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I seem to recall kobolds being really good with traps though, so maybe not completely outside the realm of possibility. Maybe Goblin Slayer would be another example? It is the monster's home that the PCs are invading, they should have some plan.

But yeah, smart and proactive monsters can fuck your PCs up. I'd rather have those than punching bags or monsters that behave like WoW mobs.
Traps are one thing. If your kobold lair doesn't have traps, you're doing it wrong.

I'm talking about (as Roger E. Moore) shit like 'kobolds firing from murder holes in the walls and ceiling, plus kobolds in metal armor pushing flaming barricades while other kobolds flung molotov cocktails'.

As one letter writer to Dragon later pointed out, stop using kobolds for this shit. Use classed NPCs, or some of the smarter monsters (hobgoblins, despite having a rep for hating magic, are -really- good at alchemy and engineering in the fluff). There's no need to subscribe some of these weaker critters to a tactical correspondence course.
 

WinchesterPremium

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AA works better as a slasher group than a hunter group at this point. AKD is probably going to be pushed more towards being a Mummy cult or counter organization.
They kinda went that way in Mortal Remains, not that they got any cool Endowments out of it. Most of the rumors I hear say they're getting kicked out of their core position at the very least.

Traps are one thing. If your kobold lair doesn't have traps, you're doing it wrong.

I'm talking about (as Roger E. Moore) shit like 'kobolds firing from murder holes in the walls and ceiling, plus kobolds in metal armor pushing flaming barricades while other kobolds flung molotov cocktails'.

As one letter writer to Dragon later pointed out, stop using kobolds for this shit. Use classed NPCs, or some of the smarter monsters (hobgoblins, despite having a rep for hating magic, are -really- good at alchemy and engineering in the fluff). There's no need to subscribe some of these weaker critters to a tactical correspondence course.
Murder holes are basic tactics that cavemen could figure out. Its not like it takes a tactical genius to remember "Why is it that the defenders have an advantage again? Oh right, because they can hide behind fortifications and stuff". Throwing hot objects and putting holes in your wall to shoot from are something a dung-covered peasant could figure out. Any professional soldier of average human intelligence or greater should absolutely use basic tactics unless you just want them to act as mooks for the PCs to gun down.
 

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That's why I like the Goblin Slayer stuff. The goblins are hardly rocket scientists, but the adventurers coming to kill them are such morons that even simple ambushes and tricks are murdering them en masse. One adventurer party got wiped because they were too stupid to wear helmets and a single slinger turned their skulls into gravel.
 

Techpriest

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They kinda went that way in Mortal Remains, not that they got any cool Endowments out of it. Most of the rumors I hear say they're getting kicked out of their core position at the very least.
AKD were the weakest hunter group in the core really. The other conspiracies Endowments were more reasonable. Higher level AKD stuff was a little silly to have a PC get. Too many unique relics.
 

WinchesterPremium

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AKD were the weakest hunter group in the core really. The other conspiracies Endowments were more reasonable. Higher level AKD stuff was a little silly to have a PC get. Too many unique relics.
They had a playtest for a new endowment system up a while ago, it was something like Mage's build-a-spell list combined with 1E's endowment creator's negative side effect list. It'd theoretically solve the "There is literally only one of these things and it really isn't all that powerful anyway" thing.
 
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As one letter writer to Dragon later pointed out, stop using kobolds for this shit. Use classed NPCs, or some of the smarter monsters (hobgoblins, despite having a rep for hating magic, are -really- good at alchemy and engineering in the fluff). There's no need to subscribe some of these weaker critters to a tactical correspondence course.
I'm a huge fan of Lizardman. Average Human like Int (8-10), tons of HP, natural armor, give them levels in ranger or druid, and can fucking breathe under water.

Silent swamp ninjas that leap out of water and drown your PC's. Even if they escape they will be on so high alert for shit to pop up and out of the water day or night (lizardmen don't care) that they will get 0 sleep. Plus they are smart enough to use fire+magic to smoke you out of any lil patch of land you thought was safe. Wet wood won't catch fire but dry land sure will, especially when hurled swamp gas bombs or javelins that rain like arrows.

You don't have to defeat your PC's to defeat them, you have to make them so terrified they are jumping at shadows and wear them down enough that they succumb to exhaustion (as others put it).
 

