Did You Just Curb Stomp A Bloodthirster?

Back when I was still in high school lo these many moons ago (1995), there was an incident in my then-active (and now dormant but not actually over) Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st edition campaign where Uhlrik got lured into a combat-by-champion as his forces were preparing to fight Dark Elves in the Battle of Finval Plain. What the Druchii had somehow failed to mention was the fact that their champion was a Keeper of Secrets, greater daemon of Slaanesh, by the name of Kathaekeen. Uhlrik actually won the duel though he was severely injured and took multiple minor critical hits before chopping off the daemon’s arm and then bisecting the monster at the waist.

Uhlrik Smiting the Keeper of Secrets

Uhlrik Smiting the Keeper of Secrets, drawn 1995

This incident took place when Uhlrik was already absurdly powerful but he was weaker than he is now, and his infamously nasty magic battle axe Frost Drake had not yet been upgraded by the Priests of Vaul to its current power levels either. The dice were fairly kind to him, and he pulled out a win. So today, I was idly wondering how he’d stack up against Greater Daemons of various sorts now. So I”m going to run the numbers and see what we get. Remember that this is using WFRP 1st edition rules. I don’t own the second or third editions, and haven’t converted the big guy’s stats over. How Uhlrik would do against the same creatures in those systems, I really couldn’t say.

For this exercise, We will presume absolute average rolls on all dice except percentile dice. D6=3.5, D3=2 and so on. Halves will be left alone even though half points don’t exist, because they will average out. We’ll round up for the purposes of Critical hits though.

Okay, so the combatants:

Keeper of Secrets

50% chance of Chaos Armor (we will assume yes, not that it matters much given Uhlrik’s armaments) for 2 AP, random Chaos weapon (I rolled several times and got results like Flight and Banishment that would have no impact on the duel, and gave up. Generic Chaos weapon it is.), d4 random magic items (we will assume 3. Results: Boots of Speed, which are cool but irrelevant, Gloves of archery, which are likewise, and a Wand of Onyx, which has no purpose for a Daemon. I assumed instead that it has a Slaaneshi Rod of Command, which, while still irrelevant, is at least more appropriate)
Its attack routine consists of 4 claw/weapon attacks, 1 bite/gore, 1 stomp
all attacks ignore armor
Has 2 AP in all locations thanks to Chaos armor
WS90, S7, T7, W39, I100, A6

special skills/rules: Hatred of Khornate things (Given his origins, we will count Uhlrik though he doesn’t actually follow Khorne.), so +1 to all damage rolls, subject to Frenzy (+1 damage inflicted, -1 to damage received, will not parry or dodge)
6 random spells, but casting a spell takes a whole round, and cannot be cast when frenzied. Due to those facts and the presence of Uhlrik’s magic-reflecting cloak, there will be no spellcasting in this duel.

Uhlrik

Ws89(99) S10 T10 W20 I81(96)(86) A4+1gore 

Weapon: Frost Drake: (-10 I, 2HW, +2 dmg @ 2d6/hit) warp attack (ignores armor entirely), double damage versus Daemons, Freeze attack (T test or die, +d3 damage otherwise. We will assume that the daemon passes this T test every time, and an average roll for the frost damage, for a damage bonus of +2 after the axe’s doubling effect even though there’s technically a 30% chance per hit that it’ll be a one hit kill)
Other: Dragonscale Cloak: on a successful I test, he can reflect spells cast against him.
Has 5 AP in all locations, but this is irrelevant since he is fighting a daemon.
Special Skills: Strike Mighty Blow (+1 damage inflicted),Weapon Mastery – 2 handed (+10 I, +10Ws, +1D, 1 free parry/round), Dodge Blow

for the sake of this simplified exercise, we will use the Sudden Death Critical Hit table rather than the detailed version, to keep the results more statistical and predictable in nature.

So, the effective combat stats for the two combatants, after adding bonuses for skills and damage bonuses from weapons, armor etc to the impacted statistics, are as follows:

Keeper of Secrets
WS90, S9, T8(10 vs. Gore), W39, I100, A6

Uhlrik
Ws99, S14, T10, W20, I96, A4+1gore(@S11)
inflicts 2d6 wounds, doubled, with each weapon hit, with a +2 added after the fact.

