Friday, September 11, 2015

The History of the Gnome World Part 6: The Swedes

Pre-Gnoman Times
While there have always been legends of trolls and giants in gnomish mythology, one creature has been used more often than any other by parents to get their wee ones to bed:  The Gnorse Gnome.  

Some of the gnomes suffering the Wanderlust have always had a more adventurous streak than their timid brethren.  Some blazed a trail through the dark forests of Germania and ended up in the jagged fjords of the Northlands.   With only a beautiful landscape to offset the limited resources of the land, these gnomes turned to the sea.   Some fished, others attempted to trade with far-off villages but many were rebuffed by the isolationist instincts of their fellow gnomes.  In return the Gnorse became violent.  

The Gnoman Empire
The Gnomans had enough issue with the Dark Forest and Fae of Germania, that only the bravest explorers ventured further north.  Some information was traded between the two, including vast technological improvements towards the famed Gnorse Short-Boats.  With the buffer of the Dark Forest, Gnorse adventurers travelled south and visited the lands of the Sikhs, the Russ, and other exotic cultures.

The Peaceful Age
With the fall of the Gnoman Empire, many of the Gnorse tribes merged together to consolidate power.  While many cultures became introverted, the Gnorse lumbered over the sea in their short-boats, continually harassing the Irish, Scots, Welsh, and other Gnorse Tribes.   There are even rumors of them reaching the shores of the Teddy Bear tribes in America, although historians have found little proof. 
They developed four distinct trades:
Woodworking - from shipbuilding to children's toys. 
Glögg   - The Swedish drink of choice for their cold winter nights... and even the short summer days.
Swedish society was broken down into three distinct classes.  The Jarl and his nobles, the seafarers (both fisherman and raiding party), and the Tomte, or rural class.  The Tomte were largely ignored in favor of the nobles and warriors.
A midwinter muster during the scant afternoon light
As the Peaceful Times were ending, the Swedish Jarls consolidated their power further, and a very martial Kingdom of Sweden was born.
The Age of Exploration
With the increases in technology across the Gnome World, Gnorse short-ships became irrelevant and the Swedes stopped raiding neighbors in favor of proper trade.
While the Thirty Beers War was largely a German affair, Swedish Warlord Edibus Withtwofists saw an opportunity to join the rogue bier producers and gain new territory as a result.  His death in 1636 dampened the fighting mood, but troops still fought in the war for over a decade.   The Swedes were able to consolidate all the Gnorse lands under the Swedish flag, as well as considerable territory in Russia and its neighboring states.
In response to Swedish war-mongering, increased Russian influence, and a cry for freedom from the other Gnorse tribes, the Great Gnorthern Gnome (3G) War was fought.    While the players in this war rotated in and out, the result was the loss of Swedish holdings outside its modern borders, and access to the sea for the Russian people.
At first, the Swedes fought solely a defensive war, repelling the armies of Nomepoleon and the Danish at great cost to both sides.  As they held their ground and could negotiate alliances with Britain and Russia, they began a campaign against Norway, which had been largely left unmolested by the Le Petite Generale.  With the completion of the war, a dual monarchy of Norway and Sweden under one king was to be established, but the largely ignored lower classes would have their own say in the matter.

Age of Commerce
After years of war, the rural Tomte class of Sweden, and their similar Nissen in Norway,  rose up against the Noble and Seafaring classes and overthrew their respective monarchies.   Both revolutions established democratic, yet conservative government (the Fjøsnisse)  that looked to eschew international affairs in order to improve all facets of society.  Schools and hospitals were constructed, roads were built, and for many years only restricted trade with neighboring countries was allowed.  While this lowered Sweden status as a world power, it has vastly improved the livelihoods of everyday citizens. 
There is still conflict for the Swedes to worry about.  Royalists and Trade Unions still attempt the power of the people for their own nefarious purposes.  A small, but well-disciplined navy has successfully defended the trade routes, and fought in trade disputes against their Gnorse neighbors.   The Russians Tsar has also set their sights on the Gnorselands for their expansionist goals.
Sweden is a democratic republic, their Fjøsnisse making the vast majority of decisions, while the prime minister fulfills some diplomatic, but largely ceremonial roles.  It is still dominated by the large population of rural Tomtes, who would rather fix internal problems than look at the international big picture.  While royal titles were abolished, minor hereditary titles remain.
Industrial Tinkering:  Despite a pacifistic government, arms production to other countries has largely been encouraged.  Most weapons rival that of their German neighbors, but their manufacture of experimental u-boats far exceeds anything in the modern times.

