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 Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists

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SkaerKrow
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PostSubject: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Mon 9 Feb 2015 - 20:55

Greetings Tom's Boring Mordheim Forum!

I am currently in the process of launching a Mordheim campaign at my FLGS, and while getting ready to run said campaign, I started reviewing some of the many unofficial and experimental warband lists out on the internet. Being that my group is made up of some Warhammer Fantasy veterans, I wanted to make sure that I could offer them the chance to play their favorite races in Mordheim. However, while soliciting opinions about warbands from veteran players on the internet, I heard the same refrain over and over again.

"Elves don't work in Mordheim."

Being a fan of Elves, and a shameless rules tinkerer, I took this statement as a bit of a challenge. Looking over the various Elven warband lists out there, I concluded that most of them were geared more towards Warhammer Skirmish than they were towards Mordheim. Based on that, I took it upon myself to draft a list for all three of the Elven races, using the lists in the core rulebook and Empire in Flames as my guide.

So, where's all of this leading? To you! While I've done my best to design these lists in a way that is fun, flavorful, and fair, in order to certain that I've succeeded, I need feedback. Lots of feedback. You folks have a lot more experience with the game than I do, so I was hoping that would be interested in reviewing these lists and letting me know what you think of them.

Below, please find links to the first two warband PDFs that I've composed. And please, feel free to comment, make suggestions, offer praise, or constructive criticism. Thanks for reading!

Seekers of Hoeth (High Elves)

Black Ark Raiders (Dark Elves)

Asrai Watchwardens (Wood Elves)


Last edited by SkaerKrow on Fri 13 Feb 2015 - 0:24; edited 1 time in total
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whiskeytango
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Mon 9 Feb 2015 - 23:07

I like the High Elf list, and really don't have any suggestions for it.

The Dark Elf list, i'm less fond of, for a few reasons, first and foremost being that the Druchii list developed by druchii.net has had a lot of play testing and such, and thus would seem to me like a more viable option to use right out of the gate. Granted, it needs some price adjustments, mostly the heroes need to be more expensive, and that you should probably only be allowed 1 Lordling instead of 2.

HOWEVER, that criticism is irrelevent if you're instead set on creating your own. Some of the things I personally think could use some tweaking about yours:

1) This first one applies to the High and Dark Elves. They don't really address the issue of being such a powerful warband straight out of the gate that even with lower numbers they'll probably outpace the development of other warbands. Thats the reason you see so many fan-written elf lists include a rule about slowing down their experience gain a little.

2) I think the Scourge could use a price increase. Currently, its a dagger with an extra attack that can't be parried, but only costs 3gc more than a dagger. I would say a more appropriate cost would be 10gc, but of course it can't be that since thats what a steel whip costs, and the Scourge isn't as good as a steel whip. Maybe 8gc would be a more comfortable price for it than 5.

3) I think the beastmaster could use a more useful special rule. I think the only thing his beastbane rule could effect are warhounds, giant rats, and horses, as the only other options would be Rat Ogres and Trolls, both of which cause fear and are thus immune to it. I could be wrong, but those are the only things that are jumping to mind. Perhaps a rule along the lines of the Troll Slayers Monster Slayer rule for any non-undead/daemon creature that doesn't gain experience, or maybe anything thats a large target? Maybe something like he can train the Hounds or Beast, allowing him to forgo a skill advancement in favor of allowing a group of Hounds or the Beast roll for one, rerolling TLGT?

4) I'm not nuts about only having two henchman options available at any one time. I think it'll lead to a boring progression of either never seeing the pit beast used at all, or a hound or two being used at the beginning, and then discarded later on. I don't think its necessary for the beast to negate being able to use the hounds.

5) I think you could lower the price of the hounds. Currently, the only stat they have over a Witch Hunter warhound is one inch of movement, while being at -1 WS and In, not having access to the leaders higher leadership, and costing 10gc more. When costing stuff, I am glad to see that in general you seemed to err on the side of making things more expensive, but you may have over done it there.

Overall, i think they're both a good start, and I'd be interested to hear about some playtesting.
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Tue 10 Feb 2015 - 3:08

Hey Berkley!

Looks great, but you've asked for some feedback, so I've taken a look at the High Elves:

1. The Swordmaster is very central. I'd say too central. If he dies, a Sword Kindred would never be enough to replace him (Stormblade is simply just better than Windblade). So, I'd suggest either making them the same skill (either one of them) or making the Mage the Leader, and allowing him to be re-bought. But I presume this was not the intention of the warband.

2. Seekers: I'd say they should be either Ld8 or 30gc instead of 35. I'd probably go for the increased Leadership though.

