Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Old-school Bretonnian units

Updated: Thanks for the feedback everyone! I will include the Brigands in the book since this was a unit most were fine with, and then I might make some expansion rules for the other units that people will be able to use in case they feel like it.

While perusing older White Dwarfs and army books, I've come upon some interesting things for Bretonnia that used to be part of their list back in 3rd edition, but was later dropped. These were mainly units that would fit well into a historical Hundred Years Army, but are debatable as whether or not they would fit in a Bretonnian fantasy army (Foot Knights and Peasant Levy are already included). As such, a debate is what I would like to have! I'd like your opinion on which (if any) of these units you would like to see included in the Bretonnian book:

  • Brigands - Bretonnia's version of Free Company, armed with light armour and a choice of crossbows, shields, halberds and great weapons. These would be a special unit, and would not have the Peasant's Duty. Stats are the same as men-at-arms.
  • Ballista - a basic bolt thrower.
  • Onager/Mangonel - basic stone thrower (so lower strength than the Trebuchet, but can turn and move)
  • Bombard (HERESY!) - a basic, unreliable cannon, that might not be allowed to pivot or move.

Right now, I'm personally considering at least the Brigands since that would allow you to have both crossbowmen (which, I checked, are actually never mentioned as outlawed in Bretonnia), peasant swordsmen, and peasants with great weapons. It also solves Bretonnia's no-mercenary issue (since historically, mercenaries were used a lot during the Hundred Years War) without necessarily breaking their policy on sellswords.

A Ballista likewise could work and give them some more varied fire power while still keeping them different from the Empire, though bolt throwers could be considered very taboo in Bretonnia since it was one that killed Gilles...

Onagers/Mangonels fit in the same way as the Trebuchet since they were all used at this time historically, but then again, do Bretonnia need another stone thrower?

The Bombard (again, HERESY!) is probably the one that would be most sore in people's eyes, since Bretonnians seems to universally abhor gunpowder. Still, it would give them something new, and fits historically speaking, though only just (I'd estimate Bretonnia to be based around 1300's France, Bombard saw battle in 1346 at Crecy).


So, what are your thoughts? Should any of these be included?

48 comments:

  1. I personally think they should all be included, so that people at least have the option of using them if the so choose.

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  2. -Brigands can easily be represented. Just give Peasant Bowmen the ability to replace their longbows with crossbows and Men at Arms access to Sword and Board and Great Weapon style fighting.
    -Ballista will work. They have demonstrated their ability in open field engagements as well as damaging walls.
    -Onager/Mangonel. Maybe, I was all for it at first but then you pointed out that they already have the trebuchet. Realistically, Onagers/Mangonels would fill a niche in open field in unfamiliar territory since trebuchets need time to set up but that isn't represented on the tabletop.
    -Bombard. ABSOLUTELY NOT!
    -I've suggested having Grail and Questing knights on foot, questing knights on pegasus and hippogryphs and grail knights on hippogryphs which you have shot down but I'll suggest it again. In the case of Pegasus and Foot knights you could make the questing knight upgrade a one per army thing, same with grail knights on foot. Grail knights on pegasus and hippogryphs and questing knights on hippogryphs shouldn't impact how you said that you want to keep the appearance of questing and grail knight suitably unlikely.

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    1. Crossbowmen usually wore armour though, so giving them to peasant bowmen does not really fit. I also don't want crossbows in core, Bretonnia should still have long bows as their default weapon. Likewise, Bretonnian M@A have always used either spears or halberds, so I'd like to keep it that way and avoid great weapon spam in the core section.

      About the questing/grail knights on foot, that's still something I don't think is necessary as it takes away from their uniqueness. Most Knights in the Bretonnian army would be KotR, and as such it makes the most sense that foot knights and pegasus knights would also be KotR.

