Following the example of previous Implementation Threads, here are the links for them. I highly recommend checking them out if you haven't already!
- Necrons: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1505
- Tau: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1564
- Tyranids: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1469
- Space Marines: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1609
Before we start, a few abreviations:
- BFG: Battlefleet Gothic, the tabletop game.
- BFGA Battlefleet Gothic Armada, the PC game.
- DE: Dark Eldar.
- TT: tabletop.
Ready? Let's get to it!
Dark Eldar are unusual in their approach to warfare, when compared to the other races. They don't fight for territory, beliefs or their gods' desires. They fight to cause suffering and death on everyone else, collect slaves for Commorragh, and to feed their massive ego. DE captains are the owners of their ships, and due to their wealth, each ship is finely tuned and equipped, and usually very different from each other. They are designed to have horrific looks: sleek and advanced like other Eldar ships, but covered in blade-like fins and having a generally more aggresive look, just like their ground and air vehicles.
The following is a direct quote from the official BFG rules:
The Dark Eldar operate as raiders, pirates and slave merchants, uncaring for either the practicalities or aesthetics of ship design that so obsess their craftworld kin. Instead, the Dark Eldar construct their ships only to be ever more horrifying and devilish to observe, ever more destructive to oppose. In pursuit of torture, murder and desecration, the Dark Eldar construct all manner of perverse and obscene vessels, designed only to help them fulfil their insane lust for brutality. Ships bearing nothing but corridor after corridor of torture chambers echoing to the shrill cries of the enslaved, vast ‘arboretums’ exposed to the stars where row upon bloody row of impaled captives are leeched of their life by the hungry dark vacuum of space, huge cavernous hells surrounded on all sides by void in which captives are left to descend into madness, and all manner of other such horrors are known amongst the fleets of the Dark Eldar raiders.
As such Dark Eldar fleets, whilst looking apparently alike, actually comprise a vast collection of uniquely outfitted raiding vessels, each tailored to best cater to the particular fetishes of the ship’s own captain. Classifying such ships is difficult, and though many long and arcane treatises do attempt to exhaustively classify these ship’s configurations, each new contact with the Eldar Raiders invariably invalidates many of the previous theories.
However, whilst such pedantry may suit the mindless drones of the Administratum, out on the front line, the practical needs of Imperial captains familiar with the nightmare of raids by these pirates has led them to refer to these ships by two broad designations – the Torture class cruiser, and the escort-sized Corsair.
Dark Eldar only have 2 ship hulls: a cruiser (Torture) and an escort (Corsair). However, both have customizable weapon loadouts, which increases their effective ships to 4 for each class, for a total of 8 different ships. For our PC game, this customization could be done in the same way as Ork ships.
TT rules also allowed DE to field a few ships from other Eldar fleets, namely the Void Stalker battleship and the cruisers Eclipse, Shadow, Aurora and Solaries. However, since those are not DE ships, I suggest not to allow this in BGFA, for keeping a distinction between races. If needed, a DE battleship design could be created to fill all the roles, but given how the DE fleet operates (see below), they might not even be needed... otherwise, nobody would play them in the TT! Despite the lack of official artwork for a DE battleship, there are instances of DE battleships in novels, like in the novel Path of the Outcast: them being DE ships, bigger does not mean less mobile, only more deadly... and a bigger wallet and ego.
The general playstyle for the DE fleet is to hit very, very hard and very, very fast, while crippling the enemy ships so they can't fight back by using special torpedoes and devastating boarding actions. However, they have zero staying power and no broadside weapons: their tactics are those of full risk, full reward. In the TT, they were known for being able to win a game in the very first turns if played well, and to lose it in the same time if played wrong.
- Movement: DE ships use more conventional technology when compared to their Craftworld cousins' psychic tech, but they still remain far ahead of any other race in terms of tech level, with the exception of the Necrons. Their ships don't use solar sails, but very powerful engines and manouvering fins. DE ships can use both Ahead Full and High Energy Turns (which Corsair and Craftworld Eldar can't use) in addition to their superior mobility, but they can't use Burn Retros (like those other fleets).
