Having settled on trying out an Oldhammer skirmish, I thought I should try and flesh out the setting a little!
Having read the 3rd edition background, I must admit I find myself unable to restrain the temptation to tinker somewhat with the setting as I still find it a bit too depressing to use as is. I know its supposed to be a bit grim but one can only cope with so much before being put off.
Therefore heres my take on the Border Princes:
The Border Princes is the name given to the vast area of land that lies between the Black Mountains and the Black Gulf. This rather barren region had always been sparsely settled until the time of the founding of Bretonnia (approx. IC1000), when Bretonnian nobles and adventures fleeing from wars within the Empire struck out to settle what was know as 'The Badlands'. For almost a century these adventurers waged war against Goblins and other evil creatures occupying the land, but eventually succeeded in driving their enemy back to Blood River - the current border of The Badlands.
The inhabitants of the Border Princes are a hardy bunch and occupy a number of fortified towns and cities throughout the region and often feud amongst themselves or the various robber Barons who occupy the borders of Bretonnia and the Empire and spend their time raiding south for fun and profit.
To the East, the Dwarves occupy their great Hold of Karaz-a-Karak and dream of one day retaking their lost mountain empire and have begun reforging links with the other great hold in the region, Karak Eight Peaks, a hold that has survived despite constant sieges from greenskins for over a century. The combined forces of these two holds have become known as the Hammer and the Anvil as Kazak-A-Karak excels at offensive operations and Karak Eight Peaks at defence. When combined these two forces are a match for any foe that they meet.
Consequently, several smaller holds have been reoccupied between the two and even now parties of Dwarven Tunnel Guards sweep ever deeper into the ancient depths to root out bands of Orcs, Goblins and vile Skaven. This ongoing campaign has taken a great amount of resources and the Dwarves have encountered fierce opposition but are slowly retaking the depths and expanding their influence to the West.
Upper Reaches of the Black River
This influence is bringing trade in the form of ore, finely made weapons and pricey jewellery from the holds to the Border Princes city states and in return, supplies of grain, livestock and even hardy adventurers in search of fame and fortune heading back to the mountains.
This increase in wealth has been noted by the robber Barons and convoys have been raided with increasing frequency and they are now protected by a strong force of caravan guards comprising of Human, Dwarven and even Elven free companies.
Human raiders are the least of the worries of the Border Princes though. Tribes of Orcs and Goblins, driven south over a century ago have begun raiding north into the border territory from the Badlands and several smaller towns and villages have been sacked by rampaging warbands. Consequently the Border Princes have been flexing their newly wealthy muscle and hiring mercenary armies to strike back at the greenskin menace and the Border country has become awash with fortune hunters, disgraced nobles and deserter bands in search of employment.
The Worlds Edge Mountains
Not surprisingly this powder keg has seen a number of battles between city states and rumour has it that the might of the Empire will be sent south to annex the region to stop the conflict from spreading and purely by coincidence, give the Emperor access to the Dwarven trade routes.
Unbeknownst to the Humans, the Skaven council of 13 has formed an alliance with the evil Dwarves of Black Peak. These degenerate and mutated Dwarves were turned to Chaos by the Skavens poisoning of the water supply with Warpstone in times past and now these foul mockeries of Dwarves supply dark weapons of war to the very creatures that caused their fall and even to the Greenskins who battle their own kin.
Caravan Route, The Border Princes
The Skaven have been driven from their burrows in several regions of the Worlds Edge Mountains but the great dens of Fester Spike and Putrid Stump are sending waves of vermin along their subterranean passages towards the Dwarven holds and even now a horde of Skaven under the command of the Grey Seer Sqveek Viletongue is preparing to assault the Dwarven hold of Karak Izor.
If this hold falls, one of the few safe passes from Bretonnia and the Empire will be closed and the Border Princes will be cut off from aid from the great human kingdoms of the north. Already packs of Clan Eshin Gutter Runners have been fighting a running battle with Dwarven miners deep in the mines of Karak Izor and the holds ruler, Cael Steelmaul has mobilised his army to repel the ratmen but his forces are vastly outnumbered.
This is the state of the Border Princes in the year IC 2415.
Whee! As you can see there's plenty going on in the Border Princes and I hope to get to work on some warbands soon too. Sadly despite this project giving me lots of inspiration, its not got me painting 28mm scale yet, mostly because I just don't have the space to game it. The solution will just have to be to crack on with it in 15mm scale as I am busily constructing a 2x3 foot board that will be perfect for skirmishes and even larger battles in 15mm scale as it equates to roughly 6x4 in 28mm scale and am using THIS ARTICLE from Realm of Chaos by Orlygg to good effect!
All the best!