Friday, 28 August 2015

Dragon Rampant: Strength Points explained

Unlike Lion Rampant, where a unit's strength is recorded by removing casualties, Dragon Rampant uses Strength Points. They're the same… but different. The same can be said of most of the changes in these rules.

Well, all units begin with either 6 or 12 Strength Points, and when they are reduced to 0 or less, the unit has been destroyed. Just like the number of models in a unit in Lion Rampant.

The simplest way to track Strength Points is to field units starting with 6 models (for 6 Strength Point units), or 12 models (for 12 Strength Point units). That way, every time you lose a point of Strength, you simply remove a model. For heroic units, legendary warriors, and large creatures, you may wish to use fewer models in the unit and record hits using a dice or some other marker.

The number of models you choose to represent one unit does not matter, allowing you maximum flexibility in the way your collect your Warband. However to minimise record keeping I recommend limiting Reduced Model Units to your greatest heroes and bigger beasts only, unless you’ve agreed with your opponent to play with smaller unit sizes (which can be really useful if you’re playing with models pulled across from another game, be they mounted on multi-model bases or in units of 10 models, for example). To give you some idea of what can work, plenty of my development was carried out with 15mm armies collected and based for Hordes of the Things, and all I needed to do 'differently' was to track Strength using mini dice.

Essentially, Strength Points allow you a huge amount of flexibility in raising a Warband. An Elite Foot unit, for example, will fight in exactly the same way regardless of whether it contains six heavily armoured knights or one oiled up Barbarian King. There are pros and cons of both larger and smaller unit sizes - mostly to do with unit footprint and how easy/hard it is to use them to block enemies.

I'll leave you with a quick example:

Offensive Heavy Foot 1
Take a look at the two photos: one shows some stumpy little viking chaps with big axes and a bad attitude (sorry, Dwarves); the other has a trio of club-wielding brutes. 

In Dragon Rampant terms, you might look at these and decide that they're the same type of unit: after all, they're all well armoured/tough skinned, use chopping weapons, and are a bit slow when moving.
Offensive Heavy Foot 2
Therefore you might decide that both units would make good Offensive Heavy Foot, as that description pretty much checks all of that troop type's boxes.

So in game terms, both have the same stat line, but the difference is that the Dwarves start with 12 models and 12 Strength Points (so remove one model per SP lost), and the brutes start with 3 models and 12 Strength Points (so you should track hits on them, and remove one model for every 4 SP lost).

It's a way of keeping things simple, but with a bit of imagination (remember when we used to have to use that in fantasy games?), you can really style the Warband that you want to build.