Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Orkosystem (2) - Spotta Squigs

Here at last, thanks largely to C'nor's reminders, is the second entry in the Orkosystem series, the Spotta Squig. The first, the Snotling Sabbatur, can be found at Roll With It.

The Orkosystem is an occasional series of unofficial homebrew upgrades created for the Orks in Warhammer 40,000. It focuses on the smaller elements in the Orks' ecosystem like snotlings, squigs and fungi, offering possible new kinds for gaming and modelling. It also hopes to encourage Ork players to experiment with units they might not otherwise. 

Spotta Squigs

The smaller Orkanisms come in all shapes and sizes, with new varieties appearing over time as the needs of a given society change. One of the later developing is the Spotta Squig, which seems to arrive when Orky ranged weaponry reaches a given complexity.

The Spotta is most notable for its broad leathery wings, which allow it to glide on the thermals high above the the encampments and shanty towns, feeding on the smaller flying creatures which in turn live on the clouds of drifting spores. Sadly, the Spotta does not long enjoy this serene existence before the green bipeds below turn heads upward to ponder its flitting silhouette. It is soon lured down to be netted and clubbed.

For the Spotta is named for its ability to carry a Snotling or a tellykam high up above a battlefield, to seek out the enemy and relay their locations back. While these smaller greenskins are less than fond of their bestial kin, especially the ones with bigger teeth, and get queasy up high, they do want to be useful. The Spottas for their part are none too fond of being ridden, or bioniks. But an agreement is eventually hammered out...

This fusion of know-whats is very much in demand, and gets nabbed for the Big Gunz of the Warboss, snapped up by the Flash Gitz, or kept back by the Meks and remote controlled by Grots. It is a valuable addition to a nascent Waaagh! and a great help in the Ork conquest of the cosmos. It would help more if not for the lingering resentment.

Spotta Squig . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 points

Any number of units of Big Gunz or Flash Gitz may include one Spotta Squig, as may any unit accompanied by one or more Meks. Ideally, the Spotta will be represented by an appropriately converted model, to mark assignments, but a counter will work fine.

At the beginning of the Ork player's shooting phase each available Spotta Squig may be assigned by the Ork player to either 'Igh in the Sky or Nut it!, but no one Spotta may be assigned to both in a single turn. Resolve assignments before other shooting phase actions. Roll first for all Spottas assigned to 'Igh in the Sky, then for those to Nut it!

'Igh in the Sky: The Spotta picks out one enemy unit anywhere on the table, chosen by the Ork player, and relays details of its position and movement. One enemy unit may be picked out multiple times if that number of Spottas is available. Roll a D6 per Spotta.

On a roll of 1-3, things run more or less like clockwork. The unit which has been picked out has any cover save reduced for the rest of the phase, by two points when targeted by the Spotta's own unit, and by one point when targeted by other Ork or allied units.

On a roll of 4-5, there appears to be some confusion. Unexpectedly, the Spotta circles back to its own unit, causing a panicked ruckus and drawing plenty of attention. This unit has any cover save reduced by one point in the opponent's next shooting phase.

On a roll of 6, something goes wrong. Perhaps the Spotta itself is spotted or shot down, or the sputtering elektroniks go haywire, or the pilot is thrown off as the creature finally makes a break for freedom. At any rate, the Spotta is lost and may not be used again.

Nut it!: The Spotta is directed to collide with one enemy flyer anywhere on the table, chosen by the Ork player. Ideally - from the Mek's point of view at least - it will strike a more vulnerable spot like the canopy, or pass in through an intake to devastating effect.

Roll a D6 per Spotta. On a roll of 4+, the flyer sustains a single hit hit with a strength of 2D6, but the Spotta is lost, stunned or traumatised in the process and may not be used again. On a roll of 1-3, there is no effect and the Spotta is available from the next turn.
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As ever, the points value is the thing, as it's always tricky set a reasonable level with so many factors to consider. I was initially thinking 10 points, but I've gone with 15 to be on the safe side. If you have any thoughts on that especially, I'll be happy to hear them.

If you want to homebrew something yourself, you could try Rules Manufactorum's hints series, Lantz's Adeptus Mechanicus Fan Codex or Big Jim's Codex Soul Reapers for ideas on how to go about it, and The Codex Project for support in balancing it.


Desert Scribe said...

This is a very innovative idea. I don't play 40K anymore, but I like the idea of building conversions for new units of whatever game you're playing.

Porky said...

I like the idea too, and it's good to see it going on. The 40K setting is enormous so there are plenty of opportunities for this kind of exploration all but ready-made. In the case of the Orks, there's been a lot of material published over the years so it's easier to find inspiration and keep it cohesive. The idea of a vast ecosystem on the move is a very evocative one.