Thick Skull

Thick Skull (Strength)

This player treats a roll of 8 on the Injury table, after any modifiers have been applied, as a Stunned result rather than a KO’d result. This skill may be used even if the player is Prone or Stunned.


Thick Skull has changed in LRB5 from being a Mutation to a Strength skill meaning that every player can potentially gain it now. It has also changed from being a 4+ roll to be stunned instead of KO’d, to just treating an 8 roll on the injury table as a stunned and just a 9 roll being a KO. This takes an extra dice roll out the game and speeds things up a small amount when playing. It has given the players who take it a slight boost as well as a result though. An 8 will be rolled 5/36 times while a 9 will be rolled 4/36 times. So the old 4+ rule saves you 4.5/9 of KO’s while the new version saves you 5/9 times a KO is rolled. Even so considering the player needs to be knocked over (or fall over), have an armour break and then a KO result has to come up, it is very circumstantial and the benefit in real terms is highly negligible.

The obvious benefits of it are that it is that bit harder to remove the player from the pitch when they get knocked over. More players on the pitch makes it easier for you than if you had less, pretty obvious stuff here! It applies to any injury roll for the player as well, including fouls and crowd injuries.

Useful to:

In all honesty I can’t really see this skill being that useful to anyone, sure it has it’s benefits but there will be better alternatives to take when your players skill up. Why would you take it over Block, Guard, Mighty Blow, Tackle etc on a normal skill roll. Also any player who requires a double to take strength skills will have an even wider selection of skills to choose from. If you come across someone who has taken the skill I would be surprised to find out if they took it for any reasons other than for team character reasons or because they are fairly new to the game. Maybe I can be enlightened here as to any tactical benefit compared to the opportunity cost of a different skill. I can see some benefit to it as a late skill on players who are often in the thick of it and get hit a lot, but I’m not sure it will make a difference enough times to justify the choice due to the specifics when it comes into play.


As I’ve suggested no one will really take the skill as part of development but it comes in handy for those players who already start with it, most notably Dwarfs. That isn’t to say that I think it would be wrong to take it under every circumstance, if you are playing perhaps in a more characterful environment then by all means go ahead. Teams with more character may perhaps get blessed by good fortune by Nuffle! An example would perhaps be a player who always seems to get stunned on armour breaks, or always comes back from a KO first roll (if you keep track and notice this kind of thing). Maybe you just want a team full of Thick Skull Elves or something unusual. You could also be using random skill selection, either for fun, a personal challenge, or to handicap yourself if playing against lots of newer coaches to ease them into the game. You don’t always have to take tactically the best skill available for every increase.

26 thoughts on “Thick Skull”

  1. If they altered it to all KO effects, it would suddenly become very good. However it would then make dwarves horribly powerful.

    Really, the fact that it is given for free to all dwarf players restricted its utility.

    I’d like to see it as all KO -> stunned. But take it away from dwarves as a standard skill

  2. Can’t argue with any of the comments made to date.  I’m not certain it’s a skill I’d choose myself, however running the numbers gives you (no skills applied except Thick Skull, includes chance of armour break):
    Apologies if the formatting is off.  This looked great in the comment window before submitting.
    Chance Off Field (KO/Cas)                  Chance Stunned
    AV     Norm      TS                                    AV     Norm      TS
    4         34.7%     23.1%                             4         48.6%     60.2%
    5         30.1%     20.1%                             5         42.1%     52.2%
    6         24.3%     16.2%                             6         34.0%     42.1%
    7         17.4%     11.6%                             7         24.3%     30.1%
    8          11.6%      7.7%                             8          16.2%     20.1%
    9            6.9%      4.6%                              9            9.7%     12.0%
    10         3.5%      2.3%                             10           4.9%       6.0%
    11          1.2%      0.8%                             11            1.6%       2.0%
    Upto AV7, it gives you an equal or better chance of staying on the field than a +1 AV.  Granted there is an increase chance of the player eating dirt when compared to an actual +1 AV, but it is avaiable on a normal roll for some, or a doubles roll for most.
    So, if you dream of getting a +1 AV for a player with AV less than 8, this is much easier to obtain.
    While there are lots of other more useful skills around, what good are they if you’re player isn’t on the pitch?  😉

    In LRB6, Skeletons effectively become a MA5 Zombie with a 6% increase to being stunned.  This now might make a case for using Skellies over Zombies on the front line.

    Just my 2 cents.  🙂

  3. Perhaps it could be considered useful for Thralls? Helps keep them on the field for those times when your camps just HAVE to bite someone….

    • There are so many far better skills to take on a double skill increase for a Thrall, Dodge or Guard the obvious ones. That would be such a situational use that it isn’t really worth taking.

  4. They should change it to work a bit more like the Stunty modifications in LRB 6; ie if a player rolls 10 on the injury check they are automatically badly hurt and don’t have to roll for casualties.

    You can bet it would give a lot of coaches pause for thought when rolling a skill-up double for especially favourite players..

  5. Nice idea, initial reaction was that I liked it, but then considering every Dwarf has it and how hard they already are too hurt, I don’t think it would go down well.

    Especially in leagues that don’t have much Claw to deal with high armoured opposition. Dwarfs already tend to be a cash rich team, this will also make that worse. If it was a separate skill that combined both, that would be more acceptable I would think. Anyway we are detracting from the actual article now. If anyone else wishes to add anything on this side issue please start a thread on the forum.

