keskiviikko 18. lokakuuta 2017

One dream come true

When I was in the 9th grade I joined an american football team and ended up playing for 11 seasons all  the way from juniors to men´s team in Finnish championship league. Around the same time as started playing american football I discovered the White Dwarf magazine. The very first issue of WD I read back then was #101 I think. For obvious reasons I soon fell in love with Blood Bowl and 2nd edition was propably the first GW game I ever played. And I played it a LOT back in the days.

My general liking of Jes Goodwin sculpts began with these blood bowl elves. In my opinion these are still by far the best elf players GW has ever released. But I have have to admit that I do like the Dark elves of the same era a lot too.

It was always my dream to have a complete and painted elf team but the young me never had the resources or painting skills to achieve that goal. So I ended up playing with those not-so-gorgeous monopose elves from the Dungeonbowl set. A few of those got painted and I did buy a single blister of metal players and remember painting a thrower and a lineman but those have not survived to see this day.

Almost 30 years after discovering these elves I´ve finally reached the point where I can say that I have a painted playable elf blood bowl team. There´s a fair amount of good luck involved as I was not actively looking for these models. As it happened I scored a job lot that included among other things 8 elf players and that gave me the boost I needed to make this happen.

I painted the 11 models seen here in the same blue and white theme as my high/sea elf army. I tried to achieve a uniform look but so that there would be no two models that are completely alike. I was planning on making the bases astrogranite but made up my mind and chose green flock that in my opinion looks better with blue and white uniforms.


The whole team: a thrower, a blitzer, 6 linemen and 3 catchers.


I like my elves dark haired. Here are the linemen.


And the catchers.


Blitzer and thrower. Not happy with the thrower´s hair.
But he´ll do for now. I have another thrower waiting to be painted.

The team is now packed and ready to come with me to Oldhammer Oulu meet where I´m hoping to get my first game of BB in many years. BTW I´m looking for 2nd blitzer model. If you happen to have one you could part with please contact me. I would prefer the short haired version to complete my collection but the mohican one will do as well.

maanantai 16. lokakuuta 2017

Oldhammer Oulu 28/10/2017


In just under two weeks time there will be an Oldhammer meet in Oulu, northern Finland. As far as I know this is the very first meet of it´s kind to be arranged n Finland. And for that reason the goals have been kept pretty limited. It´s only on one day and for few hours. We do not have a lot of different games and don´t expect a big crowd. But everyone has to start somewhere, right?

Fantasiapelit Oulu, the local gaming store supports the happening by letting us use it´s gaming room. A BIG thank you to owners for making this possible!

The doors will open at 10 am. It will propably take an hour to set up the tables so games should be ready to start at 11 am.

All of the games we´ve prepared will be led by a GM and be joined by anyone who happens to come by. No need to take any models with you if you don´t want to. For Troll Slaying you can take a single dwarf model but you can participate even if you don´t have one.

Each scenario or round of gaming should take no longer than 1 hour.

Games:
  • WFB 3rd edition. Two small scenarios will be run all day. Just step in when there is room.
  • Adeptus Titanicus 1st edition. One titan for each player, every man for himself.
  • Judge Dredd. GM led scenarios running all day.
  • Mordheim. Fast skirmishes for anyone to join in.
  • Troll slaying. A bunch of trolls vs. you and your stunty. He who slays the most trolls is the winner. You don´t have to be a slayer to enter!
Demo:
  • Blood Bowl LRB6

And if you have something you would like to play please feel free to take it with you. I´m sure you´ll find an opponent here.

keskiviikko 4. lokakuuta 2017

Where is he now - Berserker

One of the special troop types presented in the 3rd edition rule book is berserkers. Their descripsion says that they are units of troop that can enter a wild and uncontrollable frenzy. The berserker frenzy resebles the psychological effect frenzy but is something a bit more.

Berserkers are found in Norse armies, both in the mercenary contigent and in the WD107 published full Norse army list. The are available in both human and norse dwarf form. Chaos dwarf berserkers can be fielded as part of a chaos mercenary contingent. Chaos dwarf berserker units are also available for Khornate armies as ppesented in Slaves to Darkness.

Once again I´m supported by LM´s apparently infinite
collection of miniatures. Norse berserkers with 2H axes.

Before a battle the berserkers work themselves into a battle-fury by clashing their swords, chewing their shields and singing ´berserkers songs´. Al this will turn them into frothing homicidal maniacs with foaming mouths and glazed eyes. They will attack anyone or anything that gets in their way. Berserkers are so battle-crazed that even deadly wounds won´t necessarily stop them.

THE RULES (p. 96)
  1. Berserkers never wear armour, but may carry a shield. They may be armed with any hand-to-hand and throwing weapon, such as a throwing spear or axe. Many berserkers carry two hand weapons, choosing to forego a ´namby-pampy´ shield in favour of offensive weapons.

    All this suits the berserker style quite nicely. One could of course squable about the throwing weapons being not very berserky but hey, you don´t have to take those if you don´t want to. 3rd edition rules for wielding two hand weapons are pretty harsh. The +1 to hit bonus from frenzy helps with that but it´s up to you if you want to go that way. If I were facing goblins or other troops of low WS, two hand weapons could be a choise for norse dwarf berserkers.
  2. Berserkers automatically enter frenzy the first time they charge or are charged. No dice test is made. Once berserkers are frenzied they remain so for the rest of the battle.

    Nicely in line with the general description of the berserkers and their lust for battle.

    Don´t forget the effects of frenzy: +1 to hit and to wound rolls, +1 to any saving throw, never take rout tests, cannot be routed and ignore psychology tests.
  3. Berserkers cannot be pushed-back in hand-to-hand combat, nor can they be routed as a result of hand-to-hand combat. They will refuse to give ground and will fight to the death regarless of circumstances. They must always follow-up in close combat regarless of the circumstances.

    This is a very good trait. It means that even if you lose a round of combat your enemy won´t get that +1 to hit bonus for pushing you back. As you are not pushed back. These guys can be used as an anchor point of your battle-line. They will not run a away from combat allowing your other troops to take on enemy flanks and rear.
  4. If a unit of frenzied berserkers finds itself not in hand-to-hand combat at the beginning of it´s turn, it must charge the nearest enemy troop. If there are no enemy troops within charge range, the berserkers battle-lust is such that they will charge any friendly troops in charge range! If no troops are in charge range they will move at double rate towards the nearest visible enemy.

    In my opinion this is not as bad as it might initially sound. Just make sure that there are no on units in front of the berserkers and you are out of harms way. The rule doesn´t state what to do if there is no visible enemy. Perhaps then the berserkers would manouver towards nearest friendly unit in order to get in charge range. I would propably GM it that way.
  5. Berserkers must always pursue routing enemy, including previously friendly units! Once they have entered frenzy they do not need to reform after pursuit or a charge, but are concidered insantly reformed and must attack or move towards any enemy of friendly unit as described above.

    Very well in line with everything above. And a good clarification about reforming.
Berserkers cost an extra +5 points, added after points for equipment. A normal human berserkers is therefore worth 10 points and a norse dwarf costs you 13 points.

NORSE MERCENARY CONTINGENT


Quite logically you get a smaller number of higher quality troops, in this case norse dwarf berserkers. Being pretty tough by themselves the berserkers can do with a lvl 5 hero. In my opinion double-handed weapons are a must for berserkers. With frenzy you then get +2 to to-wound rolls and that is a lot.

On odd side is the weapons option differences. Why throwing weapons for dwarfs but not for humans?

WD 107 NORSE ARMY LIST


First thing that sticks out is the missprint on human berserker profile. Numbers have shifted one column to right. Not a big deal.

But a bigger thing is the change in unit sizes!

Now the human unit size is only 5-10 and dwarf 10-20. Can´t follow the logic here. Like someone had been thinking: "The Norse dwafr berserkers are really tough - let´s let the players take a bigger unit of them to make them even tougher".

There are no seperate rules for berserker characters. I´m assuming that you can take them if you pay the extra 5 points. But I would limit their use to leading berserkers units. Just like with were characters.

