Avras

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    • New

      Well, for starters, welcome to the forums :)

      If you click the automatically generated lexicon link that comes with the name Avras, you get to a page that collects all snippets of information about it from the released fluff. I think all of those seen there are from the Main Rulebook so you might have seen them already.

      Regarding who rules the city, it is mentioned two times. Once in the letter by Ambassador Duchess Mathilde to King Henry of Equitaine, and once in a transcript from the Court of Equitaine. Both are dated to around 960 A.S. which to my understanding is about current time. Both mentions General Fontaine as the rules of Avras, and since both sources are connected to Equitaine (and Fontaine is pretty French sounding), I think it is reasonable to assume the ruler is from Equitaine.


      As for who lives there, I don't really know. But the Diary of Claude le Petit describes the crowd on the bridge leading into the city as "an incredibly diverse throng if ever there was one". This could refer to multiple races living within its walls, but I'm not sure. Sunna reclaimed the city for mankind in the final stages of the 8th Age, so I think it is reasonable to assume that many humans live there.


      I can't find anything on it being the capital of Sonnstahl, nor it ever being a Highborn Elf colony.
    • New

      Never thought of Fontaine being a vampire, but it is an interesting idea. Sure could be possible. Maybe he were an Equitaine General once but was turned into a vampire later, and then kept his true nature (mostly) hidden.

      I'm sure there is more fluff coming. There has been talk of a compendium with nothing but it, but I don't know when it will drop. Also, you should check out The 9th Scroll (available on the Download tab if you scroll down a bit). It contains quite a lot of fluff. IIRC there was even mention of a strangely long-lived Equitaine gentleman in the latest issue.
    • Avras: The Ninth Age's Chance to Shine

      New


      Fontaine from Equitaine. A fantasy Latin Empire, in effect, but with the murderous 1204 Fourth Crusade turned away from what in reality was grimdark betrayal and Byzantine power struggle and fragmentation, to a more hopeful reconquest from Vermin Swarms and re-establishment of the western Human originator empire's old cultural centre in T9A. So it would seem from what has been released so far.

      Some tips for the Ninth Age, some of which I'm sure have already been considered and might even be in place already in the unreleased background in some related form:

      • Don't waste the chance to have an equivalent of the Eastern Roman Empire in your setting, or at least its culture given a fantasy twist. Warhammer never sported this, although the mention of a human civilization which once existed in the Badlands might have been a Byzantine reference (or possibly more ancient still Middle Eastern culture references).
      • Avras fell while being a classical Roman style great empire of humanity. So instead of having a long-lived Roman empire clawing, tricking, fighting and fortifying itself way into the equivalent of the Middle Ages, how about having fragmented successor states in many of Avras' former core provinces? The easternmost areas, corresponding to Greece and the Balkans, the Aegean (Broken Isles) and western Anatolia, could sport a fantasy equivalent of medieval Roman/Greek imperial culture.
      • While not unified as states and far weaker and less populous than they were during Avras' heyday, they still cling to their ancient heritage closer than any others of mankind in Vetia (i.e. the further away from Avras you go, the less of an imperial Avrasian heritage you find in the common culture, renaissance aside). Fortfications were key to their survival and resistance to outside forces, and mayhap they have also become quite adept at countering Skaven beneath their cities and towns? These principalities/city states are like the shattered Byzantine empire, but more competent akin to the ancient Greek city states.
      • Myra, possibly a rough fantasy equivalent of Athens, could be the strongest of these Byzantine-equivalent principalities, a city state not unlike the strongly fortified and prosperous Thessaloniki during the Middle Ages. Still subject to sackings and woes from time to time.
      • The landscape of the Avrasian inheritor culture is one of lethal wilds, massive ruins of old (including entire major cities where not a Human soul dwells) and villages which for the most part have long since retreated from the lush plains to easily defendable hills and mountainsides, with every village having a stout stone tower to which the inhabitants can seek refuge in times of danger.
      • Make the post-fall history of the old Avrasian core lands into a long and bitter history of depopulation, devastation, slavery, invasion, sacking of cities and vicious princely intrigues. But also make it into a long and dogged history of determination, survival, ingenuity (Myric fire/Greek fire etc.) and the torch of Avras' antiquity carried unquenched through ages of chaos. Let there be the odd uptick and even a golden age for the principalities (like the Eastern Roman Empire in the 900s) with booming population and economy, blossoming cultural life and reconquest, yet always followed by new setbacks, new defeats, new slaughters, new invasions from the outside, new suicidal civil wars.
      • Throw Cherson and the long-lived Greek colony on the Crimea a bone and let there be a heavily fortified town at the shore of the Wasteland, an ancient Avrasian/Myric colony which have survived to this day and is a main trading hub. Weapons, grain and especially slave trade with the savage tribes. Lucrative, dangerous. Ties to Volskagrad in the absence of an Emperor of (fallen) Avras.
      • Throw Cyrene a bone in Port Reynaud. Let Avrasian/Myric colonists have had a rich settlement here, until Undying Dynasties ravaged their lands and laid siege to their towns. On top of that, Amharaq have periodically conquered the weakened settlement, and in between occupation raided it by corsairs. Despite the depopulation and desolation, what became Port Reynaud remained a holdout of Avrasian inheritor culture, connected with the wider world of post-fall Avrasian culture. With Equitainian (crusading?) expansion into the area, the Avrasians prosper again, but this time with a considerable number of Equitainian settlers by their side, and with Equitainian rulers lording over Port Reynaud (an obvious Equitainian renaming of the ancient port city).
      • Make the following into the scourge of Avras' successor principalities: Skaven, Greenskin hordes, Infernal Dwarves, Dark Gods-worshipping raiders coming from across the Sea of Gods (corresponding to Rus - could even have Varangian Guard equivalent mercenaries to break down a strict separation between Dark Gods worshipping folk and others as wholly incompatible). These are the main invaders throughout history, the hated foe.
      • Make the following into occassional nuisances, rivals and threats to Avras' successor principalities: Dwarfs in the White Mountains (mining rights etc.), Beast Herds, city states in the equivalent of Italy/Tilea (wayward cousins, trade clashes), Araby-equivalent city states/corsairs from the coast of Taphria, ravaging mercenary companies (originally hired by Avrasian successor city states) from the equivalent of Spain/Estalia (see the Catalan Company), Equitaine Port Reynaud (isle clashes, trade conflict), the equivalent of Kislev (border clashes, conquest-lusting lords), Sylvan Elves (defending their lands against peasants reclaiming forests in a time of prosperity after centuries of chaos), and maybe even both Highborn Elves and Dread Elf expeditionary forces/pirates (slave raids, magical artefacts/knowledge, trade control, vying over strategic bases for operations in the eastern Middle Sea). Chuck in the occassional Ogre Khan, Vampire/Necromancer and Undying Dynast for good measure, and you suddenly have a long list of enemies reminiscent of the extremely many foes which faced the Eastern Roman Empire during its millenium of struggle.
      • One uptick golden age of resurgent prosperity and power among the Avrasian successor states could even have resulted in Myra subduing and unifying its cousins around the equivalent of the Aegean. Under a new Emperor, the direct inheritors of ancient Avras' culture laid siege to Vermin infested Avras, yet their storming of the city walls at the seeming height of triumph and military glory only resulted in them pressing into the heart of the city to the old temples and palaces, only to be swamped by hundreds of thousands of ratmen scurrying up from the sewer system from all corners, killing the great army of Myra to the last man and gnawing on the bones of the Emperor. The reborn Avrasian empire collapses shortly after, splintering into city states once again. Big victory for the vermin. (You could also have some Infernal Dwarf action against Vermin-infested Avras.)
      • Instead of Avrasians reconquering their lost capital, the Knights of Equitaine come thundering in, and succeeds in thwarting the verminous hordes in Avras by steel, courage and tactical wit. Fontaine, vampire or not, is currently the ruler of Avras. Have his dynasty be a newly established one, with an uneasy relationship with the successor principalities of Avras. Many descendents of Avras in the region have a hard time swallowing that a barbarian foreigner would be their ruler, yet not everyone is willing to throw him out the window. Have some minor city states allying with him, maybe even acknowledging Fontaine to be their overlord and Emperor. Loose feudal ties rather than strict control of provinces. In reality, Fontaine is no emperor, but the ruler of the city of Avras and adjacent lands, with an Equitaine army at his disposal and some local vassals. It is an ongoing process for Fontaine to strengthen his fresh statelet and grow it into a mighty kingdom.
      • Large swathes of present-day Avras are still ruined, even though people have started to flow back. The living city exists within an inner set of walls (newly built out of old ruins?) where is to be found a cosmopolitan market with merchants from all over the world. Equitaine and modern Avrasian/Greek culture exists side by side, with some friction. Great beacon of hope for mankind resurgent in Vetia, with there being quarters inhabited by people from Sonnenstahl and the equivalents of Tilea, Eastalia and Araby (all of which share a common ancient Avrasian heritage). Dwarf and Elf merchants are to be found there as well.
      • Outside this inner set of city walls, vast acres of ancient Avras lurks, pockmarked by verminous tunnels. It is a landscape of urban decay, of ancient ruins and rubble, of huts and squatters, of adventurers and farmers. The outer city walls, the giant walls of ancient times, have been repaired to securely enclose the outer city (ruin town), where settlers are plowing fields among towering ruins and crumbling monuments of old. A striking image of rural and urban side by side. This agriculture helps make the city of Avras close to self-sustaining in the event of a siege, yet the outer walls are long and still not easily manned by the city's growing population. See this post for thoughts on how to portray the outer city of Avras.
      • Make sure Avras was ancient Rome and Constantinople combined. So there should be massive fortficiations, aqueducts, grand arenas and so on. This is the city of the damned in T9A, a great Mordheim-esque opportunity for adventure. Ancient libraries, catacombs, palaces, villas, insulae, ratman nests, abandoned harbours and much, much more. The inner city is filling up and spilling over with people, leaving a sizable populace of farmers, herdsmen, scavengers, squatters, criminals and so on in the outer city. Yet the outer city is enormous, for Avras was mighty indeed in ancient times, and the ruins and their secrets seem never-ending, inexhaustible, and filled with baleful and terrible discoveries to be made...


      A rough proposal of the core Avrasian inheritor areas just to get your thinking going:



      Then, some paintings of Roman ruins by Robert Hubert, and a photo of insulae:



      Furthermore, a draft proposal on Avrasian inheritor principality forces. Ideally, one would like to see these combined with Knights of Equitaine to represent Fontaine's forces on tabletop:

      • Bulk of the army consisting of levies: Spears, bows and javelins, with some slingers on the fringe. These have poor morale and poor training for the most part, but can rain death from afar in the case of the shooters. Note skirmishers with javelins! Unbroken heritage from ancient times, just like in the Byzantine army.
      • Thagmata units, regular professional military companies, stand for better armed, armoured and trained units. These are the backbone of the army. Includes almost-Legionnary style heavy infantry with javelins (poorer disciplined than the Avrasian Legions of old, and different gear/aesthetic style of course), heavy spearmen, heavy foot archers, mounted archers, medium cavalry.
      • Mercenary forces is an ever-present element. These include horse archers in particular, but also whatever happens to be offered-up.
      • Elite and specialist forces include Greek fire-siphonatores, torsion artillerists (an old specialty of Avras), Varangian-guard equivalents and most importantly Cataphracts.
      • Heavy firepower, good mobility. Not so much reliance on heavy infantry. Willingness to withdraw to fortified positions and defend in depth, wearing the enemy out and making it costly for him to conduct campaigns on Avrasian soil, rather than engaging in all-or-nothing field battles that can wreck the whole army (like what happened during the Myric Emperors' invasion of fallen Avras)
      • Strong navy with galley traditions stretching back unbroken to antiquity. Dromons, some with Greek fire-equivalent. Often clashes with Tilean and Araby-equivalent city states and pirates.
      • Technologically backwards, behind the times. However, to underscore the cosmopolitan nature of Avrasian inheritor port cities and set the army apart from Knights of Equitaine if ever so slightly, how about letting characters have access to pistols? Suitably gilded and bedecked with pearls and gems, of course.
      • For fantasy stuff, perhaps Gryphons, Pegasi and living statues on the battlefield? The last of those would be based on ancient Greek mastery of sculpting, and both ancient and medieval Greek superstitions regarding statues. In Constantinople the ancient statue of Athena, taken there by Constantine, was torn down by the populace prior to the city's fall in 1204 since it was believed to invite the invaders, while the skyline-dominant equestrian statue of Justinian, making a warding gesture toward the east, was surrounded by beliefs that it protected the city from enemies, resulting in it being pulled down by the conquerors after the city's final fall in 1453. Or perhaps something else?
      • The armies of the inheritor principalities/city states are the sole carriers of the ancient Avrasian professional military tradition, complete with tacticas and documented methods for how to deal with difficult enemies including steppe horse archers and Vermin Swarm infestation. Scorned by people from the west and north, these hosts are underestimated. You don't survive centuries upon centuries of constant attack from all quarters with a lousy army.
      • Throw in some road-building, fort-building elements for the professional troops as a harkback to the legions, and in the history of Avras make Myra the ancient leading city state, which was conquered by the semi-barbaric Avras monarchy (Avras in the beginning becomes in effect a mix of Macedon and Rome as a conquering state, and then a mix of Rome and Constantinople as a city).


