Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Crab Clan for Dragon Rampant

I'm only counting this as a PSEUDO-Distraction from THE PLAN...

This all came about because I was tidying and organizing in the basement and these were left out from last fall when I was reorganizing my legends of the Five Rings forces for Dragon Rampant (I had reorganized both Lion Clan and Phoenix Clan - rebasing elements that had previously been based for Hordes of the Things). Organizing and putting things away is a good thing and helps with focusing on what's important... but these had been left out for a reason - I HAD painted one of the Kuni Witch Hunters and repainted two others... and that demanded a painting update post... which... I never got around to!? (I'm not going to bother counting it now, as it was painted months ago...).

This is a small force and was relatively easy to organize and, while there are a few miniatures still to paint, doesn't really NEED any more miniatures to field all the units once they are completed.

Now, I'm no expert on world of the Legends of the Five Rings, and what little I knew from perusing a bunch of books I picked up for both he role-playing game and the Clan War miniatures game, I've mostly forgotten. What I DO know is that the Crab Clan are a dour lot, living in the south of Rokugan  along the border with the Shadowlands - they've maintained a wall for centuries and are the first line of defence against the evil that lurks across the border. Always vigilant and on guard, they have little time for courtly matters...

Kuni Witch Hunters

These are super elite warrior monks tasked with tracking down and dealing with tainted individuals, Bloodspeakers and other servants of the Shadowlands that operated within the Empire. They could be the catalyst for many scenarios against other clan forces - the Witch Hunters have tracked down a blood speaker or tainted individual living amongst another clan and called down some fellow Crab Clan warriors to root them out as the opposing clan doesn't want to just give them up!

They would likely be classified as a Reduced Model, Offensive Light Foot, Cleric...? Making them 5 or 9 points (depending on whether undead are actually present - clerics only cost the extra 4 if there is something for them to oppose!). Alternatively, they could be given HATRED (+1 point) and nominate one unit to contain the Tainted/Bloodspeaker/etc that is their quarry...?

Some unarmoured/lightly armoured samurai.

I imagine these are poorer samurai, from poorer families or seventh sons, lacking the full armour of the more prominent families or earlier born brothers. They could be classified as Reduced Model, Offensive, Light Foot for 5 points.


I have four more to finish painting for this unit. These are bow-armed samurai - but without armour. Despite the lack of armour, they are highly trained and deadly -  their capacity to cause casualties and take (or deflect) damage is greater than a unit of massed Ashigaru, thus the reduced model count. (also, I only had six models I could put in the unit... so...). They will be classified as Reduced Model, Light Missile at 4 points. (If I wanted to make them SUPER bad-ass, I could add "Sharpshooter" for another 2 points, giving them a 4+ shoot value - making them even deadlier!)


I have one unit of lightly armoured samurai (like the one on the right of the picture), and two units of more heavily armoured samurai (like the one on the left). Both units of six warriors. Only these two have been painted of the 18 in total... The two more heavily armoured units will, obviously, be Elite Foot at 6 points. Unfortunately, there is no way to downgrade units slightly (as there are in later games by Daniel Mercy), so I think the best way to classify the more lightly armoured samurai is Reduced Model, Offensive, Heavy Foot, also at 6 points - it reduces their Armour value, slightly (which can have a fairly large effect in terms of casualties taken... but they get 12 strength points instead of 6... so they can TAKE a lot more damage before they all die... They also have slightly lower Courage and so are more likely to flee...

I also have a larger Hero figure - probably one of the named characters a warlord/daimyo type. He'll be in a unit all of his own - either as a Reduced Model unit or Single Model, Elite Foot unit (in the reduced model unit, he is accompanied by a standard bearer - who isn't really all that tough - it's still the big guy taking all the damage - the standard bearer is really just there as an abstract element to mark when the Big Guy is reduced to half strength!) Either Way, another 6 point unit. I could also add any fantastical rules... Fear, Slayer, Hatred...? Any of those could be used.

Light Foot

These I imagine as the retainers of all the samurai - lightly-armoured, spear armed, not-so-enthusiastic warriors that are brought out to hold a flank or something. They would be classified as straight up Light Foot at 3 points. I have four more to finish painting to complete the unit.

Teppo armed Ashigaru

Okay I do have ONE unit that I don't have enough figures for. All I have for this unit are these two, painted dudes with Teppo (harquebuses). IF I ever felt the urge to fill out the unit and pick up another four, they'd be a Reduced Model, Heavy Missile Unit at 4 points.

I'm not sure there ARE gunpowder weapons in Legend of the Five Rings. So I'd likely only bother finishing off this unit if I were to ever feel the urge to use them as a not-so-fantasy-rokugani samurai force...

