What is Path to Glory?
Path to Glory is a mini campaign system that stacks on top of the basic Age of Sigmar rule set which lets you take the role of a powerful champion of chaos and build your very own warband. These rules are available for $32.99 on the Black Library site and (*Spoiler Alert*) I highly suggest buying it, even if you don’t play any chaos forces. NOTE: This review will only cover the actual rules for the PtG system, not the several battleplans and painting books that come in the package as well. What I want to cover in this review is what this ebook brings to the game and how you can use it to grow your AoS community. As a super quick summary of my opinion I’ll say this: Path to Glory is a fantastic way to host an exciting escalation league, requires few purchases and is the perfect tool to get new players immersed in the story. To go into greater detail we first have to go back in time…
The year was 2002 and life was pretty grand. In the September issue of White Dwarf a pamphlet called Path to Glory came out for the purpose of changing the way you can play with your Warhammer Fantasy Battles miniatures. Essentially, you took the roll of a Chaos champion and built your warband from individual models rather than blocks of regimented units. Movement was on a model by model basis more like 40k (or exactly how AoS is now) which added a real horde-army feel as your warband went screaming across the table. Lastly of note was the rewards program; at its most basic level each warband is trying to gain the favor of their patron chaos god, who rewards its followers with mutations and in-game bonuses. The pamphlet was complete with charts to randomly determine your forces, their chaos rewards and the equipment your troops can take. Click here to see that original pamphlet. This is what originally got me into the hobby, to be honest. The idea of playing quick and brutal games with great models and a low barrier to entry was all it took to get me to open my wallet. Sadly, as time went on, editions changed and codexes were updated people stopped playing Path to Glory campaigns.
Fast forward to just under a month ago and on the first day of the 2015 GW Advent Calendar, path to Glory is released (both an AOS and 40k edition). After a long time of hesitating on AoS I decided I had to see how my favorite campaign system was rebooted. Once I dug in I realized that the GW team did a fantastic job of blending the depth of the previous system with the simplicity of the AoS rules set. A lot of content was trimmed down, but the character that you can build your warband with in greatly increased. In particular I want to talk about a few things: The name generator, the army building table, chaos rewards table and campaign rules.
Campaign Rules (Overview) – The core objective of the campaign is to get your champion to ascend to daemonhood and win one game with them. To reach daemonhood you must accrue 10 (though you can change that number) favor points. Favor points are earned simply by playing the game, you get one if you tie or lose and D3 if you win. There are a few other ways to earn those points but playing games is the most prevalent way. After each game you tally up the favor points each player earned, roll on the Eye of the Gods (Your champion’s bonuses) and choose to buff a unit or add another. As the campaign goes on you have larger and stronger armies led by better and better champions. The system is simple, flexible and really easy to keep track of thank to these tracking sheets. I like how your army size progresses as the campaign goes on, that means a lot fewer initial purchases just to start the game (which is super attractive for potentially new players). Lastly I also love how you’ll frequently read in the book “You can change this to…” which gives the impression of how much flexibility is in the system. Use it as a slow-grow league, campaign day tournament etc.
Name Generator– I am learning that Age of Sigmar is all about playing dynamic stories that involve fantastic characters. How can you bring a model with no back-story to life? One easy way is simply to give him (or her) a name. Path to Glory includes a D66 name generator table which, if you are a chaos player, I feel is a must-have. The table has unique titles for each of the chaos gods (and for Chaos undivided). Basically you roll for your fist syllable, then the second and so on until you have the name you want. I personally stick to two syllable names as I think they roll off the tongue easier. Also included is an example which walks you through the table as well just in case you find it confusing. What I like about this table is that it keeps the focus of the entire campaign: narrative gaming. AoS is a story driven game and this is an aid to making your fantastic main character stand out. And in case your curious, my character is a Champion of Nurgle named Charrak the Scabrous One. In a word: legit.
Army Building Table– One of the major complaints I have heard about AoS is the lack if army building guidance. With no points system or organization chart I can see how army composition would be hard. Although Path to Glory doesn’t solve this issue entirely it does provide a very clear framework for army building that you can work with. First you determine what kind of Champion you want (on foot, steed or monster), each choice effects how many unit choices (called follower rolls) you get to make at the start. For example, a Champion on a steed gets to make 5 rolls on the followers charts. Now you go over to the follower tables (there is a retinue, hero, monstrous, brayherd and warherd tables), and use those rolls (as determined by which champion you chose) on whichever tables you want, split however you want. Conversely, you can just choose the units on those tables and not roll at all if it’s all you own.
Why do all that work? Well for starters it is a great way to determine what models you should buy. Since there are no more faction boundaries you can always use these models in your army even after the campaign is over. The charts are well built (no options are over the top like the glottkin for example) and the fact that your Champion directly effects how many units you can take is a great way to balance the system. If you are a chaos player then this can actually be your buying and expansion guide for the entire hobby as there is a great combination of randomness and choice all the while creating a story behind every model. Even if you just buy what you like the look of (which I always suggest) you can just use these charts as a guide (i.e. if I want a new monster I can pick any one of the units on the monster chart). I feel like this is the real meat of the book and the part that adds the most value to all players (though admittedly more to Chaos players).
Chaos Rewards Table– The rewards of the dark gods are won in two ways, fighting and winning. After every game (whether you won or lost) your champion must roll on the Eye of the Gods table; a 2D6 table full of bonuses and in one instance, devastating curses! What this does is makes your champion a unique entity all their own. You can replay the campaign dozens of times and end up with a different character in the end. Essentially these rolls are how to articulate your champion’s ascendance into a true warlord like we read about in the GW books. The chart also has 4 mini tables for god specific rewards so you can add a great theme to your champion! While this section does not cross over into regular AoS play it does add a lot of depth and character to your models. Your champion becomes the kick-ass lord of war and your skill is what gets them there. This is the immersive aspect, the part that new players flock to as it adds a great deal of fun and investment into their models.
Who This Is For
-Campaign lovers who love playing games with a purpose and story
-Old GW fanatics who just wanted to relive the glory of the old Path to Glory
-Small gaming groups looking for an escalation league format
-Chaos fans (that name generator is a blast)
Who This Is Not For
-People looking to 100% completely balance AoS
I absolutely love the revitalized edition of Path to Glory. In fact I plan to use it in my local AoS group as a slow-grow framework. What’s nice is that everything in this book can work for non-chaos factions (except the name generator… but even then, a few can pull it off well). With a little though you can easily come up with comparable units to the ones listed in these charts and the blessing that each champion receives really have nothing to do with Chaos, just say Sigmar blessed you or something and play as chaos undivided rules-wise. For thirty-three bucks you really cannot do better than some cool (though not original) artwork, painting guides, warscrolls and battleplans, some fun fluff stories for each god, a fun name generator and a campaign system that’s great for bringing in new players and revitalizing old ones. Down sides? Well it’s not the balancing force that many are looking for, and the fact that everything is chaos themed will steer some people away. I struggle to call those downsides as they are just things that every AoS player is dealing with and you really cannot expect a book like this to solve all your woes. All-in-all I think this is a must buy for chaos fans and a solid purchase for anyone who wants to invigorate or grow an AoS community.