Center Stage
Part thirteen – Brewer of Odrorir

Center-stage is a series of articles spotlighting a particular model or unit in Godslayer. In this article we will look at the seriously intimidating warlord of the Beastspawn sub-faction – The Gorelord. This guy can be terrifying in melee, and also possesses a few tricks also for buffing his warband.

Feasting and guzzling down quality alcohol in the smoky mead hall of the Jarl is an honorable pastime in Nordgaard; no wonder then that brewers hold positions of respect in Dwarven society. Each major clan has several master brewers, but only a select few in Nordgaard attain the title Brewer of Odrorir. In Dwarven mythology Odrorir was a fountain of the Old Gods nestled among the Mountains of from which the mightiest of the Dwarven ancestors drank the intoxicating ambrosia, gaining immortality.

Brewers of Odrorir prize the revered Tomes of Thalon – ancient secret recipes and brewing processes which are in fact encoded magical formulas and rituals enacted over a period of months or years. These brewers are no mere tradesmen, they are in fact a type of mage, and their alcoholic potions are an expression of their elemental magic. 

Jarls and heroes often hire Brewers of Odrorir to accompany their troops, and during times of conflict they support their clan and king, taking to the battlefield and dispensing enchanted brews to the troops to enhance their fighting skills and resilience.

Brewers take as much of their treasured produce with them as they can carry in barrels and bottles tied to their backs. In other respects they are outfitted like typical Dwarven warriors in chainmail and leather. Although they are armed with an axe, they are not expert warriors and try to avoid combat in order to protect their precious drafts.

The Brewer is the first character of the Nordgaard faction and part of the Clans sub-faction. He is an infantry model and is mounted on a small base, which means he has sight-value 1. His DPL is 1, so only one Brewer can be in any warband up to 500 points.

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Let’s start with a look at their profile.

MOV 2 – Typical slow Dwarven speed
MEL 6 – Okay for a buffer character
MIS 4 – Inexperienced with missile attacks.
MAG 4 – Okay defensive/passive level
DEF 12 – Poor
ARM 7 – Average
LEAD 9 – Very good
ACT 5 – standard for a character
Life-points – 13

So these stats show that the Brewer is rather slow and is not an expert in melee. With a poor DEF of 12 and a medium ARM of 7 he’s also a little squishy. So clearly he is a buffer character, not a melee warrior or shooter guy.

With a POW4 battle axe, he is slightly better than the typical POW of 3 that is typical for many weapons. So in terms of melee, he is slightly better than a Fjell Warrior.

Abilities and Tactics

Earthbound – Enemy spells targeting the Brewer suffer -2 on their spell-casting roll. This effectively gives the Brewer a MAG of 6, providing him good protection from enemy spells. For example an average mage with MAG6 casting a complexity10 spell needs to score a 10+ to be successful. With such odds, few spell-casters are likely to target the Brewer. 

In addition, the Brewer cannot be knocked down or involuntarily moved. This protects him from knockback effects such as Skewer from both the Scorpio and the Stormbow Beasthunter, Chainslayer’s Grapple-Drag, Fjellgangr’s Kick, Duskborn Chieftain’s Slam Back.

He is also safe against Knock Down such as with Banebrood’s Black Plague, Hammerfist’s Tactic Rumble, Ironhide Brutes Critical Knockdown, Warsmith’s Chasm Cracker, Fleshpounder’s Beatdown, Bloodvarg’s Pounce, Lord of Decay’s Mass Grave.

All of them are situational but it covers quite a lot of situations.

Special Talent: Master Brewer – The Brewer carries with him the fruits of his labors – enchanted brews with magical effects which he dispenses to comrades. He can use only one Brew per turn.

Hardneck Mead – Imbibing this magical mead makes the drinkers over-confident and oblivious to pain, allowing them to fight on after receiving normally fatal wounds. 

This one will give your unit or model Resilient (5+ roll when they are slain that means they are instead still alive with 1 LP left).

Strongarm Ale – The drinker becomes more violent but less cautious, making fast and wild swings with his weapon. 
This one is great for when your unit is making attacks or charging, giving them +1 MEL & POW, but costing them -1 DEF. With this talent you can effectively double the charge bonus of a unit. It is by far the best of the three Brews because of the double bonus. The only problem is, you need to time it right, because a lot of the time Nordgaard units are being charged (not charging), and would usually be best served with either of the other Brews. Strongarm Ale is helpful for counter-attacks, but even better when used in a standard activation in combination with tactics

Guarding Draft – This enchanted brew endows the drinker with the fortifying power of the Earth element. Gives +1 DEF. This is statistically very useful because a lot of Nordgaard minis have DEF 12. 
Increasing it to 13 often gives the best statistical increase possible due to the Bell-curve (see Scrolls of Victory article 3), so although 13 is still not very high, the increase from 12 to 13 makes a huge difference in terms of the probabilities of being hit.

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Combining the Brewer with other Models

Valkyrie – The Brewer works well with the Valkyrie. The Brewer buffs a unit with +1 DEF or Resilient, together with buffs from the Warsmith or Runegate Keeper, then if any unit trooper does get killed despite the buffs, the Valkyrie heals them.

