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View Full Version : Unit Strength of the Bell/Furnace - The definitive consideration.



Quannum
18-12-2009, 08:33
So I thought I'd post a thread to gather all thoughts on this most niggling - and indeed debatable - of conundrums to emerge from the plethora of inconsistencies in the new Skaven Army Book.

WHAT UNIT STRENGTH IS THE BELL/FURNACE?

Of course, this question may seem simpler to solve using the basic rules as laid out in BRB which states that multiple-wound models are the same Unit Strength to their Wound value. E.g. an Ogre Bull has 3 wounds and is US3.

However, given the Bell/Furnace's specific rules in their Army Book - which we are always told by GW supercede the BRB - the situation becomes less clear. The little paragraph on p.43 of the rulebook (and again for the Furnace on p.49) gives rise to this debate:

"The different sized base of the Screaming Bell/Plague Furnace means some extrapolation must be done in order to work out the rank bonus. Count the model as the same number of Skaven that would normally occupy that space (typically 15)"

Obviously, the answer to this debate will be most needed when the unit is in combat and we are trying to determine combat resolution. The two factors that are affected by the outcome to this debate are:

- rank bonus (as suggested by the paragraph)
- unit strength, and by extension, outnumbering.

As far as the rank bonus goes, I think no one would dispute the paragraph's intention - that you have to imagine (if we assume we are using the official base of the new Bell/Furnace) that 15 rats are there and thus we work out ranks accordingly. Fair enough. But the problem with the second sentence in the paragraph is that literally, grammatically and prosaically, it is written poorly, giving rise to ambiguity. The unfortunate element is that the sentence stands alone, which could be interpreted that it is not connected in any way to the previous statement and that universally, regardless of the situation, the model is to be counted as 15 rats whenever, wherever. Furthermore, it is actually written rather straightforwardly, which would normally be a boon, but in this scenario, leads to cynicism - "15 models?? Are they serious?? Awesomesauce!"

It leads us to these two possibilities:

1) The Bell/Furnace acts in all respects as if it were 15 models, thus its US is 15, and we count it as 15 rats when calculating rank bonus. This US value of 15 is used in all scenarios in the game that required knowledge of the Bell/Furnace's US - spells that affect it based on that value, combat, denying ranks, troops fleeing through, etc.

2) The Bell/Furnace acts in all respects as 15 models when calculating rank bonus but rank bonus ONLY, otherwise it has six wounds and is therefore US6. This US value of 6 is used in all scenarios in the game that required knowledge of the Bell/Furnace's US - spells that affect it based on that value, combat, denying ranks, troops fleeing through, etc.

In the paragraph from the book, I have emboldened what I believe to be the crucial statement to at least settle this debate on an interim basis until we have an official FAQ. We are only to consider this paragraph when thinking about combat resolution, even though it understandably leads us to question the US. Having considered and reconsidered the rules, and the various game-based consequences of each interpretation, I am inclined to lean towards possibility number 2, that the Bell/Furnace is US6. This is because it DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY STATE THAT THE UNIT STRENGTH IS 15.

Let me elaborate - in order to supercede the BRB, the Army Book entry must state any specific rules plainly in the rules itself, i.e. a unit can't cause Terror unless its Army Book entry states "Terror". This is perhaps the most basic of army-book rules superceding the BRB, but we obviously take this for granted. Thus, as there is no mention of any rule that overtly and explicitly states that the US of the Bell/Furnace is also 15 for outnumbering purposes, I am inclined to rule that its US6 as per normal.

There are advantages to this outcome. Of course, we lose 9 in outnumbering value, but if you learn to play through this loss, and not let it be a factor that pivots the outcome of a battle, then you should do fine. Then, if an FAQ comes out stating that its US is 15, you then get a bonus instead of finding out the way you've been playing it is wrong, and has been giving you an unfair advantage. I like to err on the side of caution and play the least advantageous option rather than squeeze the rules for all they're worth.. I guess that's why people still play me. :P

Hope this helps.

Thoughts?

Q

Quannum
18-12-2009, 08:40
bump bump bump.

Milgram
18-12-2009, 08:41
US 15 is rubbish. it would mean that the bell has a variable US depending on the formation of the unit. e.g. if you only have 10 skaven left, you can put two skaven on each side of the bell (making the unit 7 wide) and get a US of 15 for the bell, if you place three on each side, the bell will only have an US of 9, because the last two ranks do not fill the space where usually would be skaven.

all rules that we have point into the direction of handling the bell/furnace as a monstrous mount with special rules. thus US6+1.

sure this also results in a furnace thrown out of the unit and automatically fail the monster reaction test when the priest dies.

btw: please do not bump your own threads. it is a) annoying and b) impatient after 7 minutes.

