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Crusade Details Revealed For 9th Edition! Warhammer 40k Daily

In today’s 40k daily over on Twitch, Stu from the 40k team revealed a load of information about the Crusade system!


One of the main drives for the new edition of Warhammer 40,000 was to ramp up support for narrative play. Competitive play was in a good place, but a lot of their customers wanted a narrative structure to their games. There has previously been a toolbox, but people found this hard to use in practice as required a lot of work and coordination in order to get this working. “How do I do that?!” was the inspiration for doing Crusade.

Matched play had become the default way to play Warhammer 40k, so they wanted that kind of universal and organised structure for narrative play. They also wanted all games to have consequences. You play a game with your models and some cool events take place over the course of the game, so what happens for future games? Does this have any impact? Many people also model units to reflect events that have happened, so they wanted to give this rules support. In essence Crusade is a common language to narrative play in the core game which adds meat to the bones of the 3 ways to play.

So how does it work?

Games of Warhammer 40k 9th edition take place in one of 4 different sizes of battle. Each of these different sizes has a point or power level, an expected time for it to take, a recommended board size and missions that work specifically for that points level.

Crusade starts out with an initial force at 25 power, and over the campaign your units will gain XP. As they gain XP and Crusade points you can upgrade your forces, heal battle scars and add additional forces to your army. You essentially are the commander requisitioning more materials and power in order to build your force during the campaign.

Crusade is focused around you the player – Previously due to having to find a tightly knit group of people to be able to dedicate some time each week to a continuing narrative campaign, it may have been difficult to keep the games going and eventually the campaign falls of the rails – however with Crusade the agency now sits with the player, you dont necessarily need to play with the same group of players as you are recording your own Crusade and logging the details on your own roster.

The core rules for Crusade are in the new main rulebook, which contains all the details on how you play a Crusade along with Requisitions, relics and battle scars. But they have plans to expand this in future in both Codexes and Campaign Books with army specific Crusade content to further build on what is in the main book. One example given was a new location of the “Pariah Nexus” where the Necrons are currently located. Each Codex will be digging into the character and background to add thematic stuff for Crusade, such as Blood Angels having a mechanic where they have to manage the Black Rage and can gain Black Rage points which can push them towards this. Marines are trying to hold back the darkness, Chaos is pouring out of the Eye of Terror and new Ork tribes are raiding the galaxy. This will add a layer of personal identity to each of your games.

Going forward Codexes will have name generators in order to name your squads and characters!

Battle Scars are a new mechanic to represent lasting effects after a game – a recovery roll is done at the end of a game (You can spend requisition points to stop a negative injury however if you dont want to accept the result!) – these will then lead to outcomes such as your Captain getting interred in the Dreadnaught, or the machine spirit of a vehicle becoming angry and aggressive in your future games!

As units gain experience they level up and get access to new battle honours, you can either roll randomly or pick specific upgrades that fit the role of that unit. Each unit has multiple ranks they can move through, with different rewards for infantry, tanks and characters.

Requisition can be used to add units to your army roster, unlock specific upgrade stratagems (For example making your intercessors into veterans) or gain access to unique relics. The relics will be themed on the campaign you are playing, so for example if you are fighting near the eye of terror you may pick up a daemon weapon. Hopefully this will encourage people to model and paint these upgrades as their Crusade army expands.

Crusade was one of the most exciting things that playtesters found with the new edition of the game and they have had some very positive feedback about this system!

How is a Crusade game balanced?

You might have a crusade roster with a combined force of 50 power – but if you are fighting someone who is just starting out, then you might only play a 25 power game, you just have a  bigger pool of units from which to choose from for the game. As a balancing mechanic, the underdog gets a blessing based on the difference in campaign score between the two forces – this then gives them bonus Command Points they can use in the battle!

Each player has a crusade roster in order to track their processes and record all the details, with each unit getting a corresponding crusade card to track unit upgrades and battle scars. These cards will be printed in the core book to photocopy and will also be available to download (I also have a sneaking suspicion that these will be available to purchase too!)

The team wanted to make sure that the system is accessible for everyone – so a player with their tournament based 2000 points Matched Play force could easily create a crusade army from those units in order to try out some narrative play. Likewise a narrative player could use what models they have to construct a matched play army if they wanted to try a competitive game. The team have previously mentioned that power levels will be reviewed in Chapter Approved updates in order to keep things balanced for this system.

The core book will also have suggested ways of setting up the battlefield with example deployment maps, photographs of boards and ideas to fit the narrative, for example a battlefield layout set up around the idea of an ambush.

Stu closed the segment by saying that the stuff in the core book is great, but a lot of work has gone into additional content in Codexes and supplements that will build on this over the coming months and years to make Crusade better and better!

We cannot wait to try some Crusade when Warhammer 40k 9th edition drops! We have heard whispers that it will be out towards the end of July, so hopefully not long to wait now!


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