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Lich Dance Prelude - Part 2

Lich Dance Prelude - Part 2
Bastian woke suddenly, his chest heaving. Beads of sweat trickling steadily from his temples to his jawline. The gems embedded in his head tingled, as they were wont to do during times of stress. He was sure it was just a dream. However, the line between dreams and reality had admittedly blurred of late.

Dream or not, the risks of it being reality were too tremendous, so Bastian was determined to act, and soon. There were a lot of things happening in the world that had the potential for catastrophe, however, if Zaron succeeded in becoming the first undead to walk upon the mortal realm of Athien, well, that could end all life on the planet.  Continue reading

The Shrine to Forin - Elemental Fire Character Shrine

The Shrine to Forin - Elemental Fire Character Shrine

The Shrine to Forin is the last of the elemental character shrines set to be released this year, a shrine dedicated to the god of elemental fire. Forin is the most active of the old gods, full of fury and rage against the audacity of the demigods and one who is hellbent on their destruction. It was Forin that sent Inferno, one of his most powerful generals, to the shadow plane, to thwart the demigod's attempts of intercepting souls before they completed their journey to his home plane of fire.

The release of the new 5v5 map, code named "Earth & Fire", sees the battles on Between move towards the area where the shadow plane borders on the elemental planes of Earth and Fire, hence the reason the shrines to Forin and Eldir (Earth) feature heavily. All shrines are important in games of Judgement, they reward map control and are fantastic sources of Fate, the fuel that propels Warbands to victory. The character shrines add that little bit of spice because they also provide an additional buff beyond the standard Fate, and those buffs normally have a significant impact. The Shrine to Forin provides benefit more subtly than say the air (Arden) or water (Wellin) shrines do. 

Shrine to Forin

 

First of all, the Shrine to Forin awards a hefty 2 Fate which is significant and can turn the tide of a battle on its own, however the 2nd part of the reward could, in the right situation, be even more impactful. Buying, selling, and trading magical artefacts, during the heat of battle, is not always easy to do, however Forin's shrine allows any friendly heroes, within 2", to do just that. This opens up a myriad of tactical options and has the potential to reverse the fortunes of players that are under the pump in any given battle.

The other aspect of the Shrine to Forin that has the potential to have an enormous impact is the fact any model that becomes base-to-base with it immediately gains the fire condition. When trying to secure shrines, a common tactic is to place yourself in base-to-base with it, therefore requiring your opponent to push you 3" to stop you contesting it, however that is obviously something that won't be advisable with the Shrine to Forin. Saiyin's Holy Shield will become a powerful ability on maps that contain the shrine, and once again the curse condition becomes very important as well.

We will be releasing maps 4-6, from the new 5v5 map, in the coming days and all 3 will feature the Shrine to Forin. The design team are once again very excited to release another character shrine and feel with the full set of 4 now release, there is tremendous variety in our maps that compliment the 30 heroes we have currently in the game.

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Judgement Patch Notes #1

Judgement Patch Notes #1

Herein lies the very first clarification and errata document for Judgement. From the very beginning we socialised the fact Judgement would be a regularly "patched" game, in keeping with its MOBA origins and to ensure the game's rules are kept in an optimal state. Our patch schedule is quarterly, with the changes becoming official on the 1st day of the start of the next quarter. Therefore the official date for this patch is the 1st of January 2018.

Clarifications

Base Contact

A simple clarification around the proper use of tokens that a model is placed in base contact with, such as Shadow Orbs.

A model that is placed in base contact with a token must be placed so that the edge of the model's base is touching the edge of the token. The model's base is not allowed to be covering any part of the token.

Engaged & Engaging

The rules for being engaged or engaging were incorrectly omitted from the Core Rule Book.

Engaged

A model is considered engaged when it is within the melee range and line of sight of an enemy model.

Engaging

A model is considered to be engaging an enemy model when they have that enemy model within their melee range and line of sight.

Magic Attacks in Melee

Page 15 - Core Rule Book

There is no actual change to the rules for magic attacks in melee, however we felt it required further clarification. An easy way to remember this rule is that magic attacks in melee follow all the normal rules for standard melee attacks, except the hero cannot charge with the attack.