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    2. -What's wrong with Great Weapons in the core section? Nippon, Albion, the Dogs of War, Warriors of Chaos, Kislev, both Dwarf factions, Ogre Kingdoms and Lizardmen can do that. Also, crossbows (especially with your new changes) are not much better than longbows with both having a different preferred niche. From a gameplay standpoint, people would rarely put special points into crossbowmen when there are other options and they have a core version that will work just as well. Also, IRL, peasant crossbowmen were a thing where a general would have a crossbow shoved into the hands of conscripted peasants which made them a lot more dangerous.
      -Even though most knights in a Bretonnian army are KotR, that would be represented by questing knights only being in the special and rare section and grail knights only being in the rare section. If anything, Pegasus Knights and Hippogryph Knights would be more likely to be Questing and Grail knights due to questing and grail knights being of higher standing and the low numbers of both units will mean that they won't tip the army into being mostly grail or questing knights. You can still prevent ones on foot from outnumbering ones on mounts through unit limits and it prevents questing and grail knights from being useless on maps that heavily restrict cavalry.

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  3. The Brigands (Robin Hood type gang) I can see some potential for, but I'd not like to see the rest to be honest... Bretonnia doesn't need such a siege weapon variety after all, since they are not really engaged in a war with anyone in the setting that would require such weapons to be made with a lot of variety to begin with.
    The knights don't even have Full Plate, so Gunpowder weapons don't really make a lot of sense.

    I think the paralell to the hundred year war is not really that fitting for the warhammer setting Mathias. By goinfg that route, you very easily diminish the whole "King Arthur" feel of the army as a whole.

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  4. With the lose of Benediction of the Lake Damsel lot of unit can be used.
    No Benediction, no grail, no questing Knight... And some new entry can be made.

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  5. In my humble opinion, Bretonnia in 3rd edition was too much historical and different from the actual, "Arthurian" army. You've got 4 different types of Knights, yes (from +4 shock elite as Chevaliers d'honneur, then Notre dame de la battaile and chevaliers rampants to Noblesse d'Epee) but for the rest, there's little more than just adapting historical units to fit the Old World. You've done great work on the "new" version of the Bretonnian War Altar (the only original unit I'd like to have in the new book) and for me is quite enough. But if you want to introduce something from the 3rd edition, I think Chaos Thugs or Orc Lead Belchers could be great adds to the lists

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  6. The brigands are a good thought, combine them with Herrimaults, lead them with a few faceless, fill core with Men at Arms/Archers, and you could make a Bretonnian outlaw list. Could be fun to play around with!

    Don't see the need for the lighter stone thrower, seems redundant and just a way to cram more warmachines into a list.

    Hard no to the bombard. If Bretonnia wanted to get into black powder, they'd have done it a long time ago.

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  7. Are you planning on making the army books contain all of the upgrades for creatures that were described in Storm of Magic, Monstrous Arcanum and the vanilla army books? Though tail and chomp attacks would probably no longer have the increased accuracy depending on what side the attack is coming from and would take a 5pt cost reduction in a few cases to go with it.

    The Arabyan elephant should be S6 W6, A5 to differentiate it from the Indan elephant. This is because in real life, there are two genuses to the Elephantidae family, the Elephas genus and the Loxodonta genus. The Elephas genus is in Asia and the Loxodonta genus is in Africa. There are a number of differences between these two genuses but the one most related to the war game is size, with the African averaging at 10.6 feet tall and the Indian averaging at 8.5 feet tall. Another interesting thing is that the five species of mammoth that are bigger than modern african elephants average at 13 feet tall. Oh, and consider giving mammoths the stampede special rule that Arabyan and Indan elephants have to deal with. I see no reason why a Mammoth would be less belligerent than an elephant, especially if its chaos tainted.

    Lastly, in the case of certain monsters where it is randomly decided how they attack like giants, some of their attacks need to hit at the models current strength so that there is a purpose to casting strength buffing spells on these models.

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  8. Definitely brigands, though i would give them a little something to make them better then a armsman

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  9. Give them all. Siege weapons smaller than trebuchet are cool and bombards... well, I can figure a realistic fleet for Bretonnia without powder. You know, basic Pirates have cannons so, it's unreallistic that Bretonnian have even trade fleet without a single cannon.

