Serwyn's Homebrew Sylvan Elves

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    • Serwyn's Homebrew Sylvan Elves

      Hi everyone!
      Following advice I've read somewhere that trying to write a "redesigned" book was really informative, and following all the discussion on the SE LAB brainstorm thread, I launched myself into my own update of the book!

      This is not a full redesign like a LAB can be because this would be a lot of work to do alone. Moreover I think that a few units works well enough that I wasn't convinced my changes would improve them.
      Also some inspirations or idea may comes from the excellent homebrews of @Alexwellace (here) and @CariadocThorne (here). Interestingly enough, there are some common ideas that I came with independently, so it may be a good sign.
      Here is the homebrew!
      docs.google.com/document/d/1SQ…G6K-AQS0/edit?usp=sharing
      It doesn't include any new unit (except the Darkwood Predator because it is also an option for the Shapeshifter), but I have some new cool units design on the work!


      Changelist and comments:

      Tree Singing:
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      Tree Singing can now move forests through allied unit. This make it possible to make the forest follow slowly the elves and should give a bit more incentive to use it. Right now Tree Singing is really weird to use because you use it after movement phase, so you can't move a unit in a forest that just moved and you're most likely to just block your archers vision.


      Sylvan Cloak:
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      The model gains Aegis(6+). It gains Aegis(5+) against ranged attack that didn’t roll to hit. I'm not sure if the wording formally make sens or if there are too many edge cases to be honest but that design would solve a lot of RPS problems. Also I've kept the cloak but I wouldn't mind removing it alltogether and replace it with an army wide special rule.


      Aspects of Nature and Dryad Ancient:
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      A bit more numerous, the aspects of nature are mostly about support and most don't directly help the Bearer. Dryad Anciant is now supposed to act like a super-champion for dryads units. It lose it's spellcasting (except for the hereditary) and has now swift reform integrated. A few aspects of nature affect all the bearer's unit and the intent is that the Dryad Ancient can be used to pump and personalize units of Dryads who don't have any special rules nor options. This should be especially interesting for all-tree lists, whcih at the time miss options.


      Magic Items:
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      Many changes there! There is a very cool close combat weapon that I'm really found of. Scared Bark, in an attempt to push further the immitation of Treekins gives now emboldening boughs. That may be too strong, but I'm not sure, because it's still conditional. At least it makes it something else than a suboptimal Destiny's call. In the Artifacts, there is a new item for wizards that buffs either augments or non-damage hex (chose at the begining of the game). Also a one use item of which you can take multiple copies. You use it instead of a dissipation attempt and it gives targeted units an aegis against wounds caused by the spell. That should reduce the extreme vulnerability to pyromancy a bit. Another gives distracting to the bearer. Really simple but cool and fitting I think.


      Characters and Kindreds:
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      This is where most changes are. Kindred are no more, and the whole category feels more original and permits more precise balancing without increasing the complexity much.. Instead, the Forest Prince has the attack the Forest Guardian gave him (but not the armor) and he lost accurate. He now can shoot three arrows. The changes needed to have a Wild Hunter lord are now integrated to the Great Elk and the Elven Deer mount.


      Shapeshifter, Wayfinder:
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      The Shapeshifter has now it own entry. He can chose some "aspect" which may let people playy more various models, or he can take a large beast as a companion (they form a unit which he can't leave). It's a bit similar to a mount, but I think it's much cooler and more fluffy.
      The Wayfinder has lower combat stats than the other characters, but 4 shoots and can chose between a "Master Scout" and a "Master Archer" style. There are two fairly powerfull magic bows. One is about debuffing the enemy unit, and the other is about damage. I've tried to make them work with the Wayfinder bonuses, but not synergize too well, so that both bows can be viable choice on Prince and Wayfinder.


      Shadowdancer
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      The Shadowdancer has his own entry. His two possible objectives are supporting and dueling. For the support part, He can be a wizard of Witchcraft (up to adept), he can joins dancers to give them swiftstride or other units to help them with the dances. From the duelling point, he has 5++ and gets +2 aegis against characters in close combat. I know this my be debatable but this is a very simple (low complexity) way to make him good at dueling while clearly showing weaknesses (monsters, r&f...), Also, most characters on foot can easily achieve Res 4/5, 2+, 4++, and I think Res 3, 3++ is less powerfull, especially since it's a conditional defense. If he's supposed to be able to duel powerfull characters and he can't oneshot people,he must be able to survive. And seeing fighty characters in WODG, DL and ID, I even doubt that a 3++ save is enough. And he's stil completely naked against non-characters. I've thought about it a lot and I really think 3++ against characters is reasonnable.


