Factions in skirmish battles aren't exactly the same as alignments. Factions are composed of creatures that are likely to fight on the same side. Until now, the creatures that were willing to fight for any faction haven't been earthshakers. A Dire Boar here, a Sage there -- no one to build a warband around. Giants of Legend changes that with a visit from one of the earliest D&D characters. Is Mialee D&D's iconic wizard? Maybe, but you don't see any spells named Mialee's magnificent mansion, do ya?
Mordenkainen the Mage
Mat Smith may be cursing me now. He did me the kindness of sending me his next "In the Works" column, and it turned out that we were planning to talk about a bunch of the same minis this week. So how shall I repay him? By showing Mordenkainen first, yeah! Unless he beat me to it already ...
Mat's got a bunch of good things to say about Mordenkainen, and you'll see his article soon. For my part, I'll just say that we based our view of Greyhawk's iconic mage on the art that appeared in the Epic Level Handbook, page 309. When you don't feel like bringing Mordenkainen himself into your game, we think he makes a fine mini for spellcasting PCs.
Part of Mordenkainen's rep is that you can't ever be certain where his interests lie. Is he working to send the demons back to the pits that spawned them? Or did he summon the demons himself? Is he on a noble crusade, laced with self-interest? Or is he pushing a selfish agenda that will require him to leave no witnesses? He's Pure Neutral, baby, and that means he plays in any faction.
And he's a commander! You still have to pick a faction for your warband, but Mordenkainen can work with anyone he chooses to, in one warband or another. We tuned his stats so that he can even command a 100-point warband, if that's your kick. We're not sure which factions will get the most use from him but we do know that we wouldn't want to be a 3-point creature in Mordenkainen's warband -- this is a guy who thinks it's perfectly natural that spells be targeted on the nearest ally if there's someone worth hitting behind them.
The Protectar hails from the pages of the Miniatures Handbook. He's not the toughest angel in anyone's book but his looks have been chosen as a composite of all the winged peoples of the Celestial Planes. If you need a human-sized angel with a sword, the Protectar's got you covered.
The Protectar doesn't get around like Mordenkainen -- he fights only for the forces of good. As an inexpensive flyer, he's great at delivering healing spells where they are most needed. He can fly in without taking opportunity attacks, cast his healing ... and then, maybe, he dies. If your opponent is willing to waste serious swings on the Protectar, your other creatures should deal some hurt in return. If the enemy doesn't waste the Protectar, the Protectar does its protective thing again. And again.
In our continuing quest to make a mini for every* doglike monster in D&D, Giants of Legend has a winner. This rare mini is willing to perform many useful tricks, including Trip PC, Bite PC, and Track Bleeding PC While Howling for the Rest of the Pack. Give him a good home.
*If you believe that we're actually trying to do a mini for every doglike monster in D&D, you haven't counted the doglike monsters lately!
The Dire Wolf is willing to fight in any faction. It's not likely to take orders from anyone, but it will fight. Someday there will be a druid who can command the Dire Wolf properly but that day has yet to come.
Mat's In the Works column also discusses the Behir. Mat uses well-chosen words, nicely spliced together. Read Mat's article soon. Take another look at that Behir. Umm-mmm. You saw it here first. Yes you did.
Behir, it's a wild thing. It's willing to fight in CG or in CE but doesn't play well with lawful types. Sometimes it blasts you with lightning, sometimes it constricts, and most of the time it just smacks you. Take any figure the Behir kills and pile it in the center of the Behir's coils. There's plenty of room.
About the Author
Rob Heinsoo started playing D&D with the original brown box in 1975. He's now the lead designer of D&D Miniatures.