The Fight Out Of The Streets and Into the Dark
Optional rules concerning Perception In Darkness and Concealed Warrior Movement for Mordheim
By Jeff Hogg
The rules for Mordheim, and Necromunda before it, assume that anything on the table can be seen from anywhere on the table as long as the path of perception is clear. They do not cover any instances of obstruction for darkness, fog, smoke, etc. These two concepts are linked and should be considered (for organizational purposes) from the point of them being an "optional" section of the Mordheim Rulebook. This is broken down into two groups of rules that introduce new concepts. The first, perception, concerns the effects of limited range for line of sight. The second, Concealed Warrior Movement, concerns the difficulties of having two players, one table, and the given that within certain scenarios there is no feasible way for the opposing leader (player) to know absolutely were and how an opponents warriors are positioned. These rules are ‘generic’ in a sense. By fine-tuning them they can be used to reflect any setting. Whether it’s a stronghold ruin, ancient tomb, burial catacombs, or anything else you can imagine, these rules will help you to see through the darkness.
PERCEPTION IN THE DARKNESS
Warriors that fight in dark subterranean settings are subject to the following rules for determining whether a model can see another model.
All models in a scenario that uses the darkness rules are always considered to be hidden (counters not required) unless the model is in an area that has been declared to be a lighted field by the rules of the scenario, house rules for individual pieces of terrain, or the model is in the mobile lighted field that is created by having a burning torch or lantern. A lighted field is the area of light created by torches, lanterns, glowing cave fungi, Dwarven light gems etc. Warriors also can see enemies if they are inside the normal area allowed for spotting hidden models determined by the observing warriors initiative.
The following rules apply to all warriors that are in darkness.
1) Warriors may not run or add the move multiple for charging in darkness unless the path of their movement is in a light field.
2) Warriors may not shoot at any target that is hidden. The presence light sources does not cause any penalty for shooting.
3) Shooting from darkness into light is permissible and warriors that cast spells may do so when in darkness or in a lighted field.
4) Warriors that cast spells or shoot while in the dark remain hidden, as do models that are stunned and in the dark as the darkness always hides them.
5) Any warrior in hand to hand combat that cannot ‘see’ is at –1 on all rolls to hit.
Optional Rule: Silhouettes can be seen when one warrior is viewing another that has a light source behind him. In this instance a warrior with the light source behind him may remain hidden as long as he knows that the viewer is watching by hiding. A warrior hiding in the dark is essentially pressing up against the wall or dropping to the floor and can only remain hidden if he moves half of his move or less (rounded down) during his movement phase. If this rule isn’t used then the warrior remains hidden until he enters a light field and may move as normal.
Some races (who spend far too much time under ground) have developed an acute perception to allow them to see in the dark. These races should be given either the darksight or the deadsight special rule at no additional cost. The races that have darksight include Scaven and Night Goblins. Dwarves as a rule do not have darksight, as they have in the past mined gems that gave off enough light for them to function in the dark. The only ‘race’ that has deadsight is the undead, and only true undead get it at no cost, so dregs and ghouls do not start with deadsight. As a matter of balance, all the ‘races’ (or warband lists) of the Warhammer Fantasy setting should get a ‘free’ special rule of their own to balance the ledger so they will be listed below as well. Any ‘unofficial’ Warband list should have one of these special rules associated with it. These other special rules require the use of most of the other optional rules below.
Darksight- Warriors with darksight see as if they have an area around them that is treated in the same way as a light field. Darksight functions ONLY for the warrior that has it and works in an area that includes everything within a 9" radius of the warrior.
Example: Scaven A and B are on guard and watching for intruders. They are posted 6" apart. Goblin A is walking toward them on a path that is parallel to the distance between the Scaven Guards and is closer to Scaven A than to Scaven B. Both races are assumed to darksight. Scaven A and Goblin A will be able to see each other when they are nine inches apart. Scaven A will be able to raise the alarm; Scaven B cannot see the goblin to raise the alarm because Goblin A is to far away. Warriors with darksight can run in darkness without penalty.
Deadsight- True undead such as Vampires have the ability deadsight instead of darksight. Deadsight functions as darksight does but the range is much farther. A warrior with deadsight is treated as having a personal light field that extends out to the table edges. This ability has a price though. Creatures with this ability are repulsed by light. Any warrior with deadsight must make a leadership test to charge a warrior carrying a lantern, torch, or any other item that creates a lighted field. A warrior failing the leadership test should be treated as having failed a fear check and warriors who are immune to leadership tests are not immune to this test.
