Warband Campaign Rules


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Post Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:07 pm

Warband Campaign Rules

I've been thinking about developing some quick rules for small warband-based campaigns. It would be modeled heavily after Mordheim (free to download here), except that you would make a small Warband of 800 points (with no single unit more than 160 points). This suspends minimum unit sizes for units that could not field 5 models in 160 points. After each battle, every surviving character model would gain 1 level and an advance according to these tables:

roll 2d6 Warrior Character
2 +1 Toughness
3 +1 Strength
4 +1 BS
5 +1 Wound
6 +1 Initiative
7 +1 WS
8 +1 Attack
9 +1 Leadership
10 +1 Cool
11 +1 Will Power
12 +1 Intelligence

roll 2d6 Wizard Character
2 +1 Strength
3 +1 BS
4 +1 WS
5 +1 Wound
6 +1 Intelligence
7 +d3 New Spells & Reroll
8 +1 Will Power
9 +1 Cool
10 +1 Leadership
11 +1 Initiative
12 +1 Toughness

New spells earned during levels 1-10 are always Magic Level 1, 11-15 are Magic Level 2, 16-20 are Magic Level 3 and 21-25 are Magic Level 4. Wizards also gain 1 bonus spell when reaching a new Magic Level (Level 5, Level 15, Level 20 and Level 25).

Fallen characters would roll on the "Heroes' serious injury chart" in Mordheim. Victorious armies would role for exploration, as per Mordheim, except equipment discoveries would be enough to arm entire units instead of individual models (i.e. d3 halberds would arm d3 units with halberds). After the battle, each army gains 2d6 gold coins to replenish their ranks, and the victorious army may gain gold coins from exploration as well. Gold coins are converted to 10 points per gold coin for buying new units. Units bought above the 800 point limit only join the army for the next round and then leave, and such units may also ignore the 160 point unit cap (allowing for special one-time appearances of dragons and giants and so on).

Any thoughts so far?
Last edited by Galadrin on Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:53 pm

Re: Warband Campaign Rules

I had some second thoughts on the income rules and decided it would be better just to stick close to Mordheim. I am thinking warbands would roll for gaining loot in the same way as Mordheim, and each gold coin would be converted to 5 points. This way victorious and defeated armies could both search the battlefield for booty, but the victorious side would gain an advantage for seizing the terrain. When selling treasure, the upkeep table (page 101) would read "Number of units and characters in warband" so that each unit and each individual character would have a share and consume resources. Again, as mercenaries, units purchased in excess of the 800 point limit would ignore the 160 point unit cap and leave the company after the battle—after taking their spoil of the treasure, of course!

I also came up with this handy-dandy table for advancing units. After every battle, each general may nominate one of his or her units (from amongst those with the lowest experience in the warband) to gain one level of experience as an elite unit. Then, the referee may also give a level of experience to any MVP units that did something impressive in the battle (here there are no restrictions on which unit may be picked). Roll on this chart (later rolls on the same advance are rerolled):

roll 2d6 Unit Advancement
2-3 +1 Attack (Shock Elites) or +1 WS (Missile Elites)
4-6 +1 WS (Shock Elites) or +1 BS (Missile Elites)
7 +1 Strength
8-9 +1 Initiative
10-12 The lad's got talent. One model immediately becomes a Level 5 character (roll for advances on Warrior Character table).
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Post Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:59 am

Re: Warband Campaign Rules

The principle is really good. I use Mordheims injury chart when skirmishing (at around 400pts) because it has psychological damage as well as statline damage (unlike WH40K:RT and RoC:LatD), it actually feels more "old school" to me than either of those.

I like to set Victory Points / treasure / equipment by scenario objectives.

One question I have, why do higher-power units leave? What's the campaign arc? In RoC the warband gets stronger and stronger, until it implodes into a gibbering wreck or becomes daemonic. Or in my GM controlled narratives, the warband gets stronger and goes on to face greater enemies (typical D&D-esque stuff).

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Post Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:38 am

Re: Warband Campaign Rules

I was imagining it would play over a map that would grow out of the campaign, one not set anywhere in particular (I feel that the 3rd Edition Warhammer World is a stage to set your own adventures, not a canned setting where you are afraid of tripping over canon timelines and borders). In that sense, progress would be measured on the map. If you drop the 800 pt limit you could also measure progress in army growth, which would be a cool variant campaign style.

I chose 800 because it seems like a manageable and quick game that would be pretty easy to collect (and paint!) miniatures for, but I wanted some mechanism where one side might have a more powerful army now and then (as a reward for playing well in earlier games) where one could sub in units and monsters that they don't normally get the chance to field. I've never tried RoC and I wasn't aware it has campaign rules... is it ever a problem if one faction gets too powerful? I guess the referee would just adjust the scenarios to allow a good game experience for all, though.
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Post Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:28 am

Re: Warband Campaign Rules

RoC is essentially a warband campaign system, based in the Realm of Chaos. It really depends on how you play it, a dominant warband can emerge quite early on, although the system of random Chaotic Rewards can balance that, because you don't always get good Rewards!

