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 Post subject: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:34 pm 
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Magic users often control games and wins games.

Let's discuss.

Is magic under costed?

What role do you use magic in?

Here's a thought I have as a major ringwraith user and play enough magicians.
Maybe every spell in the game should just be +1 to roll.

What do you think? Ringwraiths, fury, blinding light, immobilize....

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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:38 pm 
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This is the edition we play, magic is what it is till next rules release
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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:56 pm 
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Well you've given a factual statement. I'm curious what players think about it. Have you no thoughts about what you want about magic?

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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:00 pm 
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Sadly being very new with less than a dozen games of hobbit behind me, 6 at a gbhl tournament while using no magic of my own I feel I've not enough experience to make a full and detailed suggestion on potential changes.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:02 pm 
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*from on the receiving end of magic which does very little to my standard list build of hordes or counter tactics have left me with no I'll will against magic users or those that use them. :)
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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:12 am 
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I'm very cynical of magic systems in general. However, this one does a good job for what it is designed to do. If we saw more magic users with access to a wider range of spells I think it would be too powerful. But since LOTR only features a handful of spell casters then I believe it is fine.

The only thing I would like to see changed would be a wider use of magic resistance. In fact I wouldn't be upset if all heroes were afforded the special rule.
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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:41 am 
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I think magic is unbalanced. I always complain about how cheap the nazguls on fell beasts are when compared to wizards. Plus, sap will on 3+is just painful. Oh, and they can also lead troops. Unless you got Galadriel, lady of light on your side is just a matter of two turns before your top hero becames a sitting duck. Turn one: Sap will on two dice. You did resist? How cute! Turn 2, sap will on 2 dice, you're done and I have 10 more will points to immobilize you. I use this tactic myself, and even I am disgusted!
I'd like to see some bonus for those armies which have no access to magic, so that I don't have to ally a spellcaster if I want a chance.
(I must say, in Italy is custom to have only good vs evil, that's why a good player will almost always find himself against at least one fell beast)
I expect that in the future Gandalf will be able to lead both rohan and Gondor troops (they put it in the survivors of laketown list, and he wasn't even a commander), but still, Gandalf the white is a huge point sink.
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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:59 am 
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I would argue that the difficulty of casting a spell isn't an issue, it's the fact that controlling player can dump three or more will into casting the spell to ensure they roll a six to resist. Heck, maybe we are looking at This all wrong. Perhaps the spells aren't the issue, but the fell beast? LOTBR could also be right. The game and its players have matured, it may be time to re value spells and increase their casting values
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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:24 pm 
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I think something like a +1 to cast on most things would be cool but I'd like to see caster have way more will, so that magic isn't a one or two turn roll off. Maybe not the suuped up wraiths they have plenty of will probably lol. But like shamans or even Elrond? I'd rather there were more opportunities but it was less likely.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:56 pm 
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I completely agree with Dikey, I find evil magic to be utterly devastating when used against the opponent's top heroes. Sap will at 3+ truly is a pain, and the Good side has no countermeasure to prevent even a 3 will points hero becoming a sitting duck in 2-3 turns. Unless you're using a 170+ points model, that is
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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:27 pm 
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Let me be devil’s advocate. If we nerf the wraiths, how will Mordor deal with Aragorn or Boromir? Orcs are useless against them. I might also point out that in the story only Gandalf could effectively deal with the wraiths. But I wouldn’t want the game designed so that Gandalf was obligatory for all good forces.

The original incarnation of the game followed the idea that good had big powerful heroes that could take-on a whole army of orcs. Evil had monsters, to act as tanks against good troops, and wraiths to bring the heroes down to a level that the orcs could deal with. But the wraiths had significant combat limitations, so they could only be effective from the rear. It worked well.

Since then monsters have been given a huge boost and evil has received its own powerful combat heroes. Additionally, the “meta” has changed from a troops emphasis to “death-star” heroes. If your force is designed so the troops just hold the line while the death-star does all the work, and then a wraith hard-counters your death-star, I can see why you’d be frustrated.