      Magic:
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      The druid doesn't change. In order to make place for the adept-level Shadowdancer, Dryads have no access to druidism or Divination anymore, and Treefather can only be wizard masters. However if it's still not enough and a domain must be removed for witchcraft to be allowed, I wouldn't hesitate a second to ditch the Treefather Ancient.


      Mounts:
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      Unicorns gets light troops. I don't see any other way it could be viable. IMHO Unicorn must hae light troops even if it means it should have a very high price.


      Forests Rangers and Forest Guards:
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      Forest Rangers are now base, with option for either Sylvan Blades or Great Weapon. One unit can be promoted to special and get stats boosted. Forest guards are now special with Bodyguard. Right now, Forest Guards with spear are too weak to be threatening they can be safely ignored, or stomped even in charge with a strong unit. Moving them to special allow them to be stronger and get bodyguard, and hence to take agressive positionning on objectives. Forest rangers with great weapons however can be quite menacing as either small or large units even with lower stats, so they can more effectively fill the core of the army. Moreover it's an original distinction from other elves to have great weapons in core and spearmen in special.


      Core, Special:
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      With the exception of Forests Rangers and Forest Guards, I've let most units as they are. I think that they work well and they all have a nice role. Forest Eagle is lightly stronger, because it didn't make sens that it was weaker than Kestrels. There is a new unit, the Darkwood predator. It's a large beast with medium stats. It's purpose is to hunt monsters. It has lethal strike and multiple wounds (Large, Gigantic). He can't take down monsters alone, but the conjoint work of a pair of these, or with the help of a shapeshifter or shooting, it should be possible. It's the only new unit because it's also an option for the Shapeshifter


      Unseen Arrows:
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      Pathfinders are now elite scouts, and not the best archers. They only have lethal strike at short range, and they have an option to deploy traps that creates dangerous terrains. They're still avoidy but deals less damages, so they should overall be cheaper. Sylvan Sentinels are now the elite archers. Non-skrimish and Light troop, they have two shots per model. no poison and while they're in a forest they get +1 to wound and counts has being gigantic to draw lines of sight. These are damage dealers but less avoidy. I wonder if light troops makes them still to avoidy, but on the other side, if they move arround and don't stay in the forrest they deal less damages. Still it is possible that having them scoring is better.


      Don't hesitate to tell me what you think about all of it, if there are designs you find cool, boring or broken! And I can only encourage you to write a homebrew, it's a great exercise!
    • It really is a great excercise! I think the Sylvan book in particular is so fun to homebrew because the units we have right now, is almost perfect. All we need is a bit more of a army wide directional shift towards guerrilla combat/short ranged warfare and a few fluff driven changes. Essentially the book is a fun to work with, because we’re almost there.

      I’d like to make an argument to you against separating kindreds into character options, not saying either is right , but I’ll run the other side. When splitting them, what we end up with is incredibly elite Lord level characters, and we lose the hero level chiefs. In my opinion, kindred level chiefs are exactly the type of entry we should be incentivising.

      Currently no elf faction makes use of a relatively large amount of low level characters. I’d put forward that Sylvan Elves should do this, with cheap 2 wound chiefs being incentivised to be perchased for kindreds. This really sells the concept that an SE army is a conglomerate of several different tribes acting together. Their key utility would be the benefits they grant their units (swiftstride, bodyguard, perhaps minimised breaktests) and their magic item allowance allowing them to be tailored to handle things the unit can’t. All we have to do is to work on the kindred rules to be flavourful, and not too complicated, but I don’t think they will be. Doing this successfully would save us so much design space.

      The only kindred that really deserve it’s own spot is the shapeshifter. I like yours. I also really really like your deep wood predator. I think that the design would be cleaner if you combine the two concepts into a single model.

      Other things I like:
      I think you’ve done a better job than I did on be special forest guard unit.
      I think we’re missing a beat not including Javalins in a hunter focussed faction. Forest rangers seem perfect for javalins.
      I’d play the hell out of a deepqood predator.
      I’m glad that everyone is on the same concept for sentinels vs pathfinders, now it’s just figuring out the best way to do it. I’d definitely use your sentinels, pathfinder counters instinctively make me iffy, just because counters move.

      Sorry if I sound curt, writing on phone, great job! Will return with more feedback when my laptop revives.

