Sunday, October 10, 2021

Minaria: Immer

Immer is a hinterland compared to the grander, more civilized nations to the south like Mivior and Muetar. However humble its settlements, simple its castles, or rustic its lords, it still serves an important strategic purpose both as a buffer against the elves and goblins and as a rich source of natural resources.

The kingdom of Immer has its origins in the Vidvarnii adventurers who traveled north from Lake Lorimer to hunt and trap and trade with natives of the wilderness. They supplied the lands to the south with furs, honey, and beeswax. Eventually a stockade fortress and trading post was established at Muscaster, which would grow into the town as settlers followed the woodsmen north.

The nominal king (or Grand Prince, more accurately) of Immer is Euwint I, often called "Euwint of the Marshes" which he fancies as a byname to commemorate his dubious victory over a Muetarian sortie in the Wrogga Lowlands, but his detractors imbue his sobriquet with a different meaning entirely. Euwint is of the line of Hrorvikid warlords who beat back the encroaching Muetarians and subdued the northern tribes, establishing modern Immer. However, his upbringing was entrusted to the wizards of the Invisible School in the modern custom. They fostered him in the household of his more tractable cousin, a border lord of the Lowlands. The lords of the north and west consider him a bit effete, perhaps even soft. 

None would ever make such a claim regarding his wife, Igweena. Though she comports yourself in the required courtly fashion, she is the daughter of the Duke of Monen who holds Gap Castle and defends the land from the approach of the goblins of Zorn through the mountain pass. Igweena, it is known, has been counselling her husband in reinforcing the North, possible in preparation of seizing the land beyond the River Rapid to secure access to the gold found therein. 

It is also whispered that Igweena, like the peasantry of her mountain home, still holds to the tripartite goddess in secret--in fact, some claim she is even a priestess--despite public allegiance to the official Ansharite cult. 


bombasticus said...

I always liked them but looking at the map fresh their lack of a forest movement bonus is a real disadvantage. I wonder if they aggressively cleared the "central plain" between Wirzor and Muscater in order to at least even the defensive odds a little . . . but even then, there's really nothing but determination keeping the elves and goblins from going through you to annoy each other.

(I forget where goblins come from. Probably not a lloroi vestige although it's hard to cut through the elf eugenic propaganda. Neuth and Zorn might be severed halves of the same nation. Are there half goblins? The Ozerg people maybe?)

As a child I always assumed the north was full of action because of sites like the Temple of Kings and Hamahara just over the Immerite border, but I see now that it's a dangerous distraction to spend a lot of time up there unless that's where rival players set up first. It's really slow for Immer to invade west or east so crossing the river into Muetar is really the fastest way to engage.

Second edition has them claiming that northern hex row across the Rapid so evidently Igweena gets what she wants. I have no idea why she wants it unless there is gold up there . . . she was romantically interesting when I first encountered the game (sort of a Snow White figure) but now reads dangerously high maintenance.

In general it's interesting that while the transition to second edition shrinks a lot of the realms (a feeling of exhaustion, authority withdraws from the borders) Immer largely pushes north, giving up hexes to the goblins and elves on either side. The south is ambiguous. Where are they trying to go up there?

bombasticus said...

Thinking a little more about the wily Igweena, the thought again strikes me that this is the real way to emulate stories like the Lyonesse books with their capricious monarchs, personal exploits and personality conflicts . . . all against a wartime backdrop. The armies stay in the picture but the characters provide drama.

Or Game of Thrones but who needs that?

Trey said...

It was the hawk that led me to believe their might be something to Igweena beyond her Snow White costume.

Trey said...

But yeah, the Lyonesse or GoT approach is more in my mind.

bombasticus said...

Love it. The personality cards in particular would be fun as an Aillas of Troicinet wanders around trying to build a coalition that can hold up to the regional superpowers. A lot of weirdos running the Elder Isles, much like Minaria in a typical game. When you want a break from the realm-by-realm tour I wonder if an overview of the leader art and personalities could be fun.

Dick McGee said...

@bombasticus Boardgame Geek has all (I think) the leader and random personality cards up in the game's Image files if you want a look now. Be interesting to see what Trey gets from the pictures, though.

There's also a neat fan-brew thing that gives a random name and personality to each ambassador as well. Well worth a look, it's a clever addition to the game.

bombasticus said...

Thanks! The fan community has been endlessly inventive over the years. In my opinion, the more personalities wandering around the map, the closer it becomes to an epic interactive novel . . . the Rahman brothers present War & Peace.

Looking back at the cards, I wonder if the high princess of Neuth is actually the high prince's (half) sister and not a wife or estranged priestess. It would say a lot about their politics.