Homebrew Sylvan Elves

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    • Homebrew Sylvan Elves

      Hi everyone, this is a homebrew version of Sylvan Elves which have been thinking about and working on for a while now.



      While I have made some substantial changes, I have stopped short of things like removing lightning reflexes, largely because I believe that the core rules of the game need to change somewhat before that it is practical to remove LR without having to replace it with some other band-aid rule.

      My aim here is not to produce a fully functioning book to act as a FAB, but more to show the kind of directions I think can be taken in SE to solve some of the problems the army suffers from, some of which I believe are inherent to the nature of SE.



      I have made some decisions which are likely to be somewhat controversial or at least which some people will want to know why I made them. This is my attempt to explain some of these briefly:

      • Removing Divination and Forest Spirit casters. We have had discussions going backward and forward for the last couple of years now about giving SE access to Witchcraft again. During our now-aborted experiment with having partial access to Divination AND witchcraft, something which struck me was that very few SE players showed any particular attachment to Divination. People wanted the two magic missiles, which gave a much needed and very effective tool against the many big, fast, hard-hitting, nigh-unkillable single models around, such as daemon princes, many of the tougher cowboys, some monster riding combat lords and so on, but hardly anyone seemed really attached to the path itself, especially on a background/lore level. Since background requires any daemon or similar entity to have Divination if they have any spellcasting other than the army hereditary spell, removing Divination required removing spellcasting capabilities from the Forest spirits. I have tried to compensate this by creating an upgrade for the druid which effectively turns them into a forest spirit and lets them join Dryad units, which also allowed me to move Druidism access entirely to this upgrade, keeping the base druid with only 3 paths. I have also tried to compensate the loss of the divination missiles by creating a pair of bound spells which should help fill that need. I believe other changes in the book have reduced the need for dedicated spells to deal with these kind of targets anyway.
      • Pathfinders and the Shooty-Avoidy split. Pathfinders have received a notable boost to their firepower, allowing them to really threaten big, dangerous targets which small arms don’t usually threaten unless in vast quantities. In exchange, they can’t march without losing their enhanced shooting. This is part of an intentional strategy to split our “shooty Avoidance” units into “Shooty” units, and “Avoidy” units. Pathfinders and Briar Maidens become genuine shooting threats, while Sentinels and the new Kestrel Scouts are much less cost efficient as shooters, but have tricky abilities which can contribute to helping the SE player disrupt enemy movement.
      • Ditching Kindreds and adding new character entries. I felt that the existing system was limiting, and was stifling chieftains, so I have created a few new entries, replacing kindreds with new single tier characters representing the kindreds, and allowing me to simplify things for the Chieftain and Prince, including giving them options not all the characters have, and hopefully making sure there are reasons to use all the characters. This is one of the parts of the book I’m least sure about though, and I expect not everyone will like it.
      I do also want to say that I’m not entirely satisfied with the Kestrel Scouts rule, but it’s the best I have at the moment, and it at least illustrates the kind of thing I was trying to go for.

      Find Version 2.1.1 of my book HERE. Please do give feedback,also, please not that all prices should be taken with a pinch of salt, so don't worry to much about telling me which unit is 1point per model too cheap or whatever, I'm more interested in hearing your thoughts on the actual design.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by CariadocThorne: Altered version number from 1.1 to 2.1.1 ().

    • Calisson wrote:

      CariadocThorne wrote:

      Version 1.1
      Misleading.Naming should reflect that you're up to date with 2nd edition of the rules.
      Good point, should probably be 2.1.1 as it's based on 2.1.

      Edit: uploaded new version, changed version number to 2.1.1

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

    • There are some interesting changes in there.

      I like the change to master archers and elven cloak. I don't feel that it is fair to get bonus against all kind of magic though, so I would prefer some bonus against magic missiles and attacks that ignore to hit modifers, but the idea to tie it to being in cover is a good one.

      I like the removing of divination. It never really interested me. I think it's better to have the option to be a wizard on the ancient dryad rather than on the druid to become 25x25. Also a basic druid can't take druidisme ?

      I'm not found of removing the kindreds though. I feel like your way is much more complicated. Also the Character section is overcrowded, with entries that don't seems differentiate enough or just uninteresting. With the removal of kindreds, Princes and Chieftain are uninteresting. They're basiacally actual forest guardian with one attack less so I really wouldn't take one. The wildshifter is ok, but the Sylvan master I really don't like. The wild hunter for example costs 350 points, which is as much as an actual prince with the wild hunter kindred, but with one less Attack and Agility and only 100 points of magic items.
      The ranger is basically just a chieftain with vanguard and +1 adv so it should be an option like guard commander.
      All in all there isn't a single combat character that I would be excited to play. They all seems weaker than their counterpart in the actual book, and except the elk lord, they're not really shining at the moment.

