Join Date: Mar 2008
6 Step Design Guide
I originally made this for another forum, but hell, I think it works no matter where I put it. Plus it gives people some ideas when trying to come up with their own peeps. So just ripped it from the other forum again...
Just a helpful giude I came up with for everyone wanting to make someone nifty but weren't sure where to start. Felt like the best place to put it. Enjoy.
A lot of people are interested in making their own characters or vehicles or respective rules for them. But what is the best way to do it? The golden rule on 40K is that you play to have fun, so whatever is the most fun is the best way. But remember you play with others so you have to keep them in mind when making up your rules. Here are some helpful steps and things to keep in mind when you begin concocting your unique characters for campaigns, fun play, or just to see what kind of damage you could unleash.
For the purposes of these explanations, we will be using two different characters and make them up as we go along. The first is the venerable Warmaster Horus, who we will construct using existing information. The second is the daft Hill Billy Bob, who we will construct from thin air. Let us begin with Hill Billy Bob.
Step 1. Concept.
The concept is the most crucial portion of the process as it determines the roads in which all other processes take place. You canít concept an infantry unit and then give him vehicle stats now could you? The concept is simple enough; what would I like to see in the game? The answer, Hill Billy Bob. Now you have an idea brewing and begin to put your concept down on paper; perhaps even a few supporting sketches. After of which, you will have a pretty good idea of where to go from hereÖ
Step 2. Fluff.
This is the back story of your character. Begin with the simple things first; name, look, what he does for a living, who are his closest friends, how many times he got rejected by Christy the class prom queen and other assorted fluff. You can feel free to go crazy nuts if you like, but keep in mind other players may simply roll their eyes at you and say; ďSure, whatever Bob.Ē It may become important later, but for now, this is simply a narrative, however long you wish, on why this character is who they are.
Our hero, Hill Billy Bob was a quiet mountain goat farmer on Ithcar 7. How he loved his goats; caring for their every waking need and desire. Most say he loved them a little too much; but no one ever cared to think about it too much, for he smelled like goat most of the time. He had a bright yellow straw hat, a trusty rusty pitchfork and was usually seen chewing on a straw of hay. When angered, he would bust out his trusty saw off shotgun and defend the honor of his goats. ďYa cana get oatz wiíout dem goatz.Ē He used to always say. It wasnít until a scouting Genestealer entered his goat farm that he was introduced to the world of 40K. Luckily for him, the beast was devourering a goat when he managed to poke out his eyes with his trusty rusty pitch fork, only to finally finish the beast with his shotgun at range. Impressed by his moxie, he was enlisted in the imperial guard; but still carries his usual wears to this day.
Step 3. Basic statistical information.
The easiest thing to do is begin with a stat line of a similar concept. So what do we know about Hill Billy Bob? Heís human and a member of the imperial guard, so we can begin with that. I suggest using this vertical template for ease of view.
But is there anything more special about him beyond a human? Not as far as we can tell, so there isnít a need to adjust his basic information beyond that. Heís not a crack shot, especially tough, or even brave for that matter. Heís just a humble goat farmer in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Step 4. Special rules.
This is where everything gets a little crazy. The first thing you need to do is review the fluff of the character. What do we know about him? And then equally important; what do we want to see him do in the game? Rereading the fluff, there are a few things that stick out. As weíre having fun here, weíre going to be a little silly.
Bright Yellow Straw hat. Hill Billy Bob is always seen wearing a bright yellow straw hat. Itís so bright yellow and horribly white trash that it could be seen from outer space. Enemy units do not have to take priority test to shoot at the unit HBB is attached too, check sight against Night Fight related rules and the unit HBB is attached to decrease their cover save by 1 (4+ nor becomes 5+ and so on).
We have a very interesting special rule to start us off. But letís keep going with some more fluff related information we have available to usÖ
Trusty Rusty Pitch Fork. HBB always carries his TRPF and will use it in combat over any other weapon. He is treated as always having 1 attack and may not increase it by any means other than charging. The TRPF is quite rusty and any rolls of 1 to hit will result in a self inflicted hit against HBB, rolling to wound and against armor as normal. However, the rust is also quite affective as it delivers a dangerous amount of tetanus to the victim; all wounds inflicted by the TRPF are doubled.
