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Melcavuk

Designing Undead Pirate Rules - The Abyssal Fleet

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Whilst I wait to see the impact that the new Cities of Sigmar book has on my custom Ironweld Battletome I wanted to try my hand at converting and writing rules for a fan favourite project the Undead Pirates (Vampire Coast for those WFB and Total War fans).

Undead pirates have oft been brought up as a fan favourite for a faction to explore, and since I havent made any custom rules for a death alliance army previously I wanted to play around with some ideas and how they might be implemented on the field of battle.

The Idea - Work in Progress name of ABYSSAL FLEET though I'm sure there are better name ideas out there. A Pirate Fleet made up of motley crews, of mixed races all succumb to death (all races, but in various stages of death)

The Emphasis - The Ships, what I want to avoid here is the Kharadron problem where the ships are one of the least used aspects of the army list. I have an idea to counter this where players purchase ships and accessory units with points, but their infantry are baked into the points cost of each ship and each nominates an infantry unit it lets you set up. This way the emphasis is always on the fleet and not on making max sized hordes.

The interplay between ships and crew should also be important, the Death after save for this faction is generated by the ships, if a crews ship goes down their tether is gone and they begin to get drawn back to the depths, but a crew can be pulled across the board back into their vessel.

Currently allegiance ideas (wording might need tightening but hopefully the idea is there) are designed to promote interplay between the massive focus points and characterful set pieces of the ships of the fleet, and the characterful motley crews that they bear to battle. Each is meant to rely on the other to balance behemoth with battleline, infantry with monster.

Eternity to Plunder—No mere blade can sever the bonds of eternity that tie a crewman to the mast, able to deflect would be lethal blows with ease to continue their plunder of the realms. Every accursed soul that makes up the motley crew has wagered gold and spoils against the weight of their soul to escape the underworld, oft able to coerce the ferryman another day to secure their fortunes and freedom once more.

If a friendly ABYSSAL CREW model suffers a wound or mortal would whilst within 9 inches of a friendly ACCURSED VESSEL roll a D6, on a roll of a 6 that wound (or mortal wound) is ignored.

Sworn to the Fleet—Though there are many a soul, cowardly and corrupt that has been cast to wander the Realms for eternity. The Abyssal Fleet is comprised of those sworn to the mast for eternity. A pirate without a ship is merely a thief with dress sense.

Every ACCURSED VESSEL in the fleet allows the controlling player to setup the nominated ABYSSAL CREW unit specified on their Warscroll,  make a note of the parent vessel for every unit setup in this manner as it becomes their SOUL ANCHOR for the duration of the battle.

Models with the ABYSSAL CREW keyword are unable to be deployed in the normal manner. Instead each unit must deploy within their ACCURSED VESSEL, or may be set up in the Depths. Units in the depths may be setup on the table at the end of any of their players movement phases, anywhere on the battlefield as long as they are more than 9 inches from any enemy models.

Soul AnchorThe souls of the Accursed are forever sentenced to toil before the mast of the Fleet, they are never free from its siren call able to be pulled vast distances to be drawn back to the hold of their eternal prisons, should their vessel fall however those corrupt and damaged souls are unable to resist the lure of Nagash to return to their watery graves.

In your Hero Phase you may declare a friendly ABYSSAL CREW unit is being pulled back to the ACCURSED VESSEL nominated as their soul anchor. This unit is removed from the battlefield and is instead embarked within their ACCURSED VESSEL. Units setup in this manner are unable to disembark in the following movement phase.

If an ABYSSAL CREW unit is still on the battlefield after their SOUL ANCHOR is destroyed they suffer D3 mortal wounds at the beginning of every subsequent battle round.

 And here are the V1 test scrolls for the Countess Isabella ship of the fleet and her Cutthroat Mutineer Crew

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Test1.jpg.b94925cb07ecee3f8ef29306e9b5ada8.jpg

Test2.jpg.f96106a7256904db6ee4244c0c7d982b.jpg

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Some more work on fledgling rules, feedback welcome as always.

