I've been thinking about a possible DlC on Norsca for some time, to bring us a new LL and units for their roster. I have seen many theories about a possible DLC regarding this faction, including new units and heroes. And for me, there is a factor that must be very important in the future of Norsca. Their identity as a faction. It is a faction that mixes greatly with the WoC, for example, they share part of the roster, and its appearance is very similar, especially in the infantry and cavalry units. I think that Norsca needs to distance itself from this faction, because although they are very closely linked, Norsca is not only composed of Chaos worshipers, and if CA decided to separate it, at less they must make it more unique and distinguishable.
I know that many people theorize with the inclusion of characters such as Valkia the Bloody, Valnir the Reaper or Egil Styrbjorn (maybe Egil is the most likely one I see in Norsca), but they are WoC heroes, and quite clash with the theme of the faction. I know that many WoC heroes were born in Norsca, but they belong to another faction, and mixing them I think is only going to confuse people. I think it is important for CA that all factions be very unique, and that with just a glance at a character you can know their faction. And the most obvious case is Sigvald, being a character with a lot of relationship with Norsca, does not belong to the faction, because in my opinion I should not. He is a Chaos Warrior, just like the rest, but separating the factions if you are going to mix them later seems somewhat illogical.
Continuing with this more "Viking" theme, here are some characters, heroes, units and monsters that could be included in the future, to try to give more identity to the faction of our northern neighbors:
“Yngve Aarseth is a deranged and powerful seer. He is greatly respected – and feared – throughout Norsca. His eyes were torn out long ago when he was held captive by a malicious band of Goblin raiders, Aarseth claims that his physical blindness allows him to "see all truth". The wizened old seer refuses to serve any of the jarls, even when they threaten him with torture or imprisonment. He knows that the jarls are too frightened of his powers to carry out their threats.”
Yngve seems to me a wonderful inclusion for the Norsca Roster. An LL sorcerer, also including the Seers as Generics Lords, would sit great on the faction, and bring variety on a very limited list. It would be a much more neutral faction, which may be characterized by bad relations with the rest of the Nordics, and it could be a campaign with a very strong presence in the north of the Empire, perhaps with some interaction in his campaign with a future kislev (relating to the ungol witches). Mechanics in battle that are based especially on causing fear and terror in the enemy troops, mixed with their powerful magical abilities. For me, it could be a more than worthy LL.
“The great sagas of the Norse tribes tell of a mighty warrior known as the Wielder of the Great Axe. Long ago, in the icy, inhospitable land of Norsca, a young man with fire in his eyes and passion in his heart left his clan in search of his father's fate. His father was Johann warrior-prime, Chieftain of the Icefangs, possessed by a Daemon of Khorne… After many a long year within the realms of the Old World, Drenok took ship to the New World in search of his father. Weeks dragged on into months and months into years until, finally, the day came when the two warriors crossed paths. A titanic struggle ensued between father and son. The battle was fierce and long, lasting for many hours. With each wound Drenok inflicted upon the Daemon, his father, anguish and rage consumed his soul. Finally, Johann fell and the battle was won, but he fell no victory. He gazed upon the great axe, which lay at the feet of his father's corpse, and realised it to be the legendary axe of the Icefang, his clan. Lifting the mighty weapon above his head, his hair braids blowing in the wind, he roared in defiance of the world, clamain for revenge.”
This character could be ideal to serve as a counterweight to the rest of the LL of Norsca, because he is a direct enemy of Chaos, and would come to represent this spirit of a Norsca more unlinked from Chaos, who worships Ulric and Ursun, and their traditional gods, as mentioned in the lore. In addition, in his history his trip to the New World is narrated, so it could be the LL that occupies Skeggi (perhaps with some dinosaurus in his roster) or one of the other settlement in the region. It could be considered as an LL focused on fighting large enemies, faster and more versatile than Throgg, and closely related to freezing skills. The concept of this character seems extremely useful to me, especially with the inclusion of the DoC in TW3, has the great enemy of the demons in the Norscan faction.
