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Age of the Wolf Queries

Where rules questions are asked and answered

Age of the Wolf Queries

Postby Calumma » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:14 am

I've now had a good read through of the new Age of the Wolf (AoW) campaign supplement and thought I should get the ball rolling with queries/observations (and hopefully some useful suggestions). Only those folks who went to Salute will have the new publication, so feedback here will initially be from a limited audience. However, it might be useful to deal with some of the queries before it goes on general release. I'll try to keep this as straightforward as possible and cover issues in the order they appear in the book (note - there will be things I overlook so please do chip in if you spot anything else).

Before I get started it's worth reiterating the point that I made in the review on my blog. The supplement reads as though it was written before Crescent and Cross (C&C) was published. Some quirks will relate to that fact.

pg. 9 Devout Trait. The Devout trait allows a Warlord to be accompanied by a priest. Players should note that the rules for this priest are specific to AoW and not the same as those detailed in C&C.

pg. 11 Ulf the Quarrelsome. Ulf is listed as a Hero of the Viking Age that may be used as a warlord with preset motivations and traits. In The Raven's Shadow the Irish Warband rules state that Ulf is not a Hero of the Viking Age and may not be used as a warlord. I think The Raven's Shadow rules should be followed in this regard.

pg. 16 Homeland Scenario. Homeland is listed as an Invasion Scenario where a Campaigning warband attacks a Defending warband. When the Homeland scenario is played in normal games, each player bids to see who is the defender and who is the attacker. In AoW the situation could therefore occur where the Campaigning warband invades a Defending warband's territory but ends up being the defender in the buildings... I don't think this is too much of a problem. If this situation occurs, just imagine that the Campaigning warband has invaded and is in the process of pillaging when the Defending warband arrives with reinforcements to drive away the attackers. It still works fine I think.

pg. 18 Setting up Terrain. This is just an observation, but note AoW states that terrain may be set up in any mutually agreeable manner. C&C terrain set up rules can therefore be used without difficulty.

pg. 19 Warlord Casualties. Two tables are presented for determining what happens to a warlord 'killed' during a battle. One table is for winning warbands, the other is for losing warbands. No advice is given for what to do if there is a draw. I suggest that if there is a draw, each warband should be treated as though it lost (so slain warlords are dealt with using the Losing Warband table).

pg. 21 War Banners. The AoW rules refer to the original rules published in The Raven's Shadow, without reference to the modifications introduced in C&C and subsequently detailed in the Dark Ages faq. I suggest the updated banner rules are used (ie. in addition to standard rules, war banners automatically remove 1 fatigue from their unit at the end of each Activation Phase if the unit hasn't been activated in that phase).

pg. 23 Jomsvikings. Jomsvikings are included as a 1 point mercenary unit. In my copy of the main rule book, Jomsviking Swords for Hire are described as a 2 point unit. I wonder though if this reduction in points in AoW is a deliberate design decision by the author (due to the extra point of wealth needed) and therefore don't propose that it is 'corrected'.

pg.23 Hearthguard Minimum Unit Size. This is just an observation. Players should be aware that there is no minimum unit size. However, the minimum size of a hearthguard unit that can be fielded in AoW games is two figures. I can think of at least one warband where this may prove quite useful... Minimum sizes of warrior and levy units that can be fielded remain as per the standard SAGA rules (4 figures). If units of levy or warriors drop below four figures, they remain on the roster but may not be fielded in games. Note that small units can be merged so there is little risk of a warband ending up with many small units that cannot be fielded.

pg. 28 The Burh (new scenario). Now this may be me, but there looks to be a discrepancy in the description for troop deployment (within L of the walls or gate if outside the burh) and the accompanying figure (seems to suggest deployment only within L of the centre of the gate). There are also two quarter M radii illustrated in the figure, but I can't see any reference to what they are for in the text. Simplest solution is to simply follow the text description I think. Since the defender has a defended obstacle and gate with any number of buildings permitted inside the burh *and* starts the game with only a single unit of hearthguard in reserve, I'm guessing this may be a difficult scenario for the attacker to win...


