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Soulmage

Breath Weapons

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In another thread I saw somebody complain about the silver dragon not having a breath weapon. Some other folks pointed out that flying shooters are game breakining. Without having to think to hard I can easily see where that would be a problem. And thus. . . BEHOLD THE BREATH WEAPON SA!

 

Design notes:

The Breath Weapon SA is a magical attack form that appears in a "spellcasting" block. A model may have a Breath Weapon in addition to, or instead of the Cleric x/x or Mage x/x abilities.

 

Breath Weapon/X

This model has a magical breath weapon that it can use X number of times per day. The breath weapon is a line 8" long by 1/2" wide. Any model touching this line (friend or foe) is subject to the breath weapon attack. The attack is resolved as a Casting Power (CP) roll against the target's Magic Defense (MD). Targets suffer 2 points of damage if they are successfully hit by the breath weapon. A model using a breath weapon is considered to be casting a spell for all purposes including defensive strikes and the like.

 

Why this is cool:

I understand the argument that the Silver Dragon's spellcasting ability is supposed to allow it to simulate a breath weapon. . . but ultimately its unsatisfying from a flavor perspective. The player might not even take spells that really work like a breath weapon. This special ability allows models to have a breath weapon, while using mechanics very similar to the model only being able to cast a specific spell a limited number of times. This is a much more satisfying alternative for a breath weapon to the spellcasting ability and there's no danger of it breaking the game since its actually weaker than a full spellcasting capability.

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I like your reasoning. I haven't played Warlord in a while, but I was thinking along the lines of it only getting a certain number of uses, or only being able to be used while on the ground for that particular model.

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I like your reasoning. I haven't played Warlord in a while, but I was thinking along the lines of it only getting a certain number of uses, or only being able to be used while on the ground for that particular model.

 

Yeah, I had considered the "must be on the ground to use it" thing. . . as well as making it a ranged attack with slow reload or something.

 

Ultimately I decided the ability to cast a fairly minor spell effect (somewhere between a Level 1 and Level 2 spell) wasn't a problem to be able to do while flying. . . especially since it has limited uses - and it is easier to implement from a mechanical perspective than more special rules governing actions while flying.

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I am completely on board with this idea and would like to see it implemented in 09 if possible. I think the Dragon and Great Demon are far too similar currently and this would help make them different. There are a few changes I would make to your original idea though.

 

 

Flyers blasting away at ground models is a problem and the weapon you came up with isn't weak by any means. So here are the things I would add to it.

 

If the breath weapon was a ranged attack. Add a new SA called Reload/x.

Reload/x:

After this ranged attack is used, it cannot be used again for x rounds. On the xth round the ranged attack is considered to be reloaded and be fired. During the rounds the model cannot fire, they are able to use all of their other actions as normal.

(this ability could also see use in seige weapons that would take longer to load)

So the dragon could have Reload/4.

A catapult could have Reload/2.

 

Another idea would be hard capping the ranged attacks per game. Add a new SA called Ammunition/x.

Ammunition/x:

A model can only use this ranged attack x times per game.

(this could also be used on several different types of models)

The Dragon could have Ammunition/2.

A javoliner might have Ammunition/6.

A catapult might have Ammunition/3.

A Hill Giant might have Ammunition/1.

 

 

If we ran with your idea and kept the breath weapon magical and defined it as an AoE in it's description, I would add this:

"A breath weapon only affects targets on the same altitude as the attacker."

So while Flying he only hits flyers, while burrowing he only hits burrowers, and if he wants all those juicy ground targets he has to land to blast them.

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I am completely on board with this idea and would like to see it implemented in 09 if possible. I think the Dragon and Great Demon are far too similar currently and this would help make them different. There are a few changes I would make to your original idea though.

 

 

Flyers blasting away at ground models is a problem and the weapon you came up with isn't weak by any means. So here are the things I would add to it.

 

If the breath weapon was a ranged attack. Add a new SA called Reload/x.

Reload/x:

After this ranged attack is used, it cannot be used again for x rounds. On the xth round the ranged attack is considered to be reloaded and be fired. During the rounds the model cannot fire, they are able to use all of their other actions as normal.

(this ability could also see use in seige weapons that would take longer to load)

So the dragon could have Reload/4.

A catapult could have Reload/2.

 

I thought about the idea of just a slow recharge rate like you suggest. Problem is, unless you put an absolute maximum limit on the number of times it can be done, the flyer can still fly around with impunity, waiting for the ability to recharge without ever being subject to attack once the enemy's ranged attacks/wizards have been neutralized.

 

 

 

Another idea would be hard capping the ranged attacks per game.

 

As above, you definitely have to cap the number of times it can be used. That's why my SA is Breath Weapon/X.

 

I tend to think though a breath weapon makes a better magical attack than ranged attack.

