Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Codex Project: Lost and the Damned - Overview and Preliminaries

Here's an overview of how I'm approaching revamping LatD and what I've typed up so far, still very much WIP:

The Codex Project – Lost and the Damned!

Parent Codex: Primarily Imperial Guard, with supplementary units from Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Daemons.

This project would approach the LatD with some underlying assumptions:

A large number of Lost and the Damned type armies can be done well using existing codexes. Imperial Guard obviously, but also potentially the Inquisition books can produce some good heretic forces, and books like Tyranids and Orks can make some good mutant hordes. The Forge World lists for the various Vraksian Renegade forces (Imperial Armour 5-7) can also address many traitor “needs”. As these options already exist, this project does not have to recreate them and will not seek to do so.

Not everything needs rules. Some things may have deep significance for an army and its motivations or structure, but have negligible impact on the battlefield itself. It’s OK for things to have fluff and modeling impacts with no corresponding rules impact. For example most mutants could be easily represented as freaky-looking guardsmen without needing special rules.

It’s easier (and often better) to tweak than to start from scratch. Where something extant would work, use it. Where something exists that is close, tweak it. Only create from scratch when necessary. For example do we really need to start from scratch with “Big Mutants” or can we just adjust the Ogryn listing?
o ...but we shouldn’t swipe Special Characters wholesale. Unique characters shouldn’t port over directly – use the parent codex directly if you really want them. We can create characters with similar rules and roles, but they shouldn’t be identical. For example we can make a skilled traitor infiltrator, but he shouldn’t just be Marbo with a name change.

The key element missing from current Chaos codexes and counts as alternatives is a good way to mix the different elements of Chaos together – mortals/mutants, Chaos Space Marines, and Daemons. Without a way of mixing these elements together outside of Apocalypse, you may as well just use Codex Imperial Guard or another existing choice.

As it pulls so heavily from existing books, periodic updates will likely be needed. When the parent books get updated, this will probably need to be updated as well.

This is not a way to “fix” any of the parent books. While the end result could probably be used to represent something like an Alpha Legion or Word Bearer led force, we aren’t making Codex: Alpha Legion or Codex: Word Bearers or a revised Codex: Chaos Space Marines. Those can certainly be done as projects of their own, but our goal here is more to use the existing books as ingredients to create something new, not to fix the ingredients themselves.

In effect, the main goal of this project is to create an updated Lost and the Damned list similar to that from Codex: Eye of Terror but updated to fit better with the more recent Imperial Guard, Chaos Space Marines, and Chaos Daemons codexes. The mixed aspect will be key – pure (mostly traitor/mutant) forces could be possible, but the list should be at its best both play-wise and feel-wise when disparate elements are present.

With this goal and the previous assumptions in mind, when building entries and rules for this project the following guidelines/checklist should be used:

Does this fit? Does the unit or rule fit with the LatD theme? Eldar Harlequins may be cool, but probably fit better elsewhere.

Is it close to something else? Is there an existing unit or rule that could be used instead of creating something from scratch?

Is it balanced? Especially as we will be combining units and elements from several different codexes, considerations of balance need to be even more prominent. A unit that works well in its parent codex may be overpowered/undercosted when put into this new context (or potentially underpowered/overcosted, but I view that as less likely). To reduce confusion on the tabletop, when bringing units into balance it will probably be better to adjust their point cost rather than their stats.

As the developers giveth, so the developers taketh away. Partnered with balance and points considerations, in many cases we may want to have the opening of some doors result in the closing of others. FOC restrictions and pre-requisites may work in many cases, but we may also wish to include restrictions within unit entries that we modify for both balance and theme reasons. For example, if we make Plague Zombies an upgrade to Conscripts, we should probably take their ranged weapons options away.

Initial considerations – I think we would want to nail some basics down before diving too deep into specific units or options. Once we have a good feel for the kind of armies we want to see this create, other aspects should fall into line more easily.

What kind of daemons? Both Codex: Chaos Daemons and Codex: Chaos Space Marines have daemons. We should commit to one version to avoid confusion. I suspect most involved will want to use those from Codex: Chaos Daemons, but would like to be sure. Similarly, if we include Daemon Princes we should only use one version – though this could be different than the choice we make overall for daemons (so we may decide for example to use C: CSM Daemon Princes but C: CD other daemons). This has been pretty much resolved to using Codex: Chaos Daemons, though details may still need to be worked out.

o Daemonic arrival. Assuming we use Codex: Chaos Daemons should their arrival method be transferred over, or should it be tied in with cultist/CSM icons, or even some other method (such as a specific battlefield event to trigger their arrival)? Again, likely worked out but should be periodically looked at after playtesting.