Fjell Warriors – Fjell Warriors have medium stats so they benefit more statistically from buffs than a unit with high stats. The great thing about this unit is that it is large, with 8 models. This really leverages your buffs (see Scrolls of Victory article 3).

Einherjer – The Einherjer benefit statistically less from the buffs of the Brewer because they already have high stats, however, he can make them truly horrible to face, especially with Resilient.
Kinswords – these guys benefit greatly from Strongarm Ale (+1 MEL & POW) because they can also use this bonus with their cheap 1ACT Shieldbash attack in addition to their usual attacks. Although Shieldbash is a tactic, and some tactics are phrased in such a way that they do things similar to an attack, but are in fact not an attack. the tactic states that you can make an attack, and Strongarm Ale simply says it applies to attack and damage rolls.

Putting it all together
Defensive Buffing
The defensive buffs of the Warsmith stack up better with the tactics of the Runegate Keeper warlord. 
For example use Guarding Draft +1 DEF together with Bedrock from the Runegate Keeper and you can give a unit +2 DEF. In addition, the Keeper can also give the unit +1 ARM with Fortify.

Example 1
A unit of Fjell Warriors is going to be charged (DEF12, ARM8). You put them in Shieldwall using their tactic, giving them DEF13, ARM9. Then you give them Guarding Draft (DEF14, ARM8) and Fortify from the Runegate Keeper (DEF14, ARM9)

There is one great combination with the Warsmith. Give the Fjell Warriors Guarding Draft from the Brewer and use Shatter from the Warsmith to reduce the POW of the enemy unit facing your Dwarven unit. In this way you effectively give your unit +1 DEF and +2 ARM.

Example 2
A unit of Fjell Warriors is going to be charged (DEF12, ARM8). You put them in Shieldwall using their tactic, giving them DEF13, ARM9. Then you give them Guarding Draft and use Shatter on the enemy. Now they have an effective (DEF14, ARM11). That’s really tough!

Both of the above combos are useful in all cases, but if you are facing models that do direct damage, then it may be more useful to use the Brewers Hardneck Mead. This gives each model a 33.33% chance of evading death. This buff is also especially useful if you have a unit where most models are down to their last few life-points. Chances are they will get killed if no matter what ARM or DEF bonus you give them, so the Protection Roll is more useful. 

Offensive Buffing
Strongarm Ale of the Brewer together with Grindstone and Shatter of the Warsmith is a powerful combination.
Give Strongarm Ale to your unit with the Brewer, then Grindstone from the Warsmith. Then the Warsmith uses Shatter on the opposing unit’s armor. With this combo you can take down heavy elite troops like Skulleaters, Guthackers, Ironhide Brutes and Carnifexors etc.

Example 1
You have a unit of Einherjer which is about to be charged, so you use your defensive buffs to protect them. A few take a lot of damage but fortunately all of them survive. 

In the next round they are still engaged with a most of a large and powerful unit (the opponent’s prize unit of his warband). Before you attack with the Einherjer, use your Valkyrie to do healing on the worst affected model if possible. If any Einherjer died, then do Resurrection Prayer instead. 

Use Strongarm Ale from the Brewer. If you are playing Einherjer, there is a good chance your warlord will be the Runegate Keeper instead of the Warsmith, so you will not have access to Grindstone. So activate the Keeper and use his Inspire ability. Make sure the Runegate Keeper is within LEAD range of the Einherjer so they benefit from Inspire when he kills an enemy model. In this way, they can gain +1 ACT for free. (or if you prefer, just assign them 1 ACT).

Activate the Einherjer and use their Executioner tactic (+2 to critical hit damage). Now the Einherjer have 6 ACT and they make their first attack with offensive fighting style plus Strongarm Ale, so they have MEL9 and POW8! 
Bam! Lots of stuff dies.

Then make your second attack.
Bam! Lots more stuff dies.

Most enemy models will have an average DEF of 13, so with MEL 9 the Einherjer probably will need 4’s to hit. That means you increase the possibilities of scoring a critical hit (roll of a double that is also a hit) because you will crit on a double-2, double-3, double-4, double-5 and double-6. So on those crits you will be hitting with POW8 +5 (+3 from the 3ACT attack and +2 from Executioner).

Example 2
This one works nicely against enemies that are regular or heavy infantry and do not have Wildwalker ability. That’s about half or more of the units in the game, so it’s a handy strategy.

Line up your unit of 10 Kinswords and Scarjarl behind some difficult terrain like rocky ground or marsh etc (not forest). Buff Your Kinswords with Strongarm Ale giving them +1 MEL and +1 POW.

The enemy should close in, and you want them around 8-9 inches from your Kinswords. The enemy cannot charge you because of the difficult terrain – they just don’t have enough MOV to pay double movement on their charge. You also cannot charge them….yet…..

