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AlephTau

Epic PCs

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Just wanted to share my experience with my group. This September marks the four year aniversary of our continuous 3rd Ed campaign. I remember how people were worried that the system would not support long games very well. Another argument was that PCs would progress way too fast if the one advance per session is applied. My experience is that both worries are unfounded. My players still have plenty of plans how to advance their characters even in rank 5.

Another thing: when a new PC joins the group (PCs die, you know) there seems to be zero problem integrating them. Yes there is a quite large difference in power compared to the established characters, but the system really helps everyone feeling useful, no matter their rank.

Note: I pretty much use rules as written minus the rally step.

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Good to hear.   I think the lack of overpowered-escalation of actions and skill ranks (except for spellcasters somewhat) probably really helps.  I've been toying around with probabilities (whch seems to be everyone's new obsessIon), and worked it out that the only thing that seems to affect high rank characters is the fact that they have a lot of action cards, so delays don't really mean much anymore.  I'm working out solutions in my head for that one :)

 

We've only played into 3rd career before swapping careers, but I'm leaning towards playing out the old AD&D scenario "Rod of Seven Parts" in The Old World with some epic level characters.  That scenario begins with AD&D characters of 10th level, which I'd estimate WFRP3 to be around 2nd or 3rd career start..  We'll see what time allows though :)

 

jh

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Hey, just wanted to share with you my own experiences with this.

 

I have only once played a character all the way to rank 5 (may have been rank 6 in the end), and that was with a grey wizard. Hero's Call expansion was released at the very end of this campaign, so some of the toughest talents and spells were left unseen.

Even as a rank 5 wizard, I felt like my character was still only just a beginner. All the advances were spent on things I felt were necessary to take. There was never a situation where I had to think about where to put my advances in. I think everyone has realized how many things there are for wizards (and priests) to take, and even 50 advances in, you are propably only halfway to "completing" your character. Many advanced skills, 15-30 spells, in addition to things that are already available to everyone.

In 3rd edition, many of the skills and actions don't scale well with eachother. You don't necessarily become stronger the more you have, but you do become more flexible.

My point is that you can maximise your power within the first 50 advances, in most cases (often the first 30 advances is enough). I can definitely see a character advance from 50 to 100 without breaking the system any more than they already have at that point.

 

Example:

My next highest ranking character was a bright wizard, he made it to 4th rank (barely). He was min-maxed through the roof. I did my best to make him the character that would break the game, and he did. He was a melee based wizard, and only used two fire damage spells during the whole campaign, flameblast and flamestorm.

He had 4 strength and toughness, flaming sword of rhuin, flameblast, reckless cleave, whirlwind and berserker rage. For protection he had breastplate and chain and the rank 1 bright order soak spell (I forgot it's name). All this he had after 5 experience. With 11 soak and a potential damage of 23-25 with reckless cleave, and 17 with whirlwind, he could take out most monsters at rank 1, and entire engagements full of enemies with whirlwind.

Add to this the completely broken order ability of bright wizards, and you have 45 damage flameblasts, and later on flamestorms, thrown after a few rounds of channeling, taking out even greater daemons in one round. (It was actually about 20 elite skavens I took out with flamestorm, but still)

In the end the character had a soak of 18, and regular damage output of 30 per round, due to some broken talents. (which let me trigger the boon effect of reckless cleave twice) There were even more things involved in the meat grinder that was this wizard, but the gist of it is that the guy was immortal, and could wipe out any- and everyone that got in his way.

Had we continued, the wizard would have become stronger, until he finished the wizard lord career, at which point the absolute height of power would have been reached. Everything after that would be flavour.

I believe the same goes for all character types, whether it's an archer, a melee fighter, or a thief. They can all max out their capabilities within 50 advances. If the player wants to max out, they can do so.

 

Edit:

GM's shouldn't be afraid to try "truly epic" campaigns (50-100 advances). If planned out ahead, this will encourage players to have their characters diversify and still be able to fight epic enemies. If the players know there will be alot of xp to come, they might not spend everything on maxing their fighting capabilities. Atleast, I have always felt that was the inevitable course for everyone in my group, to be able to beat tough enemies as soon as possible.

