Rivenstone Gameplay Part XI: The Risen Starter Box Warband

Rivenstone Gameplay Part XI: The Risen Starter Box Warband

Welcome to the eleventh installment of our introductory Rivenstone gameplay series. These blogs are meant to cover some of the basic rules of the game, giving you a taste of what the tabletop experience will be when the game launches later this year.

If you’re just joining us, you can find previous blogs exploring the gameplay as well as the fiction of Rivenstone on our website.

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In a previous post, we showed you the stat cards for the Shattered Empire and Orrix models that were going to be part of the Adepticon demo forces. Those demo forces were also the exact contents of those two factions’ starter boxes! 

To keep things fair, today we’re going to cover the model rules for the miniatures found within the Risen starter box, and next week we’ll take a look at the Iron Guard starter box.

The Risen Starter Warband

The Risen forces are led into battle by one of the Risen’s most powerful spellcasters, Lichbane Corum Malegrave. Some say Corum is second only to the Exiled Prince himself in the mastery of dark magic. The master necromancer is joined by one of the ancient heroes of the Risen, a Knight of the Exiled Order. Together these two models form the strategic foundation of this Scouting Party-sized warband.

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These two heroes shine a spotlight on what the core Risen faction strategy is: weaken your opponent’s models and strengthen your own. Corum encapsulates this strategic ideal perfectly in a single model. Wind of Remorse can destroy enemy models and replace them with your own, which is a massive tempo swing when you are picking off enemies standing near objectives and then putting your own followers in their place. 

Master Necromancer is a solid buff but does require a bit of planning to use properly. Your Risen Foot Soldiers won’t always be crowded around Corum to get the most out of this ability, but the Archers with their incredibly long range most definitely can.  

The star of the show on Corum’s card is undoubtedly his Dark Studies ability. Being able to drop an exhaustion token on an enemy model is a brutal tempo swing, especially when you drop the last token on an enemy hero, and suddenly they can’t activate until exhaustion clears. 

Dark Studies does have some drawbacks though, believe it or not. For starters it costs an action, which is significant compared to most other abilities. Secondly, Dark Studies is also Corum’s victory point scoring ability, his “quest”, and it isn’t that easy to score. 

If Corum is placing a token on a model that doesn’t have any prior, he has to roll two successes on three dice, and if he’s placing a second token on a hero to shut them down, he has to roll three successes on three dice. It’s an intentional tradeoff, a very powerful ability with a much harder to score victory point condition.

The Knight, on the other hand, is a beat stick hero who also supports your infantry very well. Lore wise, this is also a good example of the differences in personalities found within the ranks of the Risen. Most Risen are noble people, they’re just a bit … dead. Those that have had to tinker with dark magic to keep their fellow Risen together (literally) tend to be more unsavory individuals, but the average Risen is just someone who set out to do the right thing a long time ago and got punished for it.

With the Knight we see a hero who doesn’t debuff enemy forces in any way at all, other than ending their life with his trusty sword. Instead, the Knight focuses on increasing the action economy of your followers, both by removing exhaustion tokens from them mid-round and providing free charges. Don’t be afraid to run your Knight up front with the rest of your followers while Corum hangs back and slings some spells. An Infused Knight of the Exiled Order is a deadly combatant that your enemies must plan around, otherwise even their strongest champions and legends will get destroyed.


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The warband includes two musters of Risen Foot Soldiers (for a total of 6 models) and a single muster of Risen Archers. You’ll notice that both have the Hard to Kill rule, meaning that each model has a 1-in-6 chance of just ignoring lethal damage each time they are hit. 

The Archers are straightforward and very similar to the Shattered Empire’s Line Fusiliers in their offensive output. A good trick for using them is to gather up at least three rivenstone shards and keep your Archers near Corum. When the Archers activate, each model should start by forfeiting their first action to increase the range of their bows to Far+Far and its Strength to 3 for the turn. Next, each Archer can make an attack at this increased output using their second action and subsequently buy a missile attack using one shard to make another missile attack at this same increased output since the bonus lasts for the turn. 

In total that would be six attacks, all fully Focused without spending Vigor, at a 24” range with Strength 3! 

At first glance Risen Foot Soldiers look like they have a standard stat profile, with the exception that they are slow. Don’t let their Speed of S/S fool you, the Shambling Dead ability on Foot Soldiers is perhaps one of the most versatile movement tricks on a follower group at launch. 

The ability to make a free Close march anytime during the activation allows you to pull off stunts such as attacking one model, shambling over to another model, using a shard to attack that second model, and using your last action to Walk away!

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Like all barracks, the Death’s Door barracks has the Reinforce action available, but it’s Rise ability that allows you to pull off even more shenanigans with your followers. If your opponent ever leaves a single Foot Soldier or Archer near an objective, they are risking that you take a Barracks maneuver and use two Rise actions to spawn more of that follower right on top of the objective! 

Finally, the Risen Vanguard coalition card provides a nasty ability for all the heroes in your warband. This ability, called “Cold of the Grave”, reads:

Enemy models within Close range of Risen heroes in this warband burn double the required vigor when using their abilities or other special rules. 

Remember that a model burns a Vigor to charge after it completes its Walk action. Imagine an Orrix Battle Master charging Corum and wanting to Focus its attack roll … that would cost it four Vigor!

Thank you for joining us for this week’s installment of the gameplay blog series. Join us again next week as we dive further into more rules!