The Savage Arts of Playtrolling

    This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.

    The latest issue of the 9th Scroll is here! You can read all about it in the news.

    Our beta phase is finally over. Download The Ninth Age: Fantasy Battles, 2nd Edition now!

    • Because you know I like a good ol' argument now an' then...

      Lost all my formatting to the Dark Gods of HTML - noooOOOO!


      A) n00b-mode
      I very much respect feelings. The feelings of a casual nerd are no less valuable to me than those of a die hard basement dweller. I try my best to separate whats just statements of opinion from actual arguments.

      Much appreciated - even a broken clock is right at least twice a day, as the saying goes. Also, bear in mind that discussions like this about proposals are often crippled by our own limited meta-experience, and that certainly includes mine.


      B) My omittance of the weaknesses of the steadfast-by-bloat unit.
      This is correct. I did not list the weaknesses of the steadfast-by-bloat unit. Mostly because my argument in this case is not really an argument _against_ steadfast-by-bloat as much as it is an argument _for_ the inclusion of steadfast-by-discipline.

      If your proposal is willing to ditch Inspiring Presence applying to steadfast, then I think I could get behind it.


      C) Everything needs a drawback.
      I would argue that the Battle Line oriented infantery have an abundance of drawbacks ranging from the lesser, like being prone to stomps - to the greater, like being hard to manouvre.
      On top of that I would assume the supreme drawback factor (as with all other entities in this game) is their points cost.

      Depends on the unit: 50 Orc Bow/Spears is pretty good, just ask Seaguard , and don't get me started on Hobgoblins with spears/shields...


      D) Chaff
      A very good point.
      So what is the narrative of the chaff? What is its heroic statement?
      I hear it as "I will die - but my death will cost you time". *Insert Gandalf Khazad Dum analogy at will*
      Sometimes this time bought is just wasted and the heroic death is in vain. Other times the time bought offers opportunity to set up a charge or to let yer men reload and let led rain upon thy foe.
      And what is the narrative of the steadfast by command Battle Line Brick? What is its heroic statement?
      I hear it as "I may well die - but I may well hold you in place until my avengers arrive" *Insert Gandalf Helms Deep analogy at will*
      Sometimes help will not arrive and the heroic death will be in vain - and worse - the foe will gain tactical opportunity (breaking you in your turn, allowing post combat pivot of a combat unit). Other times help will arrive _into_excisting_combat_. A chaff unit would by definition not fill that function.

      Well, if we're going by heroic statements, it's just as ridiculous when Wrath Chosen flee like a streaker on a frosty morning despite slaughtering twice their numbers because the rats have more ranks and flags. Anything can be made to look ridiculous when we put our minds to it.

      Often the key factor is knowing when to hold chaff in reserve and when to aggressively deploy it, or when to cast ghostwalk, and so on.

      I mean, history is full of battles where troops were used as arrow fodder - Australians were a favorite throw-away shock troop for the Poms
      as recently as WW2 (a macho culture makes for the perfect disposable army). Some units are sent to die, others delay, and others hold until back up arrives, and still others to die, get up, and die again until the end of the game.


      E) He who dares wins.
      If only was it so
      I am witnessing, on a daily basis, that opponents that both _wish_ to engage in close combat are _forced_ into a standoff of slugging insults, magix and whatever other ranged options they have at each other while helplessly searching for brave solutions to engage in combat.

      Is that a rules issue? It seems more cost-related to me - ranged models tend to be cocky at the start of the game, I've found.


      F) Annoying for charging cav to get bogged down by light infantery? You mean like at the Battle of Cowpens?
      I agree 15 Light Inf have a decent 58/42 of holding against a cav unit - so you better place your own unit in front of the countercharge of the EoS if you suspect that they may hold. A chaff unit will do - or better yet - 15 Barbarians with Spears and a Command Group? Eh?

      Ah yes, they bravely stand waiting for the enemy knights to charge them while the arrows fall, confident in their Disc. 8 general who stands loyally next to them on his Chimera throughout it all.

      Blocking a countercharge is certainly the right move...in theory.

      The example you cited is misleading, I feel: Cowpens had cavalry that refused to charge, not militia heroically holding them at bay. What few remained, were inadequate to the task.