Allegiance abilities:

Eternity to Plunder
No mere blade can sever the bonds of eternity that tie a crewman to the mast, able to deflect would be lethal blows with ease to continue their plunder of the realms. Every accursed soul that makes up the motley crew has wagered gold and spoils against the weight of their soul to escape the underworld, oft able to coerce the ferryman another day to secure their fortunes and freedom once more.
If a friendly ABYSSAL CREW model suffers a wound or mortal would whilst within 9 inches of a friendly ACCURSED VESSEL roll a D6, on a roll of a 6 that wound (or mortal wound) is ignored.

Infamy
The crews of the Abyssal Fleet barter on legend and infamy, those who can accrue a reputation of fear are assured the respect of lesser.
Heroes within an army with the Abyssal Fleet keyword each forge a legend of their own on the field of battle. At the beginning of the battle every Abyssal Fleet Hero begins at Infamy 0, and may gain infamy through a number of preset actions representing their pillaging, butchering or gaining repute through other nefarious means.

Each Warscroll will indicate how a Hero changes with these progressions, with the benefits gained being cumulative as their legend is forged. Below are the ways in which a Hero may gain Infamy, a model only ever gains bonus Infamy for being the general once and this occurs at the beginning of the battle. All other Infamy gains happen as soon as the trigger as met.

- The Hero is your General.
- The Hero dealt the final wound to a slain enemy Hero or Monster
- The Hero secured (or was part of securing) an objective previously held by an opponent.

 

Sworn to the Fleet
Though there are many a soul, cowardly and corrupt that has been cast to wander the Realms for eternity. The Abyssal Fleet is comprised of those sworn to the mast for eternity. A pirate without a ship is merely a thief with dress sense.
Every ACCURSED VESSEL in the fleet allows the controlling player to setup the nominated ABYSSAL CREW unit specified on their Warscroll,  make a note of the parent vessel for every unit setup in this manner as it becomes their SOUL ANCHOR for the duration of the battle.

Models with the ABYSSAL CREW keyword are unable to be deployed in the normal manner. Instead each unit must deploy within their ACCURSED VESSEL, or may be set up in the Depths. Units in the depths may be setup on the table at the end of any of their players movement phases, anywhere on the battlefield as long as they are more than 9 inches from any enemy models.

Units deployed in the Deep that are not setup on the table by the end of turn three are counted as destroyed.

Soul Anchor
The souls of the Accursed are forever sentenced to toil before the mast of the Fleet, they are never free from its siren call able to be pulled vast distances to be drawn back to the hold of their eternal prisons, should their vessel fall however those corrupt and damaged souls are unable to resist the lure of Nagash to return to their watery graves.
In your Hero Phase you may declare a friendly ABYSSAL CREW unit is being pulled back to the ACCURSED VESSEL nominated as their soul anchor. This unit is removed from the battlefield and is instead embarked within their ACCURSED VESSEL. Units setup in this manner are unable to disembark in the following movement phase.
If an ABYSSAL CREW unit is still on the battlefield after their SOUL ANCHOR is destroyed they suffer D3 mortal wounds at the beginning of every subsequent battle round.

COMMAND ABILITY
Over the Sides Lads!

Though defenders might seek to repel the creaking hulls of the Abyssal Fleet bearing down upon them it is sadly all too often the case that their mutineer and cutthroat crews swing from the long lines past the garrison to vulnerable populace beyond.
You can use this ability after a friendly ACCURSED VESSEL has successfully made a charge move in the Charge Phase and is wholly within 12 inches of an Abyssal Fleet Hero, or 18 inches of an Abyssal Fleet Hero that is your General. If you do so any friendly units embarked upon that Vessel may immediately make a charge move, for the duration of that move those units are considered to by Flying

 Warscrolls
 

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jesus christ dude. I cant speak mutch for balance since im not a tourneist but this is rather impressive, i must give it to you

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Really cool idea. I wish more projects like this were actively made and used in the public :)

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2 hours ago, Kugane said:

Really cool idea. I wish more projects like this were actively made and used in the public :)

 

3 hours ago, Raptor_Jesues said:

jesus christ dude. I cant speak mutch for balance since im not a tourneist but this is rather impressive, i must give it to you

