Issue 9 - A look at the new Magic Items

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  • This BTS publication will only cover one topic ... but WHAT A TOPIC!

    This issue, we will focus on explaining how the new Magic items will work in the next edition of the game.

    We could have included more topics, but we decided against it, since it would both mean a delay in publication as an overflow of information, so here we go with the important but "smaller" update!

    As always, we have a dedicated discussion thread for this issue. If you have any follow up questions, comments, feedback or just want to discuss the topics in this issue, please do it here: Issue 9 Discussion Thread


    Furthermore, there was a major news announcement on Saturday about the second Edition roadmap. You can find it here: The Ninth Age Second Edition - The Path Ahead. Check it out if you want to know, what the current time table looks like and when you can expect the next releases.


    The community survey on magic items and what effects it had

    Display Spoiler

    As you might remember, we had a community survey about magic items a while ago. The report, which you can find HERE, showed a wide spread of results
    • Those who preferred to keep things as they are (Status Quo) (37.6%)
    • Those who preferred to move common items (in reduced number) to armybooks (43.2%)
    While doing assessment of both results it was clear that if either one or the other was chosen, a very significant part of the community would be disgruntled with the direction.

    So a compromise was made in an attempt to bring the extremes together:
    • Keep common items in core rulebook, but reduced in number, complexity, and power level
    • Increase the number and flavour of the magic items in the army books, allowing for more complex and powerful items
    Thus, the army books will be getting additional magic item slots. Most armies will see their magic items count increased based on their army-book complexity (up to max. 15 magic items). Armies considered on the higher-end of the scale of book complexity (i.e. Vampire Covenant and Orcs and Goblins) may get a lower number. The design teams have also assessed if complexity may be cut anywhere else to allow for an increase in magic items.

    As many of the very commonly used magic items will no longer exist in the next edition of the core rulebook (bye bye Bluffers Helm), the Army Design Task Teams have had the difficult task to identify which of those changed/removed items played a crucial role for their army. In such cases, the Army Task Teams designed new (or rework) magic items with rules that help fulfil those important roles for the army in a way that was felt appropriate and flavourful with the respective army. This also includes DH, who also have been allowed to rework a number of their magic runes.

    Magic item redesign completion dates have already been reached and now RT and BLT teams are doing a round of reviews and assigning points costs to each Armybook item.


    Is there anything else changing on magic items then?

    Yes. The magic item structure is being changed and improved:
    • The magic item categories for Talismans, Arcane Items and Enchanted Items are being changed and will be merged into a new category: Trinkets. Characters may take up to 2 Trinkets
    • The magic item categories for Magic Weapons, Magic Armour and Magic Banners now become enchantments: Weapon Enchantment, Armour Enchantment and Banner Enchantment. Enchantments require a character/model to have a mundane version of the item to be enchanted
    • A number of magic items have switched category. Some old-talismans will now be found with similar effect but as an Armour enchantment, while old armour-like effects will be found under the Trinkets section
    The table below shows a summary of this category changes:

    Old CategoryNew Category
    Magic WeaponsWeapon Enchantments
    Magic ArmourArmour Enchantments
    TalismanTrinkets
    Arcane ArtefactsTrinkets (Dominant)*
    Enchanted ArtefactsTrinkets
    Magic BannersBanner Enchantments

    *The term "Dominant" will get explained in the Trinkets section of the blog

    Details on the new categories are provided below for each category:

    WEAPON ENCHANTMENTS
    Display Spoiler

    Weapon Enchantment are upgrades to weapons and you can only apply one weapon enchantment per model
    • You do no longer buy a Magic Weapon but instead ENCHANT your mundane weapon you have (similar to Dwarven Holds). However, only one Weapon Enchantment per Weapon compared to the three of Dwarven Holds (so they are still King in this regard) AND a maximum of ONE Weapon can be enchanted per model
    • You can now Parry with an Enchanted Hand Weapon
    • Armybook-specific weapons, i.e. Iron Fists, Beast Axe, Flintlock Axe and co, may not be able to benefit from Generic weapon type enchantments. Weapon enchantments may be defined for those specific weapon types in their own army books
    As it is now, you always have to use your Enchanted Weapon, even if it is just a regular Hand Weapon.