Norse dwarf berserkes unit by LM.


CHAOS DWARF BERSERKERS


With maximum unit size of 20 models and a lvl15 hero this can be one tough unit. And a pretty expensive one too. With full unit with double handed weapons, standard and a hero costs 455 points. As mentioned before the two handed weapons is a must for chaos dwarf berserkers too.

A pair of LM´s chaos dwarf berserkers.

MODELS

The Perry sculpted Norsemen and Norse dwarfs ranges have a couple of suitable models for berserkers. The norse dwarf slayers make perfect berserkers too. From norsemen I would choose the models with bare upper body and dynamic pose. SoL will help you out here, here, here and here.

Foundry has still in production the ex-Citadel Vikings including berserkers. You may want to check out their other viking models too.

CP models has a range of vikings including berserkers. Don´t know how these scale with old Citadel ones.

V&V miniatures too produces 28mm viking models. Their berserkers look a bit chubby for my taste but that´s propably just me.

Chaos dwarf berserkers can be found in the Citadel D3 Chaos dwarf series.

WHERE ARE BERSERKERS NOW?

Sadly the Norse as an army were left out of the 4th edition.  And with that the berserkers ceased to exist. The Norse came back with 6th edition of WFB as part of forces of chaos and new fluff was written for them. In this new setting the berserkers became devotees of Khorne which actually makes some sense. Battle-lusting warriors slipping to the dark side.

What is sad is that berserkers in my opinion became just another type of chaos warriors. Where´s the originality? If the berserkers (and all Norse) had to be turned to chaos why not make use of the tragic side of that. I´m thinking about slow degeneration. Perhaps understanding that everything has gone wrong but not being eble to do something about it. Hating oneself for the blood-lust and not being able to control it.

In the 40k there are Khorne Berzerkers described as: "Driven into battle by the frenzied need to kill, Khorne Berzerkers slaughter everything in their path and leave nothing but twitching corpses in their wake. These murderous lunatics have been ritually lobotomised to remove all trace of fear or compassion. In place of these emotions, they receive cortical implants that heighten their already fearsome aggression to psychotic levels". How original. 

And in the AoS they have Vulkite Berzerkers. Google at your own responsibility.

maanantai 25. syyskuuta 2017

Were creatures in Oldhammer

When I was writing the articles about the elven shapechangers and the norse ulfwerenar I came across quite a many forum discussing about were creatures in Warhammer world. Quite a lot of people were wondering if weres do exist in the Old world. Information about their origin seemed scarce too.

This led me to doing some research on the subject. I wanted to find out how weres were presented in the different WFB editions before the great dumbing down (4th ed.) and in the WFRP of the same era. Plus anything I could find from WD and various Warhammer novels and short stories written at the time.

I think I´ve managed to find quite a lot of material on the subject. How weres are handled has evolved over the times and different editions but there is certain amount of consistence too. Hope you´ll enjoy reading.

WD132 Ironstone Pass adventure artwork.


WFB 1st Edition (1983)

In the Warhammer 1st edition - Vol 1 - Table top  battles booklet pages 47-49 there are five types of were creatures presented: weretiger, wererat, werewolf, wereboar and werebear. They are described as being humans that can attain animal or quasi-bestial forms. A dice roll is required to determine if a creature is able to change form. Each type has a were-factor that shows how likely the change is to happen.

You could mix werecreatures in with normal units of humans and then change the weres in animal or quasi-animal form for combat. The rules state that were creatures are normally highly intelligent when in human form but lose any magic capabilites or other personality characters when transformed.

Most common european form of were creatures is the werewolf. Being able to change to human, giant wolf and half man, half wolf form they too suffer from stupidity when in wolf form. In that form they can still controll and lead up to 2D6 giant wolves. Make note that it´s still european here, no mention of the Old World.

Weretigers are the common for of lycanthropy in the orient. They are able to take human, tiger or half man, half tiger form. In tiger form they suffer from stupidity.

Wererats are described as evil. They are found in packs that prey on lone travellers and small parties in either human, giant rat or half rat, half man form. Their hits are poisonous. Wererats are able to summon and control up to 2D6 giant rats each.

Wereboars that inhabit dark woods and forests are tribal and aggressive. They have the forms of human, giant boar and half man, half boar. In boar form they are subject to stupidity. But in human form there is a 25% chance of them being able to use magic with 1-3 randomly generated spells and mastery level of 1.

1st edition werebears are reasonably friendly if a little bad tempered. They have only two forms, that of a man and of a bear. They hate orcs and goblins and are subject to frenzy.

In general there is very little given about the background of the weres. We get some reference on where the different types live and how they act. Wererats are clearly evil, werebears seem to lean towards good but other types can be seen as neutral. Even the aggressive wereboars.

If you wanted to collect Citadel were models of the era you could look for C22 Creatures. There are at least wererat, werewolf, weretiger and werefox model in that series. Another series of interest would be C18 Night horrors with wolfman and werebear models.

In general the 1st edition rules for weres feel like an echo from role playing rules. They do not seem to suit large table top battles that well. In my opinion they could perhaps do in a small scale narrative battle where they serve some specific purpose but fielding them with regular army seems a bit strange.

WFB 2nd Edition (1984)

2nd edition battle bestiary recognises weres as a type of men that can change into any one shape other than their own. Usually in the Old world that is the shape of a wolf. So pretty much in line with the 1st edition but we see the change from Europe to Old world now.

 The back ground story leaves a lot for ones imagination as it is hinted that the werewolves did haunt the forests back in the day. And might still be there. Weres in Old World are feared and hunted but in Norsca they often fight alongside berserkers.

Weres in human form are no different from standard humans and a were creature might not even be aware of his true nature. By 2nd edition rules a human were can change into any other shape than their own. Wolf for Old World, jackel and tiger for south lands and Cathay are mentioned as well as werebears of Norsca.

Alignment of a were creature can be anything from law to chaos but most are neutral.

Special rules in the 2nd edition are quite interesting. There are only two forms, that of a man and that of a beast. The half man, half animal form is cut. Which is quite odd as the only picture of a were creature in the bestiary is of a wolf-man holding a sword.

In 1st edition you rolled a single dice against the werefactor of the creature to see if you can do the change. Now the rules say that weres have no absolute control over their shape-changing. Weres are subject to frenzy. Whilst in frenzy they must do a WP test at the beginning of each turn to see if they change.

All this means that two conditions have to be met:
  • Frenzy check is made when a model that is subject to frenzy comes within 15" of the enemy or starts it´s turn 15" or closer to enemy. If it rolls more than it´s CL then it goes into frenzy.
  • Then in the beginning of models next turn the WP check will be made to determine if a form change takes place.

When frenzied a were will remain in beast form. If the frenzy wears off then a failed WP test in the beginning of ones turn means that the were has changed back to human form.

In animal form a were creature is subject to all the rules that effect that creature, including psychology. Even the alignment is changed but that does not affect the gameplay.

Profile of a were is standard human and whatever animal the were changes into. Points value is human and animal combined.

 If one sticks to ´any one shape´ description some quite wild weres could be created with this set of rules. I mean weredragons, weredaemons and wereghosts just to name some. Later the rules speak about changing to animal form and because of that I would limit the animal forms to those animals you find in the Animals and monsters section. My list of possible animal forms could be something like this:
  • Bear, boar, cold one, culchan, eagle, giant bat, giant frog, giant leech, giant rat, giant snail, giant spider, giant tick, hobhound, horse, jaguar and wolf. 
 Perhaps not as crazy as werezombies but you still get some pretty sick combination if you want to.

In 2nd edition there are also shapechangers that resemble weres. But shapechangers are a type of troops and weres are a type of creatures presented in the bestiary. I´ve written a bit about elf shapechangers here.

2nd edition takes a small step away from roleplayingness but still the weres are in my opinion quite unusable in large scale battle. Both their fluff and rules don´t really support the use of units of weres. But as with 1st edition they could serve a purpose in a narrative battle.

