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Warcry Campaign: How to Run it and Rule System Explained

A big draw of Warcry is the campaign system used mostly in the Narrative setting. However, you can create your own narrative flow by playing in any format and still progress on your personal path.

The narrative side changed with the release of the new edition, and this article has the scope to resume how the campaign and quests work now so that you can have all relevant information to make an informed purchase.

A summary of the Warcry campaign rules and system

A Warcry campaign is lumped into the category GW calls “narrative gaming”. This means that the story and the progression of your warband are the focus, while all “fair” and competitive aspects of the matched play are excluded.

In a Warcry campaign all players must pick a Warband and a Quest this warband is on. The Warband also need a Warband Roster detailing what fighters you have in your warband.

At the end of every match there is an Aftermath Sequence, that will determine the progress of your warband in a series of steps. Lastly, Campaign Arcs are an optional layer that has been introduced that replaces the old Campaign Quest but provides a venue for a group of friends to play the same narrative event.

The standard Warcry campaign is made as a very flexible system, allowing to participate in any type of match, including tournaments, by adopting few notes. While in matched play (unless previously agreed with the opponent), you will not be able to use some of your campaign bonuses, you can still earn glory points (game currency to upgrade your roster) and perform all other post-game activities.

While we will not get into the rules details here (we have a comprehensive article) remember that the runemarks are the symbol in a fighter profile. The faction runemark on the top left corner represents which warband he/she belongs to.

Differences with first season campaigns

If you never played campaigns in the first season (red border, set in the Eighpoints), please ignore this section and go to the next one. This aims to give a quick high level summary to those used to the previous season for what changed.

The first noticeable difference is that now a campaign has no end any more. Your warband will keep moving from a location to another, growing in size and power but also losing some of it as you move to the next location and your fighters die.

Earlier you had to complete 3 convergences, specific battles that involved your warband in a specific setting. Now most quests don’t have battles, except some that conclude with a climatic final battle to achieve your objective.

You now have a 1000 points limit to start the campaign, no more than 15 fighters and no allies.

Quests are now objectives to fulfil. Many of them become relevant only in the Aftermath sequence and you can get extra points by achieving certain objectives during the battle.

Encampments provide some bonuses, but they have states that mean that once they are threatened you need to search others or start receiving maluses.

Injuries rolls have now more long-lasting consequences (building from the Champions mode introduced in the Tome of Champions).

Levels of destiny have been replaced with renown, that instead of providing free re-rolls once per game, they allow a free reaction. All fighters can earn them, even those taken down.

Command traits are now called heroic traits. Bearer can now hold only one artefact of power or one lesser artefact, not both at the same time.

Some artwork of iron golems and some other chaos warband fighting in what could be a warcry campaign

Creating your warband for a Warcry campaign

When creating a warband for your campaign you need to fill out a Warband Roster. You can find one at the last page of the core book or you can use the interactive list builder tool from the Warhammer Community website. It seems to be kept more updated than the previous one.

You can find the rules for making a warband on page 99 of the core book. After, you choose your faction and named your warband (you can see our list of available warbands here) it’s time to choose the fighters with some restrictions:

  1. Minimum 3 fighters and maximum 15.
  2. All fighters need to be from the same faction runemark (no allies, thralls or monsters available from the start).
  3. One and only one fighter with the Hero runemark. This fighter is your Leader.
  4. The total points of all fighters cannot exceed 1000.

After that, you can assign 1 heroic trait to your leader and 1 level of renown (more on this later). Remember to name all your fighters!

Selecting a quest and completing it

Once your fighters are ready, it’s now time to embark them in a quest. There are three types of quests: universal quests (anyone can do them), Grand Alliance quests (specific to a grand alliance) and faction quests (specific to a single faction). If you are new to the game system, better start with a universal quest from the Core Book.

Few universal quests and grand alliance quests are already in the Core Book, but many other publications can include some of them, for example the warband tomes like Rot and Ruin (specific to Horns of Hashut and Rotmire Creed), but in the past also expansion tomes and White Dwarf articles.

If you are looking to a comprehensive place to find them, you can look at this article.

A quest contains a description of what you are trying to achieve, the rules to complete it (most of the time something will happen in the aftermath sequence) and the possible rewards (either a list of heroic traits, artefacts or the possibility to choose a new ally or monster to name a few).

Final touches

Finally, there are few things to do that will make more sense later on. First of all, all starting warband start in the Outskirts of the Gnarlwood as their encampment. Later on you will have a chance to discover new locations and move there. Encampments have states, you will start as secure, but it will not last long!

The Glory is the game currency that allows to upgrade the warband in various ways. You start with 0.

The Reputation determines how renown (or feared by your enemies) you are. It will impact how much glory you can achieve when fighting enemies with a different level. You start with 2 (1 for your hero and 1 for his heroic trait).

Some Ironjawz smashing up some skeletons in warcry

Playing a campaign battle

You now have a warband roster with some cool fighters and a quest lined up. It is time to go to war!

If you are playing a narrative battle with your opponent, you have to compare the reputation and whoever has less will be the underdog, with some immediate bonuses (more wild dice depending on the level difference) and some more glory points in the aftermath sequence.

If you are playing matched play, you need to follow the matched play rules, that usually mean that you cannot field more than 1000 points even if your warband could have more. Heroic traits and artefacts also cannot be used unless agreed with the opponent. Nothing stops you from having a matched play battle in a narrative context. Matched play provides more structure and symmetry, but otherwise has the same rules as narrative play.

