Ruleshammer 40 Q&A: March 10th, 2023

Welcome to Ruleshammer! This week we’re covering some more questions submitted by you, the readers, and our patrons on the Goonhammer Discord. Remember the banner below will take you to the Ruleshammer 9th Edition Compedium, for all the questions I’ve answered this edition!

Using the Leadership Value from Other Models

“Is there consensus on how leadership modifiers interact with models that can let others use their leadership (e.g. chaplains)?
For example, unit A (Ld8) is affected by a -2Ld debuff, and in range of a chaplain (Ld10) who’s affected by a -1Ld debuff, what is their Leadership?”

Not really, no. Anyone that says there is a consensus on this probably just isn’t asking enough, or is taking exhausted silence on it as meaning something, it’s a very old question I’m seeing asked frequently again, probably because of Daemons or something similar.

The problem with the interaction stems from the wording used; one of the prominent examples is still the Space Marine Chaplain:

Spiritual Leaders (Aura): While a friendly <CHAPTER> CORE unit is within 6″ of this model, models in that unit can use this model’s Leadership characteristic instead of their own.

The rules don’t really explain what “using” another model’s characteristic means. The closest we have is a rule for replacing a characteristic in the Modifying Characteristics rules.


If a rule instructs you to replace one characteristic with a specified value, change the relevant characteristic to the new value before applying any modifiers that apply from other rules (if any) to the new value. Regardless of the source, the Strength, Toughness, Attacks and Leadership characteristics of a model can never be modified below 1.

But is using the stat replacing it? We haven’t had any clarification on this for some time. We also don’t know if things are modified twice or not. That is, if the model attempting to use the Chaplain’s Leadership is within a Chaos Daemons -1 Ld bubble, does the modifier apply to the Chaplain’s Ld once the unit is using it? If the Chaplain is in range of the same aura, do they pass along a modified Ld value? What if both models are in range of different Ld modifying auras? And so on. Replacements in the order of modifying characteristics happens before addition or subtraction, but is that true per model or generally? Essentially it’s really one the most ambiguous things in the game right now.

If there’s an upside here it’s that the rules are notoriously ambiguous, so most 40k events will have a ruling on it in their event pack… though not always the same ruling! To add to that glorious level of consistency my own opinion on this actually differs from GHO’s own events FAQ (Rob: traitor!), but as something with literally no correct answer, that’s essentially fine.

Fre-FAQ Suggestion (Very Much an Opinion): Using is no replacement in my opinion. As such when using the LD of another model you would check that model’s current value for that characteristic. If the providing model is under the effect of a -1 Modifier you would “use” it’s LD-1. If the unit using this LD characteristic is under the effects of a different -2 modifier to LD, that would only apply to the “used” value if the providing unit is also affected.

Actions and Opening Hatchways in Boarding Actions

“In 40k Boarding actions there is the Operate Hatchway action. It says that you can still perform this action even if there is a rule that would normally prevent you from performing an action. Does this mean that you can Advance and still operate a hatchway? There is some disagreement on this in my gaming group.”

Seems to me you can advance and use hatchways.

One or more units from your army can start to perform this action at the end of the Move Units step of your Movement phase if they are within 1″ of a Hatchway. This action can be performed by any unit that is not within Engagement Range of any enemy models, even if that unit is being affected by a rule that would normally prevent it from performing actions. The action is completed at the end of your Movement phase if no enemy models are within 1″ of that Hatchway. …

Though I’m not sure it’s intended or not. The rule for who can start actions is below:

You can declare a unit from your army will start to perform an action provided there are no enemy units within Engagement Range of it (excluding AIRCRAFT) and it did not Advance or Fall Back this turn.

And the Boarding Action rule tries to keep the restriction against performing actions with enemy models within Engagement Range, but if we take the Core Rules as a rule that would “normally prevent” a unit from performing actions there’s arguably a loop of circular logic there. As being within Engagement Range is itself a rule that prevents using Actions, which the Board Action rule does and doesn’t give units an exception to.

Pre FAQ Suggestion: I think being able to advance to a door and open it works thematically and certain appears to be RAW.

Tau – Does Frequency Lock make Seekers an Indirect Fire weapon subject to the penalties?

Yes, but only when firing indirectly. I’ve seen some confusion about indirect fire lately and I think it’s because some players and the resources they are using <cough> are listing indirect fire as an ability weapons have. It is not an ability; it is a Balance Dataslate rule.

Weapons are not Indirect Fire weapons for having an ability called Indirect Fire, they are subject to the indirect fire rule if they meet it’s definition of weapons the rule applies to.

An Indirect Fire weapon is one that can target units that are not visible to the bearer (e.g. mortars, smart-missile systems, impaler cannons, etc.).

So this would include a Tau seeker missile using the Frequency Lock stratagem… however the rule continues:

If such a weapon targets a unit that is not visible (i.e. no models in a target unit are visible to the firing unit when you selected it as a target), then each time an attack is made with that weapon against that target this phase, worsen the Ballistic Skill characteristic of that attack by 1 and add 1 to any armour saving throws made against that attack.

Just being able to fire indirectly doesn’t make the penalties apply; they actually have to target something they can’t see. This is a pretty important example of how some fan resources for playing 40k can add confusion when they are trying to be helpful.

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