Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Characters behind the paint

So here he is, Alanicus the Benevolent finally takes to the field to command of his Eastern field armies. With all three Emperor figures finished, I thought I'd say a little about each one and explain a few of the details I had to consider when painting them.

TULLUS, the character of Tullus comes partly from the figure Tom chose to portray himself, a large striking figure who very much leads from the front in battle. He looks more like a Warlord than an Emperor in his stance and weaponry. Tom plays Tullus as a Soldier Emperor, in the same vain as someone like Trajan was. The two have other trates in common, being both Spanish in origin, Trajan became Tom's role model for the character of Tullus. Being a soldier at heart, Tullus doesn't suffer from the huge ego of the other two pretenders and tends to look on his calling as more of a sense of duty, than a Divine right to rule. Almost reluctant to give battle, Tullus likes to take his time and watch his enemy, waiting for the other to make a fatal error in judgement, giving Tullus an easy victory to save the lives of his men and resources. Also, being a soldier Emperor places Tullus very dear in the hearts of his men, who's hardships he suffers alongside them at every turn. With the Senate flocking to Tullus for support, he now finds himself the reluctant new saviour of the republic and the champion of freedom throughout the Empire. The Senates constant nagging for action and battle grate against Tullus's calm, methodical ways and leads to much friction between them.

The figure of Tullus therefore is quite drab compared with the others. His cloak is that of an ordinary General, being scarlet in colour. He also proudly wears the awards and decorations won in battle, on a Centurions harness, again reminding all who see him of his humble army origins and his rise through the ranks. He is the only character to carry a shield, this too shows his preference for being very much in the thick of the fighting. With each Command base getting three attacks in the game, the base of Tullus leaves no doubt in the mind of the enemy, that a lot of the hits and kills achieved will come from Tullus himself, rather than the others in the Command party. For this reason Tullus only has two other figures on his base. He just doesn't need the same level of protecting as his less skilled rivals.
SECUNDUS, is the definitive bad Emperor. His lust for power and control makes him few friends in the Senate and his unstoppable drive makes him a man to be feared with throughout the Empire. I love to play villains and Secundus is no exception, I based the character of Secundus on the fat, greedy, inept Emperor, Vitellius, with his multiple chins and attitudes to match. Vitellius was popular at first and was put in place by his own Legions, those of the Rhine. After his rise to power however, things started to go very wrong for him. Secundus captures the essence of Vitellius, but he tends to bring out all of his misgivings rather than his strong points. For this reason I draw Secundus as a fat, arrogant, lay about, who cares not about the suffering of others, just results. I think he would be a hard man to beat in a war, because he would never admit he was wrong or had made a mistake, he would just blame someone else and carry on. He sees himself as the rightful Emperor and is willing to sacrifice thousands to make it so and claim his god given right. However, this arrogance is not lost on his troops who view Secundus warily. This had led to revolts and even mass desertions within his own army, something that Secundus reacts to by again showing his inept leadership skills and punishing the troops without mercy. Secundus doesn't deserve to rule by any stretch of the imagination and it would be a crime if he won, but that's what makes the game interesting, shit happens.
The figure of Secundus was chosen because it looked a little like me in the face, with the thoughtful hand to mouth pose just topping it off nicely (I do it all the time when thinking). He wears the colours of a Senater on his cloak, to give him a moral high ground when in the field and to give more weight to his claim of Emperor. Being more Senator than soldier, Secundus's command base is packed full of staff officers and bodyguards, the bases three attacks are unlikely to come from Secundus himself, who relies more on his bodyguards to protect him in battle than the war like Tullus.

