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Dragon Pass Revisited

Yelm's Light

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I posted this over on BoardGameGeek some time ago, and thought this would be at least as appropriate a place for it.  Enjoy:

These guys seemed to be glaringly absent from the game, so I came up with a little rules modification for them. The mechanics involved obviously complicate things tactically (as if the game needed it), but I like them a lot. The rules are numbered to match the point where they would be included in the rules for the Avalon Hill version. If you have any questions, post them and I'll do my best to answer them. The Hero is described last, for reasons which will become obvious. And so, without further ado, meet:

[16.18] The Aldryami (new Major Independent; counters are light green, printed in blue)

Advantage needed to ally: 25 DP
Territory: Stinking Forest
Capital: None

(Counter back names follow unit statistics)

1...Grandson (Hero: (4!)-10*-6-6/(2!)-5*-3-0) GRANDSON
1...Dryads (1-5*-3*-5/0-3*-2*-0) DRYAD
1...Dryads' Spirit (X-5-X-5/X-3-X-5) DRYAD S
1...Aldrya Healers (2-6*-3*-6/1-3*-2*-6) ALDRYA HLRS
1...Healers' Spirit (X-6-X-6/X-3-X-6) ALDRYA S
2...Elven Footmen (3-3-3*-X/2-2-2*-X) 1 ELVEN FOOT, 2 ELVEN FOOT
1...Elven Cavalry (4-3-5*-X/2-2-3*-X) 1 ELVEN CAV
2...Elven Bowmen (2**-3-3*-X/1*-2-2*-X) TREEWARDENS, TROLLSLAYERS
1...Elven Mounted Bow (3***-3-5*-X/2*-2-3*-X) TRUESHOTS

[16.18.1] Allying the Aldryami

The Aldryami are a major independent and as such are allied according to the diplomatic rules (see [14.1]). When
they are allied, they may be deployed in any distribution in forest or hill/forest hexes within the Stinking Forest.
(Note that the hill/forest hexes north and east of Cliffhome are not considered part of the Stinking Forest, nor are
hexes through which The River runs or which are south of The River.) If any Aldryami units are initially placed in
hexes containing inactive units, the inactive units are eliminated, and any herds and treasures among them are
captured. Inactive heroes and superheroes may attempt to escape as usual. The Aldryami have no capital in Dragon
Pass, so do not incur the effects of [14.1.6] (Control of Capitals).

The Aldryami will not ally with a player who is already allied with Cragspider, The Dwarf, or the Tusk Riders,
regardless of DP advantage, and will immediately become neutral should their allied player ally with any of these,
taking with them any treasures in hexes which are occupied by Aldryami units. (The allied player may have Gifts
from the Dwarf without incurring this rule.) Such units are removed from the board, though not necessarily from
the game; the Aldryami may be allied at a later time. The DP allocation which the allied player had with the
Aldryami is reset to zero in this case, possibly causing them to immediately change allegiance. If such a case
does occur, currently-surviving units are removed, then redeployed in their starting positions on the new allied
player's next turn, including captured treasures.

[16.18.2] Special Movement and Combat

All Aldryami move through forest and hill/forest hexes at a cost of 1 MP/hex in clear weather. They do not
suffer from the missile fire penalty for being in/firing into forest or hill/forest hexes, though other modifiers
will apply. The 1st Elven Cavalry and the Trueshots are considered cavalry units for the purpose of Ironhoof's
exotic ability.

[16.18.3] Dryads

Dryads can turn the trees against invaders. When this ability is invoked, any non-allied units in a single forest
or hill/forest hex within the Dryads' RF have their movement and combat factors halved (rounding up) for the
remainder of the allied player's turn. This halving is applied after all other modifiers, including for Leadership
(see []). The Dryads may take no other action while the ability is in effect, and it begins in their
allied player's Exotics Phase.

[16.18.4] Aldrya Healers

Aldrya Healers may either reduce the elimination of one major unit to disruption, or disruption to no effect
(including themselves). The unit must either be in the same or an adjacent hex. The Healers may take no other
action for the rest of the game-turn. This action may occur at any time during the game-turn, so long as no
other action has already been taken by the Healers in that turn. Note that Healers may be involved in combat
and still be able to heal, but they may not attack, retreat, counterattack, or advance after melee. The ability
will not affect the Puppeteers' Illusionary Armies, Dragons, Delecti or his Zombies, Hungry Jack, Hell Hound,
Chaos creatures, or casualties caused by Chaotic magic, nor will it regenerate units eliminated for using their
exotic abilities.

[16.18.5] Grandson

Grandson is a powerful healer. He may invoke the same ability that the Aldrya Healers have, except that he can
heal up to two 'steps' of damage (reducing one elimination to no effect, two eliminations to disruptions, two
disruptions to no effect, or one elimination to disruption and one disruption to no effect), and can heal any unit
within his RF. (Thus, even if disrupted, he can heal any major unit in the hex he occupies.) The healing is a one-
time action in any given turn; he cannot heal one 'step' at one point and then save the other 'step' for use later in
the turn. This ability is otherwise subject to the same conditions as for the Aldrya Healers, except that his
Leadership factor can always apply; including it when counting up CF's is not considered an action as far as using
healing is concerned.

