Roots of Magic Review

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Today I am going to be looking at a new ruleset in the shape of The Roots of Magic which is a fantasy ‘skirmish’ game set in the magical world of Mellorian.

I say skirmish loosely as although the game will be growing to that scale. Currently we are only playing around with rules for Wizard duels. Which is pretty cool as a way to introduce a new system and world.

Fluff

Based upon a fantasy setting obviously this is wizards duelling..

Everything takes place on an island with 9 main cities for the protagonists to play around with. We also have 6 Great Houses of Magic;

  • House Feylyn – Eldest of the Great Houses of Magic. They are associated with the natural order and balance.
  • House Durant – Associated with protection and have some affinity for stone and minerals.
  • House Acedia – They are actually a cabal trying to bring about the extermination of everything.
  • House Travium – Flagged as probably the most powerful of all the houses, need to be exact with no mistakes to weld the power though.
  • House Myrke – Richest of the great Houses. Willing to do anything to continue with that.
  • House Qing – Their power comes from an ancient being that they have struck a deal with, that no-one else knows about.

For more information make sure you check out the website..

Miniatures

Currently there are no models out BUT we do have the renders for one of the each houses wizards. They look very cool and I am looking forward to getting them in my hands 🙂

Rulebook

So as we crack open the rule book what do we find?

Well it weighs in at a lovely 28 pages of full glorious colour pages we have the usual sections in the book. However all the fluff is on the website so there is none present in the rulebook (helps cut down on printing).

Everything is set out nicely with written examples here and there. As an introduction into the system it is a great place to start.

Rules/Mechanics

Now for the good juicy bits, mechanisms/rules for RoM. Everything is based upon D10s and pre-measuring is allowed. Now I know some people have an aversion to non-D6s but nothing wrong with shaking up things with some extra sides 🙂

The game itself is played on a 2’x2’ board, and as mentioned at the moment it is a 1-on-1 battle with expansion coming soon.

Games are finished either by objective completion or Wizard death so very much the feel of Warmachine in that sense. Which works perfectly as you lose your wizard you are a bit stuck.

Game Characteristics

They are a few stats/characteristics you will need to know in the game although nothing to stressful.

  • Rank – How high/low a model is, at the moment we are only seeing wizards.
  • Keywords – These are abilities/traits that a model has and details are present on the model cards.
  • Move – Number of inches a model can use as part of a walk action.
  • Defence – The stat is the number that must be equalled or beaten by an attacker to score a hit.
  • Will – Is the stat for a models leadership or initiative they have. There is also an interesting mechanism when a model is reduced to 0 wounds if they roll their Will minus 2 or less than they stay around with 1 wound (high Will is extremely powerful).
  • Sovereign Cost – cost of a model…
  • Wounds – can you guess what this is for?
  • Artefact Limit – Number of upgrades know as artefacts that could be given to a model.
  • Power Limit – The amount of power tokens that can be stored for future activations.

Action/Ability Cards

Action cards are unique actions or attacks that a model can do outside of the standard ones, which will be discussed later on.

Ability cards can be used using action points and/or power tokens, however they can only be used once a turn. However if there are multiple actions on the ability card you can use all of them once if the costs can be paid.

Actions are similar to ability cards BUT can be taken multiple times providing costs can be met.

Ability and attacks have the following characteristics;

  • Name – Everything needs a name
  • Cost – This is the cost be it in action points and/or power tokens. An interesting variation is if the number seen is say 2/3. This means it costs 2 AP/PTs to do the action BUT the model must still have 3 remaining points on it after the initial spend. This is a unusual rule which means not only have you got to ensure you have the right number of points to spend but that you can’t do it without a reserve in place as well even though some points are not spent. I think this is a good way of balancing the power of an action as it means you have to use that first before another attack.
  • Ability Type – Some of the keywords on the model cards will mean a bonus/penalty against certain types.
  • No of Allowed Dice – This is the dice pool you get to roll to get a success, as with other systems this pool can be buffed/debuffed by various in-game means.
  • Target Number – This is mainly for abilities not attacks, it is the number need to achieve on the dice rolls you make (only need one success from the pool)
  • Requirements – This dictates the range and any other requirements (like targeting enemy models) so can affect who can be selected.
  • Effects and Description – What the ability actually does be it damage or conditions (see later).

