January 13, 2014

The Ruin of Arnor

I have hundreds of Games Workshop Lord of the Rings models and really have never painted very many beyond the Fellowship and a handful of Uruk-Hai and Nazgul. I'm not really interested in playing games with the characters from the movie, but I think Middle Earth has awesome gaming possibilities outside of the trilogy events. It's a shame the Games Workshop seems to have dropped support for these games (even the new Hobbit range for the Desolation of Smaug got little in the way of support beyond ads for a handful of new models). Most of the core armies are still available, but many packs of models are no longer available outside of e-bay.

Sifting through the mountain of lead and plastic, I stumbled on two packs of Warriors of Arnor. I have always loved the background of this lost realm and the thought of the Witch King leading the army of Angmar. The out of print Ruins of Arnor details both armies (the lists appeared in modified versions in later publications, Kingdoms of Men and Moria & Angmar, but I like the first version better).

Now I'm not really looking at painting hundreds of models for this game. In fact to start out I'm only going to build some forces for the Lord of the Rings Battle Company rules. These are true skirmish games with six to twelve models per side where you are expected to name each model and track their experience. There are no 'official' rules for Arnor and Angmar and the fan-made lists I've found online aren't really any better than I can do myself. As this will be a purely solo project for the time being, I'm not too worried about following a list.

That said, I think the Gondor Battle Company will work as a basis for Arnor. The starting force consists of two warriors with spear and shield, three warriors with sword and shield, and two warriors with bows. I replaced two swordsmen with more spearmen because the list in Ruins of Arnor lists spears as the only option for rank and file warriors. The point costs are identical so I don't think that's unreasonable. The third swordsman is my captain (I have a cool Arnor Captain model with sword and shield). I replaced the two archers with Rangers of the North - again the point costs are the same so this should work ok for me. The models I'm using are actually Faramir's Rangers (because that's what I have), but there is no appreciable difference with the models as far as I'm concerned. As the force gains reinforcements and advancements, I may make substitutions more appropriate to the north.

My starting Angmar force will simply use the Mordor list consisting of two orcs with bows, three orcs with two-handed weapons, four orcs with hand weapons and shields, and two orcs with spears. I swapped a spear for and extra hand weapon because I only had two orcs with spears. One of the orcs armed with a hand weapon and shield will be my captain for this force. I might swap some Warriors of Dunland for the orcs with two-handed weapons (The army of Angmar was made up of evil men as well as orcs and sources describe them as similar to Dunlendings). I might need to juggle the points a bit. Again, reinforcements might vary from the Mordor list, but I'll probably make these up as I go along...

Now, for some reason Games Workshop (and just about everyone else who have painted Warriors of Arnor) decided to paint the tunics, banners, and shields green. While there is little information on Arnor, I'm pretty sure there is mention of the flag being black. Even the artwork in The Ruin of Arnor depicts this...

I suppose the reason for the change is that the powers that be wanted the Warriors of Arnor to stand out from the Warriors of Gondor. It probably also makes for a better spectacle on the table, especially when fighting against the minions of the Witch King who are also likely garbed in black. I've decided to follow the green paint scheme for the reasons I just outlined and to make them instantly recognizable to other LotR gamers.

I will post WIP pics as I finish models. IF I actually get through both forces I will think about expanding to small (500 point?) armies. I have most of the models I need for Angmar, but I'd have to buy a few more models for Arnor. Shifting forward in time (after the fall of Arnor and the departure of the Witch King) gives me the opportunity to field a young Aragorn when he was still kicking around as a ranger. We'll see how it goes...

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