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 Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign

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Arcuballis
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PostSubject: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Wed 1 Aug 2012 - 15:23

Well, I´m just having some worries with my "soon to be" Mordheim campaign and would like to hear the feedback from you guys which were much more experienced on the game and in running campaigns...

Basically our gaming group here in Brazil just fell in love with Mordheim and after some months of hard work building a table and our warbands, we started running some "beta test" games just to get the feeling of the game before we start our full fledged campaign, with some modified rules from the excellent BTB supplement done by some of you guys here...

Problem is, after a few games we realized that the "Death Ratio" of our heroes are amazingly high, and being newbies to the game (all of us), some guys are scared as hell to have their beloved heroes dying in the beginning of the campaign, and me, as the "Game Master", am worried of people resetting their warbands countless of times or just losing interest on the game.

Some players, which were quite used to 40k and WHFB systems, were also a little bit lost on how random the post game could be... On our last game the Skaven player lost 4 of their 6 heroes (including the leader) and 2 henchmen, and the Marienburger lost one hero, his leader and one henchmen, winning the game. Problem is, after the post game rolls, the Skaven player got a pretty good stach of wyrdstone and exploration, rolled full recoveries for 2 heroes and the 2 henchmen, a "Horrible Scars" for one (now he causes fear) and Survive agains the odds for the leader, who got +1 exp. The poor Mariemburger, who won the game, rolled a pretty poor exploration and lost permanently his hero, leader and the henchmen... Laughing This was epic and everyone had lots of fun, but on a fashion was really disapointing, even for the Skaven player...

Altough we all know that this kind of things happens and are ok with this, we started discussing a lot about trying to improve and balance this a little bit better for the campaign. We tried to keep away from modifying the injury table or creating alternative rules, so we came with the idea of creating 2 new equipments to solve this problem, using the old concepts of Alchemy, the Elixir of Life and the Philosopher Stone, as follows:

Elixir of Life (30+D6x4gc+1 shard – Rarity Roll: SPECIAL)
Some Alchemists managed to get the secrets of turning raw wyrdstone into a potent healing elixir, capable of curing the most terrible wounds and some say even bring the dead back to life! When a hero has to roll on the Serious Injury Chart and the roll result is 11-35, the hero may “consume” one vial of the elixir, and only one, to re-roll the first die (i.e. If a result of 14 is rolled, and the hero has at least one vial, then the player may re-roll the “1”). The second roll result must be accepted, and cannot be re-rolled again. The player should then note that the elixir has been used and remove it from the hero’s equipment. If the hero has more than one wound, although he will be fully restored this process will take time, as he will recover at a rate of one wound per game, i.e., a Vampire Hero with 3 wounds will be restored to 1 wound on the first game, 2 on the second and 3 on the third.

A Hero or Hired Sword may also use the Elixir to cure an existing injury (previous rolls 16-35), but this is less reliable as the damage is old. On a roll of 4+ the permanent injury was cured, otherwise the Elixir will have no effect. Further doses of the Elixir will NOT restore this particular permanent injury, but he can try again using something more powerful, like a Philosopher Stone. Note that ONLY one vial can be used by one hero at the same time, he cannot use one vial to reroll the injury and a second one to cure any adverse result, or two vials to restore two different injuries at the same time.

The Elixir of Life can only be used on Heroes, with the exception of multi-wound Henchmen or trusted allies like Hired Swords. If this is the case, you just reroll on the Henchmen Injury table, if he was restored to life use the same restrictions as above, like recovering one wound per game.

Note that any hero, Hired Sword or multi-wounded henchmen could use the elixir if someone on the warband has it, not only the character who possess it.