Edited by Eldulac

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I ran a campaign to 89 advances (finishing in the Crusade of the Child thread), having to extrapolate a couple of more Rank 5 careers (I capped at Rank 5 and was making folks invest 4 non-career advances a tier).

 

I think I posted that my main experience was that to keep threat up the fact "everything in WFRP punches harder than it can take a punch" made confrontations short but very unpredictable.  This was fun (story very swervy) but made PC survival increasingly arbitrary and so we wrapped it when story reached logical point.

 

I used "potent" modifier on lots of higher tier NPCs and critters (extra challenge die to all things targeting them) and routinely gave them advance or improved defense actions etc.  PCs were regularly super-effective at their chosen specialty (elven waywatcher archer etc.) though still vulnerable in other places (e.g., the Reckless elven archer was constantly getting tired firing all those arrows from the Fatigue tears on all those Reckless dice making a Fatigue an action almost expected).

 

Overall it worked pretty well till those last 10 advances or so.  Far, far, far better than any high level D&D campaign I ever ran.  "Supermen with feet of clay" tone to it.

 

Now I had none of the routinely cited "problem children" of ironbreakers or bright wizards.  This current campaign I have a troll slayer and an elf just now becoming a bright wizard.

Edited by valvorik

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My PCs hit their 34th advance. It is quite some work now to beef up the NPCs and add them Action cards.

I started to play my NPCs opponents as Nemesis ones - otherwise they would die like flies.

 

I have an Amethyst wizard in my group with mailshirt and hand pistol. The 1 black die per soak penalty is laughable when

you have spellcraft properly trained ;)

 

Our Marksman is also a killer. He now has an Action Card which allows him to Attack on the Initiative Roll followed by "Me First".

The "Rapid Fire" and using Marksman ability "remove all defense modifiers from pool for one attack". Needless to say that noone stands against this.

 

The dwarven engineer is also ranged and "invented" crude explosive bolts for his repeating xbow. 

 

The first big baddie (no spoilers) in TGS was killed in 3 rounds (beefed him up to 9 TOU) and 35 wounds due to 9

crits (including a permanent servered leg). CARNAGE!

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PCs were regularly super-effective at their chosen specialty (elven waywatcher archer etc.) though still vulnerable in other places (e.g., the Reckless elven archer was constantly getting tired firing all those arrows from the Fatigue tears on all those Reckless dice making a Fatigue an action almost expected).

 

Yes - this is very notable. The more dice, the more side effects happen.

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GM's really have to get creative if they want to challenge a team of powerplayers. :)  If you houserule certain abilities, like berserker rage, things do get a bit more balanced.

From what I have seen, wizards and priests are the ones most likely to end up being overpowered in the end. (I don't even want to know what Priests of Sigmar can do :P ) They can do pretty much everything the others can, only much more. The combination of high destructive power, supreme survivability (all the wizards have some, like invisibility, or high soak spells) and fancy non-combat spells. (walking through walls and teleporting, seriously?) This is why I find it very difficult to play any other careers, because I would be missing out on so much!

 

I feel this game would seriously need more stuff for the non-caster types. Something to make them worth playing.

Anyway, I diverge. Giving more experience propably won't make non-casters too powerful, there should still be ways of providing challenge. Casters on the other hand... who knows, but I would like to see it. :)

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Its fun seeing some of the balance issues here. Tricking out a character seems an art!  Although, I don't think I'll ever end up running an epic level campaign for this game, this gives a lot of perspective to GMs who may want to change some of the rules (such as increasing recharge time or rank requirements for certain actions..or nerf some aspects all together).  

 

I had heard that bright mages were the most powerful things in the game and now I can see it is true!  Great job in making such a fine example!