Sawed Off Shotgun. HBB shotgun has been slightly modified HBB style. It is treated as a normal shotgun that may reroll failed to hit rolls as it scatters wildly into the targets.
Hill Billy Moxie. HBB is renown for his moxie and plain dumb luck. He and the unit he is attached to may reroll a single dice for any morale check they are forced to make.
Now we have a few very bizarre and confusingly foolish to use in the game mechanics special rules for Hill Billy Bob. You may choose to create a rule for every single note in the fluff of your creature, or keep it simple and get a few important rules you want into his statistical information. Of course you need to keep in mind that you will need to keep in mind every single rule your character has throughout the length of your game. This can become much more confusing with each new special rule added.
Step 5. Points Values.
Using the same basic statistical information you took from a similar character concept, you should begin with the same points values they posses, and then begins increasing it based on the equipment upgrades available to that unit. For example, if your Guard costs 10pts and a shotgun upgrade costs him 2pts, HBB would start at 12pts before factoring in any special rules.
Special rules are slightly tricky to cost out. A good way to start is look at the relative point costs of another unit that possess that rule. As an example, say another IG unit has furious charge and you wanted to give that to HBB. How much more is that unit compared to the base used for HBB? Can you purchase that skill through another codex somewhere? There could easily be a cost for something similar somewhere, you just have to look for it.
But, sometimes you run across some crazy rules that youíre just not sure should cost what. A few questions should be raised to assist; how powerful is this ability? How many times could it be used in a game? What does it affectively do? Having a permanent +1 to S & Initiative is certainly more powerful than simply having furious charge, so it would naturally cost more. Use common sense here.
However, HBB rules arenít exactly helpful to those support him in his unit. Itís practically suicide for anyone to associate with him, so that gives us an edge. Using our examples, heís currently sitting at 12pts. His Yellow Hat rules screws the player in a few ways, since 3 rules are listed, thatís going to be 3 pts in our favor. Down to 9 pts. His pitch fork is harmful in two ways but doubles the wounds he can put out, itís a wash really. The sawed of shotgun is nice as we can reroll failed hits for the duration of the game, easily worth 2 pts, up to 11. The moxie isnít bad either but we only get a single roll when we have to take tests, letís say 1 pt, back up to 12pts.
So there you have it. We just made a special character worth 12 pts that can be attached to any squad we want! I bet youíre just dying to try him out arenít you?
Step 6. Review.
Itís always a good idea to go over your character with a fine tooth comb and insure all the necessary rules are there, point costs, descriptions, etc. Double check your point costs and adjust them as you feel necessary, fix grammar in your fluff and finally post him to be reviewed by others for feedback and approval.
Hill Billy Bob is a great addition to any IG army, and I would never raise a stink if you really wanted to use him in any game. In fact, Iím sure you wouldnít have an issue with him either. Would anyone? I mean, this guy hurts you more than he helps you. But thatís just some of the fun you can have. Orcs anyone?
Now weíre going to use the same ideas to create Warmaster Horus. Keep in mind the silver rule; would you play against him?
Step 1. Concept.
The worst you can get. The first son fallen from grace corrupted by the influence of pretty much every existing Chaos God at the time. One powerful primarch with a heart of pure evil.
Step 2. Fluff.
Thereís so much we could go through but weíll cover some basics; Primarch, brilliant tactician, Talon of Horus, slightly insane, Chapter Master, Warmaster of the entire Marine Legion at one point, unrivaled in combat, etc.
Step 3. Basic Statistical Information.
Primarchs are above Space Marines as they are above Humans. Plus heís a badass in every fluff piece you could read on him.
Now why did I go with 7ís across the board? Considering SM Commanders have 2 pts in statistical values above Imperial Guard in almost all stats, it seemed a good way to start. He was also not good at just one thing, but a master of everything. He also easily beat someone able to beat a Blood Thirster with relative ease, so it would reflect well on his stat line. Itís not that heís better at everyone in everything, but that he better in everything else you arenít. Stat line alone, heís strong enough to take on everything in game, even Gargantuan Creatures.
Step 4. Special Rules.
We have loads of fluff with him, so letís start going through some of the basics we listed.
Standard Gear; Terminator Armor, Independent Character (Unless accompanied by body guard), Master Crafted Storm Bolter, Talon of Horus, Frag & Krak Grenades, Melta-Bombs, Mark of the Chaos Chosen.