3. Mage and armour: "The Apprentice Mage may not wear armor", should be obsolete. It is already included in the rules, and you note further down, that Prayers of Sigmar may not be cast while wearing armour. Also, I'd definitely recommend writing your own list instead of using those two lists.

4. Sense Corruption: Elves already have excellent sight, but I guess you can go with this if you want Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Tue 10 Feb 2015 - 7:25

Thank you both for the feedback! I'm at work at the moment so I can't go over each point, but I've added all of it to my notes. Right now I'm more comfortable charging a higher price for units, which is why things like Pit Hounds and Seekers are perhaps a little steep for what they do. It's something that I'll keep an eye on, for certain.
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Wed 11 Feb 2015 - 15:57

This is a High Elf one that my group uses but I guess I would say that my group plays fairly strong warbands consistently.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tqZjC-ZwBSOugc4FhUBGIWe1crQlzJ8Z_L3qD8YOUbY/edit?usp=sharing

I like yours, my comments would be that 90gc for the leader seems a bit high for his Profile when compared to official warband leaders. He is 5gc more expensive than a Dwarf Noble which I always thought was over priced for the Profile.

Personally I don't think I would ever take a Sword Kindred over a Seeker because a Seeker can still equip a Halberd if I want a harder hitter and I can give them ranged. Where as if I take Sword Kindreds I am limiting myself to only close combat fighting for only +1 WS at +10 gc.

My last question is why only 4 Heroes? The only warband with only 4 that I can think of is Dwarf Treasure hunters but their lack of heroes is off set in the post game with Incomparable Miners (+1 wyrd stone).
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Wed 11 Feb 2015 - 19:12

Interesting. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say they thought that the Dwarf Noble was over priced. He's a very powerful hero when combined with all the dwarven special rules. Hits almost everything on a 3+, is only wounded by most things (at first) on a 5+, the slow speed isn't as muc hof a factor anymore once other warbands start getting heavy armor, is only taken out of action on a 6, ignores the special rule for the most prevelant starting hand to hand weapon, and has killer leadership. All thats worth 85gc to me.

Having said that, i think the high elf leader could also be comfortably priced at 85gc.

I disagree about always taking a seeker over a sword kindred. Being able to choose between using a weapon 2 ways is a pretty great rule, and they also have higher leadership. If anything, they might be a tad undercosted compared to Seekers, though I wouldn't raise their price any more because then they really would become non-viable.

I also don't see a problem with them only having 4 heroes to start with. Orcs and Goblins also only start with 4, and they do very well. I would maybe make Academic skills accessible to Initiates though. If they're from Hoeth, they're probably all fairly learned, even if they are just starting out.
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Wed 11 Feb 2015 - 22:41

Interesting points! Thanks guys, I really appreciate your insights.
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Thu 12 Feb 2015 - 14:43

Following on from Aipha's point about the Swordmaster being irreplaceable, I'm pondering a change to Sword Kindred that would force them to re-roll the first Lad's Talent that the group ever rolls, but to being able to replace Windblade with Stormblade if they get a Lad's Talent roll later (this replaces their usual free level upgrade that henchmen get from Lad's Got Talent). Any thoughts on that?
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Fri 13 Feb 2015 - 0:24

Ok, I have a presentable draft of the third and final Elf Warband list that I've been working on, the Asrai Watchwardens. Of the three lists, this is the one with the most "special stuff" added to it. The questions that I have are A) Will allowing access to Elven Cloaks and Hunting Arrows at warband creation be an unmitigated disaster? B) Does the Sylvan Magic list seem balanced? C) Did I go overboard with the Soulshifter? D) Are Heartwood Bows priced fairly?
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Sun 15 Feb 2015 - 11:17

I think the Wood Elf warband has too many special rules. Elves in Mordheim are already very good, due to the increased imortance of movement and initiative in the game compared to WHFB. As a result, most of the additional rules are unnecessary - an BS4 Elf with a longbow, access to shooting skills and the speed and agility to get into advantageous position is already superior to other warbands shooting, and their stats reflect their abilities and character well, without the need for further definition via special rules.

The shapeshifting "Stag" rules could get messy too, dropping weapons an equipment on the battlefield - but the effect is only for a single turn, right? So...your warrior is unarmed for the remainder of the battle? Can he pick his weapons back up? Do you lay down a marker for them? Can someone else pick them up? Are they returned to him automatically after the battle?