Some models possess magic attacks that are also melee attacks. Despite being a magic attack they can be used while engaged, however they cannot be used to charge. For all other cases they follow the rules for melee attacks. A model must use it's MAG stat for this kind of attack.

Pushing Models and Walls

Questions have arisen about what happens when a model is pushed into a wall.

Models cannot be pushed over walls. If they come into contact with a wall during a push, they immediately stop.

Ranged Attacks

Page 17 - Core Rule Book

Clarifications around a model making a RNG attack and receiving the aiming bonus.

A model that is placed during its activation, by any means, is not able to claim the aiming bonus in subsequent attacks.

Re-Rolling Dice

We have had a few queries around whether you can re-roll a single dice using Saiyin's Augury, and then re-roll the entire dice pool using a Fate. The answer is no.

A dice that has been re-rolled, by any means, cannot be re-rolled again, by any means.

Soul Spawning

There has been some confusion with the Core Rule Book's assumption there was more than one Soul pit on a map. 

On maps that have a single Soul pit, a Soul will spawn from that pit each turn, assuming there are not 2 or more un-bound Souls on the battle field already.

Thorgar's Enraged Slam

There have been a few questions around Thorgar's Enraged Slam ability, and the way it interacts with other rules, and heroes, in the game. Enraged Slam does operate outside the bounds of "normal" Judgement play, however we have always felt it was worth some pain to be able to have something as cool as 9' Minotaur gladiator rampaging across the battle field. This section is merely to clarify two things in particular.

Thorgar's Enraged Slam is not an advance. Therefore, parting blows are not triggered whenever Thorgar sets off on an Enraged Slam movement. Similarly, since it is not an advance, Thorgar can escape Doenrakkar's Stone Grasp ability. Any time an advance is specifically mentioned, it generally would not apply to Thorgar's Enraged Slam movement.

Errata

Invisibility

This clarifies the invisibility rule to make it more intuitive, preventing active abilities from targeting the model as well.

This model cannot be targeted by active abilities or RNG/MAG basic attacks from greater than 3" away. 

Heroes

Bastian Oriel

Bastian has established himself as the pre-eminent Supporter in the game, and is a staple in many player's warbands. The combination of Heroic Ballad, Calming Waters and Prayer of Health make him the most Fate efficient hero in the game. We are very happy with Bastian's ability to support his allies. That was the design intention with him and he fulfils the role perfectly. Our main gripe with him was his combat prowess, particularly when you consider his 3" reach, was not be-fitting a supporting Lore Keeper. We also felt the Prayer of Health was simply too efficient in its original guise.

  • MEL dropped from 6 to 5
  • Prayer of Health changed from (1F) to (1A+1F)
  • Staff damage reduced to 1/2/3

Brok

We felt a slight adjustment to Brok was required to bring him back to the field once he reached level 3. 

 

  • Molten Metal cost changed from (1F) to (1A+1F)

Kvarto

We felt Kvarto's Telekinesis had too great a sphere of influence, particularly on 3v3 maps. We reduced its range and the distance it could place the enemy model. The 4" range also brings it in line with most other abilities of a similar nature.

  • Telekinesis range reduced from 6" to 4"
  • Telekinesis place changed from within 4" to completely within 5"

Piper

Piper sits in a pretty good place, and he plays true to our original design goals. The intention of Enhance Self was to provide a combat buff for Piper, however often it is being used to turn Piper into a Soulgazer that is extremely difficult to hit in the following turn.  Removing the Soul harvest buff returns the ability back to its intended use.

Once Piper reached level 2, we felt that Viper Venom was too easy to trigger. Changing it to (2S) also brought it in line with abilities used by other heroes. The wording of Duplicate Self was causing some confusion around whether the enemy's attack actually occurred. Therefore we clarified it to only ignore basic attacks and that it ignores the damage and combat manoeuvres resulting from the attack.