Master Tactician. Horus is renown for his tactics on the battlefield, eventually leading him to oversee the entirety of the Space Marine Legions at the closing of the great crusades. The controlling player may use any and all special rules for their army regardless of the mission type being played. In addition, the controlling player may choose to redeploy D6 units after both players have deployed and may reroll to see who chooses 1st or 2nd turn.
Warmaster. Horus was the Warmaster of the Entire Imperial Forces; all of them! He may choose to ignore any unit restrictions (0-1) for his army and may take any Imperial Unit or Formation in his army; Space Marine or Imperial Guard. He may not use Sisters of Battle or The Inquisition as they were not as developed as they are now.
Chapter Master. Horus may be joined by any bodyguard of his choice, who gain his skills as long as they remain a single unit. All others in his army become fearless within 12Ē of Horus.
Unrivaled Martial Skill. Horus is considered to have the following skills; Fearless, Counter Attack, Furious Charge, Preferred Enemy and Hit & Run.
Talon of Horus. In addition to wielding a variety of weapons, Horus wields his deadly Talon. It is treated as a master crafted lightning claw, so may reroll failed hits and wounds. As it is used in conjunction with other weapons, he gains +1 attack at all times (not included in his profile).
The Chosen of Chaos. Horus was granted powers by all the Gods of Chaos, which provide him many benefits. The first increases his invulnerable save to 3+. The second allows him to ignore any psychic attack against him or his unit on a 2+. The third and final power allows him to ignore any ill effects the Warp may have on weary trespassers; he does not scatter when deep-striking.
I think weíll stop there. Itís more than likely we could keep going creating rules associated to all the nifty fluff he has, but after a while it starts getting a little confusing and ridiculous. After all, heís ridiculously strong with all of these rules anyway, does he need to be even worse?
Step 5. Points Values.
So what basics do we have to work with? Maybe a Chaos Lord rocking terminator armor, a lightning claw and some marks to start. So letís say 200 base. With a giant boost to the stat line though, not quite 100% but enough, letís bring him up to 300. We have 6 incredibly strong special rules, weíll try to go through each one. The first gives us 3 awesome easily worth at least 10 pts a piece, up to 330. The 2nd gives us 2 additional abilities against worth at least 10 pts each, up to 350. The 3rd grants us 2 more abilities; up to 370. The 4th gives him 6 more abilities, up to 430. The 5th gives him 2 more abilities, up to 450. The 6th gives him 3 more abilities, up to 480.
Now I decided to use a basic 10 pts per ability as an example. Something that benefits him solely should be priced differently than something the benefits your army. As an example, allowing you to ignore unit restrictions is pretty huge, which would be priced higher than have a master crafted lightning claw. Anything that benefits others should always cost more, so paying for others to be fearless will cost more than simply paying for him to be fearless.
Using these basic point costs, you can see he should be NO LESS than 480 points. But again, we only used 10 pts per ability, some of which you should certainly have to pay more for. I certainly wouldnít allow him to be played at 480 pts, heís just too heinous. Realistically, he should be priced closer to 1000 pts.
Step 6. Review.
Heís Horus, heís insane; you canít really get much more into it. That stat line and rule set reflects that.
So there you have it. 6 fairly simple steps to use to create specialized characters, or monstrous, creature or vehicles. Some things to think about mainly and some examples of how to translate fluff into game mechanics. And if youíre really stuck on what points should cost, here is a really easy cost evaluation cheat sheet to consider (trying to work out the formula, so you math people can go nuts)Ö 1pt per stat or per die roll per turn.
Furious Charge gives you 2 extra stats during assaults. Average of 6 turns in a game, assuming charges in each player turn, 12 pts. Realistically, you may get 1 charge off in a single game, so you could start with 2 pts and increase as neccessary.
Rerolls wounds, affects someone with 3 base attacks. Average of 6 turns in a game, assuming wounding in each turn, 18 pts. Realistically, this is probably only in melee and you need to get there first, so maybe 4 turns total; 12 pts.
Want your SM Captain to have T 6, 2 stat points static for the average of a 6 turn game; 12 pts. This is active all the time, no realistic adjustment needed.
Simple isnít it?