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 What are your opinions on possessed warbands?

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pistolpete308
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PostSubject: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Thu 5 Nov 2009 - 23:20

Hey guys!
I'm doing a "house rules" version of the basic mordheim rules, and one of the things I'm working on is a more balanced set of rules for the basic warbands.

I've always been intrigued by the possessed. They've got some of the best models in the range (love the KKK hoods on the brethren!), coupled with some of the worst (posessed are appallingly bad). And the possibilities for conversions are limitless (and I loooove to convert!).

The posessed have always struck me as an oddball warband, that seemed really poorly balanced. Looking over the rules, it seems like they'd be very weak in the early game, and extremely powerful in the later stages of the game.

To buy a full roster of heroes it costs 300 gold. That's 60% of your starting money, and that's without mutations. Add in mutations, and you've got almost nothing left over for additional warband members or equipment of any kind. And you want that full roster because you need all the heroes you can get to provide money to your warband.

The real kick in the balls is that if you pass up on the opportunity to buy mutations when your posessed and mutants are hired, you cannot buy them any mutations at a later date. Theres an OPTIONAL rule to gamble for the opportunity to earn a mutation from the Shadowlord, instead of a taking a traditional experience upgrade, but this is risky, and somewhat random. Because this is an optional rule, however, you're at the mercy of the campaign organizers as to wether or not you can visit the shadowlord.

Assuming you can survive long enough to get the warband rolling, you could have two extremely dangerous possessed, two mutants with some nasty mutations, and a handful of powerful beastmen to make for a very nasty close combat warband in the late game.

I've seen one hourse-rules version of the possessed list that made the list more balanced (coreheim ruleset). It had a single possessed (more powerful, and a little pricier, but no mutations), a magister, and 3 acolytes as its basic hero allotment. The acolytes, interestingly enough, had access to shooting skills, offering the posessed a chance to finally have some decent ranged firepower.

This version of the posessed is more balanced during the beginning and end of the game, and seems like it might be more fun to play than the original version.

I'm wondering if any of you guys have experience playing with or against the possessed. I want to know if you think there's anything unbalanced about the current rules: anything that's too powerful or too weak, or just plain stupid (lots of stupid rules in the original rules, and even more in the expansions!). Amy information you can give me would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Thu 5 Nov 2009 - 23:35

Some of the mutations I feel are overpriced, other than that yeah ... I think Mordheim is too harsh on not taking a full compliment of heroes to be honest.

I also feel the Darksouls fall into the Zealot, Dire Wolf, Giant Rat category "Why would you bother taking them?" sort of thing.
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Fri 6 Nov 2009 - 0:44

i myself have never played CoP, but someone in my group does. unfortunately he has the worst injury table rollng i've ever seen and the largest his warband has ever been is roughly 7-8 strong, and he lost his possesed on the very first game he played. The cost of the possesed followed by the cost of mutations that you must get or they'll never get another chance to buy can be pretty bad. also the chaos ritual spells have always bugged me; any spell worth a damn is way to hard to cast with the excption of darkblood which can put your magister in a very percarious situation, not to mention that your warband can't use his leadership while he's on his ass. anyway their really a sort of luck of the dice warbands that has the potential of becoming real mean and nasty with the right luck.
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Fri 6 Nov 2009 - 3:55

yes they are oddly balanced, i am working towards balancing this myself
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Fri 6 Nov 2009 - 4:18

thing is, a cult is not really a warring entity and mutations are simply a set of clumsy add-on rules
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Fri 6 Nov 2009 - 7:45

I find the Possessed a great warband to play and a nasty band to go against. This Band takes a lot of strategy over a long campaign. First off, with any band Starting Cost is hardest part. Thatís this bandís penalty. You canít start with a Full Band of Heroes and have good Henchmen. Youíll have to pray to the Dice Gods just to survive. When I start my Possessed Bands. I have to decide, do I want strength or numbers. You always need numbers to start. Henchmen are cover! Get henchmen and think of them as fodder while you save up gold to get more heroes. The CoP are Evil! Play them as such. Youíll have more fun. I start my Bands with a Magister, a Mutant with 4 arms, and Possessed with no mutations. My mutant is most valuable Hero. And Get as many Brethren with mace and Free dagger, as I can. Let them fight, and if they go OOA, then youíll get Route Test. I have 3 Heroes, for 3 dice for exploration. My group didnít play for Wins, but longevity. Bands get XP whether they win or lose. After the first game, then I get my Mutant and Magister Bows. Keep them at ranged until they build up better WS. Then keep saving Gold for another Possessed. Then I save up for another 4 armed mutant.



I could keep going on my strategy. But it would take a full page. The moral to the story, donít play to win. Play to have fun and Survive. Then latter, as the advance, theyíll be so nasty, others will quiver to see them enter the table.
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Fri 6 Nov 2009 - 8:30

interesting strategy, i know some people have a problem with the cut and run tactic, but you gotta do what you gotta do. also i was wondering maybe instead of going for the possesed you could spring for a mutated mutant considering the cost difference? or is the S4 T4 W2 A2 worth not having any muations over? it just bugs me that possesed can't get mutations after they are created.
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Fri 6 Nov 2009 - 9:06

Its not so much of cut and run. But protect the Heroes. There is a difference in morality between Failing a Route Check and Voluntarily Routing. But sometimes Winning the Scenario and losing half your Band to death, isnít winning. You can look at it this way, Strategic retreat and not having to replace the dead members, is still a win. The purpose of going into Mordheim is to get as much Wyrdstone as possible and not die. And if you can kill the enemy, well, thatís just frosting on the cake. I may have lost more games then Iíve won, but I had the most Fun.



