Sunday, January 30, 2011

Heizinger 201, Intermediate Class

Welcome back to good old T.U. Today we’re going to look at the much maligned Marquis General Hermann von Heizinger; maligned not just for being evil, but depending on who you ask, he is either the strongest character or the weakest in the Core Tannhauser set.

We’ll see, after the jump…

First let’s take a look at Hermann’s character sheet and figure.

herman-von-heizinger_2

We can see in the picture above that Hermann’s best stat is his Mental Value (the third column). He is a scholar and sorcerer, so that makes sense. Also he is about 85 years old, so he is not physically strong, as shown in his low Combat, Stamina, and Movement values. Below is the Heizinger figure.

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Now let’s take a second to look at Hermann’s equipment. For the most part Hermann’s tokens consist of obscure and occult items, some of terrible power. If you look at pages 38 and 39 in the revised rule book, you’ll find all the rules for Hermann’s tokens except the Eye of Horus bonus token which is found on page 84.

Now for today’s demonstration, where going to look at the same situation a few times and see what Hermann can do depending on what equipment pack he has. We’re playing on the Castle map, in Objective Mode, and all other characters are equipped with their Combat Packs.

So now, to the board…

In this first image we see Hermann’s current position and the location of near by characters on the map. This demo will begin on the Reich player’s turn and at the start of Heizinger’s Activation. Hermann is at full health and we’ll start with his Combat Pack.

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First note that all of Hermann’s pack contain his “Wather P38” a plain pistol, which is as impotent in Tannhauser as it is in the real world; you won’t be using it much.

Now, let’s look at Hermann’s “always on” ability, which last as long as Hermann lives, the “Hermetica” Umbra. This item allows  Hermann and every Obscura Korps affiliated character within six circles of Hermann to add one die to their attack roll. (For more info on character affiliation see page 13.) In the next image we see Hermann and on the board are once again my Bingo chips, these red ones represent the range of the Hermetica Umbra, and conveniently they also show us Hermann’s “Mental Range” which is also six. (Unlike with the Smoke Grenades, I do not suggest you use the Bingo chips in this manner for actual game play.)

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So let’s stop for a second an talk about what the Hermetica Umbra will let us do right now. If we say that Karl is the active character, then he could attack John, with FIVE dice as opposed to his usual four. Further more, if Karl was equipped with his Command Pack he could attack with SIX dice. But let’s get back to Hermann.

When Hermann is equipped with his Combat Pack he has two Occult items that can be used to directly “attack” enemies. Now I’ve put the word attack in quotes for a reason, because neither of the two items we’re about to discuss are Weapons, and therefore don’t actually use the “Attack Action”. They instead use the “Use Equipment Action” (see page 18); so, they are not technically “attacks”. I’ll come back to why this is an important distinction later.

Now, let’s start with “Sha-Na-Ra”. Sha-Na-Ra is a “Once per game” item; meaning once you use it, you can’t use it again, regardless of how well it worked. So, what’s it do? Well, it allows you to engage a target in a Mental Duel (see pages 19 and 20 for more on Duels), and if you win, you apply wounds for each UNCANCELED success (hit). So let’s try it out on Barry Brown who is in range (range = Hermann’s Mental Value +1), and Hermann doesn't even need to move.

Barry is an excellent choice for this “attack” because he has a low Mental Value, and in a Duel both characters use the same stat type; i.e. in a Mental Duels, hits and cancels are determined by the Mental stat, this will all make sense is a second when we look at the dice.

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Ok, if you take a look at the close up above, you can see Hermann rolled 6, 5, 4, 4, which gives him FOUR hits with his Mental Value of 6. Barry however, only has a Mental Value of 3, so he would need at least a seven to cancel a hit. So, his 6, 5, 2, 1, doesn’t help him at all, and If the Union player wants to keep him alive he’ll need to spend a Command Point (CP) to shake off a wound.

Ok let’s rewind and try the “Patmos Amulet” instead of Sha-Na-Ra.

