Horus Heresy: To Make a New Rulebook

Everyone is going bonkers for 8th Edition of Warhammer 40,000. Here’s what GW needs to do to jumpstart 30K.

With each passing day we are seeing more and more of 8th Edition. It’s going to be a big, big shakeup like the community hasn’t seen in 20 years – and to honest – it needs to be.

7th Edition has gotten too bloated and decentralized for a quality gameplay experience.

But the funny thing is – it wasn’t the core rules fault; it was the mountain of codex and rules expansions.  How can I say this with confidence?

Because you hear little to no bitching from the 30K community.  Those guys have been battling away for years with a small collection of the dead-sexy Forge World books and the core rulebook. You don’t ever hear people saying that X Legion is so unbalanced or that the Heretics can pull some crazy super-friends nonsense and ruin the game. Instead you get hobbyists and a narrative themed community really having a great time at the tabletop – which to me is what it’s all about.

That leads me to today’s concept of exactly what should GW do to keep 30K thriving.

  1. Keep the Current Rules – The last thing 30K players want is to have seven $150 leatherbound books invalidated. These are your super hardcore-customers and they should be rewarded for even taking the plunge into the hothouse flower world of all Forge World 30K gaming. They are content. Let them be, and leave the current rules alone.
  2. New Rulebook – GW will need to make a new 30K rulebook as GW certainly can’t keep printing the old 7th Edition core rules alongside 8th. That would confuse the heck out of everyone. Here is how I would do it:

Like this – but with WAY more heresy…

30K Core Rulebook

Take the current 3 book 7th Edition set and do the following:

  • Update the core 7th rules with the latest FAQs
  • Replace all the art, hobby and background sections with Heresy content. Go over the Primarchs, the Great Crusade, all the legions, and the Heresy itself. Famous Battles, uniforms, the whole 9 yards. There are tons of art and passages from Black Library books – this should be easy. Make sure the hobby book is gorgeous showing the best of what 30K gaming looks like with all the stuff from early Land Raiders to Warlord titans stomping around.
  • Replace the Allies table with the 30K one
  • Replace the Missions with the 30k ones
  • Upgrade all the default Psychic Disciplines with toned down ones that befit the Heresy era.  We all know which ones need to go… Librarians weren’t the level of crazy they are in 40K and you dont have all the Deamon and xenos insanity running around either.
  • Put all 18 default Legion rules in the book.

Stick that all into the three book slipcover, or just do it is a single tome and call it a day. If you were extra fancy, you might offer it in the same red or black format the existing Heresy Forge World books come in.

Third time’s the charm?

30K Boxed Set

The next time GW kicks out a 30K themed boxed set (Betrayal at Calth, Burning of Prospero), just bite the bullet and make it a 30K starter set. You already have a core set of plastic kits to draw from, so pick two legions, drop in some new HQs, and a softcover 30k mini-rulebook. Don’t forget the whippy-sticks, and some cool 30K themed templates (like with the Aquila and Eye of Horus).

I’d be all over that!

~What do you think GW should do to grow 30K?


  • matty199

    Well using 7ed rules will kill my interest in 30k

    • Sleeplessknight

      Well, invalidating my Horus Heresy books will kill my interest in 30k.

      Clearly, the only to appease both of us is to make both rulesets available. Unfortunately we will never play each other because we play different rulesets.

      • Valbarca

        or they make 30k 8th..if we got to..you got too :D. Neck Beards everywhere 😀

        • sleeplessknight

          Or if they make 30k 7th, and then you got to

      • Admiral Raptor

        You had to know they weren’t going to last. It’s not like GW invalidating codices is a new trick they just picked up. You should only buy books if you like the fluff as well as the rules, that way it’s not a total bust.

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          except that the FW books have survived one edition change already, and army books haven’t been invalidated by an edition change since 3rd. But yeah, aside from that, you’re right….

          Anyhow these aren’t codices.

  • AreyouaNazi? Isthatyourelf?