    In addition to the above, some weapon enchantments will be of generic type and applicable for any weapon-type (mostly in the core rulebook) while others will be specific to a weapon type (mostly in army books). As an example, you may find this Weapon Enchantment in the core rulebook:
    Razor Edge (*pts)

    Attacks made with a Weapon with this Weapon Enchantment gain +6 Armour Penetration and Magical Attacks and can never wound on to-wound rolls of better than 3+.
    (*) Obviously no point costs are provided in this or following examples, since we are talking about the rules changes here and not balance/prices.

    As you can see, in the case above, there is no restriction to the type of weapon that may be enchanted with it. So you can enchant a Halberd or a Lance or any other standard mundane weapon with it. If under the Weapon Enchantment name it would included "Halberd only", you would only be able to use this enchantment on a mundane Halberd

    From the currently available Magic Weapons in the BRB, many will not find their way into the next edition rulebook, others will suffer redesigns, and others will be completely new. Many of those changes were necessary as most Weapon Enchantments in the core rulebook will not be restricted to a specific Weapon Type.

    This means that a lot of different weapons in the army books get a rework to fit the new system, and also that Design Teams may have decided to create new army-specific magic weapons that better meet the needs and flavour of each army.


    ARMOUR ENCHANTMENTS
    Display Spoiler

    Armour Enchantment are upgrades to Suits of Armour and shields. A character may take BOTH a "Suit of Armour" Armour enchantment AND a "Shield" Armour enchantment, but you can only apply a single enchantment to each. This basically means:
    • You do no longer buy a Magic Armour but instead ENCHANT your mundane armour and/or Shield.
    • Helms become "Suits of Armour" enchantments
    • 'Suits of Armour' enchantments may be for generic armour types (so can be used on top of Light Armour, Heavy Armour, etc.) or specific to an armour type (i.e. "Only Light Armour")
    • "Shields" enchantments will generally offer effects that do not increase Armour Save. And in the limited cases where they may offer an Armour Save increase, it will not be a flat increase but rather a conditional effect (i.e. "Infantry only", "Against mundane attacks", etc.)
    • Army-specific armour will generally be allowed to be enchanted with the armour enchantments from the core BRB. Any exceptions will be specifically mentioned in the correspondent Army Book entry for that armour.
    • Most Wizards in the game will get access to mundane Light Armour, and thus get access to Armour Enchantments
    Lets take a look on those two examples:
    Basalt Plates (* pts) - Suits of Armour only
    The wearer gains +1 Armour Save and Fireborn
    This is the former "Dragonscale Helm" and now one of the "Suit of Armour" Enchantments. This means, when you have your Character with Heavy Armour, you can just slap this Armour Enchantment on it and get the same effects as the current Dragonscale Helm.
    Dusk Shield (* pts) - Shield only

    While using this shield the wearer may choose to reroll its failed Armour Saves. If it does, it cannot take Ward or Regeneration Saves.
    And here we have the Dusk Stone which in the next edition rulebook will become an Armour Enchantment for a Shield instead of being a Trinket. As explained before, 'Shield-type' of Armour enchantment can be taken in combination of a "Suit of Armour" Armour Enchantment.

    And remember we mentioned that Wizards would now have access to Light Armour? This is a nice Armour Enchantment they'll be able to use:
    Blessed Armour (* pts) - Suits of Armour only
    Standard size models only. The wearer gains Warding (4+) and always Armour 3*.
    *Armour 3 is the equivalent of 4+AS. Please keep in mind, that the wording regarding the term "always" will get updated in the Second Edition BRB


    What does this mean for the Army Book items?

    For some of them, nothing will change and they will just adapt to the new Armour Enchantments mechanic as explained above. Some will get improvements from this, due to the possibility to take the Shield Enchantment along a normal Armour Enchantment, and some will lose some properties due to the "No armour increasing on Shield Enchantments" aspect.

    As mentioned, similar to Weapons, many of the core rulebook magic armours will get removed with the next edition rulebook leaving space for the Army-specific items to fill the design gaps where required with items that bring army-specific flavour.


