Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Luminaries of “the Traveller’s Luminaries”

Somehow I came up with “the Traveller’s Luminaries” as the name of Shefdu’s Pandora’s Box warband. It started out as “Sootootma’s Superstars” but that was way too anachronistic for my taste. Some brainstorming and thesaurus searching helped me arrive at the official title.  This warband is meant to be very fluffy, I’m not going for a killer warband that will plow through every opponent and leave a trail of carcasses in its wake (that would be nice, but living Shefdu is much more refined than that).

The idea behind the Luminaries is that Shefdu is pulling heroes (and heroines, he’s got a thing for strong ladies, remember) out of scrolls to aid him in the fight against the forces of Chaos. Heroes one and all, these will be Shefdu's favorite characters and units. Hopefully it will give us great insight into Shefdu's inner workings.

Young Seshat basically comes from my desire to use my female Tethru Master of Words conversion once again. She's sort of my lucky MoW and looks great on the battlefield. I decided on 'Young Seshat' because who else would Shefdu look up to as a role model but the greatest MoW since Thoth himself? It's the YOUNG Seshat because Shefdu wouldn't want to bother the older version of her, even if she is merely a simulacrum pulled from a scroll...

Sefkhet Aabut was used in Wenenut's Aten Heresy warband.  This is the version of her that Shefdu's pulled from a scroll. I decided to change her epithet from 'the Mighty Quill' to 'the Polemicist' and/or 'the Poison Quill' for a couple reasons. I was going to have a Tethru hero named after Christopher Hitchens as the Polemicist, but I couldn't figure out a good Ægyptification of 'Hitchens.' My first use of the Tethru Heroine mini was as a reinforcement for the worst Typhon Harbinger EVER during the Horus vs Set campaign. I think she had a different name but her epithet, being an evil Tethru, was 'the Poison Quill.' That also seems an appropriate epithet for a Polemicist...

Iodah the Hero of Kashik is pretty self-explanatory to any fan of Star Wars. Instead of outright City-Dwellers of Hermopolis I wanted to use Chronopia Swamp Goblins as Children of Bes. They’re short and the Egyptians had a liking of dwarves- and Bes was a dwarf-god. So as Asar stand-ins they fit fluffwise very well. Iodah’s backstory was pretty simple to come up with- Heru General gets too cocky and pays the price. Little Bes-dude rallies the troops and saves the day…

The allied characters are both variants of characters I was going to use for the abandoned Jilgamish warband. For reinforcements I’ve got some fun possibilities planned.

Kortosis the Impregnable was going to be Ziusudra, the Babylonian builder of the ark. When the Jilgamish warband was abandoned I took some time trying to figure out a good ToTanem sounding name. When that resulted in nothing worthwhile it hit me- Cortosis (also a Star Wars reference)! I Ægyptified it  by changing the ‘C’ to a ‘K’ and the ‘Impregnable’ epithet followed from there. His Babylonian origins get a nod in that he helped repel  a Babylonian invasion. The Babylonian leader, Lugalbanda, is also another nod to the abandoned Jilgamish warband. Lugalbanda is Gilgamesh’s father! (Another Star Wars tie-in?) Every Tethru warband should seriously consider an Artifex because of the chance to get a Sorcerer’s Rod…

The big one. The one I’m most excited about and proud of- Menthu Hathorhotep the Apis. A couple years ago I sold off my original Beloved of Sobek on eBay and his replacement is in the cleaned-but-not-assembled stage. My Olympus Minotaur is simply awesome and on the same size base as a Beloved, so why not use him instead?

This guy would have fit well as Emkidu (Enkidu, Gilgamesh’s buddy) in the abandoned Jilgamish warband. When Gilgamesh and Enkidu first met they sort of butted heads like a couple of bulls and the Babylonian Bull of Heaven plays a part in the story. Since this is WarGods, not bound by the constraints of mythology as it IS, I thought that Enkidu AS a Bull of Heaven would be a great twist. Of course I had to make the minotaur fit into an Ægyptus warband and that took some serious(ly fun research).

For the name- I knew he had to be a son of Hathor (the cow goddess), so “Hathorhotep” came first. Then I remembered one of the possible Heru names I’d made note of long ago had an alternate bull aspect- Menthu of Thebes! Now I just needed some reason that this not-minotaur guy would be someone Shefdu would want in his warband.

I’ve not really been bitten by the Olympus bug, but I do know some Greek myth and Herakles quickly came to mind, especially his 12 Labors. I started out wanting Menthu to be the Ægyptian Herakles but better because he had 13 Labors. When I refreshed my memory on all 12 of Herk’s Labors I was unimpressed because several of them were pretty much the same (go catch this wild beast/monster) and a couple were just kinda lame (clean out that king’s stables) so I decided that to be more awesome Menthu would only need half as many Labors (eventually I realized that 5 would be even better still).

Since nobody really thinks of anyone but a Sebeki falling in love with a female Sebeki- Menthu HAD to fall in love with a Sebeki Princess. From there it was a foregone conclusion that there would need to be a tragic twist at the end.

The use of ‘Endeavors’ came from a thesaurus search to get just the right word to replace ‘Labors.’ The Endeavors themselves mirror Herk’s Labors but with a more Ægyptus theme (I think). Since Sebeki like to eat I figured having a few Endeavors meant to result in the main course for a feast would be good. The hunt for a Babylonian Bull of Heaven is yet another nod to the abandoned Jilgamish warband. The Headdress of Isis is a twist on Hippolyte’s Girdle. Menthu doesn’t have to fight or come up with trickery to get the Headdress- another episode that makes him better than Herk.

I’m sure this is just the beginning of “Menthu’s Celebrated Journeys”…

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