Philosophal Stone (120+D6x4gc+1-3shards – Rarity Roll: SPECIAL)
Only the Master Alchemists know the dark mysteries to refine wyrdstone into an even more powerful substance, the Philosophal Stone. Some say that creating such an item is to delve too deep into the black arts of Necromancy, others that it is the pure essence of Life and Light. Anyway, a Philosophal Stone is a true wonder and can be used in three different ways. When a hero has to roll on the Serious Injury Chart and the roll result is 11-35, the hero may “consume” the Philosophal Stone to re-roll the first die with a +1 bonus for each wyrdstone shards he put into the making of the Philosophal Stone (i.e. If 3 shards were put into the making of the Philosophal Stone, the reroll of the first dice will have a +3 bonus, 1 shard means +1 bonus – a philosophal stone will ALWAYS restore a character to life).

A Hero or Hired Sword may also use the Philosophal Stone to cure an existing injury (previous rolls 16-35) on a far more reliable manner than the Elixir of Life. On a roll of 5+ modified by the number of shards put into making the Philosophal Stone the permanent injury was cured (i.e., a Philosophal Stone made with 3 shards will work on a 2+), otherwise it will have no effect. Further consumptions of Philosophal Stones will NOT restore the permanent injury. Note that ONLY one PS can be used by one hero at the same time, he cannot use one to reroll the injury and a second one to cure any adverse result, or PS vials to restore two different injuries at the same time.

The third use was to create doses of Elixir of Life, as the hero could just dip the Philosophal Stone into water or wine to transmute them into one dose of the Elixir. You could create as many doses of Elixir as wyrdstone shards you put into the making of the Stone, and each Elixir created on this way reduces the power of the Philosophal Stone by one shard. For example, a Philosophal Stone was created with 3 shards, thus you can create 3 doses of Elixir and it will be totally consumed, or you can create 2 doses of Elixir and consume the stone to give you a +1 bonus on the Injury table reroll or 4+ on recovering an old injury.

The Philosophal Stone can only be used on Heroes.

When applicable, the second roll result must be always accepted, and cannot be re-rolled again by any means. The player should then note how many power was left on the Philosophal Stone until it is entirely consumed, when it must be removed from the warband´s roster. Note that any hero could use the PS if someone on the warband has it, not only the character who possess it.

Special Rarity Roll for Elixir of Life and Philosophal Stone
Being such rare and powerful items and with a high demand on the accursed city of Mordheim, it is no easy task to find those commodities. First the warband must find a trusted Alchemist to concoct the substances. In order to do this, ALL heroes of the warband must commit to this quest, so they will not be able to search for any other rare items after the game. Then a single rarity roll of 11 must be made to find the Alchemist, which can be modified by special items like Opulent Coach, skills like Streetwise or Hired Swords like the Merchant, but the roll must never be smaller than 9. Haggle skills will work also on reducing the price and negotiating with the Alchemist.

If found, you may hire the Alchemist to work for you. Decide what you want him to make, the Elixir of Life or a more powerful Philosophal Stone. Being such hard and difficult work, the Alchemist will take the order to make a single item, being one dose of the Elixir or refine a single stone. Roll for the price, and in the case of a Philosophal Stone, decide how many shards you will want to use on the making. Deduct the GC and the selected number of shards from the warband´s treasury.



What do you think of them? Our idea was that each warband in the Campaign will start with 2 vials of the Elixir of Life, allowing them rerrolls if things got bad on the beginning. and they could buy more or even the more powerful Stone as the game progresses, modyfying also some exploration rolls like Slaughtered Warband and Alchemist Laboratory so the elixitr and the stone could be found.

Also, we have kept the fixed cost of the elixir pretty low (altough the variable one plus the required shard makes it expensive) in order to avoid people selling them in the beginning for profit...

What do you think? Also, would like to hear if someone else had the same type of trouble...

Thanks in advance for your help!

Cheers,

Arcuballis
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Wed 1 Aug 2012 - 15:47

Looks interesting. But its a lot of rules imo.
We have just house ruled that Rabbit's Feet can be used to re-roll one dice one serious injury instead of exploration. It works quite well Wink We also allow a basic armour (no shields/other bonuses) save against serious injury. This have also solve "the armour problem" for us Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Wed 1 Aug 2012 - 15:51

Never used anything to save heros, but some people play with armour giving a save against serious injuries in the post game sequence.

