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Made in us
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Tyran wrote:The big problem for morale is that thematically it means different things depending on the faction.

For the Guard it is normal human fear. Space Marines are enhanced to be able to ignore it. Orks are fearless until their horde cohesion is lost (usually because someone killed their boss). Tyranids are not even capable of feeling fear, morale to them is just disruption of the synapse web. And the list goes on as each faction has their own behaviors that could be attributed to morale.
...
Morale is maybe the only example in the game that having bespoke rules for everyone makes sense, because everyone is different when it comes to morale.

I think it was JNA who created a thread a while back where they pitched making morale a special rule that only affected a short list of units/factions. As intuitive as it is for morale to matter in a wargame, 40k might have so many functionally fearless factions that it makes more sense to just not have morale as a core mechanic.

kingpbjames wrote:By stunned I didn't mean standing there stupefied, I meant they were floored and need to fight through shell shock and confusion to get back in formation.
I was going to suggest next that stunned units lose combat effectiveness for a turn: BS6, WS6, Sv6...

The problems I see there are that becoming BS/WS 6+ impacts different units in uneven and sometimes counter-intuitive ways. So an especially well-trained/elite unit with BS/WS 3+ functionally loses 3 pips on their to-hit die compared to a BS 5+ ork boy who only loses 1 or a BS4+ guardsman who only loses two. Meaning that your more expensive sororitas/skitarii/aspect warriors are actually hit harder by morale than the less skillful units that just don't care as much. Systems where the penalty for being "broken" is a to-hit penalty rather than setting BS to a specific value have a slight edge here in that all units are losing a single pip of the die. Although those approaches do still have the problem of a -1 to hit for a marine being a 25% loss of accuracy while that same -1 on a guardsman is a 33% loss and so on.

Shooting deserters is a time honored tradition and must stay in the game.

So the problem with faction-specific consequences to failed morale tests is that there are units like the Death Jester who have abilities directly tied into fleeing models...

In theory, you could have a system where t here's a single universal mechanic for determining whether or not a unit fails morale, and then have different unique mechanics for what failing morale actually does. So rules that impact enemy morale like the death jester's would need to be designed such that they interact with the universal "did you fail morale" mechanic, and then rules like the commisar's summary execution could interact with either the universal mechanic or the guard-specific failed morale rules. I'm not necessarily advocating for that approach, but it could be done.

-----------------------
I'm shooting down lots of ideas, so to reiterate my own go-to morale suggestion:

* A bunch of stratagems, auras, special abilities, etc. get the COMMAND key word.
* Testing to see if you fail morale works the same as it does now.
* When you fail morale, you do NOT take morale casualties. Instead, your unit gets marked as SUPPRESSED until the end of the next player turn.
* SUPPRESSED units can't benefit from friendly COMMAND abilities.

And that's it. It abstracts failing morale as just resulting in some form of squad coordination being lost. Which seems appropriate for all 40k factions whereas running away seems a bit weird for necrons, etc. It doesn't modify your basic to-hit rolls or force movement, so it avoids the problems with those mechanics that I described above. It just makes your squad less good at executing orders and pulling off complex maneuvers (stratagems). And to me, that feels like a pretty intuitive consequence of your squadmates getting unnerved, enraged, blinded by the cloud of dust and gore, etc. It also doesn't add any dice rolling or really even add new rules to complicate the game. Heck, it's probably simpler than the current system. The biggest drawback I see is that it would require someone go through and slap a COMMAND sticker on a bunch of rules. That, and it would encourage you to carry around SUPPRESSED tokens to help track which units are suppressed.

If you wanted to, you could interact with that system by giving spoooky units (like night lords) abilities that only kick in against suppressed targets or that extend the amount of time a unit spends being suppressed.


ATTENTION
. Psychic tests are unfluffy. Your longing for AV is understandable but misguided. Your chapter doesn't need a separate codex. Doctrines should go away. Being a "troop" means nothing. This has been a cranky service announcement. You may now resume your regularly scheduled arguing.
 
   
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Pacific Northwest

 Tyran wrote:
 kingpbjames wrote:
So the problem with faction-specific consequences to failed morale tests is that there are units like the Death Jester who have abilities directly tied into fleeing models...

