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Zaffen Ironhelm, an old friend returns

Zaffen Ironhelm, an old friend returns

For many of the early Judgement play testers, Zaffen was an old favourite. The closest thing we have to an artillery piece in the game, with the kind of dwarf resilience you would expect. The latter, a trait that sets him apart from other ranged heroes. Zaffen was another hero that remained an unlocked stretch goal in our original Kickstarter, so has been waiting in the wings ever since. A version of his card was included in the two player starter box, however we have given him a slight re-work for his official release in wave 2.

The good news for Zaffen fans, is that he is one of the 6 core heroes in our wave 2 Kickstarter so is certain to be released this time around. We also commissioned our resident dwarf lover, Shane L Cook, to create a new illustration for him.

In the illustration above, Zaffen is under siege from an unusually aggressive pod of Gratin, the sea creatures he hunts regularly near his homeland. His boat smashed on rocks, Zaffen relies on his double crossbow to keep them at bay. Shane managed to capture the spirit, and tenacity, of Zaffen Ironhelm, perfectly in this illustration, it tells such a wonderful story.

Zaffen remains firmly in our main fantasy time-line, but that did not stop us adding a little bit of intrigue with his mechanical left hand. The story of how that came to be will be published a little down the track, however for those of you that want to learn more about this mighty hero, have a read of Colin Hill's excellent piece called "The Hunter".

Rules wise, as mentioned earlier, Zaffen's new card remains true to his origins, however we have reworked him a bit, to bring him inline with the rest of the heroes in the range.

Like all dwarfs, Zaffen enjoys a solid core state line, including RES 1 and a base health of 16. He also share the maximum range of 10", with Allandir, on his Giant Crossbow. On the surface the 2A weapon's damage output looks limited, however the Reload ability means he can get 2 shots off in an activation, assuming he does not move. Then, to top it off, Big Game Hunter can throw in another d6 damage to boot!

Like most Aggressors, Zaffen has very good Combat Manoeuvres at his disposal, with Poison (2S) and Momentous Shot (2J), the latter being a more powerful version of the standard "3J Knockdown" all heroes enjoy. Racial Enmity is in-line with our move towards more raced based abilities in wave 2, granting Zaffen +1 attack dice against a race of his choosing, very powerful against race themed Warbands.

The Judgement team are so excited to get Zaffen Ironhelm out there into the community, and as always, cannot wait to see him get sculpted up!

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Gods & Usurpers

Gods & Usurpers

Haksa breathed in deeply as thick blue smoke filled his nostrils, before travelling down his throat and into his lungs. He closed his eyes and paused, savouring it, before letting out a slow, measured exhale. His thought processes slowed, providing clarity, reducing the noise from the outside world and from within. These days, Haksa would often spend hours on end under a drug induced stupor. It gave him space to gather his thoughts and make sense of the world, an important and increasingly difficult endeavour in recent times. The rise of the summoned, the emergence of a new pantheon of demi-gods, and a peculiar disruption in the fabric of time, together provided ominous portents that could no longer be ignored. Haksa rarely slept these days, so troubled was his mind, his only solace could be found in his herbs.

Haksa placed his pipe down on the earth floor of his hut, still moist from recent rain. It felt cool on his bare skin where he sat. He slowly stood up and walked to the back of the of the hovel that he called home, and lifted the lid on an old wooden chest. Inside were numerous compartments, drawers and containers, filled with all manner of fauna, flora and powders. He rooted through the contents for a short time before picking out a small jade vial. Swirling patterns were etched into its surface and a cork stopper was firmly in place to prevent its contents from spilling. The shaman walked back to his pipe, removed the cork stopper and poured 2 drops of a thick liquid from the vial into the pipe's receptacle, before carefully forcing the stopper back into place, protecting the precious liquid.

He placed the vial into a leather pouch attached to his belt, sat back down on the floor and sucked on the pipe once more. Closing his eyes, he breathed in a deep, powerful breath, reaching far into his core. Haksa had long ago become a master of the narcotic powers of the local flora and fauna. His most precious discovery was a rare herb, known as Angel Petal, which he brewed into liquid form, granting him the power to commune with the old gods. Haksa cursed as he caught himself using a phrase that made his blood boil. There was no such thing as “old gods” and “new gods”, just the gods and the usurpers. What rich irony, he thought. The five races send mortals to another plane in an attempt to stop the gods from meddling in their affairs, only to see their chosen champions turn into the very thing they were meant to stop. He shook his head in disbelief just thinking about it.