      Interestingly, it was basically a shoot out with the defensive side having more guns and turning a victory into a massacre via a feigned flee and a point-blank volley. The bayonettes were just mop up afterwards. A heroic victory with only 2:1 odds and selected terrain, take THAT Napoleon....
      Open Source INTERNAL BALANCE: HBE | DL 2.2 | WDG 2.2 | ID | SA | VC
    • There Is No Spoon wrote:



      B) My omittance of the weaknesses of the steadfast-by-bloat unit.
      This is correct. I did not list the weaknesses of the steadfast-by-bloat unit. Mostly because my argument in this case is not really an argument _against_ steadfast-by-bloat as much as it is an argument _for_ the inclusion of steadfast-by-discipline.

      If your proposal is willing to ditch Inspiring Presence applying to steadfast, then I think I could get behind it.

      The unit tests on their OWN inherent discipline, yes. With no help from General nor BSB.
      Hermund Vigerust Endressòn Furu - Savage Sage of the Norse
      Faux-pro player and ETC vagabond.
      Enjoys the company of deluded nerds and women of unquestionably low morale.

      Do not fall to the folly of the best laid of plans - for the mind of man is fickle in the face of the dice gods.
      Give yer high fives where yer opponents dice have been blessed, and in equal give yer handshakes when they fall in malicious ways.
    • There Is No Spoon wrote:



      E) He who dares wins.

      If only was it so
      I am witnessing, on a daily basis, that opponents that both _wish_ to engage in close combat are _forced_ into a standoff of slugging insults, magix and whatever other ranged options they have at each other while helplessly searching for brave solutions to engage in combat.

      Is that a rules issue? It seems more cost-related to me - ranged models tend to be cocky at the start of the game, I've found

      Not a rules issue as much as a playability issue. I am talking about 2 armies that _both_ want to fight and _neither_ of them can find a reasonable way of entering inside the 12-13" zone of the enemy.

      Here are 2 only mediocrily clear examples from the 2 current ongoing battles of UB:



      Hermund Vigerust Endressòn Furu - Savage Sage of the Norse
      Faux-pro player and ETC vagabond.
      Enjoys the company of deluded nerds and women of unquestionably low morale.

      Do not fall to the folly of the best laid of plans - for the mind of man is fickle in the face of the dice gods.
      Give yer high fives where yer opponents dice have been blessed, and in equal give yer handshakes when they fall in malicious ways.
    • Zwei wrote:

      Herminard wrote:

      Zwei wrote:

      Herminard wrote:

      Zwei wrote:

      Hmmm. Fluffwise, i dont think that in the heat of the battle, when the strongest member of the unit is slain, the swarm *caugh* unit of course, instantly decides a new one unanimously. Can't image that tbh.
      I agree.It does not happen instantaneously. Nor so with a Banner or a Musician. But of the 3 I would think the musician being the most prone to not being replaced during a battle > banner > unit champion.
      You agree?
      During a close-combat, i think none of those 3 would be replaced until the close-combat is over. I can't imagine, that a trained soldier would risk his life to loot a flag/music instrument while enemies are in melee-range. If you want to change it, it should be changed that you can allocate attacks on all 3 of them, and if you kill them, they lose the effect until the end of the combat.
      I concur that this would be the most realistic option. It has only a few drawbacks as far as I can tell:
      a) magical effects like Flaming and Rending would need to be clarified (do they stay active even if the banner is deactivated for a short while.)

      b) the members of the command group would probably need a rule for additional protection against attacks that are specifically targeted at them. IE no extra defence for hitting the unit in general and thus killing the unit down to below 3 models, but something like a 4+ aegis save if you wish to target a specific model in a swirling melee
      For a) I think the easiest way would be, that it takes effect in the Initiative Phase of the model. If its still alive until then, the banner "enchants" the weapons of the unit with the effect until the end of the combat.
      for b) since targeting a special target is no easy thing to do, especially if it doesnt WANT to stand out at all costs, i would add a special rule that it can only be hit on 5+ regardless of any modifier.

      Yer proposal for b) is almost fair. Beast Herds laugh at it. Why not an aegis save?

      Yer proposal for a) is quite unfair to low agility armies - the rule needs to be more universally applickable
      Hermund Vigerust Endressòn Furu - Savage Sage of the Norse
      Faux-pro player and ETC vagabond.
      Enjoys the company of deluded nerds and women of unquestionably low morale.

