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Von lawgnome,

Hello to all of my fine dinosaur wranglers out there!

We now have updated guidelines for the SA LAB. The guidelines have been reviewed by the community, and all of the feedback was taken into consideration on the RT re-review.

Now, for your reading pleasure, I am happy to present the SA guidelines (v2)!

Guidelines
Army Composition


Saurian ancient armies are a versatile race that can field a variety of units, but which primarily exert their strength through powerful magic and magical artifacts, fearsome beasts and monsters, and diverse infantry which fill numerous roles in the army. Infantry is varied from strong ranked units, to swift and flexible skirmishers, and is ubiquitous to the army. Each race should have a clear and purposeful role which meshes together to form a varied and flexible army. While they should have access to some elite units, the army as a whole should have only a moderate eliteness level. Units should have a “niche” in the army based on the role they perform (not target specialisation like DL, but more "this is a shooty unit"/"this is a mobile unit"/"this is an anvil unit”). Generally units should not be jack of all trades but instead should have to work together using their unique skills (as opposed to DL, where each unit broadly does its own thing).

Saurian Armies should be able to score points both at range and in combat. However to reflect their current level of technology, shooting should generally be short ranged for its weapon type. Long range avoidance should not be a playstyle available to the army.

While available, cavalry should not be a focus of this army, and should not be present in the core section. Monstrous Cavalry should be about the beast, not the handler, which should be present more as a source of control rather than damage. In general cav should be average to below average in terms or armor, their current level of technology typically does not lend itself well to heavy plate mail.

Cavalry should not be the army's primary source of chaff. Chariots should be rare to nonexistent, with monstrous beasts filling this role instead.

The army should have access to a number of ground-locked monsters which supplement their infantry and provide shock troops. These should be available in both the Character and Monster section. Typically these will require a saurain handler/rider as most monsters are tamed and not particularly intelligent. Monsters can have a variety of “roles” in the army, and do not have to be pure damage dealers. They can carry magical relics, artillery or provide other auxiliary roles for the saurians. Task team should explore possibilities of fielding smaller monsters (not towering presence) in units, no more than 2-3 models per unit.

The average eliteness of models in this book should stay unchanged.

Core
SA core should be normalized compared to current slim book. This means more flexibility/more units, and 25% core. Increase this flexibility in ways fitting for the army. E.g. avoid cavalry in core. Consider small/medium sized dinosaurs (<200 points) or skirmishing skinks. Make sure that added flexibility in core doesn’t create unwanted extreme play styles (e.g. too much avoidance or too much solo model monster mash).


Play styles
The Primary Playstyles of SA should be:

Style A: Mixed arms: SA is primarily a mixed arms army, but does everything in a unique fashion. This army should consist of a strong Infantry core which forms the backbone of the army supported up by magic dealers and monsters. This army should be able to win through shooting, combat and magic combined. Armies will not necessarily look like their human equivalent and can consider unique or novel approaches to achieve this concept.

Style B: Monster mash: SA should be able to field a variety of large and gigantic dinosaurs and ferocious beasts which support an infantry core to form a strong combat list. This should not be able to strongly play avoidance shooting.

Style C: Short range avoidance: Skink based armies with strong mobility and shooting focus. This type of army uses its mobility to dance around enemies. This style should be heavily focused on skinks and their mounts. However, this build should not have the ability to field a completely mounted/skirmishing army. In addition, access to the best leadership and magic options should require at least a portion of the army to be more traditionally static.


Racial Design Notes
Saurians are reptilians. This means they are ectothermic (cold-blooded), carnivorous and lack a larynx. The task team should explore ways to represent this reptilian nature.

Overall the saurians should be viewed as subspecies of the same race rather than completely different races living together, and there should be a feeling of shared physiology between the races. Saurians are very communal creatures and the different races (whether by accident or design) harmonize well in their society. They have the ability to communicate nonverbally with one another over short distances. They are not innately magical. The three main races are typically of equal intelligence and are equally valued in society. (While they may gravitate toward different roles due to their physiology, longevity or natural talents, Skinks, Gila, and Caiman can be found in all levels of society and in general saurian society has avoided the formation of a caste system.) Cutal are somewhat distinct and after their recent reemergence they are still “finding their home” in saurian society.