Warhammer Fantasy Role Play 1st edition (1986)

The background description for werecreatures in the original Warhammer Fantasary Role Play is almost exactly the same as in 2nd edition WFB:

"The Old Worlders still live in fear of Werewolves, the shape-changers that haunted the forests of old and perhaps still linger there today. Werecreatures are basically humans capable of changing into the form of another creature, usually a wolf. In Norsca, these creatures are not hunted and percecuted, as they are elsewhere, but are often encouraged to join the berserkers in battle. In human form a werecreature is no different from a standard human, and may not even be aware of his true nature".

What is told about the physique of werecreatures again matches quite well with 2nd edition WFB. Human werecreatures can change into any one shape other than their own. Like in 2nd edition it is mentioned that the wolf form is most common in Old World. As rarer examples wereboars, werebears, werecats and even werebisons are listed. Werebears as again linked with Norsca but South Lands and Cathay are no longer mentioned. But as the rules say that there may be other types of werecreatures lurking around it leaves a lot room for GM:ing.

Again weres can be of any alignment but most are neutral. Changing to animal form is connected to being in frenzy. A werecreature must first enter frenzy and then make a WP test in order to change to animal form. A change back to human form is possible only after the frenzy has subsided.

In special rules there is an interesting clarification to on what animal form can be taken. Each werecreature has two forms: human and that of another non-giant, non-fantistic creature. This in effect limits the beast forms to normal animals. Having just two forms and no quasi-animal form is in line with 2nd edition WFB as is the notion that weres have no absolute control over their shape-changing.

In animal form all characteristics and abilities of the animal in question affect the werecreature, including psychology rules. Basic profile in human form is normal human profile and in animal form the profile of the animal in question.

WFB 3rd edition (1987)

3rd edition takes a step furher in making weres usable in large number on battle field. I´ve written about the gaming rules extensively in my article about the Ulfwerenar. I won´t repeat that here. In stead I´ll look into background material and how it connects with other things we know about weres in the world of Warhammer.


In 3rd edition all weres are of human origin. In all respects, except that they are able to assume the form of a wolf, either wholly or partially, thay are like humans. Their origin is left open but the text suggest mutation or Slann genetic experiment of some kind. If you read further you´ll see that the later foundings suggest that the first case could be correct and weres are influenced by forces of chaos.

The back ground text reveals that weres hunger for and need flesh, and are only comfortable if able to regularly transmute and feed in their non-human form. Whole families of weres are rumoured to live deep within the forests of the Empire. These individuals live dual lives as normal citizens by day and hunting for flesh by night. In my opinion this means that the flesh the weres need doesn´t have to be human. Why go to a remote location if you needed to eat human flesh to survive?

The fact that fank & file weres have two forms versus the three forms of were characters hints on the idea of a were learning to control his condition over the time. This idea will pop up later in this article several times.

The special rule 12 let´s weres have D3-1 dominant chaos mutations for each unit in wolf-man form. For were characters you could roll D4-1 personal mutaions in both wolf-man and giant wolf form. And these don´t have to be same for both forms! Mutations are to be used in non-competion games and under GM supervision but they are again a clue that points to the direction chaos in the question of where the weres origin from.

Slaves to Darkness (1988)

The RoC book Slaves to Darkness has Chaos were mutation that is available to chaos champions as a personal chaos attribute. Description of that mutation is on the page 118. A chaos were is not like normal weres as it´s normal form can be pretty much anything depending on what the champion is and the were form is created by rolling an instant chaos spawn.

This combination can create pretty wild weres. In my opinion chaos champions with this mutation are not to treated as normal weres. Their condidition is a `gift´ from chaos god and even if it appears that normal lycanthropy affects humans only chaos weres are an exemption to this.

The dominant attribute table does not have a were mutation in it but as there is the ´create your own´ choise you could make some were cultists if you wanted to. I that case I would limit it to human followers only and use 3rd edition were creature rules.

In any case the connection between chaos and becoming a were is there but also the rarity of were creatures is confirmed.

White Dwarf 132 (December 1990)

WD132 included a short WFRP adventure called Ironstone Pass for 2nd or 3rd career characters. One of the two main enemies in the adventure is a werewolf named Werner Silberman. Werner used to be a pretty succesful young wizard but an experiment gone horribly wrong turned him into a werewolf.

From what I have learned this is the first time something is hinted on how werecreatures are born in the Old world. In movies and folklore werewolves are most commonly created  by someone being bitten or scratched by a werewolf. But in the folklore there are multiple ways of becoming a werewolf; from simple wearing a wolf belt to having sex with a werewolf and pretty much everything in between. Check this list for different ways of becoming a werewolf. Magic gone wrong is nicely in line with that list.

Magic in the world of Warhammer has it´s origins in the realm of chaos. Therefore we can assume that Werner´s unlucky experiment had something to do with the dark powers. The connection between chaos and werecreatures is deepened in the Zavant short story Case of the Morrsliebnacht Murders that is discussed below.

In the back ground story of the Ironstone pass it is told that a group of wolves find Werner and in time accept him as their leader. This feels like an echo from the times of 1st ed. WFB where a werewolf can control 2D6 giant wolves.

Werner´s profile shows that he has some contoll over his condition and receives a bonus to checks that determine changes from one form to another. As described in the WFRP rules for weres they are not always even concious of their condition. Werner´s story also suggests that weres can in time learn to controll their situation. This too is confirmed in the Zavant story mentioned before.

Regarding alignment Werner seems neutral to me. He is put in a situation where he does his best to survive. He doesn´t kill for pleasure or riches but driven by his animal side hunts food for his pack and himself. His alliance with the dark elf lady has put him on a slippery slope that can lead to corruption but that alliance was formed with good intentions. Werner doesn´t know the elf´s true nature. If they stayed together longer Werner might turn evil or even chaotic by Syrillia´s influence. All this supports that weres can be of any alignment.

The original Ironstone pass adventure can be found here. And updated version for 2nd ed. WFRP here.


Novels and short stories

In the first Felix & Gotrek book Trollslayer published in 1999 there is a short story Ulric´s Children.

In the story Felix and Gotrek are heading through the Drakwald Forest. The forest is unnaturally quiet, but the wolves that dwell in the forest seem unnaturally active.

The story has a pair of werewolves; a daughter and her father and a sorcerer who plans of transferring his soul to a body of a werewolf by magic. During a confrontation between the socrerer and the werewolf father the spell is cast and the werewolf´s body taken over by the sorcerer´s spirit.

Felix is then forced to fight the beast with the only weapon capable of harming it: a dagger with a blade of pure warpstone. The beast is defeated. In the end the werewolf daughter is slain by Gotrek who regards her as a creature of chaos.

So here we have a were family living in a remote forest just like described in the 3rd edition WFB rule book. They are certainly shunned as Gotrek kills the daughter just for being a werewolf. The warpstone dagger being the only weapon capable of hurting the werewolf is an odd one but I take it as a side effect of a chaos sorcerer´s spirit inhabiting the body of a werewolf and not as a general quality of all weres.

2nd story of the book Zavant by Gordon Rennie is called Case of the Morrsliebnacht Murders. Originally published on march 2002 it doesn´t exactly fall into Oldhammer-category but I´ve included it as it´s one of those rare examples of weres being at least somehow explained in the World of Warhammer.

In this story we meet an ancient werewolf of incredible power. This beast is clearly evil as it enjoys killing and views humans as a lowly cattle. In the story it´s transmutation is linkid with the Morrslib the chaos moon. It´s stated that it is hiding in human form that confines it´s true nature but the full moon will set it free.

This time the were creature is hiding in the form of a witch hunter it has slain. It´s plan it to kill the sage detective Zavant Konniger, assume his form and in that form enter the royal palace possibly killing the emperor himself.

Konniger discovers the truth and is forced to fight the monster. The beast is vulnerable to silver and Konniger manages to distract it with powdered silver that burns the creature´s flesh like acid. Despite this the protagonist is almost overwhelmed by the were wolf. In the last second he is saved by the imperial assassin who throws a silver bladed dagger through the beast´s heart. A bit of an abrupt ending to the life that measured millenia.

