Thursday, June 13, 2013

Where There's A Whip

Doing a re-read of the Demonlord rulebook, I noticed something interesting about the Dwarves.

There are neutral factions in the Demonlord wargame with whom either the good guys or the bad guys can attempt to make alliances. One of these is the Dwarven Kingdom of Ula. As I mentioned last week, when either player tries to ally with Ula, there is an equal chance of either the Dwarf King or "the Balron character" (oh, early 80s fantasy games and your wacky "I don't want to get sued by the Tolkien estate" hijinks) being in control. If it's the Balron, he can send Trolls and "slave miners" to help you out. But if it's the Dwarf King, he can send Dwarf units... and slave miners.

So it's not like it's just that the Balron is a bad dude and he's enslaved some miners. The Dwarf King does that shit too. Nobody else in the game has units described as slaves -- not even the Demonlord.

Now, I don't how you feel about slavery, but to me, that pretty much means that the Dwarves are assholes.

Also, the fact that it's "Dwarf units" and "slave miner units" strongly implies that the slaves aren't dwarves. Well, that certainly puts a different spin on the usual "humans, halflings, elves and dwarves are all basically buds" vanilla fantasy setup. I had already figured out that the Dwarves were probably not among the "semi-human allies" noted in the rulebook's introductory prose, but that pretty much clinches it.


  1. It's possible that this decision was taken because of limitations on the counter mix. i.e. they had to reuse the slave units/counters to give dwarves two types of units, instead of having more counters to be the halfling allies/dwarf militia/whatever.

    1. That seems likely. I like where this train of thought leads, though, so I'll stick with it.

  2. Interesting! Really though, it means the dwarves are no more or less assholes than the ancient Romans,which is probably like saying not less assholes than human beings in general.

    1. I'm not going to portray them as irredeemably evil or anything like that; actually, pretty much every faction in this game is probably going to be a mixed bag, because that's how I like it. (Yes, even the Demonlords, though they'll be a bit more assholish than most.)

      Don't worry, the humans have plenty of asshole traits too.


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