It's indeed pretty random, but that's also important for the tactical aspect of the game - sending your henchmen in as cannon fodder (to some degree), keeping the important heros alive, and voluntarily routing to cut the losses and get more in exploration.

Other than that, just hope the dice are mercyful Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Wed 1 Aug 2012 - 17:13

So far this campaign I have lost 5 heroes including my leader. We have played 5 weeks so that's about one every 3 or 4 games, including a Skink Great Crest in my first game. (My Skink Priest and the Saurus Totem Warrior fell together in the 5th game...)

Our campaigns always feature a running total of how many heroes have been killed in each warband and who killed them. (Who killed whom is kept track of by the individual players). I am currently in the lead in what looks to be a bloody affair. We are playing in Lustria which is written to be extra deadly and is living up to the hype. Last campaign the winner of the Most Heroes Killed in the Campaign lost 5 in 14 weeks!

I've always loved the element of danger for my characters and worked Mordheim style injury tables into Warhammer campaigns for years.

Many campaigns feature similar items and effects as the ones you have created. I'm not sure it was in the original Innercircle Lustrian campaign, but the TC articles added The Water of Eternal Youth as A Minor Artifact and the exploration chart we use has several healers and another source for Water of Eternal Youth. We also use the Medicine Chest from Down on the Docks and Styrofoamking's Booty Chart. My warband has not found any of these yet...
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Wed 1 Aug 2012 - 21:01

Yeah, losing an important hero can really set you back. I've had to re-think a lot of my tactics after I lost my best marksman due to a bad roll on the injury chart. So far, no one's really complained much about the attrition rate, but I can see how it can really affect a a group early on. I think the best way to combat this is to have each player start with two warbands. This doubles both your chances for success, but also doubles your play potential.
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Thu 2 Aug 2012 - 1:24

The only problem I have with Mordheim (besides the negligible ones) is that Heroes have minimal protection from a bad day with the dice gods. Heroes are literally your 'bread and butter' and yet they are a crit and a 10's dice away from eternal rest, despite their experience or equipment.


In my campaigns, we have pansy rules for the first 5 games, that allows one death re-roll for the first 5 campaigns, as well as allowing OOA heroes to search for wyrdstone. I know that takes some of the flair out of the first 5 games, but seriously, if a Possessed warband loses a possessed, an undead loses a vamp, a dwarf loses anyone in any armour, any magic user dies or whatever, those first games cripple your warband and force you play one way instead of having options to play. Also, most warbands suck in the first 5 games. you have no idea what weapons to choose cause they are just starting to advance, you don't know just what you are up against, and then you get like no cash cause more than half your warband is heroes and they end up OOA. If you can't figure it out in 5 games, shame on you. Pray harder to your dice gods.


Beyond that, changing rabbit's feet away from exploration to anything is a good move, but at 10gc, serious injury is a hell of an upgrade. We just keep rabbit's fee in game-time only, no post-game. Adding armour saves to injury rolls is a way to get armour more noticed, but most models have access to armour, and giving away that much power takes away a lot of the risk of the game. Sawbones is a rather poor option, but it does keep the risk value.

Ultimately, it depends on your gamers. You want risk? Add sawbones. You want chance to survive? Add armour. You want strong heroes? Let rabbit's feet work for injury rolls. You want something balanced? Add a medpack (limit one per warband) that allows one serious injury re-roll per post game.
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Thu 2 Aug 2012 - 5:21

Talking of a bad day, I once had a Marauder Chieftain with shield and Chaos Armour on a warhorse with barding, and he was put to rest eternally by a marksman with a dagger...
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Thu 2 Aug 2012 - 8:02

In my group we house-rules that with armour, if you want, you can re-roll the result of death on the serious injury table, destroiing your armour. You have to accept the second result, even if worst
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Thu 2 Aug 2012 - 11:26

Losing a hero does hurt.

Losing your vampire, Possessed or Ogre hero hurts more. But that's the game.

