So with Vre’Kais away enjoying a relaxing break and is in no way tied up and locked in a closet in the Goonhammer Offices (He’ll back next week with his usual well thought-out responses. Probably.), I thought I’d try and pick up the gavel this week to help out the team. Sadly, Rob saw through my transparent attempt at forcing him to draw another Beanith Avatar, this time with a judges wig, and pointed out that me reading your rules questions would likely result in a full week of responses starting with “Oh for fuck’s sake, are you kidding me?”, which Rob tells me is lazy writing.
Instead I’ll stay in my Crusading lane and talk about the best way to play 40k by talking about the Homebrew rules I’m using in a campaign I’m running with friends and including a breakdown for why we’ve added this to our ongoing campaign. This won’t have the “Goonhammer Approved” mission status..yet. The Editors will cave one day and Games Workshop will recognise my brilliance..
Well anyways, here are the house rules we’re using.
Starting Crusade Rosters will be 50 Power Level but games will be played using Points.
Pretty simple one right off the bat, Crusade rules are based around Power Level, which is fine but leaves a lot to be desired when playing games. Power Levels do see some adjustments these days but PL adjustments are rarer than they are for points. With a 100PL game, there can be a 200-400 variation in points between certain armies (looking at you, first born marines). This just levels the playing field a bit and lessens the opportunities for feel bads.
Psychic powers can be taken and cast multiple times (Open Play style) but the cast value goes up like Smite for each attempt.
No one wants to hear their Psykers bitch and moan about it being their turn to use Might of Heroes this round and that Charlie got use it last turn and plus he used it twice last battle and wasted it on Steve the Apothecary. So we took a leaf out of Open Play and let powers be cast more than once per phase, while adding 1 to the WC value for each additional cast per turn. This could be abused of course, but in our small group we’ve been keeping an eye on it and we’ve had no issues so far, despite Chaz’rk the Weirdboy throwing out 3 super smites in one round before detonating himself in a blaze of Vortex Grenade-like glory.
One of your HQ or LoW slots can start with 6 XP. This represents the leader of your crusade force.
We wanted everyone to have a Leader that stood out from the rank and file and add a bit of a Narrative hook to your Crusade Roster. That said, this would have to be one of the most easily forgotten House Rules, which is fine.
Special Characters are allowed (keep in mind they don’t gain XP or Battle Honors, etc.). Any relics and warlord traits they have still increase your Crusade Points for that battle, where appropriate.
The first section of this rule is already in the book and that’s fine for the most part. We’ve just added the Crusade Point handicap as an incentive to help out the opponent with extra command points and to hopefully curb Ghazza and Blackmane showing up to every single Combat Patrol. We prefer that people focus on developing their own characters. It also ties neatly into our Underdog mechanic, discussed later.
WYSIWYG Close Enough is Good Enough. Remember to brief your opponent before the game.
It’s the rule of cool mostly. I use Orruk Gore Gruntas in place of Squighog boys, Coda’s Vanguards are equipped with very sharp and pointy-looking Thunder hammers, Jacob is using a Nephilim Jetfighter as some random Imperial Guard Flyer (because fuck the Forge World Aussie dollar tax), and none of us are dickish enough to point out that your Intercessors have Bolt rifles instead of Auto bolt rifles or that the arms have fallen off your Crisis suits for Nth time.
Multiple armies are welcome, feel free to bench a team and try something new. Starting games will be ideally around 500-750 points.
This one was mostly written just for me as I’ll flit from project to protect constantly and get easily bored/distracted with my current army. I also review all of the Narrative content that gets pumped out so that really doesn’t help matters at all either. Thanks to our Underdog Status system this isn’t too much of an issue in terms of power creep plus it also opens up a lot of opportunity for Narrative hooks for any story you’re telling.
All Battle Honors (upgrades) will be rolled for where possible. Pick a table, roll 2 dice and choose either result on the chart.
Real Persons Go Random. Games Workshop went to the trouble of including a dice chart for all of the upgrades so it’s incredibly rude to ignore that. Plus if you choose, Badcast Dan will think poorly of you…cowards (TheChirurgeon: I will also think poorly of you). That said, we’ve added two dice when rolling so you’re almost guaranteed that you’re getting a decent result.
If you roll a trait you already have or have the same result on both dice, re-roll the affected die.
‘Tis only fair if you think about it.
If you roll a pair of traits that are totally useless, ask the campaign organisers for a re-roll.
An example would be Chaos Spawn that rolled bonuses to Overwatch or ranged attacks. Completely useless and would just be dumped off your Order of Battle almost immediately. That’s no fun hence we have an appeals system in place to which the answer will almost always be yes.
Battle Scars – roll 1 die. If you have an idea that suits you better however, talk to the campaign organisers.
