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mweaver
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PostSubject: The Free Brotherhood   Fri 24 Sep 2010 - 7:38

I have worked up rules for a new warband, the “Free Brotherhood” – an alternative pirate warband. The basic premise is that pirates are atypical members of the society that produced them, and not particularly concerned with laws and traditional social customs. As lawbreakers living on the fringe, they are much more likely to form associations that would be unthinkable to most members of their culture. Accordingly, the “Free Brotherhood” is a multi-racial warband. My inspiration came primarily from two sources – we have run and enjoyed “Adventurer” warbands (from the Strike to Stun website, although last time I looked for them there I did not find them), and there are just too many excellent non-human pirate miniatures out there not to find creative ways to use them!

My brother Jim has posted the rules on his website/blog, and I am very interested in feedback. In one way the warband is simple: only three hero types (Captain, first mate, cabin boy) and one henchman type (“crew”); however, since there are different racial alternatives for each of those types, the options you have creating your warband are considerable. I am particularly interested in feedback concerning balance, both internally (are certain racial choices inherently more effective than others?) and externally (are they over-powered or under-powered compared to official Mordheim warbands?). However, I will be delighted to hear any other feedback you have (including suggestions for the Free Brotherhood skills list, which I never have gotten around to finishing).

At the moment he has the rules up in blog format, which isn’t very printer friendly. I think he will be posting them in a different format soon. (In the meantime, if you want the MS Word document, just email me at my username here at rgv.rr.com and I will send it to you).

Here is the link to the Warband rules:

http://hobbyblog.wargameweaver.com/mordheim/the-free-brotherhood

And , if you are interested, here is the link to a short story I wrote about a warband I have been playtesting:

http://hobbyblog.wargameweaver.com/mordheim/options-a-free-brotherhood-story

-Michael
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Fri 24 Sep 2010 - 9:16

Arrrrrrrrr!
or, for orc pirates:
Urrrrrrrr!
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mweaver
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Fri 24 Sep 2010 - 9:28

Cool name. We named our trusty Jeep Cherokee "Number 10 Ox".

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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Fri 24 Sep 2010 - 17:23

Woah, I think I love this warband.
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Fri 24 Sep 2010 - 17:32

Great idea! Although its hard to picture orcs and dwarfs working together, no matter how much booty at stake!

I would look to the well made fan rules for Sartosa, by Styrofoam King, for inspiration on Pirate Skills. link

Heck!, i would recommend using the pirate skills exactly as written in that setting: each hero may choose up to one skill from the list instead of a regular skill choice once in their career. The limit of one per hero is a way to curb the power of some of the skills.

Since this is a multi-racial warband, and some come with their own special rules, i think this would be a good route to take.

Other recommendations:
  • A racial weapon chart is a good idea instead of listing the weapons with each hero type.
  • If you are going to include Orcs and Dwarfs in the same warband, make it so when the warband brawls, it is worse when these old enemies lock horns!
  • Why no swivel gun?
  • Sail monkey is a terrible skill considering it is half of an Ini. increase and a rope and hooks costs only 5 gc. How about it allows a model to run while using a rope and hook rather than climb at base speed...



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mweaver
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Fri 24 Sep 2010 - 19:38

Thanks Figgy.

I appreciate the suggestions, Pathfinder, D. I have not checked out the Saratosa rules, but will have a look. I like your suggestion about Sail Monkey.

I thought about racial weapons, but part of my thinking is these guys can work together because they are, basically, misfits from their own cultures. So I sort of used that as an excuse not to allow them to take racial weapons. The underlying reason behind this decision was my concern about balancing them with other warbands. I think the racial flexibility, which is there for pure fun, is also a pretty powerful boost for the band - so I was looking for ways to balance them out. Only allowing four starting heroes was a big one, and the A Mongrel Lot rule too. I was thinking maybe making the ability to take racial weapons one of the Free Brotherhood skills... but then I figured nobody but a dark elf would take it (since a dwarf would do better with Weapons Training.

Balance is also why there is no swivel gun.

RE: orcs and dwarves brawling. I was trying not to make that table too complicated... but I had considered that possibility (and also perhaps some adjustment to your roll depending on the number of different races represented). So that may well be something worth revisiting.
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Fri 24 Sep 2010 - 20:57

I love the idea. We've messed around with the idea for years but never written anything down. In our current adventures pirates of different races can press captured enemies, so my human pirates ended up with a LGT Dark Elf awhile ago and Playtable's Dark Elves just captured one of my orc crew's boyz.
We have no set rule but so far no crew has included racial enemies (except High Elves and Dark Elves). If a crew includes humans and dwarfs for example we have always passed on recruiting goblins, orcs or skaven. (Our pirate adventures haven't included Beastmen yet, hard to see a Centigor on a ship.)
Anyway we'll keep this in mind for future campaigns, thanks.
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Sat 25 Sep 2010 - 4:09

Looks interesting. I'm curious why you chose to make 'Dim Witted' for the Ogre only kick in once the ogre was promoted.

