|OLDHAMMER: In Battle There is No Law|
If the table above means absolutely nothing to you, go and download a copy of Mordheim from Games Workshop - it's the cheapest (free) legal way of getting the core rules of Oldhammer.
If only Int, Cl and WP look a bit unfamiliar - worry not - they are just used to test various psychological effects in Oldhammer and along with Ld are known as personal statistics, and I'll cover what they do in a later post. PV is, of course Point Value. these days you have to buy army books to know this number, but they used to be published in the main rulebook.
Oldhammer is a fundamentally humanocentric game. Not because humans are the top of the pile, but because everything else is described in relation to them. Here's how:
Starting with the Standard Human Point Value of 5 as our base,
- For every attribute point above the Standard Human profile, add the appropriate modifier.
- For every attribute point below the Standard Human profile, deduct the appropriate modifier.
Example: if we compare the Elf profile to the Standard Human profile we can apply these modifiers to determine the final points value:
However that's not the end of our calculations. If the Profile Points Value is greater than 10, we need to multiply it by something I call the Ugezod Factor.
To find the Ugezod Factor,
- If the Profile Points Value of the is between 11-15, then the Ugezod Factor is 1.5
- If the Profile PV is 16 or larger take the PV, drop a decimal place and round up to the nearest whole number.
- Multiply the Profile PV by the Ugezod Factor for the final Points Value.
The profile points value of the Ogre is 18.5 which is over 15 so we drop a decimal place so it becomes 1.85 which is rounded up to give the Ugezod Factor of 2. The final Points Value of the Ogre is calculated as 18.5 * 2 = 37.
Of course it doesn't quite end there, equipment, magic and hero status can all effect the final PV of a unit, and we will cover these in a later post.
I've created a OpenOffice spreadsheet that does all those calculations for you, and put that here:
So, right now, you can design your own troops and monsters, or convert any published profile to the Oldhammer Universal Points System.
"Oh mighty, Zhu!" a great clamouring of voices yelled. "Tell us of great weapons, armour from the forge lands , the psychology of battle, mighty leaders, the powers of magic? Surely must these be accounted in the great Book of War."
Long after the echoes of these shouts fell into black silence, a voice spoke. "Patience, seekers. Let us first reflect on the great powers you have attained so far. The Lord of Khaös smiles, for battle is already upon us. Let the dice be thrown and let blood be spilled before the dawn! "
- Chronicles of the Dark Zhu. Ch. XIIV
The rules for generating Points Values above appear very much as they were written by Rick Priestly, Richard Halliwell and Bryan Ansell and are published in WFB 2nd Edition and WH40K:RT. The wording is completely new and only the mechanics have been reproduced. By using the system above you'll get the Points Values as published in those two editions - which is the black beating reanimated undead warp-fire powered core of Oldhammer.
You'll find that the points published for other editions are slightly variant. The designers started 'tinkering' with the final values to represent how useful they thought the troops were in 3rd - but the vast majority of profiles published for that edition are still based on this system. In fact the first instance of deviating from purely mechanical points values was in the 2e Ravening Hordes presentation of the Snotlings - which made them considerably cheaper than the original Citadel Journal incarnation.
If you want to convert from an edition that only contains Leadership and is missing the other Personal Profile statistics, choose one of the following methods:
- All the same as the given Ld.
- A reasonable number based on the type of creature.
- Equal that of the 2nd or 3rd edition version of the creature
- The human baseline: 7
- Make them zero.
Again, I'll cover the actual rules effected by the personal profile (Cool, Willpower, etc.) in another post but for now it's enough to fill them in - and note, setting them to zero is a really bad idea, so be prepared to pay a few extra points than you're used to for troops.
One advantage of having a public points system is that you can create your own creatures, and everyone can see how and why they cost what they did.
I did a conversion of the AD&D Bugbears to Oldhammer quite some time ago. I also added in the weapon stats to the final PV - however I now realize that is a mistake. Specific profiles do not have to take specific weapons/armour combinations - these are always options - perhaps you want to use Citadel ADD Bugbears, alongside Otherworlds, or convert weapons. Model choices should not be defined by rules, rules should bend to choice of model. Nonetheless, despite its flaws you can download it and have a look.
|Download Bugbear Army List [PDF]|
These new creatures are (nearly) entirely balanced in accordance to the Oldhammer Points value system, and so are a fair choice for a given value. 500PV of Bugbear is equal to 500PV of Chaos Dwarves or 500PV of Night Elves. At least that's the theory.
So you can bring much more colour, variety and creativity to the tabletop - you're no longer restricted to "counts as" choices, but can design creatures from the ground up. In fact, introducing new creatures is some of the fun that a Gamesmaster can have, introducing them as surprise allies or fearsome wandering monsters to the armies that players bring to the table - why should the GW design studio have all the fun?
I'm not a mathematician, but the points system itself seems quite elegant - Strength and Toughness balance each other out (being either side of the same to-hit table) so have the same cost. Wounds and Attacks, are also symmetrically costed, being the capability of dealing or receiving damage. The numerical pattern of measuring everything out in quarters and numbers divisible by 4 (the Ugezod Factor kicks in at a profile value of 16+ and all distances also use inches, which are divided into 1/4s and 1/8th ...) gives Oldhammer a glossy coat of mathematical purity.
The points allocation of Weapon Skill being more costly than Ballistic Skill is an interesting choice - Oldhammer appears to value close combat ability over ranged ability. However, points for ranged weapons aren't included in the initial PV (a basic hand weapon is), so usable ranged units already have a higher cost (at least 0.5 PV). However, fast forward 40,000 years and the close-combat bias is still there, why else do Power Gloves make sense?
|The Ugezod Factor |
named after the infamous Eeza Ugezod
The Ugezod Factor has some interesting repercussions for creature design. As it rounds-up the PV, it means that often additional points of ability can be bought without effecting the points paid for the creature. However, the designers tend not to max out all creatures in this way. Instead the odd point has been given away here or there. Some of this may be to preserve compatibility with earlier editions, but more likely it's to add flavour and variety to the troop types - something to take note of I think.
Finally, I'd love to see what people make of the UPS. Feel free to create or convert any weird and wonderful creature and link to it in the comments!
Update: how to calculate armour values