Gila

Main traits are slow, bulky, tough, resilient. They should be slightly above physically with an orc or dwarf. They are equal in intelligence to skinks though less nimble and dexterous. All-round infantry with good physicality but not highly skilled . Though they are born physically strong, most of them do not train full time as soldiers, but instead take up that role in times of war. They have natural armor which may be supplemented.

Skink
Generally fragile. These are nimble and will be the best at handling monsters and equipment. Main traits are maneuverable, agile and with poor resilience. Weedy and annoying (but not sneaky per se). Generally less willing to stand up to terrifying monsters or stand firm under withering fire, the skinks are generally less steadfast and more panicky than Gila. In prolonged combats they rely on numbers rather than skill to try to bring foes down. In general their statline should be considerably worse than a normal human.

Caiman
Somewhat alien even for Saurians. More strong and powerful even than the Gila though not necessarily more skilled. They have an affinity for water and are more aquatic than their reptilian brethren. They are of average intelligence for the species. They are the longest lived of the 3 main Saurian species and one of their main roles is maintaining the wisdom and traditions of the species. Caimans are very contemplative of the world around them and value patience and consideration more than even other saurus. They tend to be slow to panic, and other saurus often view this as fearlessness (or stupidity). Consistent with a focus on both internal as well as external improvement, they often spend long periods of their free time writing unusual poetry or building strange art These creatures often spend time outside war exploring poetry, art and philosophy (consider a societal role similar to late era samurai).

Task team should feel free to explore the caimans’ unique nature as minor elements in other units (e.g. skink+caiman in the same unit). If this approach is selected, it should be simpler than current rules.

Cuatl
Physically very frail but with very large brains. They are not innately magical but instead have learned and surpassed their former teachers. They have developed powerful telepathic abilities and most are strong spellcasters. They are rarely trusted by other saurians to take leadership positions, and should rarely be the primary source of leadership in the army. They are the most rare of the saurian species have been absent in the culture for thousands of years, until recently.
Cuatl are treated with suspicion by other saurians, even if their commands in battle are obeyed. Cuatl should be guarded/watched by strong and disciplined troops. The primary element of this is the temple guard's role as watchers/jailors as well as protectors.

Equipment
Weapons should be generally shorter ranged but mobile. Given their often remote habitats, they should not utilize wheeled vehicles. Instead they utilize ancient and arcane devices to fill this roll, often mounted on monstrous beasts instead of chariots or wheeled vehicles. They have plentiful access to many magical items both in the equipment section and in unit entries.

SA has access to ancient dawn-age technology. Such devices are not used for their original function, or are no longer functioning optimally. Additionally, saurian tech developments from recent centuries should be equally represented. However, the faction is stone age in many respects, and stays away from tech that requires significant mining or other forms of ecological damage. This means the army should not have access to black-powder weapons or war machines more complex than simple catapults and bolt throwers. As metal working is not their strong point, they should generally not have above average AP. While many saurians sport natural armor, it should be very rare for this to be heavily supplemented and generally armor 6 should be very rare.

Saurians among the races have developed an advanced understanding in a few areas, such as magnets, geothermal energy, crystals, astronomical devices and other appropriate magic or mystical ideas, and can in some cases harness this power for war. They have used it to create constructs that help navigate the difficult terrain and which can do great damage to enemies, among other things. This may be explored by the task team and incorporated into special weapons or rules.

The book may explore one or two unique weapons (blowpipes, clubs, macuahuitl, etc).


Movement
Should have access to very flexible movement play-styles especially on skinks and monsters. In general special movement and deployment abilities should be less available to gila and caiman who generally form ranked units. In general the army should be laterally mobile than straight line fast, but the army as a whole isn't slow. Gila tend to have speeds slower than a typical elf while skinks are typically faster than an elf. These traits should in general be carried onto their respective mounts (ie Gila should not have high movement or mobility, while skink mounts should).

Skirmish and light troops should be common in skink units, but should not be present in core unless other measures are taken to limit anti avoidance core play(ie category allowance, etc). .

As a whole, SA have average speed, and their fastest units have noticeable weaknesses that deter players from building whole armies around them.


Special Deployment

Should have access to many special deployment styles, mainly in skink units. These should be rare or absent from gila and caiman units. In general the army should be above average in special deployment and should have access to all types of special deployment (scout, ambush, vanguard) to represent its guerilla warfare style of combat.