EDIT: just noticed you've dropped Elven BS and WS to 3. I assume this is to weaken them - but surely it would be simpler to retain their stats from the core rules and ditch the special rules?
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Sun 15 Feb 2015 - 11:20

Just realised I didn't answer any of your questions:

a) I think it's okay, and fits background.
b) Nothing jumps out as being OP, but I always think spells are the hardest thing to assess without playtesting them
c) Yes, probably Wink
d) Price seems fair.
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Sun 15 Feb 2015 - 11:34

Thanks for the comments! The Soulshifter only drops carried items (like Wyrdstone tokens during the Wyrdstone Hunt scenario). They don't drop their weapons, they just can't use them. I'll review the wording on that rule.
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Mon 16 Feb 2015 - 20:06

Ok, I've put together another version of the Asrai Watchwarden list. In designing the list, I've tried to differentiate them from the High Elves and Dark Elves by preventing them from making use of some fundamental equipment options, while giving them some characterstics that will hopefully make them more distinct on the tabletop. I've also done away with the clunky Soulshifter/Alter Kindred hero, in favor of a very angry dryad. List is below, as always, you feedback is tremendously helpful to me.

Asrai Watchwardens v03
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Mon 16 Feb 2015 - 23:17

The dryad might be a bit problematic once it becomes a spellcaster, since the list of spells in itself is pretty powerful. I think I would put a hard limit on only a single spellcaster in this warband, and that role would probably fall on the spellsinger instead of the dryad. Also, daemons (or at least plaguebearers, nurglings and bloodletters, as far as I know) get their daemonic saves treated as regular armour, i.e. it is affected by the strength of incoming attacks. In the spirit of fairness I also think this should apply to the dryad in this list.

By the way, what are the maximum characteristics for the dryad?
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Tue 17 Feb 2015 - 8:26

Good points, thanks MasterSpark. I was mistakenly under the impression that daemons had an unmodifiable save. I'll take a closer look at Carnival of Chaos and give it another go. The Wood Elf list has been, by far, the most difficult of the three to nail down.
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Tue 17 Feb 2015 - 23:29

Fourth time's a charm?

Asrai Watchwardens v04
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Wed 18 Feb 2015 - 12:54

Out of the three different elf lists you've done, this one is probably my favorite. Just a couple things: I'm not sure if you're trying to mitigate the asrai archery special rule or if its was just overlooked, but Wood Elves who are bad at shooting doesn't ring true to me. The Eternal Kindred and the Pathstalker at least should have BS4. With the bitterborn, assuming they carry the other rules that daemons have, you may want to consider adding daemonic instability as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Wed 18 Feb 2015 - 13:46

Being essentially daemons they could reasonably be given immunity to psychology as well, although you'd have to patch in an exception to still let them use that hatred.
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Wed 18 Feb 2015 - 21:26

Thanks guys!

I didn't give Bitterborn Immunity to Psychology or Daemonic Instability because that's not how they're portrayed in the WHFB source material. While I didn't just want to clone the Warhammer Armies: Wood Elves army entry, I do like the way that Forest Spirits are portrayed as semi-daemons. I tried to compensate for the lack of Instability by making them a little less special, and adding the (admittedly marginal) Flammable rule.

I know that BS 3 Wood Elves seem counter-intuitive to their identity within the lore, but at the same time, I've seen first-hand how out of hand that a powerful shooting army can get. The way that I laid out the Watchwarden list should hopefully allow them to grow into a strong missile-oriented warband, without being overwhelming in the early game. It's a delicate balancing act, one that I hope that I've sorted out. Fingers crossed!

I really appreciate all of the feedback that everyone has offered on this site. It's been tremendously helpful to me.
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PostSubject: Re: Designing some Experimental Elven Warband Lists   Thu 26 Feb 2015 - 8:38

I've had a chance to do some playtesting with my Mordheim group. The results have been pretty eye-opening.

The Seekers have been about what I expected them to be, solid but unspectacular. I've added a rule to the warband that gives them Leadership re-rolls against Dark Elves (to balance the fact that Dark Elves hate High Elves), and increased the number of hireable Initiates to 3. I think that this list is finished, more or less.

Black Ark Raiders have also been fairly straightforward. I've raised the hireable number of Corsairs to 3, but am considering upping their starting experience to 12. I'm also pretty confident that this list is just about done.

The Asrai Watchwarden list has been a huge headache. The most recent iteration proved to be shockingly bad, and utterly failed to capture the spirit of the Wood Elves. I reduced the amount of hireable Eternal Kindred to 2, added Axes to the equipment lists (Falchions), and added a rule to Glade Kindred that lets them re-roll 1s to hit with shooting attacks. I've resisted increasing anyone's Ballistic Skill to 4, since that's one point away from BS5 and being able to hit most targets at will, but because Wood Elves never get access to ranged weapons above Strength 3 (other than Heartwood Bows), I may cave on that point.
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