It's time for Africa !

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    • It's time for Africa !

      EDIT from Calisson:
      see HERE for a comprehensive inspiration about 21 different cultures found in Taphria.
      Following threads were made about individual factions:

      The Al-Qassar Sultanates
      The Koghi Empire of Gold
      Vanhu Kingdoms
      The Vôdun Vampires of the Mangrove
      Vermin Anteaters

      Mukumbusu Wrestling Apes
      Kegiz Gavem – the Ethiopian Dwarves of Light
      Pilgrims and Saracens (KoE in Port Reynaud)
      MoonGobs - Goblins (and Orcs) from the Mountains of the Moon
      Dread Traffickers of Maphria Island
      Beast Herds of the Veld
      Sylvan Jungle Kings

      Background for the whole continent:

      Background of the Taphrian campaigns


      Noone cared about it, not even Mathias Eliasson, because Africa did not exist in the Warhammer Fantasy world.
      Sure, there were the Southern Lands, but they were just a big jungle South of Nehekhara and Arabia, full of Lizardmen, lost Dwarf tribes, Savage Orcs, and gorilla Beastmen.
      So no Black men in Warhammer. (hell, even the Amazons were white as they were descendants of Norsemen !!)

      Today we have the 9th Age and a whole new continent, Taphria, with already three different cities placed on the map, and a snippet about an empire of Monomotapa (or something like that).

      It means space exists to create an African army. Or several.

      I don't have much clue at the moment, but I guess inspiration can be found one hand from the historical savannah empires of Mali, Songhaï, Bornu, Kanem, Ethiopia, the Masai, the Swahili and the Zulu ; on the other hand, we have the jungle civilizations such as the Yoruba, the Ashanti, the Dahomey and the Kongo.

      That's two different themes.

      What could be strengths and weaknesses ? What could be the dominant elements and the coolest stuff that could be inserted ?

      Russian Translation Coordinator

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      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Ghiznuk ().

    • There are two human Taphirian nations mentioned in the Full Rulebook, the Kingdom of Vanhu and the Koghi Empire.

      Just pointing it out to show that there definitely is room for it in the setting.

      I've been thinking of adding something like this to my own Skirmish game, but didn't really know where to start. If something good get cooked up here I'm sure I could use it as a base :)

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    • Setrius,

      Your project is really interesting, but I believe Africa needs its independance, you know ;)
      It'd be more interesting to study the actual history and strategy of real African empires than to paste something else in its place, as if it never had its own culture and civilization.

      It'd be easiest to picture the Savannah civilizations. Because those civilizations were the most organized, the most structured, and had more relations with the outside world.

      Strengths would be a very mobile army, with a lot of light cavalry and light infantry, but poorly equipped and armoured.
      Fire and Witchcraft magic, maybe Shamanism.

      Bows, Thrown weapons, Spears, Light armour, max Heavy armour. Definitely no crossbow or handguns, I even doubt heavy weapons. No War machines.

      Infantry could be very fast, especially the light one. The Zulu Impis were famous for running as fast as a horse.

      Lots of animals – cheetahs, lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalos… ?
      (The Songhaï was famous for sending cattle in front of their army to first trample their enemies before coming and achieving them ; that's also how they lost, the day when the enemy fired with guns for the first time, the cattle got scared, turned around and trampled the Songhaï army instead – this is how Morocco conquered Mali in the 17th century)

      Special units should involve Mask dancers, “bush genies” and “fetishes”.
      Something connected with the Ancestors cult as well would be good.

      The end result would be something very close from the Beast Herds though, except Taphria gets better cavalry and shooting.
      Wondering how to better differentiate them though.

