Adding more chapters to the Battle Bro story

Began this discussion thinking to give more abilities like “counter” or “grim” to Battle Bros to give other detachments or “chapters” their own feel too. But costing got to tricky to thought space… but instead, it seems better to give area bonuses to heros

So, hero bubble for Battle Bro thought space

All heroes in an army may gain a discipline for X points per hero

Fist: all friendly units within 6” may reroll 1s when shooting with rifles or machine guns
Raven: all friendly units within 6” gain cover
Iron: “ “ regeneration
Scar: “ “ that are bikes or speeders gain very fast
Drake: “ “ reroll 1s with flamethrowers
Ultra: “ “ may fall back 2” and make ranged attacks instead of melee when charged.


In response to a question about going back to the previous all unit idea… I’m liking this more. In much of the joined lore, keeping the big dogs alive is pretty important and I liek the idea of more heroes. But YMMV

GDF seems to deliberately avoid a lot of aura abilities. Instead Heroes are basically upgrade attachments, granting their bonus to whatever unit they are joined to. Might be better to stick with that design paradigm for balance considerations.

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I dig aura stuff, and am all for more ‘narrative/ fluffy’ rules. But as @Darguth said, GDF does seem to avoid auras sadly. Not to say you can’t just incorporate this idea in friendly games though!
Like your ideas so far for the detachments listed, I’m sure if we thought up some more Battle Brother/ Prime Brother detachment ideas we could try to hash out a corresponding points value for adding the rules to existing units, perhaps by comparing how similar rules are costed in the current detachments, or through discussion in the Point Calculators forum?

Havoc Brothers - Void Ghosts: If move value allows for this, they can walk through all scenery and difficult/ dangerous terrain without taking tests/ affecting movement.

Possibly horrible idea, but just an example. Costing it would be hard, as essentially we’re increasing their effectiveness in that they can move around however they want.

The real problem with auras is difficulty in balancing them. With an “attach Hero to Unit for upgrade” approach you can gauge the effectiveness of their abilities on the best/strongest unit that they can be attached to. Auras this becomes much more difficult because you can theoretically fit a large number of units toeing into the aura “bubble”.

If you want an aura-like ability maybe look at how Pheromones was done for Alien Hives. It’s not an aura, but they basically hand out expendable buff tokens to multiple units. Another benefit is that it’s not an “always on” ability and it only works once and then is gone. So activation order remains valuable (important in GDF) and your opponent can work thru the buff. You could do something similar here:

Iron Will: When this hero activates target 2 friendly units within 6" gain Regeneration the next time they take wounds.

GW gets around this by…not really giving a care about the balance of their game.


Very very good point ! GW has huge issues with balancing, agreed (look at the rules for new Ghaz model, they suck). I think some balance is needed for sure, and rules simplicity is a great way to do this. I appreciate your explanation of why auras can be unbalanced, this is the sort of stuff that I like to learn.

HDF in GDF have ‘Battle Drills’ which is similar to what you have suggested @Darguth. This is only available on one unit/ hero.

Battle Drills: When the hero and his unit are
activated pick one of the following drills, and
they get one of these special rules until the
end of the round:

  • Double Time: +3” when moving
  • Take Aim: +1 to shooting rolls
  • Focus Fire: AP(+1) when shooting
  • Fix Bayonets: +1 to melee rolls

Perhaps this is the way forward when wanting to add more detachment rules?

Though adding in whole new special rules that apply army wide is more similar to how it is done currently for other detachments.

Knight Brothers (40k GK) all have ‘Aegis’: This unit may block spells as if it had the Psychic special rule. If it is a Psychic then it gets +1 to spell block rolls.

Knight Brothers
When taking Knight Brothers you can buy Battle Brothers and Prime Brothers units and upgrade them as shown below. Psychic units may use spells from this army instead of those from their own army.

Upgrade with Aegis:
Captain, Champion, Engineer,
Psychic, Battle Brothers, Assault
Brothers, Support Brothers,
Pathfinders, Brother Bikers,
Pathfinder Bikers, Support Bike,
Destroyers, Heavy Exo-Suits

Prime Captain, Prime Lieutenant,
Prime Ancient, Prime Psychic,
Prime Brothers, Blaster Squad,
Raider Squad, Infiltration Squad,
Elimination Squad, Aggro Squad,
Jetpack Squad, Suppression Squad

I like both ideas though, if you’re wanting to add bonus’ to hero’s, the Target X friendly units in X", this ability lasts until X is the way to go I think.

