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Yes today we start to look at those devious deviations of diabolical intent: the themes I'm aiming to include in this homebrew codex, as well what my goals are so that way we have some kind of reference point on what I'm aiming to do. After all, it's a lot easier to see the finish line if we know where it is.
ThemesNow the Dark Mechanicus has a lot of great many heresies to choose from and honestly as much as I'd love to do them all (and I'm going to try to give options for as many as I can) I know that to keep this from slipping into a potentially disjointed mess we'll need some focal points to make this really strong. So let's take a look at them:
Forbidden TechnologyHonestly it's almost impossible to have anything with the Dark Mechanicus and not have them commit some kind of tech-heresy, and of course that includes weapons. So sprinkled within are going to be some xenos weapons, some daemon weapons, as well as some Imperium favorites, namely from the Imperial Guard codex, though potential twists to even though may occur as the Dark Mechanicus is known for trying to improve their weapons and technology, even without STCs to work from.
Fleshworks and Transgenic BlasphemiesHonestly when you're living on Daemon worlds and the pursuit of knowledge is the only thing driving your actions and you have no restrictions things are going to happen. Be it adding a few extra arms to your lab-assistant assistant to improve their productivity to splicing in some alien DNA into your latest creations there aren't a lot of limits, other than maybe stealing some supplies from your fellow Hereteks, and I'm going to try and include these in. Some of these (such as the splicing in of alien DNA) will be aimed more at being upgrades while other fleshworks will make appearances as whole unit options in their own right.
MalificaWho could forget the most common Dark Mechanicus creation: the Daemon Engine. Naturally all the CSM ones will be making the codex, though there may be some changes. Beyond that, there are other things to include as well: Chaos Spawn, enslaved Psykers, weapons that have captured the energies of the Warp itself and daemonically possessed servitors.
Capturing the ThemesNow obviously this doesn't cover the full length and breadth of the options available as I've left out AIs, Biotransference, and anything I'm not aware of or hasn't been thought of yet. But honestly most things in this project easily be played with robots filling in for your fleshier unit options, and Biotransference seems more like something that should be saved for the few, not the many so it may still make an appearance but as something only for certain models.
So how are these options going to be captured? Well outside of the very expansive wargear list, there are going to be a lot of upgrade options, both in wargear, and in other options (such as the Marks of Chaos). If there is one thing about Chaos, it's very expansive and no two Dark Forge Worlds are the same. Because of that I'm going to try and give a number of wide options ranging from stat changes, to options that unlock specific USRs. But rules can't truly do it alone, to truly capture the feel of the Dark Mechanicum there will be some work required by the players of this book to capture these options through kitbashing, sculpting and all around converting every choice you choose to take. There are no limits here, there aren't even any models so let your inner mad genius take hold and follow that dark song in your heart as you build your army!
And speaking of building your army, it's time to cover my two big design goals:
BalanceI don't know of a homebrew project where someone wrote rules and didn't want balance and that's no different here. I have no desires to create an overpowered booked, in fact the book may cost a little more for a lot of things just to keep it from being treated that way. This isn't going to be a codex designed for top table tournament play because honestly it won't likely see the inside of a tournament anytime soon unless you play it locally. Because of thise the goal is instead to make it more of a mid-tier book so it's fun to play with and against and no one gets the short stick with it.
Internally I want to aim to make every unit useful for something, even if that something is close combat. This does mean some units are going to have similiar, if not identical jobs but they'll be in different slots when possible and I'm going to aim to have them approach these jobs differently as well. So if two units are good at hunting tanks, one might be a fast, short range unit that hits hard, fast and early from the Fast Attack slot while the other is a long range Heavy Support unit that prefers to handle the enemy armor from range, and potentially in cover.
Because of these balance goals this means that through the first few drafts things are likely to rise or fall in points, some options may be added, and others removed. Speaking of which....
DraftsI aim for a number of drafts, starting with when the articles for each FOC have been completed and you've given me your feedback. Once I've reached the point where my rough ideas have had some refining we'll move onto the first draft, and if need be even more drafts until we have a book that is worth playing with.
Next up are two big cornerstones of the army: Troops choices, and the first of the army wide options that will allow players to really customize their army, and even encourage them to customize their models. This customization will be available through things like Twisted Flesh, Occular Modifications, and Extra Arms (okay, the last one could use a better name honestly). Each of these options is going to have a little flavor text explaining how the alteration is achieved, and the bonus it gives the unit. And no, you won't be able to just stack all these bonuses onto a unit because honestly that'd be a little silly. And no, they won't match the rules given out by the Marks of Chaos, though some effects will dovetail nicely with those marks for some nifty bonuses if you choose to pair them up.
Now for Troops I've got my initial thoughts on Murder Servitors and Traitor Skitarii, but I'm open to your suggestions for both names for these options (as they could always be stronger) and even other options for what could be made into a good troops choice for the army. I can't promise that I'll use every idea, but I will try to at least give every idea serious consideration so don't feel free to pitch anything you can think of!