tiistai 12. syyskuuta 2017

WIP - New elven guard

If you´ve been reading this blog you´ve propably noticed that I´m a big fan of Jes Goodwin elves. My high elf army is pretty much build around them and in my opinion they are the best elf sculpts Citadel/GW has ever produced. Unfortunately that elf series has some limitations regarding weapon and armor options. For example the models you could use for guards are all spear armed, wear light armor and have tabs for shields. The guard unit I´ve been using clearly has light armor, spears and shields.

If one wanted to have elven guard with heavy armor, shields and spears the melnibonean range is the answer. But what to do if you want to take halberds instead of the spears? And no shield. The high elf infantry in general lacks punch and if you are fighting orcs or dwarfs you would really like to have some troops that can generate those S4 hits.

There are models in the ME-32 Noldor - Deep elf alternatives series that are carrying a very halberd looking spear. But at least in the ebay the prices are horrendous. I´ve managed to get myself just a single model at reasonable cost so far.

For me it was the Black Tree desings that came to rescue. They have an elven royal guard range of models that has a command group and a few different troopers. The sculpts are in my opinion oldhammerish enough even if they stand bit taller than Jes Goodwin elves. The armor can be light or heavy depending on how you look at them and the weapons can pass for a halberd. And the price is very reasonable. Some people have had problems with long delivery times from Black Tree but my package came in about three weeks from the order.

I got models for my unit of 20 a couple of months back but as I was busy with painting orcs I didn´t touch these during the summer. And like I mentioned I was pretty fed up with painting pointy ears. Now I´ve found new energy to work with these and here are the first glimpses.

The very first finished trooper and a couple of WIPs. In my
opinion their weapon will pass for harberd or spear.

WIP  troopers, commander and standard bearer. The commander
has a more elaborately decorated armor than the rank & file.

Commander, standard bearer and a couple of troopers.
Colour theme is the same blue and white as for the rest of the army.

I think there are six different poses for troopers and a three
elf command group including commander, standard and musician (no pic here).

I´m trying to get this unit ready for Oldhammer Oulu meet that will be in 6 weeks (28/10/2017). As these are fairly quick to paint I think I will make it in time.

sunnuntai 3. syyskuuta 2017

Where is he now - Ulfwerenar

Where shapechangers in WFB 3rd edition Armies are available only to wood elves the ulfwerenar are unique to the norse. They can be fielded either as part of a norse mercenary contingent or in a norse army as per list published in WD107.

The Ulfwerenar are the only case of were creatures being included to official army lists in 3rd edition WFB. They form their own units and in that differ from shapechangers who hide among ´normal´ troops and are revealed in enemy proximity.

The later editions of WFB don´t have Ulfwerenar units; or much weres at all. The  Dogs of War regiment Beorg Bearstruck & the Bearmen of Urslo is perhaps the closest thing the later editions had regarding Ulfwerenar.

Once again a BIG Thank you to LM for providing me with pictures of his painted wolf-men. That´s one magnificent unit!!!

Just look at this unit by LM. Very very nice indeed.

THE RULES

The rules for were creatures are quite long and WD107 specifies the use of champions with Ulfwerenar a bit. Let´s take a look into those rules here and see what they mean. Taken from page 244 in the rule book.

  1. Units of weres may enter battle in either human or wolf form. If entering battle in human form, players will have to provide alternative models to use once the unit has transmutated. Once a unit of weres has changed to wolf-man form it remains in that form for the remainder of the battle.

    In the descripition on weres it is thold that weres have to distict form, that of a human and that of a wolf-man. Wolf-men are frightening creatures with powerful hairy body and a snarling wolf´s head. They walk upright and  can use weapons like normal men.

    Entering weres to battle in human form gives you a certain element of suprise. Wolf-men are far better in close combat that regular humans which means that the enemy might overlook them initially if entering in human form. But you are going to need a big pile of models as you need those replacements when the transformation takes place.
  2. Were characters may enter the battle in either human or wolf form. hey may not enter as giant wolves. Alternative models for all three forms will have to be provided. Were characters may change beween their three forms during the battle, and are obliged to make transmutation tests in some circumstances as described under 6,below.

