End Times has, finally, stirred up a lot more fantasy interest at my local shop, and I've got several new guys really interested in Mordheim. We've played a couple games just using the vanilla rulebook, and pretty soon as going to start using the house rules and warbands I used with my group where I used to live. Of course, some guys are pretty keen to write warbands of their own, so I decided to put together something of a check list of do's and don'ts (mostly don'ts) for warband creation. Anything you guys think I should add or amend?
Creating a warband of your own design can be one of the most fun and fulfilling parts of playing Mordheim, and now that its no longer supported by Games Workshop, user created rules are more important than ever, in order to keep the rules a living system. Here are some tips on how to go about creating your own warband:
First things first: Maybe the most important thing to remember when creating your own warband is that its always better to err on the side of making your troops and options a little too expensive, rather than too cheap. In a game where budgeting your resources plays a crucial part in the outcome of a campaign, it can be incredibly frustrating to play against a warband that does everything yours can do, for less gold.
How to determine what something should cost: A good rule of thumb when creating your own heroes and henchmen is to use the Mercenaries list as a framework, and that each stat increase should raise the cost of the troop by +5 gold crowns, and each additional special rule should increase the cost by +10 gold crowns. You want to create a troop choice that is identical in stats to a Mercenary Warrior, but has Initiative 4 and starts with the Strongman skill? He should cost, at minimum 40 gold crowns.
Are all stats and special rules created equal?: Nay sir, they are not. Some stat increases and special rules are much, much better than others, especially for a troop choice to come equipped with. For stats, +1 wound or attack should cost +10 gold crowns. For special rules, usually when a troop starts with one such as Strike to Injure, Quick Shot, or Infiltrate should cost +15 gold crowns to add. On the other hand, some special rules can reasonably add only +5 gold crowns, or even zero, to the cost, in the case of rules like Expert Swordsman or Large Target, respectively.
Special Rules Overkill: It's easy to get carried away adding characterful special rules and skills to your warband, but you should keep the desire to do so down to a minimum. Try to get the character of your warband across as much as possible in stat lines and equipment options available to them, instead of a bevy of extra rules. 1 to 3 Warband wide special rules, and only 1 or 2 heroes/henchmen with additional special rules (outside of animals) is a good rule of thumb. If you do choose to make a special set of skills available as upgrades for your warband, keep it to 5.
Experience: Leaders usually start with 20 experience, mid-range heroes with 8, and youngblood types with 0. However, some mid-range heroes have boosted statlines or special rules, and this should be reflected in bumping their starting experience up to 12.
The Lads Got Talent: This should be obvious, but always include at least one henchman type that can be raised to a hero.
Warband Size: Most warbands should have a maximum of 15 warriors. If the warband is especially elite (or witch hunters for some reason), knock that down to a maximum of 12. In rare, rare cases, if there's an abundance of weaker troop choices, you can make the maximum 20.
Number of Heroes: The maximum number of heroes any warband can have at one time is 6, but most warbands can initially only hire 5. In only very special cases should you deviate from that, usually in the case of having an option of more if your heroes are particularly weak, or less if they are particularly strong.
Spellcasters: Spellcasters are rare, and any warband (outside of hired swords) should only have the option of hiring one at a time, if any. If a strong argument can be made for multiples, 2 is the absolute maximum, one of whom should be significantly weaker than the other.
Equipment: In most cases, not all equipment options should be available to every member of your warband. This is a good place to help add some character to your creations, ie: the restrictive equipment list of Witch Hunter Flaggelants or the expansive Ranged Weapons section of Mercenary Marksmen.
Run of the Mill: In most cases, there should be a generic-ish, fairly inexpensive choice among your henchmen that has no limit of how many can be hired (ie: mercenary warriors), and your more specialized troops should have a specific limit of how many you can hire (ie: mercenary swordsmen and marksmen), to avoid an unrealistic eliteness/specialization to your warband.
No Gunlines: Despite the arguments about how to overcome one, no one wants to play against a warband that just blasts them from across the board, and forces a route before a single combat can be fought. Try to avoid writing a warband capable of this.