Monday, 18 July 2011

Rules Conundrum: The Blood Lance

Time for another Rules Conundrum. There’s been a slight gap in between them, as I rile against FAQ’s and play much too little 40k to stumble on any fun conundrums.

So this one’s been brewing for a while.

The Blood Lance.

You'd imagine it wouldn't be that difficult to find a good picture of a lance (with or without blood)... So here's Lance, instead.

So, this psychic power raises a couple of questions. The first is “Why, oh why, can’t GW hire a five-year-old to proof-read their rules and poke holes?” as per point twelve on the Evil Overlord List.

More relevantly:

Is the Blood Lance a true ‘line’? That is, is it the equivalent of pointing a laser pointer down the field, and hitting anything the laser touches? Or is it like every other template ever designed by GW?

I’m going to take them literally, and assume that the laser pointer theory is correct. Why? Because there’s nothing saying anything else. It would be simpler if it behaved like a cannon-ball bounce (or heck, the Jaws of the World Wolf or Vibro Cannon) and hit everything under the line. But no.

This is GW we’re talking about.

Which brings us to question the second: If a model’s weapon, wing, banner is “in the lances path”, is it hit? Answer: yup. The limitations alluded to are limited to matters of Line of Sight. So go ahead, shoot the Space Marine Sergeant behind that rock formation in his only axposed part: his back banner. The same goes for antennae, perilously pinned Gretchin and sandwiches. Okay, I ran out of ideas for examples. You get the point.

What remains are not questions, but implications.

You cannot hit both a Chimera and a Valkyrie with the same Blood Lance, unless you’re really close to the Chimera, and that’s closer than the Valkyrie. Yes, I’ve seen this happen. Yes, that was the start of an argument that delayed their game by maybe ten minutes. Yes, I hate Valkyries (or more precisely their implications for the game).

The Blood Lance is exempt from the “templates only hit one level of a ruin” rule. It’s not a template. Imagine a building of twelve levels, with one unit on each level (for fun, let’s assume they’re single model units, somehow), with a Librarian at the bottom floor. One straight-up Blood Lance later… that building has a smoking hole all the way through.

All in all, the introduction of a “line” in a game that deals primarily in “areas” is weird. There are surely implications I’ve missed. But I’ve writtena  couple of long rants lately, so this won’t be any longer than this.
*Sudden stop*

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