Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Skaven can't hit the broad side of an inn

My party of 4 PCs in the Warhammer Fantasy campaign tore through over 30 skaven last session.  Dead ratmen were scattered all around the inn they'd been staying at. Most of those were wimpy skavenslave henchmen, but it was still impressive. Even counting each stack of 4 henchmen as a single NPC, they were still outnumbered by 3-to-1 or so. Only two of the PCs ended up wounded at all in the fight, and then only lightly. Well done, players!

It was kind of remarkable just how badly the dice hated the skaven. Their basic "Cheap Shot" attack includes a Chaos Star trigger that lets the target make a free counter-attack. Again and again the skaven kept rolling this result, and each time it resulted in multiple dead henchmen in the middle of the skaven's turn. It was brutal.

A couple weird observations about specific skaven subtypes in the 3rd Edition of WFRP:
  • Stormvermin aren't nearly as tough as I imagined them to be. They only get one action card beyond the basics, which limited their ability to hit well. They had good dice pools on the attack, but since I chose an action with a large recharge rating, it only got to fire off once in the whole fight. That particular one action ended up paired with a bad die roll, so it accomplished very little. They do have a lot more armour than lesser skaven do... but it turns out it's not enough extra for it to actually matter. 3 of the 4 Stormvermin ended up being one-shot kills, IIRC.  Instead of being added challenge, it just meant the PCs didn't waste any unused damage points.  At least the PCs got to be bad-ass monster-killers. That's okay.
  • Poison Wind Globadiers are incomplete to the point of being unusable as-written. They have stats in the Creature Guide and Creature Vault, but no actions. The implication being the GM is expected to just have them use Basic Ranged Attack and their DR of 3. That means you'd be representing a vial full of poison gas as just a normal (kinda weak even) single-target attack that technically doesn't even use the Poison effect. It's odd. As written, their protective gear doesn't actually protect them from their own weapon either, since it only uses normal damage and no resilience checks. I realized the day before the game that there's no card representing the Globadier's weapon / action, so I cobbled something together.  It wasn't perfect, but it worked well enough for a single encounter. It was certainly the only real threat in this particular fight.

Memo to Myself: I probably need to make my PCs take Easy (1d) Corruption tests at the start of the next session. I posted the action above to the Warhammer Forums and got an immediate response of "don't the books say that one of the ingredients in the Poison Wind Gas is Warpstone?" Oops, yep, the books do say that.

  • I specifically chose not to use the Clan Skryre tracking sheet during this battle, because in general the monster's "Party Cards" never matter. They all rely on progress trackers that are 7 or 8 spaces long but only advance 1 space per turn. Fights are usually over in 2 or 3 turns, so it's not typically worth it. This time, though, the fight was actually a little longer than normal, and Chaos Stars advance the track. I actually kinda regret not using it.


Anonymous said...

We played well, but we got really lucky. The swarm attack should have dropped Sarah but you rolled the perfect number, higher and it would take her out, lower and it would have failed and you could try again. Only 1 of the storm vermin went down to a single attack, others may have gone down to a single PC action but were already quite wounded thanks to your parade of chaos stars.
Winning when by all rights we shouldn't have was fun though.

rbbergstrom said...

Glad you enjoyed it.

rbbergstrom said...

For all my griping, it was really nice seeing the increased chance of Chaos Stars via Improved Defenses actually matter. Those skaven really took a beating from the purple dice.