When the enemy gets close enough, order the tactic Focused Rage to the Kinswords from the Scarjarl and apply Focused Rage on himself, then charge the enemy through the difficult terrain (suffering no movement penalties now). Once he has completed the charge action, activate the Scarjarl’s tactic Blood Drenched. Blood Drenched gives your Kinswords +1 MEL and +1 POW for all models within LEAD-range and LOS. 

So now activate your Kinswords and use their Call of Fate tactic which gives them +1 MEL and +1 to damage rolls. Now charge the enemy across the 8-9 inches of difficult terrain (which costs you no penalty because of Focused Rage). Your Kinswords will have +1 MEL and +1 POW from the charge bonus. So your unit will effectively now be fighting with +3 MEL and +3 POW! That’s MEL9 and POW6. You have turned this cheap unit into a 10-man unit of elite killers.

For added coolness, place your Valkyrie in LEAD range of the unit. While they have Call of Fate activated and the Valkyrie nearby, they gain Hardened Will, which means no tests against Fear Horror or Bravery. If any get wounded, then heal them with the Valkyrie.
When half or more of the Kinswords are down to half or less life-points, the Brewer should use Hardneck Mead on the Kinswords, giving them a 5+ Protection Roll. If any still get killed, then resurrect them with the Valkyrie.

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Other Uses and Ideas for the Brewer

Melee fighter Against Militia Troopers
With MEL 6 and POW 4, and potentially 6 ACT, he’s not an elite warrior by any means, but falls into the bracket of professional solder level. As such, he can fight well against militia 
Troops (minis like, Hoplites, Bladeslingers, Reaver Tribesmen, Kinswords and Mongrels etc).

When you think about it, the Brewer can only use one Brew per round, and that costs him 1 ACT, so what should he do with the other 4 ACT? Fight!

Of course you do not want to lose your Brewer in melee, so in this role, you need to place him judiciously:
• Always place him with a unit 
• Always place him so that he cannot be charged by approaching enemies
• Always place him so he is engaged with only 1-2 militia level troopers.
• Retire him from the fight when he gets low on LPs, then keep him far enough back to be safe

Remember that when the Brewer uses a Brew on a model or unit, he gets to use it on himself at the same time for free! So always mark him as affected too!

Scenarios Character
Several scenarios require characters to fulfill scenario objectives. The Brewer is not a bad guy to have around for this, but he is slow, so he is best deployed near the objective or moved near the centre of the table when the objectives are unknown or moving around. 

The Brewer is just valuable enough and useful enough to convince opponents to charge him, even when he is clearly bait in a counter-charge trap. No one wants to lose 25 points, but if the sacrifice gains you a decent strategic advantage then it is worth it. Better to lose a Brewer than a Valkyrie or a Chainslayer.

A Real Thrashing
Creatures cannot benefit from ordered Tactics, but Special Talents do apply! 
So consider using the Brews on Fjellgangrs and Bloodvargs. For example the Fjellgangr has the Thrash attack option which allows him to make an attack against all models in MEL Range of 2 inches. That’s already pretty awesome considering his MEL6 and POW3. 

Use your Fjell Warriors to absorb the enemy charge on your “anvil”, and use your Fjellgangr as the “hammer” to charge in from the flank. Give the Fjellgangr an extra action token from the Warlord so he has 6, then with Strongarm Ale plus charge bonus, he will be attacking all enemy models in 2 inches at MEL8 and POW5. If he kills even just one enemy with this attack, then he gets to repeat the Thrash attack for free with his Slay Movement! Then he still has 3 ACT left over, so he can make a third Thrash attack!

If the Fjellgangr gets seriously wounded, consider using Hardneck Mead to make him Resilient (5+ roll to return him to 1 LP if he is killed.)

Generally it makes more sense to buff units, but in some circumstances like this, buffing a single model pays off.

Further Tips:
• Do remember that the brews are a special talent, not tactics, so models can use them in addition to their self tactic and an ordered tactic from the warlord.
• Generally give your brews to units. Don’t waste them on single models unless you have a cool possibility. Preferably give them to the unit which will get the high statistical increase from the benefit (see Scrolls of Victory article 2)
• An exception to the above – if your Warlord is almost dead, it makes good sense to give him Resilient with Hardneck Mead.
• Models cannot use tactics during counter-attacks, however, Brews are not tactics, so they do apply during counter-attacks, just like spells do. This makes Strongarm Ale a really useful buff.
• Kinswords have a nice combo with the Runegate Keeper and Brewer.
With those two guys Kinswords can get up to 15 DEF.

Designers Notes
The Brewer was the creation of Andre, and a really cool idea since Viking mythology has many similar examples of potions and magical cauldrons.

The Brewer changed very little during the development. Strongarm Ale originally had the penalty that a crit was counted as an attack on the attacking model, but this was just too annoying, so we changed it to -1 DEF instead. Hardneck Mead originally gave Resilient but the model was knocked down as well as being saved from death. However, knocked-down is a really terrible situation to be in (-2 ARM and -2 DEF) and during the course of play we removed that.

Having no super-tactics, he was never a model that could be a problem and so needed little play-testing until we were happy with him.

The Brewer has some versatile uses that are sometimes overlooked, so he is a model usually worth including in a Nordgaard warband.