Nov 302012

This model was my entry for the Golden Gobbos painting competition over at the BLOOD forums. Each entry had to include a back story and game rules for the character submitted. Here’s mine, with extra cheese!

Helmut and canine compadres

Deep in the forests of the northern parts of The Riding, a terrible warrior is rumoured to harry the roads. He is said to have scores of wolves at his command, aiding him in his quest for reckless destruction and death. His name is Helmut Wulverskin, and he is in fact a rather wealthy albeit confused man.

As the only heir of merchant Knut Wulverskin (of the Averridge Wulverskins), Helmut was destined for greatness. Alas, destiny did not count on Helmut’s uncle Kurt Wulverskin and his ambition for riches. A dark and stormy night, hired thugs burst into the sleeping quarters of Knut Wulverskin and assassinated the merchant and his wife. Helmut was rescued though, as the infant boy was carried off to safety by his mother’s wolf familiar.

Helmut was raised by a wolfpack deep in the dark forests surrounding Stillburg. For the next 10 years he had no human contact. That changed when a wizened old crone, who would talk to the beasts in their own tongue, visited the pack. She took the boy under her wings and regularily visited, to teach him in the ways of man.

From her, he learned of his true heritage and swore to seek vengeance on the great injustice wrought on him and his family. As a young man, after a decade of training, he set out on a quest for revenge. His first stop was Averridge and the estate of good old uncle Kurt. Apart from gruesome vengeance being exacted, Helmut learned the name and location of the actual perpetrator of the murders. He also recovered his father’s plate armour and old warhammer. The suit of armour includes a magic wolf-pelt, giving command over animals, further enhancing Helmut’s already unnaturally strong bond with his lupine brethren.

The murderer of Helmut’s parents had risen to power, as a favoured champion of the Chaos god Tzeentch. After the fierce battle that ultimately lead to Helmut avenging his parents, Helmut was so badly injured that he very nearly died. He never recovered, and probably suffered one too many blows to his head, as he is still stamping out evil and servants of Chaos where ever he can find them. It’s just a pity that he so often finds them amongst small children on school excursions, in merchant caravans or pilgrimages to and from the Shrine of Gadd.

His estate stands unattended in Averridge, and he was most recently spotted heading for Badwater north of Stillburg talking to himself about a gang of chaos worshippers who had attacked a peaceful envoy from Nippon.

Stats for Warhammer Fantasy Battles, 3rd edition

Helmut Wulverskin – Level 10 Human Hero (80 pts)
Helmut is armed with a double-handed weapon and is wearing heavy armour. He is Neutral and hate chaotic and evil

M WS BS S T W I A Ld Int Cl WP
4 5  4  4 4 2 4 3 8+1 7  7  7

While an accomplished fighter Helmut isn’t a very dependable ally. Roll a D6 each turn. On a 1, he is overcome by delusions and control of Helmut and his unit passes to the GM for the rest of the game. Helmut must charge and attack the nearest non-animal unit with gusto, as he has seen the taint of chaos on their poor souls.

Helmut can only be included in warbands and armies containing no Evil or Chaotic units.

When deploying Helmut, he is deployed together with 1D6+2 of his pack mates (counts as regular Giant Wolves, but with Helmut as animal handler and no riders).

Stats for Song of Blades & Heroes

Helmut Wulverskin – Human Knight. 39 pts. Q4+, C4. Beastmaster, Animal Handler, Insane.
Special rules: When including Helmut Wulverskin in a warband, a Wolf (Q4, C3, Animal) may be included for free. For victory points calculations, this wolf is worth 19 points but does not count against the grand total value of the warband.

Insane (-5 pts):
After rolling activation dice for an Insane model, also roll 1D6.  On a roll of 1, control of the model is temporarily given to the controlling player’s opponent who decide how to use any successful activations . The Insane model is overcome by delusions, and turn on his allies. Control of the model is then relinquished by the opponent and returns to the original controller.

Adding Helmut to my total annual tally: 71 painted – 254 acquired = -183. Next up, a chaotic barbarian warband! Prepare to be boosted, annual total!

Jul 232010

For a while, we’ve been talking about how an SBH game with nothing but zombies on one side would play out. About a month or so ago, we decided to do a trial game. With the rules as written, it would be near impossible to do anything reasonable. We noticed several issues, mainly with morale of the zombies but also with activation.

