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 Necromancers Retinue

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whiskeytango
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PostSubject: Necromancers Retinue   Sat 21 Feb 2015 - 15:33

There's lots of these sort of warbands floating around, chief among them being The Restless Dead, whom I like very much, but didn't necessarily do what I'm trying to do with this one. I wanted to write a warband that was more centered on the heroes, especially the Necromancer himself, to be more of a support role, buffing his minions rather than becoming a beast. Fluff to be added in later, sorry its not nicely formatted... I got lazy.

My biggest concerns with the warband as written right now:

1) With the Necromancer having to forgo an advancement in order to buff his troops, I'm worried the Necromancer will be too weak later on in the campaign.

2) Lots of special rules here. Granted, the same could be said of the regular Undead, but still.

3) There might not be enough offensive punch in the warband. Almost all the options are more tank or road bump style.

Also, I need to add in a maximum profile for skeletons. I was thinking the Wight Kings profile from the current edition of WHFB would be appropriate.

Anyways, heres the warband, let me know what you think:

Necromancer Warband

Minimum warband size: 3.
Maximum warband size: 15
Starting GC: 500

Special Rules:

Undead: Any creature with the “Undead” special rule is subject to the following special rules
Causes Fear
May Not Run
Immune to Psychology and automatically pass any leadership based test
Immune to Poison and Disease
Treats Stunned results as Knocked Down
May not gain experience

Leader: There exists no end of depraved magic users who have flocked to Mordheim in order to unnaturally extend their lives by taking advantage of the wyrdstone littering the city. If the Necromancer is killed, another may and must be hired as soon as possible (ie: as soon as the warband has 50gc to hire one), and will become the new leader of the warband, replacing whichever temporary one took the previous Necromancers place. It is assumed they enact their will upon the masterless undead. If a new Necromancer is not hired within one battle after the old one was killed, the magic keeping the Undead moving will disipate and every undead member will crumble and be removed from the warbands roster.

Bolster: Whenever the Necromancer gains enough experience to roll on the advancement table, he may instead bolster the abilities of his servants. Any one henchmen or henchmen group with the Undead rule may make a roll on their advancement table, re-rolling a result of The Lads Got Talent, at the expense of the Necromancer not rolling for an advancement.

Call of Vanhel: The Necromancer may cast the spell Call of Vanhel on any friendly model with the Undead special rule.

Special Skills:

Flesh Weaver: The Necromancer may add another arm to the warbands Abomination, at the cost of removing one Zombie or Grave Robber from the warbands roster, giving it +1 attack in addition to its standard D3 attacks. One use per Abomination only. The limb may be armed with any of the Abomination weapons, for the prices listed in the Abomination section. Furthermore, a Necromancer with this skill can mend even the most grievous of wounds that an Abomination might suffer, so long as he has the raw materials to work with. If an Abomination is taken out of action, at the cost of removing one zombie or Grave Robber from the warband roster, it may skip rolling on the serious injury chart. If no Zombies or Grave Robbers are available, or you are unwilling to sacrifice one, the Abomination must roll on the serious injury chart as per normal.

Soul Siphon: The Necromancer is attuned to the suffering of others, and feeds on agony as though it were ambrosia, using it to strengthen his connection to the Winds of Dark Magic. Any time any living creature, friend or foe, is taken out of action within 6” of the Necromancer, the Necromancer may add +1 to his difficulty rolls to see if he is able cast a spell. This is cumulative, to the point where he may automatically cast a spell. The effects only last for the current battle.

Master of the Dead: The rising strength of the Necromancers minions gives him strength in turn. If the Necromancer has this skill, any henchmen in his warband with the rule Undead will begin accumulating experience points like a living warrior, which are then transferred to the Necromancer himself, instead of benefiting the henchman.

