Thursday, 8 November 2018

Adventuring Elves

Paul Bonner dropped this picture on his Facebook page recently and it instantly fired up something in me. The picture appears to show a couple of Slann and a bunch of Norse fighting what I take to be some elves on a little rowboat on a beach somewhere in Lustria. The 'Norse' are difficult to identify with any certainty as they are a little skinny and not as hairy as i'd imagine they might be but they are definitely trying to kill the blonde fellas along with the Slann.

However it was them that grabbed my attention as much as the blonde fellas themselves. Although there are no obvious pointy ears I immediately assumed that these three are meant to be elves. 3 young elves off on an adventure who have been ambushed almost as soon as they landed on the shore (or maybe they are the ones doing the ambushing as the Norse and their Slann allies have met up on an isolated beach to make some nefarious deal).

It occurred to me that it is rare that Elves are portrayed this way. How often do you see a group of young elves out on an adventure? The Old World is full of Dwarfs and Humans wandering around monster bashing and dungeon diving but a bunch of Elves is rare. I thought this was a real shame. There isn't even a Wood Elf list for Mordhiem! So I started to wonder what figures I'd use for a little wood elf warband for using in little games and do you know what? There aren't that many.

The above set are pretty much the only set of Elves that are comparable to the Human fighters ranges or the Dwarf Adventurers range. The traditional Warhammer wood elf has a bow and a cloak but these guys have a whole different range of styles. Some of the spear armed figures have traditionally long robes or mail and the pointy helms that seem to have originated in the Melnibonean range are obvious on several of the models. Of course it's also the perfect range to perfect your sculptor spotting skills, some of them are Goodwins and some of them are Morrisons. Your Oldhammer rating will be adjusted by the number you get wrong. Some of the figures in this range, Okelos, Morrigan and Katha for example, give the impression of individuals rather than members of regiments and it is precisely this make them suit the status of adventurer. Unfortunately not all of the figures are suitable for running through the mangroves of Lustria so we must continue our search.

The Wardancers are another lovely range of elves from the same period and again features very individualistic figures that diverge form the traditional wood elf. Again not all of them would suit the image of an adventurer in a foreign land but a bit of careful filtering could give us some slightly gymnastic members of our adventuring party (or maybe just some people that have gotten very hot in the tropical jungles!)

Of course we'd be a little foolish if we didn't bring along a couple of bow armed troops, after all every warband should play to their strengths, and the figures that are part of Skarloc's Wood Elf Archers would give our warband some Goodwin sculpted ranged support. They have the look of a bunch of pointed eared outlaws anyway so they would fit our brief perfectly. You could also do worse than looking at Skarloc himself or maybe Glam the Champion as the leader of our Warband.

There was also a command group that you could use alongside your Warhammer Regiments plastics to create a full regiment so we'd remiss if we didn't at least consider them.

And finally we should have a look at the Mounted Elf personalities just in case we wanted to stick our Warbands leader or Wizard onto a Horse to make them more of a target.

For some reason Wood Elves are Oldhammer's must ignored army. You can actually pick up most of the models relatively cheaply and they are on ebay pretty commonly. The fact that they have never been a faction in Mordhiem and didn't have a great amount of detail or influence in the Old World means that these ranges aren't as loved as they should be. So Why not? Why are there not more warbands roaming the forests of the Old world sorting out the Beastmen? Why are there not more groups of young adventurous Elves sneaking around the cities of men wondering what it's all about? Why aren't there more parties of fey folk washing up on beaches in Lustria looking to make a name for themselves and discovering the secrets of the Slann? Well?


  1. Very nice old school GW figures.

    These would all work very nicely as members of an Elven warband for the forthcoming Saga Fantasy "Age of Magic" handbook, due in early 2019.

  2. Hi,
    I am a Wood Elves army lover, collector and (in the past, unfortunately) gamer. I started in middle '90s collecting them and, with alternate peaks of "a-lot-of-them" and "sell-them-all", I am still collecting: last years I participated to the Old World army challenge with a 1000 pts oldhammer WE. Well, this is just to say that I am quite in this particular race.
    Your article is a most welcome one and raise some points I always asked myself. If we look at the past, WE were the last 4th edition army book (not updated in the 5th) and, in the following years, issued for the 6th edition and nothing more until the 8th (to not mention AoS...). Therefore, I think that a mix of things contributed to the little distribution of WE on the Old World. First, apparently, the GW itself do not committed with WE than they do with other races and this, I think, makes WE less attractive/appealing. A second point is that is a difficult army to play: until the issue of dryads (and treekin later), the only strong one was the treeman. Though, it was the only one in an army of, basically, delicate sharp shooters. This calls for a less direct way to play and, probably, less easy to manage on battlefields dominated by all-smashing chaos things, human/dwarven cannons, heavy cavalry of many races and skaven/orc&goblin hordes. No save, no hand-to-hand efficient troops (and no, wardancer were not so effective): I think this make a great difference in gaming style. I say this also because I knew a number of guys claiming they like WE miniatures a lot but they do not enjoy playing them, so they switched to something more strong (HE or DE, for example, to remain among pointy ears).
    So, probably, this led to an underrepresentation of WE in the gaming community. Sure, there could be many other factors I am presently ignoring but I think this is the essential.
    On the other hand, there could be also a background-effect: WE are always described as a close society, willing to stay in the Loren forest and ignoring what happens outside their realm. So, why should they travel around the world? Well, to be honest, I read somewhere that the one in Loren was not the only WE community, so one can wander about some other location for WE adventures. But this, possibly, remaind us to the above points on gaming.

    Well, sorry for such long (and probably boring) comment: you may understand this is a think I am a lot involved in! Thank you for sharing your thought on WE, I enjoyed it really much!
    Cheers, Andrea

  3. Dark Elves and Sea Elves are the only proper adventuring Elves. High Elves and Wood Elves are portrayed as xenophobic closed societies so it makes sense that we don't see warbands roaming the Warhammer World. Wood Elves are even more closed than High Elves so I wouldn't expect to see them, but Sea ELves would be a fun way to explore the concept. The range wasn't really developed so the Melinbonean range could come in handy.

  4. Have you considered the uncatalogued Marauder Sea Elves?

  5. In Mordheim, the Shadow Elves gangs were fairly generic and mappable to either high or wood elves, though not so readily to dark elves (not without a bit of extra equipment and skills). They were eventually removed as an official list, with the reason given that 'elves have no place in Mordheim', which sort of reinforces your point (they were also quite overpowered in the hands of a canny player).

    The elven ranger hired sword and stupidly named 'ched-i' roaming elven mages remain though... and Aenur as well!

  6. Based on my recent WFRP experiences, Elves are assholes. Constantly talking shit. I imagine they get murdered or harassed enough to not make interacting with other old worlders worth their while.


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