    • Alexwellace wrote:

      The only kindred that really deserve it’s own spot is the shapeshifter. I like yours. I also really really like your deep wood predator. I think that the design would be cleaner if you combine the two concepts into a single model. Yeah... but then that is basically just a mount, whi I wanted to avoid. Also note that I called it Darkwood Predator, because Deepwood was a name used in WHFB fluff.


      Other things I like:
      I think you’ve done a better job than I did on be special forest guard unit.
      I think we’re missing a beat not including Javalins in a hunter focussed faction. Forest rangers seem perfect for javalins. That would be cool, but maybe it is best suited for an auxiliary book?

      I’d play the hell out of a deepqood predator. Yeah, me too. And without any unique special rules!

      I’m glad that everyone is on the same concept for sentinels vs pathfinders, now it’s just figuring out the best way to do it. I’d definitely use your sentinels, pathfinder counters instinctively make me iffy, just because counters move. That's not wrong, but I don't now, that seems a bit of a limitation...


      Sorry if I sound curt, writing on phone, great job! Will return with more feedback when my laptop revives.

      Alexwellace wrote:

      I’d like to make an argument to you against separating kindreds into character options, not saying either is right , but I’ll run the other side. When splitting them, what we end up with is incredibly elite Lord level characters, and we lose the hero level chiefs. In my opinion, kindred level chiefs are exactly the type of entry we should be incentivising.

      Currently no elf faction makes use of a relatively large amount of low level characters. I’d put forward that Sylvan Elves should do this, with cheap 2 wound chiefs being incentivised to be perchased for kindreds. This really sells the concept that an SE army is a conglomerate of several different tribes acting together. Their key utility would be the benefits they grant their units (swiftstride, bodyguard, perhaps minimised breaktests) and their magic item allowance allowing them to be tailored to handle things the unit can’t. All we have to do is to work on the kindred rules to be flavourful, and not too complicated, but I don’t think they will be. Doing this successfully would save us so much design space.
      First I don't think that SE lords are very elite. Most are about 250-270 points with kindred (or in my version with no further unique option) and Lords in already released books (WDG, DL, ID), I don't find them very elite. If you take into account that SE is a very Elite/low number faction, you have Characters with very reasonnable eliteness compared to the rest of the army.

      "Chiefs" heroes is a cool concept (that's what I tried to do with the Dryad Ancient basically), but I think it would be quite costly in design space and it would be a major direction in which to redo the book. Basically if you want 2hp-chieftain levels heroes with kindreds giving buffs to their units, then what do you do with stronger characters? If they have kindred as well, they need very different effects, so you basically need to have every kindred twice. Moreover when using a Kindred, you have much more limitated change space. You can't redo the whole statline arbitrarily or add and remove many special rules, so that's a limitation. Finally, options like Kindreds, big names etc also counts toward the overall complexity of the book.

      Maybe the compromise would be to have different entries as in my version, and a quite unique "Chieftain" that could replace a champion in a unit and have differents bonuses depending on the unit. A bit like when some champions could take a magic weapon. That would certainly be a cool mechanique. I'm decently interested into writing rules for this now :D .

      However I'm not sure if it's an acceptable direction. In the past at least, if I remember well, SE's weren't supposed to be particularly orriented about buffs, i.e. units should be fairly independents. Everything can change with the new book, but not sure about this. Maybe if the buff given by the kindreds are fairly small, like swiftstride for BD, that could work.

      In all cases this takes design space and complexity budget so even if the book has a lot of room now, that means less new units or unique special rules somewhere else :)
    • Kdownunder wrote:

      I wouldn't remove poison from sentinels since you lose all the tools to fight those high resilience monsters in case you would want to play full elf lists. Plus side you have some nice ideas.
      +1 to wound also helps against monsters, and the problem with poison is it's as effective when you're hitting on 2+ and on 6+, so it doens't fit "high skill archers" very well. Poison is indeed stronger than +1 to wound in most cases, but note that now the Darkwood Predator and the "silverlash" magic bow are both good against though monsters :)
    • Serwyn wrote:

      Kdownunder wrote:

      I wouldn't remove poison from sentinels since you lose all the tools to fight those high resilience monsters in case you would want to play full elf lists. Plus side you have some nice ideas.
      +1 to wound also helps against monsters, and the problem with poison is it's as effective when you're hitting on 2+ and on 6+, so it doens't fit "high skill archers" very well. Poison is indeed stronger than +1 to wound in most cases, but note that now the Darkwood Predator and the "silverlash" magic bow are both good against though monsters :)
      I bet you know your stuff better than me, this thing just crossed my mind. Would need to be tested to be able to know better. Thanks for opening it up for me :thumbsup: