Kirb your enthusiasm!


"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mordheim: Renewing an Old Love - The Game and Setting

Greetings everybody,

Earlier this year over at yesthetruthhurts I was in the process of writing a series of articles on Mordheim and how to play the game in a much stronger fashion as a whole. For one reason or another including people being too lazy to follow a link offsite to read an article analysing indepth a hero from one of the Border Town Burning warbands (Black Dwarf Sorcerer from the Chaos Dwarf warband) and then complaining about how none of the articles written by myself gave anybody any real meat to use, as well as a general movement away from Mordheim by myself (kind of essential to be in the Mordheim Zone so to speak to write articles on the game) for a while, meant that the articles fell by the wayside. I've spoken to Kirby and whilst he reckons he'll not play Mordheim (me and Vince will sort that soon enough Will, don't you worry about a thing, will show you just how fast you can pick the game up and you already have mountains of models to play with thanks to WHFB!) he has allowed me to publish the articles up here as many of the 'Pink Army' play Mordheim including Vinsanity amongst others. I'll link to here via YTTH and anyone who is lazy and bitchy over there can miss out. Fair trade off I reckon.

To start with I'm gonna post up past articles I published over at YTTH onto 3++ is the New Black so as the article basics are here directly. Following on from this every few weeks I will endeavour to post up a new aticle exploring some aspect of the game or a warband analysis. Now...I'm generally fairly lazy and relaxed when writing and generally a bit more busy then I have been earlier this year with studies and work and Humans Vs Zombies (Kirby, Vinsanity, anyone else local to Sydney or nearby, I'm gonna introduce you all to something {HvZ} epic very soon, fingers crossed, so stay tuned, and badger me occasionally!), so be patient, articles will come along. The first new article to expect is my Cult of the Possessed article (which hit writers block when I realised just how far reaching Lure of Chaos can be...).

One note of import: Alot of warband analyses will repeat things said in previous articles, especially in relation to basic development and skills advancement as an example, but what this will demonstrate, as I've said before on YTTH and elsewhere, is that many of the concepts and strategies/tactics within Mordheim can be applied over most or even all the warbands and hired swords within the game system. For those of you who haven't played the game before, this does not mean that Mordheim is two-dimensional and that whichever warband you do play, it will be like playing any other warband, far from it infact.

Finally, any Sydneysiders, I am looking to get a Mordheim campaign going once every four to six weeks, on a Sunday (because I work on Saturday's) specifically to get bat reps for these articles and other approaches to aspects of the game that aren't generally covered, such as how to make a board especially challenging and enjoyable to play on, as well as to demonstrate that what I am saying ACTUALLY works in practice. So if anybody is interested, have at it in the comments section below and we'll go from there. For now, to finish up, we'll revise Mordheim as a setting and a game.



It is the year 1999, 500 years before the present day in the Warhammer Fantasy Battles World. The Empire is prosperous, but no city is wealthier then the famed trade city of Mordheim. Situated in the proud province of Ostermark, with the Throne of the Empire empty and the main contenders from Middenheim, Reikland, Marienburg and Sylvannia at each others throats in competition for this most powerful prize, a twin-tailed comet appears in the sky alongside a dire prophesy. With hundreds of thousands of Empire citizens crowding the city in a depraved orgiastic celebration of the coming year, the Sisters of Sigmar retreat to their fortress at the centre of the city - The Rock - and pray for Sigmars divine protection against his judgement descending on the uncaring populace outside their walls.

And then it happened.

Mordheim was no more.

From the ashes of the comets' impact arose a mighty and mysterious being known only as The Shadowlord. His chaotic taint gifing his followers with heinous mutations and power. With the shattered fragments of the comet (known as wrydstone or to the Skaven as Warpstone) scattered across the city and surronding countryside, all manner of creatures and men descend upon this rotting husk of a once grand city eager to loot and sell this wrydstone to their patrons to further their own powers via its' magical properties, and in some cases to secure their bid for the Throne of the Empire. A fast path to riches and infamy undreamed, an early and violent death or a much worse fate, all await you inside Mordheim!


For those of you who remember BOB (Back Of Book) from the previous edition of WHFB, you will be familiar with the mechanics of how to play Mordheim. The Warhammer Skirmish rules ae basically Mordheim minus the campaign element, the weapons and equipment side of things and using points instead of gold crowns to purchase your force. Morhdeim presents to the gamer a very flavourful skirmish game for two or more players. Set in a ruined city in a colourful fantasy setting the diverse, indeed unlimited, variance in table set up ensures that no game need ever be the same. Combat and shooting work basically the same witha roll to hit, a roll to wound - did you hit them in a critical location? If so roll to see how badly they've been wounded - make armour saves if any, if reduced to 0 wounds, roll to see if knocked down, stunned or knocked out of action and not able to take further part in this battle. Weapons have different abilities so a sword can parry attacks, an axe gets through armour easily, a blunderbuss fires a hail of lead at the enemy, whilst a pistol can be used at range or in combat. Movement involves charging, moving, running, jumping, climbing, and peforming diving charges. Differing skills learnt as your warriors gain experience from the battle and other events modify or enhance all these factors or even your effectiveness whilst looting the ruins or at the trading post. Throw in the strength of your warband as a whole also effecting game play and experience advancement and whilst simple, Mordheim presents to the casual gamer a challenging and fun alternative to the mainstream Games-Workshop gaming systems.

