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One Edition to Rule(set) Them All: Neither 7th nor 8th, but a bit of both  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
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Made in au
Regular Dakkanaut

So all the back and forth of ‘my edition is better than your edition’, the great work the guys/girls are doing with the 8th Ed 30k project, and the impending arrival of the Horus Heresy 7th Ed Rulebook has led me to ask: is the best 40k/30k ruleset ever within our grasp?

A lot of people like the added complexity of 7th and sneer at 8th as ‘babyhammer’, while refusing to accept that some things in 7th are horribly complex without benefiting the game (I defy you to look me in the eye and say the 7th Psychic Phase is in a good place). Conversely, those who champion the improved mechanics of 8th often fail to see the thematic strengths of 7th (does a blast weapon honestly feel like an explosion in 8th?).

As ever, the best course is usually to cut down the middle between two extremes, so that’s what I’ve decided to try to do today.

Mission Statement: To take the skeleton of 7th Ed and furnish it with the best mechanics of 8th, to use the modern rules to fix the problems with the older system.

The aim is to never cut out simulation in the name of streamlining. The target audience - 30k players - are as a demographic generally older, more experienced and more committed to the hobby, and so are theoretically more inclined to greater depth rather than faster games.

Obviously this would require a ground-up rebuild of points and changes to a lot of weapon and unit profiles. I’m not looking to go into that level of detail just yet, more of a look at the mechanics.

Ultimately I’m toying with the idea of writing a homebrew ruleset. If I can find some kind of consensus on what should and shouldn’t change, I may take the plunge and commit these ideas to paper more formally.

Remember, this is all 7th rules except where I’ve made changes.

1.0 General Principles

1.1 Templates: They stay. As do scatter and Deep Strike. One of the most maligned things of 8th is that these are missing.

1.2 Line of Sight: No changes from 7th. It’s simply better than 8th’s ‘firing 4 Lascannons from a tailpipe’.

1.3 Army Selection: 7th Ed 30k rules. They work, so much better than 7th Ed 40k or 8th Ed Formations/Detachments. That said, the separation of models and wargear points in 8th has merit.

1.4 Keywords: There’s no real downside I can see to having Keywords being introduced. They help prevent unintended cross-effects, and make it easier to apply special rules and effects.

1.5 Warlord Traits: Get did of random traits and let players pick their own. This might take a slight change of some traits to balance them all, but 8th seems to manage it. For abilities that allow a re-roll of Warlord trait, replace that with an ability to take two traits from different tables (so one Strategic and one personal trait, for example).

2.0 Profile

2.1 Remove the limit of 10 for stats; allow certain units to have Strength values of 12, for example.

2.2 Movement: Bring this straight over from 8th. It’s a more elegant way to distinguish between unit speeds than reams of special rules.

2.3 Weapon Skill: Use the 7th version, but replace the WS/WS chart with the S/T chart from 8th. So 4+ for equal WS, 5+/3+ for higher/lower, 6+/2+ for double/half. It should be harder for a basic infantryman to tag Fulgrim than tagging an Astartes!

2.4 Ballistic Skill, Strength and Toughness: Use the 7th version. It allows some for impossible to wound situations, which is helpful for protecting tanks from small arms.

2.5 Wounds, Initiative and Leadership: Unchanged from 7th.

2.6 Saves: Armour and Invulnerable saves are largely the same in 7th and 8th, and we’re not introducing Mortal Wounds. Feel No Pain changes “cannot be taken if the attack causes Instant Death” to “cannot be taken if the attack’s Strength is at least double the model’s toughness”.

2.6.1 The big change here is a welcome one: a complete, total and utter moratorium on anything that in any capacity whatsoever allows any kind of re-roll on Armour, Invulnerable or Feel No Pain saves. Further, no Invulnerable Saves better than 3++. No exceptions. The God-Emperor of Mankind himself alone may have a 2++, and only if he casts a psychic power to do it. Stamp this in huge red letters on the cover of the rulebook. Change the tagline to ‘In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only 3++ or worse.’ Re-rolling saves leads to hate, hate leads to cheese, cheese leads to invisible deathstars.

3.0 Movement Phase

3.1 Difficult terrain needs to be changed to compensate the introduction of the M stat. I’m thinking of having it reduce a unit’s M stat by D3 if the unit moves over it (to a minimum of 1), and if a unit moves more than 6” over terrain you make a Dangerous Terrain test. Vehicles (and monstrous creatures - anything with more than say 5 wounds) failing that test would no longer be immobilised by a shrub, but would take D3 wounds if they fail their armour save.

