Spears of the Dawn in the World of WarHammer
Spears of the Dawn is an RPG set in the fertile adventure grounds of Africa. From the book:
Spears of the Dawn is a game that provides classic old-school fantasy adventure in an African-flavored setting. Just as many early role-playing games created compound worlds of mixed medieval European elements, so Spears of the Dawn creates an African pastiche built for accessible fun at the table. This is not a game about historical Africa any more than early fantasy RPGs were games about historical Europe. Instead, like its predecessors, it tries to use elements of history and legend to build a fun and workable setting for flavorful adventure.I scimmed through the book when I received it, and I really liked what I saw. From the tagline of "Fantastic Adventure in an Untamed Land," to the page long setting summary (I'll link that at the end) to the bestiary, maps, and characters, everything about this game triggered my Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay mind.
When I buy new games, I'm not always looking for a new game itself, but I'm often looking for a setting to catch my attention and feed my imagination, I found this setting with Spears of the Dawn. I want to use it. I'm most likely to use a setting if I can find a place for it in my Warhammer world.
I looked around the Warhammer map of the Old World and found a perfect spot for the Spears of the Dawn setting. Lustria, Naggaroth, Brettonia, Estalia, Cathay, Nippon, the desolation of Nagash, these spots are already filled with history and setting. There was one place on the map, though, where I could find no established background. This was the South Lands.
Under the desolation of Nagash is a land unplundered by the evil of the Empire, orcs, skaven, or undead. Adventurers who explore there seldom come back, as none are prepared for the dangers therein. Dwarf scouting parties are decimated, and the few who survive the experience (and the return trip to civilization) are usually delirious with insanity. This is the South Land (sub-Sahara Africa).
I'll leave you with this. Read the first page of Spears of the Dawn and tell me it does not scream Warhammer:
It is a time of suffering. The Three Lands groan under the weight of the past. The scourge of the half-living Eternal and their undying malice was driven back into the east in the time of your grandfathers, but in the forty years since that time the Five Kingdoms have only squabbled, fought, and shunned each other. Some men and women dream of a better day, of a land of peace and abundance as in the days of the Old Kings, but there are many who would rather buy an age of bitterness if it brings them present power. People flee the troubled places in search of safer lands, and the lawless wilderness grows wider each year.
The Eternal and their cursed immortality were broken forty years ago, but their remnants still hide in the gloom beneath the earth and brood patiently in their tomb-houses of slave-carved stone. They wait and they hunger for the flesh of living men, emerging to strike at wretched villages and beleaguered towns in search of blood and fresh converts to their hideous existence. Some men and women worship them, either in hopes of being spared their wrath or in the mad lust for the immortality their undying state offers. Even the greatest heroes can be seized with fear when faced with their final journey to the spirit world, and the Eternal are quick to promise every pleasure of life to those who would share in their frozen eternity.
Yet the half-dead are not the only scourge upon the living. The kings of the Five Kingdoms trust each other but little, and constant border quarrels and deniable “incidents” flicker like sparks of war’s red flames along the edges of their lands. The obas of border towns and the chieftains of remote villages no longer heed the messages from the capital and begin to set themselves up as lords in their own right, answering only to steel. Some do so in desperation as they seek to protect people their kings cannot save. Others do so because it is a pleasant thing to make slaves or corpses of all who dare oppose them.
Caught between the living and the half-dead, the people of the Three Lands must also endure the scourges of the wilderness and the terrible spirits and monstrous beasts that lair within the bush. Bat-winged sasabonsams swoop to reap a shrieking harvest from the villages, and cruel elokos demand a red and terrible price from all who dare trespass upon their lands. And beneath it all coil the emerald scales of the umthali, the snakemen who ruled at the dawn of the world. Their cold-blooded malice seethes towards those who dared usurp their rule and cast down their ancient cities of stone and strange artifice. Some say that there are more to be found than those in their ruined cities, and that they whisper green words into the ears of human lords.Now I'm thinking about getting a physical copy of the book...
Yet even in this time of darkness, the people of the Three Lands are proud. The sun still gleams on the blades of the Kirsi lancers and the iron-shod hooves of their steeds. The great cities of Nyala still dream of lost empire amid their palaces of sculpted stone. The markets of Sokone are heavy with goods from every corner of the Three Lands. Lokossa’s brooding sorcererkings still rule a land of mighty magic, and its grim amazons still stand fast against the bestial Night Men of the uttermost south. And in the east, the proud Meru cherish their Sun Faith and the defiance their ancestors hurled into the teeth of the Eternal King. The Five Kingdoms totter, but they have not fallen.
There are still those who fight for something better. Wandering griots sing of the heroes of the Long War and the grudges they set aside to stand as one, and marabouts of both the Sun Faith and the Spirit Way warn their followers that bloody quarrels can only bring ruin to the living. Masked ngangas appear in distant villages to drive out evil spirits and break the power of dark sorcerers before vanishing once more into the bush. And everywhere, brave warriors place their bodies between their people and the spears of bandits and corrupt officials. Some of these courageous souls band together as Spears of the Dawn, heirs to the last emperor’s charge to seek out and destroy the evil remnants of the Long War. They fight in hidden places and often die unmourned, but their sacrifice is a burning brand against the darkening skies.
Yet still, the hour is growing late, and victory remains uncertain. There are so many who profit by the present decay, so many too bitter or selfish or blind to see the danger before the Five Kingdoms. And there are those who are worse than blind. There are those who are not content to let the Sixth Kingdom die with its secrets, and who delve in dark places for lore that should have gone down to damnation long ago. What shall stand against these beasts both men and spirit save the courage of the Spears of the Dawn?