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Any ideas on the rule for making Thunderwolf Cavalry for SW marines?

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Hi all.

I'm about to play Deathwatch with my friends and I think I'll play SW marine. I'm SW player for the 40k miniature game so I know some fluffs, so I thought that it might be awesome if I could use a....mount. Double awesomeness for a house-sized wolf mount for sure.

Anyway, in Deathwatch, Space Wolves has a Chapter skill Wrangling, which involves tame, train, and potentially RIDE animals, so I am thinking about a way to put that beast in the game.

In Tabletop game, Thunderwolf mount gives +1 Strength, +1 Toughness, and +1 Attack, as well as rending rule. I'm not really sure how to customize these data into the Deathwatch game...in non-balance-breaking way. And I also think I need to make the data of the wolf itself....not-so-easy job for me who has not-so-much game experience with this rule (this is my first time trying Fantasy Flight Games 40k rule)

Any helps will be appreciated, thanks fellows

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All this is from Apocrypha Vehicles from Black Industries.

You're going to have to write up a stat block for a Fenrisian Wolf.


Riding Beasts

When riding a mount, substitute the players movement speed for the mounts.A mount can carry a rider for up to 8 hours plus a number of hours equal to its Toughness Bonus before it must Test Toughness to avoid becoming Fatigued. If a Fatigued mount fails a second Toughness Test, it collapses with exhaustion. At the GMs discretion, such cruel treatment may also carry a risk of injuring the mount.


Riding Beasts in Combat

Riding a beast in to battle can provide distinct advantages over opponents that lack mounts. However, unless the mount has been trained to ignore the smell of blood, the clash of weapons and the sounds of gunfire, controlling a steed can take up all of the rider’s time.


Untrained Mounts

On the first Turn of combat, you must succeed on a Difficult (–10) Wrangling Test as a Full Action to control a mount untrained in combat. If you fail, the mount flees away from the combat at top speed on your Turn. Each Round thereafter, you can Test using the Wrangling skill again, at the same Difficulty, to regain control. If you succeed on the Test, the mount comes back under your control for a number of Rounds equal to your Fellowship Bonus plus 1 Round for each degree of success. At the end of this time, you must Test again to keep the animal under control. However, if at any time a projectile or energy weapon is fired within 10 metres of the mount or if your mount is injured, you must spend another Full Action to retain control. Finally, you gain none of the benefits of fighting while mounted and you take a –20 penalty to all Dodge Tests.


Trained Mount
While fighting from the back of the trained steed, you gain several benefits. The following rules apply when you are fighting while mounted on a steed trained for war:

  • Gain a +10 bonus on Weapon Skill Tests.
  • You take a –20 penalty on Dodge Tests.
  • Use your mount’s movement in place of your own.
  • You may use a lance.
  • You may employ the Trample manoeuvre.
  • When hit in combat, do not use the standard hit location table. Instead, refer to Table 1–6: Mounted Hit Locations.


Slain Mounts
If your mount is slain, you’re in trouble. Make a Difficult (–10) Wrangling Test. If you succeed, you leap or roll away from the collapsed steed, unharmed and on your feet. If you fail this Test, the GM secretly rolls d100 and consults Table 1–7: Slain Mounts. Others may assist the trapped characters using the normal rules for Assistance.


New Comb at Action: Trample
(Full Action)
You can direct your steed or vehicle so that it smashes into or rolls over your opponents. You may move up to your mount’s Full Move or a number of metres equal to your vehicle’s Speed. Opponents may spend a Reaction to either get out of your path, moving a number of metres equal to one-half of their Half Move rate, or make a free attack against you (either you or your steed, or your vehicle). If the opponent cannot avoid your trample or chooses to attack you, make a Drive, Pilot or Wrangling Test (Drive for vehicles, Pilot for aircraft and Wrangling for ridden animals). If you succeed in this Test you deal Damage equal to your steed’s Natural Attack or your vehicle’s Ram Attack. When using this Action with a steed, the creature must be a Trained Mount.

