Thursday, 28 February 2013

Generic Fantasy Skirmish: Necromancy Spell List

"Death is only the beginning... I died three-hundred and seventy-three years ago. I've never felt better."
    -Rhas a' Khemeri, Tomb-Prince of The Sevenfold Khemerite Empires

So, my adaptation of In The Emperor's Name continues, and here's the next part - the Necromancy Spell List. This one focuses on debuffing enemies, and useful little utility spells as well.

This Spell List will most likely be in the hands of usually Evil Warbands, like the Undead and possibly the Dark Elves. However, one might imagine an Order of Necromancers not unlike those in the Diablo setting - neither Good nor Evil, more dedicated to keeping the balance than anything else.

That could make for a really cool Warband. I might even write that one up...
SpellRangeDurationEffectHeroism To Resist?
False LifeTouchInstantThe Caster grants one fallen ally a free Heroism roll to return to the game as a Zombie (see the Undead Retinue for stats). In Campaign games, the figure is automatically assumed to have failed its Survival roll.No
GhostwalkSelf1 TurnThe Caster moves 12”, unhindered by cover, enemies or even solid structures. He must begin and end this movement in an open space. This power is used instead of normal movement.No
Masque of DeathSelf1 TurnAll enemies consider the Caster to be Terrifying.No
Possession12"1 TurnThe target enemy is forced to make an immediate move towards and attack its nearest ally.No
VenomTouch1 TurnAnyone hit by the touched weapon suffers a -2 to their Grit rolls against that attack. No

Remember, these Spell Lists are a "first draft" - after some playtesting, some spells may be reworked, new ones added, whatever - I am simply posting these up to gauge interest in the game as I plan it.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Generic Fantasy Skirmish: The Divine Spell List

"Yeah? Well, my God has a hammer!"
     -Nick Fury

So, where the Arcane Spell List had a bent towards damage, the Divine Spell List is more about support - the classic archetype of the Cleric who is more healer than warrior. In addition to that, they can buff their allies, and grant extra options in combat. Most Clerics will supplement these spells with the ability to wear heavy armour, as well as decent close combat ability.

SpellRangeDurationEffectHeroism To Resist?
BlessTouch3 TurnsEither add +1 to Armour or FV. This can be either the Caster, or one ally in base contact.No
HealTouchInstant The Caster may grant one out-of-action figure a free Heroism roll to come back into the game. They cannot take any actions until the following turn.No
Divine Guidance12“InstantThe Caster can shoot at an enemy figure, even if they are concealed by cover or if line of sight is blocked. Cover gives them no protection.No
Show The PathSelf1 TurnThe Caster creates a clear 6" path through an area of soft or hard cover directly adjacent to himself. He or others can move along the path in single file, until it fades.No
Touch of HeroismTouch3 TurnsThe figure touched gains a Grit attribute of 2+ for the duration of the power. Note this cannot be used to increase a Caster's spellcasting ability.No

Remember, these rules are as-yet unplaytested (though the core ItEN rules are pretty well balanced), so I am not 100% sure the effect some of these new spells and warbands will have on the game. Hopefully, I should get a few playtests up and running over the next few weeks - if anyone is interested, comment here or shoot me an e-mail!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Generic Fantasy Skirmish: The Arcane Spell List

"A Thaum is the basic unit of magical strength. It has been universally established as the amount of magic needed to create one small white pigeon or three normal sized billiard balls."
     -Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

Magic is a big art of fantasy literature and gaming, so I wanted to expand its role in this conversion. The original list of Psyker Powers for In The Emperor's Name is pretty varied, and all Psykers and Sorcerers and such gain access to the same powers from that list. I wanted something a bit different - a few seperate lists, which help to provide flavour to a particular Warband, and offer some degree of tactical depth in choosing which Casters to field.