Just as before we’ll engage Barry in a Mental Duel, but this time the effect will be quite different. The Patmos Amulet allows Hermann to wield a sort of “mind control” over his enemies. Causing them to attack the nearest character (friend or foe) and then move as far as possible. Now, under some conditions Hermann can choose which character to attack, and he always chooses which weapon to use and where the character moves to after the attack, so long as they’re moved away from Hermann. Note read the rules close and you’ll see that there is no rule stating you can move the target before the attack is made. So remember it’s attack then move.

So below is our new close up with the new Mental Duel.

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This time Hermann out did himself rolling 10, 9, 8, 7, again four successes (hits). Barry rolled 10, 7, 1, 1, canceling two of those hits, but in a Duel the attacker only needs one more hit than the target has cancels to win. So Barry must attack the nearest character, which in this case is the Commando Alpha to his rear. Hermann chooses the Flash Gun A6A (it’s the only choice in this case) to attack the Alpha, and Barry rolls six dice thanks to the BA-27. He rolls 10, 8, 6, 5, 5, 4, with the Natural 10, Barry rolls two more dice a 4, 2, making for a total of SEVEN hits (Barry’s CV is 6). The Alpha is most likely dead, he would need to roll four cancels on his Shock Roll, and spend a CP to stay alive. The Union player chooses to save his CP and forego the Shock Roll, so the Alpha is now dead. See below.

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Now let’s move on to Hermann’s Stamina Pack, we won’t spend a lot of time on this.

Hermann’s Stamina Pack contains two unique items. The first one is the “Eye of Tages” this is another once per game item, and it is best thought of as a super First Aid Kit, it allows you to restore your or an adjacent ally’s health to full. This item’s once per game caveat, means you’ll probably want to save it for occasions when your severely wounded. The next item is the “Hermetica Astra”, which allows all Obscura Korps characters to gain an Automatic Success (cancel) when making a Shock Roll. This does come with a price however. Each affiliated character rolls only THREE dice. This item like all Hermetica is “always on”.

Next, let’s look at the Command Pack, which can be one of Hermann’s most powerful defensive packs, but we’ll get to how in a minute. The first item in Hermann’s Command Pack is his rank of “Genaralluetnant”, which grants a good +4 to the Reich’s Inititave Rolls. If you combine that with the +3 from Karl’s Command Pack, you can almost guarantee that the Reich will go first every turn, and in some cases this can be a real advantage.

Let’s move on to the “Hermetica Umbra” this item has rather lengthy rules (see page 39), but here’s the gist of them, no character not affiliated with the Obscura Korps may enter your path without first winning a Metal Duel. Now that’s all well and good, but how do we make this the most powerful defensive pack for Hermann?

The answer brings us to our last token, Hermann’s Bonus Token the “Eye of Horus” (see page 84). The Eye of Horus grants the ability to add an automatic wound to enemies, each time you win a Mental Duel against them. So if you replace either Hermann’s Rank or Pistol with this item, more often then not characters attempting to enter his path will be suffering an automatic wound. So let’s take a look what happens if Hermann has Hermetica Umbra and the Eye of Horus are used together.

Here’s the board (below), Barry is the active character and he wants to shoot Hermann, but first he has to get there.

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So Barry moves toward Hermann, but as soon as he reaches the Purple circles, he must fight a Mental Duel. Let’s go to the close up below.

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Barry rolled a 10, 7, 6, 4, which would be good if it weren’t for his Mental Value of 3. (10-3=7) So he only gets TWO hits. Hermann how ever rolled 10, 9, 7, 1, which is THREE hits, making him the winner of the Duel and forcing Barry to step back and suffer an Automatic Wound, ouch.

Ok, so that’s a lot of info to absorb, but we’re not quite done yet. Remember how I pointed out how using the Patmos Amulet and Sha-Na-Ra are not Attack Actions but Use Equipment Actions. Well this is very important because the rules for Smoke Grenades state that, “any character standing on a smoke filled path can only attack adjacent characters”. Now attacking is a separate action with specific rules, very different from the Use Equipment action, and also very different from a Duel. Only an item with the Weapon trait may be used with the Attack Action. So Hermann may use both the Patmos Amulet and Sha-Na-Ra from inside a smoke filled path unimpeded, without any penalties, because they are not Weapons.

Let me say that again, as I read the rules Hermann may use his non-weapon Occult items in smoke without any penalties.

And on that bombshell, let’s call this done.