blog header

blog header

Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Woods: Secrets of Shandisholm, pre-orders open tomorrow!

Does what it says on the tin! After over two years of game development and six months of writing the pre-orders for Secrets of Shandisholm, the first The Woods sourcebook, will open tomorrow. Here are some questions we've been asked:

How long will pre-orders run?
We're expecting delivery of the book late July and for general retail to begin on the 1st August, so pre-orders will close at midnight on July 31st.

Does the content only work with the Systemmech system?
No. Much of the book is background, ideas, modelling articles and scenarios that will work with whatever tabletop or RPG system you want to use. The SystemMech rules are included and there are stats for using all the races with SystemMech, but also a section on converting those stats to use in other systems- which is very straightforward!

How do pre-orders work?
There'll be cart buttons on the SystemMech and The Woods pages of the website ( Just click to add and check out in the normal way. When the books arrive we'll ship them to you. Should anything go wrong (obviously we hope and are confident nothing will!) we'll let you know and if necessary give a full refund. All our payments are taken through Paypal so you are protected in the unlikely event anything untoward occurs.

Do I get a benefit pre-ordering?
Yes. Pre-orders are important to us as they help us calculate how much stock to order and allow us to budget for the next releases so we can keep products coming without long delays or crowd-funding. If you pre-order the book you'll get 33% off the cover price. Because the miniatures boxes are only a couple of months away from release as well we're also offering an option to pre-order a book and box, we'll send the book and you can pick any box when it is released. There's one more option for people who'll be at Bring Out Your Lead: The UK Oldhammer Day. Since we'll be able to hand you your book in person you won't need to pay shipping but our e-cart won't let you check out without adding shipping so we've discounted the order price a bit more to balance it out.

How big is the book?
It's 160 pages, hardback, 200mm wide and 250mm high. It has 34 pages of general background, a 26-page bestiary of over 50 creature types, 12 pages of items and skills, 12 pages of modelling articles, 8 scenarios with ideas for fitting them into your narratives, a complete adventure 'Reek of the Fens' and, of course, full rules, action tables, character creation and guide for playing games using SystemMech. The book includes a unique Fateweaver action table which adds 'magic' (or as close as The Woods gets) abilities.

As you can see there's a lot in there, so through the rest of July we'll be walking through the book a section at a time. Stay tuned for a look at this beautiful tome!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Woods:Secrets of Shandisholm goes to print!

Long-standing followers of the blog will be aware of The Woods, a world of Celtic folklore which Oakbound began exploring a couple of years ago. We released a free print-and-play board game, kickstarted a bunch of miniatures and always hoped to turn it into an immersive RPG. We met with a couple of small groups launching their own roleplay systems, and developed an extensive back story, bestiary and collection of art to accompany these systems, only for them to fade away before anything could go to print.

During this time we were developing a near-future dystopian sci-fi game called Factious Waste, which attendees at BOYL the last couple of years might have got beta copies of. The rules for Factious Waste had a couple of unique points, they involved no rolling of dice or drawing of cards and were geared towards manipulation of the game environment, coercion and subterfuge rather than combat- which was deterred by being particularly brutal!

Last December Oakbound attended Dragonmeet again and were surprised talking to people that were confused by why we were selling miniatures with no game system (we had The Woods kickstarter minis for sale). It had never occurred to us that there was an expectation that miniature lines should have their own game, there are so many systems out there to choose from. Nevertheless, this gave us an opportunity to combine the things we'd wanted to do, release an RPG for The Woods and develop the Factious Waste rules further. The result was we split the rules from Factious Waste, producing something we called SystemMech, a plug-and-play system ready to insert into any world you chose.

To make it work in a fantasy setting we had to revise and expand the close combat system, FW had been very shooty. The excellent Chris Cale from Tied to a Kite games brought his dark age re-enactment expertise to our aid and I'm happy that what we have now is a fairly convincing (as convincing as possible in the limitations of a tabletop miniatures game) recreation of the aspects of ancient combat. We also designed 'Fateweaver' (as close to magic as The Woods gets) actions and a host of skills, equipment and traits for the world of The Woods.