To make matters worse, Haksa was recently betrayed by one of his own. Kruul, the witch doctor, a former friend and confidant, had managed to drive a wedge through Haksa’s people. Kruul was one of the first to embrace, and then champion the new gods. Droves of young orcs flocked to his death cult and declared their allegiance, renouncing traditions that had served orcs well for a thousand years. Haksa was left with the difficult task of trying to reunite his people, while avoiding a bloody civil war. Kruul’s folly had made the orc race vulnerable, at a time when they could ill afford it. Their allies were few, and in these troubled times other races were becoming increasingly suspicious of outsiders. Haksa drifted deeper into a trance as the powerful liquid took effect, and before long he started to receive visions and sentiments that communicated the will of his gods. The visions were often of the past, and occasionally of the future. Over time, the shaman had learned to better interpret them, however still now there were many that remained a mystery to him.

Hours later, the mighty orc woke from his slumber, the drugs slowly dissipating from his body. He sat for hours, pondering what he had learned from his most recent commune. It seemed he was to become a summoned, and apparently the gods had the means to make it happen. Haksa was not one to question their will, however this was somewhat unexpected.

Kruul had been one of the first to be summoned, and Haksa had seen first-hand the profound effects it had had on his adversary. His powers were augmented significantly, in line with his arrogance. Despite his reluctance, Haksa would follow the will of his gods; he knew that there was a significant role for him in all of this. He walked back to his old chest, and once again rummaged through the compartments. There were some herbs in there that he had not used for a long time; ones that would enhance his powers in battle. Haksa wanted to be prepared for when the summons came. The summoned would learn to fear him, and he would find a way to end Kruul.

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Ashtooth, predator of the Shadow Plane

Ashtooth, predator of the Shadow Plane

Neutral monsters are a unique, challenging, and fun aspect of Judgement. As the game has matured, the best players have come to realise that appropriate manipulation of the neutral monsters can go a long way to ensuring victory. The Judgement crew have always treated the creation of monsters with the same care and attention as we do our heroes. Ashtooth was actually the first monster created, when we only had the 5v5 game on our horizons. It was not until later, when we developed the 3v3 version of the game, that we introduced Gloom, to provide an monster that was easier to kill, and better suited to new players.

While we were fortunate enough to get Gloom sculpted up in our wave 1 Kickstarter, Ashtooth remained unlocked, so we were always keen to get him done. With wave 2, like we did with Gloom in wave 1, we are making Ashtooth part of the core range, so he is almost certain to get produced this time around. With that in mind, we commissioned James W Cain to bringing Helge's magnificent illustration to life, and here it is!

Ashtooth is currently the toughest monster in the game to kill, and provides the healthy reward of 2 Fate, and of course, the obligatory level. He also hits like a freight train with a massive 7 damage crit attack, along with a 2S Poison combat manoeuvre. Outside of possibly Brok, you normally need to commit more than one hero to take the werewolf down, and many a great battle plan has come unstuck in the attempt.

Work has already begun on Inferno, the other wave 1 monster that remained unlocked, so look out for his reveal in the near future.

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Lich Dance - Part 2

Lich Dance - Part 2

Continuation of Lich Dance - Part 1

“Hmph”, grunted Styx. “We both survived. Interesting”, he thought, filing away the memory in his data-bank for retrieval once he had returned to his master. But for now it would have to wait. First, to battle.

Styx entered the fray swinging his chain scythe in a wide arc, the keen blades whistling as they cut through the dull air of the shadow plane. His cyber-mind scanned through data stored from previous battles, formulating plans that would optimise the synergy between his allies and his own considerable powers. There was no data on the hooded minotaur and any attempts to read its mind were being met with considerable resistance. “Curious”, mumbled Styx. It seemed that today was full of the unexpected. Pushing the distractions from his mind, Styx sprinted like a madman towards the centre of the enemy’s battle lines in what appeared to be a suicide mission. His target was the orc, Rakkir. He knew full well how dangerous an adversary the rogue could be if left unchecked. Nephenee, who was still finding her bearings and trying to work out exactly where she was, watched incredulously as the cyborg ran off into the gloom. 

 

Rakkir readied his blade, dripping wth toxin, as he saw the half-man, half machine, hurtle towards him. A snarl formed at the corner of his mouth. “What was this idiot doing..?”  Rakkir’s blade began its descent, aiming for a deadly blow to the base of the cyborg's neck. Moments before the blade hit home, Rakkir heard Styx utter an incantation before the cyborg began phasing in and out of the orc's vision. Then, with a faint blue pulse of light, the half-man disappeared completely, before a giant werewolf appeared exactly where he was a moment before. “Ashtooth!”, Rakkir exclaimed, in an attempt to rally his allies around him. The orc had fought the beast numerous times before, however it was normally on his terms. The blood shadow admonished himself for underestimating his foe, before hastily dropping a shadow orb to escape the predicament the cyborg had placed him in.

 

Styx braced himself as the enemy’s effigy exploded, hurtling the heroes bound to it back to the prime material plane. It was a hard fought victory, secured when the she-elf, Nephenee, launched herself over the enemy defensive line and sunk her twin laser blades deep into the effigy itself. She had fought well, and Styx managed to glean much about her abilities through the course of the battle. Invaluable information for his master Zaron, no doubt.