Alanicus, is the new threat to the Empire and a late starter. After watching from a far and preparing his forces in secret, Alanicus finally launched a devastating campaign against the East. Using his collected wealth rather than brute force to roll up province after province all the way across to Syria and down to Eygpt. Alanicus's lightning campaign has proved that, when it comes to greedy governors, the coin, is mightier than the sword. Alan enjoys playing Alanicus very much and it has brought out a rather very dark side in him. Basing his character more on the Emperor from Starwars than from Ancient history, Alanicus has knocked the arrogant Secundus off the top position of villain in the game, with his Machiavellian dealings and under handed ways. Alanicus has also shown that he is prepared to great risks and gambles openly with fate. I like this personally as it reminds me of Julius Caesar. Alanicus now finds himself in Alexandria with a tiny strike force of Legionaries, just like Caesar found himself when chasing Pompey. The Romans loved irony and so do I.
The figure of Alanicus reflects the fact that he IS the Emperor, rather than just claiming it. Whereas the other pretenders only have a dash of royal purple on them to mark them out, Alanicus is a wash with it. His large cloak is all purple and is a bold statement to all around him, he also openly flaunts the forbidden red sandals of a king, again another unmistakable sign that he IS the Emperor. If however you manage to miss these blatant signs, Alanicus's royal standard fluttering over his head should remind you. With his birth sign of Leo boldly decorated on it, Alanicus will be very hard to miss on the battlefield. Something I've told my archers! Alanicus himself, was a renowned war hero and was well trained with a sword, however, age has caught up with him over the years and he now relays on staff and body guards to protect him in battle like Secundus.
The model used for Alanicus is that of Caesar from Companion Miniatures, again another Caesar reference. I thought it closely matched the cartoons of Alanicus I had drawn for the Blog with his hard features and bitter expression. Also to add to Alanicus's pomp, trumpets and standards were added to his command base.

So there you have it, all three contenders ready for war but as everyone knows....there can be only one true Emperor.


BigRedBat said...

Very impressive work. I'm painting some characters for the players in my campaign, which is at a very early stage (one battle in). Some of my own romans are here:'s+Caesarian+Romans

Any chance of some background on your campaign mechanics? Would be very curious to see the workings.


BigRedBat said...

p.s. Who makes the Tullus figure? I like that a lot!

Still Anonymous said...

Great stuff!

Is Tullus a conversion from the Salute 06 Arthur figure?

By the way, had you built that amazing display case of yours? If so, would you have plans and a material list somewhere?


DeWolfe said...

It's details like these that really bring this campaign to life and make it so fun to read. I really liked this article but when can we expect further developments in the progress of the campaign itself?

Scutatus said...

Do NOT underestimate the POWER of the DARK side ... ;)
Bwahahhahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Oh I do enjoy playing Alanicus! :D
I Love my new figure Simon. Thank you. It's fantastic! I'm going to enjoy fielding him. :)

To answer one of the questions for Simon:

Yes, Tullus is a very nice conversion of the Salute figure. Well spotted. :D In one of his much earlier posts here Simon talks about what he did with the figure. Sadly, If you want the (Arthur) figure used for Tullus you'll probably now only find him on e-bay - Or else from a friend who went to that Salute. 2006 I think it was. Or was it 2005? It is part of a two figure diorama piece that includes Mordred kneeling and holding a broken spear. The figures can of course be used individually, which is what Simon has done here with Arthur/Tullus.

I can't comment on the mechanics. Not my place don't you know.

When will there be more campaign? Jolly good question! Sooner rather than later I would hope! There have been...difficulties getting the three of us together. Hopefully this will not last. Alanicus wants to consolidate the east and then... well that would be telling. :D Suffice to say Alanicus wants to show these usurpers who is the REAL power in the Empire!

BigRedBat said...

Thanks Scutatus- I have that Salute figure (somewhere!). Simon (Miller)

simon said...

Funny enough, we are suffering the same problems as the characters in the Off Season. Getting together to role up results is normally done on Tullus's farm, but with the weather being so bad at the moment and the venue being outside, It is just too cold to campaign. Hopefully when it warms up a little, the armies can start to move again. It doesn't really bother me at the moment as I am trying to finish all the armies and give different them characters.Do not fear we will play soon...I promise.

simon said...

Great stuff bigredbat, I've just checked out your Romans and they're great. I love the full Legion of ten Cohorts, a very nice sight and really impressive! Loads of Ancient Germans too, I've ordered some of those from Black tree and I'm looking forward to getting to grips with them soon. A very impressive web site indeed!

simon said...

The Display case was one I treated myself to years ago, after filling two smaller ones to the brim. Although I never thought I'd see the day It got filled, not long to go now though. It was a lot of money and was hellish to set up, but it does make a nice centre piece for the room.

BigRedBat said...

Thanks Simon!

I have quite a lot more Romans than in those photos, and am currently ploughing through a Gallic army so they have something to kill (other than each other, and my mate's (yet another 40-something year old Simon) Germans. We are just starting a Marian-era campaign, and so I'm also painting Numidians, Pikes, etc, etc, etc. When the weather gets lighter I'll take some more photos.


The other Simon