Tuesday, August 3, 2010

On Conversion Ideas

Well, here's an old post I've had simmering on the back burner for a while (read: I wrote half of it and then forgot that it existed for two weeks).

Warhammer 40k lends itself a bit too well to bringing in out-of-universe ideas, characters, and hell, entire armies.  Much as with D&D (or really any RPG worth its salt), you can easily throw together a stat block for just about anything.  However, Warhammer 40k is such an 'everything including the kitchen sink (which also wants to kill you)' universe that, for most science fiction and fantasy military forces can be translated without even having to draw up new stat blocks.  Generally, the less changes I have to make, the greater a success I consider conversion attempt.  It's easy to draw up stat blocks in 40k (they're rather simple), but it's hard to FIND statblocks for every single thing you want to represent.
Every time one of these ideas for a new 'count-as' army takes root in my mind, I end up doing something very dangerous - namely, I consider starting YET ANOTHER army.

A few bouncing around in my head:

Gears of War (Imperial Guard)

The relatively obvious but still inescapable 'Gears of War' IG army, based around the 'Straken Mob in a Vendetta' close combat strategy.  Colonel Straken as Marcus, Commissar Yarrick as Dom, a Techpriest as Baird and a Ministorum Priest with Eviscerator as the inimitable 'Cole Train.'  Straken's command squad as an attached team of Redshirts (perhaps the various Carmine brothers).  Slap it all in a King Raven (Vendetta or Valkyrie) and do exactly what you do in Gears of War - rush in and beat your enemy's face into a pulp.  A few squads of Veterans in Chimeras would round out the army (and, you know, let you hold objectives), as regular COG soldiers in Centaurs (or other APCs).

"Scratch one grub!"

Code Geass (Tau)

When I first watched Code Geass, my immediate response was 'Knightmare Frames ARE Crisis Suits!'  The right size, appropriately armed and armored, highly mobile (but not 'fighter jet' mobile) - admittedly, there are plenty of mecha that would fit these qualifications, but Code Geass is one of the few mecha series I've seen where the focus is as much strategic as tactical.  Most mecha series consist almost purely of dogfighting - which is quite enjoyable, so long as it's well executed.  But, as I've mentioned before, I'd love to see another series with a greater focus on the commanders, and the strategies that win battles in addition to the Ace Pilots who dominate the battlefield.  So Code Geass lends itself rather well to Warhammer 40k more generally.  In this particular case, I freely admit that I did cave in and tweak the codex a bit - nothing terribly substantial, but the ability to mount an Ethereal in a Crisis Suit is long overdue for the Tau anyway, and I couldn't very well have Code Geass without some rules for the Geass itself.  If I ever manage to recover said 'Codex Geass' (hurr hurr) from the depths of my old, very possibly fubar hard drive, I'll probably do a post on it.  I've also modeled about half of this army, and done some paint work (though some of it needs to be redone, and I suspect I'd want to touch a lot of it up, given that it was like two summers ago).

Mobile Suit Gundam (Imperial or Eldar Titans)

Ah, the holy grail.  How to get a Mobile Suit into Warhammer 40k.  Imperial ground forces fit the Earth Federation and Zeon ground forces quite well (since Mobile Suit Gundam is heavily based on World War 2, and so are many Imperial Guard armaments, this is no particular surprise).  For Mobile Suits themselves, however, it's a toss-up between Warhound Titans and Eldar Phantom Titans.  Both are roughly the same size, they're roughly equally resilient.  The Warhound Titan has more choices for armaments, which I like, but the Phantom Titans have superior close-combat skills, an 4+ Invulnerable 'Holofield Dodge' save, and the ability to 'Jump' 36" and then make an assault, as compared to the much more sedate 12" move range of a Warhound Titan.  Perhaps the answer is simply to decide on a case-by-case basis.  As to fielding a Phantom Titan alongside Imperial Forces, well, it's Apocalypse.  You can field 80 Orbital Strikes and nothing else if you feel like it.  I'm not overly concerned about balance.

1 Warhound Titan + 18 Land Speeders with Multi-Meltas = Kshatriya with Funnels

Thanks for letting me borrow the Funnels, Ghostlightning.

Also 1950~ points.  But it's totally worth it for the Funnels.

(Incidentally, Mr. Flask, I've realized that even though you hate everything good  America, you communist! everything not comedy (or so you claim, though I can see through your LIIIIIIES), Funnels are basically psychically controlled robot BEES with frickin' laser beams.  Just thought you should know.)

I feel like Codex: Chaos Daemons also opens up a host of new possibilities in this direction.  Alucard Khornate Daemon army, anyone? (Yes, Alucard would comprise the entire army).  One big, nasty Daemon surrounded by lots of Flesh Hounds, Bloodletters, etc.  Another series I recently picked up on, Nurarihyon no Mago, provides a large and mildly militarized organization of highly diverse demons.  Could be interesting for many of the same reasons as the Armycard, but provide a less uniform modelling experience.