The minutes after a battle were always surreal, Styx mused. First, each of the victorious heroes was momentarily connected with the demigod that had summoned them, a mind link that allowed the briefest of dialogue. This was followed by a permanent transfer of a fraction of the demigod's powers to the summoned mortals. The five were then left alone on the plane for a time, until the power of their effigy faded, at which point they were transported back to their bodies on Athien. Some of the heroes used the time to explore Between, although there were limits to how far the ethereal chord connecting them to the effigy would allow them to wander. Most of the time, they would just sit together and go over the battle they had just fought. They would compare strategies and tactics on how best they could work together the next time they were summoned. Because, while they could just as likely be enemies next time, the reward of power gained whenever they were victorious meant that the vast majority of the summoned considered the others their allies, and would work with them to secure victory whenever they could.

It was so odd, thought Styx, that these heroes had become his friends of a sort. Back on Athien, most of them did not really know each other. This was especially true for him, who through his master’s work was actually summoned from another timeline. Despite this, all of the summoned shared a common bond, one that set them apart from all of their kind back home. None of them knew where this would lead, but all of them considered it a tremendous gift and they all enjoyed the power it bestowed. 

“I don’t know what this place is, or what just happened to me, however I will find out once we return to our homeland”, Nephenee said quietly as she sat down beside Styx. He had forgotten all about her. He turned to her: “Truth be told, I hoped it would kill you. However, now that you have survived and joined the ranks of the summoned, you will learn that I have bestowed upon you a priceless gift, she-elf.”

Nephenee found herself getting angry without really knowing why. “Don’t try to twist this, beast”, she spat out in frustration. Not being in control of things irritated her no end. “I will continue to hunt your master down. And after this treachery, I am certain you will be added to the list of wanted.”

Styx smiled wryly. He stared at her, his mechanical eye boring into her soul, making Nephenee uncomfortable. “Don’t be a fool. We are the only two summoned from our time. We should work together; we are brother and sister now”, he said, before turning back to gaze at the hooded minotaur who busied herself idly carving glowing runes into the earth. If Styx's cyber computer was correct, she was Xyvera, however if true, it was certainly a significant turn of events. What would master Zaron say...

Nephenee followed the cyborg's gaze towards the hooded minotaur. The crone adjusted her hood until she was able to match the elf's stare. Nephenee immediately lowered her gaze. She then turned to ask Styx about the crone,  however she was interrupted by the tug of her ethereal chord as the effigy that bound them all to the plan of shadow became dull, its last energy fading.

Moments later, Nephenee found herself floating, moving ever faster through the ethereal plane before she broke into the atmosphere of Athien. She could see her prone body lying where she had left it on the floor of the decrepit building. Seeing herself from this vantage point highlighted how slight and small she was. For the first time in a long time, Nephenee felt vulnerable, even afraid. She knew the last few hours would change her life forever, for good or ill, she did not know.

With a start, Nephenee took a big gasp of air as she entered her body, then sat up trying to take it all in. After a minute or so, she rose to her feet, adjusted her armour and jet pack, and climbed the stairs to the parapet so she could look towards her home city. How she loved that place. To her right, a bright glare caught her attention, the sun's rays reflected off the metal plates of the cyborg. For several minutes Nephenee watched him walk off in the distance, pondering what the cyborg had told her on the shadow plane. “Until we next meet…brother.”

-- by Andrew "Guns" Galea --

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The Ancient One - Xyvera, Minotaur Necromancer

The Ancient One - Xyvera, Minotaur Necromancer

A gnarled, wrinkled hand dragged across the earth, smudging the glowing rune that was carved in it moments before. Xyvera, squatting on her heels, mulled thoughtfully over the portents the rune communicated. Rune carving was a sub-conscious activity for her, a long forgotten art she had perfected over the centuries. For over a hundred years, the runes had enabled her to foresee many things, years before they would come to be. The message was not always obvious, and hours of meditation was often required to glean an accurate vision. Today’s one could take days to decipher, it was too important to get wrong, care was needed…indeed.

The silence was broken by a low moan, an incoherent gibber. Xyvera got to her feet, grabbed her staff, and walked deeper into the cavern where she currently resided, through a low archway into a small alcove. Lying on the floor, manacled to the wall, was a middle aged human male, bloodied and beaten. His torn shirt revealed strategically placed wounds, inflicted by a practiced torturer. It took some time for her to break him, however after Xyvera persisted with her gruesome techniques, he was only too willing to part with his deepest secrets. With a start, the man snapped into a sitting position and shuffled away from Xyvera, until his back pressed against the cavern’s stone wall. “Please…I have nothing more to tell you. Let me go, please!”