All the Best,

Auretious Taak.

9 pinkments:

Roland Durendal said...

Oooh! Is this like Necromunda for 40K? Cuz if so I'd be sooo down to learn

Roland Durendal said...

err I meant Necromunda for Fantasy...

MasterSlowPoke said...

I was real disappointed your articles dried up over on YTTH - I was going to do a Possessed warband but your review never surfaced!

I'm playing in a campaign right now with Beastmen Raiders. It's actually a pretty fun game. I gotta get to building some terrain though - it proved too popular and we now have 10 people who want to play on 3 tables.

Auretious Taak said...


In essene Mordheim is Necromunda's equivalent in WHFB. Do you remembver the old Warhammer Skirmish rules in the back of the WHFB Rules Book from not last edition, but the one before that? Those rules are basically the basics for Mordheim ripped straight from Mordheim and thrown under the WHFB Skirmish namesake. Throw in a campaign section, experience, looting the city and all sorts of random epicness and yes, it is actually quite fun. Mordheim is the game out of all of GW's games that I enjoy the most.


I played the first version of the Beatmen Raiders, back when everything was T4 and 2 Wounds...I was REALLY lucky on my advancements getting wounds and toughness advances on almost all my beastmen every game. Toughness 6 and 4 Wounds each meant my brothers Reiklander gunpowder warband got slaughtered continuously...didn't get to play the faster, weaker warband that is in EiF (yet more balanced). How are you going with it in your campaign?

Also, those 10 people, you can build up a board to about 4 foot high and have a multi-levelled game. I'll hav eto badger Will and Vince for a digital camera to detail how a board such as this should be set up (as an example of course). You'll have a blast. :) What warbands are taking part in the campaign and are you structuring it so as everyone has the same amount of games? What I've always found when a GW store does it is that the regular store goers play every single day and when you wander in a fortnight later you have a bunch of maxed out warbands to deal with (which is great for underdog exp and you can still outplay them nicely, heh) instead of having a linear development where good game play is rewarded in terms of advancement and the game can be seen and played quite solidly. Have you found any issues with so many players?

Oh, and the proper reason why the articles dried up can be summed up in this thread here:

How many comments were made when the first proper article that gave people solid meat to play with and extrapolate to their own games and warbands was put up with? Then comments in othe rthreads about being too lazy to follow a link off site or what not and others complaining about no actual meat in the articles to play with so to speak? Reposting it with the article all in one place generated some responses but it really shitted me to tears for want of a better expression. So, here I am, and I'll post up on YTTH and link to here for the players there and be happy that people will be reading the articles however sporadic (hence wanting a campaign to demonstrate things more directly) here. :)

Auretious Taak.

MasterSlowPoke said...

I'm only about 4 games in, "lost" most of them (never passed a rout check), but having a lot of fun. My first game saw me sandwiched between a load of Undead and a band of Middenheimers. Half my warband took all but one of the Mercs OOA; that was pretty cool.

The last two games I've rolled 1s on Eye of the Gods for my Leader so that's pretty fun. :)

The standout for me right now is my Centigor. They're expensive and much maligned online but I like the horse dude. Mine has mighty blow and an extra attack right now and he's a freaking monster on the charge with 4 S5 attacks. In my games he's taken out a Vampire, a Pit Fighter, and a load of henchmen. I've been playing with 9 models so far (all heros, 1 gor LGT, 2 gor, 1 ungor) but I think I'm going to add 4 dogs to pump up my rout number.

We play once a week, on Tuesday nights. It helps keep everyone at about the same level. The store doesn't have enough terrain to handle games without our GM bringing in his totes. I think we have:

1 Beastmen
1 Possessed
2 Undead
1 Middenheimer
2 Reiklanders
1 Orcs
1 Skaven
not sure what the last guy has

Right now I have a new skill to choose for my Shaman, and I'm not sure what to do. He currently has the stock statline, Eye of the Gods, and Lure of Chaos. I'm thinking of rolling a third spell so I could have a more reliable offensive spell, but I'm not sure.

Auretious Taak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Auretious Taak said...