    As someone massive into 30k, and who has a YouTube channel with a decent following, there is a fair amount of 8th ed backlash and in-fighting going on. The Horus Heresy really does need a Red Book released with the crux of 7th ed’s rules in it, albeit with two major caveats:

    1) The aforementioned psychic phase. I should not have to go through a 13 step process to use a power, nor should said power be randomised as it entirely negates strategy making said power the equivalent of rolling a Warlord trait. Bring back 3rd/4th ed purchased powers, so the 25 point per level psyker upgrade isn’t wasted on some terrible power.

    2) rework the flying MC’s and fliers, as right now they are in a terrible spot due entirely to the 7th ed rulebook, either dominating or sucking from match to match. Some are mediocre (Fire raptor) whilst others are so OP it isn’t funny (Vulturax).

    That’s my 2c, I’m not gonna link my channel but this is something we have discussed a lot on there and on many forums as key problems facing 7th ed if we somehow lucked out and got to keep it. In all likelihood, Forge World will simply adopt 8th and write off all our purchases, after all, that’s exactly what happened with 7th and that took 6 months for an FAQ.

  • Graham Roden

    I reckon a modded 8th rule set would be better. 30k is much better than 40k however it’s not perfect. Allow people to pick their Warlord traits and missions, bring in the -1 to hit for heavy weapons for moving with heavy weapons, have the assault and psychic rules ported over entirely from 8th.
    A proper big box with its stand alone set of rules that don’t entirely negate the Black books would be nice, but if they simplify some of the rules and in doing so mean our books are out dated then it’s their call.
    I’d personally prefer a 7.5 edition with a boxed game containing new legion miniatures and a couple of generic special characters like a Librarian and a Legion champion.

    • Mitchell

      They need to keep initiative in 30k. It works great some units are based around that concept.

      • Graham Roden

        I agree, I think that there is scope to keep some of the essentials from 7th, but lose some of the pointless confusion and contradictions. Sadly you can’t please everyone, I’ll be buying 8th and seeing how it goes but also playing 30k.

  • Honest Kairos

    I agree with all of this!

    Last time I agreed with a Pro 30K Author, I was called “wrong for multiple reasons.” So, um, I’ll clarify – As a huge 30K fan and player, I like this article, think you made valid points, and am very interested in what FW has planned.

    • euansmith

      Those aren’t the reasons why you were wrong. 😉

      • Honest Kairos

        Bah, you and your logic. I know what you’re saying and you’re right.

        • euansmith

          😀 😀

  • Ross Lewis

    Couldn’t agree with more with this article, although not entirely convinced it is likely to happen, as it potentially sets 30k up as a direct, internal competitor to the new 40k, and would potentially allow people to continue to play 7e, by using their ‘old’ codices with the new Horus Heresy rulebook (especially attractive, if they did integrate the FAQs and make some cosmetic changes).

    • Jesse Sinclair

      You just described a benefit to GW, not a negative.

      If disaffected players move over to using their models with the 30k rules you’ve still kept them in house, still interested in your products. Without that they end up potentially pulling a 40k version of 9th Age, which is bad for GW.

    • Brian Griffith

      …did their 7th edition core rulebooks go up in flames?

      Because lemme tell ya, it’s not hard to get a Dark Vengeance mini-7th rulebook. People are probably going to do that before they go for a set that you have to house-rule the Heresy-specific stuff out of.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        problem is not all Heresy forces have 7th Ed rules yet, and as more are released and the campaign progresses this will be more of a problem.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      I agree with this article too, wholeheartedly and I’m glad to see it here in the sea of totally pro 8th Ed editorials.

      There were rumours a while ago that 30K would have different, more complex rules than 40K, and that this would make a three tier rules structure, AoS for new players and kids, 40K for teens and adults and 30K for established gaming adults who like serious simulation type games.

      I’d like to see FW release its own version of 7th, improved and tailored for 30K with a better psychic phase and less spammy spells and summoning. They could incorporate the 30K special rules into the book. This could be a lasting solution to the problem, and a great boon to the 40K community as it would give players who don’t like 8th somewhere to go without dropping out of the hobby altogether.

  • DrLove42

    At the Heresy weekender Alan Bligh confirmed that 30K is a 40K expansion and will always use the newest 40k rule book.