 

 

If we ran with your idea and kept the breath weapon magical and defined it as an AoE in it's description, I would add this:

"A breath weapon only affects targets on the same altitude as the attacker."

So while Flying he only hits flyers, while burrowing he only hits burrowers, and if he wants all those juicy ground targets he has to land to blast them.

 

I don't think that is needed. I considered a "must land to breath" rule as I mentioned above. . . but ultimately this ability is no different from a spell. Wizards can cast spells "safely" from 18" - 24" away. The limitation on their power is that they've only got a limited number of shots at it.

 

There's not that much difference between casting from a long distance away to where most creatures couldn't base you in one turn anyway, and being flying to where you can only be engaged by ranged weapons and magic.

 

Ultimately, the dragon is probably only going to get 2 or 3 uses out of his breath weapon before he's going to have to land and melee it out anyway. That's less powerful than the wizards ability to remain an archer for the rest of the game via the Innate Spells they are getting now.

 

So basically, what's going to happen is the dragon is going to napalm strike people on the ground for a couple turns while he gets shot at/spells thrown at him. Then he's going have to land and attack in melee. That's not a big difference from hanging back and throwing a couple fireballs from maximum range, then closing. . . but its a lot more flavorful!

 

I'm hopeful we could get this in for 08 since its really not anything that radical!

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I doubt this could happen in '08 since it's so close to wrapping up and it's something that hasn't been considered until just now, but wilder things have happened here.

 

 

I must have just skimmed over the first sentence of your post, because I completely missed the /x on the ability.

 

 

Yeah it does feel more right if it's made into a magical attack, I was leaning towards RAV so that the abilities could be reused for more than a single model.

 

I could see an innate spell, combined with a Stored Spell/x(same as Ammunition, but for innate spells instead of ranged attacks) to represent a breath weapon. That way if another dragon is intruduced their breath weapons could vary.

 

The Silver Dragon may get Innate Spell Lightning Bolt.

A red dragon may get Innate Spell Fire Storm.

Both would get Stored Spell/2

Neither would get the Mage x/y SA.

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I thought about the idea of just a slow recharge rate like you suggest. Problem is, unless you put an absolute maximum limit on the number of times it can be done, the flyer can still fly around with impunity, waiting for the ability to recharge without ever being subject to attack once the enemy's ranged attacks/wizards have been neutralized.

 

If breath weapons were only available to expensive units, then it would be quite a waste of points for them to be doing nothing for those turns.

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If breath weapons were only available to expensive units, then it would be quite a waste of points for them to be doing nothing for those turns.

 

The problem isn't efficiency. The ranged attack could be on a 2 point model or on a 1,000 point model. The problem is that a model with flier is immune to everything on the ground (barring archers and casters), which is where most everything happens in Warlord. A typical army - elves not withstanding - will be mostly melee. Add in that archers and mages are relatively flimzy, and you can easily knock out the ranged component of a "typical army." Generally speaking, you'd be using the rest of your army to do this, not your flying archer. And generally speaking, you're being ruthlessly offensive while doing so, caring not a whit for the lives of your ground based troops. Your single aim is to keep your flying archer safe and to kill their range. Once you pull that off, you can plink at the enemy all day with complete immunity. That's worth saying again.

 

You can plink at your enemy all day with complete immunity.

 

If you want to use breath attacks, use the spells that have AOE's. Reaper has already built the mechanic people are discussing. I see no reason that the use of spells should be unsatisfactory from a fluff perspective. Maybe your dragon breaths a jet of destruction - use a straight line Lightning AOE. Maybe it spits out a controlled blast of lame that lances out at the enemy - any of the Ice spells would work fine. Maybe yours is a poison dragon that hisses out a noxious fume which paralyzes your enemy - use Stun. There are some Fire choices if you want a circular AOE.

 

The OP's proposition is good, but it's negligibly different from Mage X/Y. It attacks with CP, and can be used Y number of times. It's power, relative to existing spells, would give it it's X value.

 

Maybe what we should be asking for is a new spell. It could be limited to Reptus, and the Elves could have an FA allowing the Silver Dragon to take it. Or just have the spell limitations specify reptus and Silver Dragon. And Margara Firetongue :devil:

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If breath weapons were only available to expensive units, then it would be quite a waste of points for them to be doing nothing for those turns.

 

The problem isn't efficiency. The ranged attack could be on a 2 point model or on a 1,000 point model. The problem is that a model with flier is immune to everything on the ground (barring archers and casters), which is where most everything happens in Warlord. A typical army - elves not withstanding - will be mostly melee. Add in that archers and mages are relatively flimzy, and you can easily knock out the ranged component of a "typical army." Generally speaking, you'd be using the rest of your army to do this, not your flying archer. And generally speaking, you're being ruthlessly offensive while doing so, caring not a whit for the lives of your ground based troops. Your single aim is to keep your flying archer safe and to kill their range. Once you pull that off, you can plink at the enemy all day with complete immunity. That's worth saying again.