4.0 Psychic Phase

4.1 Honestly, I’m open to suggestions here. My best idea would be to use the 8th casting/denial mechanics, but with 7th powers (including Mind Howl instead of Invisibility). Choosing powers is better than rolling for them, so you’d just have to adjust the casting values and tweak the powers slightly so there aren’t some auto-includes and some never-includes.

5.0 Shooting Phase

5.1 Weapons Profiles: The same as 7th Ed, but replace Snap Firing with -2 BS, to a minimum of BS 1. Better marksmen should be more accurate, even when they’re moving or shooting at planes. Flyers in 30k are moving low and slow enough to interact with what’s happening on the ground - they’re not screaming past at Mach 1 30,000 feet up.

5.2 Multi-Damage Weapons: Ported over directly from 8th. These give a genuine ability to counter larger models. It also gets rid of the Instant Death mechanic, replacing an all-or-nothing mechanic with a granular one.

5.3 AP System: Also ported over from 8th as it is more granular and less all-or-nothing than the 7th one. In 7th a Power Sword is no more dangerous to a Terminator than a Cultist’s pointy stick, and any combat monster without AP2 is a laughing stock.

5.3.1 Power Swords/Axes/Mauls would use their 8th profiles, while Power Fists would retain the Unwieldy rule instead of -1 to hit, as we are keeping Initiative.

5.3.2 This does give horde armies more durability, so it may be necessary to tone down the Armour Saves of Solar Auxilia and other light infantry by a point to compensate.

5.4 Twin-Linking: Taken from 8th - simply doubles the number of shots. Two parallel barrels shouldn’t make you more accurate and no more powerful if you do connect with the target.

5.5 Indirect fire uses 3D6 for scatter if the firer moved.

5.6 Add a scaling of templates mechanic - any model with a starting value of 10+ wounds hit by a Template/Blast weapon takes 1+D3 hits instead of 1. Models with 20+ wounds take 1+2D3. This is intended as halfway between 8th ‘Blast weapons wreck single models’ and 7th ‘being bathed by a flamer is no worse than being clipped by one’.

5.7 Gets Hot: Make the damage for getting hurt by Gets Hot D3 to make it relevant to vehicles and monsters, which will have an increased wound tally. There’s potential here to up the ante: allow these weapons to overcharge and double their Damage, but if they choose to do this and Get Hot then they can’t make an armour save against the overheating.

5.8 Bring in split fire from 8th. No more having 19 guys twiddling their thumbs while the sergeant chucks a krak grenade at a nearby Dreadnought. Similarly, no more having the left sponson on a Predator idling while the turret and right sponson target something else.

5.9 Vehicle (and monstrous creature) shooting: Let them move up to half of the M stat and fire Heavy/Ordnance weapons normally, or at -1 BS if they move more than that. Superheavies and gargantuans only get the penalty on Ordnance.

5.10 Cover: The 7th version (post ‘toe-in-cover’ FAQ) of who gets cover is just better. However, the idea of a Cover Save would be replaced with 8th’s +1 to Armour Save (or +2 for things like Aegis lines, or +3 for Bunkers). This is good because it gets rid of the curious idea in 7th that a branch would protect a Space Marine from a Volcano Cannon but not a Lasgun! Essentially it’s the conditions for getting cover from 7th, but the cover bonus from 8th.

6.0 Assault

6.1 Distances: Replace ‘base-to-base’ with ‘within 1”’. It helps mitigate ‘you’re 6.0001” away so technically that’s a 7” charge’ by giving a little bit of flex in the distance requirement. It also throws assault units a bone by shortening their charge by an inch.

6.2 Transports: Units that disembarked from a stationary transport can charge that turn. This hasn’t led to the feared ‘Rhino rush’ in 8th, but it does give transports some utility for assault units.

6.3 As Snap Firing is no longer a thing, Overwatch for non-Template/Blast weapons require a flat 6 to hit.

6.4 Allow Blast weaponry (other than Primary and Ordnance) to Overwatch, but without subtracting their BS from the scatter - a potentially very dangerous proposition.

6.5 Overwatch requires line of sight (no indirect fire Overwatch).

6.6 Sweeping Advance: If a unit is caught, they lose as many models as they failed their Ld test by rather than the whole unit. It helps take the sting out of a bad roll killing 19 models after one died in combat, and rewards doing more damage than the minimum required to make them fail the test.

