Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Flying Islands, Voodoo Forests and Pyrates, part 2

The villages of the Harrowmark are isolated by the vast and malignant forests that envelop them and cover most of the region. The dense, twisted woods are punctuated by rocky hills and outcrops that stand clear of the tangled trees like islands. A few gnarled and wind-swept trees cling to their sides and scrubby bushes and grasses hide in cracks in the stone. Some hills have clusters of houses or watch-towers huddled on the top or steep sides and most of these are accompanied by a wooden landing stage, used by flying ships to tie-up.

The villager's only connection to their neighbours is by the flying ship trade routes overhead. None dare to set foot in the forests, the risks are just too great: the creatures within too terrifying. But the galleons of the merchant fleets plot a wandering course over the treetops, stopping at as many villages as they can to trade, pick-up or drop-off passengers, deliver letters and pass on news.

The ships are propelled by a combination of wind and magic, bound into the very timbers of their hulls. But getting to a particular location takes a great deal of skill and no small amount of luck. Flying ships' captains must know their trade and the overgrown rotting hulks of shipwrecks that litter the forests are a constant reminder of the fate that awaits those who do not!

Another constant hazard the flying ships endure is piracy.

Where there are goods worth stealing there are those who will try to steal them and the pirates of the Harrowmark have taken to the skies to ply their dark trade. Villains of many races come together in uneasy alliances aboard stolen flying galleons. Orruks, grots, humans, ogors, duardin, aelves, and even soulblight vampires on occasion have been seen rubbing shoulders among the pirate crews of The Harrowmark.

The Voodoo Forest project by John Blanche is clearly the main inspiration for this setting, along with these (older) paintings that feel like they come from the same world. The endless malignant forests, flying pirate ships, floating islands and malevolent beasties seem to be a perfect fit for Dark Age of Sigmar games.

I always treated the village of Wortbad (the name I gave my "haunted village" scenery set) and The Harrowmark, the region of Shyish containing Wortbad, as separate components from my Pirate Orruks and their adventures in the Mortal Realms. The pirates occasionally fought battles in Wortbad but before now I have never treated them as "locals" of Shyish.

I now feel like they are all elements of a single coherent setting - adding flying ships to my pirate fleet, and rocky hills and floating islands to my scenery collection are both now going to become a priority for me!

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