Anybody else thought of any good conversions in this vein (that is to say, repurposing armies.  Though I'm always interested to hear new stat-blocks, too)?



  1. It would be almost fun to make a custom codex (probably borrowing heavily from elements of other codexes). I'd almost want to try and make an army that is more shooty than Tau, if that's possible :-P Teambuilding a codex would be fun, though.

    Also, I'd almost, ALMOST say that Orks would be better for building a GoW force, just because Guard aren't that great in CC and in general Lancers aren't the most accurate weapon ever produced. Except even the average Gear doesn't shoot at BS2, probably more like BS2.5. Maybe some kind of IG army borrowing some Ork units for the CC abilities? Heck, even a shootier space marine would work (Gears definitely look more SM than IG).

    Otherwise no other ideas for armies, although I'd definitely like to see the Alucard one. I think the Chaos Daemons army in general has a lot of potential, I'm still surprised no one's built an army (I think it has the IG problem of having too many choices, except even more so than IG)

  2. The reason I push for CoG forces as IG is that I want to at least try to keep the imported forces at the 40k scale where it's possible. So, while CoGs are undeniably tough in CC in their own universe, they're probably about on par with top-tier Guardsmen. Most Imperial Guard soldiers are pretty badass in their own right (conscripts aside), and WS3 actually reflects a lifetime dedicated to combat training. CoGs are probably closer to Veterans (with Carapace Armor) or Stormtroopers than run-of-the-mill infantrymen, but the average Carmine still isn't as tough or as choppy as an Ork.

    The intrepid foursome of the series, of course, are ridiculous badasses even by 40k scale, but characters like Straken reflect this badassery. I mean, Straken can, with reasonable consistency, *punch out light tanks.* Backed by Yarrick, an Techpriest, and a Ministorum Priest, they'd be throwing out something like 12 rerolling, strength 4-8 power attacks on the charge at various initiative intervals. And this is pretty much how it is in the game (curbstomp, anyone?).

    Orks would make really good Locust, though. Tyranids would also probably be up to the task.

  3. "Funnels are basically psychically controlled robot BEES with frickin' laser beams"

    Don't try to tempt me, boy! I'm wise to your games.

    Also, I could totally see an army made of Alucard for Chaos Daemons. Alternatively, you could have it be a Daemonhunters army composed of Alucard and Seras (Daemonhosts), Inquisitor Integra + retinue, and (of course) an IG platoon of helpless mooks. Also possibly some fallen Grey Knight ladies.

  4. "fallen Grey Knight ladies."

    HERESY! You can't field Grey Knights and Daemonhosts in the same army!
    (If you could include links in comments, this would be linked to Tvtropes "Completely Missing the Point" article).

    I absolutely agree that the dynamics of the Hellsing order mirror those of a radical Inquisitor with a Daemonhost disturbingly well. The only problem I see with the Alucard as Daemonhost thing is that, while Daemonhosts in lore terms are nigh-unstoppable death machines, Daemonhosts in game terms are pretty weak comparatively. Alucard shrugs off impalement, decapitation, and fiery plane crashes (and he WAS THE PLANE). Daemonhosts can be instagibbed by a missle launcher. Now, for Seras, the 4++ and random regeneration power are probably enough to cover her ability to regenerate, but for the Goddamn Batma...err... King of Vampires, this feels a bit weak. It'd work, but I'd be sad to see Alucard to get instagibbed by anything short of a temporal stasis bomb or really complex math problems (hey, that sh*t is serious business!)

    If the theoretically upcoming Codex: Inquisition gives us Daemonhosts closer to the lore (where you have thrice-bound daemonhosts, which are fairly weak but easy to control, twice-bound, which are stronger and more unpredictable, and once-bound, which approach eldritch abomination levels), then this would totally work. Given that all Daemons *except* Daemonhosts have now been given the Eternal Warrior rule, I wouldn't be surprised if Daemonhosts got it, too. This change would make them a lot more powerful, obviously.

  5. Also Aaron is misguided to think there are Grey Knight females. Female Space Marines? In my 40k? No way.

    Also, if we're talking about conversion anyway, I saw some article to a tournament people were running where you had a main army, and you were allowed to include units from a second army, outside of normal force charts, at 2x the normal points cost. I don't know if it would be worth it gameplay-wise (since you'd be at a points disadvantage) but conversion-wise making an DH army with one unit from the CD list for Alucard?

  6. Grey Knights don't fall, either, because they're EMPRAH Mehreens. He's just flamebaiting. I had intentionally ignored that part so as not to encourage him, but now we've acknowledged his trollery, sadly. PROBLEM OFFICER?

    Yeah, I saw a similar acticle on the SW board over at Bolter and Chainsword. Somebody was using it to get a Wave Serpent full of Fire Dragons. Personally, I'd use it to get Guardsman Marbo. And yes, Greater Daemon (or Daemon Prince) Alucard + Inquisitor Integra would be pretty badass, I'm not gonna lie.