The Warhammer 40k Vehicle & Monstrous Creatures rules need some tweaks. Fortunately, Games Workshop already has the answer…
When comparing Monstrous Creatures to Vehicles, there are some are some…issues. In game turns vehicles are pretty underpowered compared to MCs. Think about it, one works at optimal performance no matter how much damage it’s taken until it’s dead and the other… it can get killed in one lucky shot, lose weapons, and just become less effective over the course of a battle. When Hull Points were introduced it seemed to be a good fix at the time. But, if you remember what life was like before Hull Points we had the reign of the “unkillable Falcon” and before that we had vehicle death traps. It seems like getting the balance right for vehicles has never been perfect.
Oh and don’t think for a second that MC are perfect either. Multi-wound models have their issues, too. And depending on how you use Strength D weapons (and which house rules you’re using) they can either be awesome or killed in one hit. Many of my Carnifexes have also been the victim of the Insta-death melee weapons (stupid lucky Dire Avenger Exarch).
Pour one out for my homie.
But the good news is that Games Workshop already has the answer. But it might not be in the place you were expecting: Age of Sigmar.
Yeah. I said it…Hear me out though! The way multi-wound models work in AoS actually works incredibly well – and it would apply to both Monstrous Creatures AND vehicles. Here is an example:
This is the profile for the Lord-Celestant on Stardrake. You can view the full one HERE. But look at the damage table and tell me it doesn’t make a lot of sense. The more damage the creature takes, the less effective it becomes! Now, it’s a tough cookie with 16 wounds and a respectable 3+ save. But it’s not invincible warbeast.
I think that this type of profile would work perfect for Dreadnoughts AND Carnifexes. And it would even help clear up some of the confusion on “vehicles” like the Stormsurge which is (somehow) not a vehicle but rather a Gargantuan Creature (which is just a Monstrous Creature on Steroids). I think this is the way things are moving, at least if concepts like AP are going away and armor save mods are coming back. This also opens up the opportunity for weapons to do different amounts of damage.
Here is a picture from the Basic Weapons from Shadow War: Armageddon. I’m not saying 8th needs to incorporate ALL the rules, but I think a blending of the multi-wounds models from AoS and weapon stats from 40k 2nd/SW:Armageddon would be a pretty good mix! And hey, we’ve already seen that it wouldn’t take a ton of work from GW to whip-up some Warscrolls for 40k units. Personally, I’d love to see AV go away and a move to toughness to for ALL vehicles (not just the random xenos ones – looking at you Stormsurge). Couple this with damage values added to weapons and the multi-wound mechanic and it could work pretty well.
A move to this system would also force players to be smarter with their MCs. And let’s be honest, it would nerf Flying Monstrous Creatures a bit – which isn’t a bad thing. Does this have some negatives? Yes, unfortunately. It does blur the line between MCs and vehicles quite a bit. Mechanically they would function the same. That means GW would probably need to go back to the design board and re-work their combat roles and give their profiles a good, hard look. I don’t know what that process would entail, but I firmly believe that if it was done with care, and the entire ruleset was taken into account (ie, how guns and melee weapon damages work along with their armor mods), we could end up with a really amazing system for vehicles & MCs.
I really don’t want to return to the days of the “Unkillable Falcon” and I really don’t think the days of “transport deathtraps” was a good time. I’m hopeful that 8th will address this issue and find a good middle ground. Right now, the best transport in the game is a “disposable” Drop Pod and FMCs go from 100% effective to dead if they fail a grounding check. The damage table is a solution to the problem that has existed for a long time. So bring the damage table from AoS to 40k because it works. Just don’t bring it over in a vacuum!
So what’s your take on the AoS Damage Table? Do you think it would work for “fixing” vehicles and MCs? Or do you have another idea?