Stepping Wisely- Dwarves get this underground ability for free. Some warriors are better at navigating the traps (natural and unnatural) of the underground better than others. These warriors may add 1 to the result of any roll required due to running in the underground. This includes both the rolls to check for the presence of a trap as well as the effect it causes.
Imperial Resolve- Warriors of elven stock, as well as the warriors of the human mercenary warbands have the training (or the abundance of pride) required to keep their wits about them when all seems lost. Warriors with this special rule may make a leadership test to stop before leaving the table due to failed all alone tests. If the warrior passes the leadership test he is placed at the edge of the board.
Friend of the Dark- Warriors of the Possessed and the Sisters of Sigmar suffer far fewer problems with Dungeon Fauna than other warbands. Warriors with this special rule encounter Dungeon Fauna only on a roll of one.
Masters of the Fire Which Purifies- Warriors of the Witch Hunter Warband always have the stuff for lighting fires on hand. The Witch Hunters always have a number of torches or lanterns with them equal to the number of heroes in the warband. These torches and lanterns may be distributed freely among the warband.
Kicka- Orc’s are known throughout the world as the masters of destruction. Orcs automatically do two wounds to a door anytime they score a wound to try and break a door down.
One last note on special rules in general in a tunnels setting. There are lots of special rules in the game and some of them are not going to mesh well with this system. On that really stands out is the Imperial Assassin’s Hide in Shadows ability. If a warrior with a torch is standing in an empty hallway and is in base to base contact with an assassin, the warrior still needs to make an initiative check to see the assassin. While that’s ludicrous, it would be even more so to try and list every possible contentious point. Use your common sense to settle any problems that occur.
By adding the perception rules the following equipment needs to be altered
Torch- A torch creates a light field centered on the warrior carrying the torch. The radius of the light field is 9". A torch requires a hand to use but it also counts as a weapon in hand-to-hand combat. It has a Range of Close Combat and strikes with the strength of its user. If a torch is used in close combat it also has the following special rules. Note that a torch cannot actually set a person on fire.
Concussion: A roll of 2-4 is treated as stunned when rolling to determine the extent of a model’s injuries.
Burning Brand: A torch has a chance of scorching an opponent. A torch has an extra save modifier of –1.
Breakable: A torch breaks after any wound causing a critical hit is scored. This causes the torch to fall (and be extinguished) and to cease to be a weapon. The critical wound is resolved as normal before the torch ceases to be an available weapon for the remainder of the scenario.
Extinguishable: A warrior using a torch in combat is at risk of extinguishing his light source (which then ceases to create a light field). If the torch falls it is extinguished. A warrior will only drop his torch in the most dire of circumstances, which is when the torchbearer receives a wound that causes a stunned or an out of action result, or when the torch scores a critical hit.
Cost: 8 gold. The torch may be purchased at the time of warband creation and is considered a common item. This purchase is actually a supply of torches that will last through the whole campaign.
Lantern- A lantern creates a light field centered on the warrior carrying the lantern. The radius of the light is 9" but hooding the lantern can change the area to a 1"x 9" rectangle. By hooding a lantern the bearer can keep other warriors hidden behind him and still reveal what’s ahead. A lantern may not be used in combat but may be put down to enter combat. If the warrior is charged or charges the lantern is assumed to be dropped to the ground at his feet once the warrior is engaged.
Cost: 10 gold. The lantern may be purchased when the warband is created and is a common item.
CONCEALED WARRIOR MOVEMENT
In the hallways of Dwarven strongholds and the tunnels of Scaven nesting burrows, guessing the disposition and placement of enemy warriors is a nightmare. In the ruins of Mordheim the leader of a warband can ‘guesstimate’ the position of the enemy based on sound and prior sighting. But in underground complexes of any sort, the leader simply doesn’t have the information to make those ‘guesstimates’. The Concealed Movement Rules help to reflect this in a scenario.
In a scenario that uses the Concealed Movement Rules, the following must be done during the deployment phase of the scenario. During deployment the players must list the models that are part of each group on separate cards and pick tokens that will represent them on the table. Each group will have a card prepared even if the player elects to place no models in it. The card should list the type of group and a description of the token on one side and the list of models in the group on the other. The groups and restrictions for each group are as follows.
1) Rearguard Group- this group is optional but important. The player may elect to place no models in it but will have some serious problems if the skirmish goes badly. This group is may be made up from any warriors in the warband. This group does not require a hero to lead it, as its job is to secure the deployment area where the warband entered the table. This group may not have more than one fifth the warbands warriors in it (round all fractions up to the next non fractional number).
2) Main Group- this group typically represents the bulk of a warbands forces. It will always have a hero leading it, so one or more of the warriors in it must be a hero. This group’s equipment, weapons and armor are unrestricted.