The Keeper of Secrets will strike first in each round, and blows will alternate. So the attack routine is as follows: K,U,K,U,K,U,K,U,K,U(Gore),K

For the keeper of Secrets, one attack out of 10 will miss, and we will assume that miss will not happen until round 2. Uhlrik will dodge the first attack each round that hits him, with a 94% chance of nullifying it outright, and he will parry the second attack that strikes him with a 99% accuracy, reducing its damage by 3.5 points which, given the daemon’s average damage specified below, can be presumed to nullify the attack. Uhlrik’s own attacks have a 99% chance of hitting, and so can be considered statistically automatic.

Keeper of Secrets average attack: 2.5 Wounds each against Uhlrik (S9+3.5 damage die – 10 toughness)
Uhlrik average attack: formula ((S14+ (3.5×2) – 8T) x2)+2)=damage, so 13×2+2= 28 Wounds

Round 1:
Daemon attacks (Uhlrik dodges) = 0 wounds
Uhlrik attacks (Hit) = 28 Wounds (11 remain)
Daemon attacks (Uhlrik parries) = 0 wounds
Uhlrik attacks (Hit) = 28 Wounds. (-17. This is a +6 Critical. This is an automatic kill before he has taken a single Wound himself.

Okay, so after that rather unsatisfactory but highly conclusive curb-stomping, we will take another crack at this but with both combatants presumed to be unarmored and Uhlrik is armed with only a Hand Weapon rather than having a two-handed weapon or especially his brutal axe. Note that the above result is identical to what he will get against any of the “stock” Greater Daemons from Realm of Chaos because their Ws, S, T, I and W are the same. Well, almost. The Great Unclean One and Lord of Change will take 1 more Wound per hit since they don’t Frenzy, so the second hit will take them to -19 rather than -17. Either way, they’re dead.

Keeper of Secrets
WS90, S9, T8, W39, I100, A6. Average hit: 2.5 Wounds. In one round (after having one attack dodged), he will inflict 12.5 Wounds.

Uhlrik (w/Hand Weapon)
Ws89 S11 T10 W20 I96 A5. Average hit: 6.5 Wounds. Will dodge opponent’s first attack successfully. In one round, he will inflict 32.5 Wounds.

Round 1: both sides hit with all attacks except for the one Uhlrik dodged.
Daemon has 5.5 Wounds remaining, Uhlrik has 7.5.
Round 2: Since both combatants will hit with 9 out of 10 attacks, and since each has made enough attacks for this to statistically affect them this turn, for simplicity we will presume they will each miss on their first attack.
Daemon: Miss
Uhlrik: Miss
Daemon: Hit. Dodged.
Uhlrik: Hit. 6.5 Wounds. Daemon takes +1 Critical, with 50% chance of dying (we will assume survival)
Daemon: Hit. 2.5 Wounds. 5 remain.
Uhlrik: Hit. 6.5 Wounds. Daemon takes +6 critical and is automatically killed. Uhlrik still has 2 unused attacks.

In either case, presuming average dice rolls, Uhlrik will kill the Keeper of Secrets without sustaining a critical hit in return. If he has his uber axe, he will kill the daemon before it can even damage him.

Without Frost Drake as a factor, other Greater Daemons might possibly have a better chance against him perhaps than a Keeper of Secrets does because they have 10 rather than 6 Attacks, though most won’t have the damage boosts or reduction from Hatred or Frenzy. Let’s find out.

Lord of Change/Great Unclean One (relevant stats identical): WS90, S7, T9(from 2 APs), W39, I100, A10. Average hit: 0.5 Wounds (having neither Frenzy nor Hatred to boost its blows). In one round (after having one attack dodged), it will inflict 4.5 Wounds, much less of an offensive effect than the Keeper of Secrets despite their higher Attacks score, but their bodies have built-in armor, which the Keeper of Secrets lacked.
Uhlrik (with Hand Weapon): Ws89 S11 T10 W20 I96 A5. Average hit: 5.5 Wounds. Will dodge opponent’s first attack successfully. In one round, he will inflict 27.5 Wounds.

