No kids, we aren't talking booze (though that is an acceptable form of Homebrew), we're talking 40k Homebrew. Be it fandexes, custom missions, or just updating some rules to let you play that army you always dreamed of. So why aren't you doing it right now?
Alright so the guys who go and play at tournaments like Nova are obviously out, but seriously, why don't we do this more?
Well, before we get into the reasons why you should be doing this more, let's look into why you can do this, even in the venue of 40k's rules.
Why You CanI'm sure a few of you more sceptical people out there are wondering why I say you have permission to change anything and everything as you see fit. Well first we need to look at what GW calls the "Spirit of the Game" (pg 8 in the big rulebook):
"Warhammer 40,000 may be somewhat different from any other game you have played. Above all, it's important to remember that the rules are just a framework to support an enjoyable game. Whether the battle ends in victory or defeat, your goal should always to be to enjoy the journey. What's more, Warhammer 40,000 calls on a lot from you, the player. Your job isn't just to follow the rules, it's also to add your own ideas, drama and creativity to the game. Much of the appeal of this game lies in the freedom and open-endedness that this allows; it is in this spirit that the rules have been written."
Now as you can tell, I've picked out a couple of key things in bold for emphasis. So what can we see in these key statements? First that the rules are just a framework, they are not the be-all-end-all of the game, and that means you have room to play with and experiment with how you want to approach the game. Nothing it too sacred to touch if you really want.
Secondly, we see that the player is encouraged to add ideas, drama and creativity to the game. There are a lot of ways to do this, but for this article we're going to stick the the things you can do with homebrew.
Last we see that the developers themselves offer freedom and open-endedness through this. But it doesn't end there. From page 108 (again, in the big book):
The Army List"With the points limit agreed, players need to pick their forces. The best way to do this is to make use of the army list in the relevant codex, although, of course, players are free to either adapt the army lists or use their own system as they wish..."
That's right, more bold for emphasis. As we can clearly see here, there is explicit permission for you to even modify the army list and/or system as you like. The only real limits are your imagination, and what your opponent allows.
"But wait!" a few of you shout, despite the fact I can't hear you because this is the Internet, "You just said the rules said I can do whatever I want."
And you're right, but just like anything in this game you need your opponent's permission to put it on the table for a game. So before you plonk down your all Primarch army make sure your opponent is willing to give it a go first. Chances are if you're cool about it and what you bring isn't too out there most players will give it a go.
So now that we have the big qualifier of opponent's permission (which you need to play every game) what can we use homebrew for exactly anyways?
Ever want to play a game with a Genestealer Cult or feel that your CSM Legion Warband is missing something that really makes it work? Then this is your first stop.
Now when it comes to writing your very own Fandex the big thing you need to remember is to be fair to your opponent. Nothing in there should be something you'd not want to play against. As a general rule start by pricing things more expensive than you're comfortable with and adjust down only as you've gotten some games in and are sure it really is too expensive.
Other than that cut loose! Add Cult Terminators to your CSM, write that Kroot Mercenary book you've always wanted, or even tackle making a full Black Templar codex if you so desire. What you can imagine (and what your friends will play against) are your only limits.
Ever want to have a boarding mission on a Space Hulk, or have a battle on the surface of an Ork Rok? What about on a Daemon World? A Death World? How about a mission where you have to survive being ambushed, or hold a point?
How about bringing back the old Missions from 3rd or even 4th?
Well then, this is the thing for you! And don't feel alone, for even GW regularly does it in their WD reports. In the October 2013 White Dwarf Jervis Johnson even discusses some things that he does when trying to write a mission ruleset, so if you want some ideas how to do it, there are some nice points there.
Updating RulesHave a codex that's out of date, or just feel the games rules need tweaking? Want to try taking saves before your opponent rolls to wound? This is the kind of thing for you. Not really much else to say here.
Thing To Remember When Writing Rules
- Opponents aren't required to play your creations.
- Always price in your opponent's favor (too high rather than too low), you can always adjust it down, but if the rules you make are too unbalanced in your favor they may not want to play against it again.
- Be prepared to have to adjust these rules a lot. Rules are rarely perfect in the first draft.
- Have fun. Don't take it too seriously and enjoy the game, it'll be more fun that way.