Cheers guys, still early days with these as my alpha test scrolls for people to try and feedback on whilst I convert models. The aim is two more scrolls including the colossus walking ship and full command, spell and relics

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On 9/14/2019 at 1:01 PM, Melcavuk said:

 

Cheers guys, still early days with these as my alpha test scrolls for people to try and feedback on whilst I convert models. The aim is two more scrolls including the colossus walking ship and full command, spell and relics

Would it be an idea to base it around an existing army's warscrolls and just change the  names and keywords of abilities? That way if you ever play the army in a tournament setting you can refer to them as a counts as X army?

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1 hour ago, Kugane said:

Would it be an idea to base it around an existing army's warscrolls and just change the  names and keywords of abilities? That way if you ever play the army in a tournament setting you can refer to them as a counts as X army?

Having recently been informed that my spear statues would be too confusing to Competitive players when run as Spear Ossiarch I don’t think that would be viable. More over it would likely end up resulting in comprimises in models and themes just to sort of work

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1 hour ago, Melcavuk said:

Having recently been informed that my spear statues would be too confusing to Competitive players when run as Spear Ossiarch I don’t think that would be viable. More over it would likely end up resulting in comprimises in models and themes just to sort of work

I see :/. Thats a shame. Regardless looking forward to your progress 😃

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5 hours ago, Kugane said:

I see :/. Thats a shame. Regardless looking forward to your progress 😃

Cheers, the main reason for sticking to custom tome is that there is no army that I feel could encapsulate the themes I want to explore adequetly. The only faction currently able to embark is the KO and their warscrolls do not feel close to the concept of undead pirates for me.

 

Currently working through spell lores for the faction and the Bloattide Endless spell

LORE OF THE MAELSTROM

1 - The Patchwork Soul—The Heart of an Abyssal Captain is a Blackened void, a life of ill deeds, and a dead of yet more have weakened it. They can, for a time patch this voice with the souls of more virtuous creatures.
This spell has a casting value of 5. If successfully cast, pick 1 friendly Abyssal Fleet Hero or Accursed Vessel within 6 inches of the caster that is visible to them. You can heal 1 wound allocated to that model. If the casting value was a double you may instead heal D3 wounds allocated to that model.

2 - Becalmed—Many a sailor can be left adrift, absent tide or wind, alone amidst the sea with no way to ever reach home. Such a death is a lonely one, but to be so exposed and immobile in the heat of battle could tip many a battle plan.
This spell has a casting value of 5. If successfully cast pic one enemy unit wholly within 18 inches of the caster. Until your next Hero Phase that unit cannot make a run move and may only roll a single D6 instead of two when making a charge move.

3 - Aspect of the Kraken—The Wizard harnesses some element of the terror of the Krakens soul, coiling it into racing shadows and fading lights to lock their foe in a prison of their own tormented fears..
This spell has a casting value of 6. If successfully cast pic one enemy unit wholly within 18 inches of the caster. Until your next Hero Phase that unit suffers –1 to their Bravery for every Abyssal Fleet unit within 3 inches of them.

4 – Mutinous Heart—The Abyssals were Pirates, Cowards and Mutineers in life, such a treacherous nature can be conveyed, for a time atleast by imbueing some part of the resonance of the deep vaults into their foes heart driving soldiers against battle brother in a shameful display.
This spell has a casting value of 7. If successfully cast pick one enemy unit wholly within 18 inches of the caster that is visible to them and roll 1 dice for every model in the unit. For each 5 or more that unit suffers a single mortal wound.

5 - Thunderous Gale—The Roar in the heart of the Maelstrom is said to be so intense, that no conscious thought nor retreat to delusion can spare you its wrath. Wizards of the Fleet inflict some small portion of that upon enemy strategists that their voice might not reach those in need.
This Spell has a casting value of 6. If successfully cast select an enemy Hero within 18 inches of this model, until your next Hero Phase that model cannot use, nor benefit from, Command abilities.