Other Suggestions:

1) Victory Points. There is no discussion of how many victory points warlords are worth. In the standard game, warlords are worth 3 victory points and Heroes of the Dark Ages (named characters) are worth 7 victory points. Since even standard warlords will acquire traits and special rules in AoW I think this difference in points will need to be addressed. By the end of the campaign standard warlords with randomly determined abilities may be more powerful than the more costly Heroes. The simplest solution is to make all warlords (including Heroes) worth either 3 or, better still, 7 victory points. My suggestion though is to start off standard warlords at 3 victory points, but increase their value to 7 when/if they acquire the 'Hero of the Viking Age' special rule (pg. 10).

2) Priests. The rules for C&C priests are not included in AoW. The simplest solution is therefore to ignore C&C priests and use AoW as written. If players wanted to incorporate C&C priests, the Devout trait (pg. 9) could be modified to permit a randomly generated Warlord Priest. d6 roll 1-2 = Religious Advisor; 3-4 = Warrior Priest; 5-6 = Enlightened. I also propose that non-warlord priests can only be recruited by Atheling Warlords that roll 'Reinforcements 1D6 Hearthguards' on the Fate Table (pg.20). In this situation the player may either recruit the specified hearthguards or recruit a random priest. Priests take up a unit slot on the roster. Atheling Warlords are those with a Power rating of 15 or more - Power being a value determined by resources and available units.

If a standard priest is killed during a game a roll should be made on one of the following tables:

Winning Warband
1-3 Minor Wound. The priest is ok and accompanies his warband into battle as normal.
4-5 Heroic Wound. The priest fought a heroic battle gaining a reputation point for his warlord. The priest may continue as normal.
6 Seriously Wounded. The priest is seriously wounded and must miss the next game to recuperate.

Losing Warband
1-3 Seriously Wounded. The priest is seriously wounded and must miss the next game to recuperate.
4-5 Dead. The priest has been slain in battle and is removed from the roster.
6 Captured. The priest counts as seriously wounded (as above) but is also captured by his opponent. A ransom must be paid, so the priest's warlord loses one Wealth and the captor gains one Wealth.


3) Swords for Hire. Only two Swords for Hire units are mentioned in AoW. These are Steppe Nomads and Jomsvikings. I really think it is a shame that other Swords for Hire Units are not included since they work so well as mercenaries. My suggestion is as follows. Swords for Hire units can be included as mercenaries using the rules detailed in AoW for Jomsvikings (pg. 23). In summary, a Sword for Hire unit can be included as a single point mercenary for an additional point of wealth. For example, if a unit of Angry Monks was hired it would form a single 1 point unit for an overall cost of 2 wealth (1 wealth for including mercenaries and an additional wealth for the Swords for Hire). Since they will cost an additional Wealth resource, I suggest all Swords for Hire units cost only a single point (even if their rulecard states they cost two or more points). Standard rules for hiring Swords for Hire will apply (eg. Monks cannot join Viking warbands).



ok, that's it for now. This is a long post but hopefully everything is relatively straightforward. It's worth pointing out that given the volume of information presented in AoW, the relatively small number of queries and anomalies presented above is a testament to how well written the supplement is. Yes there's a lot to digest in AoW, but it really is worth the effort.
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Re: Age of the Wolf Queries

Postby Lord S of GB » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:18 pm

Thanks for the comments! Good work!

Please give me a day or so to formulate a response as it is an incredibly thorough and insightful list you present.
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Re: Age of the Wolf Queries

Postby ducat » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:50 pm

Wow Lee did you have a day off :lol: That is a good solid list of stuff for Lord S to look at.

