View Full Version : Eastern Steppes cavalry skirmish?

Karak Norn Clansman
18-01-2014, 07:44
This might be one for the rules development forum, but since I'm lousy with rules in the first place the thread gets placed here, in Warhammer General.

Where those with skills and understanding of rules may take over the ball if they want to.

How would you tailor an Eastern Steppes cavalry skirmish game for Warhammer Fantasy? Think of the endless, rolling terrain, sandwiched in between the Great Bastion of Cathay brooding in the south and the Chaos Wastes were Kurgan tribes holds dominance in the north. To the east, the Far sea. To the west, the nigh on impenetrable Mountains of Mourn, dominated by Ogres.

What we know about the Eastern Steppes could be summed up in hordes of Hobgoblin wolf riders and Kurgan horse riders.

Now this opens the possibility for a skirmish game system based on historical horse nomad warfare and raiding, for which the Mongols are by far the most famous example. Give it a fantasy twist and off you go.

Possible scenarios could include "cattle" raids (where the lowly human herdsmen have some warrior skills to protect their horses, goats or sheep), raids against enemy tribes' tent villages (one objective could be to kidnap womenfolk if the combatants are all human), mounted shoot-out fights, ambushes and pitched battles. Shamanism and other low-level magic could make it all the more interesting, if one wants to. Hobgoblins or even rival Kurgans could even have a knack at desolating Kurgan tribes' holy places, something which the Kurgans might not be able to respond to in kind since the sneaky Hobgoblins might lack any place too sacred to sacrifice one's own life for.

Possible campagns could include a Kurgan warchief or a Hobgobbo Khan's rise to power, akin to Djingis Khan, where the end games could transfer from cavalry skirmish to more or less ordinary WHFB as the riders from the north spill out into civilized lands to wreak havoc for Khan or Chaos.

But what about the actual rules? This is were you come in, if you want to have a go at being born in the saddle.

Things you might want to design the rules around include the lack of bows for Marauder horsemen. This could be fixed by simply allowing bows for Kurgans, but they would still be more likely to attack with throwing knives, axes or javelins at short range before closing in for the kill. Likewise, the Hobgoblins would have an advantage of ranged bow warfare, but their giant wolves would be slower than the humans' horses, and you might even want to include some sort of Hobgoblin animosity mechanic on a skirmish level.

This being Warhammer, Kurgan horsemen would have a chance at Chaos boons to accumulate blessings and curses of the Dark Gods. Not exactly all models would have to be mounted, but infantry would of course suffer severely. The acquisition of heavy Chaos armour for the most succesful Kurgans would be a double-edged blade, since it would slow them down and rob them of any ranged attack. You could throw in wild giant wolf packs and roving monsters as well.

Feel free to add more input, or indeed try out some rules of your own!

Karak Norn Clansman
18-01-2014, 09:01
Here are some quick concepts for a score-based campaign. Throughout the campaign, players accumulate or lose Fortune Points (FP) depending upon their success in the scenarios.

For example, a cattle raid scenario could award you with 1 FP per conquered/defended cattle. Every rider would have a lasso to rob away cattle, and could attempt to herd away every animal which are within 8" of the target cattle, with a decreased chance for it if an unengages enemy herdsman or cavalryman is within 3" of any animal within the 8" target radius. Rider speed would decrease if herding, and attacker scores are made by reaching a table edge with the cattle.

Likewise, a yurt village raid could give 2 FP per kidnapped lady (if both sides are Kurgan), 5 FP if it is a night raid and the raiders manage to make it into the tent camp without the sentries raising an alarm (3 FP to the defender if the alarm is raised before the perimeter has been crossed), 3 FP per torched tent, and 1 D3 FP per tent loot (takes one turn per miniature in base contact with a tent, decreases his speed afterwards as in the cattle scenario).

Casaulties would decrease your FP and increase the opponent's, depending on the casaulty chart result after battle. Wounding or slaying a Chieftain/Khan or perhaps even shaman/seer (if wizards are used) would have greater effects on casaulty FP scores. As a skirmish system, any lost mount would decrease FP by 1 and require the player to spend either 1 FP or some separate wealth points to get a new horse or giant wolf.

