Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Finuval Plain: Rules for Urian and the Opening Duel

There is a lot to lay out for this battle and I'm not quite ready to post the first part of the report yet, so here is something I have neglected to post until now: the rules we used for Urian Poisonblade and his role in the battle. There were a couple of factors in how we balanced these rules, and some of them we didn't much care about (like the points value, which simply mirrors Tyrion). All we really wanted was a close fight to open the game.

Urian Poisonblade

410 points

M5 WS10 BS9 S4 T3 W3 I10 A4 Ld10

Special Rules: Always Strikes First, Hatred (High Elves), Killing Blow, Murderous Prowess

Supernatural Reflexes: Urian has a 4+ ward save.

Champion of Malekith: Must always issue and accept challenges. In addition, the contemptuous ease with which Urian dispatches his opponents is extremely demoralising for the enemy. Wounds inflicted by Urian count double for combat resolution.

Blackheart Armour: Magic armor. It grants Urian a 1+ armour save.

Urian's Reaper: Magic weapon. Gives the wielder +1 Strength and the Poisoned Attacks and Armor Piercing special rules.

The Duel
At the start of the game (after deployment), Tyrion (on foot) fights a challenge against Urian Poisonblade in the centre of the table. The challenge is completely resolved (until one side is slain) before the battle commences. No break tests are taken during the challenge. When the challenge is completed, the victor wins the first turn for his side. If the challenge is a draw (ie they die simultaneously), roll off for the first turn. If Tyrion wins the duel, he is immediately replaced by the mounted model before the battle proper begins, as Malhandir races to his aid. Urian will slum it on foot.

A few notes on creative licence
We chose to do a few things that are not entirely “correct” for this game. For instance, according to the stories, Malekith did not actually ride an enormous dragon into the battle, and was either on foot or in a chariot, depending upon your source. He did indeed have a big dragon named Sulekh, however it died thousands of years before this battle. We brought him back because we wanted the Witch King to be a proper centrepiece, and to inspire a bit more fear on the table. As per the prologue (which will come soon), N'kari had been banished shortly before the battle by Teclis, and presumably did not make it back for the main event. But he adds character to the game and gives us another focal point for the battle, so I twisted the story a little. Both he and Sulekh use rules from the Storm of Magic supplement, simply because that's where the more impressive rules are to be found. Hellebron was presumably not present at Finuval Plain, but it didn't specifically say she wasn't, so we took the opportunity and whacked her in.

In game terms, we didn't break things too badly. There is a technically illegal unit of High Elf Nobles on Eagles, but we basically joined them together in order to prevent them from floating around and choking up the game. In the same way, we paired up a few Lion Chariots in order to reduce the number of individual units on the table. Limits on things like Bolt Throwers were ignored (although we were just about legal for everything else). With the exception of the main special characters in the game, it was agreed that characters would be assigned to units and stay there – in essence becoming glorified unit champions. It would help to keep things simple by reducing such decisions for the players, and would prevent someone coming up with some jerk manoeuvre involving a dozen loose heroes bogging something for all eternity. The game was played using the Storm of Magic limits of 4 power dice (highest 2 dice for dispel), and players were generally under instructions not to try to be too clever in their play, and try to keep the game moving. Things like this are about the story, and not masterful generalship. 

It should also be noted that we decided that each player's general would be worth an additional 500 VPs, rather than 100. Because let's face it - 100 points is nothing in a game like this.

Click here to go to the Finuval Plain main page.


  1. I find GW do have this odd tendency to have special characetrs fight on foot in their fluff. Maybe it's more dramatic for them to go mano-a-mano with their foes, but they rarely bring their dragons, juggernauts, pegasi etc. the fight.

  2. What are the sats you used for Sulekh? Where they just a regular black dragons or something else? (You inspired me so my club and I are re fighting this epic battle.)

    1. No, we used the rules for Emperor Dragons found in Storm of Magic or the Monstrous Arcanum. Something that better represented the size of the model. Bear in mind that it made the dragon incredibly hard to deal with, and historically it the beast was long dead by the time of Finuval Plain. We cheated a little. :P