“Hildr is a rarity, a female reaver. She is a beauty, with long blonde hair and a feminine figure that belies her strength. Some whisper that she is actually blessed of the Ruinous Powers, and bears a mark of their favour somewhere on her lithe body, but she does not claim that glory. She enjoys challenging the most stalwart opponents on the battlefield to single combat. Her victims rise to the challenge, since many would be dishonoured or horribly shamed to admit they had balked when confronted by a mere woman. But the victory notches on her fearsome twin-bladed axe Maiden's Kiss count dozens of men for whom discretion would have been the better part of valour.”
This character would be an interesting inclusion for me in Norsca's roster, especially in regards to her campaign. A female character (who always contributes positively) with a possible connection to Chaos, which perhaps works just like Wulfric, expanding corruption, and being a fearsome warrior. In addition, it will serve to implement the Valkyrie unit within Norsca, and her faction could have many synergies with them (exactly like Wolkmar and the flagellants). Perhaps with terrible relations with the rest of Norsca's factions (who would despise her for being a woman) we could undertake the conquest of the north with our valkyrie warrior.
“The fierce Norse jarl, Valbrand Fireblade, leads a band of notorious Graeling slavers, who board their longships every summer and mercilessly raid the Old World from their northern strongholds in search of gold and thralls. These brutal Norsemen are without remorse or pity for their prey. Each of their longships bears the figure-head of a red dragon breathing flame, a symbol that has come to be feared throughout Kislev, the Empire and beyond. Their raids become more daring with each passing year, and no one seems able to repel them. The source of Valbrand's might is his devotion to the daemon prince, Surthrond, rumoured to be a fearsome half-giant, half-dragon minion of Khorne. According to the rumours, Surthrond has granted Valbrand a flaming sword as a reward for his loyalty. Such is the jarl's renown that whenever he requires crew for his raids, he simply has to visit any Graeling settlement and hold aloft his fiery blade to attract a flock of young warriors eager to set sail with him. The slavers sell their captives as thralls to neighbouring tribes. There are tales that they sometimes have dealings with the infamous Druchii of far-away Naggaroth. It is also rumoured that Valbrand sacrifices the choicest slaves before a great pyramid of burning skulls in the remote tundra of the Graeling lands.”
As leader of the Graeling faction, and a worshiper of the Chaos confessed, Valbrand can be an exemplary looter for Norsca, who reinforces that idea of traveling around the map and destroy everything in your way. Maybe his campaign has some mechanics related to slaves, or sacrificing them to get exclusive units and bonuses. He could even have the giant demon Surthrond as a legendary hero. By his dealings he could be an ally of the Druchii, or even help them in their way to achieve victory in the fight for the vortex.
“The Order of the Winter Throne is a lesser Order within the Cult of Ulric. It has secluded monasteries of ascetics scattered throughout the colder regions of Nordland, Ostland, Kislev and southern Norsca. Ragnarites, named after their founder Ragnar Franzsson, call Ulric the ‘Snow King’ and teach that winter is a training ground for “Evernacht,” an eternal winter that will choke the life from Ulric’s greatest enemies, the Ruinous Powers. The Ragnarite leader is titled Ulricsson, and he controls the cult from Ulric’s Throat, a cave system in Norsca discovered by the order’s founder. It is rumoured that the caves hide the mysterious Throne of the Snow King, although its nature is unclear. Ulricsson rarely issues decrees, traditionally preferring individual monasteries to fend for themselves, much as they will do when Evernacht arrives. Ulricsson Haargald, the order’s current leader, is a greying giant of a Norseman who, it is said, has not spoken for over thirty years, and consumes only melted snow.”
Another magnificent character in my opinion, who would reinforce the idea that Nosca are not just worshipers of chaos, this character being Wulfrik's direct rival, fighting to lead the Norses against the ruinous powers. With great diplomatic relations with the north of the empire, especially with Middenland, I would have bonuses when using Norsca wolf units, as well as mechanics to end the corruption of their lands. And maybe one day (some day) when we see the classic Cult of Ulric units, Ulricsson could share some of them in his roster.
