Thursday, February 16, 2017

AoS28 meets Outgard: The Funeral Procession rules

In death there is life and in memory there is revelation. They gather confused to celebrate dagmál, to strengthen themself before the gods, to have the will to walk on. They cannot know what awaits.

If one wants to explore the darker edges of the Warhammer 40,000 setting, bereft of Space Marines and Knight titans, and instead populated with frail humans on the edge of sanity, along with shady Inquisitors, and ghoulish cults, then Inq28 is there for you, with many great communites with like-minded individuals (Such as the Ammobunker and the Inquisitorium. Until recently, If you wanted to bring this narrative- and conversion-focused theme to Age of Sigmar, however, there was no distinct community to welcome you. Excitingly, this is a thing of the past now, with Bruticus from Ex Profundis coining the term “AoS28” to describe the Inq28-style of hobbying being applied to the Nine realms of Age of Sigmar. In addition to penning some guidelines for getting involved in AoS28, the Grand Alliance forums started a thread for people to post ideas and models and a facebook group was also started. In a very short time, these places have been flooded with all manner of fantastic conversions and warband ideas. When first reading about AoS28, we could not help but think of the Outgard project held last year. While technically set in the 40k universe, the gritty stagnation of culture and lack of technology beyond that of the middle ages, fits quite well with Age of Sigmar. Possibly the most iconic warband that took part, and certainly our favorite (in no small part because its leader was already dead before the games started!), was Alexander Winberg’s Funeral Procession! As a first venture into exploring AoS28, we figured we would try our hands at adapting their rules to Age of Sigmar, and talk a little about our thoughts about warband design.

Chief Ruma

Chief Ruma

Although Bruticus from Ex Profundis recommended using an adapted set of the Hinterland rules (skirmish rules for AoS) for AoS28, people new to the Inq28 style of narrative gaming might not realize that it was only meant as a loose guideline to help you get started, one that can help ease you away from extensive rules and point values. At its core, AoS28 (and Inq28) is about creating characters and exploring and expanding lesser known elements of the setting. Because of this, the ruleset that you use is not critical, so long as you have a good working knowledge of it. When thinking about creating rules for the Funeral Procession, I decided to give the Age of Sigmar ruleset a chance (afterall, AoS28 gets its name from it!). This was partially due to the simplicity of the system, not filled with innumerable special rules, and the fact that the AoS28-supported Hinterlands is based off of them. Glancing over the Hinterland rules, I quickly lost interest as it got bogged down with Gold/point costs and model restrictions. While these have value for a regimented skirmish game between strangers, I find it quickly leaches away much of the creative freedom that draws me to AoS28 to begin with. Besides, none of the models I would be creating rules for really resemble standard AoS warscrolls, and trying to wade through all of the available ones to find one that passingly fit would remove a lot of the fun of warband creation, and ultimately be a poor substitute. So with this in mind, I went about creating the Funeral Procession’s warscolls from the ground up, with a few official ones for reference.


Kratti
 

Iki-Turso - the breaker

When going about designing the rules for the warband, I started by simply downloading a few warscrolls of related units from Games Workshop’s website just to get a sense of power levels. My first goal was to determine a general statline for the weakest of warriors, frail empire spearmen and chaos marauders, knowing that the Funeral Procession was largely downtrodden peasants mourning the loss of their lord. Without stats like Toughness, Strength, and Weapon/Ballistic skill, it was not as easy to define and demarcate these Necropilgrims from the likes of human militia. I ended up selecting the following basic statline for most of the warband because of its similarity to Empire Freeguild Guard:

Movement: 5”
Wounds: 1
Bravery: 5 (although it is not really used in Hinterlands due to the lack of units)
Save: -


For some of the characters, like tiny Hiisi, I adjusted it slightly, decreasing the movement value or adding some armor. For their weapons, I used a similar strategy, choosing the basic statline of Freeguild militia weaponry and modifying it slightly to reflect different weapon options:



Range
Attacks
To Hit
To Wound
Rend
DMG
weapon
1”
1
4+
4+
-
1


Lowyatar - Her visions are blinded and her mind tormented by guilt and madness. Still the threads of fate are hers to manipulate for she is of the Norn lineage.