Xyvera slowly pulled a large knife from a scabbard concealed within the folds of her cloak, gestured towards the man with her other hand, and uttered a short incantation. The man immediately fell into a kind of trance, still conscious, however not present, gazing into the distance. Xyvera inserted the point of the blade into the side of the man’s face, and then drew it precisely down his jaw line until it got to the tip of his chin. The pain was too great, even for the spell he was under, and his face contorted into a grimace, before he howled in agony. Xyvera continued her gruesome task, flaying the human’s face from his skull, before lowering him to the cavern floor as he entered his final death throws. 

The necromancer attached the flayed skin to her staff, a practice that enabled her to recover the victim’s memories in the coming months, as required. She closed her eyes, calmed herself, and let out a slow deep breath. Her mind was made up, it was time, the signs were crystal clear and there was no denying them. Xyvera would become one of the summoned and play a part in the great struggle of the age. Manipulating one of the demigod fools to summon her was the easy part, ending their folly and saving her people, well that was something entirely different. Without a look back, Xyvera walked from the cavern before setting course to the north west. She would seek a commune with the once mighty Doenrakkar, and with him plan her first journey to the plane of shadow.

**************

The latest hero reveal for our Wave 2 Kickstarter is Xyvera, a female minotaur necromancer, of the Soulgazer class. For regular viewers of our weekly Twitch stream, you would have heard the Judgement game designers speak of how challenging it is to design and balance heroes, that are not straight up damage dealers. Damage in the game is a mathematical problem, and therefore can be run through simulators and like-for-like comparisons are pretty easy to do. However, for heroes that bring value in other areas, such as Bastian Oriel, it is not quite so simple to evaluate their worth or impact on the game.

One of the key design features of our game is that it does not have points values for models. Therefore, by definition, we are saying each hero is balanced with each other. We say that with some reservation, because that is not strictly true, and not something we lay down as the law. Combinations with other heroes, interactions with various maps, and the 3v3/5v5 game types, all have an impact on how strong a champion is. However, for the sake of this discussion, essentially we try to balance heroes with each other. Extra care must be taken when we start designing non damage dealing champions.

With Xyvera, we decided to push that boundary even further. She is completely different to anything else we have done so far, and she introduces some fantastic new mechanics that are sure to shake up the meta. Before going any further, here is her card!

A quick glance at her face card and you can see she is definitely not a combat orientated hero. In fact her stats, other than Soul Harvest, are un-inspiring, but that does not tell even a fraction of her story. The fact she is a minotaur grants her decent health and the race themed Regeneration (2). We can now launch into her 4 Active Abilities at level 1, amongst the highest in the game. 

Blood for Blood means Xyvera is a healing bank, and when combined with her regeneration, a damn good one. To be able to heal another hero for 5 health, for the cost of a single action (and cutting herself), is powerful. 

Corrupt Blood follows the same theme, with Xyvera cutting an ally, or herself, to damage an enemy. Once again, a very powerful ability in the right situation, no dice rolling and no chance of failure. If an enemy is down to 5 health and within 4" of a hero, in Xyvera's Warband, they are dead.

Unholy Harvest extends Xyvera's Soul harvesting range to a massive 10", when you consider the 2" base of the hero you are cutting.

Raise Dead can completely upset your opponent's plans, with the early return of a dead hero. If you have spare Fate and Xyvera is around, she can raise a dead friendly model, and they will not have the 2 action cap in the next turn. A really strong ability, and one we are very excited about.

At level 2, Xyvera unlocks Soul Link, which can make it extremely difficult to kill either of the heroes that are linked together, particularly if they have large base health values. 

And finally at level 3, Diminish Will is perhaps one of the best de-buff innate abilities in the game. This ability will mess with the activation and effectiveness of many heroes. 

Xyvera will play differently to any hero in the game, and will take some time to master. There are several really strong synergies she shares with heroes and we look forward to seeing what our players come up with.

We will be publishing a background story for her in the near future, which will provide more context around her abilities, look out for that in a future blog post. Until then, we will leave you with her awesome illustration by Shane L Cook.

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Allandir, Elf Ranger - 1st Sculpt for our Wave 2 Kickstarter

Allandir, Elf Ranger - 1st Sculpt for our Wave 2 Kickstarter

The Judgement team are super excited to release the render of the Allandir sculpt, the 2nd hero from the World War 2 genre, and 1st of our Wave 2 Kickstarter heroes. Allandir is a male elf ranger of the aggressor class, who brings to bear the longest ranged weapon in the game at 10", and a host of cool abilities.

