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Von VisconteDimezzato,

Hello fellow 9thagers!

Today plenty of Orcs and Goblins news.

First thing first, we're proud to announce the OnG LAB Task Team, as follow:

Secondarily, OnG LAB will be the first in which the community can enjoy first the BG supplement and the first draft of the LAB guidelines to give a feedback!

Thus, without further delay, here is the OnG BG Supplement: Here come the warborn!

Please take your time to read it, possibly before the guidelines, so your feedback will be in line with the T9A lore!

Now, let's talk about the guidelines. We're happy to release them in their first version. This will be now handed to the community to gather for one week the necessary feedback. At the same time, other stakeholders - including BGT and LAB TT - are giving their own feedback, that will serve to tweak this version into the final one.

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Army Composition

Orcs and goblins is a versatile army that can bring almost everything to the battlefield, from combat infantry, large infantry, cavalry, chariots, monsters, artillery, and so on. Most of the time, the army brings a strong backbone of large melee infantry units in the forms of orcs or goblins from the core section of the book. Generally, the different types of units have lower per-model total eliteness than gamewide average (eg combat damage eliteness could be higher than average, but must be compensated by eg poor saves), and as a result the army typically contains more models and/or more units than the average army. The army as a whole can be described as Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, but each individual armylist does not have to embody this aspect. It means that the army has access to units that can fill all types of roles and that the army doesn't have any extreme weaknesses, nor any extreme strengths.

Wacky elements should be a common sight in the army as long as they are background inspired and aren't gratuitously plugging army weakness or driving the army in unsuitable directions.

Two books in one
The Orcs and Goblins armybook include two distinct components in the same book (orcs and goblins), composed of different races, living in different societies/tribes, and with different cultures and customs. While these components collaborate and form allies, it’s common for both orcs and goblins to fight alone.

This aspect of two distinct components in one should be clearly visible in the structure of the armybook. It should feel like two armybooks, merged into one, with possibilities of allying with each other. Mono orc and mono goblin should be viable builds, as viable as mixed armies. Restrictions on how things can be allied, as well as bonuses to mono-race armies (focus on armylist construction bonuses) can help achieve this. The majority of the complexity that this adds should be on list building, not opponent.

A few units in the book may be without race affiliations. Things that could exist in both goblin and orc societies. For example, giants and trolls.

The core section of the army consists mostly of basic infantry of orcs and goblins, with the only exceptions being basic mounted versions of these. Avoid exotic types of core units (monsters, chariots, fast chaff etc).
Core should be mainly low-skilled warriors.

Play styles
This is a horde army with lots of models, in all play styles.

Combined arms - Orcs and Goblins: A little bit of everything. Blocks of infantry supported by mediocre shooting in the form of crude warmachines and untrained bowmen. A jack of all trades master of none style of army. This style should require that both orcs and goblins are used.

Relentless melee push - Mono Orcs: Armies based around slow but hard-hitting melee infantry units (primarily orcs or trolls), supported by monsters, cavalry and chariots for mobile elements to target vulnerable enemies or counter charge when infantry orcs are bogged down in combat.

Right unit in right place - Mono goblins: Good access to Special deployment, manoeuvrable units and unconventional spy-intel inspired tricks allow highly specialized units to get into the right situations and against the right targets. This style should be restricted to mono goblin armies.

Unavailable play styles:
  • Gunlines: The army should not be able to muster enough shooting power to win games with ranged damage as its primary tool. No more than 20% of quality shooting in a list.
  • Avoidance: While there may be avoidance elements in the book (goblins primarily), it should not be possible to create whole armies around this
  • Monster Mash: While monsters are a common sight in the army, it should not turn into extreme amounts of monsters, nor very high eliteness.

Racial Design Notes
While the warborn (orcs and goblins) are subspecies of the same race, there should be some connections that show their shared physiology.

