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

Andreas Johansson
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Re: Hero Implementation

Postby Andreas Johansson » Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:03 pm

A few random thoughts (provoked by doing something with HOTT for the first time in ages this weekend):

Do Numenóreans really need some special bonus when they can be Elite Foot and their enemies can be Horde or Rabble? You already have quality distinctions built into the troop types to a greater extent than DBA or HOTT.

Are you familiar with DBMF? It's a fan-made fantasy version of DBMM, which went with "Heroic" being a grade (similar to Superior, Fast, etc.), so an element of, say, Blades Heroic is mostly just an element of Blades, but with some special abilities on account of including a heroic individual, e.g. it quickkills Magicians and Dragons. Might be something to look at for inspiration.

Will you have Strongholds or their functional equivalent? I just built one so I guess I should hope for yes :P Will there be an equivalent of Sneakers?

Aside from heroes, what about out individuals of mass destruction? Will magicians remain as arcane artillery? I never saw any great need for Paladins as separate from Heroes, but I'd think there's a need for an anti-magical equivalent of the Cleric. Both magicians and clerics sound like good candidates for inclusion in otherwise-normal elements. (The HOTT insistence they're always on foot gets a little odd when Gandalf rides around or if you want a protective shaman in a horse nomad army.)

Speaking of normal elements, will Fantasy Triumph! retain all historical troop types? I think most of the rationalizations in HOTT work well - Cav and LH into Riders, frex - work pretty well, but I've always missed a proper light infantry type. The rulebook suggestion that psiloi can be used Shooters sort of works for archers but gets silly with javelineers. The argument for rationalization is of course that the T! list of troop types is already quite long and then you'll be adding, I assume, at minimum equivalents of Gods, Dragons, Flyers, Beasts, and Lurkers.

Another thing I've missed in HOTT is some expendable kamikaze type for scythed chariots, stampeding cattle, goblin ball-and-chain wielders, the Judean People's Front, etc. (Counterintuitively, the closest thing is probably the Paladin - very strong and very fragile - but it's of course anything but expendable in terms of counting for losses.)

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David Kuijt
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Re: Hero Implementation

Postby David Kuijt » Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:32 pm

Hey Andreas,

Fantasy Triumph is mostly hashed out, but we won't be giving it our focused attention until the rules are finalized (any day now, seriously) and the high-quality hardcopy version is well in process (we're talking to people about it now)

Much of what you discuss is in the current implementation in some fashion, but we've found a way to do it without adding new troop types -- except one, the "Singular Combatant", who moves like a Skirmisher (can interpenetrate anything) and represents a major deathdealer individual (Conan, fer ex., or Feanor, or Elric of Melnibone -- not just Aragorn, Gimli, or Legolas).

The main tool we're using is battle cards. Six battle cards allows us to add attributes (with point values) without doubling or trebling the total number of troop types. All historical troop types will be retained -- as you say, HotT suffers severely from the blandification of light troops. And the introduction of Bow Levy and Rabble into HotT would have been a massive improvement... but we're not adding stuff to HotT, we're taking T! and adding fantasy.

Send me an email if you would like to discuss.

Regarding Strongholds or equivalent, we haven't discussed that at length, but I have two or three dozen supercool strongholds I've made, so you could say I've got a strong impulse in that direction.

Regarding Scythed Chariots, that rule is well formed now in the Battle Cards stuff. After some lengthy (lengthy because some of the material is only available in Russian) research it became clear that representing Scythed Chariots (or several other things classed as "Expendibles" in other rule sets) as separate controllable stands was not going to work. The idea that you can reconstitute your group of Scythed Chariots (or your cattle, camel, or elephant stampede) and then zoom in and do it again, and again, and again, multiple times in a game, is ludicrous. That's quite a bit similar to collecting Congreve Rockets after a successful barrage in the Napoleonic War and using them three or four times in the same battle. We've found a way to represent the impact they had in battle using Battle Cards.

Sneakers -- not at this time. That rule (in HotT) is an abortion; a poorly implemented attempt to describe on a tactical map what is going on in several months of adventures on the strategic map. Watching fifteen+ years of discussion on the HotT yahoo group makes clear that the rule isn't fixable and shouldn't be fixed, it should be deleted. But HotT is not our concern, and the HotT yahoo group is ... very UK-centric and regional and has been gradually fading for the last ... geeze, maybe a decade.

