Friday, October 28, 2016

Domains at War: Dwarf Units

In which I procrastinate on prep for the game I'm actually running.

I really like the idea of Domains at War as a fleshed-out wargame, with army lists and suchlike.  Currently the dwarves have a bit of a unit shortage, with heavy infantry, crossbowmen, and crossbowmen mounted on mules :| .  Here are a few more.

Dwarven Furies A (two axes): 2/4/6 Irregular Foot, AC 2, HD 1, UHP 8, ML +4, 4 axe at 9+
Dwarven Furies B (axe and shield): 2/4/6 Irregular Foot, AC 3, HD 1, UHP 8, ML +4, 4 axe at 10+
Dwarven Furies C (great axe): 2/4/6 Irregular Foot, AC 2, HD 1, UHP 8, ML +4, 5 great axe at 10+
Furies can also be armed with throwing axes, granting 4 attacks at 10+
Furies are immune to fear and cannot retreat once they have engaged.  As irregular units, they must advance into gaps that they create.  They have a 1 in 4 chance to ignore any wound inflicted on them by a unit with 5 or fewer HD (due to their flesh-rune DR), and after a battle, only a quarter of their casualties are found slain, while three-quarters are recovered lightly injured (due to savage resilience).

Furies are classed, so normally they'd be a small fraction of the already-small set of veterans, but because all dwarves count as veterans, instead they're not that uncommon.  At a wag, 1 in 4 dwarven melee units for hire is a unit of furies (the rest leveled into Vaultguard).  While they demand 15gp/mo each in wages (curiously, all dwarven units underpaid compared to similar human veterans), they're mostly motivated by their death-quest, grand crusade of atonement, or similar.

I think there are a couple of good places to use furies.  If deployed offensively at the beginning of the battle, they can run down enemy light infantry trying to harass with ranged fire, disrupt shield walls effectively, and then hold their own in the middle of the melee hairball (you also don't have to leave them a line of retreat through your units, which is nice).  If deployed offensively later in the game, they should have the striking power and mobility to turn flanks, sort of like slow cavalry.  Defensively, if they're deployed on the ends of the melee line their immunity to shock makes the flanks less likely to collapse and could delay the line being rolled up.

Dwarven Musketeers (flintlock musket, axe, plate): 1/2/3 Drilled Foot, AC 6, HD 1, UHP 8, ML +0, 3 axe 10+ or 1 musket 10+ (reload 1).  Wages 23gp/mo

If anyone should have guns, it is dwarves.  Turns out Guns of War had stats for dwarven musketeers already (and I don't feel too bad about posting them without explanation of the firearms rules, which you kind of need to use them).

The main advantages of guns are that they ignore armor, force shock rolls when they hit, and can't be withdrawn from to reduce damage.  Musketeers are probably most useful in the early-game before melee is joined, because causing a shock-retreat on an advancing full-strength heavy unit is pretty great.  Once the lines clash they probably won't have time to reload, but because they're dwarves in plate they do OK in melee.  You probably don't want to advance them ahead of the line to disrupt the enemy like you would with most light infantry - because they're slow, have low rate of fire, can't move before firing, and have mediocre range, I feel like they'd probably be outmaneuvered and outdisrupted by enemy light infantry if deployed in front rather than as part of the line.  Moving them out front also exposes them to cavalry, which as Drilled Foot they are weak against.  If you think of them as a ranged unit, they're pretty meh, but if you think of them as a melee unit, then they've traded away a little AC and the Defend action for the ability to shock a closing unit at range, the ability to retreat from missile fire, and a weakness to cavalry.  Pretty reasonable tradeoff.

Dwarven Cannons: It turns out that cannons aren't great against field units, but they're in Guns of War and dwarves should have them.

War Machines: I really wanted the classic Hammerer to work out for dwarves, but under the Machinist rules building massed automata is prohibitively expensive (and also they're just not very good).  I dunno.  A 2HD AC6 killbot can get a single attack for 1d6 damage, costs 14000 GP to build, and requires a handler to direct it.  If you're willing to drop that kind of money on constructs, magical constructs are a much better deal (gargoyles, at 13kgp each, are immune to nonmagical weapons and can fly).  On the upper end of the scale superheavy constructs are not as bad, though; a max-level Machinist can build 20HD automaton with AC6 and 10d6 damage per round for 50kgp.  A tyrannosaur war mount also costs about 50kgp and has 20HD and AC6, but only does 6d6 damage per round.  A rather maxed-out dwarven steampanzer, with 20HD, 1 attack per round for 10d6 damage (range 600') (1 special ability), 240' speed (2 special abilities), an armored crew compartment for its single operator (1 special ability), and AC 14 (6 special abilities) would cost 90kgp to construct (before special materials to actually make the construction roll).  It would also weigh 4000 stone, or about 20 tons (approximately twice as heavy as a tyrannosaur).  It would probably cost on the order of 2500gp/mo to employ and maintain (comparable to other ~100kgp priced monstrous units), and have the following DaW stats:

