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Thread: A better mechanic for orc animosity

  1. #1

    A better mechanic for orc animosity

    One of the things I always hated about the WHFB was the way the orcs had to roll animosity every turn for every eligible unit. It wasted time and if it came up, you had to roll again and then figure out how to apply the result.

    The purpose of this thread is to come up with an alternative to animosity that reflects the undisciplined and fierce nature of orcs without requiring excess dice rolling.

    Any ideas?
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  2. #2
    Stick figure on a beach Arnizipal's Avatar
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    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    Seventh edition tried it by condensing both rolls into one, but doing that made Animosity even worse (you lose control 1 time in 3 instead of 1 time in 6).
    Personally, I don't think Animosity rolls slow down the game that much.
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  3. #3

    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    Realistically speaking Animosity shouldn't be in the game at all. It's one of those vestigial "fluff" rule leftovers from earlier Editions. While other armies had similarly ridiculous and detrimental rules streamlined or weeded out (like for example High Elves' Intrigue at Court or the highly restrictive Undead special rules), Animosity inexplicably still remains to this day as the only rule that makes your army worse. This is even more surprising as 8th Edition went to great lengths to make the game more playable. I daresay you could go ahead and simply remove Animosity and O&G still wouldn't be game-breakingly powerful. Furthermore, in my opinion a race being born and bred for war should be reflected in said army being better than others, not worse.

  4. #4
    Chapter Master theunwantedbeing's Avatar
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    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    Quote Originally Posted by Commissar von Toussaint View Post
    The purpose of this thread is to come up with an alternative to animosity that reflects the undisciplined and fierce nature of orcs without requiring excess dice rolling.

    Any ideas?
    Undisciplined and fierce nature huh?

    How about...
    Rolls 3D6 for break tests and discards the highest roll since they're so fierce and will keep fighting against all odds
    And -1 to leadership for restrain pursuit since they are so undisciplined.
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  5. #5

    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    Quote Originally Posted by theunwantedbeing View Post
    How about...
    Rolls 3D6 for break tests and discards the highest roll since they're so fierce and will keep fighting against all odds
    And -1 to leadership for restrain pursuit since they are so undisciplined.
    The 3d6 drop one (also used by Lizardmen) is basically the same thing as a +1.


    How about a leadership next not to charge units the closest enemy unit in range and giving them an extra attack on the first round of combat?

    It's not quite frenzied, but it's not normal either.
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  6. #6
    Chapter Master theunwantedbeing's Avatar
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    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    Quote Originally Posted by Commissar von Toussaint View Post
    The 3d6 drop one (also used by Lizardmen) is basically the same thing as a +1.
    Yeah but it's better than a +1
    The point is to make the army better at no cost isn't it?
    Keep the same name, act as if it's still a downgrade but really it's just a blatant buff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Commissar von Toussaint View Post
    How about a leadership next not to charge units the closest enemy unit in range and giving them an extra attack on the first round of combat?

    It's not quite frenzied, but it's not normal either.
    I like that.
    You'll want to charge anyway but get to act as if not wanting to charge is somehow something you don't want to do and you get a free +1 attack to compensate for the perceived downgrade.

    I was also thinking that maybe they could get Auto-hits and Auto-wounds and Ignore all saves in round 1 and cannot fail a charge but are forced to charge.
    But I haven't figured out a clever enough way to word that without triggering everyone's sarcasm meter to realise I'm just messing with them.
    So I just went with a slight variant of the "Unruly" rule from "The Ninth Age".

    Seriously though.
    Roll a D6.
    On a 1 you squabble. Immune to Psychology. Can't charge if unable to, if able to charge treat the roll as a 6.
    On a 2-5 no effect.
    On a 6 you must charge and gain Immune to Psychology and +D3 to your charge range.

    There, loss of control though the unreliable nature of the army but it also represents the fierceness of the army since they'll charge headlong into danger.
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  7. #7

    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    Quote Originally Posted by theunwantedbeing View Post
    Yeah but it's better than a +1
    If you go and compare the percentages of rolling three d6s and dropping the high number vs simply boosting the target number on a 2d6 curve, the result is very close to the same.

    To put it another way, 3d6 drop high roll vs ld 6 is equivalent to a straight 2d6 ld 7.[/quote]

    GW has a long and glorious history of not understanding how math works.

    The point is to make the army better at no cost isn't it?
    Of course.

    The idea is to find a better way to simulate savage but unruly troops. There should be a gain (your boys really do a number once they get suck in) but also a liability (it's easy to pull them out of position).

    Giving them a bonus attack on the first round shows that they have a short-term adrenaline rush, but the ability of the opponent to draw them out deliberately tempers that advantage.

    Also, there's no irritating need to roll for each unit every turn.
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  8. #8
    Fighter of the Nightman Denny's Avatar
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    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    Quote Originally Posted by theunwantedbeing View Post
    I was also thinking that maybe they could get Auto-hits and Auto-wounds and Ignore all saves in round 1 and cannot fail a charge but are forced to charge.
    But I haven't figured out a clever enough way to word that without triggering everyone's sarcasm meter to realise I'm just messing with them.
    The words and phrases you need are 'streamlining', 'removing excess dice rolls', 'eleminating ranDUMB', & 'speeding up the game'.
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  9. #9

    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    Stepping back for a second, it's important to remember exactly what animosity is trying to simulate. We shouldn't be making mechanics for their own sake, there has to be a reason to include a special rule. The only justification for a special rule is that the thing we're trying to represent can't fit within the existing mechanics.