 

  • Enhance Self no longer increases Piper's Soul Harvest ability
  • Viper Venom changes from (1S) to (2S)
  • Duplicate Self now only ignores the 1st enemy basic attack that targets Piper. It has no effect on active abilities that target him. The attack action still occurs, and the attacker can execute combat manoeuvres that affect itself. 

Saiyin

Just another cleanup exercise with Augury. We incorrectly omitted an end of activation expiry for Augury in the original card, so that has been included. It was also unclear whether Saiyin could use Augury the activation she cast it on herself, so that was included as well.

  • Augury clarified so it has an automatic expiry, and so Saiyin can use Augury the activation she casts it on herself.

Skoll Bonestorm

Skoll has been the centre of many a discussion around his power level in the game. Some players swear by him, whereas others struggle to find a place for him. Our main concern with Skoll centred around the fact he was good at too many things. He could pretty much compete in all facets of the game, and this is not a healthy place for any hero to be in. We also felt his damage was a tad too high for a Defender, particular when you consider he has the highest health value in the game at all levels.

With these changes, Skoll now sits as a solid health-tank hero that brings a lot of utility to the table, including substantial damage against low DEF or knocked down targets.

  • Great Axe "Crit" damage dropped from 5 to 4
  • Soul harvest dropped from 5 to 3
  • Combo Strike "Crit" damage dropped from 7 to 6
  • Knock Out changed from (1S) to (2S)
  • Soul Burn cost changed from (1F) to (1A+1F)
  • Dual Wield text removed since it is now included in the core rules - and note that the 2nd attack now incurs a -1 attack dice pool penalty

Monsters

Monsters Attacking Heroes

Page 21- Core Rule Book

The Core Rule Book presents different rules for resolving when monsters have more than one hero in their melee range, depending on whether the monster moved or was pushed. We want to standardise the way this is handled moving forward, so we have changed the rule for when a monster is pushed.

Replace the paragraph on page 22 regarding when a monster is pushed with:

If the monster is pushed, placed or thrown (assuming it has a special rule preventing it from being knocked down because of being thrown) so that it is engaging a hero that was unengaged by the monster. If multiple heroes are engaged by the monster when it is about to attack, the closest will be attacked. If they are equidistant, then randomise.

Ashtooth

Ashtooth is the most difficult monster to kill, and hits like a truck. We feel a single Fate and level is not a good enough reward for bringing the big man down.

  • Bounty is increased from 1 Fate to 2 Fate
  • Poison combat manoeuvre changed from (1S) to (2S)

Inferno

We feel Inferno's Bounty should be somewhere in between Gloom's 1 Fate and Ashtooth's 2 Fate...

  • Bounty dropped from 2 Fate to 1 Fate
  • Incendiary combat manoeuvre changed from (1S) to (2S)
  • Removed Fire Fist (+1 damage vs models suffering the fire condition)
  • Gains Glyph of Ember:
    • the hero that collects the Fate Bounty can add +1 to one of their statistics (i.e. MOV, MEL, RNG, MAG, AGI, RES or Soul Harvest) until the end of its next activation.

Dual Wield (weapon)

Page 30 - Core Rule Book

Heroes wielding two weapons are cool, and there are many iconic heroes throughout the fantasy genre that are legendary for it. Besides Skoll, we plan on having more heroes with the ability. In preparation we decided to add an entry for it in the Core Rule Book. Note that we have added in a rule that the 2nd attack now incurs a -1 attack dice pool penalty, just to smooth the power curve a bit.

Each time a model with dual wield resolves an attack action with “weapon”, it can immediately make a 2nd attack using the same weapon, against the same target, or another target enemy model. The 2nd attack incurs a -1 attack dice penalty.

Only the 1st attack of a charge receives the +2 attack dice pool bonus. Dual wield can only be triggered during a model’s activation, and cannot trigger another dual wield attack.

Shrines

Page 23 - Core Rule Book

We have discovered a few inconsistencies with the way non-hero models are treated in the rules, such as models that are summoned. I.e. Zaron's Child models. We are making a slight change to the contesting and claiming of Shrines, to clean this area up.

