Recently Rock Paper Shotgun made a pre-emptive plea to Mythic, developers of the recently released Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, to add cowardly rat-men the Skaven in the first expansion pack. We at Man vs Horse are prepared to endorse this campaign but only, repeat only if they are paired with Wood Elves.
Now don’t get us wrong, we love chittering rodent ninjas as much as the next blogger, but what we want, what we really, truly yearn for is nature-loving hippie elves.
Why? Read about it inside.
Warhammer: Age of Reckoning already boasts two varieties of the pointy eared folk, the effete and poncy High Elves and moody emo kids the Dark Elves, neither however, have anywhere near the character of their forest dwelling counterparts.
Imagine Robin Hood. That, essentially is the basic unit of the Wood Elves, they are the true masters of the bow, and of ranged combat in general in the Warhammer World, but they also offer a whole selection of other interesting and characterful units, which easily slip into the WAR archetypes.
Tank – Dryad
In the comments on the aforementioned RPS article Kieron Gillen joke about playable Treemen, while the idea of being a twenty foot tall earth spirit who fears only fire appeals to a certain extent, for balance reasons the Treeman’s smaller cousin, the Dryad, is a much better fit. While not technically Elves themselves, Dryads, bark covered, tough as nails forest elementals, are a regular feature of most Wood Elf armies, offering much needed durability to a largely fragile race. In some rule sets the dryads had a series of stances or ‘aspects’ named after various trees that would make for an interesting mechanic in game.
Melee – Wardancer
Oh yes. On of the main reasons we want the pointy eared new-agers to appear as soon as possible. A Wardancer, for the uninitiated, is a cross between a hippie and a beserk warrior. Going into battle with little more than some tight trousers and a series of surprisingly effective defensive tattoos, they whirl around in exotic dances, flashing their dual blades around them artfully. They’re classic ‘glass cannon’ dps types, fragile but capable of unleashing a storm of blades against an unfortunately adversary. They also look like Sting in David Lynch’s Dune adaptation, albeit with bigger hair. Who wouldn’t want to be one?
Ranged – Waywatcher
Ranged combat is where the Wood Elves eat lunch, and the Waywatcher is their most elite archer. While a basic Wood Elf archer is fearsome enough, a Waywatcher is a scouting unit, known in Warhammer for their ability to set up hidden in a forest well ahead of the rest of the army and royally piss people of. They hardly ever miss, they’re near impossible to see once they get in the woods, and if you leave them there long enough they start setting traps, traps which can eviscerate even the toughest of units. They’re classic ranger types, but even more badass. Just one of these guys could hold up an entire army for days in a forest, like a pointy-eared Rambo
Support – ????
This is the trickiest one to cover from the standard Wood Elf units, not least because I’m a bit foggy on what the support category is meant to entail. Right now I’m thinking in terms of some sort of Forest Mage character, with offensive plant magic and probably a bit of healing thrown in to boot, the classic D&D druid, if you will. The strength here is that the developers can adapt that any way they see fit, offensive nature based magic, healing or even some sort of animal based pet summoning, maybe even all three, the possibilities are endless.
So there you go, all four classes aptly covered, well three aptly covered and one sort of covered. Still not convinced? Take a moment to consider how cool the Wood Elves home city would be, it’s in the middle of a vast, almost primeval forest, and is part of the very treetops themselves, very atmospheric.
And you know what? Wood Elves are way cooler than regular Elves, they aren’t as uptight as the high folk or anywhere near as annoying emo as the dark ones, sure they’re a bit hippy like, but they’re also very much the embodiment of the taciturn, laconic ranger. They care little for most other civilisations, and while they’re nominally on the side of good they’re quite willing to attack anyone who disturbs their forest without mercy. Parties of questing Knights from nearby Brettonia regularly enter the forest, they only very rarely leave.
Oh, and they hate Dwarves, which admittedly makes WAR’s good/evil split a little tricky, but hell, I’m sure they hate them marginally less than the evil guys, and that’s what’s important, right?
Dante, at one with nature, bidding you farewell.