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Andrewgeddon

Warhammer 40K: 5th Edition Redux

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Let me start this off by saying I DO like 8th Ed 40K, and it has done a great job in fixing a lot of the issues of 6th/7th.

With that out of the way though, I've been thumbing through my 5th edition book and have been kinda longing to play it again. I feel the rules were very streamlined and list construction was a lot more simple. That being said, the rules were not perfect, and there was a ton of power creep for the codicies released at that time.

I've been toying around with the idea of a "Revised/Redux/Community Edition/whatever you want to call it" ruleset based off of the 5th edition rules,  and I'm curious what rules to think would need to be changed or improved from the core rule (codices would be their own can of worms). Ideas I had, from my own experiences:

-Remove wound allocation shenanigans. I'd have to double check the wording, but I think the 8th ed rules for it would slot in place fine.

-Tone down cover. Maybe make 5+ cover the norm?

-Remove Instant Death, via double Str vs T and Force Weapons. Maybe change it to multiple wounds. I always felt like Instant Death created alot of negative play experiences (poor Tyranid players vs Grey Knights).

-Charges: Does having a 6" charge make combat more reliable, or does a 2d6 charge? Hmmm...

-Vehicles: remove facings? I know we never liked arguing about if X weapon could see Y target. Maybe 360 LOS, but just have a single AV? You could make it a little lower than the standard to make vehicles a bit less spamable problem (aka Parking Lot lists)?

Anyway,  who knows if this will actually be something that I really work on, but the idea is stuck in my head currently *shrug*

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5th, IMO, was the best edition they've written. The 5th edition vanilla marines codex is, as far as I'm concerned, the most balanced they've done. It is absolutely unbreakable. 5th for sure had issues and the OP address them well. Oddly, 8th answers all of those:

-Wound allocation was the second worst problem with the edition. Easy 8th edition fix. Once a model starts taking wounds, it must continue to do so until it's dead. 

-Cover was the worst problem with 5th. EVERYONE had a cover save. AP3 barley mattered because 4+ cover saves were everywhere, if not 2+...cover giving +1 to armor save is so much better.

-instant death is stupid and bad. The new variable damage system is the thing 40k has always needed to borrow from warhammer fantasy but refused to. For way too long, 40k kept its big baddies at few wounds (wraithlord had 3 wounds??) but nothing could deal more than 1. A bolter's ceiling was the same as a lascannon.

-The question about charge distances is actually not about charges at all. The real question is about premeasuring or not. If premeasuring is included, then random charge lengths are necessary. 

-Regarding vehicle facings, the midway point between 5th and 8th would be with 8th edition vehicles but armor saves modified by facings. Land raider 2+ armor all around. Rhino or razor: 3+/3+/4+. Predator: 2+/3+/4+. Like that.

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23 hours ago, Munkie said:

-The question about charge distances is actually not about charges at all. The real question is about premeasuring or not. If premeasuring is included, then random charge lengths are necessary. 

You know, I totally forgot that premeasuring wasn't a thing in 5th.  Rose colored glasses and all that, I suppose. I am personally a big proponent of premeasuring, I would think that including it wouldn't effect the rules too much, besides the need for random charges. 

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47 minutes ago, Inquisitor66 said:

I actually dislike cover giving s +1. I liked how some armies would cower in cover while space marines and their ilk could advance in the open without fear unless big guns abounded

That was one of my fave things about the previous AP/Cover system. It didn't work in all regards, but it did perfectly capture that aspect of Space Marine operations.

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1 hour ago, Inquisitor66 said:

I actually dislike cover giving s +1. I liked how some armies would cower in cover while space marines and their ilk could advance in the open without fear unless big guns abounded

That's a fair point. Perhaps just a reduction in cover value. Just 5+ (even if it's a ruin) and get rid of the Shrouded USR.

That was one of my fave things about the previous AP/Cover system. It didn't work in all regards, but it did perfectly capture that aspect of Space Marine operations.

If we bring back the old cover system, there's still no good reason to go back to the old AP system. If the modified armor is worse than your cover, roll that instead.

The old system just didn't make a lot of sense.

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16 hours ago, Munkie said:

If the modified armor is worse than your cover, roll that instead.

Isn't that how it worked in 5th ed anyway? Take whichever save is better?

An yeah, I do like the 5+ cover save; Still a good thing to have if you're wearing paper armor, but makes the game less about running from cover to cover.

