Some of you may remember us getting together to make characters for the Cities of Death campaign using the Chapter Approved 2018 Custom Character Creation rules. We all had a blast making and using our characters there in the campaign. It reminded me of the fun that building characters back in the 3rd and early 4th ed era where there were tons of wargear and rules options, multiple tiers of most HQs, etc. It was a time where Special Characters (today's "Unique" tag) were certainly powerful, but were more "off beat and interesting" compared to what we could build on our own than clearly dominant. I've felt that the past two or three editions have instead pushed the GW named characters as strictly better than anything we can do on our own - either by baking in critical army-wide rules or simply making them so strong for their points it would be foolish to pick a generic character.
It was while lamenting this that I became curious about the translation of these new creation rules compared to GW's official heroes. For those who are not familiar, there are a bunch of tables of interesting traits (special character rules, improving weapons, psychic buffs, and stat adjustments) and the Custom Hero comes in three tiers: pick 4 traits, pick 6 traits, or pick 8 traits. I took a guess that those could, perhaps, correspond with Power Levels, and started building some of the marine special characters using the Custom Traits and then seeing what happened with the points.
I was shocked to find that 1PL/tier (or 20/40/60 points for the traits) lined up amazingly close with every hero I could get my hands on! In truth, the custom character traits tended to be about 10 points more than the GW counterpart, but a) that is within the same PL and b) that is still amazingly accurate! And it held across the different tiers: whether you were legendary like Magister Sevrin Loth or Mephiston (who can be 100% replicated at +10 pts using the Iron Hands relic that gives a 2xS force weapon) or a lower tier like the special Captains or Chaplains.
Fascinated by the result, I talked to Eric Smith, and using his knowledge of the Imperial Guard, we found that the trend held true for their heroes as well!
Seeing that there might really be something to this, I also got curious about what would happen if a character picked a slew of highly valuable traits (ex: I read about a hero event and everyone took as many survivability-boosting traits as possible). If you took a space marine character and tanked them to the max, they do become quite hard to kill... but almost double in points while not actually becoming twice as hard to kill when variety of enemy weapons is taken into account (there is a trait that halves damage taken, but I have witnessed many, many heroes be mobbed by 1D attacks, for instance), and also not becoming an inch killier despite doubling in points (for my view of the #s, a doubling in points would nominally correspond to an equivalent of doubling of both defense AND offense).
However, I don't own all the codices, and testing out all combos would be rather difficult. Thus, I turn my thoughts over to the club! If y'all had any interest in running up your own special character, I would love to hear:
1) how well using 4/6/8 traits at 20/40/60 points successfully upgrades a generic hero into a close approximation of an existing named character (for instance, Straken's +1A bubble doesn't exist, but there is a bubble of Reroll 1's to hit in melee, which mathed out remarkably close).
2) If you and your opponent agree to try out one or more special characters, how they felt in the game compared to staring down an official character (i.e. how does Chapter Master Special Snowflake at +60pts compare with Marneus Calgar at 200pts, etc)
3) If there is a noticeable difference based on the base power level of the unit. It was impressed to see that whether starting from a PL6 Terminator hero or from a PL3 Company Commander, the end result held up with the GW dudes. However, as far as I know, we don't have good examples of characters above that scale: what happens to a Hive Tyrant that goes from PL10 to PL13? Is that a creature big enough that survivability bonuses are now relevant since it's a smaller % of the base points? Or is it okay since it is SO MANY points in one basket? My gut instinct is to focus on say PL8 (or maybe 7) and lower for most games, but I welcome feedback from anyone who wants to try out big critters. Maybe I'm wrong and they do work? Lol.
My silly hopes are that if this does indeed go well, then we can a) create an environment where people can play something that matches the great fluff and backstories we all like to make, and b) that feedback can be given to GW and perhaps this gets released as a "have fun but not in tournaments" kind of thing (while I personally think the extra points are reasonable given that we can better tailor custom traits so the comparison with GW heroes is even, I don't really care too much if tournaments say they don't want to deal with any small % balance issues as long as the rest of us can have fun XD).
So yeah, thanks for reading through another large rant of mine, and I hope this sparks neat ideas and some fun games!
"Wait...is that right?!" Why not ask? This is the place to share a rules question (or revelation) you learned at the table.
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- Posts: 175
- Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:37 am
- Name: Jon
- Experience Level: Experienced
- Play Style: Casual
- Armies: Marines (Blood Angels/Salamanders)