Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Nibelungs

(This post is another juicy morsel from the original Stronghold, and was written by Karl Heinz Ranitzsch. The illustrations are by Birgit Amadori and can be found HERE)


The 'Nibelungenlied' (Song of the Nibelungs) is the German national epic. It describes, first, the adventures of Siegfried, how he acquired the Nibelung treasure hoard and married Kriemhild, sister of Gunther, King of the Burgundians, only to be killed by the intransigent Hagen von Tronje. The second part tells the tale of how Kriemhild married Etzel (Attila), king of the Huns and used his power to take revenge for the death of her husband.

Together with Nordic myths related to the same events, it provided the inspiration for Wagner's 'Ring' operas. It is a complex tale where characters are not clearly good nor obviously evil and change sides during the story. And the core story doesn't have much that translates straightforwardly into a single battle, except the final struggle between the Burgundians and Huns. However, there are some sideshows

How Siegfried obtained the Nibelungs' Hoard.

In the second 'Aventiure' Chapter Hagen tells the story of how Siegfried obtained the treasure hoard. The Nibelung princes, Nibelung and Schilbung, had asked him to split their inheritance and gave him the sword Balming as a reward. However, he used the sword to kill the Nibelungs and their followers.

Siegfried and his Followers

Stronghold: Medieval City gate
1 x Hero General @ 4AP (Siegfried)
10 x Knights or Blades @ 2AP (Siegfried's followers)

This chapter does not mention his followers, but on other occasions he has a following of knights, who sometimes dismount when fighting.

The Original Nibelungs

1 x Blade General @ 2AP (Nibelung and Schilbung)
1 x Hero @ 4AP (Alberich)
2 x Behemoths @ 4AP (Giants)
5 x Blades @ 2AP (Warriors)

The immensely strong Dwarf Alberich is the only one who comes close to besting Siegfried in a fight. A dozen giants are the Nibelungs' body-guards. Their other 700 warriors are not described in any details. I have just gone for the conventional Dwarven 'Blades'.

The 'Tarnkappe', a cloak of invisibility was part of the treasure hoard. Thus, you could include a sneaker in the Nibelung force. In this case, downgrade some of warriors to 'Horde'.

Siegfried's famous fight against the Dragon was on a separate occasion, but feel free to include it among the Nibelung forces.

The War against the Saxons and Danes
Siegfried has joined the Burgundian king Gunther at his court in Worms. Shortly after, an alliance of Saxons and Danes declares war on the Burgundians. A contingent of Burgundians sets out on campaign.


1 x Hero General @ 4AP (Prince Gernot and following)
1 x Hero @ 4AP (Siegfried)
1 x Hero @ 4AP (Hagen von Tronje and his following)
6 x Knights or Blades (Lesser Burgundians)

Both Gernot and Hagen are described as mighty fighters, though not quite in the class of Siegfried. The Burgundians fight both mounted and on foot, hence the option to use them as Knights or Blades.

Saxons and Danes

1 x Knight General @ 2AP (Liudeger, King of the Saxons)
1 x Knight @ 2AP (Liudegast, King of the Danes)
10 x Blades @ 2AP (Warriors)

While the Kings fight mounted as knights, the warriors are described as equipped with shield, helmet and mail coat and fight with swords and throwing spears. For them, Blades seems the best option. They are not especially ferocious, so warband seems inappropriate. A few skilled spear-throwers might be classed as shooters. Given their poor effectiveness - 40.000 Warriors are beaten by a few thousand Burgundian warriors - Hordes might not be out of place, either.

The Final Battle
After Siegfried is treacherously killed by Hagen, Kriemhild marries Etzel, king of the Huns (Attila) . She invites the Burgundians to his court and sets Etzel's warriors against them. The final showdown is in the burning hall of Etzel's palace. Accordingly, the terrain should be columns and furniture, rather than hills and woods.

The Burgundians
1 x Blade General @ 2AP (King Gunther)
1 x Hero @ 4AP (Hagen von Tronje)
1 x Hero @ 4AP (Princes Gernot & Giselher)
1 x Hero @ 4AP (Dankwart and Volker)
5 x Blades @ 2AP (Lesser Burgundians)

The Huns

1 x Horde General @ 1AP (Etzel and Kriemhild)
1 x Hero @ 4AP (Dietrich von Bern)
1 x Hero @ 4AP (Hildebrand )
2 x Blades @ 2AP (Lesser vassals)
2 x Shooters @ 2AP (Hun archers)
2 x Warband @ 2AP (Fierce Hun warriors)
3 x Hordes @ 1AP (Lesser Hun warriors)

Etzel and Kriemhild keep mostly out of the fighting, just direcing their troops. Classifying them as hordes gives them an incentive to do that. Etzel had numerous vassals: Russians, Kiewans, Greeks, Pechenegs, etc. Most prominent among these are the Goths, with their king Dietrich and the hero Hildebrand.

If you wish, you could place the battle in the open instead. In this case, make the Hun troops knights and riders.

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...