    TRINKETS

    Display Spoiler

    This is the category that now will include the current concepts of Talismans, Enchanted Items and Arcane Items. This is where you will find all the options to customise your characters besides Weapons, Armour and Banners. From protection increasing trinkets (Ward Saves, Fireborn, etc.), to Bound spells, Magic affecting items (Wand of Arcane Power) and General effects (Potion of Strength).
    • Each character will be able to take up to TWO trinkets
    • Arcane Items are Trinkets with the keyword "Dominant" (WIP name). Each model may take a maximum of 1 "Dominant" item.
    Here are some examples of Trinkets in the 2.0 BRB.
    Wand of Arcane Power (* pts)
    Dominant
    The bearer gains a +1 modifier to its casting rolls
    This is the current Book of Arcane Power which will remain available in the new edition rulebook and will see its power-level toned down a bit by only providing a bonus to cast and not to dispel. Characters will only be able to take one of these kind of items (currently Arcane Items)

    And as other Trinket examples, here's the good old Lucky Charm.
    Steel Charm (*pts)
    One use only. May be activated when the bearer's model fails an Armour Save. The failed Armour Save may be rerolled.
    And here is one of the new additions into this section
    Ranger's Boots (*pts)
    Standard size model on foot only. The bearer gains Terrain Walker and unless using Flying Movement it gains +2 Advance Rate up to a maximum of 10, and +4 March Rate up to a maximum of 20.
    NOTE: Terrain Walker is the current WIP name for Strider

    Overall, the Trinket category is the one that contains the largest amount of items, the current count being 20 items. From those, 9 are complete new ones with different kinds of effects (see "Ranger's Boots" as an example), others are getting an update to adapt to the new magic system, and others again are getting small wording updates to adapt to the rules changes. Note that the item count may slightly vary during playtesting and, therefore, should only be taken as an indication.

    As with the above Weapon and Armour sections, the Army Book Design Teams have looked at those changes to identify which needed to be covered in the Army-specific magic items and were entitled to adapt, rework or design new items to adapt to such changes and give the army the required tools with the army specific flavour


    BANNER ENCHANTMENTS
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    The Magic Banner enchantments that you will find in this category will all (or mostly) sound familiar, but there are some important changes being introduced:
    • Most Banner Enchantments in the BRB are no longer 0-1 but instead 0-3. This means, you can field more of the same BRB banners in your army promoting different playstyles
    • Some of the Banners have been seen small redesigns with some slight toning down of the power level (i.e. Fire banner is 'One use Only' now)
    • BSB has lost the option for a magic banner above his normal magic budget and is instead able to take two Magic Banner Enchantments.
    These are a couple of examples of the Magic Banner Enchantments that you will see updated in the new edition of the core rulebook
    Standard of Formation (* pts)
    0-3 per Army

    The bearer's unit increases the maximum of its Rank Bonus by +1 (normally this means the unit can add up to 4 Full Ranks to its Combat Score, or up to 5 Full Ranks if two Standards of Formation are in the same unit)
    And the current Flaming standard is been updated to:
    Fire Banner (* pts)
    0-3 per Army

    One use only. May be activated at the start of a Round of Combat or before shooting with the bearer’s unit. For the duration of the phase bearer's unit gains Flaming Attack.
    There is currently a discussion of if and which banners should and should not stack with each other. For example, something like two or even three Rending Banner on a single unit (thanks to the new BSB rule) might be broken, while three Flaming Banners on a single unit might be acceptable.

    Army Book specific Banner enchantments may follow similar path; Some may need to remain 0-1, while others may be acceptable as 0-2 or 0-3 per army. In a similar way as for other magic item categories, the design teams have assessed where changes were required and where redesigns / new banners were needed.


    This is the basic rundown of the updates that are due to happen on the magic items in the next edition.

    There may be things that need to be tweaked if felt necessary during playtesting, and still some topics being discussed internally (like current Arcane items definition) but the design teams felt that there was enough solid basis to be able to share these news with the entire community.

    We hope you have enjoyed this update. In future PR publications you may start seeing more of those new and updated magic items.

