Last Modified 05/20/07

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War elephant additions
and clarifications

Part 1         Part 2

Elephant Reference


(From Slingshot Magazine March 2001)
By Jeff Jonas 8-18-00

 

Elephants in WAB: A review of the “Used to Elephants” rules:

There is a bit of confusion caused by a couple of lines in the rulebook dealing with elephants. Here’s my view, for what it is worth, and a compiling of all the rules that are currently in place and some that are commonly used as ‘House Rules’, as well as some of the really experimental rules submitted by Jervis Johnson many many moons ago…

Basic Rules for elephants: (Page 61-63)

Under the section Used to Elephants it states:
Infantry that are ‘used to elephants ’ do not fear them. Cavalry that are ‘used to elephants ’ ‘fear’ them but may not charge and must still flee or fire and flee from them as stated under the Terror rules.

The confusion begins on the next line where it states:
“Troops described as drilled
as well as used to elephants are allowed to open up their ranks if an elephant charges towards their front so that it has an opportunity to pass through them.”

Many interpret this to mean that drilled troops must be also labeled ‘used to elephants’ to carry out his maneuver.. this is not the case!

Drilled troops (all of them) are given this ability on page 120 (Drilled bullet 4).  However just because troops are ‘drilled’ this does not mean they are ‘used to elephants’… it just gives them the ability to avoid the stampede or charge.

For example a drilled Roman cavalry unit must still pass a Terror check and must flee or fire and flee from elephants, as cavalry always must do this, whether used to them or not!

Infantry that are ‘used to elephants’ may also form lanes once they pass a leadership check. And of course it is further confusing as ‘used to elephants’ troops cannot form lanes against Scythed chariots…. Only the drilled variety may do that.

Currently there are no drilled troops in WAB that are ‘used to elephants ’ AS WELL, since no Indian troops are drilled.

So to sum up:

1) Drilled troops may form lanes even if they are not Used to elephants (page 120), however they have to pass a fear check to do so.
    (This rule is specific to Drilled troops so it suprecedes the elephant description).

2) Drilled troops that are also "Used to elephants" do not fear them unless they are cavalry*, so they only need to pass a leadership test to form lanes. (page 63)

3) "Used to Elephants" troops that are not Drilled, may not form lanes, but do not fear them unless they are cavalry*. (page 63)

* Cavalry may not stand , therefore they cannot form lanes, they must flee- exception: Indians.

 

Published Elephantine Errata:

WHW online errata:  http://www.warhammer-historical.com/ancientbattles/errata2.asp

These items have been released since the first installment of this article:

WARBAND LEADERSHIP VALUES
Characters, infantry and cavalry subject to Warband Rule 1 may count a rank bonus of up to 3, which may be used to achieve a maximum Leadership of 10 (Light troops count up to two ranks). If they have no rank bonus for whatever reason, then this Leadership benefit is lost. Exception: Elephant combat results P154
(Warbands: p 53)

MOVING CREWS
Crew models aboard elephants, chariots and war-wagons that move are subject to the -1 to hit modifier for moving unless stated for the weapon itself or other special rules. The ‘to hit modifer’ chart on page 24 is incorrect.
(Weapons used from Chariots: p 60, Weapons from Elephants: p 63)

RANK BONUSES & DIFFICULT TERRAIN
Elephant combat results Elephants negate a unit’s rank bonus only. They do not negate the phalanx ability or a warband’s rank bonus for the purpose of Leadership tests.
(Combat results: p 62)

Victory chart
Elephants rampaging or stampeding at the end of the game (but which are still on the table) give Victory points equivalent to half their regular points value. Dead elephants or elephants that have left the table give full victory points as normal.
(Victory chart: p 85)

Roman Army list
Elephants should cost 125 points, with an additional 8 points per crew.
(Elephants: p 125)

CHARACTERS
Characters in Chariots and on Elephants
In some army lists, characters have the option to ride in a chariot or on an elephant. If the option is taken, then the character and his mount move together throughout the battle.

They may be freely shot at because the shots are being directed at the model itself.

Rather than counting the character as one of the crew, the character and his mount are treated separately. Roll to hit normally for missile fire, but then roll again for each hit to see if it hit the character or the mount; on a roll of 1-4 the mount is hit, on a roll of 5-6 the crew is hit. Any characters amongst the crew will be hit if any 6s occur on the random roll. If there are no additional crew, then the character is hit on a 5 or 6 as normal.
In hand-to-hand combat an enemy model in base contact with a chariot mounted character can choose to either attack it or the character.

Characters on elephants are randomised in the same way as missile hits.

Characters mounted in a chariot with a shield bearer, or riding elephants with a howdah may add +2 to their basic armour save. In any other circumstances they add +1 to their armour save.

