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(originally posted at the Bolter & Chainsword, but I want to spread the idea as far as possible).
First of all, the founding basis of this plan is:Though that really should have been 'constructive' criticism. To say, "Games Workshop is pants at writing rules", while critical (and by all evidence true), is hardly constructive. But far be it from me to tamper with a proper quote.The most sincere form of loyalty one can offer is criticism.
But still, I love the miniatures that Games Workshop manufactures. I just want a reason to buy more, and convince my friends to buy them, and the way that GW's long-term business plan seems to be panning out ("Revise the most popular armies as often as possible, forcing people to buy new miniatures because their old ones are obsolete") just isn't convincing me that's a good idea.
What I want to do is create a wikipedia-style rulebook that would, if we fans worked hard on it, take the rule-writing out of the hands of a company that has repeatedly avowed itself to be interested solely in creating and selling models (failing to see that a well-written game would sell models).
Let them create and sell models. They're good at it. What they're not good at is balancing rules for tournament play.
The goal I set forth is: Create a basic rules set, along with expanded army lists covering any and all possibilities that a player might wish to field, building on the established universe and background of Warhammer 40,000, and spread the idea far enough that it would supersede the official GW rules except in situations where Games Workshop itself is hosting the tournament.
I don't want to do it HERE, in this forum, because I don't have the means of setting it up right now, and because this forum is power-armor only and the rulebook would naturally have rules for all armies. What I'd like to do in this thread is discuss how to set it up and potential problems I'd run into. I'd also prefer to withhold actual action until I see how 5th Edition, and especially the 'new' Space Marine Codex, looks. I just want to put the idea out there and let the idea percolate.
1) IP conflicts. While having the books entirely online would save both printing and writing costs (and actually mean the rules will be playtested), and while a well-written game would create a larger playerbase, I rather doubt that Games Workshop will see this logically and will resort to their deadliest weapons, the lawyers.
Possible solutions could be to 'hilariously' rename the game to "Warhamster 41k" and make sure all the names are just slightly different then the official Games Workshop names. Or perhaps obtain some bulletproof hosting and give GW the straight-up finger.
Or, and what I would love to see in an ideal world, is for Games Workshop to give its blessing to the project (and heave a sigh of relief at not having the responsibility). I don't see that as a strong possibility, however, until GW is forced to accept its existence as a fait accompli (accomplished fact). They do, for better or worse, have a character flaw that could only be described as "Blindness to the fact that their business exists on the sufferance of fans."
2) Wikidiots. Heinlein one described a committee as "The only being in existence with a hundred bellies and no brain", and Wikipedia is a dictionary written by that committee. Compound that with the fact that there would be more than a few juvenile players whose only interest would be in either nerfing the army of their worst opponent or buffing their own army could derail the open-source rulebook before it got started.
The solution would be, I think, a two-stage process to any edits. The first step would be a forum where people would bring up rules difficulties ("Lash is WAY overpowered, and should be fixed" as an example), and people would chime in, suggest solutions, playtest said solutions, and over the course of time, after a balanced solution is found (limit of 0-1, or reducing the range to 12", or increasing the cost) the editors would confer and add the balanced solution to the official wiki entry.
3) Editor bias. While slightly touched upon above, there's the fact that the people most motivated to enter the byzantine world of Wikipedia and rise to the top have no life and an axe to grind. The danger is that a clique of editors could arise who all feel one way ("Dark Eldar need to go the way of the Squats!") and force their bizarre view on all the other players, including the ones who love Dark Eldar.
The solutions could be twofold: one, there could be a viewable forum where all editor debates on rule additions would take place, but no one but editors would be allowed to post in any of the threads. A "reputation point" system could be instated for editors too.
4) Army expansion. OK. We've got the basic Space Marine army. What about White Scars? Or Space Wolves? Or 13th Company? Or an Exodite Eldar army list added to the basic Eldar list? Or a Legion list for each branch of Chaos? Where do we draw the line with new armies, and how do we show Games Workshop where the interest is for new armies, and how do we involve them in expanding the possibilities? While some might have seen the Ogre Kingdoms as a bizarre choice when some Warhammer armies haven't had a new book in entirely too long, the addition of new models livened up the entire game - plastics that were easy to convert into new Gretchin or Ogryns, additions to existing armies, or so many other possibilities. How do we keep GW involved with the creation of new possibilities?
The solution practically suggests itself. Another part of the forum would be for experimental army lists, and HOPEFULLY GW would get the idea that maybe if they made the minis we wanted (Genestealer cult list?) we would buy them! Right now, it's as if Games Workshop is ordering us, "These are the armies you'll play, and you'll like 'em!" while we're like, "Uhhh... couldn't we, uh, you know, maybe get an army list for Harlequins? Or some official rules for Allies?"
4) Foreign language players. GW has a wide following on the continent and I'd hate to leave them and their output of it.
Perhaps having translated versions of the pages would be enough? I'm no language elitist, but we can hardly expect everyone to speak every possible language. English could serve as a lingua franca (haha) to begin with, and expand from there.