In any case, connection to chaos, growing control over transmutation and better resistance to normal weapons over the time seem to be the were attributes confirmed by this story.

Conclusions and ideas for house rules

 Were creatures do indeed exist in the World of Warhammer but they are rare. Becoming on needs some kind of chaos involvement but the exact process remains clouded in mystery. Lycanthropy can be inherited by blood but there is no evidence that getting bitten by a were wolf would turn you into one.

Humans are the only race that are affected by normal lycanthropy. Wolf-man is the most common form for weres but there could be other forms too. Those seem to be extremely rare. A new were is unable to fully control it´s condition. Over the time it can learn more control so that very old weres can assume almost any human form. The quasi animal form seems to stay the same.

Weres can be slain with normal weapons. There is some evidence that old weres can develop some sort of immunity to normal weapons and can be hurt with silver or magic weapons only.

Weres can be of any alignment even if most are neutral. It appears to me that when the age they seem to slip towards evil or chaos.

As I wrote with ulfwerenar the 3rd edition WFB rules for were creatures are a bit clumsy. And the transmute rules make fielding weres in human form bit too uncertain to be practical. I might concider allowing the use of were characters WP bonus to affect the transmutation roll. That way LVL15 and 20 heros would give a +1 bonus to transmutation rolls and LVL25 would benefit from +2 bonus. To reflect the higher controll the older weres have over their condition I could allow the same bonuses for ´running for wild´ test. That would make it less propable for expensive were characters to run away in the middle of a battle.

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If you think that I´ve overlooked some important piece of information please don´t hesitate to comment.

tiistai 12. syyskuuta 2017

WIP - New elven guard

If you´ve been reading this blog you´ve propably noticed that I´m a big fan of Jes Goodwin elves. My high elf army is pretty much build around them and in my opinion they are the best elf sculpts Citadel/GW has ever produced. Unfortunately that elf series has some limitations regarding weapon and armor options. For example the models you could use for guards are all spear armed, wear light armor and have tabs for shields. The guard unit I´ve been using clearly has light armor, spears and shields.

If one wanted to have elven guard with heavy armor, shields and spears the melnibonean range is the answer. But what to do if you want to take halberds instead of the spears? And no shield. The high elf infantry in general lacks punch and if you are fighting orcs or dwarfs you would really like to have some troops that can generate those S4 hits.

There are models in the ME-32 Noldor - Deep elf alternatives series that are carrying a very halberd looking spear. But at least in the ebay the prices are horrendous. I´ve managed to get myself just a single model at reasonable cost so far.

For me it was the Black Tree desings that came to rescue. They have an elven royal guard range of models that has a command group and a few different troopers. The sculpts are in my opinion oldhammerish enough even if they stand bit taller than Jes Goodwin elves. The armor can be light or heavy depending on how you look at them and the weapons can pass for a halberd. And the price is very reasonable. Some people have had problems with long delivery times from Black Tree but my package came in about three weeks from the order.

I got models for my unit of 20 a couple of months back but as I was busy with painting orcs I didn´t touch these during the summer. And like I mentioned I was pretty fed up with painting pointy ears. Now I´ve found new energy to work with these and here are the first glimpses.

The very first finished trooper and a couple of WIPs. In my
opinion their weapon will pass for harberd or spear.

WIP  troopers, commander and standard bearer. The commander
has a more elaborately decorated armor than the rank & file.

Commander, standard bearer and a couple of troopers.
Colour theme is the same blue and white as for the rest of the army.

I think there are six different poses for troopers and a three
elf command group including commander, standard and musician (no pic here).

I´m trying to get this unit ready for Oldhammer Oulu meet that will be in 6 weeks (28/10/2017). As these are fairly quick to paint I think I will make it in time.

sunnuntai 3. syyskuuta 2017

Where is he now - Ulfwerenar

Where shapechangers in WFB 3rd edition Armies are available only to wood elves the ulfwerenar are unique to the norse. They can be fielded either as part of a norse mercenary contingent or in a norse army as per list published in WD107.

The Ulfwerenar are the only case of were creatures being included to official army lists in 3rd edition WFB. They form their own units and in that differ from shapechangers who hide among ´normal´ troops and are revealed in enemy proximity.

The later editions of WFB don´t have Ulfwerenar units; or much weres at all. The  Dogs of War regiment Beorg Bearstruck & the Bearmen of Urslo is perhaps the closest thing the later editions had regarding Ulfwerenar.

Once again a BIG Thank you to LM for providing me with pictures of his painted wolf-men. That´s one magnificent unit!!!

Just look at this unit by LM. Very very nice indeed.

THE RULES

The rules for were creatures are quite long and WD107 specifies the use of champions with Ulfwerenar a bit. Let´s take a look into those rules here and see what they mean. Taken from page 244 in the rule book.

  1. Units of weres may enter battle in either human or wolf form. If entering battle in human form, players will have to provide alternative models to use once the unit has transmutated. Once a unit of weres has changed to wolf-man form it remains in that form for the remainder of the battle.

    In the descripition on weres it is thold that weres have to distict form, that of a human and that of a wolf-man. Wolf-men are frightening creatures with powerful hairy body and a snarling wolf´s head. They walk upright and  can use weapons like normal men.

    Entering weres to battle in human form gives you a certain element of suprise. Wolf-men are far better in close combat that regular humans which means that the enemy might overlook them initially if entering in human form. But you are going to need a big pile of models as you need those replacements when the transformation takes place.
  2. Were characters may enter the battle in either human or wolf form. hey may not enter as giant wolves. Alternative models for all three forms will have to be provided. Were characters may change beween their three forms during the battle, and are obliged to make transmutation tests in some circumstances as described under 6,below.

    So in addition to normal and wolf-man forms, the were characters have a third form too. That of a giant wolf. And another model needs to be provided.
  3. All models comprising a unit of weres always have the same form. A single transmutation test is made as described under point 6. The result applies to the whole unit. If led by a were character the character model may assume a different forma and is concidered separately. Character models therefore test separately even if they are leading a unit. An ordinary human character may lead a unit of weres, but obviously may not transmutate.

    Having same form for all models in a unit is pretty natural.

    The underlined part of rules is changed in the WD107 Norse army list. There it clearly states that Ulfwerenar units cannot be led by ordinary heroes, although they can be led by their own were heroes.

    And when you get to rule 11 you realise that once again editing has been a bit limited as rule number 3 allows normal human leaders but rule 11 denies that.
  4. Were characters may only change to Giant Wolf form once they have changed to wolf-man form. Similarly, to transmutate from Giant Wolf form they change again to wolf-men and then change again to human form. It is not possible to change from human to Giant Wolf form (or visa versa) in a single transmutation.

    A good clarification on how were characters transmute.
  5.  A player controlling weres may attempt to tranmutate any unit or character at the beginning of the side´s turn. Once a were unit has adopted wolf-man form, it may make no further transmutations and fights the remainder of the battle as a unit of wolf-men. A were character is free to change between the three forms (human, wolf-ma and giant wolf), but must test in the following situations. If a were character is in hand-to-hand combat at the start of the side´s turn and is in human form, the player must test to transmutate into wolf-man form. If a were character is in hand-to-hand combat at the start of the side´s turn and is in wolf-man form, the player must test to transmute into giant wolf form.

    So normal weres may attempt to transmute but were characters must roll in the above mentioned cases. Perhaps were characters are closer to animals than normal weres and because of that are less in controll of the transmutations.
  6. To effect a successful transmutation, the player rolls a D6. If the score is 6 the transmutation is successful. If enemy troops are within 12" of the testers, the player must add +1 to the dice if attempting to change from human to wolf-man, or from wol-man to giant wolf. If already engaged in hand-to-hand combat the player must add +2 to the dice if attempting to change from huoman to wolf-man or wolf-man to giant wolf. This reflects the were´s natural inclination to change into a more lupine form for combat.

