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Rogue Trader Ground Wars 1 Classification: In Details

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Hello guys, there is our vision of ground mass combat rules ( at least first part... )

Main missing details of BFK system are:

  • unit classification system which includes all types of armies, races and units on the same battlefield
  • connection to spaceships during the battle or deployment phase
  • gathered, explained and extended order list
  • battle simplification rules

There is always a problem how to figure out who has better army even wihtin the same race. Lets assume rogue trader hired mercenaries, joined mutants or knights from unknown planet, have space marines detachment to help or squad of xenos. How to count all the differencies? BFK system doesn't have the asnwers, but we extneded the system to take it into account.

I would like to present the concept of extended unit classification.


Classification system based on:

  • Rank - is the classification which shows main differencies between different units like amount of training, sources of power and their history. To show why and how stormtroopers are better than newly acquired imperial guards, space marines are better than imperial guards and orks are just orks.
  • Type - after carefull consideration we left only with 4 main types of units
  • Class - is the same as in BFK, but we changed the differencies so they would shine and compliment unit types
  • Tech - is the same but slightly extended to include different ferral warriors and advanced races
  • Size - was added to calculate titan-like creatures
  • Trait - is the additional classification to polish units even with craziest abilities and histories 



         1. Rank 

Summary of training, battlefield experience, talents, skills and powers gained througout the life of the unit which differenciate the quality level. Every rank has a distinction by which you can understand that it's better then others, sum of these distinctions will give you the final rank. Rank distinctions can be used non-consequentual to find the final rank, rank name and description given only for comparison to known defintions and lore.

Rank 0 - Non-combatants

  • Description: It's a base level. No matter the quantity due to non-existent skills, low morale and absence of will to fight: old, children, disabled, crippled
  • Distinction: None.

Rank 1 - Free folks

  • Description: Weak and untrained but willing and able to fight: just ordinary men without any experience. It might be hatred, compassion, mind control, purpose of creation, etc.
  • Distinction: Goal/Motivation to fight. 

Rank 2 - Conscripts

  • Description: Able to fight civilians, farmers, labors, underhivers with some training and knowledge willing or ordered to fight. Acquiring non-instinctive knowledge and skills helping to fight - fight in formation, cover your comrade, wait for air support, etc.
  • Distinction: Training

Rank 3 - Regular army

  • Description: Countless ions of Imperial Guards, contractors, organized crime members. Even one battle or deadly scirmish is enough to change your views on everything.
  • Distinction: Battle experience

Rank 4 - Professionals

  • Description: Catachan Jungle Fighters, Cadian Shock Troops, death korps of krieg who are most famous already, arbites, best contractors, Gretchins, non warrior eldars, tau fire warriors, nekron's scarabs, nurglins and other basic non humans. Best in something or best against something.
  • Distinction: Dedication/Specialization

Rank 5 - Elite  

  • Description: Maximum of humanity without gen changing and mutations: storm trooper, sisters of battle, inquisitors, rogue trader teams. Also base level for non humans: ork boyz, warriors of eldars and dark eldars,minor deamons, rak'gols and so on. After many battles and dedication efforts these are the best of the best who survived.
  • Distinction: Selection(evolutionary or unnatural). 

Rank 6 - Champions

  • Description: Base level for super humans - space marines, also for other races strong warriors such as ork nobz, eldars champions, dark eldar incubi, tyranide elite and genstealers,daemons, tech priest skitari, chaos space marines
  • Distinction: Abhumans/Unnatural Stats.

Rank 7 - Peerless

  • Description: Grey knights, imperial assasins, posessed chaos marines, obliterators, genstealers patriarchs, ork warbosses, ork meganobz, tyranide prime warrioirs, tech priest myrmydons, deamon's heraldo.
  • Distinction: Transcended/Connected to warp.

Rank 8 - Ascended

  • Description: Imerial custodians, greater deamons, hive tyrans, khtans, nekrons, eldar lord phoenix, alpha psykers.
  • Distinction: Touched by fate/Usage of power of gods

Rank 9 - Godlike

  • Description: Primarchs and deamon counter parts, psykers alpha+
  • Distinction: Direct connection to power of gods

Rank 10 - Power

  • Distinction: Power itself. Empreror, Horus


Rank of mechanical unit depends on:

  • rank ot troops for which this mech is created 
  • how massive it is which qualifies survivability and amount of fire power
  • interface level to understand how effeciently it is used.

         2. Type 

It is best described as main type of movement and base power level. Based on BFK types.

  • Infantry - basic troops and backbone of army
  • Fast Attack - this is fast moving troops including both cavalry and mechanised infantry 
  • Armour - armoured and powerfull vehicles or creatures used for battle. Artillery, Anti-Air from BFK included.
  • Air - units which main method of combat requires flying


         3. Class 

Each unit type has a class to distinguish main purpose and how it should be used. Based on BFK light, medium, heavy descriptions.