      Do not fall to the folly of the best laid of plans - for the mind of man is fickle in the face of the dice gods.
      Give yer high fives where yer opponents dice have been blessed, and in equal give yer handshakes when they fall in malicious ways.
    • Herminard wrote:

      Zwei wrote:

      Herminard wrote:

      Zwei wrote:

      Herminard wrote:

      Zwei wrote:

      Hmmm. Fluffwise, i dont think that in the heat of the battle, when the strongest member of the unit is slain, the swarm *caugh* unit of course, instantly decides a new one unanimously. Can't image that tbh.
      I agree.It does not happen instantaneously. Nor so with a Banner or a Musician. But of the 3 I would think the musician being the most prone to not being replaced during a battle > banner > unit champion.You agree?
      During a close-combat, i think none of those 3 would be replaced until the close-combat is over. I can't imagine, that a trained soldier would risk his life to loot a flag/music instrument while enemies are in melee-range. If you want to change it, it should be changed that you can allocate attacks on all 3 of them, and if you kill them, they lose the effect until the end of the combat.
      I concur that this would be the most realistic option. It has only a few drawbacks as far as I can tell:a) magical effects like Flaming and Rending would need to be clarified (do they stay active even if the banner is deactivated for a short while.)

      b) the members of the command group would probably need a rule for additional protection against attacks that are specifically targeted at them. IE no extra defence for hitting the unit in general and thus killing the unit down to below 3 models, but something like a 4+ aegis save if you wish to target a specific model in a swirling melee
      For a) I think the easiest way would be, that it takes effect in the Initiative Phase of the model. If its still alive until then, the banner "enchants" the weapons of the unit with the effect until the end of the combat.for b) since targeting a special target is no easy thing to do, especially if it doesnt WANT to stand out at all costs, i would add a special rule that it can only be hit on 5+ regardless of any modifier.
      Yer proposal for b) is almost fair. Beast Herds laugh at it. Why not an aegis save?

      Yer proposal for a) is quite unfair to low agility armies - the rule needs to be more universally applickable

      Why do Beast Herds laugh at it? Do i not know a rule? If you mean their Reroll .... well, all units with reroll are in favour then, but even so, a 5+ with reroll is still not an sure-kill task.

      Why not a aegis save? Because there are already many units with any kind of aegis save out there. Whats about them? No bonus for them? Not beeing able to hit on better than 5+ is something that EVERYONE can use.

      On a) Well, yes that may be the case. What if activating the banner is a charge-reaction? If you are about to get charged, you can choose to activate the banner... or not.
    • Indeed some RnF units already have a 4+ aegis :D And I dont want to introduce more options for 3+ aegis.

      .. the unit can choose between getting hit on 5+ or getting a 4+ aegis? Sometimes getting hit on 5+ is better even, and everybody gets something?
      Hermund Vigerust Endressòn Furu - Savage Sage of the Norse
      Faux-pro player and ETC vagabond.
      Enjoys the company of deluded nerds and women of unquestionably low morale.

      Do not fall to the folly of the best laid of plans - for the mind of man is fickle in the face of the dice gods.
      Give yer high fives where yer opponents dice have been blessed, and in equal give yer handshakes when they fall in malicious ways.
    • Herminard wrote:

      Indeed some RnF units already have a 4+ aegis :D And I dont want to introduce more options for 3+ aegis.

      .. the unit can choose between getting hit on 5+ or getting a 4+ aegis? Sometimes getting hit on 5+ is better even, and everybody gets something?
      While being able to choose would be a nice option, i think its kinda a hassle to apply during the game. People would start to "calculate" what would be better in the moment against what kind of particular enemy. Remember, there are still armour-saves on most of the units .... and a Chosen-Knight with a 2+/4++ would be ... brrr. That's why i still think, that "can never be hit on a throw better than 5+" would be the best case most of the time.
    • I quite like this proposal, especially because realistically you dont want to use a full command unit for chaff. Chaff that dies on YOUR turn is bad chaff.

      Obviously if implemented it would require some point changes and rule changes where necessary so you dont have weird abusive outliers (though I can think of any specifically atm so maybe not).


      Another idea Ive been batting around is champion gives a unit +1 dis, and banner allows reroll dis tests. Would reduce dependence on general/bsb bubble, for a cost. It doesn't achieve what you want Herm, but it does make them more relevant imo (especially because FC is generally more useful to large units, but with this small units that are inherently more vulnerable to panics and such have some extra utility).
      Probably the Least Useless Player in the World - International Herminard Poll 2018
    • I think the best course of action would be looking at war&conquest rules how they have handled the subject.

      As the game is successor to the warhammer ancients it would be easy enough to port mechanics to 9th age.
      All things wargaming. My super entertaining hobby blog where anything wargaming related can happen.

      "I heard a television interviewer once suggest that the use of dice made battlegaming on par with Snakes and Ladders and such like games of change. Well, he was being just stupid, or trying to take a rise out of his guest. It is in fact the imponderable which does give reality to 'Battle' and, as we shall see, does cause the players to make proper allowance for the unlikely or even seemingly impossible, which, as we read, did happen surprisingly frequently in the annals of war."
      -Charles Grant
    • jirga wrote:

      I think the best course of action would be looking at war&conquest rules how they have handled the subject.

      As the game is successor to the warhammer ancients it would be easy enough to port mechanics to 9th age.

      What did they do?
      Hermund Vigerust Endressòn Furu - Savage Sage of the Norse
      Faux-pro player and ETC vagabond.
      Enjoys the company of deluded nerds and women of unquestionably low morale.

      Do not fall to the folly of the best laid of plans - for the mind of man is fickle in the face of the dice gods.
      Give yer high fives where yer opponents dice have been blessed, and in equal give yer handshakes when they fall in malicious ways.
    • Zwei wrote:

      Herminard wrote:

      Indeed some RnF units already have a 4+ aegis :D And I dont want to introduce more options for 3+ aegis.

      .. the unit can choose between getting hit on 5+ or getting a 4+ aegis? Sometimes getting hit on 5+ is better even, and everybody gets something?
      While being able to choose would be a nice option, i think its kinda a hassle to apply during the game. People would start to "calculate" what would be better in the moment against what kind of particular enemy. Remember, there are still armour-saves on most of the units .... and a Chosen-Knight with a 2+/4++ would be ... brrr. That's why i still think, that "can never be hit on a throw better than 5+" would be the best case most of the time.

      Ye - I am also feeling that I did a full loop on this and reverted to my original position of keeping the command group immortal
      Hermund Vigerust Endressòn Furu - Savage Sage of the Norse
      Faux-pro player and ETC vagabond.
      Enjoys the company of deluded nerds and women of unquestionably low morale.

      Do not fall to the folly of the best laid of plans - for the mind of man is fickle in the face of the dice gods.
      Give yer high fives where yer opponents dice have been blessed, and in equal give yer handshakes when they fall in malicious ways.
    • Herminard wrote:

      Then there are 2 instances of heavy knights with lances. To use these in a defensive role, to challenge territory in no mans land and to instagate battle is something that would decidedly broadens the metagame neither of these examples are at all unheard of historically* or mythologically** (please do correct me if I am wrong @Taki* @Giladis**). Balance wise you also pay a fair deal of opportunity cost by letting your most quality damage dealers recieve a charge.
      Historically, Phillip of Macedon and all Macedonian successors all used heavy melee cavalry, they used lances. The mongols used heavy horse with Lance. Most famously, Latin Knights used heavy horse with lance, and are noted historically to be the best at its use (though Alex may beg to differ). Almost always when cav is used as melee troops, they were used as hammer units. Alexander and the Latin Knights were shock cavalry which could engage directly.

      Byzantine and Arabic Cataphracts were used in the role of heavy melee troops but they didn't use lances quite how other heavy cav did. Byzantine cavalry were used as shock troops usually to finish engaged enemies, even if they attacked the front of an enemy line.

      Queen of Pants


      To plagiarize Cato the Elder "And further WYSIWYG must be destroyed"

      facebook.com/FirebrandProductions/
    • @Herminard

      I need to check it out to be honest. It's been a while since I read the book. :)

      Basically troops are are divided by their training. Drilled/undrilled.

      Drilled troops can do more complex maneuvers during movement while undrilled can only advance forward or pivot but not both. Wheeling during movement requires command check. No rerolls from bsb if I remember correctly.