As all fighters involved risk to incur injuries or even to die, it is possible to flee a battle that you are losing badly to avoid more severe consequences. Fled fighters count as taken down for all rules and purposes of glory and your opponent quest, but not for the aftermath sequence like calculating injuries, etc.

Playing a Quest Battleplan

Some quests, for example Hunt the Beast, include a Quest Battleplan that is a specific to that situation and provides rules and setting for it. You need to find an opponent, in some cases he/she will need to use specific fighters or warbands. In the example above, Break its Spirit requires your opponent to use only the monster you are trying to tame. Should you succeed, you will be able to add it to your roster.

The aftermath sequence: the core of narrative play

The most important aspect of a Warcry campaign is the lasting effects each game has. After you have played a game in a campaign, each players must go through the “aftermath sequence”, a series of steps that determine how well your warband did in the previous battle.

Here is a breakdown of the various steps.

1. Gain glory points

The first part is self-explanatory. You will calculate how many glory points you obtain depending on certain factors. The following table details how many you obtain:

Gaining glory points after the battle

ActionGlory points gained
Played a battle3
Won the battle2
The battle was drawn1
The opponent leader was taken down1
Opponent's reputation was greater than yours1 if greater by 1-4, 2 if greater by 5-9, 3 if greater by 10+

2. Suffer injuries

For each fighter that was taken down, you need to roll 2 D6 (also called D66 or two six-faced dice). Determine which one will be the tens and which one will be the units and then consult the table on page 103 of the core book.

The results vary from obtaining a level of renown to simply be killed in action. Killed fighters are removed from the roster and need to be replaced.

Some injuries can heal, some are more permanent. You will need to list them in your warband roster.

Leaders can lose levels of renown instead of being killed, but if they lost all their renown, then they are dead and need to be replaced.

Iron Legions getting owned in warcry

3. Earn renown

All fighters (taken down or not) roll a D6 and on a 6+ they obtain a level of renown (to a maximum of 3). Surviving fighters add 1 to the roll. One fighter per warband can roll twice.

Levels of renown allow free use of reactions (one per level). In addition, heroes with at least a level of renown can embark in a quest to obtain a heroic trait. Only your warband leader, who starts with 1 already, can embark again at the second and third level of renown to obtain up to 3 heroic traits.

4. Further your quest

At this step you can check the progress on your quest. Different quests have different requirements and provide instructions to what enter in the log in your roster.

If you completed the quest, you immediately obtain the reward and can choose a new quest. You can also decide to give up your current quest and move to another one. In that case, all progress in the previous quest is lost.

5. Sends fighters forth

This is an important step in the aftermath as there are different situations that refer to it. You can only send forth fighters that survived the fight (not taken down) that are not monsters or thralls.

Some quests allow you to send fighters forth for certain reasons, those are in addition to the one sent to explore at this step. Each fighter can be picked only once, so if you have multiple slots available, you need to select different fighters.

When exploring the Gnarlwood, fighters can find lesser artefacts or locations. A location allows you to move your encampment to the new location and start reaping the new benefits from the next step.

Lesser artefacts are less powerful than artefacts of power that are usually rewards of main quests, and are divided in Consumable (one-off use) and Perishable (you make a perish roll for each of them and they could be removed independently if they were used or not). A fighter can carry maximum one artefact.

Encampments provide different bonuses, including more points for when you muster your warband before a battle, reputation increase and other rewards. Every time you relocate, the encampment starts as secure, but eventually you will be forced to relocate.

6. Manage your warband

In this part you will manage the bureaucratic side of the warband. It is further divided in 4 sub-steps.

  • Every fighter with injuries, except those that just obtained them, roll to see if they heal. On a 4+ the injury is removed. Fighters that did not participate in the previous battle have a +1 bonus.
  • You roll for ever perishable artefact in your roster except those discovered in this aftermath. On a 1-3 they are lost and removed from the roster.
  • You can remove or add new fighters. You can even change your leader. To add heroes, monsters and thralls you need first to complete a quest that allows you to do so. Each fighter you add has a cost in glory points (from 1 to 8) based on its point value. You still cannot exceed 20 fighters in your roster, 3 heroes or allies in total and 1 monster.
  • You can swap artefacts between fighters, but remember each can only bear one. You can “sell” artefacts of power for 2D6 glory points. Lesser artefacts do not provide any glory.

7. Make the encampment check

All encampments start at the secure state, but at this stage you roll 2D6 and for each roll of 1 you worsen the state. From secure it becomes threatened, that is a signal that is time to search for a new spot.

Once it becomes compromised, you lose the encampment bonuses and you can field maximum 950 points worth of fighters. Is time to relocate with haste! Note that is possible for an encampment just found to become compromised at the first aftermath sequence!

When does the campaign end?

The rules do not really specify when the campaign actually ends, so it’s up to you to decide when to complete your warband journey. Since you’ll be moving from encampment to encampment, embarking on different quests and able to ripe different rewards, there’s plenty of narrative content to keep you busy.

Eventually you may want to embark yourself in a campaign arc. These are narrative events for multiple players that all fight to determine a single winner.

For example, in the core book there is the Path to Ven Talax, a campaign arc for 2 people consisting of 3 battles.

The battleplans for the 3 battles are already determined in advance, and you can easily determine who will be the attacker and who the defender after the first battle. The winner of the last battle takes home the most glory points, but both players can bring home some artefacts of power.

Your overall campaign can therefore include campaign arcs, while still maintaining your current quest active. It’s an extra layer on top of the existing structure, to enable the gathering of friends in quick but significative skirmishes.