Sylvan Elf LAB Brainstorm/Ideas thread.

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  • CariadocThorne wrote:

    On another note, what do people think about the AoN? Currently it's just a fighty treefather character, but it's name suggests (to me at least) that it could become something much more interesting.
    I'm not a fan of it just being a fighty treefather. I'd rather there be just a fighty treefather ancient unit card of it's own.

    The direction for Avatar of Nature should be fluff driven of course. I'm not sure what the fluff is but I'm guessing it's some kind of shapeshifting possessed spirit? The stats should reflect that.

    I don't mind selecting upgrades but I'm not a fan of big stat changes because it kinda defeats the purpose of having the unit card with all the stats on it. Exalted Herald in WoDG has mostly special rule upgrades which I think is fine, it's easy to follow. Strength/AP boost is ok because it's usually equivalent to just saying they are equipped with a halberd or great weapon.
  • Hey guys,

    I don't know, but perhaps my thoughts may be of some use for this. I would very much opt for some small changes, mainly for things that get a link between the parts of our army, not necessary a synergy. I apologize in advance, this will be a long post.

    First things first, Core troops
    Dryads. This should be the fast spirits of the woods, who swear revenge to everyone entering their realm.
    I don't get the problem with them being our anvil, they are. If I put them up against any usual infantry they do their job. And to an extremly low price. They do have a medium offensive statline but paired with hell of a defense, ahility 5, toughness 4 and Aegis 5+, there are so many armys that would give an arm and a leg for a core unit like that. My usual list does include a big block of 24 of them for a minimum, often I bring much more. There are after all some big problems with them.
    No banners, and their bigger base size are not that good because you can't customise them to the thing you need them and they are clumsy to walk around and fit bigger units in your line for deployment. The elephant in the room: no musician... I don't care about a model named 'Musician' but these should be the fast-moving, relentless, hateful spirits of the wood?
    There is one cure I can think of, a small change by just using a common rule in na uncommon way.
    LETS GIVE THEM: if the unit starts a player turn in the forest it gains light troops.
    This would serve multiple purposes and will never be a blank buff.
    First they would be able to move freely in any direktion, if they do it from the woods. They would be stubborn in there. BUT they'd loose any rank bonus, even when charging out of the forest and with that also the possibility of being steadfast or breaking steadfast when charging out.
    There is so much flavour in a unit that is bound to their home territory, gets weaker in the open and then ranks up to form a unit like a school of fish protecting each other.
    There are other good opinons, but for me supernal doesn't fit, making them a unit that is even harder in defense but also is probably beaten out of their forest by a lucky beast herds unit and a bad break check. And please don't mess with their statline, we know a time that has been done by a company I wouldn't name, even if that gets me to spell out Great Weapon each and every time in full words! Not again any Dryads with Strength 3, probably followed by thickets with Strength 4 and treemen with a measly 5! AND please again, do not debuff a Treefather by giving supernal to him. It would either make him cost more points or loose stubborn.

    Ups, already a wall of text and only the second unit.
    Sylvan Archers. They are the main shooters, quick and deadly.
    To me, they more often die quickly. From enemies who pump out double the shots for the same price or from simple autohits, where do you get about 100 Points worth of models killed for a fireball?
    They have many problem to me and together with the ban of more than 55 bows don't see the battlefield to much. Perhaps this would do something for them: They count as not having moved for shooting if they only use their advance move (always shooting from all ranks would be the same). this way they could be protected more effectively and hold their own in some melee situations for a turn.

    Most of our units in the special section are pretty much okay as they are in my opinion. Blade dancers are the exception. They would need something to let them avoid autohits, from magic to shrieks to breath weapons. Wild huntsmen suffer from something similar, but at least they are way faster and do have some armour. And there is the issue with pathfinders, I would strongly recommend just giving them +1AP and +1Aim all the time and also a possibility to avoid being shot or auto-hit.

