May 3, 2011

Book of the Arbitrator; New Version and Campaign Ideas

Right then.

After this weekend's game, we found that there were still a lot of niggling annoyances with the rules. So I took it upon myself to get it updated (again) and well, I think it's nearing the stage where I can finally give it a 1st Edition stamp.

You can get the updated version of Book of the Arbitrator right here.

Apart from updating Book of the Arbitrator then I've also been working on World Guide: Refuge's End and more specifically I've been working on some campaign rules which I've included in this here post.

However, it is important for me to note that these campaign rules are not specifically tied to Refuge's End but could be used for any campaign really (and were greatly inspired by the Baron's Blog and their Medieval Warfare campaign rules). However, they are still a work in progress and as such then any input and comments are more than welcome!

Changes to Book of the Arbitrator 1.3

  • Improved Activation Sequence
    I finally gave in! The Initiative-based activation sequence was just more trouble than it was worth in the end. Instead it has now been replaced by a more 'modern' alternate activation system, which basically means that players alternate between activating their units. The biggest difference is that now players may choose, for themselves, which units to activate!

  • Reworked Vehicle Section
    First off, I changed the Vehicle damage section a bit which now allows weapons some chance of glancing vehicles. So now Lasguns are no longer unable to shoot an average car to bits and pieces.
    Furthermore, the various armor values of vehicles have been changed to reflect the change made; I'm still working on an "armor value translation" system. It'll get there, eventually!

  • Reworked Weapons Section
    This was a basic overhaul of the weapon firing modes; there were simply too many die rolls involved in firing a heavy weapon on autofire, along with other alterations.
    I'm also working on a "Generic Weapon List" which will give the stats for a generic Bolt Gun, Lasgun, Plasma Gun etc. The idea is then to let players choose, for themselves if they want a specific pattern of a weapon or simply just a generic weapon. Incidently, this also makes it a lot easier to design scenarios for henchmen.

  • Wounds and the Injury Roll
    And finally, another point where I gave in; the injury roll is back! After having played a couple of games with multiwound characters I simply had to reinsert the injury roll; multiwound units are a bit of a pain to deal with and, point in fact, the injury rules just work. Happy now, Col. Kane? ;)
Grand Campaign Rules for Book of the Arbitrator
Note: These rules have been written for my rather ecclectic gaming groups purposes; we have a very scattered and random attendence which means that a grand campaign, were each players sticks to one faction forever and ever are rather difficult to set up. 

Basic Premise
The Grand Campaign is a system designed to ease both story telling and the complex machinations of a power struggle on an Imperial Planet or similar, although it could be used for any given setting (or indeed any given ruleset really). 

In order to play a Grand Campaign, then you'll need to establish a story or a setting for the campaign which must include at least two or more factions, and at least a couple of players for the campaign as well. 

The Grand Campaign
When setting up a grand campaign, choose a storyline or a setting (in my case I'm using Refuge's End as my setting). This storyline must include at least two factions, but can include many, many more. The Grand Campaign is similar, in structure, to Season Story Archs; to use an equivilant term. 

Each of the factions are vying for influence or control; either in order to subdue their enemy, to establish themselves as ruler of the planet or simply to gather as much income as possible. This is simulated by using Influence Points

The Grand Campaign runs for as long as you wish; but it is suggested to end a Grand Campaign once a faction has reached 10 Influence Points. 

In order for players to gather these influence points, then they have to participate in a campaign. Either a fully fledge, multi-week territorial map campaign; or just a short and intense three-scenario-narrative-campaign. In any case, at the end of this campaign, then players are awarded the following influence points:

Not showing up; only part of half the campaign: 0 points
Playing at the very least half of the campaign: 1 point
Winning the campaign: +1 point
(Note: I still need ideas for other ways of getting these points.)

