Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Rogue Trader Ground Wars 2 Rules: In Details

Recommended Posts

Hi guys,

Hope to catch you in good health and continue Ground Wars with our general rules, reworked system of orders and combat simplification for more narrative gameplay. It can be based on extended classification from Ground Wars Part 1 or used with original BFK rules.

Next topics are:

  • General rules based on BFK
  • Orders based on BFK
  • War Endeavours based on BFK
  • Rules simplificaion and narrative usage



Detailed and reworked BFK general rules:

  • Battlefield - Grided field, each cell approximately is 1 square km. 
  • Turn - Duration is 1 hour to connect it to possible simultanious actions in space with spaceships
  • Terrain - Affects movement and cover, move can't become less than 1

           Open Ground -   Move(+0), Cover(+0)
           Broken Terrain - Move(-1), Cover(+2)
           Light Urban -      Move(-1), Cover(+1)
           Heavy Terrain -   Move(-2), Cover(+3)
           Heavy Urban -    Move(-3), Cover(+5)

  • Cover - Modifier is added to unit ground defense
  • Position - One space contains one unit foe or friend, one air unit can be at the same space as one ground unit
  • Move - We are using square grid with horizontal, vertical and diagonal moves, movement of different unit types scaled to kilometers. You can think of it that in midst of battle you move less because your are manouvering. Anyway if movement will be 10 km per move then other scale issues will be a problem.
  •  Visibility - We are using fog of war. Units visible in half move from your troops or from special recoinessainse order otherwise they cannot be targeted by ranged units. Spread units should be revealed with opposite Awareness Test to engage them.
  •  Spread - State when unit spreads over square grid of defined size in each direction to represent small patrol squads, ambushes and control points. Spread units could be found with Awareness(-20) Skill Test. If spread is detected by enemy then enemy decides where unit appears as single unit which can be attacked inside that spread square, if not unit can switch from spread to actual unit n the battlefield in 1 Turn. 
  •  Engage - If units in neighboring spaces then they are engaged, if unit moving out from engagement it gets auto-attack from each enemy neighboring unit unless it is using Disengage or Withdrawal
  •  Attack - When units are in range for attack they can issue attack order to apply damage to enemy.
  •  Morale - each unit has morale, for every 10% units strength lost -1d10 morale are rolled, if Morale goes to 50% or 25% Maximum Morale test on Base morale rolled, if F or Morale = 0 then troops are scattered 
  •  Skill test - Any skill test resolved against Skill level of the units determined during classification
  •  Orders - Any unit can use only one order per Turn. Orders are split to 2 groups: simple orders which any unit can use and limited pool of special orders based on how good is army general.
  •  Surprised - +d10 damage against suprised unit (BFK p.131)



         1. Orders

These are BFK Ground Wars actions from orders and flash point which are all now listed as orders. Flash point we decided to separate as a special RT ream actions which can get any form and not only ones listed in BFK.


  • Description: If units are engaged then both sides rolls for defense and attack and apply damage simultaneously. Artillery and other ranged units attack without getting retaliation. Air units can attack ground units with full damage with ground units retaliate with 50% dmg unless they can attack air. (BFK. p131)
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Comment: We use additional rule to resolve situations that 1 artillery will deal the same damage as 100 artilleries in one unit or 1000 guardsmen won't have bigger chances with 5 space marines than 100. There is a usage of Proven and Limit rules for attack interaction:

          DiffM - difference in order of magnitudes between quantities of units which creates Unit Strength characteristic.
               for larger unit Proven(1+DiffM), each die less than Proven change to Proven, Max Proven = Proven(Rank)
               for lesser unit Limit(10-DiffM), each die more than Limit change to Limit, Max Limit = Limit(Rank)


  • Description: BFK p.131. Move up to Full move, if unit Attacked during Advance -1d10 Unit to damage roll. 
  • Prerequisites: None

Cautious Advance

  • Description: BFK p.131. Move up to Half move, +10 to Awareness, can change route if new enemy is detected during advance 
  • Prerequisites: None

