One of the biggest changes to the Age of Sigmar 3.0 rules is a completely overhauled Narrative Play rules framework. This new system takes the best elements of 40k’s Crusade rules and marries them to some classic Warhammer Fantasy campaign rules to give players the tools to both run larger campaigns and build their own personal ongoing campaigns in the Mortal Realms. These rules are one of the things we’re most excited about with the new edition and today we’re diving into them and talking about how they work and what makes them great.
What is the Path to Glory?
The Path to Glory campaign system is Age of Sigmar’s answer to the 40k Crusade System in which you can focus on creating a narrative story. In Path to Glory your Warlord and army start from humble beginnings, with a small domain of territories under your control that, as you fight battles and accumulate victories, will grow into a mighty Empire.
A Path to Glory campaign begins with players building a roster, choosing a faction and realm to build from, then generating territories and creating an order of battle that they can build armies from. As they play in games, the units in their armies gain glory points and enhancements, complete quests, and gain abilities, while their territories become mighty strongholds that contribute to their army’s power.
Building a Path to Glory roster
There are five key steps to building your Path to Glory Roster:
- Pick a Faction and Realm
- Choose Starting Size and Territories
- Build an Order of Battle
- Core Enhancements
- Pick your first quest
Pick a Faction and Realm
You start by picking a faction for your army – factions are defined by battletomes here, so you’re basically picking a battletome to build from – and the realm they come from. The Realm doesn’t do anything for you rules-wise, but does give you some opportunities for cool modeling or conversions you can do. If you’re going to use a specific subfaction, you also pick that here too.
Rob: This is fine. If I’m honest it’s a bit too restrictive – I’d have liked to see something similar to Crusade where you pick a superfaction, so picking Order/Chaos/Death/Destruction here would have been more fitting – than something where you focus on a single Battletome. But it’s also probably more reflective of how most people will actually build their Path to Glory armies.
RagnarokAngel: I think this was a decision due to how Age of Sigmar lists are constructed differently from 40k. In 40k you can include multiple armies in one list and get most of their army traits included, in Age of Sigmar allies do not get their army traits. I’ve always assumed this to be a conscious decision to cut down on the number of broken combos that can come from mashing up different armies (even if the effectiveness of this goes up and down, the fear of it is there) and let players focus on their battletome. Grand Alliances were a vestigial organ held on as a legacy mechanic until everyone got their battletomes. Now that everyone at least has one, even if it’s outdated, it doesn’t offer much and 3.0 has discarded them as a valid allegiance. So while nobody will likely stop you from doing a Grand Alliance, you just won’t get many abilities to work with and probably wouldn’t be a lot of fun.
I don’t disagree that it could feel restricting, but I’m not sure what else could have been done with the game’s abandonment of Grand Alliances in all game modes.
Choose Starting Size and Territories
Next you’re going to pick a starting size for your army. There are four options – Vanguard (600 points), Warband (1000), Brigade (1500), and Legion (2000), each with their own different unit limits, starting territories, and Glory Points.
Once you pick a size you pick the type of territories you have – there are a few options here but basically each one increases one of the limits on your Order of Battle by 1, allowing you to customize your army a bit. So for example an Arcane Waypoint lets you increase the WIZARDS limit on your order of battle by 1, while a Small Settlement lets you up the Reinforced Units limit.
On top of your starting territories you also get a Stronghold. This basically represents your home base and each one lets you hold up to 3 territories, 3 barracks, and 1 outpost. As time goes on, you can upgrade your stronghold to let you hold more territories and outposts by spending Glory Points.
Beanith: I do like the choices available in creating the size of your starting army. You can start small and maybe expand your collection with a new army or go extra large with your existing army and start out the gate with all the toys.
Build an Order of Battle
Next comes building the army. Similar to Crusade in 40k, in Path to Glory players build an Order of Battle that represents the sum total of their fighting forces. When they play games, they pull units from this larger pool to play with in games of the agreed-upon size. The Order of Battle’s initial size is based on the starting size picked and your order of battle will have unit limits that can be expanded by adding territories to your army.