Looking at Wahapedia, they don't. They have a rule that facilitates failing morale tests by making ever model killed count twice for morale, but that isn't really tied into fleeing models.

Oops, I must have read an older datasheet. It said when enemy models start fleeing from failed morale, you choose which model flees first. Presumably the Sergeant.
IMHO "fear" based abilities like the Death Jester or the Night Lords should be about making failing morale more likely, but not really interact with the consequences of failing morale which could be faction specific.
Or at the very least have different morale related USR to cover all possible ways a unit can suffer from morale, from stunned or pinned down to running away or additional casualties or throwing yourself at the enemy in a suicidal insane charge.

I like this. I could see an ability that causes your enemy to use the lowest leadership in their unit instead of the highest or the sergeant's.
EDIT: changed my mind on some ideas I had...
Spoiler:
So for faction specific morale consequences, I'd love to see Orks start infighting but I suppose that would just be easily reflected with the current system of additional casualties... In fact the current system is probably fine for Orks, Tau, guardsmen, etc, but maybe other factions could be forced to charge recklessly (need to make sure this is actually a consequence somehow) or suffer accuracy penalty for a turn, or something...

 Wyldhunt wrote:

I'm shooting down lots of ideas, so to reiterate my own go-to morale suggestion:

* A bunch of stratagems, auras, special abilities, etc. get the COMMAND key word.
* Testing to see if you fail morale works the same as it does now.
* When you fail morale, you do NOT take morale casualties. Instead, your unit gets marked as SUPPRESSED until the end of the next player turn.
* SUPPRESSED units can't benefit from friendly COMMAND abilities.

And that's it. It abstracts failing morale as just resulting in some form of squad coordination being lost. --
It also doesn't add any dice rolling or really even add new rules to complicate the game. Heck, it's probably simpler than the current system. The biggest drawback I see is that it would require someone go through and slap a COMMAND sticker on a bunch of rules. That, and it would encourage you to carry around SUPPRESSED tokens to help track which units are suppressed.

I like this too and I could have sworn I've seen it somewhere before, maybe in a homebrew edition. I remember it was something like "broken units have to roll a die to accept an order."
I suppose a commissar could summarily execute a guardsman to get their unit to obey a command.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2022/08/04 19:12:22


This message was edited 9 times. Last update was at 1999/12/31 23:59:59


 
   
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 kingpbjames wrote:
 Tyran wrote:
 kingpbjames wrote:
So the problem with faction-specific consequences to failed morale tests is that there are units like the Death Jester who have abilities directly tied into fleeing models...

Looking at Wahapedia, they don't. They have a rule that facilitates failing morale tests by making ever model killed count twice for morale, but that isn't really tied into fleeing models.

Oops, I must have read an older datasheet. It said when enemy models start fleeing from failed morale, you choose which model flees first. Presumably the Sergeant.

I think that was the 8th edition version. Fun for picking off sergeants and special weapons. Also interesting at the very start of 9th when people weren't used to the new unit coherency rules because a sloppy or spread out unit formation meant you could potentially get some extra kills from being out of coherency.

IMHO "fear" based abilities like the Death Jester or the Night Lords should be about making failing morale more likely, but not really interact with the consequences of failing morale which could be faction specific.
Or at the very least have different morale related USR to cover all possible ways a unit can suffer from morale, from stunned or pinned down to running away or additional casualties or throwing yourself at the enemy in a suicidal insane charge.

I like this. I could see an ability that causes your enemy to use the lowest leadership in their unit instead of the highest or the sergeant's.

Rules like that have been a thing in the past. They tended to be kind of unexciting. Doubly so now that characters can't join squads. Unless there's a "use my leadership" aura in play, using the lowest leadership in the squad almost always just means you functionally take -1 to Ld. Such rules made a bit more sense when using the lowest morale could drop you from Ld10 to Ld7 and morale tests were taken on 2d6 meaning that the bell curve made that -3 Ld even more impactful.

So for faction specific morale consequences, I'd love to see Orks start infighting but I suppose that would just be easily reflected with the current system of additional casualties... In fact the current system is probably fine for Orks, Tau, guardsmen, etc, but maybe other factions could be forced to charge recklessly (need to make sure this is actually a consequence somehow) or suffer accuracy penalty for a turn, or something...

