Sunday, April 18, 2010

Stargrunt 40K


Why attempt to convert 40K to stargrunt?

I like the look and style of the 40K figures and have collected quite a few over the years, but I don’t find the rules very satisfying. Whereas, I like the use of suppressive fire and the command and control rules of SG. The 40K universe also provides a variety of alien forces to add interest to games and most potential opponents are familiar with this background.

I think it is important to try to carry over some of the flavour of the 40K troops and weaponry into the game rather than just renaming some of the Stargrunt weapons to match the 40K names. Additionally, if I am to convince any 40K players to play my games, they need to have some sense of how troops and equipment will operate, at least on a relative scale. Thus, the performance of equipment and troops needs to be broadly similar and some of the 40K special rules need to be replicated.

The basic rules, although appearing completely different, are in fact quite similar. Both use squads as the basic manoeuvre element and are aimed at platoon to reinforced company sized forces. Units move, shoot and engage in close combat, where the effectiveness of weaponry depends on the skill of the user, the lethality of the specific weapon and the armour or defensive qualities of the target, with just a little luck thrown in.

The greatest difference is in the role of leaders. In 40K, leaders tend to be the best equipped and most effective combat troops. In Stargrunt, leaders concentrate on commanding their forces and are penalised if they engage in combat: especially if they loose! One way around this is to treat 40K leaders, not as part of the chain of command, but as heroes or special characters and leave the commanding to less well endowed professionals. Alternatively, the heroic style of leadership found in 40K will continue to work in Stargrunt, but the command benefits will be reduced.

40K Edition

These rules are based on the 2008 edition of Warhammer 40K.

Rule Amendments

All of my normal house rules apply to this set of rules.


Psychic powers are an important part of the 40K universe. There effects are fairly easy to replicate as most are essentially another type of weapon. To use a psychic power, the psyker must first pass a reaction test.

Troop Types

Stargrunt categorises troops into green, regular and veteran. There are also the special categories of militia and elite that can be used for special cases. Troops are also given a leadership rating between one and three with one being the best. These categories determine how well the troops shoot, engage in melee and deal with morale issues.

40K uses three different attributes to determine these abilities. BS (ballistic skill) is used to rate the ability to use projectile weapons. WS (weapon skill) is used to rate the close combat abilities of the troops. LD (leadership) is used for morale tests. Some sort of averaging system is needed to convert statistics from one system to the other.

The main human forces in 40K are: guard conscripts, guards, veterans and space marines. Ideally, I want space marines to be considered the elite forces of the imperium and guardsmen should equate to the standard SG human. Adding WS and BS for these troop types gives the following: conscripts 4, guards 6, veterans 7 and marines 8. Thus we can establish the following conversion rule.

A sum of 4 or less equals militia. A sum of 5 equals green, 6 equals regular, 7 equals veteran and 8 or more equals elite.

For troops with a particularly low leadership or some other special cases, this may be adjusted accordingly.

40K LD is usually between 5 and 10. The Guardsmen are rated as 7 and the Marines as 8. If we again take this as the average human, we assign these values to a Stargrunt leadership of 2. By extension, a 40K LD of 9 or 10 gives a Stargrunt leadership of 1 and a LD of 5 or 6 results in a leadership of 3. Anything that falls outside this range, can be dealt with using special rules.

These classifications, only refer to the average example of the specified troops. Troop quality, or leadership may vary according to the scenario or whatever force composition rules you would choose to use. Some suggested random values are included in the table.

Personal Armour

40K defines armour by its "armour save" value. Stargrunt has 5 types of personal armour, each of which is associated with a dice type: Basic Battle Dress (D4), Partial Light Armour (D6), Full Light Armour (D8), Light Power Armour (D10) and Heavy Power Armour (D12). This provides a simple one to one correlation between armour save and armour type.

This scheme maps simply to the 40K scheme of armour saves. A save of none of 6+ equates to an SG armour type of d4. A save of 5+ is armour d6 etc.

Optionally, particularly tough troops (usually alien) might also gain a benefit to armour. The average toughness for humans is 3 for Imperial Guard or 4 for Space Marines. This is therefore the mean that is represented by the normal Stargrunt armour. If a creature has a toughness greater than 4, then shift up their armour dice. If the toughness is less than 3, for a particularly weak creature, then shift it down.

Weapon Systems

Weapons in stargrunt fall into four basic categories:

Close combat weapons are those dedicated to close combat such as bayonets and swords. This also includes the specific 40K weapons such as lightning claws and power swords, as well as claws and teeth.

The standard Stargrunt rules have been modified to provide greater variety in close combat weapon performance. See new rules in an earlier post.

Many 40K close combat weapons have special characteristics. In general, to convert these to stargrunt, use the following guidelines. Weapons that confer an extra attack have a high attack value. Weapons that ignore armour have a high damage value.

Typically, troops with no close combat weaponry have a melee value of 0.5. A single close combat weapon provides a melee value of 1.0, while 2 close combat weapons have a value of 2. This can be further modified if the troops would normally have additional attacks or are particularly skilled in close combat. The damage value for weapons is based on the strength of the user.

The weapon’s impact is based on its user’s STR. STR 2-3 becomes 1D6 impact, STR 4-5 becomes 1D8 impact.

Small arms are the personal weapons carried by the majority of infantrymen, generally rifle-type arms but also including pistols, submachine-gun types and similar.

The Range characteristic is used to determine the weapon’s firepower. Each 12" increment in the weapon’s range equals 1 firepower point. So, a range of 12" is firepower 1, a range of 24" is firepower 2 etc. Weapons with a rate of fire of 2 or more get an extra firepower point.

The weapon’s impact is based on its STR. STR 2-3 becomes 1D6 impact, STR 4-5 becomes 1D8 impact.

Weapons with a limited range may be limited to close range (a single range band).

Infantry support weapons are things like squad automatic weapons, man-portable plasma guns, small portable missile or rocket launchers and so on- anything that may be carried and fired by a single trooper.

The Range characteristic is used to determine the weapon’s firepower. Each 12" increment in the weapon’s range equals 1 dice shift. So, a range of 12" is firepower 1D4, a range of 24" is firepower 1D6 etc. Weapons with a ROF of 2 or more gain a +1 dice shift.

The weapon’s impact is based on its STR. STR 2-3 becomes 1D6 impact, STR 4-5 becomes 1D8 impact, STR 6-7 becomes 1D10, STR 8-9 becomes 1D12. This impact value is used for dispersed infantry (including PA equipped troops). The impact against armoured targets is shifted up or down depending on the AP value of the weapon. A 5 or 6 means shift down one die and a 1 or 2 means shift up one die.

Some weapons have a blast effect. For these weapons, the FP die is shifted up by one for a blast weapon, or two for a large blast. Usually, the damage die is shifted down to compensate.

Some vehicles mount support weapons. These weapons use their normal firepower dice not the fire control of the vehicle and use the quality of the troops to determine the range bands for the weapon just as infantry support weapons.

Heavy weapons covers any weapon that is large enough to require mounting on a vehicle, or on a tripod, wheeled, hover or grav-mount. Heavy weapons range in size from medium/ heavy crew served machineguns right up to the heaviest tank gun.

Those on ground mounts are generally crewed by 2 persons and take one action to set up and one to take down. Both crewmen are required to move the weapon and are encumbered (d4 movement) when doing so. A single trooper in power armour is able to carry and use some heavy weapons, in which case they do not need to be setup or taken down. Light PA troops are encumbered but heavy PA troops are not.

SG replaces firepower with a fire control dice. However, the nature of many heavy weapons in 40K is better represented by retaining a firepower value.

For most weapons, the impact value is calculated in the same way as for support weapons: ie it is based on the STR of the weapon. This is the impact value used against all target types.

Most heavy weapons of class 2 and above only get a D6 impact versus Infantry because they are basically dedicated anti-armour weapons.

Range for heavy weapons is not really an issue in stargrunt. However, the weapon class represents the maximum range multiplier that can be used due to target size. Eg. a class 2 weapon has a 12" range band versus class 1 targets and a 2x12" range band against class 2 targets and above.

Firing a heavy weapon requires one action and may not be combined with fire from other weapons. Vehicles with multiple crews have additional rules.

Special weapons are any weapons that have special rules. They may be support weapons or heavy weapons.

For example, twin linked weapons usually get a +1 FP die shift to reflect higher rate of fire.


Many vehicles have multiple crews. When a vehicle is activated, it is essentially the commander who is activated. He may initiate 2 actions as for a normal squad. Thus, a vehicle may move twice, move once and shoot one weapon etc. However, if the vehicle has a dedicated driver, an additional move action (up to a max of 2) may be taken. Each weapon that has a dedicated gunner may also take one fire action (though each weapon may only fire once per activation). Thus, a vehicle may move twice and fire any/ all weapons (if they have dedicated gunners).

Crew can bail out of a vehicle.

Armour values

Vehicle armour in 40K seems to vary between 10 and 14 while Stargrunt uses classes 1-5. To convert from 40K, 10-11 equals armour class 1, 12-13 equals 2, 14-15 equals 3. Higher armour classes are reserved for larger vehicles, bunkers etc.


Some vehicles are a type of mech. These include the Space Marine dreadnought, large Tyranids and some of the Tau battle suits. They have some characteristics like vehicles and some like power armoured troops. In general, they are treated as vehicles and given a size and armour value. However, they can engage in close combat and follow all of the rules for that.

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