    I really like the Idea of the 4++ save from a trinket. I could also think about the possibility to magically reinforce the protecting spirits of the forest in blade dancers and huntsmen (my reason for them having an Aegis anyway) and by this boost their Aegis to 5+ versus ranged attacks by spending a veil token.
    I really ask myself as we are the elves, that are devoted to life itself, why are we not allowed to protect our units a bit.

    That being said, a nice addon for all the Sylvan Elves would be making our hereditary replicable. This would give us more possibility of playing the forest game on the whole table. In addition to that we could think about moving forests including the unit in there with our treesinging. After the invention of ominous gateways I don't see where this is too much.

    There are many more cool ideas that have been mentioned, I like things like Non-Sylvan Units get -1 Discipline in a forest, the idea of ambushing something from the forests would be great and in the best case we would be able to choose when, like the briar beast does. And I would gladly give up Divination and Cosmology for some protection and Witchcraft.

    Well, a long whishlist, please tell me what you are thinking.
  • CariadocThorne wrote:

    @Falco Yes, the idea was to replace both AoN and TFA with something which could be used as either, but also as Orion-like, Ariel-like, or something else entirely, like a fast tank with tree and swiftness, or a cheaper caster with just life, or just fury to add punch to a Thicket Beast unit.

    @nantuko

    Anyway, as I said, I've been told that my idea is probably asking for too much out of the AoN, so my question to you guys is what would you like to see from the AoN when our LAB comes around?
    The Exalted Herald can do it, why not the AoN?

    Of course, then you have a mini which is horribly overcosted for casual play... but we can’t have it all.
    "The combination of lemon and habenero peppers was confusing to me. I will pay for this tomorrow i think." - Rosanjin Scholar, Iron Chef
  • I quite like the WDG Feldrak progression and think we could borrow the model for our trees a bit more.

    Essentially that would push the AoN to a larger base (100x75) and add additional Str, Res, Att, maybe maximised stomp. Probably add 100pts to the cost as well but it’d be absolutely nails and finally actually scary. Also more options for bigger models which currently look funny on tiny bases.
    "The combination of lemon and habenero peppers was confusing to me. I will pay for this tomorrow i think." - Rosanjin Scholar, Iron Chef
  • Fleshbeast wrote:

    I quite like the WDG Feldrak progression and think we could borrow the model for our trees a bit more.

    Essentially that would push the AoN to a larger base (100x75) and add additional Str, Res, Att, maybe maximised stomp. Probably add 100pts to the cost as well but it’d be absolutely nails and finally actually scary. Also more options for bigger models which currently look funny on tiny bases.
    extra Strength? would that be worth it? S7 AP4 is pretty good. What's the list of models that have better base S than that? greater than res 6? Res 6 with access to shamanism, cosmology, druidism is pretty good. I honestly think AoN are pretty scary to a lot of lists right now...

    I could go for some ways of specializing though... make aspects more numerous ( maybe 9 or 10) and more exciting, right now they are a bit boring. For AoN how about:

    +2 OS against models with gigantic.
    Hatred (flaming attack attribute)… this one could be baked in for cheap.

    Or what about getting stronger/angrier as the tide of battle swings against him. Gain rerolls to hit/hatred against enemy units that caused the final HP loss of friendlies with scoring.

    It's LAB, so make it interesting. not more S, Res, Att.
  • Warning! Rambling thoughts ahead!

    One of the things in particular I was looking at with my design was that so far all the Forest Spirits are tree-themed, which is fine and fitting and all seeing as trees are kind of the defining feature of a forest :D . However, they are Forest Spirits, not Tree spirits, while the AoN is an Avatar of Nature, and both forests and nature contain more than just trees.

    Nature themes could include the classic 4 natural elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water (no dang-it, we are not having an Avatar of Heart :P ), the animal side of nature, agriculture, hunting, the sun and moon, a more generallized "life" them, even death (in a non-evil, non-necromantic, part of the natural cycle kind of way). Some of these probably aren't appropriate here, for example, fire spirits is the domain of ID, while agriculture tends to involve clearing forest to make room for farmland, which isn't really fitting to SE (plus, what would an avatar of agriculture look like on the battlefield? A giant Combine-Harvester sounds more suited to EoS :D ).

