When it comes to DIY
rules, I come from the more conservative camp, preferring a few special rules to spice things up, but focusing on theme and personality to really set organizations apart from their counterparts. My stance on the Adeptus Astartes is that each Chapter should be a variation on a theme. There are a few that should be vastly different, but I think that most should largely follow the basic pattern. The shortcoming in this type of thinking (okay, maybe “a” shortcoming) is that GW
gets the nod whenever they make a Chapter really different, but other hobbyists don’t (which is unfair, I know).
My assumption with homegrown codex supplements is that the author is aiming for something on par with what we’ve seen in White Dwarf Magazine. Not all Chapters need to be so limited, but restraint to this level generally makes such homegrown rules more acceptable to and likely to be allowed for use by other players. When players try to make their homegrown efforts on par with the larger codex supplements such as those for the Dark Angels and Space Wolves, while all of the hard work and creativity might be commendable, they are much less likely to be accepted by others (and the ultimate goal of any homegrown rules development, after all, is for those rules to be used
). More expansive efforts can be every bit as good as those that GW
has given us, but the more divergent rules become, the less likely it is that you’re going to be able to use these rules for their intended purpose.
While the paper texture background looks great on the screen, it is terrible for a document that is intended to be downloaded and printed. I know this from personal experience with the article I composed for my Nova Hawks Chapter
. Background imagery like this does two things that are bad for printing:
- Throws formatting/sizing off. Many people either don’t haver printers that can print borderless, or don’t know/care how to make their printers print borderless. As a result, documents can be re-sized by a printer in order to shrink everything down into the printable area; or some imagery will be cut off (the latter wouldn’t really have an adverse effect on your file).
- Uses lots of ink.
I’ve found that it’s usually better to limit the use of textured backgrounds and decorative imagery, using them sparingly. Alternately, having two versions works – the first is the fancy dancy full color deluxe version for viewing on a screen and the second is the plain version for printing.
From a presentation perspective, I also recommend breaking up the large blocks of text. The addition of flavor text (quotes, background, etc.) and imagery, as well as the judicious use of white space, can go a long way towards making it easier for the reader. Also, when using smaller text, using multiple columns helps. This is part of the reason that GW’s codices and Index Astartes articles appear the way they do.
How much playtesting have you conducted with these rules? I’ve found in my own previous efforts that it’s easy to come up with lots of interesting ideas, but playtesting often shows where the ideas need to be adjusted. Playtesting is less important with small rules (e.g., a single Chapter Tactic, Warlord Trait, or Relic – as long as those look comparable to their official counterparts), but is much more important when there are myriad new rules that work in combination with each other, as in the rules you’ve developed.
You have included a lot of material that is duplicated from Codex: Space Marines
. For the Exorcists, everything on pages 5 and 6, and most of the material on page 7 (until you get down to the Chapter Tactics) is pretty much verbatim. The Red Hunters repeat the same material starting at the bottom of page 5 all the way through the very top of page 8. You could simply refer the reader to “See Codex: Space Marines
” and save both space and the hassle of having to update later if GW
makes revisions via FAQ
If you’re working in Microsoft Word, you can more clearly show the keywords by making them bold and selecting the small caps option (you can find that by clicking the small drop down arrow at the bottom right of the Font section on the Home tab). Other applications have similar options.
“Should the model already have the PSYKER Keyword…”
“Should the model already have the PSYKER
Note that I achieved that effect here at the B&C using the bold and size BBCode:
You have used “tenant” several times (in the Exorcists file) when you mean to use the word “tenet.”
Both files have instances where the other Chapter’s name appears (i.e., “Red Hunters” in the Exorcists file and “Exorcists” in the Red Hunters file).