The character may only dismount and fight on foot if his mount is killed or destroyed, and only then if a suitable model on foot is available to represent him. If no model is available and the mount is slain then the character is removed also. If the character is slain, the mount may continue to fight where appropriate.
(Chariots: p 57 & Elephants: p 61)

 

Rules:

P57, Chariots: Unless a rule states otherwise then chariots are effected by psychology in the same way as cavalry. For example, if an enemy unit causes fear in cavalry then it causes fear in chariots as well. 

Leaders, standard bearers and musicians replace crew models, and thus you can possibly have several in a single chariot if desired. 

P125, Roman Army List: Increase the cost of elephants to 125 points plus 8 per crew.

AoA:

P14, Ancient Greek: The army general may be upgraded to a Spartan army general at a cost of +25 pts. Spartan army generals are drilled and stubborn. Elephants, scythed and heavy chariots may charge the front of a  phalanx, light chariots may not.

P46, Cavalry Counter-Charges: Light chariots may counter-charge, but elephants, heavy chariots and scythed chariots may not.

P46, Characters in Chariots and on Elephants: A character whose armour save is worse (after modification for shield bearers etc.) than that of the his mount may use the mount's saving throw instead. All his other characteristics remain the same, even if lower than those of the mount. Note that the character and his mount fight seperately, and that the `attacks' characteristic of each model is unchanged.

P46, Elephant Howdahs: The lists make no mention of which elephants have howdahs. To resolve this, if the Elephant model (as sold) has a howdah treat the model as having one in game terms. If no howdah is on the model it does not gain this bonus. Converted howdahs are fine if you've got some historical basis for giving the elephant a howdah.

HOUSE RULES:

These are some of the more accepted house rules or conventions used by players:

Elephant rules (additional)
1) All skirmisher infantry and all drilled infantry in the army are considered to be 'used to' elephants.

2) All tournament armies that have an elephant are considered to be "Used to" elephants. (This means your own cavalry/chariots do not have to take a terror test while deploying/moving within 8" of an elephant. They may still not charge an elephant and must flee or fire & flee if charged by one).

3) Infantry that are in skirmish formation can only be hit by an elephant on a roll of 6 (they've learned to attack the beast from the sides). Note that the crew will still hit any attacking skirmishers normally.

4) Characters on elephants are immune to psychology.  An elephant ridden by a character may be shot at no matter what the target’s priority.

5) Elephants, obstacles, and spara that disallow combat ranks bonuses for combat resolution, do not negate special abilities based on ranks, such as phalanx, or warband leadership.  

(Many of the above accepted house rules are derived from ideas presented by Jervis Johnson, the source for these ideas are below)

 

Jervis’ clarifications:

ELEPHANT LEADERSHIP TESTS
Elephant leadership tests are _always_ taken against the Mahouts Ld if he's alive, or the elephant's if the Mahout is dead. This is stated on page 61 of the rules, though it must be said that it doesn't state specifically that this over-rides the rule about testing against a general' leadership if he's within 12". This is the case, however, so elephants don't get to use the general's leadership.  Hope that helps,
Jervis


Elephants vs. Phalanxes
Just to set the record straight, it wasn't my intention that elephants should negate the phalanx ability for a phalanx. Bearing this in mind you should assume that elephants negate a units rank bonus for the purposes of combat results _only_. As a side note, if you didn't use this rule than those poor old Barbarians would not get to add their rank bonus to their Ld when fighting an elephant!
While in rules question mode, a drilled unit may make its free formation change and march in the same turn.
Finally, I hope to get a MkIII version of the revised elephant rules off to the list in a week or two. My current thinking is to basically break the rules up into rules options' that players can add to the current elephant rules if they wish, rather than making them a set of replacement rules as such.
Jervis

Spara Bearers:
I have to admit that a Spara barricade negating a unit's rank bonus was something I'd missed until I read RJM's report. After some thought I've decided that this should be OK, as long as everybody remembers that the Persians lose their rank bonus as well (i.e. *neither* side gets a rank bonus!). While on the subject of Persian units, as noted in a number of posts, the first and second rank can fire at full effect if the unit remains stationary, and any other ranks fire at half effect. Now, I must get my own Persian army ready in time for Rob Broom's 'Club Challenge' tournament in April...
Jervis Johnson

**********************************************

Jervis’ optional rules for elephants:

(These are comments provided to enrich your elephant gaming experience, some work well enough and players have incorporated them into the “house Rules” above, your results will vary!)