      Characters are on 40x40 bases and can't join combats unless joined to units. When outside combat they interact with the battle by issuing commands to their troops.

      If I remember correctly command groups were important from the commanding aspect of units.
      All things wargaming. My super entertaining hobby blog where anything wargaming related can happen.

      "I heard a television interviewer once suggest that the use of dice made battlegaming on par with Snakes and Ladders and such like games of change. Well, he was being just stupid, or trying to take a rise out of his guest. It is in fact the imponderable which does give reality to 'Battle' and, as we shall see, does cause the players to make proper allowance for the unlikely or even seemingly impossible, which, as we read, did happen surprisingly frequently in the annals of war."
      -Charles Grant
    • jirga wrote:

      @Herminard

      I need to check it out to be honest. It's been a while since I read the book. :)

      Basically troops are are divided by their training. Drilled/undrilled.

      Drilled troops can do more complex maneuvers during movement while undrilled can only advance forward or pivot but not both. Wheeling during movement requires command check. No rerolls from bsb if I remember correctly.

      Characters are on 40x40 bases and can't join combats unless joined to units. When outside combat they interact with the battle by issuing commands to their troops.

      If I remember correctly command groups were important from the commanding aspect of units.

      A choice between advancing forward or pivoting but not both for undrilled troops only makes sense if T9A really wants to be about battles between regiments - where 20 orcs are a representation of a manipulus handful - perhaps as few as just 100 orcs.

      If in T9A 20 orcs == 20 orcs - then we are not talking about actual battles at all - rather of smaller and greater clashes of bands. Ifthe latter is the case - T9A should probably embrace that combat is a clash of clans and allow units to charge 360 degrees (proper benefits if going forward, some drawback and no bonus if going sideways and a severe penalty if going backwards).

      I understand 360 degree charging would benefit the powerful single models the most obviously - so alongside it - it would be fitting if weapons got an update too.

      Halberds - +1 to wound / +1 ap
      Great Weapon - +1 to wound / +1 strength / +1 ap
      Lance - +2 to wound / +2 ap

      Food for thought while you let the dancing flames entertain yer gaze,
      Hermund Vigerust Endressòn Furu - Savage Sage of the Norse
      Faux-pro player and ETC vagabond.
      Enjoys the company of deluded nerds and women of unquestionably low morale.

      Do not fall to the folly of the best laid of plans - for the mind of man is fickle in the face of the dice gods.
      Give yer high fives where yer opponents dice have been blessed, and in equal give yer handshakes when they fall in malicious ways.
    • I've been contemplating about importing 9th age armies to dragon rampant rules.

      It has nice core mechanic which could be easily expanded to cover our armies and the game is about warbands.

      Warlord is releasing their fantasy warband ruleset too which could be nice platform for 9th age crossover. :)
      All things wargaming. My super entertaining hobby blog where anything wargaming related can happen.

      "I heard a television interviewer once suggest that the use of dice made battlegaming on par with Snakes and Ladders and such like games of change. Well, he was being just stupid, or trying to take a rise out of his guest. It is in fact the imponderable which does give reality to 'Battle' and, as we shall see, does cause the players to make proper allowance for the unlikely or even seemingly impossible, which, as we read, did happen surprisingly frequently in the annals of war."
      -Charles Grant
    • jirga wrote:

      I've been contemplating about importing 9th age armies to dragon rampant rules.

      It has nice core mechanic which could be easily expanded to cover our armies and the game is about warbands.

      Warlord is releasing their fantasy warband ruleset too which could be nice platform for 9th age crossover. :)


      Dragon Rampant Spell wrote:



      Name: Replenish me!
      Casting Value: 8+
      Range: 96"
      Type: Universal

      Nominate the target player before testing for success. If successful, that playermust go and get you a drink and selection of nibbles of your choice. Noarguments, it's written right here in the rules.

      I liked this one!
      Hermund Vigerust Endressòn Furu - Savage Sage of the Norse
      Faux-pro player and ETC vagabond.
      Enjoys the company of deluded nerds and women of unquestionably low morale.