Like all elves, Allandir has decent base stats including MOV and AGI of 5. His RNG of 7 is not amazing, however with a range of 10" on his Bow, he will often be able to gain the aiming bonus, boosting it to 8. Equipping him with the Heart Seeker artefact will often send him to the stratospheric levels of 9 RNG, which will scare the life out of your opponents. Allandir's signature plays are the Twin Shot combat manoeuvre, which makes a mockery of an opponent's tendency to bunch their heroes together, and Explosive Shot, which pretty much means a bunched enemy is a burning enemy. Finally, at level 3, he becomes the ultimate tank buster with the Armour Piercing fate ability. This guy packs some serious punch, albeit not with the same mobility of Istariel, but when positioned well, he is a terror to behold.

The Allandir illustration was done by Helge C. Balzer, whose artworks are becoming synonymous with the Judgement range. Helge managed to capture the essence of Allandir in a dynamic pose that reflected his in-game rules superbly. 

When it came to sculpting Allandir, we wanted to move even further, so that he was not simply a fantasy elf in military clothes. He had to look the part. We were fortunate enough to once again secure Tom Lishman to create the sculpt, and true to form, he produced a masterpiece. Absolutely nailed it. 

There are so many interesting things with this model, it is something you can look at several times and still find something new, which is really cool. The main deviation from the illustration was to remove the bandana and reveal his mohawk, a hairstyle a lot of paratroopers employed during WW2. His cape and bow keep him tied to his elven roots, however the rest of his outfit blends him into the WW2 genre perfectly. Scenic bases are a very important aspect of all Judgement models, and Allandir's is no different. It also ties in the dual fantasy and WW2 themes by having giant mushrooms near a pond (fantasy) and a dead tree (WW2).

Allandir is a fantastic sculpt to kick off our wave 2 kickstarter range, and we are bursting with excitement to reveal the rest. Stay tuned. 

Andrew "Guns" Galea

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Lich Dance - Part 1

Lich Dance - Part 1

A short story featuring Nephenee & Styx

Nephenee eased the thruster of her jet pack and landed softly on the cobble stones, moving seamlessly into a crouch position behind one of the parapets. She absentmindedly reached behind her lower back, flicking the switch to shut the jet rotors down; even when idle they emitted a low hum. All was quiet except for the call of an owl, and the wind whirling through the gaps in the stonework of the old bell tower she had landed on. The structure was several hundred cycles old, and it was over a hundred cycles since it had been used as a bell tower. Today it was dilapidated and abandoned; a sentinel watching over the rubble of the town it once serviced, a remnant of a period of Athien largely forgotten.

Nephenee glanced at her watch irritably, then lifted her gaze to see the sun descending behind the mountains in the distance. For a moment, she lost herself as she caught sight of the tall spires and delicate towers of her home city, reflecting the golden rays of the setting sun on this balmy evening. 

Her thoughts were broken by a movement off to her right, a lone figure walking solemnly towards the tower. Nephenee had been tracking this one for some time now, slowly unlocking his secrets. A complex web shrouded the man in mystery. He was a cyborg; one of the first apparently, a product of his master’s experiments long before the process had become humane. If the cyborg held any animosity towards his master, there was no evidence of it. The devotion had lasted almost five hundred cycles. It had evolved into adoration once his master, Zhim'gigrak had completed the journey to become a lich. Five of the state run Special Investigation Units, or SIU as they were known, had been assigned to investigate the lich. Nephenee was one of them, which is what had brought her to the tower today.

The fact that she had been assigned to follow the lich’s disciple, rather than the beast himself, irritated her no-end. It was a slight, to be sure, however she was determined to complete the task to the best of her ability regardless. Nephenee was certain that this tower was a key piece in the puzzle. The cyborg would regularly travel to the tower and lock himself inside for days at a time. She had entered the tower several times after his visits and searched every corner of the structure, yet uncovered nothing. It made no sense. Today, she was determined to unlock the mystery.

The cyborg felt a tingle from the v-unit implanted in the back of his head, a precursor to the optical display attached to his right eye presenting a new message. The tiniest movement in the very corner of his lips, was the only sign of emotion he showed from the message contents. The she-elf was near, as his master had predicted. Her impatience had made her rash, and today she would get far more than she bargained for. 

These days his master was known as Zhim'gigrak, although some called him Shadow-Walker and others even spoke of him as if he were death itself. However, to the cyborg, he would always be Master Zaron. The cyborg had begun serving him almost five hundred cycles ago, when Zaron was still a mere mortal. He had assisted him on his first journey to the Shadow Plane, helping him build the Shadow Orbs, and finally complete his ascent to a lich. The reward, from his master, was eternal life as a cyborg. A merging of machine and man into a form superior to both. Cyborgs were more common these days and all were gifted with an increased lifespan, however none came close to the five hundred years that he had lived. Another gift from his master. Even after all this time, the cyborg preferred to go by his mortal name, Styx. It grounded him and kept him in contact with his inner being, lest the machine take over completely.