IAmNotAlpharius

For the Emperor?!
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‘Heroin for middle-class nerds’: how Warhammer conquered gaming

‘What Games Workshop argues is that more is more …’ Collectibles from the Warhammer universe.
Last year saw a bloodbath on the high street. Debenhams closed 50 shops, Toys R Us, Maplin and Poundworld went into administration, and more retail space was lost than in any year since 2008, with 1.9m sq metres closing, according to the property analysts EG. But one retailer beat this trend, reporting profits of £40m in the final six months of the year. In 2017, the same company was the publicly traded British stock that outperformed every other: Games Workshop, a high-street retailer of science fiction and fantasy miniatures, now carries a market capitalisation of more than £1bn.


But how did a company founded 40 years ago with one shop in Hammersmith, west London, become so successful? The answer lies in Warhammer 40,000 – 40k, as it is usually known; a sprawling tabletop conflict game in which two players fight with collectible armies, including the space marines of the fascist human Imperium and the ancient fallen angels of the Eldar, using rules found in a library of 30 or so source books.

If this sounds surprising, it is worth noting that Games Workshop isn’t the only part of nerd culture to experience a recent rush of interest. Dungeons & Dragons, the venerable role-playing game, has had its own resurgence since 2014, thanks to depictions in TV shows such as Community and Stranger Things. The rise in “actual play” podcasts such as the Adventure Zone and Critical Role has also helped, as has a focus on attracting new players for its fifth edition.

Tabletop gaming in general is doing better than ever. On Kickstarter, which has taken an influential role in the industry, the category was up 20% in 2018 year on year, raising a total of $165m (£128m). Asmodee, a global board-game publisher based in France, was sold to a private equity firm in July for €1.2bn (£1.1bn).

But Warhammer’s success stands out, and to understand why this is, there are a few things you need to know.

A Warhammer collectible.A Warhammer collectible. Photograph: Games Workshop Group PLC
The first is the motto of Warhammer 40,000: “In the grim darkness of the 41st millennium, there is only war.” In other words Games Workshop is a serious business, but it is not to be taken seriously. In fact, Warhammer Fantasy Battle, a goblins-and-gnomes war game, and Warhammer 40k are ridiculous, over-the-top pastiches, created by people who were bored and angry under Margaret Thatcher, and channelled that rage into worlds where everyone is the villain, and hope has been extinguished for millennia.


Each game exists in its own vast fictional universe, with the entire thing loosely connected by a narrative about the forces of chaos and a fondness for skulls. “Imagine if Disney were founded by a bunch of people who had been primarily inspired by heavy metal album covers,” says the writer Kieron Gillen, a longtime fan who has written tie-in comics for the company. “There’s a belief that less is more, but what Games Workshop argues, quite convincingly, is that, no, maybe more is more.

“A fundamental 40k thrill is probably something involving a chainsword, which is a sword crossed with a chainsaw. That is over-the-top and silly, but also, in a very heavy-metal-guitar-solo way, exciting.”
It certainly was for me. By the time I was a child, growing up around the corner from that first shop, Warhammer was already something of a phenomenon among the sort of crowd who carried 20-sided dice in their schoolbags. Tucked in the back of that small store was a vast diorama depicting an entire chapter of Ultramarines, the 9ft tall, blue-armoured shock troops of the human Imperium of the 41st millennium. The display – more than 1,000 small figurines, replete with miniature tanks, standard bearers and a detachment of motorcyclists – was my personal crown jewels: dripping with symbolism; a must-see for visitors to my area, and just as unattainable.


That’s because the second thing to know about Games Workshop is, as Gillen says, that Warhammer was what middle-class nerds did instead of heroin. It was just as expensive, and probably no better for your social life. A small squadron of space marines would cost about £20, a fortune for a 12-year-old; but a full two-player game would need almost 10 times that many units, as well as tanks, bikes and special figures – not to mention huge bipedal dreadnoughts.

I finally managed to save up for a tiny army from the Necron faction, a race of mechanical skeletons who flay their foes with a glowing green “gauss gun”. Painting, playing with, and (when I could afford it) buying those models was my life for a few years – until an inexpertly mounted shelf collapsed, smashing the whole army.

But for those fans whose dream wasn’t so literally crushed, Warhammer isn’t a game, it’s a hobby. The Hobby. It’s as much about assembling and painting the models themselves, using the special paints, inks and washes created by Games Workshop. It’s about sharing your finished miniatures and reading White Dwarf, Games Workshop’s in-house magazine. (This magazine is also the only way the company communicates with the outside world; it is notoriously press-shy, and would not be interviewed for this article.) It’s about the Black Library, a collection of tie-in fiction that runs to hundreds of novels, as well as comics, video games and a new young-adult book series.