6 - The Ferrymans Bargain—Not all of the Souls within the Deep Vault have been freed by Nagash, instead they are held that he might extort souls of equal value from the Abyssal Fleet to secure their release. The Lords of the Fleet have been known to mark targets for their God that their favour might be returned.
This Spell has a casting value of 9. If successfully cast select an enemy Hero within 12 inches of this model and roll a number of dice equal to the value this spell was cast at. For every 4 or more that model suffers a mortal wound, if the enemy Hero is slain as a result of this spell, before removing that model setup a friendly Spectral Helmsman or Gunnery Wight model within 3 inches of that models position and more than 3 inches from any other enemy models.

ENDLESS SPELL

 

 

Endless.png

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damn you sir with bone reapers and abyssal fleet on the f ing horizon  life on the realms look bleaker then then ever. kudos to you man you have fluff that  make bone daddy proud.  are we gonna get the  necrofex collosus on the army since that boi was best unit of vampire cost and him on the back of the army as behemot slot i can  see my enemies having bit of hard time to defeat me. grand Alliance nagash looking way to good right know.

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30 minutes ago, khadgar567 said:

damn you sir with bone reapers and abyssal fleet on the f ing horizon  life on the realms look bleaker then then ever. kudos to you man you have fluff that  make bone daddy proud.  are we gonna get the  necrofex collosus on the army since that boi was best unit of vampire cost and him on the back of the army as behemot slot i can  see my enemies having bit of hard time to defeat me. grand Alliance nagash looking way to good right know.

I have written a warscroll rejdming him as an Abyssal Colossus clocking in at roughly 240 with the ability to carry a single hero mounted in the rigging. His cannon is lethal but further boosted with the right hero inside (gunnery wight gives rerolls, spectral helmsman gives extra move and a heal)

He also has a Flagship rule that lets embarked heroes cast magic or use command abilities measuring from the colossus which makes it a fantastic anchor for the battle line

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I have a similar project but miniature based so I stated creating the parts about the coven throne/mortis engine models:

 

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4 hours ago, Melcavuk said:

I have written a warscroll rejdming him as an Abyssal Colossus clocking in at roughly 240 with the ability to carry a single hero mounted in the rigging. His cannon is lethal but further boosted with the right hero inside (gunnery wight gives rerolls, spectral helmsman gives extra move and a heal)

He also has a Flagship rule that lets embarked heroes cast magic or use command abilities measuring from the colossus which makes it a fantastic anchor for the battle line

f me that thing look much better then the old one as flagship unit it makes neferata or other casters beefy and powerful at same time plus can we have elite version where we can put two units in that sucker.

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Taking a look at command traits, and relics for the army along with version 1.0 Abyssal Colossus

COMMAND TRAITS

1 - Master Hoarder—Though all Captains of the fleet take comfort in swathes of gold to rival mortal kings, there are those who hoard treasures beyond all logical reason or restraint.
Select an additional Accursed Treasure or Realm Relic for your army, treasures selected in this way follow the standard rules for Accursed Treasure and no Hero may be assigned more than one.

2 - Blademaster—A tyrant who has endured the centuries by  carving a bloody swathe through history. This Master of Steel is a force to be reckoned with at close quarters.
Add one to Save rolls for this model in the Combat Phase.

3 - Ferrymans Prize—Though many in the Fleet run toward plunder and conquest, others bear the mark of the Ferryman. A debt is due, and already their forms begin to slip back into the shadow of the Depths
Ignore the Rend characteristic of attacks that target this model, as his ghostly form shrugs away such mortal constraints.

4 – Madman or Genius—The fine line between genius and insanity is never thinner than centuries beyond the restraint of the mortal coil
At the start of your Hero Phase roll a D6, on a 4 or more you may generate an additional command point this turn.

5 - Dead-eye—Accuracy, distance, wind… all can be calculated, memorised, adjusted for. Given enough time in battle all such things are merely practicalities to be adapted to.
In the shooting phase select one friendly Abyssal Fleet unit within 6 inches of this model. Add 1 to Hit Rolls for that unit for the duration of that phase.