Round 1 end: Uhlrik @ 15.5 W, Daemon @ 11.5. At this rate, Uhlrik will score a +5 Critical on his third successful attack of the 2nd round, which at 90% lethality can be presumed to end the match with Uhlrik still having 14.5 Wounds remaining since it will have hit him twice in that round before he killed it. Okay, so that didn’t go so well for the other Daemon after all.

The Bloodthirster!

The Greater Daemon of Khorne, however, is different. Both Uhlrik and the daemon have weapons that are basically game-breakers in this context. Frost Drake (in Uhlrik’s hands of course) trumps the daemon’s Axe of Khorne because If he has Frost Drake, he can avoid the daemon’s first two blows and absolutely kill it dead in his own two return hits with the exact same statistical chance as he would have against a Keeper of Secrets, Great Unclean One or Lord of Change. He wouldn’t even get scratched.

However, having him fight a Bloodthirster without Frost Drake is at first glance pointless because any Wound damage inflicted by the Axe of Khorne is automatically and instantly fatal with no saving throw. Even though the Daemon will only inflict 1.5 wounds per successful hit (since it doesn’t Hate Uhlrik), that’s still enough to kill Uhlrik in one round with no chance of survival given that it has 10 attacks, which will all hit (less the dodge and any parries) since it effectively has a 190% to hit with the axe as well. One wound from any of those hits will kill him regardless of his Wounds score. If he does not have Frost Drake, but it still has the Axe of Khorne, he looks like he’s dead. If he has Frost Drake, he wins either way. Take away both sides’ game-breaking weapons, however, and it will be closer:

Bloodthirster: WS90, S8, T9(from 2 APs), W39, I100, A10. Average hit: 1.5 Wounds (having Frenzy to boost its blows). In one round (after having one attack dodged, and missing with one since it has 90% weapon skill and 10 attacks), it will inflict 12 Wounds. Also, it will regenerate one Wound that it has sustained at the beginning of each round.

Uhlrik (with Hand Weapon): In one round, he will inflict 27.5 Wounds and dodge successfully once. Average hit: 5.5 Wounds.

Round 1 end: Uhlrik @ 8 Wounds, Bloodthirster @11.5, and it will regenerate up to 12.5 immediately thereafter and begin round 2. At this rate, Uhlrik will still probably kill the Bloodthirster. Let’s see how round 2 goes:
B1: Miss
U1: Miss
B2: Dodged
U2: 5.5 Wounds (B has 7 remaining)
B3: 1.5 Wounds (U has 6.5 remaining)
U3: 5.5 Wounds (B 1.5 Remaining)
B4: 1.5 Wounds (U has 5 Remaining)
U4: 5.5 Wounds (B suffers +4 Critical, 80% lethal)
(if Daemon survives +4 Critical:)
B5: 1.5 Wounds (U has 3.5 remaining)
U5: 5.5 Wounds (this is Uhlrik’s Gore, his last attack, but it will inflict a +5 Critical and be 90% lethal. The Bloodthirster is almost certainly dead and so loses its remaining 5 attacks)

Upon further thought, there is one tactic that Uhlrik might be able to use to take the Bloodthirster even if it has its game-breaking weapon and he doesn’t, and it’s an option that the Bloodthirster doesn’t have in return: going for a disarm. Since the ‘Thirster is frenzied and doesn’t have the relevant Skill anyway, it won’t be able to use this on him in response. He can almost certainly disarm it (89% chance on both of two rolls in sequence, a total percentage chance of roughly 80%, to achieve a disarm) at the cost of one of his own attacks. Since it’s frenzied, the Daemon won’t think to retrieve the weapon and will just tear into him with its claws, horns and whip. The Daemon would end round 1 at 17 Wounds since Uhlrik lost an attack disarming it. His fifth and final attack on round 2 would be a +4 Critical, at 80% lethality. If the bloodthirster actually survives attack 5 (a 1 in 5 chance) then it will hit him another 5 times without reply before the next round, scoring 3 criticals of +1, +2 and +2 value, which are 50% and 60% lethal, respectively. In other words, even if the daemon has its Axe of Khorne Uhlrik will probably (barely) win as long as he goes for a disarm on his first attack. If he fails to disarm the daemon or if his 5th attack of round 2 fails to kill the daemon, then the daemon will probably kill him before round 3 can begin. So he’d have two actions that would have an 80% chance of success each, to decide the match in his favor (he has a 64% chance of succeeding at both of those rolls, which is favorable but not a given). If either of those fails, then he loses. We’ll declare Uhlrik the probable victor, but  either way it’s a brutal 2-round fight.

