Sunday, November 21, 2010

Soul Reapers Fandex Design notes part 1

I figure since I just posted the final playtest PDF I should give a little insight into the ideas behind the choices I made along the way.

This project was entered from a how to make Chaos Marines feel unique from a background perspective; while keeping them realistically playable on the tabletop.

I am not a fan of the Cult troops are the only way to make a viable army aspect of the current Chaos Space Marine Codex. In fact it bores me to tears.

With every new Marine codex that is released the Chaos Marine codex feels more and more out of date. From the current design standpoint the units are overpriced and stagnant. The worst hit units in the codex are the non-Cult ones.

This was always meant to be a supplement to the C:CSM, but it has gone from a simple mini-dex just used to enhance and supplement a few things in the Codex Chaos Marines; it is now a complex full blown fandex drawing very little from the Codex Chaos Marines. It will always have to draw some things from the C:CSM as I do not want GW IP violations to kill the project.

Through the project I have rewritten all of the non-Cult squad entries, in an attempt to:

A) Bring them more inline with the 5th ed design style

B) Create unique units befitting their status as veterans of thousands of years of endless conflict.

I fully understand that most of the community will not agree with some or all of the choices I have made, and I am fine with that. After all I don’t see the need to have a hard core tournament scene for playing with toy soldiers, since I play for recreation, and I am sure the competitive crowd don’t mind that I don’t care for tourneys. To each his own I say.

The first change I would like to look at is the Fear is for the Weak special rule for the Soul Reapers.

I knew that the basic Chaos marine types needed a special rule to really have value at their points costs. The last thing I wanted to do was falling into the oft touted give 'em Fearless you hear all over the interwebz. I have said it before and I will say it again, I am not a huge fan of fearless. Funny thing is as much as I tried to avoid it, I kinda ended up creating a poor version of it with out the perks, then in the end abandoned it completely.

This is the 4th and final version of the rule; it has been shoved through the meat grinder during playtesting. The initial version was really close the SM ATSKNF, but I quickly got outta that trap. The second version oddly enough is essentially the same as the final version, but it was removed at the time because I was still using the icon of Chaos Glory out of the C:CSM, and re-rolls on Stubborn is just overpowered.

Then I came up with the complicated version which was a slight combination of Fearless and Stubborn. This version of Fear is for the Weak lasted for 9 months, but was extremely brutal on the army due to the no retreat wounds. It also failed once I replaced the Icon of Chaos Glory. So not only were the Reapers taking extra wounds they were routing on top of it.

So after a lot of thought I brought back the Stubborn version of the rule and it has been smooth sailing ever since. I also kept the ability to always be able to regroup right down to the last Marine, since a single Marine is a viable threat from a background perspective.

Next time I will go into some of the unit changes that I made and explain some of why I did what I did.

Upward and onward.


  1. It's extremely interesting for me to see your thought process on this. Often homebrew rules seem to appear almost as if from thin air, and I really enjoy reading about the very thorough process that you've worked on with this project. Very interesting indeed.

  2. As always, your work is very inspiring. It makes me wanna do a fan-dex for the Night Lords. Right now I play with C:CSM and C:BA depending on my mood. There's still plenty of room for change, though, 'cause neither particularly feels right to me on how Night Lords should play.

  3. Thanks for the support guys!

    Quietviper, off the top of my head, if I were to do a Fandex for Night Lords, I'd start off with the Fear is for the Weak rule I used for the Soul Reapers; granting them all Stubborn and the ability to regroup below half strength.

    I would move Raptors into the Troops section.

    I would then give the Raptors Hit and Run plus the option to buy Furious Charge or Scout; the Bikers Scout plus the option to buy Furious Charge or Hit and Run.

    Just thought I'd toss those ideas out there!


  4. Don't forget Night Vision and Move through Cover!

  5. How about Pray Sight from the books?

    I have 4 words: Go For It Jim.