I myself believe that the vehicle for distinguishing the Chaos Dwarf army in a new update should be slavery and the use of slave troops. It being generally agreed to be of critical importance to the culture and survival of the Chaos Dwarfs, I have developed these rules and variants to try out with the Ravening Hordes list in particular.
Special Rule: Slaves. Slaves may not use the army general’s leadership value, even within 12". Slaves may not have Champions or Banners.
Any roll made using the army general’s leadership value is made at a (-1 or -2) penalty.
Slave Command Group: Units with the Slaves special rule may take a Taskmaster in lieu of a Champion, and a Slave Doctor in lieu of a Banner.
Taskmaster: Any unit with the Slaves special rule that has a Taskmaster may use the army general’s leadership within 12". OR give the taskmaster +1 leadership over the rest of the unit.
Slave Doctor: Slave doctors are individuals adept at quickly and simply repairing the injuries of the greenskins; assisted by their natural recuperative ability, they can almost always be kept useful enough to work, even if not to fight. A unit of Slaves that has a Slave Doctor is worth 25% fewer victory points to the enemy.
Many armies have a hero character that represents an important supporting profession on the battlefield. For Empire, Dwarfs, and Skaven that is an engineer type character. I suggest, in the name of differentiating CD further, the following:
Overseer. Hero. Stats as a Chaos Dwarf hero, -1 Weapon Skill. May not be BSB.
Special Rule: Overseer. Units with the Slaves special rule may use the Overseer’s leadership value if within 12".
This one was conceived with the idea that the military chain of command is too busy with concerns of combat and strategy to bother with the tricks and details of keeping slaves disciplined. The thought is that rather than have a horde of completely unreliable slaves, in a high slave population army more than one Overseer could be taken, providing a blanket of reliable (though not exceptional) leadership for the slave troops. Designed for use in particular with the “slaves may not use general’s leadership” variant.
Also, here is an idea I have been toying with:
Daemon-Brand: At times when slaves need to be more reliable and disciplined than whips alone produce, a group of them may be subjected to a particular ritual whereby they each receive a magical brand. Though each Sorcerer’s house uses a brand that varies in its particulars, the overall effect is to increase the loyalty and obedience of the slave.
+1 leadership, and/or this unit may use the army general’s leadership within 12", and/or does not roll on the Animosity table.
These are all untested, but engender the concepts. I some experience with the list and testing to get a good idea of points values.
Hmm, I think the concepts of playing around with the leadership value is interesting, but would this unit be in addition to hobgoblins or instead of?
This bit: Units with the Slaves special rule may take a Taskmaster in lieu… etc
I understand the point, but saying ‘may’ is a bit unclear imo, as it suggests they could have a champion/ standard if they wanted to.
The taskmaster, is he hobgoblin/slave or CD? I think he should confer +1 Initiative, his leadership should be higher yes.
Not sure why a doctor would make a slave unit worth less? They will be worth practically nothing anyway, so this seems superfluous. They shouldn’t have a banner.
If they are as well as hobgoblins I think the hobgoblins should be able to allocate enough wounds to pass a break test if the slaves are within 4" etc.
Addressing your responses in order:
This would be in addition to Hobgoblins - I am assuming here the option to take Orc or Goblin units as Slave troops. I consider diversity vital to the invigorating that aspect of the army, because as things stand despite calling them slaves there is nothing to differentiate Chaos Dwarfs/Hobgoblins in an army from Orcs/Goblins or Ogres/Gnoblar.
The “may take a Taskmaster in lieu” phraseology is designed to work in conjunction with the “no champions or banners” rule. The inspiration here is the long history of negative experiences Chaos Dwarfs had with local slave leadership, culminating in the Black Orc rebellion. I did not want to completely cripple the utility of slave troops beyond sacrificial units, however, as I envision a more complex and robust use of slaves within Chaos Dwarf culture.
The Taskmaster should be a Hobgoblin or a Chaos Dwarf, though the simplest solution by far would be to simply rename the unit champion and adjust the profile accordingly. The position of Hobgoblins as favored slaves and petty enforcers works well, although I considered the idea of having a specialized unit selection of Taskmasters that were Chaos Dwarfs, and must be dispersed amongst the Slave units (that mechanic being inspired by Wolf Guard of the first Space Wolf codex). It would provide a trade off of speed for increased reliability, which is interesting, and opens the fluff possibility of a trainer guild.
The +1 Initiative idea is excellent, and you should consider it appropriated. I think the rule shall be called "Inspired by Fear."
The concept behind the slave doctor is that by ministering to the greenskin casualties he is in a position to ensure more survive, and a greenskin is never too crippled to work, only sometimes to fight. Given that it allows the CD to retain more resources (functional slaves) and thus lessens the blow to the army as a whole, I thought it would make sense. Furthermore, I think it would encourage the use of larger Slave units, by keeping them sufficiently disposable despite their effectiveness. If there were, for example, four units of Orc Slaves lined up against a similar weight-in-points number of units, between the absence of banners and the presence of slave doctors, you would be risking 400 + the cost of one full Orc Slave unit less Victory Points than your opponent.
The wound allocation is interesting mechanically, but I’m not quite sure what you are getting at happening on the battlefield. Could you explain a bit more?