In this post we are going over five important tips to consider when creating your own warscroll for Age of Sigmar. Before we begin it's important to note that none of these are official Games Workshop programs or warscrolls, they own all of it. What this is, however, is a great way to bring your favorite character or unit in a Black Library novel to the table! For the purposes of example, we’ll be assuming you are designing a Hero rather than a full infantry unit but do not let that stop you from creating that iconic infantry squad! At the end of the post I’ll show you the incredible warscroll building program I used for this post. That all said, let’s dig in to five things to keep in mind when creating a unique warscroll for Age of Sigmar.
Add Something Characterful
The first step is to really think about that character; what about them stands out to you. Whether it’s Gardus Steal Souls valiant defense of a realmgate in Warstorm or Tamra the necromancer from Nagash: Undying King, there is something about these characters that define the scenes they are in. Consider a few things: Is this character defensive or do they go out to fight the enemy face-to-face? What kind of weapons and tactics do they use in the story? What effect do they have on the rest of their army? On the enemy? How does this character act on the battlefield (i.e. do they lead from the from or rear?) Once we have a clear understanding of our character and how they conduct themselves in the lore, we can begin to construct rules around them. Going through this example we will be building a Warscroll for Tamra, a necromancer from the Black Library novel Nagash: The Undying King written by Josh Reynolds (PS: this is my favorite AOS book!)
*Bonus Tip: Start with the warscroll of a generic hero and modify it to be your named character. In this way, you’ll never stray too far from game balance and what position that character is meant to represent.
Example: Tamra is a necromancer, so her focus is the use of death magic. We will begin with a necromancer warscroll stat-line and modify it. In the book she wears armor (unlike the traditional necromancer model) so we can reflect that in her “Save” value. In addition, she knows how to wield a weapon (an axe) but is not often in combat. Tamra can have a slightly better weapon profile then a normal necromancer but nothing that makes her a melee queen. In the book she is often found directing undead in combat, not really resurrecting them that much, but making their attacks matter more; this is an important thing to remember going forward.
Add Something Unique to the Army
At this point we have a slightly modified stat-line but the same abilities that a normal necromancer can do. The next step to bringing your character to the table is adding something unique! This can be in the form of aura abilities, command abilities or unique spells. Some important notes here: do not simply cherry-pick the best abilities in your faction. Tamra is a necromancer, but she isn’t a master of it. Taking spells and abilities from Nagash’s warscroll wouldn’t make a lot of sense! Instead, consider what that character brings to their army in the lore. Tamra invigorates the undead around her in Nagash: Undying King. So I likely am going to add an aura effect to her. She doesn’t lead armies in the book, so a Command Ability does not fit either. In the books, Tamra typically fights with Skeleton Warriors rather than other forms of undead units. So, let’s design an ability for Skeleton Warriors.
EXAMPLE: I want Tamra to have an aura ability that invigorates Skeleton Warriors. Here’s the thing, Skeleton Warriors are already great so we want to be careful how we buff them. We do not want anything too great (I’ll explain more about that in a bit). At this step I gave the Necromancer spell a unique name but didn’t change it’s effects (she is still a necromancer after all!), but I added an aura ability for Skeleton Warriors meant to convey how Tamra invigorates them with death magic. Rather than a +1 to a die roll or rerolling anything, I decided to play with a rule that already exists in the Skeleton Warrior warscroll: Skeleton Legion. With this aura ability, a nearby unit of Skeleton Warriors always acts as is it has 20 models, regardless of actual unit size. This means she will be most effective with a unit of 1-29 skeleton warriors! To balance the bonuses, it negatively effects meg-blobs of troops, so units of 30 don’t want to be around her. If this proves to be too good we can always revisit it later!
BONUS: If you cannot think of an ability for a character, try copying one from an existing warscroll! This way your rule has wording that makes sense in the game and it was developed by the game makers. I suggest searching in different factions or eve Gran Alliances, so that you can add something truly different to your character.
Keep Your Abilities Minor
This one will require some play testing. The general idea is that you want a character ADD to a narrative without DEFINING a game. Rather than an aura buff that allows all units to re-roll all failed hit rolls, maybe try a +1 modifier or simply re-rolling 1’s. You want to end a game having a good experience that included this character, not crush your opponent because you made the obscenest combination of rules! To do this you have a few levers you can pull: the range of effects, how long the effect is active (does it end this phase or next Hero phase?), number of units effected, add a die roll so there is a chance of failure etc. In our example above, if I find that Tamra’s “Deathly Vigor” is affecting too many units, I’ll try changing the effect range to 3”. There is already a built-in limitation so that larger units are negatively affected by it (i.e. a unit of 30 warriors also counts as having only 20) but I can adjust that further if needed.
Programs to make Your Own Warscrolls
If you read through all this and want to try making your own epic character, head over to this website:
This is an amazing fan-built warscroll constructor that allowed me to make the wonderful examples you saw above!