  • Light - for fast, stealth operations, ambushes and recoinessance
  • Medium - main, universal army
  • Heavy - specialized squads


         4. Tech 

Extended BFK tech levels.

  • Primal - teeth ans claws like animals
  • Ferral - stone age: axes, clubs, bows
  • Primitive - early metal age: bronze work, metal work
  • Feudal - powder, swords, heavy plates
  • Industrial - wwI: early machines, primitive aviation
  • Techological - modern 20-21 century techologies
  • Modern - modern emperial technologies
  • Ascended - archeotech, dark age, necrons


         5. Size 

Used to calculate rank of vehicles, influence deployment and transportation of units

  • Average (Human, Eldar)
  • Hulking (Ork Nob, Armoured Space Marine)
  • Enormous (Sentinel Walker, Krootox)    
  • Massive (Battle Tank, Greater Daemon)
  • Immense (Land Raider, Great Knarloc)
  • Monumental (Squiggoth, Baneblade)    
  • Titanic (Reaver Battle Titan, Ordinatus War Machine)

To describe huge units like ordinatus, capitol imperialis, some space shuttles there is also a Macro size. All units less then titanical(100 meters) by largest side are Macro 0. Each 100 meters more give Macro +1 with maximum size as Macro 10.


         6. Trait 

If there is a reason to count some unit really unique but not as different rank unique, there is always a chance to put it in traits: amphibious, transport, fearless, etc.



With this classification almost any army can be calculated the same way. Now, lets look how to get from classification to specific units which can be placed on battlefield. Unit characteristics used in battle are the same as in BFK, but calculated a bit differentle. Use next tables to convert system classifiers into unit characteristcs:


         Table 1. Rank to Strength conversion

For troop ranks system has multiplier 10 as it goes with saying 'worth ten men' or empiric calculation of how much master warrior can kill enemies during one fight.
For mech it has multiplier 4 as tank platoon consists of 3-5 tanks and all higher formation consists of 3-5 lesser formations.

Proverbial one-man-army or unit which can influence the fight alone is chosen as 1:1 (one unit is 1 strength) rate level. Rank 5 - highest for humans - like Rambo or Sly fighting small armies by himself and for mech it is standard Rank 3 army tank which can cover troops, destroy cover, melt enemy troops and so on. This rate difference and base level gives nice and realistic filling that mech of the same level has more survavbility and provide more defense for humans below unnatural levels 0-5, but has comparable or even less survavability on higher ranks when primarchs can fight titans (famous Lorgar vs Warhound Titan battle).

  • Rank       Troops             Mechanical
  • 10    Only non-numerical usage
  • 9             1 : 10000            1 : 4096
  • 8             1 : 1000              1 : 1024
  • 7             1 : 100                1 : 256 
  • 6             1 : 10                  1 : 64  
  • 5             1 : 1                    1 : 16  
  • 4             10 : 1                  1 : 4   
  • 3             100 : 1                1 : 1   
  • 2             1000 : 1              4 : 1   
  • 1             10000 : 1          16 : 1   
  • 0     Doesn't influence battle

When you calculate rank of unit with given discriptive distinctions it will mean that 100 regular imperial guardsmen of Rank 3 will give you 1 strength of army and one rank 8 custodian will give you 1000 strength of army. In order to calculate rank of mechanical unit use next discriptive, based on logic rules:

Mechanical Rank = RoundsDown( (Troops Rank/2) + Size(Average-to-Titanical) + Pilot interface(Primitive-to-Synergy) )

  • Troops Rank has range [0 .. 4] with 0.5 step and represents for whom this mechanical unit was created
  • Size has range [0 .. 3] with 0.5 step where average equal 0 and titanical equal 3.

                  Macro level mech has the same tech and power as Macro 0 mech of the same Rank, but have more survaivability due to complexity and backup systems and because it has more guns they gives wall of fire and more consistent damage output.
                  For mech of Macro 1+:
                    Attack = Attack of Macro 0 of the same Rank, but with rule Proven, see Ground Wars Part 2: General Rules.
                    Strength = Strength * Macro Level

  • Pilot interface has range [0.5 .. 3] with 0.5 steps where:

                  0.5 - Primitive. With buttons and mechanic parts. Industrial civilization, primitive machines.
                  1 - Advanced. Interactive controls, abs, calibration and fire control systems. Techonlogical civilizations, imperium, tau
                  1.5 - Synapse with backward link, augmented reality. 
                  2 - Mind link. Direct synapse connection. Mechanicus, advanced tau, eldar controlled telepathically. Technological civilization
                  2.5 - Integration. Dreadknoughts, avatars, eldar machiness controlled by farseers, mechanicus ?
                  3 - Synergy. pilot and machine improve to new machine, imperial knights, titans, ordynatus, necrons