Dig In

  • Description: BFK p.132 Built field fortifications (trenches, banks, revetments, and the like), and have gone to ground
  • Prerequisites: Scholastic Lore: Tactica Imperialis Test 
    • Success: Cover +10
    • Failure: Cover +5                      

Strategic Withdrawal

  • Description: BFK p.133. Leaders of the unit decide that discretion is the better part of valour and attempt to flee from the battlefield.
  • Prerequisites: Command Test
    • Success: Move(Full Move), each neighboring enemy decrease movement by 1 to minimum movement of 1. Until next Turn each enemy add +5 to Damage to this Unit
    • Failure: -10 to any unit Test until next Turn

Combat Patrol

  • Description: Based on BFK p.131 Combat air patrol. Unit switches to Full move Spread, any attempt to move cancels Combat Patrol. Unit auto engages any foe stepped in controlled area
  • Prerequisites: Unit is allowed to use order


  • Description: Based on BFK p.132 Feint. False strike in one location to draw the attention of an enemy unit away from the true target
  • Prerequisites: Deceive Test
    • Success: Feinted unit takes 1d10 Morale dmg, and has -1d10 dmg until end of turn
    • Failure: Attacked unit didn't count Cover modifier against attacker on retaliation


  • Description: Based on FBK p.131 Charge. Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of the enemy like a good old-fashioned charge
  • Prerequisites: Intimidate Test                   `
    • Success: +1d10 Dmg
    • Failure: attacking unit is Surprised until next Turn


  • Description: For unit emabrking/disemabrking from transport, choose neighboring to transport field free from other units to place disembarked unit. If transport is destroyed it's up to GM to figure out if transported unit is also destroyed or how much strength to decrease.
  • Prerequisites: Transport Trait and enough capacity on transport to get embarking unit onboard.


         2. Special orders

This part of orders can have huge impact on battle and require agremeent from HQ or communication between different units. It's a pool of special order, which restores by 1 special order per strategic turn for number of special orders not more then calculated at the beggining of battle (see War Endevours).


  • Description: BFK p.132. Regroup and catch a breath 
  • Prerequisites: Command Test 
    • Success: Move(Half move),each neighboring enemy decrease movement by 1 to minimum movement of 1, Dig In at the end of action
    • Failure: -10 on any unit Test

Deep Strike 

  • Description: Deep Strike where enemy is not ready and is not waiting you or to support your troops in time of need.
  • Comment: Use scatter to specify where unit landed. Scatter examples:

                              7x7 area with center at targeted point x,y = (d10,d10): 0 = center, 1-3 = 1 Movement out, 4-6 = 2 Movement out, 7-9 = 3 Movement out, commander choose direction after each d10
                              5x5 area with center at targeted point x,y = (d10,d10): 0-1 = center, 2-5 = 1 Movement out, 6-9 = 2 Movement out

  • Prerequisites: Scholastic Lore: Tactica Imperialis Test, Unit is allowed to use order, Unit is ready for Deep Strike, on airfield if deep striked from plane, spaceship on low orbit if deep striked from spaceship, etc.


  • Description: Unit switches to Half move Spread, choose location at start of combat, any attempt to move cancels Ambush. If commander decides command unit moved to any empty chosen location near ambushed unit, if enemy unit fails opposed Awareness Test then enemy unit Suprised until end of the Turn.
  • Prerequisites: Unit is allowed to use order


  • Description: Based on BFK p.136 Reconnoitre. Unit switches to Full move Spread, can move up to Half Move in Spread mode
  • Prerequisites: Scholastic Lore: Tactica Imperialis Test, Order is available for unit


  • Description: Based on BFK p.132 Flank. Attacks the side of an enemy unit.
  • Prerequisites: Scholastic Lore: Tactica Imperialis Test 
    • Success: +10 Dmg 
    • Failure: enemy gets +DoF dmg bonus on retaliation

Push Through

  • Description: BFK p.133 Push Through. Moving to the opposite side of the enemy, scattering them, or cutting the enemy unit off from its support. Half move through unit to empty location
  • Prerequisites: Intimidate Test 
    • Success: enemy unit gets +1d10 dmg on retaliation
    • Failure: enemy unit gets +2d10 dmg on retaliation