 

You can plink at your enemy all day with complete immunity.

 

Not if there's a limited number of shots, as has been suggested. Maybe no one plays it that way, but the rulebook mentions that possible end game conditions are time or number of turns. So it does not matter if you can plink all day. Let me repeat. So it does not matter if you can plink all day. ::P:

 

 

Other possibilities are additional equipment, probably cheap, that counter flyers. For examples: Grappling Hook, 5 points, negates the Flyer SA until the target's next Activation. Net, cost 3 points, negates the Hover SA until the target's next Activation (this could have other applications as well, like: can be used for fishing ::D: ). A Net could also be used on a Model that is not Flying or Burrowing (see Grappling Hook) which negates Flyer SA unless the target uses a non-combat action to remove the Net.

 

If you want to use breath attacks, use the spells that have AOE's. Reaper has already built the mechanic people are discussing. I see no reason that the use of spells should be unsatisfactory from a fluff perspective. Maybe your dragon breaths a jet of destruction - use a straight line Lightning AOE. Maybe it spits out a controlled blast of lame that lances out at the enemy - any of the Ice spells would work fine. Maybe yours is a poison dragon that hisses out a noxious fume which paralyzes your enemy - use Stun. There are some Fire choices if you want a circular AOE.

 

The OP's proposition is good, but it's negligibly different from Mage X/Y. It attacks with CP, and can be used Y number of times. It's power, relative to existing spells, would give it it's X value.

 

There is a difference. It makes the dragon a "spellcaster" for the purpose of Defensive Strikes. And perhaps a Model will have the Smite(Mage)/x SA someday (if one doesn't have it already).

 

Also, not all creatures with Breath Weapons are flyers. Coming up with a Breath Weapon mechanic separate from Mage X/Y opens up more Model possibilities (and more miniature sales <--- see that, Reaper? :;): ). The SA could be called Breath Weapon (spell name)/x, where X is the number of times it can be used, or number of turns between activations (whichever way is finally decided), thus using already known and tested spells.

 

Although, just changing Mage X/Y to Breath Weapon X/Y for the current Models would be a simple way to avoid the "spellcaster" label and still leave open the choices for what breath weapons a player wants for the Model; perhaps with a listing of allowed spells that can be used as Breath Weapons.

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Why do we need a Breath Weapon SA for non-flyers when we have Blowthrough and AOE?

 

The Mage x/y mechanic works fine, Dragons are magical creatures, their Breath Weapon being Counterspelled isn't unreaonable in th least, why complicate things?

 

Essentially you want a mechanic that duplicates Spellcasting but can't be counterspelled.

 

Not that I want this, but you'd be better of with it, Appears in the Spellcasting SA section of the datacard:

 

Breathweapon SA: Counterspell cannot be employed Defensively when the casting model employs any of the following spells: Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Firestorm, or Lightning Blast.

 

Musch easier mechanic than Breathweapon x/y and creating a bunch of vbreathweapon spells (which we already pretty much have).

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Why do we need a Breath Weapon SA for non-flyers when we have Blowthrough and AOE?

 

The Mage x/y mechanic works fine, Dragons are magical creatures, their Breath Weapon being Counterspelled isn't unreaonable in th least, why complicate things?

 

Essentially you want a mechanic that duplicates Spellcasting but can't be counterspelled.

 

Not that I want this, but you'd be better off with it; Appears in the Spellcasting SA section of the datacard:

Breathweapon SA:

Counterspell cannot be employed Defensively when the casting model uses any of the following spells: Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Firestorm, or Lightning Blast.

 

Much easier mechanic than Breathweapon x/y and creating a bunch of breathweapon spells (which we already pretty much have).

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Essentially you want a mechanic that duplicates Spellcasting but can't be counterspelled.

 

Not quite. I want:

 

1. A mechanic that works like spells so it remains balanced, but can't be counterespelled.

 

2. A mechanic that REQUIRES you to take a "breath weapon like" ability. No using spellcasting for healing spells or whatnot.

 

3. A mechanic that gives a good breath weapon flavor.

 

4. A mechanic that can be priced appropriately - since just spellcaster x/y assumes some capability that a breath weapon user might not have.

 

 

Your mechanic addresses 1 and 4. Whether it addresses 3 is a matter of personal opinion. It does not address 2.

 

If you start putting requirements into your ability on what spells they MUST take, then you're really better off just creating a new mechanic -- which is how I got to my proposal.

 

The other suggestion made in this thread of:

 

Breath Weapon (spell name)/x

 

. . . is a good one. It was the other way I was thinking about going. That makes it very similar to a limited use innate spell - which is exactly what it ought to be.

 

Either way, it would be great if we could get it in 08 since we're not really trying out anything super wild here. I guess it just depends on how long it takes to develop the point pricing model for a new SA.

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