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The Mad Hatter
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PostSubject: Araby Corsairs Warband   Thu 9 Feb 2017 - 22:27

I've been working on this for a bit of time, play testing it a bit and fine tuning the balance ever so slightly.  It seems to be very balanced at this point, and I'd like to get your thoughts on it!

Araby Warband List

When you really start to break down the list, everything in here comes from some other list in some fashion, and there really isn't anything radically new here.  But, that's also helped it be very balanced from the start as I'm not really creating something with radical new components.  Even the spell list is just a grouping of spells, taken from other lists and given some Araby flavor text.  

So, if you've got a few minutes and would be willing to give it a read through and provide your thoughts, I'd appreciate any you may have.
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PostSubject: Re: Araby Corsairs Warband   Fri 10 Feb 2017 - 2:31

The spells look strong to me.

The warband seems to be good at close combat and shooting.
One drawback I can see is the missing of heavy armour, but I am not sure if that is enough to compensate for the amount of flexibility they have.

Keep in mind that I am a beginner.
Do not give my words a lot of weight.

Overall:
Actually the list looks very nice.
If you want to finalize the list and you have to decide whether to make them a little stronger or weaker than official lists I would always choose the latter.
Am I allowed to use your list? Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Araby Corsairs Warband   Fri 10 Feb 2017 - 5:54

It looks pretty good to me. Starting with a spellcaster and a big guy seems powerful, but it's far from unique.

To tone it down a notch, I might be tempted to make it 0-1 "First Mate" and 0-2 Khadim instead. You could also make them a little less hired sword friendly. Possibly with some sort of restriction on associating with "infidels" e.g. allow them to only use Arabized versions of the human ones. Except the warlock maybe as they have their own wizards.
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PostSubject: Re: Araby Corsairs Warband   Sat 11 Feb 2017 - 3:34

Hi Hatter,

Looks like a nice list to me. The easiest way to decide if you are creating a balanced war-band is to keep asking yourself 'would I be happy to fight against this?'

Re-using existing rules is a fairly safe bet. When making up a wood elf list I borrwoed the pit-fighter trident and called it a glaive. I also used the Centigor, took away the drunken special rule and used the stats to make a Centuar.

I'd be tempted to take on Sades advice about having 1 first mate & 2 youngbloods, other wise your starting heores come out slightly strong, though not game breakingly terrible.

What rules does the whip use? Is it the Pirates cat-o-nine-tails or the Sisters steel whip? The price doesn't match either...

Any way, fun list. re you planning to paint up some models?

F.


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PostSubject: Re: Araby Corsairs Warband   Sat 11 Feb 2017 - 8:56

I had a long post written up on design philosophy and some still lingering thoughts on changes....and then Safari got locked up and I lost it all!  Will revisit that later when I get some time to help understand the thought process here.

In the meantime, to answer the whip question:
Range               Strength             Rules
Close combat     As user -1          Cannot be parried, Whipcrack, +1 Enemy armor save

Cannot be parried: The whip is a flexible weapon, a model attacked by a whip may not make parries.

Whipcrack: when the wielder charges they gain +1A for that turn. This bonus attack is added after any other modifications. When the wielder is charged they gain +1A that they may only use against the charger. This additional attack will ‘strike first’. If the wielder is simultaneously charged by two or more opponents they will still only receive a total of +1A. If the wielder is using two whips at the same time then they get +1A for the additional hand weapon, but only the first whip gets the whipcrack +1A

+1 Enemy armour save: Whips are not the best weapons to use for penetrating an enemy model’s armour. An enemy wounded by a whip gains a +1 bonus to his armour save, and a 6+ armour save if he has none normally.

Overall whips were included for mostly background reasons.  They are a toned down version of the newer steel whip rules, with less strength, and granting or adding to an armor save.  No one has thought they are overpowered in some of the play testing, if anything the feedback has been there's better weapons to arm yourself with.
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PostSubject: Re: Araby Corsairs Warband   Sun 12 Feb 2017 - 11:40

We use the Sartosa Araby Smugglers list for Araby pirates.

The cat o' nine tails is a must have for heroes on that list.  Whipcrack is great!

Your list engages my main complaint about Araby lists, mainly that there exist several GW written Araby miscellaneous equipment rules that none of them use... Yours doesn't either.  Oh well.

Most other Araby lists restrict the weapons available to the warband more than your list. (But still don't include the Khemri miscellaneous equipment... or weapons.)

Your magic user has a better profile than most other human warband's magic users [at least according to my flawed memory] (Araby Tomb Raiders, Sorcerous Society, Mage warband [Khemri], Araby Nomads [Khemri], Relics of the Crusades Arab Tribes warbands); witch and warlock hired swords...

The Born to the Sea rule is a bit confusing.  Since all of the warriors on the list have a higher initiative than their normal human equivalent included in their profile the rule seems to state that they are granted an additional +1 on top of the profile.

This is just a semantics thing, but Bowman seems and odd name for a warrior class that can use more blackpowder weapons than bows.  Just sayin'.

