Friday, October 31, 2014

EotD - Skirmish report and change in house rules

Last night my friend Chris and I had a chance to get another game in of Empire of the Dead. Since our last game I had received some feedback about some of the house rules that we playtested the last time around, so we made some small changes once again.

- We removed the Fort roll and reintroduced the Opposed Rolls Table.
- The Combat Phase was reintroduced
- Melee is handled according to the original rules, except that we add the Cbt to our dice roll

Chris chose to take the Lycaons faction while I tried the Brotherhood.

4 Wolfskins w/Claws of the Wolfen and half-armour

Deacon w/Heavy pistol and Club
Knight Marshall w/Club and Sword
Brother w/Hunting rifle and Club
Brother w/Shotgun and Club
2 Brothers w/Heavy pistols and Clubs

We rolled for scenario and got Entrapment. The Lycaons would try to get to the other side of the board and the Brotherhood would try to stop them.

After deployment I could see that I had made a mistake in the distribution of models in my two deployment zones. The two werewolves would quickly be in melee with my two brothers armed with the hunting rifle and shotgun, and I could not see a way to prevent that.

The Lycaons automatically the initiative in the first round and the werewolves quickly moved up - getting into good positions to Charge in the next round. My brothers fired a few shots of, but could not hit. The wolfskins and the rest of my Brotherhood also moved towards the area on the board that would be our killing ground.

In the second round the werewolves charged while the wolfskins and the rest of my Brotherhood moved closer. In the following rounds a few shots were fired, but there was plenty of melee. The last round came down to a melee between the Beastlord and my Deacon, and while I hit the Beastlord I could not penetrate his high Fortitude, so the Beastlord killed my Deacon and could therefore move him to the table edge and win the game.

At this point I did not really care about the result of the game. I was instead more interested in discussing what rules had worked and not. So we sat down for the "autopsy".

A Charging Beastlord gets to add 9 to his roll in melee, which is incredibly powerful. Now a werewolf should be powerful so I don't really mind. One thing we agree on was that when we rolled melee the number of dice should negate each other, i.e. the Beastlord gets a 10, 14 and 15 with his three attack dice, and the Deacon gets an 8, 9, and 12. this means that the Beastlord only gets to roll two dice on the Oppossed Rolls Table instead of the three he would normally get.

We also thought that the Target Modifiers that we had played with for the last couple of games, were perhaps to harsh. A Brother or Wolfskin with a Marksmanship of 4 will need to roll a 6 or 7 in most cases, because of the changes to range modifiers that we made. If we went back to the normal rules it would be a 5 or 6, which is more fair.

I think we are getting there. I'm actually surprised that I was willing to drop the Fort roll so easily, but the Oppossed Rolls Table is more fair - even if it is almost impossible to hit a Beastlord in melee with his high Fortitude.

Some pictures from our game, I stopped taking pictures in round 3 or 4 as I started to concentrate on how the rules worked.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Playtesting house rules

Yesterday evening my friend Chris and I had a chance to playtest the house rules that I had propossed to Empire of the Dead.

We settled on the usual 150 shilling for starting our factions. I chose the Supernatural Branch, my favorite and I was interested in seeing whether they would feel different with the new rules. Chris decided to try out the Zendarian Officers Society. We decided to play the Fracas scenario.

In my previous blog post I had mentioned that we had played with some of the rules before, so the alternating activation and free targeting were nothing new for us. In the first round some of the new rules came into play as we took shots at each other. Despite hitting, we were unable to damage each other as the Fort opposed roll helped one of my Firearms Constables survive. Despite the average Fort being around 3 and a Hunting Rifle having a Strength of 6, it still gave me the feeling that I had an extra chance with the Fort roll.

As the game progressed I felt the game mechanics worked rather nicely. Of course the dice can be against you and if your opponent constantly rolls 9s and 10s with his Fort roll then this active roll will seem rather powerful. Chris had difficulty in getting away from the fact that the Opposed Roll Table gave him a better chance of hitting, and was not convinced by the opposed Fort roll. When I told him to forget that the Opposed Roll Table had ever existed he seemed unable to do so.

The only time I think the rules did not work was when Chris' Zendarian leader charged one of my PCs with his two swords - giving him three attacks. He got more than the TN 10 and therefore rolled three dice opposed to my one Fort dice. I rolled a 10 and therefore got 13 more than the three attack dice and according to the new rules my PC had resisted the attack. Chris felt that it was crazy that one die could resist three dice. I argued that I had rolled the best possible result, and that his own dice had let him down. We discussed it and came up with a few changes to this specific problem. I felt that a -1 for each difference in attack dice and the Fort die would be an easy way to fix this. Chris felt that for the resist roll we should use Cbt. I'm not sure what we actually ended up with.

We managed to play two games, Chris won the first and I won the second. In the second game nothing new came up.

I honestly felt that the game mechanics worked well. We also had a lot more melee combat and the game felt more varied. In previous games it has mostly felt like that whoever brought the biggest guns would win. The Fort roll gave a sense of each model having a better chance of survival and as a player I felt that I did not just sit back watching as my models were shot at.
Chris seemed less convinced, but I believe that this has something to do with him having problems accepting that something becomes more difficult than it originally was, even if it gives a better game.

