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Optional Rules

This section is a compilation of rules that have been published in expansion boxes and White Dwarf. All are listed as optional, and many lean towards a more narrative experience. For group play, your campaign or tournament organiser should be able to clarify if they're to be used at your event.

Forest Tactics

Source: Stealth & Stone (out of print)

Fighters who spend a great deal of time in a dense forest develop distinct fighting styles and strategies. Deadly traps and ambushes allow badly outmatched warriors to even the odds. Weapons and armour also evolve to better suit the environment; light-footed fighters soon see the benefit of a pair of heavily armoured boots, while those clad in full plate learn to remove precisely what is needed to prevent heat stroke.

Designer's Note

Even though this section is called 'Forest Tactics', these sneaky tactics could easily be applied to any battlefield. Feel free to use these rules outside the Gnarlwood.

After deployment, players can agree to use Forest Tactics. If they do so, each player secretly picks 1 of the following strategies:

  • Forage
  • Place Traps
  • Wrangle a Beast
  • Modify Equipment
  • Lay an Ambush
  • Go Native

Both players reveal which strategy they picked at the same time. Then, starting with the attacker, each player resolves their chosen strategy as follows.


Foraging in the Gnarlwood can lead you to discover the most wonderful treasures. It is, however, extremely dangerous.

Pick 1 friendly fighter to go foraging. Roll a D66 to randomly generate a lesser artefact from the Gnarlwood Lesser Artefacts table. That fighter is now the bearer of that artefact. After the battle, the artefact is lost. If the D66 roll was a double (33, 44, 55, etc.) and the foraging fighter does not have the Scout (Scout) runemark, allocate a number of damage points to the foraging fighter equal to the first digit of the double. For example, a roll of 33 would mean 3 points of damage is allocated to the foraging fighter.

Place Traps

Poison-tipped wooden spikes launched from coiled branches, colossal logs that plummet from above: there is no end to the devilish ingenuity that can be employed when planting traps for your enemy to spring.

Pick 1 terrain feature. The first time an enemy fighter finishes a move action on or within 3" of that terrain feature, allocate 3 damage points to that fighter. If your warband includes any fighters with the Trapper (Trapper) runemark, allocate 4 damage points to that fighter instead of 3.

Wrangle a Beast

For those with the ability to trap and tame them, the Gnarlwood is packed to the gills with vicious beasts. If they can be controlled, even just for a time, a valuable asset can be gained for this battle.

Pick 1 friendly fighter on the battlefield and 1 fighter with a Wounds characteristic of 10 or less that is not in your warband and that has the Thrall (Thrall) runemark. Set up the thrall on the battlefield within 3" of the friendly fighter you picked. The thrall is considered to be part of your warband until the end of this battle. The thrall does not have to have the same Grand Alliance runemark as your warband, and during this battle, it cannot use abilities.

Then, if the friendly fighter you picked does not have the Trapper (Trapper) runemark, roll a dice and allocate a number of damage points equal to the roll to both fighters. After the battle, the thrall either escapes or is put down; it is not added to your warband roster.

Modify Equipment

You must ensure that your gear is prepared so that no matter the terrain or the foe, you can meet it with vigour and valour. After all, passing out because of the heat or losing a leg because you trod barefoot on a blue scoil is not only impractical but embarrassing in the extreme.

Pick 1 friendly fighter. If that fighter has a Toughness characteristic of 5 or more, add 1 to the Move characteristic of that fighter for the first move action they make each battle round.

If that fighter has a Toughness characteristic of 4 or less. each time that fighter is allocated damage points by anything other than an attack action, subtract 1 from the damage points allocated to them (to a minimum of O).

Lay An Ambush

Lying in wait is a time-honoured tradition on battlefields across the Mortal Realms.

Pick 1 friendly fighter on the battlefield with a Wounds characteristic of 20 or less. That fighter makes a bonus move action.

