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"Fixing Vampire Counts" - Necromancy spells

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Danceman

The Devil in Pale Moonlight
True Blood
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#1
What is the most common complaint? The reason we're being classed as a broken army? Our magic, vanhels and IoN namely.

Invocation of Nehek; The default spell and also in a very real way our trademark. The ability to recast it over and over again is very good indeed.
Why is it so powerful? It because it heals our units, yes in a way, but hardly the biggest issue. Is it cause we reliably can cast and re-cast it with a single dice? Definitely. I've seen a number of ideas to fix this problem, a problem of which I find very real.

Fix number one; Pretty much copy and paste the old version in so far as you cast it in levels. 4+ = 1D6, 7+ = 2d6, 9+ = 3d6 or perhaps more realistically 4+/8+/10+.

Fix number two; Make it work like Gut magic. Increase the casting value for each time cast. 4+, then 8+, then 12+, then 16+ and so forth.
I favour this version.

Vanhels Danse Macabre; Another spell of which I do not feel we deserve in the same extent as before. Before we could agrue we couldnt march very well, today we dont have the same problem. Several characters, units and items can help us mitigate or ever remove this disadvantage.

The fix; Here I've come across a most effect fix, and the only one making sense. However, the above "Gut magic" version would work here as well, first being 7+ the next 14+. But the best way I believe is just making it count as a normal spell, ie, you can only cast it once.

When I am back from my vacation I will give this a try. I hope you could do the same. Ever so commonly now the players seem to be taking the game into their own hands as "the big three" armies have unhinged the game like they have.

This is not some random ideas I've just made up, as said, but a compilation of ideas from several forums and in discussions with players. Personally I think its a good thing and will get VC closer to the other armies in terms of power level.

Cheers!
 

Arion

Vampire Lord
True Blood
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3,414
#2
I agree whole heartedly with most of this, however, Invo shouldn't increase 4-8-12-16 per casting. More like 4-6-8-10. It is our base spell, and we are more skilled casters than ogres.
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
Staff member
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27,917
#3
I have mentioned this before, and I agree the ability to repeatedly cast over and over without detriment is OP.

However I think you have gone slightly overboard with your restrictions Dancey. It would mean hardly any go through, nor does it show that the more powerful casters should be better at casting.

I have always thought the following would be good:

Necromancy Spells
These spells may be recast as many times equal to the casters level without detriment. Any more attempts over that suffer a cumulative -1 to the casting roll. ( I changed it from an earlier idea of having the casting roll required up by +1, as that would then make dispelling harder which isn't right)

I think the above would work perfectly because for example:

The IoN Vampire spam build - Vamp + MotBA. This vampire could only cast one IoN on 4+, then next one on 5+, next on 6+.

It would make spamming much harder, however a kitted up caster Lord (that to be fair you are paying a lot for), could still get 4 IoN off at basic, but then will start suffering as well. Bearing in mind that you would normally use your Lord to cast the higher spells like Curse of Years or Vanhels (which would also suffer from this), it would see a decent reduction in spamming, whilst not completely nerfing VC's magic.

On this note - perhaps once we have settled on a decent idea, we can also include in the bloodlines project, encourage players to try it out.
 

Onikaigo

Vampire Lord
True Blood
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May 17, 2008
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3,607
#4
I kind of agree with the topic of this thread. Kind of.

I'm one of the other guys on the fence that feels like VC magic isn't overpowered. Yes, we can resurrect a crapload of units, but let's not restrict the magic, but lets restrict the targets of the spells.

Don't allow it to hit Blood Knights. Allow it to only work X times on Grave Guard (There are only so many armored and heavily armed bodies lying around, right?), and Skeletons. Allow it only to be cast unlimited times without detriment on Zombies, and possibly Fell Bats/Bat Swarms as there would always be a surplus of those creatures in my mind.

