tiistai 13. kesäkuuta 2017

Units For Beardlings

Here we are again!

I was surprised by the amount of positive feedback the first part of this narrative tutorial series gained, so I decided to speed up the production of the second part to finish and publish it earlier than originally planned.

Now that the core mechanics have been scrutinised with single models we can move on to see how these same rules affect larger quantities of models. In this part of the series we'll take a look at units, what they are and how they act on the field using the same rules as singular models.

Before we dive into the narrative mode, let us discuss the Warscrolls of the units we're about to use. Although a Warscroll handily defines a whole unit in one document, there's a lot of information there that should be pored through before stepping on the battlefield.

This tutorial will be a lengthy one due to these Warscroll decrypts before the actual fight, but this is meant for absolute beginners so I can't leave any of it out. I've worked hard to explain every important aspect while leaving out only the most advanced parts that we're going to see in the two later parts.

Happy learning!

A unit of Duardin Warriors carrying Axes and Shields, accompanied by their Veteran, Standard Bearer and Hornblower.
Here we have a unit of 10 Duardin Warriors. These models form the very core of the Duardin armies, providing their commander with relatively cheap but flexible troops. The Warscroll consists of four different parts: the Description for unit composition, the Profile its models use, the Abilities available to it and the Keywords that define it.

The profile, statline or "characteristics" on the top of the Warscroll are the very same we used in the previous tutorial, defining the physique, courage, weapons and armour of each individual model in the unit. In this example the unit above consists of 10 Warriors, each of them with 1 Wound, a Save of 5+  and a Move of 4". Simple.

This part defines what armaments the unit can carry and how many are needed to form a fighting unit. A unit of Duardin Warriors may contain 10 or more models, each of them armed with either Hammers and Axes or Double-handed Axes. This represents the choice you are given when you assemble the unit from the box: you can either give them arms that hold hammers and axes in one hand and a shield in the other, or arms that heft double-handed axes with their shields on their backs.
The wording on the description always provides you with the options you have, often in a rather descriptive manner: "Most warriors enter battle armed with [Option A], but some units prefer instead to wield [Option B] to cut down their foes with mighty swings. Many units also carry [Additional Option (e.g. shields)]."

The description also shows you the options for Command models, usually unit champions, standard bearers and musicians.

Veteran is the leader of a unit of Duardin Warriors, sometimes referred to as a champion. He gives the unit an additional Attack and is represented by the coolest or most decorated model in the unit.

Standard Bearer has two options for his banner in this unit. A Runic Icon will protect the unit from enemy magics while a Clan Banner makes the models in the unit braver than normal. This particular unit chose the Clan Banner for this battle, the effects of which we shall see further down the tutorial. The model is pretty easy to spot, he's the one carrying that giant pole!

Hornblower is represented by the model with a horn in the place of his shield. As we can see on the Warscroll, he provides the unit with a bonus to Run.

Abilities are passive or activated effects that affect the unit during battles. These vary greatly in each Warscroll, giving each unit its own purpose and use on the battlefield.

Resolute in Defence is an ability that transforms the hardiness and determination of the Duardin race into an in-game effect, making the unit slightly more deadly during your opponent's turn. As is the case with many "regular" infantry units, the ability gets stronger the more models you have in the unit, representing strength in numbers.

Duardin Shields is an activated ability granted to the unit by slapping some shields on them during assembly. If the unit does not act aggressively during its own turn, it forms a shieldwall to improve its melee defence until your next turn. This ability makes Duardin Warriors a great unit to hold locations, especially when standing in Cover.

Runic Icon & Clan Banner describe the effects granted to the unit by their Standard Bearer model as discussed above.

Keywords are definitions that apply to the unit, describing its allegiance, race, faction and unit name. Keywords are very important in the game as many spells, abilities and other special rules only affect units with certain keywords. We'll delve more into these in the third part of the tutorial, Heroes For Beardlings!

A unit of Thunderers, armed with Handguns and accompanied by their Veteran, Standard Bearer and Drummer.
This unit of 10 Thunderers represents the missile units of the Duardin armies. Short-ranged but more powerful than crossbows or longbows, these firearms will seriously hurt anyone who tries to get too close.

Veteran of this unit may choose a Handgun with +1 To Hit bonus or a Brace of Pistols that's basically one additional Attack but much shorter range. In this example the Pistols were chosen.