For all of this modification, I took special effort not to focus on making something powerful, often reducing some of the stats if they seemed applicable. This is important considering the theme surrounding the warband. They are not warriors, but sorry souls mourning good times past. And while some might worry that this could result in a under-powered warband, efficacy on the tabletop is not really my concern; their motivation for gathering is not one to fight others, but to guide their master to eternal rest. Therefore I treated rule design more like a role-playing experience, focusing on theme and character.

Lalli

One element I struggled with while designing the rules was the lack of psychology in Age of Sigmar. In the older editions of Warhammer, Psychology was something devised to reflect morale and fear within games. Furthermore, it was primarily resolved using a model’s Leadership value. The closest approximation of this in Age of Sigmar is Bravery: when a unit takes casualties, they need to take a battleshock test and, depending on the result, lose models from the unit. Since Hinterlands works on a model by model basis, Bravery and the Battleshock phase are completely ignored, removing even this minor abstraction of morale from the game. Fear was an element that I wanted to convey with the Funeral Procession, as it was an important element in Alex’s original Mordheim rules, reflecting the hollow, despised, revenants that make up the group. One look at these lost souls, harbingers of regret and the futility and failings of existence, should be enough to cause dread to well up in even the most steadfast warrior, a chilling reminder of mortality and the pointlessness of it all. To convey this, I focused on one common element of Fear in many of Games Workshop’s past games, the fact that a model attempting to charge one that causes fear will fail the charge if they do not pass a leadership test. Although the Bravery characteristic is not normally used in Hinterlands, I decided to incorporate it and devised the following rule:

Necropilgrim: Models attempting to charge the necropilgrim must roll 2 dice. If the number is greater than their bravery, their charge distance is decreased by 2.” If the result is double the model’s bravery the charge fails automatically. Furthermore, the roll of a 12 always results in a failed charge.


Hiisi


While the rule will probably need a little playtesting to determine its feasibility, I think it ultimately works a lot like a leadership test from previous games. The most probable roll on 2D6 is 7, which is a fairly common Bravery characteristic, allowing the roller to ignore the rule’s effect. Rolling above this  is still common, but such a roll is not devastating, as it only subtracts 2” from your normal 2D6 charge distance. Models with extremely low Bravery, however, are more likely to be affected by the rule, fitting the theme.


Peikko - Mutie warrior, follower of the Old Hero. Depleted, devoured, despised. The barely human still cling to a desperate belief in the possibility of a noble death.

The last thing that I did was create a few rules for some of the more unique characters in the the warband, like dead Ruma and the wytch Lowyatar, including creating a Command Ability and a Magic spell. Ruma’s Command Ability was largely adapted from many other official warscrolls, allowing friendly models to reroll dice in close combat. Lowyatar’s spell Foretold Doom was more difficult to create because when looking at other warscroll spells, virtually all of them were some permutation of  causing mortal wounds. I found this a little disappointing, as it basically simplified all magic in the Nine Realms to magic missile. Instead, I wanted something that represented her manipulating the delicate threads of fate, bringing disaster and misfortune upon her target. I ended up creating a rule that reduced the probability of the target making To Hit/Wound rolls and armor saves, something that I think does an admirable job conveying her talents.

Väänämö

So concludes my general summary of the design process of bringing the Funeral Procession into AoS28. The rules have not be playtested yet, but we hope to in the near future. You will notice I never really worried over point values or power levels. While these thing are very important for competitive play in Age of Sigmar proper, in the AoS28 format they are secondary or not important at all. My entire effort was spent towards creating characterful rules that fit with the spirit of the models. The warband may be somewhat weak in terms of fighting prowess, but that is exactly how I intended it. They are not warriors, but mourning pilgrims. And ultimately, when they get used in a game, if their power level does not seem quite right, the rules can be adjusted in-game. This works because the purpose of AoS28 is bound so tightly to crafting an interesting story, and seeing where it takes you. Winning is trivial compared to  the journey. So, Onward to Tuonela!


Necropilgrims



Chief Ruma






Range
Attacks
To Hit
To Wound
Rend
DMG
Ensorcelled blade
1”
2
4+
3+
-1
1


Necro Arkke: The destruction of the remains of Ruma and his Arkke causes the remaining warband to add 1 to the attacks characteristic of each melee weapon in their profile.


Necropilgrim: Models attempting to charge the necropilgrim must roll 2 dice. If the number is greater than their bravery, their charge distance is decreased by 2.” If the result is double the model’s bravery the charge fails automatically. Furthermore, the roll of a 12 always results in a failed charge.