      Russian Translation Coordinator

      Translation-Team FR

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      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa
    • Irondaemon wrote:

      This would be great. I already have a Africa-themed army. Or, well, it’s a mix. But a lot of apes and monkeys, an elephant, weird flying chimpanzees, voodoo-priests, big gorilla-monsters, etc... I use them as a VC-army.
      That's really interesting as well, but that'd be more in the «jungle» part of Taphria than the savannah ;)

      Russian Translation Coordinator

      Translation-Team FR

      Public Relations

      Linguistic Team

      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa
    • Sure thing ! And the various Taphrian warlords will be glad providing you with the slaves you need (taken from their neighbours' tribes of course :D)

      Russian Translation Coordinator

      Translation-Team FR

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      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa
    • You need mambeles somewhere, and certainly poison arrows or darts. Elephants, little to no gunpowder weaponry (handguns from Araby-equivalent traders?), lack of armour bar in some elite cases. Good tribal infantry, spears as mainstay weapon, javelins and bows without a doubt, certainly some lousy levies on the side since this should feature in virtually any historically-based Human fantasy army. Horse cavalry, in the north.

      Fantasy cavalry could include stuff like zebra and giant ostrich riders, and beastmasters with lion and/or crocodile companions might suit the fantasy theme as well. Monstrous cavalry with rhinoceros and hippopotamus or more exotic stuff still? Maybe throw a bone to Pygmy Halflings and have them as some specialized dart-blowing skirmish unit, perhaps setting traps. A snakeman unit and hero slot could also be of interest for the fantasy aspect (if this was Harad, I'd have said Half Trolls). Wayward distant cousins of Lizardmen, perhaps? Perhaps have some giant giraffe monster as a mount for magicians, giving them great line of sight over the entire battlefield and status, as well; more for show than actual combat. Maybe some shunned shaman controlling swarms of wild animals, snakes or locusts, possibly with the swarms exploding like slaves when their shaman master dies; obviously he'd blackmail local villages to give him tribute such as foodstuffs, luxury items, slaves and even wives, lest a plague of serpents or locusts will descend upon the community and its crops.

      One could mix the murder bees attacking the British during their landing in German East Africa during the first world war, with traditions of gathering honey in protective suits of straw, and make up some murder bee unit, or just have that as part of the swarm shaman.

      Some big monster, or several. Catch-all category for enormous gorillas, giant lions and crocodiles, and so on. Not sure if Dahomey Amazon-based units would need rules, stats and equipment of their own, or just exist in the background?

      As for special rules, perhaps underline a culture of warrior bravado, with levy units having poor morale but getting +1 Ld in the first round of combat while their spirits are fired up, after which it recedes? Proper tribal infantry and elites would not necessarily have this special rule, but decent leadership as a base stat due to actual discipline.

      There's lots that could be used as a basis for a Taphrian army, both historically based and fantasy stuff, including basing things on colourful folktales. My advice is don't go too light on the fantastical side of things: Just as one would expect stone dogs, warrior monks, dragons, terracotta warriors and exotic stuff for Cathay, one should expect a similar dose of exotic stuff for, say, the Empire (GW played up to this with Demigryphs, a point in their favour), and likewise one should expect it for a fantasy variant of Africa. Tolkien did admittedly not get around to write his grand odyssey for Eärendil, which would have featured pygmies and who knows what else in far-away lands, but anyhow the Mûmakil and a common misunderstanding of the RotK regarding Half Trolls (the misunderstanding being more interesting than the actual reading of the text) was all we got to tingle our imaganations as to fantasy elements with his Southron lands. Better than nothing, but ideally the entire world with all its weird and wonderful regions should have its share of distinct fantasy stuff.

      Maybe termite-men, if any good spin could be given them (never been enthusiastic about insect civilizations in fantasy myself). And whether or not it would be included in the army list, it would make fantasy sense to havie giant killer ants moving in soldierly columns, being a menace and peril to all including Humans, Lizardmen, Dwarfs, Greenskins and monsters.

