This preview will be a bit brief, as the BBitJ has other things demanding its, er, my attention this week. I hope the brevity will be properly counterbalanced with content, as once again I share details on three Common miniatures. This week, we look at a new gnome, a reimagination of an old classic, and an interesting design challenge. Therefore, allow me to present them in descending order of point cost.
First up is the deep gnome known as the Deep Legionnaire, ready to pick apart foes with his … pick.
The Deep Legionnaire is mostly a filler mini. At 7 points, he can fit into most warbands that need just one more activation. He works best in multiples, where his Phalanx Fighting boosts his AC to 22. These deep gnomes don't like moving a lot, as they gain DR 5 if they don't move on their turn thanks to their Stonebond ability. That said, they still have the ability to move their line forward swiftly, utilizing Stonestep, a short-range teleport ability.
Remember the piercer? The monster would wait atop cavern ceilings, waiting for an unfortunate victim to pass directly below it, at which point it dropped down and impaled the target. If it missed, it would, in snail-like fashion, slowly move back up to its inverted perch. Unless, of course, the PCs saw the slow-moving critter and skewered it. Basically, the piercer was a one-hit wonder. The design of the Darkmantle sought to resolve this by providing a monster in the same niche (hangs on the ceiling and drops onto you) but with the ability to fly, which lets it remain a threat to PCs after the first round of combat.
Put simply in skirmish game language, the Darkmantle is a Constricting Wandering Monster with Hide and Blindsight.
I'm looking forward to getting a handful of Prisoners to populate a dungeon with. (Hrm. There was going to be a joke in there, but the statement is so obvious.) I think many DMs will find a lot of uses for this guy.
The interesting part of the Prisoner's design was trying to find a way to make it compelling in the skirmish game. We initially thought about making the Prisoner start unarmed but allowing it to pick up an attack/damage line by liberating a weapon from a fallen foe. That got a bit weird, though, when we thought about him snagging a weapon from a fallen Marut. We tried to create an incentive for the opponent to 'free' the prisoner by awarding extra VP for eliminating it, but that just made him a target. As we thought about the problem, it became clear that we wanted two things to happen with the prisoner -- first, players should some incentive to include him in a warband; second, he should also carry some risk for his controller.
With those things in mind, we settled on a combination of two abilities -- Chained and Objective. Objective satisfies the first criteria. It lets the controller score double VPs for occupying a victory area with the prisoner in tow. (I think of it as the prisoner giving up the location of buried treasure or something similar.) Meanwhile, Chained requires the Prisoner to end each round adjacent to a non-Prisoner ally. If he doesn't, the Prisoner is eliminated, and the opponent scores an additional +10 VPs. Ultimately, it's a gamble. If you can get a couple of rounds with him on a victory area, he's definitely worth it. Meanwhile, your opponent might try to maximize his gain by targeting the creatures around the Prisoner, but he still has the option of attacking the prisoner. Of course, the prisoner cannot attack and doesn't threaten squares.
Next week -- 3 Bs.
About the Author
Stephen Schubert is a Developer for RPG R&D and has been involved in many facets of the D&D product line. He's recently been Lead Developer for the upcoming Monster Manual V, Lead Designer on the Eberron adventure Eyes of the Lich Queen, and he's the Lead Developer for the D&D Miniatures Game.
Now we bring the return of the mystery silhouette. Shown below are all the figures that we'll feature in these previews. Can you guess their identities? Feel free to try!