Friday, 9 September 2016

Manx Legends for HOTT

(This is another post from the original Stronghold - an army list based on myths and legends from the Isle of Man and written by Tim Sharrock. It includes pictures of his 15mm army.)

This army is based on stories from "Manx Fairy Tales" by Sophia Morrison (1911) as found at:

The Army
Blade general (Olaf Goddardson and his huscarls) @ 2AP1
Blades (More Norsemen) @ 2AP2
Shooters (Celtic shepherds with slings) @ 2AP2
Warband (South Manx Women) @ 2AP1
Beasts (Hunting Pack of the Little People) @ 2AP2
Behemoth (The Buggane of St Trinians) @ 4AP1
God (Manannan Mac y Leirr) @ 4AP1
Stronghold: a mist-covered hill
Home terrain: Tynwald Hill, or Peel Castle.

Manx society included strong Norse and Celtic influences, hence the Blades and Shooters. Olaf Goddardson owned the sword Macabuin, which was made by Loan Maclibuin, the Dark Smith of Drontheim.

"The south side women, at one battle, had followed the men and were watching from a little distance, but when they saw that the north people were winning they rushed down, and into the heart of the fight, with bratfuls of stones and with hacks, and won the day for the south."

South Side Women
The Little People can be represented as beasts or riders - depending on the ratio of hounds to horses, or even as cow-mounted knights:

"in came a whole lot of Little Men, dressed in green coats and leather caps. Keeking through the straw, he saw their horns hung by their sides, their whips in their hands, and scores of little dogs of every colour-green, blue, yellow, scarlet, and every colour you can think of-at their heels. The cows were lying down. The Little Fellows loosed the yokes from the cows' necks, hopped on their backs, a dozen, maybe, on each cow, and cracked their little whips."

The Buggane of St Trinians was defeated by a tailor - Timothy, who would ideally be depicted on the base - running away carrying a newly made pair of breeches. As to the Buggane itself, it had:

* a head covered with a mane of coarse, black hair
* eyes like torches
* glittering sharp tusks in its big, ugly, red mouth
* a big broad pair of shoulders, thick arms great fists
* a horrible form, black as ebony, and covered with wrinkles like the leather of a blacksmith's bellows
* sharp claws
* cloven feet
* rough arms, bony fingers, hard fists etc

The Buggane and Manannan Mac y Leirr
When the Buggane failed to catch Tim: "So furious was the monster at this that he seized his own head with his two hands, tore it off his body and sent it flying over the wall after the Tailor. It burst at his feet with a terrific explosion"... so you could also class it as artillery.

Manannan Mac y Leirr, "the Son of the Sea, was the first Ruler of Mann. He was a great Wizard, and he was so powerful that afterwards he was looked on as a god." so could also be represented as a magician general. On one occasion "... he made himself into the shape of three legs and rolled like a wheel down from the mountain top as fast as the wind". In another story he was opposed by St Patrick, who had ridden "in his shining armour on [his] snow-white steed". Manannan hid the whole island in mist (hence the stronghold) but Patrick with the help of several creatures landed at Peel "and he saw a great host of warriors round Manannan's Faery Mound, with the first rays of the rising sun shining on their spears. But the saint knew that they were phantoms raised by Manannan's magic power and he bade them to be gone. And, behold, they and their master, in the shape of three-legged men, whirled round and round like wheels before the swift wind..."

The Stronghold
An alternative approach would be to split the Manx into two lists, with the non-humans - typically more associated with the south of the Island. Manannan would be the magician general, and you could add more little people (as riders or knights), Nyker, the Water Goblin as a water-lurker, the Moddey Doo (a big black dog with rough curly hair) as a lurker, possibly another magician (such as Caillagh-ny-Faashagh, who could change himself into any shape he liked; sometimes he would be a goat with big, fiery eyes as big as dishes; at other times a tall, tall man as tall as two men with great, big, burning eyes, as big as plates). I do not know how to classify Ned Quayles fairy pig: "its tail was feathery and spread out like a fan, and it had long lapping ears that swept the ling. Now and again it turned its head and looked at me, and its eyes were burning like fire."

The Human Manx, could have a Norse blade general, as above, or St Patrick as a cleric general (or with the shining armour he could be classed as a paladin). St Patrick's monks could be a cleric, and perhaps the gentler North Manx women should be added as a horde.

Little People and Norse

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