While the Fjøsnisse would prefer to use spies and submarines to keep their country's security, the military is still a trusted and honor profession.
Swedish Officer:  All prospective officers, regardless of class, are required to spend a minimum of two years at the Royal Military Academy.  Using German techniques and monastic-style living, they live a spartan lifestyle to mould them into the role of protectors of the country and its people.   Officers will normally wear orange hats to make them stand out on the battlefield, for good and ill.

Swedish NCO/Alphorn:  Two allowed per unit.  Both armed with with a halberd and horn.  Swedes still suffer from some Nomepoleonic tactics.    To allow any unit to change their current orders, at least on NCO needs to successfully make an alphorn test (per the Swiss rules).

Swedish Berserkers:   Some Swedes still embrace their Gnorse heritage.  The second NCO could be replaced by a Berserker.  (per Highlander rules).  If the Berserker is attacking, the unit can ignore failed alphorn roles.

Swedish Rifles:   as per Swiss rules.
Swedish Pickaxes and Miners:  These troop types are not often used by the Swedish military.  However, both the royalists and trade unionists employ large numbers of gnomes armed with only melee weapons.  As per Swiss rules.

Swedish Surströmming Grenadjär:  The Swedes only make fine cheeses.  Their love of herring has resulted in Surströmming,  a peasant pickled herring that is foul to just about every non-Swedish gnome in existence.    Treat as Swiss Stinky Cheese rules, except that the area of effect is 3" and is permanent on the game table unless someone successfully attacks it (-1 to hit with ranged weapons/5+ to hit on d6 for melee)

Swedish Military Physician:  The favorite support staff within the military.  Nicknamed "Doctor FeelGlögg"  (Use rules and figure for German BierMedic).

Swedish Flamethrower:    Used more often than not to clear snow pack, rather than directly attack troops.

Bicycle Tank:  as per Swiss rules.
Steam Tanks:  Largely very primitive models. It is  more likely to be an armored (but unarmed) troop carrier. 

Cavalry:  Small units of cavalry still exist, mostly riding either geese, or magically enchanted julboks.

The Four Winds Myth in Switzerland
The Wizard  -  holds influence along the coastal cities
Santa Claus - the proximity to the North Pole allows Santa to have developed an arms business in a peaceful kingdom. 
Witch - has been known to control ogres and trolls in the hinterlands.
Vampire - the long winter nights are perfect for the vampire to pervert the culture.

Relations with Other Nations
Swiss -   A valid and neutral member of the international community.
Germans -  neighbor on good terms.  "Friendly" competition in arms production
French -  Still bitter about Nomepoleon
British -  Trading partners and "friendly" naval competitors.
Irish -    just as ignorant as back in the days of the Gnorsemen
Highlanders -  so many bad attributes from the Gnorsemen of yore.
Russians -   Enemies readying for war
Americans -   Pro-Union, and some Swedes have emigrated to California.
Japanese -  limited relations
Sikhs -  even with Russian expansion, the trade routes between Sikhs and Swedes never completely closed.    Sikh units regularly accompany Swedish units on maneuvers.

Julbok Cavalry rounding up wild geese
This is my first attempt to fully flesh out other nationalities using existing models.   While we may see Viking Gnomes one day, converting Swiss figures to Norse historical needs with minimal change and keeping within point costs.  This is not meant to be an official Gnome Wars army, although I'm hoping that elements of this conversion might become part of a "customize your army" section if there's a future new edition of the rules.

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