A Warhammer character.Photograph: Games Workshop Group PLC
This depth means that former fans never quite leave. Duncan, a childhood fan who returned to the game as an adult, agrees: “It’s a bit of everything. There’s an easy escapism in reading the fiction, especially now you can do it on a Kindle, and not advertise what you’re reading to other commuters. The games themselves are fun and very social.


“But I also like the modelling and painting. I used, as a teenager, to play with unpainted models, but nowadays I enjoy the process [of painting]. It’s oddly relaxing; more like meditation than a chore.”

At its worst, that fanatical dedication has made followers easy prey for a company eager to line its pockets. But Gillen, whose latest book, Die, is loosely inspired by his own experience playing the Warhammer role-playing game in his teens, says things have changed.

“I used to write these guides on how to make a Warhammer army for £60,” he says. “I stopped doing that, partly because I don’t need to. Now, you can buy one of the official £50 boxes and you have an army.”
For Gillen, the story of Games Workshop’s renaissance isn’t a story of sweeping reorganisation but a myriad of small changes that have turned a slightly fusty, vaguely mistrusted brand into one that is gaining new players, reconnecting with older ones and profiting – handsomely – from both.

Which doesn’t mean there haven’t been large changes. In 2015, the company abruptly discontinued its oldest game, Warhammer Fantasy Battle – even publishing in-game fiction that destroyed the world. The replacement, Age of Sigmar, was built to be accessible to new players, with simpler rules. It caused uproar among existing players who claimed the whole thing was dumbed down to the point of stupidity. But three years on, with most of the best changes incorporated into a new edition of Warhammer 40k, it is clear the rewrite paid off.

Anita Widdowson, 20, a student in Nottingham, is one of those newer players. She started collecting the models about two years ago, but only got round to learning to play last year, and credits the new rules with bringing more players on.

“The ‘Eighth Edition rules’ are much simpler than any previous edition,” she says. “It means that casual players and younger children can follow the game well, enticing more customers.” But, like Gillen, Widdowson says there are many reasons for the boom overall: better models, easier construction and the way Games Workshop communicates with the community through its magazine, rather than simply offering them a catalogue to buy things from.

The shops themselves have had a cosmetic overhaul (some stores were rebranded to read simply Warhammer, as the chain tried to consolidate its image), but Games Workshop has also put a huge amount of effort into building a welcoming atmosphere. “You know that old reputation of their shops being alienating? Now, it’s much more open,” Gillen says, comparing the new look to an Apple Store.

A Warhammer collectible.A Warhammer collectible. Photograph: Games Workshop Group PLC
Widdowson agrees. “My best experience with the hobby was buying my first ever set of models in Games Workshop in Oxford,” she says. “I was shocked by how friendly the staff were, and it really motivated me.”

But Games Workshop’s success may have a downside for small companies. Adrian Hunter, who runs the games shop Weyland’s Forge in Birmingham, says it is steamrollering competitors such as Warmachine and Malifaux. “While the success of all the Games Workshop lines is great – the company is a genuine joy to work with right now – other games … have seen a large drop-off, to the point we’re just trying to clear the stock now. And it’s not just our store, either.”

For Gillen, the only shadow on the horizon is whether the company can maintain the pace it has been setting without letting anything slip. As well as the core Warhammer games, it has been releasing spin-offs at a steady clip. But on that, Games Workshop had its own answer, in an FAQ it published before the launch of the latest edition of Warhammer 40,000. Answering a question about why it should be trusted with the rewrite, it answered:“Come on! This is New Games Workshop™.” In other words, it knows it has had its ups and downs, but the steady drip of changes will continue. As is the £16 Eldar Autarch, a winged alien commander I bought while researching this piece. Providing, that is, my shelving is better installed in 2019 than it was in 2002.
What do you all think of this article?
 
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Techpriest

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‘Heroin for middle-class nerds’: how Warhammer conquered gaming



What do you all think of this article?
Obviously written by someone with experience and a passion for the hobby. Pretty well balanced, hit the nail on the head.

They had a playtest for a new endowment system up a while ago, it was something like Mage's build-a-spell list combined with 1E's endowment creator's negative side effect list. It'd theoretically solve the "There is literally only one of these things and it really isn't all that powerful anyway" thing.
That’s a good sign for Hunter 2e. I might even help kickstart it, as Hunter 1e was what kicked off my interest in World of Darkness (Chronicles specifically)
 

WinchesterPremium

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That’s a good sign for Hunter 2e. I might even help kickstart it, as Hunter 1e was what kicked off my interest in World of Darkness (Chronicles specifically)
Its up and almost funded already. The superfans came in and took all the big buck options, no word on any of the stretch goals as far as I can see.
Edit: Its funded lol. 25k in under 3 hours

Kickstarter

I also went and tracked down the Open Development stuff I was talking about. The kickstarter says "...along with rules for tier-three Endowments and how to make them. ", so they presumably stuck with the stuff they showed off already.

