Limited games have two primary flavors -- Sealed and Draft. In a Sealed game, you and your opponent each open two boosters and build your warband from those miniatures. When building a Sealed warband, you ignore factions. In Draft, each player (typically part of a four-player "pod") has two boosters. One booster at a time is opened and dumped onto the table, then players take turns selecting one mini at a time. A Draft warband is normally built so that all minis share one of the alignments (Good, Evil, Lawful, or Chaotic).
Prerelease events are the most popular Sealed events. This weekend at D&D Experience marks the Limited Championship, where the top Limited players will compete for fame and fortune. Sealed games are a great way to break away from Constructed play for a night or two and try minis that you otherwise might not use.
This week marks the D&D Experience, a convention being held this year in Arlington, Virginia, a stone's throw from Washington, DC. Included in the myriad of D&D and miniatures events at the convention is the Pre-pre-prerelease for the Unhallowed D&D Miniatures set. (There's a pre-prerelease next week at New York Comicon, with the prerelease the following week at a game store -- hopefully! -- near you.)
Like the recent Blood War D&D Miniatures expansion, we've enhanced the Unhallowed set for Limited play by including a low-cost commander as one of the Common miniatures in each booster. While the "commander 0" rule is still available, playing a Limited game with Unhallowed allows each player a choice of a commander. These common commanders all have the Willing to Follow ability, allowing them to benefit from any more powerful commander you might put into your warband.
Knight of the Chalice
This elf paladin found a prestige class she liked in Complete Warrior. She provides a courageous boost to her allies, giving her followers immunity to Aura of Fear, as well as allowing them to share her Evil Outsider Foe ability. With a couple of Smites and a Lay on Hands, this Fearless mini might stick around even once enemies start swinging at her.
The Slaver uses that branding iron as his weapon, adding a bit of fire to his swing. He also boasts Duergar traits such as being immune to Paralysis and Poison, Conceal 6, and even a use of Invisibility to allow him to sneak up on his soon-to-be prisoners.
The commander effect is his most interesting aspect -- we tried to work out a rule that would represent the Duergar somehow enslaving his foes. We started with an ability similar to the Balor's Enslave but didn't like the feel of it -- it was pretty powerful for a lowly common commander. We settled on the following -- "Routing enemies that take damage are eliminated." The Duergar waits for his opponents to lose their will to fight, then overtakes them when they succumb to their fear. It's a challenge to get it to work every time, because as a commander effect, it works only when the Duergar Slaver is within 6 squares of the routing enemy. His speed of 4 makes it unlikely that he'll catch up to a character that's running away. The best use of the commander effect is likely setting up attacks of opportunity to hit the routing creature the moment it runs. It will be interesting to see how well this guy can be played this weekend.
Bugbear Gang Leader
The Bugbear Gang Leader is possibly the coolest-looking Common sculpt in the set, and I hear a repaint is in the works for the league kits that we send to participating game stores. This common commander loves to boss around little guys, giving followers of level 6 or lower a Death Strike ability. I find this effect interesting, because if you want to make use of his commander effect, then you need your own creatures to die. At any rate, the Gang Leader's speed of 8 and two attacks for 10 damage let him contribute reasonably to a fight. Even without use of his commander effect, he's a solid choice for only 23 points.
That's it for this week. Next week, we'll look at a couple more minis, and I'll fill you in on my own D&D experience at D&D Experience.
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.