Like I said, this is a fair way off, and lately all I've been able to play is Chairhammer 40k because I'm a fair ways away from the nearest game store and I'm reluctant to drag new players in when the game is sliding downhill rapidly. But before I started a project like this I'd want some intelligent discourse on how it could be run, and make sure to have the ground rules hammered out (pun intended) before I even started it.
The main reason I want to do it is because I read that Adepticon had to make a rulebook just to clarify the poorly-written GW rules anyway. Why not just cut out the middle man and, since they have so little interest in making good, balanced, FAIR rules, make the rules ourselves?
Any other thoughts?
Cool Idea, but which way do you want to go? A complete re-write or just an “advanced” 40K, i.e. keeping most of the current core rules and just adding/altering bits?
I recall a member known as Mossmac posted some excellent ideas for a new game sometime back. He went very far with his project. Do yourself a favor and search it out.
Holler when you have an idea for such a forum because I think its a great idea and I'm willing to donate my brainmeat to the community!
Mossmac and the rest of us built "Lethal 40K" here a year or so back? (Was it? I've been inactive for so long, I can't remember) It's now going to press sometime.
Therefore, can I call some experience and offer pointers on this?
1) Great idea. I've heard far too many people say they don't like the current rules/GW are only trying to sell minis/etc/etc. You won't be lost for support.
2) There are plenty of free wiki hostings. When I was working out an alternative universe very similar to the W40K ones (to get round copyright rules, it had some similarities in terms of units but I changed the armies/factions around a lot), I used one from here: Scratchpad Wiki Labs - Scratchpad Wiki Labs - Free wikis from Wikia . Handy.
3) Wikis are not intended to work as discussion forums, AMS. Thus you are making your life a lot more difficult in starting one from scratch.
4) I'm happy to help wherever.
If it ain't broke, it might need fixing.
The difficult we do immediately. The impossible may take a little longer.US Army Corps of EngineersMember of Advanced 40K development team (self-appointed)
I would be willing to help, me and my friends already have our own modified 40k system and codexes that we have been play testing for about 6 months now. If you like I can post it here, at the very least it might give you guys some ideas.
- You must set fire to water or you will be extinguished.
Good luck with the idea - I will be interested in what you come up with.
Lethal Wargaming is coming along nicely - Already got basic page template worked out -
Artwork/photos are still a work in progress - although example pages are looking great
the guys I am working with really want the finished product to be something special so we are not rushing it
The main book is divided into three - the first is going to be a 'generic' rule book
The second part is a creation section allowing gamers to create their own units (with plenty of examples of course)
The third section is going to be a Lethal History/scenario section - a lot of original creativity going into this - and at the moment very Hush hush:ninja3:
Finding out about printing costs, Marketing, copyright etc has opened up a whole new world to me:drinking:
Hey man, great to hear the project is coming along.8Y Any idea when it might be available for the general public? How are you going to hand the Codices? Are they in part one, the generic rules?
Any chance your rules could be the basis of the Living Rulebook Project (please, please, please). :ballon:
Lethal Wargaming is invisaged as a Hardback generic rulebook that will allow players to create units in any genre/universe and play with a set of rules that is realistic and tactically challenging.
At the moment it looks like it will be at least 200 pages long (maybe more) and we really want it to be full colour. Retail price we are estimating is about £30 and you will be able to buy it and get it delivered online as well as in major book shops and hobby stockists.
Regarding 40K we will have to be careful on how we deal with that due to copyright laws. It is very doubtful we could just put codex Space marines for example into the rule book. However the rule book IS full of ideas to help you create a realistic 'heavily armoured superhuman warrior armed with a powerful assault weapon!'.
Where the codex will appear, I would think, is on message boards such as this one, after the publication of the Lethal Wargaming Rules. We couldn't 'officially' endorse them' but we certainly wouldn't actively discourage them. Indeed Lethal Wargaming is (and has been for some time now) the only way I play 40K.
Having realised this, we have been looking at the best way to pitch the rulebook to the wider audiance. We really do think we have a stonking rules set and an excellent easy/in depth way of creating your units in any genre, so a specific background is not so important. Having said that everyone working on this are massive fantasy/scifi buffs and so we wanted to create something special of our own that all you scifi/fantasy fans could really get your teeth into.
We are looking at catching a wide audience here so while the rulebook will be genric and include examples from historical as well as scifi backgrounds, the final 'History' section will start off in a more 'Historical setting' that will lend itself to fantasy/scifi leanings. We have an excellent young writer working on the backround to this section .......I really can't say any more on this with fear of giving too much away and getting into trouble with the other guys:ninja2: at this early stage (this is an incredably exciting part of the publication;Y)
Expected time of publication? Well with a lot going on it is difficult to say - but a provisional date is Summer 2009.
Hope this wets your apetite.
Time to Kill
I have my own set of tactical wargame rules that are pretty much a more playable and simple version of 2nd ed (you can throw grenades!). I'm thinking about publishing it, but if some of you guys wanted to playtest it i'd be willing to share.