The problem with the Ravenloft campaign setting, from a wargaming perspective, is that whilst it provides a wealth of detail to enable a DM to craft suitably chilling adventures to challenge a group of role-players, if you want to engage in a skirmish between the soldiers of Falkovnia and one of the neighbouring Domains you run into a few issues.
Wargaming is both a physical and visual medium, wherein the opposing forces usually have a distinctive look or uniform to differentiate the troops on either side. Vague references to ‘the crest of the von Zarovich’s’ or militia wearing ‘the Dilisnya colours’ are all well and good, but without a physical description or definition of what these actually are means that the budding wargamet doesn’t know what colour to paint their uniforms or what banner they fight beneath.
So, in order to field military forces for what are, effectively, ‘Imagi-Nations’, you have to resort to some in-depth research…and a bit of creative licence.
In other words, you make it up.
Now, as I have a smattering of knowledge regarding heraldic design, I do have a slight advantage in knowing the ‘correct’ colours, metals and furs to use, along with the official terminology for the objects and creatures that are commonly used.
However, whilst my artistic skills aren’t too bad, the prospect of coming up with and illustrating twenty individual coats of arms for the nations of the Core, along with uniforms for the dozen or so Domains that have standing armies, was somewhat daunting.
So I decided to cheat.
After a bit of Internet searching, I found an online coat of arms generator that not only has the correct tinctures of traditional heraldry, but also has a library of the majority of the divisions and charges commonly used. For a glossary of heraldic terms, I recommend http://www.heraldsnet.org/saitou/parker/Jpglossa.htm which should provide nearly everything you need to know about heraldry in an easily searchable format.
However, to actually create your coat of arms, go to the ‘Uplink Heraldry Creator’, which can be found here.
Click on the button “Create Coat of Arms” and away you go. It’s pretty intuitive and selecting specific ‘charges’ (i.e. objects or creatures) does give you multiple options, such as whether the lion is rampant or passant.
Once you’ve finished, you can save the completed coat of arms as a PNG file or a PDF and then do with it as you wish, such as uploading it to your blog, like so;
So, above is the coat of arms of the nation of Falkovnia, the official ‘blazon’ (i.e. description) of which is;
And now I have the coat of arms, I know that the uniform of the Falkovnian army will be black, yellow and white and can paint my troops appropriately.
So, should you wish to provide a coat of arms for a particular lord, an Imagi-nation or even yourself, why not give the online generator a try. It’s easy to use, makes professional looking designs and is a lot of fun.
Until next time…