Warhammer Quest: The Gamemaster & Villains

Shadows over Hammerhal introduces a new batch of baddies and a new role for the players: The Gamemaster!

We we first spotted the fact that Warhammer Quest: Shadows over Hammerhal would re-introduce the player-role of The Gamemaster, reactions were mixed. Not every is a fan of having to have a GM and a lot of folks liked that Silver Tower had an “AI” for the enemies controller. Personally, I like both ways to play as each has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. But I also think folks were making a lot of assumptions and having read the rules now, I’m hoping to clear some of those up.

The Gamemaster’s role is pretty simple: they are the story-teller. They control the adversaries, read the adventure text and just generally play as the opposition to the heroes. The enemies in the game do have some set behavior tables which the GM could use to control the minion’s “AI-lite” behavior. But they also have the option to overturn those behavior tables and take direct control. I think of it like the old school PC game Dungeon Keeper.

Now, unlike a traditional GM role (like say in a D&D game) the Gamemaster is NOT above the rules and if they are running the standard campaign, they really shouldn’t go “off script” with things. I’m not saying they can’t do that for future sessions, but Shadows over Hammerhal is designed to be run as is right out of the box. If you’re new to the whole “GM” thing, this is a great introduction. If you’re a vet of GM you might find this a bit limiting in terms of RPG-style – but hey, that just means you can run it on auto-pilot which is a lot less work for you to do!

The Gamemaster also has access to the Adventure Book – something only they should read. And if you’re going to run the game as the Gamemaster you definitely want to to read the adventure head of time just so you know if there are any triggers or special events that happen. The GM should also know the rules really well. You’re going to the defacto rules arbitrator – luckily they aren’t overly complex and the rulebook is pretty well laid out.

Once outside of the catacombs, the Gamemaster will also have the fun of running the Ciderfall District. There are actually quite a few fun things to do above ground which I won’t spoil here. But let’s just say there are charts involved and hilarity can ensue…

The Villains

You can’t have a proper adventure with out some proper villains and these are the henchmen the GM will use to tussle with the players.

Bloodreavers

These are your “basic” Khornate followers. They joined this evil empire for the simple fact that there would be blood to spill. They aren’t that great in 1v1 situations but if you can get a Hero isolated and pile-on the number advantage they just might be able to take them down.

Kairic Acolytes

Tzeentches’ featherless followers are back in this game as well. With a promise of plans to spread confusion and chaos the Kairic Acolytes signed up. They are very similar to the Bloodreavers in terms of tactics – but they also have some magical talent up their shirtless sleeves. Use them to hurl bolts of magic at the Heroes from range.

Putrid Blightkings

If I’m honest, I’m probably most excited about the inclusion of these miniatures for the GM. The Blightking models are just fantastic and I’m really glad to see them get included. On top of that these guys are almost as tough as the heroes. Getting them in a 2v1 situation is a great way to put the hurt on a hero!

Chaos Sorcerer Lord Redomir of Slaanesh

Yes – you read that right. He’s a Slaanesh Sorcerer! If I’m not mistaken (I probably am), this is (probably) the first sign that Slaanesh’s followers are out looking for their missing chaos god. In fact, that’s pretty much the entire motivation for this game – Lord Redomir is trying to get his master’s attention so that he can try to find him. I mentioned it briefly in the unboxing article from earlier but I wanted to reiterate that point. This could be the kick-start to the heart Slaanesh needs to get active…I hope the GMs out there realize what’s at stake!

One more note about the Gamemaster Role, I was hoping this went without saying, but your job is not to kill off all the Heroes. In fact, in most scenarios if you do manage to down all the heroes, they get a penalty and lose some gear but they can start the mission over. So they will be back for more. Your job is to help tell the story of Shadows over Hammerhal – it’s a game and I hope as you’re playing everyone keeps that in mind.

The final thought I want to leave you all with is that this game seems like it’s just the beginning. The GM’s book also contains lots of extra rules for “exotic” encounters. Aside from the 4 that are listed above there are also rules for the following:

  • Blood Warriors
  • Wrathmongers
  • Tzaangors
  • Tzaangor Skyfires
  • Plague Bearers

I’m pretty sure if you have the rules from Silver Tower, you can extrapolate how the rest of the enemies in Silver Tower would function in Hammerhal. On top of that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Games Workshop is going to whip-up some charts & cards for the other villains for use in this game – just like they did for all the Heroes (which, by-the-way, are all compatible with Hammerhal).

Games Workshop is building a neat little eco-system for this Warhammer Quest series and I really hope they keep doing it down the road.  With Silver Tower, we got the core game play, more backstory and a bunch of new models. With Hammerhal we’re getting expanded gameplay, even more backstory to build on and a more “module” type adventure game.