Force March

  • Description: BFK p.133 Force March. Push themselves and their machines to the limit to increase their movement.
  • Prerequisites: Toughness Test 
    • Success: double movement, -10 all tests, -3d10 dmg until end of Turn
    • Failure: use Advance instead


  • Description: Based on BFK p.136 Triage. Triage reflects the efforts of the unit's medics and chirugeons to treat casualties 
  • Prerequisites: Medicae Test 
    • Success: regain 50% Strength and 25% Morale lost on previous turn
    • Failure: can use Disengage 


  • Description: Based on BFK p.136 Rally. Inspiring, or fear inducing, words
  • Prerequisites: Command Test
    • Success: regain 3d10 morale, +10 to any test
    • Failure: -10 to any test


  • Description: Based on BFK p.136 Sabotage, Destroying roads and bridges, disrupting supply lines, disabling enemy vehicles, and laying traps for enemy forces.
  • Prerequisites: Tactica Imperialis Test, Order is available only for unit with Trait Saboteur, Trait Guerilla Warfare
    • Success: 2d10 damage to Unit Strength ignoring armour, 4d10 morale damage
    • Failure: Attack order resolved

Air Strike

  • Description: Based on BFK p.135 Artillery Barrage. Strike from friendly air forces, taking out specific targets such as hardened bunkers, counterattacking tanks, or enemy artillery
  • Prerequisites: Command Test, Air unit should be in range of enemy unit 
    • Success: Attack from Air unit(-3d10), foe -2d10 dmg, unit called for Air Strike can choose to resolve Attack order after Air Strike results
    • Failure: unit can resolve own Attack only if succeeded on Command Test

Artillery Barrage 

  • Description: Based on BFK p.135 Artillery Barrage. Soften up enemy positions or hit enemies under fortifications or in difficult terrain.
  • Prerequisites: Command Test, Ranged unit should be in range of enemy unit
    • Success: Attack from ranged unit (-3d10), foe -1d10 cover or 3d10 morale dmg, unit called for Air Strike can choose to resolve Attack order after Artillery Barrage results
    • Failure: Roll on Artillery scatter, unit called for Artillery Barrage can resolve own Attack only if succeeded on Command Test

Planetary Bombardment

  • Description: BFK p.135. Lay waste to armies and cities. (BFK p.135 for damage)

                             Lance: 200m radius - all dead, in 1 sq km - Large Units: 5d10+75 Strength, Individual and vehicles: 5d10+10E, Pen 6
                             Macro: 50m radius - all dead, in 10 sq km - Large Units: 5d10+40 Strength, Individuals and vehicles: 4d10+5, Pen 4

  • Prerequisites: Command Test, Targeted area in sight of allied unit, Spaceship with specific type of weapon should be on low orbit
    • Success: Apply damage
    • Failure: Roll scatter and apply damage


         3. War Endeavors

In order to help play different scale of battles there are templates based on BFK p.137. Warfare Endeavours to link scale of army to geographical size of conflict.


         Table 1. Size of conflict 

  • Size               Battlefield      Strength
  • Blushfire         15x20            50 
  • Clash               20x30            150 
  • Campaign      30x40            1000
  • Theatre           40x60            3000

General can manage only finite number of different units on battlefield. Сalculate possible number of units on which general can split Strength of his army as Unit Count = Size of Conflict[Blushfire(1),Theatre(4)] * 5 + Command Skill bonus. 
Maximum number of Special Orders equal to Command Skill bonus, start number of Special Orders defined as number of DoS on Command Skill roll. Special use: Limit of Special Orders can be converted to additional number of Units on battlefield - decrease limit by 1 for possibility to have 1 more unit on battlefield ( Strength of army is not increased ).

Each battle always has goal whether to acquire resources, get strategic position or occupy territory. In order to be able to achieve different goals corresponding army power should be available at each side. If attacker doesn't have enough forces he won't be able to pursue specific goals, same for defender - if there is to few troops under his command he won't be able the chance to defend.