Just endowments, Full Playtest

Rumors proved true, AKD and AA were pushed back to being "Examples" instead of full splats. Three new groups will be coming in to replace them:

Hi everyone. Regarding the compacts and conspiracies, there are two new compacts (SWORN and Nine Stars) and one new conspiracy (Council of Bones). I understand some fans really dig Aegis Kai Doru and Ashwood Abbey. They are presented as italicized examples but not full splats in the Storyteller chapter. Hunter 2E has a lot more monsters than ever before. I felt that adding new groups to second edition that diversify from Hunter 1E will help further the understanding that anyone can be a hunter as long as they make that commitment. This is a game that has a lot of morally grey areas; you can fight monsters to your heart's content--but the Vigil often requires you to make hard choices.
 
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Techpriest

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Its up and almost funded already. The superfans came in and took all the big buck options, no word on any of the stretch goals as far as I can see.
Edit: Its funded lol. 25k in under 3 hours

Kickstarter

I also went and tracked down the Open Development stuff I was talking about. The kickstarter says "...along with rules for tier-three Endowments and how to make them. ", so they presumably stuck with the stuff they showed off already.

Just endowments, Full Playtest

Rumors proved true, AKD and AA were pushed back to being "Examples" instead of full splats. Three new groups will be coming in to replace them:
Backed it myself. Not super fan tier but I’ll get a PDF. I’ve “acquired” enough Onyx path material that it’s about time I pay them back.

Currently there’s a pair of stretch goals, with one being a companion book. It’s already at almost $29k at 4 hours in.
 

Capsaicin Addict

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I'm a huge fan of Lizardman. Average Human like Int (8-10), tons of HP, natural armor, give them levels in ranger or druid, and can fucking breathe under water.

Silent swamp ninjas that leap out of water and drown your PC's. Even if they escape they will be on so high alert for shit to pop up and out of the water day or night (lizardmen don't care) that they will get 0 sleep. Plus they are smart enough to use fire+magic to smoke you out of any lil patch of land you thought was safe. Wet wood won't catch fire but dry land sure will, especially when hurled swamp gas bombs or javelins that rain like arrows.

You don't have to defeat your PC's to defeat them, you have to make them so terrified they are jumping at shadows and wear them down enough that they succumb to exhaustion (as others put it).
It depends, as people noted, on the level. At low levels, sure. Even at mid levels, you can keep 'em guessing, but a secure shelter makes a dandy rest stop and fallback point (you can't set it on fire easily, as it resists fire as if it were stone, and it's impervious to normal missiles). Tiny hut isn't bad but it doesn't actually block things tossed at it.
 

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It depends, as people noted, on the level. At low levels, sure. Even at mid levels, you can keep 'em guessing, but a secure shelter makes a dandy rest stop and fallback point (you can't set it on fire easily, as it resists fire as if it were stone, and it's impervious to normal missiles). Tiny hut isn't bad but it doesn't actually block things tossed at it.
The PC's can't live in their hidey hole forever. Traps, snares, ambushes, monsters are intelligent and will hunt those that they deem are a threat to their territory. Most humanoids have your basic survival instincts and will use their environment to the best possible. I'm not suggesting give a Sporebat the attack skills of a B-1 Stealth bomber, but appropriate to the creatures basic need to eat and reproduce.

Another option is if the party is full of murderhobos is put a Warning note to leave and not come back attached to head on a stick or something.
 

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Further update on the Hunter Kickstarter. It’s almost at $50k already. They still need to get more stretch goals set up.
 

WinchesterPremium

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We got some lolzy "Facism is on the rise" in the Thule writeup, otherwise mostly the same. The guilt/Indebted theme is running thin on them now given that only three guys where still even kinda involved with the Nazis. Honestly Thule always kinda felt like something that had a solid starting point with a cool idea then didn't know what to do with it. Two of the example hunters didn't have any kind of sin to atone for, so they're just the "scholarly guys with a WWII theme" a good part of the time.

