What Would 40K Warscrolls Look Like

Everyone is starting to wonder what 40k warscrolls would look like. Luckily GW has given us some good data to look at.

With talk of 40K 8th edition looming by the day, more and more rumormeisters are pointing to some type of Age of Sigmar style Warscrolls for the new system. Warhammer 40,000 has a CRAZY amount of units and I don’t envy the GW Design Studio’s task of having to translate each and every unit over to a new rules template.

Luckily, they have done this before – with Warhammer Fantasy’s initial launch transfer to Age of Sigmar.  You will remember that WFB also had a full set of Army Books and upon Age of Sigmar’s launch GW put out a full set of Warscrolls for every unit in the game. These would later be renamed and shoehorned into new factions in the 8 Realms. But initially they were straight translations – you can still find them on GW’s site here.

Now that gives us a good starting point.  If we could only find a single unit that existed in BOTH 40K, WFB, that got directly translated into Age of Sigmar.

Chaos Daemons are clearly our best subject for our thought experiement.  As we are already talking about Khorne these days, let us take a look at the humble Bloodletter.

Bloodletters

The Bloodletter is an excellent unit to use as out test. It exists in all three systems and does pretty much the same thing in all games.  It’s a Khornate unit of walking killy deamons with swords who stab you.  It’s the kind of baseline core/troops units that isn’t flashy so it doesn’t have anything too crazy to translate.  It’s very much the same kind of unit as say a Space Marine Tactical Squad, or a unit of Ork Boyz.

Warhammer Fantasy

Age of Sigmar

These guys are 100pts per 10, with a max unit size of 30. So 10 pts per Bloodletter.

Warhammer 40,000

 

Compare & Contrast

OK, we have three game-system datapoints here and some takeaways from GW’s past design decisions.

Points: Bloodletters moved from 14pts per model to 10pts going from WFB to AoS. This means GW is willing to completely throw out any existing 40K point scale, when rolling out a major overhauling a system.  Of course the more interesting coincidence is that the current AoS and 40K Bloodletters are now 10pts each.

Model Options: If there is a model option, you can take it in Age of Sigmar – often at no additional point costs. Take a look at the musician, leader and standard options from WFB to AoS. All are there and have beneficial effects, without the point upgrade costs. If you have the models, you get the bonus.  Just think about what that could mean for 40K unit options.

Movement Stat: WFB’s moveent stat came over intact to AoS. I think we’ve enough hints from GW of late regarding the Movement stat that it’s a safe bet it may be coming to any new 40K Edition.  You can go back a few editions to see who is slower (hint, Nurgle) and who is faster (hint Eldar) per faction.

Leadership: Bloodletters saw a dramatic rise in Leadership rom WFB to AoS.

Saves: They got a slight tweak moving from 6+ to 5+ from WFB to AoS.

To Hit: That beefy WS5 got translated into a 4+ to hit in AoS

To Wound: That S4 got translated into a 3+ to hit in AoS (note the -1 Rend)

Special Rules: You see small numbers of rules to give each unit something in character. AoS Bloodletters got the Decapitating Blow and Murderous Tide to make their Hellblades fearsome and encourage large units.  With Deep Strike as thier only special rule of note in 40K its a mystery what any 40K warscroll may hold.  In any case I think the special rules is where the Design Studio will have the most fun. The ability to reach into the fluff to come up with something characterful for every unit in the game will make each one unique and hopefully fun to take.

A Tactical Example

For example we know that Tactical Marines are experienced Brothers who have already taken to the field in both Devastator and Assault roles. While an useless tabletop bit of background,  they might receive a custom warscroll rule reflected that deep experience, giving the most boring marine unit in the game something to call their own.

It’s these kinds of small tweaks and design opportunities that gives me the most hope for a 40K warscroll system.  I see it not as a simplification of the game.  Rather I see it as an opportunity to make each and every unit have it’s place in the sun – something the game needs desperately in a time where 5% of the overpowered units dominate the other “useless” 95%.

~What do you think some 40K Warscrolls may look like – and what characterful special rules would you write to bring tired old units to life?