I think the real complain against VC isn't the spammability of the magic, but the targets which we're allowed to spam on. And that's starting to sound dirty. (Spam, anyone?)

So, restrict the targets, issues fixed. Every one of my opponents chews through my zombies, no matter how many I summon. Allow Invoke to work on them indefinitely, and the rest of them have some sort of numerical restriction, or even model count restriction rolled before the game. (Maybe restricted per caster level present?)

As for Van Hels, make it have some sort of detriment. Instead of simply 'Failing' if its dispelled or not successfully cast, make d6 models from that unit crumble, d3 for Cavalry as the Winds of Undeath still attempt to 'Push' that unit forward, but it doesn't move.

My two cents say that the Magic itself isn't overpowered (In Inokes case) but the ability to raise some game breaking units again and again is the case. With Van Hels, the lack of a detriment is the kicker. There's simply nothing bad about it, so add something bad, along with the 'Nerf' to Invoke, and people should be happy.
 

Sweeney Todd

Master Vampire
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4,036
#5
IMO if you're going to 'fix VC magic' such efforts should be focused on one spell: Vanhels'.

I'd say IoN by itself does not need fixing, after all this is an undead army and one of the defining traits of such an army is the ability to replenish your own troops. if you take that away or reduce that you are trying to change the very definition of an undead army. The same goes for Raise Dead to a lesser extent. Raising back your dead and making new units pop out of the ground is all well and good but it only becomes truly powerful when you combine them with the maneveurability that VHMW provides. Remember, attrition itself is less important than the ability to dictate the terms of battle. Thus, I would say that IoN can remain unchanged but Vanhels and to a lesser extent Raise Dead are the spells that should be nerfed.
 

Danceman

The Devil in Pale Moonlight
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#6
These arent my restrictions, just a compilaton of ideas. In a nutshell I agree, VDM is the biggest issue. Increasing the casting value by one for each IoN feels like a better solution, too. I only posted this to get it up into discussion again.
I think we agree with each other for the most part, the main problem is making it possible to recast VDM(and its at the same time quite easy to cast at 7+).
 

Onikaigo

Vampire Lord
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#7
Well then. VDM is the main crux. Let's see what the spell has going for it, then we'll see what we can do to balance it.

Pros:
Flexible in and out of combat.
Undervalued casting cost.
Recastable

Cons:
Ummm...anyone?


Alright. So I've listed three pros, and no cons. This, in my book, is already looking a little OP'ed. I stand by my statement earlier about giving the spell a detriment of some sort to balance the fact that its recastable.

Crumble d6/d3 models on all failed/Dispelled attempts.
Increase Casting costs after first casting.
Make a 'Sacrificial' model requirement per cast. I.E Sacrifice X models per attempt to cast after the first, as these models become 'Fodder' for the spell to achieve its effect.
Shorten range with each casting.
Every casting after the first has a chance to 'Burn out' the spell. See Book of Arkham.


Just some ideas. Kick em around, let's see what we can do.
 

MasterSpark

Nostalgian
Staff member
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4,691
#8
I could actually see a risk of causing damage to units affected by the VHD to be (part of, if nothing else) a home-brewed fix to the spell. Since the magic propels the undead ever faster, it makes sense that some of the unit members could take damage due to an overdrive like that.
 
Joined
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#9
The strength of the magic is central to the army. Without magical support--continual, reliable, strong support--our units would be very bad and very overpriced.

The whole overpowered thing is just the whine of people who consistenty lose and assume it's the game's fault rather than their own. VC are a unique army and therefore unique tactics need to be used against them; people that don't realise this lose.

Daemons are another story, but VC, DE, and LM are fine. Powerful, but fine.
 

Sweeney Todd

Master Vampire
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#10
I hear you, Squig, that's why i think the only spell that should be changed if anything needs changing in the first place is Vanhels' Moonwalk.
 

Trentonator

Crypt Horror
Joined
Dec 1, 2007
Messages
598
#11
How about just taking out the whole close combat part of it and make it a normal move.?