Standard Bearer may choose between a Runic Icon and a Clan Banner in the same manner as the Warriors. The Clan Banner was chosen.

Drummer does exactly the same as Hornblower does to the Warriors. Banners and Musicians usually maintain the same effects across the whole army, but there are exceptions so read every Warscroll carefully.

Precision Fire is an ability that activates if the unit has enough models in it and there are no foes nearby. Quite powerful as the only bad thing about those Handgun stats seems to be that rather average To Hit value and this ability fixes the issue, but you need to remember to keep some distance to the enemy.

Duardin Bucklers confer the same bonus to Thunderers as the Duardin Shields provide to Warriors. This ability makes a non-aggressive Thunderer unit almost as good in melee as a unit of Warriors, but I'd advise against it as they're much more useful when used at range (see Precision Fire).

A unit of 10 Savage Orruks, armed with Chompas and Bone Shields. Unit's Savage Boss, Bone Totem and Skull Thumper standing at the fore.
Here we have 10 Savage Orruks, the statline of whom we're already quite familiar with from the previous tutorial. A pretty average melee unit with mediocre damage output but solid resilience due to each model having 2 Wounds in its profile!

Savage Boss grants the unit an additional Attack.

Skull Thumper makes sure the unit succeeds its critical charge moves to reach the enemy as soon as possible.

Bone Totem represents the natural fightyness of the orruk race. Who would run away when there are more foes to smash?

Mad with the Power of the Waaagh! grants the unit more melee efficiency the more models it contains, a textbook example of regular infantry abilities.

Bone Shield grants an improved Save only in melee which makes this unit vulnerable to missile fire.

Right, with the introductions out of the way we can now watch the battle and see all of the above in action!


Godri Thurnigsson removed his horned helmet to wipe sweat off his brow. They had been marching along the old overgrown duardin road for days in order to reach the Grimpick Outpost before the week's end. A runner had been sent from the holdfast with an urgent report of barbarian raids in the region, and Godri's detachment was the reply to that plea. He was to take his warriors to the Grimpick Outpost to asses the severity of the raids and bolster the garrison's ranks until such time that a larger contingent of reinforcements could be sent.

The day was a hot one, the old road or the trees beside it offering no protection against the unforgiving rays of the sun. Not even a single refreshing breeze had eased their distress during the whole journey. Godri slapped a buzzing insect flat against his sturdy neck, swiping the dead bug to the ground before placing his helmet back on his brown curls. This day would be a suffering.

The 1st Battleround starts with the Duardin turn, which begins with the Movement phase. The Move value of the Warriors is 4" and the unit decides to Run. However, as their Hornblower grants them the ability to skip the run roll and automatically add 4" to their move, the unit makes a move of 4"+4"=8". The distance is measured from the front models and the rest are moved behind them in the same manner. Models in the same unit must always remain within 1" of at least one other model from the unit. It's scary to wander off alone!
The Thunderers are moved in the same manner, but as they carry Missile Weapons they decide not to run in order to be able to use their Handguns if needed. Every model in the unit moves forward 4". All units in the Duardin army have now moved and as there are no enemies to shoot or charge at, their turn ends.
The duardin column waded its way along the road, kicking at roots and weeds that sought to tangle around their boots. To keep their minds from their misery and to stay focused on the task at hand, the musician of the Warriors blew out a marching note, a steady rhythm with which it was easy to keep up a steady pace.
The Thunderers kept silent as they walked, eyeing the woods suspiciously while keeping their guns loaded and unslung from their backs.

Now the Orruks get to play their first turn. Their unit comes in from ambush, 4" away from the Duardin Warriors. Models are not allowed to move within 3" of enemy models unless they are performing a charge move.
The Orruks used their Movement phase while emerging from ambush and they carry no missile weapons, so they prepare for a charge. The distance is 4", which they need to equal or beat by rolling two dice. The Orruks roll a 3, which is not enough, but their Skull Thumper model adds +2 to their charge rolls so the final total is 3"+2"=5", making the charge succesful!
Then suddenly a furious warcry sounded across the glade, assaulting the senses of the marching duardin. A mob of orruks emerged from the nearby woods, shouting insults and challenges at their foes as they surged forth from the shadows.

