Grim Jim Desborough gave Dragon Warriors a nice video review the other week. I'm not sharing it here out of immodesty (of course not) but because Jim accepted the geas of wearing the eyepatch of Bolverk Bor's-son, who is one of his household gods. (Mine too, actually, and that sort of thing is rare among atheist lefties like us.)
I've been finding Jim's YouTube games pretty useful while writing Jewelspider, as they're reminding me of staples of DW gaming that don't feature in our games much (the mystics' sense of premonition, for example - or indeed mystics themselves) but that the new rules should at least include nods to.
While we're talking of Legend, I should mention that there are two very tasty DW books available free on DriveThruRPG: Cadaver Draconis, which collects material that the Players Guide unfortunately didn't have room for, and The Nomad Khanates, a sourcebook for the Great Steppes. These are good hefty books written by DW authorities like Shaun Hately, Damian May, Wayne Imlach -- well, I won't list everyone here, they're on the credits page, but suffice to say you're all appreciated by me and Oliver. For anyone unfamiliar with the Khanates:
An expanse of temperate grasslands and scrub lies to the east of the New Selentine Empire. It has never been explored or mapped; its exact limits are unknown. Somewhere further east and south are the strange, tradition-steeped lands of Khitai and Yamato. More southerly are the rich countries of Zinj and Batubatan, and the Palace Under Heaven where the Emperor of the Nine Mountains holds court. In the south-west, the grasslands must abut the far fringes of Opalar. But a traveller wishing to visit any of these exotic places would take the seaward passage along the Gulf of Marazid, not travel across the grasslands. These wild plains are the home of nomad peoples as fierce and untamed as the landscape they inhabit.
The nomads are horse and oxen herders who move continually as the seasons and the abundance of grass for the herd dictate. They obtain everything from their herd - the horses are steeds for war or hunting, cattle draw the tribe’s wagons. Both are a source of meat and clothing and bone utensils. Horn and sinew are used in the construction of the nomads’ composite bows, which in the hands of a skilled archer can rain arrows on their enemies at a range of over two hundred yards.
The social organization of these people consists of extended tribe-alliances whose ruler is called a Khan. The balance of power shifts as tribes change allegiance and as incautious Khans are assassinated. At the time of writing, the principal power resides in Sitai Khan of the Oshkosa. Other khanates are the Katagai, the Gunguska, the Khanate of the Sweeping Vast, the Khanate of the Black Pavilion, and the Hunkunkai.
One westerner is famous for his travels among these wild people. Niccolo of Wissenstein was sent in a party of explorers from the court of King Vorlest of Kurland, who charged them with discovering a safe land-route to Khitai. Niccolo quickly learned the nomads’ tongue and set about his task; trying to establish contact with the Khans and make a deal with them guaranteeing ‘safe conduct’ for Kurlish caravanserai. In this he was not successful, but he did produce a record of nomadic life which is quite unique. His visit to a nomad’s home occurs early in the account of his travels:
"The clan are continually on the move, and for this purpose carry their homes with them. When the time comes to make camp, a family can set up one of these homes in under an hour. First a prepared lattice of willow hoops is raised, this being secured in the ground with heavy pegs. Large bolts of felt are wrapped onto this framework to form the walls of the home. The felt and the ropes used to lash the structure together are made from horsehair, and the clan’s herd animals provide oils to make the home proof against cold and rain. The finished home is a roughly circular tent which the steppe people call a gyur. ‘Invited into one such tent, I found the ulterior decorated with rugs and trinkets. The central part of the roof, above the fire, is left open as one also finds in the mead-halls of Mercania and Thuland. Despite this, I can attest that the home remains warm and comfortable even when the bitterest steppe wind is blowing outside. My own host, whose name was Shweymar, invited me to sit beside him on the brown rug occupying the northernmost third of the floor, opposite the entrance. This was a great honour, as the steppe people keep this area for the head of the household, his elders and guests of high status. Behind us were several idols depicting Shweymar’s household deities. In front of this area of high status, the floor is divided into two other sections. To the left of the doorway sit the women and children. The host’s sons and younger male guests sit on the right. Utensils for cooking and other household purposes are kept in the left-hand area while weapons are placed in a rack between the right-hand area and the host’s rug. I was to discover that this tradition of signifying status extends throughout the steppes, even to the homesteads of the citadels.Whether this is happenstance or real evidence that the tribes once belonged to a single unrecorded civilization – this question can never be answered."Got any fond memories of Dragon Warriors games past or present? Share them in the comments. If we get a dozen, I'll chip in with one of my own from our DW playtesting days.