I like that the cabin boys are the 'little/minor races' (and humans of course). Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Sat 25 Sep 2010 - 8:27

With the ogre, it was a compromise between ogre bodyguard hired swords (no penalty - but can't be promoted) and the Ostlander ogre (always slow-witted). The penalty isn't all that necessary for an ogre henchman, but is important for ogre heroes, so I figured let it kick in only when one actually becomes a hero.

I have been reconsidering, though, so I am curious about what people think. When I worked up the rules I forgot about the Pit Fighter ogre. He works the same way as the Ostlander ogre, so consistency pushes me more toward making him always slow witted than it originally did when I was only looking at just the two examples. Also, in the group I have been play testing Albrecht the ogre did indeed earn a promotion at the first opportunity, and he has been extremely effective as an ogre hero. So perhaps making them go through four games before they have a chance to be promoted would not be a bad thing. (He is a lot of fun, though)

Given that members of the Brotherhood are misfits from their cultures, having a brighter-than-average ogre makes some sense, arguably.
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Sat 25 Sep 2010 - 9:34

While I understand the compromise, I'd recommend abandoning it in favor of the established rules for Ogre henchmen/heroes.
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Sat 25 Sep 2010 - 9:46

Yeah, I think so.
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Mon 1 Apr 2013 - 15:35

A bit of threadomancy here.

I have recently started a second Free Brotherhood warband, after extensive playtesting a band last year. I really like how they worked out, and I have only made two changes to the rules for the second version.

The first change is the one discussed above; as it happens the ogre crewman in the original band did roll The Lad's Got Talent at two experience, and he fairly quickly became a real monster after that, even though as a hero the half-experience rule kicked in. So I think Rational Lemming and Von Kurst were right all along there (they generally are). The ogre crewman always earns half experience. (In general, the original band has been extremely lucky about promotions - the ogre and one of the human filled up the fifth and sixth slots at two experience, when one of the cabin boys died he was promptly replaced by a promoted dark elf crewman, and I have had to tell both a dwarf and an orc crewman sorry, no room, fellas).

The second change is I decided to let Dark Elf crewmen use blackpowder weapons if they want to. The whole idea is that the Free Brotherhood is composed of renegades from their respective societies, so it didn't make a lot of sense to have DEs still adhere to that rule, esp. since blackpowder weapons make up most of the missile weapon options for the band. Plus, after I wrote the rules Black Scorpion released some awesome elf pirates with pistols, and so there you are.

One thing I still need to do is work on Free Brotherhood skills (or just drop that skill grouping from the band). The original ones were pretty weak. Should I post (and solicit) ideas on this old thread, or start another one?

-Michael


Last edited by mweaver on Fri 5 Apr 2013 - 6:53; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Mon 1 Apr 2013 - 20:35

It is good to hear that the warband is going well.

I agree with your DE changes. They make sense.

I reckon that you should just continue this thread for ideas as it has history of the warband and is current as of the threadomancy. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Tue 2 Apr 2013 - 8:53

I like allowing the DE to use blackpowder as well but I think even as an outcast he would still want to lean to his elven ways and avoid the more "crude" BP weapons and thus would only use the finner ones thus only the Hunting Rifle and Dualing Pistols.
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Tue 2 Apr 2013 - 16:01

Mine in fact is packing dueling pistols. Which so far he has only used in melee combat, come to think about it. His other weapon is a longbow. There is a blunderbuss going spare, but he turned up his elegant elven nose at it.

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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Wed 3 Apr 2013 - 2:58

I really like the combinations and the possibilities you got going in this warband! Spent some time to think about the "best" combination of characters but gave up halfway in - there´s just so many choices!!

Great idea!
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Fri 5 Apr 2013 - 6:54

OK, I have worked up four possible Free Brotherhood skills, and would love some feedback. Here they are:

Rigger: Spending much of his life aloft in the rigging of ships, the hero is an expert climber. For purposes of climbing checks, the hero’s Initiative characteristic counts as one higher than normal (and can effectively exceed the racial maximum). Additionally, the hero may move to the base of a wall and begin climbing it on the same turn; however, combined movement to the wall and climbing cannot exceed the hero’s maximum movement.

Old Salt: The hero knows the value of being prepared for all contingencies, and can carry one additional melee weapon and one additional ranged weapon beyond the normal limit.

Forager: Looting and pillaging comes as second nature to a member of the Brotherhood. During the Exploration Phase, if the hero was not taken out of action and the Exploration roll produces a result that involves rolling a die or dice, then the warband may choose to re-roll any dice rolled; the second roll for each die stands, and cannot be rerolled. For example, if the warband finds a corpse (3,3) it could reroll the die roll to see what is looted from the corpse; if it finds a Market Hall (5,5,5) it could reroll one or both d6s to determine the gold value of the items found.

