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 Are shadow warriors overpowered?

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Lord 0
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Thu 28 Apr 2011 - 22:13

werekin wrote:
I can't imagine what possessed Lord 0 to make comparisons between Shadow Warriors & Clan Eshin.


They have above average Move - like the Eshin.
They have access to infiltrate - like the Eshin.
They have high I making them very good at climbing up to and down from sniper spots - like the Eshin.
They are barred from using Gromril armour (or, indeed, any heavy armour) - like the Eshin.

In all the campaigns I have seen them dominate they have been played pretty much the same way. Use infiltrate and higher speed to claim the prime strategic locations and use high I to prevent them getting overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Fri 29 Apr 2011 - 6:46

Fair comments and comparison. They don't play anything like the Skaven from any of the observations we are making.

It shouldn't be possible to start a campaign with more than 10 or 11 warriors in an elf warband. That's just ridiculous. Ideally it should be a struggle just to field 9 warriors. There should be great difficulty in affording equipment and being able to field more than 2 or 3 archers from the very beginning of a campaign.

Elves break like glass when an Orc, a Norseman or the Possessed head-butts them in the face! This is presumably what they need to be that little bit more nimble than the average warrior. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Fri 29 Apr 2011 - 16:00

In my circle we have been experimenting a reasonable amount with elves of various flavours (high, wood, shadow, dark, etc) and we managed to tone down the Shadow Elves to a point that felt comfortable with them.

We changed the racial maximum T on the elf profile to be 3, eliminated the skill Sniper, and made Shadow Warriors start with 8xp. We also gave them +1 to Rare Trade when looking for elven items including Ithilmar weapons. That last bit did a fair bit to encourage the purchasing of warriors rather than stocking up on heaps of items.

The above did significantly weaken the warband, but it also took them out of the so-strong-everyone-has-to-unite-to-crush them spot too.

Well, that is what worked for us anyway. As always, YMMV Smile.
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Sun 1 May 2011 - 2:46

Shadow Warriors are an elite strike team! In my humble opinion it's a square deal to impose a handicap upon them by applying additional Experience Points to Henchmen. While there is no precedent for this in the game, it seems like a logical way of leveling the playing field without disrupting the flavour of the original article.

Without derailing the feel of the Sons of Nagarythe, balance can be further sought by loading the hire costs of certain warriors in the warband. Anyone can see they are set too low! I have been realistic in the application of hire costs for the Sea Rangers warband list.

Starting discounts on Ithilmar is irrelevant as you can't afford this stuff at the beginning of a campaign. Ithilmar and Gromril whilst scarce, are both commodities that can be bought and traded for, so I suggest sticking to using the standard rates set in the Mordheim rulebook. I quite like the idea of applying a +1 to elves seeking Rare items. You can imagine humans being uncomfortable dealing with the elves. Similar to Ogres being treated as 'Difficult Customers'.

Modifying the maximum characteristics for an elf is not something I would support. Characteristics fall among a caveat of untouchables, rules published in the Mordheim rulebook. Avoid changing these. They happen to be the correct set of statistics to apply.

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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Sun 1 May 2011 - 18:25

The reason we made the Shadow Warriors start with more xp is because their stat line is so good. It wasn't a problem that they were so good per se, but rather that when they became TLGT heroes they would become very good very fast - to us that sort of rapid progression is really only appropriate on things like Youngbloods and Novices. The Shadow Warriors have a stat line that rivals many *leaders* so giving them access to the Youngblood leveling path on top of that was a bit much.

We first tried doing as you suggest and increasing the hire cost, but we found that all that did was slightly increase the initial slow period before they eventually did their usual take-off, so we didn't consider it a success. We felt that the over-poweredness came not from the fact that they were strong starting, but more from the fact that they had a very high peak of effectiveness that they could attain over time. Altering the purchase price only delayed reaching the peak; it didn't do anything to level the peak out.

Lowering their stats didn't feel appropriate either because they *should* have higher stats - that is just how elves are. Ironically, the precedent for increasing the experience came from the Shadow Warriors warband itself.

Normally, lieutenant-level warriors and casters start with 8 xp, but the Shadow Walkers and Shadow weavers start with 12. By giving the Shadow Warriors their extra xp it makes them level slower without detracting from their stat line and also without making them more expensive to purchase for an initial warband. It also limits how many can be purchased later *and* increases their cost later, but without the addition of any special rules - it was perfect Smile (that whole purchasing henchmen with xp already mechanic).

