Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Night Mordheim: Mordheim Quest, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dungeon

Hello, fellow Mordheimers out there. While I like to talk quite a bit about the main game of Mordheim and campaigns (I like to talk a lot about those things). I want to talk about something that many people over look when considering Mordheim. Mordheim is perfect for playing other games.

I see that you are intrigued. There are two particular types of games that Mordheim is infinitely suited for. RPGs and Dungeon Crawlers. Now, I have a great deal of love for those types of games, and it would seem that bits of both were chucked into the pot when Mordheim was created. Not all the best bits were included, nor were all the worst bits. Yes, there are parts missing from Mordheim that are in those other games (like a intelligence ability score). However, do not dismay! These are small trifling matters. Allow me to elaborate on the nature of those games, before I delve into using Mordheim for them.

RPGs, or Role Playing Games, are wonderful. I wouldn't hesitate to say that I play a lot more RPGs then wargames. Hey, that's me and my game group for you. The point of an RPG is to tell a collaborative story, where one player creates the story arch (the Game Master) and the others are all the main characters in a story. Simple. RPGs are not like World of Warcraft, or Final Fantasy, those are video games, knucklehead. While there are similarities, there as many differences between a table top (or pen and paper) RPG and a video game RPG as there are between Madden 2012 and playing backyard flag football (Football- with the egg shaped ball. Soccer is the other one.). I could spend days and days and weeks into months into years explaining the difference and why one is one, and the other is the other. That's not really why I am here today. The main point and thrust of an RPG (which the videogames do tend to hold onto) is that it is about the characters and how they evolve over time to deal with bigger and greater threats and stories. Some great RPGs that you may want to check out are; Warhammer Quest, Dungeons & Dragons, Vampire; The Requiem, and of course Dark Heresy.

Dungeon Crawlers are quite the opposite end of the Spectrum. A dungeon crawler is a bit more then a glorified board game. Compared to Mordheim or any other Wargame, they are quick and simple. Dungeon Crawlers typically include things like random movement, a board that can be set up in multiple ways, and a more static version of bad guys. These are the ultimate 'beer and pizza' games. There's not much tactically to them, but they are fun as all get out. The inherent problems of Dungeon Crawlers is that they tend not to last long in the market, as a matter of fact, most of the truly great ones are long gone and are horribly expensive to get through e-bay. Though, if you happen to have more money then sense, here's a list of the great Dungeon Crawlers; Hero Quest, Space Hulk, Dungeon!, and right now Ravenloft.

So that leads us back to the main point. Using Mordheim in regards to those other games. It actually isn't that difficult. Most of it has to do with adding, subtracting, or modifying rules.

RPGs in particular are easy to do with Mordheim. With the experience system for campaigns and the various types of characters available, it is just a matter of a few changes.
*Instead of each player getting their own warband, each person plays one particular model, while the GM plays the opponents.
*Add some sort of non-combat type of skills and some sort of intelligence ability score.
*Use Mordheim for combat, not for the actual role-playing. If you are rolling to hit with your verbal barbs, you are doing it wrong.
*Instead of having a full recovery/movement/shooting/melee phases for each person, the players all go, and then the GM does all of their stuff.
*Allow any model that starts without experience (but can gain experience) to be played by the characters. Will this mean that the person playing the Warlock is significantly more powerful then the one playing the verminkin? Yes, however in an RPG that doesn't matter as much.
*All characters use the Hero experience levels and charts instead of the henchmen one.
*The exploration phase is ditched in favor of actually providing PCs with treasure.

Dungeon Crawlers are actually even easier to do then RPGs. Most of using Mordheim for Dungeon Crawlers involves removing stuff from what is already there.
*Instead of a table, you play on a board. 1x1 squares seems to be about what you need. Walls block sight.
*Remove movement rate, running, charging. All depends on the roll of a d6.
*You can move OR shoot OR Close combat.
*Remove the to hit WS vs WS table, and just use the BS table for everything.
*No special effects for weapons.
*Only the 'heroes' get knocked down/stunned/out of action. Everything else just dies after losing its final wound.
*Pieces of wyrdstone are scattered around as treasure, most wyrdstone wins game!

Well, that's the basics. There's so much more you can do with this, and I can't wait to see what you guys think about things as well. I mean that Cockatrice from Storm of Magic is a beaut, and I can't wait to see someone design a Dungeon Crawl around that...


  1. First: Cobblestone Chaos readers interested in those RPGs named herein should of course point their browsers to GAME OVER :p.

    Second: I'd say Warhammer Quest is at least partly dungeon crawler, by your definition: 1x1 squares, different rules for heroes and monsters, treasure scattered around. All the RPG-type stuff in that game is strictly optional.

    Third: Damn straight Mordheim's adaptable, that's partly why I love it so. I dislike the random movement aspect of your suggestions (so twentieth century) but the rest is pretty groovy and I like how you use the hero/henchmen divide (could be a good one for hirelings?)

  2. Nice Ideas. My project is create a unique boardgame combining heroquest rules and mordheim world. As you have just said Mordheim's background is so perferct to play other games!