“The Jarl is a great warrior loyal to the tribe’s King. In exchange for his devoted service, the King grants the Jarl hunting grounds, warriors, treasure, and thralls. The Jarl is the absolute lord of his lands but is expected to be subservient to his master, and when the winds of war blow, the Jarl is expected to come to the aid of his King, and lend his warriors for the cause. Should the King or Queen die without an heir, the Jarls fight a bloody contest to take the throne. Whilst it’s expected that Jarls be utterly loyal to their monarch, it’s not unheard of for a Jarl to slay his master and usurp his position. Such a coup is always dangerous since it invites reprisals and further treachery. But in times of weak leaders, it is expected for a Jarl to step up and seize power.”
The inclusion of this generic lord may seem unnecessary with the Chieftain already in the game, but and openly to Jarl from another perspective. For me, this character would work by giving bonuses to allied units, and not as much as a melee expert. In this sense I would compare it with an Arch Reader, or with Thorgrim himself. A character more focused on improving the troops around him, instead of being a beast in combat.
“Seers are self-appointed authorities on all matters involving the spiritual world. They can be found in marketplaces of any town, proclaiming their latest revelation to anyone who will listen. Since Seers operate outside the bounds of sanctioned religious laws, and purport to understand the will of the Gods, they are easy targets for persecutions by Witch Hunters, who don't draw a line of distinction between the authentic seers and the charlatans. In Norsca, however, Seers are valued members of a Jarl's entourage, reading the signs and portents in the entrails of their sacrifice or translating the flickers of fire to divine some glimpse of future events.”
I decided to treat these characters as a possible generic lord because Norsca need to implement a general with magical abilities. Their mechanics in battle can be very varied and original, and in campaign they can be a pain for the enemy, sabotaging their settlements and armies, or perhaps even probing rebellions in your favor.
Meargh (or Fimir Queens)
“The Witch Queens are distinguished because their heads are covered with greasy and straight hair that is usually dark green or bluish black. They often have horns, although they are smaller than those of the Dirach. Their skin is very wrinkled, indicating the advanced age they can reach. Like that of the Dirach, their tails are smooth.”
The Fimir are part of Norsca, so CA has decided. So it would be logical for me to continue on that way. As a posible generic Lord, the fimir queens can be would integrate very well into the roster. In the lore, they have a lot of mechanics with fear and terror, so their function could be that, to strengthen those two aspects and to destroy the enemy's moral. We have the wizards and the warriors, its the time of the queens.
“Skalds are the keepers of lore, the chroniclers of the histories of the Norse. Part entertainer, part warrior, these individuals are held in high esteem for their wisdom and knowledge. All Kings keep Skalds in their retinues, as do most Jarls. When the call for war is sounded, the Skald bears the banner and marches to battle with his comrades.”
For me, these heroes would work just like the Jarls I have mentioned. Their role will be to strengthen the morale and attributes of the allied trops.
These are a category within the Fimir warriors in the lore, but it could be profitable to get a hero with a lot of capacity vs. large, something like a Gorebull. It is only an idea that can be exploited, in case they decide to expand the Fimir stuff, which for me, would be an ideal way, reinforcing that identity of Norsca.
“The Vikti are the healers and local shamans for most Norscan tribes. Admittedly, most Norseman spellcasters are Sorcerers, Witches, and Warlocks. All of these mystics draw their power from the Dark Gods channelling Dhar to suit their needs. Still, in some parts of Norsca, an older tradition remains: one placing emphasis on divination, healing, and prophecy. Whilst most include them in the pantheon of corrupt Daemonologists, Vitki are not blatant servants of the Ruinous Powers, and instead work their magic to aid their people.”
These could be an exclusive sorcerers, who control only the Lore of Life and Lore of Dark Magic. It also occurs to me that, instead of being sorcerers, they have concrete abilities, adding some kind of healing to the Norsca army, to further differentiate it from Chaos.
“Norscan Whalers are not just typical hunters, they are also well-abled warriors. Since whaling is an important trade for Norsca, Whalers are respected even among the warriors due to the extreme dangers of the waters surronding Norsca. Swimming through the dark currents of the Sea of Claws are massive whales, many of which bear strange markings, and odd colouration, twisted and warped as they are by the power of Chaos. These monsters can capsize ships and swallow hundreds of men in a single gulp. Thus, Whalers must be made of sterner stuff than ordinary fishermen.”
