Kings of War: Vanguard – How Magic Works

Today there’s something magical in the air on the Mantic blog because we’re going to preview the Vanguard Spellbook. Grab your wand and prepare for action…

Magic was always something we wanted to include in Vanguard – after all, fantasy fiction is full of wizards, witches, warlocks and other things beginning with w, plus it’s such an important part of Kings of War. However, creator Matt Gilbert also wanted to take it one step further, with a wider range of spells for magic users. This led to the creation of three different categories:

  • Basic spells
  • Warband specific spells
  • Advanced spells – dependent upon a spellcaster’s alignment

So, let’s get cracking and delve deep into what these various different types of spell are.

BASIC SPELLS

As the name implies, these are your standard spells that will be found across a wide range of magic users. What’s more, a lot of the names will be familiar to Kings of War players because you’ve got the likes of Windblast, Fireball, Heal, Lightning Bolt, etc. Typically, magic users will automatically have access to one or two spells.

For example, the Enslaved Guardian above is a Large Spellcaster and, as standard, can cast Windblast. You’ll notice that Windblast has (long) after it. This means that casting Windblast counts as a long action, so you won’t be able to walk and then cast the spell. Other spells – like Fireball – are only a short action, so you can walk and cast Fireball.

So far, so Kings of War. However, there’s also the opportunity to boost your spells to make them more powerful or increase their range. For example, Fireball can be casted as a long action instead, which gives it the Breath ability. This means it ignores cover and can hit multiple targets. Perfect if some goblins are doing an impromptu conga. Other spells – like Shockwave – are boosted by spending Power. Once again – as with so many rules in Vanguard – it’s all about giving players tactical choices.

WARBAND SPECIFIC SPELLS

Alongside the basic spellbook, each warband will also have two unique spells that can only be used by spellcasters in that faction. A little like the warband specific special abilities, these spells are a great way to add flavour to a warband.

But how do you use the Warband specific spells? Well, in a one-off game Spellcasters may swap one of their existing spells with one of their faction specific spells for free, or they can purchase an additional spell for 10 points. In the latter example, this can be any one of their faction specific spells or an advanced spell permitted based on their alignment. During a campaign, the Spellcaster will actually learn new spells as they gain XP.

In the example above you can see the two Basilean spells: Blessed Light and Divine Flame, while below you can see the Basilean War Wizard’s stat card.

As standard the War Wizard has access to Shield, Heal and Lightning Bolt. Ahead of the game, you could choose to swap Shield for Blessed Light OR you could pay an extra 10 points to give the War Wizard a fourth spell. If you remember Rob’s blog about his Abyssals, you’ll hopefully recall he swapped the Warlock’s standard Hammer spell with the faction specific Immolation spell.

ADVANCED SPELLBOOK

Finally, we come to the Advanced Spellbook, which is certainly one of the most exciting elements of Vanguard’s magic! Just like Kings of War, each faction has an alignment: Good, Neutral and Evil. Depending upon their alignment, it will give them access to Noble, Primordial and Corrupt spells. In one-off games, you can buy one of these Advanced spells and during a campaign your Spellcaster will potentially learn them. Each alignment has access to the following types of magic:

  • Good: any Noble spells, plus in a campaign they can learn one Primordial spell
  • Neutral: any Primordial spells, plus in a campaign they can learn one Noble or Corrupt spell
  • Evil: any Corrupt spells, plus in a campaign they can learn one Primordial spell

The different types of spell available are:

  • Noble: Dazzle, Deteriorate, Transpose, Blur, Teleport and Chain Lightning
  • Primordial: Waterlogged, Tanglefoot, Veiling Fog, Nature’s Cloak, Brisk Work and Stoneskin
  • Corrupt: Lure, Shatter, Malevolence, Possession, Summon Familiar and Nightfall

Going back to our Basilean War Wizard for a moment, then. In a one-off game, you could pay 10 points to learn the Blur spell, whereas in a campaign you would potentially learn Blur for free by gaining XP.

As you can see, the way magic works in Vanguard has been vastly expanded compared to Kings of War. Spellcasters will become a key part of your warband and in a campaign, they can become a wizard that even Gandalf would think twice about messing with.

Remember, Kings of War: Vanguard is now available to pre-order. We’ve got a very special half price rulebook offer, so you can get the 160-page rulebook for just £12.49! Pre-order here.

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