Mapping Valkae, Part One

“Melanippe, navarch of Asteria, here presents her research so all that has happened to the Valkae Amazons might not fade from memory. May the deeds of the Amazons and the barbarian nations of men be sung, as well as the causes that led them to make war upon one another.”

– Melanippe, The Histories of Valkae (986)

(If the quote above seems a little familiar, I swiped it and modified it from Herodotus. Whereas Herodotus is sometimes called the father of history in our world, I’m shamelessly promoting Melanippe as the mother of history for Talomir. )

I’m starting on a project where I need to update my map of Valkae. But before getting to the map itself, here’s the journey on how I got here.

Discovering Valkae

Melanippe (center) recording an event

About a decade ago, I got my hands on a copy of Chain Reaction and a copy of Mayhem: Warrior Heroes, both from Two Hour Wargames.

I was looking for something to replace Warhammer and Reaper’s Warlord game. Mayhem WH had just what I wanted, a list for Amazons.

Playing Chain Reaction didn’t come naturally to me. I had lots of questions. A local gaming group, the DFW Irregulars, put on a small gaming event on a Saturday called “Skirmish Day.” The author, publisher, and chief bottle washer of Two Hour Wargames was there, one Ed Teixeira running a game of a soon to be published set of rules – Larger Than Life. I played in one of Ed’s game sessions and not only learned how the reaction system worked, but I got hooked on the game.

Anyway, to the point, I picked up two new sets of rules – one science fiction, 5150: Book One and the other a fantasy set, Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures. This book was the first time I had encountered the fantasy world of Talomir. There isn’t any references to Amazons in WH Armies & Adventures, but I could create female adventurers. One of the things I had learned about at Skirmish Day and was also printed in the new rulebooks, was the existence of a Two Hour Wargames Yahoo Group. In the group, I began to hear about a land which was home to Amazons called Valkae. There were no other details other than the name of Valkae and that it was an island.

Jus as I was in the middle of playing my first games of WH Armies & Adventures, Two Hour Wargames released Rally Round the King. My beat up copy is a testament as to how much I’ve played RRtK. It has to be one of the best set of rules for mass fantasy battles and ancient battles I’ve ever played.

Rally Round the King is the only place I know of that has army lists and descriptions of 44 different nations or powers of Talomir. Here’s what I learned about the Valkae Amazons:

  • The island nation is divided into three provinces or states
  • The major form of government is that of City States
  • On a whole Valkae’s alignment is with the “Setting Sun”
  • Valkae’s national motivation is one of colonization
  • Amazon armies rely heavily on fast moving melee troops
  • Their civilization is similar to that of classical or Hellenistic Greece
  • Amazon warriors and the elite sword maidens are subject to frenzy

One of the biggest additions to the rules in terms of background was a map or Talomir showing all of the known nations, their provinces and major sea trade routes. If you are really interested in gaming across the Talomir world, Rally Round the King is an indispensable resource.

The next clues I found about Valkae came from the Two Hour Wargames Yahoo Group. Ed posted two spreadsheets giving a synopsis and diplomatic relations among the countries as of the year 986. From these, I got the following additional information:

  • the capitol of Valkae was Nica
  • Valka has neutral relations with Altengard and Tropilium
  • Valkae has hostilities toward the Brethren, the Capalan League and Riata

In addition to the two spreadsheets, Ed released maps with hexes. There wasn’t a map with a complete Valkae on it. But Sean Squires constructed a composite map and calculated the distances based on the hexes. I’ll always be grateful to Sean for this, because it opened my eyes to a large blank canvas.

After many Amazon versus Amazon RRtK games, I began to flesh out Valkae with my own features and place names. I always asked on the group first, just in case someone knew of a previous name. I decided the three provinces would represent the three types of governments encountered by the ancient Greeks – a democracy, an oligarchy and a monarchy. The democracy was Asteria, the oligarchy was Nycenae and the monarchy – Latona. The three states also treated men differently. In Asteria, men could be free, but men can not become citizens, own property or bare arms. In Nycenae, all men are slaves for life. And in Latona, men are hunted for sport.

The scarcity of information on Valkae makes the map an empty canvas. Next time, I’ll start filling in that canvas.

The Painting Desk

As with last week, I put down the paint brush at noon and gathered up completed miniatures and terrain pieces to photograph for this part of the blog. The total count of painted miniatures for the year now stands at 78. Two small milestones were reached – I finished all of the 6mm cavalry needed for my RRtK for Thucydides and I finished the command figures for my Seven Years War Project, the Last Bridge at Hoya. I’ll be doing a separate post about the commanders of this engagement later in the week. I also constructed 11 pieces of terrain this week for a game I’ll be running soon. Here’s the breakdown this week:

  • 8 28mm Fantasy Figures
  • 10 10mm Seven Years War Figures
  • 60 6mm Ancient Greek Figures
  • 11 Pieces of Terrain

The Corner of Miscellany

I thought I’d start with another jazz classic I’ve loved over the years, the song “Fever.” Of course the best rendition of the song has to be the minimalist version done by Peggy Lee. We played it in high school jazz band, all high schools did back in the day. Over the years, several performers have done covers of the song and I thought I’d find who had done it recently. To my surprise, I found a delightful new version or actually a completely new song. It still has the same premise that someone you love causes you to run a fever and the song is titled “Fever.” Only this version came out just a couple of months ago performed by Mr. J.Y. Park, the CEO of K-Pop. Have a listen to both songs, they’re both good.

1958

2019

I hope you all have had a good week. It actually got cold here in Dallas the last couple of days, well cold for Texas that is. As always, your comments are appreciated and treasured.

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