    The classic way of showing undisciplined troops is through low morale or bad leaders. The problem with that is orcs aren't cowards, they're just uncontrolled brawlers.

    So what we really are looking at is a way of showing that orcs are really rebellious against their own leaders. At the same time, once fighting gets started, they're no worse than anyone else at staying with it. The core problem is keeping them occupied until they can engage the enemy.

    From a mechanics point of view, the less dice rolling and charts, the better. A simple "if-then" kind of rule is the way to go with minimum randomness.

    My current thought is therefore that animosity takes place on a 1 or a 2 on a d6. Roll at the start of movement when charges are declared. If a unit is affected, go down the checklist:

    If it is within charge range of any unit (friend or foe) it immediately charges. Preference can be shown to the enemy, but if more than one enemy is there, the target is randomly selected (the boyz go where they wanna go).

    If no unit is within charge range, they sit still and fight each other, doing nothing that turn. They can still react to a charge, but otherwise remain immobile.

    HOW TO AVOID ANIMOSITY: I've come up with two ways you can short-cut animosity.

    The first is the presence of the Army Commander. Any unit personally led by him in immune so long as he's alive. His commanding (and dangerous) presence keeps the troops in line.

    The second way is to crack some skulls together. At the start of the turn, the orc player can opt not to roll for animosity by voluntarily "killing" (removing) a model from an otherwise eligible unit. Basically, the unit commander kills a few punks to keep the rest in line. It's bloody, but it works. There's no penalty for the unit (other than the loss of a model) and it can charge, move, shoot etc. normally.

    Only infantry can do this. Everyone else (cavalry, monsters) have to roll.

    I think this works because it encourages players to get stuck in right away but also gives the more ruthless among them a way to keep their troops in line. I also like the fact that animosity is less of a fluke. A 1 in 6 chance is low enough that it may not come up but when it does (and does so repeatedly) it feels more like bad luck than something the player should have anticipated.

    I'm sure some folks will object that animosity can be eliminated through judicious use of killing, but that's actually true to the source material. When orcs are encountered on LOTR, they are either in abject terror of their masters (the Nazgul, the Balrog) or are kept in line with some well-timed beheadings.

    I think that option is therefore colorful but also easy to understand and implement. Plus, in big battles players can keep track of friendly vs hostile losses.
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  10. #10
    Fighter of the Nightman Denny's Avatar
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    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    I think your proposal would work fine from infantry, but do you really want your cavalry to have a 1 in 3 chance of not moving every turn?

    Or say they don't move turn one. Do you still move your adjacent infantry forward? Because if you do next turn there is a 1 in 3 chance they will be subject to a rear charge by a unit of boar boyz . . .
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  11. #11

    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    You make a good point. It shouldn't apply to cavalry because they are presumably the elite of the orc army. Also, the boars give the riders enough problems without them having to look for trouble.
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    Chapter Master theunwantedbeing's Avatar
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    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    Quote Originally Posted by Commissar von Toussaint View Post
    You make a good point. It shouldn't apply to cavalry because they are presumably the elite of the orc army. Also, the boars give the riders enough problems without them having to look for trouble.
    One simple solution is to just have a minimum unit size requirement before Animosity becomes problematic enough to cause disruptions, either beneficial ones or not.
    ie. 10 models instead of just 5
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  13. #13
    Stick figure on a beach Arnizipal's Avatar
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    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    Quote Originally Posted by Commissar von Toussaint View Post
    You make a good point. It shouldn't apply to cavalry because they are presumably the elite of the orc army. Also, the boars give the riders enough problems without them having to look for trouble.
    What about wolf or spider riders?
    They're hardly elites...
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  14. #14

    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    Quote Originally Posted by Arnizipal View Post
    What about wolf or spider riders?
    They're hardly elites...
    Everything's relative. Wolf riders are hardly elite when compared to Grail Knights, but they are the elite among goblin-kind.

    I get your point, but naming a number risks people gaming the system. Simply saying that cavalry (of whatever kind) are above that sort of thing makes sense. If you're trying to control a boar, big wolf or giant spider, you probably are focused on killing the enemy and staying in the saddle.

    It's the infantry grunts that have the time to pick fights with each other.

    To put it another way, having big orc/goblin cavalry units carries its own risk in terms of points. Why add to that by saying animosity takes a hand? And who is going to kill a cavalry model to keep it in check?

