The post below is duplicated from Roland Warzecha’s Patreon page, which everyone should visit and support. If you are a fan of historical swordsmanship, you definitely owe yourself a visit his way.
Here is the completed illustration which I did for a role-play adventure written by Dougas Cole, that is currently campaigning on kickstarter, to attract as many backers as possible. (One of the stretch goals will be more art work such as this!)
The adventure is apparently set in a fantasy world, partially drawing on Norse mythology and culture. In the background, you can see a page from the Icelandic Codex Regius (the King’s Book) which is the oldest written source for the Poetic Edda. The typographic elements are verses from the Hávamál which is included in the Codex Regius. Naturally, I thought it appropriate to depict Viking arms and armour with the image’s leading character. Doug had suggested a female warrior, and so I created this heroine, which I named Sólveig Ravnsdóttir. Her first name can be interpreted in a number of ways, e.g. as path of the sun, mistress of the hall, power of the house. Her last name means Raven’s daughter.
Sólveig wears lamellar armour of oriental origin. Remains of this kind of protection have been found in the Swedish Viking settlement of Birka. It consist of small plates, so-called lamellae which are laced to form individual belts. These belts are laced more loosely to each other in such a fashion that they overlap and can move much like a telescope, assisting hinging motions of the wearer’s torso.
Her head is protected by a helmet with ”spectacles“ based on a Norwegian find from Gjermundbu, the only original Viking helmet ever to be discovered.
The account of an Arab chronicler who had met Eastern Vikings described them as being tattooed. Accordingly, I decided to show Sólveig being tatted in ornaments of the so-called Urnes style which became popular in the late Viking Age. Her sword with bronze fittings is of the typical late spate type that was widespread in Scandinavia and Russia. Its scabbard is mounted with an eastern bronze scabbard chape in the shape of a raven. Her arms are adorned with various bracelets.
The bottom hem of her wide tunic is tucked up above her thighs to allow for freedom of movement, as seen with a sword-fighter in the 9th century Utrecht Psalter, and some men wading through water on the late 11th century Bayeux Tapestry.
She has just deflected a spear thrust with her flat round shield, then turned the shield pushing forward its edge to keep the sear at bay and pin her opponent, at the same time striking a death blow.
Her adversaries are Hobgoblins which carry both bucklers as well as large Celtic style shields. They are armed with swords modeled on both Viking Age ones as well as late medieval ranges messer. One also brandishes a bearded axe. The helmets are so-called kettle hats based on late 14th and 15th century models. All Goblin arms are made from bronze, because they cannot stand steel, as Douglas explained to me.
Obviously, they have a weak spot for the same beard styles that I like myself, and it appears to be a custom with this tribe to put on war paint made from some local berries.
I have also picked kind of a motto for Sólveig which is based on a line from the collection of Hávamál verses that Douglas had provided me with: “Never slain shall she bow before sword.”See it somewhat concealed in the image above.
If you like this art work, keep an eye on the stretch goals suggested by Douglas for his kickstarter project.
What’s next? The up-coming and photo set will feature a late 14th/early 15th century type XIV sword from Switzerland which will be made available for $25+ patrons, with the full scale drawing to follow for my $35+ patrons.
New Reward Level – Dimicator Stythja
As you can see, the detail work in Roland’s piece is amazing. If you want to have your character illustrated by him, in this style . . . now you can!
I have introduced another reward level: the top-tier Dimicator Stythja. At this level, for $750 you will get a quarter-page illustration in the same style as the image featured above . . . or for a kingly sum of $2,000, a full page.
As with all of the Stythja (Patron) levels, the first task is to create a level 3-6 character that will either come from the SRD, or the Dragon Heresy preview chapter that I will send to the patron backer. Once the character is created, the patron backer will provide reference images, and I will provide art direction to Roland based on the character, the images, and our conversations.
I’m sure the result will be quite inspiring!