Wacky/niche magic items

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  • If I may bring my 2 cents:

    From my point of view, those items shouldn't necessarly be powerful, but should modify how the army is played / bend a rule.

    As an example, for me T9A already has a well designed "wacky item":
    Ankh of Naptesh

    --> It "bends" the rules as it allows a non-mage character to be the hierophant
    --> allows "magic less" builds
    --> doesn't necessarly bring any kind of power (only moves a mandatory rule to another character), but allows the army to be built differently

    This is good design.

    Random example:
    Crown of the Ghost king:
    Fell wraiths only, cannot be taken in an army including a Vampire Courtier, Vampire Count, or a Necromancer.

    The Fell wraith loses Not a Leader and becomes the Master. If General, it gains Awaken(Zombies) and The Dead Arise.
    The Suffering is increased to XX%.
  • I've been following this topic for a while and though I'd write up my thoughts.

    First of all, the part of what makes "wacky" or niche items fun for me is that they are closely connected to the background, that they do something that is not normally allowed by the brb (like @LegionChaeron mentioned above) or that they open up new play styles or tactical opportunities for the army. I also think that a lot of niche items tend to be artifacts, and therefore also suffer from the fact that you can only have two at a time. I don't really know the rationale behind not allowing 3+ artifacts.

    I also don't think that you should underestimate the amount of satisfaction that comes with "AHA I've outsmarted him now!" that comes from successful tactical play, and if these come from niche items, that can be very enjoyable.

    My favorite items that I consider to be niche items right now are the Wasteland Torch and the Orb of Foreboding and I'm going to break them down separately to determine why.

    Wasteland Torch
    The bearer’s unit gains Strider (Ruins). After determining Deployment Zones (at the end of step 6 of the Pre-Game Sequence), you may choose a single Building, Field, or Forest Terrain Feature. Chosen Fields and Forests become Ruins, and chosen Buildings become Cliffs.



    This is one of my favorite entries for two reasons mainly:

    1. It is highly connected to the fluff, by the fact that it ties into the destructive nature of the WDG and that it lays waste to terrain (waste-land, get it??) The fact that it also grants strider in ruins is just a bonus for me, though it enables it to have a certain purpose, which is protection/cover denial for the opponent or grant you additional cover, especially if used on a hard-hitting unit, enabling a new tactical play. I would have liked it to grant a one-use flaming attacks for the unit instead of the strider bonus though probably.

    2. It doesn't come out of the character's magic item allowance. This is vital due to prioritization of items in a restricted budget, I can't tell you how many times I've added "fun" items to a build just to remove it later cause it didn't allow me to take it together with proper protection for my bsb or similar.

    Orb of Foreboding
    At the start of the Deployment Phase, immediately before step 1 (Determine who deploys first), you may choose one of the opponent’s non-Character units. This unit loses Vanguard and Scout. The opponent must immediately deploy this unit. This is done outside
    the normal Deployment procedures and is ignored when determining the first deployed unit and the number of deployed units.

    This item is so close to being appropriately costed for competitive play for me that it's really odd to me why it isn't played more often.

    It's a gamechanger when it comes to successful deployment. Not liking the look of that deathstar in the opponents list? Make sure he places it first so you can avoid it/prepare multicharges/focus everything on the other flank. I forced an opponent to move all his characters from one unit to another one that wasn't as scary because he had to place down his real character bunker first after I had deployed en masse on the other flank from that unit. Love this item, and I wish I could play it more, and I really think it would be picked quite often if it dropped like 10 points. If this isn't the epitome of rewarding tactical play I don't know what is.

    And just a final general point regarding items, restrictions kill ingenuity and the feeling of having outsmarted your opponent/the system or what have you.

    I'm looking at you Entropic Aura! If it's ever allowed on giant models you can be damn sure I'll be running a Chosen Lord on Sloth Dragon with entropic aura and watch it wreak havoc on the the land.

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Xeonic ().

  • LegionChaeron wrote:

    From my point of view, those items shouldn't necessarly be powerful, but should modify how the army is played / bend a rule.
    Or reinforce an Army Strength, but not directly counter a weakness.
    (BH is the worst offender in this regard IMO, eg. Beer Giant, Armour Axe, and Impaler - yuck!).
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  • DanT wrote:

    I was pondering something on my walk to work today (I do all my best thinking then).

    Particularly vis-a-vis existing niche items and their perceived unpopularity.

    Question:
    Is a key problem currently that the existing niche items are low impact?
    Therefore is the solution to focus on making sure that any niche items are high impact, and therefore worth their space in the army book and worth taking in certain builds?
    I don't think thats really the problem. Low impact niche items are fine, provided you can fit them in without losing too much else. Not necessarily just being cheap, but not having a large opportunity cost. For example, say I'm building an EoS Great Tactician general. He's not meant to be killing stuff, I just really want him to survive, give orders and leadership. Therefore I buy him Imperial Seal and Winter Cloak for a very hard to kill general (1+, 5++ distracting, 2++ against flaming). I have 20 points spare on magic item allowance. Potion of Strength is an item I like here, but that is basically the only option.