COMMAND ABILITY:
Otherworldly presence: Until the end of your next hero phase you can add 1 to the result of any hit rolls in the combat phase for this model and friendly models with the Necropilgrim special rule within 9” of him.


KEYWORDS: DEATH, ORDER, NECROPILGRIM, HUMAN, PEASANTRY, HERO
Lowyatar





Range
Attacks
To Hit
To Wound
Rend
DMG
Withered hands
1”
1
5+
4+
-
1


Arcane hex: The first wound received, mortal or otherwise, is ignored.


Baleful touch: If a wound roll of 6 or more is made with Lowyatar’s withered hands, 1 mortal wound is inflicted rather than normal damage.


Necropilgrim: Models attempting to charge the necropilgrim must roll 2 dice. If the number is greater than their bravery, their charge distance is decreased by 2.” If the result is double the model’s bravery the charge fails automatically. Furthermore, the roll of a 12 always results in a failed charge.


MAGIC:
Lowyatar is a wizard (wytch). She can attempt to cast one spell in each of your hero phases and attempt to unbind one spell in each enemy hero phase.


Foretold doom: The vølva scryes the tenuous skeins of fate, bringing about ruin on the target. Foretold doom has a casting value of 5. If successfully cast, the target subtracts 1 from all of their To Hit, To Wound, and saving throws until the beginning of your next hero phase.


KEYWORDS: DEATH, ORDER, NECROPILGRIM, VØLVA, HERO, WIZARD
Iki-Turso






Range
Attacks
To Hit
To Wound
Rend
DMG
Rusted great axe
2”
2
4+
3+
-1
2


Necropilgrim: Models attempting to charge the necropilgrim must roll 2 dice. If the number is greater than their bravery, their charge distance is decreased by 2.” If the result is double the model’s bravery the charge fails automatically. Furthermore, the roll of a 12 always results in a failed charge.


KEYWORDS: DEATH, ORDER, NECROPILGRIM, HUMAN, PEASANTRY, HERO
Kratti






Range
Attacks
To Hit
To Wound
Rend
DMG
Rusted axe
1”
1
3+
4+
-
1


Draugr: Ignore the weapon’s Rend when making save rolls.


Hate (King’s Men): May reroll 1 when in combat with enemies with the King’s Men keyword.


Necropilgrim: Models attempting to charge the necropilgrim must roll 2 dice. If the number is greater than their bravery, their charge distance is decreased by 2.” If the result is double the model’s bravery the charge fails automatically. Furthermore, the roll of a 12 always results in a failed charge.


KEYWORDS: DEATH, ORDER, NECROPILGRIM, DRAUGR, DEADWALKER, PEASANTRY
Peikko






Range
Attacks
To Hit
To Wound
Rend
DMG
Sickle
1”
1
4+
4+
-
1


Hate (King’s Men): May reroll 1 when in combat with enemies with the King’s Men keyword.


Necropilgrim: Models attempting to charge the necropilgrim must roll 2 dice. If the number is greater than their bravery, their charge distance is decreased by 2.” If the result is double the model’s bravery the charge fails automatically. Furthermore, the roll of a 12 always results in a failed charge.


KEYWORDS: DEATH, ORDER, NECROPILGRIM, HUMAN, PEASANTRY
Väänämö






Range
Attacks
To Hit
To Wound
Rend
DMG
Worn dagger
1”
1
5+
4+
-
1


Hate (King’s Men): May reroll 1 when in combat with enemies with the King’s Men keyword.


Necropilgrim: Models attempting to charge the necropilgrim must roll 2 dice. If the number is greater than their bravery, their charge distance is decreased by 2.” If the result is double the model’s bravery the charge fails automatically. Furthermore, the roll of a 12 always results in a failed charge.


KEYWORDS: DEATH, ORDER, NECROPILGRIM, HUMAN, PEASANTRY
Lalli






Range
Attacks
To Hit
To Wound
Rend
DMG
Blacksmith hammer
1”
1
5+
4+
-
1


Hate (King’s Men): May reroll 1 when in combat with enemies with the King’s Men keyword.


Necropilgrim: Models attempting to charge the necropilgrim must roll 2 dice. If the number is greater than their bravery, their charge distance is decreased by 2.” If the result is double the model’s bravery the charge fails automatically. Furthermore, the roll of a 12 always results in a failed charge.