Each army for Path to Glory needs a Warlord, who acts as your force’s commander – they have to be picked as your General each time they’re included in a Path to Glory battle. Your Warlord can’t be a unique unit and has to be a HERO and a Leader.
Next comes Enhancements. Path to Glory has two types – Core and Bonus Enhancements. Core Enhancements are basically the ones that are normally granted by the core rules and your allegiance abilities while bonus enhancements are the ones you get during your Path to Glory campaign by finishing Quests. When you start your army you pick your Core Enhancements. These can’t be changed later.
Pick Your First Quest
Whilst you’re on your Path to Glory, you’ll also be taking on various Quests to unlock additional options for your army such as additional Battalions, Endless Spells, Invocations & Artifacts of Power. These basically have you pick a thing – like a warscroll battalion or core battalion, an invocation, or a spell or artefact, then as you do certain things during battles you get quest points that count toward your progress. When you get enough quest points you finish the quest and get some reward – usually the thing you picked, but there are also a couple of generic quests that give you extra glory points and unit upgrades.
Of note here is the Scout Fertile Lands quest, which can be completed in a single game or even completed by spending 1 Glory Point after a path to glory battle. This one just gives you a second exploration roll in the aftermath sequence (see below).
Beanith: Right now the Quests are a bit generic but no doubt we can expect to see plenty of Faction specific and Realm Quests in future Battlepacks and White Dwarfs
The rewards you earn from completing quests and winning games are stored in your vault. This is where you store bonus enhancements, endless spells, invocations, and battalions you’ve earned, and you’re capped on how many of each you can hold on to at a time. These can later be added to your army on a per-game basis based on the tier of battle for the game you’re playing.
Glory points are the campaign currency in Path to Glory. They’re used to upgrade territories and units and buy abilities for your units. They’re earned after each game.
Fighting Path to Glory Battles
Once you’ve built your masterpiece of an army and chosen your quest it’s time to get out and find that glory. As everyone knows, glory can only be found on the battlefield and so the core activity in path to glory is fighting battles.
Each time you square off in a path to glory battle you need to pick a tier for the battle. There are three tiers to choose from – Lower, Middle, or Higher, and which ones you can pick are dependent on both players having a stronghold of a certain level. Tiers of battle don’t actually affect the game size – points are completely separate – but rather affect how many bonus enhancements each player can include from their army. At lower tier you’re limited to one each of command traits, artefacts of power, prayers, spells, and unique enhancements, and the numbers increase from there in a mostly linear fashion.
When you pick your army, you’re limited to picking units and upgrades from your Order of Battle, and enhancements given to your army have to be core enhancements from your order of battle. That said, you can replace any of those with a bonus enhancement from your vault unless the core is a requirement of your subfaction.
And if you’re not playing someone with a Path to Glory army, there are rules for that too, though we remain skeptical about the likelihood of this actually happening. When it does happen, you don’t use the tiers or veteran abilities, and when the battle is over you don’t use the injury and casualty rules.
The Aftermath Sequence
After the battle is when the real bookkeeping and campaign shenanigans begin in Path to Glory.
Earn Glory Points
Here you gain those sweet, sweet Glory Points depending on the size of the battle fought, whether or not you won by a Minor or Major Victory, and your Warlord surviving the battle. They can be quite generous with the points but as you will find, you will burn through them pretty quickly upgrading Territories, Strongholds and spending along quests.
Resolve Injuries and Casualties
Here we deal with two separate rolls when dealing with units that were slain in battle. HEROES and single models with eight or more Wounds will take an Injury Roll where they will probably start their next game with a wound or two already suffered that can’t be healed. That or end up dead. Good news on that front though, you get to keep all Enhancements that they had and stick those back in your Vault to hand out to their replacement.
Rob: This is straight-up old school WHFB campaign rules, down to starting your next game down wounds. It’s pretty brutal. I’m not a huge fan just because I don’t like encouraging players to not take their cool models, but it’s also got a lot of flavor to it and I like the narrative of your warlord having their own version of the Flu Game.
Beanith: Worth noting that Unique models can’t take Injury Rolls. Nagash can get knocked down, but he’ll get up again. You are never gonna keep him down… also what kind of monster takes special characters in their narrative campaigns?