Luckily, for us in New Zealand, we are outside of the Mordheim Rules Police jurisdiction that enforce rigid following of the rules so we feel safe in modifying them to something a bit more fun. For this reason, and also that WHFB had also done so, we felt safe in modifying the elven racial maximum toughness. This helps reduce the peak of the warband without making it harder for them at the start, where they really don't need more handicaps. Modifying maximum stats is not something we do lightly, but given the success in WHFB we thought it was worth exploring.

The +1 to elven items was intended to help them a bit so that they didn't feel the need so much to stock up on elven items at the start of the game. Elven bows and cloaks are Rare 12, so with a +1 to look for them means that the Shadow Elves finding them on 11s makes them three times more likely than most other warbands to find them.

Oh, I forgot - when we removed Sniper we replaced it with that Fey Quickness skill, I think it is, the one where you get a 6+ dodge save that stacks with Step Aside and Dodge to make them 4+ saves. This makes the elves with their T3 and 4+ slipperiness tough to get to grips with, but if you can you will probably do some damage. This increased their resilience without increasing their staunchness so, to us, this felt very elfy and we were happy with the result.

Oh yeah, we also nerfed Shadowbind and made it so that you were auto-hit if attacked, rather than counting as being stunned. We felt that being able to stun a posessed or rat ogre or the like at that range with that ease was a bit much.
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Sun 1 May 2011 - 23:52

Your Idea with changing the exp sounds very good to me.
But you could also try to halve their exp like for ogres. They may not be stupid, but they think in other terms of time. The happenings in the short time of a fight have not so much influence to them as to a human.

This rapid increase of a lgt is something i didn't experienced. Mostly i got lgt with henchmen with the third or fourth advance. One got the lgt from a scenario without getting an advance and missed three advances.

The Skill Fey Quickness sounds very good to me. I never bothered taking sniper. I would gladly switch my Toughness advances with this skill.

Do you allow an enemy who is shadowbind, to attack back, or is he only auto hit?
How do you handle LoS with most of the Shadow-Spells?
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 2:49

In my circle we tend to play for long campaigns and are quite competitive. Henchmen that do not level on their second level are dismissed to make room for more talented henchmen. Well, until all the TLGT heroes one needs are acquired of course.

We could have halved the xp gained, but, like the increasing of the purchase price, that would only slow the power curve rather than flatten the top of it.

We play that an enemy that is Shadowbound cannot attack back as he is immobilised, but is struggling and so cannot be instantly coup de graced as if they were stunned.

Sniper, Hide in Shadows, and Quickshot with elf bows or even just longbows and hunting arrows was an extremely potent synergy. Combine that with Infiltrate, high BS, high I to get to the hard-to-reach places and it just got better and better.

Being able to rain down that amount of firepower with out being able to even be targeted in return was, we thought, excessively powerful. And at the time we were first using them the rules for magic we had were that magic didn't need LOS unless it said it did in the spell so the caster would just keep casting Shadowbind on the vampire or possessed until it took

The house-rule we have for all magic is that spells that allow you to pick a target require line of sight and spells that do not allow you to pick a target do not require you to have line of sight. This prevents people doing dubious line of sight tricks to target to target the one they want to target instead of the one they would otherwise have to target.
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 3:40

I agree that 'Fey' should be special skill available as standard for Elves.

A popular house-rule applied to make the Sniper skill more reasonable is this;

Sniper: Long years of guerrilla warfare against the
Dark Elves have taught Elves how to strike
from the shadows without being seen. If Hidden, a
warrior with this skill may shoot or cast spells and still
remain Hidden. After each shot roll a D6 and on 5+
nobody noticed where the missile came from leaving
the warrior Hidden.


I'm not totally convinced that Sniper deserved to be removed. At the same time I'm not a big fan of having to treat a rule that is unbalanced if there is a viable alternative. And there is in this case... 'Hide in Shadows' is a variation on the same theme. Do you prefer this skill in terms of theme and playability to 'Sniper' (even when nerfed) Lord 0?

The standard Elf Henchmen and their ability to level-up is dangerous. The first time I suggested an Experience Pts loading (over on the Mordheim Yahoo Group it was I believe) to cap the Henchies advance and maintain the curve of progression for TLGT Heroes, it wasn't favourably received as being the best solution. A lot of guys can't see past the price tag. I'm glad you've found this to be the case in your campaigns too!

