giovedì 30 marzo 2017

Gelmir the Adventurer - Citadel Silvan Elf ME31 (1985)

This miniature couples with that of Lamshâr, so there's not much more to say. They look similar indeed, except for the head, and they are Jes Goodwin sculpts released in 1985 as LotR Silvan Elves and, later, in 1989 in the Late Summer Catalogue.

This miniature, though, was painted with the nemesis of Dark Elf Assassin Lamshâr: the Sea Elf Hero Gelmir, my first WFRP PC whose origins were briely touched in this earlier post.

So here goes, very briefly, the first part of the great tale of Gelmir, Harpist of the Gates, Chosen of Quesshan and Regent of Dralas, which covers possibly four intense years of gaming between 1996 and 2000.

Gelmir was the son of poor Sea Elf settlers in the Wasteland, living in the village of Grilm. His father died at sea when he was infant, and the mother was slain by Goblinoids when little Gelmir was but a child, hiding under the bed with his siblings. Survivors of the pillage of Grilm, Gelmir and his siblings made a living as street urchins and beggars in the nearby town of Zeaburg for a few years until one day they were found by another Sea Elf, Elmerin, who brought them to Lothern and adopted them as his own.

Gelmir came back to the Old World when he reached adulthood, on a trip to revisit his past and perhaps find Brandir, his brother who had been lost before Elmerin found them. He travelled to Marienburg and then along the Reik until Nuln, where he found a job as bodyguard of Counsellor Oldenhaller. At this time, together with some companions, he uncovered a net of warpstone smugglers covering a good part of the Empire: this criminal organisation was led by Skaven Champion Boneface. With the help of three mysterious Old Slann spectres, the heroes vanquished the organisation and chased Boneface to Marienburg where they killed him, finding out he was the reincarnation of a fourth Slann spectre. They four undead were in possession of a piece of music which could expand or reduce portals to the Warp: Boneface was bent on expanding the Northern Warpgate with it (reached by a convenient portal), but Gelmir just in time played his harp and brought back the Gate at the original size - no less. This was the first feat of Gelmir as a hero, and one that put him on the list of the servants of Chaos as an enemy, and as the possessor of a piece of the Melody of the Gates. 

Begore disappearing, the four spectres indeed prophesised that one day, not far away, the representatives of the Free Peoples of the World would have the chance to close the Warpgates. This was a key event in Gelmir's life, who believed from that day that he had a destiny to fulfill and save the world, a belief that later, after a number of failed Coolness Tests, developed first into Megalomania and then into Heroic Idiocy.

With his newfound Slann blade Myrmidag, Gelmir left the Old World and travelled to Lustria, looking for someone who could translate some Old Slann books which had been owned by the four spectres. In Lustria he found a friend, the scholar Balgar, but also a lot of enemies. Balgar was kidnapped and brought, ironically, to the Old World, where a group of Malalite Dark Elves were trying to tackle with a Moon Gate, an alternative to Warp Gates. Gelmir chased the kidnappers but could not save his friend. In a fit of rage, Gelmir killed his assassin but also broke his blade, already weakened by thousands of years of exposure to Chaos radiations.

Back went Gelmir to Lustria, carrying the body of Balgar, the untranslated books and the pieces of Myrmidag. Again he found somebody willing to help, but not openly as the Church of the Snake-god Quesshan, the main religious organisation of the Slann, was not kind to foreigners and those who owned artefacts which they considered their own. It was at this time that, frustrated by his inability to find allies, Gelmir defied the laws of the Slann and travelled inland into Lustria, reaching incognito the capital Aztelcahuan: captured and risking death, he managed to pass himself as a pilgrim delivering gifts to the Great Emperor - the Old Slann books. Awed by the precious gift, the courtesans of the Emperor allowed Gelmir an audience with the Lord of the World, where he was kindly blessed and then sent back to the coast, but not without hearing legends about Myrmidag being part of a trio of ancient swords, sacred to Quesshan.

In coastal Lustria, once again Gelmir was attacked by Chaos servants, this time the Champion of Slaanesh Lamshâr who stole the Melody. One again, Gelmir gave chase, helped by other heroes, finding the enemy at Karak Azul. Here, with a portal, they reached the Souther Warpgates and stopped the Dark Elf from becoming a Chaos Prince. 