What else will Games Workshop do with this “RPG-lite” experience? Time will tell! But for now, we will have to settle for dungeon diving in the catacombs of the Ciderfall district – Adventure awaits!

Warhammer Quest: Shadows Over Hammerhal $150

Hammerhal. Built in the glorious image of Azyrheim, the seat of the God-King Sigmar’s power. Within its walls can be found danger and beauty, faith and intrigue, poverty and fortune. From the gleaming crystal spires of Goldenpath to the mist-shrouded vineways of Ghyra-un-Tyr, there is seemingly no end to its marvels. Yet most who witness this splendour know little of the danger and menace that fill the outer districts of the city, and that which lurks below…

A band of heroes has been brought together by circumstance, and are bound to hunt down and nullify a sinister Chaos plot in the dungeons and catacombs below Hammerhal. Lord-Castellant Arvios Sunhelm, his Gryph-hound Archimaine and Cogsmith Golnir Coalbeard are joined by Loremaster Alnaryn and Fleetmaster Vizrin Kyre, as they quest to uncover the Chaos Sorcerer Lord Redomir and put a halt to the vile corruption of the First City of Order.

Warhammer Quest Shadows Over Hammerhal is a boxed game for 2-5 players, set in – and below – the splendid city of Order, Hammerhal. Up to 4 players can quest in the catacombs and dungeons below the city, while another acts as gamemaster, setting fiendish obstacles, controlling the antagonists and setting the story – it’s up to this player to take charge of revealing the secrets each dungeon has to offer.

 

I know what I want to play this weekend!

  • EnTyme

    But, but, the internet told me Slaanesh was getting squatted! My entire worldview has been shattered!

    • ZeeLobby

      Nah. He/she/it is just the Dark Prince of Properly Dressed, and in no way Sexual, Dandies now.

  • ZeeLobby

    Dunno why everyone doesn’t bow to Chaos. They’re always super ripped.

    • YetAnotherFacelessMan

      Because some of us think less of the gains and more of the losses.

    • Dennis Finan Jr

      im assuming they fight all the time or do manual labor

      • ZeeLobby

        Pretty sure the tzeentch ones strut and cluck to get deltoids like that!

  • Shawn

    I think the inclusion of a GM for Hammerhall, and taking back their rights from FF Games is a good indication that Games Workshop wants to make their own role-playing games set in their worlds. I hope they do.

    • ZeeLobby

      Fingers crossed

      • euansmith

        Bring back the Ratcatcher with a Small But Vicious Dog and a Gaoler with Fleas.

      • Shawn

        And toes. I want to see Deathwatch make a resurgence, and an AoS rpg might be really cool as well.

  • Rob brown

    As a major fan of Silver Tower, I’m disappointed by this on several levels.

    – Firstly, not a single new model in the box. I know we were spoilt with Silver Tower but come on! At least some new enemies could have been conceived surely!

    – Secondly why force a Dungeon Master? One of the great things about Silver Tower was that me and a mate could just get the box and have a game where we both got to participate in the adventuring. I play RPGs if I want to DM not board games. BOLS suggestion that the DM can run this on “auto pilot” doesn’t fill me with anticipation!

    – Lastly, the background sounds distinctly dull. A single district of a one dimensional city and the catecombs below sounds so generic and meh that I can’t see why anyone would chose to adventure there.
    Such as shame considering how awesome Silver Tower was. Never mind.

    • Zingbaby

      Agree on the models, but from what I can tell – you can still run it as an AI (without DM) like ST, they are both fully compatible.

      Haven’t read the background yet, but I love the dungeon, and the city layouts on the warhammer community site make me think it’s not just a single district.

    • J. Philip vanHeijkoop

      yeah, I’m also disappointed that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of diversity in the bad guys, Silver tower was mostly tzeench, but you had accolytes, those bird dudes, horrors, gutter runners, grots as well as a cool bad guy and a centaur. this just shows me 4 different types (accolytes again). also the fact that the dungeons seem to be layed out in advance (no random dungeon room cards) doesn’t look very re-playable (while the randomness of Silver Tower and classic quest gave you a different dungeon every time) .

  • Rainthezangoose

    Can’t wait for my stuff to arrive, got this and silver tower and im currently waiting for both. Wish they had been rules for Slannesh Daemonettes (only because i picked up the old ones when they were up for recast) Honestly don’t really mind there is no new models (would have preferred if there was obviously) but i’m bias as I dont own a single AoS model, sold all my WFB stuff when it blew up, and i’ll be too busy with all the unique stuff from Silver Tower.

    Since we have two chaos expansions id like to see something Undead or Destruction for the next one.