31 January 2013 | Relic

Battling the Threats of the Antian Sector

Combat and Character Development in Relic


In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, war is constant, and the battle for control of a new Warp rift in the Antian Sector rages with extraordinary intensity. In Relic, the heroes of the Imperium of Mankind must battle an incredible array of alien creatures and agents of Chaos, and only the right combination of preparation and luck can spell victory for the forces of humanity.

In our past previews, we’ve shown you some of the threats the heroes of the Imperium will face, and some of the tools Mankind will use to eradicate the opposition. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at how the course of combat unfolds, and how a hero gains levels to advance his might to epic proportions.

Engage the Enemies of Mankind

Many factions are interested in gaining control of the Warp rift, and precious few are friends to humanity. When a hero lands on a space with a threat icon, he may be met with one of the many enemies of mankind. If a hero should fail to destroy any of the foul xenos or agents of Chaos, these denizens of deep space will simply linger there, awaiting their next chance to attack one of the heroes. Combat commences immediately when a hero encounters an enemy.

Battling the many enemies of the Imperium requires a varied approach to combat. A hero may engage in a battle of strength, willpower, or cunning depending on the enemy he faces. If a hero engages multiple enemies with the same attribute type, then the enemies combine their scores into one, making them much harder to defeat. Heroes should be wary of wading into battle with a group of enemies, since even the most powerful champion of Mankind can be overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

Here a player has landed on a space with two blue threat icons. The space already contains one blue Threat card and one red card, so he draws one more blue Threat card, and now must face both blue enemies at once.

When the combatants are revealed, the hero then has a chance to prepare for battle. As mentioned in our last preview, Wargear and Power cards can be crucial in determining the outcome of battle, and the forces of Mankind have plenty of hardware at their disposal. The player determines if he’d like to use a weapon, armor, or Power cards to help him best whatever foul thing is attacking his hero.

Once the hero has fully prepared himself for battle, the player rolls a die. The rolled value is added to the hero’s strength, willpower, or cunning value, and then any other bonuses from equipment, items, or allies are also added to the combat score. The person to the left of the player in combat rolls for the enemy, and then adds that die result to the value of the enemy. 

Luck can play a critical role in the outcome of any conflict, and the tide of an entire battled can be turned by a single, well-timed blow. When a player rolls a six, the die “explodes,” allowing the player to roll another die and add that value to his score as well, and sixes can continue to “explode” as long as they are continually rolled. While this can lead to your hero dealing some serious damage, it can also spell disaster, as your enemies can also benefit from this mechanic.

Taking a trophy from a fallen enemy is an ancient practice that has survived into the far flung future of Relic. Once an opponent is slain, the player gains that enemy’s card as a trophy. The trophy’s value is the same as the number that was used in combat. If the foul xenos and agents of Chaos should win the struggle, your hero loses one point of Life. Your hero will be vanquished in his quest to secure the Warp rift if his Life value is reduced to zero.

Being vanquished in battle is not the end of the story for your chosen warrior, for the heroes of the Imperium are made of sterner stuff than most. Vanquished heroes discard all of their Power cards and trophies, and are revived with their base Life value at the St. Antias’ Sanctuary Space. For the tough heroes of the Imperium, falling in battle is just a setback.

Spending the Spoils of War

Even for these powerful paragons of the human race, there is always room to improve. Players can spend six points worth of their hard-earned trophies to gain a level for their hero.

Each hero evolves differently as they gain experience through battling the endless hordes of enemies. In this preview, we’ll be using the Sanctioned Psyker as our example of a hero gaining power through practice: 

Click the above image for a better look at the Sanctioned Psyker

Every hero starts with their level peg at the “Start” position above the character sheet, and they get their starting values of each attribute as listed along the bottom of the card. A character’s Power Limit and Asset Limit values represent, respectively, the maximum number of Power cards or Assets that a player can have. Assets can be weapons, armor, Allies, or other items, so choose your possessions wisely.

When a hero gains a level, the peg is moved on space to the right, and the hero gains the bonuses depicted in the column. A character may gain a point to a specific attribute, a Power card, Influence tokens, or he might get to use his special ability. 

Each level gained by a hero grants him two level rewards.

The Sanctioned Psyker depicted above is currently at level three. When he gains his next level, the Sanctioned Psyker will first gain one more point of cunning. The icon in the second row indicates that the Sanctioned Psyker then has a chance to use the Special Ability on his character card that is marked with the same icon. For the Sanctioned Psyker, this means he would get the chance to trade Power cards for influence.

The Power Limit of a character can increase as he gains levels, allowing for more opportunities to leverage the potent Power cards. The Sanctioned Psyker will increase his Power Limit from two to three upon gaining his fifth level. Asset Limits do not increase with a hero’s level, so characters must continue to make careful choices regarding their inventory throughout the game.

Slay enemies as you work to secure the Antian Sector and gather enough trophies to level up your hero to epic proportions. In our next preview, we will explore the consequences of Corruption in Relic!


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