So with the new rules released, my mind has been running hot with thoughts of all the things that could be added into the system, seemingly, relatively easily. Unfortunately there isn't much of a gaming community nearby, so rather than spend my days talking to myself I thought I'd regurgitate some of my thoughts to you all and generate some discussion. So please tell me what you think.
Now I've tried to keep my mind on areas where it seems unlikely that AT will be treading for at least the next year or so. Namely Xenos and expanding the scale to include smaller things. Also I'd like to apologise for the wall of text.
As a long time Eldar player I've spent a lot of time pondering the Eldar. Where possible I'd like the various races to play differently to the Imperium and with the combination of speed/frailty and holofields, Eldar are probably one of the furthest along the spectrum away from what we have.
- Armour: Given that the Eldar traditionally prioritise basically everything else over armour I would think that the Armour of Eldar Titans would be in the range of Imperial Knights (9-12, 13-15,16+). i.e. Even the lightest weapons in the game are at least a threat to them if they hit, and hitting an Eldar Titan with a big weapon is going to cause issues.
- Structure: In keeping with the speed/frailty ideas I think that even a Phantom would be relatively fragile (Approximately Warhound structure levels). This makes every hit on them telling and makes them much more of a skirmishing force than a comparable Imperial battlegroup.
- Holofields: I went back and forth on this a few times. Perhaps the simplest way of doing these would be to give Eldar Titans a holofield save against all incoming hits (similar to the old BFG rules). But I feel that having Holofields provide cover is more fitting with their fluff and it feels more like the Eldar is avoiding fire rather than stopping it. Initially I would probably go with Holofields always providing a base 25% cover and that increases to 50% if the Titan moves. I went with this rather than providing a penalty to hit rolls, because the penalty would stack with existing cover and allow for mobile Eldar titans in cover to become essentially untargetable.
- Agility: With the passive holofield effect Eldar titans are still going to be relatively easy to hurt compared to an Imperial that uses terrain. So in order to compensate I thought that each Eldar Titan could have in essence a limited number of 'dodges' where the pilot uses their superior reflexes/technology to avoid shots that should hit them. The limit on how often it can be used would be based on the Titan's Manoeuvre rating and reduced by 1 for each turn the Titan makes during the movement phase. So a Titan turning to bring its weapons to bear would have fewer 'dodges' making it a balancing act between offense and defense. Declaring "Power to the Stabilisers" would boost the number of 'dodges'/turns that can be made. I was thinking that the 'dodge save' could then be based on a command check with each successive dodge being harder to make, but the notation required for that on the command sheet and the fact that not everyone has enough d10s to make the rolling quick means I've been leaning more towards a straight 3+/4+ save roll. Unlike with shields any hits that aren't saved will go through to hit the body of the Titan, so high volume firepower will have an advantage against Eldar regardless of Strength.
- Eldar Titans tend not to have the carapace weapons that are seen on those of other races, limiting them to only 2 arm-mounted weapons each. In order to make up for that I was considering something akin to the Warlord's Ardex-defensor Cannon ability, with a slightly longer range (8" or so) and only available in the foreward arc. The specifics of volume/strength of shots is certainly up for discussion.
- Pulsars: These tend to be the primary weapon of the Eldar Titan and to my mind they are the Eldar Turbo Laser equivalent. So I would probably advocate them having very similar stats to the Turbo Laser with some addition to cover their rapid rate of fire. I think that there are two main alternatives for representing this rate of fire. The first would just be to give the weapons the Rapid trait in addition to what they have. The other would be to give them more Dice than Imperial equivalents, which could be either fixed, or variable. One other option is that they could have a new trait, but I feel that the two previous options would be easier to implement/balance.
- Distortion Cannon: For me this seems the perfect place to make use of the Warp and possibly Blast traits. Now given that a multi-use Warp weapon could be very powerful I think that this should also have Draining and a relatively short max range (24" or less). This would force the Titan to move into the range of enemy rapid fire weapons and risk taking damage, which feels appropriate given its potential.
- Melee weapons: Although the Phantom is smaller than the Warlord I believe that it should be relatively equivalent in terms of firepower, so I would probably use the Arioch Power Claw as a base and make it lower strength in exchange for more dice (like the Reaver Power/Chain Fists).
- Sonic Lance: This weapon has been giving me the most difficulty. I have been leaning towards this being an anti-shield weapon as there isn't much in that role so far and it makes sense to me that the vibrations could easily mess with delicate void shield equipment. So that necessitates it being at least strength 4. I also think that given how it's represented in 40K the flamer template is appropriate, as is the Firestorm trait. On top of that in order to make it good at its intended role it will need to have a reasonable chance of hurting shields, so Shieldbane and/or Voidbreaker (X) are viable options. Exactly how far this should go I think I'd need to play with because this combination of abilities feels a bit tricky to judge theoretically.
- Revenant Jumpjets: For these I think that simply letting the Revenant push it's reactor to ignore terrain for the movement phase seems fairly reasonable.
- Other stats: For comparison purposes I will equate the Phantom with the Reaver Titan and the Revenant with the Warhound.
- Command: I see the Eldar pilots as being more experienced than their Imperial counterparts due to their expanded lifespans, so either a higher Command value or some form of re-roll ability (Infinity Circuit?) would seem appropriate.
- Ballistic/Weapon Skill: For gameplay reasons I think it is preferable to leave the base BS/WS values the same as they are for the Imperial versions.
- Speed/Manoeuvre: I think that the Phantom having Warhound levels of mobility fits with the fluff. Which then leaves the Revenant needing to be faster/more manoeuvrable. So, perhaps 10"/15" for speed and 5/7 for manoeuvre? That would let it keep pace with knights and turn 180° without needing to push it's reactor.
- Servitor Clades: I think that having these be the same as their Imperial equivalents would make for a good starting point, because although they won't be needing to repair voids they will be wanting to push their manoeuvre/speed to capitalise on their advantages.
- Reactor: I think having this be the same as their equivalents is fitting, but maybe skewing it so they are more weighted to the green/yellow than the orange/red?
- Criticals: I feel like most of these would work as they are (with the obvious exception of VSG Burnout). I think having the Body Location be: 1. Reactor Leak (1); 2. Reactor Leak (1), Holofield Damaged; 3. Reactor Leak (1), Holofield Overload. With Holofield Damaged being you reduce the cover benefit of the Holofields by 25% and Holofield Overload being reduce the cover benefit of the Holofields by 50%. So with the Damaged level you have to move to get any benefit and at the Overload level you have no benefits until you fix it.
Well, that's taken me much longer to type up than I thought it would. So I'll stop here for now. Please let me know what you think of this so far. Am I completely off base here or should I keep plowing away along this path?