    Bombards are a great option, stone bullet, rough and archaïcal. You know, rare unit and all...
    It's heretical of course, but so are Wizard and Chimaera for quite a lot Empire's generals in the setting. I love these units.

    Sorry for bad english.

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  10. Personally I would leave them all out, mostly for the same reasons expressed by Mastro di Forgia above.
    I really have some problems with Bretonnian infantry shooting units using anything else than a bow. And for more war machines I would also be against because it would take away a lot of the specificity of the Bretonnian army.

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  11. Brigands - No point, since we already have Herrimaults. Just add some options and you have a Free Company.
    Ballista - A good idea.
    Onager/Mangonel - No point, since we have Trebuchet.
    Bombard - Why not? I mean it's not like Bretonnia DOESN'T use gunpowder, it's just that it's considered "unmanly". Add them as a rare and stationary thing for a ludicrous price and that's all

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  12. The brigands work well. They open up a lot of modeling options and allow a more infantry themed army - not classic Bretonnian I know, but it allows a lot more customization around narratives (peasants uprising against corrupt lord, last stand of hardened peasantry in the grey mountain's passes, the good people of pavaron see their nights slaughtered by Orcs and resolve to march to castle Drachenfells to enlist the Enchanter's help...)it really allows a lot more options when working to a theme that inst all about heavy cavalry.

    In terms of artillery I don't care for the bolt thrower - too much like sniping and designed for killing the sort of enemy's that knights should be fighting (and slaying) in honorable combat.

    I would like to see something of a cross between a manogel and a bombard. Either incendiary barrels (a la medieval 2 total war) or else the result of Bretonnians getting their hands on gunpowder but not really understanding it and so firing a whole barrel with a fuse attached.

    Man O War used to depict Brettonian Naval Vessels and quite proficient with cannon (their ships were 14/15th century style Galleons). One can imagine a naval crew pressed into service as artillerymen looking around noticing just how out of touch the folk back home really are. (don't think they should have bombards, but if they do please try to work in the old naval lore as an explanation)

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  13. I'm going to be honest here, I don't/cant play the tabletop game or any tt game, but I absolutely love the setting of warhammer and I love this project you're doing. I've been reading it for sometime, I like how your expanding on the lore and gameplay. You guys deserve to get hired by a tabletop game company, or to make your own game.

    I must ask something though, from what I know is that WS, BS, and L represent the ability for the model to land a hit in melee, range, and suppress their fear, respectively, with the higher the number, the harder it is to do this. However, I read that Cathay Imperial Infantry (who are farmers conscripted into service with minimal training) seem to have better melee and courage than empire state troops while also being cheaper. Is my knowledge on the mechanics of the game wrong? is this something you overlooked? or (I'm probably going to be called racist for this(just to let you know, I'm asian)) do they have this because of kung-fu genetics or something?

    Now, as for the units you listed here.

    Brigands? Dont you have the Herrimaults for that? If you want to keep the Herrimaults but also add in brigands, I suggest you to change the name of the latter to Footman/Guardsman or something similar. Make the Herrimaults ranged while these men will be a defensive melee unit meant to be against other infantry, like Foot Knights but are peasants and are treated as such.



    Ballista: Would be good in gameplay terms, but would the Bretonnians even allow anything other than the Trebuchet to be fielded? especially since the ballista killed Gilles? maybe you could make an in-lore reason for them to allow this.

    Onagers/Mangonel: These I could see happening. Trebuchets take time to move and aim, make these quicker to do so at the cost of range and damage.

    Bombard: **** no. But if you insist, give them a very good reason other than 'historically speaking'.