These points must now be assigned to any faction that are included within the Grand Campaign, at the individual players discretion. He may assign the points to either the faction he played during the campaign or any other faction which he thinks has what it takes to win the Grand Campaign. 

Each point spent on a faction by a player, must be noted down for that player only. These influence points will grant him some special tools and abilities in forth coming campaigns, provided that he plays a game with a faction that he has given influence points. 
(Note: Ideas on what benefits could be gained from giving Influence Points to a faction would be very welcome! Also, note that the rules are left vague so that they can suit each individual Arbitator's needs.)

The Arbitrator then organizes either a campaign or a bigger skirmish; prepares the scenario/campaign and then invites people to that campaign. Once the campaign ends, players will then have recieved Influence Points which they can spend on furthering any Faction. 

Once a faction reaches 10 or more Influence Points, that faction has established itself as a powerhouse and will thus win the grand campaign.

Notes for the Arbitrator
It is suggested to use the Influence Points as a gauge to see which sort of match up the various players are interested in. The more Influence Points a faction has, the more it will become active in the greater scheme of things. 

If a player, however, wants to continue using a faction, even though it has little to no influence, then allow him to do so - these rules are, after all only guidelines and should be used as a tool in order to make it easier for the Arbitrator to design and run campaigns.

+++ End Transmission +++

Well, that's it for now. Hopefully I didn't drone all of my readers to sleep. 

As stated, then these are to be considered pure musings right now and are definately not set in stone. I'm still looking for inspiration and ideas on how to merge a narrative story driven campaign with an eccelctic gaming group which is not tied to any single player (as we are rarely in full attendance) and must also keep it fun when involving multiple players. 

If you have a suggestion, idea or simply just a comment - then don't hesitate to write! 



  1. Didn't drone me to sleep - the opposite if anything!

    Re the extra influence, maybe an extra point for being present the whole campaign, i.e. 2 points for not missing anything, if the campaign is at least, say, five games.

    Maybe 1 point if the entire opposing force is eliminated in a single game, or a campaign is won overwhelmingly, e.g. at the earliest possible stage if not the last encounter, or by all campaign victory conditions being achieved or twice as many points scored as any other faction, or for every run of half the total games in a campaign won in a row.

    Maybe each game could have one element secretly noted at the outset which if triggered brings prestige, worth 1 point. For example, a table may feature a building containing an entrance to, say, a concealed counterfeiting operation, and if this is discovered and secured, it brings the favour of security forces or the ability to carry the operation on.

    Maybe even 1 point for a leader being captured and escaping, or to represent a bounty won.

  2. These are definately some good ideas! I'll keep them in mind and see how to "formalize" them as I type up the world guide for Refuge's End; inbetween all the other hobby stuff and sourcebooks. So much to do, so little time...

  3. First of all, thanks for great rules. They really provide fast and interesting skirmish within Warhammer 40k setting. In our community, we even made rules for Ork and DarkEldar weapons, to fit your rules.

    Now for the feedback, after played a few games with 1.3:
    New activation sequence is just awesome. It made a game faster, easier and not to say more fair (when playing high initiative gangs vs. low initiative).

    On the opposite side, it's sad to see the injury roll back. Thats just annoying when a bastard stuck with melta just lie down for a break, and then goes up =\ Lowered characteristics on lossing half wounds worked well.

    And for a few questions. First, what happens to the vehicles, that was destroyed/immobilized/taken damage in scenarios, its not really specified as i can see. Do they auto-repair between missions, or the damage is permanent? In our community we used the rules for damaged vehicles from The Ash Wastes setting, but it will be cool if you get your own rules for that.

    From version 1.1 semi weapons fired only on short range. But in 1.3 its said "Semi Automatic fire (Semi) weapons may be fired between 2 – 3 times during the shooting phase at targets within range. May target multiple enemies, see below." Is it just a misprint? As far as i know weapons firing bursts of 3-5 are mostly mid-long range weapons, so i hope you left the idea of short-range semi behind.