    So in addition to normal and wolf-man forms, the were characters have a third form too. That of a giant wolf. And another model needs to be provided.
  3. All models comprising a unit of weres always have the same form. A single transmutation test is made as described under point 6. The result applies to the whole unit. If led by a were character the character model may assume a different forma and is concidered separately. Character models therefore test separately even if they are leading a unit. An ordinary human character may lead a unit of weres, but obviously may not transmutate.

    Having same form for all models in a unit is pretty natural.

    The underlined part of rules is changed in the WD107 Norse army list. There it clearly states that Ulfwerenar units cannot be led by ordinary heroes, although they can be led by their own were heroes.

    And when you get to rule 11 you realise that once again editing has been a bit limited as rule number 3 allows normal human leaders but rule 11 denies that.
  4. Were characters may only change to Giant Wolf form once they have changed to wolf-man form. Similarly, to transmutate from Giant Wolf form they change again to wolf-men and then change again to human form. It is not possible to change from human to Giant Wolf form (or visa versa) in a single transmutation.

    A good clarification on how were characters transmute.
  5.  A player controlling weres may attempt to tranmutate any unit or character at the beginning of the side´s turn. Once a were unit has adopted wolf-man form, it may make no further transmutations and fights the remainder of the battle as a unit of wolf-men. A were character is free to change between the three forms (human, wolf-ma and giant wolf), but must test in the following situations. If a were character is in hand-to-hand combat at the start of the side´s turn and is in human form, the player must test to transmutate into wolf-man form. If a were character is in hand-to-hand combat at the start of the side´s turn and is in wolf-man form, the player must test to transmute into giant wolf form.

    So normal weres may attempt to transmute but were characters must roll in the above mentioned cases. Perhaps were characters are closer to animals than normal weres and because of that are less in controll of the transmutations.
  6. To effect a successful transmutation, the player rolls a D6. If the score is 6 the transmutation is successful. If enemy troops are within 12" of the testers, the player must add +1 to the dice if attempting to change from human to wolf-man, or from wol-man to giant wolf. If already engaged in hand-to-hand combat the player must add +2 to the dice if attempting to change from huoman to wolf-man or wolf-man to giant wolf. This reflects the were´s natural inclination to change into a more lupine form for combat.

    It´s not that easy to make that transformation. One really has to weight the pro´s and con´s of bringing the ulfwerenar on battlefield in human form. Unarmoured T3 models costing 15 points each are not something you want to attract missile fire to.
  7. A unit which is in wolf-man form when it charges, or when it is charged automatically becomes frenzied. No separate test is required to enter frenzy.

    In addition to better profile line the frenzy is the reason you want to have your ulfwerenar in wolf-man form when they go hand to hand with the enemy.
  8. A were character model which is a wizard loses all associated magical abilities when in wolf-man or giant wolf form. These are immediately regained when the character changes back to human form.

    The army lists for norse don´t have were wizards so this line can be disregarded when using ulfwerenar.
  9. Once a character has transmutated into the form of a giant wolf its personality changes, becoming far less human and far more lupine. A were in full giant wolf form is dangerous because it is subject to animal urges and motivations which may result in the character leaving the scene of the battle altogether. In giant wolf form were characters are subject to the psychological rules given for hatred. Were characters in giant wolf form hate the nearest enemy whatever it is. This overrides all other psychological effects caused by the enemy, negating any affect of fear for example. In addition, any were character charging or being charged while in the form of a giant wolf automatically becomes frenzied.

    As per rule book page 93 the unit associated charecters additional psychological reactions do not affect the unit that does not suffer from that same effect.  The rule for hatred aplies only to the were character. Once in giant wolf form the were character must test to see if it enters a fit of hatred as per the rules for hatred in rule book page 72. Once in that mode it will charge the nearest enemy where possible. This can cause the were character to become separated from the unit he was leading.

    In my opinion a were character in giant wolf form can no longer act as a leader of a unit. He is in effect a wolf now and no longer capable of leading. Therefore the next in command should step in and his profile should be used for further tests.
  10. A were character in giant wolf form and which is not engaged in hand-to-hand combat at the beginning of the side´s turn must make a transmutation test to assume wolf-man shape. If the test is failed, the player must make a further test rolling a D6.

    1-4. The character remains under normal control.