The Spell Lists I am planning at the moment are as follows;
  • Arcane - a list for Wizards, Sorcerers, and other more offencively-oriented Casters. Provides a good mix of offence, utility, and battlefield control. Available to most Warbands.
  • Divine - a list for Clerics, and maybe some Priests. Mainly buffing and defence, though there might be a few offencive options in there too.
  • Necromancy - debuffs, some offence, and a few "False Life"-type healing spells. Most associated with the Undead, Dark Warriors, and some Human Warbands.
  • Nature - all battlefield control, with a few good defensive options too. Most associated with the Wood Elf Warbands.
So without further ado, the first draft of the Arcane Spell List:

SpellRangeDurationEffectHeroism To Resist?
InvisibilitySelf2 TurnsThe Caster can become invisible, granting him the Infiltration rule if used at the start of the game, and rendering it impossible to draw Line of Sight to them until the effect ends. This effect is ended prematurely when the target attacks, is hit, or otherwise interacts with an object (opening doors, carrying loot, etc).No

InstantThe Caster can rise up to 12" up any structure/object in the Movement Phase in addition to their normal movement.No
Lightning Bolt20“InstantThe Caster may fire a bolt which becomes a 20“ line - all enemies in that line take a hit, and the bolt is treated as a +1 ranged weapon, with Cover applying as normal.No
Magic MissileLoSInstantCounts as a ranged weapon shot at +2.No
Wall of Flame24“

3 TurnsThe Caster can produce a 12“ wall of flames, anywhere within 24“ of the Caster. This acts as Soft Cover, and can be crossed by making a Heroism Roll (failure means taking a hit as per the Flamethrower rules).No

Monday, 25 February 2013

Generic Fantasy Skirmish: Adventurers Preview: The Thief

So, to add some more fun to my conversion of In The Emperor's Name into the Generic Fantasy Skirmish Game, I wanted to add a classic element - Adventurers.

Aside from the usual scattered armies of Men and other races, there are those who follow a more "freelance" approach to warfare - those who don't fight for their countries and history, but for their own legends, and the riches of long-forgotten kings. These mercenaries and brigands, euphemistically titled "Adventurers", will work for any cause, so long as the pay is right. They could also be those amongst their races who have worked long and hard to acquire skills and training that sets them aside from the rank-and-file.

These guys are similar to Necromunda's Hired Guns - free-floating characters who can be recruited by many different Warbands to bolster their numbers, or shore up their weaknesses. As I am also planning a Space Hulk-style Dungeon Crawl variant for these rules, these guys will also be included as a Warband for that game. Each one is purchased via the Strange Ally rule (costing an extra 5 or 10 points, depending on their Grit/Heroism score).

A feature that I might add is that each Adventurer may work with certain Warbands without paying that Strange Ally rule - it would be weird for the Elven Ranger to have trouble working for a Wood Elf Warband, for example.

Our first preview is The Thief - your classic Rogue, capable of great feats of dexterity, hiding in shadows to leap out and plant a dagger in your kidneys, and possessing the type of street smarts that a General might not consider.

HeroismFVSVSpeedNotes and Special AbilitiesBase Cost
4++3+2+1Leader or Nose For Trouble, Infiltrate, Inhuman Climber, Defensive Master25 (30 with Nose For Trouble)

Armour Light Armour (6+ To Hit)
Amulet of Protection (7+ To Hit)
WeaponsThrowing Dagger (+1)
Short Sword (+2)
Shortbow (+1, 18")
Hand Crossbow (+1, 12")
Flintlock Pistol (+1, Heroism Penalty -1, 18", Backfire)

New Weapon Special Qualities
Backfire - black powder weapons are not the most... reliable. On an Attack Roll, any natural 1 makes the weapon inoperable, and the wielder is required to make a Heroism roll or be Knocked Down. Once the weapon has been rendered inoperable, it can be used as an Improvised Weapon (for Flintlock Pistols) or a Club (for Rifles).

Cool Minis

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Generic Fantasy Skirmish: Kobolds

"Can't be that bad, can they? They're just Kobo-"
     -famous last words of Kellen The Overoptimistic

Yep, it's everyone's favourite trappy little dog-lizard sadists, now in skirmish form!