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1 hour ago, Munkie said:

Yep! Just making the point that old cover doesn't need to be (and, IMO, shouldn't be) a package deal with the old AP system. 

Gotcha! Are you a proponent of the current AP system then? I agree it's a lot cleaner than 5th's.

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50 minutes ago, Andrewgeddon said:

Gotcha! Are you a proponent of the current AP system then? I agree it's a lot cleaner than 5th's.

Absolutely. It just makes more sense. Under the old system: battlecannon=lasgun as far as a terminator is concerned. Power sword=foam noodle. It was either a threat, or it was not.

Under the new system, there are degrees of threat. -1 AP scares a terminator a little. -2 is worrisome, -3 is a legit hazard, -4 is terrifying, and -5 is hell on earth! 

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2 hours ago, Munkie said:

Absolutely. It just makes more sense. Under the old system: battlecannon=lasgun as far as a terminator is concerned. Power sword=foam noodle. It was either a threat, or it was not.

Under the new system, there are degrees of threat. -1 AP scares a terminator a little. -2 is worrisome, -3 is a legit hazard, -4 is terrifying, and -5 is hell on earth! 

I actually feel like the old system makes more sense. The way I see it, there isn't a whole lot of gradual variation in armour protection. Any given shot is either going to hit a weak point or a strong point. The weak points in a given suit of power armour or whatever are all going to be about the same durability, and the strong points are all going to be about the same durability. Most weapons are going to be either capable of punching through the strong sections or they aren't. If they can, it doesn't matter where they hit, they're going through. If they can't, it doesn't really matter how close it is to being able to, it goes through if it hits a weak point, and gets stopped if it hits a strong section.

For the modifier system to make sense, all the heavier types of armour have to have a more or less even distribution of different thickness/strength sections. 66% of a suit of Power Armour can stop a Lasgun blast, but only 50% is strong enough to resist a Heavy Bolter round, 33% is durable enough to take a Krak Missile, and only 16% can handle a Lascannon shot. Where I can really see an argument for some form of modifier is with things like Blasts and Flamers, that are hitting most or all of any given target if they land at all. Even that feels more like it should be maybe a "re-roll successful saves" thing rather than a linear modifier, tho.

I can see pros and cons to both from a rules/game balance point of view, but the all or nothing system definitely feels more "right" to me.

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But that isn't the way armor works in the real world. There aren't materials that are impervious to damage up to and including 1500 fps, but as soon as you hit them with 1501 fps it's utterly useless. 

Or imagine crashing your car. No discernible damage at 34 mph or under, car is unrecognizable at 35 mph.

That's the logic of the old system, and absolutely nothing about that feels right to me.

 

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3 hours ago, Munkie said:

But that isn't the way armor works in the real world. There aren't materials that are impervious to damage up to and including 1500 fps, but as soon as you hit them with 1501 fps it's utterly useless. 

Or imagine crashing your car. No discernible damage at 34 mph or under, car is unrecognizable at 35 mph.

That's the logic of the old system, and absolutely nothing about that feels right to me.

 

And yet, that actually is more or less how body armour is rated in the real world.

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1 hour ago, WestRider said:

And yet, that actually is more or less how body armour is rated in the real world.

Rated sure. But that's not the same thing. It just means that it's likely to function as intended at or below what it's rated for. And it doesn't mean it's guaranteed to fail above that threshold, just that the manufacturer can't vouch for its performance outside the specified range. "Bulletproof vest" is not a guarantee, but "bullet resistant vest" doesn't instill the same level of confidence in the product.

A waterproof watch will be rated for a certain depth, say 10 meters. That does not mean there's no chance of water ingress below 10 meters and guaranteed ingress above 10 meters. It's just that at deeper than 10 meters, there's a statistically significant dropoff in performance.

Product standards are never a guaranteed to work/guaranteed to fail system even if that's how it's presented. Just a more likely than not to work/ more likely than not to fail. That's the difference in the AP system too.

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8 hours ago, Munkie said:

Rated sure. But that's not the same thing. It just means that it's likely to function as intended at or below what it's rated for. And it doesn't mean it's guaranteed to fail above that threshold, just that the manufacturer can't vouch for its performance outside the specified range. "Bulletproof vest" is not a guarantee, but "bullet resistant vest" doesn't instill the same level of confidence in the product.

