Ruleshammer 40k Q&A, January 21, 2022

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 for the last few months!

Core Rules – Do multiple pieces of obscuring terrain block Line of Sight to 18+ wound models?

Q: Hello, I own Mortarion and Magnus the red. I’m scared about the new Tau rules.
And I was always curious with a specific obscuring terrain rule. Since they both have 18+ wounds. I was wondering if an enemy unit is eligible to shoot through multiple obscuring terrain features to target a model with 18+ wounds. For instance if an enemy unit can shoot two or more obscuring walls to target my 18+ wound unit who is fully behind both? -Amberlei

So the really short answer on this is “Yes.” Multiple pieces of area terrain with won’t block targeting an 18+ wound model with the Obscuring rule alone. The Obscuring rule prevents models under 18 wounds that aren’t AIRCRAFT from being seen through the gaps in a terrain piece, the windows, doors and bits of missing wall:

Models that are on or within terrain feature can see, and can be seen and targeted normally. AIRCRAFT models, and models with a Wounds (W) characteristic of 18 or more, are visible and can be targeted even if this terrain feature is in-between it and the firing model (note that the reverse is not true).

For models with 18+ wounds or that are AIRCRAFT though, these models can be targeted normally. Which means that if you want to avoid being shot you need to be fully out of line of sight, which if the terrain has any significant windows will be tricky (not to mention the big honking wings on the models). This is the reason that a significant proportion of events make use of some terrain with large, opaque walls.

Early in 9th edition there was some confusion on whether the “are visible and can be targeted” part of the rule meant that these models were just always visible regardless of line of sight; understandably so because it says they “are visible”. However this was addressed with some designers commentary in the first round of FAQs:

Obscuring and Dense Cover are two terrain traits introduced with ninth edition that interact with visibility. These rules do not overwrite the normal rules for determining visibility, though – they are in addition to them. Specifically, even though the Obscuring rules state that AIRCRAFT and models with a Wounds characteristic of 18+ can be seen through Obscuring terrain, they are still only visible (and hence eligible) targets if the firing model can physically see them (so if the terrain in question is solid and opaque, they are still not eligible targets).

This clarifies that units with 18+ wounds and AIRCRAFT “are visible” only if the model can be seen using the usual Line of Sight checks. Having multiple pieces of terrain in the way may make it more likely that a model won’t be able to draw line of sight to your daemon primarch, but just having two pieces isn’t enough.

Trukk. Credit: Rockfish
Trukk. Credit: Rockfish

Core Rules – Abilities and embarked units in Open Topped Transports

Q: Hi Vrekais and thanks for all your work!
I have three questions regarding open-topped transports that I hope haven’t been answered in the column yet and that I can’t find any mention of in the rules:

1. Do embarked units shooting out of an open topped transport get to use their “Clan Kultur/obsession/etc.”? So can I use my Deathskulls/Black Heart reroll for the embarked unit?

2. Does the Kabalite Trueborns ability to not be affected by hit role modifiers work while they shoot out of an open topped transport?

3. Would Speedwaaagh in stage one increase the shots of Dakka weapons shooting out of an open topped transport?
Thank you! – Sören Trembich

Shooting from Open-topped transports has a rather extensive Rare Rule that covers some of these questions:

Some rules, such as Open-topped, enable units to shoot and make ranged attacks even while embarked within a TRANSPORT model. Each time such an embarked unit is selected to shoot, the following rules apply to it:

      1. Stratagems cannot be used on that unit in order to affect its attacks, and you cannot use the Command Re-roll Stratagem to affect any dice rolls made for its models’ ranged attacks.
      2. Measure distances and draw line of sight from any point on the TRANSPORT model when models in that unit make the ranged attacks.
      3. If the TRANSPORT model made a Normal Move, Advanced, Fell Back or Remained Stationary this turn, embarked units are considered to have done the same when they make ranged attacks.
      4. While the TRANSPORT model is within Engagement Range of any enemy units, unless the ability that the TRANSPORT model has that allows its passengers to shoot whilst embarked states otherwise, then models in embarked units cannot make ranged attacks, except with Pistols.
      5. Unless specifically stated otherwise, the embarked unit is not affected by the abilities (including aura abilities) of any other unit, even if that unit is also embarked within the same TRANSPORT model.
      6. If the unit was under the effects of a rule when it embarked on the TRANSPORT model (such as rules bestowed on it during the Command phase, by a psychic power or a Stratagem etc.) those rules do not apply to that unit whilst it is embarked.
      7. Any abilities (including Detachment abilities) that models in an embarked unit have, or that their weapons have, continue to apply when they make ranged attacks.
      8. If a restriction applies to the TRANSPORT model, that same restriction applies to units embarked within it. For example, if the TRANSPORT model is not eligible to shoot with because it has Advanced or Fallen Back this turn, its passengers are not eligible to shoot with.
      9. If a TRANSPORT model is under the effects of a modifier to its ranged attacks (such as a modifier to its hit rolls, wound rolls, etc.) the same modifier applies each time an embarked model makes a ranged attack.

Point 7 covers first and second questions, any abilities a model has continue to work whilst embarked when making ranged attacks. This would include Trueborn as well because the units literally gain the ability, so for all intents and purposes you treat them as having the ability on their datasheet effectively.

For question 3 though, there’s no point here about this specifically, but I’m not sure there needs to be.

ORKS models from your army do not suffer the penalty incurred to their hit rolls for firing Assault weapons in the same turn their unit Advanced. Each time an ORKS VEHICLE or ORKS BIKER model from your army shoots with a Dakka weapon, make 1 additional attack with that weapon.

Despite being embarked in an ORKS VEHICLE, the models inside are not ORKS VEHICLE or ORKS BIKER and would therefore not meet the criteria of the rule regarding DAKKA weapons to apply to them.

Patriarch. Credit: Rockfish
Patriarch. Credit: Rockfish

GSC – Is Nexus of Devotion an Aura? Can aura-extending abilities affect it?

This is a slightly odd one, as I’m not sure what to rule on it. I have been pretty vocal on auras and how the (AURA) tag isn’t entirely reliable for determining what is and is not an aura, which is not ideal. As the number of 8th edition codexes still in play decreases we’re getting closer and close to being able to use the tag all the time even if we suspect there are still abilities that should have it in 9th edition books.

With this particular example I think GW have accidentally written something very Aura-like but that is actually not intended to be one. The ability in question is worded as follows:

Nexus of Devotion: In your command phase, if a friendly <CULT> CORE unit is within 6″ of this model, that unit can summon the cult.

So how does it resemble an aura? Well it causes an effect on units at a given range, despite how singularly this ability is worded it would be all such units within 6″ that can summon the the cult.

How does it differ from other auras? The main difference is that it doesn’t start with “while”; I can’t pretend to have checked every aura in every book but “while a unit is within” is the predominantly structure for aura rules. This one is written closer to abilities that select a particular unit in the command phase.

Where does that leave us? Well I think that seeing as the “while” wording isn’t technically part of the definition, it’s just a convention up until now, then this ability resembles an aura more than it differs from one. This is where we stray into my opinion though; I don’t think this was intentional. Unlike some other examples where wordings have been almost identical between books but one have the aura tag and the others not. This is a uniquely worded ability that I think is specifically not an aura so as to avoid it being extended by aura range extending rules. So despite being an ability that I would REALLY hate to try and catergorise if it was from an 8th edition codex, I think I’d suggest that this ability isn’t untagged by mistake.

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