Switch Theme:

ProHammer: Enhanced 5th Edition Ruleset for Retro 40k Feels  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
Author Message

Forum adverts like this one are shown to any user who is not logged in. Join us by filling out a tiny 3 field form and you will get your own, free, dakka user account which gives a good range of benefits to you:
  • No adverts like this in the forums anymore.
  • Times and dates in your local timezone.
  • Full tracking of what you have read so you can skip to your first unread post, easily see what has changed since you last logged in, and easily see what is new at a glance.
  • Email notifications for threads you want to watch closely.
  • Being a part of the oldest wargaming community on the net.
If you are already a member then feel free to login now.

Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut

Just take me to the rules!
ProHammer: Enhanced 5th Edition (Living Rules Link)

I've played 40k on and off since 1st Edition, with the most time spent on 2nd and 4th edition. I've dabbled a bit in 8th edition and find it wanting. Not that the newer direction of 40K is bad, but for me it just doesn't capture the same gameplay feel and aesthetic character of older editions of the game. And while I like some of things about 6th and 7th edition, they also felt needlessly finicky and overwrought. 5th edition is a high watermark for a more streamlined but still classic feeling 40K - but it isn't without its faults.

So, I've embarked on a journey to find a better 40K. I'm starting to teach my own kids and nephews how to play (they are asking to learn I swear!) and given I have tons of older stuff at my disposal it seems like going with a classic version makes sense. And if Im going back to an old edition, I might as well house rule it to make it as cool as it can be.

With that, I've taken 5th edition as base and pulled in bits of 4th and 6th edition, a few inspirations from 8th edition in the name of streamlining, and even a few throw backs to 2nd edition (without getting too nuts!).

The overall design goals for this project is as follows:

  • Create a hybrid ruleset that brings out the epic drama of 40K but is tactically richer.
  • Add more player choices and flexibility but set the stage for tougher, deeper decisions.
  • Balance “fairness” with excitement. Keep players on their toes but don’t overly punish.
  • Increase the fidelity or “logicalness” of the game, while staying as simple as possible.
  • Restore the importance of position and maneuver - this is a miniature tactics game!

  • The 40k rules tend to swing a lot from edition to edition. First vehicles are too strong, then they are too weak. Assault is too weak, oops, now it's too strong. The game never felt like it landed with the right balance point baked into the rules. ProHammer tries to find that elusive sweat spot.

    Additionally, I've found with new players that often times what makes sense from a logical standpoint doesn't really line up with the rules. Times when you say out loud "well that doesn't make any sense" are far too common. Or you hear someone say "that is stupidly unfair" to rules that are just randomly punitive. I've tried to sand off these rough edges while boosting the strategic depth of game and emphasizing the importance of positioning and movement and use of terrain. This is a tactical miniature game after all! But it's also a richly thematic game - and I don't want to lose the charm and wildness that makes 40K special.

    Here's a link to what I've come up with:

    ProHammer: Enhanced 5th Edition (Living Rules Link)

    Below are some of the Key Changes at a Glance

    * Movement is model-by-model​ for determining what counts as moving
    * Can approach difficult terrain at normal speed. Can take ​saves from dangerous terrain
    * Can take a leadership test to ​split fire​ once (i.e. unit can shoot a max of two different targets)
    * Line of Sight: ​Hard cover uses true line of sight, soft cover blocks LoS beyond 6”
    * Cover saves:​ 3+ fortifications, 4+ hard cover, 5+ soft cover/intervening models, 6+ light cover
    * Snap Fire​. Heavy weapons may move and snap fire, assault weapons may run and snap fire. Can
    snap fire after going to ground.
    * Declared Shooting ​(experimental) players must declare all shooting targets
    * Overwatch ​can be declared instead of shooting normally, allows one “point blank” round of full strength fire against a single charging unit (with some downsides)
    * Revised wound allocation process​ for shooting attacks - can only remove “viable” targets are in true line of sight and in range. Cover saves determined on model-by-model basis. Unified and streamlined process for resolving shooting even for complex units.
    * Blast weapons​ use ballistic skill to hit. If shot missed, automatically scatters.
    * Rapid fire weapons​ - once at max range or twice at half range, regardless of movement (6th)
    * Close combat victors ​may consolidate into enemy units again.
    * Units engaged in close combat may ​withdraw​ during their movement phase (but various incur penalties).
    * Opposing unit can consolidate into enemy unit.
    * Revised Vehicle damage​: Uses separate modified 4th edition glancing and penetrating damage charts. Skimmers are less resilient while other vehicles remain reasonably durable. Cover saves
    adjusted for vehicles.
    * Defensive weapons ​on vehicles are ​Strength 5​ or less.
    * Hitting vehicles in melee​ attacks based on the speed the vehicle moved (same rules for skimmers)
    * Less punishing ​deep strike​ rules (models placed under large blast template ala 4th edition)
    * Slightly more predictable ​reserves (6th)
    * Lone characters can’t be shot unless they are the closest model (4th)
    * Force Weapons​ deal D3 wounds on successful psychic test (not instant death)
    * Revised m​orale rules for falling back and regrouping​ to be more volatile but also less punishing
    * Uses ​mission structure + objectives ​based on 6th edition

