Friday, 27 March 2015

[review] Unleash the Beast - Iron Kingdoms Unleashed Abridged Rulebook

Biting, Snapping, Tearing, Growling!

So out to download are the pdfs for the books contained within the new Iron Kingdoms: Unleashed starter kit. That kit contains the abridged rulebook, miniatures, and tiles and counters to represent the battlefield in the adventure you can play through.
The books within that box are the abridged rulebook, character sheets for the pre-generated characters, and the adventure.
In this post I'm going to briefly review the abridged rulebook.
If you already play IKRPG you will get a good kick out of this!
Seriously. The abridged rulebook serves two great functions than just being a primer to the rpg. It's 32 pages long and just has rules within it. You get all the standard rpg rules as seen in IKRPG core book, plus the rules and spells for the magic users of the wild. So it's a cut down rulebook. Great to dish out to players for either flavour of IKRPG. And, it is a nice add on to IKRPG if you are not ready to get the full Unleashed book.
So other than all the standard rules, what is new?
Well we get the rules needed for the pre-generated characters of the adventure box. We get rules for the third magic user path. Harnessers. So these are our Warlocks. The rules are as expected, ported straight over from Hordes. We get a bit a bit of info (though no specifics in this book) on how Warlocks have paths, which tie them to certain types of beasts. Obviously life is hard for Warlocks without a beast, because then you have no source of Fury. So starting characters that are warlocks are more than likely to have at least one or two easy to manage beasts. On top of that there is a bit on what happens when a warlock dies, or goes unconscious. The link to their beast is broken, and it goes wild - which could mean a lot of different things.
While mentioned, we get no specific rules to cover Bone Grinder, other than their spell list. Bone Grinders are a form of alchemist of the wilds, that make totems and magical items from animal parts. Fun! Very eager to seem them in action. Plus, not all Bone Grinders are Farrow (the only type seen in Hordes so far).
Totally new and cool are Blood Mages. Think Gun Mages, but that use magic via their close combat weapons. Really nasty spell list (oh you die and explode blood, have an AOE attack on the enemies nearby).
So in total, this book in pinch, combined with the beastiary for IKRPG, Monsternomicon and NQ articles, really quickly gives you the ability to drop in Warlocks into your games of IKRPG. Of course, the main Unleashed book will have all the background info, rules, and monsters (lets be fair - glorified weapons and warjacks) for warlocks to use.
Am I excited to get the big book? Oh hell yeah. Do I want the actual boxed set? I am seriously thinking about it. Do I want to play a Gatorman? Oh yes please!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Confrontation Invocation

Confrontation has two forms of magical powers. There are mages, who make use of incantations. And then there are priests that make use of divine powers.

Incantations rely on mana. As stated in previously, magic users have a power stat, which determines that amounts of spells that the warrior may know, and the amount of mana they may have to power their spells.

Spell users are typically aligned to a particular number of elements, and a magical path. The magical path and elements will therefore act as restrictions to which spells can be purchased for a mage.

The elements in Confrontation come in a few forms. There is Air, which is opposed to Earth. Water which is opposed to Fire. Light which is opposed to Darkness. Darkness is opposed to all elements, and itself.

Mages can cast as many spells as they have mana, and and limited only by the rate if stated for a spell.

Spells require a few things. Often they require a target, which of course require line of sight, and be within a certain range (premeasuring is not allowed however, so if the spell is invoked and the target is out of range, then the spell fails). Spells also require a certain number of particular types of mana gems spent. Some spells of course just require any form of mana to be spent.

If the initial criteria are fulfilled, then the warrior must pass a incantation test, using the Power rating of the casting warrior. Further gems of mana can be spent in order to gain an extra die on the Power roll.

That all seems rather simple. But there is also counter magic.

If an opposing magician is in the spell range and in line of sight, they may try and counter the spell. The spell can be absorbed, by expending the correct number and types of mana gems. This means that there is no roll to counter the magic. The mana is being opposed naturally. For example a spell that uses 1 Fire gem, and 2 Air gems, can be countered using 1 Water gem, and 2 Earth gems. Of course Darkness counters all, and 3 Darkness gems can be used.

To counter a spell, rather than absorb it, a roll is made. The opposing magician uses a single mana gem. This is declared before the magician makes the incantation test. The opposing mage, if the incantation succeeded, can then make an opposing roll, using the opposing mage's Power stat. Only a single die is rolled and further gems cannot be spent to improve this roll. If they equal or beat the incantation roll the spell is countered.

What is clear is that in some cases it is perhaps better to counter spells, but against more powerful mages, it is better to absorb a spell. One is a more easy way, but the cost is dramatic, and will prevent that mage then casting spells in return.