I know the last suggestion might make it more powerful in a sense, but if you think about it, you can get still get march blocked and you have to suffer all movement impairing effects.
 

Danceman

The Devil in Pale Moonlight
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#13
My initial proposal was just to get ideas, using existing rules. Not redefine them as it would be much harder to get people to agree to use them.

The best and simpliest ideas I've heard to far is add +2 to the casting value for each IoN cast(not attempted) and not being able to recast VDM. Though right now since I play under comp I am only gonna go with the VDM. I am already punished enough through comp to further handicap myself.

But as said, the main problem does seem to be the VDM spells. You win or lose the game in the movement phase and VDM lets us become very powerful of this phase of the game. What I suggest is to start to only cast VDM once per wizard who's got it without telling your opponent why, just do it and continue the game as usual. Probably be the best way to see what kind of impact of the game without your opponent being aware of it. I think it also would be kinda fun to restrict yourself abit and see where it leads you. Who knows you might find a use for another set of spells?

Cheerio!
 

chris_havoc

Vampire Count
True Blood
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1,108
#14
I really like DoN's version. Limit the ability to recast based on the skill level of the caster. I actually really like that version. It makes a lot of sense. No more resurrecting like three Blood Knights with your level 1 Vamp in the unit.
 
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#15
I don't like the idea of inhibiting recasting because, as I said before, it was integral in the balancing of the list.

The 'problem' is that spamming ION with 1 die has no backfire effect. So how about focusing on that. How about a sort of 'cumulative miscast'. In other words, when a caster rolls 1 die and gets a 1, don't just forget about it. That 1 stays with him for the whole phase, and every time he casts the same spell again, if he gets any other 1s while doing so they combine and cause a miscast.

Vanhel's is a different story. Yes it's a powerful spell, but it's also necessary. Perhaps the combat component should only affect rank and file infantry, so as to tone it down, but it doesn't need any more nerfing than that. The dwarfs' anvil and orc's waaagh can be just as deadly.
 
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#17
someone suggested IoN not working as well on certain units, it already has limitations, most of our powerful units, and fel hounds, only get 1 wound beack per casting, making it much less effective. i think there should be a middle ground on certain units, like grave guard and bats only getting d3 wounds back as they are a bit more powerful.

on the flip side though, we suffer from some serious weaknesses regarding undead magic, such as crumbling, if we lose combat by, we lose more models, most unbreakable units do not have that problem. also if we lose our general, are whole army begins to unravel very quickly, which spamming can help. who else loses their army when their general goes down? my final arguement is that we have absolutely no shooting, and unlike a lot of comparble armies, our standard troops are pretty rubbish in combat, so we need them to be close to full strength to win combats. if we lose half the models, we are just that much closer to a crumble fest in combat.

van hels is an overpowered spell, but then there are a great deal of overpowered things in the game, why shouldnt we get one. some spells are exceedingly powerful if used on the right units, such as bears anger on a combat statted character, or pit of shades on a slow giant, of the lore of light against demons or undead.
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
Staff member
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27,917
#18
Personally I still stand by my fix:
These spells may be recast as many times equal to the casters level without detriment. Any more attempts over that suffer a cumulative -1 to the casting roll. ( I changed it from an earlier idea of having the casting roll required up by +1, as that would then make dispelling harder which isn't right)

I think the above would work perfectly because for example:

The IoN Vampire spam build - Vamp + MotBA. This vampire could only cast one IoN on 4+, then next one on 5+, next on 6+.

