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Author Topic: Tyranids in Campaigns  (Read 1690 times)

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Offline Bozeman

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Tyranids in Campaigns
« on: January 05, 2016, 08:34:23 PM »
Tyranids are a bit of an odd duck in campaigns.  After all, why would they hold a Hive World, or care about Renown?  Just for fun, I smashed together some rules.  Keep in mind this is VERY version 1.0 and needs a bit of polish.

Tyranid Hive Fleet Noetic Fragments in Battlefleet Gothic Campaigns

During campaign play, fleets of various races ply the empyrean to conquer star systems, win renown, and advance their race’s place in the galaxy.  They receive orders, report to higher authorities, and receive resources from distant allies.

Tyranids are not like this. But, then again, they are.

To understand how Tyranids work in a campaign, consider a box of chocolates in front of you.  Some look promising, others less so (who likes coconut anyway?).  How do you decide which chocolates to consume?  Perhaps you have a pleasant memory of the flavor of toffee.  However, you could also have an unpleasant memory of cracking a tooth on a toffee so hard that it counted as a fossil.  Part of your brain wants that toffee and part of it doesn’t.  Which part wins?

The Tyranid Hive Mind sees the entire galaxy as its box of chocolates.  Some star systems are sweet and soft, others hard or flavored with bitter sugar free goop.  In addition, some chocolates can bite an uncaring finger off! (Admittedly, this is where the chocolate metaphor breaks down.)  The Hive Mind is complex enough to make decisions about most of these variables (and tens of thousands more) in a nanosecond.  However, there are some big decisions that require a bit more thinking.  To process these decisions, the Hive Mind splits off parts of itself and these parts compete.  In your mind, two competing thought processes might seem like a formal debate, or even a shouting match.  The Hive Mind is much more primordial and alien; it can only resolve conflicts through the strong destroying and consuming the weak.

Large scale Tyranid Hive Fleets are not just ships organized into a swarm, they are also an idea that the Hive Mind has.  For example, when Hive Fleet Behemoth invaded Ultramar, the Hive Mind thought that it had enough strength to consume one of the most heavily defended sectors in the galaxy.  If it had been successful, incorporating the resources and genetics of the Ultramarines could well have made Behemoth unstoppable.  Instead, Behemoth was blunted and exterminated.  In the Hive Mind, the idea behind the invasion lost favor, like you and your friends deciding to see a movie only to find out the movie was terrible.  It was a good idea at the time, but it didn’t pan out.  Thus, the idea was scrapped in the Hive Mind.

These ideas have no actual name, as no one knows about them except the Hive Mind, and the Hive Mind does not care to name them.  However, we can call them “Noetic Fragments” in lieu of a more base term.  Tyranid Noetic Fragments can be as simple as “Feed” or as complex as a sentient mind.  They can also have influence within the Hive Mind based on the results of their thought processes and the actions.  A Noetic Fragment that successfully consumes a sector would have a great deal of influence, and indeed may find more mental and physical resources at its disposal.  A Fragment that is ambushed by crafty prey and loses many ships might lose influence.

To put it another way, other races have Admirals that command fleets.  Tyranids have Noetic Fragments that command not only Hive Fleets but the resources and urges behind them.  In game terms, the Noetic Fragments can gain Renown like an Admiral, ask for assistance from the Hive Mind, juggle additional subordinates, or design new genetic upgrades to improve existing ships.  All of these things take mental resources, and the more Renown a Noetic Fragment has the more mental resources it can demand of the Hive Mind.

However, despite the similarities, the Noetic Fragment is at once simpler and more complex than an ordinary Admiral, and so there are some differences to how a Hive Fleet controlled by a Noetic Fragment plays in a Battlefleet Gothic Campaign.  All of these options are under the discretion of the Campaign Manager.

Campaign Win Condition

Usually, during a campaign, the more civilized races usually work toward goals of capturing territory or other nebulous goals.  Not Tyranids.  Tyranids exist only to consume.   The Campaign Manager may allow a Tyranid player to have a different option: Consuming more than 50% of the inhabited systems (i.e. all of the systems that are not uninhabited).  See rules for Owning Territory below.  The Campaign Manager must decide if they Tyranid player (or players) must use this condition, or could also fulfill the condition that other players are trying to fulfill.