 

  • Rainthezangoose

    The only thing id hate is if they removed the stats from 40k, I mean Its okay in age of sigmar, and sigmify my 40k. Just don’t remove all the stats.

  • MarcoT

    (Sig)Marine straight transformation:
    5″ movement, 2 wounds, 3+ save, 7 bravery
    Combat blade: 1″ range, 1 attack, 3+ to hit, 4+ to wound, no rend, 1 damage
    Bolter: 18″ range, 2 attacks, 3+ to hit, 4+ to wound, -1 rend, 1 damage

    Quite rough, so I’m sure they would need a toning down somewhere. But I just don’t know where… this mostly seems to make a lot of sense.

    I hope we’ll get an added stat; a split of ‘to wound’ for Anti Infantry and Anti Tank. That’d help in just boltering everything on the table.

    • Marines got 4″ in Shadow War. You think 40k will differ much?

      (personally I believe 40k will have further movement ranges than Shadow War, but that’s maybe just me)

      • El Boyo del Reko

        I wish marines would be promoted to straight 5s, so that guardsmen can be 3s, and scions, chaos marines and other elites could be 4s.

        I always thought marines should be cut above any other human-based infantry out there.

        • Karru

          And I still hold hope for them making 6″ the new “baseline” for all units. Orks moving 4″ a turn is a death sentence for the remaining Ork Armies.

          • I think it encourages more shooting units over close combat units in an ork army.

          • Karru

            You mean “forces” more shooting in an Ork army. An army that is supposed to be heavily melee focused. Orks are not meant to be shooty. They are supposed to have some ranged support with things like Lootas and Mek Guns.

            Look at their options. Majority of their units are CC only and most of the benefits of the army focus on CC. What’s the point of all that when you are forced to focus on shooting?

            What you are saying is literally the same as if someone said DE army to focus more on “slow foot slogging”. That is not what the army was meant for. Orks are CC army, they always have and always should be.

          • I’m doing a lot better with shooting Orks than I have been with choppy Orks this edition.
            I don’t really think that Orks have been dedicated close combat after their 3rd edition codex. They just don’t do it anymore. Relying on Nobs or MANZ doesn’t make them a hand to hand army.
            You may or may not like shoota boys but right now they’re doing well for me. Better than my hundreds of slugga boys.
            I’ve put it to mind to build lists where units are roughly the same points for the majority of my army. 20 shoota boys and a Nob for about the same cost in slugga boys. Looking for the optimal out put from lootas, KMK’s ect,. for their points costs. You have to attempt to be cost effective with Orks. (But we all already knew that.)
            I just don’t believe Orks are better the way you’ve described. I’ve done it it works less well than it used too. Also, you say always have been a close combat army. I don’t think that’s really very true. How, for example, would you say they worked as a close combat army in 2nd. (I recall a lot of white Dwarf battle reports where Orks were more or less fed to Eldar shooting. That may have worked at the time to win a game but that also has a lot to do with the missions from back then.)

          • Karru

            You do realise that a good game would offer a wide variety of options in terms of factions and play styles, right? If I wanted an army capable of massed shooting, I would go with Guard any day of the week. If I want accurate, highly effective shooting I go with Tau. Why on earth would I choose Orks that are way worse at shooting things than pretty much all other armies?

            The reason for taking them is their ability to fight in Close Combat compared to Tau or Guard. Remove their ability to ever reach CC and what reason do I have for taking them? While I care about looks above all else, I also like efficiency and I want to avoid repetitiveness. I recently started Orks as my 4th 40k Army. I already have Space Marines, Eldar and Guard. I guess you start to see my problem with the future of Orks.

            If I want to play a shooty army, I can pick any of the three from my collection. I started Orks because they gave me an option to do something else other than shooting, they gave me CC.

            Why wouldn’t you want variety in this game? We already have issues with parking lots and gunlines, why increase it?