Something people should bear in mind is that this is designed for campaign play and so some of the missions may seem a little counter intuitive when used for normal games (think less tournament play style or more specifically that style of army list set up). A little thought should make them usable in normal games though.

We played a game of Harry and Burn on Monday, with the Strathclyde taking on the Scots. We rolled of to see who would be attacker in a normal 6 point game enviroment, and the Strathclydes attacked the Scot village.

This led us to realise something interesting, in that what originally was going to be an all mounted force could not set light to the buildings, as to be in contact with them meant you have to enter them, and mounted troops can not do so.

Then the light bulb moment clicked that in a campaign, you are going to have a much different force layout from normal, and for this game an all mounted force will struggle. Of course on the other hand the Strathclyde player could theoretically just sit back and win the game by sniping the enemy with the battle board only forcing the players to come to them. lots of speculation on what ifs ensued, then we played the game. It actually ended up as a draw, with both players scoring 15 points. My Scots were very aggressive and so had to abandon their defence for a more in your face play style, whilst the Strathclyde tried a much more passive sneaky style of play, killing 14 points of my Scots and burning one field. My game was saved by the fact the Strathclyde failed to set a field ablaze on the last turn, rolling a 1 on the dice. phew...

One other issue with this was brought up in that does "raising a banner" equal activating for a rest for setting a field on fire. We said no, as using a standard only "counts as" resting and is not actually resting. With the balance of extra points available to the attacker towards a win in this scenario anyway, we did not think it should be any easier for them.

Cheers John.
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Re: Age of the Wolf Queries

Postby doob » Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:00 pm

I have another query that I don't think has been covered so far. Where allied players borrow units, the rules note that the borrowed units use their own battle board. How should we allocate dice across the boards? Particularly if the Allies use different dice types?
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Re: Age of the Wolf Queries

Postby Calumma » Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:11 pm

I would guess that the number of allocated dice is determined by the number of eligible units fielded. If a Welsh warband fielded 2 units of Viking allies, I would assume that the Welsh player would be allowed to roll 2 Viking dice that can then only be placed on the Viking battle board.

Edit: of course this does mean that the allied units are only likely to be activated to move and unless they are very lucky and roll some 6's (that are then used on the Activation Pool) they won't have enough dice to use other battle board abilities. Hmm. Another possibility is to use the two battleboards in a similar way to the Anglo Dane Cnut. Two battleboards with total SAGA dice determined by the overall number of available units. Each turn the player then chooses how many dice to roll on each board, with the rolled dice only available to use on their specific battleboards. Units from each warband would only be activated by dice placed on their own battleboards.

I prefer this second interpretation but can see an argument for both so think we will need to wait for clarification on this one.

Thinking about allies some more there are additional thoughts that spring to mind.

1) An aggressor sets the points value of a game (let's say he chooses 6 points whilst his opponant only has 5 points available so calls on his ally for assistance). The 5 point warband may include two units of warriors or hearthguard from his ally. Note the use of the term unit here. If the ally's available units all include so many figures that they are each worth more than 1 point then even with just one extra unit, the 5 point warband would increase to 7 points. In this situation, the 5 point warband choosing to use his ally's units would have to leave enough of his own units out of the battle to field the required 6 point force. I think players will need to consider unit composition very carefully when putting their warbands together.

2) Are allied units subject to the same Unit Casualties rule described on pg. 19? For example, a Welsh warlord uses two allied units of Viking warriors (each 8 men strong). All are killed during the ensuing battle. Does this mean that when the units are returned to their Viking warlord only 6 men remain in each unit? If so it may well influence how eager some players are to form alliances! Personally, I think allied units should be subject to Unit Casualties.
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Re: Age of the Wolf Queries

Postby Calumma » Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:40 pm

ducat wrote:Wow Lee did you have a day off


Something like that, trip to the dentist so needed to focus on something :D

I agree that the campaign presents an opportunity to play SAGA in a different way. Players won't necessarily have the troops of their choice, since recruitment will be influenced by previous victories and the fate table. This should liven things up a bit!