Dwarf OGRE: 4/8/12 War Machine, AC 14, HD 20, UHP 1, ML ???, 4 laser -3+ (range 10 hexes)

This machine fries most units at long range, and since I can't find anything in the rules about natural 20s auto-hitting in DaW, the only way to kill it with normalish units (say, orcs at THAC0 10+) is to stack up on charge, flank/rear attack, and disordered bonuses.  Even then you'll need some luck.  On the other hand, dragonfire and mages are pretty bad for it.

In conclusion: I now believe there is a use for Machinists.  Granted, actually making the rolls to design and build such a machine is highly unlikely, but I'm willing to consider the possibility that the dwarves have ancient superweapons of glorious days past hidden deep in their bunkers.  Good quest for a party of adventurers looking for a portable army, no?

Dwarf Heroes

I also like the idea of having some hero stats on hand for use as lieutenants and commanders at company scale.  These dwarves may be familiar to some of my players...

Barholt Sledgefist
Dwarf Fury 5 (Dwarven Retaliator), Str 17 Int 9 Wis 6 Dex 9 Con 9 Cha 14 
Class proficiencies: Alertness, Command
General proficiencies: Perform (Bagpipes), Signaling
Equipment: warhammer +1, spare warhammer, throwing axes, potion of gaseous form, bagpipes
Derived stats:
HP 30, AC 2, DR 1/die, THAC0 4+ for 1d8+5 (7 when furious)
Leadership 5, ZOC 2, Strategic Ability -1, Morale Modifier +4 (Furies are supposed to get the fighter-type +1 morale at 5th level, right?)
2/4/6 Loose Foot, 1 warhammer 4+ (he needs to use it two-handed to get unit-scale damage)

Barholt does not qualify as a captain at company-scale, but he makes a fantastic lieutenant due to his high morale modifier.  Probably wants to take Leadership as his 7th-level general proficiency, which would bring his LD up to 6 and his ZOC up to 3.  Pity about that Strategic Ability, though.

Kroner Ironblood
Dwarven Craftpriest 7 (Dwarven Prelate), Str 12 Int 15 Wis 16 Dex 15 Con 16 Cha 12
Class proficiencies: Magical Engineering, Command
General proficiencies: Healing 2, Craft (Smithing), Military Strategy, Leadership
Equipment: warhammer +2, plate armor +1, shield, potion of invisibility, scroll of ward against magic
Derived stats:
HP 33, AC 9, THAC0 5+ for 1d6+2
Leadership 5, ZOC 2, Strategic Ability +3, Morale Modifier +2
1/2/3 Formed Foot, warhammer damage is sub-unitscale
Relevant spells:
1/day Flame Strike or Insect Plague
1/day Dispel Magic
2/day Continual Light
2/day Bless or Bane

For a more focused set of leadership abilities, consider swapping Leadership for Military Strategy 2 (for Strategic Ability +4 and greater choice in when your spells go off).

Jhames Clearwater
Dwarven Vaultguard 7 (Dwarven Champion), Str 18 Int 9 Wis 12 Dex 6 Con 16 Cha 12
Class proficiencies: Fighting Style Shield, Command
General proficiencies: Animal Training, Diplomacy, Engineering
Equipment: sword +2 of charm person, plate +1, shield +1, potion of invulnerability
Derived stats:
HP 51, AC 9, THAC0 1+ for 1d6+8
Leadership 4, ZOC 2, Strategic Ability +0, Morale Modifier +3
MV 1/2/3 Formed Foot, 1 sword 1+

A pretty melee-oriented captain.  Can also supervise siege-mining, stronghold construction, and fieldworks.

1 comment:

AM said...

This is awesome stuff! Would you mind posting a link to this on the Autarch forums? I know a lot of folks would want to see this.