6 - Malefic Conjuror—There is a raw deathly magic that rides the winds of the Maelstrom, those who spend long enough within its coursing tides will soak up some small portion of the magic.
Add 1 to Casting rolls for this model.

 

ACCURSED TREASURES

1 - Beguiling Gem—Many of the treasures of the Abyssal Fleet bear with them legendary curses of their own. Countless souls are said to have wasted their lives staring into the depths of the Beguiling gems infinite majesty.
Enemy attacks that target the bearer of this gem must reroll attacks that score an unmodified To Hit roll of 6.

2 - Kraken Blade—Hewn of the jagged shards of the beasts great maw, Kraken Blades are weapons of legendary repute and fiercely prized.
Select one of this models melee weapons to be the Kraken Blade, Add 1 to the damage characteristic of attacks made with that weapon.

3 - Anchor of the Deep—Forged from the chains that once locked the crews into the Deep Vault, the Anchors of the deep once affixed to their victim drag them slowly, yet inevitably beyond the veil to the darkest depths.
Once per battle in the Combat phase, after this model has completed its attacks if any wounds inflicted by this model were allocated to an enemy model and not negated, and that model has not been slain you may declare they are affixing the Anchor. At the end of that combat phase, and every combat phase thereafter roll a D6, on a roll of a 6 that model is removed as slain as they are dragged beyond the veil.

4 – Soulwrought Pistol—Some souls are damaged enough never to pierce the veil again, such things can however be bound to the Abyssal weaponry, using their own rent energies to disrupt the souls of a target.
In the Shooting Phase select an enemy unit within 9 inches of this model and roll a D6, on a 4 or more that unit suffers D3 mortal wounds.

5 - Carrion Cloak—The fleet are heralded by the clouds of Carrion Birds seeking feast from the Maelstrom. Some… tasteful souls forge macabre cloaks of these soulless scavengers.
The Bearer can Fly, in addition subtract 1 from the Bravery of enemy units within 3 inches of this model.

6 - Nagashizzan CompassThe Abyssal Fleet navigate not by conventional means, but by proximity to the Black Pyramid, their compasses seeing beyond the mortal realms.
Once per turn this model can use the At the Double command ability without spending a command point.

 

ABYSSAL COLOSSUS

Functioning as a midweight monster and flagship for the fleet rather than leaning on excessive damage output to carve a niche the Colossus has a decent resilience, command range buff and is able to carry a single hero whilst able to put out a respectable level of damage.

colossus.jpg.5301d3925c9e8389527aac334b9a65a2.jpg

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On 9/18/2019 at 1:04 AM, Melcavuk said:

3 - Ferrymans Prize—Though many in the Fleet run toward plunder and conquest, others bear the mark of the Ferryman. A debt is due, and already their forms begin to slip back into the shadow of the Depths
Ignore the Rend characteristic of attacks that target this model, as his ghostly form shrugs away such mortal constraints.

this is bit two good on nighthaunt heavy army with this on colossus and ectomancer to keep the boys going you are going to be unstoppable. but where is the kraken summoning bell

 

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3 hours ago, khadgar567 said:

this is bit two good on nighthaunt heavy army with this on colossus and ectomancer to keep the boys going you are going to be unstoppable. but where is the kraken summoning bell

 

As allegiance abilities these are keyed to ABYSSAL FLEET allegiance so nighthaunt wont benefit, also worth bearing in mind as the colossus isnt a hero he cant take the Command Trait. However they are all designed to add utility to the smaller, more fragile heroes to lend some more use or longevity.

Big monsters may come in time, to start balancing the ship aspect to make it "feel" like a fleet is my starting point.

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9 hours ago, Melcavuk said:

As allegiance abilities these are keyed to ABYSSAL FLEET allegiance so nighthaunt wont benefit, also worth bearing in mind as the colossus isnt a hero he cant take the Command Trait. However they are all designed to add utility to the smaller, more fragile heroes to lend some more use or longevity.

Big monsters may come in time, to start balancing the ship aspect to make it "feel" like a fleet is my starting point.

still makes good picture with idoneth deepkin as opponent abyssal see vs ethereal sea used by idoneth this makes nice wuixia style battle of the seas.

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