Student of Nagash: The Necromancer has had the dubious honor of reading from one of the 9 Books of Nagash themselves. If the Necromancer knows the Re-animation spell, he may use it to re-animate skeletons, the Barrow Keeper, or the Abomination in his warband, in addition to zombies. However, the difficulty of the spell is raised to 6 if trying to re-animate a skeleton, and 10 if trying to re-animate the Barrow Keeper or Abomination.

Student of Van Hal: The Necromancer has studied from the Liber Mortis, written by the infamous Necromancer Frederick van Hal. This skill increases the range of Call of Vanhel to 18”.

Skills & Experience

Necromancers may choose from the Academic, Speed, and Special Skills lists
Barrow Keepers may choose from the Strength and Combat Skills lists
Grave Robbers may choose from the Strength, Shooting, and Speed Skills lists
Skeleton Warriors who become Heroes may only choose Strength and Combat for their two lists.

Necromancers start with 20 Experience
Barrow Keepers start with 12 Experience
Grave Robbers start with 8 Experience
Henchmen start with 0 Experience


Necromancer Equipment List

Close Combat:
Dagger - 1st free, second 2gc
Club – 3gc
Sword - 10gc
Spear - 10gc

Ranged:
Short bow - 5gc
Bow - 10gc

Armour:
Shield - 5gc
Helmet - 10gc
Light Armor – 10gc

Skeleton Equipment List

Close Combat:
Dagger - 1st free, second 2gc
Club – 3gc
Axe – 5gc
Sword – 10gc
Halberd – 10gc
Spear – 10gc
Two Handed Club – 18gc
Two Handed Axe – 20gc
Two Handed Sword – 15gc
Morning Star - 15gc
Flail - 15gc

Ranged:
Short Bow - 5gc
Bow – 10gc

Armour:
Buckler - 5gc
Shield – 5gc
Helmet – 10gc
Light Armor – 10gc
Heavy Armor - 25gc


1 Necromancer

50gc to hire

M WS BS S T W I A Ld
4   3   3  3  3 1 3 1 7

Weapons/Armor: Necromancers may choose their equipment from the Necromancer equipment list

Special Rules:

Leader: Any warband member within 6” of the Necromancer may use his leadership instead of their own.

Wizard: The Necromancer is a wizard and may choose his spells from the Necromancy spell list.

0-1 Barrow keeper  

90gc to hire

M WS BS S T W I A Ld
4   4   3  3  4 2 3 1  10

Weapons/Armor: Barrow Keepers choose their equipment from the Skeleton Equipment List

Special Rules:

Undead: All Rules for Undead creatures apply to Barrow Keepers

Ancient Armament: The ancestral weapons buried with a Barrow Keeper were potent even before being suffused with Necromantic energy. Any weapon wielded by a barrow keeper is counted as being coated in Black Lotus. Note, this only applies to weapons purchased for the Barrow Keeper when the Barrow Keeper is hired, not for any purchased and used by him afterwards.

Dire Will: Barrow Keepers were mighty warriors in life, and an ember of their will still burns, having followed them into unlife. Barrow Keepers may earn experience as though they were living creatures. However, a Barrow Keeper may never be the leader of the warband, even if the Necromancer has been killed.

0-3 Grave Robbers

30gc to hire

M WS BS S T W I A Ld
4   3    3  3 3 1 3 1 7

Weapons/Armor: Grave Robbers choose their equipment from the Skeleton Equipment List

Special Rules:

Corpse Catchers: Instead of exploring during the exploration phase, a Grave Robber may choose to loot a nearby cemetery or battleground, and steal away with as many corpses as he can fit in his wheelbarrow for the Necromancer to use to fill the ranks. This will add D3 Zombies to the warband.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

0-5 Skeleton warriors  

20gc to hire

M WS BS S T W I A Ld
4   2    2  3 3 1  2 1 5

Weapons/Armor: Skeleton Warriors choose their equipment from the Skeleton Equipment List

Special Rules:

Undead: All rules for Undead creatures apply to Skeletons

Shambling: Though Skeleton Warriors may be armed with weapons, they lack the martial prowess they once had in life, and their attacks are rudimentary at best. A Skeleton Warrior may never dual-wield (hold a weapon in each hand), though they may use a weapon in one hand and a shield in the other, or a weapon that requires two hands as per usual.