This trip allowed Gelmir to talk with Dwarfish smiths about the properties of the legendary mithril steel and the reforging of Myrmidag. Gelmir then went looking for the ruins of Boneface's underground lair where he thought he could find more about Old Slann lore, but there he found contemporary Slann, also looking for the same answers! Fighting his way out, Gelmir discovered to be on the enemy list of not only Chaos followers, but also the great Slann archmage Anguissh, who believed the Sea Elf was withholding secret Slann lore and, quite correctly, that he had the pieces of Myrmidag. The wizard was looking forward to collect the three blades of Quesshan because together they would have merged into the Sword of Quesshan, an ultimate weapon destined to be wielded by a Champion of the Slann against Chaos.

Gelmir travelled far and wide the Old World and over to Ulthuan to put together information about the swords and reforge Myrmidag, always chased by minions of Anguissh. Gelmir and Anguissh's champion met in a final showdown in Tilea, where the three swords were finally collected in the same place: ironically, when the three swords merged into the legendary Quesshandag, the sword refused to be wielded by the Slann and instead accepted the grip of Gelmir, who slew all his enemies except for the archmage, who beat a hasty retreat. It was this event that convinced Gelmir even more that he was the Chosen One of Quesshan, that he was the Hero of the Free Peoples against Chaos.

Committed to the prophecy of the Slann spectres, Gelmir made peace with Anguissh and invited him at a Council in Nuln, where all loremasters from the Old World and Ulthuan would gather to discuss a plan to close the Warpgates. Together, these great minds were able to complete a larger part of the Melody and then divided into groups to further study different aspects of the plan.

But a Hero can not fight Chaos alone: he needs an army. And to sustain an army, he needs a kingdom, thought Gelmir. So he started looking for one, in the Border Princes. It took him months of preparations and several failed attempts but, at last, he was able to sneak into the port of Dralas and hold hostage his Prince, obtaining his sister in marriage and the title of Regent.

That was the start of Gelmir's life as a nobleman, and another chapter of his tale...

lunedì 6 marzo 2017

Gelmir the Sea Elf - Citadel Elf Command Musician (1987)

In the beginning, there was the glorious and embarassing original setting of Warhammer Fantasy. It was glorious because it was simply one of the most imaginative and cool settings ever. It was embarassing, because it blatantly stole elements from Tolkien and Moorcock, mixed them with pop culture and sprinkled a good bit of stereotyping on top.

There were Slann, of course. There were Amazons. There were Pygmies. And there were Sea Elves. All things that were happily retconned in the 90s because the creative management at GW thought they veered too much on the embarassing side of the spectrum, no matter how glorious they were.

This is what WFRP 1E had to say about Sea Elves:
The Elves living around the coasts of the Elven Kingdoms have a tradition of seamanship and fighting, and lack the normal Elven disdain of physical labour.  Because of this, the High Elves look down on them, thinking them rough and uncouth.  They are brave warriors and tireless guardians of the seaways, and it is thanks to them that the sea routes between the Old World and Lustria remain open.  Sea Elves are quite venturesome, and can often be found as merchants and traders in old World ports.  Most of them speak Old Worlder as well as Elvish, and many have a smattering of the Norse language too.  The Elven trading posts of the Old World are run almost exclusively by Sea Elves.

In later years, Sea Elves were simply absorbed into the High Elves or, as the Lore, named them, the Asur. A memory of their existence could be traced in the division of High Elves between those belonging to the introspective inner realms of Ulthuan, and those hailing from the hardy and seafaring outer realms.

But in their glory days, the Sea Elves were the Warhammer Sindar, the Falathrim of the Old World, the link between the lands of Men and Ulthuan, Lustria and the rest of the world. They were cosmopolitan, adventurous and interested in trading. Basicly the opposite of the isolationist High Elves, the secretive Wood Elves and the decadent Dark Elves.

No wonder that my first WFRP PC was a Sea Elf then. Gelmir, he was named, son of Handir, born in the miserable harbour of Grilm, on the coasts of the Wasteland, not far from Marienburg. He was an orphan, a bodyguard, quite ugly by elven standards (which still made him the most handsome of the party) and blessed with the boon of having a morality closer to Man than Elf. In other words, he was elvish, good and a lover of beauty and all, but at times a huge son of a b$%£h.

The miniature for this PC is a 1987 Citadel cast for the Elf Command Group (#10, Musician), scuplted by Jes Goodwin. It is a nice figure, with good proportions and very nice hair. It's perfect for an adventurer, with its causal garments and big belt with satchels. I choose it for the harp, which was a key element of Gelmir the Sea Elf - he had learned a melody from some Old Slann ghosts, by virtue of which he could widen or narrow warp portals, and this skill was instrumental more than once in limiting the power of Chaos champions and sorcerers.

Any opinion or memories with Sea Elves? Let me know in the comments!