How to make the "Animals" Faction viable in shooting phase

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How to make the "Animals" Faction viable in shooting phase

Post by slimjimfatty » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:42 pm

I recently watched all of the Dark Potential vlogs and i have to say that i am very excited for this project. Not only does the overall game concept, style, fluff and universe match the sort of theme i love, but the mechanics that are being born seem simple enough to get anyone playing, as well as leave a lot of room to win with tactical decisions. I think these mechanics will be a selling point for the game if they continue to go in the current direction. Putting the focus on tabletop tactics AND building a good list is awesome, by simply having one or the other wont be enough to be a successful gamer. Anyway, hope that makes sense. I am a little off topic with that intro but lets continue to my thoughts on the Animal kingdom and how they can remain a feral type faction and be viable in the shooting phase aswell.

So here is the problem i have seen so far with a close combat faction. Shooting, thus far, is a very powerful aspect of the game. If you are out in the open, and in range of would be shooters, you are dead meat. Likewise, it is unlikely that a close combat faction would be able to advance upon ranged models whilst remaining in cover. Well an army that has both ranged and assault units can do strategies such as having the ranged units suppress other ranged units so that the advancing assault troops can do so unharmed. Well, unless you add some goofy bio-projectile alien animals (which would be cool for 1 or 2 units types but i think it would be silly to have more than that) you have to have other ways of getting these assault troops into range with out being demolished in the process. So how do you do get our fuzzy little friends into combat? Well i have a few solutions in the form of special abilities. I do not think that changing the current shooting rules in order to allow for more viable close combat should be the solution. The current shooting rules make a lot of sense. So special rules for certain units in the animal kingdom would be cool. Here are some ideas.

Ferocious Howl/Terrifying Growl ect - This is basically a ranged ability that can suppress an enemy unit using the same suppression rules. It would not cause damage, just simply suppress them, allowing the assault unit to advance with out being harmed. Now there is a couple different ways you could make this fit mechanically. You could have it work the same way as the normal suppression rules. The assualt unit would have a Ranged skill, it just wouldnt actually cause "wounds". Also this ranged skill would only be really used in this special ability, so no loud barking or growling to cause wounds or whatever. The other way you can accomplish this is the unit activates the ability either at the targeted unit or maybe an area effect of units, and they all take a leadership roll to see if they are suppressed. Instead of a straight up leadership test it could also be simply "roll 4+" for any effected units. I think that this ability would keep the theme of the faction and maintain the current mechanics of the shooting phase.

Stalking Prey/On the Hunt ect - Basically this would be a camo or stealth type ability. Basically the unit is stalking their prey, or on the hunt, and they are harder to hit since they are either low to the ground or using availiable cover even in the open ground. So any enemy unit who wants to target the stalkers would have to first make a visibility test in order to be able to take shots.

Feral Agility/Bounding Leap ect - This would be the ability to leap or quickly move between cover. Now i really like the idea for this but i havent completely hashed it out mechanically so stick with me here. Basically a unit with this ability can choose to move from cover to cover so rapidly that the unit is not in the open ground long enough to be fired on. So lets say that you have a pack of wolves for the unit, and they are currently in light cover. These units want to advance in order to be able to assault the ranged enemies who are a good distance away. The wolf unit selects an area of cover a certain distance away and activates the ability and is able to move into it by sprinting a longer distance than it would normally be able to move. Now there are a couple different ways to make this work mechanically, you could scratch everything that i have said in this paragraph and just give certain units faster speed or whatever. Or you could keep this idea and the unit would have to make some sort of roll in order to complete the move. So if the target cover is close, they make an easier roll due to some modifier, and if it is far away they make a more difficult roll. This idea may be a lot to take it, it is unorganized and might sound complicated but i think that it maintains the sort of feel of the Animal faction, atleast to my understanding. Since the wolves are being controlled, so to speak, by more intelligent beings, simply having them be able to run far because they are fast animals seems too primal and simple. I think this idea puts a little more strategy on the table for the faction and maintains the intelligent animal theme.

Blood Frenzy/Enrage - This ability would be a passive that is activated upon the death of either an ally unit in the same squad or maybe an ally unit with in a certain range. Basically the unit would become enraged and would receive bonus to movement, defensive and attack values for a turn. This ability in a assault type squad could help them get into close combat simply because the enemy unit would not want to shoot at this squad for fear that they would in turn actually strengthen it.