For those of you who don't know - I am converting In The Emperor's Name into a more generic fantasy skirmish game (imaginatively titled Generic Fantasy Skirmish for the moment).

I wanted these guys to be cheap - Kobolds normally operate in hordes, using numbers rather than skill. And, in skirmish games, it can really make a difference - drowning the more elite armies with the weight of your dead (after all, when it's a d6 you're rolling, failure is common enough)...

So, some of these guys have some of the new rules/abilities I've been working up. Some are taken straight from the Core Rules and other Retinue Lists (the Small ability is pretty much what Gretchin get, and the Infiltrate ability is just a more freely-available version of the Alpha Legion Special Ability), but some are completely new - they'll feature more in later posts.

Sneak5++2+0+2Small, Infiltrate
Wyrmshaman4++1+1+2Leader, Small, can buy spells @ 10pts from the Arcane spell list
Wyrmguard4++2+1+2Leader, Small, Defensive Master

TypeNotesRestricted To
NoneClothing [5+ To Hit]
LightLeather Armour [6+ To Hit]
MediumHide, Chain,  [7+ To Hit]Wyrmguard

Amulet of Protection [7+]Wyrmshaman

TypeNotesCombat Bonus
ImprovisedTree Branch, Chair Leg-1
LightDagger, Club, Sling+0

Pick, Shortbow, Hand Crossbow, Throwing Dagger, +1
MediumShort Sword, Mace, Staff, Spear, Sword [Wyrmguard only]+1

Crossbow, Javelin [Wyrmguard only]+2

New Special Abilities [5pts Each]
Infiltrate - some characters are particularly good at hiding - these characters always deploy last (in case of multiple opposing models with this ability, use an Initiative roll - winner deploys last), and can deploy up to 12“ from the table edge, so long as they are not in Line of Sight with any enemy models.
Small - Small characters are unable to use Heavy Weapons or Armour, but can move through Difficult terrain without penalty. This ability costs no points, but the model representing the character must be small.

I'm still working on these, including rejigging costs and some abilities for weapons (like re-making the Ranged section so Melee can be a little more dominant), so these are a work in progress!

As a bonus note, miniatures!

This pair would make a perfect Wyrmshaman and Wyrmguard...

Saturday, 16 February 2013

The "Mellified Men" - an OSR Monster!

 So, a little last minute, but here's my entry for The Grand Original Map Contest!

These guys will be statted out for OSRIC/Generic OSR D&D.

Centuries ago, there was a race of men, their name lost to the ravages of time, who worshipped nature in all its myriad forms. However, every so often a cult would arise to venerate one particular aspect of nature above all others - the deeps of the sea, fire, or in one case, the humble bee.

Well, the not so humble bee - this particular cult had found a species of bee whose honey held strange properties. It seemed to both radiate and absorb magic, and could "store" spells cast into it. Whether this was a natural mutation, the design of some curious wizard or divine intervention, the cult latched onto this new-found source of power, and began breeding and keeping the bees, collecting their honey, and worshipping them as divine agents.

As their belief swelled, and their breeding became more complex and refined, they finally birthed a Queen of such great size that, even as a larva, it dwarfed all but the biggest men. This Queen was seen as an Aspect of The Great Queen - the Mother-God of all bees, if you will. Around her, men and bees constructed a great hive, a labyrinth of honeycomb that stretched for miles underground.

As part of their strange rituals, this cult would add their lesser dead (slaves, drudge workers) to the Great Hive, allowing them to nourish their charges even after they had passed on.

Their more respected members were submerged in the honey vats after death - the honey acting as a preservative, mummifying the corpse with little other work needed.

