HOTT With A Difference

G. Branco (dak@mail.EUnet.pt)

When I first heard of HOTT I was somewhat intrigued about it: a game not unlike DBA - a good reference - but with a points system and flexible army lists. Why not give it a try, using mostly historical armies from DBA? The result was surprising. As a Medieval player I didn't miss the psiloi, the fine gradations on cavalry and sudden ends. What I did welcome though, were the really expendable hordes and the addition of the odd hero, taken freely from local lore. And then it was just a small step to my now favourite: to pick historical armies against wild fantastic opponents. The game lends to this beautifully because magic is not that powerful and can be cancelled to a large extent, by the inclusion of a military order or warrior monk "cleric".

But if you use fantasy armies - the purpose of the game in the first place - it quickly becomes apparent that the game is weak. This is because any fantastic unit is exactly the same as its counterpart, and the game can - and has frequently been - described as tasteless or lame. The army lists proposed are the Achilles' heel, because all units of the same type behave the same, and there are no real restrictions to troop choice. This article is just my effort to raise HOTT out of its aches.

The lists are not based in any particular book series or author. Instead they pretend to capture the "general feeling" about what those armies are supposed to be like. There are no more than 4 imposed units per list, so room for personal interpretation is still wide.

I am very enthusiastic about these variant rules. The game gets a lot more interesting and fun, and there is also more learning on how to build armies and use their strengths and weaknesses. My ambition is that this approach will give a boost to HOTT, a game that seems to be fading in interest, but that to me is better than the other DBx conterparts, even for historical gaming.

How to Use

These alternative army lists can replace the generic found in the official HOTT rules book, and complement the others, by adding significant differences to each species/race behaviour on the board, without unbalancing the game.

The result is achieved by:

All costs remain the same.

You are encouraged to adapt these lists to your personal views, but be careful to keep the balance between abilities and available units.

Army Lists

The army lists in the rules book are ignored, instead use the lists below for each species/race unit's availability and special abilities. Medieval, Barbarian and Nomad armies may be historical.

MEDIEVAL "historic": mostly organised troops, relying on knights to shatter the enemy by charge. For pure fantasy medieval armies use the free army list.

Mandatory Units: 3xKnights.

Maximum Units: 1xSneaker.

Unavailable Units: Airboat; Beasts; Behemoth; Dragon; Fliers; God; Aerial Hero; Water Lurkers; Magician; Wb.


  1. Up to 3xElite Knights - add 1 tactical factor if moved into contact during that player's bound. The bonus applies after pursuit. Elite knights may opt for no pursuit on an extra roll of '5 or 6'. For each Elite Knight eliminated count as 2.5 AP lost, rounding up.

ORC/GOBLIN: irregular troops with some shock units and vast numbers of bows. Few unit restrictions.

Mandatory Units: none.

Maximum Units: 1xBd; 2xRiders; 2xSp.

Unavailable Units: Airboat; God; Kn; Paladin.


  1. Poison arrows - all bow Shooters get +1 tactical factor if the combat outcome is "equal to that of the enemy" or worse.
  2. Wolf riders - wolf riders move through woods at 400p.
  3. Regenerate Hordes - trolls can regenerate. See undead abilities. They fight Clerics or Magicians with a -1 tactical factor, and cannot regenerate if eliminated.
  4. Mob General - the Orc General fights as any other unit, with no +1 bonus.

DWARF: short, stout and strong humanoids. Very disciplined and organised.

Mandatory Units: 1xBl.

Maximum Units: 1xRiders.

Unavailable Units: Beasts; Fliers; Horde; Kn; Water Lurkers; Magician; Paladin.


  1. Standing - Bl and Sp add 1 tactical factor if total is less than that of the enemy. Expend an extra PIP when moving one unit or group including any number of this type of units.
  2. Rough banding - group moves of all Bl, Sp, Shooters and Wb can be made in rough/hill.

ELF: expert magic users and well-drilled troops. Wood dwellers here.

Mandatory Units: 1x Magician.

Maximum Units: none.

Unavailable Units: Artillery; Beasts; Behemoth; Cleric; Horde; Wb.


  1. Wood slide - Shooters move extra 100p through woods.
  2. Wood chant - a Magician that was not contacted, fired upon or spelled during the other side's bound, and it is at least 300p from the closest enemy during his side's bound, can have a free roll aiming to score '5 or 6'. If he succeeds add +1 to the closest general's PIP die, for a maximum score of 7. The chanting spell must be declared during phase one of the bound. The Magician cannot move or spell during the current bound, but can defend against shooters.

