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Herald of Eretsu: Animosity Unyielding

Not since the Great Khan’s conquest has Eretsu witnessed the mobilization of so many Golems as today march upon its many battlefields. From the frozen northern reaches of the Durani Empire to the sun-baked Urugal deserts, an unprecedented deluge of blood soaks Eretsu’s soil. However, surely this is no news to you knights, who have seen much of this for yourselves. I do carry news from across the continent, but the call is everywhere the same: war.

The Castles of the Line:

The fighting on the Line is without a doubt the most active warzone, as the might of the Empire and Dominion continue crashing upon each other’s legendary fortifications. Almost twice as many battles were fought at the Line than in any other theater. Rudatha has continued to dominate the contest here, claiming the majority of his victories from Dasra. Though Dasra struggled against Rudatha’s troops, she was able to make a devastating impact against the forces of Nandanna. Although the Line remains contested, the tide of battle continued to ebb in favor of the Gudanna. One can imagine the Empire may not be able to hold their lofty fortresses very much longer if the fighting continues as it has in recent months.

The Northern Urugal Uprising:

The Urugal uprising in the north has gained ground, pushing the Empire’s hold back to only the larger settlements on the coastline of the northern Urugal homeland. The combat here has continued to be some of the most ruthless in the world. Izvari’s zealots have taken after her lead, completely razing one Durani colony. The fates of several others are still unknown. One thing is certain: the north is no longer under the Empire’s control.

Tarkara, the Pirate Stronghold:

In an unexpected turn of events, the Gudanna invasion of the island has clawed itself back from seemingly certain defeat. It now looks conquering the island is within reach. While the Untamed continue to hold Tarkara’s capital city, the rest of the island now lies in the hands of either the Empire or Dominion. The Gudanna forces rallied after Nandanna personally lead a daring charge, returning to her officers with the head of a Durani commander. In no uncertain terms, she made her raja-khans know the same end awaited them if they failed to turn the contest in her favor.

The Wildwood:

The Great Weald has brought the majority of the Realm of Cinders and the Wildwood under its control through a series of very effective campaigns in the north. Only a small portion of the Durani invasion force remains, the majority of it withdrawn to be deployed on other fronts. Meanwhile, the Gudanna and Urugal have proven harder to dislodge from the Wildwood. While the Urugal seem content to raid Zikia villages, the Gudanna under Rudatha appear to be more purposeful in their continued incursions, but to what end is unknown.

The March of the Ascendent Wake:

The troops of the Dominion have tightened around the Ascendent Wake, clashing with Izvari’s columns in the Glades of Kaccha. Neither side has yet gained an advantage. Its is possible the Glades have never seen fighting on such a scale, and for good reason. The knights here have to fight the environment as much as each other. Kaccha is now littered with the remains of golems destroyed in the fighting or simply left behind, too mired in the swamp to continue.

Empire infighting:

The Lower Empire’s illegal incursion into the Upper Empire has been brought to halt. After the initial success of the invasion, Dasra rallied her loyalists and put a stop to the advance of the unrest. While she has yet to drive the Lower Empire disorderlies from her lands, she has proven her ability to do so.

Gudanna infighting:

As the question of who will inherit the Saddle Throne grows more pressing, neither Rudatha or Nandanna has gained footing as the clear choice. It appears the siblings are becoming impatient, as more of their banners continue to engage in minor clashes with each other, even as the Dominion commits more and more resources to wars on multiple fronts.

May these reports find you in the protection of the Ancient Ones.

—The Herald of Eretsu.

 

NOTES/DATA

The Northern Urugal Uprising — total battles: 95

  • Izvari wins against Sudhamra: 22
  • Izvari wins against Dasra: 29
  • Dasra wins against Izvari: 15
  • Sudhamra wins against Izvari: 29

The Wildwood — total battles: 93

  • Vanya wins against Dasra: 24
  • Vanya wins against Rudatha: 14
  • Vanya wins against Izvari: 13
  • Dasra wins against Vanya: 15
  • Rudatha wins against Vanya: 15
  • Izvari wins against Vanya: 12

The Line — total battles: 171

  • Sudhamra wins against Rudatha: 19
  • Dasra wins against Nandanna: 39
  • Dasra wins against Rudatha: 13
  • Rudatha wins against Sudhamra: 16
  • Rudatha wins against Dasra: 41
  • Nandanna wins against Dasra: 43

Tarkara — total battles: 94

  • Sudhamra wins against Nandanna: 26
  • Sudhamra wins against Vanya: 11
  • Vanya wins against Nandanna: 10
  • Vanya wins against Sudhamra: 14
  • Nandanna wins against Sudhamra: 31
  • Nandanna wins against Vanya: 12

