Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Some Like It Hot(t)

Adding flamethrowers and other exotica to Hordes of The Things

By Paul Grace.

This article originally appeared in issue 31 of Ragnarok, the Journal for The Society of Fantasy And Science Fiction Wargamers, and was posted on 'The Stronghold' with permission of the author.

When building up a rat army for HOTT, I found that one or two of my figures seemed to defy troop classification. One figure wore a gasmask and carried a globe (containing poison gas presumably). Another pair were operating a flamethrower. I already possessed a Dwarf flamethrower team, which had given me trouble fitting into a HOTT army list, and so I decided that it was time to make the rules fit the figures. To keep disruption to a minimum, I decided to adopt a modular approach creating a new troop type.

The new category needed to represent specialist troops armed with unusual weaponry used at close to short range. It is interesting to note that De Bellis Multitudinis (Phil Barker’s ancient period wargame rules) includes a category for flamethrowers. In DBM the troop type ‘Exceptional Psiloi’ - Ps(X) is defined as: Light troops "armed with incendiaries, corrosives or biologicals such as Greek Fire siphons, hand-hurled naphtha bombs, Chinese fire lances, quick lime or hornets’ nests." They are treated as inferior psiloi (light foot) except being given the same close combat value as artillery. Yes, these were the boys for me - the trouble being that HOTT has no equivalent to Psiloi - inferior, exceptional or otherwise! Using Ps(X) as a rough guide, but giving them a bit more spice, I have added the following HOTT troop category:

Extraordinaires (Ex)

Troop Type: Foot.

Troop definition: Specialist troops armed with incendiary, chemical or explosive short range weapons such as flame throwers, gas globediers, grenade armed assault engineers or even alchemists with a penchant for creating nitro-glycerine! The weapons can have a devastating effect but their instability can cause unnerving misfires. A Paladin has little fear of fire or noxious vapours.

AP value: 3 points.

Basing: 1 - 4 figures per base.

Base size: 60mm x 40mm (25mm scale); 40mm x 30mm (15mm scale).

Movement: 300 paces off road, 400 paces on road

Close combat value: +4 against all.
Combat outcome: Defeated:
Score not doubled: Destroyed by any mounted, else recoil.
Double or greater score: Destroyed.

Successful combat but less than double:
Destroy: Hero, artillery, sneakers, behemoths, riders (in bad going), and knights (in bad going or if they have moved into contact this bound).
Flee the battlefield: Lurkers, Dragons, and Gods.
Flee 600 paces: Horde, warband, beasts, flyers, riders (in good going), knights (in good going or having not moved into contact this bound).
Recoil: Paladin, airboats, clerics, shooters, blade, spear, magicians, extraordinaire.
Stronghold captured.

Successful combat: double or greater score:

All elements destroyed.

Equal score in combat results in a dramatic misfire:
Roll d6 for each element (both friend and foe) in edge or corner contact with the extraordinaire. A roll of 1 is treated as a successful close combat result (but less than double score) against that element by the extraordinaire. The extraordinaire also rolls a d6 for itself, being destroyed on a score of 1 or 2 (‘hoist on its own petard’).

You might wish to consider adding a +1 tactical factor for Ex elements armed with incendiary weapons when fighting against highly combustible opponents such as Ents and Dryads. This must be agreed in advance by both players, making it clear which elements are considered vulnerable.

Well there you have it; an eccentric troop unit that can wreak havoc against the enemy lines and cause almost as much trouble for its friends. Needs careful handling!

(c) Paul Grace 1999

1 comment:

  1. You might wish to consider adding a +1 tactical factor for Ex elements armed with incendiary weapons when fighting against highly combustible opponents such as Ents and Dryads.

    Or, you might want to subtracting 1 from the combat factor for Ex elements using incendiary weapons when they're fighting fire elementals (says the man with the fire giant army) :)


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