Hero Implementation

Discussion of the upcoming fantasy version of TRIUMPH!
Piyan Glupak
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Hero Implementation

Postby Piyan Glupak » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:55 pm

One of the decisions that you may choose to take for Fantasy Triumph! is how to implement heroes and similar characters. I can think of 3 possible approaches.

Firstly, a Hero as a specific troop type such as is used in ‘Hordes of the Things’. This is a tried and tested method which most players will be familiar with. The Hero represents the hero, possibly with some heroically-inspired henchmen or henchwomen. In HotT, they count as mounted, so Heroes loose some of their edge in bad going. (“When the going gets tough, the tough get weaker”.) They can travel fast in good going, and can reach up into the clouds to fight aerials.

Not wanting to talk about other sets of rules too much on this forum, but I do believe that character elements such as Heroes are one reason why HotT feels as if it uses a smaller combatant to figure ratio than its ancients and medieval parent. It makes a HotT army look small, even with 6mm figures. In practice, how would even a hero (with a few friends) be able to fight hundreds or thousands of opponents without being at severe disadvantage? Heroes don’t tend to be as well adapted for some battlefield roles as others. They can be better with the Knights and Riders rather than ambushing enemy detachments in the woods, like Robin Hood.

Secondly, you could have heroes acting like generals or staff-officers in DBN, travelling around the battlefield on a smaller base than the elements, and inspiring (and at risk of sharing the fate of) whichever troops they are motivating at the time.

In my opinion, the smaller bases make the game look untidy. Bases smaller than elements add a layer of complexity to play. I am trying to think of fantasy battles where a hero moved from unit to unit during the battle to inspire several units, and am finding it difficult to think of examples, let alone believable examples.

Thirdly, an otherwise normal or standard base of troops could be upgraded to “Heroic”, with its own Hero permanently attached, on the same base. Thus you could get Heroic Elite Infantry, Heroic Knights, Heroic Battle Taxi, Heroic Beasts, Heroic Bow Levy and so on. The troops would act as the standard troop type would, with bonuses such as tactical factors, movement enhancements or improved combat outcomes.

This may be slightly more complicated to implement. Basing would need to identify heroic units. Making the ‘Heroic’ attribute worthwhile for a wide range of troop types might need a little thought. It might be desirable not to allow some troops types to become heroically inspired; Dragons and Gods spring to mind. On the whole, though, this is a method that I would be looking at if I were working on my own project at the moment.

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David Kuijt
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Re: Hero Implementation

Postby David Kuijt » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:51 pm

Hey Piyan,

Thanks for your thoughts. Some of what you wrote mirrors what we've been thinking.

Piyan Glupak wrote:Not wanting to talk about other sets of rules too much on this forum, but I do believe that character elements such as Heroes are one reason why HotT feels as if it uses a smaller combatant to figure ratio than its ancients and medieval parent. It makes a HotT army look small, even with 6mm figures.

Interesting thought!
Piyan Glupak wrote:In practice, how would even a hero (with a few friends) be able to fight hundreds or thousands of opponents without being at severe disadvantage? Heroes don’t tend to be as well adapted for some battlefield roles as others. They can be better with the Knights and Riders rather than ambushing enemy detachments in the woods, like Robin Hood.

One point -- in HotT the "Hero" type is always mounted. But that's a design choice, not a cosmic truth. What about Hurin at the Nírnaeth Arnoediad? Or any Tolkein Dwarvish hero ever (if they are rated as Hero rather than just a major dude)? Plus Robin Hood, as you say.

Some of your (elided) paragraph can be answered by examining combat values and point values. Why are Heroes so prevalent in HotT? They are a very strong element -- maybe their combat value / point value ratio is too high. That can be fixed by reducing combat values (or movement rates, or altering their ability to shatter bow) as well as by increasing their cost (point value). And as you imply, +5/+5 seems like a pretty big punch (which may be why Heroes are the most common 4-pt element in HotT armies). If a single Hero was +3/+3 with combat results like a Skirmisher (killed if doubled by mounted; Evades from foot if doubled; shattered by other Singular Combatants (Heroes)) that would give a very different feel than in HotT where they are running around popping enemy Shooters and attacking Beasts and Blades and stuff.

(Note that the above isn't exactly what we're considering at the moment -- we haven't looked seriously at Fantasy Triumph! for several months, and probably won't be able to do that until this summer at the earliest)

Piyan Glupak wrote:Secondly, you could have heroes acting like generals or staff-officers in DBN, travelling around the battlefield on a smaller base than the elements, and inspiring (and at risk of sharing the fate of) whichever troops they are motivating at the time.

In my opinion, the smaller bases make the game look untidy. Bases smaller than elements add a layer of complexity to play. I am trying to think of fantasy battles where a hero moved from unit to unit during the battle to inspire several units, and am finding it difficult to think of examples, let alone believable examples.

I agree. At the moment we're not looking at adding any "floating" stands representing smaller subunits; that's a level of complexity to which we'd prefer not to go.
Piyan Glupak wrote:Thirdly, an otherwise normal or standard base of troops could be upgraded to “Heroic”, with its own Hero permanently attached, on the same base. Thus you could get Heroic Elite Infantry, Heroic Knights, Heroic Battle Taxi, Heroic Beasts, Heroic Bow Levy and so on. The troops would act as the standard troop type would, with bonuses such as tactical factors, movement enhancements or improved combat outcomes.

This may be slightly more complicated to implement. Basing would need to identify heroic units. Making the ‘Heroic’ attribute worthwhile for a wide range of troop types might need a little thought. It might be desirable not to allow some troops types to become heroically inspired; Dragons and Gods spring to mind. On the whole, though, this is a method that I would be looking at if I were working on my own project at the moment.


Our current draft does contain something very similar to the above. The mechanism exists in the rules already for General's stands. The above can be independent of heroes, too, and many examples from history should be. When the Numenoreans first came to Middle Earth they were just better than anyone else. Elite stands. Not because of the presence of a few individual heroes in an otherwise normal unit.

Independently, if we choose to represent singular combatants (which is the draft name for things like Hero stands) they should share the pass-through abilities of Skirmishers, not (as in HotT) mounted (basically similar to open order in Triumph).
DK


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