Their greatest members, their Mages and Priests, were allowed to choose the date of their death. When this date had passed, they began eating nothing but honey - slowly, they would waste away, but their bodies would radiate strongly with magic, as it suffused every fibre of their being. When the finally passed, they were sealed into their own honey-filled casket, and the surviving members of the clergy would perform arcane rites and blasphemous rituals on them to ensure that they would be spared the worst of the ravages of death, to join the Great Queen and become one with the Hive.

However, for some reason (recent surges of magic, disturbance of their resting place, specific alignment of the stars), a few of these Bee-Priests have risen, and have began production once again - and they'll do anything to keep their practices secret.

In terms of appearance, these "Mellified Men" resemble other preserved corpses - their skin is leathery, with a yellow-brown colouring, and surprisingly little obvious decomposition (barring the wasting of muscles, and some of the thinner sections of skin having bones showing through). Some wear jewellery and ornamentation, clearly as part of their burial attire.

The Hive

Even the walls of this place are laced with the corpses of the cultists. Some sections have retained an odd semblance of life, powered and maintained by the power of the honey even after centuries. 
Sticky, brittle bones reach out at you as you pass, hoping to serve their Queen from beyond the grave.

No. Encountered: 2d8 metres
Armour Class: 5

Hit Dice: 10HP/5ft
Attacks: Special

Damage: 1d6
Special attacks: See above
Special Defences: Spell immunities

Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Non-

The Hive Wall does not act as a creature as such, more like a trap - anyone passing within 5 feet must make a Saving Throw vs Breath Weapon or be grappled, and take 1d6 damage per round they are grappled. Once grappled, the character may make a Strength check/Bend Bars roll once per round to escape The Wall's foul clutches, and may take no other action until free. 

Drone Zombies

These shambling creatures, taught skin a yellowish-brown hue, seem to be the workers and grunts of the operation. They don't seem too bright.

Use the standard OSRIC Zombie stats, with the following changes:

Special Abilities: Hivemind
Int: Non - Special
Hivemind: In groups of at least 20 other Drone Zombies, each Drone Zombie's Intelligence rises to Low, making them capable of using weapons (change damage as appropriate) and basic ambush tactics. They will still fight to the death.

Hive Guardians

These creatures seem to be infused with a strange intelligence and vitality - they seem less decomposed than their fellows, and are capable of some very complex strategies. These zombies can be seen taking charge of Drone Zombies in non-controlled situations, and when controlled may act as "generals".

Use the standard OSRIC JuJu Zombie stats, with the following changes:

Special Abilities: Hivemind Synapse
Hivemind Synapse: Hive Guardians may grant the effects of Hivemind to groups of Drone zombies numbering less than 20,  so long as they remain within 50 feet of the Hive Guardian (line of sight does not affect this ability).


These Undead wear fine robes spun from silk, decorated with complex geometric patterns (mostly hexagons), and are decked out in fine jewels. These spellcasting Undead are frequently found leading large groups of other Mellified Zombies from the back, providing support and heavy firepower.

(Turned as type 10)
No. Encountered: 1d4
Size: Man-sized
Move: 120 ft
AC: 1
Hit Dice: 8+3
Attacks: 2
Damage: by weapon or spell
Special Attacks: See below
Special Defences: See below
Magic Resistance: See below
Lair Probability: 25%
Intelligence: Exceptional
Chaotic evil
Level/xp: 8/3,810 + 12/hp

These creatures share other undead’s immunity to charm, hold, and sleep spells. Electricity and cold
does only half damage, and they are unaffected by normal weapons. They also the ability to cast spells either as a Cleric or Wizard of 10th-level. Most will use the Inflict Wounds spells to heal their troops, along with classic offensive spells.

Similar to the Hive Guardians, these creatures possess the Hivemind Synapse ability, except they can maintain it out to 200 feet.

Most of these creatures will travel with a guard of 8d10 Drone Zombies, and 1d10 Hive Guardians.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Generic Fantasy Skirmish: More Thoughts

So, I started back at converting In The Emperor's Name to represent a fantasy skirmish system. I mean, sure, there are dozens of skirmish systems floating about the net for free, there's Mordheim and such, but ItEN is just such a cool little game, and it's very easy to hack, change, add new Retinues and such, that I couldn't resist.