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 First... Thunderwolf Cavalry are rare.  Very rare.  Good god rare.  They're the sort of rare that their use in battle is so uncommon that the best evidence outside of the chapter for their use is, according to the SW codex, mere rumors and a grainy video of roughly the same quality as that of Bigfoot.


So... rare.  Very rare.  Makes Tactical Dreadnaught armor look as common as copper in comparison.  Gonna be, well, a bit hard to get.


Second, the far more important of the two, potential stats for the beastie. gran_risa.gif

I think I'd start by figuring out size, and I don't think it unreasonable to state that if a Space Wolf is going to actually ride something into battle, it's going to have to be at least a size category larger than the son of Fenris himself, which means we're looking at an Enormous creature.

Now, we're also not talking the equivalent of a giant BOVINE, here... this is a product of a frozen deathworld, a machine of destruction probably every bit as dangerous to cross paths with as its mass in Tyranids.

I'd probably start with the Tyranid Warrior's statistics, put the Quadruped trait on it, adjust the other traits and talents to suit a prehistoric cave bear sized wolf, and adjust from there.

Don't go overboard with traits and talents, though - kickass-in-a-can though it is, a Thunderwolf is still an animal.  Stay thematic.  Double Team is an excellent choice.  Brutal Charge seems appropriate as well.  Dark Sight and Improved Natural Weapons might also be worth looking into.

Model- and fluff-wise, it isn't uncommon for Thunderwolves to be sporting Cybernetic limbs.  I'd suggest at least one of its limbs be adamantine-plated, nicked and tarnished over a hundred battles.


Concerning the Tabletop effects of a Thunderwolf mount... tabletop is very abstract, and has to be at the scale it tries to represent.  2 separate creatures have to be represented in a single statline, and to represent the added resilience and prowess in battle that a cave bear sized wolf bearing a werewolf viking ubermensch, they treat the whole profile to higher statistics.

A Thunderwolf mount places the marine higher than an equally-sized opponent and is likely constantly moving, darting in and out, etc., as attacking wolves are prone to do.  The sheer momentum granted to the rider by such a massive beast is probably meant to represent the increased strength, and the attacks of the massive beast as its rider slashes away at their enemy are probably the representation of the +1 to Attack for the amalgam statblock of the tabletop.   The increased resilience (and their multiwound nature) seems explainable as a dilution of incoming fire, where concentrated fire would have felled either on their own.  Some of these bonus are already somewhat taken into account in the more detailed system of Deathwatch, but not all.  The aforementioned Brutal Charge and Double Team would be a good way to add some oooomph beyond what a mere horse or rideable bear might lend, and given the special treatment Thunderwolf mounts are given in the codex compared to normal cavalry, I don't think it unreasonable to give it some form of randomized damage sharing between the mount and the rider, if the rules don't cover that already.




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If you have access to the Creatures Anathema from Dark Heresy I'd suggest starting with the Cruorian War Beast.

It's a great base for a thunderwolf. Jack up the size from Hulking to Enormous and I'd say you're good there.

Alternatively, the Juggernaut of Khorne, toned down a bit would work too. Obviously remove the Blood for the blood God and Demonic traits, crank the Fear down as the thunderwolf is just a big scary dog not demonic in nature, get rid of warp instability and tone down the natural armor if not remove it entirely and you're good to go.

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I wouldn't tone down the Fear, personally.


Thunderwolves are big enough that if they wanted to they could hunt elephants and rhinos here on Earth. The smallest ones are about the size of a bloody Razorback APC.

So, are you going to tell me a gigantic wolf with a jaw full of fangs the size of swords isn't a terrifying thought? serio.gif

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Sure, terrifying.

Scary like the Cruorian War Beasts? Fear 1? Yes.

Scary like a Demonic beast summoned from the bowels of hell (or the warp)? Fear 3? Probably not.


At the most, I'd say it warrants a 2. If you check the example table for fear check difficulties, a carnosaur (Fearless, Enormous, Huge-Jawed Apex Predator) is a 2.

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