The March of the Ascendent Wake — total battles: 84

  • Izvari wins against Nandanna: 32
  • Izvari wins against Rudatha: 13
  • Rudatha wins against Izvari: 27
  • Nadanna wins against Izari: 12

Empire Infighting — total battles: 43

  • Dasra wins against Sudhamra: 22
  • Sudhamra wins against Dasra: 21

Dominion Infighting — total battles 25

  • Nandanna wins against Rudatha: 11
  • Rudatha wins against Nandanna: 14
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Herald of Eretsu: Tides of Conquest

Over the course of the last few months, reports from our agents across Eretsu have flooded in, tracking the constantly changing battlelines across the continent. It was with great difficulty that I assembled accurate information as the flames of war spread far and wide. Currently, major battles flare from the Northern Urugal lands to the Glades of Kaccha. Fear not; the Herald of Eretsu has the latest news from each front.

The Northern Urugal Clan Lands:

Inspired by the Ascendant Wake and the meteoric rise of Izvari the Mother Wing, clans long thought to have lost their will to fight have risen up against the Durani Empire, which has long extended its influence into the northern clans’ dealings.

During the past two months, the northern Urugal have seen some of the most fierce fighting in Eretsu. The only contest on par with the bloodshed that has stained the mountain snow is the struggle taking place at the castles of the Line. Despite the massive fighting in the north, neither side has been able to gain a distinct advantage.

The stalemate can be attributed to the overwhelming success of Imperial troops loyal to Sudhamra, which have won more than three quarters of the Empire’s victories in the region.

The forces following the Ascendant Wake have built a foreboding monument to those they have slain in combat, which now stands on the peak of Mount Rista, overlooking the Empire’s staging area. The monument proudly displays the corpses of Imperial commanders hanging from their own banners. Currently 13 bannermen of Sudhamra’s and 10 of Dasra’s cast their frozen gazes down from the peak.

The Castles of the Line:

Rudatha has once again proven the extent and influence of his network of operatives, staging a series of relentless raids along the Line. The fighting there, as most would expect, saw the greatest total number of battles.

Despite his engagement on several other fronts, the Spider Pince was by far the most effective on the Line. Not only has he secured the northern border of the Dominion, but many of the Empire’s castles have been cut off from resupply. It would appear it was only a matter of time before the Gudanna once again lay siege to the Empire’s weakened fortifications.

Here too Sudhamra’s forces have shown their martial prowess against the Dominion. Were it not for their efforts, Rudatha’s forces would have undoubtedly overrun the Upper Empire’s presence on the line. In what seems a recurring theme of the latest fighting, Dasra appears unable to effectively organize her military as enemies close in on her from all sides.

Tarkara, the Pirate Stronghold:

The Gudanna assault on the the pirate stronghold of Tarkara has all but been defeated. While Nandanna maintains her beachhead on the rocky island, her army has been turned back by a battalion under the command of Sudhamra himself.

Sudhamra launched his own assault on Tarkara after the pirate king Tapya refused his offer of aid, instead relying the strength of the Untamed to maintain the island’s independence. The Untamed have succeeded in keeping both the Empire and Dominion from claiming the main port, holding the advance of both factions at bay. However, the overall shapeof this front has largely been shaped by the devastating victories Sudhamra has won at Nandanna’s expense.

The Glades of Kaccha:

Izvari’s Ascendant Wake continues to crush all opposition to her crusade. While her progress has slowed as her armies wade through the Glades of Kaccha, their advance toward Rudatha’s seat of power in Prishta has remained constant.

The ongoing success of the Ascendant Wake and the Urugal uprising in the north have inspired Urugal in the Dominion and Empire alike to abandon their lives as subjects, instead heeding the Mother Wing’s call. However, many established Urugal leaders denounce Izvari as a false prophet, one who will lead not only all Urugal, but all Eretsu to ruin.

The Wildwood:

As the Realm of Cinders smolders after the devastating Durani invasion, fighting in the Wildwood rages on as the newly formed Great Weald strives to secure its homeland. Under the leadership of Vanya and the Circle, the Great Weald has succeeded in pushing back both the Imperial and Dominion forces. However, the Great Weald now faces another threat on its southern border:

as it makes its way north, the Ascendent Wake has begun to make incursions into the Wildwood. While the fighting between the Wake and the Weald has not escalated to the scale of the battles on other fronts, the hatred between the tribes and clans shows in the ferocity of the confrontations that have erupted. Along the southern border of the Wildwood, an increasingly long wall of Urugal golems, impaled and grown over with vines, stands as warning to any clanspeople who may attempt to test the resolve of the Zikia.