      Do not fall to the folly of the best laid of plans - for the mind of man is fickle in the face of the dice gods.
      Give yer high fives where yer opponents dice have been blessed, and in equal give yer handshakes when they fall in malicious ways.
    • Herminard wrote:

      Konrad von Richtmark wrote:

      Academy Banner makes the army less flexible, forcing reliance on inter-unit synergy. In that case, the army would be built around two or three properly sized spearelf blocks with the banners, and MSU corsairs and auxiliaries. That might be a paradigm worth exploring though, in my ongoing game I was frustrated at times by lacking anvil units that can receive a charge and be reasonably expected to hold for a turn as steadfast, allowing the enemy to be flank charged in return on my next turn.
      @Konrad von Richtmark - please consider my above argument. How do you consider it reflects on yer need of a semi-reliable anvil in a Battle Line paradigm?
      It would grant such a semi-reliable anvil, but I do not think it would be good for the game. The Order of Olaron, in its current composition, is a highly elastic battleline with a huge number of maneuvre elements. It gets that at the cost of staying power. That is a tradeoff which the game allows me to do in either direction - I could make the spearelves deeper ranked and get said staying power, at the cost of having fewer maneuvre elements. It's a game mechanic that works decently. If every single regiment of the Order of Olaron got to make a Dis 9 break test on the turn charged, getting flank charges in my next turn would be too easy and the army quite overpowered.

      I am afraid my time does not currently allow me a proper refutation of your central point as you have requested, so I make no claim to have done so. I feel at this point (entirely without claim to intellectual rigour) that your suggestion would be to solve the issues created by a blunt game mechanic (steadfast as currently) by introducing an even more blunt one.
      Sunna is not with the big battalions, but with the ones whose parts move with the best coordination.
    • Konrad von Richtmark wrote:

      Herminard wrote:

      Konrad von Richtmark wrote:

      Academy Banner makes the army less flexible, forcing reliance on inter-unit synergy. In that case, the army would be built around two or three properly sized spearelf blocks with the banners, and MSU corsairs and auxiliaries. That might be a paradigm worth exploring though, in my ongoing game I was frustrated at times by lacking anvil units that can receive a charge and be reasonably expected to hold for a turn as steadfast, allowing the enemy to be flank charged in return on my next turn.
      @Konrad von Richtmark - please consider my above argument. How do you consider it reflects on yer need of a semi-reliable anvil in a Battle Line paradigm?
      It would grant such a semi-reliable anvil, but I do not think it would be good for the game. The Order of Olaron, in its current composition, is a highly elastic battleline with a huge number of maneuvre elements. It gets that at the cost of staying power. That is a tradeoff which the game allows me to do in either direction - I could make the spearelves deeper ranked and get said staying power, at the cost of having fewer maneuvre elements. It's a game mechanic that works decently. If every single regiment of the Order of Olaron got to make a Dis 9 break test on the turn charged, getting flank charges in my next turn would be too easy and the army quite overpowered.
      I am afraid my time does not currently allow me a proper refutation of your central point as you have requested, so I make no claim to have done so. I feel at this point (entirely without claim to intellectual rigour) that your suggestion would be to solve the issues created by a blunt game mechanic (steadfast as currently) by introducing an even more blunt one.

      Even while not addressing the central point of my argument - I find nourishment from yours, as atleast you acklowledge that there is a central point irrefuted and that it should be yer obligation to seek what it is and to pull down its pillar primaris.

      So instead I will seek out to illume yer view that the mechanic is a blunt one, and try to see if it is possible for me to grapple your argument fairly on its back - or trough honest arguments realize that it is yer view that is the clearer one.

      What part of the mechanic that I porpose do you find blunt? Is it that it has such a high degree of success?
      Hermund Vigerust Endressòn Furu - Savage Sage of the Norse
      Faux-pro player and ETC vagabond.
      Enjoys the company of deluded nerds and women of unquestionably low morale.

      Do not fall to the folly of the best laid of plans - for the mind of man is fickle in the face of the dice gods.
      Give yer high fives where yer opponents dice have been blessed, and in equal give yer handshakes when they fall in malicious ways.
    • Not that it has a such high chance of success per se, but that it is so invariant. First turn, you get a break test on your own Discipline, come what may, and there is nothing the opponent can do about it short of wiping out the unit entirely. Steadfast as it is can at least be negated by superior depth or by disruption, or to put it more abstractly, by either superior concentration of depth or by outmaneuvering and flanking.
      Sunna is not with the big battalions, but with the ones whose parts move with the best coordination.