Frostgrave: The Wizards' Conclave is the latest supplement to the best-selling fantasy wargame by Joseph A. McCullough, bringing a host of talented wargames designers to the frozen ruins of Felstad. On the blog today we have one such designer - Joseph McGuire - talking about the scenario he wrote for the book.
I’ve known Joe McCullough for a long time. We worked at a gaming store together many moons ago and I would see him at the occasional US convention over the years when he would fly over to the US from the misty shores of Albion. His success with Frostgrave is both well-earned and not surprising. For those not familiar with myself, I am a long time miniatures addict and wrote and published This Is Not a Test (TNT), a little wargame about death and profit in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. TNT has done well for itself and I think because of this, Joe nicely thought to include me in the amazing line up for The Wizard’s Conclave. To call such an inclusion an honor would not do it justice. After all, I am sharing page space with the likes of Andy Chambers, Gav Thorpe and other hobby luminaries. I swore a mighty oath, not to fail Joe!
But when an old chum like Joe asks you to write a scenario for Frostgrave, what do you give him? I knew the answer could neither be mundane nor boring. I had to bring my A game. I considered and discarded several fun, but totally impractical ideas, but I did settle on something a bit crazy. I always liked the idea of the old wizards of Felstad being so powerful that they were able to shape and direct the very foundations of magic. Before their lofty fall from on high they both mastered magic and enslaved whole planes of existence to their will. One such powerful wizard was Sargash, a mighty metamage whose tower was filled with wondrous planar magics. Each floor was rumored to be a self-contained world with its own rules and magical properties. Now imagine if that tower fell to the ground and its magics broke apart, but still the original magic wards keep things contained, albeit a bit more horizontal.
Artwork by Kate and Dmitry Burmak
Now of course such a mighty tower will not just lay there, begging to be picked clean. Oh no, that would be way too easy. The tower is magic and only appears under rare conditions and by entering it you risk being trapped within its confines should your wizard fail to escape. Such is the danger that meets your wizards and his companions. As with all things Frostgrave, there are no shortage of insanely brave adventurers willing to risk everything for fame and profit, but what will your warbands face?
Well first, it’s a very tight board. The original tower was tall and thin. Resting on the ground, the tower is represented on the table by a 24” wide x 48”’ long board. This board is then further divided into four sections and your warbands must traverse from left to right. Each section, called a Zone of Magic, has its own properties. For instance, the first zone uses the following rules:
The Waves of Cruxix – The very air is infused with the primordial essence of magic, causing even the weakest mage to burst with raw magical power. Though such power can be dangerous when tapped. Spellcasters gain a +2 to Casting Rolls; however, double the damage done by spell failure.
As you can see, this can dramatically shape your wizards casting ability, but at greater risk. As the models cross over into the next zone, things change dramatically, from increased physical density to raw waves of necromantic magic. Of course, such risk is not without rewards. As a capstone, the scenario includes a special reward; The Boon of Sargosh. This counts as a Staff of Casting, but the player can choose the spell contained within. For the lucky wizard that grabs it, this is a great way to make a particularly thematic wizard.
So in the end, I think I provided the new book with something a bit different and a fun challenge. It was a true honor to be included and I hope everyone enjoys playing the new scenarios. As an aside, sorry, not sorry, should any of your wizard’s hirelings fall inside the tower.