March 10, 2014 by brennon
From The Journal of Richter Haustmann…
“It has been a slow week. The stores are low and thankfully the threat of battle has not loomed it’s dangerously vicious head. I had thought that peace would be a welcome feeling for the zealots but they are bred for fighting, baptised in the blood of unbelievers. Something needed to give and blood would have to be shed to keep the men happy.
In our small hovel of a headquarters, the ragged banners of Sigmar fluttering from the burnt wooden skeleton of a butchers shop, I lay down a challenge to the men. The Pit Fighter, Krull, would be pitted against each of them in turn and they were to prove their worth. Krull was a Northman, someone who had grown up in a land that Sigmar had never touched, and the zealots took great glee in the idea of this sport.
Each of them attacked in turn, and Krull beat each of them. Even Gnasher, the strange cultists from the darkness managed to master his smashed leg and fight, but Krull sent him back to his cot battered even more.
All had been bested by the Pit Fighter until Waldemar stood forth. A man of bow and shadow he was not one I considered a match for the fighter but as he raised his sword and shield in a stance I had not seen since my University days he matched Krull blow for blow until a slash across the warriors leg bought him low and Waldemar made him submit. I was distinctly impressed.
The spirits were raised and the sense of pious brotherhood was restored. I would need to force them onwards into more acts of vengeance if I were to keep morale high. I did however wonder what I would have done differently had I known what awaited me in the ruins…”
Hindsight Is A Wonderful Thing
So with a bit of a slow week and no game this weekend I decided that this time around I’d begin to talk about what I would change with my warband if I were to do it all again. I have been talking about the game with a number of people and I have a few changes that I know I would have made when it came to bringing Witch Hunters to the City of the Damned.
The first thing is that I would have dropped one of my Witch Hunter heroes. I know it’s generally assumed that having lots of heroes is a good idea (for searching for wyrdstone and such) but I think I might have piled too much into them. I could possibly have dropped the chap with his great weapon, Ulrich Von Lichenstein, and spent the gold crowns elsewhere. What would I have spent them on? Warhounds.
I have underestimated just how cool these pooches are. They are fairly cheap, quite tough, and will scare your enemy witless. As someone pointed out in the comments last week I could drop the Pit Fighter and just take them instead and would get generally the same result, albeit without the massive upkeep cost. I think Krull might have one or two games and then get fired, or sacrificed to Sigmar’s fiery glory.
Away from that the loss of a hero would also have allowed me to buy some better weapons for my ranged zealots. The short bows have just not been worth it and the range they give is fairly useless. It works if you’re going to scamper around with the rest of your warband, much like Night Goblins, but for creating a bit of a firing squad it doesn’t match up against the range of a crossbow. So, I would have picked up some normal ‘bows’ instead of the stumpy variety.
Elsewhere if I had worked out the money a bit more I might have looked at getting a range of armour for my smaller number of heroes. I could possibly have just gone for three and had an Inquisitor, Sigmarite Priest and one Witch Hunter. Each of them could have strapped on light armour and along with their hand weapons and shields could have benefited from nimble to give them a nice 4+ save.
The reason behind this is that Coreheim is brutally quick. Things die very quickly, especially with additional skills, and you will find very few of your men actually stay knocked out or stunned. This isn’t a bad thing of course as it means games play a lot quicker, but it does mean bloody ruin is closer than you think. Armour therefore, which was essentially a luxury in normal Mordheim, kind of becomes a massive deal in Coreheim.
Telling A Story
Another thing that has come to light while playing is the need for a strong narrative in your games of Mordheim or in fact anything that is a lengthy investment of time. Without a good story and a continual narrative, essentially a games masters, you will find people beginning to not care about the next game and drop it rather than continue playing. When it becomes a mechanical ‘I should rout now because I won’t get enough gold’ over ‘I want to kill him for dropping my friend off a bridge last game!’ I think you’ve lost the flow and meaning behind the game.
I think that maybe this could be a fault of the system itself. There is little ‘fluff’ other than what people come up with themselves and the rules feel very clinical compared to the old ones. It’s certainly less whacky and that is something I miss. Therefore I have tried, with most of my games, to push the feeling of narrative and story, creating rivalries between foes on the battlefield away from the mechanics. For example, my Witch Hunter knows how fearsome the Middenheimer Captain is and so he and his hired guns shot him rather than shooting him last game, but now I feel he lacked a sense of honour in the doing so so next game he will be seeking him out for a scrap!
Also Mordheim is a living (albeit haunted) city so you should have things going on as you fight. It’s useless having a field of battle where nothing is allowed to interact with anything else. Make it so you can topple over crates or roll down barrels with a strength check. Have random occurrences happening with random goblins popping out of a sewer with a bag of warpstone! Your warband then has to make a decision, fight each other or run after the skaven with the bag of goodies!
Maybe even do something like what I suggested above in the narrative journal entry? Pit your warband against a particular hard member of an opposing warband and wager gold and wyrdstone on the outcome!
Essentially I think if I were to do it all again I would make sure someone was a games master, had a map of the city, and made up something deep and exciting each week for people to play with.
My next foray into Coreheim will be coming soon and the focus now is on painting up my Pit Fighter, Krull, who is an old model I used for a Pit Fighter in the rules from way back when. Here he is…
I am also thinking about getting together a nice bag of miniatures, almost like a dungeon monster horde, and using that for coming up with scenarios on the fly during or indeed before games. Next game I love the idea of having those skaven on the board, or even a bit of an undead menace that is making things a bit more freaky in Damned Town!
“I am tired and my head pounds. I think this city is taking it’s toll on me, and my men. I have decided we are going to move and take our base of operations across the bridge towards the Temple of Sigmar itself. I have heard that something dwells within the ruins of that glorious building and it is not a devote follower of our warrior god.
I will get the men ready and marshal my senses.”
Next week, more Damned!