By Joseph Forster
Using Spiritual Leader Characters in Blood & Plunder are one of my favorite unit options and I’ve become increasingly obsessed with collecting appropriate models for the various forces I regularly play. The obsession has become all-consuming so I figure if I make a blog post about them, that will get it out of my system and I can get back to painting useful models.
The set of characters from Firelock doesn’t include a Spiritual Leader model, so I had to look outside the Firelock line of minis. Once I started down that road, it was hard to stop. As part of the Raise the Black Kickstarter, a priest miniature, modeled after Jean Baptiste Labat, will be available. If I had only been patient I would have been saved all this expense and labor! But I’ve found it enjoyable to find appropriate miniatures for the various nations in the game that reflect their religious preferences to a reasonably accurate level.
Current Character Models Available in Blood & Plunder
But before we look at the minis, lets look at the 3 current characters in Blood & Plunder that can be represented by these various religious figures.
The Spiritual Leader, found in No Peace Beyond the Line is a 7 point Hostage/Advisor Character that grants the force an extra Fortune Point. More Fortune is always good, and having that cushion the helps you get a Fortune Point until near the end of the game is so helpful.
Hostages and Advisors
As a Hostage/Advisor, the Spiritual Leader carries no weapons and can’t help with your fighting, but if you play the long game, he can help you win games.
If you keep that advisor attached to your unit until the end of turn 6, you give your enemy an additional Strike Point. This is really huge. Games end in ties and this is an easy way to make sure you win those ties. Or bring a minor loss up to a tie. I find this can encourage me to play a little more cautiously near the end of the game, but that’s not always a bad thing. I love it when my monks wins me the game.
Fire on the Frontier adds two more variations to the Spiritual Leader: the French Jesuit Priest and the named Father Thury Character.
French Jesuit Priest
The French Jesuit Priest is basically an upgraded Spiritual Leader that keeps all the original rules but adds one of the rules from the Spy character. For 10 points you get the Fortune and a mulligan for your activation cards. Ten points is a lot for one character but, assuming you would use one Fortune Point for a mulligan over the course of a game, the Jesuit basically grants you two Fortune for 10 points. Not a bad deal. The Jesuit is much more limited when it comes to adding it to a Force. He can only be included in a French, Wabanaki, NE Woodland Tribes list and must be in a Native unit.
While the generic French Jesuit Priest combines the Spiritual Leader and Spy characters, Father Thury (also a Jesuit) combines the Spiritual Leader and Officer Characters.
First thing to notice here is Thury is a Fighting Man so his cost is +10 as an upgrade to a model and he will fight and have a weapon. On the flip side he won’t give your opponent an additional Strike Point at the end of turn 6 because he’s not a Hostage/Advisor. He brings an extra Fortune Point just like a Spiritual Leader but he also has a “no strings attached” Command Point. He lacks the Officer’s ability to roll a Strike Test, but at “only” 10 points, he’s pretty good when you consider he combines the abilities of a 7 point and 8 point character.
These two characters are basically limited to French Canadian Forces but they can be used (and combined) to make some really interesting Forces.
Raise the Black has a Historic Commander, a generic Character and named Character that will all be best represented with some sort of priest/monk miniature.
Spiritual Leader Character Model Suggestions
Now let’s look at some models!
Let’s begin by looking at the Firelock priest that is part of the Raise the Black Kickstarter. This mini should cover most player’s needs for Spiritual Leader Characters in Blood & Plunder. I was privileged to get an advance copy of the Plunder Chest sprue that was part of the campaign and that sprue included this miniature. Here’s a spoiler!
This is a fine mini. It is appropriately overweight, easy to paint, holy body language and nicely reminiscent of the engraving of Labat that comes from his memoirs.
Historical Figure – Labat
Labat traveled the Caribbean for years, making keen observations on all he came in contact with. Food was a special interest of his….
