Thursday, October 15, 2015

Romano Mortuum

These are my thoughts on my new project that I have been thinking about for the past 3-4 weeks. It is inspired by the publication news of Broken Legions by Osprey and the Weird Wars Rome Savage Worlds RPG setting by Pinnacle Entertainment. The idea is to use the mechanics of Frostgrave, but each warband would have a leader added on top of the wizard, apprentice and soldiers. For most of the warbands there will be an option to add supernatural creatures. Right now I have made warbands for the following: Romans, Celts, Germanic Tribes, Dacians, Picts and Egyptians.

The Setting
An isolated ruined city on the outskirts of the Roman Empire, has recently been discovered. The Romans named the city Romano Mortuum. Initial forays into the city has shown it to be highly magical and there are numerous artefacts that are just there to be taken. The Romans have sent out special units to find these artefacts so that Rome may benefit from them, but also to make sure that their enemies don't get hold of them and use them against Rome. The enemies of Rome, but from conquered and at sovereign nations have sent special warbands to Romano Mortuum to try and secure some of the artefacts, so that Rome can be defeated.

Game Mechanic Changes
In Romano Mortuum is warband is lead by a leader (Centurion for Rome, Chieftain for Celts etc.) not by a wizard. The wizard is still there are function in the same way as in a normal Frostgrave game. Each warband can also still have an apprentice and a maximum warband limit of 10 figures in all.

This game also introduces supernatural soldiers available to all of the warbands, with the exception of Rome. Supernatural creatures in the warband activate in Soldier Phase like regular soldiers.

With the addition of a leader, a new phase is also introduced - the Leader Phase, which is the first phase each turn.

Each nation/warband has a special rule giving a national benefit to the warband.

Assembling a Warband
The wizard and leader are free, but all other members of the warband has a cost. Each warband group has a specific army list from which the warband must be assembled.

The Leader
The leader has his own phase - the Leader Phase where he activates.
The leader can carry 3 items in addition to their standard starting equipment.

Group Move
The leader can initiate Group Moves. This replaces the Group Move that an apprentice would normally do. So in other words an apprentice cannot initiate Group Moves anymore.

Unlike regular soldiers your leader is a hero and thus has access to a number of skills that either improves him or those around him. When first creating your warband leader, roll a d20 to see which skill he starts with. As your leader gains levels he may acquire new skills.

roll       skill                     benefit                                                                                                          
1          Agile                   +1 to Move
2          Assassin              Critical on die roll of 19-20
3          Brave                   +1 to Will
4          Brawny                +2 to Health
5          Command            Soldiers receive +1 Will while within 6” of the leader
6          Dodge                  +2 to Fighting roll when shot at
7          Dogged                +2 Damage Modifier
8          Fervor                  Soldiers gain +1 Fighting while within 6” of the leader
9          Free Disengage    Leader can always disengage at the end of a combat round
10        Frenzied               Leader may opt to make two attacks vs the same enemy at -2 Fighting
11        Hard                     +1 to Fighting
12        Inspirational         +2 to Initiative
13        Lucky                  Once per game the leader can re-roll one die roll
14        Nerves of Steel    Ignore penalties from being Wounded
15        Reckless               Leader may opt to reduce his Armor by 2 to gain +2 to Fighting
16        Steadfast              Character cannot be pushed back when losing a combat
17        Stealth                  When out of LOS, the leader can make two full moves instead of one full move plus half
18        Threatening          Enemy receives -1 Fighting against this leader
19        Tough                   +1 to Armor
20        Choose from above

Experience and Level
Your leader earns experience in the following way:

experience       achievement                                                                                                                     
+30                  Each enemy soldier personally taken out of the game.

+50                  Each enemy apprentice personally taken out of the game.

+100                Each enemy wizard personally taken out of the game.

+150                Each enemy leader personally taken out of the game.

When your leader has earned 100 xp he gains another level. For every level a leader gains, he may choose to improve a stat (like a wizard and with the same restrictions), or learn a new skill.

Army Lists

If anyone is interested in this let me know and I will send you the above information in PDF files.

Comments and critique is as always appreciated.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

My next project

For little over a month ago I have been looking for another project to tackle. This I have done while being fully aware that I have an Across the Dead Earth game that I have not even tried yet. My adventure in selling my SAGA The Crescent and the Cross stuff will come to a happy ending on Thursday. Here I will drive to the Danish-German border for a direct delivery of all minis, books, terrain and even the board I made.

Some background
Last week news Osprey revealed what they have lined up for 2016 - see here, and one product in particular caught my eye Broken Legions - Fantasy Skirmish Wargame in the Roman Empire. From the brief description of the game and the information that the author provided on the lead-adventure forum I was sold on the setting. Problem is that the game does not release until July 2016 - so what to do in the meantime? Since the news I have been thinking about what ruleset could be adapted for this game where you take control of small group of for instance Germanic barbarians that includes werewolves?

My search took me to the LOTR ruleset and IHMN - but while both seem solid enough it was not what I was looking for. Looking through the normal blogs that I follow and different forums I was constantly told how good a game Frostgrave is. Ever since it was release I have been baffled that this game has become so successful - this seemed so ordinary and the classic fantasy setting is something that has not appealed to me for many years. And the miniatures did not appeal to me either, so I had not had any incentive to seek more information. This time I could however see some similarities between this and Broken Legions where the objective is to find treasure/artifacts. Both are also fantasy and with a limited number of miniatures.

Enter Frostgrave
Reviews and battle reports on YouTube gave me more incentive to seek out the rules. Via my subscription I found that I had access to an online version of the rules - nothing I could print but a version that I can read online. Reading through the rules I was surprised at the simplicity, but it seemed to work. I began thinking about if it was adaptable to my vision of Broken Legions - and I think it can.

My friend Michael's favorite setting is fantasy and if possible he will always play a wizard so I thought he would the perfect guy to try out the Frostgrave rules as written. So we arranged to have a game this evening. I found my only fantasy figures and used an old Malifaux board with some terrain as the Frozen City. Normally I spend months preparing minis, terrain and everything else, so this was something new.

What a pleasant surprise
Frostgrave proved to be such a wonderful experience. Never has a game flowed this easy from the get go. Nothing in the rules is baffling and everything just works! Not when I have playing Malifaux, Empire of the Dead, my 1812 - Retreat from Moscow and SAGA has any of them been this much fun. I am astonished at this - the old minis look crap, the terrain leaves a lot to be desires, but the gameplay is so enjoyable - this I have no doubt will be my new favorite game.

Michael and I played to games and had a blast. The scenarios are a lot of fun and the level of tactics and the campaign system is great. After the game both of us were smiling - what a game!

We talked about my ideas for adapting it for my version of Broken Legions and Michael seems very hooked on that as well. My initial feeling is that I will add a non-spellcaster leader - will normally be a centurion or barbarian chieftain, and add a cost to some beasts so that it becomes possible for Germanic tribes to add werewolves, Dacians to add vampires, Egyptians to add mummies etc. Each warband will be more different than your regular Frostgrave warband. Your choice of warband will give you unique options but also deny you access to other stuff - no legionary with the Dacians for instance.

This is very much just ideas, but I think the Frostgrave rules can be adapted to Broken Legions. I have no doubt that I will continue to play Frostgrave as written - it is just so enjoyable, and I will be looking to see at what level I will back the Nickstarter for The Thaw of the Lich Lord expansion.

Comments are as usual very welcome - I read every one of them.