Empire: What Is and What Should Be

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    Optimistic C wrote:

    To lead: I don’t think that there are significant functional problems with the Empire of Somnstahl army as it currently exists. However, looking over the various LABs, there’s a lot of discussion not about what does work but about what should work.

    To that end I have a few questions about what people here understand to be thematically correct and enjoyable to play for EoS strengths.

    Note that this isn’t meant to be LAB brainstorming thread months or years in advance of the actual LAB. At least to start, I intend this to be a conversation about theme and fun.

    Topic 1: Should Empire of Sonnstahl focus on a particular model type?

    The way I think about this question is by contrasting it with KoE. Should EoS be focused on infantry in the way that KoE is focused on cavalry? Should it be more combined arms, requiring a mix of models to be successful? Should it offer both infantry horde and combined arms play styles?

    Topic 2: Should Empire of Sonnstahl support powerful single models, and if so, how much?

    A lot (though not all) EoS lists have significant focus on Cowboys, either in the form of Griffon Marshals, Inquisitors, or Knight Commanders. Is this part of what you enjoy about EoS, or do you see it as a necessary evil to compete with a game in which single models are granted significant advantages over larger units?

    This discussion could also extend to the Altar of Battle and/or Steam Tank.

    If you like single models, do you think a greater focus should be available, or do you think current options strike a good balance between solo models and units?

    If you dislike solo models, do you have any ideas about how to allow EoS to rely on them less?

    Topic 3: Customization and Variety

    Current differentiation between EoS armies largely boils down to unit selection and game plans. Do you feel that the current set of options are suitably varied in terms of thematically capturing the variety of troops that the Empire might muster?

    For example, would a Vampire Covenent-style system, where different provincial origins provided different general and unit abilities, be of interest? Would you want some other way to capture the ostensibly vast variety of peoples and subcultures present within the empire?

    As an example, here’s a comment which I essentially wrote approaching my own first topic with the idea that the army should be focused on infantry. Note that it doesn’t focus on specific rules or balance issues, but in general ideas about how to achieve my goal:


    Optimistic C wrote:

    Display Spoiler
    Realizing that my feedback was very critical, let me summarize more proactively what I think needs to happen to make EoS a genuinely infantry focused army:

    Point 1: Orders may only target infantry units, and only effect infantry models in those units. If there is only a targeting and NOT a resolution restriction, the orders will inevitably be used to power up (mismatched if necessary) Cowboys rather than RnF infantry models.

    Point 2: Infantry units need a source of consistent melee output regardless of their base stats. If you’re getting slaughtered by the bucketload and doing no damage back, it doesn’t matter how much static CR you get. If infantry are simply inferior in combat to cavalry, they’ll be taken as a token core tax and anvil, not as a tactical mainstay. It’s pretty challenging from a RnF standpoint to compete with the speed (picking fights) and durability (easy 1+ with plate) if we’re removing or restricting rerolls to hit/wound.

    Point 3: Characters need incentives to be in units when they reach combat or you’ll continue to see the 3+ cowboy builds (e.g double inquisitor + KC; double Griffon + inquisitor). The discipline bonus isn’t inconsequential in an army with such poor baselines, but if - as is often the case now - units are just being used as a delivery service for the lone models, I feel that something has gone dramatically wrong.

    Amusingly, Asklanders have a rule like this, in that their chiefs get Hatred and Battle Focus (on top of a natively better stat line and an infantry compatible mount option) when in a unit. Aside from the Knight Commander, there’s no equivalent in EoS.

    Point 4: Characters in units need a way to not die and continue giving their abilities. This isn’t to say that a 300 point marshal should laugh off the attacks from a 600+ point combat lord, but if we’re frequently ending up with hopelessly outmatched generals/BSBs fleeing out of units to escape from melee threats or zooming around on flying mounts to avoid disadvantageous combats, we again aren’t accomplishing our stated goal of making the army infantry first.



    Point 1:
    Yes and no! Infantry blocks should be the main focus and most point efficient army builds should focus on them. But EoS should still be a mixed arms concept.
    In my dream scenario, combined arms would be easier to play and the some units should be more specialized in doing their ecxact role. ex. cavalry being good at countercharging (being a support unit and having extra rules for better reaching flanks, could be a solution). And light infantry better at stand and shoot (ex. S&S counts for CR first round, enemy gets -1 to hit in CC if they are hit etc.)¨

    Overall I believe the parent/support rules needs a makeover, to be much easier to acces and benefit from. Right now its really good when it finally works. But that is so rare, unless you are a master player.



    point 2:
    Generally no, I like the lvl the slim book i s at. I do dislike that the tank is almost a must have, and that the arcane engines has so little CC abilities. and that the main buffs come from some fantastic cart... More power to the foot and mounted characters I say.


