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 Yet another College warband.

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Lord 0
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PostSubject: Yet another College warband.   Thu 3 Jun 2010 - 22:21

I am making a warband based on an expedition from the Altdorf colleges of magic. The background is just thrown together for now and I will be polishing it up considerably later, but for now what I mostly need is balancing stuff.

I have tried to make it reasonably balanced, but I know I am a wizard fan-boi so I suspect bunches of it will need to be nerfed.

As far as background goes, this is going to be inserted into an EiF style campaign that is set in the 'modern times' of WHFB, so no worries there about the Colleges existing and so forth.

The
College Expedition rules


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PostSubject: Warband design choices.   Thu 3 Jun 2010 - 22:21

OK, design choices.

I am starting them as a warband that only has 4 heroes only one of which is a caster.
I am starting them with only 4 as a nerf, and only one of them is a caster so that the warband isn't super-shafted against all the other starting warbands. The idea is that They will start with the Archmage as the only wizard, but then slowly bring in more wizards from the students.

I went with the names Archmage and Mage for the heroes because 'wizard' has a specific definition in Mordheim and I didn't want to cause confusion.

I put armour on the equipment list for the wizards, even though wearing it would render them unable to cast so that they can still get Armoured Wizard as normal.

I added the quarterstaff because the rules fit better about how a staff should be to my mind. It is available to anyone that can use clubs. The Knob-On-The-End is intended to provide a ranged attack from the students that does not require them to use a mundane shooting weapon and, since skills like quickshot and so forth will not work with it, will likely be phased out as more ranged spells come online. It will also insure that there will at least be one mediocre way of getting ranged attacks for a wizard that is not rolling up any attack spells. The Knob-On-The-End is intended to be available to *all* wizards, not just the College wizards - this is why it is legal to put it on any significantly wooden weapon, not just one that is on the College Wizard's list. This will allow wizards such as, say, the orc shaman to have rules that will accurately represent what he is holding. For example, the afore mentioned shaman is *clearly* armed with a magical DHW, the Amber wizard from the old boxed set is armed with a spear, etc. The KotE is intended to be on par with the Crossbow.

Most of the special skills are intended to also be available to everyone elses casters as well. There are several of them, but I am thinking of dropping a few for the final release. Don't know which though...

The idea behind Common magic is that it is spells that are common to all the colleges. The idea is that you can rename the spells you get and make the appearence whatever you want - so long as the rules stay the same. This way there are only 6 spells to keep track of, but each College is still different from the others by means of the changes on the next page. EG, Bright magic blast spells will have a chance of setting the targets on fire, whereas Amethyst ones ignore armour and drain the wounds.

The magic is sligtly more powerful than other warbands, but this is balanced by the very serious consequences for miscasts. I pretty much swiped the whole miscast table from the Sorcerous society warband that I read somewhere.

So, let the questions, comments, and suggestions commence :-).
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Fri 4 Jun 2010 - 0:09

Man, 50%? You really have to make us do math?

Anyway, I don't think you need to list mages in the heroes section, but instead just have a special rule for students that says when they become heroes they gain the wizard ability etc.

Also I think your men at arms are too expensive.

I like the whole students becoming wizards, thing. That's pretty neat.

Oh man, have you been reading the sword of truth series?

IMO Just make men at arms and soldiers have identical equipment lists but remove like half of the stuff there. Mercs are known for having all the gear, and this band has magic so it doesn't need such a large selection.

Also I think you missed the "d" in "2d6" in the description for the Dispel Magic skill.

I appreciate all these new academic skills, I may "borrow" them. moohahaha.

Debuff is kind of weaksauce, bro. Oh I guess it depends on the college, huh? Neat, very neat.

This was like a stream of consciousness post except with my editing over and over.
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Fri 4 Jun 2010 - 4:49

Hey man let us know how the warband turns out, I guess the biggest issue is making sure the magic isn't too overly powered. Sounds like a great opportunity to make some great figures as well!

On a fluff note though, weren't the colleges of magic introduced into the warhammer world well after the period Mordheim is set in?
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Fri 4 Jun 2010 - 4:58

hero wrote:
Man, 50%? You really have to make us do math?
Yes, because I am cruel and heartless. I figure that if people can do that amount of math for the Orc and Goblin warband they can handle it for mine . Rephprase it to "never more students than non-students" if it makes you happier .

hero wrote:
Anyway, I don't think you need to list mages in the heroes section, but instead just have a special rule for students that says when they become heroes they gain the wizard ability etc.
I put that in there for clarity. Anyone who has played Mordheim a lot will have a good idea what to do, but just in case someone less familiar comes across it I thought I would put it in. Also, I made them change type from Student to Mage so that once they become heroes they no longer count towards the limit of students.


hero wrote:
Also I think your men at arms are too expensive.
Yeah, the Men-At-Arms are expensive because when I first made them they
had a special rule Combat Training that let them pick three out of
Combat, Shooting, Strength, and Speed. I will probably lower them - say 35? 40?

hero wrote:
I like the whole students becoming wizards, thing. That's pretty neat.
Thanks, I rather liked it myself. There is an omission though - Students are supposed to be Wizards, but just not start with any spells. This is so that enemies that hate wizards will properly hate the students and also allow the students to use the Knob-on-the-end. I would like a better name for that just by-the-by, so if anyone has any ideas, that would be super.

hero wrote:
Oh man, have you been reading the sword of truth series?
I read it some time ago. Why do you ask?
*Edit* Ah, the steel-against-steel reference . Yeah, I liked the concept so I stole it.

hero wrote:
IMO Just make men at arms and soldiers have identical equipment lists but remove like half of the stuff there. Mercs are known for having all the gear, and this band has magic so it doesn't need such a large selection.
The effect I was going for *is* that they are more or less mercenaries that have been hired to protect the wizards. The idea is that these two or three heroes will have to provide all the mundane ranged and melee support by themselves, and I didn't want to force people into a fixed ratio of some of them being ranged specialists and some of them being melee specialists. Which weapons should be removed, do you think?

hero wrote:
Also I think you missed the "d" in "2d6" in the description for the Dispel Magic skill.
I did indeed. It is corrected on the master and will be in the next issue.

hero wrote:
I appreciate all these new academic skills, I may "borrow" them. moohahaha.
Go right ahead. For the purposes of this list, note that many of them are available to all wizards and some even to prayer users. This will mean that Orc Shamans, Beastmen shamans and others that cannot get academic skills will have access to a few skills that can help counter the potency of the wizard warband. Dispell for a start .

hero wrote:
Debuff is kind of weaksauce, bro. Oh I guess it depends on the college, huh? Neat, very neat.
Debuff is somewhat weak, but I was reluctant to make a truely *shafting* spell that debuffs the enemy because I didn't like the idea of someone having, say, four wizards and locking down someone's *entire* warband. It would take a few turns, but since it only goes away on a 4+ it might happen. Also, as you say, it depends on which College you pick.

Speaking of which, I am not at all sure I have the Colleges balanced so any thoughts on that would be welcome.
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Fri 4 Jun 2010 - 5:08

Thomas UK wrote:
I guess the biggest issue is making sure the magic isn't too overly powered.
It is indeed, so I have unveiled them here in the hopes that people can spot the worst of my wizardly fanboiness in the hopes I can sand off the worst of it before unleashing them on the table.

Thomas UK wrote:
Sounds like a great opportunity to make some great figures as well!
Totally. Also something of a combination of excuse and motivation. Remember that fanboiness I was mentioning? Well, my Empire army has (if I ever get them assembled) at least one wizard of every college of magic (mounted and foot varients), and a wizard lord of every college of magic (mounted and foot varients). The handgunners and crossbow men are all students with staffs.

Thomas UK wrote:
On a fluff note though, weren't the colleges of magic introduced into the warhammer world well after the period Mordheim is set in?
They were indeed, but the campaign this warband will be in is one set in an EiF-like one that is set in the WHFB 'present'.
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Fri 4 Jun 2010 - 5:53

Hmm. I think maybe you could make a clause 'if a Student ever rolls less then the number of his experience points on an advancement roll, he gets Lad's Got Talent'.

This would need to be balanced by making some kind of diminishing return when you have multiple wizards running about though. A 'Winds of Magic' counter that goes up by 1 after each successful cast, and minuses it's value from all cast attempts later in the turn would suffice.
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Fri 4 Jun 2010 - 6:20

Most other 4-hero warbands don't have anything like that to help them out. What makes this warband need it? I think I would rather address that issue than increase book-keeping.