  6. I think its a solid 4th skill for heavy blockers like black orcs and mummies. It might not happen very often, but keep in mind the cost of an K.O is huge. You will be off the field for perhaps the whole game. Look at what happens when orcs play dwarves for example. Given enough K.Os, the orc team eventually collapses without enough players to defend themselves.

  7. I quite agree with the coach’s points about Thick Skull BUT under certain circumstances it could be the best choice, for example in my situation: a wood elves team mostly relying on my lucky WD who got +1 AG +1 MA and jump up, meaning he can pretty much leap in a cage, take the ball, dodge away, and score TD in two rounds with 3+ rolls; such a player is obviously being targeted a lot by other coaches from my league. Giving him Jump Up and Thick Skull forces other teams to choose between leaving him alone, or focusing him trying to slow him / get him off the pitch, and this will leave other zones uncovered for some time since the chances of actually knocking him are low. In this situation Thick Skull empowers the “forced-choice” mechanic a long way.

    I apologize for my poor spelling :p

  8. I’d rather have Sidestep there, especially since you already have Jump Up. That way you’ll get chain blocked less often, so it’ll reduce your KOs but also your Injuries too. Plus anyone who blocks you runs a substantial risk of giving you a free block back, which may make opponents less likely to target him in the first place.

    And then add to that all the other uses for Sidestep for marking players and sideline work.

  9. Perhaps one option would be to buff thick skull into a stronger skill, but take tackle away from dwarves. In other words, buff and nerf dwarves at the same time. I think overall, dwarves would come out better in that trade.

    All that that tackle from game 1 makes dwarves broken in certain match ups, but at the same times, I think dwarves feel underpowered facing teams with no dodge players.

    If you take away tackle and buff thick skull, it would make the team feel equally strong in all matchups rather than just easily crushing some, and being crushed by others.

    just a random thought.

  10. I could see Thick Skull being a very interesting choice for a 5th or even 6th skill after you’re player has gotten any/all goodies they want, preferably on a guy with strength access on a normal roll. If for example you got a Human Blitzer who has all the tools he could ever want to blitz a guy and he didn’t get any double rolls, then why not make him harder to remove from the pitch? After all, all that TV sunk on him is useless if he feels like taking a nap in the KO box.

  11. If you give Thick Skull to a player with Stunty then he’s Stunned on 2-6, KO’d on a 7, and Stunned on an 8. Right? Seems a bit odd.

    • It is odd but correct. Can’t see why anyone would ever want to use a double roll on a Stunty player to pick Thick Skull though. Due to this the oddness was overlooked rather than add in rules for a scenario that isn’t really likely to occur. If it does then you just have to live with the odd rules in this instance.

  12. I wanted to add an odd reasoning i missed here.
    Thick Skull affect the odds of fouling in a reasonable way. If you have a guy on the ground a lot, then fouled, thick skull can cause more people to be sent of then piling on gives casualties. Well cause is a bit thick, but if it keeps your player on the pitch, it serves its purpose.

  13. I would take it as a late skill on a player with only strength access on normal rolls (e.g. Rat Ogres, Yhetees, Trolls, BoN, Deathrollers, Mummies, Tomb Guardians).

    I do think Thick Skull should be a general rather than strength skill so lineman can take it on a normal roll. From a fluff perspective it works since lineman are often placed on the line of scrimmage to absorb offensive blocks so could reasonably develop a talent for shaking off these blows. It would be a decent 4th skill for any lineman with only general access as after Block/Wrestle + Tackle + Fend you start running out of quality skills and you’d probably get more use out of Thick Skull than say Dauntless or Pro. It would be particularly useful for AV7 lineman like Skaven, Amazon, Norse, Hobgoblins and most of all Thralls who gain the second advantage of being able to survive Blood Lust bites more easily.

  14. I think that thick skull works well for low armour ‘big guys’ eg. yhetee & rat ogre
    also, on undead, it makes them almost invincible!

    • The reason being, those low armour big guys often provide the team with the ability to stand up to a thrashing and take hits. Said teams do *not* want to loose that player to a KO

  15. Would it be viable to change the effects of Thick Skull into “ignore the effect of Massive Blow”?
    A nerf skill might not be too popular, but apart from that:

    First of all I think it would not be too far-fetched considering fluff.

    Such a skill might be taken as a suitable protection against MB, namely big guys and (C)POMBers.
    On the other hand, it would lose its effectiveness against all without MB, and against fouling.
    So it would slightly nerf dwarves, especially against teams without big guys and MB, but as such teams tend to have dodge, which is already nerfed by dwarven tackling, this might be acceptable.

    So maybe such a skill could be taken for extra protection against MB, but as taking it means NOT taking another skill, it still wouldn’t be an early choice staple skill, especially since it would still be a doubles skill for typical POMB targets.

    Maybe it could even go as far as also protect against Dirty Player, considering typical fouling targets would need a double…

    • Given that most the players who have Thick Skull are already high armoured Dwarves I’m not sure this would go down well. It would help Skeletons but they aren’t overly common. It would make it a more desirable skill to select, it still wouldn’t make it good enough to pick it over most other skills in my opinion.


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