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Warhammer location for the Barbarian Quest Pack

PostPosted: Tuesday March 9th, 2021 12:51am
by Cael Darkhollow
I originally posted this excerpt in "the overview of the Old World" thread in the General HeroQuest discussion forum, but after checking here it seems no one has mentioned possible WH locations for this quest pack. I felt it belonged here too, for people who might not see the original post.

The HQ Elf Quest Pack and quest book The Mage of the Mirror and Barbarian Quest pack The Frozen Horror were released in 1992.
I don't know exactly when Milton Bradley stopped collaborating with GamesWorkshop, but I have heard from a few people here on the forum say that the Elf Quest and Barbarian Quest packs were released after the split and somehow that makes HeroQuest no longer based on the Warhammer world setting. They use this false narrative to explain ideas or locales found in those quests but not found in other Warhammer materials as evidence that HQ was now different no longer part of the Old World. That simply isn't true.

Both of my Elf and Barbarian quest packs say by Milton Bradley developed with Games Workshop right on the boxes (rear.)
This means all of HeroQuest was published before the MB/GW collaboration ended sometime after those games were published in 1992.

So what about the supposed story discrepancies in those North America only quest packs that don't seem to fit the Old World setting?
In the Frozen Horror quest book geographic features are mentioned that don't appaear on Warhammer maps.
But the Barbarian homelands of the North has both Old World and literary equivalents as well.

From the questbook, Xanon Pass, the only pass in the Cyberian Range leads to Ice Mountain, the locale of the quests. The barbarian hales from the Northlands. This range, pass and mountain are not named on the maps of the Old World.
Another HeroQuest mapof the barbarians homeland in the North is found in The Tyrants Tomb HQ novel, and gives more "Northlands" locales not named on any Warhammer map for another homecoming to Norscan forests by the barbarian character in HQ, (and a quest there, A Growl of Thunder)

This Northlands map is framed to the east by the Worlds Edge Mountains, to the north by the Northern Chaos Wastes, and to the south by the Sea of Claws; large geographic features indeed found on most Warhammer old world maps. The names of the towns, hamlets and villages listed that are not repeated in Warhammer on WH maps are immaterial. Likewise how many unnamed ranges or peaks are there, only named perhaps by the locals who live near? There are no detailed maps of the far north of the Old World in any Games Workshop product, besides such barbarian villages are likely beneath the notice of scholarly cartographers from the Empire.

A few locales of interest on the map in the Tyrants Tomb novel are Dargvellig Voy (the isles of the Fimir), Ymirheim, the Norscan Steppes, and Le Massif Des Geants. No mountain ranges or peaks are mapped except for the Worlds Edge Mountains, so the exact location of Xanon Pass, the Cyberian range, the Barbarian's home village and the peak named Ice Mountain, lair of the Frozen Horror remain unknown.

A great many unnamed ranges and mountains are shown on some of the many maps of Norsca (also called the Northlands) in the various Chaos army books and boxed sets of Warhammer. Its location across the Sea of Claws confirms the HQ Barbarian Quest Pack's general location as Norsca in the Old World. The Northlands are described as frigid wastes with a few settlements and roving barbarian tribes. Nothing in either American exclusive quest pack contradicts anything in Warhammer or the Old World setting.

Les Edwards art for the barbarian character in HQ is directly inspired by Frank Frazettas art depicting Conan the Barbarian, a Robert E Howard literary character. They are the same or at least twin brothers, or at a minimum certainly of the same race of northerner barbarians. Conans homeland to the north of the civilized nations is named Cimmeria, too similar to the Cyberian range not to notice. Alternativey perhaps Siberia in the real world is the influence, although Russia is represented by the Kislev nation to the east and south of Norsca. Ymir is a god of the north in Howard's Hyboria tales of Conan, the Ymirheim found on the HQ map would be literally translated as Ymir's home. The massif des geants would be translated the mountain stronghold of giants, similar in name to the Massif Orcal found further south in the old world. Perhaps it was inspired by Tolkien's Helcaraxë, the grinding ice also known as the icy wastes mentioned in the Silmarillion.

Re: Warhammer location for the Barbarian Quest Pack

PostPosted: Tuesday March 9th, 2021 11:22pm
by Davane
Norsca is a bit like Earth's Scandinavia, in that although it is divided from the Old World by a sea (the sea of claws, in this case), it does actually join up with the Old World much further north and east, putting it just north the realm of Kislev. By Earth standards, you are probably looking at Finland, which is North of Russia.

Note that the Northern Chaos Wastes are assumed to be analogous to the arctic, typically within the arctic circle, and as those wastes have expanded due to the spread of Chaos, any number of features could have been lost within them over time. Even then, only a few of the locations actually within the Northern Chaos Wastes remain static enough that it's easy to explain why they might not show up on official maps of the Old World.

Since most of the major action in the Old takes place further south, so that the first the Old World hears about it is normally when Kislev faces a Chaos Horde, Old World maps rarely go that far north. You might find more correlation on any maps of Kislev, as although there's never been an official Kislev Army Book, CJ created a Kislev army list back in the day. In there, it speaks of barbarians living out on the wild tundra to the north of the more civilised southern areas of Kislev, and it's supposedly from here that Ice Magic and Ice Witches come from...