The biggest problem is logistical, though. It takes quite some time to roll activations for 38 zombies! To get around this, we agreed that all zombies more than a Medium range from an enemy could be batch-activated. I had one dice for each zombie, put them in a plastic container and rolled all of them in one go. I then assigned the successful activations to the zombies I wanted to move, alternating between the front ranks and the back ranks.

Another change we made was to the morale rules. A zombie witnessing a gruesome kill would have to succeed with ALL three morale dice to not be instantly destroyed. That simply wouldn’t work. One of the first kills was a gruesome kill, and it took out 10 zombies. We decided that for this scenario, all zombies would have to count as fearless. As we didn’t want to remove the effect of a gruesome kill completely, any zombies within a long range are “stunned” one turn for each failed die in the morale check. We played this game prior to the first Stillburg game, where we tried a different approach. Haven’t decided which to use in the long run.

Prior to the game, we also changed the stats line of the zombies. Instead of Q6, C4, Undead, Slow, Short Move at 8 points, we instead went with Q5, C2, Undead, Slow – still at 8 points.

All changes were made to emphasize on what we feel is the strongest point of zombies; numbers! With a higher Quality, Medium move and the batch activation rules we could make the zombie horde maneuverable but with a fairly low Combat.

We also used the modified turn over rules as described in our house rules.

So, on to the actual game. Here’s a summary of the scenario rules:
* Zombies count as having Fearless
* Zombies within movement range of an enemy model must be activated individually. All others can be batch activated; rolling 1D6 for every model, allocating half of the successful activations to the front rank and half to the back ranks.

The goal of the scenario was for the villagers to fend off all zombies. The zombies had no goal, other than to devour any and all brains on the board.

My warband consisted of 38 zombies, with stats as mentioned above. As I don’t own 38 zombies (yet), we had to settle for proxies on some.

Fredrik’s warband consisted of various villagers; Human Leader (Q3, C3, Leader), Human Magic-User (Q3, C1, Magic-user), Human Thief (Q3, C2, Stealth), Human Berserk (Q3, C3, Savage, Fearless), 2x Human Archer (Q3, C3, Shooter: Long), 3x Human Rabble (Q4, C2)

This is an overview of the setup, prior to turn 1. As you can see, for this game we used only plastic pre-painted D&D miniatures. I’m working on building a collection of painted Citadel vintage miniatures but the D&D minis are great for one-offs!

The two first turns were fairly uneventful, I won initiative and went first with the undead. The villagers spent their turns positioning themselves while the undead horde shambled forward. A few pot-shots were taken by the archers, but they were very ineffective.

In turn three, the first casualty was suffered by the undead. The berserker scored a gruesome kill and almost a third of the zombie hord was stunned.

It looked like this would be a walk in the park for the defending villagers, who got cocky and took on a more offensive role than I had anticipated. Slowly, the undead wittled away. The occassional scare occurred, when the undead managed to attack and a villager fell – but they survived and could recover and fight on.

In a series of unfortunate events, it all turned though. With two unlucky and early turn overs for the villagers, the undead could advance en masse. They gathered around their victims and the first casualties were a reality. A poor drunkard had been completely surrounded by the walking dead, and suffered horrible (but not quite gruesome) death. However, when the thief fell and the flesh eating abominations descended on him, the majority of the villagers retreated.

At this point two villagers had perished, while only fourteen zombies remained! The berserker (the town’s resident torturer – no village should be without one!) was fallen and surrounded and would most certainly be devoured in the following turn. Unfortunately, we had to end the game at this point due to real life commitments (curses!) but such a great time was had that we’ll replay it (with some changes) as part of the Stillburg campaign. We’re also planning to do a Mutants and Death Ray Guns variant of it – if we ever get around to that system and setting.

So – any Jerry Springer-like conclusions? Archers are ineffective against undead. Savage on the other hand is very effective, even more so when it stuns everything within a long distance. The game was defenitely not close – I’m sure the villagers would’ve been able to fend off the undead. The question is at what price. The stunned change to the undead worked very, very well! As I had one die for each undead model, I just picked a die from my dice bin and put it next to the stunned model as a marker. When a zombie was destroyed, I removed a die from the bin. The batch activation worked ok, but the rules for it are too fuzzy would break if any of the players is a rules lawyer or power game. Please let me know if you have any better idea on how to handle it, there’s an excellent comments functionality that no-one but Paul is using! =)