Charon got a new "Boss Character" mostly left as a plothook. Hunters get supernatural resistance now, and all their Endowments cost the same (but you apparently need to roll to get them, with a couple of weeks to get new ones). A couple look pretty powerful, The Ascending Ones got their fancy mind control drug and Charon's new hand opens up "Immobilize + Killing Blow" combo if you can manage an exceptional success on a contested roll. It looks like they kept some most of the same endowments, but the new system means that the former 5 dot are in theory on the same level as the past one dot, with more simplified bonus/penalties that tend to be (if not outright make them more powerful) simpler to use.

Banality worm isn't in the writeup :(. Probably because all Hunters get resistance now, but I'll miss that guy anyway.
 
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We got some lolzy "Facism is on the rise" in the Thule writeup, otherwise mostly the same. The guilt/Indebted theme is running thin on them now given that only three guys where still even kinda involved with the Nazis. Honestly Thule always kinda felt like something that had a solid starting point with a cool idea then didn't know what to do with it. Two of the example hunters didn't have any kind of sin to atone for, so they're just the "scholarly guys with a WWII theme" a good part of the time.

Charon got a new "Boss Character" mostly left as a plothook. Hunters get supernatural resistance now, and all their Endowments cost the same (but you apparently need to roll to get them, with a couple of weeks to get new ones). A couple look pretty powerful, The Ascending Ones got their fancy mind control drug and Charon's new hand opens up "Immobilize + Killing Blow" combo if you can manage an exceptional success on a contested roll. It looks like they kept some most of the same endowments, but the new system means that the former 5 dot are in theory on the same level as the past one dot, with more simplified bonus/penalties that tend to be (if not outright make them more powerful) simpler to use.

Banality worm isn't in the writeup :(. Probably because all Hunters get resistance now, but I'll miss that guy anyway.
Hunters getting supernatural resistances is a little “eeeeh” but then again I’d just apply that to conspiracies only.
 

WinchesterPremium

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Hunters getting supernatural resistances is a little “eeeeh” but then again I’d just apply that to conspiracies only.
I could be misremembering it, it might just be Occult for Clash of Wills. Which would leave it "only for conspiracies" anyway, unless this new version lets Compacts/Cells have endowment like artifacts.

Double checking and I definitely screwed that up. They just have two stats for CoW, no word on supernatural tolerance yet.
 

Techpriest

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I could be misremembering it, it might just be Occult for Clash of Wills. Which would leave it "only for conspiracies" anyway, unless this new version lets Compacts/Cells have endowment like artifacts.

Double checking and I definitely screwed that up. They just have two stats for CoW, no word on supernatural tolerance yet.
Well that makes more sense. I have yet to read the manuscript - until it’s fully finished I’ll reserve judgement.

Also the Thuleans doing shit against neonazi groups has been a thing since Compacts and Conspiracies. It’s been a part of their flavor for years. The three old men were part of their OG vigil write up.
 
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WinchesterPremium

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Well that makes more sense. I have yet to read the manuscript - until it’s fully finished I’ll reserve judgement.

Also the Thuleans doing shit against neonazi groups has been a thing since Compacts and Conspiracies. It’s been a part of their flavor for years. The three old men were part of their OG vigil write up.
Yeah, like a century. It would be weirder if they where suddenly not anti-Nazi I'm mostly referring to this passage :

Now, the Loyalists of Thule remain suspicious, if not worried, that their organization is
compromised. Its members cannot deny the growing threat of fascism spreading across the world
yet struggle to understand why supernatural activity is clearly on the rise. While the Loyalists are
not naive enough to believe that real world atrocities should be blamed on the occult, every act of
fascism reminds them of their organization’s dark past. Most Indebted believe that hate-filled
atrocities caused by mortals are just as bad — if not worse — than the soulless creatures who
prey on humankind and help where they can.
For those following along at home, /tg/ has been leaking the manuscript as you'd expect. Anyone interested but not 25$ interested can get it if they know where to look.
 
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Yeah, like a century. It would be weirder if they where suddenly not anti-Nazi I'm mostly referring to this passage :



For those following along at home, /tg/ has been leaking the manuscript as you'd expect. Anyone interested but not 25$ interested can get it if they know where to look.
When you remember that a section of the thuleans actively recruits from ex-hate group members and victims of state sponsored persecution, the attitude in the write up makes more sense. That being said, there has been a rise in far right and neo-fascist groups in the west, along with authoritarian regimes and wannabe strongmen across the world. The Thuleans, especially ones with fresh memories or guilt over past actions, are going to be concerned about it and rate it as a high priority to combat any chance of another regime like the Third Reich taking root. There is no one more zealous than the convert.
 
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