[Tim continues with another of his ‘experimental and odd list’ series, that of the feral Horde. This time, the list is not just from early A2 playtesting but from early playtesting done for The Dronescourge Returns (from which ferals were removed). This list never made the A2 cut due to woefully insufficient testing! As such, and with all the ‘Odd Lists’, the Horde list is not meant for tournaments or formal play but, providing players treat them with a pinch of salt, they may be worth exploring and having fun with…]
The feared Mhagris ferals of Oszon, the fanatical Tamalair of the Tamala Accord and House Delhren… everyone know that if you want cheap mercenaries you speak to the Freeborn, right? And they’ll sell you some backwater hicks who are short of cash but high on manpower, yeah?
Well… no. Not necessarily. There is another way: the Horde, a growing alliance of Feral worlds who are attempting to break the back of the Freeborn monopoly on the provision of low-tech-world mercenaries. The overwhelming majority of Horde forces are panhuman or even, at times, from stock approaching that of ancient, baseline humanity.
The Horde would like to consider themselves as having achieved this, forming a sort of cartel in some Spill regions in which the only role of – albeit minor – Freeborn houses is to provide them with transport. Elsewhere, a few isolated worlds are Horde in name only, perhaps surrounded by the Concord or Senatex but not yet succumbing to the unstoppable incursion of the IMTel. In such IMTel-dominated areas, the more technologically advanced but non-IMTel worlds might also deal with the Horde planets directly when they need supplemental forces to their own.
Of course, if they had a choice, most of the Horde worlds would merely upgrade their lifestyle, health and longevity to that of many other Antarean worlds. However, they have few resources to trade other than their own bodies and their yearning for freedom and individual expression means they have no wish to be subsumed by an off-world culture.
Though they come from many different worlds (loads of conversion options, here!) and many different types of society, all Ferals have a few traits in common: their ferocity and their commitment to their overlords. Occasionally, however, they allow some of their less belligerent ‘involunteers’ to be equipped with soma grafts to help them overcome the fear of battle.
The list we provide matches this mercenary outlook: warriors who are on the fringes of Antarean technology and take as much as they can, but who are constrained by their ability to repair and maintain such devices. Such a list cannot help but be infantry- or beast- heavy.
A Horde List
Horde ferals are fundamentally the same as the Ferals in the Freeborn army list and use the same stats.
When taken as allies and outnumbered by non-Horde, friendly units, all Horde units are classed as a Mercenary Force and all are subject to the Mercenary rule. If they are the dominant force or on their own, the Mercenary rule does not apply until there are less Horde units than non-Horde units.
Horde cannot be allied to, or hired by, any Vorl or Ghar. Whlst they can be hired by and ally with any panhuman force, they must be a Mercenary force (the allies with fewest units) when alongside Algoryn, Concord or Senatex armies.
Due to the sporadic availability of the technology, a maximum of 50% of the number of feral infantry and mounted units can be given soma grafts.
A Feral Command squad is mandatory in a Horde force. There must also be at least one plus the Force Level (1+FL+) Feral Warrior squads in total in addition to any other selection limitations (so 2 at FL1, 3 at FL 2 and so on).
Note again that this list is highly experimental!
The Horde can use the following standard Army Options at the costs stated.
- Block! – 1pt.
- Get Up – 1pt.
- Marksman – 2pts.
- Pull Yourself Together – 1pt.
This is stated in the Freeborn list as Feral Command, but cannot take soma grafts.
Horde Command Selection Restrictions: 0–FL
These are Feral Warriors as stated in the Freeborn list. One Horde Warrior squad per FL can be replaced by a Domari squad representing the crew that transported the Ferals to their area of operations (further domari and even vardanari could appear as a loosely allied force, of course).
Horde Warrior Selection Restrictions: 1+FL or more.
Horde Huscarls (11pts)
Huscarls are the inner retainers of a Horde chieftain’s company and are experienced, well-trained and well-equipped.
Horde Huscarl Selections Restrictions: 0–1 per Horde Command.
This unit costs 11 points and can be upgraded with: 0–2 extra Huscarls @2pts each; one member to carry a micro-x instead of a mag weapon @Free; and can be upgraded with soma grafts @+2pts in total.
|1×Huscarl Lieutenant with either plasma carbine, mag gun or mag repeater; plasma grenades; reflex armour; impact cloak||5||5||5||6||5(6)||7||8||Tough, Savage Strike|
|5×Huscarls with mag gun or repeater; plasma grenades; reflex armour; impact cloak||5||5||5||6||5(6)||7||7||Savage Strike|
Horde Neophytes (9pts)
These are the raw militia or new recruits who have not yet had much exposure to combat and have had no opportunity to loot their enemies for useful equipment. They have limited weaponry and rely on numbers for their effectiveness. Neophytes are often led by the child of a notable leader or chief who has been given a little equipment, at least.
