Morticus, Vindicare Temple Assassin

Rules by Master Bryss
The Vindicare operative known as Morticus is a veteran sniper specialising in battlefield assassination. Many a time has an enemy commander marched to war only to be shot just before the battle starts, throwing the army into disarray. The bullet fired into the commander will then detonate, eliminating any chance of tracing the bullet to its owner. Such acts show the dedication and intellect of Morticus, ensuring a clean, efficient job, which pleases the master of the Vindicare Temple greatly.
Morticus may be taken as the 0-1 Assassin allowed in Inquisitorial forces. He is an Elites choice that may only be included if an Inquisitor is part of the force.
Cost: 70 points.

Unit: 1 (Unique)
Unit Type: Infantry
  • Morticus’ Exitus Rifle (with special issue ammunition)
  • Exitus Pistol
  • Power Weapon
  • Spy Mask
  • Stealth Suit

Morticus’ Exitus RifleThis is a normal Exitus Rifle, however shots from this weapon always wound on a 2+ in addition to any other benefits afforded by special ammunition.  Any of Morticus’ bullets have a high chance of exploding inside the enemy’s head! Any To Wound roll of 6+ inflicts Instant Death.
Special Rules:
  • Marksman
  • Independent
  • Fearless
  • Infiltrate
  • Invulnerable
  • Pre-emptive Shot
Pre-emptive Shot: Morticus specialises in battlefield assassination. After units have made any Scout moves and Infiltrators have been deployed Morticus may fire his Exitus Rifle once as normal. This does not affect his ability to shoot normally during player turns.
Image is copyright Relic Studios

Special thanks to MVBrandt for his constructive contributions.


Atrotos said…
I like this entry a lot. I wonder if it's worthwhile to write new rules for Special Ammunition. Morticus' special rules already invalidates the Hellfire round.
Averaging two instant kills on Tyranid MC's per game is pretty intense.

His points cost make him an intensely suboptimal selection. Cool, but not worth taking in a competitive game.

- $.02
Atrotos said…
I wouldn't say "suboptimal" but rather situational. He's useless against 100% mechanized armies but invaluable once there's enemy infantry on the board.

Are you familiar with his targeting rules (or lack thereof)?

BOOM! There's goes the Nob with PK
BOOM! There's goes the last model on the board that could spawn a Greater Deamon
BOOM! There goes the Senior Officer.

I think you'll find this guy winning games all by himself given the opportunity.
He can already do most of those things, at a lower points cost. He already fails to win games b/c he is a single shot that can't hurt mech at all, and mech is what rules the game, sadly.

That is to say, that his rules right now are pitifully ineffective. He costs too much as it is, and is too vulnerable to weapons fire already. Making him cost significantly more while improving his wound roll to 2+ and giving him a single pre-game shot is ... not great, is all.
Don't mean to sound over the top aggressive or anything, for what it's worth. I'd just rather see the vindicare become a cheap, cool unit that suits someone who is only firing one "I can't hurt vehicles" round per game. Alternately, you could give him one of the special rounds from the flying Valkyrie in Apoc that has "Champion" anti-tank rounds - S10 AP1 single shots.
Atrotos said…
I see what you're saying and I don't think you're being overly aggressive. The issue is that it's hard to cost this guy much lower given that he could take out a 250+ pt Hive Tyrant in one shot (33% chance). It also feels wrong to let him take out Land Raiders with relative ease (your S10 AP1 suggestion) - he does have 1 special round for light vehicles.

He's like a real sniper - he could end the war with one bullet or he could spend days on end looking for a clear shot but never getting it.

I might have gone as low as 120 points for this guy but only because the Vindicare was so overcosted in the first place and because taking this guy disallows you from taking the very attractive Callidus. Even then the thought of being able to snipe an Eldar Farseer right off his Jetbike, while the Farseer's in combat and without allowing the Farseer a save of any kind is terrifying.
"Random" is a bad factor in terms of game balancing. Random on small #'s of dice rolls is why games like Blood Bowl are (rightly) relegated to the realm of casual only. They are noncompetitive.

If your goal has any intention of building the homebrew so that it is balanced for BOTH competitive and "I don't care" gamers, you'll need to avoid it.

To that end, and based off the above, the better resolution is likely a relegation of his points value to closer to 50-70, and a removal of his capacity to inflict Instant Death.

Just a thought, but an important one. At 170 points with the above stats, he is never worth taking in a competitive / all comers list.
Atrotos said…
"To that end, and based off the above, the better resolution is likely a relegation of his points value to closer to 50-70, and a removal of his capacity to inflict Instant Death."

You've convinced me - I think you're right.
I've been going over the Marbo and Telion entries and it's clear to me that Morticus is pretty close to their level of efficiency without the ability to cause Instant Death on Monstrous Creatures. I might make the ID roll required a "6" just to keep things interesting.
Master Bryss said…
I go away for one second and come back to find his cost slashed in half...

What you've done seems fair, but I'd quite like an explanation as to how the original Vindicare was overcosted. He seems alright compared to the other guys.
Master Bryss said…
And don't remove the ID entirely, ever. Exploding bullets are too good an idea to lose!
Exploding Bullets are cool, but a better implementation might be something like an Instant Death "round" that he can use that only wounds on a 4+ but inflicts ID ... a hollow point or something. You want to remove the random factor from models so that their points and balancing can be easier to manage. If a model will totally change the entire flow of the game one time around, and do nothing the next, purely b/c of statistical anomalies built into their rules ... you've got a model that people will either hate, or be loathe to take.

Still, I appreciate the back and forth and the input taken. Props to you on it.
See - (sorry for no edit) ... I like the 70 point change, and possibly removal of ID (I think that's what you did?) ... now you actually WANT to take him, but he still is only one anti-infantry shot a game. He's not overpowered, but he's dangerous and opponents will have to strongly consider going after him.

Two thumbs up ... he's now more like Marbo - a genuine unit that people will actually ponder taking, especially in smaller games where the points are tighter.
Atrotos said…
@ Master Bryss: the original Vindicare was grossly overcosted because the player could never field him with confidence. Sure he *could* do what he was meant to but, excluding the single hellfire shot, you never had even a 50/50 chance of wounding *anything*. It wouldn't be inaccurate to say that the current Vindicare could go 2-3 games in a row without killing more than one model a game. Hardly worth the 115 (IIRC) points - especially when Telion does a better job for half the points.

@MVBrandt - that's twice now you've said "he's only one shot per game". Is that by accident or are you thinking he really can only shoot once rather than once every turn?

As for the Instant Death I changed it to a 6+ so you *could* still maul a Carnifex in one shot but it would have to be a hell of a shot.

Thanks for all the input!
Typo / accident, and no problemo!
Master Bryss said…
Thanks for the clear-up, I understand now. It doesn't help the poor Vindi that he's on his own either.
The Immortal God-Emperor said…
Ah, Vindicare Assassins... this takes me back. If you had shown this article to my friends and I at age 13 or 14, each of our armies would have had three. =p
Ahrimaneus said…
Perhaps have his to wound role of 6+ count as instant death unless the model has the "monstrous creature" special rule. In this case, the Assassin causes d3 wounds to the creature.

That way the slight disparity of one bullet taking out a 6W trygon isnt totally nuts, but putting down a wounded one when he really shouldn't sounds about right.

For non-MC's, the explosive round destroys their dome-piece in a fantastic spray of red mist.
Atrotos said…
Hmmm killing the Tyrant is extreme but so is rolling a "2" on your D3 (i.e. getting nothing for rolling a "6" to wound.) How would you feel about d6 wounds instead? That way you can still kill the MC but you would need two consecutive sixes.