We both agreed to try again in the near future, and Chris will see if he can come up with a different approach to the melee rules.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Revisiting Empire of the Dead - House rules

During the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about my Empire of the Dead miniatures. They really are lovely models - shame about the rules. I want to get them back on the table again, and since Westwind seem uninterested in Empire of the Dead and delivering the promised Requiem book, I decided to change the rules to my liking.

I have yet to try out these house rules, but I hope to do so within the next couple of weeks. Some of these rules like scrapping IGOUGO in favour of alternate activations is something we have previously played with, others are brand new. My aim with these house rules is to make melee combat more common, and to remove the IMO clumsy way of handling melee combat, with the Cbt Attribute almost without use. Missile combat has also become a tiny bit more difficult, with changed ranged modifiers.

The most radical change within the house rules is the dropping of the Opposed Roll Table in melee and missile combat. In it's place is now an opposed Fortitude roll - the idea behind this is that the defender no longer just sits there, while the attacker rolls on the Opposed Roll Table.

As usual comments/critique are much appreciated.

House Rules:


Opposed Rolls
The Opposed Roll Table is dropped for Melee and Missile attacks. See Missile Attack and Melee Attack.

Starting a game

Turn sequence
Combat Phase is dropped. Melee combat is moved to the Action Phase.

Initiative Phase
The winner of the initiative decides who starts the turn. The player who starts activates one model, then the other player activates one model. Activations alternate until all models have been activated.

1” rule is dropped, meaning that models can move within 1” of each another at which point they become engaged in hand-to-hand combat.

At the end of a Charge (double the model’s base movement rate) the model performs a melee attack with a +2 bonus.


Missile Attacks
- Determine LOS

- Apply modifiers - Target Modifiers and Cover Modifiers

- Roll d10 and add Marksmanship score and add/subtract modifiers. On a score of 10 or more you score a hit.

- If attacker score a hit, he rolls a d10 adding the weapons Strength. Defender rolls d10 and adds his Fortitude score.

- If the attacker’s roll is equal to or higher than the defender’s roll, attacker rolls for the wound effect.

For example – a Wulfen Jaeger(Mk 4) fires his Hunting Rifle at a Wolfskin(Fort 3). He rolls a d10 and adds his Mk score(+/-Target and Cover Modifiers), scoring a hit with a result of 11. The Wulfen Jaeger then rolls a d10 adding the Hunting Rifles Strength 6 scoring a 12. The Wolfskin then rolls a d10 adding his Fort 3, getting a result of 9, not enough to resist the shot. The Wulfen Jaeger now rolls for wound effects.   

Melee Attacks
- Apply modifiers - Combat Modifiers

- Roll number of d10 equal to your Attacks (add an extra die if your using two combat weapons) and add Combat score and add/subtract modifiers. On a score of 10 or more you score a hit.

- For each successful hit the attacker rolls a d10 adding his Strength plus any weapon modifiers. Defender rolls d10 and adds his Fortitude score.

- If the defender’s result is more than all the attacker rolls, the attack has failed. Otherwise the attacker rolls for wound effect  with a number of dice equal to those attacks rolls that are equal to or higher than the Fortitude roll.

For example – Gentleman’s Club member Fairbanks(Att 1, Cbt 3, Str 3) (armed with brass knuckles and a light pistol) attacks a Vampire Thrall(Fort 3). He rolls two d10 adding his Cbt to both rolls, scoring a 10 and a 12. Two hits. Fairbanks now rolls two d10 adding his Strength (+/- weapon modifers), he scores an 8 and a 10. The Vampire Thrall now rolls a d10 adding his Fort, scoring a  9. The result means that the Vampire Thrall only succeeded in resisting one attack, and Fairbanks rolls a d10 on the Wound Effect Table. Had the Vampire Thrall scored an 11 on his roll, both attacks from Fairbanks had been resisted.

Target Selection
Target selection is free, meaning the attacker can freely determine his target.

Target Modifiers
Medium range                                                          -1
Long range                                                                 -2
If target has moved 8” or more in this turn      -1
Larger than man-size                                             +1
Smaller than man-size                                           -1
Watch & Shoot                                                          -1
Aimed Shot                                                                +2

Cover Modifiers
Soft cover, part of base hidden                             -1
Soft cover, full base hidden                                   -2
Hard cover, part of base hidden                          -2
Hard cover, full base hidden                                -3
Target prone                                                              -1

Combat Modifiers
Charging                                                                     +2
Charged target using a spear/polearm            -1
Unarmed (no weapons)                                         -2
Using one or more improvised weapons         -1
Target is prone                                                          +2
Prone                                                                            -2
Discombobulated                                                     -2
Model was Drained in this or the last turn      -2

Throwing Weapons
Cannot be used as a short range missile capability when charging.

Starting a faction

Leaders begin the game with 3 Wounds
Other Heroes begin the game with 2 Wounds.