Anyway, going with the Mutants first, will keep you Warband rating lower. And hopefully get the Underdog bonus. But there is something to having a Possessed, with S4 T4 W2 A2, no need to buy weapons, And causes Fear; for only 90 Gold. Thatís just Sweet! I tend not to get Mutations for my Possessed until I have enough Gold the replace him after death. Then Iíll get one with a Scorpion Tail. A Possessed with 2A and an additional S5 hit. Now, heís getting dangerous.
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Fri 6 Nov 2009 - 12:58

yeah, i guess i always worry about how awesome a possesed could be rather than how awesome he is. also when i play chaos i have such a blood for the blood god metality that pesky objectives come second to killing but perhaps not the best way to go about it. also what mutation(s) do you buy for your mutant to start off with? just extra arms?
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Fri 6 Nov 2009 - 15:10

Usually, I prefer the 2 extra arms. This way, I can have a Mutant with Sword, free dagger, and 2-handed weapon. Or sword, mace, free dagger and fist. With a hail of blows, hopefully my ďvictimĒ wont be able to strike back and be OOA. Once, I had sent a 4 armed Mutant to the Shadow Lord and he was given another mutation. Behold the 4 Armed Mutant with a Scorpion Tail! I never risked anther again. There have bee times I start a Mutant with just a Scorpion Tail. I have Conversion Figs for both.
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Fri 6 Nov 2009 - 15:43

Quote :
I also feel the Darksouls fall into the Zealot, Dire Wolf, Giant Rat category "Why would you bother taking them?" sort of thing.

Really? Darksouls seem pretty awesome to me. The LD and WS are a bit low, but with str 4 they can be very nasty with 2 hand weapons. They also automatically pass LD tests, which makes the LD 6 sort of moot. They're sort of like flagellants with vastly superior equipment options.

Quote :
Usually, I prefer the 2 extra arms. This way, I can have a Mutant with Sword, free dagger, and 2-handed weapon.

Hmmmm.... it doesn't say that you can't take the same mutation multiple times, but that seems pretty cheesy to me. Being able to buy an extra attack is one thing, but being able to do so again and again seems broken to me, considering how powerful an extra attack is in mordheim.

I'd definately have to address that if I decide to allow mutations.
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Fri 6 Nov 2009 - 16:04

pistolpete308 wrote:

Darksouls seem pretty awesome to me... They're sort of like flagellants with vastly superior equipment options.

I think of them as being like flagellants, except rubbish...
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Fri 6 Nov 2009 - 23:53

Could you elaborate on that please? I'm very interested in why people don't like them.
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Sat 7 Nov 2009 - 5:18

Compared to flagellants? Low weaponskill. Toughness three. Leadership six means they can acquire a useless leadership upgrade with experience (unlike flagellants, who are already above the human maximum).

They just don't compete well with the other two henchmen choices. The possessed player in our campaign won't use them at all.
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Sat 7 Nov 2009 - 7:29

At the official 35gc cost for Darksouls, I have to agree with meerkat. If you bring the Darksoul's cost down to 25gc (which is more balanced for their rules and stats), then they are more desirable than Brethren, at least when beginning the warband.

pistolpete, regarding the limit to only buying mutations when buying the model, or relying on Rewards of the Shadowlord, please look over Werekin's excellent addition: http://boringmordheimforum.forumieren.com/rules-and-gameplay-f1/new-rules-for-mutations-gifts-alchemy-surgery-t2595.htm

Also, I saw your thread on another forum where you asked Von Kurst about why I made some of the changes I did in our house rules. I haven't gotten to adding attributions or discussing reasons behind specfic modifications yet, but I will at some point...
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Sat 7 Nov 2009 - 20:16

I find Possessed play exactly as the creators intended. They are high risk and force you to make tough decisions from the very start. Making the list more "balanced", i my humble opinion, would destroy their uniqueness. They were my first warband, and will always be special to me!

I have just started a new possessed warband and here was my strategy. I started with a magister who rolled up dark blood, possessed w/ great claw and tentacle, and two mutants w/ an extra arm each, and a brethren with a spear.

First few games the spearman intercepted charges after the magister cut himself and passed out (dark blood), and i counter charged with the rest. I've been routing soon, because it's what must be done. I managed to get enough money to buy a darksoul with a flail, a beastman with twin axes, and a load of lucky charms/rabbit's feet. Oh and my possessed got a wound increase!

Every time i have played possessed warbands in the past i gamble and lose with the shadow lord. This time i will not! If you learn one thing from me, never waste an advance on a trip to the shadowlord! The one thing i am willing to gamble on are stones of power. Sure a hero might turn into spawn eventually, but then i get to have a chaos spawn!
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Sat 7 Nov 2009 - 20:37

Okay, so the the consensus is basically that the darksouls suck because of the low stats?