Flickering Will: Unlike other Undead creatures in the warband, a Skeleton may benefit from a roll of The Lads Got Talent, through the warbands Bolster special rule. If they do, they become heroes and may accumulate experience as though they were a living creature, though they may never become the warbands Leader.

0+ Zombies

15gc to hire

M WS BS S T W I A Ld
4   2    -  3 3  1 1 1 5

Weapons/Armor: Teeth and nails! Zombies may never use any armour or weapons, but suffer no penalties for fighting unarmed.

Special Rules:

Undead: All rules for Undead creatures apply to Zombies.

0-2 Ghostly Spirits

35gc to hire

M WS BS S T W I A Ld
6   2    -  2 2  2 1 1 5

Weapons/Armor: Ghostly Spirits carry no equipment, and fight with no weapons, but suffer no penalties for doing so

Special Rules:

Undead: All rules for Undead creatures apply to Ghostly Spirits.

Inescapable Fear: The terror caused by Spirits is so potent, so all enveloping that even a warrior who believes they have overcome their fear of the creature may still find themselves being broken from the inside out by the icy grip of mortal panic. The Ghostly Spirit causes Fear. In addition to its normal effects, if an enemy is charged by a Ghostly Spirit, they must test for fear every round of combat in which they engage the Spirit, instead of only when they are charged. If an enemy wishes to charge the Ghostly Spirit, he must test for fear as normal before charging, and then must test for fear every round of combat as though they had been charged by the Spirit.

Shifting Corporeality: Though ethereal under usual circumstances, the massive amount of wyrdstone poisoning the earth in the City of the Damned has had a strange effect on these otherwise immaterial creatures. While they still don't seem to exist wholly within the realm of the living, they have become far more assailable than they would be in other parts of the world. All attacks (ranged and close combat) against a Ghostly Spirit are at -1 to hit (in addition to any other to hit modifiers), they can never be wounded on better than a 4+, and are immune to critical attacks. They have a 5+ save, which is modified by strength as normal. These rules are ignored by attacks made by magical weapons (such as Artifacts) and spells/prayers, which ignore the save and wound the Ghostly Spirit as normal. Furthermore, the Ghostly Spirit can move unhindered through walls and other terrain, though they can not see through them. They are also immune to fall damage.

0-1 Abomination

160gc to hire

M WS BS S T W I A Ld
4   3    -  4 5  3 1 D3 4

Weapons/Armor: Flailing Limbs

Special Rules:

Undead: All rules for Undead creatures apply to Abominations

Large Target: An Abomination is a large target.

Flailing Limbs: Abominations have D3 attacks, rolled at the beginning of every combat phase. If it gains an additional attack through the Necromancer special skills Bolster or Fleshweaver, the attack is in addition to the result of the D3 roll.

Armament: The Abomination can either be purchased unarmed, for which it suffers no penalties, or with certain weapons replacing some of it its extremities. The Abomination may be armed with up to three of the following, in any combination. Cleaver (axe) for +5gc each, Chains (regular attack that can not be parried) for +5gc, or Mauls (club) for +3gc each. Note that even though the Abomination can be armed with multiple weapons, it gains no additional attacks for doing so. It may still only make D3 attacks, which must be allocated equally between the weapons its armed with. IE, if an Abomination is armed with a cleaver and chains, and rolls 3 attacks, 1 attack must be with the cleaver, one with the chains, and one unarmed. If only one attack is rolled, the player may choose which weapon it is made with.