I don'tlike the idea of one shot rescue for heroes out of balancing aspects.

Big expensive heroes like Possessed in extreme cases with two or more mutations will be even more powerful.

A Possessed warband which do not lose important heroes in the beginning will be very powerful later on. The same fits for vampires and the two big ogre heroes from the Maneater warband.

Balanced warbands do not have such a big advantage out of this rule.

We also use the above described armour rule and improved parry weapons and shields/ bucklers.

Basically you need to be careful with your heroes. You should not use them as foremost breaker or running bulls eye, bring them into battles you want to fight and avoid those you would lose.

And yeah they will also die, but it will happen anyway sometimes.
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Fri 3 Aug 2012 - 5:10

We chose to change the serious injury chart results of 14-15 for : -1 permanent Ld. But I think we'll switch for one of your ideas !

I really like it !! Particulary the special save from armor (destroying it in the process) as it clearly offer a (must needed) advantage from wearing armors !

I also like the elixir of life/philosopher stone but I think its should be more ''simple'' (too much rules).

Do you count shields, mounts, barding with this save or just the plain armor ???

PS : I think that keeping our 15 roll on the serious injury table to -1 Ld AND adding the armor save (with armor crumble) is a fair and interesting choice. (It reduce the chance of death from 1/9 to 1/12 and also gives a small chance of getting out of the situation for a cost !).

Thx for sharing this !
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Mon 20 Aug 2012 - 6:11

I had my Clan Pestilens leader render himself permanently senseless with his warpstone censer in his first trip out! Part of the fun of the game: some things you just gotta live with!
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Mon 20 Aug 2012 - 8:00

Maybe having a mulligan for injury rolls for the first 3 games or so would work better, but they HAVE to take the result of the 2nd roll, even if it's worse!
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Thu 23 Aug 2012 - 15:18

I think SerialMom is spot on in his (hers?) analysis!

Part of the game is using your head when it comes to tactics. Of course there is a lot of luck involved but knowing your heroes can't die and that they still get to roll for explorations even if taken out means you can just rush them into the enemy without consequences.

When factoring in the bigger and badder dudes compared to your average human it is going to hurt to lose a possessed but the reward for keeping him alive is so much greater.

With my current Strigoi warband I have at least four members who never see combat if I can help it. My seer, merchant, beggar and thief keeps in hiding and only attack if the situation is desperate. I need them too much in the post game to risk them just for a chance at exp. plus they are really crap in combat.

My vampire, domni and ghouls do the bloody work.

It may seem like a strange (boring) tactic but my enemies usually know to go after my weaker members instead of fighting the more deadly warriors.
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Wed 29 Aug 2012 - 1:22

I think its just something you have to live with. All games workshop games have harsh death penltys. Look at blood bowl. Your best player can get killed out by a fouling 20k gc snotling. It's just part of the game, I don't think your gonna run into that problem too much, if someone loses there master first game who has cost them 100 gc, then yeah I would prob just restart the war band, but at the same time I bet the new warband he makes won't have that 100gc hero out in the front like last time. Learn from your mistakes is what I say. That 100gc hero is nice, just don't risk him. Or make him cheaper so its less of a hit.
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Thu 30 Aug 2012 - 11:58

This is an excellent post. I hadn't considered using armor in the post game. My group immediately agreed to use the following rule:

"Armor saves can be used to avoid death or injuries (11-35) when rolling on the Serious Injuries table in the post-game. Saves from Shields and Toughened Leathers do not apply. A successful save allows them to shake off the wounds, though they must miss the next game recovering."

We have been looking for a way to empower armor without upsetting game balance since the beginning. Thanks for the help! We have adopted a new strength tree skill called "Knight's Burden" which allows a hero to gain procifiency with armors, so warbands without armor in their list can still benefit from this change.
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Sun 2 Sep 2012 - 0:47

Alex wrote:
I think SerialMom is spot on in his (hers?) analysis!