    Point 3:
    A few new units could be ok, but I really don't need them. And would definetely prefer them to be something I can use existing modelt for!
    Variation could be very easily be put in with the characters, If orders, prayers, special abilities were just optional and with much greater variation. Main focus should be on buffing units.
    Personally I'm really tired of trying to fit everything in the same bubble, so would like it to be more based on the individual chars and what they bring to the unit they are with (and the support units close by!)
    Another way could be for the buffs to have longer range, so the characters could stay out of combat. (Empire of Danstahl; has this with the signal corps rules. But somehow I'm not convinced that flying characters is the way I wanna go)
    Dream scenario would be to have lots of cheap characters supporting the units (that can't be used as chaff!).
    This could just be integrated in the units themselves with special champion upgrades like in WDG, but with orders/specal training.
    and I still believe; Light infantry should fight and shoot in 3 ranks, FREE command groups for EoS units. Imperial Guards should have weaponmaster and both parent and support, and that halbardiers should wear heavy armor. Brace for impact should be changed to, or there should be an extra order: " Have at THEM!" The unit gain battle focus.
    For Sunna and the Emperor!!
  • Smythen wrote:

    Overall I believe the parent/support rules needs a makeover, to be much easier to acces and benefit from. Right now its really good when it finally works. But that is so rare, unless you are a master player.
    I totally agree! Your suggestions is great, too. I really like the stand-and-shoot suggestion; which would make light infantry support not totally useless.

    Smythen wrote:

    Personally I'm really tired of trying to fit everything in the same bubble, so would like it to be more based on the individual chars and what they bring to the unit they are with (and the support units close by!)
    I also totally agree with this! The goal should be to have a character in every large combat unit.

    Perhaps something like:

    "Inspiring leaders!: In (parent?) units with full command and a character, the unit, and support units around it in a 4"/6" radius, uses the characters discipline for Combat Resolution and Panic Tests, if it's higher. If the unit is within the radius of a General's Commanding Presence, then use that instead."
  • wombat wrote:

    Optimistic C wrote:

    Honestly, there’s precedent to giving Commanding Presence to non-general models, so you could easily do that for Marshals.
    Fully agree, personally I see no reason why a unit Champion ( with 2 HP to represent a grizzled veteran who has learned to survive on a battle field ) can't have an inspiring presence on his / her unit.
    Champion will die in one turn as opponent know he is primary target.
    No more bonuses at the end of the fight
  • Mirdhynn wrote:

    wombat wrote:

    Optimistic C wrote:

    Honestly, there’s precedent to giving Commanding Presence to non-general models, so you could easily do that for Marshals.
    Fully agree, personally I see no reason why a unit Champion ( with 2 HP to represent a grizzled veteran who has learned to survive on a battle field ) can't have an inspiring presence on his / her unit.
    Champion will die in one turn as opponent know he is primary target.No more bonuses at the end of the fight
    End of the day we are talking about a upgrade for a Champion, therefore it should be far, far cheaper than a diluted Character. You could make other changes as well, Hvy Arm ( acquired over time ) Distracting ( learnt to avoid attacks ). You could also have different bonus depending on unit type. The very rarely seen Lgt Inf Champion could have some rule like.. .Wait until you see the white of their eye's...always S&S as if short range being an example.
  • This is a similar issue to what OK struggles with in their Scrapling BSB champion--the opponent just kills the champion and breaks the unit. I got to the point where I would run the scrapling champion in a unit behind my big scrapling block-it worked fine, but it was not really optimal.

    As for the design itself, I get the impression that the Project's game designers are trying to move away from complexity creep within individual units and I think special champion upgrades will be rarer. Even though a structured chain of commanding officers makes a lot of sense in Empire.

    An assortment of special banners could be cool though! I've always viewed the Empire as the faction with big fancy battle banners. :D

    EoS Community Support

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

  • Who wouldn't want an Imperial guard champion with two wounds in their HI units. Doppelsoldner ftw!
    But yes he will just die.

    But giving champions the options to relay orders from a marshall elsewehere could also work. Mainly because if he dies after the order is given who cares.. (maybe even if orders stick, until they get a new one!)
    and I still believe; Light infantry should fight and shoot in 3 ranks, FREE command groups for EoS units. Imperial Guards should have weaponmaster and both parent and support, and that halbardiers should wear heavy armor. Brace for impact should be changed to, or there should be an extra order: " Have at THEM!" The unit gain battle focus.
    For Sunna and the Emperor!!
  • Not sure if this is the right Thread but I would really like to have a strong buff of our core units in the Lab. I think our book is cool and fun to play, but our core, besides light infantry, is in my opinion really weak. I think this is why knights are so popular right now, they are simply the best way to fill the core tax. But even knights are nothing but a carrier for Characters in the moment and think thats kind of sad. So here are my ideas to maybe fix the problem:

    -veteran update for heavy infantry: the updated unit gehts plus one strange and plus one amour penetration and heavy armor. 0-1 in the army . I'm not sure on the point costs for that update, but with plus one armor piercing and strange they would be able to kill stuff without investing a ton of points into buffs, as it´s currently the case...