    Lots more odds and ends in the ruleset. Please take a look and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the changes. I'm planning to make adjustments and fine tuning as I play test this more, so I'm open to suggestions! Thanks.

    This message was edited 5 times. Last update was at 2020/09/15 15:41:31

    Made in us
    Man O' War

    washington state USA

    Only a couple things i see as problamatic in your over-view

    1.declared fire-battletech has it and we purposely do not use it, as it slows thew game down way to much

    2. consolidating into a second unit after winning combat-incredibly bad mechanic that was badly abused in 4th edition. especially hurts NON MEG armies like guard and tau.

    Otherwise very solid work, and excellent layout.

    It is quite similar to the rules set we use for hybrid 5th ed using the best bits of 3rd-7th.

    Funny how we the players with experience playing the game can come up with a similar rules set that works better than what GW manages to pay people to write.

    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/09/07 04:36:34

    Made in us
    Regular Dakkanaut

    Thanks for taking a look.

    I kept the declared fire as optional - but I used to play that way with my group all the time and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I've always had an issue in 40K and other IGOUGO games where the shooting becomes a little optimization puzzle where you work out an ideal order based on level of threat and go from there. It makes it feel a little gamey. Declaring fire forces you to make a strategic "gambit" or a plan of action in the face of uncertainty. Keep in mind, units are at most only shooting two targets (if they split fire) and so far in testing the wound allocation thing has been pretty quick to resolve. Hasn't seemed to have added much time to the game yet.

    Consolidating into other units - I've tried to temper it by adding the ability for a unit to withdraw at the end of their movement phase (I think 2nd Ed had a voluntary fallback rule?). Without consolidation, it creates this equally weird situation as a melee attacker where you don't want to kill the charged unit too much, because you'd rather kill them at the end of your opponents assault phase so you could charge with them again. 8th edition has voluntary fall back moves too.

    I also thought about adding in the ability to fire into melee combat in exchange for stronger consolidation moves.

    Thanks for the feedback nevertheless, I'll keep tweaking things And keep this updated. I want to do some formatting to the rules and call out where the changes are a bit better.

    Let me know if you have other thoughts! Cheers.

    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/09/07 13:39:38

    Made in us
    Man O' War

    washington state USA

    On the consolidating assault rules. here is an example of why it becomes a problem-back in 4th a buddy who plays IG did a game where we ended on turn 5 where my deathwing had a single chaplain and a venerable dreadnought left. we decided to play it out to see what would happen. thanks to that rule i managed to walk through the entire rest of his army with just those 2 models (even though he technically already won). because every time i won combat and they broke i would run them down with the dreadnought.

    The best rules i have seen if you want the option to shoot into melee( i know guard players that think it fits the lore just fine....especially for DKOK, ) is- shoot with a penalty and every miss hits a friendly model in the melee-armor saves apply as normal.

    The only model that used to be able to do something similar with orbital strikes was inquisitor lord karamozov..so long as he targeted a friendly model in melee

    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/09/07 14:00:12

    Made in us
    Regular Dakkanaut

    I hear you. A lot depends on the size of the game relative to the table and how spaced out things are. If consolidating into units is allowed it has to be planned for. With the range limited to 3" of you can keep at least 6" between units you're usually pretty safe. If you then add options for voluntary fallback (ala 8th edition) and/or rules for firing into melee, then I think it's relatively balanced. In your example the game was already technically over before it became an issue anyway.