Next rates are not defining what strength should be used in specific battle but to understand if whole strength of forces under the command would be enough to achieve specific goals - should be resolved against all available under command army on specific planet.


         Table 2. Scenario 

  • Scenario                        Attacker-to-Defender Strength Ratio       Special    
  • Full on Engage                                     1:1                                                -
  • HQ Defense                                          5:1                                               +1 special orders per Turn to defenders
  • Ambush                                                1:10                                              +1 special orders per Turn to attackers
  • Battle Front Break                               3:1                                                -

For example, to have possibility for Blushfire on HQ Defense, attacker should have 50 * 5 = 250 Strength of units at his disposal to say that he can try to achive this goal. But to play blushfire each side will still use 50 Strength of units on battlefield.



There are players and GM preferring narrative style of battle to tactic turn based strategy mini-games and vice versa. In order to include personal heroism and have little fun in the midst of the war we love BFK p.133 Flash-points concept and added Turning points. 


         1. When to use this system

No matter how is this system better or different from original BFK rules, I would like to share our vision on when it should or shouldn't be used:

  • DO NOT USE if it's easier to use Horde's or Squads. If you have a lot of similar creatures which are doing the same action like attacking, escorting, defending then Horde's do just great. If you have some units at your command use squads it is not a immediately becomes mass combat because you have couple of squads.
  • DO NOT USE if one of the sides of conflict cannot gather enough units to create 1 Strength.
  • USE if you have so many different squads/horde's that track their unique statuses and remember unique rules of engagement is real pain and Ground Wars rules can simplify it
  • USE if numbers in armies are so big that Ground Wars rules will abstract it with more usefull Strength
  • USE if you want to compare armies to figure what might be the result of conflict
  • USE if you want to create epic background for RT team, with armies clashing on the background living by their own rules
  • USE if you like turn based startegies


         2. Flash points and Turning points

We just extended that any engagement between units on battlefield can be entry point to Flash point for RT team to get close and personal or change direction of the engagement at important place on battlefield. 

Turning points represents more strategic and impactfull influence to change course of the battle or war like kill enemy general or convince that part of enemy forces stop support to enemy side. Up to GM to calculate possbility of such impact and what should be done to achieve it.


         3. Rules simplification and narrative usage

In order to get away from orders and units and just give narrative description of what is going if party didn't like to go into details, please use Adjudication part of great rules by @Errant Knight for battle simplification. There is only one addition to tactics ratio - to compare each side force ratio we propose to use Unified Strength.


         4. Unified Strength

Rank shows difference in perfomance such as 100 Strength consisting of 10000 Imperial Guards would have different less powerfull then Strength consisting of 100 Storm Troopers. Imperial Guards will have less chances to kill the same Strength of Storm Troopers, because Storm Troopers has better defense and better damage output.

In order to get Unified Strength we should multiply Effective Strength with Damage per Strength (DPS) and take Rank advantage into acccount - this representation of how long this army can live and how much damage can apply during it's lifetime:

Unified Strength = Effective Strength * DPS * Rank
Effective Strength = Unit Strength * Defense
DPS = Average(Attack)

Sum of all units Unified Strength gives overall army Unified Strength. It is more accurate to check ratio for War Endevaours Scenarios and for battle simplification ratio.

For example,
100 Strength of Imperial Guards (Rank 3, Infantry, Medium, Modern) have Attack(3d10+7), Defense(20)
100 Strength of Storm Troopers  (Rank 5, Infantry, Medium, Modern) have Attack(5d10+7), Defense(24)

Imperial Guards will have Effective Strength of Strength * Defense = 2000, DPS = Average(3d10) + 7 = 16.5 + 7 = 23.5 and calculated Unified Strength 141000
Storm Troopers  will have Effective Strength of Strength * Defense = 2400, DPS = Average(5d10) + 7 = 27.5 + 7 = 34.5 and calculated Unified Strength 414000

So, Unified Strength of Storm Troopers of the same Strenght is almost 3 times better then Imperial Guards

If these 2 units will attack each other with it's DPS each Turn:
Imperial Guards will hit with DPS 26.5 dealing 2.5 damage after defense in average and destroy Storm Troopers in 100 Strength / 2.5 Strenth per Turn = 40 Turns
Storm Troopers will hit with DPS 29.5 dealing 9.5 damage after defense in average and destroy Imperial Guards in 100 Strength / 9.5 Strenth per Turn = 11 Turns

Which gives us ratio more or less similar to Unified Strength.