Thw WS 2 seems to be the most serious weakness, as it means they'll take hits more often.

The LD 6 isn't important since they automatically make all LD tests. Now the fact that you can get a worthless stat bump in the LD category is cause for concern, but a 6, 7, or 8 wouldn't be any better because you'd still suffer the possible consequences of a worthless bump.

Note: I'm willing to bet that this was an oversight during the rules design, since flagellants have the same "unbreakable" rule and have LD 10 (higher than the human racial maximum... probably another oversight!).

The BS 2 isn't important in and of itself, because darksouls cannot use missile weapons. But I'm sure it's annoying that you can get a useless BS upgrade.

Solutions:

One of the House Rules I'm implementing is that any stat that is functionally worthless cannot be raised as a stat increase. By functionally worthless, I mean LD and BS for flagellants and darksouls (they auto-pass all LD tests, and can't use missile weapons).

In this case I'd make the offical statline read 10 for leadership and X for BS. If you get one of these as a stat increase, just ignore it and roll again.

My revised Darksoul looks something like this:



Darksouls
---------
40 GC to hire

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
____________________________
4 3 X 3 3 1 3 1 10

Weapons/Armour: Darksouls may be equipped with
weapons and armour chosen from the Darksouls
Equipment list. They may not use missile weapons,
even if they get an advance roll that would allow
them to do so.

SPECIAL RULES

Crazed: Darksouls have been driven insane by
daemonic possession and know no fear. They
automatically pass any Leadership tests they are
required to take.

Lead me not into destruction: Everybody in the
warband knows that darksouls are not exactly right
in the head. A Darksoul may never become warband
leader. Other warriors may never test on the
Darksouls LD, if the warband leader is out of action.
Use the LD of the warrior with the next highest LD.

Changes:

I took one point off of strength and added it to WS. They're now a little less lethal in combat, but more survivable as they'll take less hits from enemy models.

I figure survivability is probably more important than lethality, since it's easy to die in Mordheim, and since you can buff your strength with the right weapons.

BS is now X (can't get a useless upgrade), and Darksouls cannot use missile weapons even if they somehow got access to shooting skills.

LD is now 10 (to avoid useless upgrades), just like flagellants. However, I inserted a clause to keep other models from using thier LD in the case of an out of action warband leader, because thart would be overpowered. My flagellants have been similarly modified.

Because BS and LD are not available as upgrades, Darksouls will be more likely to get upgrades that will give them and edge in close combat, a subtle but important benefit.

I made them a little more expensive (+5GC), because they're significantly better (and about on par with my improved flagellants, also 40 gold).


So... is this better?
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Sun 8 Nov 2009 - 0:33

i say leave darksouls as is and if you don't like um, don't buy um. as for BS it's actually not a totally useless stat for heroes because you could buy nets and blessed water(well no blessed water for possesed, also i think that technically they aren't missle weapons?) and i'm sure there are more "thrown" items out there that you could use(holy hand grenades anyone?). now i'm not saying that those items make having BS totally worth it, but it is something. also i was wondering; the way darksouls are written now they could potentially become heroes, and then leaders. do darksouls automatically passed fail rout checks if it's their LD your using. i'm sure the answers no, but just a thought in case it ever came up in our group.
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Sun 8 Nov 2009 - 19:25

Darksouls certainly can become heores and, if so there is no rule preventing them from becoming leader, though they'd need to boost thier LD a bit to qualify.

With the darksouls LD 6 this sin't much of an issue, but for my revised Darksouls (with LD10) I inserted a rule to prevent it. Flagellants actually have a rule that prevents this.

I also added a similar rule for cases where the leader is out of action. You're supposed to roll on the next highest LD, but with the flagellants LD of 10 this makes the whole warband almost unroutable. This is an obvious oversight, so I changed the flagellant rules accordingly.
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Sun 8 Nov 2009 - 22:15

I think Dark Souls are fine as is.

pistolpete308 wrote:
Because BS and LD are not available as upgrades, Darksouls will be more likely to get upgrades that will give them and edge in close combat, a subtle but important benefit.
You are also ensuring that they are more likely to get LGT as there will only be 4 experience advances that they can take (I, WS, S & A). With your tweaks, if they survive long enough, they will get promoted given that there are 5 advance slots.
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PostSubject: Re: What are your opinions on possessed warbands?   Sun 8 Nov 2009 - 23:12

This seems like a good time to ask but...
LRB page 82 wrote:
If the dice roll indicates an increase in a characteristic which has already been increased (or at it's racial maximum), roll again until an unincreased characteristic is rolled
Doesn't this mean you can't actually get talent on a re-roll? So regardless of whether you're at a racial max/hencmen +1 stat, you don't actually increase the odds of getting talent.

This seems specific to henchmen, because the 'Characteristic Increase' section describes about racial maximums states if you're at the max for a non-option increase, you re-roll on the table.

I don't know if this is how it was intended (I would assume probably not...) but it seems to me that's how it's written.
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