          • I just don’t agree that they are a close combat army they way you put it. Yes they do fight that’s not what I’m disputing. They aren’t a gunline army either, that’s not what I’m saying. I guess all I can say is best of luck with your Orks. I hope they turn out the way you want them. If you lucky you’ll still have them when an edition comes around where they have a good codex and aren’t like they are now.
            My 3rd edition Orks were strictly close combat but anything I got in close combat with would get chopped up proppa.
            Orks after that just don’t do it. And nothing came about as a way of making Ork boys meaningful. GW sees Ork boys as there to die in droves. So, don’t speed too much money on them or you’ll end up like me. 240 slugga boys all painted and mostly pointless.
            I have no positive expectation for strong Orks in 8th edition.

          • Daniel R Weber

            Orks in AoS move faster than that. I’d bet they move roughly the same as their fantasy counterparts in the new edition.

        • Not sure if sarcasm about that “Marines straight 5s, but Chaos Marines straight 4s” thing.

          • El Boyo del Reko

            No sarcasm. If chaos space marines are a bit weaker than imperial marines, due to old armour, decay and what not there would be more of them in a pitched battle between the two arch-enemies. I’d like that. Also it would create room for chaos heroes to grow.

          • So no sarcasm… hmm… joke then maybe? If the armour is decaying, wouldn’t there be room for more skills and strength considering how old some of these guys are?

          • El Boyo del Reko

            Absolutely. If an imperial marine is promoted there is silence. If a chaos marine is promoted he gets the galaxy.

            So an imperial marine is straight 5s and doesn’t become a whole lot better. A chaos marine starts at 4s but can grow to insane power levels. Also, imperial marines take great care of their equipment.

            That’s my reasoning. But really I don’t care if chaos marines are 5s too. My point is that marines should be better than guardsmen by more than one measly point.

          • That one point makes hell of a difference though. Especially when applied to all stats.

          • That one point makes hell of a difference though. Especially when applied to all stats.

        • nordsturmking

          So if an imperial marine has 5s what should a trygon or a hive tyrant have?

          • El Boyo del Reko

            Whatever balances with their points cost.
            -Look, it’s just a pet peeve of mine that the geneseed of the emperor, an extra heart, an extra lung, the best equipment known to man and combat training since childhood only amounts to one point up compared to any run of the mill conscript from a far off backwash planet.

          • Garrett Alain Colas

            But it’s one point up in every stat. That adds up, if you think of it in DnD terms that’s like actually having 5 extra points to spend on stats.

          • Graham Bartram

            A space marine can take on a hundred Imperial guard in the fluff but if that was implemented on the table it would be a very odd game indeed. Power armour boosts strength by 250% and a bolter shell will turn a man to pulp too… but again, same comment. That’s the trouble with 40k fluff vs the table top, it can never truly match up.

      • MarcoT

        Wasn’t aware of that, it just seems slow to me. 4″ would be fine too if that’s the default, but what would Terminators have to be? Would love to see them being slower, but 3″ is getting pathetic.

    • Marco Marantz

      AP3 hellblade equates to -1 rend…Dont think bolters should get it with lowly AP5. Marine Bravery would likely be 8 and a 4″ move. 4+ to hit in melee.

      • MarcoT

        Bolters should have AP4 in 40k anyway 🙂 But fair enough, no rend would be fine. Perhaps lasguns should just improve armour saves so all the other powerful but standard guns can be without rend.

    • Geronimo32509

      I would expect them to have a 4+ save. 3+ save is typically only for elite units and characters and even then a lot of them still have a 4+. No way Bolters have a rend value. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a 4+ to hit either, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  • Karru

    Just look at all the newest 7th edition books and you’ll see what the 40k dataslates will look like. They might remove the picture in order to jam the rules for the unit into one page, but that’s about it I hope. I’m still heavily against on turning 40k into Age of Sigmar in Space because I still haven’t got the answer to my question. Why would anyone want two of the same game that don’t share the same ruleset thus are not compatible when it is much better to have two different games to play?

    • MarcoT

      Good point on having the same game twice. I quite like the idea of AoS style rules but this I have to agree with.

      • Because if you like how AOS operates, but want a sci-fi version of how AOS operates, you’d be excited if they made 40k like AOS.

        WHFB and 40k operated very similarly for a couple decades.