On another note your choice of characters includes a youngblood level, which most of the other Arabian warands don't. thumbsup
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PostSubject: Re: Araby Corsairs Warband   Sat 25 Feb 2017 - 10:15

Thanks for taking time to review things!

Here's a few thoughts/questions/comparisons that were considered.  

What makes you feel the band is strong at both close combat and shooting?  I’d describe it as slightly better in close combat, average at shooting.  I like to use human mercenary war bands as the baseline comparison.  Here’s maybe some thoughts to bring it closer in line with that base line.  

Reduce WS and BS of Sha’ir to 2 (making him equivalent to a Youngblood in stats with just the addition of magic).  Right now he’s a direct copy of the Necromancer in stats, but 5gc more expensive as spells I thought were slightly better.  He’s the exact same as a warrior priest in stats and cost right now.  If I reduced the stats, I might put him at 30gc instead of 40gc?

I'm more inclined to reduce the power level of the Sha'ir to reduce overall hero strength than go to 0-1 First Mates and 0-2 Khadim to reduce the power level of the heroes.  

Put a limit on bowmen perhaps, maybe 0-5 to reduce the potential for a lot of ranged troops is something I had in the list originally but removed from the current version.  

Looking at the big hitter, in comparison to some others (Orc Troll, Beastmen Minotaur, Kislev Trained Bear, Skaven Rat Ogre)

Minotaur - 200 gc
m ws bs s t w i a ld
6 4 3 4 4 3 4 3 8

Toll - 200 gc
m ws bs s t w i a ld
6 3 1 5 4 3 3 3 4

Rat Ogre - 210 gc
m ws bs s t w i a ld
6 3 3 5 5 3 4 3 4

Trained Bear - 145 gc
m ws bs s t w i a ld
6 3 0 5 5 2 2 2 6

Arabian Ogre - 160 gc
m ws bs s t w i a ld
6 3 2 4 4 3 3 2 7

He seems to be right in the mix with all of those, definitely weaker in a lot of ways than the first three, but maybe slightly better than the bear (also given he can be equipped with weapons and armor). I thought I edged on the side of caution with 160 gc, as he definitely doesn’t warrant a 200 gc cost, I could see maybe pushing him to 170 gc?

As to the spells, I wanted to give the Sha'ir a variety of spells, so picked things from other lists to that end.  Is it the fact that there’s no obvious dud in the spell list that makes it seem overpowering?  It seems most lists have at least one if not two sort of crappy spells in them (although that could be very open to interpretation).  What would make you say the spell list doesn’t look overpowered?

I didn't want to limit hired swords as another hindrance, do you feel that would sway things significantly for the war band?

The Born to the Sea rule is already included in their stats, so they don't get a further +1 (basically most of the list starts with an I of 4 versus 3).  The Ogre is the exception, he only got a 3 as having an Ogre with a 4 just didn't seem to fit in character with Ogres.  

I don't want to get into a whole new set of equipment lists as the goal is to make use of mostly existing things for the sake of balance.  I feel opening up a whole set of new equipment creates a whole new realm of balance issues.  Since war bands mostly don't get new equipment (Sisters and Skaven being the exception), I didn't want to put that into the mix and add that complexity to the balance.  I did add the whip, because it's in very flavorful with the Arabian Slavers type theme, but made sure it was significantly worse than what the Sisters got, but generally used the same rules as it's still a whip.  I adjusted the price accordingly based on the downgrade.  I also eliminated access to heavy armor as that doesn't feel in line with lightly armed raiders who could at any moment end up in the sea!

So there's some more thoughts/rationale/comparisons, would like to keep getting thoughts on it and what changes should be made.  I feel at this point it's about small tweaks, as I don't feel the list is super over or under powered right now.  Given the discussion above about possible tweaks, which one or maybe two do you think would be best to get it in line with a base line human lists?

After thinking this through a bit more, my thoughts are maybe reduce the Sha'ir WS/BS to 2, reduce Sha'ir cost to 30, while increasing Ogre to maybe 165 gc?
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PostSubject: Re: Araby Corsairs Warband   Sun 26 Feb 2017 - 12:32

Quote :
Reduce WS and BS of Sha’ir to 2 (making him equivalent to a Youngblood in stats with just the addition of magic).  Right now he’s a direct copy of the Necromancer in stats, but 5gc more expensive as spells I thought were slightly better.  He’s the exact same as a warrior priest in stats and cost right now.  If I reduced the stats, I might put him at 30gc instead of 40gc?

Good solution. I think keeping in mind spell lists and warband power might help.  The necromancer has a relatively weak spell list in a warband with one strong hero and 3 youngblood types.  The warrior priest appears in a warband that is limited to 12 members, and three of the heroes have the same stat line as a regular warrior (but have 8 exp same as a Champion from the Mercs list).

As originally written your hero appears in a warband with 3 good hero choices and only one youngblood choice.  Plus the ogre henchman. Plus a better than average magic user.

Quote :
What makes you feel the band is strong at both close combat and shooting?    

Well you have four heroes with shooting skills, plus a wizard.  As originally written you also had unlimited warriors with similar access to missile weapons on par with a Merc warband from the rulebook.  