Invasion of the Upper Empire:

Sudhamra’s victories abroad and the increasing distrust of the Empire’s royal families in both the capital and the Lower Empire have led to an invasion of the Upper Empire by several houses. While many of these fly the banner of the Lower Empire’s raja, Sudhamra has denounced the disorder as a distraction from the the threats from outside the Empire’s borders.

Despite the unrest, and her armies’ poor performance in recent months, Dasra remains steadfast as ever. She has yet to take any major military action against the incursions into the Upper Empire, raising questions among her supporters and enemies alike.

As the Empire shakes in the face of destruction from conflicts without and within, many call to the Immortal Emperor for protection; yet no response from the Emperor has issued from on high.

The Battle for the Saddle Throne:

With Izvari’s Ascendent Wake challenging the Dominion in the south and the Gudanna’s halted advances on other fronts, infighting between those who would claim the Saddle Throne has been limited.

Recent months have witnessed several clashes between groups loyal to Rudatha and Nandanna, but these conflicts have been fueled by personal rivalry among the soldiers’ commanders, rather than that of the royal siblings. To this observer it appears these sparks of conflict will only grow, and when they do, these early battles may foreshadow how any future struggle may play out. Currently it appears Rudatha holds a slight advantage over his sister.

Even as I write this report, the lines of battle across Eretsu are in flux. The only thing that seems certain is the tide of battle will only continue to rise, and with it the fate of all Eretsu.

May the Ancient Ones protect you in this crucible of conflict,

-The Herald of Eretsu

 

NOTES/ DATA

The Northern Urugal Uprising:  Total battles 46

  • Izvari wins against Sudhamra: 13
  • Izvari wins against Dasra: 10
  • Dasra wins against Izvari: 4
  • Sudahamra wins against Izvari: 19

The Wildwood: Total battles 29

  • Vanya wins against Dasra: 9
  • Vanya wins against Rudatha: 6
  • Vanya wins against Izvari: 4
  • Dasra wins against vanya: 1
  • Rudatha wins against Vanya: 5
  • Izvari wins against Vanya: 9

The Wall: Total battles 46

  • Sudhamra wins against Rudatha: 11
  • Dasra wins against Nandanna: 2
  • Dasra wins against Rudatha: 3
  • Rudatha wins against Sudhamra: 8
  • Rudatha wins against Dasra: 18
  • Nandanna wins against Dasra: 4

Tarkara: Total battles 44

  • Sudhamra wins against Nandanna: 14
  • Sudhamra wins against Vanya: 8
  • Vanya wins against Nandanna: 8
  • Vanya wins against Sudhamra: 7
  • Nandanna wins against Sudhamra: 5
  • Nandanna wins against Vanya: 2

The March of the Great Wake:  Total battles: 36

  • Izvari wins against Nandanna: 12
  • Izvari wins against Rudatha: 15
  • Rudatha wins against Izvari: 8
  • Nadanna wins against Izari: 1

Empire Infighting:  Total battles 27

  • Dasra wins against Sudhamra: 4
  • Sudhamra wins against Dasra: 23

Dominion Infighting: Total battles 8

  • Nandanna wins against Rudatha: 3
  • Rudatha wins against Nandanna: 5

Discuss this post over on the forums here: https://golemarcana.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=1669

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Prelude of Flames

We have a new story, this time from our associate producer Katherine Walker.

Watch through the eyes of a mysterious young boy as an Imperial Banner razes a village on the edge of the Wildwood to the ground.

And don’t forget, if you want to read it in your favourite e-reader, you can always download the PDF!

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Journal of Urtu the Scribe: The Castles of the Line

From the journals of Urtu the Scribe:

Amateur tacticians often debate the relative strength and wisdom of hypothetical campaigns on the Line. Such talk does little more than keep tea houses busy with custom as the old men talk and shout and arrange the cups on their tables to illustrate their points.

There is, however, one point on which nearly all the teahouse experts agree: if fighting erupts again, it will start in the lands surrounding the Durani Keep of Tel Kubra and the Gudanna fortress of Val Sattra. The argument, as this less-than-puissant scribe understands it, is that both fortresses on this portion of the Line augment the strengths of their masters.

Situated on a wooded plain, the castle town of Tel Kubra is second only to the ancient Tel Zarkara in size and strength. Its walls are almost of a height with ancient Bhira and fixed together so cunningly as to leave almost no joint between the stone. At the top of its battlements, reliquary artillery stands ready to repel attackers. It is a place well suited to the long range of Durani attacks.

