Hey, wait, what, you can insert documents into basic WordPress blogs?

Awesome. In that case, here’s Xenos Rampant – futuristic wargaming in Dragon Rampant v1 (opens as .pdf).

Xenos Rampant is an unofficial supplement to Daniel Mersey’s Dragon Rampant, published by Osprey Games. It is designed to allow platoon-level skirmishes in a more advanced historical setting than the official Rampant games. You could probably also play historical 20th-century games (the World Wars, for example) using these rules, or even in the present day, although they are intended for battles waged in a science fiction setting.

It should also be noted that the existence or involvement of aliens is not a required component in such a game; Xenos Rampant is just the coolest title I could think of, and certainly more evocative than my working title of Future Rampant. Also, Lasers Rampant was already taken…

As this is a supplement, rather than as a standalone game, assume that all rules in the Dragon Rampant rulebook apply to games of Xenos Rampant, except for where specifically tweaked in this document.

As a further note, like Dragon RampantXenos Rampant is setting-neutral. You can use models from any manufacturer or setting, in any scale. Personally, I’ve messed around with models from Warhammer 40,000, Warpath, Afterlife, Necromunda, Gorkamorka and various game-neutral ranges.

Obviously, as an unofficial fan supplement, this is a completely non-profit project. Furthermore, any feedback from players is more than welcome, and will be incorporated into the next version.

 

(The header image is a bunch of science fiction cultists – probably Light Infantry or Militia Rabble in Xenos Rampant – painted by myself. The models are Frostgrave soldier bodies, Frostgrave cultist heads and arms and guns from Victoria Miniatures.)

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7 thoughts on “Wargaming: Xenos Rampant

  1. Fantastic post! Having a futuristic “Rampant” game is an intriguing concept. I adore the casual list building and interesting turn mechanics of the “Rampant” line, so I’ll have to give this mod a try. Maybe I’ll finally have a use for all of those Wargames Factory Greatcoat Shock Troopers I bought ages ago.

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  2. Nuts. I’ve just realised I’ve allowed for an SP 12, Armour 4 unit with the Berserk Infantry, something that’s entirely without precedent anywhere in the official Rampant rulesets. I’ll need to fix that at some point, probably by making the Armour 4 upgrade cheaper but dropping SP from 12 to 6, on a par with Elite Infantry/Elite Foot.

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  3. Great rules for Scifi Dragon Rampant , love the game and would like to use your set instead of the Warhammer 40k rules. So without copyright infringement how would you represent things like plasma weapons or the difference between Las guns and outguns for example?

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    1. To be honest, I -wouldn’t- represent the difference between things like lasguns and autoguns. Their effectiveness is roughly similar in-game anyway. I’d hesitate to even mark a difference between lasguns and boltguns; units armed with boltguns are often Reduced Model Units and so their firepower’s disproportionately heavy to the number of guns being fired anyway.

      Plasma weapons (and other weapon options) would best be represented by giving a unit possessing them an appropriate upgrade. Plasma weapons are excellent at killing armoured infantry or light vehicles, so the Armour-Piercing upgrade is a good fit. Grenade launchers would also work well as Armour-Piercing, because the frag option is only a slight step up from a lasgun in effectiveness, but a krak grenade hurts a lot more. Flamers and heavy stubbers could both be Squad Support Weapons, since they enhance the anti-personnel capability of the squad significantly.

      And then there are combinations of upgrades. Heavier weapons, like heavy bolters and plasma cannons, also fit into the anti-light vehicle and armoured infantry category, and would probably be Armour-Piercing Squad Support Weapons.

      Lascannons and multi-meltas are pretty straight-forward – Anti-Tank all the way.

      One of the key things to remember is that Dragon Rampant and Warhammer 40,000 are very different games with very different base assumptions.

      Sometimes it seems like 40k still thinks it’s the skirmish game it was in the Rogue Trader/early 2nd Ed era, despite having been a mass battle game since at least the start of 3rd Ed (I’ll admit I’ve never played 8th Ed). Each squad member is still treated as an individual character with a life of their own. Each model moves, fights and dies individually, even if each subsequent edition has tried to make combat resolution for large numbers of models more streamlined. The same can be said about Warhammer and Age of Sigmar, so it seems to be a Games Workshop quirk. Even 1st and 2nd Edition Epic treated each vehicle and stand of troops as an independent entity (although Epic 40,000 moved away from that a little with its Firepower rules).

      Oddly enough, Dragon Rampant’s focus on units as the smallest entity is more fitting for a mass battle game than GW’s every-model-is-sacred approach. Rampant, along with actual mass battle games like Mantic’s Warpath and Kings of War, or various Warlord historical rule sets, have units as the smallest entity on the battlefield. In that kind of ruleset, it doesn’t matter if the sergeant of a squad of Imperial Guard has a bolt pistol and chainsword instead of a boltgun, because although it makes a big difference as to how he fights, it doesn’t impact on the squad that massively, so its not worth spending points on. However, if the squad has a pair of special and heavy weapons that complement each other, and maybe the sergeant’s weapon option complements them as well (e.g. plasma gun and heavy bolter, plus a sergeant’s plasma pistol, all fall into the same general category of killiness), the squad’s overall effectiveness has changed substantially, meaning it’s worth throwing an extra point or two at the unit to tweak its rules.

      As a specific example, a Leman Russ battle tank has (in its most stereotypical loadout) a battle cannon, lascannon and two heavy bolters, plus a storm bolter on the top. That’s a great all-round tank, capable of killing pretty much anything that comes close to it. However, that firepower falls into two categories: if you attack a vehicle, only the lascannon and the turret gun really matter, but they hit really hard; if you attack infantry, the lascannon will vaporise one poor bugger, the battlecannon will dismember a few more, and the heavy bolters and storm bolter harass the rest. In either case, the tank’s unleashing a lot of firepower at a target and causing an immense amount of pain, but the game effect is that it’s inflicting a lot of damage to a single enemy unit. In Xenos Rampant terms, it’s a standard Heavy Armoured Vehicle with the Anti-Tank rule. Even without the sponsons or cupola weapon, its effectiveness barely changes.

      Having run Rampant for a number of life-long Warhammer and 40k players, it seems that some of the base assumptions of Games Workshop games are quite ingrained. One Bretonnian player couldn’t comprehend that his Single Model Unit Bretonnian Lord couldn’t join a nearby unit of Knights of the Realm and was, in fact, just as effective on his own as they were en masse, because they were both the same unit type in the Dragon Rampant rulebook.

      All that being said, Xenos Rampant isn’t a -perfect- fit for every 40k unit and weapon loadout, and isn’t intended to be, but most codex units can probably be hammered into a Xenos Rampant unit type without losing the flavour of the 41st Millennium.

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