Saturday, June 5, 2010

Homebrew Special Character design

Here are some of my tips for designing Homebrew special characters. Points values can be a real pain in the rear to come up with as it seems GW do not a have a clear formula anymore. So I always try to find something comparable to what I am creating and work from there, often adding a point or two initially for balance sake. Sometimes the extra points stay in the final product, but often they do get dropped. Again this is on the cautious side of design, but it is what I have found to work well.

When creating special characters I almost always add 20 points to the Character type before considering any Wargear or Special Rules. These are the base points I use for stat increases to WS/BS are worth 1 point, S/I/A/LD worth 5 points, T/W are worth 10 points each.

This is the points breakdown for the universal special rules that I use. If the character is a Monstrous Creature add +5 points to the points shown below.

Counter Attack 10pts

Eternal Warrior 35pts

Fearless 10pts

Feel no Pain 20pts

Fleet 15pts

Furious Charge 20pts

Hit and Run 20pts

Infiltrate 10pts

Move through cover 5pts

Night Vision/Acute Senses 5pts

Preferred Enemy 10pts

Rage -5pts

Relentless 5pts

Scouts 10pts

Stealth 10pts

Stubborn 15pts

Tank Hunter 5pts

When creating custom special rules you have to really consider the impact of the rule on each and every phase of the game. I usually start at 10pts, and then add +5 for each phase of the game that it can have an effect.

It’s not perfect, but it works for me and tends to feel balanced. The best advice I can give if you are going to create custom special rules is playtest them vigorously; once you feel like you have playtested them thoroughly, playtest some more. You need to make sure to get input from your opponents, about how the character feels, in balance, power and points value.

Feedback is an extremely important part of any rules design and special characters are really the hardest thing to balance. Especially in the eyes of your opponent.

I hope this was useful, for you budding homebrewers out there. If you have any questions feel free to ask.




  1. I would do a caveat and set it up for any stats over 5 cost double points, keep the
    'lol I have a guy with 10s across the board' with a limit also on how many wounds a small model can have

  2. Yeah, someone could give their character 10's across the board, but nobody is going to play against him.

    House rules are very much a by your opponents permission type of thing. So if you go over the top you won't have anyone to play against.


  3. Not having Special Character Design Rules is really disappointing by GW. They should at least release something "unofficially" to help homebrewers.

  4. I concur wholeheartedly Brent! It is a true missed opportunity for GW.

    This is why I am doing my part and sharing my insight on the process.

    I have yet to create a custom special character that anyone refused to play against because it was poorly thought out or designed.


  5. GW has been extremely shortsighted on a good many issues. It seems as time goes by they become more iron fisted on anyone playing the game any way except their way.
    I think they have have had many missed opportunities...what is one more.

    These are very well thought out and concise...good job.

  6. You are very right Mags, thanks for the input!


  7. Jim,

    I'd love to see a 6th edition update for this.