Styx pondered his master’s plans for the elf, running the role he would play through the mortal part of his brain. It was slower and more prone to mistakes than the cybernetic portion. However, Styx had learned that at times, relying on his old human instincts could serve him well in crucial situations. Once again, Zaron was attempting something that had never been done before. He planned to tether a second person, the elf, to a single astral chord; the one intended for Styx alone. Neither of them was sure what would happen if a sixth hero answered the call of an Effigy’s summons. The assumption was that the elf would be caught in limbo, the astral plane that connects the shadow plane to Athien, or that she would simply die. Another theory was that the Effigy would explode, hurtling the summoned heroes back to their mortal bodies. The cybernetic portion of Styx’s brain interrupted with the thought that he was just as likely to die as the elf, before kicking off a thread to research how to survive in the astral plane.

Styx pushed through the decrepit door, swinging on the rusted hinges that barely kept it attached to the door jam. His optic display told him that the she-elf was on the move. “Come, bitch…”

Nephenee peered over the parapet, to see the cyborg entering the building below. Without a sound, she leapt over the edge and used her achilles-boosters to lower herself silently to the ground. She waited a few moments before carefully pushing open the door just enough to squeeze her lithe torso through the gap. Once inside, her elf vision kicked in, allowing her to see more clearly in what was almost total darkness. The outline of her prey’s heat aura was visible to her a little to the right. He was lying down. She began to edge closer, but paused. A strange wispy column of light was visible, seemingly emanating from the cyborg’s chest. It could not be. Nephenee knew stories of the summoned; mighty heroes who were transported to the plane of shadow at the behest of demi-gods. But none had been seen or heard of for hundreds of years. They had almost passed into legend. Could the cyborg be a summoned?

Nephenee turned on her heel. She would have to report this discovery to her superiors immediately. This explained so much, and unlocked some of the mystery surrounding this half-man. Her mission was complete. Two strides from the door, she felt a soft, feathery sensation on her back foot. She whirled around to find a tendril of the wispy light wrapped around her ankle. Before she had time to think, her foot was pulled out from underneath her and she landed hard on her back. She frantically tried to regain her footing, however she was powerless against the unknown force and found herself being dragged by her ankle across the floor towards the cyborg's still form. Nephenee began to lose consciousness, and a powerful feeling of deep sleep overcame her. She felt weightless. Serene. Peaceful. Like slowly sinking to the ocean floor. 

All sense of time was lost. At some point, a week, a day, a few seconds later perhaps, Nephenee felt consciousness return to her, although not entirely. She was standing before a towering edifice, a weird union of stone and organic materials. She could see a pulsing heart within the structure, and glowing runes provided a sharp contrast to the gloom all around her. Nephenee had never been here before, however she immediately knew this to be the plane of shadow. A thin, smoke-like chord connected her to the structure. She looked to her right to see a similar chord connecting a minotaur, hunched over with a large hood concealing its face. Next to the minotaur was a crazed-looking orc shaman, eyes wide and focussed straight ahead. Beyond him, a two-headed half giant bellowed a deafening war cry, and finally she saw the cyborg. He too was looking into the distance, and did not appear to notice her. Five of them connected to the stone edifice, including her, and a 6th strand hanging loose with no one attached to the end. "What was this place?", she thought, trying to calm her senses in preparation for what came next.

“Hmph”, grunted Styx. “We both survived. Interesting”, he thought, filing away the memory in his data-bank for retrieval once he had returned to his master. But for now it would have to wait. First, to battle.

-- by Andrew "Guns" Galea --

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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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A Tear in the Fabric of Time

A Tear in the Fabric of Time

A short story about Loribela Runeflask and Allandir.

Loribela took a moment to breathe and assess her surroundings. The battle was not going well. The monster with the metal bucket on its head was causing havoc, seemingly tossing its enemies around at will. The creature was unnerving. The others referred to him as Kvarto, however this was her first encounter with him, and it was daunting. Lori too had the ability to shift her enemy, however at least she did it within the normal rules of the physical realm. This abomination could do it with its mind.

Her thought process was interrupted by the piercing howl of another of her comrades falling, the Mistress of the Flame. Lori cared little for the elf anyway, although she was handy in a fight. With her death, the Effigy that bound Lori to the plane of shadow crumbled even more, and she knew the end was near.  There would be no euphoric feeling of enhanced power today, something only victory in this game of demigods could provide. With a bellowing roar, the mighty Doenrakkar charged head long into Lori’s Effigy, destroying it with one mighty blow. The familiar low hum emanated from the Effigy, signalling its final attempt to survive before one last release of energy burst out in a powerful wave of magical flux, knocking the victors on their backs.

Lori

The ethereal chord that bound Lori’s mortal body on Athien to her physical projection on Between pulled her violently out of the shadow plane, through the fog of the ether, and into the atmosphere of her home world.  Losing a battle on Between had its consequences, and she thought of the coming days of nausea and muscle pain. However, she knew that she would recover over time, and once again long for a chance to return to the arena of shadow. Loribela’s body hurtled from the sky towards her still form, laying where she left it upon her summons. 