    It´s not that easy to make that transformation. One really has to weight the pro´s and con´s of bringing the ulfwerenar on battlefield in human form. Unarmoured T3 models costing 15 points each are not something you want to attract missile fire to.
  7. A unit which is in wolf-man form when it charges, or when it is charged automatically becomes frenzied. No separate test is required to enter frenzy.

    In addition to better profile line the frenzy is the reason you want to have your ulfwerenar in wolf-man form when they go hand to hand with the enemy.
  8. A were character model which is a wizard loses all associated magical abilities when in wolf-man or giant wolf form. These are immediately regained when the character changes back to human form.

    The army lists for norse don´t have were wizards so this line can be disregarded when using ulfwerenar.
  9. Once a character has transmutated into the form of a giant wolf its personality changes, becoming far less human and far more lupine. A were in full giant wolf form is dangerous because it is subject to animal urges and motivations which may result in the character leaving the scene of the battle altogether. In giant wolf form were characters are subject to the psychological rules given for hatred. Were characters in giant wolf form hate the nearest enemy whatever it is. This overrides all other psychological effects caused by the enemy, negating any affect of fear for example. In addition, any were character charging or being charged while in the form of a giant wolf automatically becomes frenzied.

    As per rule book page 93 the unit associated charecters additional psychological reactions do not affect the unit that does not suffer from that same effect.  The rule for hatred aplies only to the were character. Once in giant wolf form the were character must test to see if it enters a fit of hatred as per the rules for hatred in rule book page 72. Once in that mode it will charge the nearest enemy where possible. This can cause the were character to become separated from the unit he was leading.

    In my opinion a were character in giant wolf form can no longer act as a leader of a unit. He is in effect a wolf now and no longer capable of leading. Therefore the next in command should step in and his profile should be used for further tests.
  10. A were character in giant wolf form and which is not engaged in hand-to-hand combat at the beginning of the side´s turn must make a transmutation test to assume wolf-man shape. If the test is failed, the player must make a further test rolling a D6.

    1-4. The character remains under normal control.

    5. The character must move towards the nearest table-edge at normal speed avoiding combat, if possible. As long as the model remains on the table, the players may test to transmute at the beginning of each of his following turns. No further roll is made on this chart. If the character has failed to transmute by the time the model crosses the table-edge, it is assumed to have left the battlefield and takes no further part in the game.

    6. The character must move towards the nearest table-edge as described above. No further tests are taken; the model is removed from play as soon as it crosses the table-edge.


    With some bad rolls you can end up with your were character running for wild. This is the risk you have to take if you use them. It certainly makes using expensive characters in giant wolf form pretty uninviting.
  11. Units of weres must be led by an ordinary were or a were character.
    See rule 3. Some inconsistency here. As WD107 clarifies this I would follow that ruling.
  12. In competition games, weres are only permitted to those armies indicated in Warhammer Armies, fundametally the Norse. In non-competition games players are allowed to make weres even weirder (if you´ll forgive the pun) by adding D3-1 dominant Chaotic mutations to each unit when in wolf-man form. Characters may be gicen D4-1 personal mutations in wolf-man and giant wolf form - these do not have to be the same mutations and can be generated separately. All random generation must take place before the game begins, preferable under the supervision of the GM.

    So a little hint towards chaos here in the last were rule. And a good point about generating the mutations under GM supervision.
I have to say that even for 3rd edition WFB the rules for weres are long and quite clumsy. Quite a lot of dice rolling and things to remember. But you could have streamlined the rules a bit - not cut the weres alltogether.

The were champion and two troopers. Champion is
a C22 Creatures giant werewolf and troopers are
C18 Nighthorrors wereman and wolfman. From LM´s collection.

PROFILE AND ARMY LISTS

First of all, in my opinion every norse army should have some Ulfwerenar. Just because they are a cool unit that no one else gets. They look good in their wolf-man form and that alone is a good reason to field them.

As we see from the table below, the weres are pretty expensive but they are tough too. As one can expect the profile leans toward hand to hand combat.

As per rules the Ulfwerenar can only be led by one of their own. If were characters are fielded they must be assigned to a Ulfwerenar unit as a champion. As you can not have more than one champion per unit of Ulfwerenar this means that you can never have more were charaters than you have units of weres in your army.


A norse mercenary contingent can have 0-10 ulfwerenar with 5-10 models per unit. A unit must include a were champion. You could theoretically field two units of ulfwerenar but they would be really weak that way. For mercenaries I would field a unit of 10 and wouldn´t try to pass them for normal troops but give them two-handed weapons and deploy them in wolfman form. With champion and a standard the unit would cost roughly 260 points. Pretty expensive but T4 gives some durability and WS4 hitting with S5 is a lot of punch.



If you are using the army list from WD107 you have more options. Now you could try confusing your enemy by deploying in human form and having such equipment that ulfwerenar could be initially mistaken bondsmen. You could potentially field 6 units of bondsmen each 20 models strong and hide a ulfwerenar unit of same size among them.

For a were strong ulfwerenar unit you could take 19 models including a standard bearer all equipped with shields. They would be led by a lvl 20 ulfwerenar hero. You would want to have shields as the bondsmen have that as normal equipment. That combination would cost you 556 points. Taking a relic banner would be highly recommended to keep them from breaking when not in frenzy. The additinal 25 points is not that much for 550+ points unit.

If almost 600 points feels to much you could take a lvl 10 hero and cut the cost by 100 points. Lvl 10 were characters are pretty tough too.

But keep in mind that fielding weres in human form comes with the risk. They might not transmute when you would want them to.



The rule book has different profiles for were characters of different levels in giant wolf form too. Most of the stats stay the same regarless of the level but you get more wounds and higher initiative. This is however changed in the WD107 and all were characters now use the common giant wolf profile regardless of the characters actual level.

This again will affect the way you use your were character. In my opinion there is no sense in using the giant wolf form for other were characters than level 5 champions. Imagine your lvl 25 hero charging out of his parent unit in giant wolf form only to shot to pieces by an enemy that chose to stand & shoot. A lvl 5 champion might benefit from giant wolf form. They do not provide leadership bonuses in any case so combined with profile changes it might be worth trying.

Another shot of this beautiful unit. The flag is a Wargame¨Designs
28mm Viking/Saxon flag that fits the theme perfectly.


WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Closest thing to ulfwerenar in the later editions is the Dogs of War regiment Beorg Bearstruck & the Bearmen of Urslo that came with the 5th edition in 1998. At that time the norse are seen as deeply affected by powers of chaos and their lycanthropy being a gift from chaos gods. In this regiment only Beorg himself is clearly a were creature. His model is clearly a half-man-half-bear creature and the rules state that he fights with claw and teeth. The normal troopers are more or less touched with the mark of were bear affecting their appearance and giving them a higher-than-normal-men profile. Unlike Beorg they wield normal weapons and wear armor. There are no rules for different forms and  every model has just one profile.


Bearmen of Urslo. Beorg himself is not that bad a model
but the rank & file don´t impress me much.

I have to say that I did like the old Norse better before they all went chaos. The norse in 3rd edition were described as fierce and brutal like the land they live in. They love battle and are concidered untrustworthy but they are not all grim & dark chaos that they were turned into later.

-------------------------

I think I need to take a deeper look into the were creatures as whole in the Oldhammer world. There doesn´t seem to too much material available on them. And things I have managed to find are somewhat conflicting...

tiistai 8. elokuuta 2017

Where is he now - Elf shapechanger

Introduced in the 3rd edition WFB Rulebook the shapechangers were made available only to wood elves in the WFB: Armies. The shapechangers resemble werecreatures in many ways but there are differences too. Weres in WFB have usually a normal man-form and a half-wolf form. Were characters can turn to full wolf form too. Shapechangers on the other hand have three animal forms in which they will randomly turn to.

Unlike norse ulfwerenar the elf shapechangers are not fielded as seperate units but they are hidden inside normal units a bit like goblin fanatics. Ulfwerenar will get their own article later.