Liking the activation trigger. Sounds good too. I’m not to worried about the variable effect. Unit upgrades like Furious or Tactics or Counter have the same issue… that’s fine. Part of building a good list should always be leveraging of abilities to a max effect. An extra attack per model is a potentially massive boost, but it could also seem rather “meh” if poorly used.

If you’re not getting good use out of it… then that’s on the player. If its seemingly unbalanced… well, with auras (or activation triggers) that are linked to a hero, then opponent still has options on how to handle that (namely, removing the offending hero).

I like Space Marines but honestly I think most of their stuff is decently covered by what GF has to offer. I’d say giving more Scout options to the “Raven Brothers” is just about the only one missing. Previously, I have covered some ideas on how you can refluff some of the existing detachments to make other Chapters by ignoring their special and unique units. So White Scars and Black Templars can be done with Blood Brothers since you aren’t required to purchase all upgrades. The Scars only upgrade their vehicles with Very Fast and the Templars just buy Furious. Neither need to take any Blood Brother-specific unit. Same with Iron Hands, who buy Regeneration off the Custodes but don’t use any Custodes and Sisters of Silence units.

Okay. So we have Dark, Blood, Wolf, Scar, Iron… but that leaves, Fist and Ultra (in my neck of the woods these two are significantly more played than the previous 5), Raven, and Drake.

That might be “only” 4 of 9, so “most” when looking at options are covered, but not most when looking at players. Templar are there, sure, but Crimson isn’t. Havoc Legions would need just a little help.

My goals are not hypothetical. I will probably be able to bring my whole group of about a dozen gamers to GDF, but only if I offer some sort of peer-reviewed option for all their flavored Battle Bro options. Some have played their Drakes, Fists, Ultras, Ravens for multiple editions. Luckily Dark and Iron are well represented too and your solutions work sufficiently for them. Havoc brothers are at least well covered by Havoc discipline, just really need Alpha (which can mirror Raven if needed) and Warriors which probably need some work.

I’m just poking the GDF community until I can get something done that’s more than a house rule created by me.

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The problem is those guys don’t really have any major faction-specific units.

If your friends are hesitant to play GDF because there aren’t umpteen minor variations of the same unit to make things “feel unique” then they are probably not going to enjoy GDF in the long-term. It’s just not what the creator is really setting out to do.

If we need a unique rule to flavor every iteration of Maureens, why not Eldar craftworlds? Or Ork tribes? Or Nid fleets? Or GSC cults? Or…or…or

That’s kind of the entire point OPR. It trims away all the rules bloat that people (I think mistakenly) believe make the game “more flavorful” and instead focuses on slinging dice and actually playing a good game.

If you want to homebrew something, go for it! But I would personally be disappointed to see something like this officially canonized as it seems counter to the spirit of what I like about the system.


^This. Faction-specific special units are one thing (like Iron Fathers) but Ultramarines and Imperial Fists are very much as vanilla as it get playstyle-wise. If you want more customized units, use some Watch Brothers with specialized loadouts to get the end result you want.

So, to be clear, 4 to 8 lines of text, adding 4 more options to ones already listed and the other half of lore and flavor already embraced in GDF for a faction would compromise the spirit of GDF?! And if someone were to ask for that you’re ready to make the judgment call that OPR isn’t for them? Wow boys, just wow.

I’m not saying this needs to be done or must be done or even should be done. Just exploring the thought space. Wanting some help in making something balanced. Certainly wasn’t expecting any push back for the broad idea. Chapter Tactics certainly are honored in the GDF for some, only trying to close the gap.

I’ve been playing and promoting OPR and bouncing ideas and requests off Anon for 5 years now. I get more messages in my DakkaDakka inbox on the OPR link in my sig than anything else. Simply incorporating muddled aspects of the larger games so that others can find a home in this leaner and more balanced system seems very much in keeping with the goals. I’m not saying my way is the way or my thought is the right path, but shutting it down so dismissively can’t be the right path either.

