Smallhammer Lists for a Tale of Two Witches

February 20, 2023 by Solar Cross

A Tale of Two Witches - A Hobby Project
Northmen and Living Dead Recruited From Fireforge Games
Smallhammer Lists for a Tale of Two Witches

My hobby project “A Tale of Two Witches” has been in hiatus for more than three years. I had not even gone beyond formulating the basic concept to do any hobby work for it.

I suppose I lost interest in part because it was so hard to find Warhammer Fantasy Battles players in the Age of Sigmar.

Tale of Two Witches Revived

More recently The Old World has been announced to be in development. It seems it will effectively be a return of Warhammer Fantasy Battles. With Warhammer Fantasy Battles returning from the dead, then so might my own Tale of Two Witches. I might at least find a The Old World player after its release.

So here I will craft two “smallhammer” lists as a first iteration of the hobby side of the project. Smallhammer is what I call building armies to the very minimum size required by a game. You can see more about what smallhammer looks like for Warhammer Fantasy Battles in my article about it here.

I will be using 8th edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battles to draw up the initial smallhammer lists, since The Old World is not yet released. There is some chance the lists will not translate perfectly into this new game. However since it is heavily based on the old Warhammer Fantasy Battles they will likely be close enough.

You can read about my thoughts on how to build armies for The Old World before release here.

Bretonnia Smallhammer List

Bretonnia is a bit awkward for doing a smallhammer list using official rules. In the last official army book for Bretonnia (released for 6th edition), it was required to take a paladin to carry an army battle standard. Also that character could not be the general.

So Bretonnia, uniquely, had to have a minimum of two heroes. One to carry the standard and one to be the general. In compensation for this requirement, Bretonnia gets their army battle standard upgrade for free.

Unfortunately, by the core rules of 8th edition, not more than 25% of the total points can be spent on heroes. If I have to take two heroes then that implies a smallhammer list that must be at least 500 points. This is much more than other factions who could, as I showed elsewhere, have a smallhammer list around 250 points.

The rules of 8th edition does also say that its rules for army composition replace those described in older army books like the Bretonnian one. Given that, perhaps it could be argued that Bretonnia does not need to take a mandatory army battle standard. But then is it still free?

In the long run it does not matter. Likely, The Old World will have different rules again.

For now I will dodge the controversy by using the unofficial Bretonnian army book. This is published by the Warhammer Armies project, with 8th edition in mind. Using that book for army creation will allow one hero to be taken, just like any other faction.

Even with only one hero, I would still want a points budget nearer to 400 than 250. I have a model for a damsel on a horse to use for the general / hero. That will be a minimum of 92 points, implying taking a core worth at least that much.

A paladin on foot would be cheaper, but this scouting party is in the service of Morgiana La Fay. So a damsel as general would be more fitting.

Scouting Party of La Fay (400 points Bretonnia)

Total – 400 points on the nose. At 400 points this list could hardly be much different than this. Fortunately I have all the models needed to make it from my northman haul, as well as I few other bits I have.

Vampire Counts Smallhammer List

Mousillon Flag - Black Fleur De Lis on Yellow.
Mousillon Flag – Black Fleur De Lis on Yellow.

Vampire Counts are easier to do as a smallhammer list. As I showed elsewhere it could be done for just 185 points at minimum. Our budget here will be 400 points to match the Scouting Party of La Fay above.

The main limitation is that the only character affordable at 400 points is a necromancer. Vampire Counts have some other cheap characters but none are wizards. The general must be a wizard in a Vampire Counts army. Only the necromancer fits both needs.

By now I have collected plenty of undead models with this project in mind. Not only do I have the Living Dead from the Fireforge Games kickstarter but also quite a number of Vampire Counts kits from ebay. I also, more recently, picked up the Cursed City boxset which has quite a few useful models.

Off the top of my head I must have enough models for more than 20 black knights, 50 skeletons and much else besides. So I will craft this list with these models in mind. So to save from making my pile of shame any larger with additional purchases.

Recruitment Expedition for Malfleur of Mousillon (400 points Vampire Counts)

Total – 396 points.

Campaign Idea – Escalation!

Smallhammer can be a way to do poorhammer, wargaming on the cheap. Fewer models cost less money. But in my case, smallhammer is just about reducing the amount of hobby work before first play. However just because The Tale of Two Witches is starting smallhammer, does not mean it must stay that way.

I have heard of something called an escalation league. This is where players in a tournament start with small armies and over successive battles increase the points limit.

A Tale of Two Witches is more of an exercise in narrative play than a competition. We can still adapt the idea of escalation to create a campaign that starts as smallhammer. But then, battle by battle, escalates to all the way to grandhammer.

Morgiana La Fay herself costs so many points. She can hardly be fielded at all in 8th edition, unless her army is well over 2000 points!

A glance at the smallhammer lists I have crafted above immediately suggests how the story will start…

Something Stinks in Mousillon

Belle de Wimple, damsel in the service of Morgiana La Fey, has heard rumours of a suspicious scholar. He is roaming the villages on the borders of what was once Duchy of Mousillon. At each stop, he is asking the locals about old battle sites and barrows in the area.

It is said, he claims to be a historian working on a chronicle for a private patron. However the proximity to the cursed city of Mousillon, and its taint of undeath, raises the suspicion of a more nefarious purpose.

Belle commandeers a small force from a local garrison to pursue, investigate and if necessary apprehend the scholar. Eventually he is tracked down to an old battle site.

As Belle closes in on her quarry, her worst fears are confirmed. The “scholar” is raising a force of his own!

Next Steps

The first lists are decided. Now I must assemble and paint them! Stay tuned.

A Tale of Two Witches - A Hobby Project
Northmen and Living Dead Recruited From Fireforge Games
Smallhammer Lists for a Tale of Two Witches

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