With a thud, Lori was thrust back into her body; always a weird sensation. She slowly opened her eyes and propped herself up on her arms to take in her surroundings. Without conscious thought, Lori suddenly leapt to her feet, and set herself into a defensive stance, combat ready as the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. Something had gone awry. She was in an alien place; a forest of some kind, snow covering the ground and dew glistening on tall pines. 

Earlier when she had been summoned, as she had done countless times before, Lori had laid down in the rear shed of her father’s forge, a place where her mortal body would be safe until she returned. However, for some inexplicable reason, today she had been returned back to her body in a different place; a place that was unfamiliar. However, the scene reminded her of the descriptions she had heard about the great forests of the north of Athien. 

“Loribela Runeflask”, a calm, methodical voice spoke behind her. She turned on her heels to see where the voice originated from. Before her stood a slender, but stoic-looking elf, bow drawn before him, pointed at her heart. 

“Allandir”, Lori responded, “please lower your weapon.” Loribela spoke these words firmly, more a command than a request. She had fought several times with, and against, the elf ranger, however this was the most they had ever spoken. He was haughty and aloof, even for his kind. They had actually fought on the same side earlier today, the defeat still leaving a bitter taste in her mouth.

Allandir pondered her for a moment before lowering his bow, his arrow remaining knocked. 

Allandir

“Do you know where we are?” she asked rather sheepishly. Lori did not like being in unfamiliar surroundings, so far from her warm hearth, particularly when she was poorly dressed for such wintery conditions.

“My forest is unmistakable to me, every square inch.” he replied slowly. “The question is not where we are, but when we are”.  Allandir let the last statement hang in the air as he crept away from Lori, his attention drawn to something further north.

“Speak plainly, elf. Where the hell are we?”, Lori barked. 

Allandir waved his hand towards her irritably, beckoning silence. He then gestured to her to follow, index finger to mouth. Yep, Lori thought, elves were so annoying.

They walked 100 yards or so to the top of a rise before the elf motioned Lori to stop. They crawled the last few yards, the cold wet snow seeping through her britches. Lori’s discomfort from the snow was quickly forgotten once she was able to see over the rise, onto a road below. Three vehicles, like none she had seen before, were stopped on the road. Five or six humanoid figures milled around them and spoke amongst themselves, too far away for her to discern what they were saying. Their clothes were odd, military uniforms perhaps, certainly not from any army of Athien. The furrowed expression on Allandir suggested he was as perplexed as she was.

Lori’s attention then turned towards the vehicles. Large metal behemoths, one with strange looking tracks wrapped around its wheels. Her mind raced back to her earlier conversation with the elf, when he talked about not where but when

Allandir tapped her on the shoulder and motioned for her to retreat back down the rise. Once back, he spoke:

“Have you ever spoken with Bastian, the gem encrusted man of legend?” he asked.

“No, I only know of him from what Doenrakkar has told me. About him being not of this world, and the puppet master behind many of Athien’s machinations”, she replied.

“Bastian is indeed not of this world. He is from the shadow plane itself. No one knows his actual purpose, however the man has more knowledge about all things, than any other mortal on Athien, even the oldest of my kin. Of late, he speaks of a tear in the fabric of time, that is slowly growing in size the more the demigods meddle with the gate between Athien and Between. But all I have heard is a time span of days, perhaps a few weeks, until now. It seems you and I have somehow been cast back to Athien on a different time line, potentially on a completely different mirror plane.” Allandir stopped, his eyes glazed as he thought deeply.

The enormity of what the ranger had said started to sink in. Lori absentmindedly stroked the deep scar on the side of her face, as she did when troubled. 

“Do you think we're stuck here?” she asked.

“I'm not sure, however my educated guess is we will be drawn back to the shadow plane the next time we are summoned. After that battle, who knows." Allandir had a glint in his eye as he added: "Which means we don’t have a lot of time to learn everything we can from this land, and garner as many new weapons and contraptions as we can before our time here ends…” 

Lori had not been thinking of this situation as an opportunity, however perhaps the gods had dealt her and the elf a good hand after all. “Well, let’s do it”, she said, as she offered her hand to Allandir as if to shake on it. The elf looked at her hand in disdain, before touching it lightly with the end of his bow. “Deal. Now, we have work to do. Let’s go”.

-- by Andrew "Guns" Galea --

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A Race Against Time

A Race Against Time

The universe in which Judgement exists, its history, details and story, are just as important to its creators as the game itself. A game's narrative provides depth to the heroes, and gives an opportunity for players to become more familiar with their favourite characters in the game. What is a hero's motivation? What is their life like outside the battle grounds of the shadow plane? And what does the future hold for them and their home world?