BARBARIAN: loads of irregular ferocious troops, some fanatic. Some neighbours.

Mandatory Units: 4xWb.

Maximum Units: 1xBl; 1xSp.

Unavailable Units: Airboat; Artillery; Behemoth; Dragon; Fliers; Aerial Hero; Kn; Paladin; Sneakers.


  1. Fanaticism - Bl and Wb add +1 tactical factor if the combat outcome is "more than that of the enemy"; -1 if combat result is "less than that of the enemy".
  2. Rough slide - Wb move extra 100p in bad going rough/hills.

UNDEAD: nor dead nor alive, led by a powerful wizard. Reward may be eternal rest.

Mandatory Units: 1xMagician; 3xHordes.

Maximum Units: 1xMagician; 2xKn; 12xHordes.

Unavailable Units: Airboat; Cleric; Dragon (brittle undead dragons are behemoths); God; Hero; Paladin.


  1. Regenerate - for each unit killed roll a d6, if a '6' is scored the unit automatically returns to the board, arriving where a regular horde would arrive, as if replaced.
  2. Regenerate Hordes - for each horde killed roll a d6. If the score is '5' the unit automatically returns to the board, arriving where a replaced horde would arrive. If the score is '6' ignore the close combat result, including recoils and pursuit.
  3. Dispell - any undead unit get a -1 tactical factor if fighting a Cleric or Magician and cannot regenerate if eliminated. If the undead Magician is killed every horde must attempt to regenerate or be removed from the board.

MYTHOLOGY: armies composed mainly by huge, mean and some beautiful monsters from old Greek, Roman and Egyptian lore. The heroes most fond enemies. No rank troops.

Mandatory Units: 2xBehemoth and 1xGod.

Maximum Units: none.

Unavailable Units: Artillery; Bl; Cleric; Kn; Riders; Shooters; Sp; Paladin; Wb.


  1. Peace of the gods - gods can be deployed by expending 5 PIPs.
  2. Olympus complacency - Dragons and Behemoths do not count towards the army collective total of 12, for units costing 3 or more AP.
  3. Gods' yawn - deduct 1 from the army's AP necessary to lose the battle.

CHAOS: unstable mutant horrors and weird characters, often very depraved.

Mandatory Units: 2xHordes.

Maximum Units: 2xKn.

Unavailable Units: Cleric; Paladin; Riders; Shooters; Sp.


  1. Mayhem - for all units, except Dragons and Magicians. If the close combat roll is '6' eliminate the enemy unit, after outcome calculation, even if the mayhem unit is disabled. On close combat a roll of '1' always eliminate the mayhem unit, after the outcome results.

LIZARDMEN: low technological reptile humanoids, clumsy, sometimes with dragon-like mounts. Hardly subtle (no lurkers or sneakers). Individuals are not clever or mighty enough to be considered as heroes, unless on a flying mount.

Mandatory Units: 2xHordes; 2xWb.

Maximum Units: none.

Unavailable Units: Airboat; Artillery; God; Foot and Mounted Hero; Kn; Lurkers; Magician; Paladin; Sneakers.


  1. Rough rage - Wb add +1 tactical factor in rough bad going (not woods).
  2. Rough banding - as Dwarves, but for Shooters and Wb only.

NOMAD: lights troops relying on mobility, surprise and terrain.

Mandatory Units: 4xRiders.

Maximum Units: none.

Unavailable Units: Airboat; Artillery; Behemoth; Fliers; God; Aerial Hero; Kn; Water Lurkers; Magician; Paladin; Sneakers.


  1. Wind Riders - any spare PIP can be used to move a rider unit an extra 100p.
  2. Fanaticism - Hordes, Wb or none can be fanatics (not both). See Barbarians.

SAMURAI/NINJA: Asiatic elite, using sophisticated combat techniques and stealth abilities.

Mandatory Units: 1xWb or Bl; 1x Sneaker; 1xLurker.

Maximum Units: 1x Dragon.

Unavailable Units: Airboat; Artillery; Beasts; Behemoth; Fliers; God; Aerial Hero; Kn; Magician; Paladin.


  1. Stealth - Sneakers and Lurkers add +1 tactical factor. If they lose any round by more than 1 difference they are eliminated.
  2. Wood Going - Wb move 300p through woods.

FREE ARMY: a free army is built accordingly to the rules, without further restrictions, but with no abilities.

Last Updates
27 April 1998first published
Written by G. Branco
Comments or corrections?