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I've been doing the write-up for my fan codex for a while, and one of the things I've been playing around with mentally is the idea of being able to take squads of 1-3 of things like Predators and Dreadnoughts.
Usually, superfluous, the idea came to the forefront when I started looking at the BA codex. Standard dreadnoughts are now heavy support. The problem, well, vindicators, Stormravens, and devastator squads are there too. The same problem exists for the elites section too. Ultimately, they are simply too stacked for their own good.
Furthermore, things like Baal Predators, which rock, take up an FOC slot all by themselves. So even assuming best case scenario you can only take 3, which is sad now that they've added the awesome Flamestorm Baal in addition to the TLAC/ HB one. I'd like to take 2 of each, but I would be stuck at 3.
Anyways, the thing I've been trying to get with my fan codex is versatility. Being able to field literally dozens of army types from a single book is an appealing prospect, and having squads of predators, dreadnoughts and drop pods fits well. Here how I've been writing the rules for squads.
Baal Predators/ Predators: 1-3 tanks. Each tank must remain within 3" of each other (instead of the normal 2" coherency). Normal rules for squadrons. One tank must be upgraded to a command tank if there are more than 2 tanks (you may purchase the command tank upgrade if there is more than one tank in the unit, but it is not required if there are only 2 tanks, and you may not make the purchase if there is only one tank) for +30 points. A command tank has a BS of 5. It is the same as a normal tank in all other respects.
If the tanks come on from reserve they come on as a unit and follow rules for coherency. Same for scouting and outflanking as it applies to Baal predators. They must all fire at the same unit.
Tank shocking: seeing one tank coming at you is scary. Seeing three is down right terrifying. The morale test to see if one retreats from a tank shock is taken at -1 for each extra tanks (aka a -1 at 2 tanks, and a -2 at 3). If a character succeeds in a Death or Glory, it affects only a single tank in terms of damage, but all tanks stop movement at that point. Furthermore, the tanks not hit by the Death or Glory attack fire as though they had moved one order higher than they truly did (combat speed movement is treated as cruising speed, cruising speed treated as flat out for the purposes of shooting).
Dreadnoughts: A squad of 1-3 dreadnoughts must all be the same type (ergo, no mixing ironclads with normal dreadnoughts or furiosos with normal dreadnoughts). They must remain within 2" coherency. They may only shoot at a single unit. If there are 3 dreadnoughts then one dreadnought must be upgraded to a Venerable dreadnought. This costs +50 points, gives the dreadnought WS and BS5, as well as the Venerable special rule. If there are only 2 dreadnoughts, then the Venerable upgrade may be bought, but it is not required. The Dreadnoughts follow all of the rules for vehicles in squads.
Note that if a unit of 3 venerable dreadnoughts is taken then no dreadnought need be upgraded to a command dreadnought.
In assault the dreadnoughts operate exactly as a unit would.
If one Dreadnought takes a drop pod then all of them must take a drop pod. The 3 pods drop in the manner stated below. Once they disembark they are allowed to be out of coherency for the remainder of the turn and until the beginning of the controlling player's next turn. At that time, the controlling player's movement phase, the 3 dreadnoughts must immediately move into coherency. If this is not possible, then the dreadnought may also run in the shooting phase to get back into coherency. If he can still not reach coherency, then the dreadnought immediately ends its turn there.
If a stranded dreadnought is assaulted, roll a dice. On a 3+, the Dreadnought is distraught from being separated from its brothers, and will have -1 attack at initiative 1 in assault. On a 1 or a 2, the dreadnought is enraged and panicked. It gets +1 attack, and makes them at +1 initiative. However, any penetrating hits add 1 on the vehicle damage chart.
Note that while dreadnoughts may fire the turn they disembark even if they are not in coherency, after that turn they cannot fire until they have returned to coherency. Note that if a Dreadnought must Furthermore, they may not launch assaults, though if assaulted they will fight as normal.
When moving to attempt to get back into coherency (including running), they do not need to take difficult terrain tests. However, all difficult terrain is treated as dangerous terrain. Furthermore, when running to attempt to get into coherency, they may roll two dice and take the higher of the two.