      Giving higher march rate to forest guards is interesting to let them take position, but i think the problem with them is that they're supposed to hold the ground and they can't do it. I would love to see parry on them, and bodyguards at the cost of not being core anymore.

      Not sure to understand the point of giving blade dancers less os. They don't feel particularily defensive to me, represent them more like lethal dancersopening throats like envelopes.

      I don't think agi 6 to kestrels knights is necessary. We have it on two units already and it shouldn't pursue some agilitty race.

      Caltrop drops are cool (or any sweeping attack). However I think they could fit as an option in the kestrel entry.


      Finally about the magic items section.
      I like the aspects, the new ones are cool to help us deal with very though targets. Maybe one of them could stay a bound item and the other one become simething else ?
      The wepons feel weak. They're adequatly cheap, but they just don't give any interesting damage output. Also the whirlwind curse is a gimmick. With only at best 5 attacks S5 ap2 with no reroll, it's far from being guaranteed to damages targets where it matters (boosted characters/monsters) Blessing of the mother is interesting, but it's the kind of weapon that isn't powerfull or unique enough to make a character do something a normal unit can't. Make it cost 100 points, give it +1S +1AP +1 A on top and now we're speaking of a wepon that is interesting to take. Otherwise you just can't stack enough buffs for it to be interesting.
      Shielding bark is just a worth version of destiny's call, and it even compete with essence of mithril. I would juste get rid of it. I like that Glyph of amryl works outside of challenges. Other items, I'm not so sure about them to give a feedback. I think I would really be disppointed if we don't get a couple of good magic bows though.

      Why did you chose to not create any new unit ?

      The post was edited 3 times, last by Serwyn ().

    • Serwyn wrote:

      I like the removing of divination. It never really interested me. I think it's better to have the option to be a wizard on the ancient dryad rather than on the druid to become 25x25. Also a basic druid can't take druidisme ?
      I had some advice from soneone who knows these things, and it was mentioned that any Supernals (such as Forest Spirits) MUST have divination access if they have any spellcasting other than their hereditary. So in order to ditch Divination, the Supernals had to lose access to any full paths. Giving the Druid an upgrade to count as a forest spirit and be able to join Dryads was the compromise to give Forest Spirit-only players a full mage option. I removed Druidism from the base druid because it already had 3 paths, and having access to 4 paths on the base druid seemed too much.

      Serwyn wrote:

      I'm not found of removing the kindreds though. I feel like your way is much more complicated. Also the Character section is overcrowded, with entries that don't seems differentiate enough or just uninteresting. With the removal of kindreds, Princes and Chieftain are uninteresting. They're basiacally actual forest guardian with one attack less so I really wouldn't take one. The wildshifter is ok, but the Sylvan master I really don't like. The wild hunter for example costs 350 points, which is as much as an actual prince with the wild hunter kindred, but with one less Attack and Agility and only 100 points of magic items.
      The ranger is basically just a chieftain with vanguard and +1 adv so it should be an option like guard commander.
      All in all there isn't a single combat character that I would be excited to play. They all seems weaker than their counterpart in the actual book, and except the elk lord, they're not really shining at the moment.
      I liked the idea when I started, and I felt like it actually decreased complexity, despite adding more entries. By the time I finished I wasn't so sure. I tried to put them somewhere between prince and chieftain level, and make them limited in some ways to make the base chieftain and prince more attractive, but I don't think it really worked out that way in the end.

      I think I would still separate the shifter out from princes and chieftains, but I'd leave the rest as they are.

      Serwyn wrote:

      Not sure to understand the point of giving blade dancers less os. They don't feel particularily defensive to me, represent them more like lethal dancersopening throats like envelopes.
      Blade dancers have the same OS as now, I just increased the DS of the Master to 8, so he matches the regular dancers (OS5+1, DS6, & OS7+1, DS8), and to enhance the idea that they are really supreme warriors at the very pinacle of fighting skill, unmatched even by other elven heroes. I think the defensive side of their character has gradually been lost somewhat, but they came from a legacy of amazing warriors who were near impossible to even hit in a fight, according to fluff at least.