Boarding Expert: the veteran of innumerable boarding parties (and tavern brawls, and back-alley scuffles, etc.) the hero has developed an intense aversion to being unloaded. He may carry four blackpowder pistols of the same type and have them count as a single weapon choice. If he does so, he counts as having the Pistolier skill. If the hero also actually has the Pistolier skill, then he may fire twice in all shooting phases.

-Michael
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Fri 5 Apr 2013 - 7:43

Boardin Expert; Would suit very well on my Marienburger-borned Captain!

Overall some very good ideas going on here!

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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Fri 5 Apr 2013 - 10:03

Nice skill ideas, here is some feedback:
Rigger: +1 seems a bit low and not many players will take it, how about a reroll for climbing tests instead? A very slight chance to fail the test seems more appropriate for the fluff.
Old Salt: Fine as it is, just convert the model with lots of weapons hanging from ervery belt :-)
Forager: Seems to be very powerfull when you combine it with other rerolls (like the elven ranger or the tarot) and take it on many heroes. Maybe limit it to once per warband?
Boarding Expert: Nice - can be very powerful but 4 pistols cost a lot, so it is probably fine. However i would take this over Old Salt any time, maybe limit it by dropping the 4 counts as 1 rule?
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Fri 5 Apr 2013 - 10:50

Horatius wrote:
Rigger: +1 seems a bit low and not many players will take it, how about a reroll for climbing tests instead? A very slight chance to fail the test seems more appropriate for the fluff.
I disagree here. A re-roll would simply replace "Rope and Hook" and that's a 5gc common item. This skill would never be taken if you can get the same result for 5gc on a hero. This would also effectivly only make the rule so you can climb after moving (a good advantage).
The +1 is better as it still can combind with the rope and hook to make for a vary low chance of falling.
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Fri 15 Aug 2014 - 6:45

Actually, in play we changed that skill to say that you did not have to be next to a wall at the start of a turn in order to climb it. That seemed a little more interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Thu 25 Sep 2014 - 3:35

This is a great idea. I have used a multi-race Pirate warband for a long time, without implementing any racial traits/flaws, but will look in to it.
The Pirate Warband that originates from the Town Cryer truely sucks, its awful, really bad, and could use a update and a boost, I suppose this is one way to go.
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Thu 25 Sep 2014 - 6:17

If you do run them, I am curious to hear how they work out. I have now play-tested them thrice. The first time, they performed brilliantly, but in part that was because in the original version the ogre crewman received regular experience as a henchman and then half if promoted - and this band had its henchman hit The Lad's got talent on his first promotion. I subsequently went with the suggestion people made here that the ogre always receive half experience. In general, it was a lucky warband (after close to 20 games, it had only ever lost one of its heroes).

The second warband - constructed very semilarly - was a disaster. Both the captain and the ogre apparently had glass jaws, and were constantly going out of action. By game five the captain and the ogre had both been killed, and the first mate has a permanent injury (the -1 movement leg wound). So I dropped the warband and started over.

The third band only played five or so games, and they were going along solidly.

Overall, my impression is that it is a reasonably balanced warband.... but then, all three of my builds were similar (human captain, dwarf first mate, usually a human and a goblin for the cabin boys).
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Wed 1 Oct 2014 - 23:05

Are you planning two use the Pirate Crew skills just copy and pasted?

I'm planning to run this in our next campaign and will give feedback, starting with:

Vamp capt +sword
DE 1st mate +sword
Halfling cabin boy +club
Goblin cabin boy
Trickster priest of Rayland

Ogre crew +club
Ork crew +club

Merchant Hired sword
Thief Hired sword

This gives me 9 starting warband members with 5 heros and a respectable starting income. Your thoughts?
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Thu 2 Oct 2014 - 5:06

That is a very different build from the bands I have played. All of mine have had human captains with a variety of mates (my most successful was a Marienburger Capt. and a dwarf first mate - but that was probably as much some starting luck as anything else). The goblin/halfling combo for cabin boys has been standard for me (I wonder if I need to tweak something to make the human cabin boy a bit more attractive). I think a vamp capt. and DE mate sounds very promising.

I rarely start a warband with hired swords, and never more than one. I generally feel that henchmen are a better investment, since they can be promoted to heroes (and the upkeep for a HS is a steady drain on income). But the Merchant is certainly well worth every crown. I have never played with a thief HS, and don't remember coming across the Trickster Priest before. But although I think you should be starting with more crew, I think your choices of which ones to take are good.

-Michael
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PostSubject: Re: The Free Brotherhood   Today at 14:54

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