Give Uhlrik a generic two-handed axe (his specialty) in place of the generic hand weapon he fought this example with, and things aren’t so pretty for the daemon. He’d have a 99Ws and so effectively never miss an attack, and he’d inflict an extra 3W per strike (other than the gore on his 5th attack) plus have a free parry as well. At the end of round 1, the daemon has taken 39.5 wounds and a +1 critical, leaving it with a 50% chance of dying on round 1, while Uhlrik in turn will have taken one fewer hit and still be at 9.5 wounds. Even if it starts the match with its Axe of Khorne (costing Uhlrik an attack for his disarm, but the disarm having a 98% chance of success rather than 80%), it’ll die on either the first (+1 critical, 50% lethal) or the second (+6 critical, 100% lethal) blow of the second round, leaving Uhlrik the victor and still possessed of 9.5 Wounds since neither of the daemon’s attacks from that round will have gotten through his defenses.

There’s still one remaining stock Greater Daemon that is worth examining for this little exercise, however, one that should have a better shot at winning than even the mighty Bloodthirster. It is another, now-obscure Greater Daemon of Khorne, introduced in the 1st Ed WFRP core book: the Mardagg, AKA the Death Elemental. While the Mardagg hasn’t got an instant-kill weapon, Regeneration or Frenzy like the Bloodthirster, it has several major advantages for a fight like this: It hits even harder and can survive a whole lot more punishment. Look at these monstrous stats!

Mardagg

Ws90, S10, T10, W67(!!), I100, A10, Average hit: 3.5 Wounds. Since he will miss one attack/turn, will be dodged once and parried once, he will inflict 24.5 Wounds in one turn, scoring a +1 Critical (50% lethal) and a +5 Critical (80% lethal). In all, that’s a 90% chance that Uhlrik will die to either the Daemon’s 9th or 10th attack, meaning that if he can’t inflict a lethal crit himself first then he will lose, but that he will have time to land all five of his own attacks before he is killed. Meaning that if he can inflict over 67 wounds in one round, he’s got a chance. Let’s look at his odds if he’s got Frost Drake:

Uhlrik (with Frost Drake): Ws99, S14, T10, W20, I96, A4+1gore(@S11), Average hit: 24 Axe, 4.5 Gore. In one turn, he will inflict 102.5 Wounds if all of his attacks hit, more than enough to get a kill even on the Mardagg. He will dodge and parry once each.

Since both combatants are capable of taking the other in one turn, we will need to break it down action-by-action, with the defensive efforts frontloaded for ease of bookkeeping as always. We’ll place the daemon’s one missed attack somewhere in the latter half after Uhlrik has run out of counterattacks.

Round 1 breakdown
M1: Dodged
U1: 24 Wounds. (M has 43 remaining)
M2: Parried
U2: 24 Wounds. (M has 19 remaining)
M3: 3.5 Wounds (U has 16.5 remaining)
U3: 24 Wounds. (+5 Critical, 80% lethal)
M4: 3.5 Wounds (U has 13 remaining)
U4: 24 Wounds. (+6 Critical, 100% lethal)
M5, U5 and M6-M10 can be dispensed with (one of these would have been a miss)

Okay, so even a Mardagg can’t be expected to take Uhlrik if he’s got Frost Drake.

If the big guy has a regular 2-handed axe, dropping his average hits to 7.5 for the axe and 4.5 for the gore, things change drastically. He will only inflict 34.5 Wounds on the daemon before he runs out of Attacks and gets hacked to pieces. He’d only inflict 22.5 Wounds if he had a regular hand weapon, leaving him every bit as dead.

I rather enjoyed running the numbers there, and I was actually surprised at how well things went for Uhlrik even without his spiffy daemon-nuking axe.  I didn’t expect him to be able to defeat a Bloodthirster, certainly.

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