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    1. For Bombard, to me, it is more "coherently speaking". Warhammer was heavily historical influenced and then the Designers took a more high fantasy bend. I loved the historical/gothic influence, and I love the more epic side too. But for me, the refunding of Bretonnia was really a problem. The thing with Arthurian flavour was cool and all, but seriously... no powder ? How the hell Bretonnia could be the secund greatest kingdom of the Old World with neighbours having cannons and handguns ? It's event worst when you think to the fleet. They have importants harbours (l'Anguille, Bordeleaux) but without cannons the bretonnian can't event control their coast (pirates, Marienburgers, Estalians...)

      Now, I love the distinct flavour of old fashion chivalry that Bretonnia have in the recent edition. To me, adding the Bombard as rare units is the perfect concession to make this nation "believable" in the setting.

      The fact that the Kingdom is not invaded by Empire or Estalia relying only on the common threats (Greenskins, Chaos) is not enough to me to justify its existence. Without powder there are so... vulnerable that it is fair naivety to think that the most roguish lords of Estalia or the non-heroic emperors of the Empire history (Boris, Ludwig, or the city-state of Marienburg)will not seize all the lands of the Roy.

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    2. Okay, that's understandable. Though I believe you can mount catapults and ballistas on a ship to mimic the effect of cannons, a bombard cant be replicated or beaten by anything made without gunpowder other than a trebuchet. Also I do remember reading somewhere that the Bretonnians do allow gunpowder weapons but only for their ships as they wont allow anything using the stuff in land battles.

      I have no idea about the reload time of either a cannon or ballistas but I'm guessing the cannon is slightly faster.

      Actually, the Bretonnians have faced several invasions from the Empire and beaten them back each time. I cant remember how, but I believe the fact that their prayers to their goddess gives them the ability to deflect bullets could be one of the reasons.

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    3. @Anton
      For WS,BS, and Ld, higher number is better.

      From Mathias 9e books, Cathay Infantry have worse WS and better BS than Bretonnian men-at-arms, with the same basic Ld.


      Historical China (Song/Sung Dynasty for example) was able to maintain close to one million standing army (that only train and fight) plus equal number of semi-permanent "territorial troops" (that do the grunt's work). That's not counting their peasant levy, militia and volunteer force during the time of war.

      They could actually maintain more, if not for the rampant corruption that eat away at the military expenditure, limiting their troops number to mere close-to-million.

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    4. Mounting Ballistas and catapults on ships to fights cannons is like throwing a stone against a knight. The range and the power are completely out of scale. A bombard is just "the very first" of cannon history, still lack of power and range, but still easily outclassing stone-throwers beside trebuchet, which has less range but more accuracy (all of this is very well shown in Medieval II Total War).

      No ! The ballista is far quicker to reload, but the cannon has... like... thousand times his power of destruction ? ^^ (im speaking technically, not in-game). Ballista is just a big crossbow, nothing much amazing.

      These invasions from the Empire were written by the designers after the Arthurian refunding in somewhat attempts to justify the unbalanced geopolitical forces. You are a creator too, as anyone, you can have your own vision !

      If you love your Warhammer with Bretonnian's prayers deflecting the bullets, it's cool man ! No problem at all. But since I'm coming from the older editions, to me it sounds lame in "my" Warhammer that I prefer a bit more realistic in order to have immersion in the setting , so I prefer the bombard solution. :)

      Anyway it's cool to discuss about this world with you. It is ma favourite fantasy setting.

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    5. This argument is sound. I suppose that while knights view firearms as unmanly and cowardly, they think peasants are barely men who dont know the meaning of courage to begin with. Still, limit the gunpowder to the bombard.

      I remember that both nations view themselves as superior than the other. From what I know in defensive terms, the Empire has far more trained combatants and superior technology, while Bretonnia has more men (somehow), both in expendable and elite variants, and in this fan expanded universe is aided by spirits. So I propose that while the Empire has sent numerous failed invasion, the kingdom of bretonnia has done the same with equal success, due to the technology and magic of the Imperials becoming mucked up by divine intervention of The Lady and they are routed by spirits of the fey, while the bretons will find their prayers for victory being unanswered as the Lady finds expansion into Sigmar's domain unwanted.