I guess it depends on your criteria for strong shooting.  In my group a Witch Hunter warband is ranked strong and they only have 4 heroes with shooting skills and zealots for Lads Got Talent.

As far as close combat.  Well you have an ogre henchman, 3 heroes with access to Strength, Combat and Speed skills and access to all hired swords plus the Corsair warrior type (= Merc Swordsman). Plus a healing spell and a buff combat spell for the wizard.  

So your warband is pretty strong for a human warband (which is the case with most fan made warbands).  Toning down the heroes is good balancing for that.

Costs of other 'official' henchmen and heroes:
The Ostland ogre is 160 with the same rules as your ogre.

Priest of Taal is 45 with WS2 I3 L7

Quote :
I don't want to get into a whole new set of equipment lists as the goal is to make use of mostly existing things for the sake of balance.
If this is a reference including the Arabian miscellaneous equipment and weapons published by GW, I don't understand since they are not new, were written and published by GW like 14 years ago and therefore exist...  

Not that I am recommending you include the magic carpet, Monkey's Paw or Lamp of the Djinni in your warbands equipment since you are allowing access to them by allowing any hired sword. (How would you deny Arabians the services of the Arabian Merchant?)

Arabian items like Nomad robes, tufenk, katar, scorpion ring, venom ring, and snake charmers flute are not particularly overpowered or easily abused. (TC#17 &18)

(Although I admit the tufenk as written has a range of 8' which is a typo, but looks ridiculous.)
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PostSubject: Re: Araby Corsairs Warband   Sun 26 Feb 2017 - 18:01

You actually caught a mistake there, the Ships Mates shouldn't ever have had access to shooting skills, they are Combat, Strength, and Speed only.  A bit of a cut and paste error on my part.  I would have definitely agreed that they are way overpowered if the ships mates had access to all four skills.

Correcting that in the document.

Plus I'm making the following changes:
Reduce Sha'ir to WS/BS of 2.  I'm also decreasing his cost to 35 gc.  Looking at the priest of Taal, he's got some special rules, and access to a lot of skills and makes me think 35gc is right.  Was considering 30 gc, but as I'm not making any changes to the spells as of yet, I'd rather error on 35 gc and be slightly overpriced than under.  

Limiting Bowmen to 0-5 (Corsairs are now kind of the opposite Reiklanders - 0-5 Bowmen, 0-7 Corsairs where Reiklanders are 0-7 Marksmen and 0-5 Swordsmen...although Reiklander Marksmen are much better than Corsair Bowmen given their bump in BS).  

I totally forgot to put the Ostland Ogre in my comparison (which really makes the comparison not as necessary), so I'm keeping the points the same as the Ostland Ogre for continuity.  

On equipment, yes, I know GW has released some stuff. I'd rather keep it simple, and keep to already existing equipment lists.  Looking over other "war bands from afar", they usually just use standard equipment list (maybe the names are changed, but game rule impact seems to be mostly unchanged).  

One other comparison, although I'm a bit reserved to make it is the Pirates war band.  I don't have a lot of play experience with that one, but it looks a bit on the weaker side (but has many similarities with what I'm creating here).  This is based purely on reviewing the rules and no actual table time with the Pirates war band.  

The tweaking continues, feel it's getting closer to being dialed in at the right level.  I feel like where it's at right now it's more a derivative of the Reikland war band, which I'm OK with as it still has the Araby flavor and feeling to it.  Looking at a direct comparison of the two:

  • I'm trading the Captain's leadership rule for +1 in trading.  
  • I'm trading the Marksmen's +1 BS for +1 in I (not really an equal trade mind you as +1 BS is significantly better than +1 I).
  • Champions vs Ships Mates are a wash (just trading shooting skills for speed skills)
  • I'm swapping out a Youngblood for the Sha'ir, and adjusting cost accordingly
  • I'm trading out some key equipment, notably no longbows available to Bowmen, and no heavy armor at all in the list
  • I'm bringing in the Ogre to skew it much more towards a CC type of list, but with it comes a very costly investment of gcs

Overall, I think the key differences are that my Bowmen are much reduced in power level and numbers (no +1 BS, no longbows for increased range, limited to 5 vs 7).  In place of this I have added a caster with a fairly good spell list, and the Ogre.  

Given all the changes and comparisons, how are things feeling to you in terms of power level of the list?
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PostSubject: Re: Araby Corsairs Warband   Tue 28 Feb 2017 - 17:31

Quote :
You actually caught a mistake there, the Ships Mates shouldn't ever have had access to shooting skills, they are Combat, Strength, and Speed only. A bit of a cut and paste error on my part. I would have definitely agreed that they are way overpowered if the ships mates had access to all four skills.

That does change things Very Happy

Overall among other Arabian warbands I would rank yours below the Relics warbands, but above the Khemri: Land of the Dead one published in TC#20 (which is pretty awful even with a spell caster) and the Arabian Nomads and Thieves published on the Khemri website and the Arabian Smugglers from Sartosa.

Your warband is quite a bit more powerful than the Pirates warband even without the special Pirates only weapons and equipment.
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