Orcs are arrogant brutes. Straightforward mindset and a love for combat and violence. They are direct, robust and simple. Focus on good str/res/hp/attacks, while more skill and speed based stats (off, def, agi, adv, mar) are mediocre at best (not above human level).
Eliteness of orcs should range from human (young orcs) to dwarfs (old orcs). Compare similar entries (e.g. basic core soldier, elite trained warrior, fighter-character). Note however that this comparison excludes equipment, where orcs are worse off than humans and dwarfs.
Orcs should show a clear progression in skill, strength and battle-experience as they grow older. Young orcs are fool-hardy, inexperienced and poorly equipped. Old orcs are battle-hardened, well trained and have the best equipment.

Goblins are seen as cowardly, sneaky, innovative and weak. They use tricks, cheating and are not playing fair. Their stats should be below their human counterparts, closer to vermin than human. They come in big numbers and they bring weird and wonderful contractions, constructions, weapons and creatures.

Goblins can come from many different cultures or types of “Gardens”, such as cave, plains, forest, jungle, and so on). In game-terms, this doesn’t necessarily have to be translated into different mechanical rules. Consider exploring this in a dedicated goblin-supplement down the road, and if goblins would be better differentiated by their task, training, role, equipment and/or mount.

Technology levels of orcs and goblins are low. Orcs are barely above stone age equivalent, with the only exception being the metal-working abilities that all orcs learn with age (for orcs the quality of equipment is heavily tied to their age).
Orcs use basic weapons. They don't display the same ingenuity or interest as goblins when it comes to experimenting with unorthodox tools of war.

Goblins technology is more advanced. They are able to construct rudimentary artillery and standardized equipment for basic foot soldiers. Still far from what human or dwarf civilization are able to construct. Goblins are known for their heavy use of poisons, hidden weapons, drugs, traps and other “cheap” weaponry.

Rather static army. No exceptional speed nor mobility, and infantry are close to the bottom tier in terms of speed. Avoid expanding on flying models.

Overall speed for each type of unit is average for their type. Light troops/lateral mobility should be relegated to support troops. Full cavalry list should be a niche build, not primary playstyle (meaning it shouldn't be the optimal play style). Note, this requires some limited access to core cav.

Random movement should be present in the army to represent the unpredictability of many experimental or unorthodox goblin creatures/creations.

Special Deployment

Special deployment should be heavily limited on orcs. Likely not existing at all.

Goblin units should have access to advanced deployment options, representing their dirty strategies and spy networks. Special deployment should however be limited to dedicated support units, not main battleline units, with the exception of mono-goblin units where this can be extended to limited main battleline units.

The army is undisciplined; it is not a military operation. So some troops might be more unreliable or unpredictable for various reasons. Leaders are the glue that keeps the army together, and are therefore of great importance for this army. They make sure everyone goes in the right direction, and without the leader a large part of the army struggles with executing the game plan (e.g. frenzy, panic, failed march, etc). This means that few units can operate outside the range of General/BSB without significant risk. The leaders of the army should feel important, and the choice of these should feel important too, having an impact on the way the army plays (e.g. choice between mixed race alliance or mono race army). This could for example be done as a board-wide effect depending on the type of leader.

Orc leaders are typically the strongest orcs around and they lead by example. These would be brood alphas, and their connection to their personal brood is important and should be represented in-game. While shaman-orc leaders are possible, they should not be the norm nor should they be as competent leaders as brood alphas. Orc focused armies have discipline abilities slightly below average, on a level comparable to armies like Ogre Khans.

For goblins leaders, the connection to strength in leaders is not as straightforward. Leaders must be intelligent and cunning in goblin societies. The difference between wizards and non-wizards in terms of leadership should be smaller than for orcs (i.e. goblin wizards can be decent Generals).
Goblin focused armies have poor discipline, bottom tier, when looking at raw numbers and in straight up fights. They do however use tricks and “cheats” to counteract this deficiency and become a functional army, such as psychotropes for temporal acts of bravery and orderly tactical retreats when odds are stacked against them.

The character section of the book should include representation of the key roles from both main races, and should be diverse enough to allow construction of competitive armies limited to only one race.

See Racial Design Notes for the expected eliteness levels of characters.

For orcs (at least non-wizards), their connections to their brood is important. An orc prefers to fight alongside his brood. This idea should be clearly visible in mechanical rules, where orc characters are encouraged to fight with a dedicated unit of the same type as them. Note, this shouldn’t be limited to generals. All orcs want to fight with their brood. Encouragement could be either stick or carrot.


Nothing special. This army is an average magic user. Note, shrooms should not boost magic, rather look at shrooms as playstyle enablers and covering goblin race weaknesses, mitigating their negative race traits.

Magic should help highlight differences between orcs and goblins. With orc magic being brutal and straight-forward, and goblin magic being more subtle and sneaky. However, remember that gamewide guidelines require that an army only has a single hereditary spell (and puts strong requirements on spells with dual functions).

To archive this, look for inspiration in spells like Awaken the Beast. Two effects in one spell, but they are thematically connected (which is the requirement from game wide guidelines on multi use spells). One could do something similar here, restricting the different thematically connected parts to goblins or orcs.
Another place to look at inspiration is Savage Fury. A spell with effects that is sometimes good, sometimes bad. Have the augment version be for orcs, and the hex version be for goblins.

Path access
  • Orcs: Shamanism, Thaumaturgy, Pyromancy
  • Goblins: Pyromancy, Thaumaturgy, Witchcraft

Static shooting, that emphasizes quantity. Weapons are weak but numerous. This should primarily be lots of bows on infantry and cheap low-quality war machines.

Orc shooting is limited to the absolute basics, while goblin has more meaningful shooting, primarily in the form of low tech war machines, avoid introducing any overly wacky shooting stuff, leave this to Vermin Swarm.

Close Combat

OnG is not a dedicated melee army. They are more of a jack of all trades. Victory should be gained through the combination of many ways to deal damage. Shooting, magic and combat. Still there are lots of dedicated combat units. The exception to this is mono-orc armies, where melee is the primary focus and the main way to deal damage and win games. It’s important that mono-orc armies receive tools to ensure they can live up to this, without mixed armies or pure goblins being able to do this.

Typical orcs and goblins use a large number of low to medium quality attacks. Often attacks are above average strength but below average skill/agility. Generally favour strength over AP.
Units should not favor "burst damage", and should not shy away from extended combats where steadfast is important to stand your ground until help arrives. There are however plenty of units that break away from this mold, especially goblin units that are often more specialized. E.g. glass cannon (gnashers?), charge burst damage (wolf chariots?), defensive anvils (goblins with nets?), and so on.

Defensive Capabilities

Young orcs don’t use armour. Older orcs do, but they are still technically limited, so only light and heavy armour (i.e. plate armour needs to go). Orcs overall aren’t very defensively focused. They rely on decent base resilience and decent numbers, and are otherwise mostly focused on offense. This means generally stat advancements in offensive abilities and mostly using offensive weapons.

Goblins have poor innate defensive capabilities, but make up for this by numbers. In general goblins are more defensively focused than orcs, although they do not generally favor defense over offense. Like orcs, goblin technology isn’t good enough to create the plate armour. Heavy armour is limited to the wealthiest individuals.

More indirect unit synergies than direct synergy. E.g. where EoS might have a buff, O&G would have a weird support unit or monstrous ally. Units should not tactically operate entirely independently. There can be limited exceptions to this, since the book is a jack-of-all-trades type of book, the amount and impact of these should be small.

Main themes
Remember that the cultural/environmental origins of an orc or goblin of the previous book is not an aspect that should be included in this version of the book.
Theme A - Whimsical and humorous elements
Orcs and Goblins should have a whimsical and slightly silly feel. Many of their customs should seem humorous. Playing OnG should feel fun reflecting the enjoyment of the Warborn doing what they enjoy. However it should be possible to create lists with a more serious feel. In general OnG should not feel too dissimilar to a bunch of overgrown squabbling children, both displaying camaraderie but also competing against one another.

To give your feedback, please refer to this topic for the supplement:

OnG Supplement feedback thread

and this topic for the guidelines:

LAB Guidelines community feedback


Last but not least, 13 slim armybooks, BRB slim and arcane compendium are now in gold version in the download tab.

Plenty for you to read today eh!

WARBORN! :GobboFreaky: :GobboFreaky: :GobboFreaky:
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