle of wine than most people in the city earn in a year. Not to mention a market-place with some of the rarest goods in all of Xi. 

The question of who runs the city has two answers depending on your point of view. Some would say it was run by the Maeb syndicate, a criminal organisation that has a hand in just about everything that goes on in the underworld of the city. Others would say it was the duly elected Governor Mattia Russo.

You can hear rumours from across the world in the city by the sea, but the greatest secrets whispered in the dark alleys of Ostia concern the practically mythical organisation of assassins known only as the Shadow.

Map location of OstiaMap location of Ostia

Key dates in the history of “Ostia”

This was making it difficult to browse the whole project, so moved to the comments on this post for anyone who is interested.

Some updates...

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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”

This was making it difficult to browse the whole project, so moved to the comments on this post for anyone who is interested.

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”

This was making it difficult to browse the whole project, so moved to the comments on this post for anyone who is interested.

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”

This was making it difficult to browse the whole project, so moved to the comments on this post for anyone who is interested.

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 v0.92 beta 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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