I always tought that morale rules were ''lacking'' in Mordheim. I finally ended up adapting the rules from Necromunda to Mordheim. The results are good until now (even if I play skavens in our new campaign and that I'm the one who suffers the most from this).
Updated Morale rules (Necromunda mod.)
If a model goes ‘out of action’ then each friendly model that is not immune to fear or all-alone tests within 2" must take an immediate Leadership test. If a model fails the Leadership test then the fighter’s nerve has broken. For this reason we refer to such fighters as broken and you can indicate this by placing a broken counter by the model if you wish. The broken fighter is momentarily panicked or shaken and will attempt to run for escape. He might recover sufficiently to return to the fray once he has steeled himself to fight on.
* - Respecting Initiative order is very important when using those rules as faster warriors will hit first while slower ones will sometimes see their target flee in panic before they can fully attack them! It’s also possible to see ‘’chain reaction’’ as a broken fighter is put down in his attempt to escape (thus forcing all other friendly models to take a Ld test).
Run for escape
As soon as a fighter is broken he turns tail and runs for escape. This movement takes place outside the normal turn sequence and is worked out immediately. The fighter makes a dash of up to 2D6" away from his enemy and towards the nearest table edge. Roll the dice and determine how far the model runs. In subsequent movement phases he continues to move 2D6" away from the enemy until he reaches a table edge.
A broken fighter may do nothing other than run to escape and attempts to recover his nerve as described below. He may not otherwise move and he will not shoot neither he will casts spells. Broken fighters also avoid all combat by moving around them but otherwise they run through the route that will bring them the farther from the enemy (climbing, jumping over gaps or jumping down elevation and entering difficult terrain). A cornered fighter that cannot move and ends in base contact with an enemy will be considered as captured like in the serious injury table. Ex: The warrior stops at the base of a wall of 3’’ and is then charged by an opponent, he fails his initiative test to climb or roll 2 on the 2D6 movement (which is not enough to permit him to climb).
Combat with Broken Fighters
If a warrior is charged whilst he is fleeing, the charger is moved into base contact with him as normal, but the fleeing warrior will then immediately run a further 2D6" towards the table edge after a single automatic hit has been resolved.
Breaking from Hand-to-hand Combat
A fighter who loses his nerve and breaks while fighting hand-to-hand combat turns away from his enemy and runs away 2D6" just like any other broken fighter. Because a broken fighter is turning his back upon the enemy he is very likely to be struck as he turns to flee. To represent this, the model takes one automatic hit from his enemy. Work this out as soon as the fighter breaks and before he is moved. Knocked down or stunned warriors will still be broken and will reattempt to escape as soon as they stand up (during the following movement phase). They still get a roll to try to recover their nerves.
Recovering Your Nerve
A broken fighter may attempt to recover his nerve during his recovery phase. To attempt to recover a fighter’s nerve roll 2D6. If the score is equal to or less than the fighter’s Leadership he has passed the test and can fight normally from then on. If the score is more than the fighter’s Leadership he fails the test and remains broken. A warrior can do nothing except walking and casts spells during the turn he recovers unless he is already in close combat.
A fighter within the warband’s leader ‘’leadership ability’’ may use the Leadership characteristic of the leader when taking any Leadership test. This applies to tests to see if a fighter loses his nerve and also to tests to recover. This represents the leader’s ability to encourage his fighters and push them beyond their normal limits! A leader cannot confer this benefit if he is knocked down, stunned or broken himself. The sight of your leader running for cover is far from encouraging.
** - Personally, I was not very satisfied with the morale rules of Mordheim. There is not enough dynamic between the characters and all-alone test are rather rare. Necromunda rules suits well as a replacement with a bit of work. Of course, you will need more attention when using those rules but they offer a great synergy to the game. Warbands with immunity to fear will get an interesting advantage that will give them an edge (Undeads are the ones that get the more out of this) while low Ld warbands will have to work more around their leaders to be effective in close combat (Skavens are the most hampered by those rules).
*** - A note about animosity. If one of your warrior put ‘’OOA’’ one of your own warrior you do not have to test to see if your warriors are broken. Orcs and goblins are used to this after all!
Special equipment related to the updated morale rules
(Available to all warbands)
Standard*: 30 GC, common (only one per warband, can be bought at warband creation)
A standard helps to motivate troops and to inspire them to stay on fight. Holding a standard takes one hand so the fighter will not be able to carry a shield or a second weapon. All warriors within 6’’ of the standard can reroll their Ld test for all-alone test as well to see if they are broken or to recover from the broken status. If a leader carries a standard, the range radius extends by his command ability in inches (ex: 18’’ if he is mounted). The standard must be in the line of sight to have its effect applied. A henchman can carry a standard but it will be counted as a henchmen group on his own and the item will be lost if he dies as normal. A standard also remove animosity on the carrier and to any model within its effective range.
War horn**: 25 GC, rare 7 (heroes only)
A horn can be used once per battle. Use at the start of the round. All your broken fighters on the table will be able to reroll their Ld test to recover from that status.
Musical instrument: 30 GC, rare 9 (only one per warband, can be bought at warband creation)
A musical instrument requires two hands to be used so the fighter using it will not be able to shoot or cast spells while using it (a musician simply cannot carry any missile weapons). A fighter is considered using it as long as he is not in close combat. If he charges or is charged he will put off the instrument to hold his weapons automatically. Musical instruments offer a bonus of +1 (indeed -1) to Ld test to recover from broken status, fear check and all-alone tests within a 6’’ radius. A henchman can carry a musical instrument but it will be counted as a henchmen group on his own and the item will be lost if he dies as normal.
*- The high elves standard does the same as the one describe here but also keep his capacity to give 10 Ld and the ‘’raging’’ effect if the bearer is put down.
**- Supersede the official war horn and the war horn of Nagarythe.