Sometimes, you get those players. You know. Those players. The ones that really get into their cold, brooding, greedy assassin character’s skin and just aren’t in the mood to party up. And that’s okay, I guess. That goes along with the whole roleplay experience. But the thing is we’ve got a campaign to get going, monsters to slay, stuff to loot. Time to get the lead out, people!
Except that one player has got to be difficult.
Oh, what’s the pay for this mission? Pfft! Not enough. Come back when you get serious.
And it’s not like we can abandon him. Because, unlike the assassin-for-hire at the inn, the player is sitting on the couch eating pizza with us. It’d be kind of rude for us to leave without him. Figuratively, of course. I mean, what’s he going to do? Eat pizza in silence for four hours while we go kill and loot stuff?
And yet, there he is, being stubborn about his pay.
Well, fear not. I’m the Dungeon Master. I have all sorts of shenanigans at my disposal. This was our first session using Privateer Press’ magnificent Iron Kingdoms rulebook, and none of the players really knew what to expect. I, however, was very familiar with the nasty denizens of the Iron Kingdoms.
And you know something? Nothing says “get your butt in gear” like exploding bystanders.
So, the scenario went down like this. Our incorrigible assassin lingered in the inn, waiting for more pay while the other players tried to acquire it. Two cloaked figures entered (secretly Satyxis Blood Witches), and started cutting up innocent bystanders.
And, if you know anything about Blood Witches, you know they leave a mess. People started exploding left and right, and the assassin found himself taking Death Strike damage without being hit. Oh, you better believe he wanted some wingmen to help him out. He bolted out of the inn, which was now filled with bloody fog, and ran straight for the other players.
Yeah, don’t mess with the DM. You want to go and do your own thing? You want to slow down the game while everyone else is itching to kill some monsters? Let me explain to you how this works. You either party up, or I explode people until you get in line.
A friend of mine had a phrase for this. “Rocks fall.” It means you’re doing something that is making it a lot less fun for everyone else. Either behave yourself, or rocks will fall from a clear sky and crush your character.
He wasn’t joking either.
But the best part, the very best part, is the assassin player didn’t even realize he’d been jolted with a twenty kilovolt cattle prod. He thought it was just part of the story. And sometimes, stuff like that can really make a gaming session special, when things go off script and everyone gets a little creative.
It was fun. And yeah, a lot of people exploded before they killed all of the Blood Witches.
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Infantry may not be the stars of Warmachine, but that doesn’t make them any less important. From screening high priority targets to overwhelming a foe with sheer numbers, infantry plays a critical role, especially in the armies of Cryx. Today, I’m taking a look at the Satyxis Blood Witches.
IN SHORT: These cursed ladies are cheap, fast, and very accurate killers. They can also make people explode into clouds of gory mist, and that’s just cool.
STRENGTHS: With two attacks each and Gang, Blood Witches are capable of handling most high DEF, low ARM infantry out there. A pair of Blood Witches operates at effective MAT 8, with a P+S 12 and a P+S 10 attack each. Two Blood Witches working in tandem have solid odds of hitting anything up to DEF 17, and they make short work of DEF 15 or lower.
They’re fast, and have decent hitting power, but their real trick is Bloodletting. This ability triggers when they take out a living model, and can be used in two ways. Blood Mist turns enemies into cloud effects, which you can use to protect your Blood Witches from reprisals or screen the slower portions of your army.
Death Strike takes the STR of the model killed and shoots it at another model within 4”. There is no roll to hit. Just pick a target and roll for damage. The POW is going to be low (normally around 5 or 6), but if high DEF low ARM enemies are nearby, this is one more way to deal with them.
As the cherry on top, their blood razors are Magical Weapons, which is always a nice tool to have in an army list.
WEAKNESSES: Blood Witches are weedy. With DEF 13 and ARM 13, they’re not going to stick around very long. To make matters worse, they have CMD 8, which gives them a good chance of running away once they take enough casualties.
Deploying Blood Witches in pairs is critical to success. Without the benefits of Gang, their accuracy is average and hitting power is quite low.
And while Gang works on all enemies, Bloodletting needs living models. However, this just comes with playing Cryx. Lack of living enemies shuts down a lot of our cool abilities. Bloodletting is just one of them.
SYNERGIES: Blood Witches already have excellent accuracy. What they lack is raw hitting power. Warcasters that have ARM debuffs or STR buffs can get a lot of mileage from Blood Witches. Fortunately, Cryx has plenty of those.
The Blood Hag, a 2 point unit attachment, is a superb addition to a team of Blood Witches. Her Blood Shadow, which turns the entire unit Incorporeal for a round, has many defensive and offensive possibilities. If you’re tired of your Blood Witches getting shot to pieces before they can close, try a Blood Hag.
In addition, she can prevent enemy Tough rolls, stop enemy healing, and Dispel enemy upkeep spells with a hit. She also gives them an extra point of CMD, which can help prevent them from running away at the worst possible moment.
If you like Blood Witches, then for 2 points, you’ve got to try the Blood Hag. She’s just that good.
JUST FOR FUN: Note that the rule on Bloodletting says “living model”. It does not say “living enemy model”. Does that mean what I think it means?
Yes! You can exsplode your own Blood Witches to provide cloud effects for the rest of your army! For that matter, you can even sacrifice your own Blood Witches to make Death Strike attacks.
Heck, you’re playing Cryx! You can even have a Necrosurgeon recycle them as Mechanithralls. Just remember that Blood Mist removes the model from play, and that Gang only works on enemy models.
SUMMARY: Blood Witches may be on the lower end of powerful Cryx infantry, but they come at a bargain price and have a nifty set of tools. Smart use of their abilities can screen the rest of your army and take out high DEF targets. Plus the whole bloody explosion imagery is just so cool.
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