However, I don't think 8 Experience Pts is the correct loading to apply. In my humble opinion the correct loading to apply to all Elf Henchmen is 5 Pts. We can discuss this some more if you are interested?

The other problems with Elves are in allowing them access to 5 very strong starting Heroes, where one is a Mage! The inclusion of a Mage is rather unjustified when an Elf Mage for hire is only allowed for 1 game at a time.

I can name plenty of Toughness 4 Elves so you won't get me on that one I'm afraid. There are many Elves of 'Powerful Build' mentioned in the stories. Smile

Regards,

Werekin
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 3:53

Again, I always point out the parallel to Dwarves. The two were always opposites of each other in Warhammer Fantasy, so I don't see why it's different in Mordheim. To be more specific, Dwarves start with 4 starting heroes, and cost 40gc a pop. (40 gc for a WS4, BS4 marksman that can climb anything is not broken in my opinion.)

I don't really think adding EXP to henchmen is that necessary... if they start with 4 heroes, a quick TLGT will just put them at 5, STILL under everyone else.

Also, the key to making Elves fair? House Rule that you can't infiltrate higher than a person can climb. No unreachable locations. Oh, and build lots of ladders for your gaming table.
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 4:04

I am not sure, if 5 gold will balance something out. Its only an initial difficulty.
It makes casualties more disruptive, but i don't think it would do much.

The idea for halving their exp is, that they take much longer to reach very good stats, so you can easily outrun them (with advances). Even in long run campaigns they will struggle because they die easily along before they can archive a status of real power and even then, many other have warriors of equal strength or other things to counter them.
It will slow them down all over and not only initially.

We play alot with terrain and many tend to have at least one good melee fighter with scale sheer surfaces, that he can double his movement during climbing. That way even elves get problems with running away (it works good against nearly all shooting warbands).
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 4:14

We played around with all kinds of stuff for sniper - I tests for the target, I tests for the shooter, M tests, 3+,4+,5+ tests to stay hidden and in the end we just decided to remove the damn thing completely.

I think the big thing about it is if you let someone shoot and stay hidden then there is *nothing* your opponent can do. You can try hiding and sneaking closer, but because elves have their massive radar of hidden detection you can't even sneak someone up to pop their hiding. Nerfing their detecting hidden didn't feel right because we kind of liked their whole "The dwarf breaths so loudly we could have shot him in the dark" thing going on so in the end we had to sacrifice theme for fun and get rid of the skill completely. It was just easier.

Actually, Shadow Warriors got of lightly getting only 8 xp to start with - for a long time they were going to be given *9* xp to start with. At 8xp they only miss out on two level ups and they only need 1 xp to get their first level. Since Shadow Warriors are 4 level ups over a Shadow Warrior Novice only missing out on two still leaves them two level ups over the novice.

We had no problem with elves being as *strong* as humans, but when we thought about it the image of them just standing there taking blow after blow like the toughest humans just didn't seem as right.

The problem with elves being up high has never been that they *cannot* be reached it is just that by the time you do you are shot full of holes. You can only send one person up at a time up the ladder and even with Scale Sheer Surfaces you still have to spend at least one turn standing in the open at the bottom of the building. Scale Sheer Surfaces lets you auto-pass climbing rolls, but you aren't even allowed to make a roll unless you started your turn in contact with the wall you want to climb.

Without Sniper though, it doesn't matter so much because as your climbers stand at the bottom rolling to climb your snipers can trade fire with the elven snipers. It forces the elves to choose - do they shoot at those few that can climb up or do they shoot at those taking up firing positions? In the old days it was a no-brainer - shoot at the ones trying to climb because the shooters could be safely ignored.
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 4:24

The first thing we houseruled was that you can climb if your movement is enough, you don't have to start your turn in contact. This way climb is realy good, because you can run 4" and than climb 4 inch...
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 4:30

We tried that, but then we found that things swung too far in the favour of the melee warbands versus the *other* shooty warbands. Since the problem could be eliminated with just removing the Sniper skill, we went with that instead Smile.
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 9:39

Elves are just better than Humans and in a 5000 point army I think you can balance stats with cost, but in a 12 to 20 model warband those superior models just out shine everyone. I mean it isn't unrealistic for a model to single handedly force another warband to route. I have seen Possessed, Orc Bosses, Ogres and Vampires become killing machines that charge and kill until the enemy routes with little fear of being out powered or out gunned. I have also seen a Talian Marksmen do the same thing from range.

