Exciting news here at the Troll! I have been commissioned to write my first wargame! Actually, the event happened over a month ago, but I’ve just been given official approval to make the announcement.
The game is called Frostgrave, and it will be part of the Osprey Wargames series in 2015. It’s a fantasy game in which each player controls a wizard, his apprentice, and a band of warriors and leads them into the frozen ruins of an ancient magical city in search of lost secrets of power. Of course, despite being buried in the ice for a thousand years or so, there are still plenty of nasty creatures that survived the deep freeze. Players will have to battle against undead, constructs, demons, and, of course, other wizards as they try to build up their magical libraries.
I’m sure that over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be sharing lots of little bits about the game, about the process of writing it, about the problems and the pitfalls. Although I’ve done a lot of writing, including some work in the role-playing industry, I’ve never created my own, complete rules set, at least not for publication. It’ll be a new challenge for me as a writer, but also as a creative thinker. Even wargames with simple rules systems are complex beasts, and writing them is as much a technical exercise as a creative one. Also, those rules will have to be play-tested, a processes that has never come up in any of my previous writing.
So what about those cool little sketches, you ask? And what is a Sigilist?
Osprey has hired a Russian artist named Dmitry Burmak to provide the artwork for the book. Take a look at his website, and you’ll see why I’m thrilled by this. My first task after being commissioned to write Frostgrave, was to provide Dmitry with notes for illustrations to accompany the game.
In the game, there are ten different schools of wizardry and hence ten different classes of wizard. Each of these wizard types is going to be illustrated with a piece of figure art (there’s also two double pages spreads and the cover – pretty good for a 64 page book!). So, I wrote a description of each type of wizard, their general appearance, powers, symbols – that kind of thing.
Dmitry quickly came back with three little sketches for each type of wizard, so I could pick the one that was most suitable (or just the one I liked the best!) before he worked it up into a full piece. I have included the three sketches he did for the Sigilist up above. Sigilists are magical scribes, wizards who use the power inherent in words to trap, hold, and release magical energy. In general, they are the bookish, nerdy end of wizardy, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. All three of the sketches would have been great representations of Sigilists, but I thought the middle one captured the feel the best.
So, I’m off on a new writing adventure. I’ll keep you updated with my progress (oh, and sometime in the future I’ll be looking for play-testers if anyone fancies helping out…)