Monday, February 8, 2010

Royal Armies of The Hyborean Age: Army List (Northern Barbarians)

Northern Barbarians 750 Points

No Banners.

The Northern Barbarians break down into three tribes or races. Ina campaign situation one player might represent all three groups. In reality they constantly warred on each other and should have 500 points each. Their military organizations were identical and they all shared a deep rooted fear of magic.

All three races most closely resemble the Vikings of recorded history. They had tremendous morale and could fight heavy infantry man to man. they had no cavalry but made good use of the bow. The warbands of the Northern Barbarians had no uniforms and each warrior had his own shield pattern. The following is a description of the three tribes of races of the north.

The Cimmerians were darker than the other tribes. They have black hair and like the other northerners, favor the sword.

The Vanir have red hair and favor horned helmets. Some figures in their unit should wear horned helmets and none would wear winged helmets.

The Aesir are blondes and favor winged helmets. They would not wear the horned helmets of the Vanir who are their perennial enemies.

Archers compose 20-30% of the armies of the Northern Barbarians. They would include units of veterans and some units of battle trained but not tried youths. Their organization follow:

Veterans- -HI- -A- -12- -50-75
Young Archers- -HI- -B- -12- -25-50

The balance of a northern army would be heavy infantry organized as follows:

Veterans- -HI- -A- -30-36- -50-75
Youths- -HI- -B- -30-36- -25-50

Old Glory Picts for the Cimmerians. (Yes, I know the rules say no cavalry but I'm adding cavalry anyways.)

Khurasan Miniatures Vikings for Vanir and Asgardians


  1. Nice... thanks Chad.

    The amount of archery is interesting. The post-Hyboria REH stories about the Aesir migrations (Marchers of Valhalla, Valley of the Worm) both talk about archery as an aspect of the all-around warrior - e.g. you start off the battle with bowfire then charge in for the decisive clash of arms. Not knowing the specifics of the rules, it would seem to me the "HI" designation of the archers might reflect this?

    It's also interesting to note that spears, a very common Viking weapon, don't seem to be used in battle by the Aesir in these stories. References to Aesir melee combat speak of striking weapons (clubs, axes, swords) - it is the enemies of the Aesir, southern races both savage and civilized, who rely of the spear. This is probably because those striking weapons are well suited to the berserk charge and individual battle prowess that REH liked to emphasize in his roving Northmen.

  2. I can't think of any stories other than "The Frost Giants Daughter" that really mentions the Vanir and the Aesir. It wasn't overly descriptive either, as far as warfare anyways. I'll probably have to make it up as I go or draw from historical Viking accounts.

    Thanks for reading, Keith!

  3. My pleasure, Chad. You're the one doing the work...

    Anyway, if you haven't read the stories I mentioned above, they feature the Aesir after the downfall of the Hyborian kingdoms. The continuity is somewhat tenuous, but you definitely get a good feel for REH's take on the Nordic reavers. I think etext for both is available online, though my well-worn copy of Marchers of Valhalla is an old favorite with it's nice fold-out cover art by Ken Kelly.

  4. I know I have read Marchers of Valhalla, I'm not sure about Valley of the Worm.

    I'll have to go through my old REH paperbacks and check. I'm finding more and more that the ones I read as a kid were the ones edited by L. Sprague De Camp and Lin Carter. Not to go on a bashing spree with those two authors, they're both good writers. But I wasn't reading the REH stories as they were originally written. At least for some of the stories anyways.

  5. Oh by the way, I've got the fold out cover "Marchers of Valhalla", it's great! He did a couple of the Conan collections as well!

  6. I think Cimmerian cavalry is entirely possible:

    They fought on foot, mainly, and made savage raids on their neighbors to the east, north, and south.
    - "Notes on Various Peoples"

    What else could it be meant by "fighting on foot, mainly" than a small cavalry contingent?

  7. Yeah, a lot of historians don't believe that the Vikings used cavalry but it seems that more and more information is coming out that they did, in a limited way. So why not the Aesir, Vanir and Cimmerians?