The Hand of Death
In Mordheim the warriors each have different abilities, some being better at certain actions, for example, fighting, shooting or climbing, than they are at others. This variety in each warrior is represented in the form of characteristics and skills. Right now don’t worry about skills – these come later with practice and battle experience. For now we just need to consider a warrior’s characteristics.
Each model is defined by a set of characteristics: Movement, Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill, Strength, Toughness, Wounds, Initiative, Attacks and Leadership. Each characteristic is assigned a value of (usually) between 1 and 10. The higher the value your model has for any characteristic the better – for example, a model with a Strength of 6 is stronger than a model that has a Strength of 2.
MOVEMENT (M): A model’s Movement rate shows how far the model can move in a turn, under normal conditions. For example, a typical Human has a move of 4", while a fleet-footed nimble Skaven has a move of 5".
WEAPON SKILL (WS): Weapon Skill is a measure of close combat ability (i.e., how good the warrior is at hand-to-hand fighting). A deadly swordsman or a crazed berserker would have a high value compared to a lowly acolyte, for example. The higher the WS, the more likely your warrior is to hit his opponent.
BALLISTIC SKILL (BS): This shows how good a shot the individual is. When you shoot a bow or fire a pistol, the chance of hitting a target depends upon your model’s Ballistic Skill. A normal Human has a BS of 3, though an experienced marksman might have a BS of 4, 5 or even higher.
STRENGTH (S): Strength indicates how strong a warrior is! It is especially important for hand-to-hand combat, because the stronger you are the harder you can hit. A Strength value
of 3 is about average.
TOUGHNESS (T): This is a measure of how easily an individual can withstand a hit from a weapon or a blow from a club or fist. The tougher you are, the harder you are to wound or kill. An average Toughness value is 3, though a gnarled old warrior might have a Toughness of 4!
WOUNDS (W): A model’s Wounds value shows how many times the model can be wounded before it collapses, is killed or incapacitated. Most individuals have only 1 Wound but veteran warriors or large creatures such as Ogres might have more.
INITIATIVE (I): The Initiative value indicates how fast and nimble the warrior is. It determines the attacking order in hand-to-hand combat, and is particularly important when the model is climbing and moving amidst the ruins of Mordheim.
ATTACKS (A): The Attacks value indicates how many blows the model can make in hand-to-hand combat. Most warriors have an Attacks value of 1, but powerful fighters may have more. The more Attacks you have, the greater the chance you’ve got of beating your opponents into an unrecognisable pulp!
LEADERSHIP (Ld): Leadership represents raw courage, self control and charisma. The higher the model’s Leadership value, the more likely he is to remain steadfast in combat while others run off or are slain. For example, a cowardly Skaven may have a leadership of 5, while a cool, calm Elf could have a Leadership of 8 or higher.
Zero Level Characteristics
Some creatures in Mordheim have been given a ‘0’ for certain characteristics which means that they have no ability in that field whatsoever. This usually applies to creatures unable to use missile weapons (who would have a BS of 0) but it might equally apply to other characteristics as well. If a model has a WS of 0 then it cannot defend itself in hand to-hand combat, and any blows struck against it will automatically hit.
A model’s characteristic values are written in the form of a chart called a characteristics profile (or just profile).
The example above is a typical profile for a Human warrior. As you fight in more games against other players, your warriors will get better and their characteristics may increase.
All these details are recorded using the Warband roster sheets provided at the back of this book. This is explained properly later on. For now it is enough to know what each characteristic is for and how their values vary.
Often in the game a model will be required to take a test on one of his own characteristics. In order to pass this test, the model has to roll a D6 and obtain a result equal to or lower than the value of the characteristic involved. Note that if you roll a 6, you automatically fail the test regardless of the model’s characteristic value.
For example: Dieter Stahl is jumping down from a wall that is 3" high and has to take an Initiative test. He has an Initiative value of 3 on his characteristic profile and therefore will be successful if he rolls a 1,2 or 3 on a D6. If he rolls a 4, 5 or 6 he will fail the test and fall down, suffering all the painful consequences!
Tests against the Leadership characteristic are done in a slightly different way. In the case of a Leadership test, you should roll two dice and add the two scores together. If the result is equal to or less than the model’s Leadership characteristic, the test has been passed.
For example: Dieter’s Leadership is 7, so to pass a Leadership test he must roll 7 or less on 2D6.