Stands capable of shooting have a range (usually 15cm or 30cm) and can shoot at enemy units within this distance. Shooters must always target the nearest enemy unit and don’t get any choice about this – so it is important to align shooters against their preferred targets when moving. Generally speaking, each shooting stand rolls a dice and scores a ‘hit’ on the target unit on the roll of a 4 or more. If the enemy stand is either behind cover or upslope of the shooters we refer to it as ‘defended’ and a 5 or 6 is required to hit. If the stand is occupying a fortified building such as a castle or the ramparts of a fortress then we refer to it as ‘fortified’ and a 6 is needed to hit. For example, a bow armed unit shoots at an enemy unit. 3 stands shoot so roll 3 dice. The enemy unit is neither defended nor fortified (it is ‘in the open’) so dice rolls of 4, 5 or 6 will score hits. If the dice rolls are 3, 5 and 6 then 2 hits are scored.
Most troops can potentially shrug off the effects of a hit either because they are protected physically by armour or shields, or because they are inured to the death and injury of their fellows. This natural resilience is represented by the unit’s Armour value and expressed as 6+, 5+, 4+ and in a few rare cases 3+. The player whose unit has been shot at rolls a dice for each hit scored and every dice that rolls equal or higher than the Armour value negates the effect of the hit. For example, if a unit has Armour of 5+ and has taken 2 hits from shooting, the player rolls 2 dice – if these dice score 3 and 6 then 1 hit has been negated or ‘saved’. The number of hits scored is therefore reduced to 1. Some units have no Armour value at all – they cannot save against hits struck against them – such units are very vulnerable to both shooting and hand-to-hand combat.
Each unit can suffer only a limited number of hits before it loses a stand – usually this is 3. This is called the unit’s Hits value and if the units suffers hits equal to its Hits value a stand is removed. However, if a unit accumulates too few hits to remove one or more whole stands from enemy shooting then any odd hits are simply ignored once all shooting is complete. Often only 1 or 2 hits will be inflicted because a shooting unit only has 3 shots to start with (1 dice per stand shooting), so often it will be necessary to combine the shooting of two or more units onto the same target. However, shooting is useful in other ways because units taking hits from missile fire are driven back and may become confused as a result.
Units taking hits from shooting are driven back away from the shooters. To work out how far roll a dice for each hit suffered – so 2 hits 2 dice, 3 hits 3 dice and so on. Add the dice rolls together and move the unit back that far, so 2 dice scoring 4 and 5 = 9cm move. Furthermore if any dice rolled for drive back is a ‘6’ then the unit becomes confused. Confused units are unable to move in their following turn – which is obviously a big disadvantage and can break up a whole attack. This is the basic role of missile-fire in Warmaster – to disrupt enemy formations and break up the cohesion of the enemy army. Shooting alone rarely wins battles – but it is often instrumental in winning battles one-the-less.
coloured dice or separate markers placed next to the units themselves. Once units end combat and are no longer fighting any odd hits they have accumulated are discarded exactly as described for shooting. This is worth remembering because sometimes it is worth falling back from a combat you have won to shed accumulated hits, rather than pressing home your pursuit and losing a whole stand as a result.