Suggested faction outline: Centaurs


#1

Above all else, this is a hypothetical design exercise for my own benefit. Obviously, adding new factions to BotI would be no small investment- art alone is a significant budget factor, or so I’d assume. That said, I hereby relinquish any & all ownership of these ideas; Jay & the rest of Iron Helmet Games are free to makes use if them. If this somehow leads to them becoming millionares, they have zero legal obligation to give me any financial compensation or accreditation.

ANYWAY. Centaurs would be a full new faction to join the current six. All strengths and gold costs are tentative; the working assumption is that small centaur give 80 gold (population 40) and large ones give 240 (population 120).

Intended Pros:
-Extra-high-tier move speed. Unless specified, all centaurs (including the base unit all settlements can produce) have a move speed of 2.5 hours/per league when traveling via road- or everywhere but mountains and swamps, if the army includes a Lowlands Guide.
-Aggressive, proactive play. All 4 of the centaur armies (and several hero units) have abilities that are most potent while riding out to confront the blight, rather than gathering at settlements and waiting for the horde to come to them.
-Debuff option: The Exorcist joins the troll’s Crone as a unit that’s able to debuff undead.
-2 gold per civilian. (Though costs are adjusted accordingly- this is so quickly grabbing dwarf and goblin settlements doesn’t give centaurs the kind of boost it’d give a troll.)

Intended Cons:
-Mid-tier costs for low strength. Centaur cards generally have a STR that’s 125%-150% of their price in gold, with a base strength of 400+ being rare.
-Low population reserves. As with trolls, you can depopulate a small settlement by raising 2 basic units and a large one by raising 6.
-Weak at defending settlements from large hordes: While their speed lets them quickly reorient, Centaurs have no attacks that scale based on enemy population, no long-distance attacks, no ability to pin or redirect an undead force, and their only way of buying a threatened settlement time is to make a single target move at half speed for 6 hours. The bests plans will be to use other races, work around the horde or prevent it from forming in the first place.
-No “Standard Bearer”, i.e. unit which centaur cards can deploy from. Minor detail, but potentially significant.


Suggestions
#2

ARMIES
-20 Centaur Lances (common, base unit): 240 gold, 20 x 12 = 240 strength, 2.5h move speed.
–Centaur Charge: Can spend 3 mana to get 240-strength wolf-chariot-style preemptive ranged attack for 6h, recharges in 6h. (cost and damage scale with population, like Elf and Goblin base units. 60 lancers = 9 mana for 6 hours of 720-strength preemptive ranged attack.)

-16 Centaur Rangers (common): 280 gold, 16 x 20 = 320 STR.
–Centaur Rangers fight at +20 strength when the closest settlement (including blighted ones) is at least 1 league away. (Yes, this means any intersection without a settlement will double their strength. The tricky part isn’t getting to these locations, it’s managing to fight the undead there.)

-15 Outriders (uncommon): 300 gold, 15 x 24 = 360 STR.
–Ability: Elusive. Costs 8 mana. This unit will not engage targets or burn bodies for the next 6h. Recharges in 10h.

-20 Blackhoof Chargers (rare): 20 x 24 = 480 Strength. 3h move speed.
–Blackhoof Chargers fight at +12 Strength in blighted hexes.

HEROES
-Swift General (Common)
–Centaurs in the army of the Swift General fight at +8 Strength.

-Centaur Huntress (Common)
–Ability: Harry, 2 mana. Range 1. Target undead moves at half speed for the next 6h. Recharges in 10h.

-Exiled Raider (Common): 160 STR
–Ability: Lure, 4 mana. Range 1. Choose an undead unit that isn’t moving. Half of them (up to a limit of 1000 strength) split to form a new army, which is compelled to move towards Exiled Raider for the next 12h. Recharges in 9h.

-Camp Guard (Common): 320 gold, 400 STR. 3h move speed.
–Lurker.
–If Camp Guard dies while in a plains hex, return her to your deck.

-Vanguard (Uncommon): Preemptive ranged attacks made by the Vanguard’s army as it smashes into melee get +50% strength.

-Centaur Sergeant (Uncommon): Units in the army of the Centaur Sergeant fight at +6 Strength in Plains and Deserts.

-Lowland Guide (Uncommon): 280 gold, 80 STR?
–All units in the army of the Lowland Guide may ignore forest, plain, and desert movement penalties.

-Wind Sage (Uncommon): 40 STR
–Ability: Guidance, 6 Mana. All living units within 1 league gain a 50% saving throw for the next 4 hours. Recharges in 10h.

-Exorcist (Uncommon): 160 STR
–Ability: Abjure, 8 mana. For the next 6 hours, when Exorcist smashes into melee, remove any buffs on opposing undead units. Recharges in 6h

-Bone Seer (Uncommon): 150 gold, 80 STR
–When the army of the Bone Seer purges battlefield graveyards, gain 1 mana per 3 bodies burned.

-Blackhoof Champion (Rare): 200 STR
–Ability: Oath of Vengeance, 4 mana. Blackhoof Champion gets +50 STR for each blighted settlement & mana pool within 2 leagues. Effect lasts 24h, recharges in 21h.