I like the Exorcists Chapter Tactics that you chose. They do an excellent job of representing how the Exorcists were portrayed prior to the Badab War campaign books. The only thing I don’t like about them is the name which implies (to me) that they recite verses during the battle in order to achieve the results. The only problem with these Chapter Tactics is that they are somewhat limited. They will work great against certain DAEMON
-heavy opponents such as the Thousand Sons, Chaos Daemons, and Grey Knights, but will be of very little impact against some other opponents. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because it’s characterful and is true to the lore. For some players, however, this will be a severe drawback. You have mitigated this somewhat with the LIBER EXORCISMUS
rules, as well as other areas of the Chapter’s rules that aren’t so focused on daemons and psykers.
The one area I would have liked to have seen developed more was the Orisons. These seem like the obvious area where the Exorcists could really have been differentiated from other Chapters (even though I chose not to do this in my own version of the Exorcists). The limitation, of course, is the fact that we’ve only been given the names and very brief descriptions of three of the Orisons. The concept of the Orisons, though, is such that expanding on the types of Orisons that the Exorcists might have probably wouldn’t be that difficult. If you have The Horus Heresy IX – Crusade
, the Dark Angels’ early organization and later re-organization into the “wings” provides a suitable model for the likely variety in the Exorcists’ Orisons. The Orisons could have been applied to a variety of areas, including
Stratagems and Warlord Traits (which you’ve done), but also in terms of Crusade rules (which you haven’t done), especially Honorifics and Requisitions. A reasonable expansion beyond the three known Orisons would be very easy, the only really “creative” part being the names chosen. The examples that GW
provided in the three known Orisons, however, provide a good model for how the other Orisons might be named. Even if GW
later expands on the names/descriptions of the Orisons, the only thing that is likely to be different between a reasonably developed DIY
and any potential official expansion is the names.
I’m not a fan of the “Banishah” concept. The name itself is a huge turnoff for me, evoking too much Orkiness. The role described for the Banish Masters sounds like a Veteran Scout Sergeant, or maybe a Lieutenant, and the stat line is kind of in that area. From the description, however, it sounds like they should be either limited to the Scout Companies (detachments or squads) and/or adjusted to other areas of the rules instead of needing a unit entry (a Warlord Trait, Stratagem, Honorific, etc.). You’ve described a class of members within the Chapter that is outside of the norm for the Adeptus Astartes, but then given us only one example as a special character. If the special character can operate with Exorcists forces, it would seem that the more typical members of his class would similarly operate with Exorcists forces.
I’m not a fan of how you’ve named the protocols. Instead of naming them for the legions, I would have named them for the concepts. The concepts seem fine, but the naming just doesn’t work (for me).
The strike teams concept seems unnecessary to me. It appears to be an attempt to pattern the Red Hunters after the Deathwatch and its kill teams. Though the Red Hunters have a close relationship with and often operate with the Inquisition, they are portrayed [in Insignium Astartes
as a Codex Chapter. That leaves a lot of room for variation (e.g., the Raven Guard are organized into “Shadow Companies”). Conceptually, calling task-organized forces “strike teams” seems perfectly reasonable, but the teams you’ve developed are essentially four unique units. It would have been far more elegant to implement these as a type of stratagem allowing a single veteran unit to be taken as a troops choice for 1 CP
(each strike team stratagem allowing for the player to choose one from a number of unit options).
Some of the Warlord Traits you’ve created for the Red Hunters might be better as Crusade Rules. The Ordo Induction Protocols, Moritat Doctrinal Mnemonic Protocol, Mnemonic Command Retrieval, and For the God-Emperor traits look like traits that happen as part of a progression within the Crusade context.
I’m leery of the number of Stratagems you’ve included, but I’m not sure if I’m in the right on that. At the very least, though, I think that the “Cache” Stratagems should have to be picked out and assigned to units before the battle, and they should be Requisition Stratagems. Alternately, if they are kept as Wargear Stratagems, model them after the Hellfire Shells Stratagem on page 105 of the codex.
I don’t think that the Animus Malorum should be in anyone’s hands beside Sergeant Centurius.
