Saturday 19 November 2022

Orsa The Fearless: The Thing of the North

Over the last year I've been putting together the various miniatures and bits of terrain to allow me to play through the Orsa the Fearless feature pack for 7TV Fantasy. 

All I needed was someone to play and the requisite amount of time. So, when Matt, JP and I planned for a mini 7TV day, Orsa the Fearless seemed the obvious choice for a theme.

The version you are about to see is not the original (fictional) 1981 classic fantasy action movie following the adventures of the beautiful warrior orphan Orsa, her stalwart ally and ex-mercenary Wulf, and her pet bear Karhu, as they seek to foil the evil machinations of the Witch-Queen Skadi in her attempt to subdue the free lands of Valhannon on behalf of the wicked Atlan Empire.

No. This is the low budget and copyright infringing Italian version, starring glamour model Alessandria di Napoli. This low budget made-for-TV three part series took more than a few liberties with the story, not least the setting of it in warmer climes, facilitating skimpier and more revealing outfits for di Napoli in a cheap attempt to increase ratings.

Nonetheless, Orsa Gli Impavidi gained a cult status of its own for its effective use of a limited budget and managing to completely miss the point of the original film.


The movie begins with the sun coming up on a typical Valhannon village in which the 'Thing' (a gathering of the clan chieftains) has been called to address the growing threat of the Atlan Empire to the south.

Suddenly horns sound in alarm and the chieftains, their warriors and turncoat mercenary Wulf rush out to meet the threat.

With them is the warrior maiden Orsa, and her faithful ursine companion Karhu.

The threat is revealed to be Atlan Hoplites, who are pushing into the village, searching for something...or someone.

They are lead by the fierce and intimidating figure of General Aeolus, the strong right hand of the Atlan Emperor.

With the Atlan invaders is the hag Gullveig, who has allied the feral Vild to the Atlan cause. These cannibalistic men-like beasts seek only to sow carnage amongst the clans and feast on the fallen afterwards.

Deep within the village, the ancient seeress, and Orsa's foster mother, Skuld emerges from her hut. She knows the invaders have come for her on behalf of her sister, the treacherous Skadi.

She dies not flee, but awaits whatever fate has in store for her and Valhannon.

The Atlan hoplites plunge deep into the village, driven on by Aeolus.

Meanwhile, Gullveig urges the Vild into the other side of the settlement. Arrows are loosed and several northern warriors fall.

Wulf is an experienced soldier. He knows a diversion when he sees one. He spots that the Atlan hoplites are the real threat and at his insistence the chieftains order their men to get between the imperial troops and their quarry, Skuld.

The Vild riding with Aeolus is unhorsed when his mount his killed by a flung spear ensuring that Skuld cannot be spirited away.

Meanwhile, a party of warriors are despatched to slow down the marauding Vild.

However, they run straight into a storm of arrows and find themselves horribly outnumbered by the man-eating fiends.

The hoplites plunge into the defensive line and cut down many warriors and even a chieftain. Things look grim for the tribes of Valhannon.

Suddenly a stirring score strikes up and the lithe figure of Orsa strides into the fray. With balletic skill and the aid of Wulf, she cuts down the hoplites to a man.

As the men fall to her blade she feels a ferocious and bloodthirsty hunger come upon her. Although raised by Skuld, she is Vild by birth and faces a constant struggle to contain her brutal urges.

Suddenly isolated, Aeolus is set upon from the rear by the ferocious form of Karhu.

However, with the aid of the dismounted Vild, Aeolus is able to drive off Orsa's companion and continue his terrifying march forwards.

Aeolus launches towards Orsa. His brute strength overpowering the warrior maiden, tearing her clothing in a fetching manner and leaving a small cut on her perfect cheekbones, just below her heavily made up eyes.

In a desperate and chivalric bid to protect this valiant lady, Wulf manages to grab Aeolus in a headlock and starts dragging him out of the village.

Despite this, the Vild continue to drive through the village, their arrows scattering their foes, but repeatedly failing to bring down the clansmen.

Wulf is unable to hold on to his prize and Aeolus breaks free, kicking Wulf heavily in the back. Despite a warrior rushing to his aid, Wulf looks to be overmatched by the towering warrior.

The poor accuracy of the Vild allows the northern warriors to launch a viscious counter attack, cutting several of the cannibals down.

Recovered somewhat from Aeolus's frightful assault, Orsa joins the fray and finishes off all but one of the Vild and the hag Gullveig.

Famously, there follows a few frames of what appears to be Gullveig and Aeolus on fire. The story goes that somebody had meddled with the pyrotechnics for the burning of the village later in the scene and they went off too early, delaying filming for several hours.

These few frames slipped into the final cut by accident, but a more lasting effect was that the burning of the village was dropped from the film as there wasn't enough money to redo the effects.

Despite his bravery, Wulf was not match for Aeolus and was knocked sprawling and unconscious into the unlit warning beacon (this was the moment that was supposed to start the fire).

With the burning of the village cancelled, what was left of the pyrotechnics were redeployed to give Gullveig some magical fire, which briefly engulfed Orsa and the last Vild, but both walked away unharmed as the script demanded it.

With revulsion in her heart for what she truly was, Orsa and the northmen cut down Gullveig and the last of the Vild raiders. Orsa wondered aloud if her people could be redeemed now the baleful influence of the hag had been removed.

With Wulf out of the fight, Aeolus unceremoniously cuts his way through the only warrior standing in his way.

Despite being truly alone, Aeolus stands tall and strides towards Skuld. He casts a spear in the direction of Orsa, striking her in the chest (which is seen in slow motion and close up as this is a low budget Italian movie in the eighties). Although protected by her improbably uplifting armour, Orsa is flung backwards and falls unconscious, draped glamourously and provocatively amongst the long grass, as if she's sleeping.

We do not see the rest of the fight, and Orsa does not see Aeolus bind Skuld and lead her out of the village as a captive to whatever fate Skadi has in store for her.

Upon waking in a devastated (but not burning) village, Orsa learns that her foster mother has been taken. 

Realising that the north needs help if they are to resist the Altan Empire and rescue Skuld, Orsa, Wulf and Karhu set out to seek the land of the Svartalfar to renew the old alliances.


This game was lots of fun, had a brutal death toll and went to the wire, with both sides needing to take axed tests from Act Two onwards. Aeolus was a terrifying foe who got the drop on Orsa and was able to complete his mission single-handed.

For those that care, the final score was 7-4 to the villains.

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