Part of the game is using your head when it comes to tactics. Of course there is a lot of luck involved but knowing your heroes can't die and that they still get to roll for explorations even if taken out means you can just rush them into the enemy without consequences.

When factoring in the bigger and badder dudes compared to your average human it is going to hurt to lose a possessed but the reward for keeping him alive is so much greater.

With my current Strigoi warband I have at least four members who never see combat if I can help it. My seer, merchant, beggar and thief keeps in hiding and only attack if the situation is desperate. I need them too much in the post game to risk them just for a chance at exp. plus they are really crap in combat.

My vampire, domni and ghouls do the bloody work.

It may seem like a strange (boring) tactic but my enemies usually know to go after my weaker members instead of fighting the more deadly warriors.

Thanks, i am a " him", actually i am a dad too. I choosed SerialMoM as nick name a long time ago after i saw an excellent movie with the same name.
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Tue 11 Sep 2012 - 12:36

From an earlier talk here in Tom's borring forums our group has chosen to go with healing herbs if saved being allowed to work in the post game as a 1 dice re-roll for heroes and henchmen (the indavidual must be equiped with it and thus the henchmen can use this item).
The reason we did this and not armour is because too many bands don't have accsess to armour (casters too).
It also allows other big models (other then Troll) to be more viable in a band as well with out such huge risk of death.
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Fri 28 Sep 2012 - 23:41

Nice thread because I had similar feelings. On the long run your band is doomed to be crippled by stacking injuries or deaths. So me and a friend agreed to use Potions of Healing, bascially an expensive rare item that lets you cure injuries. But I recently had another interesthing thought.

Add a Temple to your aftergame services. Priestly services in healing against payment.

For example:
Regeneration: Healing an injury. Price: 100 Gold
Ressurrection: Bringing a dead character back to life. Price: 100+XP Gold.

This is simple. But ofcourse possible for added options like rarity/availability of priests. Extra prayers. For example:
Blessing for 1 game
Protections for 1 game
Enhancements for 1 game

This is just a rough quick setup but I like it. I'll try to worm it out, maybe my group likes it.
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Mon 1 Oct 2012 - 17:55

I like a lot of what I've been reading on these threads about possibilities for new 'death rules' but always keep in mind the true limiting factors that are in place int he core rules. It seems like a good idea to save a hero when it feels like a 'chump death' or when it completely throws your warband rating into the gutter, but that is what makes your choices in game that much more important!

Would you have your low initiative models do diving charges if you knew they had a much less chance of dying? Probably, and that would be horrifying when you consider Bone Golems or Ogres. When a CP leader in your campaign gets completely railed in a game and winds up having to spend all their cash just getting back to fighting strength it gives the others a chance to catch up.

I guess what people would want is something to bridge the gap between those with bad luck and those with good, but you would have to limit it to something that only the 'bad luck' players can access or the whole thing falls apart. Don't charge money for a rez cause those with better luck will generally have more cash to spend from exploration whereas the smaller bands with less money are still out of luck. Then you have super powerful warbands with a lot of crowns who can *never* lose a Hero. Arbitrarily saying that people can't lose a hero for the first few games means they won't learn to use their warbands properly by the time death is a real issue, they have a safety net that will only hurt their tactics whether they realize it or not.

TL;DR trying to mitigate luck in the game by letting people save from Hero Death will only widen the gap between the 'lucky' and the 'unlucky'. Mordheim is about the randomness and somewhat 'GRIMDARK' feel of the setting where death is only a short hop away.
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PostSubject: Re: Death of Heroes on a Starting Campaign   Tue 2 Oct 2012 - 9:06

I agree with not having a paid for reserection. If you wanted to really go this rout there should be some limiting draw back (much like bone saws) where the hero is reserected but misses the next game and loses some stats (maybe even from there race max).

But I much rather have an item (healing herbs) that all can buy and use that just gives a re roll of a dice for serious injory rolls. no auto survival and unlike armour rules like this any hero can use it (and henchmen if you like),
Think of the healing herbs in this case as a rabbits foot or lucky charm for this sequence only.
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