An Age of Might and Steel Tactics and Theory Article by Steve Hazuka
The theory and tactics for the effective use of Heroic Bands in The Age of Might and Steel.
Heroic Leaders and Magic Users may act as a Special Unit by combining as a Heroic Band. When 3 or more of these form together as a unit they can move as Light Cavalry and may target Special Units, Leaders, and Magic Users for combat. Heroic Bands are immune to Fright Spells. Heroic Bands may not attach themselves to other units to add their modifiers. They do not need to roll on Morale or Activation Charts. Monster Units may not be part of or form Heroic Bands
Roving around the table causing chaos to the opposing armies Generals and Magic Users the Heroic Band can be either a tactic of desperation or well planned strike team. In hockey, teams will sometimes pull the goalie from the net to add another player to the offence increasing the odds of getting another goal but losing their last line of defence in the net. On the other hand if your army is winning but cannot seem to finish off the powerful Magic Users, Heroes or Dragons then a Heroic Band might be the answer.
Heroic Bands have to be carefully planned. Losing your Magic Users and Heroes from the frontline may cause your troops to fail in Activation Rolls or lose bonuses in Attacking. However this could be compensated by them successfully completing their mission.
Forming the Heroic Band starts at the beginning of the turn in the Assign Leaders and Special Units phase. The stands are either detached from their previous units or gathered together to form a unit. They cannot assist in Activation or Combat even if other units are within their Command Radius. They may move as Light Cavalry in the Movement phase. If a Magic user is part of this group they may place their spell marker down but not reveal it until is necessary.
Remember that these figures represent single individuals not a unit but they may not move through enemy lines but may pass through any break in a line, ( for sake of peace among the players lets say the break must at least one inch ). As the Heroic Band passes a unit it does not perform combat with that unit, even if a Heroic Band comes within range of an Archer Unit.
This tactic of forming the Heroic Band is a great idea to use against an Undead Army. Targeting the Magic Users required to activate and control the Undead could cripple the entire army.
Sending them to steal your opponents Talisman could disrupt their battle plan and force them into a defensive posture. Also removing Magic Users that have summoned a Demon will make that monster disappear.
Combat with Heroic Bands
When the Heroic Band reaches its target and is ready to do battle the combat is handled individually. There are really two options on this situation and the players should decide beforehand how to handle this part. I've labelled these two options the Good Guy option and the Bad Guy option.
- The Good Guy Option:
Opposing players pair off the figures and then roll the combats, higher die roll, with modifiers, winning the combat. Then if there are remaining figures after the round pair off the remaining and roll again the combats. Example; if the attacking Heroic Band that has 3 figures and the Defender has 2 figures then 1 of the attacking figures sits out this round of combat waiting for the outcome but can join in the next round if one of his team mates is removed.
- The Bad Guy Option:
The attacking player places as many figures against his opposition as he wants as long as all defending figures are matched. Then the attacker rolls all his dice add modifiers and the defender gets his one die, with modifiers, and if beaten by any of the die rolls it is removed. If the die roll of the defender beats one, but not both, one of the attackers is removed as well.
Example; the attacker has two figures doing combat against one the attacker rolls a 6 and a 3 on his dice. The defender rolls a 5 so he is removed but so is one of the attackers.
A Magic User may use Magic Attack Spell to for a +1 to his die roll.
From time to time in mythology favors have been granted by the gods to protect or give added strength to a leader. In the Battle of Troy the gods granted strength and imposed their will on the battle through the heroes. As an optional rule you could reflect this.
Favour of the Gods:
During combat a General, Hero or Magic User could gain either an additional +2 to his die roll once in the game to help during combat against other like units. This would have the effect of granting a favor and possibly winning in combat. If you still did not succeed then the gods weren't helping YOU out.
If they survive the combat and continue on in the game they can be used as a General for Activation and morale and use the +2 for Activation Rolls. Or the figure in combat may, if they elect, to re-roll their losing die roll once in the game for another chance to win. If they succeed they also receive the benefit of the higher Activation roll. You may only one of these options once, per game on one figure.
The gods are too busy to pay that close of attention to your battles. A requirement for this option is however that a Talisman or a Holy Relic be present on the table and be controlled by your army.
This article was originally published on Alternative Armies' content portal Barking Irons Online in 2011 and is reproduced here with permission.
You can buy The Age of Might and Steel rules direct from Alternative Armies on thier web site here.
Barking Irons Online was Alternative Armies' official content portal that I ran for them from 2011 until 2013, You can find (almost) all of the content it hosted on Orcs in the Webbe in the respective categories in the menus or browse through it all by clicking on the maroon "Barking Irons" tag below.