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  14. you should ignore the bombard, the mangonel (there is a trebuchet) and the balista (gilles killed by one), the brigands... i dont know really, maybe it could work

    the rest of units are innecesary and dont go well with the fluff, at last in my opinion

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  15. Ore, Orc Brets :)

    In your Bret book you give the lords BS 5, which you seem to do with all human lords, however the brets would not have such a high BS

    In your books you seem to give all humans the same type of magic, except kislev which you only give ice magic, however the brets would probably just have heavens and life magic if one follows the spirit of the "official" books

    If not then give kislev other magics too ;)

    About gunpowder in the warhammer fantasy roleplay 2nd edition supplement knights of the grail it says that there is a merchant club that deals in gunpowder weapons.

    SO!

    That means someone is buying, which would mean that some lords have gunpowder soldiers.

    Which opens up the possibility of having 0-1 units as a core choice of bret handgunners.

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    1. Core handgunners... what blasphemy is this.
      Well sone kind of blackpowder unit in special/rare is ok

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    2. 0-1 units isn't that bad.

      And now that the hands are free to do all kinds of things in rules, that unit could also be made available only for armies of 1500+ points. Or you need to have certain character to get gunpowder units in the army. Just some examples ;)

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    3. Ore Orc Brets :)

      About the core choice:

      My reasoning is that a unit of handgunners is not worth a special choice, therefore I suggested core.

      About the crossbow option I think it is fine and possibly 0-2 core units of crossbows.

      Now about the book

      The book jas the pictures of the healthy archers from the 5th edition, the Bretonnian archers would not look that way with the current lore of inbred malnourished oppressed peasants.

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  16. A bit sideway, but can you please add Sir Calard of Garamond (Bretonnia) into the Special Characters army book? He is on the cover of the 6th edition Bretonnia army book, after all.

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  17. I just remembered that in the book, it said that some yeomen often desert the army while on scouting missions to do their own thing. Maybe you can rename your brigands to Guardsmen or something similar as a defensive unit like I said above. While you make mounted melee cavalry to be Brigands, bound to neither the restrictions of knights or peasants, they carry loot from the battles they partook in like maces, light armor, shields, and short bows to battle. They can upgrade to have medium armor, barding, halberds, a musician, smuggled firearms, and a leader unit. Their stats would be:
    Brigand
    M:4
    WS:4
    BS:3
    S:3
    T:3
    W:1
    I:3
    A:1
    Ld:6

    Brigand Leader
    M:4
    WS:4
    BS:3
    S:3
    T:3
    W:1
    I:3
    A:2
    Ld:7

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  18. I think the greatest problem with ballistas, bombards or similar is when and against who they are used.
    Firing a Ballista against greenskins is really just a low form of vengeance, and blasting a horde of skeletons to smithereens with a Bombard is just plain fun. A Lord could technically raise a complaint about such a use, but why would they? A slap on the wrist, a little shallow public humiliation is all they could really expect. You are, after all, suppose to meet the enemy, no matter how vile, in honourable combat upon the field of glory.
    Its just hard to care about some abominations being blown up in a far-off border skirmish.

    Against other bretonnians, or even the Empire (whom they would never risk loosing face to, certainly not by using cowardly imperial weapons) the matter changes completely.

    So no, I don't think such weapons should be allowed, on general principle. They might be used and probably have, but they are too controversial to see regular use.

    And if they ARE used, I strongly suggest that the price would be that no model with the Grail Virtue is allowed in the army. Those guys are super-cereal about this kind of thing.

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  19. ^I agree with this, and the use of super-serial :D

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  20. Mathias, one serious question: Did you actually never deal any problems with GW, providing - so to speak - their design and "ideas" in such a high quality?

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    1. Short answer - no
      Longer answer - nope

      They have never contacted me once about it, I don't think they care, as long as I try to use their IP for monetary reasons (and donations does not really count ;)

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    2. Thanks for your answer. We plan something similar and were aware of that fact. A phone-call with the GW HQ did not help really that much.