Once spells have all been cast, the mages make recovery rolls to replenish their stores of gems.

Linked to magic users is the opportunity for such characters to summon to the battlefield elemental creatures and fighters from the elemental realms.

Priests and such characters are in general known as faithful. They are able to invoke the power of their gods. Rather than relying on elemental power from the other realms, orthodox faithful rely on there being members of their faction being within range of them, and thus generating faith. In a similar manner, there are another type of faithful, called iconoclasts, who gain faith based on the number of enemy models in range.

Faithful start the game with Temporary Faith, equal to the sum of their Aspects (Creation, Alteration, Destruction), and then from then on Temporary Faith is determined at the start of the Mystic phase, based on the number of models in range of the faithful, and the rank of the faithful.

Casting a miracle then, much like a spell, requires a target to be chosen if required, and be in line of sight. The Fervour of the miracle is subtracted from the Temporary Faith of the faithful, and the Faith roll is made. This uses the sum of the faithful's Aspects, plus a d6, vs some difficulty. Further Temporary Faith can be spent for extra dice in the roll.

Much like magic, miracles can be countered - censured. This is an opposed Faith roll.

So that is magic and miracles. What I like about the system, is that it has that feeling of what Magic the Gathering is like, where certain elements are opposed, and thus some magicians have an easier time against others. And, unlike many other games, there is a distinct difference between magic and miracles. Perhaps the closest we get to such differences is between Warcasters and Warlocks in Warmachine and Hordes, or perhaps the distinct way the ritual magic of the Tomb Kings differs to magic of the other factions in Warhammer.

I am really looking forward to using magic in games of Confrontation, given that I have the expert warrior-mages of the Inquisition, the warrior-monk Misericorde of the Lodge of Hod, the Technomancy of Sasia Samaris for the Dirz, and the miracles of the Vicar of Dirz. Lots and lots to try out!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Confrontation Decapitation

In this blog post we will look at the interesting combat system of Confrontation 3rd Ed.

The player who won the Tactical roll for the round gets to split the Frays. Essentially this means models are paired off with combatants, such that every model ends up in combat with at least one other model. While technically a simple problem, it can become very involved when lots of models are in contact with each other.

With the Frays split, the player won the Tactical roll decides which fight to resolve first, and then the opponent picks the next fight, and so forth.

Each combatant gets 1 combat die, and another 1 per opponent the model is fighting.

Each player picks one of their models involved in the fight to make an Initiative roll. The winner of the roll places their combat dice into attack defence after the loser of the roll.

This is where Confrontation gets interesting!

Dice placed in attack are only used to perform attacks. Dice placed in defence are used to deflect attacks. Winning the Initiative can be very important for calling your opponent's bluff in combats involving many attackers against a lone defender.

The player who won the Initiative roll in a combat gets to make the first attack roll. In the case of the attacker having many models, they all make one attack. This of course uses up an attack die on each model. So long as a model has an attack die, they must attack. Attack rolls are then made in an alternating manner.

When there are many attackers, and a model has more than one attack die remaining, the model makes an attack against each opponent. Of course in the case of their being less attack die than opponents, the attacker chooses whom to attack.

Each round of attack roll is called an Exchange.

If a model has defence dice, then the player can declare their use against attacks. The attack roll is made, D6+ATT. This has no difficulty to beat. A roll of 1 is a natural fail. The defender then makes the defence roll. D6+DEF. It must equal or beat the total of the attack roll. A roll of a 1 is a natural fail.

A special case is a sustained defence. This can only be used when the model has had as many dice placed in attack as in defence, and the model is down to the last defence die. When it is announced, the defence test increases in difficulty by 2, and if succeeded the attack is parried and the die is kept in defence. All subsequent defence tests work by the same manner, with the penalty to the tests accumulating. So a second defence roll is at +4 difficulty, then +6 etc.

Wounding follows are previously discussed in the blog.

At the end of a combat there are opportunities for pursuit movements, and also there are further rules and abilities to allow dice to be sacrificed to allow for killing blows.

And that is combat! It is somewhat more involved than Warmachine and Hordes, and more involved than current 40k and Warhammer rules. It is a bit more comparable to the 40k 2nd ed rules for combat, but even then, not even that had rules to choosing to defend or attack. And I feel, for a skirmish game involving 6-12 models aside is pretty cool, and gives the sense of trading blows and parries. Compared to 2nd Ed, this system is far simpler, but for Rag'Narok, the combat system sits in between the two editions of Confrontation.

Next time I will give more of an overview of magic and divine acts.