With Joey Pruitt’s Vorl prototypes being shown, and a very early ‘squidgy’ draft of the lists and rules being shown at the recent BDAWC Antares Games Day, we thought we’d run through what might be expected in a Vorl army and the design considerations that go into their stats, capabilities, squads and list. Much of what is below can be seen or extrapolated from the Universe Guide (see Rules Central in the menus, above).
We have to stress that all the below is in a very early stage of testing, however, and is likely to be changed in the final version!
In general the Vorl can be seen as panhuman analogs, a species that likes community and consensus and nests in large numbers. They are loyal to nest-associates and obedient to their nest-mother, especially as the nest- or hearth-mothers embody everything that is vital to the nest. The key thing here is community: a Vorl squad should benefit from having larger numbers, something we are calling ‘synthesis effects’ or ‘synthesis modes’.
Their symbiotic physiology presents a bonus and a problem. They have a wide body and multiple legs. Control of the symbiosis is dominated by the cephalite (head/brain) and whilst the cephalite has a pair of arms and flexible digits, the real strength is in the torsite’s (middle component) arms and possibly the back legs. Their culture and need for consensus means that individuals probably don’t react quickly (lower Init).
The original vision for the Vorl was that they should be comparable to/only slightly bigger than panhumans and should fit on a widely available size of base. The model itself should have enough space for detail and adaptation and for having up to six, perhaps seven troopers in a squad. This really means anything larger than 30mm base sizes is out as large numbers of larger base-size models cascade all sorts of issues in the rules. The image below shows the Vorl in the centre on a 30mm base – the one we’re aiming for (which we refer to as 90%) – with a -10% and +10% either side.
Frankly, though, we could cope with squads being composed of 30mm-based Vorl plus one or two smaller and, perhaps, one slightly larger. The joy of the 3D prints is that players can decide.
Whilst the Vorl M stat (Move) is likely to be the same as panumans (5), their Agility is something under consideration. Whilst they will probably be better over some terrain such as small boulders than panhumans, their overall width and need to co-ordinate legs and shape means that in most other types of terraain they are likely to suffer. What we don’t want to do is have multiple different terrain rules for them!
Their Acc (Accuracy) is likely to be the same as panhumans: they have nothing that really benefits their accuracy over panhumans. As discussed, Str (Strength) should be better as they have the whole body and multiple legs to barge opponents out of the way or pin them down in hand-to-hand. At present we’re running with Str 6, but Str 7 may not be inappropriate.
Res (Resist) considerations are intersting. Yes, they have a fairly tough lower body in the ambulite, but the torsite is nothing really special – perhaps comparable with a panhuman – and the cephalite is quite delicate. Which puts us back into the middle of the road (5) BUT (and it’s a big but) their armour fields operate in a different fashion to panhuman armour.
As suggested above, Init (Initiative – reaction capability) should be hampered. They are intelligent, but the need to control all three components and their social need to reach consensus means that reactions may not be as good as panhumans. Once again, this is where their cultural and social structure comes into play: a nearby nest-mother or warchief could certainly have an idea of what they should do so should have a good Init, at least, and Follow.
Co (Command) should be no lower than the more disciplined troopers of panhumanity, so we can settle on 8 at the moment, and the presence of a nearby leader would certainly bolster this. So leader stats of Co 9 or Co 10 should not be uncommon. This also leads us into the thoughts that a command squad should not only not be too expensive but its benefits extremely positive (see Init, above). Given their community focus, their squads are generally called ‘hearths’ to suggest that familial relationship.
One thing that arises from this is that the Vorl bodyguards in a command squad should be like the soma-grafted or imprinted vardanari and ferals, at least. Such Vorl will sacrifice themselves voluntarily for their nest-mother, so ‘Loyal Bodyguard’ is a must.
Squads and the Synthesis
The Vorl are community and synthesis focused: the more Vorl there are, the better they are. Their technology is as good as that of the IMTel powers, though they voluntarily gave up chronoplasticity-based millenia ago. The numbers game conflicts with their medium size and high technology, though, so we have to compromise to fit them into the points ranges we’d expect.
The synthesis effects and modes means that the more Vorl there are in a squad, the tougher their armour field (+1 Res per Vorl in the squad up to a maximum of +4) and the more effective and flexible their weapons (higher range or SV, depending on how they use their weaponry).
At present, we’re looking at four main squad types for a ‘Leading Claw’ selector – and their may be more selectors but this is the one most encountered in the advance guard of Vorl armies. In general, the squad leader (typicaly a hearth-mother) has a combat array that acts much like a spotter buddy and can also take a kinetic dampener – a device that acts like a weakened batter field but is a little more temperamental.
The four Leading Claw squads are:
- Command Hearth. This speaks for itself, consisting of a nest-mother with reasonable Init and good Co plus two to four bodygaurd. All are armed with plasma projectors (see Fire Warrior description).
- Fire Warrior Hearth. These four to six-strong, plasma projector-armed squads are the backbone of Vorl armies. Currently, up to four projectors can be coupled together in a Coalesce mode to give a greater strike value (from SV2 up to SV8) and/or other projectors can use a synthesis effect to boost the range. The higher SV mode means they can take out vehicles, meaning they have no real need for a direct-fire weapon team.
- Storm Warrior Hearth. This three-to-six strong squad can be seen as a mixed infantry-/bombardment squad as the troopers are armed with pulsers firing nebuliser shells. The Vorl like suspensor technology, and this is used to power the pulsers and their personal sidearms. In direct fire (Stream) mode, pulsers have two shots each, but in the Storm mode, the Vorl create an overhead bombardment of (again, currently) up to nine, SV1 blast hits, or use special munitions. Like the plasma projectors, the pulsers can be combined to give greater range.
- Mist Hunter Shard. This is squad is comprised of two to three Vorl who have lost their hearth-mother or many of their hearth-mates, so are a little demoralised. Nonetheless, they have a wish to support the rest of their nest so do so by acting as infiltrators and scouts, using their armour to hide (like a camo-buddy) and act as forward, patch-sighting troops for the rest of the army. Their plasma projectors are not to be sniffed up: a full squad can even generate a short-ranged SV6 strike in Coalesce mode.
In addition, the Vorl can use Askar soldiers as light infantry armed with panhuman weapons, though with smaller squads, and have hound– and targeter-probe equivalents.
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