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8/21/2015

The armies of the Apocalypse are here. New Formations from "End Times: Archaon"!

We're getting closer to the end of my sort-of "End Times" review. This time I'm going to analyze new Formations, presented in "Archaon".





Only two more to go folks. For this article I'll review the single new army available for the Forces of Chaos, as well as new Battlescrolls, some of which are quite interesting!

1. The Grand Legion of the Everchosen


Prepare your anus


So finally they've brought back the combined Chaos armies... with a Skaven twist added to them. This force let's you use every single Chaos and Rat unit available and uses the rules of Legions of Chaos from "End Times: Glottkin". That's it. Really. No special rules, no unique stuff. Just a combined army, made from four armies, but it's enough. Finally the Chaos players can fulfill their fantasies and deploy every single baddie at their disposal. This army's great, mainly because of the addition of Skaven who not only bring strong magic but also some much needed ranged units to the Forces of the Four, who normally are pretty poor in this department. Of course, like with every other ET army, this one should only be used in the End Times games, but you can probably guess that already.


2. The Blood Hunt


"Dude! We're in the wrong game!"

Ka'Bandha decided that he was bored of being a Blood Angels punching bag (altough he was pretty badass in James Swallow's "Fear to Tread"), so he hopped to Warhammer Fantasy to be useless here as well. Well not really as this Formation is really, really nasty. First of all it consists of 3 different Bloodthirsters from the "End Times: Archaon" which in itself is fucking hardcore. Then there are 3 units of Bloodletters, 2 units of Flesh Hounds and a single unit of Bloodcrushers. As you can see this is an all-exclusive Daemon army, which can be both a blessing (Fear, Morale) and a curse (Light Magic). It's special rules are pretty khorny with "Blood-trackers" giving D3 Bloodletter units the Vanguard deployment special rule for those nasty, early charges while "The Hunt is on" grants the whole army Hatred and the ability to re-roll failed charges, but only as long as the enemy General is still alive. This is a perfect example of "get-in-your-face" force which strikes hard and mercilles. While being a Daemon-only force has it's drawbacks, especially in the "End Times" where magic is much easier to use, if this army will get a drop on their enemy, then he's done for. Like, for reals.


3. The Army of Blight


Still the best female sculpt that GW has ever done


Nurgle isn't finished with the End Times and he sends his waifu Isabella the Accursed, to wreck some shit (no pun intended). Aside from the Vampiress-turned-Chaos-Lord-or-something, we have a Great Unclean One, 3 units of Plaguebearers, 1 unit of Plague Drones of Nurgle and 2 units of Nurglings. Again, all the Daemons, all the time. This Battlescroll's rules are really nice when it comes to facing armies that are both shooty and low LD, like the Empire for example. "Sound the Endless Tally" reduces both the enem's Leadership by -1 AND their General's Inspiring Presenece to measly 6''. Great stuff for those humie armies relying on their War Altars. "Roiling Plagueswarm" protects Nurgle's troops by making them more immune to ranged attacks, as the enemy will suufer and additional -1 penalty to Hit, something which is great for synergy with some artifcats/special rules/spells that further make your guys and gals harder to cap. While I like this army a lot, it certainly lacks the punch of The Blood Hunt and should be taken as an ally to a bigger force. On its own The Army of Blight is just too situational, as its special rules won't make an impression on high LD armies.

4. The Host of Death


Still the worst sculpt that GW has ever done

 

Nagash is still in the game and he proves this by assembling his Host of Death. Nagash, Arkhan and Krell are leading a single units of Morghasts and Morghast Archai, 1 unit of Grave Guard and 1 units of Black Knights. Caster heavy, this army also packs a punch with Morghasts and Knights (Krell helps too, altough he's a rather weaksauce in ET). Arkhan proves himself a reall alpha caster who recieves a friggin' +3 bonus to all his casting attempts, as long as Nagash is "alive", thanks to the "First Disciple" special rule. Then there's the aptly named "Doomed Legion" army trait that makes both Grave Guard and Black Knights WS5 while saving them 2 Wounds in case of the Unstable rule. Like I said, this Formation can cast really well and hit really well and I like the diversity. Sure, it will still suffer from Light Magic, but given how fast it can get into enemy's ranks and having both Nagash and Arkhan for some summoning goodness, the Host of Death is really good and definetly worth considering for all you necrophiliacs out there.