6.7 Consolidation: This one is contentious: allow units to Consolidate into combat with other units. Close combat isn’t exactly dominant in 7th, so the leg up is probably welcome for assault specialists. It also punishes castling up and encourages more dynamic, mobile gameplay.

7.0 Vehicles

7.1 Remove Armour Values and give every unit a Toughness and Armour Save per 8th. Before you go grabbing the pitchforks, this does not mean removing facings; instead of having front, rear and side AV, all large models would have front, rear and side T values on their profile. It would naturally follow that vehicles replace Hull Points with large numbers of wounds, and monstrous creatures increase their wounds to match. This is to end the odd discrepancy in 7th where vehicles die to one lucky shot, but shifting a monstrous creature requires enormous volumes of high-strength firepower.

7.1.1 This will mean that vehicles suddenly become more susceptible to small arms fire. Given the variable T values, this could be mitigated by giving most vehicles - say a Rhino chassis or tougher - a front Toughness of 8, making them immune to frontal Bolter fire. General wisdom in 8th shows that small arms fire are not a significant threat to vehicles, even if they can harm them.

7.2 With the profile moving closer to that of 8th for vehicles, they could be given a largely academic Leadership value (as vehicles are Fearless), an Initiative of 1, and a Weapon Skill of 0, meaning they could never actually attack in close combat.

7.3 Non-Walker vehicles still would not be able to charge or be locked in combat. They would still Tank Shock/Ram - though they now have a Strength to do so with, and could inflict a number of hits equal to their Attacks characteristic on the unit being Shocked/Rammed.

7.4 Furthermore, the Vehicle Damage Chart would be replaced by the degrading profiles seen in 8th - and that goes for monstrous creatures, too.

8.0 Lords of War

8.1 Superheavies: With the changes to Vehicles so far, the list of special rules for Superheavies becomes a lot smaller. The only point of difference for these would be a keyword and Thunderblitz/Stomp.

8.2 Ram/Tank Shock attacks are as the rules above, but with AP-3 and D3 Damage.

8.3 Stomps become a Blast D3, S User, AP-3, D3 Damage weapon that must centre over a model in combat with the user, and scatter using WS rather than BS. It would have no effect on Superheavies. This is meant to remove ‘stomp sniping’.

8.4 Destroyer Weapons: Allowing Strength profiles to go above 10 and multi-damage weaponry allows the removal of the problematic D-chart. 8th has shown that weapons like Volcano Cannons can be still devastating without the Destroyer rule.

8.4.1 To replace the Invulnerable-ignoring effect, a new special rule for certain weapons - Unstoppable: Rolls of a 6 to wound with this weapon ignore all Armour and Invulnerable Saves. This rule would be applied to Destroyer Weapons, Stomps and Superheavy Ram/Tank Shocks.

9.0 Characters

9.1 Broadly unchanged from 7th, but with the removal of Look out, Sir! to mitigate tanky character shenanigans. You can still put the model with the Storm Shield at the front of the unit to tank those pesky Plasma shots, but they’re also going to have to wear every Bolter shell, too.


So what do you think? Would you call this an improvement over 7th? Is it better than 7th or 8th and would be something you would prefer to play? Is it a good start that could use some work, or is it just bad and I should feel bad?
Made in ca
Unhealthy Competition With Other Legions

Toronto, Ontario

All I will say is this: I have played 40k since 2nd edition, before The dark millennium expansion (the original one). I've enjoyed every version of this game up until 8th. The version I like most is The current Horus Heresy rule set. I look forward to the minor tweeks that will come with a pure Horus Heresy rule book.

If it ain't broke down't try to fix it, or you risk letting the 'lightning in a bottle' that they somehow managed to catch with the Heresy escape.

"He's doing the Lord's work. And by 'Lord' I mean Lord of Skulls." -Kenny Boucher

Prepare yourselves for the onslaught men. The enemy is waiting, but your Officers are courageous and your bayonettes sharp! I have at my disposal an entire army of Muskokans, tens of thousands of armour and artillery supporting millions upon tens of millions of the Imperium's finest fighting men with courage in their bellies, fire in their hearts and lasguns in their hands. Emperor show mercy to mine enemies, for as sure as the Imperium is vast, I will not!
- General Robert Thurgood of the Emperor's Own Lasguns before the landings at Traitor's Folly at the onset of the Chrislea's Road Campaign

"Pride goeth before the fall... to Slaanesh"
- ///name stricken///, former 'Emperor's Champion' 
Made in gb
Veteran Knight Baron in a Crusader

At my desk

I definitely like your concept, and as you say it will obviously need work. A lot of work. I like both 7th and 8th, and fully accept that both have flaws. I'm trying not to sound like a grumpy old git, but there are definitely fanboys that think 8th is the best thing ever and 30k needs to follow in it's footsteps when that just isn't the case. I like that 30k has kept it's own feel and feels properly independent to 40k. It's nice to have two different games.