Replace the 1st point of the "Controlling the Shrine" section on page 23 of the Core Rule Book with:

  • 1 or more of their hero models are within 2” of it.

Summoned Models

There are plans for more heroes that summon models in the future, this clarifies one of the finer points on how they operate.

When a summoned model kills an enemy hero, by any means, the hero that summoned the model harvests the enemy hero's Soul.

Below we provide complete clarifications on several points for the only summoned model currently in the game, "Zaron's Child".

Summoned models are not hero models. They are friendly models to the hero who summoned them, and their warband, but not heroes in their own right. Therefore anything in the rules that references a hero model, does not apply to summoned models. 

Summoned models:

  • do not contest, nor can they claim, Shrines.
  • do not help or hinder Soul Harvest skill checks.
  • do provide ganging up bonuses.
  • do provide distracted bonuses.
  • do provide a firing into melee penalty.
  • do perform parting blows.

The End

Download the latest Wave 1 Hero PDF here

Download the latest Wave 1 Monster PDF here

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Soul Burn, an Ettin's Fury

Soul Burn, an Ettin's Fury

The sickening sound of metal slicing through bone was quickly followed by the scream. Pain, fear. Skoll could feel it. Smell it. Taste it. As he steadied himself to make the killing blow against the prone elf before him, Skoll sensed danger. Senses from two heads simultaneously gathering data from his surroundings, heightening his awareness, making him ever vigilant, keeping him safe. Skoll trusted his instincts, and spun around just in time to parry a mighty dwarf warhammer that would have shattered his shoulder. Skoll recognised the dwarf immediately, Thrommel of the Ironbeard clan. It took all of the ettin’s might to stall the dwarf’s hammer blow and fend off the immediate follow-up strike. Skoll knew he’d been frustratingly close to driving the elf from this place, but he could only growl in rage as she slunk away, all of his attention required to prevent the dwarf from braining him with his infernal hammer.

Skoll had fought Thrommel before and knew he had little chance to finish this fight quickly, it would be difficult and drawn-out, unless fate intervened. It appeared that fate heard his prayer when the sound of hooves clattered on the cobble stones behind the dwarf. Thrommel turned to his side an attempt to dodge, but couldn’t escape the thrust of two mighty horns that pierced his gut plate, and then sent him sailing through the air, to land hard on his back metres away. Skoll was big amongst his kin, yet the huge frame of Thorgar towered over him, and for a moment, Skoll feared the beast would not know friend from foe. The moment passed, and the rage in Thorgar’s eyes subsided enough to allow a snort, and a hand gesture indicating that Skoll should pursue the elf priestess who had fallen back to the outskirts of the melee. The minotaur then turned and made a beeline for the prone dwarf, clearly intending to finish that fight permanently.

Skoll ran towards the priestess as she drew yet another soul out of the ground. There were now two of the blue spectres whirling around her, in some kind of macabre dance. She seemed renewed, most of her wounds healed, and she was clearly braced to fight this time as Skoll bore down on her. Although the instincts of his race urged him to charge head-long into melee, he fought the urge and instead drew on the reservoir of will that his two minds, joined in unity purpose, granted him. This formidable will was the root of what had bought him such grand status amongst all the orcs of Athien, and here in this place, it could rend the earth itself. Bending his mind to the task, Skoll drew deeply from the power vested within the Effigy that had summoned him, and magical energies surged through his body, contorting his muscles and popping veins in his neck, to the point where he thought he may burst. The release was ecstatic as a pulse of pure energy rumbled outward from his feet in all directions, staining the ground red as it passed. The wave reached the elf before she could react, her gaze moved from the ground to Skoll, and the realisation of what was to come dawned in her.

As the wave struck her, the souls around her were dyed blood red as the ground, and their dance became disjointed and broken, leaping around her in a frenzy before freezing for an instant. Then, they exploded, shattering in unison and blazing with a hell-red fire that scorched the elf. She screamed for a moment, silhouetted in light, before wining out as the chord that bound her projection to Between was severed and Saiyin returned to her mortal body on Athien. Skoll revelled in the backwash of power around him as she was driven away, a new soul, carved from her energies, and the Effigy that had bound her here, coalesced on his skin, and formed the familiar light blue ball that danced around him. The power felt like a drug in his system, opening new possibilities, removing limitations. Though he knew this was only a temporary gain, sure to leave him when he left this plane, he knew he had some time to enjoy it.