        • Kinsman

          If 40k played like Sigmar I’d play (and more importantly for GW) and buy models.

    • thereturnofsuppuppers

      Rather than two of the same games, what about roughly the same game, with different settings.

      • Karru

        It depends on your definition of “roughly”. If the rumours we recently got would be correct, the game is pretty much the same as AoS. Taking away many of the unique mechanics would mean the end of 40k and the beginning on Age of Emperor.

        40k should remain as the “advanced” game. The game that has more mechanics in it. Unfortunately, this seems to not be the case and that the Age of Emperor is coming instead.

        • thereturnofsuppuppers

          40k for a long time was the babies game, and in some way still is (compared to fantasy).

          I think its fine for it to remain the childish game.

          • Karru

            Considering the current options of 40k and AoS, I’d say 40k is no longer the “child’s game” in the room.

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            its still pretty simplistic compared to WHFB

          • Karru

            I do agree with you there, WHFB was always the “chess” game for me when our club was running. It was more relaxing, but still a ton more tactical than 40k ever was. I was saddened when it got replaced with even less interesting game.

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            For me Fantasy was always the more interesting role-playing tabletop game of the two. With all its diversity of stats you had lots to work with in terms of narrative.

            Now AoS fills that role (really well), but in a completely different way.

            I think 40k sits, at the moment, in a horrible middle ground, so hopefully it will swing one way or the other.

    • Xodis

      Thats kind of like saying why would anyone want a Planescape or SpellJammer setting when you already have the Forgotten Realms for D&D5e.

      I think it will work just fine, if the only thing separating 40K and AoS is the setting, people might be inclined to play both, plus narrative or “just for fun” games could see Space Marines vs the Host of Sigmar to see who the real Golden children are lol.

      Regardless I dont think the games will end up as mirror images like you think they will. Im sure there will be enough to separate the games mechanically no matter how “sigmarized” 40K becomes.

      • Karru

        If the rumours we’ve gotten hold to be true, it might as well go the “extra mile”. Only thing they aren’t touching according to the rumours would be S vs T/ WS vs WS and upgrades. To me, that is basically already AoS, only slightly better, but still basically AoS.

  • foulestfeesh13 .

    the data slates in the codexes are the 40k warscrolls

  • El Boyo del Reko

    Man, I’m so excited that there is a new edition coming up. I guess it’s the malleabilty of proceedings that make my inner Tzeentch go whoop!

    I realise that any big changes to the game have been decided upon long ago. The design team have probably been working on this since AoS came out. So this is just me musing. Allow me this joy.

    This gets my imagination going. I’d like to see fewer stats. I’d go for Strength and Toughness and get rid of WS, BS, and save. I’d keep W and A for characters and such. I’d drop I because it’s not important enough to be a stat. Ld could be a function of how many models there are left in a unit.

    I’m not a fan of variable movement. It’s just not that big a thing. To me it seems like an awful lot to memorize for not enough payoff in sheer fun.

    I would probably try to keep special qualities to a minimum. This stuff adds up, you know. There are basically two kinds of special qualities. First you have the defining qualities of a model. Then you have the stuff added in just to adjust for inflation. I’d get rid of most of those. I mean, For They Shall Know No Fear is flavour. Rapid Fire is just to make up for crosseyed BS.

    Please, dont remove stats or the wound chart and go for a simple 3+ or whatever. The game is better off if you still compare Strength versus Toughness. It’s not that hard math. I find it dull that in combat it’s only me that matters. Combat is tango. I’d like to keep that in.

    I mentioned in this thread that I’d like marines to go up to 5. I stand by that. Long ago marines were a bit cookie-cutter. Nowadays marines are not ashamed to wear many pieces of flair. This means to me that marines should be fewer on the battle field since each and every model is more diverse than ever.

    I like that codexes are gone. The thing is I often refrain from impulse buying models I love just because I don’t want to invest in another book (my existence is paper free). Without codicies I’d simply buy more models just because I like what they look like.

    This would also pave the way for me to build several armies. And if marines are fewer and better I’d get me one of those too.