The last part of Ground Wars would be about troops transportation, deployment and acquisition.


Kind Regards.

Here about who, what and why.

Edited by rt1234456

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, rt1234456 said:

Because 100 Strength can consist from 10000 Imperial Guards or 100 Storm Troopers it is not correct to compare them. Imperial Guards will have almost impossible chances to kill same Strength of Storm Troopers, because Storm Troopers has better defense and better damage output.

If so, this only means the numbers for supposedly equivalent Strength are assigned incorrectly, no?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @TBeholder, thank you for the question.

4 hours ago, TBeholder said:

If so, this only means the numbers for supposedly equivalent Strength are assigned incorrectly, no?

Please, define "incorrectly" and I would answer you better :)


So, I will try to identify what you possibly meant and go to the answer at hand.

If you mean that Strength of the unit should show how powerfull it is and how it performs compared to any other unit then you have a point. But If you treat Strength as wounds of the unit then it would make more sense. Same way amount of wounds NPC or PC has have lesser impact than armor, weapon, tactic and talents it uses.


Just couple points to find a common ground:

1. While this system, at least in my opinion, better in answering a lot of detailed questions than BFK original rules it's only one step further between ( raw ideas - concept - draft - alpha version - balanced system - final product ), where BFK original is draft and this system is alpha version. And thanks to feedbacks I would be really glad to figure out how to improve it. I know even more points to balance :) 

2. As a system it will always have simplifications and abstractions and there is constant need to get a balance between how different units abstracted, how simple they are and how different results would be according to warhammer universe fluff. It is hard to figure out how many imperial guards you need to kill a demon prince and then put in numbers to use it easily.

3. Original BFK system with strength equal to 10% of quantity and same 4d10 attack for troops and mechanical as well as elite troops has less consistency and comparability between different units in my opinion, but has a great potential that we tried to advance. On the same Rank 3 where we have only IG troops Strength will show the difference between the units, but between the Ranks I see the need to use Unified Strength.


Still I'm trying to write it down in a way that you can use different parts independntly: only classification to place other units on battlefield, or general rules to use with original BFK system or simplification rules without Unified Strength calculation.


Hope, I answered you question :) 

Kind Regards.

Edited by rt1234456

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's an abstract characteristic allowing to measure performance with one number. Thus if it doesn't work as it's supposed to between two simple cases, the first assumption is that coefficients are simply not set right.

Of course, the comparison wasn't really correct: a real test should be inflicting a measure of attrition (e.g. rounds required to reduce number by half) on the same target for attack stats and suffering it from the same attacker for defense stats. We can say it's a meaningful measure and is used correctly only if it passes such a test. If we adjusted it so that for some input it works this way, but see that for other it doesn't (units are measurable in mowing down a mob as we expect them to, but their performance vs. a pack of sguigs is way off), then we need more variables.

Edited by TBeholder

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @TBeholder,

12 hours ago, TBeholder said:

It's an abstract characteristic allowing to measure performance with one number. Thus if it doesn't work as it's supposed to between two simple cases, the first assumption is that coefficients are simply not set right.

I agree that Strength as a single abstract characteristic could work much better. To have a single number representation of unit math lab and sufficient number of playtests should be implemented, which eventually can bring this system to a balanced one. So, for now idea is to use Unified Strength instead for purposes of calculating strength ratio between two sides.


Our experience I would say that fluff wise system plays well and equal to what would happen in real WH40K setting. Do you see anything else stand out?


PS: Also, I think wording might add the confusion with words "not correct" or "impossible chances". I will rephrase it.

Kind Regards.

Edited by rt1234456

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...