Saturday, 16 November 2013

Earthsea Lists for HOTT

This a a slight reworking of a piece from the original Stronghold.

Earthsea is a fictional archipelago created by Ursula Le Guin as the setting for a number of novels and short stories published between 1964 and 2001. The most famous of these 'A Wizard of Earthsea' is the basis of these lists, developed by Alan Huyton. It's based very much on the first book, and is fairly rudimentary, but provides a useful basis on which to draw more compete lists. The archipelago is made up of many islands and people, and warfare between them in some for is almost inevitable; it would make the basis of an interesting campaign, with small, conventional armies, lots of naval movement and a smattering of wizards and other fantasy elements*.


1 x Hero or Magician @ 4AP (Sparrowhawk)
1 x Magician @ 4AP (Ogion the Silent)
1 x Dragon @ 4AP (Tamed by Sparrowhawk as he knows its true name)
5 x Spears @ 2AP (Gontish spearmen)
1 x Flyer @ 2AP (Hawks tamed by Sparrowhawk)

For figures, any medieval types will do, although Le Guin appears to have not considered the cultures of the islands to be entirely European in nature. The spearmen are rustic peasants and could be classed as a Horde if desired, although the general is likely to be one of the Spears. Other possibilities include Viking type warriors (Blades) or pirates (Warband or Shooters) but these would tend to be enemies of Sparrowhawk and Ogion, so you might prefer to substitute renegade wizards. For example:

Enemies of Roke

1 x Magician @ 4AP (Jasper)
1 x Cleric @ 3AP (Acolyte)
1 x God @ 4AP (The Shadow)
5 x Warband @ 2AP (Pirates)
3 x Hordes @ 1AP (Undead sailors)

Update: There's an excellent map of Earthsea HERE.

*Many years ago - as in 'When I Was Still At School' - I actually drew up a five player Diplomacy variant map for Earthsea. I wish I still had it, as it would be perfect for HOTT.


  1. I seem to recall early in the book Ged (Sparrowhawk) defeating a raid that appeared to be Vikingish in nature. It is possible the culture of the island of Gont (Ged's home island) was perhaps more middle eastern or vaguely African. Ged was supposed to be a black guy, though I never found he 'came across' as such. Not that it matters a whole lot.

    Just by-the-by - I've always pronounced Ged's name 'Dzhed', Ursula le Guin's insistence notwithstanding. If she wanted it to be pronounced 'Ghed' (hard 'g') she should have spelt it 'Ghed'. Mind you, 'Yed', 'Ved' and 'Hed' would also be legitimate pronunciations given the original spelling... :-) Sorry. Sheldon Cooper moment....

    1. It's a long while since I've read the books, and I'm sure that I could probably come up with some comprehensive lists if I did. Which I will :)

      I must admit that, reading them as a child, I hadn't picked up on any ethnicity clues in the text.

  2. When we played HoTTs we always required the player to declare what the spell was. It had no mechanical impact, just was a bit of flavor.

    So, I have seen "Hot Tub Break' remove a Xena and Gabrielle Hero element from an Amazon army long enough for the rest of the army to be thrashed just in time for them to return to the battle refreshed.

    In this light, I think you should make it a requirement for your players to compose a few spell verses and recite one before rolling to be-spell their foes.


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