The rules for shapechangers are quite long and it´s worth taking a good look into them here. Rules are presented on the page 99 in the 3rd edition rulebook.

  1. Models representing shapechangers are indistinguishable from ordinary members of a unit. The controlling player secrectly allocates each shapechanger to an ordinary unit of its racial type. Up to 20% of any unit may be composed of shapechangers hidden in this way. Each is represented by a normal model of the unit´s type. It is important that the player makes a clear note of shapechanger/unit allocation and shows it to the GM.

    So for every four models in a unit you can have one shapechanger hiding there. Wood elf archer (including Lord´s bowmen) units have a maximum unit size of 20 which means you could field 16 archers and 4 shapechangers. With Warrior kinbands you could field 6 shapechangers as the maximum unit size is 30 models. I don´t think it´s stright out forbidden to hide shapechangers in a unit of cavalry but the whole idea of doing that is so strange that I wouldn´t allow it as GM.

  2. If a sheltering unit begins its own turn within 12" of an enemy unit, the controlling player must roll a D6. If the score is 5 or 6, all shapechangers in the unit change shape. If the covering unit is charged in the enemy turn, shapechangers roll to change shape immediately. Shapechangers who enter combat still unchanged may roll at the beginning of each of the following combat rounds (regardless of which side´s turn it is) until they change shape.

    It´s a big disadvantage not to have control over your shapechangers. They will change shape on random so you really can´t make plans that depend on them changing.

  3. Roll a D6 to determine which creature the shapechangers change into. All shapechangers from a unit change into the same creature:
    1-2 Giant wolf
    3-4 Boar
    5-6 Bear


    More unwanted randomness in my opinion. Bear is a great option with S4, T4, W2 and 3 attacks. And they cause fear. Giant wolves are quite good with high movement, WS4 and 2 attacks. But boars are not worth the 28 points the shapechangers cost. Even with those two attacks they get (see rule 5) and frenzy (see rule 7).

    Another disadvantage with shapechangers is the fact that you will need four models for each shapechanger. One for normal for and one for each animal form too. That certaily raises the level for using them.

  4. Shapechangers may not wear armour or carry a shield. They may carry a single weapon - usually a hand weapon.
    No suprises here. Armour would be in the way of shape changing and you have to be able to protect youself in unchanged form too.


  5. Shapechangers retain some of their human or elven qualities and are cpable of wileding weapons as well as making animal attacks. They have characteristics equivalent to the animal thay change into, with an additional attack from any held weapon. This additional attack is made with animal´s WS.
    Here we learn that  a shapechangers transformation is not complete to animal form but instead he becomes a sort of hybrid between his original form and the animal he turns into.

  6. Once changed into animal form, the shapechangers must move as fast as possible towards the nearest visible enemy. They are now concidered to be a seperate unit, and the models representing them are removed from their covering unit. The models representing their animal forms are placed on the table and make an initial move that turn. If their covering unit is already in close combat or is being charged, the shapechangers move into the front rank but cannot leave the unit until that engagement is complete.

    Upon the shape change the controlling player loses what little control he had over the shapechangers. They will move on their own and as per rule 7 charge when able to do so.

  7. Shapechangers in changed form, must charge the nearest enemy as soon as they are able to do so. They automatically enter frenzy as soon as they engage in hand-to-hand combat.

    Frenzy is a powerfull thing. Troops stay frenzied as long as they are in base-to-base contact with the enemy including pursuit. Frenzied troops add +1 to both  ´to hit´ rolls and to ´to wound´ rolls. They also get +1 to any saving throw they make. As shapechangers are unarmoured the last don´t count for them. Unless you want to rule that they get 6+ saing throw while frenzied.

    Frenzied troops will always follow-up and pursue. They are immune to psychology effects, don´t take rout tests and can´t be routed. They will either kill the enemy of die trying.

  8. If, at the beginning of their turn, there are no enemies within 12" of the shapechanger unit, they automatically return to their non-animal form. This small unit may then be moved independently, or may be assimilated within any friendly unit of foot models outnumbering it by four to one or more.

    When this happens the player actually gets to move the shapechangers by his own will. For ake of cover from missiles it could be a good idea to assimilate them to a friedly unit. There are no rules for how the assimilation is done but I suppose moving to contact with the unit you want to assimilate the changers into would be enough.

  9. When a covering unit takes missile casualties, the chance of a shapechanger being hit is proportional to the number of shapechangers present. The GM may determine this as he sees fit. If a unit has it´s full 1 in 5 allocation, a shapechanger will be hit on th e D10 roll of a 9 or 10, for exmaple.

    Compared to goblin fanatics and skaven plague cencer bearers this is a disadvantage. You may lose valuable models to lucky shots.
Shapechangers cost an extra 20 points that is applied after equipment has been added.

In general shapechangers are pretty costly and too random and uncontrollable to field if you just want to get best bang for buck. With some luck they can be a nasty suprise to your opponent but in my opinion it´s too dependant on how you roll.

The overall complexity of rules and random behaviour of shapechangers is propably what led to them being cut from 4th edition.


But they are certainly charasteristic and do fit a wood elf theme very well. And again, no one else gets them and that alone is a good reason to have a few in you wood elf army.

Wood elf shapechangers have weapon options for spears and double-handed weapons. As rules allow only one weapon/model is suppose that the hand weapon is discarded if taking the spear or the two-handed option.  Having a weapon wielding elf-animal-hybrid can create some need for bending the rules a bit. For example as per rules a bear has two claw attacks. If a bear form shapechanger is wielding a two-handed weapon is think it can´t use it´s claws but perhaps does bite attacks instead.

There is not much info to found regarding the shapechangers around the internet but here are couple of blog´s you might want to take a look into:

 If you concider building a shapechanger force for your wood elves and don´t know where to get those animal form models here are some suggestions:
  • Midlam miniatures. Good looking boar men. I would remove the skull emblem from belt but othervise I like these.
  • C38/27 series has some boar faced beastmen that one might use but they seem to be armoured and too evil looking for my taste.
  • C18 Night Horrors has a couple of weremen, wolfmen and a bearman.
  • IronWind metals. This series has all three animal form from a single manufacturer. Elvish weapons could be easily added to these.
  •  A couple of werebears by Reaper.
  • Otherworld miniatures werebear.
 If I were to use wood elf shapechangers I would perhaps use the IronWind ones as they fit together and it would be easy to model some weapons on their hands/paws.

Let me know if you have painted some shapechangers. I would love to see the pictures and if we so agree link them here.

maanantai 24. heinäkuuta 2017

Trouble at the Fur Hunters´ Hut - 3rd edition WFB Battle Report

When the alarm sounded captain Chaelamin felt perhaps a bit too much satisfaction for being right as the situation was grave serious. He had made his men to take up defensive positions and to set up guard posts around the fur trader hut. They had not protested but he had seen the looks in their eyes. They had been marching all day and would have wanted to rest.

But now it was both his own seekers and the fur hunters he had sent out to guard dute that had spotted the enemy. And Chaelamin himself could see green shapes emerging from the morning mist.

"Get those civilians inside and away from the windows!!!" Chaelamin shouted. To his disappointment some of the fur hunters had their families at the site and they would only be in way now. As if the dwarfs POWs weren´t enough.

Reports were coming in now - there were greens skins coming in from every directions. They would have to fight. Chaelamin only wished that the dwarves would come as agreed.

---------------------

Big boss Grumbud listened to the goblin chief with disgust. That git was trying to tell him how to lead the raid. The only reason he had tolerated the goblin so long is that his own mob was still too small to make the attack themselves. They need the loot and to get the loot he needs the gobbo chief and his troops. But if the chief would get itself killed Grumbud could keep all to loot his boyz.

"Oi, Rhybag! Me wantz u and ur gobboz to attacks from ze otter side of ze hut. We meetz in da middle rightz? Ze first boss over ze wall getz a speshul prize."

Chief Rhybag hurried on it´s way. Grumbud knew that all boyz and gobbos should be in position now. As the sun rose he ordered the advance. And then the alarm sounded. The elves had noticed them.

