Grand Narrative at NOVA Open

This weekend has been packed with excitement. An awesome new Morathi has been unveiled with not one but two new models. The second week of the Dread Solstice campaign is underway and the event pack for Coalescence: Malign Portents was sent to NEOs registered to run that event on March 17. We saw some great pictures of fantastic models on amazing tabletops at the Holy Wars event (check out ). And the NOVA Open staff is preparing to open ticket sales for the 2018 convention scheduled for Labor Day weekend. Aaron Bostian wrote some background about his involvement with the convention and why he’s so excited about this year.

I started working with NOVA Open staff back in 2014 when they kindly allowed my local gaming store to borrow some terrain and tabletops a store tournament. It was my very first Warhammer tournament, and I only assisted a more experienced TO since I had only been playing the game for a few short months. But I was so impressed with the generosity and professionalism from the staff that, after my first NOVA Open experience as a player later that year, I found myself one of the leads running the first Age of Sigmar event in 2015.

Less than eight weeks after the new rules dropped with models on round bases, one of the players arrived at NOVA Open with his Dwarven army rebased onto round bases. These did not belong to the author’s wife pictured in the background.

We had fewer than six weeks to schedule and plan the event, and we only had six players (one of which was my wife). But we had fun. While many others predicted Age of Sigmar wouldn’t last long on the gaming scene and others warned this would be the first and the last AoS event at NOVA Open, my co-lead and I felt ready to start planning for a bigger and more comprehensive event for 2016.


Inspired by what the 40K team had done at NOVA Open in previous years, we split the AoS 2016 event into two halves: a competitive event that Brian planned to run as a more traditional TO, and a narrative event that I planned to run as a Game Master with a series of games linked into a campaign and players divided into two teams with goals of either conquering or defending the kingdom of Dawnland. We had a great experience with more than 30 players combined between both events, and I remember an immense amount of nervous energy on the eve of the convention which evaporated as soon as we started the initial world building session when players offered details about how the mystic ziggurat built that summer tied into the rest of the narrative background.

In an incredible reversal of loyaties in one of the last games, Queen Neferata saved Dawnland from absolute destruction by the forces of Chaos, but the price she required was nothing less than a veiled fealty to Nagash, and she began draining the resources of the region to expand the control and power of her master.

In 2017 we expanded the narrative events to four days across the entire convention and advanced the story a year: loyalty to the Queen had wavered, and an underground rebellion, lead by a association of spies and assassins known as The Hands, began to gather momentum. At the end of many games, with an average of a dozen players in each of six linked sessions, one Orruk warlord, after ingratiating himself with the Queen’s court and becoming knighted as a noble, managed to sneak off with the entire royal treasury while the Hands managed to topple the monarchy and reclaim the throne as Neferata fled for the preservation of herself and her few remaining loyal servants. So, the rebellion was successful and Dawnland reclaimed but at the expense of having all the resources of the region drained and the kingdom left in ruins.

My most exciting part of last year’s narrative event was talking with players that wanted to get more involved with the next event. While loading terrain into boxes and stacking up tabletop mats, some of us started talking about what we could do to make 2018 even more awesome. And in the last four months seven of us have had monthly conference calls and worked together as a team to design and begin executing plans to create the most immersive Age of Sigmar narrative experience in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

NOVA banner

We have published a primer for this year’s “grand narrative” divided into a prologue event on Thursday and three acts over three days of the main event. The story is set about a hundred years after the rebellion narrative of last year, and we have four new factions built on the ashes of last year’s factions, each maneuvering for political and economic power under the looming shadow of a strange new threat to Dawnland. You can find the primer here (NOVA Open AoS Narrative Events 2018 Primer REVISED 2-25) as well as on the NOVA Open website at  where tickets for all NOVA Open events will be available starting Thursday, March 1st.

If you’re interested in participating, we invite you to begin thinking about what kind of army you want to bring, and also think about designing your own airship to fit the theme of your army and pick up a convention access pass and event ticket from the website starting Thursday. You can also check in on what we’re doing on the NEONOVA Facebook group or on Twitter under #NEONOVA18


The team still has work to do, mostly finalizing the warlord warscrolls to make those available to everyone later in March as well as writing and playtesting battleplans which will link together into a new campaign with larger stakes and some new developments. And we also have terrain to build, adding ships to the fleet the NOVA Open terrain team constructed along with a massive fortress for a multiplayer Coalition of Death siege game. But with a team working with me this year, I’m feeling supremely confident we will run an event so much more dynamic and immersive than what I could have ever envisioned before.


Thanks, Aaron!

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