I think maybe the problem is two-fold.

First the combination of powerful combat and powerful magic in the form of the wraith-on-fell-beast. The Fell beast probably should be nerfed, to make it more a transport than a flying troll.

Secondly, the emphasis on death-star heroes could be shifted to more troops. If your battle plan and list build placed more emphasis on troops and mid-level heroes, the wraiths may well be wasted. Who cares if they transfix a captain? Big heroes could be reserved for larger games where the loss of the hero would be sad but not game ending. But I know that’s a hard sell.

Honestly, I’ve never had much dissatisfaction with magic. Where the game stops being fun for me is monsters and hurl. I REALLY hate hurl and ideally would like it removed from the game. But I know that’s just wishful thinking.
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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:30 pm 
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I dislike hurl as well, but instead of removing it, I think it should behave exactly like sorc blast.

You bring up a good point about death star heroes. The shift to warbands made that inevitable.

Much as has been argued with fury, I will pose the same arguement for fell beasts and monsters. If you *have* to take it because the benefits vastly out pace the cost, then it needs some tweeking. Fury, fell beasts and monsters are in this strange category of, if you don't use them you're playing "wrong". Where as on the opposite end, no one bats an eye if your force doesn't include gorn who is arguably the strongest hero in the sbg (due to his unlimited might. At least that is what I would argue).
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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:05 am 
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arargorn is to expensive for smaller games and there are better heros then him. ill list a few. Durin: hard to kill very deadly.
Treebeard: one of the best monsters for his cost hard to win a fight with and hard to wound.
The twin elfs: two heros in one warband that grants a lot of might and killing power. can be used in two different army's as well so there versatile.
Boromir WT: more effective then aragorn since hes cheaper while having a load of might defence and a option to support your army with a g8 banner
Legolas: BEST ARCHER IN GAME AND IS CHEAP TO FIELD
just a few very powerful heros costing under 200 pt and they can ruin any evil armys day. monsters have trouble with these heros since these heros can use heroics to increase fight and win the combat. magic is meant to counter those types of heros from running around destroying those army's. i know that evil has hero's like that as well but those are not as effective as the good army's hero's. unless its azog and bolg there just to cheap for what they can do (i dislike those two profiles btw)

and just remember a wraith has 1 wound it takes only 1 arrow to bring it down.
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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:50 am 
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Tar-Minastir wrote:
Let me be devil’s advocate. If we nerf the wraiths, how will Mordor deal with Aragorn or Boromir? Orcs are useless against them. I might also point out that in the story only Gandalf could effectively deal with the wraiths. But I wouldn’t want the game designed so that Gandalf was obligatory for all good forces.

The original incarnation of the game followed the idea that good had big powerful heroes that could take-on a whole army of orcs. Evil had monsters, to act as tanks against good troops, and wraiths to bring the heroes down to a level that the orcs could deal with. But the wraiths had significant combat limitations, so they could only be effective from the rear. It worked well.

Since then monsters have been given a huge boost and evil has received its own powerful combat heroes. Additionally, the “meta” has changed from a troops emphasis to “death-star” heroes. If your force is designed so the troops just hold the line while the death-star does all the work, and then a wraith hard-counters your death-star, I can see why you’d be frustrated.

I think maybe the problem is two-fold.

First the combination of powerful combat and powerful magic in the form of the wraith-on-fell-beast. The Fell beast probably should be nerfed, to make it more a transport than a flying troll.

Secondly, the emphasis on death-star heroes could be shifted to more troops. If your battle plan and list build placed more emphasis on troops and mid-level heroes, the wraiths may well be wasted. Who cares if they transfix a captain? Big heroes could be reserved for larger games where the loss of the hero would be sad but not game ending. But I know that’s a hard sell.

Honestly, I’ve never had much dissatisfaction with magic. Where the game stops being fun for me is monsters and hurl. I REALLY hate hurl and ideally would like it removed from the game. But I know that’s just wishful thinking.