      So: thank you very much und keep up the spirit!

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  21. Ore Orc Brets :)

    About your Bretonnian book, Mathias Eliasson. About the priestess of Shallya, you took away their 1 attack some time ago, but I think they should have at least 1 attack when fighting chaos, undead, orcs and goblins, skaven, dark elves or any other type of obvious evil creatures.

    OR

    Possibly only allowing them to deployed if the opponent is one of those armies. And possibly giving the priestess 2 attacks against choas nurgle units. Just as some units have hatred vs some other units, the priestess could have attack/s vs some units and not vs others.

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    1. The Shallyans are pacifists though, I don't think they even carry weapon, let alone use them. They are healers, not fighters.

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    2. Ore Orc Brets :)

      They would avoid killing something neutral or good yes. But I do think if a skeleton or deamon attacks them of course the priestess will try to defend herself, and destroy the aggressor, especially to protect others.

      I remember reading somewhere that chaos and greenskins needed to be fought, could be wrong about that of course.

      Anyway against evil armies of course a priestess would fight, in my mind, I mean no one is just going to stand there, if they can help it, and be slaughtered by a deamon and possibly have their soul devoured too.

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    3. Hmm, I think you are missing the core principles of "pacifism"...

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  22. Ore Orc Brets :)

    No "good" god would ask or demand that its followers be passive against the forces of chaos or the undead and just stand there and have their soul devoured, no good god would help the power of chaos grow, which by just standing there and having their soul devoured is what would happen, the gods of chaos would become a bit stronger

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  23. just woundering have you ever heard of the dwarf juggernaut ( http://warhammerfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Dwarf_Juggernaut ). i just thought as you were adding more inventions to the dwarf rules it might be something you're interested in.

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    1. Yes, I have looked into it. I might add it as part of an expansion :)

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  24. Matthias is right, Shallyans have not even a weapon, the first command of their godess being : don't kill. The only exception is Nurgle's minions, and only one order of militants fanatics exists in this clergy (the like of the sigmarite flagellants) to fight directly Nurgle cults.

    The fate of the nurgle's followers is a theme of discord among Shallyan, the boldest priests and priestess asking themselves if an ounce of prevention is worthing a pound of cure.

    To the miniature scale, it makes more sens to not allow a priestess to attack.

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  25. I've been playing Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and I think you can incorporate Chivalry's man-at-arms (specificaly the Mason Order's version) as the Brigand, make them fast moving and fast attack melee infantry armed with either maces or hatchets and can throw pots filled with either flaming oil to do damage over time, sticky and mucky substance that hinders Initiative, weapon skill, and movement, or a smoke bomb that obscures vision thus ranged attacks and can only be thrown thrice in a single game.

    The renegade Yeomen I proposed earlier will be called Highwaymen instead.

    The Trebuchets use stones from defunct chapels and churches as either the counter weight or ammo right? The onager can fire the chunks that are too small for the Trebuchet to use effectively. Give both the option to have a Priest/ess of the lady added at a points cost for the ability to imbue a prayer into the ammo to achieve different effects.

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  26. Bretonnian fleets (man'o'war) were basically modelled on ships of 16-17th centuries; and used gunpowder cannon broadsides as well as trebuchets for corsair-type ships, and also some cities in wfrp were almost ruled by merchant families (Heresy as well) and they established even handgun wielding regiments of brigands. So the bretonnian fleet was much more modern then empire's one.

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  27. For the Bombard, maybe you could include a rule where you only have half as many bombards as other artillery to reflect their rarity. Or not allowing the army to pray to the lady if they include any. Or other rules like that.

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  28. i've got a question: if the blessing affects also the mounts so all the chavalery and moster chavalery models have ws 5+ and 4+missile ws?

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    1. Ah, I will need to change that in the 9th ed version, it's not supposed to stack with the mounts there.

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