What about letting Students gain XP as heroes? That way they would level faster, but would not be intrinsically better than other henchmen. Well, in terms of stats and abilities and so forth anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Fri 4 Jun 2010 - 7:08

Thomas UK wrote:
On a fluff note though, weren't the colleges of magic introduced into the warhammer world well after the period Mordheim is set in?
They were indeed, but the campaign this warband will be in is one set in an EiF-like one that is set in the WHFB 'present'.[/quote]

Ahh that sounds great then! Your wizards from each college sound great any chance of some pics? They made from the new kit or are they old style classic metals/plastics?
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Fri 4 Jun 2010 - 7:12

They are old classic metals and plastics; for example, the Amethyst Wizard Lord is made from the old plastic dark elf Sorceress. I got a copy of the new kit to make some of the lords, but so far I haven't used any of it. None of them are painted yet, and only a few are assembled, but all of them are purchased so it is just a matter of getting around to it.
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Fri 4 Jun 2010 - 18:25

I have a house-ruled weapon the same as the one you named quarterstaff named simply, staff. It is available to all warbands that have access to clubs, only i priced it at 10 gc, as in the Sorcerous Society warband where it is called a wizard's staff (See LOD4 a similar concept executed differently and without the college aspect).

The battle monks warband has a weapon called a quarter staff with different rules, so i would recommend a name change.

I think this shows promise at first glance, but i have not read it fully yet. I think the decision to make only one list of spells (with a unique one for each college) is a wise one, because it means you only have to balance 14 spells, not 48!!

As far as background is concerned, i don't know a great deal about the colleges of magic, but i do believe that they have differing views on the nature of magic and their focus on one "color" tends to make them competitive, if not adversarial towards other colleges. But i could be entirely wrong in this assumption, since i don't know where it originated...

If this is the case, you would need to make up a pretty good reason for them to exist in the same warband.

Lastly, i hope the feedback you get from our fellow members is as invaluable as it was to me when writing my (still in progress) Night Goblins warband.
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Fri 4 Jun 2010 - 19:53

They are competitive, and a *few* can be somewhat adverserial, but they can still come together against a common enemy. In this case, the enemy is the Cult of Sigmar.

In theory, the Cultists are supposed to hand over magic users to the College of Magic so that they can be assessed. If they are uncorrupted then they are allowed to join the Colleges and help the Empire. If not, then they are dealt with. The cult pays lip-service to this, but in *practice* I am sure you can guess what mostly happens to the new wizards when the cult gets their hands on them.

Because the Empire needs more casters (which is why the colleges were founded in the first place) the colleges will, from time to time, send parties out in sweeps looking for more casters to either recruit or eliminate.

The Colleges are very big on the whole loyal-to-the-empire thing. They make a thing of going on about how they are loyal to the Empire first, the Colleges second and a multi-college party is a good public way of showing that. Of course, some wizards feel a little different in private...
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Sat 5 Jun 2010 - 12:57

Is there really a difference between the way targeting works for blast two and blast three? Clearly worded differently but the effect seems the same to me. Some subtle difference?

You might consider giving difficulty modifiers to some or all the spells depending on a models college, but it could be an unnecessary complication.

So who takes the leadership test to maintain the ward, casting wizard or the model the ward is cast on?

Personally I would never take a Light wizard over a Jade wizard (but I'm a barefoot hippy so I may be biased), but the others all seem pretty decently balanced against each other. I guess if I was fighting possessed or undead I would take a light wizard so it's probably fine.

Might want to add "or mount"/"or mounted warrior" as vulnerable to the Amber Colleges debuff special effect.

