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Defenders of Ulthuan



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 New Spear Rules, It just makes sense...
Capco
Posted: Mar 25 2008, 02:10 PM


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In historical terms, the spear was usually very proficient in dealing with enemy cavalry. Even fully armored knights with lances couldn't get their horses to slam into a wall of spears/pikes.

In light of this, I feel a rule for all warriors carrying polearms (spears and halberds) should have access to a universal special rule when charged by cavalry. For example, polearm attacks on charging cavalry should have +1 Str or have armor piercing attacks.
Perhaps Halberds give +1 Str as normal, but +2 against any cavalry, not just charging cavalry, as halberds were nasty at "hooking" heavily armored knights off their horses.

Or maybe a unit of cavalry must pass a leadership test first, as they must convince their mounts that they'll be "alright". Or both rules combined. If a ld test or both, then perhaps Bret are immune to taking ld test to represent their knightly impetus and prowess and not take away their edge in this department.

Even with ASF, a unit of spearelves can be ridden down, but take ASF and fight in three ranks with a rule (or rules) like this and they may become too effective to even consider charging. But that's how it is in real life, mind you. It could help put an end to the cavalry dominance we sometimes see.
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strewart
Posted: Mar 25 2008, 05:04 PM


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I'm pretty sure pikes get +1 strength when charged by cavalry, and I think it is a good rule. Though it does mean that no cavalry are going to be silly enough to charge them in the front. The +1s for halberds is probably enough for them, and if spears got it too they would be too good compared to pikes, I think heavy cavalry could break spears but had trouble with pikes so it makes sense as is.

Also, in game terms, GW is definitely simplifying the rules lately. There is no way they are going to start bringing in special rules like that in the sake of simplifying the game.
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Ethain
Posted: Mar 25 2008, 06:35 PM


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Well... Strewart is right.. Warhammer is mainly based on real life combat in many way and it is quite difficult as it is. But remember the fact that "PIKES" not spears are effective versus cavalry. Ok spears are not bad vs cavalry but spears are not considered as a cavalry menace. Pikes however are a cavalry menace but there are none in warhammer. Elvish spears look like pikes and the fight in 3 ranks gives the advantage but still they are spears for the game being simpler. That kind of addition may ruinthe game. Small gobbos with spears hitting armour piercing blows to empire kinght? hardly... Halberds are good enough. +1 str and they hit in initiative order.


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Ulthuan shall never fall! For we are the Asur and for long as there is light then we will shine...
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Criti
Posted: Mar 25 2008, 11:30 PM


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QUOTE
Pikes however are a cavalry menace but there are none in warhammer.


Except in DoW armies, and then there are MANY Pikes (+1 Strength against Cav and ASF in the first round, as I recall)


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Capco
Posted: Mar 26 2008, 04:21 AM


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True, it wouldn't be simplifying anything. But how much more complex would it really make things? Its just that if you think about the velocity and momentum of a fully armored horseman rushing into the tip of a spear that is planted against the ground (as it should be for receiving a cavalry charge) then it doesn't really matter the quality of your armor or spear; the laws of physics takes its effect.

I hate to cite a movie in my defense as all movies are just that, movies, but do you remember the charge of the English heavy horse on William Wallace's line in Braveheart? All I'm saying is that if you could get your mount to charge those, that scene is exactly what would happen; dead heavy horse (and they were just wooden sticks).

As pikes could be up to 16 feet long, I can definitely see the +1 Str and ASF for first round. ASF for all polearms vs. cav charges would be interesting, as would just armor piercing (to represent hundreds of pounds of force at significant speed rushing into a very small point, should the spear land its mark) in the same situation. It doesn't bode well with me that it is as easy as it is for cavalry to smash through blocked infantry armed with with spears in warhammer. In all military examples I've ever seen, cavalry has almost always lost against infantry that stand together and hold their ground with spears. The only exceptions are during excellent maneuvering of the cavalry (spears and such would only receive the bonus for frontal charges) or when the knights of the dark ages rode down all in their path (usually peasants forced to fight and very poorly armed). The latter example is due to mostly the same reason as the effectiveness of the spears, the momentum and crushing force of a fully armored horseman. Spears imo would use the knight's asset of brute force against him.
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Criti
Posted: Mar 26 2008, 05:17 AM


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QUOTE
I hate to cite a movie in my defense as all movies are just that, movies, but do you remember the charge of the English heavy horse on William Wallace's line in Braveheart? All I'm saying is that if you could get your mount to charge those, that scene is exactly what would happen; dead heavy horse (and they were just wooden sticks).