If any kind of animosity is used for Hobgoblins, and if it results in a warband member stabbed to death, it would not effect any FP score. Such is the life expectancy of a hobgob. Replacements must be bought the standard way (either by FP or some separate points). Hobgoblins are cheaper to get than Kurgans, but require "levelling" and purchases to make better riders with heavy armour or bowskill.

Any spell miscasts by wizards costs you 1 FP. Increasing in wizard level or gaining access to a new spell gives you 2 FP per level and spell.

In the movement phase, players may attempt to make full gallop. Roll a D6 and add the distance to your movement allowance. If you roll a 1 you fail in the attempt. Roll on the rider mishap chart. This can result in anything from a crippled or dead rider or mount, to a mere bruise and halved movement.

Kurgans aligned with Chaos all have access to an Eye of the Gods table, which is rolled individually for warband members whenever they cause an enemy casaulty. One caused casaulty in a game gives access to 1D6 on the table, 2 gives 2D6 and 3 or more gives 3D6. Most results are minor boons or curses, but the 3D6 results include the hazard of devolving into a Chaos Forsaken or even Spawn, plus the possibility to become a true Chaos Warrior.

For Chaos warbands it is a great moment when a Marauder ascends to Chaos Warrior and earns Chaos armour by the favour of the Dark Gods or by barter-trading Chaos Dwarf-crafted suits of armour. Whenever this happens as a result of the Eye of the Gods table, roll a D3. On a 1-2, you earn 3 FP and keeps the Chaos Warrior, but loses any mount he has. (A barded Chaos steed may be bought for 2 FP or separate points.) On the D3 result of a 3, the Warrior is removed from the warband as he sets out on a quest, transcends the petty steppe squabbling and joins a Warrior lodge, travels far away to join a famous warlord or is otherwise lost to your tribe. In exchange for his departure, you earn 10 FP.

If a Kurgan dedicates himself to a particular Chaos god as a result of an Eye of the Gods result, he cannot be aligned with any other god. Re-roll any such results. If a Marauder have Mark of Slaanesh, he may purchase a Steed of Slaanesh for 2 FP (or separate points, if used) and a Hellscourge whip for 1 FP. This Steed is lost if the tribesman ascends to Chaos Warrior, but he may choose to retain his Hellscourge.

Karak Norn Clansman
18-01-2014, 10:50
One starting point for the contents of the warbands is to look in the Warriors of Chaos army book and see what units can be used as mainstay for a cavalry skirmish. Apart from Warriors, Knights, Forsaken and Spawn (which Marauders could become through the Eye of the Gods table) we find ourselves with Marauder Horsemen, Warhounds and Slaanesh Hellstriders, though the last one would be an option unlocked by a Mark of Slaanesh boon rather than a starting option.

Centigors could also be included.

Kurgan Horse Folk: The spine of a Kurgan warband would consist of Marauder Horsemen, with Chaos Warhounds as cheap fodder. The warband would be led by a chieftain or champion, and possibly accompanied by a weak Marauder sorcerer ("Steppe Seer" or suchlike). The wizard could otherwise lead the group. Possibly, the warband might include a few Centigors as not too reliable heavy hitters.

The field is open for anyone wanting to make a non-Chaos Kurgan warband.

Hobgoblin Wolf Raiders: The Hobgoblin warband would probably consist of Hobgobbo riders on wolves. They would probably start out a bit weak but cheap, and have a chance to earn skills and equipment. Normal equipment would likely be hand weapon, with bow, spear and shield as options. Throwing knives could be an option.

As a demi-elite, Hobgoblins could choose veterans, mangudai, ravagers or whatever else you want to call the big ones, who have better stats and armour than others. Shields might be mandatory for those. Led by Khans, Hobgoblins should be able to pick a weak kind of shaman, maybe with some backstabbing spells.

Then what? Would Sneaky Gits, as infantry, have a place? Should other infantry be included as a starting choice? What about chariots? Should Hobgoblins have riderless wolves? Any ideas or critiscism are welcome.