    That still leave us things like Earth, water and air (someone mentioned a Storm Roc....), animal spirits, hunting, life and death. Personally I'm quite drawn to the Hunting and Life aspects, not actualy because of Orion and Ariel, but for the same reasons I found them so compelling. Some of you may identify SE more with other aspects of nature.

    Anything which looks too close to being a direct manifestation of Cadaron or Amryl is tricky ground, as I know the project is reluctant to get into "the gods walking the earth" kind of territory, so that's something to stear clear of (although I harbour hopes of having some sort of overgrown Shifter as something akin to a priest of Cadaron, which would be a good use for the old Orion models some of us still have).

    We have Tree themed forest spirits, and we have room for more units, so there's no reason IMO we can't give the TFA a fighty version, and have the AoN cover other types of Forest Spirit (along with a new unit or two, animal spirit faerie-dragons or pixie-hounds for example).

    So what about animal or elemental themed avatars of nature? Any ideas for something like that (aside from the afore-mentioned Storm Roc, which would make a great Air elemental spirit, but probably as a pheonix-equivalent monster rather than as a newlook AoN)?
    My SE homebrew (New version 7/6/2020)
  • CariadocThorne wrote:

    Warning! Rambling thoughts ahead!

    One of the things in particular I was looking at with my design was that so far all the Forest Spirits are tree-themed, which is fine and fitting and all seeing as trees are kind of the defining feature of a forest :D . However, they are Forest Spirits, not Tree spirits, while the AoN is an Avatar of Nature, and both forests and nature contain more than just trees.

    Nature themes could include the classic 4 natural elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water (no dang-it, we are not having an Avatar of Heart :P ), the animal side of nature, agriculture, hunting, the sun and moon, a more generallized "life" them, even death (in a non-evil, non-necromantic, part of the natural cycle kind of way). Some of these probably aren't appropriate here, for example, fire spirits is the domain of ID, while agriculture tends to involve clearing forest to make room for farmland, which isn't really fitting to SE (plus, what would an avatar of agriculture look like on the battlefield? A giant Combine-Harvester sounds more suited to EoS :D ).

    That still leave us things like Earth, water and air (someone mentioned a Storm Roc....), animal spirits, hunting, life and death. Personally I'm quite drawn to the Hunting and Life aspects, not actualy because of Orion and Ariel, but for the same reasons I found them so compelling. Some of you may identify SE more with other aspects of nature.

    Anything which looks too close to being a direct manifestation of Cadaron or Amryl is tricky ground, as I know the project is reluctant to get into "the gods walking the earth" kind of territory, so that's something to stear clear of (although I harbour hopes of having some sort of overgrown Shifter as something akin to a priest of Cadaron, which would be a good use for the old Orion models some of us still have).

    We have Tree themed forest spirits, and we have room for more units, so there's no reason IMO we can't give the TFA a fighty version, and have the AoN cover other types of Forest Spirit (along with a new unit or two, animal spirit faerie-dragons or pixie-hounds for example).

    So what about animal or elemental themed avatars of nature? Any ideas for something like that (aside from the afore-mentioned Storm Roc, which would make a great Air elemental spirit, but probably as a pheonix-equivalent monster rather than as a newlook AoN)?

    One of my big hopes was the LAB would explore other types of spirits/fey from various mythologies. Almost all cultures across the world have legends of various nature spirits to draw upon for inspiration.

    One of my favourites are the Cŵn Annwn, a Welsh folk tale about ghostly hounds of the Wild Hunt. They could fill the desire for a unit of beasts in the army as well as add some variety to Sylvan Spirits. My own head cannon pictures them as the hounds of Trewi lords possesed by spirits during the Wild Hunt. Such a unit would also open up modeling opportunities for those who desire other kinds of animals in the army, such as large cats, riderless stags, & even bears!