He spent years on various islands in the Caribbean. His experiences covered a wide range of activities, ranging from building churches, managing plantations, designing and overseeing the building of fortifications, celebrating mass on board pirate ships, and even on occasion participating in armed conflict, even loading, aiming and firing a cannon.
I painted this miniature up in the the colors of the Dominican order with a black robe and white hood. Painted with brown robes, he could serve very well as a Franciscan for the Spanish.
I “heard a rumor” that Labat will be a playable character in Raise the Black. His memoir has recently been edited (shortened) and translated into English and I found it a delightful read.
Perry Miniatures “Armed Clergy” Proxy Model Suggestions
Coming from Perry Miniatures, this set of models has a good variety, including a model that could be used as Labat, or a French Jesuit with a musket (which was fairly commonplace in New France).
For £8.00, this set is pretty affordable and gives you more priests that you’ll ever really need.
I’ve painted up 3 of these models so far, all with the new Army Painter Speed Paints. I’m not super thrilled with the huge, folded hats, but Jesuits used wide brimmed hats in the New World so I supposed they’re OK. The red robe is purely theatrical.
Perry Miniatures “Priests and Monks” Proxy Model Suggestions
Drawing from Perry’s other set of monks, I found a really solid looking French Jesuit, and a classic Franciscan, in the classic pose of St. Francis himself.
Fire on the Frontier introduces a generic French Jesuit Priest character and the Father Thury named Fighting Man Character that I think this model does well in representing.
You can see a nice, big, Jesuit hat in action in the terrible 1991 film, Black Robe.
In contrast to the aggressive and warlike Jesuits, we have a Franciscan. This is a great model for a Spiritual Leader for the Spanish, especially representing a Spanish Mission Priest.
The Spanish Mission Garrison faction from Raise the Black gets special benefits from using a Spiritual Leader (or the new Mission Priest character) so you’ll want a model!
These Perry miniatures make me more thankful for the Firelock miniatures, especially when it comes to faces. This guy needs some plastic surgery.
Badger Games Proxy Models for Spiritual Leader Characters
If you want a more warlike look for your Spanish priests, are some other options for Spiritual Leader characters in Blood & Plunder.
This set from Badger Games has two old-style priests that have a lot of character and aren’t too small to blend in with Firelock minis.
I like these guys and I wrote an entire post on them a couple years ago.
Zenit Miniatures “Father Constantin” as a Spiritual Leader Proxy
Zenit Miniatures has made a colorful priest mini that I couldn’t resist picking up in a sale on Miniature Market.
This is a really fine miniature that comes in 3 parts. The size is really good for Blood & Plunder and I think he makes a find Spanish Priest.
This mini is on the expensive side, but I like the pose.
“Fire & Brimstone – Rabblerousers” by Warlord Miniatures – Proxy Model Suggestions
If you want to play a Spiritual Leader as the English, these priest models won’t do! You’ll need a more Protestant vibe (at least, I do).
I found these two models from the Warlord Fire and Brimstone – Rabblerousers set of minis to be decent for representing the Puritans of New England.
Iroquois Ritualists – Warlord Black Powder Miniatures – Proxy Model Suggestions
If you’re playing Native Americans, sometimes the Jesuit or Franciscan models will be appropriate, but you can also use a more purely native model. This Iroquois Ritualists set of models from Warlord’s Black Powder line gives you several good options.
That third native model in the image above comes from the Iroquois set of minis from Crucible Crush. They have a solid set of pre/early contact period Iroquois that has several useful models for characters..
I hope you enjoyed seeing this list of models you can use as Spiritual Leader Characters in Blood & Plunder. I have a couple other priests that I haven’t painted up yet, but I think I need to stop. This obsession needs to end for me!
Thanks for reading! Pax Vobiscum.
Related Articles of Interest
If you’d like to read more information about other characters, here is a Character Model Analysis article that covers the full list available in Blood & Plunder.
If you’re new to Blood and Plunder you may not know about the exclusive figures floating around out there. Here’s a quick round up of Blood and Plunder Exclusives and Special Releases.