         Table 2. Type characteristics

  • Type              Power   Movement  Special Orders 
  • Infantry            4                 4              Dig In
  • Fast Attack      5                12
  • Armour            7                8                Dig In
  • Air                    8                24


         Table 3. Class characteristics

  • Class             Power   Movement  Special Orders
  • Light                 -2               +1              Ambush,Recoinessance
  • Medium          +0               +0              Ambush
  • Heavy              +2               -2               *

* Each unit with heavy class has specialization which can also contains orders or traits.
       Heavy Specializations:

  • Anti Infantry         +d10 vs Infantry
  • Anti Fast Attack   +d10 vs Fast Attack 
  • Anti Armour         +d10 vs Armour
  • Anti Air                  +10 cover to friendlies vs air, range = Power + Rank
  • Artillery                 No return fire, range = Power + Rank for armour and air. other range = Rank
  • Siege                     Ignores cover


         Table 4. Tech power modifiers

  • Tech                  Power
  • Primal                 -6 
  • Ferral                  -3 
  • Primitive             -1 
  • Feudal                 0  
  • Industrial            +1
  • Techological      +3
  • Modern              +6 
  • Ascended          +10


         Table 5. Traits modifiers
This is just what we have, but it is for outmost craetivity for anyone

  • Esoteric support   +5 Morale, +1 Attack
  • Superior Armor    +1 Defense
  • Warp Weapon       +1 Attack
  • Regeneration        +1 Defense
  • Fear trait                +fear rating morale dmg
  • Fearless                 no morale damage
  • Flyer                       Fast Attack Movement, counts as anti-air
  • Local                      -1 terrain difficulty
  • Walker                   -1 terrain difficulty, Infantry Movement+1
  • Transport              Can transport troops, damage -1d10, Hulking = 2 Normal men, each next size *3
  • Monster Creature   Strength = Strength * Size modifier[Enormous(2)..Titanical(6)], Power = Power + Size modifier - 1


As in BFK in order to get to characteritics calculate Power and Movement based on Table 2, Table 3, Table 4 and Table 5.

Unit characteritics:
Strength - equivalent of manpower or unit wounds
 Using Rank with Table 1 calculate Strength

Attack - amount of damage unit deals based on power and rank
 Attack = Rank * d10 + Power

Defense - amount of damage unit negate based on power and rank
 Defense = (Power + Rank) * 2

Movement - how far unit can operate  
 Define using Type and Class

Morale - representation of fighting spirit. Losing morale works as BFK rules just with 1 change - Unit loses 1d10 Morale for 10% of original Strenght loses not for 10 Strength loses.
 Rank * 10 * 2

Initiative - initiative order if you want to do a small skirmish, otherwise use one initiative for whole army
 Rank + d10

Skills - some orders and combat mechanics require skill test
 Rank * 10



  Base Rank
     Distinction: Motivation to fight
     Distinction: Training
     Distinction: Battle Experience
  Rank: 3
  Tech: Technological
  Size: Average
1x Dragon Assault Ship
     Rank 3 Troops            1.5
     Size Monumental      2.5
     Interface Advanced   1
    Mech Rank: 5
    Type:  Air
    Class: Medium
    Trait: Transport (20-40 AMP Suits)

    Power = Type(Air) + Class(Medium) + Tech = 8 + 3 = 11
    Strength: 16  Attack: 4d10+11  Defense: 32  Movement: 24  Morale: 100

50x Scorpion Gunship
     Rank 3 Troops            1.5
     Size Enormous           1
     Interface Advanced   1
    Mech Rank: 3
    Type:  Air
    Class: Medium
    Trait: Transport (6 people)

    Power = Type(Air) + Class(Medium) + Tech = 8 + 0 + 3 = 11
    Strength: 50  Attack: 2d10+11  Defense: 28  Movement: 24  Morale: 60

200x Mercenaries   
    Rank 3 regular army
    Type: Infantry
    Class: Medium

    Power = Type(Infantry) + Class(Medium) + Tech = 4 + 0 + 3 = 7
    Strength: 2  Attack: 3d10+7  Defense: 20  Movement: 4  Morale: 60

20x AMP Suits
     Rank 3 Troops           1.5
     Size Enormous           1
     Interface Backward link 1.5
    Mech Rank: 4
    Type: Armour
    Class: Medium
    Trait: Walker
    Power = Type(Armour) + Class(Medium) + Tech = 7 + 0 + 3 = 10
    Strength: 80  Attack: 4d10+10  Defense: 28  Movement: 5  Morale: 80

   Base Na'vi Rank
     Distinction: Motivation to fight
     Distinction: Training
     Distinction: Specialization
     Distinction: Unnatural Stats
   Rank: 4
   Tech: Primitive
   Size: Hulking

   300x Ikran People of the Eastern Sea + Omaticaya clan
    Type: Infantry
    Class: Medium
    Trait: Flyers
    Power = Type(Infantry) + Class(Medium) + Tech = 4 + 0 - 1 = 3

    Strength: 30  Attack: 4d10+3  Defense: 14  Movement: 12  Morale: 80
   500x raiders of Horse Clans of the Plain
    Type: Fast Attack
    Class: Light

    Power = Type(Fast Attack) + Class(Light) + Tech = 5 - 2 - 1 = 2
    Strength: 50  Attack: 4d10+2  Defense: 12  Movement: 14  Morale: 80


Summary: Due to tech level of Na'vi with average damage it was only enough to penetrate technological defense of RDA air units, but not to give high casualties. Most of the RDA air units were destroyed only by first charge on surprised enemy, then Na'v light troops with low defense were obliterated. Same on the ground where most of the work were done by AMP suits.

  • Mutants from unknown planet

Lets say that RT found stormy planet with spaceship hulks on the surface inhabited by mutant tribes. They are huge, fights each other all the time, wield primitive clubs from scraps of spaceships. Only those who appeared to be a fighter and lived though radiation of spaceship hulks are able to join the tribe. There a couple special warrior casts: with 4 arms for close combat, with 4 legs as cavalry and with wings.

 Distinction: Motivation to fight
 Distinction: Battle experience
 Distinction: Specialization
 Distinction: Selection
 Distinction: Unnatural Stats
Rank: 5
Tech: Ferral
Size: Enormous

4-Arms Mutants
 Type: Infantry
 Class: Heavy Specialization: Anti-Infantry
 Power = Type(Infantry) + Class(Heavy) + Tech = 4 + 2 - 3 = 3
 Strength: X  Attack: 5(6AI)d10+3  Defense: 16  Movement: 2  Morale: 100

4-Legs Mutants
 Type: Fast Attack
 Class: Medium
 Power = Type(Fast Attack) + Class(Medium) + Tech = 5 + 0 - 3 = 2
 Strength: X  Attack: 5d10+2  Defense: 14  Movement: 12  Morale: 100

Flying Mutants
 Type: Infantry
 Class: Medium
 Trait: Flyer 

 Power = Type(Infantry) + Class(Medium) + Tech = 4 + 0 - 3 = 1
 Strength: X  Attack: 5d10+1  Defense: 12  Movement: 12  Morale: 100


Summary: Great addition to the RT army with a good punch but somewhat week armor. If RT is able to order for them Imperium weapon and armor and to hire for them instructors to use tactic and strategy it will become unstoppable power.

  • Pacific Rim: Kaiju vs Jaeger

Kaiju Genetically created creature Category IV (Leatherback) 
 Distinction: Motivation to fight
 Distinction: Training
 Distinction: Battle experience
 Distinction: Specialization
 Distinction: Selection
 Distinction: Unnatural Stats
 Distinction: Transcended
Rank: 7
Size: Titanical
Tech: Primal
Type: Infantry
Class: Medium
Trait: Monster Creature, Amphibious 

 Power = Type(Infantry) + Class(Medium) + Tech = 4 + 0 - 6 + 5(Monster Creature) = 3
 Strength: 600  Attack: 7d10+3  Defense: 20  Movement: 4  Morale: 140

Jaeger Mark-3 Mech Gipsy Danger

Pilot Rank
 Distinction: Motivation to fight
 Distinction: Training
 Distinction: Battle experience
 Distinction: Specialization
 Distinction: Selection
 Distinction: Unnatural Stats
Rank 6

 Troops Rank 6                                                       3
 Size Titanical                                                         3
 Interface backward link, augmented reality  1.5
Mech Rank: 7
Tech: Technological
Type: Armour
Class: Medium
Trait: Walker 

 Power = Type(Armour) + Class(Medium) + Tech = 7 + 0 + 3 = 10
 Strength: 256  Attack: 7d10+10  Defense: 34  Movement: 4  Morale: 140

Summary: This is a close fight.


Also, simulated Game of Thrones: Battle of the Blackwater, 300 Spartans vs Persians, World Eaters vs Grey Knights, etc.

This is more complex classification system than BFK, but it came to the same unit characteritics in the end with possibility to bring any possible army to the battlefield.

Please, comment. Will be really glad to hear some thoughts on this one.


Next to come are our changes to the combat system, rules and orders.


Kind Regards.

Here about who, what and why.

Edited by rt1234456

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