Turn phases

Each Game round will follow the usual sort of route that people will be use to;

  • Ready Phase – All models reset their action points and also gain power tokens based on source stone/nexus point (see later).
  • Focus Phase – Wizards can siphon off power tokens from friendly models up to their power limit. Although the Vanity of Wizards rule means Wizards won’t be able to take PTs off other friendly magic users.
  • Activation Phase – D10 off to see who gains initiative (dice roll plus will stat). Then it is an alternating activation between the 2 players.
  • Maintenance Phase – A check on conditions (see later) and other in-game effects.
  • Tally Phase – Check if any objective points have been scored

Its all simple and familiar to gamers, so nothing out of the ordinary to deal with (less to forget).

Activations

A model can do a number of actions within its activation based on the resources of action points and power tokens it has.

As alluded to earlier Mundane Action Points are a fixed resource that a model generates each turn, while power tokens are variable. These points/tokens can be spent to do actions be it universal ones or those from the ability cards mentioned above.

All models have Zone of Control (ZoC), which is a 1” bubble around the model which means enemies can enter it without any issue but takes a free attack if they leave and obviously you can’t charge while in a ZoC.

Universal actions are those available to all models, such as walk, charge and concentrate.

Damage

To cause damage with a model you need to be successful on the dice roll against a targets defense (or another stat). However you can get bonuses, based on the number of successes.

  • 1 Hit – causes stun which gives the defending model a condition called Burdened.
  • 2 Hits – will cause a light wound which is 1 damage to the model.
  • 3 Hits – was cause a medium wound does 2 damage.
  • 4+ Hits – cause a severe wound which does 3 damage.

Obviously these bonuses are additional to what the attack action effect actually is, so if you roll hot a good chance of doing additional damage is a potential.

Other stuff

So that is all the basics covered now for a quick look at some of the other stuff.

Terrain

Is dealt with via levels so flat ground is 0 while 1 will not block LoS but provides cover, level 2 will block LoS to 30mm based models and cover to rest and finally level 3 just blocks LoS. Then we have the usual broken (re:rough), dangerous and hazardous terrain types as well which all effect movement (and damage in some cases) to various degrees.

Tokens

We see 2 possible tokens that are used in the game as it stands.

Power Tokens – These are core to the game and allow 2 possible effects in-game. You can either spend them to do more powerful actions OR you can use them during an activation to gain additional ‘mundane’ action points. Unlike other systems resources they stick around till they are used assuming you don’t go over you power limit stat.

Concentration Tokens – Generated by the concentration action and is limited by the models rank (wizards can have 3 tokens). These can be spent before you roll dice to add 2 additional die to your roll. So a nice way of boosting your rolls when you need it.

Source Stones/Nexus Points

Both of these are ways to generate power tokens.

  • Nexus points – are terrain pieces placed by the players at the start of the game.

Source stones are artefacts that draw in magic into them from the surroundings. House Qing don’t use them though due to how they get power (read the fluff). They are carried by models in the game, which is how PTs are generated.

  • Source stones – Gain a power token at start of the round but gain bonus tokens if the model is in base contact with a Nexus point there are bonus PTs up for grabs. These sort of stones are carried by non-wizards in the game.
  • Greater Source stones – Are carried by wizards and are more powerful so they have the same effect as a normal source stone but can be within 6” of a Nexus point rather than base contact.

Conditions

There a few different conditions within the game, I am not going to go into much detail with these but I will say that they add some very thematic ideas into the game and really add to the feel that these are wizards doing battle. Imagine a wizards duel and I am sure you will find a condition that ticks the box.

Scenario

Only one at the moment which is a Wizards duel (who would have thought) which is nice and straight forward and gets you into the system nicely.

Summary

Final thoughts on Roots of Magic then;

Pros

Fun little system that offers some interesting resource mechanisms and let’s be honest wizard duels are cool. The variation in the houses also mean we can see some fun rules (and names) for what a wizard can bring to the table.

The models look very very cool, if they can deliver on that we are in for some special models.

Cons

As it is so new at the moment (and still in Beta technically), there is the limit of only wizard on wizard action which will get old quickly after you have messed about with the available wizards. But it is only a minor gripe as clearly there are significant plans to grow.

Overall

As a starting point this is a great way to go about a new system. Worth a look I have to say even if to waste half hour shooting multi-coloured spells at each other.

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