Resource management (swapping in/out special units as you gain 'wealth') is interesting, perhaps a player could defer their accumulated points for a future game, so they could field 5 Halberdiers, or saving up those points to field a Red Dragon in a later game, for example.

I like the map driven idea, could have a nice Imperialist Frontiersman feel. Different occupied map locations could produce a different yeild (so forests produce little wealth per turn, and arable farmland has a high wealth - although that could be racially adjusted, so Dwarves earn more from mountains, for example). If one army is growing too strong, it encourages the others to explore to find new territories to increase wealth, or gang up. Priestly & Stilmans Mighty Empires might be worth a look. I'm pretty sure GW used to give a PDF of that away on their site (like with Mordheim) but I can't find it now.

Also statline increases the PV of the character, a multi-attack multi-wound mega-hero should be more expensive, as it's going to be a lot more effective in combat. Maybe the random rolls should also be on a curve, so A and W are less likely than S or T, and the rest equally so. Or maybe only choose one stat from the Hero advance Scheme, would keep the character compatible with the rest of the rules.
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Post Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:22 pm

Re: Warband Campaign Rules

This is a subject I have been giving some thought to as well. My ideas were moving a bit more along the idea that troops would advance along the existing "elite" unit trees. For example is a unit of Dwarf warriors who did well in a battle...survived...maybe routed an enemy unit...didn't lose half their troops...then in the next battle they would be considered Clansmen (+1 Shock Elite)....if they did well again they would be Iron breakers (+2 Shock Elite) in the third battle etc. Of course if they do poorly and get routed off the table but still exist as a unit they could also be stepped down a rung...think of it as replacements joining the unit and diluting the veteran nature of the unit. This makes more sense to me than giving them a random stat bump.

Anyway thats my idea.

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Post Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:22 pm

Re: Warband Campaign Rules

Interesting. I actually based my random advance off of averaging the different Elite and Character profiles in the book, so that quickly rising stats would be given priority (in an effort to be closer to Mordheim). But I suppose the 3rd Edition rulebook actually has a good model with the alternate advance profiles. You could give a character a random profile from the book and them take +1 advances each level up to the stated limit in the profile (as per WFRP). That would certainly be closer to the roleplay side of things.
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Post Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:09 pm

Re: Warband Campaign Rules

I like that. Troop types could be used for different carrer paths, so for example a Wood Elf Archer could become a Glade Runner for 5pts or a Lords Bowman for 1pt. It's just a case of determining the Class and what an allowable Advancement path might be.

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Post Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:00 am

Re: Warband Campaign Rules

Zhu Bajie wrote:One question I have, why do higher-power units leave? What's the campaign arc? In RoC the warband gets stronger and stronger, until it implodes into a gibbering wreck or becomes daemonic. Or in my GM controlled narratives, the warband gets stronger and goes on to face greater enemies (typical D&D-esque stuff).


Well, in D&D the nominal aim is to build a castle and get out of the dungeoneering game before you find out the hard way that you are 'too old for this shit'. That said, it doesn't really work that way because in D&D the effect of ageing and injury is minimal - so no 50 year old level 8 fighters with creaking knees, a bad shoulder, and a glaucoma they daren't admit to their companions, trying for the one last score that'll get them to 'name level'.

But, I'd guess that a higher-power unit would be plagued by retirements, though they would recruit suitably promising new members. Abstracted, perhaps it could work something like RQ/D100 advancement - easy enough to learn something new when you know nothing, but progressively more difficult as you get better at something.

A thought does strike me though - Blood Bowl has a multi-season campaign system, which I remember being pretty brutal at undermining and retiring star players (perhaps I was just unlucky). Could we take something from BB on this front?

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Post Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:20 pm

Re: Warband Campaign Rules

I don't think retirement age really going to kick-in during a Warhammer military campaign, the campaign would have to run for 20-30 years for that to occur for humans and possibly hundred of years for Elves and Dwarves. If the campaign engine were to be multi-generational we'd have to start taking account population effects birth-rates, loss of able-bodied males on the economic and intellectual development of their cultures and progression of the industrial-military-magical complex and the proliferation of arms across factions. Wouldn't take long for high-elves to develop and improve skaven flamethrowers. I don't know of any games that simulate that scale, might be interesting.

The injury tables (esp. Mordheim) will make veterans shaky, not only loss of an eye (drop BS) or, but also suffering from Fear of the assailant type. It can be quite brutal. what is BBs offering in that regard?

If we think of Elites training as more like joining the SAS than just combat experience (like D&D, you need to find a trainer to level up) earned whilst on duty. So rewards will require being taken out of active duty, or serving under specific training commanders (perhaps with a PV kicker). Thinking mostly of Dwarf / Empire / Elves. Orcs of course do just get harder, and chaos.
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