There’s a lot of potential craziness – how to make these armies seem cohesive instead of just a bunch of random junk? Perhaps some form of army-wide and army-affecting themes that can be chosen/purchased, or perhaps the HQ choices help determine the route the army goes down – a cultist leader would likely wind up with a different force than a mutant warlord than a possessed Guard commander. The current working document involves a lot of choices and restrictions/unlocking to keep different LatD armies different from each other.

Lost and the Damned working document

Building an Army

A Lost and the Damned army is a curious mix of forces.  Aside from the unique units of its own, it often draws upon other army lists: Codex: Imperial Guard, Codex: Chaos Space Marines, and Codex: Chaos Daemons. 

There are several choices to be made with a Lost and the Damned army that will significantly affect the makeup of the force.  The individual aspects will be covered in more detail later, but for now when considering an army keep in mind the acronym LATD: Leadership, Alignment, Trajectory, and Development. 

Leadership: Who is leading this particular force?  A charismatic Cult Leader?  A powerful Mutant Warboss?  A skilled Traitor Officer?  Or perhaps even an Astartes?  Each leader will provide advantages and allow you to build more tailored forces.
Alignment: Is the army devoted to one Chaos Power (Khorne, Nurgle, Slaanesh, Tzeentch) or is it an Undivided force?  Those devoted to one power will be able to draw more deeply upon that god’s forces, but will be unable to call upon those of their patron’s rivals.
Trajectory: Forces can either be from outside the Imperium (Legions of the Eye) or more home-grown threats (The Enemy Within).  The former will have more access to things like daemon engines, while the latter will have more access to Imperial-patterned vehicles.
Development: Now that you know the kind of force that you want, select appropriate units and fill in the details!

General Rules

There are some extra rules to consider with a Lost and the Damned army relating to using the forces from different armies under one umbrella:

Daemons: The Daemonic units available to a Lost and the Damned army are drawn from those in Codex: Chaos Daemons.  However, they do not utilize the Daemonic Assault rule, and are instead summoned onto the battlefield via Icons.  Daemonic units start in Reserve, and when available Deep Strike onto the field within 6” of an Icon, without scattering. 
Icons: Icons from Codex: Chaos Space Marines work as normal, with the addition that units from Codex: Chaos Daemons Deep Strike using them as well.  Standards bought for Company or Platoon Command Squads also can be used as Personal Icons (Codex: Chaos Space Marines, p.  ) in addition to their normal abilities.
Consecration: Some units (see individual entries) will have the option of being Consecrated.  This allows them to open the way for daemons through the sacrifice of either themselves or their victims.  When you consecrate a unit, designate a daemon unit to be linked to the consecrated unit.  Only one daemon unit may be linked to each consecrated unit, and a daemon unit may only be linked to one consecrated unit.  There must be an available daemon unit for a unit to be consecrated. 
Daemons linked to a consecrated unit do not roll for Reserves normally; instead they come into play as follows:
1)      Consecrated units that are part of an assault where an enemy unit was destroyed in the most recent assault phase (through inflicted wounds, No Retreat wounds, Sweeping Advance or other cause) and would otherwise be eligible to Consolidate do not make Consolidation moves; instead they remain in place and finish sacrificing their victims.  Immediately place the linked daemon unit within 6” of a member of the consecrated unit per Deep Strike but with no scatter.  Should there be no available space to place the daemon unit, they will mishap as normal.  Should such a mishap cause the daemon unit to go into Reserve, they will then roll for Reserves and Deep Strike as normal, no longer tied to the consecrated unit. 
2)      If the consecrated unit is wiped out, destroyed, or otherwise removed from play the linked daemon unit will immediately Deep Strike as above within 6” of the last position of the last member of the consecrated unit to die (if simultaneous, you may choose).
Consecrated units are totally committed to completing the summoning rituals and are therefore
Fearless until after the summoning is complete (should the daemons mishap, this still counts as completing the summoning). 
               Note: Platoon infantry squads that are consecrated may not combine.

The Toll of Corruption: To adjust for potential balance issues of allowing units from more than one codex to be used in combination, Lost and the Damned armies operate under a “tax” of 10% of the game value, having fewer points than their opponents (unless another Lost and the Damned army!) for the given game size.  For example, for a 1500pt game, the LatD army will only have 1350pts to spend.  For games where Victory Points are used, if the opponent scores half or more of the VPs from the LatD army, they also earn that extra 10% (example: in a 1500pt game vs. Blood Angels, the Blood Angels destroy enough LatD units to earn 800VPs.  Since this 800 is half or more of the 1350pt LatD force, the Blood Angels are also awarded an extra 150VPs, for 950VPs total).