    - units of 8 ore more Reiters go into core just like as it is in the VC and WDG book with wolfs and barb cavalry. If other army's can get their chaff/ fast cavalry into core, why not we?

    These are my two main points. But besides that I still would love to have the prelate being able to be the BSB ;)
  • Thing is, Empire is really the standard human army. What I mean by that is that all the strengths and weaknesses we associate with humans in a fantasy settings are most present here. The Empire Core are drafted to fight but they are not really seasoned soldiers. You'll see that even our Imperial Guard only have S4, because that's the peak of regular human strength, bar any blessing/corruption, magical items or other trickery.

    EoS should not be able to have S4 core - with the exception of Knightly Orders, but that's only really because we used to have two cav options but then merged them - this is also good for separating us from KoE, we should not be able to have the same kind of army-wise elite cavalry potential.

    In the LAB, we should not strive for higher eliteness of any kind IMO, we're sitting pretty good in about the middle-lower half of the barrel when it comes to eliteness of our troops. Rather, what makes EoS strong is the human ingenuity and working together. When working together as one, we achieve amazing results. When we don't, we fail. Our access to Orders and Parent-Support should instead be increased to make our army better at working together. This can come in the form of cheaper access to orders and extending Cav-Inf parent-support options, perhaps with access to support unit cav and extendeding the 8" range.

    There might also be room to look at "Military led" or "Church" led armies. Currently we have Order buffs from Marshals and Blessings buffs from priests. While it's perfectly fine mixing the two, there might be room to explore an extended range of prayers and orders if taken exclusively. So, if you only have prelates and no marshals, you get access to 6 prayers which all help boost combat effectiveness, whereas if you only take marshals, you get access to 6-7 orders, which are moreso about logistics and psychology rather than combat prowess.

    PUT ME ON TEH LAB TEAM COACH, I'M READY!
  • I suspect that a full church army should be notably different from the default: Prelate BSB, default fearless holy knights (too pious to be worried or run away when it’s sensible to do so), possible restrictions on technical components and whatnot. We might be able to capture some of those army elements in the main book, but some of them won’t fit outside of a supplement.
  • wombat wrote:

    Further to the comments re Church led armies would there be any reason why we couldn't have some form of upgrade to the BSB to reflect a Holy Icon ( Wood of the True Cross being an example ) effecting either / or / both Leadership / Stubbornness ?
    Not per say, just can't be too similar to any KoE holy relic thingies. The KoE LAB is still early in development but needless to say, they have dibs on whatever holy relics and such they need to fir their army and for EoS, we'll kind of need to adapt to that. While - of course - both factions have their share of religious devotees, it manifests in different ways.


    EDIT:

    Optimistic C wrote:

    I suspect that a full church army should be notably different from the default: Prelate BSB, default fearless holy knights (too pious to be worried or run away when it’s sensible to do so), possible restrictions on technical components and whatnot. We might be able to capture some of those army elements in the main book, but some of them won’t fit outside of a supplement.
    The good thing is that the EoS core is malleable. They're pretty "meh" on their own and need buffs to stand up to most other foes and those buffs can come in different forms. So we could build a religous army without needing to introduce new units. You'd just need to expand Blessings (perhaps at the cost of orders) and probably give units access to special champions or banners that give them blessings or something similar, as those won't chew into the complexity budget too much.

    So I imagine that a church-led army wouldn't be too different from a military-led army. It'd mainly affect the types of buffs our parent and support units get and allows for different play styles without changing the characteristics of the army overall. You'll still field the same units and still have the same overall strategies in battle, but the way you go about achieving it might be a bit different. So a support unit with Orders may get steadfast when close to a parent unit and so it can hold an enemy down very well in proportion to its size. In a church-led army, you might be looking at giving that same unit unbreakable and fanatical like flaggelants (for a turn, through a blessing). Just on the top of my head.

    In general, I think an elite, religous army is better suited for KoE because their way of life is just different. For KoE, favours are gained through years and years of chivalry, a mix of good faith and good deeds. These favours and devotion makes KoE outperform any standard human and it's a way of life for them. EoS focuses more on the power of individuals, like a prelate who's able to summon the godly powers for a blessing, temporarily boosting himself and those around him, even benefitting the lowly crossbowman who was conscripted from a farm three months ago. And the fanaticism of EoS results moreso in the crazed flagellants who don't receive any types of favours from the gods, they're just crazy (good).

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Hombre de Mundo ().

  • I think that the answer for our problems are pikes for heavy infantry: I don't want to enter in the rules for them but we'll have a drilled infantry with light armor, no shield but that with numbers can have an important role on the battlefield and we have already fantastic miniatures. Probably they will end as a must-have but this will be because they are the right answer for our problem. Yes, I confess, I like historical...