      The above could be represented with Knights of Equitaine quite well, but to make it pop the following would be needed to really click on a rules level: Javelins, Greek fire specialists, some more equipment options for Foot Knights (spears, javelins), bow option for Knights of the Realm (cataphract firepower). Everything else can easily be proxied from the existing army list one way or the other. Getting this heritage of Avras into the background is way more important than having it in the rules, but I'd still advise rules-makers to ponder making an alternative theme list like this one in the future, especially with historical 28mm Byzantines being released (e.g. Fireforge Games) and the release of rules being sure to draw some souls in, one way or the other. Keep it under power level if balancing is a problem; something for the flavour players, and useful for general ancient style armies as well (legionaires, hoplites, Carthaginians...).

      Some Byzantine conversions from CDO:


      For depictions/illustrations I'd advise to don't keep it too western Medieval, but let it be its own thing. The Eastern Roman streak should be there, which means pteruges (as ancient as anything can go!), scalemail, lamellar armour, richly embroidered textiles. Perhaps mix in some ancient Roman/Greek elements as well, such as sandals, helmet crests and some clean-shaven soldiers around even though virtually all medieval Greek men had beards, for that tie to the Roman legions.

      As for Avrasian religion, how about having it be a mix of ancient Greek religion and Orthodox Christianity? Still polytheistic, but the doom-and-gloom times which has plagued their civilization has made the optimistic and energetic gods transform into saintly figures. Still having warrior saints/gods, but the entire tone of their civilization has changed, as should be expected. The deliverance of Sunna could have brought new hope and light into the embittered Avrasian inheritors' beliefs as with other humans in Vetia, and their whole outlook could have become one of cautious optimism and reclamation of their lost greatness.

      When it comes to Avrasian symbols, here is one depicting their last Emperor being torn apart by four Vermin Hulks as their great capital city fell (stylized as four letters P arranged in a diagonal cross), which since has carried with it connotations of humility, man's vulnerability, lost glory and being beset on all sides:


      Do this, and you'll connect back to Tolkien with his Byzantium, also known as Gondor. If nothing else, having remnants of an equivalent of Byzantium will make your setting way different than Warhammer. You know you dare. :)

      Below follow some various historical and Byzantine fantasy illustrations to inspire you (the first ones from Indomitus' Swedish blog of creativity):


      Avras is the Ninth Age's chance to shine in the background department and stand on its own legs in the eyes of those comparing it to Warhammer fantasy.

      Grab this opportunity with both hands!

      The post was edited 33 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

    • New

      Thank you, lads.

      @setrius : No time, flat-out sculpting and in any case my focus lies on Warhammer background which has 30+ years of mainly brilliant development. Depth and detail already in place. I see many hopeful signs for the coming quality of T9A background, but it has many more miles to go before I'll invest much in it.

      However, if T9A team anyway would be interested in having an ad-hoc non-team member advising them and firing proposals left and right, then they're always welcome to contact me if they want something spiced up.

      In the meanwhile, I just drop tips here like I've always done. Cheers!
    • New

      Mercenary Armies wrote:

      Thank you very much for everithing. i tought la Fontaine was a kind of vampire cause used Zombies against people of equitania. And then i read of the traveller killed, and of course the skaven where there before, a lot of BG. I hope that with the 2nd edition the bg team explane something more.
      No, somewhere they explain that he is under the charm of a « Queen » that puts strange ideas into his mind – so probably he is in love with a vampire who manipulates him.
      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa
    • New

      Just passing by, Mr Norn @Karak Norn Clansman, another thing which gives me high hopes concerning the fluff in T9A compared to WH, is there is room for Africa which is not just lost Lizardmen cities, with already 3 cities on the map and even (one) dedicated fluff snippet in the Rulebook !

      On the other hand, I didn't understand why you say you are busy on the WH fluff, since that world disappeared ?
      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa
    • New

      Display Spoiler
      @Ghiznuk : Indeed! The historical time period GW based their fluff on made it a no-brainer to include Human kingdoms in the Southlands. Another missed opportunity, although I didn't think so much about it since I filled the Southlands with interesting tribes and kingdoms from my own head, in amongst the Savage Orcs, wayward Lizardmen, Arabyan raiders and caravans, southerly Dwarves, Elven outposts and Beastmen.