Everyone else gets to take Casualty Rolls where you roll a dice for each model slain in that unit and for every one you roll, you add one to that unit’s Casualty Score. In subsequent Path to Glory battles, after setting up that unit, you will remove a number of models equal to that unit’s Casualty Score. Should that score match the number of the models in that unit, then kiss that unit goodbye and remove it from your Order of Battle.
Rob: You can’t take unique units in your Path to Glory Army, so none of them.
Gain Renown Points
Beanith: Note to self, run Find and Replace for Experience Points to Renown Points. I assume that’s what Games Workshop did here at least.
Here is where everyone (except for Unique units) will gain Renown and with the more Renown each unit gains comes Ranks that unlock extra abilities and Command Traits.
Every time a unit that is not a HERO gains a Rank, you can choose from one of six Veteran abilities that each unit can use once per battle. They range from abilities that allow plus one to wound rolls in a particular phase to allowing that unit to charge even if it had ran that turn.
Beanith: I feel cheated here with this one single table to upgrade my minions. No doubt there will be more options available with future Battlepacks and White Dwarfs but I wants it now.
Rob: Yeah it’s just adding Command Traits, which is fine, but this is more about upgrading your lesser heroes than your Warlord, who starts already locked and loaded with a Command Trait. This one definitely feels like a bit of a dud to me when it comes to customizing a hero to have all kinds of nutso bonuses. Combined with Veteran Abilities (see below), it makes the actual reward for advancing seem slight.
If you’re on any quests and you’ve got the points to finish them, this is when that happens. Alternatively, if you’re not feeling the quest you’re on, you may simply abandon it, choosing to start a new one. This is known as The Coward’s Path.
Manage your Stronghold and Territories
Next comes stronghold management. You can upgrade your stronghold, improve the decor, add an HVAC unit, maybe a pool table for when your units are over, hanging out. Well OK, not really. Or not yet, anyways. In this step you can add new territories via making an exploration roll, where you roll a D66 on the territory table, then you can spend 10 Glory points to add any of the results you get. The standard territories in the list are mostly the same as the ones you can start with, and increase your unit limits, but they can also be upgraded with Glory Points to give you further bonuses.
Manage your Order of Battle
Then comes the hard work of managing your army, making sure they’re well rested and fed. In this step by spending Glory points, you add new units to your order of battle, heal up any units that are hurt (a D6 roll of a 4+ reduces a unit’s Casualty Score by 1, or a 2+ if the unit skipped a battle). You can also reinforce units at this point, spending glory points to do so. If you’re sick of a unit’s shit, you can also retire it at this point, and drop it out of your order of battle.
As units get new ranks they gain Veteran Abilities, to a max of 3. These are 6 special abilities that give a unit once-per-battle abilities to use. Each unit can only use one per turn. These range from being able to advance and charge in a turn (Fleet of Foot) to giving enemies -1 to wound rolls against them for a combat phase (Defensive Formation).
Rob: This, along with the Heroes of Renown part, is the biggest letdown of Path to Glory for me. As much as I like that there’s less to track for units, there isn’t a lot of meat on these bones when it comes to what you actually get out of leveling up. I really hope there are a lot more of these coming in future battletomes but if so that just exacerbates the issue that Crusade has where the Codex factions have amazing Crusade rules and the factions still waiting have nothing.
Beanith: This almost killed my enthusiasm for the entire format honestly. Six simplistic cookie cutter upgrades that can only be used once per turn and each unit can only perform once per battle? Zzzzzzzzzzz. Sure it’s easier to keep track of but it’s still boring. My Necron Warriors are Fleet of Foot and might have Engrammatic Imprinting allowing them to benefit from directives. They’re also suffering from Engrammatic Degradation and Fatigued. This makes them interesting to me and worthy of a background and a name.
Path to Glory Battleplans
There are six custom Path to Glory Battleplans to choose from, and these are a bit different from the missions you might be used to in Matched Play. They tend to be asymmetric, with more varied deployment maps, and each one includes a way to score bonus renown, either at the end of the battle or at the end of each battle round.