Each Orruk model is moved forward 5", which was their rolled charge distance. At last one model from the unit must finish this move within ½" of an enemy model.
With the charge over, it is time for close combat. The players take it in turns to select one of their units to attack with, starting with the player who's turn it currently is. The Savage Orruks are now chosen to be activated for combat. Each model in the activated unit gets to Pile In 3" towards the nearest enemy model.
The orruks poured from the treeline and fell upon the duardin column, stumbling over each other in their hurry to take part in the fighting.

Once the orruks have Piled In, it is time to sum up their Attacks. Their Chompas have Range of 1", so each model within 1" of the Duardin gets to strike. There are 7 regular Savage Orruks (1 Attack) and one Savage Boss (2 Attacks) within range, for a total of 9 Attacks.
Their Chompas have a To Hit value of 4+, which means 5 hits and 4 misses after the dice are rolled.
The dice that indicated a hit are picked up and rolled again, this time To Wound (3+). Every single attack succeeded in causing injury!
The Duardin are now allowed to roll for their Saves (5+). The Duardin unit ran during its own turn so their Duardin Shields offer no help this time. Five dice are rolled (equal to the number of Attacks that came through) and three are successfully saved, 2 are not. With 2 Chompa Attacks unsaved, the Damage value of the weapon is checked. Chompa's Damage is 1, so the Duardin unit takes 1x2=2 Damage and two models are removed as casualties. The Duardin player may freely pick the models he/she removes.
Like a hurricane of violence the savages crashed into the marching ranks of Godri's men who had no time to brace for the impact, immediately sending two warriors bleeding to the ground. Others were more lucky, managing to turn aside incoming strikes with their axes or simply dodging them by stepping aside at the last moment.

Although it's still the Orruk turn, the Duardin player chooses a unit to activate in combat. The Warriors are chosen and Piled In 3" towards the nearest enemies. Models that are in contact with the enemy may not Pile In, as they can't get any closer than they already are. 7 regular Warriors (1 Attack) and one Veteran (2 Attacks) have enemies within their Axe's Range (1"). 7+2=9 dice are rolled.
With a To Hit of 3+, the Warriors score 6 hits and 3 misses.
The Warrior's Axes have a To Wound value of 4+, indicating only 2 successes. However, it is currently their enemy's turn so the Warrior's Resolute in Defence -ability comes into play, allowing to re-roll failed To Wound rolls of 1. The 1s are picked up and rolled again, but unfortunately neither of them scores above the required 4+.
The Orruks now roll for their Saves, which is improved from 6+ to 5+ thanks to their Bone Shields conferring a bonus in close combat. Both Save rolls are successful, indicating that no Damage is dealt.
Godri and his Warriors put up a good fight, laying about them with measured strikes from their axes. The ferocity of the orruks and shock their ambush had caused took a toll on the skills of the duardin, their few true-striking swings bouncing off crude bone shields and tough orange hides.

At the end of each turn, both players will take Battleshock tests for all their units that have suffered casualties over the turn. The Duardin Warriors have lost 2 models in the fighting, so they roll a dice and add the number of casualties to the roll. If this total exceeds the unit's Bravery value, one model will flee for each point the Bravery was exceeded by. The Duardin player rolls a 6, for a total of 6+2=8 against the unit's Bravery of 6. This means two more models will be removed, but luckily the unit's Clan Banner halves the number of fleeing models and the Warriors lose only one additional fighter.
With all the moving, charging, fighting and fleeing done for the Orruks' turn, the 1st Battleround ends and the 2nd begins with the Duardin.
The shock of the ambush and the horrible destruction wrought by these beasts was too much for some of the warriors. Many cast desperate gazes at their clan's banner and took heart from seeing it still standing proudly amidst the carnage, but one of the youngbeards lost heart altogether and fled into the woods behind them.

Godri Thurnigsson shook his head in disbelief as he parried yet another clumsy blow from an orruk almost twice his height. It seemed his detachment might never make it to the Grimpick Outpost after all...

The second turn of the Duardin begins with Movement again. The Warriors are in combat and choose not to move, but the Thunderers spread out and prepare to shoot, each individual model edging closer only 1" or 2" (out of their allowed maximum of 4") to find a good spot for firing. Models in the same unit are considered to be able to "see through" their comrades in terms of shooting and line-of-sight.
The maximum Range of their Handguns is 16", easily reaching the Orruks. Even the Veteran's Brace of Pistols is in range (8").
The leader of the Thunderers had called a halt as soon as the trap was sprung. He spread out his men with short, barked orders and arranged them into a firing line. Retaliation would be swift.