    I do like your idea about shooting into close combat. Could also do something where if your side as many more models you'd suffer a -1 to hit (meaning you'd be more likely to hit your own models when you fail). Maybe 1's are always total misses.
    Made in us
    Man O' War

    washington state USA

    Well shooting into melee in the way i described is used in many systems including 3.5 dnd....if you don't take the -4 penalty to avoid shooting your friends there is good chance you will.

    The big difference from what you are doing and what we did is you are creating your own original rules, we just used rules that already existed in the game in various editions and put them all into the same edition. effectively picking the best core rules with the best USR/core mechanics cherry picked across the compatible editions. i think that is a lot easier for players outside your family to wrap their heads around known pre-existing rules.

    IIRC 2nd ed overwatch allowed you to shoot normally at one unit in the enemy movement phase but that unit then did nothing during your own player turn. it might be best just to directly import that over to get what you are looking for.

    Made in us
    Regular Dakkanaut

    2nd ed. overwatch required you to place your unit into overwatch at the start of your turn, with no moving or shooting or assaulting allowed that turn. They can act normally on their NEXT turn.

    So you had to declare overwatch proactively / ahead of time.

    Finished updating ProHammer to version 1.1 with adjustments in the following areas:

    * Revised overwatch to work on non-assaulting units with additional restrictions (24” max range), other lose ends clarified.
    * Clarifications to withdrawing rules adding
    * Added new “Shooting into Close Combat” rule
    * Added in option to use pistols in close combat (can make one pistol shot, ala 8th edition)
    * Added rules for throwing grenades during shooting phase, if the unit is equipped with them. Limited to just one grenade attack per unit.
    * Added optional rule for balanced force composition, requiring players to maintain at least a 2:3 troop to specialist unit ration (2nd edition throwback).
    * Made vehicles one step easier to hit in assault at each step. (3+ for moving up 6", 4+ for 6-12", 5+ for over 12", etc.)
    * Added clearer text notes indicated rules that were revised or new
    Made in us
    Regular Dakkanaut

    Added a rule from 7th edition regarding overwatch fire which is that shooting in overwatch never forces the target to take a moral or pinning test.

    Also clarified how vehicles work with split fire.

    Last - and this is maybe a question for those more familiar with 6th + 7th edition, but it seems like if I added the additional universal special rules outside of what 5th edition covered as an appendix, players could choose to use 6th or 7th edition codex's with ProHammer.

    The mechanical changes aren't that different from a codex standpoint. There are a few rule areas that I haven't included in ProHammer (challenges comes to mind) that might have some impact on certain later edition codex options, but seems like it could work reasonably well most of the time?


    Made in us
    Man O' War

    washington state USA

    That was an easy enough fix. we allow all codexes to be used from 3rd-7th but they must adhere to the 5th ed core rules. meaning some rules are flat out ignored if there is no 5th ed equivalent USR or use the most applicable USR.

    An examole-dunestrider for the 7th ed mechanicus list-since all movement is fixed the effect that is supposed to represent -the ease with which they traverse terrain- is simple reverted back to "move through cover" USR instead if giving them extra movement or charge range.

    Made in us
    Regular Dakkanaut

    I started going through the USR's for 6th + 7th. I'm going to make a compiled set for the ProHammer rules that make the appropriate adjustments to bring them all into proper alignment.

    What's interesting is that I priced out a 2000 point space wolf army using the 5th edition codex. Same list was like 250 points cheaper using the 7th edition wolf list.

    I wonder what to do about all the 7th edition attachment stuff. Do you just ignore that and it's always using the standard force organization charts (unless your opponent agrees of course).

    You might get a kick out of this:


    I didn't complete it for 7th edition yet, and 8th is a little sparse, but it's a general rule by rule comparrison of the different editions (focused on 4th, 5th, and 6th). I used this to help under standand what ProHammer would change to what. It's been a fun side project!
    Made in us
    Gore-Soaked Lunatic Witchhunter

     Mezmorki wrote:
    ...I wonder what to do about all the 7th edition attachment stuff. Do you just ignore that and it's always using the standard force organization charts (unless your opponent agrees of course)...