Fleet Composition

Tyranid fleets should be built like Battle Fleets, meaning that they start with 2000 points.  However, they must include at least one Hive Ship and at least 1000 points must be made entirely of Vanguard Drones and/or Kraken escorts.  During play, Tyranid players will use the Vanguard Fleet List for any Raids and the Hive Fleet List for full Battles.  When purchasing Hive Ships, you may not upgrade them to have higher leadership; all Hive Ships have a leadership determined by the Renown of their Noetic Fragment (see Renown and Promotions below).

Initial Star System Choice

Tyranids are invaders from another galaxy, and so have no galactic presence long term.  They also tend to consume the star systems they conquer and move on.  As such, Tyranid Players don’t start with a star system like other Battle Fleet players.  Instead, during the first game turn, Tyranid players automatically win the initiative roll and must select a star system to attack for the first turn.  This star system can be owned by another player, but it can’t be one chosen as a target by another Tyranid player.  The first game played by the Tyranid player is automatically a Battle.

Owning Territory

If a Tyranid player owns an uninhabited system, there are still mineral-rich asteroids and ice comets that the fleet can eat for sustenance.  Tyranids are adept at this sort of mining, and so roll a D6 for each uninhabited system they control.  On a 4+, this system contributes two Repair Points to the Tyranids.

However, Tyranids cannot make use of the advanced infrastructure of civilized worlds.  Agri-worlds, Penal colonies, and Mining worlds produce no Repair Points for the first turn they are under Tyranid control.  Civilized worlds and Ork worlds (see Armada) produce no Repair Points for two turns.  Forge and Hive Worlds produce no repair points for three turns.  After this interval, the system becomes a Tyranid Infested version of the system.  Tyranids can consume the resources of the system at a measured pace and gain repair points as shown below.



Tyranids can also degrade systems by overharvesting the resources.  During the Aftermath phase, a Tyranid player can declare any (or all) of their systems will be degraded, except for uninhabited systems.  During the NEXT Aftermath phase, the system produces DOUBLE the normal repair points.  After this, the system is forever changed to the type of system to the left of it. (i.e. Forge or Hive worlds become Civilized, Civilized become Mining, and Mining becomes Uninhabited)  When a system has been degraded all the way to Uninhabited, it has been Devoured.  If a system is recaptured before it can be degraded, it is not degraded.  When a system is Devoured, there is a chance that another world in the same star system still has some use.  Roll a D6 and subtract 1 for each Devoured world this system has had.  On a 1-3, the system remains uninhabited, but on a 4+, there is another world that is of some use and the system remains an Infested mining world.  Once a system has been made Uninhabited, it counts as being Consumed.  Consumed systems count toward the Tyranid player’s victory condition.

Tyranids and Cruiser Clash Missions

Because Cruiser Clash missions are raids, the Tyranid player would normally use the Vanguard fleet list, and can if they wish, using only escorts.  However, because of the unique rules of Cruiser Clash, they may use the Hive Fleet list for this raid, following the rules in Armada for modifying Cruiser Clash. If they do this, the leadership of any Hive Ship taken is the leadership they gain from the Renown chart below, not a standard Ld8.

Tyranids and Convoy Missions

During a Convoy mission, Tyranids must be the attackers, as stated in Armada.  However, Attack Craft clusters must be Tyranid fighters (speed 20cm) or assault boats (speed 15cm).  In addition, all torpedoes must be Tyranid boarding torpedoes (speed 15cm), which are also slower than normal.  These attack craft clusters have speeds are slower, but that is addressed in the chart below.  Because Tyranid Noetic Fragments use the Vanguard Fleet List for raids, and Convoy is a raid, they cannot take Capital ships.   Use the Chart below instead of the normal chart in the Convoy mission.



When placing deadfall topedoes or attack craft clusters, try to place the marker or markers as close to the original position of the Contact Marker, with a minimal (less than 1cm) distance in between to distinguish beween waves, etc.  No marker may be closer to the enemy than the original Contact Marker was.

