Pay to kill, die to lose. Hunted, hunter which are you?
Let's take a moment to delve into a very cool aspect of HATE that brings a lot of variety to the game:
Perhaps calling them Mercenaries is not the most accurate term. In the world of HATE money doesn't hold much sway. Survival is all that matters. The Mercenaries you will encounter during your Chronicle are generally loner figures who are not part of any tribe. Some just want to be left alone, some are terrors upon the land, and others may be looking for a tribe to be part of. Either way, they are all formidable assets that can really give an edge to the tribe that conscripts them to their midst.
In HATE, Mercenaries are not hired, they are added to your tribe by brute force! Certain Scenarios will feature a Mercenary who may be won by one of the battling tribes. Players randomly draw a Mercenary to be part of this scenario and place its figure on the board according to the Scenario Setup. The Scenario will list how the Mercenary will behave and what needs to be done in order to win him over to your side.
For example, in the Forsaken Woods the Mercenary stalks around the trees. It activates twice during each Replenish phase, and also whenever a player rolls 2 Wilds when attacking or defending. Whenever it activates it moves towards the closest figure (or the one who rolled 2 Wilds) and attacks them. If the Mercenary is attacked and is not KO'd, it retaliates against the attacker. If you KO the Mercenary, you gain 3 Hate. But in order to add it to your tribe, you need to be carrying its body at the end of the battle. This is just one example of how a Mercenary is handled in a Scenario. Others may behave in different ways, and affect the missions differently. According to the AI included in each Scenario, players activate the neutral Merc to perform specific tasks, rolling its attack and defense against their opponent.
While a tribe may be able to win several different Mercenaries during a Chronicle, the number of Mercs you can actually bring to a battle depends on your Hall of Heroes. Initially players cannot add any Mercs to their lines, but by upgrading this building in their Village, they may be able to bring up to 2 different Mercenaries to a battle. When a Mercenary is added to your forces, it replaces one of your normal figures.
Mercenaries are very special warriors, in that each of them comes with at least a couple completely unique skills. These skills are used against the players while the Mercenary roams the battlegrounds as a neutral figure, and they'll then be able to use them for their benefit if they conscript the Merc. They may also be given Upgrades like any other member of your tribe, quickly becoming truly legendary fighters. However, when a Mercenary is Killed, it is removed permanently from your tribe.
Now let's take a deeper look at the six Mercenaries originally included in the HATE core box:
The clay men slept for centuries. Encased in mud, deep in the earth. Once a proud race of men, they now return from their living grave. Much diminished as humans, they now only crave flesh.
The Clay Man is already dead, but his hunger for flesh is insatiable even in the middle of a battle. He can take a bite off of any KO'd figure adjacent to him, forcing them to immediately roll for a new Scar. His undying nature allows him to activate even after being KO'd.
Vrail, the Bitch
Do not judge her by size alone. Said to have single-handedly brought a prince to his knees, Vrail is a force to be reckoned with.
Vrail is able to summon unnatural strength when going against the biggest opponents. When attacking a Prince or a Champion she automatically scores 2 extra Hits.
The Brothers Ashkar
The Brothers Ashkar have been together for as long as anybody can remember. They have become brothers through their struggle rather than bloodlines. Ashkar, the shaman, saved the life of his now protector by feeding him his own legs. They have become inseparable ever since.
The Brothers Ashkar became stronger by unifying a Champion's strength with a Shaman's mystic powers. They are as tough to bring down as one of the gigantic Varn, and are able to copy the basic skill of any Shaman in play.
Corvux, Shaman Lord
It is whispered that Corvux was one of those responsible for the binding of the Mother and the destruction of the old world. Whether that is true or not remains a mystery, but the powers he displays add credence to the tale.
Corvux is extremely powerful in his communion with nature. He may use trees to knock out his enemies, and even make them move across the battlegrounds!
Bra Ku Taa, the Traitor
Shunned from his native land, Bra Ku Taa fights in the vain hope of once again being able to return with his honor restored.
Bra Ku Taa endures an inner struggle between being honorable and playing dirty. Any Hits a figure rolls when defending against his attacks count as Hits for Bra Ku Taa's attack. However, he never KO's his target, they lose Hate instead.
Sheya, the Eater
Sheya's name is whispered to quieten children. She weighs her enemies at a glance and with a pleased smile that freezes the heart of the toughest warrior.
If you are looking for a bloodbath, Sheya is the one! Her attacks are strong and efficient. She may spend Savagery to add Hits to her attacks, and uses her hooks to target extra enemies.
Unleash your HATE!