7th Edition introduced the Helstorm rocket battery for Empire, a more powerful, less reliable mortar which takes up a rare slot. Upon buying a new Helblaster/Helstorm plastic kit intending to build as a Helblaster for use in 6th edition games I discovered that it was relatively easy to assemble it in such a way that it could be fielded as either model. A quick kitbash on the crew to make them more generic as opposed to carrying items clearly intended for one machine or another and I have a unit which will work for both (Photos will be posted once painted)
What was left was rules to use the Helstorm rocket launcher in 6th edition, it would have been fairly easy to use the 7th edition rules as they are, increasing the points slightly so it’s more in line with the other 6th edition Empire artillery but, what is the fun in that? Why not come up with something entirely unique? And thus was born the old world’s first attempt at air defence.
These rules are a first draft and haven’t yet been play tested. They might need some tweaks (points, range?) and restrictions on what can be targeted (eg what should the effect be on a Helblaster style machine or a multi launch of bolt thrower bolts?) I’d also had the idea of allowing it to be used when flying troops moved into range, but that might be a bit too powerful.
Van Ludwig’s impenetrable shield of exploding doom (doom shield) may be taken as a rare choice in an Empire army for 110 points. It has 3 crew members and you should use the same stats for the machine and crew as a Helblaster volley gun.
Operating the doom shield
Unlike other war machines, the doom shield is fired in your opponents shooting phase, however the crew will still work on preparing the machine to fire during your own shooting phase. The doom shield consists of 3 racks of 3 rockets which are used by the crew to defend friendly units from enemy artillery by exploding into a dense field of chaff which deflects and absorbs the impact from the projectile. Keep track of how many racks are currently available to fire as a rack must be reloaded in your shooting phase before it can be fired again, each remaining crew member or engineer assigned to the machine can reload a single rack in a phase. It has a range of 12″.
Firing the doom shield
A doom shield may be fired at an incoming projectile fired from an opponents war machine targeted at a friendly unit within 12″ of the doom shield. The doom shield is fired once the opponent has finished rolls to hit with their war machine but before any wounds are determined (eg if firing a stone thrower, guess the range; roll the artillery and scatter dice to determine the final location of the stone. If a friendly unit within 12″ of the machine falls under the template it is a valid target, resolve the firing of the doom shield before continuing to resolve the stone thrower)
First choose how many racks, from those still available you wish to fire at the incoming projectile. Each rack will launch D3 rockets. Determine the strength of each rack of rockets by rolling the artillery dice. Finally make a roll to hit with the ballistic skill of the crew for each rocket, you get +1 to hit if the target is the machine itself and +1 to hit if the projectile doesn’t use the scatter dice, or scores a direct hit roll on the scatter dice. The machine doesn’t have a short or long range so typically there will not be any other modifiers to this roll. Each rocket which hits reduces the strength of the incoming projectile by it’s own strength.
Example: A goblin doom diver fires at a unit of spear men near to the Doom shield. After flapping it’s wings really hard, it scatters 2″ but is still able to hit the unit. The crew of the doom shield burst into action and launch rockets to intercept. A single rack is used, and a 3 is rolled on a D6 resulting in 2 rockets. The artillery dice is rolled, scoring a 4 but only a single hit is scored, the doom diver hits are resolved against the spear men but at a strength of 1 instead of the usual 5. Should both rockets have hit, the strength would have been reduced below 1 and the projectile would have been completely stopped.
If a misfire is rolled when determining the rocket’s strength, roll a D6 and consult the following table
|1||A rocket fails to detach from the launcher and explodes in place triggering a chain reaction in the other rockets this causes catastrophic damage to the machine and kills all crew. Remove it as a casualty|
|2||A rocket fails to detach from the launcher and explodes in place, fortunately it doesn’t cause a chain reaction however it causes sufficient damage that it’s rack cannot be used for the remainder of the battle. In addition, the crew suffers a single S3 hit.|
|3||The launching mechanism jams and fails to ignite the rocket fuses, the crew must unload the machine and unjam it before it can be fired again. It will require 2 of your shooting phases to get the machine running again.|
|4||Pop! It’s a dud. The rocket fails to ignite and remains stuck in the launcher. The crew will have to carefully remove it and replace it This rack will require 2 shooting phases to reload it however other racks may be used as normal.|
|5||Click, click, crack. A minor fault has developed in the launching mechanism and the rockets fail to ignite, no shots are fired and no more racks can be fired this turn.|
|6||Boom! The rockets launch successfully but explode before reaching their intended target, no rockets from this rack will do anything, but other racks can still be fired this turn.|