Allies: Noted Allied units from Codex: Chaos Daemons and Codex: Chaos Space Marines may be taken subject to some restrictions.
               For every Troops choice drawn from Codex: Lost and the Damned or Codex: Imperial Guard you may select one noted Troops selection from each of Codex: Chaos Daemons and Codex: Chaos Space Marines. 
               For every Troops choice from Codex: Chaos Daemons or Codex: Chaos Space Marines you may select one noted choice from the same book from either Elites, Fast Attack, or Heavy Support. 

United, but Apart: The forces of Chaos come in innumerable forms, within three broad categories: Mortal (humans, abhumans and mutants – units pulled from Codex: Imperial Guard and the new units here in Codex: Lost and the Damned, except where noted), Daemonic (units from Codex: Chaos Daemons) and Astartes (units from Codex: Chaos Space Marines).  While they may be united in opposition to the foe of the moment, there are some restrictions on how they may interact with each other. 
               Unless noted otherwise, characters from one category (Mortal, Daemonic, Astartes) may not join units of another, nor may they form units with characters from another category.
               Unless noted otherwise, abilities from one category will not affect units of another (example: Orders from Mortal officers would not be able to be issued to Daemons or Chaos Marines).
·        Daemons: Even if they could understand the tactical advantages of transport vehicles, once loosed upon the material world they have no desire to be boxed up.  Daemonic units may not embark in transports.
·        Mortals: The vehicles of Chaos Marines are treasured wargear, even relics.  Mortals may only enter in chains as prisoners, or on spikes as trophies adorning the hull.  Mortal units may not embark in Chaos Space Marine transports.
                  ·       Astartes: While they prefer their own transports, traitor marines are not above battlefield expedients.  They may make use of Mortal transports once the game begins, but they may not be deployed in them.  Also, the interiors of Mortal vehicles are not configured for Astartes’ stature; Chaos Space Marine models in power armor take up two spaces each in Mortal transports; Chaos Space Marine models in Terminator Armor take up four spaces each.

There are five options for alignment: Undivided, and each of the four Chaos Powers (Khorne, Nurgle, Slaanesh, and Tzeentch).  You will choose the alignment of the army by marking (or not marking) the army’s leader.  An unmarked leader will lead an Undivided army, and a marked leader will lead an army of the appropriate god (leader with Mark of Khorne = Khornate army, etc.). 
·        Leader is not marked.
·        No restrictions on the types of Icons that may be taken.
·        May only select one of each type of cult Chaos Space Marine unit (Berzerkers, Noise Marines, Plague Marines, Thousand Sons).
·        Daemonic allies drawn from Elites, Fast Attack, and Heavy Support that are associated with a particular god may not be duplicated (example: cannot have two Bloodcrusher units).
·        Leader must have appropriate mark.
·        No restriction on appropriately marked units; no other marked units allowed. 
·        Icons must be of appropriate god or Personal Icons.
·        Daemonic allies must be of appropriate god.

Legions of the Eye: Access to Defilers, Stalk Tanks, Desecrators, and basic Imperial-pattern vehicles (basic Leman Russ, Chimera, Basilisk).  Units that have option for a Chimera may instead pick a Chaos Rhino (per p.   of Codex: Chaos Space Marines with a change to the ballistic skill of the purchasing unit).
The Enemy Within: Access to full range of vehicles from Codex: Imperial Guard.

 Vehicle Rules and Upgrades
It’s not built to do that: Many vehicles used by the various traitors and renegades that make up Lost and the Damned armies are converted from designs not intended for the rough conditions of battlefield maneuver.  Vehicles with this rule that take dangerous terrain tests are immobilized on a roll of 1 or 2.  If going Flat Out when taking a dangerous terrain test, they are immobilized on a 1-3.
Closed Top: The vehicle no longer counts as open-topped.  Comes with one fire point (2 models) on the top, and three access points – one to the rear and one on each side.

Dedicated Transports
Chimera (Codex: Imperial Guard p.   )
Chaos Rhino (Codex: Chaos Space Marines p.   )
Kobold Armored Transport (35pts)
               A catch-all for a variety of lightly armored transports converted from civilian haulers or military supply trucks, often as a field expedient.  (Size notes: Ork Trukk kits would be a good basis for conversions, there are also many great examples and tutorials online)
Fast, Open Topped, Transport
Passenger Capacity: 15
AV 10/10/10
BS: 2 or 3 (same BS as purchasing unit)
Heavy Stubber
May upgrade heavy stubber to:
Flamer +5
Heavy Bolter +5
Grenade Launcher +5
Closed Top +10
Special Rules:
It’s not built to do that
Mammoth Armored Heavy Transport (70pts)
               Converted from heavy haulers, mining transports and the like the Mammoth enables Chaos forces to move large groups of troops at once.  (Size notes: Ork Battlewagons would make a good basis for conversions)
Open Topped, Transport
Passenger Capacity: 30
AV 12/11/10
BS: 2 or 3 (same BS as purchasing unit)
Heavy Stubber
May upgrade heavy stubber to:
Flamer (free)
Heavy Bolter +5
Grenade Launcher +5
Autocannon +10
Havoc Launcher +15
Closed Top +10
Dozer Blade +10 – Dangerous terrain tests only immobilize on a 1 (countering It’s not built to do that).  The Mammoth may now also Tank Shock, though it does not become a Tank.
Special Rules:
It’s not built to do that

