Last Saturday, Mouth was in town and we dragged Dan and Amie into a 4-square of the old-school Chaos Warbands using 8th Edition rules and a mish mash of stuff from the two wonderful and awesome Realm of Chaos books.
For those that don’t know about these, they are absolutely essential to any gaming library, whether you play Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Warhammer 40K or none of them. You simply must own them both even if you have to pirate the PDF’s. Inside each are rules for the four major demons of the Warhammer world, plus rules to make your own, plus a kitchen sink of rules for all three of the systems listed above. These are both a MEGA supplement, one that these days would have had content split across 16-20 separate books.
What’s more, there’s a fucking GAME in these books that’s separate from all three games they supplement where you roll up a character and his warband and fight it out to get favor from the dark gods. I played this in college a bunch, probably 50 or so battles with multiple warbands and only one guy “won” the game with his champion becoming a minor daemon. The rest of us either got turned into spawn, or died in pools of blood and urea. And that was fun as shit.
My champion was one MAGROK ROCKSLIDE a chaos dwarf with FITS and a flail. Pretty weak to start except he was accompanied by a Dragon Ogre! After four battles, I ended up with a chaos weapon, four chaos spawn who gave people the evil eye, and eight beastmen. My spawn had 6 chaos attributes a piece and here is where the old Chaos warbands rules start to fray a bit. You can end up generating demon weapons, attributes, spawn inside other spawn that transform into other types of spawn longer than you end up playing out the fights! Now a bit of this is a ton of fun, and the randomness is one of the fantastic elements, but based on the recent play, there would need to be a cap on the amount of chaos attributes at least.
In addition to the chaos attributes, all entities in your warbands that get wounds have them applied individually. What this means is when you have a unit of beastmen or humans, you need to know which one has -1 toughness and which has a busted leg. This gets tedious as hell. More modern designs like Mordheim (which had it’s own terrible problems*) and Legends of the Old West, solve this issue by differentiating between Champions and minions. Minions are treated as a group and have less complex rolls associated with them.
Overall, it was a fun day of gaming. I only got four games in, and probably could have had a bunch more if I had just an hour or so more. I worked on an updated set for Mordheim ages ago (here is the PDF) and I think based on rumors of 9th Edition WFB being skirmish based, it may be a good time to rewrite them for 9th Edition in the coming year. Note, statements in the PDF are contradicted below. We learn stuff over the span of time…
*Mordheim is a fantasy game with swords and stuff should have a focus on close combat, naturally , and yet, it’s sci fi brother with lasguns and bolters and stuff, Necromunda, has much, much better close combat rules. I wouldn’t say Mordheim’s close combat rules are bad, I’d say they are terrible.