Elf warbands in general can usual out shoot and make you route before you ever get into any melee. In a melee situation, if you survive the charge you get attack backs. In a bow battle you could easily face someone who is a better shot, with better bows and you will never get a chance to engage them. In Theory a good Shadow Warrior Warband could hide and snipe and there would be nothing that a non-shooty warband could do about it. The sniper skill could make it virtually impossible for them to be shot at if they find the right shooting point. The sniper skill isn't fair. I agree with Lord O. Removing it makes the warband more balanced.

Also look at the cost vs. what you get, I usually compare everything to Human Mercs because they are a good baseline.

Human Warrior 25 gold
M WS BS S T W I A Ld
4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7

Shadow Warrior 35 gold
M WS BS S T W I A Ld
5 4 4 3 3 1 6 1 8

So for 10 more gold you get 4 stats that are higher, and you are really only losing 3 models. Going from a max of 15 models down to 12 so a net loss of 3 models. Now if are playing with 100 models vs. 80 that could balance, but 12 vs. 15 I don't think that difference is representative of cost variance. Also in a game where you add and lose models if you have a string of good or bad luck it can make these games less and less balanced.

If I were to balance it I would do something like make them cost a little more, maybe add something like instead of a base +5 it would be a base +7 for each Elf to the Warband rating, then I would also look at the Magic for High Elves which is a lot easier then average. I would also look at maybe starting the henchmen at toughness 2.

Also the more stuff you have on the board the less effective the range attacks are. If you arent playing with at least of the board covered in Terrain or Buildings any shooty warbands will have the advantage.
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 14:15

ELVEN SKILLS
'Fey' and 'Luck' are both conspicuous by the absence in the Sons of
Nagarythe article. These are both staple skills for Elves if you check
the rulebook.

Snipers are unwanted customers. It would appear as though all Elves (and Halflings) are snipers anyway.

After disregarding 'Sniper' you still have 4 skill for Elves, with an
additional special rule pertaining to the Shadow Weaver bogging down the
special skills section.

EXPERIENCE
By applying a loading to Henchman of 5, 6, 7 or 8 Pts you deny the group
from earning 2 of their 4 level-ups. The drawback in applying 8 Pts is
that after 1 game, the Elves get an instant boost because 9 Points are
all that's required to score the first increase!

The only reason the 8 Point loading has value is that it denies a TLGT Hero of some of his early increases, if he gets talent early. A rather pointless gesture for Shadow Warriors when they already start with 5 solid Heroes from game 1.

The 5 Point loading is more efficient. The Henchmen will not earn an increase until the group scores 4 Experience Pts.

A loading for Henchmen would be beneficial to be applied to all warriors from the Elder Races.

INITIATIVE
Every non-Novice Elf in Mordheim has Initiative 6. I don't grasp the
reasoning for this... unless you like to cut down on your admin by not
having to bother rolling for leaps, climbs and diving charges!?
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 14:31

is there no better way than giving them exp from the start?

If you compare them at max exp with a human, a member of this older race is not much better, because the human gets twice the advances.
Why should a human be able to learn much more than an elf?

It would perhaps balance them in game terms, but its not story like.

How about cutting there income, if you say that an elf has higher standards/needs for living. This way every elf counts as 1 1/2 models for income (for Example 5 elfs use the income column for 7-9 Modells). This would slow them drasticly. Every casulty would become a pain.

We are playing the natural 6 is an automativ failure in Initiativetests (and my elves traditionally fail there diving charges with 6s and kill themself...).
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 17:11

Quote :
Why should a human be able to learn much more than an elf?

It would perhaps balance them in game terms, but its not story like.

Saranor, I beg to differ on both points.

When have you ever read a story where an elf learned a new trick?

"What have you been doing this year friend?" the Shadow Warrior asked.

"You know, bit of this, bit of that. And you?" said the Elf Magician.

To which the Shadow Warrior replied, "Oh I learned how to scale sheer surfaces."

Elves you meet in a Warhammer adventure story have been living for hundreds of years!!! If you follow the natural progression of a story, then in the space of a Mordheim campaign an elf should learn jack-shit skills he didn't already know!

Quote :
We are playing the natural 6 is an automativ failure in Initiativetests
(and my elves traditionally fail there diving charges with 6s and kill
themself...).
Did you make this up yourself or is this how everybody plays it?

Regards,

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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 17:29

I like the idea of XP loading some/all elf henchmen. I also like the idea of elf warbands starting with only 4 heroes. We have yet to seriously play an elf warband in our group though because we could never come up with a nerf that everyone in our group accepted.