 

jh

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Based on my own experiences, I would recommend that either everyone in the party is min-maxed, or no one is. Makes it alot easier for GM's to design combats, when their combat prowess is consistent. This way no one has to feel left out in battle.

Of course, not everyone cares if they suck in combat, and someone else keeps taking all the glory. We had one such player in our group. He liked having his life hanging by a thread and getting constantly beaten up, to each their own I guess.

In the end, it all depends on what the group as a whole wants.

 

ps. There seem to be many good house rules on these forums, designed to work around the "overpowering problems" that some aspects of this game have. Propably going to include some of them in my own games to prevent another bright wizard "disaster". :P

Edited by Eldulac

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I  head that Korne feasts on min-maxers. And even that bright wizard would get eaten by my custom made Korne min-maxer eater.

 

I have heard such rumours aswell! Such reckless search for power can only lead to corruption and inevitably ends in the clutches of a chaos god. :P

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Indeed, why have you been permitted to succeed, how can you possibly accomplish such things if it is not because you are favoured pawns in a scheme of the Great Conspirator.  The Epic finale to TEW may provide some suggestions for challenges - environments with lots of challenging modifiers etc.

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Some inconsistencies possibly detected by a sleuth in my group (for rank 1..changes by rank 4):

"A) To get Firestorm at Rank. 1 is 5 xp. You pay 1 xp per rank above yours for higher rank spells, 3+2=5. You suffer 1 black die per soak of armor when casting a spell, Breastplate & Chain 4 soak, 4 black dice. Casting a spell above your rank 1 purple per rank. Firestorm itself 2 purple 2 black. So just off the bat 1 purple for challenge, 2 purples for rank, 2 purples spell, 4 blacks armor, 2 blacks spell. If he power gamed it he had 4 int, 1 yellow for casting and 2 whites for specialization. So best case scenario 3 reds, 1 blue, 1 yellow, 2 whites AND 5 purples, 6 blacks"...and the Bright Wizards' order got errata'd right?

 

Here are your probabilities lower rank:

  https://googledrive.com/host/0B27SCDR38xFuNE96TGV4S1Jjdlk/rollers/wfrp3e/?montecarlo=100000#characteristic=1&reckless=3&expertise=1&fortune=2&challenge=5&misfortune=6

Edited by Emirikol

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Some inconsistencies possibly detected by a sleuth in my group (for rank 1..changes by rank 4):

"A) To get Firestorm at Rank. 1 is 5 xp. You pay 1 xp per rank above yours for higher rank spells, 3+2=5. You suffer 1 black die per soak of armor when casting a spell, Breastplate & Chain 4 soak, 4 black dice. Casting a spell above your rank 1 purple per rank. Firestorm itself 2 purple 2 black. So just off the bat 1 purple for challenge, 2 purples for rank, 2 purples spell, 4 blacks armor, 2 blacks spell. If he power gamed it he had 4 int, 1 yellow for casting and 2 whites for specialization. So best case scenario 3 reds, 1 blue, 1 yellow, 2 whites AND 5 purples, 6 blacks"...and the Bright Wizards' order got errata'd right?

 

Here are your probabilities lower rank:

  https://googledrive.com/host/0B27SCDR38xFuNE96TGV4S1Jjdlk/rollers/wfrp3e/?montecarlo=100000#characteristic=1&reckless=3&expertise=1&fortune=2&challenge=5&misfortune=6

 

I may have phrased the explanation a bit faultily. What I meant was that during the whole campaign, I only got two damaging spells alltogether. Flamestorm was indeed taken later on (at rank 3, if I recall correctly). Until then, I used flameblast to take out bosses, channeling until I could one-shot them. (Flameblast doesn't target defence, so it's quite easy to use)

Whirlwind was enough to take out weaker opponents in one go.

Flamestorm (I'm propably remembering it's name wrong) replaced flameblast later on, due to it's area effect, and the fact that it didn't target any specific character, making it really good at working around the extra purple dice greater daemons give to everyone targeting them. Also, it's damage could be triggered several times per round, depending on how many recharge tokens you could remove from it.