    Other options that could be explored for different kinds of Sylvan Spirits are the obligatory Sprite/Wisp/Fairy/Pixie swarms, a unique unit entry for the Shapeshifter that gives it Sylvan Spirit (aka a Changeling), making the Briar Maidens mounts Sylvan Spirits, making the unicorn a Sylvan Spirit, and the oft mentioned Fairy Dragon (or as I like to call it; Dragonfey).

    Cheers!
    A Sylvan Elves Homebrew Full Army Book - last updated May 28, 2020
  • I'd certainly be very disappointed if we ended up with anything as simple as a generic earth or water elemental, but I think there is room for more nuanced elemental spirits. Nymphs, as you mentioned, or the storm-roc, something which is distinctly a Forest Spirit first and foremost, but of an elemental type rather than a tree type.

    In Western occult traditions the elements have specific associations. For example, fire is associated with not only destruction, but transformation or transition and creative inspiration. Air is associated with intellect, divination and communication. Water is associated with dreams, emotions, healing and deception. Earth is associated with discipline, growth and decay.

    So so a water-related forest spirit luring enemies out of position fits perfectly.

    A fire-related forest spirit could be a wild-fire spirit, which burns down unhealthy forest, seeding the ground for new, healthy growth. In game it could grow a new forest if it destroyed the last of a unit perhaps, or when destroyed, it could grow a small unit of Dryads in its place or something.
    My SE homebrew (New version 7/6/2020)
  • Nice catch @CariadocThorne I was waiting when someone would notice this :D .

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  • CariadocThorne wrote:

    I'd certainly be very disappointed if we ended up with anything as simple as a generic earth or water elemental, but I think there is room for more nuanced elemental spirits. Nymphs, as you mentioned, or the storm-roc, something which is distinctly a Forest Spirit first and foremost, but of an elemental type rather than a tree type.

    In Western occult traditions the elements have specific associations. For example, fire is associated with not only destruction, but transformation or transition and creative inspiration. Air is associated with intellect, divination and communication. Water is associated with dreams, emotions, healing and deception. Earth is associated with discipline, growth and decay.

    So so a water-related forest spirit luring enemies out of position fits perfectly.

    A fire-related forest spirit could be a wild-fire spirit, which burns down unhealthy forest, seeding the ground for new, healthy growth. In game it could grow a new forest if it destroyed the last of a unit perhaps, or when destroyed, it could grow a small unit of Dryads in its place or something.

    I see your take, but I personally feel elementals don't feet Sylvan Elves. The storm roc would, because it has a fell of grace and precision and it is a magical creature, so that fits SE quite well. A beast that lives in rivers, with some water-related abilities, would be fine too.

    But water or fire spirit/elemental, I think it would clash with the rest of the army.
  • The other thing I like seeing in SE is connection to seasons, partially because you see a few seasonally based SE armies (Fall, Winter, Spring). Connection to the elements is ok I think if its done in a smart nuanced way, especially where they are combined in cool contextual ways - like a Storm Roc could be considered a spirit of air and water combined, not so crude and much more naturally nuanced than say a straight water elemental or whatever. Nymphs might work.

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  • Call me biased, since I'm aware that I have a fairly narrow view of Sylvans, however what I like best about Sylvans in their connection to pagan/celtic/pre-/early-christian fairy tales and as such I prefer the Fey vibe to the elements of nature vibe. It's a thin line, as Fey are essentially nature spirits, however I think the difference is that Fey spirits are symbiotic with nature, while nature elementals are simply nature given form. It's about autonomy, and character, and I think there are in my opinion more interesting aspects to explore as well as other factions that lay greater claim to mastery of certain aspects of nature.

    For example Infernal Dwarves are obviously masters of fire. Dread Elves have learned to harness the waves, and I think a Storm Roc has more home in a HbE in an aspect similar to the Phoenix than in our book.

    Firstly, I would like to see an Avatar of Nature re-work. I think we have a great base-line in the Exalted Herald with what to aim for. 5+/4++ R5 Mv 9 Str 5 (Dev charge +2 Str, +1 attack), A5. At the start of the game choose between 1 of 3 effects
    * Regenerate a wound at the start of every friendly magic phase, if within 3'' of a wood.
    * One use only Horn of the Hunt (remove it from the magic section, implement it here)
    * Str user +1 Aim 2+ range 12'' bolt thrower.