I really like that terminology and I totally agree. I really am not a fan of the shift with many of the new releases to these heroic combat twice and kill your entire army type heroes. New Thranduil, Dain, Thorin, Dwalin, Nori champ, Azog and Bolg all come to mind. I've said this on other threads but I think a lot of the blame for that is the over top nature of the movies. All the chatter you hear from GW and the ME SBG team is they're making profiles to fit the movie, and scenario to recreate the movie, and unfortunately the movies are just silly in a lot of way and in order to make characters match up to the ridiculous things they've done in the movie you get this huge power creep in the profiles and I think for many of those heroes.

Think about the troll fight in the hobbit vs the Balin's tomb in the fellowship. The entire fellowship struggles to fight off the goblins and one troll but in the Hobbit Thorin's company was basically making THREE trolls look silly by beating them up and down with sticks and sling shots until they catch Bilbo. There is a real disconnect there for me thematically and that is reflected in their stats.

I think what Happened towards the end of the LOTR SBG golden era is when they started to incorporate book based theme back into the range, fleshing it out and grounding in Tolkien's mythology more so then when it was solely drawing some the movies, which even in the LOTR stray from canon. My biggest hope is that do that for the Hobbit range as well. I think right now especially everyone is excited and the ME team is trying to make lots of really cool new toys and that's great but I hope in later editions they will go back through and see where they may have gotten a little carried away or what doesn't make a lot sense in terms of a Tolkien based war game. I know in the movies the Gundabad orcs are bigger and heavily armored but thats never implied in the books and there's no way those orcs should be nearly as big or strong as Uruk hai. The Uruks are literally only important because of how much bigger, stronger, braver and able to march in the sun that makes them relevant. In this example I actually think GW's initial interpretation of Gundabad orcs as Gundabad blackshields is much closer to what Tolkien describes. I want to see more of that reverse engineering of the range to allow people to represent and recreate they're favorite parts of the movies without having it go against its source material and be inconsistent with their previously released LOTR stuff, which, I think many editions in hit a very good balance.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:58 am 
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What polywags stated is indeed correct. If I may off-topic a little, I do feel a bit like GW has had a period during which a series of wrong marketing moves (e.g. prices skyrocketing or models vanishing from the site) and poor choices led them to take a path remarkably negative. When they finally noticed it, they decided to get back the consumers' attention with some great new models (which was positive) and several new rules, which have changed the game significantly. As poly said, in LOTR the whole company struggled to fight a single, ferocious cave troll; in The Hobbit book, gundabad orcs are not depicted as some kind of orcs-uruks crossbreed with dwarves-style armors and impressive strenght. Increasing normal troops' stats (think about Womt or normal orcs; why would you take them, when you can use morannon orcs or Durin's folk which are just plain worthier point-wise?) meant that Heroes had to get stronger as well, in order to perform marvellous deeds as they did in the film. If they're going to change something about magic, I'm pretty sure that they would end up making it even stronger and more influent than what it already is :roll:
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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:48 pm 
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Tar-Minastir says it very well.
I think that magic is pretty close to being where it should be. The problem is that the bits of it that are off are so dominant that it looks to blow it out of proportion.

I don't think the wraiths need to be changed in their stats or cost.
The fell beast definitely needs to be at least 65 points or 70 and the horned/armoured then 75 or similar. Currently, it makes wraiths too good at fulfilling a combat and spellcasting role all for under 200 points which can't be matched by many other models except maybe treebeard. The extra points cost obviously balances that more.

Tar-Minastir made a solid point about the mega heroes though like aragorn. The reason we got the named wraiths and fell beasts as they currently are was exactly because of mega heroes being so dominant and there was no strategy to counter them. The best you could do was surround and hope for the best or hope to get something with equal fight value in the fight for a turn or two and beat them with numbers. That is no longer needed with special strikes, monsters and heroic strikes. The mega hero is dead weight for a lot of forces currently.
They should be hard to bring down, they should require you to mob them or use special tactics - they are the right cost or more expensive than needed so there is nothing to change there.

The most needed change other than FB is Sap Will - its too effective and too easy to do. You have to be unlucky not to have them out of will after 2 turns.
It should be removed or modified.

