Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Informal FAQ

After posting my thoughts on elves, I realized there were a few things I should clarify on a rules basis...

Given that there are several areas lacking in clarity in the WotR rulebook, we've come up with our own informal FAQ / set of house rules that we use in our area. I'm not posting these to tell people how to play so much as to give an example of how one group plays.

With that said, here's how we do it on a few common questions:

Q: Can epic heroes join mumaks?

A: No. Epic heroes may only join units that have "infantry" or "cavalry" listed for their unit type in the unit profile and do not have the "we stand alone" rule.

Q: If an epic hero has the terror special rule and joins a unit, does that unit cause terror?

A: In essence, yes. The terror rule on p62 specifies that a terror causing creature is what creates the effect. Thus, if a single epic hero who causes terror joins a formation, his presence is enough to force a terror check to charge the unit or when charged by the unit. However, if the epic hero later leaves the unit, the unit does not retain the ability to cause terror; it is an ability of the epic hero, not the unit, unless the unit also has the terror special rule.

Q: Can you use Epic Strike in a heroic duel?

A: No.

The explanation for this is relatively lengthy, and relates to how we play epic actions in general, so I will summarize here:

We view there as being two kinds of epic actions: those that are declared at the "start of the phase", such as Epic Tranquility or Epic Cowardice, and those that are declared at a time specified in the text of the epic action, such as Epic Defense or Epic Sacrifice.

Actions that are start of phase actions must go into the priority queue, along with other such actions (heroic charges, heroic moves, etc), and will occur in order based on the queue. Thus, if I want to heroic charge, and you want to epic tranquility, the result will depend on who gets to go first in the priority queue.

Actions that are not declared at the start of the phase cannot go into the priority queue, and take place when specific things occur. In order:

- Epic Charge is declared when a hero's formation actually charges (so if three heroic charges were declared, and this is the second charge we are discussing, Epic Charge would be declared just before rolling the dice for the second charge, and would be in effect then).

- Epic Defense, Rage, Sacrifice, and Strike are declared just before the formation itself fights, directly after heroic duels are resolved.

- Epic Shot can be used at any point during the shoot phase for that player.

Thus, by our reading of how epic actions are supposed to be used at all, epic strike cannot be used in duels. Another factor that was cited (wisely, in my view) by one of the members of my group is that the point costs of heroes seem to reflect this viewpoint. Directly comparing, say, Eomer and Theoden from the Rohan list would make it clear that, if Eomer could kill Theoden with nigh-certainty every time they faced each other in a duel, Eomer would be rather under-pointed and Theoden over-costed. However, if it is assumed that Epic Strike cannot be used in a duel, Theoden's additional abilities definitely tip the scales in his favor, and thus he should cost more.

This plays out across virtually all army lists, as people like Thrydan Wolfsbane or Faramir are scandalously under-costed if they can auto-slay many other heroes.

If there are any other questions people have, post them in the comments and I'll see what I can come up with, but those are the ones we thought it was wise to put down an actual solution for and play in a coherent fashion.

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