    But what about if I've built my army and I have 15 points spare at the end and a character has that much magic item allowance left? I can fit in 1 extra model in 1 unit somewhere. Or I can pick a cheap niche item which might occasionally be useful and fun. Doesn't need to do a lot, as it's competition at this point is 1 model sitting on the back of a unit.
  • Ok, so niche items don't need to be high impact.

    Then I still can't explain why their has been so much dis-satisfaction with e.g. SE items.


    But there is another interesting point here:

    Who likes potion of stength?
    Who has actually used it?
    Is it wacky and/or niche?
    Would people prefer to have something different instead?
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  • Darren Williamson wrote:

    I don't think thats really the problem. Low impact niche items are fine, provided you can fit them in without losing too much else. Not necessarily just being cheap, but not having a large opportunity cost. For example, say I'm building an EoS Great Tactician general. He's not meant to be killing stuff, I just really want him to survive, give orders and leadership. Therefore I buy him Imperial Seal and Winter Cloak for a very hard to kill general (1+, 5++ distracting, 2++ against flaming). I have 20 points spare on magic item allowance. Potion of Strength is an item I like here, but that is basically the only option.
    But what about if I've built my army and I have 15 points spare at the end and a character has that much magic item allowance left? I can fit in 1 extra model in 1 unit somewhere. Or I can pick a cheap niche item which might occasionally be useful and fun. Doesn't need to do a lot, as it's competition at this point is 1 model sitting on the back of a unit.
    Agree with this and this is also why I think the "no more than 2 artifacts" is overly prohibitive against niche items.


    DanT wrote:

    Ok, so niche items don't need to be high impact.

    Then I still can't explain why their has been so much dis-satisfaction with e.g. SE items.


    But there is another interesting point here:

    Who likes potion of stength?
    Who has actually used it?
    Is it wacky and/or niche?
    Would people prefer to have something different instead?
    I'd keep niche items in the army books mostly. And honestly, potion of strength might just not be taken because it contains a nested rule, making it difficult to immediately assess its value.

    It's definitely niche, less wacky, but doesn't bring much to the overall gameplay.

    I would like to define "fun" niche items as always having a use, though quite small in impact, rather then being high impact but never being utilized.

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Xeonic ().

  • I think niche items with high impact are still useless.

    See KoE horn.... It has very high impact.. Restricting enemy from using fly for a whole turn is game winning and I have seen it zero times personally and saw it once in a list.

    In etc a team tournament it had zero or only one list....


    It depends on the army but people want stability.

    It is a game with dice so random is fine that is why people play stable things which always work.


    But if we talk about niche things which are still always useful then yes they need high impact.

    With niche and always useful I mean something like = multiwound attacks. Every army has at least 2 multi wound models. So while it is useless vs some armies it is awesome vs other armies.


    But a item like the KoE horn is too niche. Flying units are rare and some armies haven't even one single flying unit

                    

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  • Klexe wrote:

    See KoE horn.... It has very high impact.. Restricting enemy from using fly for a whole turn is game winning and I have seen it zero times personally and saw it once in a list.

    In etc a team tournament it had zero or only one list....
    The KoE horn is a very high impact item in an environment where there is flying on 1) a lot of the threats and 2) a lot of the chaff, with (2) probably being more commonly relevant to KoE. If the item sees less use, its because the number of eagles / harpies / flying deamons / bats / whatever flying garbage is lower overall.
  • DanT wrote:

    Ok, so niche items don't need to be high impact.

    Then I still can't explain why their has been so much dis-satisfaction with e.g. SE items.


    But there is another interesting point here:

    Who likes potion of stength?
    Who has actually used it?
    Is it wacky and/or niche?
    Would people prefer to have something different instead?
    The problem is that the only character I could Imagine I want in CC with a Worthy target while losing All his attacks is and elf wizard on a dragon... And he cant take it

    Its similar to the old CC Hand of Dust Spell. Too much risk and too many stats that need to align
  • Xeonic wrote:

    And honestly, potion of strength might just not be taken because it contains a nested rule, making it difficult to immediately assess its value.
    This. This is important.

    I don't think the potion is terribly unfluffy. It would be cooler if it added D3 to your strength, and it the bonus stay on but with a lesser bonus the next rounds. So if you roll a 3 you get a +3 Strength bonus the first round of combat, a +2 the second and a +1 the third. If you roll a 2 you get a +2 Strength bonus the first round of combat, a +1 the second and nothing the third.

    Something like that.
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  • DanT wrote:

    Ok, so niche items don't need to be high impact.

    Then I still can't explain why their has been so much dis-satisfaction with e.g. SE items.


    But there is another interesting point here:

    Who likes potion of stength?
    Who has actually used it?
    Is it wacky and/or niche?
    Would people prefer to have something different instead?
    I would say it is niche. It is rarely going to be useful. It is not exactly wacky, but can create some excitement on a minor character. I've used it on my EoS BSB mainly, as he will be in a combat unit and he has hand weapon and shield so will not really do anything with his standard attacks. He can aim at an enemy character or MW model and see if he gets lucky. Never has so far...