I had thought about making my own system (based off d10s, similar to the new Mongoose Judge Dredd game), but meh - too much work. Maybe some day...

So, the current work is to:
  • Convert and re-jigger the weapons list (many of the unpowered melee weapons in the list share the same stats, which would make a game like this kinda boring), rewrite the Ranged weapons options (as a fantasy game, hand-to-hand is more appropriate - so maybe shorten the ranges, cut out most of the "heavy" weapons but leave the option to buy greatbows/flintlocks/cannons for a slightly higher price).
  • Work out a rule to represent smaller combatants (ensuring they have a lower Grit score, etc), possibly with a special rule...
    • Small - characters with this ability can only use Light weapons and cannot wear Heavy armour, but can move through difficult terrain and full speed, and gain... some other bonus I haven't thought of yet.
  • Spell Lists - most Warbands will have access to a Caster unit (Wizard/Shaman/Cleric/whatever), who can buy spells, but each will only have access to a handful of possible Spell Lists - like, Wood Elves can buy spells from the Nature lists, Dwarves from the Rune-smith list, etc. Currently thinking of the following:
    • Death/Necromancy (debuffs, allows access to Undead in the Warband)
    • Life/Healing (all buffs)
    • War (all offense)
    • Shadow/Illusion (some debuffs, some offense, some defense)
    • Nature (battlefield control, healing, maybe some summon-type stuff)
  • Write out the Retinue/Warband lists. So far, my thoughts are:
    • Humans - the "baseline", stats-wise. Fairly balanced, with a variety of troop-types available.
    • Dwarves - have a higher Grit than others, mostly tough "tank" units, with a Rune-wizard available (using spells that buff others and themselves), as well as the option to buy things like Heavy Bolt Throwers and all that nonsense.
    • Elves - three separate lists so far...
      • High Elves - any High Elf model can buy Spells for 10 points, and their Mages can buy them for 5 points. A wide selection of spell-lists available.
      • Wood Elves - higher SV and Speed, access to Nature spells, maybe a Beast-tamer unit, mainly skirmisher/stealth-type units.
      • Dark Elves - higher FV and Speed, access to Illusion spells, maybe some rules for Poison weapons.
    • Kobolds - poor stats, but so cheap you can buy dozens of the little buggers. Comes with access to the Draconic Spell List.
    • The Green Tide - Orcs (tough but slow), Hobgoblins (nice and balanced), Goblins (small and sneaky), Ogres (big and tough) who might get a re-do of the rules for Stupidity, maybe allow another Beast-tamer unit, gain access to the War Spell List.
    • The Forces of Darkness - something like the classic Warriors of Chaos, big, tough, slow, access to some weird special units, and stuff like the War and Death Spell Lists.
    • Adventurers - more like "Hired Guns", to be purchased by any army (using the Strange Ally rule), but include an option to take them for no extra cost in certain warbands (like the Elven Ranger being free to work with the Elven Warbands, but costing extra points in the Human Warband).
    • And, of course, a few others as they come to me.
One thing that caught my eye in ItEN was the Appendix for using the game to play Space Hulk-style games - which really flipped a switch somewhere. Mainly because, it would be simple enough to use those rules as a framework to create a "dungeon crawl"-style scenario for the game - perfect! I might add rules for the Defending Warband to buy traps, turn it into a real Tucker's Kobolds deal...

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Have You Heard The Blessings Of The Plaguefather?

So, another bout of the Dread Lurgy as laid me low this weekend. But have no fear - I am currently working, in between illnesses and sleeping.

I'm preparing my entry for the Grand Original Map Contest over at Tenkar's Tavern. I don't want to give away too many details, but a conversation with my girlfriend about Mellified Man and insect worship will play a very strong part in the adventure...

Stay tuned for more details!Enhanced by Zemanta