For both Chapters you have special-issue wargear. I don’t have any of the 9th edition codex supplements yet, so I don’t know if you’ve drawn from those supplements for this kind of equipment. I can see where the Deathwatch might need it. Most of the “special-issue wargear” looks like it should be in the Relics section. As it is, it just looks like a way to have even more special stuff without it being obvious that your Chapters both have a lot
of special relics.
I don’t like the Artificer Armour entry (both Chapters). The Chapter Master on page 98 of the codex has the Angel Artifice relic, which is artificer armour. There is also the Armour Indomitus. Even if artificer armour was
a proper relic (which I think it should be), it should be in Codex: Space Marines
along with digital weapons.
I don’t like the Adamantine Mantle. I know that this was a piece of wargear that was available to all Chapters at one point, but it’s origin was as a piece of wargear unique to the Salamanders. If all Chapters were supposed to have it, it would be in Codex: Space Marines
. As it is, the Space Marines already have access to a lot of invulnerable saves through iron halos, storm shields, combat shields, Terminator armour, and the Shield Eternal. I could see if either the Exorcists or
the Red Hunters had this relic, but not both.
A potential problem I see is that you have given the Red Hunters so much that is different. There are the Inquisitorial Indoctrinations (3), Doctrinal Mnemonic Protocols (18), Inquisitorial Assignment, Strike Teams (4), as well as all of the Stratagems, Warlord Traits, etc. I think that the same problem applies to the Exorcists having their Chapter Tactics, Liber Exorcismus, Malleus-Operatio, two different sets of Warlord Traits, as well as the more likely Stratagems, Relics, unique psychic discipline, etc.
I think that each of the ideas is interesting and works fine, but all of them together is too much (for me).
I would cut each down to three/six Unique Warlord Traits and a reasonable number of Stratagems and Relics (merging the Special-Issue Wargear with the Relics and then cutting out those that aren’t really unique to these Chapters). Chapter Tactics are a given, but you might want to adjust those to merge in concepts that you’ve used elsewhere. I’d replace the Red Hunters’ Inquisitorial Indoctrinations with the Mnemonic Protocols (since those were the concept of the Chapter Tactics that Forge World gave them). You might even merge the Inquisitorial Indoctrinations into the Mnemonic Protocols. I would definitely pare the number of protocols down, however. Eighteen (potentially twenty-one if you merge the indoctrinations) is far too much flexibility over other Chapters. The protocols have to be considered in tandem with the Combat Doctrines. All by themselves, the concept of the Mnemonic Protocols is very powerful.
I previously recommended that the Strike Teams concept be adjusted, but it occurred to me that if the Inquisitorial Indoctrinations and Mnemonic Protocols are adjusted significantly (merged and pared down to about six total protocols), you might combine the Strike Teams concept with them to form the Chapter’s Chapter Tactics (bullet/power one being the revised protocols and bullet/power two being the strike teams). The Strike Teams concept can then be simplified to allowing a single veteran unit choice to be taken as a Troops choice, potentially with some small additional benefit. That would put the level overall power level of the Chapter on par with other Chapters. A lot of what you might cut out could be re-packaged as Crusade rules (which include Agendas, Requisitions, Battle Traits, Honorifics, and Crusade Relics).
If all of the above sounds overly critical, understand that I really like all of the work that you’ve done. While I prefer much less in the way of being distinctive, there’s nothing wrong with the level of deviation that you’ve developed for each of these Chapters. You have made each very distinctive and representative of the lore.
If you don’t make any of the changes I’ve recommended (don’t feel as if I’m telling you that you must
make any changes or that my opinion means anything, I won’t hold it against you in the least), I highly recommend the presentation changes I’ve suggested (removing the background for print versions, breaking up the blocks of text). I’d also like to see images, especially of finished miniatures. This is a visual hobby, after all, and seeing pictures of the unique units and named characters, as well as examples of Chapter heraldry and homeworlds, goes a long way towards making such articles much more visually interesting (I need images of minis in my own articles, too). You don’t need to have images on every page, but a few sprinkled here and there will help immensely.