[Archive] Problems limiting warmachine


I am getting close to releasing the latest update to my list, I’m currently going through practically everything changing little bits here and there and (hopefully) doing all the artwork that was missing.  Some of these bits I will put here at some point, the rest are being held back for WoH.

Anyhow, one of the last big problems with my list I’m stuck on is what to do with my core warmachine.

Current rules:


The Smoke Mortar was initially developed to bring an end to the decade long siege of an Orc stronghold in the Mountains of Mourn.  Because of the features of the paths leading up to the cave system, it was all but impossible to attack without taking heavy casualties.

Recognising that air movement through the stronghold was restricted to only the entrance hole, the Chaos Dwarfs fired countless smoke shells inside. Within a matter of minutes the Orc horde came pouring out from the caves, coughing and blindly fumbling in the thick haze.  

A massacre ensued and yet another powerful war machine was added to the Chaos Dwarf arsenal.

Firing the Smoke Mortar

Range:   12" - 48"

To fire the Smoke Mortar line up the warmachine to the intended target, note that you require Line of Sight.  Guess a range and place the large 5" template over this spot.  

Roll the Scatter dice, if the result is a HIT the smoke shell lands exactly in the spot aimed for.  If the Scatter dice rolls an arrow, the smoke shell will veer off in that direction.  Next roll the Artillery dice, if a number is shown move the template that distance in the direction shown by the Scatter dice.  If a MISFIRE is rolled consult the Misfire Chart.


Any model directly under the hole of the large template will take a S4 hit.  Any model under the remainder of the template will take a Strength 2 hit.


The smoke shells designed by the Arcane Engineers produce a thick acrid cloud upon impact that will blind and confuse those nearby.

The area the large 5" template covers is filled with smoke until the next friendly shooting phase, at which point the smoke will have no further effect.  Neither friendly nor enemy models can shoot, charge, or cast spells that require line of sight to targets through or at least half within this target area.  

Enemy units that are at least half under the area covered by smoke will have -1 to hit modifiers imposed on them for close combat and shooting.  Being used to the acrid smoke of their harsh industrial environment Chaos Dwarfs and Marduk are not affected by this.


D6 Result

1  BOOM!  The smoke shells detonates inside the Mortar.  The war machine is destroyed and the crew gassed to death.

2-4  Fizz.  The Mortar fails to fire, but may fire as normal next turn

5  Stupid slaves.   A shell explodes near to where they are being loaded, and the machine will not fire this turn.  Centre the large 5" template over the Smoke Mortar and treat as if they had hit that spot.

6  Major misfire!  The Smoke Mortar will fire 2D6" in the direction shown by the roll of a scatter dice.


I have it at 70pts, and does not count towards the core minimum required.  The profile is the same as for most non daemonic warmachines (same as dwarf cannon etc, 3 DZ crew).

Here is the problem identified by someone:

The rules for this machine are going to be abused. The first way would be to short guess, on purpose, in order to get the smoke on hand-to-hand combats. (which, in reality, is not that bad) The next one poses a real problem: Short guessing and then resolving the smoke shots after the other guess range shots. This allows a player to get shots off, then hide behind a short guessed wall of smoke. With deviance the smoke wall will not be perfect, but the abillity to take smoke mortars as psuedo-core lets enough mortars be taken to do it well enough. I’m not sure how to tackle this problem other than making the Smoke Mortar compete with the other choices in the Special section. There has to be other options, there always are; I just can’t see them for this one.
So what best to do??

Is is possible to rework this idea to be balanced somehow?

I basically want to keep something to do with smoke in core that restricts enemy movement.  I have considered doing a unit of Smoke Grenadiers? It cannot move to special or rare.

CD Smoke Bombs was another idea, but I’m not sure how balanced that would be over a whole army.

Thommy H:

Smoke blocking line of sight always gets my hackles up. Long time Epic players may remember Andy Chambers’ rant at the back of one issue of Firepower about how smoke seems to act as some kind of magic wall that blocks all shooting. It’s a few cubic meters of particle matter, not bricks!

So, drop the line of sight thing, but keep the other effect. That way it’s more akin to the Earthshaker: you get an explosion which kills stuff, then you get something which inconveniences anyone standing too close. Say you resolve the shot, then place the large template: any unit under it gets a -1 to hit modifier in shooting and close combat until the next Chaos Dwarf shooting phase as they’re choked by noxious fumes.

Simple, and impossible to abuse, as it gives no actual benefit.


I can see smoke limiting line of sight. Think of it being thinnk like fog, there are times I can’t see houses across my street (less than 150 feet) due to heavy fog. If you can’t see it you can’t shoot it. Check the NFL playoff game between Philadelphia and Chicago called the Fog Bowl to see what I mean.

So you should have either affected units/models suffer -1 (or -2) to hit or they can’t shoot at long range not both. Have it affect unit hit even partially so there will be no arguments on the term at least half.

I’d have it also halve their charge range.

Ditch the line that it doesn’t affect Chaos Dwarfs, you may face another CD army and you want it to affect them.


I will change it to that.  I guess logically you don’t need to aim to be able to hit something with a missile weapon if there is a whole regiment charging towards you, and if you are charging you don’t need to actually see what you are heading for.

If I change it to that, should I keep it as an actual warmachine?  I like your proposed changes as it means it would take some skill to coordinate shooting just infront of your advancing units, without being unnecessarily unbalanced or complicated.

The problem though is how best to limit it?  Essentially it is a low strength stone thrower, and even without them counting towards core minimum there is a lot of potential for abuse.

A low strength stone thrower that doesn’t really do a huge amount of damage is not worth putting in special as nobody will take it…

Another thing I just thought of is whether the -1 to hit should stack or not if multiple ones fire on the same spot?  Also whether to make it -1Ld for units under the template?

Something I have been considering is making them a mortar battery; change the entry to 1-3 warmachines, where you can only take one battery per Arcane Engineer (who may or may not be deployed with them).  This obviously raises whether to do them as independant firing or not, and whether a misfire result would affect all of them.

OR just do them as 0-3 per Arcane Engineer and deploy them as normal?


If it did affect CD there would be no point taking it, as your own troops would suffer as well! :wink:


Limit it to by saying you have to take a certain unit to get one. So 1 per Warrior unit (if you have engineer) and not counting towards core. Make people choose between that and a unit of Hobgoblin archers.


Not that I have hobgoblins in the list I am updating, but seeing as both of them might not count towards core anyway it would not make a difference, you could take both!

Limiting it to one per unit of warriors is a good idea worth considering actually.  In smaller games you could see 2, maybe 3.  Which would balance out the fact that my special and rare units are quite hard and don’t need the added bonus.  If people wanted to run the MSU just to get these those units are wasted points IMO.

Maybe I should allow the -1 to hit to stack if they are restricted in this way, the affects would only cover 5" of the board and there are all your other units you have chosen not to help.  If 3 fired in front of a unit of immortals they would be virtually unstoppable in close combat (3+ AS in new version)… unless they were flank or rear charged where the smoke template was not???

If I keep this as 3 crew per warmachine, is 70 pts about right considering I will tone it down to only include the -1 to hit?

I’m glad I don’t have to make them into a unit, that would mess up all the formatting of my book.