TaKtiX: Laurence J Sinclair

Laurence J Sinclair has been playing the Warlord CCG since the release of the game - mainly thanks to that killer Rathe art. He even stuck with it through that dark time involving Campaign Rathe art. Now he is a playtester and a member of the Warlord Story Team - guiding the armies of the Accordlands into an uncertain future.


Dark as a Nightless Moon

So, I made it onto the Warlord story team. I always was better at talking about this game than playing it. Let's hope that I can get some cohesive ideas down in type as well.

Of course, there are people out there that care about this crazy world of Larisnar as much as, if not more than, me, and may be fearing that I'm not the right sort of guy for the job. "He just used the word crazy to refer to my favourite fantasy setting!" they'll cite, "How can you trust him to come up with decent stories?!?"

Of course, I must do something to reassure such people. The quality of my stories I can make no excuses for; I promise that I'll try my hardest to come up with tales of exciting adventure and intrigue, but those that have gone before left some freakin' big shoes to fill. I'm talking in miles across, here. If my stories can come out with just a small fraction of that quality, I'll be happy. And the assistance of my fellow team writers and our incredibly talented Story Lead should help me to get better.

As to the question of treating the setting with respect, as well as relying upon my comrades and boss to keep me in line, perhaps I'd best lay out my view of Larisnar.

Evil won that eternal moral conflict, and so the good guys are running scared. So, does that make Warlord a tale of dark fantasy?

It's definitely a lot more scary than 'traditional' high fantasy stuff. The big giveaway is the fact that dragons are almost entirely evil, but there're also those necromancers and Abyssals running rampant to back that impression up.

However, there is hope. And the heroes that represent this are so much the cooler for being up against impossible odds and refusing to give up. Their victories are small, but they happen.

This doesn't take away from the overall atmosphere of the place. However, these days the term 'dark fantasy' is most often used to describe what used to be termed 'horror', and I think that we can safely say that the Accordlands doesn't quite cross over into that genre. Zombies, vampires and demons are all present, but their influence is secondary to that of the great nations of the Accord, and the pantheons of gods that watch over the setting. There are instances of corruption and individual terror, but on the whole the stories are writ large, having great, sweeping consequences for the world as a whole.

So, there are elements of the dark about the Accordlands, but also the sweeping conflicts of epic fantasy. Yet at its heart the heritage of its RPG roots shines through, and there is as much action to be found with small groups of adventurers striking out for the greater good as there is with armies clashing on the field of battle.

In summary, the conflict between good and evil takes place in both large and small scale, with good being the side fighting the uphill struggle all the way.

Also, in any disagreement between black-clad martial arts assassins and uncouth nautical brigands, the pirates beat the ninjas every time.


Everyone Remain Calm...

So, with Epic approaching, people on the Temple of Lore are getting all heated about whether or not it will be a good format, worrying over cards that were/weren't included, the merits of battlepacks vs. starter decks, and everything else under Bascaron.

There are small pockets of calm, citing that it's just the same climate as when Campaign edition rolled around over two years ago. But it's not. It is completely different, something new and exciting, and getting a healthy amount of panic up in the system is a good thing.

No one likes anything static, that never changes and keeps supplying the same old, same old day in and day out. What leaves people content over a long period of time cannot compare to the excitement over something risky and daring, with big payoffs. Epic may have upset some people, but that's just the edition showing how cool it will turn out to be - everyone has a favourite card or two that didn't make it through. Epic isn't afraid to stomp on people's toes with dirty great hobnail'd boots. A people-pleasing format that just delivered what the popular masses thought that they wanted would have seemed good at first, but would have left a bad aftertaste. Much better to take the Epic approach, which may hurt at first but will be much more worthwhile in the end.