D&D Miniatures02/09/2006

War Drums Preview 9
Give It Up for the Little Guys!

This week, we'll look at three minis: one common, one uncommon, and one rare. What do these three have in common? For starters, they're all goblins. Actually, that might be it. OK, one of them is only part goblin, but there's goblinness involved.

Snig, Worg Rider

Snig, Worg RiderWhat could be cooler than a yellow goblin with an axe? Why, a yellow goblin with an axe, riding a worg, that's what! Our new Snig is astride an advanced worg, primarily because a goblin mounted on a medium worg just doesn't look as imposing. In this incarnation of Snig, the goblin's lost his hat (from the Archfiends mini -- it must have flown off while riding) and sits poised to deliver a nasty swipe with his axe. While skirmishers might only need one of this unique mini, many DMs will want two, three, or more to set up a proper goblin strike force.

Snig's skirmish stats get an upgrade compared to his first appearance. Being mounted on a worg helps, giving him speed equal to the fastest non-flying, Lawful Evil creatures out there. The axe can strike twice per round unless Snig utilizes his Mounted Melee Attack ability, which lets him take one attack anywhere during a 20-square move.

Snig wouldn't be Snig without minions, but this Snig parties with more experienced goblins. Instead of getting three 3-point goblins, worg-riding Snig can include two Goblinoids whose total points don't exceed 12. His commander effect remains unchanged (granting Small followers a +5 melee damage bonus), and he's a little better at keeping his troops in line with a non-zero commander rating.

Goblin Underboss

Goblin UnderbossThe uncommon goblin in War Drums is a fighter-rogue who means business. He's reasonably armed and armored with a crossbow on his back and scimitar/shield in hand. His magic phantom threat scimitar, which causes a target to be considered flanked, is a perfect complement to his sneak attack.

Even though the Underboss is a commander (and with Commander 3, he's good for morale), he's interesting as a secondary commander that can take a more direct role in melee. Using Sneak Attack, the Underboss can deal 15 magic damage with a +11 attack bonus. With both Cleave and Sidestep, he's configured to wipe out fodder units that might otherwise overwhelm him. His Commander Effect promotes sneaky warbands -- he gives +5 damage to followers that use Sneak Attack. Because Phantom Threat can leave an enemy perpetually flanked, many Underbosses might find themselves fighting (albeit briefly) on the front lines.

Goblin Blackblade

Goblin BlackbladeThe third goblin in our triumvirate is the Blackblade, a common miniature that helps fill the minion role for Snig and also has synergy with the Underboss. Once we decided that Snig was going to be in this set, we knew that he would need a Minion ability to preserve his flavor. Despite appearances, minions aren't really 'free'. Their cost is folded into Snig's skirmish cost. That makes Snig a bad pull in sealed events -- unless you get minions to go with him. We wanted to give everyone who pulled Snig a reasonable chance of also getting at least one minion in a two booster or starter/booster sealed event. As War Drums is configured, if you get Snig, you have around a 50% chance of being able to use his minions ability, too.

The Goblin Blackblade is pretty effective for a 12-point mini. His small size, great Dexterity, and magic armor help him match the Underboss's AC of 20. With either Snig or the Underboss, he can deal 15 magic damage per hit, thanks to Sneak Attack and commander effects. He also starts a trend you'll see more of in future releases -- goblins ganging up on tougher foes. This ability will evolve over time, but the Blackblade brings Sneaky Tactics to the table, letting him choose whether he counts against your two-activations-per-phase limit … if he hits with a Sneak Attack.

Next week, we visit the Big & Tall outlet.

About the Author

Stephen Schubert is a Developer with RPG/Minis R&D and is the lead developer for D&D Miniatures starting with next July's War of the Dragon Queen. He's also helped develop many exciting upcoming D&D products, including Player's Handbook II, Monster Manual IV, Tome of Magic, and Tome of Battle!

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