Tuesday, July 10, 2012

6th Ed Impressions, Part Four - Characters and Psykers

 Characters!  A lot stays the same, but there are some big changes and some special ways they interact with wound allocation.

Aside from Independent Characters (p.39) there are regular characters, like squad leaders, nobs and so forth.  Some units are composed entirely of characters.  Check the listings in the back of the book and/or your army's FAQ to be sure.

Precision shots/precision strikes - if a character rolls a six to hit, you get to allocate the hits, both in shooting and in close combat.  So be sure to roll them separately! Snap shots and things that don't roll to hit normally (blasts, templates, etc.) can't qualify.

          - For shooting, the target model has to be in range.

          - For assault, the target must be engaged (in btb or within 2" of a friendly in btb).

So yet another way to snipe out characters and special weapons.  Sixth edition is a very dangerous place for those who stand out.

It's worth noting that there's nothing listed about ICs needing to be in btb to attack (just need to be engaged), or needing to be in btb to attack an IC with a unit (just attack his unit - precision strikes and challenges are the only way to target him directly, though normal wound allocation may also see him taking hits).

There is hope for characters though, sometimes they can get someone to take the bullet for them, through the Look Out Sir! rule (p. 16).  For regular characters on a 4+ they can send a wound allocated to them to someone else in the unit within 6", and for ICs it's a 2+.  Combined with the closest model taking the wound, this is another way of messing with wound allocation, sticking someone like Lysander as the closest model and taking wounds on 2+/3++ etc. until he's in danger, then doing a 2+ transfer to regular sacrificial guys in his squad.

Or in 40K, look out for 1s.
 Challenges  - The idea behind challenges is to have big epic slugfests between guys like Abaddon and Marneus Calgar, but in practice is more likely to have giant combat monsters like daemon princes picking on relative weaklings because they can.

Only one challenge per round of combat can be issued.  The player whose turn it is gets the first opportunity; if they decline the other player can issue one.  You nominate a character in one of your units to be the challenger.

     - If you are challenged and accept, nominate one of your characters in the fight (that are engaged) to accept the challenge.  You get to determine who steps up, not the person making the challenge.  So while they may want to beat on your commissar, you can send a regular sergeant up to duel with Lilith or whoever.

     - If you are challenged and refuse, your opponent gets to nominate one of your eligible characters (ie that are engaged) and send them to the showers.  They can't make attacks in that round of assault, and the unit can't use that character's Leadership.
          - There is nothing about moving the model to the back or anything, so they are still engaged in the combat, so could be subject to taking hits from normal wound allocation or precision strikes.

          - The unit doesn't get to use their Leadership score, but other benefits granted by the character seem to stay in effect.

Fighting the challenge - the characters square off one on one, while the remainder of their units bash each other as normal.  During the challenge, the characters can only attack each other and others cannot attack them. Should one character be alone and the other be backed up by a unit, the one with buddies can get rerolls (one for every five cheerleaders).  Wounds from both the challenge and the regular combat are added together to determine combat resolution.  It's worth mentioning that there is no overkill in challenges - if you do five unsaved wounds to a one-wound character in a challenge, it still only counts as one. (p.26 under Determine Assault Results specifies that overkill doesn't count).

Legolas is ready for 6th edition.

If the characters are poorly matched, expect to see the weaker one crushed, but it limits the damage the killy one can do.  Expect to see some sacrificial challenges to tie up the Bloodthirster or Swarmlord for a turn.

So characters get better, but in some instances are more vulnerable to being picked on, picked out, or marginalized.  Expect to see some strange things with characters, especially unit leaders in the early days as everyone works out how to deal with the new rules.  Bare bones to cut losses?  Plasma pistols to try to get your own AP2 precision shots?  Chainsword over power sword over power fist, or power fist over power weapon over chainsword?  Blob IG dead, or just with multiple commissars, or just with allied Space Marine character? 

Psykers - Embolden40K has done a nice rundown on psychic powers, so I'll just point you there.  Read THIS, then come back.

So, there are a lot of psychic powers that many armies have potential access to.  But how to stop them?

Deny the Witch - everyone gets a 6+ save to stop powers targeted on them.  Having a psyker of your own in the targeted unit gives you a bonus, and psychic hoods can help units within 6".  You generally can't try to stop powers that don't affect your units, so they can cast powers on their own units with impunity.  Things like Eldar Runes of Warding or Tyranid Shadow in the Warp should still apply, as they affect the psychic test, not the power.

Next time, vehicles!


  1. Thanks for the breakdown. I have been enjoying these posts and although I have a fairly good grasp of the rules, it's always nice to read someone else's interpretaion, as sometimes we misread or just assume things.

  2. I think that's one of the big things, is we will assume things are still there that aren't, like the IC needing to be in btb from last edition for assaults.


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