---------------------

Lord Dumbell heard the horn and knew something was not right. He made sure that they were not under attack themselves and reformed his units from marching columns to a battle line. He could see the building where the exhange of POWs was supposed to take place but he could see the goblinoids too. There were at least one unit of orcs and goblins right between him and the hut site. And he could see arrows being fired from the wall that protected the hut´s yard.

They would have to fight through the orcs and goblins to make it to the exhange. Dumbell made sure that the elf prisoners were secured and then the dwarves moved in.


This is a battle report about a 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle scenario I GM´ed a week ago. The scenario required three players each playing goblinods, high elves or dwarves. The scenario background was that the warring elves and dwarfs had agreed on armistice and an exhange of prisoners of war. Elves and dwarfs are to meet at an elven fur hunter hut for the exhange.

Not knowing about the POW exhange a small tribe of orcs with their goblin supporters are looking for easy loot. They have surrounded the fur hunter hut and are to attack.

Each side has their own objectives and some special rules. Each player received a written briefing and list of troops before the game.

BRIEFINGS, SPECIAL RULES AND LISTS

Orcs & goblins:

Oi gitz!!! You´z big boss Grumbud of ze purple ´edz tribe. Yer luck wiv ze lootz ´az been poor an´ ze boyz iz gettin´ restless. Nothin´ dad a good ol ´ead bashin´ won´t keep in line but ya really need to get ´em fightin´ ze enemies an´ not each other. Ya ´as gotz a tips from ze gobboz dat dere iz da pointy earz ´untin´ ´ut wid lots an´ lots of ´idez ´n supplies to grab nearby. Ya ´az promized to take dem gobbos wid uz to share da lootz. Dem scumbagz ´as no gutz to go an´ bash ze tree ´uggerz demselves.
Dem gobbos say dere iz lots but not lots an´ lots of dem fancy pantz at ze ´ut. Ya haz cum up wid da brilliunt planz. Yer boyz an´ ze gobbos ´as ze hut surrounded an´ you´z ´as ordered everywun to attacks at ze first light.

Ya haz dem four set up areaz - wun at each side of ze ´ut. No set upz closer dan 16” of dem ´ut - ya not want dem ´ippies to spot ya too early. Ya wanna ´ave ze ´utz surrounded - not lettin´ ze pointy earz run away iz we. Ya haz to set at least wun mob of dem boyz or gobbos on each area. Rememba dat dem gobbos iz not to be trusted - ya haz to ´ave a mob of dem boys or wun of dem shamanz ur chiefz in da same are wiv each of dem gobbo mobz.


Ya needz to get dem buildingz intactz as ze lootz iz in dere. An´ ya not mind if dem gobbos getz bashed and not haz to share da loot wiv ´em.

Commo´n ya gitz, weez gunna ´ave a proppa bashin´!!!

Success conditions:
 Complete success: Both buildings survive and are captured by your troops. Gobbo chief Rhybag is killed or routed off the board. No more than 50% of boyz are lost as casualties.


Partial success: You capture the hut site but one or more of the following happens: one building is destroyed / chief Rhybag survives and is not routed off board / more than 50% of the boyz are lost as casualties


Failure: Hut site is not captured or both buildings are destroyed. Boss Grumbud is killed.



Elves:

Sir, You are in charge of the four dwarven prisoners of war whom as by the armistice agreement are to be exchanged to four elven warriors captured by the dwarves during the hostilities.

The exchange is to take place at this fur hunting hut your small troupe reached late last night. Your scouts caught a sight of some goblins along the road here two nights ago but the scoundrels hurried back to the cover of woods and have not bothered you since. Upon arrival you set up a defensive perimeter inside the l hut´s walled yard and ordered your troops to rest with guards on duty. Scouts were sent to patrol the nearby woods.

The prisoners are locked up in the storage building with their hands tied so that they cannot escape in case the dwarves try some foul play. The prisoners are unarmed but their equipment is held by your troops and is to be returned to their rightful owners upon exchange.

There are six hunters present and you have taken them under your command. To your big disappointment there are some civilians including a child at the hut. You have ordered them to stay in the main building to be out of your way until everything is clear with the exchange.

You have very strict orders from lord Darcassan not to jeopardize the armistice in any way. Your most important job is to get the four elven prisoners in your custody and to safely escort them along the road to safety. As important as that is to release the dwarven prisoners of war to their brethren and guarantee their safe exit from the area. In case there is a confrontation of any sort you are to preserve your troops as far as possible but without endangering your most important mission - the safe exchange of prisoners.

Scouts may be set up anywhere on the map within 15” of the huts. Civilians must start the game in the main hut. Everyone else sets up within the logging hut perimeter.

The dwarves should arrive in the morning from the east.

Godspeed!


Special rules:
The dwarf prisoners start the game with their hands and feet tied. They set up in the storage building that is locked. They cannot move or fight and if attacked will receive free hack hits. The prisoners have normal dwarf profile. They start unarmed (improvised weapons) and unarmored. If there is an elf model within 2” of the storage building door, the elf player may declare the release of prisoners at any time. From that moment the dwarf player gets the control of the prisoners. He may then choose if he wants to put them in normal or skirmishing formation. After release each prisoners gets a hand weapon and a shield. If the prisoners spend one turn putting on their equipment (no movement or others actions) they can add light armor. The prisoners are considered saved if they exit the battle field via the road to east.


The main building has two windows on the long side and one on each end. There is also one window next to the door. The storage building has no windows. Both buildings are wooden with very flammable roof. Two models can use missile weapons from each window and two models can engage in hand to hand combat through a window. The building is divided in three sections. Each section can have 6 models in it. Therefore there is room for a maximum of 18 models in the main building. Models in the building don´t have to be in base to base contact but are still considered to be in normal formation. Models cannot be pushed back from a window position. A model not engaged in hand to hand combat may be moved to another window during the elf player´s movement or reserve phase. Rank bonuses do not affect combat resolution when fighting through windows. A model/turn may climb in/out of a window in movement phase when there is no model on the other side in contact with the window. Moving through window uses the models movement completely. Moving through window may put a model in base to base contact with enemy. They will enter hand to hand combat, but moving through window does not count as a charge.


Success conditions:
Complete success: All dwarven prisoners escape to safety. All elven prisoners escape to safety. All civilians escape to safety. No more than 50% of your troops are lost.


Success: At least ¾ of dwarven prisoners, elven prisoners and civilians escape. No more than 50% of your troops are lost.


Minimal success: At least ½ of prisoners and civilians escape.


Failure: Less than ½ of prisoners survive. Fighting between elves and dwarves break out.


Dwarfs:

Lord Dumbell! Take care of the prisoner exchange. Do not harm elf prisoners unnecessarily. Return with our brothers. Do not kill any elves unless they attack first. Slight bruising is acceptable. No more than four kegs of ale per warrior a day before return.

You enter the area from east beginning from turn 2. You may deploy as many units as you wish. Units not deployed on turn 2 will be deployed on subsequent turns on your will. Safe exit at same location.

Axes high!


Special rules:
The elven prisoners start attached to one of the dwarf units. They must set up in 2x2 formation and be placed in base to base contact with the back side of the unit they are attached to. They cannot fight and don´t affect the combat resolution rank bonus of the unit they are with. In case they are attacked they may be moved out of harm’s way to another side of the unit. If there is no room and they end up in combat enemy can score free hacks vs. them. The prisoners will move with their parent unit including rout etc. Missile hits against the unit will be randomly divided between the dwarves and the prisoners. The dwarf player can at any time declare he has released the prisoners. At that moment the elven player issues their control and they will act on his turn. The prisoners have normal elf profile and they are unarmed (improvised weapons) and carry no armor. From release on they will act as skirmishers.


Success conditions:
Total success: All dwarf prisoners exit to safety

Partial success: At least ½ of prisoners exit to safety

Failure: Less than ½ of the prisoners survive. You have to shave your head, dye your beard orange and seek your death in the troll caves.



