40K: 8th Edition Characters In Transports? Problem Solved

Characters can’t join units in 8th – but that doesn’t mean they can’t hitch a ride!

So the new Characters preview has come out and tons of questions popped up. It’s a pretty big change now that characters can’t join units. But I got to thinking how that change will impact characters riding in transports with a unit. Then I remembered that GW has already solved this problem in AoS: Keywords.

What Are Keywords?

Keywords are the ones at the bottom of every warscroll in Age of Sigmar. These are the words that help to define the unit. It’s kind of like a unit type but with more refinement in terms of what faction, army, race, unit, etc. is important for that specific unit.

We already know from the previews that 8th Edition 40k is moving to this Keyword system. They teased that again today with the characters preview:

via Warhammer Community

“Dark Eldar Character Drazhar lets you add 1 to the hit rolls of all friendly Incubi units that are within 6″ in the Fight phase, while the Kroot Shaper allows nearby Kroot to re-roll wound rolls of 1 and share his superior Leadership.”

In the Drazhar example, Incubi would be the Keyword. In the Kroot Shaper, Kroot is the Keyword. Simple right? It also cuts down on a lot of the cross-pollination and allies shenanigans which plagued 7th.

“Okay, but what does this have to do with transports?” I’m getting to that…

About Those Transports

A few weeks back when the Kharadron Overlords set-sail for AoS, we noticed a curious thing was included with their rules. Some of you might remember that “teaser” about their embarking/disembarking rules.

Well in that teaser they had some pretty simple rules for transports, and if my hunch is correct, then GW is going to borrow those for 40k 8th Edition. And if that’s the case, then they have already “solved” the whole “characters-in-transports” question:

I want you to take a close look at the phrasing there:

“When you set up an Arkanaut Frigate (the transport), units of SKYFARERS can start the battle embarked within it…”

Did you catch it? Let me bold the important part:

“…units of SKYFARERS…”

Yeah – that means more than one. These transports have a cap on the number of MODELS and not the number of UNITS that can ride in them at once. As long as they have the correct Keyword and the transport has capacity they can ride along with as many units that can fit! Characters are their own unit, they can just hitch a ride to the front lines with a transport. Problem solved.

That’s a pretty big shift! Now, we don’t have confirmation that these will be the final transport rule, but as I said in the previous article these are simple, clean, and elegant rules. Why try to come up with a different solution to the problem when you’ve already worked it out? This combined with all the other changes in 8th would solve a lot of the issues before they are even a thing!

Now Games Workshop could refine this to include as many or as few keywords as they need for the Transports. You could have Blood Angel Transports with terminology like:

“When you set up a Blood Angels Rhino, SPACE MARINE units can start the battle embarked within it…”

That way, any allied Space Marine units could hitch a ride. Conversely, if you wanted to clamp it down:

“When you set up a Blood Angels Rhino, BLOOD ANGELS SPACE MARINE units can start the battle embarked within it…”

Now only units with BOTH the Blood Angels AND Space Marine keywords can start embarked. Seems pretty simple to me.


So what do you think? Would do these new Keywords + Transport rules work for you or are you looking for something else?

  • orionburn

    Hmmm…sounds mysteriously like something I just stated in other topic. I demand reparations!!!

    And really it makes the most sense. The rage has been entertaining at least.

  • SirBlimE

    Sweet and simple. Ill take it.

  • pokemastercube .

    going by the example shown, i think they would declair BLOOD ANGEL on it, mostly cos blood angels have a slight difference in their rhino’s to the rest of the marines (in the form of the overcharged engines) and given in previous posts GW said armies would keep as close to how they are currently, i dont think we would see special features of the BA tanks disappear

    • Fraser1191

      I’m wondering where they are gonna stuff all these chapter tactics?
      Each warscroll is gonna probably be 2 pages for space marines

      • pokemastercube .

        my guess is have something like: add the keyword for the chapter tactic selected to all SPACE MARINES in the same detachment unless they have one allready then the rest of the detachement mut be of the same. with that chapter tactic key word can use that chater tactic.
        then have the uniqe powers/relics/warlord traits/units (example crusader squads have black templar in thir keywords or wolf guard having space wolf there allready)

        • generalchaos34

          I think it will be akin to that, you had to declare a chapter during the list building phase and your guys all gain that keyword, then whatever special thing you get from your chapter tactics will likely stem from the use of command points like “use X points, all ULTRAMARINE units get to reroll 1s to shoot” with maybe some passive bonuses thrown in or having their own special detachments based on their chapter (i.e. white scars getting more fast attack slots for bikes)

          • Shawn

            What they’ll do is print 8th edition chapter tactic cards along with new malestrom cards 😉

      • orionburn

        Not to mention all the weapon options. Obviously they’ve sorted it out but curious to see the finished goods.

        • AEZ

          If you are lucky they delete some weapons options…

      • euansmith

        I’m assuming that Chapter Tactics will take the form of special rules on the leader of the force, like Warlord Traits.

        • Severius_Tolluck

          Yep like this warlord grants your army this. Will allow some fluffy old sub faction rules to probably resurface like Orks.

