Widower's Wood Developer Diary 2

Last time, we talked about the heroes monsters in the upcoming Privateer Press board game, Widower’s Wood. For this installment, William "Oz" Schoonover, the game's developer, looks into the various villains our heroes monsters will be eating, er fighting.

The savage gatormen of western Immoren’s swamps make perfect villains for a board game because they are dangerous alone and outright deadly in groups. As I mentioned in the first installment, I created a standard gatorman warrior and bokor during my early work on The Undercity. When working on Widower’s Wood, I refined these two villains and used them as the baseline for the rest of the game.

The first thing I needed for the game was a thug level villain, someone to put constant pressure on the players seeking to cleanse the swamp of baddies. Taking inspiration from the Blindwater Congregation Minion pact in HORDES, I chose the humble but fierce bog trog. These fishmen aren’t a match for the heroes one on one, but a group can quickly overwhelm the players. The first villain created specifically for Widower’s Wood was the first of many opposing bog trogs: the spear bog trog.

For illustrative purposes only. Final product may vary.

With the spear bog trog armed and ready to stab an unwary player, the most fitting thematic addition to the game was the swamp shambler, an undead creature reanimated by the dark magic of the swamp. In HORDES and Widower’s Wood, we focus on swamp shamblers created by gatormen. While any corpse can be used for their creation, swamp shamblers are commonly made from the bodies of dead bog trogs. The swamp shambler satisfied the need for another thug level villain—and provided the first undead villain in an Iron Kingdoms Adventure board game! Not only are these villains difficult to destroy in one hit, but they can also ignore certain rules and spawn from slain bog trogs in some situations.

In addition to thug villains, I also needed to create leader villains. The first of these added to the game was the third bog trog, the mist speaker. The mist speaker is both a leader and a magic user. It provides support and a ranged threat with a spell that can hit multiple targets in the same space. Being a tribal leader, unlike any of the villains in The Undercity, the mist speaker allowed me to add a new tactic to the game: goad. When a villain follows the goad tactic, it orders another subordinate villain in its space to activate instead, keeping the leader out of harm’s way.

For illustrative purposes only. Final product may vary.

The next villain started as a hero concept. As I mentioned in the last installment, there was originally going to be a gobber on the players’ team. But when a croak was added to the cast of heroes, the gobber changed sides. The swamp gobber pirate is unique because it’s one of only two villains in the game that are not amphibious, in addition to carrying a gun, a rarity in the wilds of Immoren.

We had a few discussions about some even more monster-y villains before we settled on the next inclusion. The gatormen, bog trogs, and gobbers are creatures, but they are all people shaped. The game needed something else, but what could it be? Looking through the Monsternomicon, I came across one of my favorite beasts and knew what I wanted: tatzylwurms.

Tatzylwurms come in a variety of sizes. The tatzylwurm sculpt from HORDES would give us a great large monster, but I thought the game still needed small villains. I decided to add figures that could represent viper tatzylwurms or newly hatched tatzylwurms from one of the larger breeds. This gave Widower’s Wood another small-based threat and added versatility. Additionally, now Game Masters would have a new sculpt in the toolbox to use when running RPG games.

Next time, I’ll dive into the Widower’s Wood story and the campaign built around it, revealing a few new monsters along the way.

Privateer Press expects Widower’s Wood to be delivered to backers in early 2017. Stay tuned to Privateer Insiders, Facebook, and Twitter posts, and widowerswood.com as the Kickstarter continues!