RAMPAGING PACHYDERMS 

There  appear to have been two grades of elephant used in ancient battles; Firstly there were what I'll call 'war elephants', for want of a better term, that were fully trained for the rigours of battle and appear to have been quite reliable (for an elephant at least). However, elephants of this type were both rare and extremely expensive, and because of this on a number of occasions ancient generals used only partially trained elephants in there battles instead. The most notable example of the use of the second kind were the Cartheginian elephants at Zama, which were poorly trained and quickly ran away. I've therefore come up with these rules that allows players to pick what grade of elephant they want to use - cheap and cheerful or expensive and reliable. 

POORLY TRAINED ELEPHANTS

The elephants included in the army lists are assumed to be well trained and (fairly) reliable war elephants. A player may choose to take poorly trained elephants if he prefers, but they are much more liable to panic. Halve the total points cost (i.e. including crew and upgrades) of a poorly trained elephant, rounding fractions up. 

Poorly trained elephants were prone to panic, and this was often exploited by an opponent. To reflect such tactics, if your opponent has included poorly trained elephants in his army then you are allowed to use a 'scare tactic' once per battle. The scare tactic is announced at the start of the turn when charges would normally be declared  (it doesn't make any actual game difference as to what the tactic is, but in the interests of fun it is highly recommended that the player invents his own, suitably outlandish tactic, before roll any dice!). 

At the time that the tactic is used 3D6 are rolled. Any and all poorly trained elephants within that many inches of an enemy standard bearer or musician who is on foot must pass a ld test or stampede (note that mounted standard bearers and musicians can't be used for scare tactics). An army that uses a scare tactic may move and shoot normally during the same turn, but may not declare any charges or make any march moves (basically, the army stands around and watches to see what effect the scare tactic had!). 

**********************************************

Updated Elephant Rules

I've (Jervis) gone over the elephant rules to incorporate some of the ideas brought up on the list. What I've tried to do is keep the elephants quirky and unpredictable, as all I have read about them makes me think that that is what they were. Basically, a general that included elephants in his army could never be sure how they would act; sometimes they would win him the battle almost single-handed, while at other times they could lose him the battle single-handed. To my mind any elephant rules should reflect this 'two-edged sword' aspect. The problem has been that so far elephants have either been too predictably good or too predictably bad. Hopefully these amendments will make it so that they are good or bad about equally!

All this said, there does appear to have been two grades of elephant used in ancient battles; Firstly there were what I'll call 'war elephants', for want of a better term, that were fully trained for the rigours of battle and appear to have been quite reliable (for an elephant at least). However, elephants of this type were both rare and extremely expensive, and because of this on a number of occasions ancient generals used only partially trained elephants in there battles instead. The most notable example of the use of the second kind were the Carthaginian elephants at Zama, which were poorly trained and quickly ran away. I've therefore added a rule that allows players to pick what grade of elephant they want to use - cheap and cheerful or expensive and reliable.

One last note, I've been doing a bit of reading about the ratio of elephants to men in ancient armies, and am coming to the conclusion that I've been much too lenient in the number of player may take, even in the AoA lists where I applied much more stringent limitations. At the Hydaspes, for example, Porus had @ 100 elephants, 300 chariots, 4000 cavalry and 30000 infantry. If we ignore the chariots that's one elephant per 340 other troops. At the Battle of Raphia (famous for the number of elephants employed by both sides), Ptolemy had roughly one elephant per 1,000 men (!), while Antiochus had roughly one elephant per 700 men. All in all then there is a powerful argument for limiting elephants to a maximum of 1 in an army, or may be 1-2 for the Indians. These numbers could be doubled up if the cheaper, unreliable grade of elephant is used.

1. ELEPHANTS

The elephants included in the army lists are assumed to be well trained and (fairly) reliable war elephants. A player may choose to take poorly trained elephants if he prefers, but they are much more liable to panic (see the scare tactics rules below). Halve the total points cost (i.e. including crew and upgrades) of a poorly trained elephant, rounding fractions up.

Elephants were generally only effective against enemy troops that were not used to them. With familiarity came, if not contempt, then at least an ability to deal with the large creatures in a business like manner. To represent this, you should roll a D6 on the following table at the start of any battle that includes elephants. Important note: An army that includes elephants itself always counts as being 'used to the beasts!'.

D6

Result

1-2

Never met them before!

3-4

May be this will get rid of them...

5-

Used to the beasts!

Designers Note: Players fighting a scenario or campaign may want to choose the result rather than rolling it randomly to reflect the historical situation or what has happened in the campaign. For example, if you were refighting the battle of Heraclea the Romans would use the 'Never Met The Before!' result, as they hadn't. In a campaign you could use 'Never Met Them Before' in the 1st battle, May Be This Will Get Rid Of Them, for the second, and Used To The Beasts from then on. 