    Again, I go back to what we all know are the source books, and the wolf riders came across as the upper-crust of the orcs. It was the grunts who got in to shoving matches.
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  15. #15
    Stick figure on a beach Arnizipal's Avatar
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    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    Quote Originally Posted by Commissar von Toussaint View Post
    To put it another way, having big orc/goblin cavalry units carries its own risk in terms of points. Why add to that by saying animosity takes a hand? And who is going to kill a cavalry model to keep it in check?
    I seem to recall "Squabble" results on the Animosity table describing the boss knocking heads together to restore order, not actually killing any of his troops.
    That being said, 7th edition had a variant on this rule for Black Orc characters, where they killed troops to Quell Animosity.
    That's when I stopped using them in anything other than Black Orc units as they sometimes ended up killing more of my greenskins than the enemy.

    Goblins bond with giant wolves far better than Orcs with their giant boars, so there's less "hanging on for dear life" and more actual directing your mount where to go (with wolf riders at least).
    And Goblins are notoriously petty and quarrelsome so from a background perspective squabbling wolfboyz make perfect sense to me.
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  16. #16
    Fighter of the Nightman Denny's Avatar
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    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    I lean towards roll one dice 1: squabble (can't do anything) 2-5 nothing, 6: normal move towards nearest visible enemy.
    Don't roll for War machines, Black Orcs, and non O&G units, or units under 5 models.

    6 is generally good (though could be disruptive and a pain for missile units), 1 is bad but not crippling. Both results disrupt an ordered battle line, which is the point I suppose?

    Black Orc leaders grant a re-roll, but must accept the second result.
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    Chapter Master StygianBeach's Avatar
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    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    I really like animosity, I think it is what really makes the army for me and while I enjoy the fruits of not having to test for it in my Kings of War army, I miss that feeling that I am really leading Orcs and not human barbarians painted green.

    So, with that out of the way, what about only rolling for Animosity if you want a unit to do something other than March or Charge?

    So no more testing at the beginning of the turn, the only real problem I see is keeping track of units that do nothing. So I guess an Orc turn would be, declare charges, move marching units, test for holding/reforming/sidling units.

  18. #18

    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    Quote Originally Posted by Arnizipal View Post
    And Goblins are notoriously petty and quarrelsome so from a background perspective squabbling wolfboyz make perfect sense to me.
    The idea behind animosity is that they are so combative that unless an enemy is handy, they will fight each other.

    Wolf riders are uniquely capable of getting into contact with the enemy early on. So they wouldn't need to squabble because the big fight is right there within reach.

    The same concept extends to other orcs and goblins. Yes, they like a good brawl, but with the enemy (and loot!) at hand, it doesn't make sense that they'd get into a shoving match while taking arrow fire.

    Again, the problem isn't indiscipline or treason. If it was the former, Orcs would have ld 6 right along with the goblins. If it was the latter, the army would have some of those old school Khorne rules where they get victory points for killing their own side.

    In either case, the animosity would apply to units in close combat. Seriously, if there's ever a time to settle a score, that's the place to do it. Just step back and let that High Elf spear impale Grimbowel Stonepasser. If it's only a grazing hit, your cleaver can finish the job.

    What we're basically looking at is that O&G want to get stuck in ASAP. Failure to do so makes for problems.

    So really the issue is troops not moving into contact. If they are, they're too busy to scuffle since they are focused on the imminent engagement.

    It's when they aren't that the problems start.

    At the same time, I dislike the notion that the rule is a rare thing. Most units advancing to contact won't experience it. I don't like rules that are written but never used. It makes a random game even more random and undermines player skill.

    That's why my earlier suggestion doubled the probability but provided an easy "out" to avoid it.

    Maybe the killing is a bit harsh. So how about simply requiring orc/goblin units to end each move closer to the enemy or have to take a test? The margin of failure would indicate how badly things go - do they just squabble or do they attack each other?

    That would handcuff orc commanders, but it would be simple to implement and reflect their simple tactics.

    It would also allow players who rush into combat (orc-style) to ignore the rule completely. Ideally, isn't that what we want?
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  19. #19

    Re: A better mechanic for orc animosity

    I'm getting to the point where I need to do the conversion list, and after reviewing the thread, I've identified the following concepts:

    1. The mechanic should be simple.
    2. The effect should be consistent with the fluff.
    3. The mechanic should be designed in such a way that astute players can compensate for it.

    My first concept means that randomness and tables are right out. The minute you have to look up something, you are no longer simple.

    The second one eliminates the whole "charge your own side result" as it is purely nonsensical. Orcs are itching to get into a scrape, not simply rabid and willing to fight anything within range.

    The third concept means that players who use the appropriate "orc-y" style will benefit from it.

    Thus my new rule is simply this:

    At the start of the Orc movement phase, orc infantry units must either charge or run towards the enemy. Units that wish to move normally or remain stationary must make a command check to do so. If they fail, they fall into squabbling and lose their turn.

    Black orcs are exempt, as is the unit led by the army commander. So are goblins, who aren't noted for their eagerness to engage in close combat.

    That's pretty simple - if your army surges forward (the way orcs should), you never even notice the rule.

    It's consistent with the fluff. The orcs' basic battle plan is "get 'em!"

    It is easy for players to neutralize - simply set up your forces knowing you're going to either be swarming in or have a plan to hold the boys back. It does render orc archers kind of silly, but given the wider base size, they were never that useful anyway. Goblins shot just as well (with slightly shorter range) and were much cheaper.
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