Grandson can also summon the Dryads unit if he is in a forest or hill/forest hex. The Dryads must not have used
their exotic ability during the turn in which they are summoned, but may have moved and/or participated in combat.
Grandson may not have taken any other action during the turn in which the Dryads are summoned. This action takes
place during the allied player's Rally Phase. The Dryads may move and act normally in the following turn.

The Dryads' Spirit does not move with the Dryads in this case.

Edited by Yelm's Light
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I actually came up with this when I first played the game, back in the '80's, but only posted it a couple of months ago.  The only semi-official thing I saw about the subject was Steve Perrin posting on a message board in the '90's that he didn't think the Aldryami could field sufficient numbers in Dragon Pass to make up combat units.  Doesn't matter to me, though.  Even if that's so, I'll sacrifice a little story consistency for fun. :)

Edited by Yelm's Light
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There are definitely enough Aldryami in the Stinking Forest and Vale of Flowers to field at least two regiments. 

I would give Aldryami +1CF in Forests and allow them to move at full movement.

Elven cavalry doesn't really work for me, I'd make them all infantry.

For me, all elven units should have missile combat, * for heavy infantry, ** for other infantry and *** for specialist archer units.


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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 


Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Have you played them and if so how did they fare against other sides?

carrying on from Simon, what did you visualise the mounted units riding?

Edited by David Scott


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On 10/1/2016 at 8:02 AM, David Scott said:

Have you played them and if so how did they fare against other sides?

carrying on from Simon, what did you visualise the mounted units riding?

Oh, yeah.  The healer units are tough to kill, especially the Hero.  And his summon ability makes the dryads pretty survivable too.  The dryads are potentially a game-changer with the melee reduction ability.  By themselves overall, the Aldryami aren't really an awe-inspiring force, but they tend to hang around and can be great support for stacks.  That's why they're more expensive in DP advantage than any but the Dragonewts, and limit your alliances.

As for the mounts, I've gone through phases where it's runners and others where it's horses.  If you don't find it quite canon, you could always convert them to a heavy infantry and an elite archers unit, dropping their movement to that for standard foot  (3*/2*).  And, of course, they'd be unaffected by Ironhoof's exotic ability.

I also like the idea of the extra CF in forest, but I wanted this to be a not especially powerful fighting force that stood the test of time.  Just make sure those stack killers are gone or neutralized before you run the healers around too much, or that you keep them nearby instead of in the stack proper and protected ZOC-wise so someone can't end-around the stack and kill them.

As a (possibly) opposing player, you might want to be careful about what units you send into the Stinking Forest until the Aldryami are deployed.  (Not a huge issue, since that tends to be a relatively untraveled area anyway.)

Edited by Yelm's Light
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One final issue, with several implications:  the alliance limitations.  The Dwarf and Tusk Riders are relatively indifferent losses, but losing Cragspider means no access to the Black Dragon.  More than that, it practically guarantees your opponent will get it (and her), unless you're very careful in how you assign DP to them if you try to counter his allocation.  Sort of a Wakboth's bargain, because if you really mess up you've reset the Aldryami if not actually handed them over to your opponent.  The whole thing can get pretty complex.  I find it better just to let the opponent have her and focus on the other dragons (assuming, of course, that I already have the Aldryami) if that's what I'm looking for.

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I think Snakepipe Hollow probably needs Chaos units.  The usual Broos, Ogres, Dragonsnails, and perhaps The Hand. 

The game probably needs a matrix of what bonuses and subtractions you get with other allies for recruiting various allies.  For example Cragspider would be annoyed by the recruitment of Yelmalio, the Grazelanders (Sunnies),the Aldryami or the Dwarves and vice versa.  I can't imagine Sir Ethilrist's chaos mounts are widely loved either.

Edited by Darius West
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6 hours ago, Darius West said:

Well the mounts are referred to as demon mounts who devour their victims.  To be fair, perhaps they are darkness creatures, but Sense Chaos tells me otherwise...


There has never been any reference to Ethilrist's steeds as chaotic.  Demon does not = Chaos, though there are certainly chaotic demons (the Andins of the East Isles appear to fall into this group).  But there are plenty demons of darkness and Hell and Ethilrist gained his followers during his expedition through Hell.  There are also demons of starfire (i.e. the Venebain demons of the Cinder pits), demons that follow Shargash (the Shadzorings), and Gagarth's wild hunt could well be considered demons of air.

Edited by jajagappa
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7 hours ago, Patrick said:

The Black Horse Demons could certainly polish their reputation, but are they chaotic??

Underworld creatures, and not Chaotic. Their black coloration, glowing eyes and nostrils snorting smoke indicate their origin in a Hell, but they are no more Chaotic than a Mistress Race Troll.

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