5. The Host of Fire


This one's ok. However it's in Finecast. So not really ok


A subdivision of sorts of the Host of the Eternity King, this one is comprised of units from all 3 elven factions, led by Caradryan in his Incarnate form and a single Annointed of Asuryan on a Flamespyre Phoenix, which he must take. It seems that this one is supposed to force your opponent into tears as it not only brings two strong leader characters, but also 2 units of Phoenix Guard, 1 unit of White Lions, a single unit of Har Ganeth Executioners and 1 unit of Asrai's Eternal Guard. Low on magic, high on ass-kicking. Everyone get +1 Strength when  using Wake of Fire, thanks to the "Flamestorm" special rule, while "Fires of Vengance" grant all units Flaming Attacks and Devastating Charge, but only as long as Caradryan's alive. Given how tough the Elves are in ET, him being alive for the end of most games should be a given really. This army combines the Elves' excellent speed and high Initiative with some nasty charge options and CC damage buffs. Like I said before, it's good for making your opponent cry and bitch. A lot.

6. The Throng of Metal


"Hi Ho Quicksilver!"


Dwarfs, Dwarfs all the time. Also Balthasar Gelt in his Incarnate form. He leads this merry band of Stunties together with a Runelord, 2 units of Thunderers, 1 unit of Irondrakes, 1 unit of Ironbreakers, 2 Cannons, 1 Organ Gun and 2 Gyrocopters. This is almost enough Dakka. Imagine sticking an Engineer or two in here. Scary stuff. Definetly the most shooty of all the "Archaon's" Battlescrolls, The Throng of Metal also has some interesting special rules. "Grungni's Blessing" grants everyone a +1 bonus to their armour saves and The Armour Piercing special rules! Chriiiiist! Those Cannons... These Ironbreakers... Of course this rule works only as long as Gelt's alive, but given that he's a buffing Loremaster (mainly), there's little chance that he'll be seeing a lot of frontline combat. Then there's the "Prepared Volley" special rule and this one's not funny at all for this force's opponnt. During the first Shooting phase (and first only) roll a D6 for each warmachine and missile unit in this Formation. On a 5+ it can fire twice... on a diffrent target as well. Wow... This is almost as broken as the fucking elven units from ET... Almost. This force is a 100% gunline one, pure and simple. Combine it with a melee Dwarf or Empire one, stick some Engineers and have fun. Your opponent won't have it tough, so be wary of that.

7. The Beast-Waaagh!


Prepare to get crumped

 

Not-Ghazghkull brought his Boyz with him and went to town. Grimgor, Incarnate of Beasts, leads some Orcs and Ogres to where the fight is thickest. 2 units of Black Orcs, 2 units of Orc Boyz, 1 unit of Orc Boar Boyz, a single Giant, 2 units of Ogres, 1 unit of Ironguts and 1 unit of Leadbelchers comprise this army. Not a lot of shooting, but a lot crashing 'eads. Both units of Boyz and Boar Boyz MUST be upgraded to Big 'Uns which makes them even more buffed. Also Animosity's gone, thanks to the "Keepin' Order" special rule and finally the "Beast-Waaagh!" allows every unit in this Formation to get benefits from the Waaagh! in the turn it is called, as well as the ability to re-roll one or more dice during charges. It's complete oposite of the previous Formation, with only a single ranged unit, and a lot of CQC potential. The lack of casters hurt this one, but then it's a Battlescroll. Just stick it into a bigger army with some Shamans and you're set.