These are all questions that can be answered within a game's narrative. We have done an enormous amount of work creating a rich tapestry of background material, and continue to work on it on a daily basis. It is from this tapestry that new heroes will be created, new storylines established and eventually, new editions of the game developed. For me, a game without a strong narrative lacks something, and from the outset, I always wanted Judgement to provide something interesting and meaningful to those players that appreciate such things.

So today I present a new fiction piece that provides greater insight in two heroes. Kvarto the human pariah, whose unusual appearance has raised many questions from players whenever we meet them, and Bastian, the mysterious lore keeper whose purpose hints towards something greater than a being a pawn in the games of the gods.

- Andrew "Guns" Galea

The cold wind howls through the cavernous streets and the rain pelts down, almost horizontal. Flashes of lightning provide brief glimpses of the day’s refuse tumbling across the cobblestones. Rubbish piles up against an old wooden table-top, propped up against a building’s outer walls in a narrow alley way, a makeshift shelter from the harsh elements. It is what lies behind the wooden barrier that most interests Bastian Oriel today.

Bastian focuses his inner sight to beyond the barrier, where he sees a hulking form rolling on its side in a vain attempt to get comfortable. The creature’s thoughts feed through to him. Still a few hours until sunrise, and a chance for some rest before another day dawns and the hope of a summons begins anew. Bastian becomes pensive. The creature prefers the plane of shadow over Athien these days, and few could blame him.

The metal helmet encasing the creature’s head is no longer a hindrance. Its skull, neck and shoulders have moulded to the metal tomb over the years since it was so brutally forced upon him. Once again it stirs, a low guttural growl emanating from deep within. It is becoming agitated. “BASTIAN! LEAVE ME!”, it bellows, its intentions clearly threatening. The sound of fist against metal can be heard, as the creature desperately tries to stop the lore keeper from probing its mind.

Bastian pulled himself away from the crystal ball set on the desk before him. Within the globe, a cloud of smoke quickly obscured the vision of the alleyway, before dissipating completely. He absentmindedly ran his index finger along the green gemstone where his left eye had once been, as he was prone to do when he felt the emotion that humans refer to as irritation. He had been scrying the creature called Kvarto for some time, however of late the beast had learned to sense the lore keeper's probings and was getting better at hindering his work. Bastian sighed. So many things to keep abreast of, and these days the landscape was changing almost constantly. Even a genius like him was being stretched.

The tear in the fabric of time was perhaps the most pressing matter Bastian had to attend to, however this Kvarto creature intrigued him; he knew that an important piece of the puzzle lay within the wretched brute. For while many of the summoned could alter the projection of themselves ever so slightly when taking physical form in Between, Kvarto was able to manifest himself along with his twin brother; a brother who had died shortly after childbirth. More impressive yet, not only would Kvarto’s brother appear as some kind of mutant appendage, he was also able to make decisions, speak independently, and even cast magic. Kvarto himself was a formidable opponent on Athien, a warrior of some renown. However, combined with his lost sibling's mind powers, he truly was a force to be reckoned with on the shadow plane. What most troubled Bastian was that he had no idea how Kvarto did it. Mighty heroes travelling to Bastian’s home plane were causing damage enough. However, if they were to learn how to manifest more powerful versions of themselves, the damage could reach catastrophic proportions. So far, only the lore keeper knew of Kvarto’s secret. The rest of the summoned assumed he was the same mutant beast on Athien as they saw on Between. Until they discovered otherwise, Bastian had time to solve the puzzle and prevent others from unlocking a power similar to Kvarto’s.

Anger rose within Bastian. While he toiled relentlessly to stop the damage, the demigods continued to play their game, oblivious of the threat they posed to the entire universe. Fools, the lot of them. Blinded by their desire to become gods, and for what purpose? Pfft. Being a god was not all it was cut out to be… The last thought calmed the old man, and even brought a rare smile to his face.

Already, greater gods and beings from other planes had become aware of the threat posed by the demigods. It would only be a matter of time before they started to descend to Between themselves, to sort things out. Unless, that was, he could bring about the demigod’s demise first. For the time being, he was forced to play the part of a summoned hero, enabling him to garner as much information as he could. He would try to put a stop to it all before things really got out of hand.

The mystery of Kvarto would have to wait for another day. A more pressing matter was at hand. Two of the summoned did not return from their last battle; one that was waged over 3 months ago. It was the biggest tear in the fabric of time that he had witnessed and, until he found them, Bastian would not be able to rest. Sigh…working within the confines of a mortal body was becoming tiresome. Dispelling his last thought, Bastian rose from his chair and began the ritual that allowed him to traverse time. He knew the two missing champions were somewhere on the time continuum. He would find them eventually. Hopefully today’s search would prove fruitful.

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