As rules built up across different books, the writers felt that a second edition was in order and that they needed a better way of organizing stuff. So, with Saga 2nd Ed. they went for a central rulebook that would cover everything you need to play the game and what they termed 'universe books'.
Each universe book would contain all the army lists and factions for a particular period of warfare. The first was Age of Vikings, followed by Age of Crusades and Age of Invasions, effectively bringing all of the basic game into the new edition.
With that out of the way, they are free to work on adding more content and that is what they have done. The next universe book is Age of Magic and it sounds quite interesting.
Rather than go for a particular setting, the armies are quite generic, though each will no doubt have it's own unique abilities. This should allow players to tailor their forces based on what they own rather than having to buy new figures for a new system.
Anyway, here is what the writers had to say about it.
With the release of the Age of Magic next month, the cupboards and drawers have reopened, and figures that hadn't fought for ages will once again tread the battlefield, after a rigorous dusting.
In any case, this is what the testimonies of many players in the Saga community suggest after the announcement of the release of this new Saga Universe.
But as they search their suitcases, take out some dusty boxes buried under a mountain of lead patiently waiting (for a decade) for a coat of paint, a doubt strangles them: will they be able to play their army? Will the Bicephaal Dwarves of Badaluck found a home in the Age of Magic?
Let's try to answer this question....
When we started developing the Age of Magic, the question arose as to what style of Fantasy to cover with the book's factions. Heroic-Fantasy? Sword & Sorcery ? Dark Fantasy? Because what we call Fantasy brings together worlds as varied as Tolkien's Middle-Rarth, Howard's Hyborian Age, Moorcock's Young Kingdoms or Martin's Seven Kingdoms (to name only the most famous).
And the answer was obvious: all of them.
But to do so, it was necessary to get back to the roots of the archetypes of Fantasy, and to find the main themes underlying the majority of the protagonists in the wars of these imaginary worlds.
We have isolated six of them, which make it possible to characterize the overwhelming majority of wargaming armies and which have become the factions of the Age of Magic:
The Great Kingdoms are powerful societies with strong central power. They may be human empires, elven enclaves or any civilized society, with extensive infrastructure and generally with a technological ascendancy over their neighbours.
The Lords of the Wild live in a certain form of harmony with their natural environment and often in self-sufficiency towards the world around them. Sometimes perceived as primitive, they are also extremely vindictive when it comes to defending their domain.
The Undead Legions encompass all groups, societies or cultures having a close connection with Death, often being able to break its rules. Their power comes from magic generally, or from a strange form of technology.
The Horde is the name we have given to all its forces that threaten civilizations. These are invaders, or cultures with expansionist ambitions that have made conflict a determining factor in their social construction. They may be tribes, peoples or even warring kingdoms. War and conquest are part of their society.
The Otherworld warbands have signed a pact or established alliances with terrible forces. They may be demons, redemptive angels or other creatures from other dimensions. The bond woven varies with the band represented, from the group of demons who have invaded our reality to the organized worship worshipping evil entities, or the kingdom built on its relationship with entities at other levels.
The Masters of the Underneath live under the surface of the world, in a more or less elaborate society. It is not uncommon for them to have developed advanced technologies due to their difficult living conditions. Because of their isolation, they are often misunderstood and feared by those on the surface, often rightly so.
This is a quick overview of the factions of the Age of Magic. The supplement develops these archetypes extensively, with several examples of warbands that can be gathered around this very broad theme.
So, the question that each player will have to ask himself is not :
"Which faction should I play with my XXX (insert the name of your favorite army)? "
« Which faction do I imagine my XXX in? ». Because each player will have his or her own perspectives on the issue.
Let's take the example of Goblins.
If it is a wave of bellicose green skins, never ceasing to harass the border of nearby kingdoms, the Horde will suit them perfectly.
If they live in the depths of a huge abandoned mine, the Masters of the Underneath should work pretty well to portray them.
But if by any chance, they lived in a huge jungle in the form of small tribes that had tamed the local fauna, then we could think that they are indeed Lords of the Wild.
The Age of Magic was designed to give players back their freedom. To let them rediscover the pleasure of customizing their collection of models, giving it a unique history and identity. To choose from different manufacturers the best models to portray what they think their warband should look like. The multitude of options available should ensure that few bands will look alike, even within the same faction.
So, sorry, you will not find "army lists" for Dwarves, Orcs or Middle Elves of the Island of Burning Light (5th edition)™
But your figures are just waiting to be gathered in a warband of this name. The book will provide you with everything you need to cover the troops of these armies. The rest is in your hands.