KEYWORDS: DEATH, ORDER, NECROPILGRIM, HUMAN, PEASANTRY
Hiisi









Range
Attacks
To Hit
To Wound
Rend
DMG
Atrophied limbs
1”
1
5+
5+
-
1


Necropilgrim: Models attempting to charge the necropilgrim must roll 2 dice. If the number is greater than their bravery, their charge distance is decreased by 2.” If the result is double the model’s bravery the charge fails automatically. Furthermore, the roll of a 12 always results in a failed charge.


KEYWORDS: DEATH, ORDER, NECROPILGRIM, HUMAN, PEASANTRY

- Eric Wier and Alexander Winberg

10 comments:

  1. Really wish I had been able to contribute to the Outgard game last year. I enjoyed reading this as I really like seeing others takes on trying to adjust standard "gameplay" to be narrative. I like the fact that the current fantasy format is getting a skirmish treatment from the community like Inq28 has, I do have a lot of mixed emotions though. Jake is definitely proactive in that he is putting out "rules" for people to use as this is something INQ28 posts are littered with questions about. The biggest misconception from people however seems to be emphasizing rules or even the concept of "pickup games". I do not mean this to come off as elitist or conceited in any way or shape I just think people underestimate their own imaginations or abilities to story tell on their own. I am a firm believer that a narrative game has no winner or loser just spectators to a story and the most important part is finding people who want to experience a story and not play a game. Sorry for the rant or rambling, I think removing the concept of Morale or fear though is a grave error especially in a universe so hopelessly lost in the dark.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah I think the idea of a narrative game without a clear winner is difficult to wrap one's head around at first. It is pretty different then what is conveyed in the traditional rulebooks. I suppose they tried to forgo point costs in AoS initially, a step towards one aspect of this sort of narrative gaming, and we saw how that went. Ultimately each style of gaming has a place, and shifting to a more narrative based system of gaming will always be a struggle I think.

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  2. Interesting to see a different take on the same type of problemsolving as I had when making my Age of Munda guidelines. I think I have come a lot further than you and that AoM vêr 2 can easily be adapted back to fantasy. I have since DAoS/AoS28 launched planned just that. I reccommend taking a look at where I'm at as I have both Sagacity and morale incorporated. Nonetheless, you do as you want obviously ✌🏻🙂

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, your AoM rules really add back a lot of the elements I feel are lacking in the overly streamlined AoS rules. I think the AoS rules work really well for large armies, the simple rules allowing games to run smoothly. When playing smaller narrative games, there is more room for complexity. I think your AoM guidelines do a nice job of keeping most of the simplicity, and empowering people to really take advantage of a GM to improvise when necessary to enrich the experience.

      For this post I was trying to create a set of fun, theme-rich rules using only the basic AoS rules. Adapting it to the AoM rules would be pretty easy too, allowing for more depth in the rules department. It is something I will have to try out!

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    2. The real beauty of any of the "28" rulesets, is that they can vary so widely in how they approach the actual nitty-gritty of dice rolling, and still keep the narrative as the driving force of the gameplay. If you want more or fewer rules in your game, so be it. They're all just tools to enhance the narrative as you see fit, so there's room for all variations of the same game. Some of the best games I've ever seen or been a part of had almost no dice rolling, and rule minutiae were handled through storytelling.

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    3. Well stated Odie! I think if the narrative stays front and center, the ruleset is secondary.

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  3. Hi Eric, this is a fantastic article. I am Sam who created the Hinterlands rules, and I agree that they might be too stifling for players who truly want to embrace narrative and theme for their AoS28 Warband. What I liked the most is your idea to move psychology onto the unit Warscroll. The Warscrolls in AoS really open up the design space in the game and your hatred and fear rules are fantastic examples of that. I am already a fan of your work as I am a big fan of Pilgrym and the INQ28 scene. I look forward to seeing what else you come up with for AoS28 too! :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for taking the time to read over the post! For me it is only really the point values that can feel a little stifling, but for creating a robust and simple system for playing skirmish games in AoS, it was a necessity. I think you have done a fantastic job with Hinterlands, and think its greatest strength is that you did not try to overburden AoS with additional rules, but embraced AoS's simplicity. Your system allows people to start playing virtually instantly, which is great and very in the spirit of AoS. Due to this, I still think Hinterlands is one of the best systems for AoS28, because it is not so focused on adding more and more rules

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  4. Lovely work, delightfully creepy!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! Alex really did a remarkable job with the miniatures and background/theme :D

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