View Full Version : (SBG) Making the Race: Special Rules vs. Models

Etienne de Beaugard
28-01-2010, 13:27
Imagine a new range of models comes out for a race of men. Does that race need a special rule, like Haradrim Poison Arrows or of Rohirrim Expert Rider, or are good models and human stat-lines with weaponry appropriate to the culture sufficient?

I've been playing around with stat-lines for historical minis, and I keep getting advice to add a special rule to each race/culture. Personally, I avoid special rules if possible. I'm interested to know others thoughts on the matter.

28-01-2010, 14:52
Don't forget you can often add flavor to a new army by playing with point values. A slightly lower cost for a certain troop type or a slightly higher cost for another, or even just adding a weapon/armor combo or removing one can change how an army plays. So while I voted "no" on a special rule, I think there are other changes that can be used to give a different flavor to a new army.

28-01-2010, 14:56
Special rules can set them up to be a failure. A lot of times a special rule is too good or not good enough to make them "special". The real trick to adding a "special" rule is to remember that you want the net points value of the model to be neutral. For Harad it is the lack of high defense units. Poison arrows help and would be overpowered if not balanced out with that stat. You can assign a stat/points value to this special rule and use that to help balance the new unit.
So I would say that you could do a special rule like poisoned arrows and adjust the strength/defense/courage/movement/weapons/armor etc to compensate and make the units points/value net neutral.

28-01-2010, 18:50
I personally find that a special rule reflecting the way the army fights is a great way to distinguish from other 'men'. I think across the realms of Middle-earth, and in real life, most Men will be physically similar and trained to a similar basic quality - hence a fairly neutral, vanilla statline often being appropriate.

To give a historical example, Republican Romans vs Gauls. After the Marian Reforms, the basic Roman military were a very well trained force, utilising a number of different tactics which gave them the edge over the Gauls, as opposed to merely being better individual fighters. While this is hard to determine in a skirmish game such as this, even small rules which can tip the balance can give a bit of flavour, for example:

Well Trained - The Roman Legionnaires are trained and drilled regularly, and while not immediately superior fighters to their adversaries, this rigidly enforced training can help overcome the enemy. In any fight in which the result would be a direct draw (i.e. same FV, drawn dice roll), the Roman automatically wins the roll off.

Simple rule, not affecting stats, and enough to differentiate them from every other man without putting them on par with the champions and captains.

Of course, just a very brief example. I agree that one can overcomplicate a game with special rules, as we seem to be seeing in 40k and Fantasy a fair bit at the moment, but I think that implemented correctly, they are still a good thing.

Whitwort Stormbringer
28-01-2010, 19:13
I'd say there are a number of ways to distinguish a seperate race of men. Off the top of my head, here are a few:

Overall unit selection - This is kind of what Jobu touched on - Harad are "special" not because of their poisoned arrows (although that helps), but rather because of their unit selection. There are no heavily armored soldiers in a Haradrim army, but they make up for it in various other ways such as have strong ranged attacks and unique heroes like the hasharin. Similarly, Rohan does not tend towards heavily armored warriors, but instead focuses on cavalry and also has a plethora of good mounted heroes.

Named heroes - Without Theoden, Eomer, Erkenbrand, etc. etc. etc., what separates Rohan from an orc horde? Sure, their courage is a little higher, but really stat-for-stat your basic human and your basic orc aren't much different. Having unique characters with interesting rules or even just profiles that "break the mold" of your standard king/captain add flavor to any army. So that run-of-the-mill barbarian horde is going to be a lot more interesting if they're led by Vercingetorix than if they're led by a Gaul captain.

Special rules - Of course, as others have brought up, special rules really can make a difference. I don't know that I would go so far as to invent a special rule that applies to all members of that race, but perhaps something to make one specific unit type stand apart. In this sense, adding special rules isn't so much its own method of individualizing a force, it falls into both of the above categories (depending on who it applies to).

Lastly, FYI, there's a Yahoo! group dedicated to making conversions of the LotR rule system to different settings. They have an excellent adaptation called "Britain Invaded!" which covers the Celts and Rome and her allies. I would definitely consider checking it out.


Red Metal
01-02-2010, 04:57
If you have a large selection of unit types in the army, it would be important to give some of the more elite figures some kind of special ability or access to special items/equipment/characters. However, as others have mentioned it's not completely neccessary and should still be balanced within the game.

01-02-2010, 20:20
merge two or three lists that can ally per legion rules
trim out some options, warriors and characters, that don't fit with your fluff
rename the characters

voila, new list

The Marshel
03-02-2010, 03:17
it is very much dependent on how the army works and the kinda flavor you want the army to have.

harad has poisoned arrows because they are supose to be bow heavy, lightly armoured skirmishers rather then a formed line of infantry or a screaming hoard.

Gondor does not have a near army wide special rule, the "flavor" of a gondor army is represented buy the professional nature of it, through equipment like heavy armor. where this isn;t h case, there are special rules (some fief troops for example) but generally, you think gondor, you think men in uniform heavy armor.

Where appropriate add army wide special rules, but don't add them for the sake of adding them