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Thread: Rules for designing a new book?

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    Chapter Master Charistoph's Avatar
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    Rules for designing a new book?

    (I apologize if this isn't the place to start this, but it's the best place I could think of)

    When designing/creating/building a new army book or codex, what are some good rules to follow?

    What are good pitfalls to avoid?

    How many units should each slot (HQ, Troop, Core, Rare, etc) have in a well constructed book?

    How many Unique characters/units would be too many?
    Last edited by Charistoph; 10-03-2012 at 16:56. Reason: clarify question 3
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    Chapter Master theunwantedbeing's Avatar
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    Re: Rules for designing a new book?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charistoph View Post
    When designing/creating/building a new army book or codex, what are some good rules to follow?
    Start at the beginning, troops first, items second, special stuff last.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charistoph View Post
    What are good pitfalls to avoid?
    Special characters and your own fluff.
    Trying to give the list a bit of everything or overpowering things to match what other books have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charistoph View Post
    What range of options should each slot (HQ, Troop, Core, Rare, etc) have in a well constructed book?
    No one thing should be clearly the focal point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charistoph View Post
    How many Unique characters/units would be too many?
    Don't make any of these untill everything else is sorted.
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    Chapter Master Charistoph's Avatar
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    Re: Rules for designing a new book?

    Quote Originally Posted by theunwantedbeing View Post
    Start at the beginning, troops first, items second, special stuff last.
    And by troops you mean the central infantry, or anything that isn't a character?

    Special characters and your own fluff.
    Trying to give the list a bit of everything or overpowering things to match what other books have.
    Well some things are unavoidable, but so long as anything custom doesn't have any significant impact, like a Tau SC that kills Goregutz, I should be good, right?

    And that's a good point of going over the top.

    No one thing should be clearly the focal point.
    Sorry, I wasnt't clear on this, I meant how many units per slot is generally a good idea. This has been updated in the original post.

    Don't make any of these untill everything else is sorted.
    Probably a good idea, but in the project I'm working on, the 'who' is pretty much done, it's filling out the actual stats, gear, and Special Rules that need to be done. While I am mostly done with 4 (the actual initiation of the project), I do plan on holding off until the basic units of the slots are done before finishing the rest. Very good suggestion.
    Last edited by Charistoph; 10-03-2012 at 18:18.
    Are you a Wolf, a Sheep, or a Hound?

    Quote Originally Posted by Megavolt
    They called me crazy…they called me insane…THEY CALLED ME LOONEY!! and boy, were they right.

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    Chapter Master theunwantedbeing's Avatar
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    Re: Rules for designing a new book?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charistoph View Post
    And by toops you mean the central infantry, or anything that isn't a character?
    Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by Charistoph View Post
    Sorry, I wasnt't clear on this, I meant how many units per slot is generally a good idea. This has been updated in the original post.
    I'de create the units first, then put them into their respective slots.
    Once that's done, look towards evening out the number of units in the various slots by either altering how a unit works if you have too many similar functioning things or coming up with a brand new unit to fit that role.
    Aim for say.....3-4 for each slot respectively to begin with.

    This stops you making things too specialised or overpowered because you were aiming to make them work in a given slot
    Plan B kill it with fire
    Meat is Murder tasty, tasty murder
    Quote Originally Posted by RanaldLoec View Post
    I would have to agree with The Unwantedbeing as he is a paragon of sense and reason in an unreasonable environment.

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    Chapter Master Charistoph's Avatar
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    Re: Rules for designing a new book?

    Quote Originally Posted by theunwantedbeing View Post
    I'de create the units first, then put them into their respective slots.
    Once that's done, look towards evening out the number of units in the various slots by either altering how a unit works if you have too many similar functioning things or coming up with a brand new unit to fit that role.
    Aim for say.....3-4 for each slot respectively to begin with.

    This stops you making things too specialised or overpowered because you were aiming to make them work in a given slot
    Okay... That may things more challenging. One of the projects I'm looking at doing may not be able to fit that many units in without duplicating stuff from other codecies too much. But that's what I get from trying to implant an army's codex from another story and medium.
    Are you a Wolf, a Sheep, or a Hound?

    Quote Originally Posted by Megavolt
    They called me crazy…they called me insane…THEY CALLED ME LOONEY!! and boy, were they right.

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    Chapter Master Son of Sanguinius's Avatar
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    Re: Rules for designing a new book?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charistoph View Post
    When designing/creating/building a new army book or codex, what are some good rules to follow?
    Pick a theme and stick to it. For example, if you're designing a Dark Eldar codex, you're going to want fast glass hammers. This is the playstyle people are used to and the style that fits the background, both of which will get you more responses. Anything that deviates too far from the army's central theme is of little use.

    Be careful of unique special rules. It's tempting to go crazy, especially if you're like me and really enjoy the background, but you don't want the army bogged down by applying special rules all over the place.

    If push comes to shove, simplicity wins. If you have balancing or wording issues, take the path of least resistance. It makes it easier for players to understand and use.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charistoph View Post
    What are good pitfalls to avoid?
    Do not, under any circumstances, try to make every unit as strong as every other optimum choice in the game. Overpowered units create balance issues for your work and will get ripped apart by people who don't play the army or units you're working with. It's very tempting to make a unit you like awesome, especially if they were hit with a nerf bat by GW. In my case, that was Possessed for CSM. My first draft of the unit gave them rending, furious charge, counter-attack, acute senses, 5++ saves, fleet, and the ability to become jump infantry or beasts. Needless to say, most opponents aren't going to let you field a custom unit like that and most rules development geeks like us will tell you it's nuts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charistoph View Post
    How many units should each slot (HQ, Troop, Core, Rare, etc) have in a well constructed book?
    There is no set formula to my mind, but try to consolidate redundant choices. It's ridiculous that the Space Marine book needs a crapton of heavy support entries for all the variants of land raiders and predators. If you're sticking with your central army ethos, staying loyal to the background, and not shoving in units just because you think they'd be cool, the group will sort itself out.

    Remember too that redundancy applies to the niches that different units fill. The Eldar would be the most extreme example of units being very specific, but even with other armies it applies. If you have multiple units fulfilling the same role, such as anti-tank firepower, then make sure that they have varying application or abilities. An example of this would be a Devastator Squad versus a Predator. Both are ranged support units. The squad can absorb casualties, carry more weapons, and bring a sergeant with a power fist. The tank is faster, can shoot on the move, and immune to small arms fire. They have the same purpose, but do it differently allowing variation of playstyle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charistoph View Post
    How many Unique characters/units would be too many?
    That's really up to you, but in my opinion, unique units and special characters have a purpose of either adding background flavor to the army or opening up strange tactical possibilities. When 4th edition Eldar came out, the Harlequins added an assault unit that could hurt MEQ, characters, and monstrous creatures without requiring a transport to get into position. For an army that primarily relies on mobile, short-range firepower, it was a nice chance of pace that didn't go against the grain of the army's flavor. I'd just advise to make sure that your more creative additions need to have a feasible purpose.
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