The poster above makes a good point in that this could worryingly easily go wrong. But I'd definitely love to see a re-write of 7th without all the bloat (because good god is 7th a clusterfrack in some areas).

And all that you've listed in your OP is exactly the sort of thing I'd like to play. So I'm definitely interested to see if this goes somewhere.

3000pts Blood Angels (4th Company) - 2000pts Skitarii (Voss Prime) - 2500pts Imperial Knights (Unnamed House) - 1000pts Imperial Guard (Household Retainers)

2000pts Free Peoples (Edlynd Fusiliers) - 2000pts Kharadron Overlords (Barak Zilfin) - 500pts Ironweld Arsenal (Edlynd Ironwork Federation) - 1000pts Duardin (Grongrok Powderheads)

Wargaming's no fun when you have a plan! 
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran

As it happens I'm literally drafting my own take on an alternate 40K rules set, though this one is taking the plunge with the long considered 'alternate activations.'

I wish you all the very best with yours.
Made in cz
Fresh-Faced New User

This 7.5 ruleset would be so great! GW and FW should read it and do it immediately.

But this will never happen as we can never have good rules
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut

I personally prefer (and have worked on) a heavily modified 7.5 system myself. The tldr of it is:

-Psykers select their powers at army creation.
-Each Discipline has 4 basic and 2 advanced powers. For each advanced power, you must know at least 2 basic powers from the same discipline.
-Psychic Focus simply means you add +1 to manifest rolls for that given discipline.
-Each Psyker either gets 2xML or 1+ML Warp Charge, but cannot pool.
-Psychic powers and denials are a "degrees of success" system, rather than a pass-fail system. Think Kings of War magic or so. Denial subtracts successes rather than being all-or-nothing.

And then you can decorate atop this system however you want, with pushing, fettered psykers, etc.
Made in us
Lit By the Flames of Prospero


I like a lot of it, and some of it gives me pause.

as for the reroll on armour and/or no invulns better than a 3++ This is 30k friend. the only way I know of getting as 2+ rerolling save is if you have IF going to ground behind a Dorn-buffed aegis line. With that said: It's basically a non issue. At most say Psychic spells can not buff you beyond a 3++ invuln. Leave rerolling armour as well, since AFAIK the only source of that is void hardened, and that is situational and on very few units.

I like 7th's psychic phase, but fully port of WHFB 8th psychic phase instead of just part of it. Allow "dispell runes" or something to hard-stop a spell for like, 10 points. It would help mitigate some of the shenanigans.

I personally say let vehicles full on move and shoot. it makes no sense that 30k vehicles would lack targetting systems and the like. Additionally, I'd like to leave the armour value, but add in an armour save for vehicles (say, a flat 3+ for most things, 2+ for the big stuff) and ditch the explodes result. I think that keeps the feel of a vehicle (i.e. ignoring small arms and the like) all the while giving vehicles a much needed buff without having to worry about working out Toughness facings and all that jazz.

Lots of cool and good suggestions, the above are just my 2 cents. Great job either way

HH W/D/L: 33/2/3
HH DG: 30,000
HH TS: 6,000
HH "Siege of Terra": ~17,000
HH Solar Auxilia: 5,000
143rd Expedition Fleet hobby Blog 
Made in au
Regular Dakkanaut

(Coming back after leaving this for a while - forgot I actually posted it!)

Thanks for the positive comments, and to those saying I should leave well enough alone, what can i say, I’m a dreamer

Also, thanks for the suggestions on the Psychic Phase - keep them coming, I’m still not sure what direction I want to take that.

 Brennonjw wrote:
as for the reroll on armour and/or no invulns better than a 3++ This is 30k friend. the only way I know of getting as 2+ rerolling save is if you have IF going to ground behind a Dorn-buffed aegis line. With that said: It's basically a non issue. At most say Psychic spells can not buff you beyond a 3++ invuln. Leave rerolling armour as well, since AFAIK the only source of that is void hardened, and that is situational and on very few units.

