Norse are strong, hairy and clothless men from outside of the empire. There's more we could elaborate on the first part there, but instead let's focus on the last bit. Men outside the Empire. We know from the human team what humans within the Empire look like. They're not the fasted or the slowest; they're not the strongest or the weakest. The Empire plays up the trope of average humans; never the best but able to succeed by adapting to their opponent's weaknesses and targeting them where it hurts.
Mechanically, they do this by having a middling stat line with good, cost-efficient skill access.
Now, how does this apply to people once they've left that Empire?
Things become less ordered. Things become harder. Freedom comes at a cost on and off the pitch and that cost is having the ability to defend yourself without a repressive organization looming over your head. They are still human, but the classic human statline becomes looser than it is inside of the Empire and weaknesses are compensated for through unusual skill choices. These humans shift from generalists to hybrids, and then branch out from there with much more enthusiasm.
Let's pull this back a step from the high concept for a moment. I think the best way to differentiate humans in or out of the empire is to take the team feel of a human or almost-human stat line and then seeing how that feeling changes when combined with a broad, unifying skill. For Norse, this skill is block. Take away block and the team mostly looks like an armour-light human team. Keep the block and you have a unique experience that feels very different from both Humans and Dwarves, the two teams it most superficially resembles.
|0-2||Berserker||6||3||3||7||Block, Frenzy, Jump Up||GS(AP)||90K|
|0-1||Yeti||5||5||2||8||Loner, Wild Animal, Frenzy, Claw, Disturbing Presence||S(GAP)||140K|
So this team is straight out of the CRP6. (Almost) everything has block, with full non-mutation skill access spread around the team and a sub theme of Frenzy on all of the strength access players.
Something that I've always loved about Norse is the extra skills tacked to the end of the positionals. Blitzers with Jump up? Runners with Dauntless? Sign me up! I think this is something that the game could use a whole lot more of, as it encourages using the same positional type in new ways. In the case of Norse it means that the natural Ball Carrier is also the best blitzer against high strength teams.
Of course, this whole package is also balanced out by naked man fragility. Sometimes AV7 is a lie, but sometimes it isn't. Kill or be killed.
So, fun fact, I almost used Brets as the template team for this group of teams. I ultimately went with Norse because they have a better positional spread and ultimately share more similarities with the other teams I've shoved into this group. That said, I do think that Brets are a better representation of the core theme of humans outside of the empire: The gimmick.
I think it's a testament to Blood Bowl's skill system that you can take a team, paint the whole thing with a single skill and it'll feel completely different depending that single skill. It's something that needs to be done with care, as Amazons and Dwarves can both attest to, but it really shows just how powerful the skill system is and just how much variety you can potentially introduce with good team design.
Here's a list of skills that existing teams use this way, by the way:
- Disturbing Presence
- Extra Arms
- Leap/Very Long Legs
- Thick Skull
Technically Regen as well, but that's sort of a special case, as covered last time. There is also an argument that Lizardmen and Ogres do this same thing with their "skill" being "having strength 4 or 5, respectively". But I feel like that's different enough to talk about on it's own.
Still, that's 9 teams that are built in this manner! And there are still a lot of skills where there's potential for giving them this treatment.
What's your favourite skill? And how would you turn it into a gimmick team? Let me know in the comments!
Next time we'll be taking a look at our LAST template team and start breaking rules.