THE GAME

 The elf player did his initial set up secretly on a piece of paper. Then the orcs ond goblins were put on the table. And after that the elves. Orcs would move first.



Orc boyz and trolls advancing from north and led by Grumbud himself. Defending the wall are elf archers. Chief Rhybag´s gobbos and the orc shaman are just barely visible in the horizon.

 Orc arrers and gobbo stickas closing in from east.

And from west more boyz and a mob of wolfboyz. In the woods the elf fur
hunters are taking aim on green skins.

The fur hunting hut and it´s defenders. On top left corner a unit on seekers. Manning the north wall are archers. In the bigger building are the ship company and civilians. Dwarf POWs are held in the smaller building. In the yard there is also captain Chaelamin mounted on his horse and the fur hunter´s hunting dog´s with their handler.

First blood was drawn by orc arrers who really didn´t want to share the loot with stinking gobbos. Failing their animosity test they wheeled a and shot at gobbo stickas killing three of them.

Suprisingly everyone else passed their anomosity tests and moved towards the hut. On elf turn there was very little movement. On shooting phase everyone who could shot at advancing orcs & goblins. Some were killed but not enough to force a panic test.

On turn two the trolls did what they do best and failed their stupidity roll. They staggered on and ended right in front of the main orc boyz unit preventing them form advancing. Grumbud decided to take matters into his own hands and left the boyz unit he was with to join with trolls and bash some sense into their thick skulls.

Elf captain and hunting dogs left the hut yard to face the gobbos and orc shaman coming in from south. A single fanatic was released from the gobbo unit by the elf presence but the loonie did not reach his target.



And then came the dwarfs. Between them and the hut site were just the orc arrers and gobbo stickas. And the stickas were just preparing to charge the elf seekers in the forest in front of them.

On turn three big boss Grumbud managed to get the trolls under his command and bashed some sense into them. They and the boyz would be ready to storm the yard next turn. Orc arrers retreated away from the advancing dwarfs and stickes charged to elf seekers who chose to stand and shoot.

On the other side of battle field wolf boyz changed the elf hunters who received the charge shooting with their hunting bows. The lone gaoblin fanatic in the middle crashed into hut wall and died. Two of the hunting dogs were roasted by a fireball from orc shaman.

In the top left corner stickas charge the seekers. The fanatic is just about to make his final move and head straight into the wall.

The elf captain decided to take out the orc spell caster and charged him. The remaining dog and his handler retreated back to safety of the walls. The ship company that had stayed in the main building started to move out to be ready to face the orcs and goblin.

The elf archers defending the north wall took aim on trolls directly in front of them and scored a huge amount of hits. And managed to down a troll. This was too much for the others who broke and took big boss Grumbud with them! Suddenly the orc leader was on the run.

Luckily for the orcs the boyz mob was not affected. They would charge soon.

Chaelamin took care of the orc shaman quickly with one thrust of his lance. Seekers killed a couple of stickas but lost one of their number too and were pushed back. Hunters could not hurt the wolfboyz and were pushed back too.

The dwarfs marched as fast as they could. They could see that the elf situation was getting worse every second.

Big boss Grumbud´s not so glorious flight from battle.

As Grumbud and his bodyguards were out of the way the boyz mob was able to charge the elf archers defending the northern wall. Chief Rhybag´s stickas turned their ranks to face the elf captain who had slaughtered the orc shaman and peppered him with javelins. And against all odds wounded him.

Orc arrers who had been running away from the advancing dwarfs were positioning themselves to be able to charge the ship company next turn. After moving they released their arrows and a single marine was pierced by a red feathered arrow.

Both the seekers and the hunters were slowly being grinded down and pushed back the stickas and the wolfboyz. They could kill a few gobbos every now and them but the sheer number of enemies meant that they could not win a round of combat. At the north wall defending archers were pushed back by the boyz who were now in the yard for the first time.

Luckily for the elves the other unit of boyz was a bit of stuck behind the gobbo unit and could not engage anyone.

Desperate to buy some time the elf captain charged to goblin horde in front of him. The lone hunting dog handler and his remaining hound joined in too. Close combat was raging all over. Again the elves were pushed back in every single combat. They were really on the edge of braking.

The last remaining seeker trying to hold on against the stickas
while captain Chaelamin and the hunting dog handler charge the gobbos.

The dwarf thunderers had finally marched in range of the orc arrers. They took aim and BANG! Three of the ten muskets misfired and two dwarfs were killed. And no hits scored on orcs. It really did not start well for stunties.

The dwarf POWs in the smaller hut had been alarmed by the noises of fighting and they managed to break themselves free. Armed with what weapons they could find they bursted out of the shag and charged right to the flank of the orc boyz pressing hard on elf archers. That was the boost that the defenders needed. Several orcs were killed and the rest were pushed back. The situation was stabilized at least for a while.

On the next orc turn the arrers charged to elf ship company now defending the south wall. The marines did not fare well and got pushed back into the main building. On the north wall elves and dwarfs killed a number of boyz. A single dwarf was lost too. Rest of the orcs broke. The archers did not choose to follow but the dwarf POWs wanted to avenge their brother and went into pursuit. That put them into a dangerous position as wolfboyz had taken care of the last of hunters and would be able to charge the dwarfs next turn.

Hunting dog handler and his hound were slain. Now it was just the elf captain fighting the gobbos. He got pushed back. The stickas finished the last seeker.


At this point the elf civilians saw their chance and using windows as exits bolted towards the dwarf lines for safety. Seeing the wolfboyz that threatened to dwarf POWs the elf archers formed a shooting line to protect them. They would not jeopardize the chance for peace with the dwarfs.

Once again the elves were pushed back all around. Their captain was hit several times but his armor protected him against the weak goblin weapons. Ship company was being reduced to less than five elves but the survivors held on swearing to protect the fleeing civilians.

Dwarfs advanced and would be in charge range next turn. Their flamethrower had come to range of the gobbos in combat with the elf captain. Not caring too much for the elf´s safety they launched their fiery ball but it missed both the gobbos and the luckily the elf too. The forest they were partially in caught fire. The former dwarf POW headed for safety of their own lines.

During the last couple of turns it became clear that the orcs had secured to hut site. The ship company was killed to last elf inside the main building. Dwarf quarrelers got to charge chief Rhybag´s gobbos and rescued the elf captain who was down to his last wound at that time.

As all the civilians and POWs were behind the now combined dwarf/elf line and orcs firmly holding the hut site I called it a day. Dwarfs and elves would be happy to retreat and orcs had no interest in following them.

Forest fire rages after careless use of a flame thrower.

So how did each side fare? 

The orcs secured the hut site with both building intact. But roughly 50% of the boyz were lost and big boss Grumbud was routed himself with chief Rhybag surviving. A partial success was awarded to orcs.

The dwarfs lost one POW and got a partial success too.

The elves managed to get all civilians and POWs to safety and only one dwarf POW was lost. On the other hand almost all elf troops were killed. I awarded the elf player with a partial success too. Even if there was no such category in the briefing.


LESSONS LEARNED

 It took us roughly three hours to play this scenario. I had not had time to play test it so I was pretty anxious to see how it worked. On general level I am happy with the result. I felt that the players were having a good time and I didn´t have to interfere too much with GM´ing. Thank you guys for playing!!!

If I were to GM this again I would perhaps change the roles of elves and dwarfs around. Now the dwarf player spent most of his time just marching. Quicker troops would mean more action.

The trolls could have been too powerfull for this scenario. Now they actually worked against the orc player. I might reduce their number to one in any case.

The elf player´s success conditions are a bit too harsh. I would remove the No-more-than-50%-of-rour-troops-are-lost requirement for the side that starts in the hut site.

The orc player needs to play actively as TL did in this game. I was expecting to see a break out try by the elves but LM chose to defend the yard and wait for dwarfs. And as we saw it worked well enough.

Elf civilians running for safety.

Hope you enjoyed reading. Sorry for crappy pics. Forgot my camera home and had to use mobile.