He whirled around to survey his surroundings once again. The sounds of battle reverberated around the ancient amphitheatre they had been summoned to, grey and bleak in the half-light of the plane of Shadow. The dwarf had somehow survived to continue his struggle with Thorgar, and Skoll could see further of that the rest of his war band was faltering without their two largest fighters to hold off the enemy. He hardened his grip on his massive axe and bellowed a war cry plunging headlong back into the fray. Today he would gain much power before the battle was done.

Origins of Ettins

The origin of Ettins is unknown; most dismiss them as aberrations of Orcs, others as some unholy union between Orcs and Ogres. The truth is somewhere in between. The exact time the first Ettins walked Athien is not really known, however they are inexorably linked to the Orc race, and always have been as long as anyone can remember.  The union of an Orc and an Ettin can produce offspring of either, as can, strangely enough, the union of two Ettins. However there are no recorded incidences of the union of two Orcs producing an Ettin, therefore the debate continues on how the first Ettins came to be. In any event, most Orc tribes treat Ettins as they would any other Orc, albeit with the respect and fear such a large, violent creature demands.
 
The population of Ettins is roughly a tenth of Orcs, and there is only one known Orc tribe that consists entirely of Ettins. Most of the time the Ettins mingle with Orcs freely and have the same status and rights as their smaller brethren within their society. In general, Ettins have shorter tempers, are more irritable, and less tolerant of anyone standing in their way. This is largely attributed to the fact their two heads are often squabbling, for it is most common that over time the two heads of an Ettin get on each other's nerves and spiral into dangerous love/hate relationships. The squabbling sometimes turns violent and can even lead to death. For while an Ettin can survive with one of its heads “dead” or removed, it is a sad existence and inevitably leads to what remains of the Ettin taking its own life.

Occasionally, the two heads get along, have common cause, and work together to achieve common goals. These are by far the most powerful, respected and feared Ettins. One such Ettin is Skoll Bonestorm, who has grown in stature over decades amongst the Orc tribes. It would be difficult to find an Orc on Athien, that does not know of Skoll, or even one who could not recite stories of his exploits in great detail. For Skoll is an example of what an Ettin can achieve when its heads work together. Skoll is even more remarkable, since he is the first of his kind to be summoned, which has only increased his powers and renown.



Like all Ettins, Skoll has extraordinary fortitude and constitution, being able to withstand remarkable amounts of punishment in battle before being felled. The union of his two minds makes Skoll similarly resilient on Between where opponents find themselves struggling to shatter his will, and drive him off. These traits have accelerated his rise amongst the chosen and made him a preferred choice of the new gods seeking to bolster the strength of their Warbands.

The 54mm resin miniature of Skoll Bonestorm can be purchased here.

Narrative by Andrew "Guns" Galea
Edited by Colin "Bobliness" Hill
Miniature painted by Gavin "Slardy" Clarke

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The Unstoppable Force - A discussion about Brok

The Unstoppable Force - A discussion about Brok

"The gods are getting reckless", Istariel stated loudly, more abruptly than she intended. She was always mindful of keeping her temper in check when talking to Saiyin. If her tone bothered the priestess, she did not let it show.

"How so?" Saiyin replied.

"This maniac they are now summoning barely knows friend from foe. And his penchant to destroy any native creature of Between, that comes within reach, is sure to raise the ire of the old ones."

Saiyin paused thoughtfully, taking in what Istariel said. The priestess never spoke in haste, every word measured. After what seemed an eternity, Saiyin responded, barely above a whisper.

