Designer notes #2: Codex Crusades

Codex: Crusades

user posted imageA little delayed (5 months!) by the onset of the Age of the Emperor campaigns, development of the Codex Crusades is back on track with new vigour.

With a new interest in the Iron Hands chapter and a while host of new information over the past few months, I’ve decided to include two legions in the first release. At the least, this gives us two factions to perform… training on the battlefield together. Mostly though, I am building a Crusades-era Iron Hands army side-by side with writing the rules and have a Thousand Sons opponent to playtest with – ideal!

What has changed with the project? I have the same intentions, but a little more focus. Work is concentrating on the beta level (see the previous notes for information).  A thread over at The Great Crusade forums has been set-up to actively discuss my plans and encourage some feedback an ideas. Seriously, your comments keep me very motivated!

To paraphrase what I’ve revealed there:

As far as possible, I’ll make each release fully ‘stand-alone’ from each other but they will have to be modular in the sense that you will always need a Warhammer 40,000 rulebook and Codex to use them with. Any and all rules that exist in a Codex or the rulebook will be referenced by name, with no duplication of the rule – you will have to look up the provided page. Obviously I cannot and will not copy GW books, this is a ‘plug-in’ extra to their game.

I am providing army lists and units that fit in the Crusades era. In some cases this involves adapting the core stuff we see in existing 40k books, but also removing some and adding a lot of new. Most importantly: I wish to make an accurate portrayal of what was used in this period and hopefully a strong interpretation of everything else we read about.

I don’t want to take the effort to provide a list of Yes/No choices though, this is a fun opportunity to give the armies a lot of flavour and new material, rather than just restrictions.

As a creative sort, I’d never steer away from trying to tweak or improve everything that could perhaps use a change. There’s a lot of ideas in my head – many will need feedback, naysaying and testing before a final craft is settled upon.

The latest few codex books (since DA?) for 40k have steered towards a form of adding a bit of flavour to your force through the choice of character(s) present. I do like the idea, but am not sure whether it would fit with what I am doing.

For example, the Codex: Space Marines was written to be a solid, but not extensive list of options. You can suitably field a selection of chapters by picking a relevant character or push your force into something a little different, such as all bikes through bike captains.

These little, concise, options are great for a limited book, but I’m not here to deliver a Swiss army knife. I aim to provide the whole toolbox – potentially 18 legions worth of army lists (and then some). There’s no need to be so ‘compact’ when you actually need to expand each and every list to give them the flavour and character they deserve.

To this end, there’s going to be a lot in each list to keep them interesting and distinct. However, I also want to fiddle with the core. Looking back to first edition as some inspiration, there was a lot more to an army list than a slotted force organisation chart. There was more to a game than taking down the easiest few kill points. For me, theme and character mean more. This stuff is supposed to be fun!

I am initially working on:

  • Core marine rules
  • Thousand Sons
  • Iron Hands
  • Robot Cohorts

For each of these:

  • Removal of non pre-heresy weapons, units, abilities.
  • Addition of pre-Heresy organisation, weapons
  • Legion-specific abilities, characters and units
  • New special rules
  • New rules

Watch this space!

Whitehorn

Aint nothing but a horn

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