Whilst guidance on some issues is welcome, there's likely to be a bit of interpretation in how some aspects of the campaign are played amongst different groups of players. I don't think this is a problem. The campaign isn't really for tournament play and just gives a good excuse to have fun. I'm certainly looking forward to getting a campaign up and running in Kent.

I also anticipate that soon we will be reading about the different ways players modify the system. I'm already working on ways of building Revenants in ;)
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Re: Age of the Wolf Queries

Postby NeilTheEric » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:29 pm

Query on Warband attributes. Can Irish field Cuaidh? Which would mean they never get slain...as each is a Hearthguard unit,see Ravens Shadow, yet when working out Slain, from casualties, Hearthguard units have Resilience! ...
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Re: Age of the Wolf Queries

Postby Calumma » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:05 pm

I see no reason why Curaidh cannot be fielded (providing you have enough Reputation). Since the minimum sized unit of standard hearthguard that can be fielded is just two figures, it also means that you don't need two points of Irish hearthguard to field 1 (or even 2) Curadh ;)

You are right that Curaidh cannot be permanently eliminated from the roster. But this is true for all fielded units. Remember that standard units of hearthguard, warriors and levy only lose 1 figure for every 4 killed in a game. Hearthguard can be deployed in units of 2 and benefit from the post game resilience rule. It therefore isn't possible to eliminate any of these units from the roster as a consequence of casualties suffered during a game.

Of course, a Curadh takes up a unit slot. So once you include one in your warband you are stuck with it. Other units of 3 or less figures can be merged with another unit of the same type. So if you want to remove a unit for some reason (eg. You have filled all of your unit slots and want to make room for something different) you could allow a unit to fall below 4 figures (by not recruiting new figures into it) in order to merge it into a larger unit and thus free a slot.

One last thing to consider. If your Reputation drops and you have to temporarily dismiss a legal unit of hearthguard, the 1 man Curadh unit will always be the first one that is dismissed (since you must choose the unit with the smallest number of figures, pg. 23).
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Re: Age of the Wolf Queries

Postby ducat » Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:36 pm

Also note that you may only start the campaign with two Hearthguard units due to the Reputation limitations. So normally you would only be able to take one Curaidh at warband creation, unless your warlord is a Landwaster, or is Fearsome, which both give you an increase in starting Reputation.
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Re: Age of the Wolf Queries

Postby Calumma » Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:53 am

Thinking about the issue of dice allocation to allies again...

This should of occurred to me earlier, but the question of how to allocate dice may be settled by the edge case of Cnut. What happens if Cnut is fielded by an Anglo Dane player who then makes an alliance with Vikings?

Unless we adopt the standard 2 battleboard dice allocation system that Cnut already uses, things will become very messy and complicated. Imagine if Cnut made an alliance with the Welsh - he'd be playing with three battleboards and would need to manage three different sets of dice!! This would be horribly confusing if dice were allocated in different ways to the different boards.

But even this edge case situation is quite manageable if Cnut's standard rules are used for allocating dice - even to allies. The main thing that needs to be agreed is that allied troops from a different faction can only be activated using saga dice placed on their own battleboard (unlike Cnut's Anglo Danes that can be activated using either the Anglo Dane or Viking battleboards). Allied troops will also only benefit from saga abilities played from their own battleboard.

But can a Warlord's special rules affect allied units? The allied units are under the direct control of the warlord, even if they belong to a different player. I'd therefore argue that a warlord can use 'We Obey' on allied units. But since the loyalty of an allied unit will only stretch so far they cannot be activated using 'Side by Side' and will not sacrifice themselves to save the warlord if he calls upon 'Determination'. Not sure if this split approach introduces too much complexity though? It may be simpler to either allow or not allow a warlord's special rules to affect allied units. But which way do we go? Thoughts?
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