"In the name of Grungni, let's show 'ese savages what it means t' cross the path o' the duardin!"

The unit has moved but not run, so it may now fire its Missile Weapons. Each Thunderer's Handgun makes 1 Attack while the Veteran's Pistols make 2, for a total of 11 shots.
The Handgun's To Hit value is 4+ (Precision Fire not in use due to low model count), and the unit scores 6 hits and 5 misses.
Of these hits, 5 manage to pass the To Wound roll of 3+.
(I made a mistake here, the orruks' Bone Shields only help in the combat phase so they actually had no save against the Handguns, but please play along! This still helps explaining Rend)
The Orruks now roll for their Saves (5+), but as the Handuns have a Rend value of -1, their Save is reduced to 6+. Amazingly 2 shots are still blocked, and only three attacks go through.
Handgun's Damage value is 1, so the Orruks suffer 1x3=3 Damage from the gunfire. As each of the models has 2 Wounds, the first 2 Damage are allocated to one model until it is slain, and the remaining 1 Damage is then allocated to another model that still stays on the field with 1 Wound remaining. The owner of the unit may allocate Damage in the unit as she/he pleases, but there can only ever be one damaged model in the unit at any given time, who has to be slain before allocating Damage on another model in the unit.
Ear-splitting booms echoed across the landscape as the Thunderers unloaded their weaponry, pouring a rain of lead into the exposed backs of the Orruks. Tough hides and masses of muscle protected many of the beasts, but one of their number fell screaming to the ground with gory holes in its torso. Some of the shots struck the orruk behind the first, splattering its side with its own blood as the bullets drilled into its weapon arm to render it useless.

With the shooting done and no need for charging, it is time for close combat. The Duardin go first as it is their turn, sending 8 Attacks at their adversaries.
The rolls To Hit (3+) show 4 hits and 4 misses.
2 attacks manage to cause injury when rolling To Wound (4+).
The Orruks take their Save of 5+ and manage to block one.
That single Axe Attack that went through caused 1 Damage, taking the last Wound off the damaged Orruk model and killing it.
"Come on, lads! We can push these brutes back to their forest holes!"

Godri smacked his hammer across the face of a wounded orruk in front of him, sending the beast onto its back on the ground. All around him his warriors were standing their ground, determined to sell their lives as dearly as possible.

The Orruks strike back with 9 Attacks.
6 hits, 3 misses (To Hit 4+)
3 injuries inflicted (To Wound 3+)
The Duardin roll for their Save of 5+... but alas, they fail them all!
This is where their Ability Duardin Shields comes into play. The unit did not run or charge in its current turn so they may re-roll all their failed Saves. This time 2 Saves are succesful and the ability has paid off pretty good, only one model was lost!
Emboldened by their Veteran's example and starting to recover from the initial shock of the ambush, the Warriors locked their shields together and weathered their enemies' clumsy blows that harmlessly bounced off duardin-forged steel and strongwood. Only one warrior was too slow to join the shieldwall and met his fate under an overhead blow from a jagged chompa.

The Duardin turn is nearly over and units test for Battleshock. The Duardin Warriors roll a 5 which added to the single casualty only totals 6, not exceeding the unit's Bravery (6). No models will flee this turn!
The Orruks are not so lucky. They roll a 6 which added to the casualties totals 8, and the unit's Bravery is merely 5. Fortunately their Bone Totem grants them +2 Bravery as long as there are enemy models within 3" of them, raising their Bravery to 7 so that only one model flees.
The second Duardin turn is over and the second Orruk turn begins.
With their current success in standing their ground against the relentless assault, the duardin steeled their minds and refused to accept defeat. None in their shieldwall faltered, and their valiant defence proved to be too much for one of the orruks who stalked back into the woods.

The Orruks have no will to shift from the combat, so they eschew moving and start swinging immediately. 8 Attacks are sent at the Duardin from the remaining Savage Orruks.
4 hits, 4 misses (To Hit 4+)
2 rolls manage To Wound (3+) succesfully
Once again the Duardin roll for their Saves (5+, re-roll), managing to fend off the other attack but still taking one casualty. (The roll of one was re-rolled but the new result was a 3, still failing the Save)
The Orruks were beginning to realize their peril. If they could not break the duardin warriors quickly, the withering salvos from the Thunderers would surely cut them apart. In a horrible combination of primal fury and panic, the brutes managed to break the shieldwall and drag one unfortunate warrior to his doom under heavy blows from flintstone chompas.

