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Homebrew: Summoning & Standard Bearer alternative

Discussion in 'Soulblight Symposium' started by Malisteen, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. Malisteen

    Malisteen Vampire Count True Blood

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
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    So we all know that Summoning is currently borked in AoS. If you play without the matched play restrictions, then it is utterly overpowered, while if you do play with matched play restrictions it's of such limited utility that it might as well not exist.

    Another, admittedly smaller, point of contention with the rules for undead in Age of Sigmar are our banners, which restore models to our units, making them unquestionably the strongest banner effects in the game, in many (mostly not undead) players' minds to an unreasonable degree.

    As part of a homebrew battletome I've been working on, I've come up with the following system to address both issues, and would like feedback if anyone has the time to look this over:


    ***************************************

    Part 1:

    Replace all summoning spells with 'healing' spells. This would basically amount to a reversion to the old warhammer invocation model, where our standard recursion spell restored models to existing units rather than creating new units, reserving actual summoning to more specialized spells, generally only for zombies. That sort of thing I would leave to battletome spell lores rather than being the standard spells that come on the units.

    Each unit would have their own unique healing spell, with the casting values and amount of models restored standardized as follows:

    Basic Infantry (eg: skeletons, zombies), cast on a 4+, restores d6 models. If casting value was 8 or more, restores 2d6 models instead.

    Basic Cavalry and Elite Infantry (eg: grave guard, black knights), cast on a 4+, restores d3 models. If casting value was 8 or more, restores d6 models instead.

    Any units with 3-5 wounds per model (eg: Spirit Hosts, Blood Knights), cast on a 5+, restores a single model, or d3 models if casting value is 10 or more

    Units with 6+ wounds per model (eg: Morghasts), cast on a 6+, restores a single model, or d3 models if casting value is 12 or more

    Non-Monstrous Individuals (those that can currently be summoned or healed by spells): restore one wound when cast on a 4+, or restore d3 wounds if the casting value is 8 or more

    Monsters & Monstrous Individuals (those that can currently be summoned or healed by spells): restore d3 wounds when cast on a 6+, or d6 wounds if the casting value is 12 or more


    ***************************************

    Part 2:

    The second Change I'm proposing is to banners, reigning them in somewhat by replacing their automatic model restoration with the following:

    Any unit with one or more standard bearers can cast their own healing spell on themselves once per hero phase. The spell is automatically cast at its lowest successful casting value, but opposing wizards may attempt to unbind them as usual. Spells cast in this way do not count towards the 'Rules of Three' in matched play games.

    This would give opponents a chance to limit the models restored by banner spells to key units, but at the cost of eating unbinding attempts, adding some interactivity to the process, which should hopefully make it less frustrating to opponents.


    ******************************************


    As usual, any suggestions or feedback would be greatly appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
    Menkeroth likes this.
  2. Infernal Skull

    Infernal Skull Wight King

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    I don't know if changing the banners to an auto-cast, but allowing unbinding, would really change their effectiveness. In an army with 3 units and 2 wizards, that's 5 spells, and odds are the opponent will only have 1-2 wizards, so they really can't stop the banners anyway.

    That's also a lot of text to include on a warscroll. AoS rule of thumb seems to be the simpler the better.

    Summoning spells might be reigned in with a simple increase in the casting difficulties. And maybe also allowing an unbinding attempt on any "summoning" spell regardless of the unbinding model's distance from the caster. Or by removing the increase in the size of the new unit if the casting roll was higher than X.
     
  3. Malisteen

    Malisteen Vampire Count True Blood

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    Increase in the casting difficulty just breaks summoning in different ways. They become worthless to attempt without significant casting bonuses, and still too strong with them. Pinning the balance of them on unbinding via increased unbinding range doesn't work because not all armies use wizards. Reducing the amount summoned with high rolls only helps in a few cases, several of the most problematic summons - Mournguls, Terrorgeists, Morghasts - already don't summon extra with high rolls.

    Summoning itself - adding free units to your army that you didn't pay for - is the problem. It's just dramatically stronger than anything else a single spell can generally do in this game. If you price for it, then death wizards all need to be dramatically more expensive - to the point that if they aren't summoning you're shooting yourself in the foot.

    Or you could charge points for units summoned, as matched play currently does, but then it's worthless the other way, because 9 times out of 10 just deploying a unit is better than waiting several turns (allowing your opponent to concentrate their ranged fire) only to try to summon later when you might fail and burn a cast either way.

    Summoning IS the problem. Going back to oldhammer style recursion is the Only real solution I've yet seen suggested.


    As

    "Models in this unit may be Standard Bearers. During your Hero phase, one Standard Bearer in the unit may cast [name of spell] on their own unit as though they were a wizard. The spell is automatically cast with a casting value of X, and opposing wizards may attempt to unbind it as usual."

    That doesn't seem like too much text for an AoS warscroll ability? I don't know, maybe you're right.

    The matched play bit would be in a design note on a separate page stating that spells cast automatically by standard bearers do not prevent other wizards from attempting the same spell in matched play. You wouldn't put that on all of the individual datasheets anyway since the matched play rules aren't standard core rules to begin with.
     
    Menkeroth likes this.
  4. Menkeroth

    Menkeroth A Knight of Blood

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    Interesting idea, have to think it over. Although banners I see as quite good but not overestimated, the summoning in general is really a problem. There is also a suggestion made by one of our players back in the day that if you use summoning, you must only regard it as an alternative to reserves, so you can only summon those units you have not placed yet as you've been keeping them in reserve. Sounds not that bad to me.
     
  5. Malisteen

    Malisteen Vampire Count True Blood

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    that was me, actually. or me and othets. And I sort of stand by that, bringing a whole second army worth of units to the game without having to pull them from reserved is just completely game destroying.

    However, having played with summons as reserves for a while, well... Honestly, the summoning might as well not exist. Like, occasionally its nice to put a unit somewhere unexpected, but for the most part you're better off just deploying the unit and casting something else.

    Frankly, summoning is too hard to get right, and switching to healing would be a better option, would work more smoothly in the game, imo. Maybe leave summoning from reserves for some of the units it currently kind of works for, like spirit hosts.
     
    Menkeroth likes this.
  6. Menkeroth

    Menkeroth A Knight of Blood

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    Aye, you're right, it was your idea, although I've seen it also on another forum. And all in all I second you on this point, restoring wounds and creatures till maximum of a unit is reached like it was before and is in many strategic games like HoMM is probably our best bet.
     

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