Which is fine, all our old HotT armies will be retooled for Triumph! (and unlike historical armies, not much retooling will be required because you can choose your army list, not have your army list dictate to you).
DK

Piyan Glupak
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Re: Hero Implementation

Postby Piyan Glupak » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:29 am

I fully support the aim of getting the final version of Triumph! out ASAP, and look forward to it. If the printed hardcover version is available from either the UK or the EU, then I may even consider getting a hard copy in addition to the PDF version.

On the other hand, I am looking forward to seeing Fantasy Triumph, and welcome any information that you are able to divulge. My armies of Middle Earth have been used with both DBA and HotT; I have a gut feeling that Fantasy Triumph! might give extremely good games. Some fantasy armies don't actually need a lot of fantasy troop types, but might benefit from the availability things like Fliers or Brutes.

By the way, in my last HotT game (Pirates v. Witches), a Sneaker was of use, and won the game for me. This was the first playing session that I can remember where a Sneaker seemed anything other than an annoyance in play, and a waste of army points. I don't think that Fantasy Triumph! will suffer through lacking Sneakers.

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Re: Hero Implementation

Postby Rod » Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:45 pm

We already played around with some light fantasy adaptations and the existing troop types translate very well to fantasy battles.

At an upcoming convention we hope to play with the new Single Combatant rule, in a Conan themed event.

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Re: Hero Implementation

Postby AirborneEngineer » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:11 am

Great discussion on how heroes can and will work in Fantasy Triumph.

I'm fairly new to the game, so seeing the intent on how to do this will certainly help. I've played a few games at the HMGS cons and tried the Fantasy version at Cold Wars. I've been trying to work out mechanisms for heroes on my own. I had not really considered the Singular Combatant as a separate troop type approach. Though I was looking at a hero or two on a stand and then counting them as an existing troop type or blend. So Gimli and Legolas counts as elite infantry, but can shoot as an archer during missile fire.

Any thoughts on Singular Combatants being eligible for supports, so they get combat pluses for a second rank of another troop type. I think it would work great if the open order hero got beat and was pushed back, he would get pushed back through the unit behind him.

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Re: Hero Implementation

Postby David Kuijt » Sun Apr 08, 2018 3:19 pm

AirborneEngineer wrote:I'm fairly new to the game, so seeing the intent on how to do this will certainly help. I've played a few games at the HMGS cons and tried the Fantasy version at Cold Wars. I've been trying to work out mechanisms for heroes on my own. I had not really considered the Singular Combatant as a separate troop type approach. Though I was looking at a hero or two on a stand and then counting them as an existing troop type or blend. So Gimli and Legolas counts as elite infantry, but can shoot as an archer during missile fire.

Any thoughts on Singular Combatants being eligible for supports, so they get combat pluses for a second rank of another troop type. I think it would work great if the open order hero got beat and was pushed back, he would get pushed back through the unit behind him.


Interesting ideas, but you need to be careful thinking about scale -- scale of the game, I mean. How many dudes are represented by a single stand. Some rules make great sense for skirmish games, and not so much for battle games. Triumph is a game designed to show how a battle evolves over hours between forces of thousands of combatants on a side. Gimli and Legolas should be very effective in a skirmish game -- but they killed only 85 orcs between them over a battle spanning nearly 12 hours at Helms Deep, and that was with them having the huge advantage of defending fortifications for much of the battle. As compared to Elric of Melnibone, who sometimes single-handedly slaughtered thousands with his sword that ate their souls. Making Gimli and Legolas (as a pair) into an Elite Foot with shooting ability is a reasonable approach if they were fighting against enemy stands representing a squad (6-10) of enemies; it way overrates their combat ability in Triumph where a single stand might represent 1,000 foemen.
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Re: Hero Implementation

Postby Rod » Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:26 pm

I would think of it more like Gimili and Legolas are attached to a unit of Elite troops.... I.e. if you want to represent them in models, have them flanked on either side by a couple of Elite Elven warriors or others depending on which battle. Then this stand represents a unit they might be leading or attached too.

Elite Foot is probably a good call keeping in mind that Legolas' miraculous shots with his bow (movie style) were all effectively at close range. He is using his bow like a one on one close combat weapon, not firing volleys of arrows into a unit at distance. So in Triumph terms his bow shots are worked out in "close combat" or when the bases of two units are touching.


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