Anyone who’s been following Lost Hemisphere or listening to the podcast for any real length of time will be well aware of my personal predilection for theme forces. As a rampant fluffbunny (which, really, should be a heraldic charge for the Barony of Skraeling Althing in the kingdom of Ealdormere) I love how theme forces take a snapshot of an event in Warmachine history, or reach into a period window in the life of a Warcaster or Warlock, and says “Here’s what they were up to.”
Of course, building theme forces means you’re often cutting yourself out of competitive versatility in listbuilding, so tier benefits work to somewhat counterbalance that. Are all theme forces hyper competitive? No. Are they all thematic? Even if just by definition alone, yes. Accordingly, I’m a little excited about this one…
For some time now the powers that be behind our favourite PP Periodical, No Quarter Magazine, have been expanding our world through the addition not only of new theme forces, but also with new fiction, each presenting the background for the theme. Sometimes it’s a point we already know about from existing Iron Kingdoms lore, sometimes it’s something completely out of field, but each time it’s another chance to learn more about our favourite personalities, the characters that drew us into the wonderful world of Immoren in the first place.
NQ: Forces of Distinction faithfully reproduces thirty (30!) of the theme forces previously printed in No Quarter Magazine, and then for good measure adds two more – Worlf Aflame for Feora, Protector of the Flame, and Hit Squad for Lord Assassin Morghoul.
World Aflame plays heavily into Feora’s love of all things burninatory, but escapes tha usual expectation that all she knows how to play with is Flameguard models. While theme does allow for Flameguard Cleansers, there are no Temple Flameguard, Daughters of the Flame, or even Flamebringers in sight. Instead, Exemplar Cinerators march under her banner with the added benefit of Defensive Line (because 8 wound infantry should definitely be ARM19) and just to help mitigate their SPD4, let’s start them a little further upfield. Much as Amon Ad Raza’s Wanderers of the Faith kicks the Allegiants of the Order of the Fist in to high gear, I’m wondering if World Aflame won’t do the same for Cinerators.
Hit Squad is exactly the type of theme force I like to see for a character like Lord Assassin Morghoul. All paingivers, all day long, but ramped up. Paingiver Bloodrunner Master Tormentors gain the Shadow Whip ability, bringing new degrees of mobility to the army (say, an extra 3″ movement for that otherwise dawdling Aradus), there’s point reductions (on heavy warbeasts, nonetheless) and something new. Some of the more recent theme forces, rather than providing a buff for your own army, have instead messed with your opponent. Kaelyssa’s Force Wall, also in Forces of Distinction, is a great example of this. In the case of Hit Squad, however, we see the entire opposing army stripped of its ability to use Advanced Deployment. Needless to say, this makes Mage Hunters sadface.
Forces of Distinction collects some of the niftiest pieces of vignette fiction Privateer Press has produced, along with new ways to explore and discover some of your favourite WarmaHordes personalities. For those who don’t have a No Quarter subscription, or who just don’t like carrying 20 issues of magazine around to your friend’s place when you want to teach him or her about theme force options, it’s an excellent addition to your Privateer library.