Tuesday, April 17, 2012

First Strokes: Unit Characteristics

John Mulcaster Carrick - The Recruiting Sargeant 1862
I've now begun the task of writing up the rules. Which so far consist of a 'What Is M42?' intro section and the following introduction to the various unit characteristics I'm thinking of using. I figure that the best way of not disappearing during the writing process is to keep everyone updated as I go along and invite comment on what I'm doing. My current plan is to finish up an introductory section that's roughly analogous to the first 8 pages of 40K's rules. I'll then post a PDF before moving on to the formal description of the turn sequence.

Unit Characteristics

To represent all of the different abilities of the various creatures and vehicles in M42, each unit of one or more models has a profile made up of eight different numbers that define their physical and mental characteristics within the game. These numbers will be referenced and compared whenever a characteristic test must be made. Usually, this means that a trait or skill from one unit or weapon will be compared to another. The result of this comparison will be a range of target numbers that must be rolled on a 6 sided die in order for that particular test to succeed.

These eight unit characteristics are Movement (Mv), Weapon Skill (WS), Ballistic Skill (BS), Technical Skill (TS), Evasion (Ev), Armor (Ar), Leadership (Ld), and Nerve (Nv). Each of these characteristics will have a value between 0 - 10. The higher the number, the better. Always!

Certain rules or wargear may modify a unit’s characteristics during the game. Thus a unit (or an individual model within the unit) might have 1 or more points either added to, or subtracted from, their characteristic during a particular test. The characteristic may even be multiplied or divided. However these modifications may never take a characteristic value below 0 or above 10 for any reason.

If a characteristic is marked with an ‘-’ instead of a number, then treat that characteristic as zero.

If a rule causes a unit’s characteristics to be doubled or halved, this change is always applied before other modifiers are added or subtracted.

Movement (Mv)

This characteristic defines how far the models within a unit are able to move, in inches, during a game turn.

Weapon Skill (WS)

This characteristic defines how skilled and capable a particular model is in close combat. Models with a higher WS will have received specialized training or close combat weapons such as swords to fight with. Or they may have claws and teeth! While low values represent models that have to depend on knives or fists when facing their foes up close.

Ballistic Skill (BS)

A model’s Ballistic Skill represents how adept they are at hitting a target with a ranged weapon. Models with a high BS might have extra training, years of shooting experience or specialized technology to help them hit a target. While models with a low BS might only have had a few days training with their weapons before being deployed to the front.

Technical Skill (TS)

Whenever a unit is required to do something unusual on the battlefield, they will often be asked to test against their Technical Skill. A group of combat engineers, for instance, may need to clear a path through a minefield for others to follow behind safely. Or a tank’s crew may need to repair their tracks to get their vehicle moving again. A unit of infantry may even need to search some ruins or a vehicle wreck for an important item that they have been ordered by their commanders to find.

Higher levels of TS represent troops with high levels of training in non-combat proficiencies. While low levels of TS are typical of units which are only expected to excel in regular combat.

Evasion (Ev)

As important as hitting a target with a ranged weapon is; a model’s ability to keep it’s head down and avoid incoming enemy fire is just as vital. Models with a high Ev are adept at hugging cover and staying out of sight as they move. These models may also have camouflage or arcane technology that makes them less visible to their foes. Models with a low Ev either don’t know how to move about safely, are too big to hide, or simply don’t care.

Armor (Ar)

If you can’t hide from the enemy’s shots, you can at least put several inches of hardened steel or ceramic alloy between the enemy’s weapons and your more delicate bits. This value represents the difficulty that an enemy weapon will have in getting through this extra protection and damaging the model.

For infantry models, this characteristic will have just one value, such as 2 or 3. But for vehicles, this characteristic will have 3 values, such as 8/5/3. When written in this way, the numbers represent the vehicle’s front, side, and top armor values respectively. 

Leadership (Ld)

A Unit’s Leadership represents it’s ability to follow orders and follow complex instructions. It also represents the ability of the unit’s leader to get his men moving even when they’d rather not follow him into danger.

Nerve (Nv)

Nerve represents the ability of a unit to take damage without losing it’s fighting discipline. Units with a high Nerve are fanatics that will fight on even with tremendous casualties. While units with a low nerve will start to fall apart even with only a few of their number wounded.

(End Section)

Please feel free to point out any spelling or grammar errors you see. Or ask questions about what stuff means. Note that I'm deliberately not getting too deep into writing examples at this stage. Additional clarity can be added later as the rules are finalized.

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