Leadership

Overall they should not have excessively high ld. Given their communal nature and lack of a centralized authority, typically the leadership bubble should not be paramount for the armies function. But given their communal nature and their ability to draw support from their neighbours and allies, other mechanics to represent this can be explored.

Skinks however are less physically built for warfare and should be typically less willing to stand and fight head on than Gila or Caiman. To this end the leadership mechanics should ensure that they remain less reliable than an average human. They are the exception to the need for a leadership bubble.

Caimans are unaffected by what happens around them, makes them appear brave and disciplined. They are also often loners.

Cuatl are generally distrusted in saurian society and so should not be integral to the armies leadership.


Characters

All major races should have character representation. While specific characters may provide buffs for a unit, these should be minor and not rise to the level of EOS unit synergies. SA should have an above average special item section to represent the treasured items saved from ages long past, though characters should not carry above average magic item allowances.

SA have no access to classifical construct war platforms.



Cuatl

Background emphasizes that Cuatl are mistrusted and usually not allowed to lead Saurian armies. There should be a notable decrease in cohesion if a Cuatl is leading. A Cuatl is feeble and slow physically and should have very limited movement ability, often depending on its allies or magnetic assist devices to get around. Cuatl are extrodiarilly intelligent and use their mental powers (eg magical protection, spellcasters, telepathy) to great effect. They are not innately magical but have learned and quickly expanded past the magic of other suarians. They have access to strong telepathic powers which are magical in nature, but can be used to do things beyond the normal Paths, as well as potentially unique abilities not connected to spell casting.

Gila
Gila should be the primary source of leadership in the army. Gila leaders are the exception to regular Gila in that they practice and study war full time. They should be strong warriors, but not amongst the best in the game. They should be less powerful overall than a chosen lord. They should not have extremely specialized roles like KOE heroes. Overall power level should be similar to that of an orc warlord.

Skinks
Skinks are less physically capable than their Gila brethren, and so typically their heroes provide support in other ways. Support casters, scouts, or in handling extremely rare or dangerous beasts. They Should not be a primary source of chaff in the army.

Caiman
Solo characters who often function independent of the rest of the army. moderate eliteness. Should not have mount options. These should primarily function in independent roles in the army.

Magic
Cuatl are in running for best single casters in the game, with high customization in the magic area (e.g. better casting, more spells, telepathic, magic defence). This does not mean Cuatl are best in each aspect of magic (offense, defense, getting spells through, augments etc), it means they have the ability to be above average in any of them but not simultaneously in all.

The 3 other races are able to learn and cast magic. Other magic users are not as impressive as the Cuatl. This is an army where a single strong magic user is the norm. As the Cuatl learned their skills from the other races, the Cuatl should have access to paths unknown by other saurians, but not vice versa. All races’ ability to be wizards does not have to be represented in game, since 4 different wizards and other fighter characters on top will create a too big character section.

Non Cuatl casters should just be “average” wizards without particularly innate abilities to cast.

Given their dominance in the dawn age, Saurians still have access to many ancient and unfathomable arcane devices. They should have a high ability to adjust the Magic Flux by supplementing or storing veil tokens via magic items. They should have a number of bound spells available via the use of magic items.

Path access
The Skinks and Gila traditionally have practiced Shamanism and Druidism which conform to their views on vitalism.

The Cuatl were initially taught these paths after their re-emergence, but have since expanded far beyond their teachers in the realm of magical lore. Interestingly, most Cuatl have since eschewed the practice of shamanism, with many of them viewing it as a “primitive” lore that is beneath their powerful intellects, and leaving it primarily as a lore for the other races.

Instead Most Cuatl strive to master one or more of the 4 pillars of the Mortal Realm.
  • Life/Energy - Druidism
  • Matter - Alchemy
  • Soul - Evocation
  • Magic/Veil - Divination
The Cuatl have also evolved a highly refined magical telepathy which can help them coordinate with others, control animals, or even mislead or attack enemies, depending on the casters skill.

Hereditary:
Generally should reflect their complex understanding of magical nature, instead of having a feeling of brute force or raw power (unlike ogres or WDG).



Shooting

Skinks use short ranged shooting of light power and average skill. Death from 1000 cuts with heavy emphasis on poison shooting but limited armour penetration beyond very specific tools. They have very good ability to move and shoot. This avoidance style shooting is together with damage-focus cuatl casters the primary source of ranged damage in the SA arsenal.