Using breastplate and chain didn't seem to hinder spellcasting much. Four black dice for the armor and one purple die (when using flameblast) was easily overcome by using all fortune points, and the reiklander speciality on the check.

By the time I got flamestorm, I had 2-3 yellow dice, 4 consistent white dice (1 from talent, 1 from a buff spell and 2 from fortune advances in intelligence, not even including specialities here), making it a relatively simple check as well. Spells that don't target any stat are considered simple (0d), unless the GM rules otherwise. (which he didn't, in my case)

Last I checked the bright order talent in the errata, it was in fact buffed up to give 1 extra damage for every extra point of power used on the spell. Not just 1 damage for every 2 points of power, which was the original card.

 

I'll try to edit the initial post to make it easier to understand. :)

Edited by Eldulac

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I dont think it is my obligation to limit the creativity of my players - if my PC likes to wear a mailshirt as a wizard who am I to not allow it. I dont think it is gamebreaking - if so they would have changed the penalties for it.

 

From time to time I remind them, by using a zweihander NPC with this knock you prone + reaction on prone actions, that they

are still very mortal and can die. but this is getting old ;(

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I dont think it is my obligation to limit the creativity of my players - if my PC likes to wear a mailshirt as a wizard who am I to not allow it. I dont think it is gamebreaking - if so they would have changed the penalties for it.

I wouldn't call it creativity but in the end everyone has to make the decision themselves. It all depends on what kind of person the players and the GM are. If they are all okay with it there is no problem.

For me this is just breaking the immersion. The powergaming wizard running around pointing to the rulebook saying its totally okay to wear armor just ruins the fun for me.

I won't talk about gamebreaking or not because I do not care about that.

Edited by abidibladiduda
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Especially in WARHAMMER I can imagine battlewizards in armor, so it isnt a dealbreaker for me.

 

regarding "pointing to the rulebook": I do not like this either, and it almost never happens. The marksman pointed out that due to poor grammar on a requirements text of an action card, he could use the card without having a mastery in ballistic skill. For me it was clear that it is an requirement and noone objected it.

 

At least my players do no question all my decisions ;)

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I've found a somewhat useful solution to most of the combat-monkey stuff, and that's simply using all methods at my disposal to challenge characters outside of combat.  Once players realize that the GM has more stuff in store than just combats, and that there are dangerous consequences to NOT being a bit more well-rounded into other skills, then players simply learn and play accordingly.
 

Does anything good happen to combat monkeys?

  • Yes, absolutely.  There's no reason to be a jerk to everything they want to do if they're having fun, but some people just limit themselves to that lower level of thinking and if a GM does a better job of explaining that "there are alternatives to fighting" and that those opportunities can be fun and that the alternative can also lead to ruined opportunities, insanity, disease, and corruption; perhaps they will use their noggins beyond how many eagles they can get on the Imprudent Sunder action card.
  • Players deserve to have fun, but not at the expense of the other players and the GM.  I'm a firm believer in relative game balance contrasted with special moments of a player shining at what he's best at.

SOME OTHER THOUGHTS BELOW:

We don't fight a lot of battles, and when we do, the players know that the mortality rate is extremely high if they try to approach it from a min-max standpoint (especially for one player who has lost, I believe, 5 characters in 2 years).  

 

So, anyways here are some examples:

  • We play a game with a lot of social interaction and insanities occur (in fact, I let my group know ahead of time that if they go hell-bore min-max a character, I pretty much find joy in spelling out their weaknesses).  It is personal for me as a GM because, like most of you, I [mostly] outgrew mindless dungeon crawls a couple decades ago, and hence why we play WFRP and not D&D.  Greedy-murder-hobo syndrome occasionally creeps in though, and it simply cannot be stopped.  It usually indicates a sickness and weakness with other parts of MY game not being fulfilling enough, but sometimes it's just fun to kill monsters and take their stuff :)
  • We do a lot of social interaction checks, and players that solve everything through violence quickly find themselves racking up CORRUPTION points in devotion to Khorne (and not in a good way).  You decide to burn out the orphanage to find the mutant??  Ok, well, here are 2 permanent insanities reminding you of the screams of the burning infants and children dying, and your sword hand is a mutated, crippled lobster claw that only does DR6 with a CR4.  How do you like them' apples?  Actions have consequences in my games, and those consequences are Warhammer-related.  It's not just some wussy "we'll sick the witch hunters bullsnark' on you crap."  Its serious stuff.
  •  Temptation to not always be on the Righteous path of Sigmar has already set in my group, but most of my players are wise to how often I hand out corruption so they usually try a differen't way.  This also helps rid themselves of the taint of Chaos.  That said, I've already got two of them hooked on the Lure of Power secret organization paths and they barely realize it yet.  "Take an insanity for an upgrade in a skill? Hell yea!"  meanwhile, I'm smirking and making notes in my little white book of corruption.  (I keep the Org sheets in 4x5 album sheet holders with special notes on how I can use it to expand the plot opportunities through their actions.)
  • Disease for people who are constantly deciding to cut themselves like some kind of angsty teenager is something that I occasionally hint at.  Oh, you want to pick a fight with the bully  because he called your elf friend a pansy?  Ok.  Just to let you know, he just dunked his sword into a privy bucket and is waving it in your general direction.
  • Curses.  Curses are underused in this game IMHO.  These are consequences and prophesies that you "bring up" every time they roll a few extra banes or an extra chaos star. These are inconsequential invocations of supersition that you can place in players' minds through saying thing like, "SEE!  The old woman said that you would start having bad luck!"  Of course, secretly making a couple of dice rolls harder or easier helps reinforce "suggestion" at the roleplay table.
  • Secrets and knowledge about other players and even players' obligations to groups and individuals should play some role in their selection of when to commit to min-maxing their characters as well.  Not everyone "Fits" in a group.  This isn't D&D where everyone has to have a role.  Not every group has to have a priestess of shallya, a trollslayer, and a bright wizard (although it would be perfect for certain games).  The beauty of this game is that it encourages players to pick whatever the hell character they want and not plan to min-max the group.  "Oh, Bob, we need a fighter character. You should choose thug or wardancer."  Bull-pucky!  Play a boatman who used to be a pedlar for all it matters :)

 

 

 
..and some people just aren't a good fit for the group and fate strikes an evil blow..We had one guy who came in, played a swordmaster (because he figured it was the most powerful offensive character in the game..and he was right).  He never considered any other aspect of the game, much to the chagrin of the other players.  He would start combat fights at the drop of a hat with anyone with whom he couldn't browbeat (including other player characters).  He lasted about 3 sessions and then was quickly overrun by ghouls and had one of his legs chewed off (permanent injury).  The dude flipped out and quit because we weren't playing a D&D-style game where all you have to do is push the MMO button: win%20button-u606-r-fr.png
   Tales of the death's of old characters and the demise of their players is still a popular topic at our table.

Edited by Emirikol
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In my opinion the GMs job is to check what game the players want and what game he wants. If that doesn't match up there is no game. In addition I don't think the GMs job is to be teacher and companion to players who just want something different out of the game. If you have powergaming combat junkies but don't want to play a game like that they have to change/leave. If all of your players want that you have to change/leave. It's that easy.

I also believe in the idea that every player should get the spotlight in a session at least once but that does not mean that I will spend absurd amounts of time to design combat encounters for a single player while the rest gets bored or is just struggling way to hard with it. It's all a matter of balance.

Edited by abidibladiduda
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Agreed, I would just broaden it to say it's actually the job of everyone at the table,  Everyone should be there to have fun and support others having fun at the same time.  Everyone expecting the GM to "look after their fun" and that players only have to "look after their own fun" is the sort of thing that leads to GM burn out.