    The 7e detachments were badly designed; the buffs they gave ranged from the mediocre (Deathwatch: everyone can Deep Strike!) to the incredibly overpowered (Space Marines: 550pts of free Razorbacks!), some let you flat-out ignore some very important limitations (Eldar: 300pts of bikes and then you can take as many Wraithknights as you like!), and the requirements were sometimes incredibly easy and sometimes incredibly difficult.

    If you want to try doing something like the specialized detachments I'd suggest reading up on 30k Rites of War; they're a much simpler, better-balanced, and generally better-built version of the same "variant detachments" idea.

    Balanced Game: Noun. A game in which all options and choices are worth using. 
    Made in us
    Man O' War

    washington state USA

    Yeah formations/detachments/unbound in 7th were bad, like i said we try to keep it baseline 5th ed as much as possible so the old FOC is required. the nice thing about 5th though is it did allow vehicle formations with their related restrictions. So a bit more freedom but not break the game style like 7th allowed.

    Taking allied detachments did exist all the way back iin 3rd (and were not broken), but most people didn't take them aside from grey knights who had their own special rules as normally you had to take the additional 1 HQ and 1 troop minimum to gain access to 1 elite/heavy/fast from the allied force.

    Made in it
    Regular Dakkanaut

    I ever thought that AP against vehicles should have a role.

    as you are doing, AP 3 or AP 6 are the same, I find it not fair.

    as an houserule, I found very balanced and realistic that after a pen. Hit, roll a d6; if you roll equal or higher AP weapon value, you score an heavy damage, if you roll lower, then the hit is a glancing
    Made in us
    Regular Dakkanaut


    your overwatch rules sound interesting, declared firing looks good but can be slow for 'many small unit armies' ie guard.CC consilidate could be too powerful.
    In my version of 7th one of the main rules is you have to reduce all hull points on a vehicle to destroy it. In a single volley with different weapons ie from a leman russ/devestator squad choose most powerful weapon that hit to blow it up.

    Made in us
    Regular Dakkanaut

    I updated the link in the subject post to point to the "living rules" (i.e. google document) version of the file, that so that it's always reflecting the latest.

    Current at version 1.1 with the changes I mentioned a few posts up. Here's the link too:


    Still getting my head around 7th edition and what I can I can do make the core of those codex's "compliant" with ProHammer.

    What's interesting with the vehicle HP's added in 6th/7th, is that the unit prices didn't change all that much. Seems like using the ProHammer vehicle damage tables (closer to 4th ed) makes vehicle durability more uncertain. Things could be destroyed faster, but they could also hold out longer. Depends on the die rolls.
    Made in us
    Decrepit Dakkanaut


    Are Shaken and Stunned cumulative as well?

    Made in us
    Regular Dakkanaut

    ProHammer does this:

    Shaken = can shoot but only hits on. 6 (aka snap fire)
    Stunned = shaken + cant move next turn
    Made in us
    Decrepit Dakkanaut


    So if a model takes two stunned results, what happens then?

    Made in us
    Regular Dakkanaut

    Oh, nothing further happens. It's stunned for it's next turn only, no matter how many stunned results it suffers. They don't stack and accumulate.
    Made in us
    Regular Dakkanaut

    I wanted to mention something as I was revising my rules.

    People have expressed concerns by allowing units to consolidate into new enemy targets (like in 3rd edition).

    Bear in mind, that the ProHammer rules also let you voluntarily withdraw from any combats (albiet with a penalty) on the start of your turn. This is similar to rules in 2nd edition for voluntary fallback / breaking off, as well as in 8th/9th where you can just "move away" on your turn.

    There is also stronger (potentially) overwatch fire AND even a rule for firing into close combat at the risk of hitting your own unit.
    Made in us
    Regular Dakkanaut

    Hello all. Quick update on ProHammer, now version 1.2.

    * Added simplified rule for Deny the Witch
    * Added 6th/7th edition compatibility rules (see last section) - including universal special rules. Players can use any codexes from 3rd-7th edition.
    * Added a new unit type summary chart section
    * Added Smash rule to monstrous creatures
    * Clarified how vehicles split fire (treated as Ld 10, each weapon can fire at a target within its arc)
    * Clarified what counts as a viable target model when allocating a wound pool during shooting

    This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/09/17 20:38:47

    Forum Index » 40K Proposed Rules
    Go to: