Tuesday 3 December 2019

Hrud for Kill Team - the design process

The Hrud appear in 40k's background but haven't, to my knowledge, ever been given official rules. So here's me writing up some rules for them, so I can use them in Kill Team.
First up, our goals for the rules.
What do we know about the Hrud as a race?

  • They live mostly underground, prefer dim light, and dislike bright lights.
  • They generate a distortion field from their bodies that make them hard to pinpoint and often hide them in a pool of shadow. 
  • Their bodies are highly toxic, and they can create a wide variety of poisons.
  • They accelerate entropy around them, causing things to decay quickly and those nearby to age prematurely.
  • Their bodies are unusually flexible, well suited to climbing and squeezing.
  • They have comparatively little of their own technology, and tend to use scavenged equipment from the 'host civilisation' of whichever world they infest.
  • They undergo mass migrations when their populations rise particularly high.
  • They make use of unique warp technology, letting them distort space and time, move between worlds, and other strange feats.
  • Their signature weapon is the Warp Fusil, which fires a bolt of plasma through the warp to strike its target unprepared.
From this, a particular play-style emerges that seems appropriate. The Hrud are individually weak and often encountered in large numbers. They're relatively mobile, hard to pin down and making excellent use of cover. Their tactics are based on hit-and-run strategies, ambushes, and sniping rather than brute force. Most of their weaponry is poor, but they have a few devastating heavy weapons.

Let's work out the base Hrud stats.

For the baseline, let's take a Grot from the ork list. This line-up is appropriately shit, and only costs 4 points.
Next up, let's make this stat-line sneaky. How do we do this? Well. The cost of an Ork Boy is 6 points. The cost of a Komando is 8 points. The difference between the two is that a Komando gets an extra point of Movement and the Sneaky Gits (enemies suffer -1 to hit while the model is obscured) rule. Their stats and gear are otherwise identical. So, we can conclude that +1 movement and the 'Sneaky' rule is worth two points.
We can re-fluff the grot's (rather shit) Grot Blaster as a scavanged weapon, and explain its low stats as a result of its being degraded by the entropic field the hrud produce.
Lastly, moving outside the Ork list, the Astartes Reivers get access to a Grapnel Launcher (ignore vertical distance while moving) for one point.

This gives us a stat-line of:
Hrud WarriorsMovement 6", WS 5+, BS 4+, Strength 2, Toughness 2, 1 Wound, 1 Attack, Leadership 4, 6+ Save.
Squirmy Anatomy (Ignore vertical distance when climbing)
Shadow Field (enemies suffer an additional -1 to hit while this model is obscured)
Scavenged Small-arm (12" range, Pistol 1, Strength 3, no AP, Damage 1).
For a total of 7 points. This seems suitably sneaky, and can represent a standard Hrud warrior.

Now, it seems only fair to give them a second troop choice, this one a dedicated scavenger, used to having to defend itself from other races. Let's pick something a little tougher than Grots for the baseline, but only barely; chaos cultists. Again, give it the squirmy anatomy and shadow field, for +3 points. Then, to represent their use as scouts, an auspex is one point: we can re-fluff this as special training.  
Hrud ScavengerMovement 7", WS 4+, BS 4+, Strength 3, Toughness 3, 1 Wound, 1 Attack, Leadership 5, 6+ Save.
Squirmy Anatomy (Ignore vertical distance when climbing)
Shadow Field (enemies suffer an additional -1 to hit while this model is obscured)
Spotter (pick a friendly model within 3" at the start of the shooting phase. That model ignores penalties for their target being obscured)
Scavenged Long-arm (24" range, Rapid Fire 1, Strength 3, no AP, Damage 1)
Costing us a grand total of 8 points. 

Our final troop-type will be poisoners. These will use the same stat-block as hrud warriors, but also get the option to take a 'choking cloud' item; the aura of '-1 leadership' a chaos Icon of Despair produces, at the same points cost. Other than that, their main difference to standard hrud is the gear they can take, which is close-range focussed.

We can reverse-engineer the costs for Leader-type models for each troop type. Basically all of them cost 1 point more, and get +1 attack and +1 Leadership, and maybe some slightly better gear options. Gunners have various different points costs depending on the gear available, but this is pretty simple to work out. 

Weapons mostly have their costs right there, we can pick a few interesting weapons. Sniper Rifles, Flamers, and Heavy Stubbers seem fun. For their signature weapons - the Warp Fusils - I want to do something a bit special, though. 
The Tau have a weapon available called 'smart missile systems' costing 5 points, which can shoot at enemies not in line-of-sight (needing 6s to hit when doing so). This seems like a good way to model being able to shoot through the warp. A smart missile system has the same stats as a Burst Cannon (which costs 4 points), except that it is Heavy rather than Assault, 30 inch range, and gets the option to shoot out of line-of-sight. So, we can conclude that a range increase from 18 to 30, indirect fire, and going from Assault to Heavy is worth +1 point.
Now, to apply this to a suitably potent gun to produce the warp fusil's stats. The Dark Eldar get a Blaster, which is a powerful single-shot assault weapon, with 18-inch range, so that makes a nice base. The modifications above give us a potent single-shot heavy weapon that can ignore line-of-sight.

Lastly, let's pick a few Tactics for the Hrud. These are mostly gonna be coming from the Eldar/Dark Eldar/Nids and will focus on movement and cover.

And with that, we have the behind-the-scenes work done. Now all that's left is to put it together in a useable format, which will come in the next post.
The end result should be a GEQ list that's strongly focused on using and abusing cover. The list is more comfortable at long range, since they get better benefits from cover while shooting, and can negate the enemy's ability to benefit from cover in a few different ways. If an enemy tries to close with them, the Hrud have a few Tactics they can use to pull back and keep shooting, and their ability to climb for free means they can dart about vertical terrain that slows down most other troops coming after them.

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