Cambion Daystar
18-12-2009, 08:45
US15 is definately wrong. A Chaos lord on daemonic mount also takes up the place of 4 RnF infantry models, yet is only US2.

Atrahasis
18-12-2009, 08:51
Context is everything, and the context is that it is talking about rank bonus, not US.

Ultimate Life Form
18-12-2009, 08:56
US 15 is rubbish. it would mean that the bell has a variable US depending on the formation of the unit. e.g. if you only have 10 skaven left, you can put two skaven on each side of the bell (making the unit 7 wide) and get a US of 15 for the bell, if you place three on each side, the bell will only have an US of 9, because the last two ranks do not fill the space where usually would be skaven.


I do not know how you reached that conclusion. The rule said the Screaming Furnace counts as 15 models. It doesn't make any mention of formations. It's 15 models until it dies.

As for the conundrum, well, if you absolutely WANT to read it means US, there's nothing stopping you from it. However I want to point out it says 'count as the number of Skaven, not US. The two are not synonymous, see the victory point debate. A monstrous mount (if it is one, we actually don't know) has US wound +1 unless it has a special rule that says otherwise, and this is clearly missing here.

However I thought from the beginning that this passage was absolutely superfluous and should have been left out (and now we see why I was right... again). When you can't write rules, it's better you don't write at all.

Milgram
18-12-2009, 08:57
oh, and the 'US 15' argument would also lead to 15 hits from anything that hits every model in unit. because 'Count the model as the same number of Skaven that would normally occupy'. interpreting this sentence without context is hilarious. :)

@ulf:


SSSFFFSSS
SSFFFSS
FFF
FFF
FFF


usually only 6 skaven (not 9 as I stated previously) would fill the space the furnace takes. not 15.

Ultimate Life Form
18-12-2009, 09:03
Okay, this is yet ANOTHER interpretation of this funny line, but I think it's rather clear it refers to the base size equaling 15 Skaven, and this won't ever change regardless how many other Skaven or what formations there are. Rank bonus is lost because the hind ranks will be less than 5 models wide.

Quannum
18-12-2009, 09:08
So are we agreed that the unit strength FOR OUTNUMBERING PURPOSES is not 15?

Q

Ultimate Life Form
18-12-2009, 09:10
I didn't know that there are different Unit Strengths for different purposes, but yes, agreed.

Cambion Daystar
18-12-2009, 09:58
Unit Strength (US) is a concept found in the rule book.

nosferatu1001
18-12-2009, 10:00
So are we agreed that the unit strength FOR OUTNUMBERING PURPOSES is not 15?

Q

The line is entirely there to help you determine the number of skaven displaced, which according to the BRB FAQ part 2 is how you work out the rank bonus for the unit.

It counts as 15 models for rank bonus and at no point does this override or even come close to changing it's Unit Strength as stated in the BRB.

Milgram
18-12-2009, 10:05
'typically 15' implies that there are instances when it will not take the space of 15. there are three possible interpretations:

1) it may differ due to the base size of the furnace
2) it may differ due to the base size of the 'skaven' in the unit
3) it only counts for as many skaven as are actually displaced by the furnace

1) is obsolete because there are no different base sizes for the furnace.
2) is obsolete because you cannot join jezzails, weapon teams, characters or doomwheels, which are he only 'skaven' that have a different base size than 20mm.

leaves us with option three.

EvC
18-12-2009, 12:14
So... any ideas on unit strength for them then?

JonnyTHM
18-12-2009, 12:29
'typically 15' implies that there are instances when it will not take the space of 15. there are three possible interpretations:

1) it may differ due to the base size of the furnace
2) it may differ due to the base size of the 'skaven' in the unit
3) it only counts for as many skaven as are actually displaced by the furnace

1) is obsolete because there are no different base sizes for the furnace.
2) is obsolete because you cannot join jezzails, weapon teams, characters or doomwheels, which are he only 'skaven' that have a different base size than 20mm.

leaves us with option three.



1 is by no means obsolete because it also applies to the screaming bell which provides an immense amount of context for the rule. There is nothing that stops you from using the last screaming bell model... or even the one before that. Both of them have a smaller footprint and so would displace less. Of course, you'd have to be insane to do so as you'd sacrifice rank bonus heavily.

I would think the only interesting rules question to come out of this is whether or not you could make a bigger base for a heavily converted 'displaces 25 rats' screaming bell.


To be clear, I still think that the rule only is for the rank bonus, and that there is no reason to suggest it would change the rule for unit strength especially as the two aren't that well correlated.

Quannum
18-12-2009, 18:51
I'm just playing devil's advocate here. I firmly interpret that the Plague Furnace is not US15 ever. I will be playing it as US6 + 1 as per normal monstrous mounts, and will continue to do so until an FAQ is released.

Q