So, lots of options there.

Kuni Witch Hunters - Reduced Model, Offensive Light Foot, Cleric - 5-9 points
Unarmoured Samurai - Reduced Model, Offensive, Light Foot - 5 points
Lightly Armoured Samurai - Reduced Model, Offensive, Heavy Foot - 6 points
Heavily Armoured Samurai - Elite Foot - 6 points
Heavily Armoured Samurai - Elite Foot - 6 points
Daimyo - Reduced/Single Model, Elite Foot - 6 points
Archers - Reduced Model, Light Missile - 4 points (or Sharpshooters @6 points)
Retainers - Light Foot - 3 points

A standard Dragon Rampant force is generally made up of 24 points of troops. Which means the Reduced/Single Model Daimyo (not pictured, but mentioned above) with the three other samurai (the two heavily armoured and one lightly armoured) could be a complete force right there.

To get these on the table quickest, the most likely route would to be to field the Kuni Witch Hunters and Unarmored Samurai (which are done!) for 10 points, finish up the archers and retainers for another 7 points (17 points total - 8 minis to paint) and finish up the Daimyo and his standard bearer and give them a one-point fantastical rule (Hatred or Enchanted Weapons... probably Hatred...) for another 7 points, bringing the total to 24 and requiring only 10 more models to be painted. Of course, if they were fighting undead, the Kuni would then be worth 9 points and the retainers could be dropped and the Daimyo added (without the Hatred/Enchanted Weapons)... even less to paint (six models!)!

In total there are only twenty-six miniatures I have to paint to complete this totally playable force with a few options... I'm trying REAL HARD to NOT think this is an option for 2020-Q1!!! Too many other things to do!! If I started looking around, I'd find DOZENS of other forces for other games that, likewise, only need a dozen, or two dozen, or three dozen miniatures to paint to either complete a force or make it, at least, a PLAYABLE force... but I need to focus on the games I'm actually PLANNING TO PLAY in the near future!!!

As they are all individually based, these could easily all be used in a Buntai for Ronin ("Skirmish Wargames in the Age of Samurai" - also published by Osprey), which I have actually used some of these for previously!

Coming Soon to Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Back to posting about 40K stuff - like I posted earlier today (if you missed it!) - Blackstone Fortress and Necromunda...



  1. Great looking, classic figures, Tim!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Jonathan! Hope your leg isn't bothering you too much today!

  3. Nice mix of figures, well-painted, with some good options for an actual force for an actual game. :)

    1. Cheers!

      What I SHOULD do is just play a game with the Lion and Phoenix armies I put together last fall! Get it out of my system and move one.... OR... y'know... LOVE it and get TOTALLY distracted and go charging off in a totally new direction!!

  4. Did you buy the Legend of the Five Rings RPG book or the starter box? Do you enjoy it?

    1. Like, the most recent iteration of the RPG? No.

      I think I have the Core books from... Second Edition...maybe? and a bunch of the "Way of the.." books - from the same edition (or possibly first edition), I think... and a bunch that were published by WOTC....? Nothing more recent than that. I never ran the RPG. I just referred to it for background fluff.

      I did run a brief Savage Worlds campaign set in Rokugan about a decade ago - that's the last time I really looked at any of the fluff. I know it's evolved a LOT with the CCG and now LCG since then.

    2. I am fascinated by it because it has such deep, rich well-developed background fluff... but at the same time, there's just SO MUCH OF IT, it's all a bit overwhelming. At the time I was picking stuff up, I think a new edition was coming out (or dying out...?) and I was picking up books in batch-lots for an average of $5CAD per book... and now I have a HUGE bin full of books, shoved away in the storage room, 95% of which I've never read from buying books faster than I can read them and then moving on before I can catch up!?

  5. Interesting Loved my clan war stuff, sadly sold it all a few years ago


    1. Thanks, Matt! It seems to be getting scarcer... There was lots on eBay when I was picking it up - a couple times I picked up fairly large lots for a pretty reasonable price. Now that I'm looking at them and reorganizing for Dragon Rampant, I took to eBay a couple times to see what was available - to fill a few holes in a few units - and, wow... not much out there.... most of it's bog standard infantry... and people want a LOT for it! Good thing there are a lot of other companies that make Samurai!

  6. Lovely looking samurai! Makes a nice change from 40k? It is difficult to stay on target I find!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain! I'm MOSTLY staying on target... Realizing it was just SEVEN WEEKS to ToonCon was a big motivator to put all this stuff away and get back on painting the Blackstone Fortress stuff!!!