      And this is I why am busy (in so far I have time to spend on others' settings' background these days) with Warhammer background: The end of the world was a false alarm. I'm only interested in the good bits of a setting, not interested in the warts. Just as I ignore bearded Dwarf women in Lotr, and just as I ignore the mechanical Empire horse in Warhammer, I ignore the End Times. Warhammer is too rich a smörgåsbord to go under the bus. Let's just say that one couldn't create this kind of background in T9A at this early stage of development. Too little is known, too few quirky details have been released, too little has been fleshed out in the published material. I'm confident T9A will get there, eventually, but I'm not changing for anything with less detail, depth, humour and ingenuity than Warhammer fantasy, which stands as the ultimate fantasy world to date. Given its 30+ years of mainly brilliant development, it'll be a hard feat to match. Big boots to fill. Tolkien's Middle Earth didn't stop being enjoyable when he died, but lives on in generation after generation, enthralling new readers all the time. The case may become quite similar with Warhammer, in less popular, more niched form.

      Let's just say that we're many who play various games (KoW, AoS, T9A, Dragon Rampant...) with Warhammer in our heads. Fields to conquer for T9A and the rest.

      I gladly throw ideas on T9A team, and as T9A world starts to develop in the released material, maybe I'll start to write a little for that world as well, at least if it'll be officially accepted and published material (always a bait; anyone ask from official quarter and I'll be happy to oblige). After all, the Ninth Age is more or less Warhammer with some twists and extra polish on top (terracotta army, Disciples of Lughar, the Steel Road, Avras, Taphrian cities), which bodes well. Dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants and all that accumulation through the ages, but T9A has a splendid creative take-off position with Warhammer fantasy behind it in all its crazy cleverness. Also, the chance of GW taking on board community proposals was way smaller than it is here on T9A, so I shoot the team as many ideas as possible:



      Speaking of which, here's an armoured infantryman with javelins (akritai-equivalent) of Avrasian descent that I drew while sickness kept me from sleeping. It's T9A's to do with as they please, if the team wants to make use of the image. Say the word, and I can try to borrow a scanner if that's necessary.

      And then an imported wheel-lock pistol owned by some noble who have decorated it according to his rank. This would be a rarity in Avrasian inheritor principalities, considering how behind the times they are. Got Myric/Greek fire, but not blackpowder.

      The post was edited 10 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

    • New

      @Giladis Thank you!

      A small doodle, based on the chi-ro (stylized it would probably be four letters P arranged in a diagonal cross). The idea being that the heirs of Avras could claim that their last Emperor was quartered by four Vermin Hulks during the fall of their great capitol, which since has carried with it connotations of humility, man's vulnerability, lost glory and being beset on all sides:

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

    • New

      Karak Norn Clansman wrote:

      @Giladis Thank you!

      A small doodle, based on the chi-ro (stylized it would probably be four letters P arranged in a diagonal cross). The idea being that the heirs of Avras could claim that their last Emperor was quartered by four Vermin Hulks during the fall of their great capitol, which since has carried with it connotations of humility, man's vulnerability, lost glory and being beset on all sides:

      While the whole post is great please please consider not using Chi-rho (☧) christogram. Unlike cross which through ages has multiple meaning and has been used by multiple states as their symbol (is even today used by Bundeswehr) Chi-rho today has pure religious meaning and its use for Christians is equal to use of Jesus Christ.
    • New

      JimMorr wrote:

      Karak Norn Clansman wrote:

      @Giladis Thank you!

      A small doodle, based on the chi-ro (stylized it would probably be four letters P arranged in a diagonal cross). The idea being that the heirs of Avras could claim that their last Emperor was quartered by four Vermin Hulks during the fall of their great capitol, which since has carried with it connotations of humility, man's vulnerability, lost glory and being beset on all sides:

      While the whole post is great please please consider not using Chi-rho (☧) christogram. Unlike cross which through ages has multiple meaning and has been used by multiple states as their symbol (is even today used by Bundeswehr) Chi-rho today has pure religious meaning and its use for Christians is equal to use of Jesus Christ.
      Exactly this. You should never use a specific clearly religious only symbol of any kind as it might harm. This is not a simple cross which is not even invented by Christians. This is more or less a symbol like a Buddha or the calligraphic representation of the word Allah. It is simply something you don't use. Make up an own unrelated symbol, or use a widely used one which has also different meaning like the cross.
      :VS: The Vermin Swarm is not mad, madness is to kill a dragon with your very last shot - Rattnarök Dragonslayer