Gila are not prohibited from having ranged weapons but their overall inferior dexterity to skinks should be reflected in the weapons design and profile and if present at all should be rare.

War machines are generally not used, but some heavy shooting beasts or beast mounted weapons which exist as pseudo artillery. Generally these are shorter range than their standard counterparts.

Magnetism may be explored as a way to do ranged damage, though is not required to do so as conventional weapons are prevalent as well.

Close Combat
The primary combat units are grinding oriented, with good defence and decent damage output. No meaningful first turn boosts or other “burst damage” components. Generally average to below average agility should be the norm for this cold blooded and reptilian army. They should have access to generally good armor saves but this should not be an emphasis and only characters should have access to elite armor. Skill based traits (e.g. Weapon skills) should generally be average but physical traits (e.g. strength and resilience) should be above average for most units

Skinks are poor in combat and should generally try to avoid it at all costs. When designed for combat, skinks units should seek to bog down enemy units until help can arrive. Skinks have poor physical traits for combat and should be generally unwilling to hold for long periods to time unsupported. A few skink units (especially mounted ones) can be used as support troops for combat purposes.

Monsters and beasts can be used for burst damage (impact hits or other first turn only bonuses).


Defensive Capabilities

Racially dependent.
Skinks have numbers and avoiding hits as their defence, but should not be especially resistant to damage. Skinks die fast and easy when they find themselves the target of an attack and rely on numbers to make an impact.

Other units have good resilience and armour. They can withstand attacks very well. Only average defensive weapon skill should be available to the army.

Magic abilities/trinkets provide access to special saves of both types, however no units in the army should have innate supernal or non magical special saves.


Synergies

The army should have several ways to synergize. They are not martially as well trained as units of the EOS but they should have access to moderate buffing synergies in combat. Synergies typically have an arcane origin and are focused on helping allies over debuffing enemies.

Units also work well together and due to their communal nature, there should be some minor but innate synergies to units which are functioning in harmony.

Specifically a special leadership rule reflecting their communal nature should be considered. (The design team should feel free to think “outside the box” here in terms of racial rules and design. While not excluded from keeping the old minimized mechanic, the design team should not feel this mechanic must be maintained either).



Main themes

A society apart: Saurians should have a very distinct feel compared to other races , as they are much farther removed evolutionarily from the other inhabitants of the 9th age. Their approach to life, strategy and war should feel very foreign and distinct. From their racial traits, to their communal government, lack of religion, weapon technology, and completely distinct moral code. The SA book should strive to maintain a feeling that this is a completely foreign and alien race. This should be reflected in special rules, wargear, and tactics. Overall the book should emphasize the communal nature of saurians and their high valuation of living force and life energy.

The trees have eyes: Saurian communities are typically remote and are often found in very inhospitable environments (jungles, swamps, caves, remote mountains etc). Saurians depend on and utilize these remote locations to help protect them from outside threats and have adapted their warfare to suit them. As reflected in their equipment and unit types, the saurian army should feel at home in the rough terrain, taking every advantage of their habitats to give themselves an advantage as they harry and surprise their foes. They should make heavy use of special deployment types to reflect the guerilla warfare style.

Jurassic Park: Saurian ancients is our chance to play with dinosaurs. These beasts should be an integral part of the saurian battle plan but should also feel “cool”. While the KOE book is about the riders, the SA book should be about the beasts. From monstrous mounts, to beasts of burden, to ferocious living weapons, there should be many options to field dinosaurs of different sizes and roles in the army. They should feel weird, wild, feral, and powerful. Dinosaurs should feel integral to the army and society.

The remnants of an age long past: Saurians are the remnants of a world spanning society which fell in the distant past. They still cling to and revere many of the vestiges of this civilization. In game this means plentiful access to magic and arcane items, both in character equipment and for units. They should have a larger than average magical item selection and have good access to bound spells, magical attacks and veil token manipulation, however these should not be innate abilities from the saurians themselves but instead granted by arcane devices or items. Often their secrets have been lost to time, (which might make them unreliable or dangerous if those who tamper with such devices.)




The LAB team has been delivered the guidelines, and are now busily at work building concepts for our stompy friends.
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