    5. The character must move towards the nearest table-edge at normal speed avoiding combat, if possible. As long as the model remains on the table, the players may test to transmute at the beginning of each of his following turns. No further roll is made on this chart. If the character has failed to transmute by the time the model crosses the table-edge, it is assumed to have left the battlefield and takes no further part in the game.

    6. The character must move towards the nearest table-edge as described above. No further tests are taken; the model is removed from play as soon as it crosses the table-edge.


    With some bad rolls you can end up with your were character running for wild. This is the risk you have to take if you use them. It certainly makes using expensive characters in giant wolf form pretty uninviting.
  11. Units of weres must be led by an ordinary were or a were character.
    See rule 3. Some inconsistency here. As WD107 clarifies this I would follow that ruling.
  12. In competition games, weres are only permitted to those armies indicated in Warhammer Armies, fundametally the Norse. In non-competition games players are allowed to make weres even weirder (if you´ll forgive the pun) by adding D3-1 dominant Chaotic mutations to each unit when in wolf-man form. Characters may be gicen D4-1 personal mutations in wolf-man and giant wolf form - these do not have to be the same mutations and can be generated separately. All random generation must take place before the game begins, preferable under the supervision of the GM.

    So a little hint towards chaos here in the last were rule. And a good point about generating the mutations under GM supervision.
I have to say that even for 3rd edition WFB the rules for weres are long and quite clumsy. Quite a lot of dice rolling and things to remember. But you could have streamlined the rules a bit - not cut the weres alltogether.

The were champion and two troopers. Champion is
a C22 Creatures giant werewolf and troopers are
C18 Nighthorrors wereman and wolfman. From LM´s collection.

PROFILE AND ARMY LISTS

First of all, in my opinion every norse army should have some Ulfwerenar. Just because they are a cool unit that no one else gets. They look good in their wolf-man form and that alone is a good reason to field them.

As we see from the table below, the weres are pretty expensive but they are tough too. As one can expect the profile leans toward hand to hand combat.

As per rules the Ulfwerenar can only be led by one of their own. If were characters are fielded they must be assigned to a Ulfwerenar unit as a champion. As you can not have more than one champion per unit of Ulfwerenar this means that you can never have more were charaters than you have units of weres in your army.


A norse mercenary contingent can have 0-10 ulfwerenar with 5-10 models per unit. A unit must include a were champion. You could theoretically field two units of ulfwerenar but they would be really weak that way. For mercenaries I would field a unit of 10 and wouldn´t try to pass them for normal troops but give them two-handed weapons and deploy them in wolfman form. With champion and a standard the unit would cost roughly 260 points. Pretty expensive but T4 gives some durability and WS4 hitting with S5 is a lot of punch.



If you are using the army list from WD107 you have more options. Now you could try confusing your enemy by deploying in human form and having such equipment that ulfwerenar could be initially mistaken bondsmen. You could potentially field 6 units of bondsmen each 20 models strong and hide a ulfwerenar unit of same size among them.

For a were strong ulfwerenar unit you could take 19 models including a standard bearer all equipped with shields. They would be led by a lvl 20 ulfwerenar hero. You would want to have shields as the bondsmen have that as normal equipment. That combination would cost you 556 points. Taking a relic banner would be highly recommended to keep them from breaking when not in frenzy. The additinal 25 points is not that much for 550+ points unit.

If almost 600 points feels to much you could take a lvl 10 hero and cut the cost by 100 points. Lvl 10 were characters are pretty tough too.

But keep in mind that fielding weres in human form comes with the risk. They might not transmute when you would want them to.



The rule book has different profiles for were characters of different levels in giant wolf form too. Most of the stats stay the same regarless of the level but you get more wounds and higher initiative. This is however changed in the WD107 and all were characters now use the common giant wolf profile regardless of the characters actual level.

This again will affect the way you use your were character. In my opinion there is no sense in using the giant wolf form for other were characters than level 5 champions. Imagine your lvl 25 hero charging out of his parent unit in giant wolf form only to shot to pieces by an enemy that chose to stand & shoot. A lvl 5 champion might benefit from giant wolf form. They do not provide leadership bonuses in any case so combined with profile changes it might be worth trying.

