Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Warscroll Design Methodology

I received a question on one of my recent posts regarding how I create these.  It seemed like something that would be interested to devote a post to, just to go over my methodology, and how you can make your own warscrolls.

1) The first thing I do is look at the rules for a similar unit in Age of Sigmar.  So for Shoota Boyz, I look at Arrer Boyz, or for Genestealers I looked at Ghouls.  The Autarch is suspiciously similar to a Daemon Prince, while the Land Raider drew at least a little of its design (not much tbh) from a Steam Tank.  Basically, this is to get an idea of what parameters I should be working within, and what wound/bravery/movement would be appropriate for the unit.

2) The second thing I do is think about what makes the unit special, and what people will want out of the unit.  This helps me figure out abilities, themes, etc. for the unit.

3) The third thing I do is math.  In general save, movement, bravery, and wounds are already defined by the fluff (and values of similar units) so I'm not fiddling much with those.  I do, however, do a bunch of fiddling with attack profiles.  Even though this is definitely not the most time consuming part of the process (that would be step 2) it is the most involved, so here goes.

I start by coming up with an attack profile I imagine might be appropriate.  So let's say for example that I am making a warscroll for the Genestealer Cult Acolyte Hybrids (something I did recently).  I know they have Autopistols, Daggers, and I'd like them to have Rending Claws for flavor reasons, so I come up with:

Autopistol: 9"; A1; H5+; W5+; R-1; D1
Ritual Dagger: 1"; A1; H5+; W5+; R-; D1
Rending Claws: 1"; A1; H4+; W3+; R-1; D1

So I enter this into a spreadsheet.  Each attack has a certain amount of damage output against an enemy with a 4+ save calculated by:


So in this example, it shakes out as follows.

Autopistol: Damage per Action = .07
    (I divide this by 2 since it's a ranged attack, yielding .035 instead)
Ritual Dagger: Damage per Action = .06
Rending Claws: Damage per Action = .22

So now I can see that the total damage per action for these guys is .315 with the vast majority of the damage output coming from the Rending Claws.  Chaos Warriors (for comparison's sake) dish out .39-.44 damage per action (depending on choice of weapon).  So I'm aiming for somewhere in that region, and these guys aren't going to have a 4+ save like Chaos Warriors.  So, since I've got this all in a spreadsheet, I guess and check a bit messing with the Autopistol until I come to something I like.

Now, the damage shakes out as (taking into account an autopistol restrained by the rules of 1):

Autopistol: Damage per Action = .14
    (I divide this by 2 since it's a ranged attack, yielding .07 instead)
Ritual Dagger: Damage per Action = .06
Rending Claws: Damage per Action = .22

For a total damage output of .35, so a bit less than a Chaos Warrior, but with a lot of cool stuff going on.

To go back up a minute to step 2, the part of this warscroll (in fact the faction as a whole) I stressed over the most was the "Disciples of the Four Armed Emperor" rule.  Everything else was just math.

I have by no means analyzed every official warscroll, only a random sampling from a variety of armies as it comes up.  I actually use a Damage per Wound metric to decide whether what I'm doing is in the right ballpark or not, so these Acolytes would really be inflicting .17 damage per wound (it's just divided by 2).  My analysis has determined that most units have damage output between .1 and .5 damage per action per wound.

Battleline type units have around .15 or so.

Elite cool units have around .4 or so.

So now you know about regular units, sometime in the next few weeks I'll talk about Heroes, who are just a little different.