    8th edition will come to 30K. Its just not clear when. Theyve said they will discuss it at the FW seminars at Warhammerfest in a few weeks

    • Matthew Hoag

      He never said that.

      FW has been clear that they are NOT updating HH along with 40k into 8th, at least not anytime soon. The latest hints have actually been that they are putting together a proper Age of Darkness rulebook for 30k.

      • DrLove42

        He really did though. How do i know this? I was there. I was sat next to the guy who asked him in the Seminar what would be done about the (then rumoured) 8th edition and jf the rumours were true that 30k would get its own rule book. So i was there when Mr Bligh said that it would always use the main 40K rules.

        You are right, its not happening straight away but it will happen eventually. I will believe what i heard the guy who writes the book say to a room of people that included me over internet rumours until i see something different. We will just have to wait and see what they say at WHF in 3 weeks time.

        • Bulvi Nightbane

          Funny, because I was there too and got to directly ask him about 30k being updated. He told me the plan was to remain with 7th edition and not update until they get through at least the siege of Terra. He said they would rather create an updated version of Age of Darkness than invalidate all of the books, especially as he is already working on Angelus.

          • DrLove42

            Does Alan Bligh have a split personality we dont know about? Or does he just secretly enjoy giving out false info to confound people?

            Im 100% certain what i said above is what i heard him say, just as i have no doubt, you have 100% certainty in what youve said. I guess we will just have to wait.

            Personally, i do hope youre right. I think Heresy works in 7th better tham 40k does. A 7.5 edition just for Heresy would be really good.

        • Bulvi Nightbane

          By the way, the comment you are referring to. He said 30k will continue to use the current 40k rules. Current rules at the time was 7th and there was no implication from Mr. Bligh that 30k would always update with 40k.

  • DrLove42

    Everyone who complains about rules being invalidated:

    1) you dont own all 7 books for rules. Unless you play 17 legions, in which case money is clearly no problem. You own them as theyre 80% fluff and art, 20% gaming content.

    2) the books are already invalidated. The legion army list in book 1? Not correct anymore, as was updated with all new points in the red/black lefion books. Same story for the early legion special rules…all upissued in a smaller, cheaper book already.

    • MPSwift

      Beat me to it regarding the black books.

    • vlad78

      But seems to me the changes were included in a faq. We never needed to have the new book. The complete change of system makes all 7 books totally useless which is a totally different story. Lesson here we’ll never have the complete rules compatible with the same system without having to buy all first 7 books again.

      • DrLove42

        It was more than a FAQ. The black legion book changed the points values for nost the units and a good few rules as well.

        If they released 2 new black books, one with the legion army list, another with all the legions unique special rules and units you wouldnt need to buy the 7 books unless you wanted the lore. Frankly its a lot more convenient to have the smaller books than needing to carry a few of the big ones to play a game.

        • vlad78

          Indeed but you still have a FAQ released in 2013 and another in 2016 allowing you to use volume 1 with only a few changes here and there. 95% of the Faqed rules are still correct you can just make a few notes to include the changes. The other volumes are up to date afaik.

          But the main point in buying the big black book was at some point to have the opportunity to own the whole system, all the legions and all the protagonists of the complete heresy within the same ruleset with the lore and the illustrations just like some people who like to own every codicies of a 40k edition.
          The difference lies with the fact the price is absolutely not the same which justify the importance of publishing the whole system with compatible books.

          Had I known it wouldn’t be possible, even with the mandatory tweeks and faqs which happen over the years, I wouldn’t have bought any of those.

          Guess I will just sell them and wait another decade for the whole set to appear.

    • AreyouaNazi? Isthatyourelf?

      Actually the books are ~50% fluff, the rest of the content is Legion rules, which you require if you have allies anyway, and the rest is updated army lists. The Updates happen more often than the Red Books update (book1 is long superseded) need to have the black books to keep up to date on individual units.

      So, in my case, I have about $1250 of books that *could* be invalidated by 8th ed. If you think the fluff is all people want them for, you can perhaps find buyers who will pay RRP for people’s old HH books?