It can be removed as transfix/compel can be sufficiently devastating to require will to be used to counter the spells.
It might also be modified to transfer a single will point to the wraith. Tactically this means wraith play is still encouraged, especially for those that arent khamul or knight of umbar. if the spell is cast on 3/4+ they get the will.
I think it does not matter really if a 1 will hero like a captain tries to resist causing there to be no will left - the wraith player wins either way, either they get the will point or the opposition has no will left.
You can always give them the will point anyway even if the last one was used resisting if that is what more people think to be correct.

Another way to tweak it would be that they only get the will if they roll high enough to beat the oppositions courage.
This could be a straight up D6 roll by the wraith to cast the spell vs models courage (which would make the high/wood elves fantastic - fitting with the lore and actually relevant in the SBG!).
Alternatively you can compare courage - C7 vs C5 and you must roll either 2 higher than the opposition if they are resisting OR 2 higher than the roll required to cast the spell initially (in which case a 3+ would be fitting for wraiths still and requiring a 5+ to be successful).
Drain courage can be buffed (if needed) and we can see that used more both with this Sap Will mechanic and for general gameplay/courage tests.
I think this would really fit in the lore and still have balanced gameplay.
Just think about all the references in the books/films to do with courage. Thats what was happening at weathertop, dead marshes, helms deep, osgiliath and MT and it took gandalfs magic and lead to give everyone hope. Thats my middle earth.
What do you guys think?

Fury is a must have for a lot of forces, but i trust the direction GBHL has taken on this so will not comment now.

Lastly, the current wraiths are hard counters to wizards and other good spell casters. There is no middle of the pack casters (and doesnt need to be) but I know Gandalf would just be sapped all game if i took him with minas tirith or whatever so there is no point as he cant resist for long. If his free will could be added to his store however that might not be such an issue.
I think the meta currently is bigish heroes and a few troops which is perfect strategy for wraith play so i don't have a problem with it - its just strategy. However they do need to stand a bit more of a chance than just 1 or 2 turns resisting (im thinking only 2 dice to cast here is needed also - 3 is being aggressive).
People always have the option to go with cheaper heroes or hordes as an effective counter strategy but lets be honest, its not as fun.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:08 am 
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I really like the idea of having courage play some part in interacting with magic. I also think the historical element of the super wraiths being created to tone down the super heroes but they are easier to interact with them in other ways now and perhaps the the pendulum should swing back a bit.

I also would very much like to see more mid level caster as you mentioned as well. That gets a little dicey because of how illusively defined magic is is Tolkien but I think things like the WE sentinels that have magic like abilities I would like to see more of. That, of course, is based on courage and so you run into the same problem with fury but as we're seeing on the new gundabad berserkers perhaps that kind of thing we will see shift to abilities on specific profiles rather then blanket auras.
We also kind of see that idea of "more magic" come into play in a profile like Dain's where he gets Terror if charges. I think things like that, Free Peoples Thranduil's crown as another example, are really fun, interactive and well themed ways for more magical power to work their way into the game and not break the lore too much, unlike the various shamans do for people.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:12 pm 
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One more thing i would like changed.. the low level spell casters should have 4 will.
Its a bit boring to have them just cast fury or whatever and then be done for the rest of the game. An extra will point and a second spell thats not 5+ might go down well

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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:13 pm 
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All the shaman class guys do have other spells then their fury or 5+ equivalent. Blade Fury, Transfix, Call Winds, Shatter etc. I don't think giving those guys more will would be helpful though. Most likely you'd have people throwing 3 dice into the 5+ spell then holding 2 back for latter. That's what I do with Cirdan's Terrifying Aura anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic.....How powerful? Let's debate.
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:13 am 
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I don't think magic is OP or under costed per se. I think overall it works fine, and I hope we do not see major changes. I do think there are some very specific changes that could be made though. Fury and Sap Will being prime examples.

I don't think that wraiths themselves are OP either. The problem is the costs of the Fell Beasts (too cheap).
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