Because the Vanguard fleet list gives Escort squadrons a leadership equal to the number of Escorts in the squadron, Tyranid players will probably have large squadrons in their fleet list that cannot be used in this scenario.  They may, if they wish, split large squadrons into two or more independent squadrons for this scenario only.  However, they MUST use all parts of the squadron.  For example, a player has a squadron of 8 Kraken escorts in their fleet roster.  They generate two rolls of 5 on the chart above.  They could split the squadron into two smaller squadrons of 4 Krakens for this battle only, but must use both.  After the battle, the Tyranid player must re-combine the squadron.

Contact markers rolled for which cannot be represented by the fleet list are lost.  Tyranid players are highly encouraged during fleet composition to make at least one small squadron of escorts to allow them to utilize the above chart without losing markers.

Tyranids and Exterminatus! Missions

If another player successfully performs an Exterminatus mission against a Tyranid controlled system, subtract 1 from the D6 roll to see if there are other useful planets in the system for each Devoured planet the Tyranids degraded.  If a system is reduced to Uninhabited by an Exterminatus mission, it does not count as being Consumed, and does not add to the goal of the Tyranid player.

If a Tyranid player rolls an Exterminatus mission as the attacker, play Planetary Assault instead.

Tyranid vs. Non-Tyranid Players

When a non-Tyranid player conquers a Tyranid infested system, it is so thoroughly infested that using its resources is difficult.  Unless the system was won in a Planetary Assault with 10 or more assault points, the system does not produce Repair Points for one turn if it was Agri, two if it was Civilized, or three if it was Hive.  Afterward, the system is no longer infested, and a Tyranid player must re-infest it.

The actual identity of the system once its infestation is cleared is up to the Campaign Manager.

Tyranid vs. Tyranid Players

Noetic Fragments compete with each other psychically inside the hive mind, sometimes burning out entire synapse clusters.  However, clever Fragments can undermine other Fragments in more subtle ways, like children competing for the love of an indifferent parent.  Tyranid players using these rules do not have to be aligned; in fact they may fight each other and conquer the other Tyranid player’s territory!  In the case of a Tyranid player conquering another Tyranid player’s infested system, that Noetic Fragment exerts its psychic control over the simple organisms on the world and the system produces Repair Points as normal.

Appeals and Refits


Tyranid players make appeals as normal.  However, these are not requests to superiors but instead a jostling and re-organizing of mental and physical resources.  Similar to how raising a new child takes mental and physical resources, so too does birthing a new ship or squadron, or designing genetic upgrades to improve an existing ship.  Tyranids use the Evolution of the Hive Mind chart for refits, following all rules there.  Tyranids may not use the special torpedoes from Armada.

If a Tyranid player currently holds no systems (due to losses or being unable to conquer a system on the first turn) they may choose to make a dedicated appeal (5+) to, next campaign turn, automatically win the initiative roll, choose a star system, and fight a battle as described in the above Initial Star System Choice rules.

Crew Skills

Noetic Fragments can’t let their subordinates gain too much independence.  While a Hive Ship certainly has enough mental powers to learn new skills like an ordinary crew might, the Noetic Fragment prevents the Hive Ship from gaining enough experience to gain anything like a Crew Skill.  Can’t let it get ideas… However, the Noetic Fragment also shields the Hive Ship from the mental trauma of extreme damage, as a subordinate with post traumatic stress disorder isn’t very useful.  The leadership of a Hive Ship is unaffected by being crippled in combat.  Cruisers and escorts are too primitive to learn, as they are usually controlled by their baser urges, and have no Leadership to speak of.

Renown and Promotions

Tyranid Noetic Fragments gain renown like other admirals.  Use the following Promotion chart to determine the number of re-rolls, etc.  The Leadership of all Hive Ships in the fleet is determined by this chart.



Offline Hobodabobo

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Re: Tyranids in Campaigns
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2016, 02:31:15 AM »
I like it. I will give it a try later on and report back. This actually addresses quite a few questions I had about Nids in a campaign. Thanks for the time you put in on it.