I have decided to put this character here for a matter of personal preference. I have seen many army lists for Norsca, where they had this concept as a unit. And it seems to me a very valid option. But the idea of having an expert hero at a distance, in the style of Alith Anar, with a lot of bonus vs large, I really like it. It could perfectly be a projectile unit, more elite than javalinas, but this concept seems more interesting to me.
“The Norses are not a particular race consumed when it comes to agriculture or livestock, but what they are good at is hunting. There is a small group of men in each settlement who spend their entire lives training animals to hunt. Lobers, wolves and even bears have been trained to be used for hunting or in battle.”
I do not think that this hero needs explanation, because we have already seen very similar examples. Synergies with monsters, and skills and buffs for them. Maybe work like a generic lord as well.
“The Norses and other enemies that are captured in a raid or battle usually become slaves, or Thralls. It is immense dishonor for the Norse, and such captives are not well treated, forced into a life of monotonous servitude.”
A very basic unit, such as the Peasant Mob. Expendable, meat shield, simple to use, simple to replace.
“Norscan Reavers are warriors amongst the Norscans whom have taken to piracy and raiding as a means of living. The seas of the Old World are full of terrors, some Human, others subhuman. Among the most feared mariners are the Norse Reavers, brutal warriors who plunder the coastlines in search of foodstuffs, gold, and slaves.”
A very aggressive infantry unit, with a lot of weapon damage, perhaps with Strider, and with a speed far superior to the average of the infantry, or even vanguard deployment.
“The Norscan Bondsman is a warrior in service to a particular Jarl. He is expected to live in the Jarl’s Hall, share the Jarl’s food, and be steadfastly loyal. In exchange for his pledge of loyalty, the Jarl rewards service with gifts, such as weapons and armour, and to the very best, land and title.”
Focused on a defensive aspect, it could be a unit that will function as an escort for the characters, with skills such as Encourage and Guardian.
“The Norscan society is a society dominated by men, women of a clan are expected to stay at home and take care of family and house. Unfortunately, the Norscan are a strong will race and the fury of war and battle flows in their blood, this goes for both men and women. Many times, during the bloody civil wars, the settlements of Norscan clans have been attacked while men are fighting on another front. When this happens, it is up to the women to defend the settlement.”
Valkyrie units can be a great opportunity for Norsca, in the form of blunt infantry, perhaps with Frenzy, and with a decent Leadership. I would compare them to dryads in terms of what they can offer.
“The Ymir are believed to be an offshoot race of Beastmen. Savage and bestial, they are cunning hunters who prey exclusively on Humans. Unlike the Beastmen, Ymir are generally solitary creatures, only meeting with another to produce a few whelps. They have no formal language, communicating in guttural growls and grunts. An Ymir stands just over seven-foot tall and weighs over 300 pounds.”
This kind of Beastman could enter Norsca's roster as a monster focused on ending infantry, perhaps with Stalk, and something can be done with the smell, some mechanics that revolve around the fact that this gentlemen smell horrible.
“The Curs'd Ettins are fell creatures renowned in the dreaded sagas of the Norsemen. Even in that barbarous, Chaos-touched land, few are as feared or reviled as they. Twin-headed abominations born of Chaos, they are the terror of the high moorlands and mountains of the North, dwelling in lonely caverns and the once-proud ruins of Chaos Citadels. Hulking and twisted creatures, they greatly resemble the more commonplace Giants in size and strength, as well as in hunger for flesh and blood. Yet they are also easily distinguished from those already brutal creatures by their horrific deformities and cruel intellects.”
There has already been much talk about this unit, so I will not extend too much. A monster, in my opinion, with a lot of potential to focus on terror mechanics and areas of negative moral. Or even a skill that allows it to regenerate as he kill enemies.
In conclusion, I want to make my position clear. I don't want to separate Norsca from WoC, that's impossible. What I am trying to express is that Norsca is a faction with great potential, and to achieve it, you must look for your own identity in future DLCs. Don't just be a copy of Chaos with some more ice. As I said, the south of Norsca mostly does not worship Chaos, and I think it is important to express that duality in the game. The variety and the oridginality of each faction seems vital to me, and Norsca can become a much more complete and unique faction if it manages to take advantage of its concept to expand freely.
LONG LIVE NORSCA, LONG LIVE THE BARBARIANS.