    I have to agree it is best on an elf as the main issue I've had is hitting. You don't really want an elf mage to be in combat, and a combat general will have better stuff. Therefore it may be useful on a BSB if it's going to go in a combat unit but not be geared to do any damage.

    The main things in it's favour is it's fairly cheap and will occasionally be useful. I wouldn't remove it for something else that fits in the same role (cheap & occasionally useful) as I don't see the issue with having more items like this. What is wrong with having say 1-3 different items for each category that is cheap & occasionally useful? Surely you cannot cite complexity budget for this?
  • Pellegrim wrote:

    Xeonic wrote:

    And honestly, potion of strength might just not be taken because it contains a nested rule, making it difficult to immediately assess its value.
    This. This is important.
    I don't think the potion is terribly unfluffy. It would be cooler if it added D3 to your strength, and it the bonus stay on but with a lesser bonus the next rounds. So if you roll a 3 you get a +3 Strength bonus the first round of combat, a +2 the second and a +1 the third. If you roll a 2 you get a +2 Strength bonus the first round of combat, a +1 the second and nothing the third.

    Something like that.
    Yes, definitely agree that if anything it is slightly too complicated. It could be written as a 1 line rule on the item:
    One use only. Replace all of the model's attacks with 1 attack at Agi 0, Str 10 MW(D3).

    The suggested rule is probably slightly cooler, but is more complex. It would also be valued significantly higher because of various different combos. E.g. stick it on an elf lord with paired weapons + hero's heart. The downside of this combo is str 5 so cannot fight bigger things. Get +3 str item and it's 5 attacks at str 7 (don't get hero's heart bonus as it's at least str 5). That is much scarier on an elf lord that is going first and probably hitting on 2's.

    It depends on what you prioritise more - a couple of cheap niche items that can help round off a character with some spare allowance. Or just cooler items in general that characters are designed around. Just imo, but you would design a character around that +str item. You tack on a current potion of strength to an existing character when you have points.
  • Darren Williamson wrote:

    The suggested rule is probably slightly cooler, but is more complex. It would also be valued significantly higher because of various different combos. E.g. stick it on an elf lord with paired weapons + hero's heart. The downside of this combo is str 5 so cannot fight bigger things. Get +3 str item and it's 5 attacks at str 7 (don't get hero's heart bonus as it's at least str 5). That is much scarier on an elf lord that is going first and probably hitting on 2's.
    Agree, it's probably also what the BLT fears, so they price it higher then expected; Personally I wouldn't care about that.

    It's also what the current designers also don't like, cause they want to be able to predict as much as possible.

    This unpredictability is precisely why I like it - it creates stories; Fizzly of Furie; rubber sword of ravager.

    I have to say I am a huge fan of the animosity rules also.
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  • I'm not especially for wacky or niche item, it's tend to limit the selection / make feel ther is a limited selection in place of other "almost always good" options. So, a little frustatting when composing lists. And in the other hand magic item focused on counter an entire army (like Lightning Rod (VS) or Dark Rain (BH) ) seems so unfair when playing against the good army (or the wrong).

    So for me, the feeling bound to this kind of design is more negative.


    But cool item can be add by other means. I like a lot thoses which recall some army rules hardly replicable, like Banner of the Entombed (UD - more underground ambush, but still in the normal limitation and no whole army effect) or Reaper’s Harvest (VC - recall of the Shrieking Horror's attack). There is very few added value in the design, but when you take it you feel taking an equipement from this army, and not an other, whatever the name (this latter help but isn't enough).


    In addition, I agree with thoses who claims that the low impact, and then low value, items can help. Having more item at 20-35 pts, not always viable, but in mold of the army, and I think people will use them often, that will bring more identity to the army.


    A simple example : in the UD army ther is a lot of unit with poison/lethal strike, pharao and nomark even bring LS to their unit, but I have litterally no option to give them any of this special rule. And I know there is no good reason to give it to them, paying for upgrading 2 or 4 attacks when the whole army have them almost everywhere is a little silly. But I'd like to have this choice anyway, paying 20-30 point for upgrading their weapon with LS and poison and then they will better integrate their units.
    1 - Start of the Charge Phase (and start of the Player Turn)
    2 - The Active Player chooses a unit and declares a Charge
  • Pellegrim wrote:

    Xeonic wrote:

    And honestly, potion of strength might just not be taken because it contains a nested rule, making it difficult to immediately assess its value.
    This. This is important.
    I don't think the potion is terribly unfluffy. It would be cooler if it added D3 to your strength, and it the bonus stay on but with a lesser bonus the next rounds. So if you roll a 3 you get a +3 Strength bonus the first round of combat, a +2 the second and a +1 the third. If you roll a 2 you get a +2 Strength bonus the first round of combat, a +1 the second and nothing the third.

    Something like that.
    Really like that idea since S doesnt give AP anymore. Would help humans and elfen the most which i like

                    

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