Last edited by whiskeytango on Thu 17 Dec 2015 - 14:42; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Necromancers Retinue   Sat 21 Feb 2015 - 16:13

Also, I have some concern about the cost of the Ghostly Spirits and Abomination being too low.
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PostSubject: Re: Necromancers Retinue   Sat 21 Feb 2015 - 17:29

This is an interesting list with some cool ideas, but I would be hesitant to use Master of the Dead. That seems like it would remove the one thing (no xp) that counters the many advantages undead units have. And would it work per henchman, per group, and for kills during battle or for all sources of xp?
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PostSubject: Re: Necromancers Retinue   Sun 22 Feb 2015 - 19:30

Hey thanks man! As far as master of the dead, that is one that needs a fair amount of tweaking. I'll try to address your points one by one:

Removing Undead Experience Weakness: While I would agree that would be an issue if we were talking about a normal Undead warband where experience gaining ghouls are also an option, I don't think it would be as much of an issue here, where they're entirely dependant on the advancements of the Necromancer to upgrade the henchmen. I was considering not including a rule like this at all, but I was worried that would make advancements too few and far between to make it worth ever using one of the Necromancers advancements to boost a henchman instead.

How it would work: I'm not exactly sure what you meant by this, as in most scenarios henchmen only earn experience points for surviving the battle. The only other instances would be in Breakthrough and Wyrdstone Hunt, from the RB scenarios at least.

Any thoughts on tweaking it? I appreciate any input on it.
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PostSubject: Re: Necromancers Retinue   Sun 22 Feb 2015 - 23:06

I think the master of the dead skill is going to be an interesting thing, but I can't really say how it'll actually play out. It's going to have a funky synergy going with the bolster special rule since the necromancer is going to get exp pretty rapidly.

Being able to re-animate the abomination seems nasty, though. I assume the abomination will be eligible for bolstering like other henchmen since it's also undead?

Edit: But when thinking about it, all of these things are going to come at the expense of the necromancer's own power. As I said, I find it difficult to say how the synergies in here is going to play out.
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PostSubject: Re: Necromancers Retinue   Mon 23 Feb 2015 - 10:28

I suppose the best way to help with balance is to run some thought experiments and see if the necromancer and other heroes will end up leveling more or less often than heroes of another warband. If the necromancer gains tons of xp from his minions but doesn't tip the warband over the point where they are leveling up more than a normal warband would, you'd be fine.

Remember, though, that one of the things that balances a non-xp gaining undead henchmen with a normal one is that the undead henchmen don't need to be equipped with expensive stuff, which can be a significant savings.
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PostSubject: Re: Necromancers Retinue   Thu 26 Feb 2015 - 3:04

Thanks for the input guys.

Masterspark: Yeah, the whole idea with Master of the Dead and Bolster was for them to work together, to make it worthwhile to upgrade the henchmen instead of the Necromancer, and indeed, the Bolster rule would work with the Abomination, though being a henchman, his stats could only be increased by 1 each. I agree that being able to reanimate him, even if you have to take a skill to do so, is pretty nasty, so I think I'll change the roll required to re-animate the Abomination to a difficult of 12.

Saluksic: Thats not a bad idea as something to test, though its important to note that, unlike other warbands, once the Necromancers experience is capped at 90, the henchman are unable to advance any more as well. So say you never roll a TLGT for a skeleton before the Necromancer caps out, the warband is stuck with a maximum of 5 heroes, which is a balance in and of itself. I do think I'll add a rule about any zombies (up to 5) and any identically armed skeletons must be in a group, so that you don't have a bunch of individual henchmen throwing the Necromancer exerpience points just for surviving the battle. I also think I'll be adding a rule so that as long as the Barrow Keeper or a TGLT Skeleton stays within 6" of the Necromancer that they can run, since Heroes that can only move 4" a turn with extremely limited access to shooting weapons would be functionally useless.
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PostSubject: Re: Necromancers Retinue   Mon 2 Mar 2015 - 15:32

Something I stumbled upon in my mind just now: with regards to the bolster rule, what happens if the necromancer is slain or somehow else removed from the warband? Will his bolstering disappear with him or will it stick even when a new necromancer has installed himself? And if the advances stick, how will the warband rating be calculated if the necromancer vanishes?
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