Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Cackling Clara...

Welcome sports fans, to a special article detailing a new ball about to make things interesting on Blood Bowl pitches across the Old World.

This ball was orginally designed as an entry to a competition run by the illustrious Both Down podcast, an act of whim, of fun, but the ball has since been acquired by the Hundsheimer Hexen Pharmaceutical Company, "Your number one choice for hexes, potions and poultices", and now they're sponsoring it's use at stadia all around the Blood Bowl circuit.

Clackling Clara, the Hexen Ball

Cackling Clara, the once feared Witch of Langwald was, unbeknownst to some, an avid Blood Bowl fan. She was also known to have once been enamoured with the owner of Egdenberg Undertakers Undead Blood Bowl team, Count Erik Schwarznacht. Unfortunately, though she was a skilled practitioner of magic and useful to Count Schwarznacht, her mad cackling drove him to distraction, and finally he tore off her head rather than listen to her insane howling a moment longer.

Rather than have her body burned, as is always sensible with Witches, Schwarznacht had her skin and bladder cured and made into a ball. Little did anyone realise until the first match with the new ball was played that Cackling Clara wasn't quite gone. She would have the last laugh after all.

If Cackling Clara is used in a match, Clara's love for the excitement of a good Blood Bowl match draws her damned spirit back into the ball that was made from her skin, and she delights in casting spells on the ball carrier with amusing effects.

Each time a new player becomes the ball carrier, roll a D8 and consult the table below to see what effects Clara's insane spellcraft has on the unfortunate player. The effects of each spell last only until Clara casts a spell on a new ball carrier. If the player already has all of the skills or mutations that form the spell, then apply the result which is one higher than the roll, or one lower if the first roll was an 8.

1. Ribbit. The ball carrier is turned into a frog, as per the rules for the 'Zap!' card, and left hopping around on the field, dropping the ball as for a failed pick up attempt. The spell wears off as soon as the next spell is cast. This will cause a Turnover if a player from the same team cannot grab the ball as normal before it comes to rest.

2. Look! No Hands! Clara thinks it's positively hilarious to cast a spell turning the player's hands inside out just as he picks up the ball. The player gains the No Hands mutation and drops the ball as if he/she had failed a pick up. This will cause a Turnover if a player from the same team cannot grab the ball as normal before it comes to rest.

3. Moo-tation! The players head transforms into that of a bovine beast, and sprouts great bulls horns from his head, gaining the Horns mutation while this spell is in play. Unfortunately cattle aren't known for their tactical acumen, so the player also gains Really Stupid while carring the ball.

4. Shrinking! The ball carrier shrinks to the proportions of a Snotling, enabling them to dart between players legs with the ball. The player gains 'Titchy' while the spell is in effect. However with significantly shorter legs, their MA is reduced by 1 as well.

5. Clara says 'hi'! In a moment of creaking, cracking and splitting, the head of Cackling Clara sprouts from the players shoulder, granting them the Two Heads mutation, as Clara spots incoming tackles for the player, however unnerving this may be, but as Clara is something of a distraction, the player also gains Loner while the spell is in effect, as he struggles to coordinate with his team mates above the mad cackling.

6. Curse of boils and buboes. The player gains the Foul Appearance mutation for the duration of this spell, as foul boils and pustles errupt all over their skin. Star players renowned for their good looks receive double the number of boils and buboes as other players, though this has no additional in game effects, it's just Clara dishing out payback for the wrongs done to her by past lovers.

7. Third Leg! The player sprouts an additional leg from their hip, allowing them to sprint all the quicker. Increase the player's MA by one, and they gain the Sprint skill. However, being unused to sporting an odd number of lower appendages, the player suffers -1 to all dodge rolls they make. They do have an extra leg for opposing players to trip after all.

8. Frogs legs! Clara's spell turns the player's legs into those of a giant amphibian! The player gains the Leap skill while the spell is in effect enabling the player to leap like a frog towards the endzone and over other players. Unfortunately the player is also easily distracted by tasty buzzing flies attracted to the carnage of the Blood Bowl field, and so also gains Bone-head to represent this.

Thus far, the Hexen Ball has proven nigh on indestructible, suggesting that the magic that infuses the ball is still strong, and tournament organisers continue to use the ball during events as the often humourous effects of Clara's spell casting are real crowd pleaser. Plus, the spells haven't killed anyone...yet.

Please feel free to try these rules out in your own games of Blood Bowl. I recommend trying them out in a 'friendly' or exhibition game first, rather than a league or tournament straight away. They are designed to makes things fun and unpredictable, but without causing outright injury or damage to a team, and most spell effects have both positive and negative results. Clara likes to see a good match played after all, like any other Blood Bowl fan.

Let me know how you get on with Clara.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. Here is a photo of how the Hassle free minis I was working on turned out.

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