D&D Miniatures09/07/2006

Blood War Preview 5
Spellcasters Part 2

To round out the quartet of spellcasters (started last week with the Gnome Trickster and Elf Warmage), this week we look at a couple of nonstandard spellcasting combinations -- the Lawful Evil Red Hand War Sorcerer and the Orc Wizard of the Chaotic Evil faction. Both cast spells, both are uncommons, and both are within a few points of 30.

Red Hand War SorcererRed Hand War Sorcerer

The Red Hand War Sorcerer proudly bears the Red Hand, an ancient symbol of the cult of Tiamat. The cult has been recently revived, as described in the Red Hand of Doom adventure. This miniature performs admirably as a wizard or other hobgoblin arcane spellcaster, in addition to his role in that aforementioned adventure.

Unlike the other three spellcasters in the previewed quartet, the War Sorcerer is a commander. We used a commander effect to help make his area spells a little more effective and help other spellcasters in his warband. The commander effect reads -- "Followers are immune to this creature's spells. Enemies get save -2 against spells." The War Sorcerer follows a design intent of providing area-effect damage in a limited range, using a line spell and a radius-2 effect with lightning bolt and snowball swarm. Because his commander effect encourages him to be close to the front lines of combat, we wanted to provide a deterrent against attacking the War Sorcerer in melee. Thus, we gave him fireburst to hit adjacent enemies with reasonable damage.

The War Sorcerer is an attempt to emphasize the importance of movement and positioning in the skirmish game. We'd like Lawful Evil to be the faction that requires more precision, with tricks and shticks that build off of that concept. The line spell and fireburst both provide interesting options that require some careful placement.

Orc WizardOrc Wizard

It was bound to happen eventually. A smart orc stumbled upon the path of wizardry, and then, using magic to keep the stronger orcs under his control -- or perhaps allying himself with a powerful orc king -- became a magical force to be reckoned with. Orc Wizards could be encountered with a group of barbarian bodyguards, as the right hand of an orc champion, or even with a summoned demonic ally. The Orc Wizard miniature provides a different flavor of orc to add to your collection. Sort of like salted orc. Or maybe bacon.

The Orc Wizard steers away from a suite of direct damage spells, instead providing a bit of 'tech' that synergizes with one of the strengths of the Chaotic Evil faction -- dishing out melee damage. The Orc Wizard can cast the dolorous blow spell, transforming a target creature's melee attack into an even more dangerous weapon that scores a critical hit on a roll of 18 or higher. Once he's used that spell, he still has three castings of battering ram to not only deal a few points of damage but also push the target one square (with no save), allowing him to move a foe into range of a melee threat, push a bodyguard away from a primary target, or simply clear a path so he can escape without getting hit. An empowered fireburst rounds out the Orc Wizard's spells, but with a swing that deals 10 magic damage, he might even try clearing fodder with his staff.

The Orc Wizard is a pretty tempting choice, especially when paired with a creature that will get multiple attacks (a marilith, perhaps?). At 24 points, he fills the tech role nicely, but isn't as resilient as the other three spellcasters we've recently discussed. The best part of the Orc Wizard, however, has got to be the flavor text --

Bandersnatches? Bandersnatchi?"Would it comfort you if I yelled 'Grog Smash' while you burned beneath my arcane fire?" -- Grog of the Third Eye, orc wizard.

Next week, I'll unveil this spiky hardhead. He works well with others and sometimes takes the initiative when things need to get done. He also wants everyone to get along -- forcibly, if necessary.

About the Author

Stephen Schubert is a Developer in RPG/Minis R&D, Lead Developer for the D&D Miniatures Game, and has worked on a variety of D&D game products, including Monster Manual IV, Tome of Battle, and Magic Item Compendium. He is the author of the upcoming Eberron super-adventure Eyes of the Lich Queen.

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