  • HiveFleet Charybdis

    While a bloodletter might translate well into an “all the rules on 1 dataslate” approach (with no need to refer elsewhere for what Furious Charge or Deep Strike means) it’s far from a good example of how complex some units can be in 40k. Take the Space Marine Tactical Squad – think of all the wargear options they can take – special weapons and heavy weapons and other items like grenades and homing beacons. Can you really get all of that onto a single dataslate? Maybe you can but I’m doubtful. The other approach of course is that you reduce options for squads but I think that you then run the risk of taking away much of the flavour of the game. Finally wargear costs points – it shouldn’t be free. As units in AoS generally have less choice that works – every item you can take is either “a given” – every unit has it or is a choice with different – roughly balanced – benefits to using it. I can’t see that working for 40k

    • El Boyo del Reko

      The new edition could be set in a certain theatre of space rather than trying to encompass the whole thing. “In this corner of space, while bigger than anything you can imagine, searchlights are not available”.

    • karloss01

      If it’s a straight translation from Age of Sigmar to 40K 8th then expect the rules to reflect on what you get in the model kit.

    • generalchaos34

      They might keep some of these items but super simplify them, additionally some of those classic items we know like homing beacons may not be necessary any longer if the scatter die gets the ax. I really like the idea of squad weapons being free and worked into the cost of unit. This can only be handled if each weapon has its own viable purpose and that some aren’t straight up “better” than other choices because they cost less. I.E. Plasma will be geared specifically for killing heroes and monsters, melta will get a special bonus for killing tanks, grav can have some sort of utility (like slowing down units), and flamers get to pile on wounds with no rend at close range. I would like special and heavy weapons to simply be a choice on how you want the squad to function as opposed to how you can afford it. Same applies for heavy weapons, Heavy bolters would be reliable ranged medium damage, rockers would be all rounders for killing everything but at reduced efficiency, Plasma cannons are mortal wound makers, and Lascannons have abilities specifically tied to killing vehicles.

  • Drew

    If they adopt the absolutely asinine “troops are bought in blocks of whatever comes in the box” point scheme for 40k the way they did for AoS, rather than using a points per model system so players can customize their armies like adults, it will probably drive me the rest of the way away from the game.

    Beyond that, I don’t mind any of the other possible changes- 40k could use a shake-up.

    • thereturnofsuppuppers

      I’ve not found that a problem in AoS, but I mainly play the newer armies.

      Where do you find it restricting you?

      • generalchaos34

        my only issue with that so far is that I got a hold of a few old Elven spearmen and a reaallllly old Empire box where the units came in blocks of 16 and 18 (weird, huh?) But ive managed to pick up some spare models here and there on ebay to even things out

        • thereturnofsuppuppers

          I can imagine it being a problem with legacy armies. Some of the unit sizes don’t match up to the box sets, so it can a bit annoying.

  • Deathwing

    I thought the whole idea of this new edition was to CUT DOWN on rules bloat, not add more unique special rules for every single unit to make up for cutting all the adder options that actually make them customizable.

    These new 40k warscrolls need to look much more like the individual unit entries in the codex we have now and not the AOS system.
    Putting armor modifiers back in to 40k is great but that to hit and to wound system for AOS is terrible and it needs to stay in AOS.

  • SprinkKnoT

    I’m really curious on what their plan for unit upgrades are. If they go AoS and it’s “all upgrades are free, this squad gets one of these special/heavy weapons”, I’m worried that without points a best loadout will make certain choices pointless. On the other hand, there’s things like Banners that have always looked really cool on the table, but were never good enough to warrant the cost in points.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      You just need to give each weapon a specific purpose.

  • Shawn

    I was hoping this article might have a a “What If” attempted at making a space marine warscroll, but otherwise it was pretty good. I noticed the change on the Blood Letter’s Weapon Skill. For all intents and purposes a bloodletters WS went from WS5 to WS3. I wouldn’t mind a warscroll, as it does make the game run smoother having played AoS. However, I will be surely disappointed if all options are thrown out of the game. It was rather cool kitting our your squads differently all the time, or as need dictated.

  • Noah Jerge

    I wonder if the Chaos Daemon warscrolls will be cross-compatible?