Another shot of this beautiful unit. The flag is a Wargame¨Designs
28mm Viking/Saxon flag that fits the theme perfectly.


WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Closest thing to ulfwerenar in the later editions is the Dogs of War regiment Beorg Bearstruck & the Bearmen of Urslo that came with the 5th edition in 1998. At that time the norse are seen as deeply affected by powers of chaos and their lycanthropy being a gift from chaos gods. In this regiment only Beorg himself is clearly a were creature. His model is clearly a half-man-half-bear creature and the rules state that he fights with claw and teeth. The normal troopers are more or less touched with the mark of were bear affecting their appearance and giving them a higher-than-normal-men profile. Unlike Beorg they wield normal weapons and wear armor. There are no rules for different forms and  every model has just one profile.


Bearmen of Urslo. Beorg himself is not that bad a model
but the rank & file don´t impress me much.

I have to say that I did like the old Norse better before they all went chaos. The norse in 3rd edition were described as fierce and brutal like the land they live in. They love battle and are concidered untrustworthy but they are not all grim & dark chaos that they were turned into later.

-------------------------

I think I need to take a deeper look into the were creatures as whole in the Oldhammer world. There doesn´t seem to too much material available on them. And things I have managed to find are somewhat conflicting...

tiistai 8. elokuuta 2017

Where is he now - Elf shapechanger

Introduced in the 3rd edition WFB Rulebook the shapechangers were made available only to wood elves in the WFB: Armies. The shapechangers resemble werecreatures in many ways but there are differences too. Weres in WFB have usually a normal man-form and a half-wolf form. Were characters can turn to full wolf form too. Shapechangers on the other hand have three animal forms in which they will randomly turn to.

Unlike norse ulfwerenar the elf shapechangers are not fielded as seperate units but they are hidden inside normal units a bit like goblin fanatics. Ulfwerenar will get their own article later.

The rules for shapechangers are quite long and it´s worth taking a good look into them here. Rules are presented on the page 99 in the 3rd edition rulebook.

  1. Models representing shapechangers are indistinguishable from ordinary members of a unit. The controlling player secrectly allocates each shapechanger to an ordinary unit of its racial type. Up to 20% of any unit may be composed of shapechangers hidden in this way. Each is represented by a normal model of the unit´s type. It is important that the player makes a clear note of shapechanger/unit allocation and shows it to the GM.

    So for every four models in a unit you can have one shapechanger hiding there. Wood elf archer (including Lord´s bowmen) units have a maximum unit size of 20 which means you could field 16 archers and 4 shapechangers. With Warrior kinbands you could field 6 shapechangers as the maximum unit size is 30 models. I don´t think it´s stright out forbidden to hide shapechangers in a unit of cavalry but the whole idea of doing that is so strange that I wouldn´t allow it as GM.

  2. If a sheltering unit begins its own turn within 12" of an enemy unit, the controlling player must roll a D6. If the score is 5 or 6, all shapechangers in the unit change shape. If the covering unit is charged in the enemy turn, shapechangers roll to change shape immediately. Shapechangers who enter combat still unchanged may roll at the beginning of each of the following combat rounds (regardless of which side´s turn it is) until they change shape.

    It´s a big disadvantage not to have control over your shapechangers. They will change shape on random so you really can´t make plans that depend on them changing.

  3. Roll a D6 to determine which creature the shapechangers change into. All shapechangers from a unit change into the same creature:
    1-2 Giant wolf
    3-4 Boar
    5-6 Bear


    More unwanted randomness in my opinion. Bear is a great option with S4, T4, W2 and 3 attacks. And they cause fear. Giant wolves are quite good with high movement, WS4 and 2 attacks. But boars are not worth the 28 points the shapechangers cost. Even with those two attacks they get (see rule 5) and frenzy (see rule 7).

    Another disadvantage with shapechangers is the fact that you will need four models for each shapechanger. One for normal for and one for each animal form too. That certaily raises the level for using them.

  4. Shapechangers may not wear armour or carry a shield. They may carry a single weapon - usually a hand weapon.
    No suprises here. Armour would be in the way of shape changing and you have to be able to protect youself in unchanged form too.