8. The Host of Shadow


I know it's not cannon in the "End Times", but still... This artwork is pretty sweet

 

GW really needs you to know, that "Archaon" will feature every, single important character from both the "End Times" and Warhammer Fantasy as a whole. This time it's Malekith, the Eternity King, leading a combined forces from all 3 elven factions... again. 1 unit of Black Guard, 1 unit of Phoenix Guard, 1 unit of Wildwood Rangers, 1 unit of Darkshards, 1 unit of Black Ark Corsairs, 1 unit of High Elf Spearmen and 1 War Hydra - that's all you get in this Formation, and that's quite a lot. This one seems like a nice combination of both melee and ranged units, but it still feel like it should really stick to the enemy and bash him in some good, old fashioned close combat, especially with the rules it has. "Gloomstriders" make the whole army ignore Dangerous Terrain tests and make it harder to hit with missile fire, but only as long as Malekith is alive and only to those within 12'' of him. Meanwhile "Master of Shadow" allows Malekith to cast the Steed of Shadows spell on his own UNITS (awesome) and more than once each turn, as long as his targeting his own guys. The spell's range is further increased to 36''. This final rule clearly shows  that this army is in fact kitted out for close combat and should be racing for its opponent as fast as possible.


9. The Host of Life


Ah, the good ol' times...

 

Alarielle reminds us that in the "End Times" she can be just as dangerous as everyone else. Being a character heavy Formation, this one includes Durthu, Naestra and Arahan, 1 Treeman Ancient, a single Handmaiden of the Everqueen, 1 unit of Sisters of Avelorn, 2 units of Glade Guard, 1 unit of Deepwood Scouts, 1 unit of Wild Riders and 3 units of Dryads. The Sisters of Twilight must be mounted on Ceithin-Har, but that's it for restrictions. Now the fun part - every unit in this Formation has th Regeneration special rule, thanks to "Limitless Renewal" special rule. Holy crap, that's just absurd and pretty awesome at the same time. This army's second rule is pretty meh tough, as it grants both Durthu and the Treeman Ancient Hatred against any enemy that is within 12'' of Alarielle. Like I said - meh, but the regeneration thingie is great. Combined with the Lore of Life and the Hosts of Life overall high Movement and Initiative, it can bring a nasty surprise to your opponent... as long as he isn't packing a lot of fire(power).

10. The Host of Light


He's back, because when you want to make someone's sacrifice seem meaningful, it's best to ressurect them later

 

The last Formation is here and it delivers. Combining both forces from the Empire and the Host of the Eternity King, it is led by Tyrion, Incarnate of Light, Imrik, Crown Prince of Caledor and 2 Elven Princes. It consists of 1 unit of Reiksguard, 2 units of Knightly Orders, a single unit of Demigryphs, 2 Lothern Skycutters, 2 units of Silver Helms and 1 unit of Cold One Knights. Clearly a fast moving, hard hitting, uncompromising force and an incredibly tough at that. Every single unit in this Formation gets a +D3 combat result when charging, instead of a +1, all thanks to the "Earth-shaking Charge" special rule. Its second unique trait is the "Vengeance of Hysh:, granting all of its units Hatred against Daemons and Undead, something which can be incredibly nasty when facing the Blood Hunt. This army isn't really subtle as it's very similar to The Beast-Waaagh! Just point it at the enemy and let fly. They'll take care of the rest.

That's it for today. New army and new formation are done. Personally I liked the "Thanquol's" Battlescrolls more. They seemed more fleshed out and unique. Here there are only few that are worth trying out, mainly the Throng of Metal, The Host of Death and The Blood Hunt. Elves are incredibly strong it ET by themselves, they don't really need special formations to get the job done. The Host of Light is good, but it's just a buffed up, all cavalry army, which can be easily made, using any vanilla rulebook. This part of the "End Times: Archaon" wasn't bad, but it was nothing unique either. Let's see if the special characters section will be able to improve my opinion on this book.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

8/10/2015

Role-playing Rants: Don't reinvent the wheel. Just don't. Please

And now for something completely different. I've decided to talk about an issue that is very commong in RPG's - reinventing the wheel.

Every Gamemaster out there knows that familiar feeling of euphoria after successfuly running their very first game. You suddendly realize that memorizing all the details, the drawing of maps, memorizing every detail about various NPC's - that it was all worth your effort. Then comes the inevitable idea of making your own adventure, or even camapign! After all if you've ran your first module without breaking a sweat, then it shouldn't be that hard to make one of your own, right?

It sure is

Generally yeah, it's true. However there is a one, very distinctive trap, that most new GM's (myself included) usually fall to. I call it the reinvention of the wheel and it can really put a dent on your gamemastering for a very long time, if not forever.