Warchief (Rare)
-Ability: Blood Oath. 6 Mana. Choose an undead unit within 2 leagues. For the next 6 hours (or until the target unit no longer exists), all units in the army of the Warchief are compelled to move towards their target at accelerated speed and will fight at +8 strength. Recharges in 12h. (Speed increase is by 1 category, so centaur lancers would have a base speed of 2 hr/league)

-Veteran Skirmisher (Rare)
–Ability: Harry, 8 mana. Range 1. For the next 12h, each time the targeted undead reaches a crossroads, 30% of its population splits off to move in a random direction. Recharges in 9h.

-Windborne Pilgrim (Rare)
–Ability: Sacred Path, 2 mana. Choose an occupied settlement up to 4 leagues away. For the next 12 hours, Windborne Pilgrim is compelled to move towards it. If they reach their destination in under 12h, gain 3 mana per league traveled. Restores in 18h.


#3

Last but not least, the other side of the coin…

UNDEAD CENTAURS
-14 strength per head, so a small settlement can yield a total of 560 base strength and a large one can yield 1680. Beyond that, I see three options:
–4 hr speed, +50% strength on plains and deserts
–4 hr speed, 3 hr speed on plains and deserts
–3 hr speed, cannot enter mountains or swamps.

GRIM HERALD: 4h speed, 1200 STR
-Concept: In art, the pale grey centaur’s upper body is slumping forwards, head down, long hair obscuring their face. The undead that follow it seem utterly exhausted, yet the pace of their advance is relentless. Step by step, the march continues, till the last trace of life has been crushed.
-Ability: No Rest For The Dead. The Grim Herald never stops moving and cannot be pinned. Units in their army travel at the Grim Herald’s speed. Each time they encounter (or create) a battlefield graveyard, 6h worth of restless souls immediately spawn and join the herald’s army.

LORD OF THUNDER: 4h speed, 1000 STR
-Concept: Massive, heavily-muscled charger whose hooves make the earth quake and break apart.
-Ability: Crack the Earth. Each time the Lord of Thunder enters a new hex, he slows all living units within 1 league for 8 hours and gets +250 bonus strength. Upon reaching an occupied settlement, he destroys any fortifications and loses (X*100) bonus strength, where X is the fortification’s former value.

Other Undead Centaur Lord mechanic ideas:
-Dread Momentum: Contact ranged attack (half total str?)
–ranged attack builds charge with each league traveled, is lost if pinned or if a living unit survives collision and can melee.

-Stampede Tremors: AoE slow? 2 leagues, 6h, triggers every 12. Slow is by 1h?

-Terror slow: Living units within 3 (2?) leagues are slowed by 1h if moving TOWARDS undead lord (i.e. if movement direction brings them closer)

-Winds of challenge: Living units within 3 (2?) leagues are slowed if moving AWAY FROM undead lord.

-No Rest For The Dead: AoE undead spawn (advances restless soul’s spawn timer by 6h?).
–1 league range, triggers every 12h
–2 league, every 24h


#4

This is a fun new faction concept! My immediate reaction is that an extremely fast race like this feels like it would need really serious drawbacks elsewhere in order to feel balanced against the existing races. With a 2.5h base speed (and ability to ignore most movement penalties!) it’s trivial to grab other settlements to supplement your weak points. That said, I love the concept, and I think something like this could definitely be made to work!

Some of the individual powers seem extremely strong (especially the ones that cause Immortal stacks to split up), but that’s fine. The idea of a race that is more or less only strong if you can fight out on the plains, away from settlements, is very cool.


#5

I agree with @DrBwaa - this sounds like a great idea, but does seem like it could have a lot of drawbacks due to the speed.

My 2nd thought, after (yeah, a new faction, this is a great idea!) was, "I wonder if the the idea of Centaurs would be a better fit for the likes of Giants, Ents, Dragons, Hydras… They could be a fast, mildly powerful (faster than dragons, not as powerful), and have some restrictions (not able to enter swamps - kinda the reverse Hydra).

But I could definitely get behind them as their own race/faction too!


#6

@DrBwaa Yeah, we’re on the same page on pretty much all counts. I was pretty timid about making 2.5h speed the default, but started feeling more confident once I doubled down on the “proactive” requirement. I just kept thinking about how many crucial moves in BotI are ones I make in reaction to an undead force once it’s less than 1 league from an occupied settlement, and how much I’d sweat bullets if I had a hand full of cards deliberately designed not to help me in that kind of situation. Camp Guard was actually added to be a merciful exception to that rule, and she’s a money sink.

Lowland Guide is probably the card I’m most uncertain about. Might need to cave and make it 3h speed, so that it mainly boosts non-centaur units.

Splitting units is definitely potent, should probably have listed it in pros. The Veteran Skirmisher had the same max-1000-strength limit until right before I posted this doc, but comparing it to the likes of, say, Rune Dancer it feels fair- you still have to hunt down the faction that split off (and may not like WHERE it split off), it only triggers once per intersection (so the undead unit has to be making progress), etc. I think Exiled Raider’s biggest drawback is that it has to target undead units that aren’t on the move; it’s best if you can pair it with a decent force and park it next to a blighted settlement whose zombie horde is still growing.


#7

Anyone got an opinion on undead centaurs? I’d lean towards option 2, where plains and desert hexes boost their speed but not their strength. But it really depends on how you’d want to make the maps that included them.


#8

Fast zombies are a good idea.
That way we got to think hours ahead and fortify settlements and stretch our defenses thin.
I dig it!


#9

For those who don’t know, Centaurs were a unit in the previous version of the game. And yeah, undead centaurs were a problem.


#10

There are some really cool ideas in here Dagda! Great work! We really could pull a whole new race out of this!