  5. Shapechangers retain some of their human or elven qualities and are cpable of wileding weapons as well as making animal attacks. They have characteristics equivalent to the animal thay change into, with an additional attack from any held weapon. This additional attack is made with animal´s WS.
    Here we learn that  a shapechangers transformation is not complete to animal form but instead he becomes a sort of hybrid between his original form and the animal he turns into.

  6. Once changed into animal form, the shapechangers must move as fast as possible towards the nearest visible enemy. They are now concidered to be a seperate unit, and the models representing them are removed from their covering unit. The models representing their animal forms are placed on the table and make an initial move that turn. If their covering unit is already in close combat or is being charged, the shapechangers move into the front rank but cannot leave the unit until that engagement is complete.

    Upon the shape change the controlling player loses what little control he had over the shapechangers. They will move on their own and as per rule 7 charge when able to do so.

  7. Shapechangers in changed form, must charge the nearest enemy as soon as they are able to do so. They automatically enter frenzy as soon as they engage in hand-to-hand combat.

    Frenzy is a powerfull thing. Troops stay frenzied as long as they are in base-to-base contact with the enemy including pursuit. Frenzied troops add +1 to both  ´to hit´ rolls and to ´to wound´ rolls. They also get +1 to any saving throw they make. As shapechangers are unarmoured the last don´t count for them. Unless you want to rule that they get 6+ saing throw while frenzied.

    Frenzied troops will always follow-up and pursue. They are immune to psychology effects, don´t take rout tests and can´t be routed. They will either kill the enemy of die trying.

  8. If, at the beginning of their turn, there are no enemies within 12" of the shapechanger unit, they automatically return to their non-animal form. This small unit may then be moved independently, or may be assimilated within any friendly unit of foot models outnumbering it by four to one or more.

    When this happens the player actually gets to move the shapechangers by his own will. For ake of cover from missiles it could be a good idea to assimilate them to a friedly unit. There are no rules for how the assimilation is done but I suppose moving to contact with the unit you want to assimilate the changers into would be enough.

  9. When a covering unit takes missile casualties, the chance of a shapechanger being hit is proportional to the number of shapechangers present. The GM may determine this as he sees fit. If a unit has it´s full 1 in 5 allocation, a shapechanger will be hit on th e D10 roll of a 9 or 10, for exmaple.

    Compared to goblin fanatics and skaven plague cencer bearers this is a disadvantage. You may lose valuable models to lucky shots.
Shapechangers cost an extra 20 points that is applied after equipment has been added.

In general shapechangers are pretty costly and too random and uncontrollable to field if you just want to get best bang for buck. With some luck they can be a nasty suprise to your opponent but in my opinion it´s too dependant on how you roll.

The overall complexity of rules and random behaviour of shapechangers is propably what led to them being cut from 4th edition.


But they are certainly charasteristic and do fit a wood elf theme very well. And again, no one else gets them and that alone is a good reason to have a few in you wood elf army.

Wood elf shapechangers have weapon options for spears and double-handed weapons. As rules allow only one weapon/model is suppose that the hand weapon is discarded if taking the spear or the two-handed option.  Having a weapon wielding elf-animal-hybrid can create some need for bending the rules a bit. For example as per rules a bear has two claw attacks. If a bear form shapechanger is wielding a two-handed weapon is think it can´t use it´s claws but perhaps does bite attacks instead.

There is not much info to found regarding the shapechangers around the internet but here are couple of blog´s you might want to take a look into:

 If you concider building a shapechanger force for your wood elves and don´t know where to get those animal form models here are some suggestions:
  • Midlam miniatures. Good looking boar men. I would remove the skull emblem from belt but othervise I like these.
  • C38/27 series has some boar faced beastmen that one might use but they seem to be armoured and too evil looking for my taste.
  • C18 Night Horrors has a couple of weremen, wolfmen and a bearman.
  • IronWind metals. This series has all three animal form from a single manufacturer. Elvish weapons could be easily added to these.
  •  A couple of werebears by Reaper.
  • Otherworld miniatures werebear.
 If I were to use wood elf shapechangers I would perhaps use the IronWind ones as they fit together and it would be easy to model some weapons on their hands/paws.

Let me know if you have painted some shapechangers. I would love to see the pictures and if we so agree link them here.