Those were pikes. Not spears.

A spear is 6 to 8 feet in length. When they became stabby weapons, rather than throwing weapons, they warded off cavalry. In response, the lance was invented. A 12 to 15 foot weapon. It negated the advantage previously offered by the spear. In response to that, pikes were invented. A pike is 16-22 feet in length. THOSE were what cavalry were afraid of. The size of the weapons in Braveheart clearly make them makeshift PIKES, despite being called spears.


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Ethain
Posted: Mar 26 2008, 06:39 AM


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Exactly. The spear is the cheap infantry weapon of the middle ages. Its quite useful and deadly but against lanced cavalry no chance. Only the ones I saw with pikes are something parazzo's lost legion from DoW. Spears are not useless against cavalry. As its harder to kill cavalry in the game from core s3 base troops, the spears deal more damage than any sword user. That gives them a bit of more advantage but they are still dead:P


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Ulthuan shall never fall! For we are the Asur and for long as there is light then we will shine...
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Capco
Posted: Mar 26 2008, 07:23 AM


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That argument turns down ASF for all spears, yes. That's out the door. But that still doesn't refute that after those lances hit home, man and horse continue to go along with their momentum. Proceeding into (what's left of) a wall of spears. That's a lot more force than a simple spear thrust. AP isn't that unreasonable for charging cavalry, is it?

(crosses fingers)


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strewart
Posted: Mar 26 2008, 08:28 AM


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Its a good point that lances are longer than spears so they should be striking first and killing spearmen.

And if you want to look at it realistically, remember the spears/pikes usually impaled the horses since horse heads cover the riders from the angle spears face upward, which would mean the riders would be thrown from the horses but effectively could still be alive yes? Now it is getting far too complicated to add in to warhammer.
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Capco
Posted: Mar 26 2008, 09:34 AM


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Ah, but warhammer has already dealt with that specific part of it, strewart! When you read in the BRB about the cavalry model and allocating attacks against them, it says that you can never attack the horse; all attacks are dealt against the rider. Even says something like "yes, riders may have there horses shot out from under them, or may be struck themselves, but for all intents and purposes, all hits are dealt against the rider." I don't see a problem with that aspect of it.

Just as a lance creates +2 Str bonus because of its size and force of momentum applied to a specific point, a cavalry spear like the reavers use does the same thing on a smaller scale (+1 Str on charge) *BECAUSE* of physics.

Two objects going 15mph towards each other will create the same impact that is created by one object going 30mph into a stationary object. It doesn't matter that it's the horses that are moving forward. Therefore inf spears, in light of my new reasoning, should get +1Str on charging cavalry, just as cavalry spears do.

The only reason I keep going on with this is because it really makes sense in my mind and confuses me that you guys cannot see that. Nothing more.
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Whirlwind
Posted: Mar 26 2008, 11:26 AM


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If we are going to use reality as our inspiration then please allow for this:

Lance armed heavy cavalry utilises shock and awe as its primary weapon. In real life enemy infantry units literally soiled their pants when the thunderous charge of a monsterous sized horse with his giant rider speed towards them. Remember that in real life most cavalry riders were taller, broader, clad in far superior thick armour, carrying a massive shield and armed with a lance far longer than most typical weapons. The sight and sound of such a foe oftern caused units to either turn tail and flee or to fight inpaired right from the start.