Go Native

One of your fighters has completely lost their marbles. Their movements are furtive, and their armour is festooned with fetishes. Despite this, they seem completely at ease in the dense Gnarlwood and avoid harm with seemingly supernatural ability.

Pick 1 friendly fighter. That fighter cannot use abilities this battle, but they cannot be affected by rules on twist cards or enemy abilities.


Source: Predator & Prey (out of print)

Warbands who spend any amount of time in the Gnarlwood start to long for strong walls and elevated positions - not only to defend them against their rivals, but against the predations of the forest itself. These rules allow you to represent such a fortified position in your games of Warcry, with just a few changes to the rules in the Core Book.

Rather than drawing battleplan cards as normal, the players can agree to use these rules. If they do, before drawing a card from the victory deck and from the twist deck, the defender rolls 1 dice on the deployment map table on page 63 of the Predator and Prey Rulebook. When using one of these battleplans, the defender is always blue.

The Terrain Step

In the terrain step, the defender first sets up terrain in their territory, shown as the shaded area on the deployment map. As a rough guide, they should set up 8 pieces of terrain. When they do so, they cannot set up ladders, and each piece of terrain - other than rope bridges - must be placed upright on the battlefield floor and more than 1 ½" from all other terrain. Then the attacker sets up any remaining terrain in the same way (as a rough guide, 4 pieces of terrain) more than 4" from the defender's territory.

Remaining Steps

Once you have sel up the terrain, draw 1 victory card and 1 twist card, and then proceed with the deployment step.


After the deployment step, the attacker can pick 2 fighters from their warband. Each of those fighters is carrying a ladder. Each fighter carrying a ladder can, once per battle as a bonus action, place it against a palisade wall within 1" of them (when they do so, place a ladder against the palisade wall and within 1" of the fighter). If they do so, in addition to the normal rules for ladders, for the rest of the battle that palisade wall is no longer deadly terrain when an enemy fighter is on the wooden platform.

The Aftermath Sequence

The attacker receives the following bonus in the aftermath sequence:

Renown to be Earned: The attacker adds 1 to each renown roll they make in the aftermath sequence.

Divine Blessings

Source: White Dwarf #490 (out of print)

The warriors battling through the Gnarlwood know that they live on a knife's edge, and they will seek out any advantage they can that might improve their chances of survival. These may take the form of minor blessings, enchanted gewgaws, and the like that bestow a temporary boon on a fighter.

Diving Blessings is an optional rule for Matched play that lets you change a fighter's characterics or give them additional abilities or reactions by increasing their points values. If you like the idea of using smaller, more elite versions of your warbands, or if you find you often have points 'left over' when choosing your warband, these rules are for you.

As these rules are optional, you and your opponent(s) must agree to use them.

Pick Your Blessings

Once the battleplan is determined, for each fighter in your warband, you can pick one blessing for them from the tables below. Players do this at the same time, secretly making a note of each blessing, and then reveal them simultaneously.

When you pick a blessing for that fighter, increase that fighter's points value by the amount listed beside the blessing. For a fighter whose Wounds characteristic is 22 or less, use the first value (regular) and for a fighter whose Wounds characteristic is 23 or more, use the second value (elite).


Blessing of...EffectRegular Points ValueElite Points Value
SwiftnessAdd 1 to the Move characteristic of this fighter.1525
ResilienceAdd 1 to the Toughness characteristic of this fighter.1520
FortitudeAdd 4 to the Wounds characteristic of this fighter.1515
FerocityAdd 1 to the Attacks characteristic of one of this fighter's melee weapons.2530
MightAdd 1 to the Strength characteristic of one of this fighter's weapons.1520
BrutalityAdd 1 to the first Damage characteristic of one of this fighter's melee weapons2530
SavageryAdd 1 to the second Damage characteristic of one of this fighter's melee weapons1010
HeroismCan use the 'Inspiring Presence' ability as if the fighter had the Hero (Hero) runemark.1010
SpiteMake up to one 'free' reaction per battle round as if spending a level of renown.3030
DestinyBegin the battle with one saved wild dice.4040