Desecrator Daemon Engine (150pts)
               Originally designed for the incredibly difficult terrain of some daemon worlds where regular wheeled or tracked transport is impractical, Desecrators are often seen spearheading attacks from the Eye of Terror.  (Size notes: Obviously, the Defiler kit is a good base for conversions, removing the battlecannon and adding a section to hold troops)
Walker, Transport, Assault Vehicle
Passenger Capacity: 15
Access Points: 3 – front and each side.
Fire points: none
AV 12/12/10
WS: 3 BS: 3 S: 6 I:3 A:2
Two dreadnought close combat weapons (bonus attack included in profile)
TL heavy flamer
Havoc Launcher
Special Rules:
Daemon Engine – Ignores shaken and stunned results.

(Fast Attack) Gremlin Attack Vehicle (25pts each)
               Light vehicles converted to be fast support weapon platforms.  (Size notes: Ork Warbuggies or Space Marine Attack Bikes would be a good size to shoot for)
Unit size 1-3
Fast, Open Topped
AV 10/10/10
BS: 3
Twin linked Heavy Stubber
Can be upgraded to:
Heavy Bolter +5
Mortar +5
Autocannon +10
Missile Launcher +10
Havoc Launcher +15
Shrieker Rockets +25
Shrieker Rockets: S 6 AP 5 Large Blast, Barrage.  Range 48”.  Four shots total.
Special Rules:
Scouts, It’s not built to do that

(Fast Attack) Chaos Spawn (as per Codex: Chaos Space Marines p.99 with the following option)
Master of Mutation +75
WS 3 BS 3 S 4 T 4 I 4 A 2 Ld 9 Sv 5+
Weaponry: Two close combat weapons
               The Master of Mutation is imbued with the power of Chaos and can fuel warp-spawned monstrosities such as Chaos Spawn to even greater power and durability.  The Master of Mutation is part of the Chaos Spawn unit and moves as they do.  Should all the Spawn be slain and the Master of Mutation be on his own, he moves as normal infantry and does not count as Mindless.
Warp Vitality: Grants Feel No Pain to himself and any Chaos Spawn in his unit.  Grants +1 attack to Chaos Spawn in his unit.
Psyker: The Master of Mutation is a psyker and has the Gift of Chaos psychic power (per Codex: Chaos Space Marines p.88).  Any Spawn created as the result of the power are placed in coherency with the Master of Mutation’s unit. 

(Troops) Rabble
               Cultists, corrupted poorly equipped PDF, mutants, criminals and other ne’er do wells.
Unit size 10-30
Cost: 50pts for 9 + Agitator, +4pts/additional model.
Rabble: WS 2 BS 2 S 3 T 3 I 3 A 1 Ld 6 Save 6+
Agitator: WS 3 BS 3 S 3 T 3 I 3 A 2 Ld 7 Save 6+
Frenzied: This unit is considered Fearless for the first morale check it takes.
Weapons: Lasgun, close combat weapon (Agitator has laspistol and close combat weapon)
Swap lasguns for laspistols: free
Swap lasguns for shotguns: +1pt/model
Unit may have frag grenades: +1pt/model in unit
Unit may upgrade to flak armor (5+ armor save): +1pt/model in unit
For every 10 models (rounding down) one model may exchange its lasgun for:
               Flamer +5
               Grenade Launcher +5
               Heavy Stubber +5
               Meltagun +10
One model may be an icon bearer:
Icon of Chaos Glory +10
Icon of Slaanesh: +20
Icon of Khorne: +30
Icon of Nurgle: +30
Icon of Tzeentch: +30
Agitator may swap laspistol for:
               Bolt Pistol +1
               Hand Flamer +10
Agitator may swap close combat weapon for power weapon +10
Agitator may have Krak Grenades (+2), Meltabombs (+5), Personal Icon (+5)
Dedicated Transports:
If the unit numbers 15 or less, they may purchase a Kobold transport.
If the unit numbers 16 or more, they may purchase a Mammoth transport.
Legions of the Eye only: If the unit numbers 15 or less, they may purchase a Desecrator transport.

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