Never Met Them Before!: The standard rules in WAB apply. In addition, to reflect the 'fear of the unknown', all infantry in the army are subject to terror of the elephants until a unit in the army manages to fight one round of combat against an elephant without being broken or falling back in good order.

May be this will get rid of them...: Armies that hadn't yet learnt how to deal with elephants tended to come up with all kinds of weird ways of defeating them. Probably the most notable example of this was the (alleged) use of flaming pigs by the Roman's in a bid to scare off the elephant's in Pyrrhus's army. To reflect such tactics, an army that rolls this result on the table is allowed to use such a 'scare tactic' once per battle. The scare tactic is announced at the start of the turn when charges would normally be declared (it doesn't make any actual game difference as to what the tactic is, but in the interests of fun it is highly recommended that the player invents his own, suitably outlandish tactic, before roll any dice!). At the time that the tactic is used 3D6 are rolled. Any and all poorly trained elephants within that many inches of an enemy standard bearer or musician who is on foot must pass a ld test or stampede (note that mounted standard bearers and musicians can't be used for scare tactics). An army that uses a scare tactic may move and shoot normally during the same turn, but may not declare any charges or make any march moves (basically, the army stands around and watches to see what effect the scare tactic had!). If the test causes at least one elephant to stampede then the 'fear of the unknown' rule does not apply any longer; if the scare tactic fails to stampede an elephant (or is not tried), then the fear of the unknown rule is used as described above. 

Used to the Beasts: The army has faced elephants several times and now has a pretty good idea of how to deal with them. Once per battle the army may use a 'scare tactic' as described above. In addition all skirmisher infantry, all light infantry, and all drilled infantry in the army are considered to be 'used to' elephants. Lastly, infantry that are in skirmish formation can only be hit by an elephant on a roll of 6, and may ignore it's saving throw if they score a wound (they've learnt to attack the beast from the sides and to attack it's vulnerable spots). Note that the crew will still hit any attacking skirmishers normally. In addition the 'fear of the unknown' rules are not used if this result was rolled. 

Jervis

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(the following is an older version of the above ideas)

Those Pesky Indians

Just a quick note following up the posts about the Indian army. One of the changes I've made in the Indian lists in AoA (as opposed to the ones on the net) is to change the army's Ld down to a base of '5' (i.e. the same Ld values as a Barbarian army has). Indian cavalry and infantry are subject to Warband rule 1, which means that they add their rank bonus to their ld, but aren't impetuous and don't get the Warband's ferocious charge.

Lastly, especially for Don, here are some new rules that apply whenever elephants are used in a game. I've designed them to limit the effectiveness of elephants as a front line anti-infantry unit, so that they will tend to operate on the flanks or be used as an anti-cavalry screen (which from my reading is what happened to them against armies that knew how to deal with them).

This is a first draft, so comments and feedback are welcomed!

1. ELEPHANTS

Elephants were generally only effective against enemy troops that were not used to them. With familiarity came, if not contempt, then at least an ability to deal with the large creatures in a business like manner. To represent this, you should roll a D6 on the following table at the start of any battle that includes elephants. Important note: An army that includes elephants itself always counts as being 'used to the beasts!'.

D6

Result

1

Never met them before!

2-3

May be this will get rid of them...

4-6

Used to the beasts!

Never Met Them Before!: The standard rules in WAB apply.

May be this will get rid of them...: Armies that hadn't yet learnt how to deal with elephants tended to come up with all kinds of weird ways of defeating them. Probably the most notable example of this was the (alleged) use of flaming pigs by the Roman's in a bid to scare off the elephant's in Pyrrhus's army. To reflect such tactics, an army that rolls this result on the table is allowed to use such a 'scare tactic' once per battle. The scare tactic is announced at the start of the turn when charges would normally be declared (it doesn't make any actual game difference as to what the tactic is, but in the interests of fun it is highly recommended that the player invents his own, suitably outlandish tactic, before roll any dice!). At the time that the tactic is used 3D6 are rolled. Any and all elephants within that many inches of an enemy model that is a) on foot (i.e. not cavalry, chariots etc) and b) not in a unit engaged in combat, must pass a ld test or stampede. An army that uses a scare tactic may move and shoot normally during the same turn, but may not declare any charges or make any march moves (basically, the army stands around and watches to see what effect the scare tactic had!).

Used to the Beasts: The army has faced elephants several times and now has a pretty good idea of how to deal with them. Once per battle the army may use a 'scare tactic' as described above. In addition all skirmisher infantry, all light infantry, and all drilled infantry in the army are considered to be 'used to' elephants. Lastly infantry that are in skirmish formation can only be hit by an elephant on a roll of 6 (they've learnt to attack the beast from the sides). Note that the crew will still hit any attacking skirmishers normally.

Jervis Johnson

 

   

    

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Elephant Reference

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