The reduced Warriors strike back with 6 Attacks.
5 hits, 1 miss (To Hit 3+)
4 injuries, 1 scratch (To Wound 4+)
The Orruks fail 3 out of 4 Saves (5+), resulting in a total of 3 Damage: one Orruk is slain (2 Damage) and another suffers 1 Damage.
Godri's loyal warriors were hardened practitioners of their trade and the gap in their line was quickly filled, with one Orruk getting its skull split by the cold bite of an axe in the process.

The Orruk turn is at an end and Battleshocks are tested. Neither side loses any models to the horrors of war.
Duardin: 5+1=6 VS Bravery 6
Orruks: 5+1=6 VS Bravery 5+2=7
The 2nd Battleround has been concluded, and the 3rd Battleround begins with the Duardin turn.
The ambush had already lost its edge and the battle had turned into a grinding war of attrition. The Orruks were outnumbered and their ferocity was beginning to fail in the face of the duardin determination. Godri sensed this and decided to use this lingering moment of enemy doubt to his advantage...

In the Movement phase the Warriors perform a Retreat. When a unit starts its turn within 3" of enemy models it may only move by retreating (if it decides to move at all), which means it has to end its move more than 3" away from any enemies and may not shoot or charge this turn, but may still run as a part of the retreat. The Warriors use their Hornblower to automatically run 4", taking them 4"+4"=8" away from the Orruks.
"Fall back! Retreat, lads!" Godri bellowed to his men as he bashed his shield against one of the brutes and began disengaging. His warriors obeyed without delay, falling back from the fight while protecting themselves with their shields.

Once he and his men were safely away from the abashed orruks, he gave a signal to the Thunderers by lifting his hammer high into the air.

"Now, Nadri!"

The Thunderers make use of the following Shooting phase, sending 11 Attacks at the Orruks.
8 hits, 3 misses (To Hit 4+)
5 shots out of 8 manage To Wound (3+)
(I made the same mistake here again, the Orruks wouldn't actually get a Save against Handguns)
4 shots go unblocked, causing 4 Damage to the Orruk unit.
4 Damage is enough to slay the wounded model (1 Damage), as well as a second (2 Damage) and still wound a third Orruk (1 Damage)!
Nodding to the Warrior Veteran's signal, Nadri raised his pistols and gave the command to fire a volley. A withering salvo swept over the orruks, felling two and leaving others wounded and bleeding. The savages cast worried glances at each other and their mob's Boss to determine whether it was safer to run for the hills or to stay and obey.

The Duardin turn ends with the Battleshock phase. The Orruks roll a 6 and add 2 for their casualties, resulting in a total of 8. Their Bravery value is 5 and there are no enemies within 3" to trigger the Bone Totem bonus anymore, so the test exceeds their Bravery by 3. Three models are removed, leaving only the wounded Savage Boss in the unit.
The Orruks have no hope of winning anymore and they have lost the battle, the Duardin stand victorious!
The fear of receiving another volley of lead was greater than the orruks' fear of their own leader. The brutes turned tail and ran, vanishing into the woods they had emerged from. The bleeding Boss stood amidst the mound of corpses on the road for a heartbeat before letting out a defiant roar and sprinting after its mob.

Godri removed his battered helmet and let it fall into the grass. The ran his meaty fingers through his sweat-soaked hair and straightened his beard, taking in lungfuls of warm summer air before issuing orders for his panting detachment.

"Grimnir's beard, lads... We'll be late at this rate! I want another twelve miles behind us before the sun sets, so let's move on!"

He picked up his helmet and hung it from a hook in his belt. Let the orruks come again if they dared, Godri Thurnigsson would still walk the rest of the way refreshingly bare-headed!


Whew, what a marathon to write!

In this tutorial I actually rolled the dice and accepted the results that came up instead of choosing them for the sake of clarity. Worked pretty well I think, the Rend and Retreat rules fit pretty nicely in there amidst all the basic combat and several Battleshock tests.

I hope this narrative tutorial clarified something about Warscroll anatomy and unit behaviour in Age of Sigmar, in the next tutorial we'll delve into heroes and their capabilities to affect the flow of battle.

Thank you for sticking along through the whole post, it was a lengthy one but perhaps that was for the best.

Until next time!

Ei kommentteja:

Lähetä kommentti