Beanith: Did I miss a few pages? There’s seriously only six Battleplans? And only one of them is a “normal fight” and the other five are those old fashion ‘narrative’ one sided beat downs?
Rob: Yeah there isn’t a set of battleplans based on different points values, which means these are intended to scale to any points value and table size, which I’m… skeptical about. Of these, the only one that really jumps out is The Trap, and not in a good way – trap/ambush missions never seem to be all that fun to play for the person fighting the uphill battle.
I suspect we’ll see more in the future but only having six to start with makes this a bit rough.
RagnarokAngel: These are certain to be expanded upon, of course but I don’t think these are one-sided slogs as they first appear. The Scoring is heavily favoring the one getting ambushed, such as The Trap giving points for surviving even with one model while the amnbusher needs to kill to get 2 points.
I will concur that the lack of variety is less great, as with only 6 missions you’re gonna see them all fast and there’s only so many strats with a smaller list that Path to Glory grants you. Breakthrough seems the most interesting, as it is about trying to get your guys from, one side to the other intact, so it requires a lot of smart movement and blocking from both sides. The biggest miss I see here is there isn’t a solid multi-objective mission that requires players to move around from place to place, which is where Age of Sigmar shines the most. Entirely possible they’re afraid of how they scale if you’re at 600 points and you only got 3 units but that’s why these should scale.
Evaluating Path to Glory
With all that laid out, let’s evaluate. Is Path to Glory good? What are we excited about? What are we not so excited about? What needs changing?
Rob: The territory rules are a neat idea. Having and controlling large swaths of territory and building an empire with my expanding army is a wonderful idea, and I like how territory expansion increases your Order of Battle rather than giving you strict in-game bonuses. The stronghold mechanics are cool as well, and on the whole it’s a flavor win. The injury system is also pretty interesting, creating some cool narrative possibilities. Finally the Vault is a cool concept, giving you a way to accumulate a bunch of bonuses to have at your disposal for games without adding a ton of cruft to all your units to track in every game.
Path to Glory manages to add some cool new stuff on what Crusade did while simplifying the system a significant amount, giving you less to track for your army. And that’s largely a good thing, given how complicated some of those rules can be.
Beanith: Pretty much what Rob has said, I’ve always loved the Territories mechanic in Necromunda and it’s a welcomed addition here as well. The Stronghold works for me too and makes me want to start building some Stronghold specific terrain for my Orruks…
RagnarokAngel: The system does have me more excited than Crusade did, though I think it’s because I expected more from vanilla Crusade and felt let down. I also, of course, have far bigger attachment to the world of Age of Sigmar than I do to 40k. The problem is that as a core system the best thing I can say is the potential is there which leads to…
Rob: It’s not all good – the simplification comes with a huge cost, and that cost is that the unit and hero upgrades are boring. There aren’t many of them and the ones we have are mundane. Yeah, we’ll likely get more in the battletomes but for now what we have is a lot of cool mechanics for upping your army size and filling your vault but little in the way of creating unique units and heroes with lots of cool abilities. It’s a cool set of rules overall but it’s going to really need help from battletomes to take off.
Overall it feels like Path to Glory has more potential than substance right now so while I like the foundation here there’s even less to start with than Crusade, which exacerbates the issues Crusade has with haves and have-nots and players not wanting to start a Crusade with an army that doesn’t have a codex full of custom Crusade rules. I think Path to Glory has this problem and then some. Ultimately it feels like we’ve gotten a teaser here and not something you can really jump into and start playing with. It’s a really, really good teaser, though.
Beanith: I’ve already bad-mouthed the Veteran Abilities and the Battleplans so I’m just going to wishlist about the missed opportunity to steal/conquer other player’s Territories and assault their Strongholds. Really? Bah.
RagnarokAngel: Sure, the potential is there. It’s not a disaster but I believe the worst a thing can be is boring and there just aren’t enough options. They could expand on it, but it’s what they could do not what they definitely will do. So here’s hoping it’s on the right track for more development. My big concern is like Crusade, it means nobody will want to play anything without a 3.0 Battletome, so Games Workshop, please, give us a big book of Path to Glory goodies to at least tide us over.
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