Fighting in Style
A preview for Omens of War, an upcoming Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay supplement
The unit of Empire swordsmen continued through the ravine, which was lit by a broken path of torches left by their lone scout - a huntsman whose name they continually forgot. The sergeant led the contingent methodically, motioning with his hands to ensure that their flanks and rear were watched. All seemed quiet and at ease. That is, until they found the scout’s gruesome body hanging from a tree, and a pair of dark crimson forms lapping up his pooling blood from the forest floor...
Omens of War is a deadly new supplement for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay that will inject your campaigns with an extra, unhealthy dose of violence. While Game Masters will be given access to all sorts of cruelty to dish out in their encounters, players are armed with new abilities and techniques in the form of fighting styles, Enhance cards, and several new combat-oriented careers. Today we’ll take a closer look at the fighting styles found in Omens of War and the all-new Enhance action cards.
Develop Your Own Style
Violence is an everyday fact of life in the Old World, and it’s difficult to survive - particularly as an adventurer - without learning the basics of self defence. Even the humblest scribe or merchant in the Empire knows which end of the sword to grip, and to be perfectly frank even some soldiers go their entire careers without learning much more than the basics of parry and thrust.
But some warriors go beyond the basics. Some of them dedicate themselves to the study of warfare and violence. These individuals may learn or develop a distinctive style of war, where every cut, thrust, and movement is part of a greater whole and a long-term strategy. For these individuals, Omens of War features action cards collectively referred to as fighting styles.
Fighting styles are a great way to give your character a unique identity. Regardless of your character’s career or lifestyle, violence is inevitable in the Old World, and everyone needs to fight if they hope to survive. Often times fighting styles derive from necessity, so simply choosing a fighting style can give you more insight into your character. Does your Coachmen arm himself with a blade in his off-hand because it’s cheaper than a shield? Perhaps your dwarf Hunter prefers to wield an axe with both hands, since he worked as a lumberjack for much of his youth.
The fighting styles described in Omens of War include:
Zweihander: A dangerous, destructive style, focusing on the use of a massive greatweapon. Favoured by Greatswords of the Empire, dwarf hammerers, some warrior-priests of Sigmar, and anyone else with two hands and a large weapon. Bulwark: A defensive style requiring a shield in one hand and a hand weapon such as a sword in the other. An example would be Empire Swordsmen fighting in close formation and supporting one another. Hunter’s Eye: The kind of style that would be used largely in either Hochland or Stirland, a style of archery that emphasises awareness and patience. Diestro: Fashionable amongst the noble elite of the Empire. Fencing weapons and off-hand daggers are used with speed and grace. Twin Weapon: Warriors who use the Twin Weapon style forgo a shield and wield a second hand weapon, spinning and slashing like a whirling storm. Chaos Marauders and Beastmen often use this kind of fighting style. Thunder: A style that involves pushing the capabilities of black powder weapons to the limit... or, frankly, well beyond! Mounted: Fighting from horseback is a style in itself. This style is commonly used by knights of the Empire, but similar techniques have been developed by cavalry of every race and nation. Judgement: The Witch hunters of the Holy Order of the Templars of Sigmar teach a variety of deadly techniques, many requiring some combination of sword and pistol.
Many action cards are given the name of a fighting style as a trait. While these traits aren’t naturally restrictive or requirements, Game Masters can incorporate his own rules as to how fighting styles govern the use of certain action cards.
Get What You Give
Omens of War introduces the new concept of Enhance cards, which are a unique subset of Action cards that can be played alongside normal Action cards. Enhance cards allow players to remove certain dice from their their dice pools in order to trigger beneficial effects for the Action card they are attempting. For example, you may the Stilled Breath Enhance card in conjunction with a ranged Action card in order to better customise your attack.
Players have to decide which dice to remove before they roll, of course, so they’ll have to have a good sense of their own capabilities to make best use of Enhance cards - if he sacrifices a Fortune die to Enhance the attack, will he still hit? Just how much risk is he willing to take for the reward? These Enhance cards are linked to certain fighting styles through the traits assigned to the card.
Let’s say you’re playing a Reiklander Scout who spent some time in Stirland during a greenskin invasion, learning much of what he knows about archery from the keen-eyed huntsmen in service there (giving him training in Observation). To reflect this, you might choose to focus on the Hunter’s Eye fighting style, which naturally takes advantage of you ballistic skill. The Stilled Breath Enhance card is a great way to thematically give your Scout an advantage from a distance.
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