Almost all our battles are Battle Bro on Battle Bro. My primary members play Crimson, Dark, Ultra, Wolves, Knight, Drake, and Raven. I’d like to offer up something for Fist, Ultra, Drake, and Raven that lets them find that same fun and feel their models have in other systems while still enjoying the elegance and reasonable approaches OPR does so well.

I feel like a sentence each could do it. Asking for help in finding that right sentence


So if we’re returning to something more like counter or grim, then…

Raven ideas… Giving a scout move to units seems to be right at 5 points a model for battle bros, giving shield wall is about the same (20 points for a squad of 5, so 4 points apiece) seems like giving cover when not in cover could be a cost table similar to Grim as would scout. I’m probably more partial to a scout move for a Raven Chapter ability.

Drake ideas… really think allowing all weapons with “flame” in their name to be rending at furious costs works well here. A little kitting out makes this worth its cost… which is what a Chapter ability should do.

Fist ideas… I think this one’s good. While it would be a different path than a furious or grim, just going Advanced Tactics and Veteran gives a very Fist feel to a force

Ultra… I dunno… tricky one for me… everyone who played them loved the old fall back and shoot instead of being stuck in combat rule back in the day, but that doesn’t fit well in GDF. They currently can do something very similar. Maybe just give them counter? This nets out to more difficult to handle in close combat, which is the same result? Maybe call it counterfire? allow them to shoot in close combat instead of use melee weapons?

The more I look at Havoc rules, I think they’re covered. In a bind an Alpha or Night player could go Raven (as handing out fear is tricky, but if wanting for a Night Havoc force that looks to be 30 points for a Talon or Havoc Bros squad if that seems like the better rules).

My only big add would be for Siege Warriors to gain indirect at grim costs… to show their ability to cancel cover (sorta)… but that seems like that could really run away… then again, maybe not

So in short

Blood… covered
Wolf… covered
Dark… covered
Iron… as if custodians
Templar… as blood but just don’t go fast
Scars… as blood just don’t go furious (but they should get very fast for bikes too at 10 points per squad)
Fists… go Advanced Tactics w Veteran
Drake… pay furious cost for rending flamers
Raven… pay grim cost for scout
Ultra… pay counter costs for counterfire (option per unit to shot in melee instead of melee weapons)

Alpha… as Raven
Night… gain fear at regeneration cost equivalents
Siege… give unit indirect at grim costs


I think I missed something - remind me what grim costs are? The Dark Brothers Grim upgrade? I am just catching up on this thread and happy to get re-involved, especially since I just expanded my Alpha forces. Thanks for answering my question about the aura. You all have great thoughts on this.

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Sry. Certainly,

For a standard battle bro squad:

Furious and Counter 5pts
Aegis 10pts
Grim 15pts
Regeneration 30pts

Very Fast for a tank is 10pts

Of course the costs are more itemized than that, but that at least gives relative strength

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I think the only decent and not too rule-bloaty way to do ‘Dragon Brothers’ would be allowing models with flamer weapons to buy an ability that give Rending to all flame/melta weapons, vaguely similar to how Watch Brothers have abilities that only activate with bolt weapons. Maybe make it a hero upgrade.

The only downside would be that it would require taking a hero with every single unit, which could get really hero-spammy and require more points being put toward hero units. A sergeant-esque upgrade (similar to the Medical Training upgrade for a single figure) might be able to emulate this.

Either way you want to keep it simple and limit it to a single ability and keyword. The guys who I can’t find anything substantial for to add are the Imperial Fists and Ultrasmurf. They are so basic and balanced I can’t really find any suitable mechanic for them, except the fact their specialist units (Honor Guard and Tyranic War Veterans) could be added fairly easily. Sadly the Fists don’t really have any special units or equipment going on for them.

I suppose another thing which could be done is to allow Bikes to gain the Veteran Infantry for not!White Scars and maybe allow the Support Brothers of the Imperial Fists to also be able to be upgraded to Veterans. Meanwhile at this point the smurfs are all switching to Primaris anyway so I guess we can just refer people to the now separate Prime Brother list.

Maybe for them, they really do not need special rules. That would save the player points, which could be used to buy more units!

Ultramarines are the basic, the default so yeah they don’t need special rules.