Insider 11-29-2016

And we’re back for the third installment in our ask-and-answer series. For those of you who might have missed my previous Insiders, where I did my best to shed some light on our errata process in response to our community’s burning questions, check out Round 1 and Round 2.

If you have a question you’re dying to know the answer to, submit it to our Privateer Press social media experts either via Twitter using #askppdev or through our forums, in the Development and Errata Questions Submission forum.

1. Can models gain or lose weapons? If so, is this based on the sculpt of the model?

It’s extremely rare that a model gains or loses a weapon outright during the development process. More often a model’s weapons go through some amount of evolution due to the design and development process. For example, a military rifle may become a sniper rifle, or a sword may become a glaive. These types of changes can sometimes come from the playtesting process, but more often weapon changes happen due to an alteration in the concept art phase, when the overall composition of the model is being nailed down. A good example of this is Anson Durst, who in the original concept brief was armed with a more traditional paladin sword. However, during his concepting phase the creative team landed on the more distinctive lance-style look of Recompense. (He also got a substantial increase in size, going from a 30 mm to 40 mm model.)

2. Any chance of Rockbottom becoming Rhulic again? Or Lug becoming Rhulic at all?

I don’t expect to see Rockbottom, as an exile, gain the Rhulic keyword. As for Lug, he’s a wild bear. So no, I also don’t see him ever gaining the Rhulic keyword.

3. Ambush special rule being weighted heavily? Is there a reason these models feel over/undercosted?

Ambush is certainly a powerful ability and one that has to be carefully applied in order to maintain a fun experience. Because ambushing models can be basically guaranteed the back strike bonus and an effective alpha strike on their opponents and have a powerful impact in scenario play as well, units or models with Ambush need to be balanced with these expectations. As such their value is far from just a reflection of their stats and abilities; balancing also has to factor in their impact on your opponent and the table overall simply by their being a powerful wild card your opponent must plan for. Much like with random ROF from the last Q&A Insider, this means that Ambush represents a bit of a gamble in investment on the part of the player who takes it, but one that can pay off quite significantly under the right circumstances.

4. What is the intended difference between the Withershadow Combine and the Skarlock Thrall?

The Withershadow Combine is an expensive but versatile investment whose members bring a number of abilities to the table, while the Skarlock Thrall represents a much lower investment that focuses on bringing spell efficiency to its warcaster through Spell Slave. The Withershadow Combine is the equivalent of a high-octane sports car, while the Skarlock Thrall is your standard economy sedan.

5. Is there a reason the HORDES side of the house was left out of the awesome attachment system WARMACHINE got?

Really this just comes down to existing model options at the moment. As we move into future releases, I am sure we will see new attachment options for HORDES Factions using the awesome attachment system that is a core rule to both games.

6. Are models without cortexes intended to be able to be disrupted?

Yes. This was a decision we made during testing in order to help streamline the rules for new players. While thematically it deviates a bit from the fiction, we felt it was worth it to create consistency and eliminate confusion.

7. Why does Circular Vision stop back strikes and not Backstab?

Back strikes are meant to represent an advantage gained from a lack of awareness. Backstab is meant to represent the greater vulnerability of someone being attacked from behind—so even if I can see you coming, that doesn't remove the fact that I am more vulnerable to those strikes. Circular Vision in this case simply means I have more of a chance to avoid those attacks since I am not being taken unaware.

8. Is there any discussion on creating low-cost solos or reducing the point costs of solos in Factions that do not have access to 1-, 2-, or even a 3-point solo?

Keeping an awareness of possible point “slots” to fill in a Faction is something we do. However, we also don’t want to artificially limit design by trying to create “filler” models. It’s all about finding the balance between compelling concepts and potential point value needs, but in the end we will always lean toward creating a model with a definite role and purpose than simply an X-point filler.

9. Is there anything the development team is particularly excited about in the errata? For example, are the new anti-gunline abilities in Cryx really thematic?

Well, I can’t speak for development as a whole, but personally I am pretty excited about the change we made to Brute Thralls to give them a bit of counterplay to ranged armies, and I really like how we addressed Paingiver Beast Handlers to give Skorne access to free charges on their warbeasts in a new and interesting way.

10. As stated in a Primecast, Jarl Skuld is a gun mage. Why doesn't he have shot types like other gun mages?

Not all gun mages have a list of Attack Types (I'm looking at you, Lieutenant Allister Caine). And more to the point, it's clear that as a Thornwood-born-and-raised trollkin, Jarl was never formally trained as a gun mage in the traditional sense, nor is he armed with a traditional magelock (instead his pistols are classified as Rune Pistols). My comment on Primecast was more to the fact that Jarl should certainly be considered a gun mage in the broad sense, as his magic revolves around his firearms. Furthermore, while he doesn't have a list of shot types, he certainly has one very iconic gun mage attack type that's always on—Black Penny. So who knows, now that Caine is on the lam maybe he and Jarl will cross paths, and the human gun mage might show his trollkin counterpart a trick or two. Or maybe Jarl's natural talent will continue to grow, and so too will his mastery of his rune pistols, much like Caine’s.