Elder Scrolls Call to Arms is a miniatures wargame by Modiphius, set in Bethesda's Elder Scrolls, and specifically Skyrim setting. There are currently miniatures available for a huge range of characters from the video game, including named characters, henchmen, common soldiers, and enemies. Modiphius recently released an Elder Scrolls Online Character Pack, featuring Mannimarco, the Nord, the Breton, and the High Elf from the Age of Heroes, one thousand years before the events of Skyrim. So we sat down with some of the team from Modiphius, Mark Latham, the games' designer, Martin Jones, their resident in-house resin manufacturer, and Gavin Dady, the Project Manager for Call to Arms.
TechRaptor: Hey Mark, Martin, and Gavin. Welcome back to TechRaptor, and thank you for joining us. Today we’re looking at the new Elder Scrolls Online Character Pack for Elder Scrolls Call to Arms. Call to Arms is set in the Skyrim timeline, and ESO is set about 1000 years before. How do they fit into the game?
Mark Latham: Well, Call to Arms is actually written to encompass the entire gamut of Elder Scrolls settings. In fact, fans of the various video-game iterations will probably spot a few special rules and mechanics that are named after ESO, as well as a few nods to Oblivion and so on. These rules haven’t so far been used with any of the released characters, because the initial releases were themed around Skyrim, but as we delve (tee-hee) into the wider Elder Scrolls universe, hopefully, the master plan will reveal itself.
TR: Which factions will the ESO Characters work with, and will we see missions and scenarios based around them?
Mark Latham: For now, the ESO characters are a standalone pack, although most of the timeless Adversaries can be used freely with them. Players can also feel free to use the characters any way they want. But the intention is that these are a precursor to more ESO content, the addition of faction rules for the Daggerfall Covenant, Aldmeri Dominion, and Ebonheart Pact are, for the time being, a big ol’ tease. But really it’s paving the way for more later.
TR: How was it capturing the feel of the ESO Characters in Call to Arms, or was it simple to fit them into the current game structure/system?
Mark Latham: As I said, the core rules were written with ESO characters in mind, so mechanically it wasn’t a problem. The only design challenge was the power level, these guys are serious, high-level characters. We've been really careful to gradually increase the comparative levels of characters and equipment with each chapter of releases, but the ESO cinematic guys represent a bit of a peek into the future. It didn’t seem right to reign them in too far, but I still had to cost them appropriately so that players can use them with their existing collection.
TR: The sculpts for the ESO Character Pack look fantastic. You produce your own in-house resin miniatures. How has production been over the last year and what challenges have you worked around?
Martin Jones: Excluding material quality improvements the fundamentals of mold and casting haven't changed much in many years and it's still a hands-on artisanal process. Nevertheless, we have seen an impact with the restrictions we've had to impose, with social distancing within the workshop space being the most difficult part to overcome. Having to spread the team over a larger space removes the convenience of easy feedback and affects the efficiency of the team.
Global transport and logistics have also been affected. We have had to improve our overall efficiency as materials have become harder to source due to transport and raw material shortages.
TR: Will you be exploring any more with ESO or any of the other Elder Scrolls settings?
Gavin Dady: The ESO characters were actually some of the first sculpts we ever did before even the first Skyrim sculpts were completed. We have some more that may appear in another special set at some point.
Our major content blocks are known as Ages, so we are currently in the Skyrim Age and each of the release Chapters lasts around six to nine months. Right now we are in Chapter 2: Steam and Shadow. Chapter 3 is now in production ready to launch later this year and we are working on Chapters 4 and 5. I expect there will probably be a 6th chapter for Skyrim and then we will move on to a new age. What that Age might be, who knows. There’s plenty of scope for great storytelling in The Elder Scrolls universe.
TR: There have been a lot of releases for Elder Scrolls Call to Arms since its release. If players what to start playing Call to Arms, what should their first purchases be?
Gavin Dady: The Core rules box is your starting point for all game styles. The Chapter 1 Card Pack: Civil War then expands on the core set with new cards for Heroes, Adversaries, Followers, Upgrades, Spells, Quests, Events, Traps, Treasures, and so on. You can then pick figure sets to suit your play style.
For example, if you are interested in solo delves you can get the Bleak Falls Barrow starter set in plastic or resin and maybe a set of the Draugr Ancients or Guardians and maybe some of the Adventurer Followers or Allies in resin to aid your Dragonborn. If you want to fight for the future of Skyrim against your friends then you can look at the Imperial Legion or Stormcloak Faction sets. Both factions have the starter set in plastic or resin and two boxes of resin reinforcements in the first Chapter.
We’ve also made sure that all of the player forces come with cards in the core set and Chapter 1 Card Pack so they can be used as Adversaries, AI-controlled enemies. That means that you could run a solo Delve of the Dragonborn against Imperial Forces, or Stormcloak troops delving into ruins to help the war effort by plundering the tombs of the ancestors. You could even be a brave legion commander holding off a raid by mercenary adventurers, fighting the Dragonborn as an AI-controlled enemy.
Our first supplement is Into the Dark, which allows you to create an almost endless number of procedural solo or co-op delves. We also have a slew of community scenarios available for free on our site.
TR: What’s next in the current Skyrim timeline for Call to Arms?
We’ve just gone to print with our first major printed expansion outside of card packs, Histories of the Empire Volume 1: Stormcloak Rebellion. This is a really great campaign supplement that lets you refight the battles for the future of Skyrim, from the opening skirmishes to the final confrontation in the enemy's capital. It can be played as a versus mode campaign, or solo using delves and AI rules. It also contains rules for a map-based campaign, with terrain effects and bonuses for keeping possession of the different Holds in Skyrim.
We’re also well into Chapter 2 now, Steam and Shadow, which introduces the Dark Brotherhood and Dwemer factions, as well as a few teases for what is to come in Chapter 3. We previously teased Chapter 3 in our ModCon stream last year which led to a great deal of speculation. I’m happy to confirm today that Chapter 3 will be Dawnguard and will deal with the titular Dawnguard’s fight against the Vampire forces. It also brings in the long-awaited Bandit Faction, with models that can be used as Bandits, Mercenary Adventurers, or even Thralls for the vampire forces.
Beyond that we have also already teased that a future Chapter will look at Dragons and Draugr in more detail, providing full rules for using them as a playable faction.
TR: Thank you, Mark, Martin, and Gavin. We're looking forward to using the ESO character pack in-game and we're also very excited for the Dawnguard release.
You can pick up your copy of the ESO Character Pack, or any of the Call to Arms releases directly from Modihpius or your local stockist. The rules for using the four characters in-game will be available online from Modiphius soon.
The four characters in the pack are all produced in Modiphius' in-house resin and are very easy to assemble and clean. The miniatures poses are dynamic, and they are full of great detail.
The Elder Scrolls Call to Arms ESO Character Pack used in this article was provided by Modiphius.