A waterproof watch will be rated for a certain depth, say 10 meters. That does not mean there's no chance of water ingress below 10 meters and guaranteed ingress above 10 meters. It's just that at deeper than 10 meters, there's a statistically significant dropoff in performance.

Product standards are never a guaranteed to work/guaranteed to fail system even if that's how it's presented. Just a more likely than not to work/ more likely than not to fail. That's the difference in the AP system too.

And 40K armour isn't guaranteed to, either. That's why rolling a 1 always fails. But what that means is that a given rating can reliably protect against a certain class of weapons if the shot hits the armour. Not 100%, but a large enough percent of the time that they're willing to certify it against that class of weapons. The differences in probability of a shot breaking through that's somewhere below the rated category are negligible, as are the differences of the odds of it stopping a shot of any given weapon more powerful than that. There isn't a sharply defined break point between "always works" and "never works", but there is a pretty solid division between "mostly works" and "mostly doesn't work", not a smooth curve of gradually and evenly shifting probabilities. And the pass/fail AP system does a better job of modeling that than the modifier system does.

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9 hours ago, WestRider said:

There isn't a sharply defined break point between "always works" and "never works", but there is a pretty solid division between "mostly works" and "mostly doesn't work",

"Mostly doesn't work" seems a very generous way of describing something that works 0.00% of the time when the AP is exceeded. 

That hard shift to never working at all just doesn't make much sense to me. But I don't think either of us will convince the other at this point.

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It’s an abstraction, either way. Just like every other game mechanic...

I mean, the chittering swarms of Tyranid biohorrors don’t all stand still while the Space Marines take it in turn to shoot them, then politely take their turn standing still so the Tyranids can shoot back.

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16 hours ago, Munkie said:

 

"Mostly doesn't work" seems a very generous way of describing something that works 0.00% of the time when the AP is exceeded. 

That hard shift to never working at all just doesn't make much sense to me. But I don't think either of us will convince the other at this point.

That's taken into account with the times when you roll a 1 to Wound.

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I’ve always wondered why GW uses a three-step process (roll to hit, roll to wound, roll to save) to accomplish what most games do with a two-step process (roll to hit, roll to defend or roll to hit, roll damage). Were it up to me, I’d just scrap the “roll to wound” portion of the whole procedure... 

But if your goal is a retro-clone of WH40k 5th Edition, you probably should stick with as many of the existing rules as possible.

 

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So these are my ideas for rules adjustments for the main rules: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GjNwCRth9kMZ3iFeCclh3McPWA-BztT7y8rF6MRHWhU/edit?usp=sharing

-Premeasuring allowed
-All cover saves a flat 5++
-Instant Death replaced with “Overwhelming Force,” does D3 wounds instead.
-Assault = 2d6, difficult terrain = 2d6 - 2” (or 3d6, drop the highest?)
-Wound allocation per 8th edition rules.
-Force Weapons do 2 wounds each instead of Instant Death when activated
-Deep Strike Mishap Table:
1: Terrible accident
2-3: Misplaced
4+: Delayed


I'm personally a proponent of toning down the Deep Strike mishap table, and of even removing the "terrible accident" result all together, but I understand it *is* thematic, even if it can lead to some awful play experience. As far the vehicles, I don't think you can give them 360 line of sight without taking something away, and I'm not sure what that would be. Maybe just drop Rhinos' AV by a pip would balance them enough?

I also think "Fearless" could do with an adjustment, so moral actually matters, but again, not sure what that looks like. Maybe Fearless gives you a re-roll to moral? Or you don't suffer negative modifiers to moral checks from casualties? Maybe you're immune to Sweeping Advances?

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13 hours ago, Andrewgeddon said:

I'm personally a proponent of toning down the Deep Strike mishap table, and of even removing the "terrible accident" result all together, but I understand it *is* thematic, even if it can lead to some awful play experience.

I don't think play experience should ever be sacrificed for "theme". If mishapping, I'd do something like:

1: misplaced (opponent places)

2-3: phase function failure (they don't scatter but may not move, shoot, psychic or assault this player turn)

4-6: Delayed (try again next turn)

Units shouldn't just die because a very small group of dice said so. Being way out of position is severe. Being caught helpless is bad. That's mis-happy enough.

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5 hours ago, Ish said:

Just because something exists in “the fluff” doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to happen on the tabletop. 

And really, in the fluff, how often do we read about deepstrikes mishapping? Usually it's reinforcements showing up Johnny on the spot.

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