Sunday, 4 August 2013

Realm of Chaos 25th Anniversary: Survival of the fittest (what to do with your warband after the battle)

By now, I'd hope, many of you readers have got out there and got yourselves a copy of Third Edition and Slaves to Darkness and had a crack at warband creation and conflict. Certainly judging by the page views my original article has received, it may be a great number of you! 

The silent majority of Oldhammerers! 

But the question 'what do we do now?' may be buzzing around inside your mind like the last scraps of a daemonic possession. Where do we go from here beyond rolling for rewards and collecting and painting the new units or characters?

Today's post concerns a very influential article for me. I have vivid memories of reading it in bed as a 'yoof' back in the 1980s and having my mind blown away with the possibilities of developing an army through narrative. And so must have the seeds of Oldhammer been sown, eh? Little did I know that it would take 25 years to come to be a reality! Now there is a similar article within The Lost and the Damned, which includes a wonderfully hackneyed 'narrative generator' but I find this one superior. It was the system Dan and I used for our original Realm of Chaos campaign we fought a long while ago and has loads of exciting things to include in your games. The stuff here is transferable too. So it would be quite straight forward to use it with any type of wargaming.

Let's have a look. 

I am going to talk about a few things I really loved from this article. Things that I think may be of use after the RoC game at The Foundry and may well be of use to those of you playing old school Warhammer as lurkers. 

1. The Nicely Complex Serious Injury Table

In the tradition of hyper detailed RPGs, this article contains a quite comprehensive guide to working out just how your characters have become injured. As you will have seen, its very easy to just 'be okay' for the next game, with only a 1 in 6 chance of actually being dead and even if you are wounded, there is a 50% chance that your character was 'just knocked out'. But if your models are unlucky enough to get seriously injured, there is quite a lot that can go wrong, from nasty looking flesh wounds (which don't affect the profile) to fairly debilitating injuries that result in a major penalty (such as a character losing a leg). This throws up some nice ideas into the mix. The most obvious would be the need to paint (or model) the damage onto the characters. But Dan and I discussed how it might be fun if we logged who slayed or injured who during the game, to create rivalries or mini narratives within the game. This can become rather interesting if you start developing your background. We thought about characters (and even models) having 'archenemies', namely, particular individuals who they hate due to the injuries that they have inflicted upon them in previous skirmishes. We never really developed the idea, but always thought we could devise special rules for situations like this. Of course, suddenly seeing on of your key champions losing his leg and having his movement cut can cause all kinds of strategic headaches too! 

2. Pillaging 

Again, this was thought about. We knew that the idea of the winner rooting through the equipment of the dead and stealing all the best stuff would involve a lot of (gentlemanly) banter. You can probably imagine the showmanship on display as one of us gleefully decided to loot that daemon weapon that had been causing so much grief and turning the tide with it during the next game. We never used banners, but thought that such thefts would be possible and indeed these models could be 'borrowed' and taken home as the ultimate insult, only to be paraded mercilessly at the start of the next game. Of course, there would be a real reason to have a next game in that regard; the battle to reclaim the flag. See how the narrative just creeps in when using this stuff.

Well, I will leave things here for now. Please do share your thoughts about the injury table and pillaging as part of a campaign game, or indeed any other gems from the article that you feel are worth discussion. Of course, if you have a fresh idea to bring to the pot, please share that too!



  1. "killing through excessive pleasure", those were the times :-).
    Anyways, this brought back memories of way back when my group managed a few sessions of all out chaotic destruction. The rules worked well (although chaotic, which, I guess, would be the purpose) and great fun was had. The only thing we decided to modify after a few battle were the pillaging system. If I recall correctly we changed this to be only models who were still standing could pilalge, representing the injured parties being more occupied with keeping their entrails inside their body, than choosing which heavy armour to procure next.
    All the best,

  2. Food for thought. I glossed over this in my campaign, my Orc Warlord was already the boss in the narrative. Without having read the article, it seems to me that these concepts could be applied to any power struggle to generate the back story for the reason for xyz invasion of their neighbor. Be it a chaos incursion, waagh, or expansion of the empire after the electors have come to blows in the process of naming the emperor.

  3. Don't know if you are familiar with Mordheim, but from the heroes' serious injury chart (page 80, part 3 of the living rulebook: )

    The warrior makes a full physical recovery, but is
    psychologically scarred by his experience. From now
    on the warrior hates the following (roll a D6):
    D6 Result
    1-3 The individual who caused the injury. If it was
    a Henchman, he hates the enemy leader
    4 The leader of the warband that caused the
    5 The entire warband of the warrior responsible
    for the injury.
    6 All warbands of that type.