    And please remember, any comments, questions, feedback or general discussion about this Issue should be held in here: BTS Blog - Issue 9 Discussion Thread

    Furthermore, as an reminder, there was a major news announcement on Saturday about the second Edition roadmap. You can find it here: The Ninth Age Second Edition - The Path Ahead

    Enjoy!
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    Done: Close to everything

    I kind have a "blog" now: From Beer and Bretzle vol 2

    ETC 2016 - ID
    ETC 2017 - WDG

    Check out the BTS Blog: The 9th Age Behind the Scenes Blog

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Comments 18

  • Howie -

    After reading all that, I'm thoroughly looking forward to 2.0. Some cool sounding changes coming up. Although I personally don't see the need of the name change to strider. It sounds a ton better than terrain walker, which doesn't stir the imagination when you've got someone marching through woods, buildings and rivers unimpeded.

    Just my thoughts.

    • Kathal -

      Terrain Walker is just the WIP name. Why make even such WIP name? To get disconnected to the old rule which allows you to re-evaluate it better. Sounds weird, but it works.

  • Jaaf -

    I was upset after 1.1 version went away. Now I'm excited :D

  • john doc -

    Nice stuff! Although i believe many might seem dissapointed with how many things change, after playtesting and getting used to the afforementioned changes everything will be easier.
    I think the period until releasing the 2.0 version should be minimized, as the current period of time is not appropriate for new players to familiarize themselves with the game.

    A note: Shouldn't the weapon enchantments have a different cost depending on the type of weapon that is enchanted?

  • Laurfelt -

    As much as I like 9th Age, I get more and more confused as to why there has to be so many changes? Why do we need to rename a lot of things from iteration to iteration (strider --> Terrain walker as an example), and why do we need to redo all the core mechanics?

    I'm sure that balancing will become even harder now, because more (and new) parametres are being introduced. We have no data for how these changes will affect the game, meaning we will be set back a lot in terms of knowledge of what's OP, what's just right, and what's needs a boost.

    Personally, I've lost track of where everything is going since more and more complexity is being added. I think it would be a lot better, if the goal was to decrease complexity and not add to it.

    • Kathal -

      First and foremost, this is not a simple patch like from 1.2 to 1.3. This is basically a new edition, so EVERYTHING gets looked at and checked, if this has some crucial problem or not. This so called "Second Edition" will try to fix as many fundamental problems there are in the core rules to give the army book designers the necessary foundation to build upon. However, the game feeling and style has not to change (so no Skirmishing T9A ;) ). Magic Items was one of those problems, where a whole bunch of armies couldn't use the majority of items due to things like Plate Armour or Profiles (Axe of Battles is kinda useless on a Minatour Warlord (has already 6A) or an Elf (S4)). This new system fixes those problems.

      Besides this, over the last iterations of the BRB (from 0.9 till 1.3) "a lot" of complexity got cut (buildings and templates just to name a few). Now, the teams are adding complexity where it is worth it (like Magic Items). IMO it is a worth trade off.

      Regarding the names, the are many possible reasons, why names could get changed. Some of them are: Naming Guidelines, background, thematic reasons, legal reasons, style, pronunciation and similar aspects.

      Most often than not it is a combination of those reasons. Please keep in mind, we do not want to changes names for the sake of changing them but only do so, when it is deemed necessary.

  • Thurvack -

    Great Weapon + Razor Edge ???, too powerfull

    • Grouchy Badger -

      striking at initiative zero though. It could make make things like Barrow Kings actually useful for undead.

  • Glonojad -

    Sounds cool but I hope this won't return us to the times when all heroes used GWd exclusively.

    • Kathal -

      It really depends on what the Character can take otherwise. For example, many "bruisers" played currently cannot afford a magic weapon to begin with (since they need the protection/utility), so the GW is the go-to option. I just hope (and after building some different Characters I believe it), that there is a real incentive to not go the GW route, but instead take a other weapon + enchantment.

      However, this also depends on what other things the Character will be able to buy/get.

  • Shane -

    Throw me in to the "sounds great" camp!

  • Frumious -

    These sound great!

  • Pellegrim -

    Gimme Trinkets!

  • beerbeard -

    You can finally have enchanted Plate. This pleases me.

  • Grouchy Badger -

    I dont hate it. Lets Halberds and Flails use their damn shields. ITS HISTORICALLY ACCURATE

  • Ursa06 -

    Nice!