      Serwyn wrote:

      I don't think agi 6 to kestrels knights is necessary. We have it on two units already and it shouldn't pursue some agilitty race.
      Yeah, that's a copy/paste error :whistling:

      Serwyn wrote:

      Caltrop drops are cool (or any sweeping attack). However I think they could fit as an option in the kestrel entry.
      They could, but I wanted to seperate them as I think when the 2 versions are this different, trying to cram it into one entry just makes it confusing. I also really wanted a distinct separation in the shooting units, between the really shooty (but not too avoidy) units: Pathfinders and Briar Maidens, and the more tricksy, avoidy (but less shooty) units:sentinels and Kestral scouts.

      Serwyn wrote:

      Finally about the magic items section.
      I like the aspects, the new ones are cool to help us deal with very though targets. Maybe one of them could stay a bound item and the other one become simething else ?
      The wepons feel weak. They're adequatly cheap, but they just don't give any interesting damage output. Also the whirlwind curse is a gimmick. With only at best 5 attacks S5 ap2 with no reroll, it's far from being guaranteed to damages targets where it matters (boosted characters/monsters) Blessing of the mother is interesting, but it's the kind of weapon that isn't powerfull or unique enough to make a character do something a normal unit can't. Make it cost 100 points, give it +1S +1AP +1 A on top and now we're speaking of a wepon that is interesting to take. Otherwise you just can't stack enough buffs for it to be interesting.
      Shielding bark is just a worth version of destiny's call, and it even compete with essence of mithril. I would juste get rid of it. I like that Glyph of amryl works outside of challenges. Other items, I'm not so sure about them to give a feedback. I think I would really be disppointed if we don't get a couple of good magic bows though.

      Why did you chose to not create any new unit ?
      Whirlwind Curse was inspired by similar weapons we used to have, and the idea that we could use our ability to hit first to give us an edge in combat without having to rely on killing an enemy before they get to hit back.

      This is a big thing for me. Designing based around killing the enemy before they get to attack back is fine for rank and file, but with expensive stuff like monsters and characters it causes problems, as it takes glass cannon design to extremes, and you have to be squishy enough that any serious opponent who you fail to kill in one round will probably kill you back in one round. Having character vs character combats last more than one round is better for the game, and a design like this could be a way for us to do that while keeping the personality of the SE in combat, rather than loading down with armour or special saves.

      The rest of the items, I think I erred too much on the side of caution, as I was worried about making everything too powerful, and I think I went the other way and made them too weak.

      As for new units, I was trying to show what I think can be done with what we already have. There are several units I'd love to see added, like a Briar Maiden chariot, lesser shifter units, a deep forest predator monster, either as a mount or as a lone monster, specialising in hunting other monsters, pixie swarms, warhound style packs of forest predators (wolves, big cats, bears or whatever), but I wanted to focus on existing stuff for now.
    • CariadocThorne wrote:

      Whirlwind Curse was inspired by similar weapons we used to have, and the idea that we could use our ability to hit first to give us an edge in combat without having to rely on killing an enemy before they get to hit back.

      This is a big thing for me. Designing based around killing the enemy before they get to attack back is fine for rank and file, but with expensive stuff like monsters and characters it causes problems, as it takes glass cannon design to extremes, and you have to be squishy enough that any serious opponent who you fail to kill in one round will probably kill you back in one round. Having character vs character combats last more than one round is better for the game, and a design like this could be a way for us to do that while keeping the personality of the SE in combat, rather than loading down with armour or special saves.
      That's a fair point that I kinda forgot. Yes that would be nice. However as it is I think it is just to little. Most (non-cowboy) characters will have 3 hp, so at the very best they will lose 2 attacks. But then I largely prefer to take a titanic might and deal the last wound. Also if you fight some usual T5 1+ 4++ you may not even deal a wound. Also it is not clear if the target lose an attack per wound or an attack if a wound was dealt.
      I think it would be interesting if it counted the number of wounds before save.
      Finally I like the idea of a weapon giving distracting.

      I like the idea of theblessing of the mother to be honest. It is not powerfull enough for a duelist, but maybe for a character that is just supposed to give a bit more punch to his unit, and if there are some other item or option to complete it, it could work.

      The problem is always a bit the same imho. The wepon is the most important slot, and a char can only have one. That's why cheap weapons aren't good, because they take the slot and don't give enough output. Spirit of the ww would be really much better if we had an artifact to reroll to-wounds rolls or something.