Not So Ship Shape – Trident Realm – Designer Notes

16th Mar 2023

Jonny Mann

Dave from the studio here – currently standing in a bucket because of a loophole in a maritime curse.

You might have noticed that the Trident Realm fleet has emerged from the depths, whetting everyone’s palettes for all things nautical. The Trident Realm presented an interesting challenge in terms of design because they don’t use ships per se. As in King of War, the Neriticans make use of tamed (loosely) creatures of the sea. Armada’s smaller scale allows us to show the true scale of these immense creatures – many of which would be impractical to field in a game of Kings of War – though I know many of you would try.

First, let’s address the elephant whale in the room. Why are there fish out of water? Why does a submarine faction fight on the surface of the waves? The basic answer Is because it’s fun. If the Trident Realm stuck to just swimming beneath ships and biting them, then it would mean that there’s no need for new models (not fun) and they would be a nightmare to play against (not fun). The rule of cool is king and an impossibly huge turtle rising out of the water to unload a dozen harpoons into an enemy ship is really cool.

We started with quite simple archetypes. Angler fish, turtle, squid, that sort of thing. The concepts show full creatures because we would determine the sea level during sculpting. Each of these models has been designed to look as if they are currently rising suddenly out of the water to launch a surprise attack. We tried to push and exaggerate the fantastical elements of them a bit so they would blend well into the fantasy world of Pannithor. The howdahs on their backs bear the ranged weapons for the ships but are mostly there to added the Trident Realm’s aesthetic to the models. The armoured plates are based on those found on the Naiads, Wyrms, and even Eckter so that these are recognisably part of the realm and not just random angry fish like the kraken. They tie the fleet together into a cohesive whole and also widen the variety of textures for painters – so I’m calling that a win-win-win.

There’s a few familiar faces among the new creatures, too – ocean wyrms, knuckers, gigas and water elementals making a comeback. These go back to what I was saying about scale earlier. The water elemental is in fact a greater one, the giga is called a ‘giant’ and so on. That these beings are the smallest units in the fleet should give you and idea of just how big that whale is. It’s slightly terrifying.

We had a lot of work getting the concepts turned into working models that we can cast and that will survive gameplay. The resin team and sculptor have pulled out all of the stops to get the best models onto the tabletop with loads of gribbly delicious details for painters. (Does anyone else suddenly fancy seafood?)

I’m looking forward to seeing all of the bizarre and varied colours players will be applying to their sea monsters. You have the real world as a great reference, so why not dive in and pick up a fleet?


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