      Maybe play on that abundance of gold in Mali and ancient Nubia, and have some kind of golden legendary warriors or abhorred mythical beings (real of course, in fantasy) made out of gold connected to an old legend of some wasteful king who spent gold as gifts as if it was dust, which so angered gods/spirits/whatever, and one day all the gold he had bedecked his royal guard with, melted into their bodies, and what had once been humans, was now avenging precious metal. They slew their own king, breaking the oaths of their human side, and disappeared, reappearing now and then as avenging warriors of gold.

      Outside of the rules themselves, the value of people over land would be a given. Slave captives would have higher value than owned land, in many areas.

      For the record, Warhammer did have some human presence in the Southlands, but I believe GW never got around to flesh it out, possibly because their originally more free-roaming style came under a straightjacket of army books chewed through on schedule, a threadmill or rotated armies which limited their efforts at exploring new areas in smaller warband-sized ways (Warhammer did have Nippon miniatures back in the 1980 and maybe into the early 1990s, but it is telling they never got around to it again thereafter). They still managed neat stuff in background, Regiments of Renown miniatures, the odd campaign like Albion or Storm of Chaos, and even Chaos Dwarfs and Ogre Kingdoms, but as we all know Warhammer fantasy, once matured, became a threadmill for the familiar and popular-enough armies which were already established.

      Best of luck!

      The post was edited 3 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

    • Yes, thank you for reminding me @setrius, shape-shifters and wizards being able to transform into animals is a very important theme in African mythology.

      @Karak Norn Clansman, again, thank you !

      I especially like the idea of the giraffe.
      With all those animals though, it'd be difficult to make a separate unit for each.
      Also I feel that too many “x-men” and “y-men” would mean that in the end the army is just a big patchwork.

      Likewise, I like a lot the legends you mentioned, but I'd be afraid it gives more “anecdotal” units when we already have a wealth of material coming from actual African traditions, not a fantasized version of Africa as seen by foreigners. This is exactly the thing I'd like to avoid : an fantasy Africa that African people themselves could not recognize.

      Regarding units such as Pygmies, poison, etc. I feel that it'd be better to keep things in order by separating strictly the Savannah and the Jungle Taphria, to make sure the army maintains a distinct feeling and general strategy. Else we're just doing a little bit of “this and that”.

      About the Warhammer Southlands, I always understood that the only humans there were either Pygmies or Imperial colonies (Boer-style). On the link you provided, there's a nice illustration but no source provided. The official sources given in footnote are all army books which do not include that picture.

      Furthermore, it should be noticed that historically, Western, Eastern and Southern Africa have very different cultures because of different climate and different international relations.
      • Western Africa is characterized by the interaction between desert/savannah/jungle and the sea, heavily influenced by sea trade with Europe and the desert trade with the Maghreb. It bears the heaviest burden of the slave trade to the New World as it heavily turned over all the pre-existing social structures when the warriors took power over the traditional kings, scholars, craftsmen and merchants – as slaves became the only thing everyone was craving for. Of course it has to be noticed that the setting for T9A, just like for WHF, is around the 16th century, so at that time the slave trade to the New World did not have time yet to do all this.
      • Eastern Africa is mostly savannah and dry highlands, there's the rift, a lot of wild animals, the Nile river that flows into Egypt, the lakes, and trade with India and Arabia. In the 5th century, Ethiopia was an important intermediary in the trade between the Roman empire and India. But in T9A Egypt became Undead Dynasties so the road is blocked… or is it ?
      • Southern Africa, as you noticed doesn't have horses, and stayed backwards for a very long time – it remains the least populated region of Africa today ; its climate is dry to temperate, not tropical. Nomadic cattle herding in the savannah is a very important thing.
      Of course, I'm not talking here about Central Africa which is just jungles and so has a completely different feeling. (Pygmies, vodoo, poison, gorillas, etc.)

      Handguns can come not only from Arabia but also from the Vetian kingdoms (western coast) or Tsuandan, Pavritastha and… the dwarf citadel of Kegiz Gavem ! (eastern coast).

      Russian Translation Coordinator

      Translation-Team FR

      Public Relations

      Linguistic Team

      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Ghiznuk ().