So let's say that you've discovered a brand new game system, fell in love with its rules and background but think that maybe there is a way to improve some things. Those Red Dragons could really use a few additional wounds and that magic lore is way too tight with its casting rules. Maybe add some more combat actions, just to spice up the game a bit? Or why not grant every single crossbow an additional D3 damage? I mean, it won't hurt the game in any way, right?

Wrong. Very, very wrong. Usually at least. You see, messin' with the set of your play is all fine and well, but only as far as you know what you're doing. Change too much and your whole game desintegrates faster than a sand castle during a hurricane. First of all, you should always ask yourself: "why do I want to change the rule X?". Why indeed? Do you think it will improve the overall quality of the game? If yes, then another question should follow: "but what if that change brings some unfortunate consequences later in the future?". If you're willing to dabble in the already established rules, made by people who are (no offence) probably better at writing them then you are, hell, who are PAID to write them so that they will work, then you should really consider what are you doing in the first place. Even if for the sake of your epic and oh-so-original-one-in-a-million campaign, you want all your monsters to deal additional 3D10 damage per hit for the sake of epicness (god, I hate that word), then stop. Put your head around it all. Inhale, exhale, think again. If, for some reason, your are convinced that it might work... then go to one of many online RPG forums and post your ideas there, see what others might think about them. Many GM's, both fresh and experienced, make the obvious mistake of thinking that they know exactly what their players want, because fuck you, they are GM's and they know best.

That's of course a load shit.

This fine blog's SFW dear readers

Seriously, if you have such an attitude then don't be a GM, like ever. You are simply not fit to be one. Being a good GM (because why would you like to be a shitty one?) isn't about pursuing your own masturbation fantasies about that one adventure where Aragorn meets Judge Dredd and they fall into all sorts of shenanigans, and it will be awesome, and what not. No, it's about providing your party with a game, where A) they play the main role and B) that is decent and well made. If you're thinking why I consider putting players before a good game, it's because every RPG is only as good, as the people who are playing it. You may run a campaign that has a few plot holes here and there, but if your crew is decent and tight, then it won't matter in the long run. Play God however, and one that "always knows best what's good for his subjects", and you're in a for a dissapointing experience, but what's worse, so are your players. I was always in opinion that in any tabletop role play, GM should be the one doing a kind of public service, if I may use such term. When one puts on a GM hat (like I always do, since I'm a Forever GM at heart), he must know what kind of shit he gets himself into and accept it, without presumption that "at least I'll do it my way, and if someone dosen't like it, then they can fuck the right off".

If you're that kind of person, then you might as well stamp this on your forehead  and call it a day

Such attitude is a sure sign that you should NOT and I repeat SHOULD NOT be a Gamemaster and may in fact prove your complete and utter douchebaggery. It's a sacrifice. Sacrifice of your time, your energy, your evenings and sometimes your good mood, when once again some of your players won't show up, or try to force you to acknowledge their ridiculous idea about transporting a full suit of plate armour through a lake with only a few strands of rope. Tough shit mate, it happens. If you've decided to lead this band of misfits and provide a weekly dose of entertainment for them, then you should do it with dignity and selflesness. If you expect some huge reward in return in form of general admiration, back slapping and being able to pass any retarded idea that currently occupies your mind, just pass. Let it go, find someone else to be a leader. The only reward a good Gamemaster might expect is the look of satisfaction on his players faces and maybe a few nice words of a job well done. What he should not expect however is the appreciation of being part in his little private drama about Brock Stonefist, the awesome half-daemon, half-man from the ninth circle of the Abyss.

Pictured: a right kind of Brok Stonefist (model by Tom Sawyer)

Leave Brock at home, or even better don't waste your effort on creating a shitty, one-dimensional character who's only there to show others what an awesome dude you are. The same thing applies to Aragorn-Dredd fanfiction. Because that's what ideas like these are. A fanfiction, and a shitty one at that. So keep the fuck away from them, or you'll end up being the only one who participates in them.

Don't be THAT GM and don't reinvent the wheel, it's not worth it. Trust me. Just be a GM and reap the fruits of a good game that brought smiles and a sense of satisfaction, both to your players and yourself. That's all there is to it.

Nothing good can come out of it

Until next time (with Archaon this time)

Xathrodox86