Drop pod units (Drop pods as transports and Deathstorm Drop pods): 1-3 drop pods. If bought for Dreadnoughts, they number the number of dreadnoughts (2 pods for 2 dreadnoughts, 3 for 3). The pods come down using normal scatter rules for drop pods, and are treated as a single deep striking unit for the purposes of reserve rolling and as a single drop pod for the purposes of the drop pod assault rule. The first pod is placed and then scatter is rolled for. After the first pod is placed, the others are placed within 4" of the first pod. Scatter is rolled for these pods, but the pod will only scatter 1d6. Furthermore one pod may buy a guidance beacon for +15 points. If the beacon is bought then the pod with the beacon will come down first and the other pods will not scatter. Upon landing, the guidance beacon is treated the same as a locator beacon.
So what do you guys think of the rules for these 3? These are designed to be used in normal games, not as apocalypse formations. Now that I think about it, I could probably write similar rules for Vindicators and Thunderfire cannons.
Well, I'm not bashing your rules, a quick skim through and they seem fine. However, I am concerned about numbers- sure having 9 dreads is great, but its not fair that I can have only 3 Termie squads, for the same price and F.O.C. Sure having Pred/ Dread Squads is great, but we have the force org to make sure that lists are balanced. The only reason IG/Orks get squadrons is because they are horde armies, we all know that the Marines aren't. The force org chart is there specifically to stop lists like that- 9 dreads/9 preds. I completely understand why you like the idea, however, perhaps simply allowing an extra support/ attack/ elite choice for your list- by this i mean one extra choice, which must be picked from one of those types. To further abate confusion- 'Any army built from this list, recieves one extra Force Organization slot, which may be chosen from one of the following- Elites, Fast Attack, Heavy Support.'
I hope that gives some food for thought.
I should probably have mentioned that these rules make the most sense for my DIY army, which is very technologically inclined and also has a mentality that one should always go into battle with a massive advantage (for fluff this translates to them having more than 1k marines, but only 8 companies, all of which are battle companies, and a lot of tanks and dreadnoughts and terminators, even in the lower companies). Thus, these rules could work for the Space Marine codex, or the Space Wolves, or even the brand new Blood Angels one, but it is designed ideally for my fan codex.
Also, I understand what you are saying about having a lot of dreads and preds not being very marine like, and that allowing you to expand FOC in a slot is a better idea. I did consider that, but I liked the idea of expanding/ reorganizing the the FOC through HQs better. However, I do understand the issues you list.
Perhaps a middle ground of sorts. Separate off Predator squadrons and Dreadnought teams into their own unit separate from normal Predators and Dreadnoughts, and make them 0-1 on the FOC. That way, even in the most dreadnought heavy army, you'd still only have 5 of them, 3 for the squad and 2 more in the elites section (unless you applied these rules to BA, in which case technically you could field 13(?)). But that would be ridiculous. Furthermore, use of Deathstorm drop pods will be 0-1 on the Heavy Support section of the FOC, so people can't take 9 of them anyway.
However, if I'm doing that, I'm inclined to allow people to mix and match dreadnoughts within the dreadnought unit (aka. a regular dreadnought, ironclad, and venerable dreadnought, if we're using the Vanilla codex).
I just typed 1000 words and you glitch- word that rhymes with glitch stupid stupid computer!!
Sighs..Well- the main points what I was just typing---
I like your idea, it fits your fluff well, however, I dont like your squadrons- sure the IG have them, but they are hordes, I think that the Marines are more inclined to be flexible, and therefore wouldn't tie themselves with the limiting squadron rules- everytime I see someone writing Chapter rules, and they have the Aurara- I can't spell it but you know who I mean - and they have them as taking support tanks as squadrons it just erks the heck outta me- so IMO- make them like platoons- they are bought together, but aside form that and deploying together they can do whatever they want.
As for your HQ's- have a 'Company Techmarine Master' like a mini MOF, who allows you to take all vehicles/ Dreads/ Techmarines as 'Groups' of 1-3, which have the same rules as an IG Platoon. Then allow your Captains to take another slot, like my idea, AND allow them to make one type of unit scoring- i.e. all regular termies/ all land raiders- that would let you take more points out of the Troops selections.