From publisher blurb:
Fenix no 3, 2029 has a War theme
This issue featured a lot of Swedish only material, such as a complete miniature game based on modern military science(!). Alas, in English we are happy to feature a really good article by the ever productive and inspiring Pete Nash.
War, what is it good for – an article for Mythras by Pete Nash
Lukas Thelin made the illustration, which also is the cover of this issue.
War, what is it good for?
War, war never changes... Sorry, I had to say it. However, it remains fundamental truth. No matter how often wars are fought, despite the horrors they bring, humanity always returns to conflict. It is an inherent part of the human condition, our history, and ultimately, our future.
As such, war is usually a fundamental element of most roleplaying settings. Its presence often gives the excuse for why player characters can engage in rampant combat, without censure or becoming ostracised. There are few fantasy or sci-fi worlds without some form of military conflict, whether against a foreign power or race, or fighting against civic dissent. After all, who would question men and elves protecting Middle Earth against Sauron’s Orcs, or defending the rebel alliance against imperial stormtroopers?
A roleplaying campaign need not be set in a world with war relegated to the background however. Glen Cook’s book series centered on the Black Company is a perfect example of a setting in which the main protagonists are a military unit engaged in the myriad tasks beyond open battle. The stories could form the backbone of any mercenary-based game.
Yet endless combat is boring unless your game is merely an evolved game of tactical Battle Chess, which at its core, is exactly what RPGs started out as. Looking back through my battered collection of AD&D modules, it is jarring to see just how much of each page is taken up with combat encounters and statistics… which is fine if you like wargaming, but rather tedious if your character cannot leave the army to engage in a little politics, adventure or tomb robbing. After all, army sergeants are not known for giving 3 days leave for the pursuit of personal business.
Thus war, whilst a perfect opportunity to allow player characters to engage in legitimate violence, should be something which is only brought to the forefront infrequently… at least when it comes to marching them off to some battlefield. In this article we shall investigate some aspects of war from the perspective of the warrior, mercenary or soldier.
We lack the space to cover the appalling consequences of war, the crimes and effects on civilians, and even upon soldiers themselves. To illustrate its injustice and horror would require the entire page count of this magazine, nor would it lend itself to good gaming material. War is a terrible thing... but it is always our last fallback in the face of evil. Sadly, it always will be.
Bernard the Barbarian receives a hug – Evelina Rosenius came up with the idea for her father’s comic strip featured here. Åke Rosenius is the man behind the sly barbarian in every issue of Fenix.