3) 3 Scout Groups- these groups are the ‘eyes and ears’ of a warband. They are always lead by a hero, so one or more of the warriors in it must be a hero. The warriors in this group may NOT be wearing or carrying heavy armor. If any of the models are equipped with heavy armor, it is assumed that they stripped it off before going off to scout and it is in the warbands stash of equipment.
Each group will have a ‘fantasy appropriate’ token. The token can be a traditional miniature of the warband being played, or can be anything ‘typical’ that could be found in a tunnel/cave/mine setting. The token should be on a 20mm base as a standard. This allows players who really enjoy the modeling aspect of the game to get creative and make tokens that enhance the look and feel of the game. The token could be a cave rat; half of a fallen skeleton; spent lanterns lying on the ground, in short anything. These tokens represent the unknown and maddening sounds that permeate the darkness.
Unless the scenario declares differently, when deploying the groups the following placement rules apply. The Rearguard Group Token is placed within 1" of the warbands entrance. The Main Group is placed up to 3" from the warbands entrance and the Scout Groups are placed out as far as 3 times the move rating for the tokens.
All tokens have a move rating equal to the lowest normal (as in unmodified by permanent injury) move rating associated with the group. Therefore a Marinburger warband’s tokens would move at 4" per turn, while a Scaven warband’s tokens would move at 5" per turn.
If an opponent warrior manages to draw a clear line of site an enemies token after considering cover and being hidden then the tokens card must be shown. Note that if the token qualifies as having cover then it is not shown. If there are warriors listed in that group then they must be placed on the board immediately with the first model placed where the token was and any others behind it. The game continues as normal from there.
If the token’s group doesn’t have any of the warbands models associated with it then a roll would be made to see if there was something else there. A roll of 1 or 2 on a d6 indicates that the token is actually some sort of ‘dungeon fauna’. All ‘dungeon fauna’ has the following stats whether it’s a large spider, rat, bat or other critter.
If you want use a random encounter table you can substitute one of your own design with the dungeon fauna rules. I suggest that the roll on your encounter table would be caused only (and automatically) by encountering an ‘empty’ group token.
ROUTING IN TUNNEL COMPLEXES
If a warband wishes to (or is forced to) rout in a tunnels setting it may have troubles beyond the fact that it has had its pride injured. When a player routs (forced or voluntary) check to see if the Rearguard Group is still in it’s position. The Rearguard must be no farther than twice it’s move rating from the deployment zone. If the Rearguard Group is not in position the player may not rout as normal. All unengaged warriors will move to the nearest closest deployment zone to them during their move and exit the table there when they reach. All engaged warriors automatically attempt to escape from combat during their movement using the optional rules by the same name listed on page 161 of the Mordheim book. Warriors that successfully escape will move to the closest exit off the table. Warriors that are leaving the table due to a failed All Alone test must also move to the closest deployment zone. Any warrior that leaves the table from any exit that is not the warrior’s initial deployment zone must roll on the Lost Table during the post game sequence. Hero’s may add one to the roll as they are the stuff of legends but may only earn the You Found What result on a natural roll of six.
Die roll Result
1 Forever Lost- The warrior is removed from the warbands roster.
2 Almost made it but then…- The warrior is treated as if he went out of action.
3 Temporarily Lost- The warrior manages to find a way out but must miss the next game due to the deprivations suffered.
4 Muddled Through- The warrior returns in time for the next battle but does not get to roll for exploration or search for rare items at the market.
5 No Problem- The warrior returns in time to roll for exploration and searching at the market.
6 You Found What!- As above but the warrior may re-roll one dice for exploration and the warrior gains an additional experience point.
MOVEMENT IN THE DARK
A step in time…
The underground settings are very dangerous places, even without the adversarial warbands. Whether a warrior breaks his leg by tripping on loose stone or falling in a hidden pit, the effect is the same. However warbands that are cautious tend to suffer fewer casualties to the complex they are exploring. To reflect this the movement rules are altered to include the following.
Any warrior may walk as normal in the underground but when the warrior ceases to be cautious, things happen. If a warrior chooses to run or charge then there is a chance that he will spring a trap, be it something placed by human hands or created by the forces of nature. A running or charging warrior must roll a d6 once for each extra multiple of his move that is used (warriors using the sprint skill to cover more ground must roll twice). On a roll of 1 or 2 the warrior has found a potentially fatal surprise and must roll on the table below to determine the effect of the surprise. Warriors with a six initiative (or better) may add one to the roll. A warrior with a Rabbits Foot may choose to use it to re roll for this test. A warrior ‘hit’ by the effect that has a lucky charm MUST use it to ignore the hit, effectively ignoring the accident itself and doesn’t need to roll.
