Way back in 2005-2006 there was a little game company named Rackham, a French company they were producing a game called Confrontation (and AT-43). Confrontation was a gem of a game that had THE BEST miniatures of any game at the time or dare I say the present.
The miniatures were metal and highly detailed, all based around the absolutely stunning artwork of Paul Bonner. The rules, once you could get through the rough French to English translation were wonderful. The whole game from presentation to paint and miniatures was simply elegant and stunning. Unmatched to this day.
That being said, you could imagine my absolute delight in 2006 when I came across Cadwallon. This was a tactical tabletop RPG that utilized these miniatures in the rich world that I had fallen in love with. Again, the rules were a bit wonky because of translation, but completely playable. Less intuitive people couldn't grasp the open playing style the game presented. This was open roleplaying and much of it was left up to the gamemaster to drive a story. Too often TRPG players require rules to cover every instance or task when they play, imagination is lacking making games to formulative and derivative of each other. This wasn't the case here. This was one book that covered everything needed, you could use the miniatures you already had for Confrontation and really dig into the lore of the world. This was probably the last TTRPG to fill that need for me.
Cadwallon was founded by a mercenary company and is reputedly free from the surrounding nations' politics which mainly concern the massive war called The Rag'narok. The city is divided in two parts; the upper city and the lower city, which are further divided into eleven fiefdoms, each with its own peer. The whole city is ruled by the Duke.
The City is built on the ruins of several different civilizations including the Cynwall and Acheron but with its foundations in some much older culture. Yes, a single location with millenia old layers constantly built on each other, pure gold from a GM point of view. No world politic to build, one government to deal with.. just delve deeper and deeper and have fun.
There were several factions that vied for control. Wolfen, Griffons and Dirz to name a few. They all were in competition to excavate the lower levels of Cadwallon in the pursuit of power and glory.
So what happened? Why didn't this game go further? Interesting that you should ask. In 2005 I was doing my normal job (IT Nerd) and was actually a demo team lead for Rackham in California, running games for local shows and conventions. Whilst toiling away at my desk, I got a call from a strange number. When I answered it there was a voice with a thick accent at the other end, of course I instantly think scam...
"I am with Rackham Games, do you have a moment to talk with me?"
"Sure, what can I do for you?"
"We have the GAMA show in Las Vegas coming up next month and we need your assistance."
"We have a large booth to demo our Confrontation game.. however we do not have any staff with strong English skills, could you come to Las Vegas and help?"
"I guess so... I would need to book a flight, hotel and all wouldn't I?"
"No sir, we will cover your room and flight as well as all expenses if you could help us for the week."
Needless to say, I didn't turn down the opportunity and had one of the most fun weeks of my life. The people at Rackham were a ton of fun, we had a blast.
The game went on to be very popular and things seemed to go well with them after the show.
The they decided to become a publically traded company... They went from metal to an inferior plastic, pre-painted format in order to cut costs and please shareholders. Things went downhill quick; they lost their identity and the end wasn't long after.
I still have lots of the metal miniatures, the game books and more than enough fun memories from that company, they don't make them like that anymore.
Maybe next time I will tell the tale of me and Gary Gygax and how he is rolling over in his grave at what D&D has become.
Stay Kool Kidz..
-Redneck Game Gawd