    Secondly, a sprite swarm, with some kind of synergistic purpose.

    Thirdly, I'd like to give Forest Eagle units a champion upgrade. This champion upgrade would be relatively expensive, say 40pts. However the upgrade turns an Eagle into an Eagle King champion, and grants the unit hard target <-- Wind spirit-esque, think Gwaihir vibes.

    Fourthly, Briar Maidens deserve Witchcraft.

    Fifthly, Ambushing non-core dryads, who can ambush out of forests like mage blights. Cause fear, and while inside a forest all enemy units within 6'' of the forest count as being within 6'' of a musician.

    Sixthly, strongly differentiate between Sentinels and Pathfinders as supreme archers vs supreme scouts.

    And finally fix the damn unicorn ;)
  • Alexwellace wrote:

    Call me biased, since I'm aware that I have a fairly narrow view of Sylvans, however what I like best about Sylvans in their connection to pagan/celtic/pre-/early-christian fairy tales and as such I prefer the Fey vibe to the elements of nature vibe. It's a thin line, as Fey are essentially nature spirits, however I think the difference is that Fey spirits are symbiotic with nature, while nature elementals are simply nature given form. It's about autonomy, and character, and I think there are in my opinion more interesting aspects to explore as well as other factions that lay greater claim to mastery of certain aspects of nature.
    I agree strongly with nearly everything you said, but I just wanted to point out that many, if not most of the Fae had elemental associations. Brownies, leprechauns, boggans and the like tend to be associated with earth, kelpies, selkies, merrows, Nixie's etc with water, asrai with air. Only fire is uncommon, but even then there are a few associated with fire.

    That comes back to what I said before. We shouldn't have elemental spirits, they have to be forest spirits first and foremost, but if we consider Dryads, TB and Treefathers to be forest spirits aligned to plants, why not have forest spirits aligned to the elements, or animals, or other aspects of nature.
    My SE homebrew (New version 7/6/2020)

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

  • I also personally lean more towards focussing on the "fey" theme for nature spirits over the 4 elements style. I feel the mythology of the 4 elements fits Greco Roman themed factions a bit better than the traditionally more Gaelic/Celtic SE. That being said the idea certainly does have merit and there are ways the two themes could be married together.

    Having unit entries/upgrades that represent the following could fit both flavours;

    Earth - Gnomes, Spriggans
    Water - Undines, Nymphs, Selkies
    Air - Sylphs, Sprites, Intelligent Birds
    Fire - Salamanders, Will-o'-the-Wisps

    A lot of these can be represented in the current book in some form and would only need to be tweaked a bit. You could even take it a step further and associate each element with a particular season.
    A Sylvan Elves Homebrew Full Army Book - last updated May 28, 2020
  • @Alexwellace you shouldn't expect such flexibility from AoN. Herald was given such leeway only because WDG miss one proper phase. A book such as SE which participates in all phases equally is extremely unlikely to have that luxury. :)

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  • Well, as I claw through the moss that forms my beard I look back sometimes. The forefather of this very tabletop didn't have that static theme about the spirits of the wood. They were entities, neither good nor bad, but always vigilant, aware of their endangered freedom and hence endlessly watching the surroundings.
    At the moment we have very playable and fighty Sylvan spirits. What they lack is grace and some ways to customize them. They're plain static fighters in ranks. It is not so few of us who remember times where Dryads had aspects of their own, I can recall the aspect of oak, where they got an extra point of resilience, the aspect of the willow, where they would strip an attack from models in contact down to one per model. There was one giving them +1 attack..
    It doesn't have to be these exakt things, the aspects where just like the dances of the blade dancers and that would be a bit too much, maybe.
    But a little something to give em a new role sometimes would be neat. Even the idea from earlier on, to give them light troops if starting the player turn in a forest..