        • AEZ

          AoS allegiance traits probably.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Hopefully they are not like the Stormcast Stormhosts, (whose benefits are only given when you take an apocalypse-sized Battalion).

          • AEZ

            That is not the same as allegiance traits right? THose are more like mega formations.

      • NagaBaboon

        If it’s anything like AoS it will be a faction rule seperate to the warscrolls but different characters may offer alternatives if they are taken as the commander.

    • AircoolUK

      Just go buy the Kharadron Overlords book. It’s a cracking book just for the fluff and rules, but as the latest Battletome we can expect it to have benefited from the polish that 8th will have received.

  • Sparti67

    Han and Chewy might not have had to drop their cargo had this rule been in place back in the day.

  • Chris Hateley

    Characters can’t join units in 8th? Lol wut?

    • Xodis

      They can’t “Join” units, but if they stand close enough it counts the same.

      • AEZ

        except they can probably be targeted seperately.

        • Shawn Pero

          Only by special weapons rules like snipers. Otherwise, they can’t be targeted unless they’re the closest model. So keep your characters bubblewrapped

        • Nick Vaughn

          They can’t be targeted unless they’re the closest model or you have a special rule like a sniper that allows you to.

          • AEZ

            Well.. get some snipers.. or just raw firepower to whipe out said unit :D.

        • Xodis

          Except they can’t according to the rules released today.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Like AoS, characters cannot join units. Their buffs radiate out from them, so you could hit multiple units with their buffs. If a character is close to a unit, the enemy cannot target the character with shooting attacks outside of 12 inches (aside from Snipers).

      • EvilCheesypoof

        There is no 12″ rule. The characters can only be targeted if they are the closest unit. You’re right about the snipers though.

        • AircoolUK

          Yeah, where did this idea for a 12″ rule come from?

          • 2nd Edition 40K. Basically in 2nd Edition you could not target Characters unless they were the closest unit OR they were within 12″ of the shooting unit. Hence the confusion.

    • AircoolUK

      Joining units has been a bit daft since it was lifted from WHFB. It suited fantasy just fine due to the way the game played.

  • Severius_Tolluck

    Yeah that was exactly how I thought they would handle it, will have to see for sure, but honestly that is mostly the best route to go.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    My guess is that you pick your chapter when you create a list. All SPACE MARINE units gain that chapter’s keyword. Specialized units will come pre-packaged with the keyword for their army so you cannot use them in other armies (like Sanguinary Guard come with the BLOOD ANGELS keyword, which means you cannot use them in your IRON HANDS army).

    • NagaBaboon

      They’d both have the space marine keyword so they’d get any benefit of having only space marines, but they wouldn’t have access to special rules for Blood angels unless the whole army had the keyword Bood angels. (Well, going on AoS methodoligy anyway)

  • kingcobra668

    Looks like SilentPony finally passed out from his binge drinking rants in the last post.

    • EvilCheesypoof

      This goes against his very angry assumptions, haha. I’m happy some of the more negative/cynical players will leave the hobby, and new players will likely get attracted to join with the easier rules, 8th edition seems absolutely amazing to me in every way so far.

  • Matthew Pomeroy

    This doesn’t really make any difference if a Rhino can still only carry 10 models and you have a 10 man squad. You are going to be still looking for that command squad and razorback for your hq character.

    • Ajmmcl

      In AOS, transports can be OVERBURDENED: they can transport 5 more models but reduce 1″ MOVE for each model above the capacity.

      • AircoolUK

        Heh, with the Arkanaut Skyvessels, they can technically carry an infinite number of Endriggers or Skywardens.


      • Muninwing

        a rhino already wouldn’t fit all ten Astartes.. where would an eleventh go?

    • EvilCheesypoof

      Right, but this article is addressing people’s confusion on how characters could join transports if they can’t join units.

      Logically they will follow their already printed rules in their similar game, stating that there can be multiple units in a transport, meaning there’s no issue.

  • AircoolUK

    A lot of us have been pointing and shouting at AoS rules filling in the gaps. However, an article like this is a good idea as many people just post knee-jerk reactions without reading everything thoroughly, or not reading the comments section where there’s plenty of common sense amongst the outrageous outbursts.

  • Inquisitors are curious whether they can travel with their subordinates (which is everyone)

  • SacTownBrian

    I hope some of the characters have a Shotgun! rule where they don’t take up a transport spot. Kind of like the skywardens and endrinriggers not taking up a spot inside the skyvessels.

  • vlad78

    Simple and stupid at the same time. Why would regular astartes not be able to enter a frigging Blood Angel Rhino? Does the driver keep closed doors?

    • NagaBaboon

      Makes no less sense than different units not being able to share a transport even though there is enough space.

    • Heinz Fiction

      Regular astartes would probably take a ride in a Blood Angel Rhino in very rare cases. Same goes for a Chimera or even an abandoned Orc pickup. What they wouldn’t do is leasing a whole vehicle fleet from their red armored brethren because they get free smoke launchers in their respective book. Players on the other hand would do that all the time and that’s the reason such restrictions exist.