Die Roll (2d6) Effect
1 Crud, Aaahhh…- The warrior is Out Of Action, and Lost.
2 Crud, Yeowch- The warrior is Out Of Action.
3-5 Crud, Ouch- The warrior is Knocked Down.
6-8 Crud, That Smarts- The warrior is Stunned.
9-10 Yikes- The warrior is treated as having failed a charge, but no other effect.
11-12 Graceful Turn - the warrior dodges a fatal accident. No effect
The effects that are generated happen at the point in the warrior’s move where he would stop if he had made a failed charge. If a warrior has multiple wounds and is required to roll on this table, a result of 3-8 counts the model as having taken a wound (no save of ANY kind) AND the additional effect is ALSO generated as the warrior temporarily incapacitated by the ‘trap’.
Ouch, me ‘ead ‘urts…
The underground is a very difficult place for warriors with the Huge Special Rule. To reflect this they may not run at any time and may only move as far as their Movement score when charging.
Doors and other feats of Dwarven Design
The underground has doors in it. Whether it’s a Dwarven tunnel or a Scaven Burrow there are going to be places that the builder wanted to keep others out of or restrict access to and doors are the solution.
For the purposes of underground tactical games a door represents an obstruction to both movement and line of sight. The line of sight part is covered perfectly under the rules for cover so it doesn’t need be addressed. Movement on the other hand is a different sort of animal. Doors in the tunnels are described with three pairs of traits. Doors are either open or closed, unlocked or locked, and either spiked or clear. All doors in a tunnel scenario are considered as being closed and locked at the start of a game.
An unlocked door may be opened or closed with no movement penalty.
A hero who has the key to a locked door may unlock it and move through without movement penalty.
A hero who wants to go through a locked door must spend a full movement phase doing nothing but "unlocking" the door. Henchmen and hirelings cannot unlock doors unless they have a special rule that allows them to do so. Once a door is unlocked in this manner, it remains unlocked until a warrior locks it again. Hero’s, henchmen, and hirelings may choose to destroy a locked door as described below.
A hero or henchmen who has the key to a door (as declared by the scenario) or a special rule (provided my an academic skill) may lock doors.
A spiked door cannot be opened at all and must be destroyed to move through. Any warrior who attacks a door may destroy it. No attack roll is required as the attack always hits. All doors should be treated as having a toughness of 3 and 2 wounds unless a scenario describes the door(s) differently. Only one warrior may attack a door in each players turn. Any warrior who is armed with a hammer (or club, mace etc.) or axe may add one to his strength when determining wounds. Once the door is destroyed in this manner it has no further effect on game play and cannot be repaired.
Heroes may be equipped with iron spikes to spike doors with. A hero must spend an entire movement phase spiking a door to have it considered spiked. Spikes are treated as an item that is purchased along with other supplies and does not need to be purchased to be used.
ARMED AGAINST THE DARK
Some weapons are nearly useless in a tight tunnel setting. To reflect this, the following weapons are of such a reduced effect that they either cannot be used or suffer the following restrictions.
All bows require an amount of ‘loft’ to reach out to their maximum range and unfortunately there isn’t enough ‘overhead’ room in tunnels to allow them their normal reach. All bows are restricted to a maximum range of 16" though any other special rules they might have are unaffected.
All black powder weapons are handicapped in an underground environment. The function as normal by suffer from the side effect of possibly deafening the user and those nearby. Any warrior within three inches of the black powder weapon must roll vs. his toughness when it is fired. Whether the warrior makes his save or not, for the rest of the battle he can no longer look to his leader for moral reinforcement and must use his own leadership score for psychology tests. If the warrior fails his roll then he will miss the next game as he has been temporarily deafened and cannot be given orders in combat. Black powder weapons are extremely loud and the concussive echo that occurs when using them in a confined space is very dangerous. Unfortunately, useful shooters earplugs are an invention of the 20th century and are not available to correct this. The Scaven Warplock Pistol also suffers from this effect.
Two Handed Weapons
Most hand-to-hand weapons are designed for use on the field of battle and are of limited use in tight corridors. A further aggravation for warriors in the underground is the fact that tunnels are often fortified in such a way as to amplify the limited use of "large" weapons. Any weapon that has the special rule "Two Handed" cannot be used underground.
Ouch, me ‘ead still ‘urts…
Large creatures suffer from the same weapon restrictions and must choose their weapons appropriately. If a henchman (like an Ogre) is incorrectly equipped at the start of a scenario, he may re-equip himself at no cost to the warband.