Eye of Gods + Lure of Chaos...Oh Yeah! Shame you can't get Academic skills without serious manipulation of the Exploration Phase (Tarot Cards+Lucky Rabbit's Feet will do it) else I'd reccommend Magical Aptitude because +1 Toughness from Eye of the Gods combined with Magical Aptitude is the 1/6 chance of failure. Get a Rabbits foot for the re-roll for the Shaman, you WANT Eye of Gods to go off not OOA you. So save the re-roll off the foot for Eye of Gods and ONLY if you ABSOLUTELY need it otherwise duringa battle. Use it in exploration to get more doubles, triples et al or to get more wrydstone in the results. :)

Alternatively, Eye of Gods on the Shaman to up his Leadership value will help in getting Lure of Chaos cast and controlling opponents more. Be patient the Cult of the Possessed article is coming and a whole heap of that will be applicable to you specifically. :)

Also remember that juast because you lose the battle doesn't mean you lose each encounter, and voluntarily routing ealy on is very useful to longterm strength. :)

Consider taking Mutation as your skill on the Shaman and buy Spines. Though Manhater would apply to the Middenheimers, both Reiklander warbands and the Possessed Dark Souls, Brethren, Mutants as well as the Dregs and Necromancer in the Undead warbands. That's a fair wack of characters in your campaign right there and a great force multiplier for combat especially combined with Eye of the Gods. :) In sum, DON'T roll a 3rd spell. You can always in the longterm buy stuff to get more spells and Lure of Chaos and Eye of the Gods are pretty damned powerful. Just got to think outside the box when using them. More on that in the article coming soon.

Also, where have you read that centigors are much maligned in Mordheim? they are fast, decently costed for what they bring and very powerful very quickly as you well know?

Cheers mate,
Auretious Taak.

MasterSlowPoke said...

Wow, I had written off spines as worthless "lucky" hit, but now that I think about it, they're extremely good. It's essentially a free 1/6 chance of taking anything T4 or lower OOA. Just adding spines to the Shaman almost doubles his chance of taking a single model OOA. They're going to be a pretty serious contender for new skills from now on.

Searching around for things other people wrote about Beastmen brought up a lot of people dissing the Centigor, mostly because of his Drunken rule. I haven't rolled a good or bad Drunken roll yet, although I forget to roll the damn thing half the time. I'm going to glue an Ogre beer keg to him so I can remember better.

Where are the rules for rabbit's feet and tarot cards? I've never heard of them.

Auretious Taak said...

Mordheim 2002 Annual. Go and geta copy asap. It's where the rules for Orcs and Goblins, and a variety of other warbands are but also rules for multiplayer games, opulent goods and other skills/trade items like rabbits feet and tarot cards are situated. The 3 main publications that contain all the official stuff GW published (ie, not the Town Cryer Magazines as they weren't playtested by GW as some of the chaos warbands can attest for example) are:

Mordheim Rulebook
Mordheim 2002 Annual
Empire In Flames

Ask around your group, someone should have acopy of the annual. Borrow it for a week and memorise it. :)

In my first game with Possessed we played against a special necromancer who raised D6+1 zombies a turn automatically. Object was to kill the necromancer. Some VERY cunning play saw close on 60+ zombies spawned and my entire warband being taken out of action barring 1 Possessed. Everyone gained at least 8 zombie kills, the 2 mutants and 2 possessed started with spines. The surviving Possessed ended up killing over 30 zombies, the vast majority from spine hits. When you are in base to base contact with 3 or more zombies a turn you have a 1 in 3 or greater chance of wounding a T3 or T4 character. There is great debate and always has been over Black Blood or Spines, spines is waaaay better. You don't need to take wounds in combat for the effects to happen, and because they happen before any blows are struck (Take That Initiative Order!) you automaically strip heroes of lucky charms before your actual powerful attacks come in, and then 1/2 the time the lucky charm fails to save against the hit and thus you get to roll to wound anyways. Funny stuff. Damned Useful.

Drunken, roll a D6 beginning of each turn. 1 = stupidity, wow, take a leadership test. On average rolls you are fine. Sooo 1 in 6 chance of makinga stupidity test which you should pass anyways most games.

2 to 5 = act normally. Hooray!

6 = Frenzy. Movement 8, plus 1 base attack doubled to 2, plus the hoof attack (not doubled as not part of the statline base attacks), plus potentially 2 hand weapons, all at base strength 4. Yeah, 1 in 6 chance of this happening but still nice.

So lets break Drunken Down: very 6 turns, at some point thre you make a stupidity test. A bit less then half the time you are stupid for a turn. Sucktastic. BUT, you are fast, have base toughness 4 and can mitigate that somewhat by being within range of your leader for a better chance at passing that leadership test.

In sum, people are stupid for saying that bargain 80gc Centigor is crap because of the Drunken rule.

Cheers mate,
Auretious Taak.

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