Horde Neophyte Selection Restrictions: 0–1/Horde Warrior squad.
The unit costs 9 points with a complement of one banner-bearer and five neophytes; up to 4 more neophytes can be taken @+1pt each.
|1×Banner-bearer with mag gun, plasma grenade, impact cloak||5||5||5||5||5||6||7||Tough|
|5×Neophytes with lugger gun, plasma grenades||5||5||5||5||5||6||6||–|
This is as the Feral Beastmaster unit as stated in the Freeborn list.
Selection Restrictions: 0–1 per Horde Warrior squad.
Horde Dragoons (12pts, 4/Unit)
This is equivalent to the Beast Cavalry option in the Skark Riders unit in the Freeborn army list so has four Kryghal or similar (not skark mounts as skarks come from Mhagris) and the riders dismount as Horde Warriors.
Selection Restrictions: 0–1 per Horde Warrior squad.
Horde Weapon Teams (5pts)
The horde have few weapons of the power and calibre of the advanced nations, so are limited in their weapon team options. If one or more Domari squads are taken, a single Horde Weapon Team can be replaced with a Domari Ship Defence Weapon team.
Horde Weapon Team Selection Restrictions: 0–2×FL.
A Horde Weapon Team costs 5pts and comes with a crew of two plus either a mag cannon or mag light support. The crew have stats as Feral Warriors and are armed with either mag gun or mag pistol.
Upgrades: up to half the Horde Weapon Teams can replace their MLS or MC with an X-Launcher (no special munitions) for free; one additional crew can be added @+1pt; add reflex armour to all crew @+1pt in total; soma grafts can be added to all crew @+2pts in total.
Transport and Combat Skimmers
The Horde’s transport skimmers are purchased and often poorly maintained – though not through lack of willing. The vehicle’s stats are as the basic Transport Skimmer or the Liberator-style combat skimmer in the Freeborn list but at Res 11 (transport)/12 (combat), Co 7, Init 6 and lacking the IMTel Isolated trait.
|Horde Combat Skimmer with MC, MLS (17pts)||5||5||5||0||12||6||7||Large, MOD2, Suspensored|
|Horde Transport Skimmer with MLS (15pts)||5||5||5||0||11||6||7||Large, MOD2, Suspensored, Transport 10|
The transport can only be upgraded to have a mag cannon in place of its mag light support (Free) and the combat skimmer a mag light support (Free) in place of its mag cannon: no other upgrades or buddy drones are permitted to either.
Selection Restrictions: 0–FL (total of all skimmers)
The Horde have limited manufacturing capabilities and no way of obtaining substantial numbers of the sophisticated, multi-channel, nanosphere-based, resilient probes used by other factions. As a result, the Horde (at great cost) have had the Freeborn design simple Hound Probes that they can manufacture and deploy in substantial numbers. Given what they have to face, these are not completely reliable.
Horde Hound Probes have Erratic 6 (Explode). This means that whilst they move as normal for probes, when their owning player triggers their destruct capability, they must roll a 6 or below on D10; if a 10 is rolled, the hound malfunctions completely (see the Ghar list for full details). The Horde Hound Probes cannot interface with any other shard (so they cannot be activated with another faction’s order die).
A single Hound Probe shard of 6 probes can be taken for 5 points. The shard can be upgraded with 2 additional probes per FL at a cost of 1pt for 2 probes.
In summary, the selector is as follows. A Feral Command squad is mandatory in a Horde force. There must also be at least one plus the Force Level (1+FL+) Feral Warrior squads in total in addition to any other selection limitations (so 2 at FL1, 3 at FL 2 and so on).
|Horde Huscarls||11||N||1||0–1/Horde Command|
|Horde Neophytes||9||N||1||0–1/Horde Warrior|
|Dragoons (on kryghal |
|Hound Probes (6 of)||5||N||1||0–1|
We have to stress, again, that like others in this series, this is a highly experimental list, so players may find it klunky. Nonetheless, we add it here as: (a) Tim originally pitched it waaaay back; and (b) so players can have fun exploring the less-advanced troops found in Antarean space, messing up an ordered table with a wild mix of what we can only really refer to as ‘techno-barbarians’.
As with any ferls, the Skytrex Mhagris will do well, as will converting figures from a wide variety of ‘ancient’ ranges, adding Antarean weapons from sprue spares or from the weapon sprues.
A Horde army is typically dominated by Feral Warriors, whether on foot or mounted as dragoons – as befits the role of the Horde. It is sometimes a useful garrison force on a more primitive world, but can also be used for quickly seizing objectives or for initial strikes, but cannot be expected to stand up for long against the high-tech armies of the Senatex and Concord. The command squad and huscarls can be useful anchoring units, however, and the neophytes a surprisingly annoying hindrance to opposition forces.
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