For arguments sake let us presume these infantry units held their ground and even had most of their fighting spirit prior to the cavalry charge hitting home. Once the charge slams into their ranks one can pretty much expect the entire 1st rank is either inpaled or flattened. You would find that the 2nd rank is far from in perfect fighting formation. The front rank would be impacting into them causing disarray, panic and doubt...even outright terror would be spreading like wildfire and several tons of potential energy would cause all kinds of havok.

Try playing Rugby in a scrum, make your side all slightly built unconditioned men and enter a scrum against seasoned massive players. Place yourself at the back and see if you are in perfect form for more than a second. The truth is you will feel much of the brunt because that is what real formation war was like, a big push of weight and bodies.

Your point of equal velocity causing equal force then counts for far less. Real war and real battles are not performed in ideal or laboratory conditions. There are too many other factors to consider and warhammer does its best to cover these with the many panic and leadership style tests we all take. The individual rules of the weapons are used as basic template for balance with each weapon attempting to be viable and worth using (Though there is still room for improvement) And the special rules of many armies and units do their best to cater for any special skills or physics which could represent expertise or racial abilities.

Now don't get me wrong, maybe spears could use a tweak but I do not think your points are quite as accurate as you believe. And in a game like warhammer small rule changes cause ripples which become waves. Then we get years of GW compensating for these ripples with all manner of changes. For instance, when I started the hobby heavy cavalry like Silver Helms or Dragon Princes were over 40 points each and yet were actually weaker than their current incarnations. Infantry however was similar in points cost to today. In the 6th edition they tried fixing this issue and the impact was so strong the edition became known effectionately as 'CavalryHammer' And it seems although this issue is now a bit better it still isn't properly resolved.

Also as it has been already said, Pikes did well against cavalry as long as the flanks or rear weren't exposed while spears served a generalist role as cheap mass produced weapons which required minimal training.

By all means share every idea you have and if you feel spears just aren't right then churn away at possible improvements, but people around here will always hash away at ideas until the happy medium is reached. I learned than when we used to do our revision posts/votes.

Thanks,


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Capco
Posted: Mar 26 2008, 12:03 PM


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Naturally. Compromise makes everyone happy, n'est pas? And the discussion continues...

To answer your points, I would say the initial shock and awe from the cav charge would be well represented by them attacking first at an additional 2 str.

Let's say we give those rugby players spears (lol). The bigger guys got bigger spears, and scrawny dudes (like me) have shorter ones. Now the big boys go at me. You are bigger, with a bigger spear, so when you spear hits me, I get hurt bad. But if you screw it up (rolling a miss) I get a chance to stick you with my spear while you are coming at me full steam. Yes, my spear is smaller and I myself am a smaller player, so you will just get hurt, but you're still going to impale yourself*. Provided I had the gumption to stick around and accurately stick you (rolling to hit).

3 ranks of Str 4 attacks is pretty brutal. Ok. So, what about spearmen have special cavalry receiving formation where only the first rank may receive the str bonus, as rear spearmen would be stabbing over the first rank anyway, not planting their spears. They aren't long enough! Simple enough to say "Those remaining in the first rank may attack back with +1 Str when charged by cavalry."

Regardless, this idea merits some playtesting. Ripples, indeed. I am going to challenge a DE player with these new spearmen rules in mind. With our respective armies, he will probably get more of an advantage out of it. But it might spawn a new and interesting factor in declaring charges. I say no to cavalry hammer! lol

*Perhaps killing blow to charging cavalry? Comments on this, si vous plait...
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Ethain
Posted: Mar 26 2008, 05:44 PM