  • Brian Griffith

    Making another expensive rulebook set in a slipcover won’t entice new players into 30k any more than it enticed new players into 40k in 7th.

    There’s a reason they’re making the rules free and the army lists cheap as chips, while making a separate art/story book for those who want it.

  • Nyyppä

    This would be good for heresy too. It’s not like it’d be balanced or anything. New legions > old legions and the power creep is huge.

    • DrLove42

      Yeah, anyone whos played against Thousand Sons or Leman Russ can attest that Inferno is not balenced to the rest of the books

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Leman is bad but he isn’t THAT bad. Definitely under costed.

        We all knew Thousand Sons were going to be an issue. The Psychic Phase is waaaay too powerful in 7th’s ruleset.

        • DrLove42

          My boggest issue with Russ is the “after 2 rounds of combat everyone only hits me on 6s”.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    Heresy will be updated for 8th, I am sure of it.

    The big question is how soon and in what form?

  • Crablezworth

    “The last thing 30K players want is to have seven $150 leatherbound books invalidated.” We also didn’t want the $3000 that was the 40k rules tossed into a dumpster fire, but they did that too…

    • Admiral Raptor

      In an M. Night Shyamalan worthy twist, the rules were the dumpster fire all along.

  • Admiral Raptor

    It’s already been confirmed that 30k is moving to 8th edition rules. http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7cc37af0daba6304c52058421972f06ca045303a8ce531f858d5115c2888e211.png

    • Matthew Hoag

      That does NOT confirm 8th for 30k. FW’s sight still says that they are remaining with 7th. The pic you have posted from warhammer digital actually better fits the hints I have been receiving that FW is doing a seperate Age of Darkness rulebook for 30k.

  • Graham Bartram

    …so er…. any news on “Fires Of Cyraxus” then?

  • MPSwift

    On your first point, the large black books are primarily fluff with a campaign system attached which should be able to be ported over to 8th very easily. The first 6 black books rules are all pretty much out of date anyway due to the red book updates with only Inferno having current Legion rules in it so I don’t see your point about $150 books being invalidated…

  • BrianAWC

    If 30k stays with 7E rules it virtually guarantees that I’ll never play it again.

    I’m not mad that my leather-bound mostly art HH books have outdated rules in them. I always just considered them sci-fi art books anyway. If all I wanted was the rules there are other ways I could have gotten them but I chose to plunk down 100 bucks for the book.

  • Andrew

    As someone who owns two complete Horus Heresy armies (Night Lords and Legio Custodes) and someone who loved 7th edition not only for 30k but for 40k, seriously 8th edition is going to suck. Even though I prefer 7th edition I hope 30k makes the jump to 8th edition, otherwise I will not be able to use my two favorite armies to use. Like many people who purchased a 30k army we did it because both systems where compatible, allowing you to play games without having to track down someone else who had a 30k army. In fact I’m the only person who has a 30k army at the two places I frequent. So I care much more about not being able to use $6000.00 worth of miniatures over $140 worth of books which are really more for the fluff then anything.
    On a side note I have wanted to play some of the Horus Heresy campaigns since I purchased my armies, does anyone know a reliable way to find 30k games, either it be an APP or website. I live in the New York Metro are (Specifically Westchester County, but work in Manhattan).

  • Mitchell

    The majority of people who want 30k in 8th edition aren’t heavily invested into that hobby like the rest of us or so it seems. It’s financially smarter to appease the people who are already hooked and willing to spend the coin. However some successful changes from 7th to 8th could be implemented like wounded monstrous creatures, those big mechanichum guys don’t suffer damage the way legion dreadnought do, I think that could go for a change.

  • Jim Cook

    *shrugs* I’ve never played a game of competitive/tournament play in my life. The cost of books priced me out of 6th and 7th– just piles of plastic, resin and metal, sitting round, all for the want of a sane marketing strategy. The fact that 8th will have (relatively) cheap rules is the only thing keeping me from selling or trashing my GW collection, and open/narrative play will let me field my lovely 30K units, so whatever.