Sunday, July 1, 2012

Byzantine Heroes for SAGA

The Byzantines are a natural faction for use in SAGA.  They exerted an inescapable pull on western Europe during the Dark Ages, the age of SAGA, and by the tenth and eleventh centuries, the empire had frequent interactions with Vikings and Normans.  On the other hand, the Byzantines fought with armies not warbands and engaged in battles, not skirmishes.  However, frontier troops called Akrita in romantic songs and poems display the heroic qualities of the Viking Age in their skirmishes with Arabs, Turks, Bulgars and other enemies of the Empire.  However, such rough environments as the Balkans and Asia Minor were no place for the pampered emperors of Constantinople.  

An exception would certainly be Basil II.  A tireless campaigner, he earned the nickname "the Bulgar Slayer," supposedly after ordering 14,000 captured Bulgars to be blinded, save one man in a hundred.  This lucky prisoner was only blinded in one eye and tasked with leading his comrades back to their territory.

The great general Nicephorus Phocus, described as short, bald and grotesque, nonetheless married the beautiful widowed Empress Theophano after the death of Romanus II and became the new Emperor.  After a few years, she tired of him and conspired to have her lover (and his nephew) assassinate him.  The assassins sneaked into his bedchamber and found the bed empty.  They panicked, fearing they had been discovered.  However, Nicephorus, ever the austere soldier-monk, was sleeping in the corner on the stone floor and was then slain. 

All figures from Crusader Miniatures.

I have put together more detailed faction rules, along with a abilities for a couple of Byzantine hero characters.  This should almost bring my Byzantine project to a close.  After adding a unit of heavy cavalry, they will go up against some Normans.  

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