Genetically Altered Species - I do think it would be cool to add some altered genes to the table for this faction. Weather they are failed science experiments that escaped, or military weapons that got lose and never recaptured after the war, i think that it would add some flavor to the mix and be a cool way to incorporate some native earth animals into the army with out it being to boring. Some ideas i have can even offer some ranged capabilities to the table as well. Now these abilities could also be utilized by the alien animals as well, they dont have to be earth animals, i just thought it would be cool to make some of the indigenous species a little more interesting.
- Spitting Cobra Gene - Basically you could mix a spitting cobras genes with something in order to give some ranged abilites to a unit. Granted, a spitting cobra in reality is still not that far of a range (i think its somewhere in the neighborhood of like 6 to 10 feet) but it would be a cool thing to add. Like maybe if a unit has this gene they can spit venom on the enemy upon an assault so that they receive a bonus of some sort (first strike, enemy cant attack back, cause additional wounds, something to that effect). Or maybe it is just simply a short ranged shooting attack that a unit can use before it assaults to thin the herd a little before assaulting
- Super Strength (cheesy name) Basically a unit with this can knock the enemy unit back X number of inches (maybe die rolled, or a set value) after an assault phase. This could be a good tactical ability to knock enemies out of cover or back into your own army so that others can assault or whatever. Also it would sort of be comparable to some of the Potential Energy abilities at almost all the other factions have access to. Again it makes sense in the animal kingdom also. Imagine a man or even a group of men assaulted by Gorillas, or Bears or something, in real life bears and gorillas have the ability to knock men a few feet easily, imagine if they were simple 2x as strong, or even 10x! I think this is a solid attribute to have available
- Wings - Sounds easy enough, give something wings, it can fly and get into combat, maybe pick units up and carry them (either friendly or foe) and either drop them and kill them, or simply transport them into battle.
- Armadillo Hide - Again this is sort of obvious, have an animal mixed with an armadillo and they get a higher Defense value or armor value. But you can also add a special rule. They get a sort of "Defensive Stance" or "Curl" that they can activate, like an armadillo, and be able to ward off enemy attacks. This could also work with porcupines or hedgehogs except that they would activate this ability and the would be attackers in close combat would instead receive wounds instead of deliver them.

Bio Weapons - I think that having Bio Weapons is a good idea, but it should be used stringently. I think a few units who could spit venom or breath fire would be cool. Or possibly shoot spines out of its back. The main thing to think about when conceptualizing these things is to remember that animals do not "wage war" they hunt. So you need to keep an animalistic approach when thinking of ideas. If the bio weapon does not improve the hunting characteristics of the animal, then it is simply a weapon designed to kill something. For example, a creature has the ability to spray acid to completely dissolve the target. This seems like its only purpose is to kill, however you could put a spin on it. Maybe this creature then sucks up the bile thats left over, and that is how the creature consumes its prey! So it would make more sense. Likewise, an animal breaths fire, ok that sounds cool, but why does it breath fire? Well maybe the animal can only consume food that is cooked in order to digest it properly, or maybe the food has to be a certain temperature. These are the things that can take sort of unbelievable ideas into much more fathomable ones. Certain bio weapons can also be of the defensive nature aswell, and the alien overmind is simply utilizing this defensive property as an offense. Maybe a creature has the ability to spit a glue like mucus from its mouth to trap its would be attacker so that the creature can flee unharmed. Well the alien overmind can turn this naturally defensive ability into an offensive one and now the creature can spit this glue and slow enemies so that friendly units can now attack easier. I just think the overall theme needs to stay intact. Animals do not evolve to wage war. They evolve in order to survive so adding things that are simply used for "weapons" would be less interesting.

I know i typed a lot, but i have been thinking about this game for the last few days non stop! I am really anxious to see how it turns out and am very excited to get some more rules hashed out so i can use some of my models to actually see how this stuff works out. If you like my ideas and have ways they can improve or have your own ideas please tell me. I have worked most of these out mechanically in my head, but untill Matt gets more mechanics ironed out it is hard for me to really be decisive on the exact mechanical properties of these special abilities. Thanks for reading!

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Re: How to make the "Animals" Faction viable in shooting phase

Post by Wiouds » Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:01 pm

One thing that I game up with was that cover cost extra MP to move over. (I am using MP as the cost to move one unit over flat land.)

I came up with the ability I called "free run #". this reduce the cost to run over cover by the # to be as low as 0 extra cost.

Now we're getting somewhere...
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Re: How to make the "Animals" Faction viable in shooting phase

Post by skavenfez » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:42 am

maybe they would have mole type things that travel underground where they cant be targeted

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Re: How to make the "Animals" Faction viable in shooting phase

Post by Wiouds » Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:37 pm

It did a play test where the some squads can do a wound attack. For each wound a squad get the squad get a negative stat affect place on them. It was a bit complex with the score values I had.

I did a play test with a melee faction. They seam to work. They walk through many squads that they got into melee combat with.

High MP stats and the cp cost power that increase their mp by 6 also help improve the range they can close in.

They may have been too fast.


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