Insider 08-23-2017

When we began to talk about No Quarter Prime, the article series I was the most excited about was “Fire and Forge.” This article combines fiction and essays to look back on the most important moments in the major plots for our setting and its characters. This article will allow new readers to catch up on things that happened before they started playing while also being entertaining for those who have been following along since the start.

It quickly became clear we should begin with the time period featured in WARMACHINE: Escalation, back at the dawn of WARMACHINE. This book predated HORDES and had a number of firsts, including being the first WARMACHINE expansion with new warcasters (including mercenary warcasters, which didn’t exist before), and an ambitious playable campaign. This was also where Privateer introduced the metaplot, using WARMACHINE Factions to shake up the Iron Kingdoms in a big way. Llael was invaded by Khador in Escalation, and that poor country has never been the same since.

I had a uniquely personal experience with Escalation back in 2004. At the time, I was working on the Iron Kingdoms Roleplaying Game, and we were deep in progress on what would become the World Guide. I was writing about many of the cities that would soon be affected by the war depicted in Escalation—especially several unfortunate cities in Llael. I was given Escalation fresh off the presses with the instructions to update our work to reflect this massive conflict. Because of this, the Llaelese War felt very personal to me—I could visualize armies marching through towns I had just been writing about! I recall being angry with Khador for mucking up my countryside.

After so many years, a new conflict is erupting in Llael rooted in causes based on these earlier events, so it seemed a good time to go back. Escalation had several qualities that opened up opportunities for “Fire and Forge.” While there was a substantial story in Escalation, a surprising number of historically important moments never show up in its narrative. “Fire and Forge” gives me a chance to address that.

There was a good reason for this at the time—Escalation’s story was the setup for a massive playable campaign taking up almost half of the book’s page count. This campaign was intended to allow players to fight through the Llaelese War and its aftermath, featuring a calendar year of in-setting events divided into four seasons. Many of its most important moments were intended to be played out by armies on the tabletop, which meant that the outcome was “off-camera.”

For “Fire and Forge,” this meant we could feature material that was both old and new. Certain moments—like the attack on Redwall Fortress by Orsus Zoktavir, the razing of Riversmet, and the Siege of Merywyn—could be shown in fiction for the first time. Because of this, “Fire and Forge” will be as fresh and fun to read for someone with a weather-beaten and dog-eared copy of Escalation as it will be for a newcomer with a lot of questions. And because this article is in No Quarter Prime, the fiction and essays are joined with amazing artwork to bring these locations to life.

The plan is to break up Escalation’s year of war into the first six “Fire and Forge” articles. While this includes some pivotal scenes we’ve shown before, the majority of the material in the article is new. This chance to look back also lets us show what some of our newer characters were doing during all this. There are a few people who were a big part of the Llaelese War but who hadn’t been dreamed up when Escalation was printed, like Kommander Strakhov and Ashlynn d’Elyse. This war is crucial to Ashlynn’s background in particular—setting up her entire driving motivation as a character. I can’t wait to get to this part of her story.

Plans for “Fire and Forge” go far beyond this first series, though I won’t get into those details yet. The hope is for this series to give us a compelling lens on historical events even as our characters advance toward their destinies. Just as Orboros eats its own tail, the present is enriched by knowing the past.

Subscribe to No Quarter Prime now to get the first issue: