Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Karchev And The Homebrew Card Creator

I was searching the internet for some kind of homebrew card creator, but after a full ten minutes failed to unearth one, I decided to spend two weeks or so writing my own. Because apparently that's my idea of saving time.

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with it, other that the fact that it has one massive flaw: it doesn't save the card. My current plan for fixing this problem involves adding a button that refreshes the page with all the input data embedded in the link. I believe this would allow users to bookmark a created page and come back to it, and also to use online web page to PDF creators to save cards as PDFs.

The card creator and instructions on how to use it are here. So here's my first homebrew card:

Let me talk for a little about the character. So I love the idea of Karchev, and I like some aspects of his fluff (which is more than I can say for most warcasters, sadly), but I haven't had the chance to put him on the table yet and already I've heard a lot of general negativity with regards to his power levels. So this was my attempt at tweaking him a little bit to, let's say, match my preferences.

I tried to keep his most characteristic features intact, and also not to invent any rules or spells or anything (except for his feat of course). I didn't want to make him overpowered, but as he's generally considered one of Khador's weakest casters (at least at 50 points I guess) I figured a bit of an upgrade was acceptable. So let's talk about what's changed.

First of all, I bumped him up  to ARM 20. He's a Khador warjack dammit, he should be ARM 20! Besides Butcher has ARM 18, Karchev have more than a single point more ARM.

Next I gave him CMD 10. He's a living legend and a symbol of Khadoran indomitability dammit, his men would willingly follow him through the gates of Hell itself, he gets CMD 10! Why are we even talking about this?

I added Quick Work to Sunder. Since his "fissure" attack is just him slamming his axe to the ground, I figured that the presence of a squishy little human underneath his axe wouldn't interfere with the process; thus if he kills a model with his axe he can drive the axe right down into the ground and create a fissure. I considered Assault instead, but decided Quick Work was a better approximation. I also gave him Gunfighter to complement the ability. This was more of a fluff thing than anything else, but I think that it helps him deal with infantry, which is good.

I replaced Sidearms with Lash; I think Karchev needs knockdown protection these days with things like the Prime Axiom and Galleon in armies that have access to ranged knockdown. But trying to juggle Sidearms and Tow is a problem. Lash is simpler, always-on, can't be removed with spell hate, and is more focus efficient, so yeah, I figured he deserved it. Hey, if the Battle Mechanic Officer can do it and he's just a MOW, why can't Karchev?

I wanted to give Karchev some infantry support, so I went with Fog of War. You can get some of the effect that Sidearms used to have with it, along with the associated problems, so I figure it fits from that angle, and it does something for his infantry as well without being overpowered. I guess it just seemed like a decent compromise.

I had an idea a short while ago for a way to give jack-casters better focus efficiency without giving them more focus, and that was to make a caster also a jack-marshal. It's not as powerful as Conferred Rage (which some Hordes casters have!), and basically makes up for the loss of the free charge from his feat (which is important  for a jack caster) while also being more versatile the rest of the time, and allowing him to camp higher while his jacks run or take a boosted shot or something. Plus it isn't affected by things like Agonizers, which is a big plus in my book.

Speaking of the feat, I decided the feat was an acceptable time to buff infantry, and made it something that I thought fit the fluff. I also took the opportunity to give him a way to deal with crippled systems on himself and his jacks - kind of a big deal for him, and again, nothing that Hordes can't already do. The feat is limited by his small control area and the fact that it's not a pulse, so I think it's reasonably balanced.

Overall I believe he's more powerful than the original version, but I don't think he's broken or anything. To help balance him out I knocked off a warjack point and took away Ground Zero; plus losing Sidearms cost him a means of defence (hell, he might even be weaker overall without it, I don't really know). At any rate I think he's closer to what I want to play, which is the point of all this really, right?

I will mention that I did have some other ideas for him that I decided not to go with. I considered Fortune as his infantry buff spell as it's versatile but not overpowered. Iron Flesh and Battle Lust seemed a little too much.

I thought about swapping around his arcanatrik turbine so that he has Focus 6 and has to spend one for the movement buff, but decided it wasn't worth changing (and also the current system allows him to gain a focus in some situations when he would otherwise be left high and dry, so that's something).

I wanted to give him a Ret-like forcefield to represent his Warcaster powerfield; fluff-wise warcasters get their additional boxes - which they can repair - from their powerfields; Karchev doesn't have additional boxes or armour and has much more limited repair abilities, so it seemed fair to me.

I would have liked to give him some kind of repair ability, either as a regular action (possibly one that he could use on himself) or better yet, as a battlegroup-wide repair spell.

I considered (and am still tempted by the thought of) giving him an "elite cadre" ability that gives all Greylords in his army Power Booster; but I think Jack-marshal works better (and I wouldn't give him both!). And while it's probably more thematic and unique, I want to try to avoid inventing rules and abilites.

Getting back to the card creator, I will try to implement a saving feature when I have time, but for now I'm leaving it up as it is basically usable.