Bespoke morale consequences could work, and they'd even have the benefit of being tailored to not be too extreme or toothless for their faction. It's just that you'd be adding a lot of new rules to remember to an already bloated game, and you'd be creating a lot of work that would need to be done.


ATTENTION
. Psychic tests are unfluffy. Your longing for AV is understandable but misguided. Your chapter doesn't need a separate codex. Doctrines should go away. Being a "troop" means nothing. This has been a cranky service announcement. You may now resume your regularly scheduled arguing.
 
   
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 Wyldhunt wrote:

The problems I see there are that becoming BS/WS 6+ impacts different units in uneven and sometimes counter-intuitive ways. So an especially well-trained/elite unit with BS/WS 3+ functionally loses 3 pips on their to-hit die compared to a BS 5+ ork boy who only loses 1 or a BS4+ guardsman who only loses two. Meaning that your more expensive sororitas/skitarii/aspect warriors are actually hit harder by morale than the less skillful units that just don't care as much. Systems where the penalty for being "broken" is a to-hit penalty rather than setting BS to a specific value have a slight edge here in that all units are losing a single pip of the die. Although those approaches do still have the problem of a -1 to hit for a marine being a 25% loss of accuracy while that same -1 on a guardsman is a 33% loss and so on.


All of this is completely true, however i'll politely point out that the entire game right now is littered with -1 to hit at range which effectively cuts my ranged damage IN HALF. But the game devs have been pretty quiet about the fact that the -1 to hit mechanic neuters an entire playstyle for my Ork army, and its not like this is anything new, they just don't give a damn. So with that in mind, i'll not be that upset if an expensive SM unit goes from BS3 to BS6.

But I really want to reemphasize this point, lots of people here are providing input on punishments for failing morale. Almost nobody is addressing the elephant in the room which is the fact that entire factions functionally IGNORE morale. You can make up whatever thematic rules you want, i'll disagree with them entirely if you haven't addressed the problem that morale doesn't impact all armies equally.

I have a horde of boyz, literally hundreds of them, and i can't use them even in friendly games unless my opponent and I agree not to use morale because of how stupid the rule is in its current iteration. I think I can count on 1 hand how many times I have seen a SM player take a Morale casualty in 9th. On the reverse of that, I can't think of ANY game where I haven't lost models to morale, and I'm playing MSU with the smallest squads possible most of the time.

Until the rule is equally punishing to all armies than the punishment passed out is mostly irrelevant.

 Tomsug wrote:
Semper krumps under the radar

 
   
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SemperMortis wrote:
... Until the rule is equally punishing to all armies than the punishment passed out is mostly irrelevant.

I agree that 40k has an issue with balancing its phases with its factions. We've got Space Marines all but skipping the morale phase and Tau cowering from the fight phase.
What we need are all factions to participate in each phase but in different ways according to their theme. Is there a way to do this without a rewrite of the SM codex? Should we make a catch-all rule so that morale units no longer stack, meaning you have to pick one?
Combined with Wyldhunt's proposal of changing failed morale from casualties to ignoring command-type abilities (like auras, stratagems, etc) I think we could make a better system.

This message was edited 9 times. Last update was at 1999/12/31 23:59:59


 
   
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Something that I used to include in my pitch was the idea of "suppression" weapons. Basically a key word on some weapons that made them really good at causing the enemy to fail morale and thus lose access to command buffs.

So ressurecting that idea, you could do something like:
* Take a morale test in the morale phase for each unit that suffered one or more casualties this turn.
* Morale tests are 1d6 + Morale Tokens vs Ld.
* Place a morale token on a unit if it started the morale phase with less than half its starting strength.
* Place a morale token on a unit each time a suppressing weapon targets them.
* Place a morale token on a unit when (insert army-specific special rule here).
* If the game were changed to have a universal crossfire mechanic, that would probably earn a Morale Token too.
* All morale tokens are removed at the end of the morale phase.

Examples of suppressing weapons might be things like flamers, heavy bolters, maybe sniper rifles, etc. Probably needs to be refined to discourage people from spamming suppressing weaposn and split firing.