Real Persons Go Random. Games Workshop went to the trouble of including a dice chart for all of the Battle Scars so it’s incredibly rude to ignore that. Plus if you choose, Badcast Dan will think poorly of you…cowards. There are systems and rewards in place to negate most of that anyway. My Orks are in tatters, with most units having a Battle Scar, so I typically always have a very low Crusade Power level which means Command Points for days. We have an appeals system in place to which the answer will almost always be “yes” if the choice makes for an excellent narrative hook.
When/if your codex drops, you get a free one-off re-spec for your entire army allowing you to use the new stuff from the book in question. You keep your current XP for every unit and re-roll all Battle Honors, Battle Scars and Crusade Relics etc.
‘Tis only fair for the poor Imperial Guard and Chaos Marine players in our midst… assuming of course we’re still playing in 2025.
If you wish to do something drastic, like swapping out a unit for a new option in the codex, ask the campaign organisers.
Clearly not an issue for the Aeldari with their Path system or the Black Templar’s Requisition The Marshall’s Chosen but for everyone else we’ve included this in case someone wants to change things up slightly in their in Roster because of Narrative reasons or they’ve got a cool new model. For me, I used this when they finally released the Beastboss on Squigosaur. Snarltoof got sick of his cyborg leg acting up so went out and wrangled himself a Yoshisaur.
Spend 2RP to re-spec a unit/character’s Battle Honors and they must miss your next game as they are off training/meditating etc. Their XP is also reset back to the beginning of their current rank. i.e. Blooded Rank is 6-15 XP, Steve is 9XP, re-speccing drops Steve back to 6XP.
Lastly this one is based on the previous rule and really hasn’t been used yet. Again it’s here in case you want to change up a character’s (or very rarely a units’) storyline and want to change the abilities to suit.
Crusade isn’t perfect. Sometimes there will be edge cases not handled by the rules. You’ll want a Google Doc or something to keep track of anything that pops up enough to be annoying. Ours was mostly giving the Aeldari fusion weapons the Melta weapon rule upgrade from back when GW’s work experience kid did a Ctrl-F for Melta Weapons and missed the Fusion Weapons. This one can be safely ignored now with the new Codex so we will be taking this house rule out behind the shed. What remains is mostly giving non-Blood Angel chapters free range to stick their Librarians into Psychic Dreadnoughts. (Something never actually used yet either).
For every 5 Crusade points your opponent has over your current points, your units gain an additional XP for taking part in that battle.
Example: Dave plays against Terry. Dave’s Crusade points for the army he is fielding is 2, Terry’s is 8. At the end of the game each of Dave’s units each gain 1+1 XP for taking part.
My much vaunted Underdog Status system (finally). In theory you could have larger gaps of 10-15 Crusade points but those occasions are very rare as games against newer players tend to be played at the Combat Patrol or Incursion level given their smaller Order of Battle. This system not only benefits new people joining our group with new Crusade armies with a levelling boost to help them catch up and gain all the cool toys we have, it also helps those unable to play as often as the rest of us. Myself and Coda are able to play 1 to 2 games a week, my mate Neizche maybe once a month, twice if we’re playing smaller games.
I’m also toying with the idea of expanding this system to include a bonus point towards Crusade systems like the Tau Expanding the Empire or Aeldari Paths and Performances etc just so Cool Stuff happens faster for those with less time for Hams.
Giving Your Army Some Narrative
Our campaign has no real end date or goal, we mostly wanted to play 40k using these cool Crusades rules and have fun doing wacky stuff with characters being shoved into dreadnoughts. I called it “The Campaign that Never Ends” This is fine, dandy and totally acceptable way to enjoy Crusading.
But that said, you should get yourself an enthusiastic Narrative manager (Coda, in our case). Coda stepped up and volunteered to write up some excellent background Narrative for the Campaign and has smashed it out of the park. The Crux Stars Campaign has been deliberately made to accommodate just about any force, Imperial, Chaos, Xenos, or otherwise. Whenever a new Crusade mission back or Warzone book drops we may move the Narrative to another area in that system. He’s having a blast writing some cool stuff and all we need to do is help out by giving our Crusade Rosters a little bit of character by naming our characters and giving him some writing prompts about the background of our chosen force. If you’re interested in reading more about his campaign setting, you can read all about it over at Adeptus Narratus.
Have Fun and Break Stuff
It’s Awesome Narrative Play and not Stinky Match Play so have fun with it.
We’re a small group so we’re happy to experiment, test out things and adjust things where necessary. Recently I’ve been toying with the idea of taking a Canoness in a Warsuit (I mostly wanted to use the Vahl model without actually bringing Vahl) and we had a good debate on cost and power level. We’ll see how she goes in the game and adjust as necessary. The other one that cropped up was looking at adjusting the new Craftworld Requisition Ghost Warriors Walk to allow us to shove Farseers and Warlocks into a Wraithseer. Again, you’re here to have fun and talk rubbish with friends so don’t be afraid to point out issues that crop up and discuss ways of fixing it.
If you’re planning to run your own Crusade campaign with these rules, why not run it in Administratum? We’re currently testing Administratum with Patrons. And as always, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at email@example.com.