Thursday, January 10, 2013

Focus On ... Irish Champions

The latest Saga supplement, The Raven's Shadow, offers a number of new Factions for you to play. One of those is the Irish. These are a list that offer the ability to field Champions. These being special Hearthguard in units of just one model. They are a kind of mini-Warlord, with some of the same abilities. Importantly they have a tactical use, generate saga dice and have their own unique saga abilities. All of these should appeal to the gamer who likes to make a decisive strike with a capable unit. If you like the abilities of the Welsh skirmish army with a little of the heroics of the Vikings mixed in, these could be the unit and the Faction for you......

Crusader Miniatures - Dark Age Irish Champions

Champion Rules:
On page 10 of the Raven's Shadow, the rules for champions are laid out and summarised below:

- you can have up to two Champions in your faction.

- each Champion is a single model unit. They are drawn from Hearthguard so you must buy at least one unit of four Hearthguard to draw one or two champions from. The rest cannot be used unless you also buy at least one more Hearthguard unit to keep within the rule of 4-12 models. E.g. buy two units each of four Hearthguard and make two into Champions and keep six as a single unit of Hearthguard.

- the Champion is considered to be a Hearthguard unit.

- the Champion is worth 2 Victory Points if killed.

- the Champion generates 3 Attack Dice in melee and two in shooting.

- the Champions Armour is 5 in melee and 6 in shooting.

- the Champion is armed with javelins.

- the Champion may be mounted but only if the Warlord is also mounted. Armour in shooting suffers the usual penalty.

- the Champion gets the Determination special rule (saga rulebook p. 37)

- the Champion ignores the first non cancelled hit in shooting or melee attack (limited version of the Resilience rule, Saga rulebook p. 37).

Note: as a single unit of Hearthguard, you can generate a Saga dice.

Saga Abilities
There are two abilities that apply only to Champions or the Warlord on the Irish battleboard. Both of these can help make for a "coup-de-grace" approach to finishing off an enemy.

- Blood of the Kings - Melee or shooting reaction - During this shooting or this melee the Resilience special rule allows you to ignore two hits rather than one (three hits rather than one if a Rare symbol was discarded for this ability).  It can be used with any dice symbol and so makes for a good defence in your opponents turn. For a single model, survivability into combat on your own terms is key.

- Seed of Ireland - Melee - Your unit does not roll any Attack Dice during step 4. Each of the enemy units engaged with your unit automatically suffers 4 hits (3 hits if played on a Curadh) during step 4.
This ability requires one common dice and one Rare dice symbol, so is harder to generate. However, the ability to do set numbers of hits cannot be overlooked especially against well armoured opponents.

You can augment the above abilities for Champions with others. One of the most useful has to be The Old Ways. This allows you to cap the enemy melee attacks (especially with the Rare symbol) and give your Champion the chance to deliver his own blows especially when using the Seed of Ireland ability. Useful against a lone warlord, band of Berserkers or whatever can usually strike a lot of Attacks for few men.

These abilities seek to represent the idea of the legendary champion going out to make history!

Historical Accuracy
The Irish Curadh (Curaidh) meaning 'champion', warrior' or 'hero' is the stuff of legend and history. Their Saga abilities are designed to reflect this (the "lone warrior" on the battlefield). Used well they should be able to survive into battle, hopefully with a deeper purpose than just disposing of a few enemy levies or stealing a few cattle. Legends are made from individual bravery! Fight clever and hard and hope to live another day.

The Irish Champion is a tactical unit that needs to be handled well. Good timing and Saga dice will help bring an end to your enemies plans!

You can find examples for Saga 28mm figures at Crusader at Frpgames and GB foot Champions or GB mounted champions.

About the Author: "ambler" / Mike lives in the North West of the UK. After years of RPG's and GW wargaming he now plays in a long running Amber Diceless RPG and plays Flames of War at the NWGC in Stockport. Saga is a recent addition to the games-under-the-belt collection. Check out his blog: www.not2oldtowargame.wordpress.com


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