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Well... You have some points you are missing. First is what the enemy do afterwards part. You cant hold one knight with a rugby guy actually because of the move. If the guys dont have pikes the Knights usually crush the 2 ranks with ease by lance and impact, and continue with that fastness into the thrid line with the horse and swords as weaps. Now Whirlwind is right. In real life battle, some huge guy hardy miss you and you hardly fall and think to raise a spear and he is foolish enough to get struck by you. In that long moment, if that happens that is the luck of the dark one. Really core units may have to roll a leadership against those empire knight fully armed to the toe and huge with their proud lances. But they dont do it. I understand your point that with speed even the spearman stands he gets a power because of the impact of the knight. Yes thats most probably. But as warhammer left the idea that horses were other units its harder to do. If a spear comes to the horse the knight probably just lanced you before you know. In real life there are no 1 dices mostly. The guys trained like hell and they hit you or die. They are in this mentality so take as Lance always gets spear. If there were pike in warhammer yes I would say pikes must have +1 str but there arent nearly one. And if a rule such as come to exist than many empire, bretonnian players would scream as the high elves players would. And think that those poor spears can hardly see what happened, just strike there spear where possible and probably to a place not that fatal, spears may broke also as they are not made that good as knight's parts. So unless the spears strike first (like ours) the idea of having +1 str is not possible, and if we had that rule, many players would burn GW in Nottingham:D


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Ulthuan shall never fall! For we are the Asur and for long as there is light then we will shine...
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strewart
Posted: Mar 26 2008, 08:13 PM


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Actually, I quite like the idea of spears having killing blow against charging knights. It could potentially be very powerful though, especially with our elves getting 3 ranks and striking first. Maybe a bit overpowered. 6 is KB, everything else is miss?

Still, I agree that the current system is perfectly realistic and there are many more things that could be added, to that level I agree with you. But I also realise that the current system is fairly well balanced and it works, and is simple to understand and use, I don't want an overly complex system. The rulebook is massive enough as it is without making simple combats harder than they need to be.
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Sammy the Squid
Posted: Mar 26 2008, 10:16 PM


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No. Just, no!
Cavalry are not that strong in the game (besides Brets) and are in fact rather weak compared to how strong they should be. As has been said, enemy units should collapse before the brutal charge of a cavalry unit, yet in Warhammer only the toughest Cavalry will break through. IF you are going to increase the effectiveness of spears against Cavalry, then you should also increase the abilities of cavalry against all infantry units too, and then things get so complicated... And Spears would need an increase in points to compensate for their abilities. The rules are good as is. Warhammer is not perfectly realistic in MANY ways, so let this go, because it shouldn't be changed...
Imagine, then GW would have to look at the Longbow because it was meant to be effective against Cavalry, and then people would be pushing for new special rules for all weapons and it would get horribly out of hand...

And to have a High Elf complaining about it? High Elves have the best defence against cavalry with ASF, so Cavalry should be weak against you anyways. And these are 9pt infantry facing off against 20+pt cavalry. Really, when counting Ranks, Standard and Outnumber, IF you loose combat, it shouldnt be my much...

If you plan to playtest the rule, then give the Cavalry more appropriate bonuses too. Otherwise its just unfair towards them. Maybe give them impact hits to represent the force of the horses hitting home? Or Lances penetrating ranks similar bolt throwers? tongue.gif Maybe then we can give Spears bonuses against them... If you are going to look at how realistic one weapon is, you have to do this to all of them.

Rant Over.

- Sammy

EDIT:
To take this one step further, lets look at the situation in the current rules. A unit of 20 High Elf Spearmen is just over 200 points, correct? A unit of 7 Empire Knights with command is 201 points, so roughly the same.
Now, the Knights charge, but the HE's strike first. In ranks of 5 thats 16 attacks at equal WS, so 50% hit. With S3 hitting T3, 50% would wound. Thats 4 wounds. 0-1 would fail their armour save.
Now lets assume none died. The Knights get to hit with 8 attacks. Equal WS means 50% hit. So 4. With 2+ to wound, we are looking at 3-4 dead Spearmen. The Horses would maybe kill 1 also.
Now, providing the Knights pass their saves and roll well to kill the spears, they have 3-5 kills to 0, which is counteracted by the HE's Ranks and Outnumber bonus.

So the result is, ON AVERAGE a unit of Empire Knights will draw combat with a unit of High Elf civilians. Ofcourse good rolling on either side could change this, but still. The feared cavalry charge really does not amount to much, so any bonus to the defending unit would just lessen it more.
With different cavalry the result would surely be different, but the better cavalry would cost more points too, so less numbers...

This post has been edited by Sammy the Squid on Mar 26 2008, 10:45 PM


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