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We do a lot of social interaction checks, and players that solve everything through violence quickly find themselves racking up CORRUPTION points in devotion to Khorne (and not in a good way). You decide to burn out the orphanage to find the mutant?? Ok, well, here are 2 permanent insanities reminding you of the screams of the burning infants and children dying, and your sword hand is a mutated, crippled lobster claw that only does DR6 with a CR4. How do you like them' apples? Actions have consequences in my games, and those consequences are Warhammer-related. It's not just some wussy "we'll sick the witch hunters bullsnark' on you crap." Its serious stuff.

Temptation to not always be on the Righteous path of Sigmar has already set in my group, but most of my players are wise to how often I hand out corruption so they usually try a differen't way. This also helps rid themselves of the taint of Chaos. That said, I've already got two of them hooked on the Lure of Power secret organization paths and they barely realize it yet. "Take an insanity for an upgrade in a skill? Hell yea!" meanwhile, I'm smirking and making notes in my little white book of corruption. (I keep the Org sheets in 4x5 album sheet holders with special notes on how I can use it to expand the plot opportunities through their actions.)

Hmm, I wouldn't do anything to players just because they are "evil". If they kill all the orphans to get to one mutant, well ... they are hardcore sigmarites. Three hoorays for their piety I guess. Maybe they will get a parade or pat on the back by some high priest of Sigmar. Keeping the chaos at bay isn't easy but someone has to do it.

If you go Khorne on people just think big. DR6/CR4 is like Khorne crippling your talent just as it was ready to go to full bloom. Make it DR11/CR2 and let them bath in gore for the glory of the blood god (and then let them burn for it). Some players will notice what will happen to them and pull some great roleplay to save the poor soul of their beloved character.

Edited by abidibladiduda
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Oddly enough, min-maxing doesn't always mean you are weakening yourself on certain areas to make you better at others. For me, it is simply picking the things that most benefit your character. I noticed early on that there were some talents and actions that were simply better than others. Some of them were so good that they made you better in every aspect of the game. (The talent "Suffused with power", for example) By handpicking each of these talents and actions, it is possible to create a character that excells in combat, but is well-rounded in everything else as well. (My bright wizard was actually the spokesman for the entire group, making most of the plot advancements and discoveries)

 

My previous characters had been far less combat-oriented (propably the reason they ended up dying :P ), and I thought it was time for me to pay back and show them that I could do it too.

Bright wizards are generally known as broken, which is why I was wary of choosing it. I asked my GM for permission to take it, and discussed it with my group, they all agreed. (one of them even demanded that I pick a bright wizard)

Later on, I kept asking the others if they wanted me to reroll another character, if it was ruining the game for them. No one complained, and I was having a blast too. (quite literally)

All in all, it was a fun experiment for me, it was nice to finally let the little powergamer in me roam. However, I would rather enjoy playing a weak character next time, someone with an actual chance of dying. :)

 

ps. My group also had a Priest of Shallya amongst them. May have had an impact on the survivability of the group. ;)

Edited by Eldulac
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Add to this the completely broken order ability of bright wizards, and you have 45 damage flameblasts, and later on flamestorms, thrown after a few rounds of channeling, taking out even greater daemons in one round.

 

How in the world does one get 45 damage flameblasts?

You can only Channel Power if your current power points are less than twice your WIllpower. So you can't even Channel unless your current power is at most 11, with a 6 Willpower. Channel Power then gives you another 7, max, for a total of 18 power. Flameblast costs 6 to cast, so a maximum Bright Wizard modifier of +12 damage, unless I'm mistaken. 

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WFRP lets wizards wear armour? I remember from my old WFB days there were only two armours that allowed spell casting, chaos armour and I have forgotten the name of the other, but it was a chaos armour upgrade. I dont think the High Elves even had the ability. Otherwise you got automatic miscasts/fails. Seems they are editing the spirit of the warhammer world by letting people get around this by piling dice on to overcome disadvantages. 

 

I can understand people playing by the rules to do this.  But for me its just so wrong. I always thought the reason this was so was the metal in the armour warped from contact with warp energy, and only chaos armour could deal with the distortion caused.

 

 

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