It would make spamming much harder, however a kitted up caster Lord (that to be fair you are paying a lot for), could still get 4 IoN off at basic, but then will start suffering as well. Bearing in mind that you would normally use your Lord to cast the higher spells like Curse of Years or Vanhels (which would also suffer from this), it would see a decent reduction in spamming, whilst not completely nerfing VC's magic.
Still allows a lot of healing etc, but stops those 17 IoN in one magic phase. I do think that the amount you can heal by is wrong, for example being able to heal only 1 Dire Wolf per attempt, but D6 GG is just wrong. Personally I would propose the following:

Core units - Heal D6 models/wounds (with the possible exception of the Corpse Cart)
Special - Heal D3 Models/wounds
Rare / Characters / Monsters - Raise 1 Model/wounds

Nice and simple, plus makes sense.

In regards to VHD, I would suggest the same as above for the IoN, however perhaps put the modifier at -2.
 

beeblicon

Black Knight
Joined
Dec 27, 2009
Messages
355
#19
TheZombieSquig said:
The strength of the magic is central to the army. Without magical support--continual, reliable, strong support--our units would be very bad and very overpriced.

The whole overpowered thing is just the whine of people who consistenty lose and assume it's the game's fault rather than their own. VC are a unique army and therefore unique tactics need to be used against them; people that don't realise this lose.

Daemons are another story, but VC, DE, and LM are fine. Powerful, but fine.
I agree with this, try going all cc with your characters too, see how well that works out, run your general up in to combat and watch him get chopped to bits and have your army fall apart.

Powerful, yes, i agree, but also very predictable, i mean, you know your going to be seeing magic, and you know its going to be some ions and dancing. There should be no suprise there afte you've played vc's a few times, adapt... change...cause they likely are not going too.
 
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#20
Quick fix 1
Make Van Hels casting number 8+. In this way you need 3 dice to cast it reliably, increasing the chance of miscasts, restricting it to Lvl 2+. A lord with the Skull Staff would still be able to do a lot of damage with it, but he pays the price in magic allowance. Sadly this makes necros rather useless, but they could be allowed an extra magic level.

Quick fix 2
Reduce the 'above starting size' part of the Master powers (and by the same time reduce the price of skellies by a point or two, so they can compete with ghouls).

MOST IMPORTANT
These rules suggestions won't ever come in effect, so stop bothering with them. Just don't be an arse and exploit the loopholes. Undead are quite fun, once you get past the stormin' horde of disco ghouls :)
 
Joined
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Messages
132
#21
They won't come into effect because they defeat the point of an undead army. Removing unit expansion would remove an entire dimension of the army and off-balance everything. And VDM is fine, people just get annoyed when they can't predict where a unit will move.

The main problem for me, in WH in general, is that lots of low level wizards are better than a single high level wizard. This issue shows up well in VC. That magic phase rumour that was going around a few months ago (level 4s getting 4 dice for each of their 4 spells and dispelling everything on 4 dice, level 1s getting 1 die for their 1 spell and dispelling on 1) was great IMO. Even back when magic cards were used, higher level wizards had a better chance of dispelling lower level wizards' spells.
 

witchking1980

Black Knight
Joined
Nov 1, 2009
Messages
309
#22
In general that VC magic is pretty balanced. Sometimes I prefer the old invocation with the 3 different casting values but with the new version healing every unit is also very nice. I think that casting multiple times the spells is fair enough as we have to deal with the enemy magic + the heavy shooting most of the armies have with result many casualties. So our dice pool is used mostly to fill up our lost ranks instead of casting Gaze of Nagash, Curse of the Years or the 12+ Wings of Undeath. I believe that 9/10 of players use Invocation mostly instead of attacking spells.
 
Joined
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Messages
73
#23
I wholeheartedly disagree with this idea. With the way some armies can dispell (looking at you Chaos and Dwarfs) makes the repeatability of these spells a downright necessity, especially with the incredibly small sizes of the few units that can really land a punch. And even by itself IoN doesn't do much with Core units when you can lose so many to Combat Resolution. Even in a horde formation and with a thrall carrying Helm of Command around you're going to need the other vampire's Core bunker within 12" if you want to keep units such as Skeleton Warriors and Dire Wolves effective at all.
 
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