Saranor wrote:
The first thing we houseruled was that you can climb if your movement is enough, you don't have to start your turn in contact. This way climb is realy good, because you can run 4" and than climb 4 inch...
We have a similar house rule as it speeds up the game. However, if the warrior has moved 2 inches or run 4 inches up to the wall then it would only be able to climb 2 inches.

werekin wrote:

Quote :
We are playing the natural 6 is an automativ failure in Initiativetests (and my elves traditionally fail there diving charges with 6s and kill themself...).
Did you make this up yourself or is this how everybody plays it?

Regards,

Stu
We play that there are no auto-successful roles therefore all Armour Save rules will fail on a roll of 1, shooting will always fail on a roll of 1 and all Initiative tests will fail on a roll of 6.
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 18:02

Quote :
We play that there are no auto-successful roles therefore all Armour Save rules will fail on a roll of 1, shooting will always fail on a roll of 1 and all Initiative tests will fail on a roll of 6.
We play that way too... there's no such thing as a sure thing. Suspect
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 18:07

6 always fails is part of the base rules. Page 7 of the pdf under Characteristic Tests.
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Mon 2 May 2011 - 23:19

werekin wrote:
Quote :
Why should a human be able to learn much more than an elf?

It would perhaps balance them in game terms, but its not story like.

Saranor, I beg to differ on both points.

When have you ever read a story where an elf learned a new trick?

"What have you been doing this year friend?" the Shadow Warrior asked.

"You know, bit of this, bit of that. And you?" said the Elf Magician.

To which the Shadow Warrior replied, "Oh I learned how to scale sheer surfaces."

Elves you meet in a Warhammer adventure story have been living for hundreds of years!!! If you follow the natural progression of a story, then in the space of a Mordheim campaign an elf should learn jack-shit skills he didn't already know!
[...]
I would just say, they learn much slower (perhaps like Ogres), because of this, but they don't stop learning.
In Mortheim you may have the experienced Elves, but also some of the novices or others. which can learn quite a bit in Mortheim.

RationalLemming wrote:

Saranor wrote:

The first thing we houseruled was that you can climb if your movement is enough, you don't have to start your turn in contact. This way climb is realy good, because you can run 4" and than climb 4 inch...

We have a similar house rule as it speeds up the game. However, if the warrior has moved 2 inches or run 4 inches up to the wall then it would only be able to climb 2 inches.
You are right, but i was referring to scale sheer surfaces(i forgot to mention it there). With this skill and this houserule you get quite mobil for hunting shooters in high areas.
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Tue 3 May 2011 - 11:15

@Saranor - I do understand what you mean. It's never too late to teach an old elf new tricks. Wink

I think its is fair to say the old farts can skip their first couple of advances. For their comparative hire fees and the characteristics they are packing, then every Elf (and Dwarf) player who is a good sport ought to start doing this in campaigns! Smile

@Rational - Anyone starting a new Elf warband with more than 4 Heroes is basically a cheat.

Quote :
6 always fails is part of the base rules. Page 7 of the pdf under Characteristic Tests.

@ Lord 0 - I was referring to Saranor's statement about a result of 6 'killing' the elf! I don't see that anywhere in the rules...!

Regards,

Werekin
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Tue 3 May 2011 - 12:31

As being a regular opponent of Saranor and being familiar with his house rules, I can say that he probably ment: "my elves roll 6s for Initiative when charge-diving, getting wounded (usually on a 2+) and then die". He just scipped the middle part, we don't have a rule about 6s killing an elf.
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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Tue 3 May 2011 - 12:48

Grimscull wrote:
As being a regular opponent of Saranor and being familiar with his house rules, I can say that he probably ment: "my elves roll 6s for Initiative when charge-diving, getting wounded (usually on a 2+) and then die". He just scipped the middle part, we don't have a rule about 6s killing an elf.
exactly...

one game was a record for this bad luck:
10 climbing tests, 2 succeeded
1 jumping down 2", the modell felt to his dead
1 diving charge 2" with reroll ended up with a knocked down leader...
the rest of the game i avoided all climbing/jumping tests.


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PostSubject: Re: Are shadow warriors overpowered?   Tue 3 May 2011 - 12:52

I like that rule! Any 6 kills a random elf on the table! Would be fun for a game where several elf warbands are against a single Dwarf warband guarding a special Master Rune of Random Elf Pwnage.
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