After 6 months of playtesting, writing, editing, layouts, test prints etc. the book, Secrets of Shandisholm, the first sourcebook for SystemMech is now at the printers and preorders will be opening very soon. We had some amazing help pulling this together. Gripping Beast, Warlord Games, Foundry and Dark Sword let us use their miniatures, Woodland Scenics supported the terrain building, Dave Stafford (aka Mr Saturday) painted miniatures and wrote a tutorial for the modelling section. Some excellent artists have also lent their talents to the publication, the book boasts some amazing pencil drawings from Solly Solomon, inkwork from Geoff Davis and amazingly a front cover donated by the one and only Alan Lee! This has truly been a collaborative project and I think the results speak for themselves... I can't wait to see it in print! Nervous, but excited!


Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Call of Chulaine- rules for warbands

OK budding warlords, the rule of the united Fimir race is at your fingertips!
Yesterday I posted some fluff for the Fimir game I'll be running at BOYL this year, today here is what you'll need to take part. If you don't have a clan but want to play don't worry, let me know and we'll provide you with some minis. I should have plenty spare!
Here's how to select your warband for the Sunday morning game:
ONE Warlord
Some are the hand-picked champion of their clan, selected by the Meargh herself after long consultation and rigorous trial. Others are rogue nobles, determined to prove themselves worthy once again to hold power over their tribes. 
Level 20 Hero M4 WS7 BS4 S5 T6 W5 I6 A5 Ld9+3 Int5 Cl7+1 WP7+1
One Magic Item
Whatever equipment the model has
ONE Dirach
Trusted or mistrusted companions to the Warlords, the Dirach consider themselves the real power behind the throne.
Level 10 Wizard M4 WS4 BS1 S5 T3 W3 I3 A1 Ld7+3 Int7+2 Cl7+1 WP8+2
One Magic Item
Whatever equipment the model has
THIRTY army slots chosen from:
Shearl (one slot each, 25mm bases)
M4 WS3 BS1 S4 T3 W2 I2 A1 Ld6 Int5 Cl6 WP6
The Shearl must be lead by one Level 5 Hero (first free, additional at a cost of +1 slot each): M4 WS5 BS4 S5 T5 W2 I4 A3 Ld6 Int5 Cl6 WP6
Hand Weapons
Fimm (three slots each, 40mm bases)
M4 WS4 BS3 S4 T5 W2 I3 A2 Ld6 Int5 Cl6 WP6
The Fimm may be lead by one Level 10 Hero at an additional cost of +1 slot each: M4 WS6 BS4 S5 T6 W3 I4 A4 Ld7 Int5 Cl6 WP6
Hand Weapons
May have Light Armour at a cost of +1 slot per model
Fianna Fimm (four slots each, 40mm bases)
M4 WS5 BS3 S5 T5 W2 I4 A2 Ld6 Int5 Cl6 WP6
The Fianna may be lead by one Level 10 Hero at an additional cost of +1 slot each: M4 WS6 BS4 S5 T6 W3 I4 A4 Ld7 Int5 Cl6 WP6
Hand Weapons, Light Armour
May have Two-Handed Weapons at a cost of +1 Slot per model
ONE 'non-Fimir' choice
This can be one unit of 5-15 20 or 25mm-based models, 5-10 cavalry-based models or a single larger-based model (rider allowed) chosen from the listings in WFB3 and Armies.
Rules for covering mist are in play (units of 5+ Fimir generate a covering mist, concealing characters in the unit and giving ranged weapons -1 to hit, units not covered are subject to Stupidity), however all Fimir can see through mists normally so this will largely only affect the non-Fimir choices.
Hopefully this should allow for the unique character of each clan to stand out without becoming too complicated. The 'non-Fimir' choice allows for more variation, particularly as many armies will have been designed for later editions or even Kings of War or Age of Silliness. There should be something in 3rd Ed you can use to represent these things. Because it's a warband game there are no minimum unit sizes, but the effects of covering mist mean really units of less than 5 are at a disadvantage unless they can overcome Stupidity.


Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Fimir game for BOYL 2016- The Call of Chulaine

Millennia ago, cast adrift by the gods that had fashioned them, the race of the Fimir waned to a fraction of its once glorious power and warring nobles forced their nation apart. One of the most powerful of the Meargh called for the clans to stand united. Her name was Annun and she had a plan.
Annun’s clan lived in the far north of what is now Albion, in a fortress built of black granite and named Chulaine. Within this fortress, suspended over a great shaft at the heart of the castle, was a crystal, last remaining piece of the warp gates. Annun claimed that through this crystal Balor spoke to her of a glorious future for his people. Balor’s act of allowing the collapse of the northern the gate had earned him the high privilege of becoming one with the warp and even now his very life force was flowing through the magical essence in every Fimir. By learning to listen to his urging the Fimir would establish their race and subdue the world that had rejected them.
In a little over two centuries the whole remainder of the Fimir clans had grouped around the crystal. Hostility was rife, especially among the Meargh who resented any who claimed authority over them, and a civil war threatened to break out. Annun summoned the clan leaders to a contest. Whoever could break a piece from the crystal would demonstrate they had the blessing of Balor to lead his people to triumph. Each Meargh was to take in turns to strike the stone, whoever broke a piece off would be crowned queen of the Fimir. Annun herself went first, but for days the Meargh struck without success. Then, as evening drew in on the fifth day, a hit from a Meargh named Morrigû shattered a piece from the side of the crystal. Yet the Fimir had not expected what happened next. Mysterious essence, enshrined within the stone which had powered the gates of the Old Ones, flooded the castle. The Fimir were engulfed in a wave of something not experienced before or afterward. All memory of what happened is lost, but it appears the entire race of the Fimir slept, enshrined in the castle, for five thousand years. During these years it is believed Balor spoke to each individually, setting a task for each clan and each individual to perform.
When they finally awoke, the world outside was much changed, as were the Fimir themselves. Numb, they staggered out of the castle to behold a world populated with new species. Factions divided, each claiming a different view of their situation. Some claimed this was punishment for marring the stone, new races would fulfil the role the Fimir were to have played. Others declared these new creatures were rich pickings provided by Balor. A fierce battle broke out and the Fimir drifted their separate ways away from the castle. Few survived the slaughter or the radically changed climate. Ever since then the Fimir would exist as tiny and isolated groups, restricted to terrorising rural hamlets and haunting desolate fens, howling defiance at an uncaring moon and dreaming of the time when they would rise once more.
Now the time has come.
Across the Old World, carried on the winds of magic, the crystal calls to the Fimir.
From the cracked towers of the floating castle the crystal calls.
It summons its people back to Chulaine.  


Yes, it's time to start prepping for BOYL again! This year I'm hoping to finally bring together some of the diverse clans of my favourite fantasy race in an event called "The Call of Chulaine".
The game will pick up the above narrative at the point where a few small clans have made it across the Old World to the outer isles of Albion. There in the distance stands the crooked tower of Chulaine, the sacred stronghold. On the shoreline is a single black longship, big enough for just a few warriors. Before this ship stands a tall obelisk of flawless black granite, a pile of ceremonial trial swords and an intricate pattern drawn in the sand with coloured powder...
Each clan will be allowed to nominate a champion and small band of followers to take part in the trial using WFB3 rules, the Fimir mercenary contingent rules from Armies and the rules from WD102. Because part of the joy of building a Fimir army is deciding on a flavour and working out what 'counts as' rules to use each force will also have a slot for a 'non-Fimir' creature type. More details to follow.
I'm also hoping to have a display case up throughout the weekend in which we can showcase our myriad and diverse Fimir clans and want to encourage small skirmish games between the clans before the main game to represent rivalry among factions as the clans converge on the site of the final contest...
Stay tuned!


Fimm McCool's

Fimm McCool's