The intended end result is that most armies will generally be find on morale unless their opponent is intentionally taking options that go after morale. But also, players can really lean into suppressing fire as a tactic if they want to. Because the consequences of failing morale are just temporarily diminished synergy (rather than killing models, costing the unit a turn, or reducing its baseline performance), you mostly sidestep the problems introduced by things like to-hit penalties; mostly. I guess theoretically a unit that's only good when buffed by a command ability misses out, but I'm not sure the game has enough of those for it to be a problem?

MSU and squishy units would have a slight disadvantage in that it's easier to reduce them to half strength than a larger or tougher unit, but that feels like a feature rather than a bug. I guess elite armies would technically be a little easier to suppress in that you can concentrate your suppressive weapons on a smaller number of enemy units, but again, I might be okay with that?


ATTENTION
. Psychic tests are unfluffy. Your longing for AV is understandable but misguided. Your chapter doesn't need a separate codex. Doctrines should go away. Being a "troop" means nothing. This has been a cranky service announcement. You may now resume your regularly scheduled arguing.
 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





 Wyldhunt wrote:
Something that I used to include in my pitch was the idea of "suppression" weapons. Basically a key word on some weapons that made them really good at causing the enemy to fail morale and thus lose access to command buffs.

So ressurecting that idea, you could do something like:
* Take a morale test in the morale phase for each unit that suffered one or more casualties this turn.
* Morale tests are 1d6 + Morale Tokens vs Ld.
* Place a morale token on a unit if it started the morale phase with less than half its starting strength.
* Place a morale token on a unit each time a suppressing weapon targets them.
* Place a morale token on a unit when (insert army-specific special rule here).
* If the game were changed to have a universal crossfire mechanic, that would probably earn a Morale Token too.
* All morale tokens are removed at the end of the morale phase.

Examples of suppressing weapons might be things like flamers, heavy bolters, maybe sniper rifles, etc. Probably needs to be refined to discourage people from spamming suppressing weaposn and split firing.

The intended end result is that most armies will generally be find on morale unless their opponent is intentionally taking options that go after morale. But also, players can really lean into suppressing fire as a tactic if they want to. Because the consequences of failing morale are just temporarily diminished synergy (rather than killing models, costing the unit a turn, or reducing its baseline performance), you mostly sidestep the problems introduced by things like to-hit penalties; mostly. I guess theoretically a unit that's only good when buffed by a command ability misses out, but I'm not sure the game has enough of those for it to be a problem?

MSU and squishy units would have a slight disadvantage in that it's easier to reduce them to half strength than a larger or tougher unit, but that feels like a feature rather than a bug. I guess elite armies would technically be a little easier to suppress in that you can concentrate your suppressive weapons on a smaller number of enemy units, but again, I might be okay with that?


I could get behind something like this, but to the consequences of failing morale tests I'd add things like being unable to perform actions and losing Ob Sec, rather than just losing access to buffs.
   
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Sure. That seems reasonable.


ATTENTION
. Psychic tests are unfluffy. Your longing for AV is understandable but misguided. Your chapter doesn't need a separate codex. Doctrines should go away. Being a "troop" means nothing. This has been a cranky service announcement. You may now resume your regularly scheduled arguing.
 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




 Wyldhunt wrote:
Something that I used to include in my pitch was the idea of "suppression" weapons. Basically a key word on some weapons that made them really good at causing the enemy to fail morale and thus lose access to command buffs.

So ressurecting that idea, you could do something like:
* Take a morale test in the morale phase for each unit that suffered one or more casualties this turn.
* Morale tests are 1d6 + Morale Tokens vs Ld.
* Place a morale token on a unit if it started the morale phase with less than half its starting strength.
* Place a morale token on a unit each time a suppressing weapon targets them.
* Place a morale token on a unit when (insert army-specific special rule here).
* If the game were changed to have a universal crossfire mechanic, that would probably earn a Morale Token too.
* All morale tokens are removed at the end of the morale phase.

Examples of suppressing weapons might be things like flamers, heavy bolters, maybe sniper rifles, etc. Probably needs to be refined to discourage people from spamming suppressing weaposn and split firing.

The intended end result is that most armies will generally be find on morale unless their opponent is intentionally taking options that go after morale. But also, players can really lean into suppressing fire as a tactic if they want to. Because the consequences of failing morale are just temporarily diminished synergy (rather than killing models, costing the unit a turn, or reducing its baseline performance), you mostly sidestep the problems introduced by things like to-hit penalties; mostly. I guess theoretically a unit that's only good when buffed by a command ability misses out, but I'm not sure the game has enough of those for it to be a problem?

MSU and squishy units would have a slight disadvantage in that it's easier to reduce them to half strength than a larger or tougher unit, but that feels like a feature rather than a bug. I guess elite armies would technically be a little easier to suppress in that you can concentrate your suppressive weapons on a smaller number of enemy units, but again, I might be okay with that?


Congrats, you developed another system that does not address the biggest problem, most factions FUNCTIONALLY IGNORE MORALE. Marines are LD8, So to get them to fail you would need 3 tokens and to roll a 6. Orkz are Ld6 (7 with nob) Grots are LD4, so they can fail morale by taking 1 casualty. But hey, totally fine right? Just another idea on how to punish armies for morale without addressing the aforementioned fact that too many factions ignore morale.

As far as MSU being at a disadvantage...um, no. MSU means more suppressing weapons, means having to focus fire more targets to get a substantial return on investment. To suppress a unit of Marines I would need to hit them with 2 Suppressing weapons AND to kill half their unit and then its only a 1/6th chance to get them to fail morale. Not really worth it on a 5 man unit. Conversely, if I bring a blob of 30 boyz and you hit it with 3 suppressing weapons and cross fired them, I would have a 50% chance to fail morale, definitely worth putting a few more weapons on them to remove the buffs from that big blob of boyz.

Morale as it currently stands (as far as punishing units) isn't great but its acceptable, what needs to happen is to have everyone else be AS effected by it rather than having more than half the game ignore it as a part of the game itself. I've literally played Marine players who had forgotten it was a thing because they play against Marines/Custodes so often that nobody ever fails morale so its mostly just forgotten about.

Stop inventing punishments for failing morale and start thinking about how to apply the morale phase to all other factions equally as opposed to devastating a handful of armies.

 Tomsug wrote:
Semper krumps under the radar

 
   
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Here is my idea: morale tests are 2D6 + number of models lost in the turn - number of models remaining in the unit.

That should punish MSU units and help horde armies (Orks).
   
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SemperMortis wrote:
... most factions FUNCTIONALLY IGNORE MORALE...
Stop inventing punishments for failing morale and start thinking about how to apply the morale phase to all other factions equally as opposed to devastating a handful of armies.

Alright, I do see that you've been trying to make this point for the entire thread and no one has really taken it head-on.
The way I see it though is that the Marines are supposed to be the "fearless" faction, the champions of faith and courage in a galaxy of unthinkable horror. (What they've become though is the protagonist "good guys" in a multi-faction game.) They should be the most morale-resilient faction in the game but letting them forget the phase even exists is a flaw in the core rules. Still I don't think an army-wide nerfing of Leadership stats and morale modifiers is the answer.

What if we literally get around SM's morale strengths by slipping in a morale feature that ignores Leadership? For example, once a unit is reduced to half strength, the unit automatically suffers some penalty, like needing to roll for receiving (or outright losing) buffs from other units, like auras, commands, etc., to reflect chain of command and army synergy breaking down. Then the actual morale phase would be a further test of courage for squads whose men are stretched too thin.
Essentially the morale system would be split in two: Half-strength units lose or struggle to use certain abilities, and units that suffer casualties that turn must test their courage (casualties + d6 vs Ld) or suffer further penalties.

This message was edited 9 times. Last update was at 1999/12/31 23:59:59


 
   
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 kingpbjames wrote:
SemperMortis wrote:
... most factions FUNCTIONALLY IGNORE MORALE...
Stop inventing punishments for failing morale and start thinking about how to apply the morale phase to all other factions equally as opposed to devastating a handful of armies.

Alright, I do see that you've been trying to make this point for the entire thread and no one has really taken it head-on.
The way I see it though is that the Marines are supposed to be the "fearless" faction, the champions of faith and courage in a galaxy of unthinkable horror. (What they've become though is the protagonist "good guys" in a multi-faction game.) They should be the most morale-resilient faction in the game but letting them forget the phase even exists is a flaw in the core rules. Still I don't think an army-wide nerfing of Leadership stats and morale modifiers is the answer.