"The dwarfs call him Brok, and he was not always the way he is now. I agree, he barely has control and can be a liability, however the new gods are getting desperate so they now seek to summon the most dangerous and powerful of heroes that walk Athien. Things are shifting, the necromancer, always in the background, brooding, spinning his machinations of deceit. We have to keep our wits about us, dear Mistress of the Flame. The time will soon come when we will be forced to make a decision. The result of which could destroy everything as we know it." Saiyin fell silent, a quick furrow of her brow indicated she had revealed more than she intended, before her face returned to the expressionless mask of beauty she normally wore.

Istariel turned away from the priestess, something she did when she was mindful of Saiyin reading her thoughts. It was the first time in a while Saiyin had spoken to Istariel in such a way, as if they were allies. The Mistress of the Flame was unsure how to feel about it, however deep within the thought gave her comfort and assurance she was not alone in the world. Brok...she would have to careful of that one...

Brok was one of the last 1st wave heroes to be designed, and it took some work to get him right. In today's blog post, I take a closer look at this force of destruction, and how he works in the game of Judgement. This is to coincide with the completion of the studio model of the dwarf berserker by Trent Denison.

Lets begin by taking a look at the model!

Trent did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of Brok, and stuck true to the original artwork by Shane L Cook. In-game, Brok is a powerful hero that has the potential to output an impressive amount of damage. The difference between him and say, an aggressor such as Rakkir, is that Brok is able to spread that damage around. He is not such a single target destroyer as the Orc Rogue. Lets have a look at his stat card to kick things off.

 One thing that leaps out for me is his decent health. Starting with 16 at level 1, and rising to 20 at level 3, is very good for an aggressor with such a high damage output. Sure, he has the racial AGI 3 that is the bane of all dwarfs, however this is a guy that will be in combat as much as possible, making it more difficult for ranged opponents to hit him. Ferocity is a nice boost to make sure he gets into the combats you want as well. That extra inch threat range is very nice, and raises it to a healthy 9", 1 more than Rakkir. 

The signature ability in Brok's kit, however, is Back Swing. Each time he scores a critical hit, he can make another attack. The key here is that the bonus attack does not have to target the same model as the one that triggered it. This lets you do a lot of cool things with Brok, including taking down multiple foes, who are low on health, with ease. Of course if he wants to hit the same model, that can work as well, and all up, with 3 crits against the same opponent, he can rack up an impressive 24 damage, without spending a single Fate.

The combination of Back Swing and Monster Slayer means Brok can make short work of any of the 3 monsters in the 1st wave. This means at any stage in the game, he can always gain a level, or grab some Fate for your Warband, by felling any monsters that stray too close. All this cool stuff, of course, relies on you scoring critical hits. So, perhaps more than any other hero in the game, this guy loves the Vorpal Blade.

Brok is a great choice for the Vorpal Blade

Brok's active abilities are quite interested, fairly situational, but at the right moment can have a huge impact. Savagery provides a decent boost in survivability, whilst Cleave can really punish an opponent that tries to crowd him out. The cool element of this ability is the fact Brok will ignore crowding when making each attack. It is so in character, and would make a fantastic cinematic to see a blood crazed dwarf cleaving his way out of a bad situation.

I mentioned earlier how Brok can readily gain levels via his ability to drop monsters, well the cool thing is that he has very decent powers in his talent tree at both level 2 and 3. Heroic Destiny is much more powerful than it looks on paper. The core mechanics of Judgement, with fixed damage standard attacks, and a capped action system, means it essentially takes an extra action to drop Brok, than it normally would. And most heroes cannot afford that extra action to finish the job. On many occasions, Heroic Destiny will at least draw out a Fate from your opponent, particularly if they forget the fact he has it available.

Last, but certainly not least, we get to Molten Metal. In certain situations, especially in the late game where tanks become so hard to drop, Molten Metal can wreak havoc. You won't see many Doenrakkars activating Stone Form with a level 3 Brok on the battle field!

Overall, Brok is a wonderful addition to our wave 1 range, and is a huge amount of fun to play. The model is fantastic, he will put the fear of god into your opponent, and can be a game winner since his Back Swing will also work against the opponent's Effigy. Think about that one for a while...a potential 12 damage to the Effigy on a charge. :)

The 54mm resin miniature of Brok can be purchased here.

By Andrew "Guns" Galea

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