Les coquins de Bretonnie

Between renovating my apartment and working on my PhD, I haven’t had very much time lately to nurse my hobbies. However, now that the renovations are behind me, I am looking forward to doing some painting and writing up some fluff for my ever-burgeoning Bretonnian army. On that front, I am pleased to report that I’ve nearly finished my first unit: a beautiful group of ten medium- heavy cavalry that I purchased from Perry Miniatures. While painting the unit this past week, I have also been reading the latest of George R. R. Martin’s books, A Dance with Dragons (I know, I know—I said that I wouldn’t, but the show was just too damn good).

In selecting a theme for my army, I am going to be drawing inspiration from George R. R. Martin’s universe. For example, I am particularly fond of a group of mercenaries in A Dance with Dragons that are known as The Windblown. Aside from being entirely composed of vagabonds, turncloaks, and murderers, the company’s lieutenants are some of the most compellingly named characters I’ve ever encountered in Fantasy:

“There were more, near as mad or worse: Lord Wobble-cheeks, the Drunken Conqueror, the Beastmaster, Pudding Face, the Rabbit, the Charioteer, the Perfumed Hero. Some had twenty soldiers, some two hundred or two thousand, all slaves they had trained and equipped themselves. Every one was wealthy, every one was arrogant, and every one was a captain and commander, answerable to no one but Yurkhaz zo Yunzak, disdainful of mere sellswords, and prone to squabbles over precedence that were as endless as they were incomprehensible” (Martin 2012, 355-356).

I mean, come on… Lord fucking Wobble-cheeks? How could you not want a Warhammer character inspired by Lord Wobble-cheeks? Admittedly, the idea of a patchwork fellowship of sellswords, slavers, and people named Wobble-cheeks appeals to me more deeply than it probably should. Nonetheless, I am taking The Windblown as a template for the first 1,000-1,500 points of my Araby-Crusade themed Bretonnian army. We will see where the fluff-writing and game-driven narrative development take me in time. But for now, I would like to present my first unit of ‘knights’: the Sandsnakes (WIP photos).


During the Great Crusade the Tilean city-states are awash with tens of thousands of Bretonnian knights dragging their squires and men-at-arms in-tow, each more desperate than the next to find a vessel bound for the coast of Araby. Some crusaders will come back flush with gold and glory. Many more, however, will return to Tilea with little more than a bitter tale of horror and defeat in some distant, sun-scorched wasteland…. My army concept revolves around this second group: disgraced and impoverished ex-crusaders returning to the Old World to find themselves without lands, titles, or wealth. Displaced by the crusades and hardened by years of campaigning, some of these individuals are forced to resort to mercenary work or, in many cases, to outright banditry.

The Sandsnakes are an organization of similarly disillusioned ex-crusaders for-hire. The current leader of the Sandsnakes is H. G. Evanander, “the Spade”. The title “Spade” is derived from a rumor spread during the siege of Al-Haikk that Evanander was in fact a eunuch. He thus became known as “the Spayed”. Upon returning to Tilea, however, he claimed that the title referred to his proficiency as gambler—hence “the Spade”. On the tabletop, The Spade will be represented by a mid-level Wizard attached to the largest unit of Sandsnake cavalry present in the battle. For the time being, I only have the one unit of ten cavalry that I will run WYSIWYG: heavy armor, shields, and un-barded warhorses.

The Spade (WIP)

The Spade memorizing spells during the siege of Al-Haikk… Courtesy of Ben Kingsley’s villainous character Nizam in Prince of Persia

In my next entry I’ll be pulling some old units off the shelf and hitting the 3rd ed. rulebook to make them fully compatible with the retro-project. There will also be some fluff to write and final WIP photos of the Sandsnakes and their illustrious leader. Yay!




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