Monday, 8 April 2013

Creating a new codex for fun, but not profit

Still haven't had your favourite codex updated? Or seen your favourite 40K faction get a codex ever, even after all these years - if not decades? Never been offered a simple method for making a whole new one? After all, the galaxy is a very big place.

Here's an idea to experiment with while you wait.

First, think about the faction's nature, then their motivations, means and methods. Write a bit of background, draw a unit or two, convert some up.

Then for each entry in the list do the following...

  • Pick a) one statline then b) one set of equipment and/or c) one set of special rules from any three existing entries in any codex. If you pick a), b) and c), find the points value for one model for each entry, add the three values and divide by two. If you pick a) plus b) or c), add the two values and divide by 1.6.* Round up. Then pick d) one unit size or number per slot and e) one set of available upgrades, from any of these same entries.**
  • Decide which slot the unit will fill. Each slot should have three to six options.
  • Name it. For a quick familiar vibe, you could choose the words from this list:
angel; apostle; auto-; auxiliary; aveng|er/ing; axe; bad; bane; banshee; barge; battle; beast; beserk[er]; betray[al/er]; big; bike[r]; bile; black; blade; blast[er]; blood; bomber; bone; born; boss; bringer; brood; brother; brute; buggy; cabal; cannon; chain; charge[r]; chem-; clan; claw; command; coven; crusade[r]; cult; cy[-/b|er] d[a]emon; dancer; dark; death; demoli|sher/tion; destroyer; devil; dire; dog; doom; dragon; drake; dread; drop; eagle; emperor; engine; eternal; evil; falcon; fang; far; fate; fear; fiend; fighter; fire; fish; fist; flame; flesh; force; forge; fury; fusion; ghost; glaive; grav-; grey; griffon; grot; guard[ian]; hammer; hand; hawk; head; heart; hell; helm; hive; honour; horror; howl[ing]; hunt[er]; imperial; ion; iron; jester; jet; knight; lance; land; legion; lightning; lion; lone; lord; mage; marine; master; maul[er]; mega; mind; mirror; moon; nemesis; night; nova; pain; paladin; panther; penitent; phantom; phase; phoenix; plague; plasma; pod; power; priest; prism; psy-; pulse; pure; quest; raid[er]; raptor; ravage[r]; raven; razor; reap[er]; reave[r]; red; rider; rip[per]; rune; runt; sabre; scar; scorpion; scourge; scythe; seer; serpent; shadow; shard; shark; ship; shock; silver; sister; skull; smith; son; spectre; speed[er]; soul; space; spear; spider; spirit; splinter; spore; star; steel; stone; storm; strik|e/ing; suit; sun; swarm; swoop[ing]; sword; talon; tank; tech; templar; thirst[er]; throne; thunder; tide; tiger; tomb; torment[or]; traitor; trooper; tyrant; vampire; vector; vengeance; venom; void; wagon; wail[ing]; war[rior]; warp; watch; wind; wing; witch; wolf; worm; wraith; wyrd

Finally, pick any two army wide-special rules, finessing a bit if necessary, a traits table and disciplines - and you're done. That should be enough to start playtesting. Of course, if all of your players are using this system, you might not even need to worry about that.

* This is a lot easier than it looks, even mentally: 1.6 is just 5/3 (because 0.3 is 1/3) and dividing by 5/3 is the same as multiplying by 3/5, i.e. multiplying by three then dividing by five. Common fractions are very useful.
** If you'd like a little more restriction here, you could find the mode of the entries, or the median otherwise.


Cedric Ballbusch said...

Suddenly I'm really tempted to write a Space Marine Chapter random name generator.

I know that GW's point system doesn't have much in the way of internal logic, but the system you describe looks pretty reasonable.

Porky said...

Reasonable could be my middle name.

It's easy to poke fun at GW, not to mention the space marines - the adeptus astartes to you and me of course - but if you are serious there's a list here you might find useful, of loyalist chapters, if only to one-up. As the list of words in the post suggests, naming in the 41st millennium can get a bit samey.

Maybe we need to update the naming conventions, as a first step, reimagine the main universe M41, for some proper Althammer? If we can go from 'Space Sharks' to 'Carcharodon Astra' in just the one, something might be wrong.

It's not a reversal that's needed I think, so much as a fresh view to reflect the 26 years and how much we've changed, or could have. Maybe along Empyreal lines, as if in fragments of the once-foundational, corrupted and half-remembered down the ages, possibly in the Sharks' case to something like 'Brodibane'. Cryptic crossword clues, and beyond them a challenge to sense a wider malaise, self-limitation and failing.

It could go hand in hand with a bold revision of the core system, to push us to do better in even more ways.

Well, there's always [next] edition.

Cedric Ballbusch said...

Not a recon, but a reimagining of the 40k universe is an excellent idea. A whole lot of 'meat' has been put on Rogue Trader's very tongue 'n cheek 80's punk bones. And the result is an increasingly Frankensteinian creation.

Certainly more 'mature' naming conventions would be welcome. Personally, I would welcome an increase in the number of Space Marines the 40k galaxy supposedly supports along with a general decline in their reported combat prowess to something closer to their actual performance in the game.

Let the days when 100 marines conquered whole be legendary times far in the past when man skill knew the deepest secrets of genetic manipulation and before the flawless tactics of the ancient masters were lost to history.

Sadly, the boldness required to enact real change seems to be lacking.