The difficulties for all of the spells seem a bit high to me, but maybe that's all part of your master plan.
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Sat 5 Jun 2010 - 18:42

hero wrote:
Is there really a difference between the way targeting works for blast two and blast three?
There is indeed. Blast 2 will always target the closest enemy, regardless of circumstances. Blast three will usually have to target the closest enemy, but if you are elevated you will be able to pick the target. Blast 2 will always hit the intended target, but blast 3 requires a clear line to the target because it will hit the first model in its path, so if a friend is in the way the friend will be hit. Blast 2 cannot be avoided by getting out of LoS, Blast 3 can. That is all I can think of off the top of my head, but I have a feeling there are a few more differences in practice too.

hero wrote:
You might consider giving difficulty modifiers to some or all the spells depending on a models college, but it could be an unnecessary complication.
I might have to, but, for now at least, I am prioritising simplicity over comprehensiveness.

hero wrote:
So who takes the leadership test to maintain the ward, casting wizard or the model the ward is cast on?
The casting wizard makes the leadership test. I have clarified this in the master, so it will be included in the next iteration. I have also clarified that a caster can only have one copy of Buff running at once.

hero wrote:
Personally I would never take a Light wizard over a Jade wizard
What makes the Jade wizard so much better to your mind? Does the Light need buffing or the Jade nerfing? Did you notice that the Light heal stood the model up whereas the Jade heal did not? I was considering making the Light wizard Debuff grant Blindness instead of -1 to hit (WS/BS1, movement direction random.)

hero wrote:
Might want to add "or mount"/"or mounted warrior" as vulnerable to the Amber Colleges debuff special effect.
I will certainly make a note of that. If playtesting reveals the Amber wizard needs buffing or just more people think it needs buffing then that will be one of the first additions.

hero wrote:
The difficulties for all of the spells seem a bit high to me, but maybe that's all part of your master plan.
They are high because compared to the spells in the base rulebook they are all a bit more potent. Also, wizards have access to Familiars, Mind Focus, Sorcery, etc. Shooting attacks don't really have anything similar (except perhaps Rabbit's foot). Lastly, I am aware of my fanboiness for wizards, so I didn't want to accidentally make their spells to easy when designing them.
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Sat 5 Jun 2010 - 19:43

Lord 0 wrote:
What makes the Jade wizard so much better to your mind? Does the Light need buffing or the Jade nerfing? Did you notice that the Light heal stood the model up whereas the Jade heal did not? I was considering making the Light wizard Debuff grant Blindness instead of -1 to hit (WS/BS1, movement direction random.)

Nobody I play against uses Possessed or Undead, sadly. Plus I wouldn't want to count on a difficulty 9 spell to bring one of my warriors from stunned or knocked down to standing (the prayers of sigmar heal is far superior and I could never overcome the my envy), and the Jade's save against hero death is very appealing. And again, since I don't fight a lot of fear causing models the Jade buff is more appealing. I guess what I see is that Jade is more generally useful whereas Light is selectively effective.

I think its a personal preference against over specialization. I can see the use of a light wizard and I don't think they're too weak or jade too strong, I just wouldn't want one myself. Same with Amber wizard. I can see the use of a bunch of dogs or something but it's just not my style.

If I was going to pick something to worry about it would be a troupe of wound draining Amethyst warrior wizards with mighty close combat stats, armored and armed to da teef.

Actually the save against death is really, really appealing. Don't change it Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Sat 5 Jun 2010 - 21:35

You are right, that save vs death is pretty potent. I think I will change it to "On a 4+ the serious injury is converted to Deep Wound".

I haven't actually played anything yet, but to be honest, I am not too worried about multiple wound-draining because A) the vast majority of models only have one wound to drain in the first place, and draining someone to 0 wounds doesn't take them OOA, if they are only knocked down or stunned they will get back up and keep hitting the wizards, only now they have no wounds to drain.

Also, without the combat skills to back them up, wizards really just aren't that frightening in close combat without the skills to back them up and where are they going to get them from? If they don't take Academic they won't be getting off the wound-draining spells and if they *do* take it, then they will only be able to take either Combat *or* Strength - not both, and therefore far fewer synergies.

The few wizards I made on paper (I made an Amber, Amethyst, and Bright before I got bored) just didn't seem all that frightening compared to a similarly levelled melee or ranged hero, but then somewhat weak unless they are well-fortified by their magic is pretty much what I was going for so I decided to leave things how they were Smile.


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PostSubject: Re: Yet another College warband.   Sat 5 Jun 2010 - 21:36

Just by-the-by, most of the background is *very* rough - I really did pretty much just throw it together off the top of my head, so if anyone has any ideas for some polish or revision, that would be well received also.
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