This is sort of intended as future-proofing as well as solving specific current issues. Since we’ve got armour modifiers included in this, would replacing Void Hardened Armour’s reroll vs templates with a +1 to Armour Save against Templates be an acceptable change? Currently VHA turns a 4/6 save into an 8/9 save against anything with AP4 or worse, but nothing against AP3 or better. Under this change, VHA would change a 4/6 save into a 5:6 save against anything without AP, but still be helpful against all AP values (except extremes like AP-5)..

I personally say let vehicles full on move and shoot. it makes no sense that 30k vehicles would lack targetting systems and the like. Additionally, I'd like to leave the armour value, but add in an armour save for vehicles (say, a flat 3+ for most things, 2+ for the big stuff) and ditch the explodes result. I think that keeps the feel of a vehicle (i.e. ignoring small arms and the like) all the while giving vehicles a much needed buff without having to worry about working out Toughness facings and all that jazz.

Vehicles can’t currently full on move and shoot - they can only do so with one weapon, the rest have to Snap Shot. I figured the -1 BS to all weapons when moving was a fair trade for firing one at full BS and the rest snap shotting. Do you think differently? Also remember that it would be easy enough to allow certain vehicles a universal special rule that lets them ignore the penalty (like Land Raiders).

For Armour Value, given that there’s no longer a difference between Glancing and Penetrating, Toughness 6-10 is identical to AV 10-14, save for two things. First, it removes the possibility of a 1+ success (like Str 9/10 vs AV 10) since you need st least a 2+. Second, it allows for weapons to roll a 7 to penetrate/wound, since the 7th Strength/Toughness chart doesnt end at 6+, it ends at 7+ (which requires a 6 to roll). The upshot is that weapons will be able to hurt the equivalent of one AV value higher than they currently can. So, for example, Rotor Cannons could now hurt the equivalent of AV10, but not AV11. Considering that vehicles now get Armour Saves, I thought this was reasonable.

For degrading stats replacing the Vehicle Damage Chart, while this would take some work I think it is a superior system as it is more granular and less random. To me it feels more like the vehicle is actually being broken down. It also lets us apply it to Monstrous Creatures.
Made in gb
Thinking of Joining a Davinite Loge

Somewhere in the dark...

I really like 90% of what you've done here. There are a couple of things though:

Vehicles degrading as they take more damage - whilst probably more realistic - just sounds like additional bookkeeping to me. I don't like the idea at all. But, I've not played 8th so maybe it works. I just don't like the idea of having to keep track of it all, especially if you bring a lot of tanks. I also don't like the thought of not being able to rely on the same thing until it's dead - it's like having to learn how 3 (because there are three levels of degradation) units play when it already takes a good number of games to learn how one unit really plays.

And the psychic phase - oh how I hate that! I preferred it when only certain armies could use psychic powers and they had their own psychic powers in their own codex which were thematically suitable. Having a pool of powers available to everyone will inevitably lead to the best always being fished for and then working out how to up the levels of cheese. Just having 3 or 4 available to only psychic armies, and having them be useful tools that don't spoil the game is fine. Or, even silly powers like invisibility and endurance would be ok if they were one use only ones. But overall, I'd like to see them toned down a lot, be more about buffing your own units then scrapping the ability to deny them would be ok in my book. Think 'Guide' in the old 3rd ed Eldar book which buffed a unit that was only BS3 since Eldar were BS3 then. Very useful indeed but it didn't break the game.

Made in au
Regular Dakkanaut

I’ve played quite a lot of 8th, and while I can see your point about bookkeeping, for me at least degrading stats haven’t proven to be more of a headache than remembering 7th Ed Vehicle Damage Chart results. The key, I think, is consistency. For example, when playing Space Marines, all I have to remember is that once a vehicle drops under half wounds, it loses one BS and halves its Movement stat. Then when it’s on it’s last 2 wounds it drops another BS and movement to 3”. This applies to all Rhino and Land Raider chassis vehicles. Since it’s consistent I only have to remember one thing. It doesn’t apply to all vehicles but I think if the same thinking was applied to groups of vehicles (say, all Dreadnoughts follow a pattern, all flyers follow a pattern etc) then it could be simple enough.

The psychic phase has become a monster in recent editions, but I think the genie’s our of the bottle on that one so we have to go with making the modern version work rather than going back to the 3rd Ed one.
Made in cz
Fresh-Faced New User

It would be better IMO for Unwieldy rule to give just -2 I or something like that than just plain I1.
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