What if we literally get around SM's morale strengths by slipping in a morale feature that ignores Leadership? For example, once a unit is reduced to half strength, the unit automatically suffers some penalty, like needing to roll for receiving (or outright losing) buffs from other units, like auras, commands, etc., to reflect chain of command and army synergy breaking down. Then the actual morale phase would be a further test of courage for squads whose men are stretched too thin.
Essentially the morale system would be split in two: Half-strength units lose or struggle to use certain abilities, and units that suffer casualties that turn must test their courage (casualties + d6 vs Ld) or suffer further penalties.
Why should Marines be more fearless than Daemons? Or Orks? Or Necrons? Or Nids?

Virtually EVERY faction has good reasons to be able to ignore morale-at least as far as "Running away" is concerned. "Loss of cohesion" is the more appropriate way to represent morale in 40k, I think. Some notably cowardly factions/units (Guardsmen, Cultists, Grots, maybe others) could have rules for running away, but most factions wouldn't.

Clocks for the clockmaker! Cogs for the cog throne! 
   
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 JNAProductions wrote:

Why should Marines be more fearless than Daemons? Or Orks? Or Necrons? Or Nids?

Virtually EVERY faction has good reasons to be able to ignore morale-at least as far as "Running away" is concerned. "Loss of cohesion" is the more appropriate way to represent morale in 40k, I think. Some notably cowardly factions/units (Guardsmen, Cultists, Grots, maybe others) could have rules for running away, but most factions wouldn't.

The definition of morale is confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline. In the game it means maintaining those traits while losing a battle or facing an overwhelming enemy.
For humanoids that means normal fear. For demons and necrons it means loss of enthusiasm. For orks that means loss of confidence in their boss, resulting in infighting. Tyranid are (disgusting, foul) animals controlled by a hivemind that overrides their instincts. Without their hivemind they are back to animal instincts like self preservation, although is that really true for, say, ants in our world?
I would like to see Space Marines break their discipline like they do in the fluff. Every chapter probably has their own arrogant hotshots like Cato and Tsu'gan.

This message was edited 9 times. Last update was at 1999/12/31 23:59:59


 
   
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SemperMortis wrote:
Stop inventing punishments for failing morale and start thinking about how to apply the morale phase to all other factions equally as opposed to devastating a handful of armies.

I think it's fair to start by discussing what failing morale means. As has been pointed out, a lot of armies in the game have pretty valid fluff reasons for being basically immune to fear. That's going to impact what it is failed morale is trying to model, and that's going to impact how we handle things like morale tests. Forced movement and losing a turn of offense are a much bigger penalty for failing morale than losing access to aura buffs for a turn. So while it's fair to point out the importance of not screwing over horde armies, it's also fair to point out that horde armies are probably less likely to be screwed over by some hypothetical morale punishments than others. Believe it or not, I don't wake up in the morning and giggle at the thought of nerfing orks.

Congrats, you developed another system that does not address the biggest problem, most factions FUNCTIONALLY IGNORE MORALE. Marines are LD8, So to get them to fail you would need 3 tokens and to roll a 6. Orkz are Ld6 (7 with nob) Grots are LD4, so they can fail morale by taking 1 casualty. But hey, totally fine right? Just another idea on how to punish armies for morale without addressing the aforementioned fact that too many factions ignore morale.

You have some valid points. If we specifically intend failed morale to model a lack of squad cohesion/coordination, then I think it's fair to remove or ignore some of the existing morale-ignoring rules in the game. For instance, it's all well and good that marines Know No Fear (allegedly), but ATSKNF maybe doesn't need to exist if we're talking about squad cohesion rather than actual fear. And their Ld stat can model their above average discipline/coordination.

I won't overdefend the specifics of my pitch because it's kind of a half-baked idea especially the suppression weapons), but can we agree that some armies/units should fail morale more easily than others? And if so, can we agree that having a worse Leadership stat is probably going to be a factor in whether or not you fail morale? If you don't agree with that, then fair enough; I'll hear out that pitch, and we discuss dropping the Ld stat from the game entirely.



ATTENTION
. Psychic tests are unfluffy. Your longing for AV is understandable but misguided. Your chapter doesn't need a separate codex. Doctrines should go away. Being a "troop" means nothing. This has been a cranky service announcement. You may now resume your regularly scheduled arguing.
 
   
 
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