Val Sattra, or Healer’s Hall, as the common people call it, is an altogether different sort of castle. Largely underground, or else deeply buried in the strong rock, it was once the monastery of a sect of Zikia healers. Now it is little more than a jumble of ruins, yet ruins have their strength as well!  From Val Sattra, Gudanna troops are well sheltered against the far-reaching attacks of the Durani until just before the walls of Tel Kubra. Within the sheltering crags of Val Sattra, an entire invasion force might enjoy complete cover from Durani attacks.

It is strange to walk between these two places, in the muddy farms of the poor people doomed to be destroyed by warfare. Is this the place where the war will finally be reignited?

 

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Living World Fiction

     In August at GenCon our Kickstarter backers played the first scenarios that influenced our Living World. The first was “As the Embers Die” in which both the Durani and Gudanna players received secret information (you can read more about the scenarios here). Ryan Schapals has crafted a story based on the outcomes of those 16 games played of “As the Embers Die” from the perspective of Gudanna shepherd caught in the battle. Click here to find out if Rudatha was able to lay hands on the escaping Prince Zuva.
     The outcomes of that scenario directly influenced the Epic Game that our backers played the following night. Nathan Weisman has written a story that deals with the fallout of that battle, click here to get some insight into the increasingly strained relationship between Rudatha and Nandanna as experienced by two estranged brothers.
     This was just the beginning of what we have planned for the Living World, something akin to an Alpha Test. We are looking forward to sharing more about our future plans for this Fall!

As the Embers Die by Ryan Schapals
First Blood by Nathan Weisman
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Joel DuQue and the Process behind Golem Arcana’s Paintings (Spoiler Alert!)

Hi everyone,

Today I want to introduce you to Joel DuQue. Joel handles the key illustration duties on Golem Arcana, including the map tiles and many of the Knight and Ancient One portraits.

When it came time for Joel to create a piece to accompany our new story, I asked him if he would be willing to share some thoughts about his process and he graciously agreed!  So here is Joel’s breakdown of his process in creating the illustration for  “Forsaken” in his own words. (click on an image for a larger slideshow)

Chris

 

JD: For this illustration, I was given a rough sketch from Chris for the basic idea we wanted to convey. The key directions were rough around the edges warrior, an ethereal older spirit that is fused into him, and a swirling motion with his two blades. Generally, before I even begin sketching I get some good reference images. Even if they turn out to be unrelated in the final piece it always helps me to have something to jump off from. I was also given a short story that introduces the characters and that helped quite a bit in getting a feel for who they are.

 

vhal_sketches
JD: Designs for what an Urugal Knight looks like had already been established so while working within those constraints I sketched him out in various outfits and poses.

 

Vhal_1

JD: The initial sketch is all about posing and general composition. The sketch is really loose and helps give it as much life as possible.

 

Vhal_2

JD: Now I refine the sketch a bit and play with the Spectre’s posing. I worked in the details for Kitra to make sure I knew how his armor and gear would play into the movement of the piece. However, I don’t worry too much about small details at this point in the process since things will likely change moving forward.

 

Vhal_3

JD: After the sketch is at a good place, I begin toning the image in grayscale. It’s sort of like an underpainting which is a traditional painting process that provides a good base to build up from. I use grayscale to keep myself focusing on Tone. Once I have that correct the rest falls into place relatively easily. 

 

Vhal_4

JD: More toning, enriching the image with a variance of soft and rough brushstrokes.

 

Vhal_5

JD: This is when I begin adding color. Frank Frazetta’s images were my initial inspiration so it was fun to try and emulate his vibrant colors. In Photoshop, there are various layer styles that yield different results based on how they’re used.  I used a layer style called Overlay and another called Gradient Maps to infuse the tones with a color of my choosing. It’s a lot of push and pull but I feel it’s a really exciting way to work, and it can have some happy accidents. 

 

Vhal_6

JD: After reading more into the character’s story, I decided that the red hues weren’t going to cut it so I went for a cool color scheme of greens and blues.

 

Vhal_7

JD: More color adjustments and painting details of the characters. I also added more lighting.

 

Vhal_8

JD: Looking at the image it was decided that the Spectre’s pose wasn’t working for our story so I scrapped it and went with something new. They looked too much like they were fighting each other so I also changed where Kitra was looking so it makes more sense contextually. With these changes, the composition began to feel pretty contained so I opened up the top half of the image to add in some architecture. 

 Final

JD: Finally, I finished rendering out the image and put the final touches on it. I decided to add a lot of smokey effects to really show how powerful the Spectre is as she emerges out of Vhal. 

Golem Arcana is a really exciting project for me. The world is so rich and diverse! Everytime I hear about a new character I want to read their story and find out how they connect to the others. This is an evolving world and it’s going to be really fun to see it grow. 

Thanks Joel!

Click here for a larger version of the final painting, and click here to read more about the enigmatic Vhal Kitra.