- Shadowfields: instead of shields, DE ships use their own version of holofields. Despite the name, they work just like holofields, and as such they should work in BFGA.
- Boarding: having your ship boarded by DE is one of the worst things that can happen to any captain. Not only they strike hard and fast, they also focus on taking live prisoners, turning the halls an corridors into the scenario of a horror film. In the TT, DE boarding actions have a bonus modifier in the first round (replaced by a penalty modifier in subsequent rounds), and their Lightning Strikes also have a bonus modifier. This is easily translated to BFGA by giving them extra boarding and lightning strike strength.
- Effects on morale: it is generally agreed that being taken alive by the DE is probably the worst thing that can happen to you in the W40k universe, and they enjoying to make sure that you are fully aware of this fact. To reflect this, I propose DE to increase the chances of Insubordination with each boarding action they do.
- Mimic Engine: this device allowed DE ships to appear as friendly ships for their enemies (think of a ship-wide hologram), so that they couldn't be targeted until they got close enough. This device was an upgrade to be bough for each ship individually. For BFGA, I propose this to be a purchasable active ability: when engaging the enemy fleet, you click on this ability and then on an enemy ship of similar size. Your ship then transforms into a copy of that ship, adopting its movement speed and shooting fake shots on the other DE ships. It appears as friendly to the other player, but he can order his other ships to attack the fake ship if he discovers the trick. The effect runs off after a short time. While this is a very situational ability, and can be easily countered by a situational-aware player, it can be devastating when used in the middle of a chaotic, close quarters battle.
- Weapons Batteries: they work just like other Eldar batteries, which means extra accuracy.
- Phantom Lances: if the Pulsar lance can hit up to 3 times in the TT, this dark matter lance can hit up to 2. However, they are calculated differently. The Pulsar rolled a single shot, and if that shot landed, it could shot a second time, and if that one also hit, it could shoot a third time; this averaged as a single-shot lance with 1.75 times the damage of an Imperial lance. In contrast, Phantom lances shoot a single time, and if the hit was achieved with a big number in the dice, it caused 2 hits instead of one. I think this difference should be somehow translared into BFGA, but honestly I have no idea how.
- Attack Craft: like Eldar craft and torpedoes, DE ones are extra hard to hit, increasing their survivability. However, DE also have access to assault boats.
- Leech Torpedoes: remember how Orks have regular torpedoes and boarding ones? Well, DE can fire these special torpedoes as well as regular ones. They deal no damage, but in the TT, they automatically caused the enemy ship to lose speed and the ability to use Ahead Full. They work by absorbing the ship's energy, akin to a debilitating toxin injected on an enemy troop (remember how DE are good at crippling?). Both of these effects could be directly added to BFGA, and give them an acumulative effect, so that the more Leech torpedoes hit, the slower and less manouverable the ship becomes. This damage could be repaired, though. An alternative could be to drain part of the ship's combustion gauge with each torpedo, instead of just not allowing it to use Ahead Full.
- Impaler Assault Module: another unique DE toy. While similar to an assault boat, it is much larger and follows special rules. It is so large it carries enough troops to overwhelm an enemy ship, and the parent ship carries only one of them.
* First, it is prow mounted. It has less range than other attack craft.
* Second, it can be attacked by fighters and turrets, but is hard to take down. If that happens, it returns to its parent ship to repair and rearm. For BFGA, this means waiting for the cooldown to finish.
* Third, when it contacts an enemy ship (ignores shields), it deals a Hit&Run attack (Lightning Strike).
If the strike fails, the whole Impaler is destroyed, and since the parent ship has only one, it is permanently destroyed, as if it was a mounted weapon. But, if the strike is successful (and it has very high chances of doing so), it causes a critical hit with extra power, so that the best crits are easier to obtain. In BFGA, this could mean giving it more than 2 boarding actions when it lands, so that when it is successful, it can singlehandly cause several fires and kill engines and generator in a single hit, as well as great regular damage, and increasing the chances if Insubordination even more than other boarding actions and lightning strikes. Of course, this would have to be tested to avoid OP-ness.
Now, onto the equipment of each ship.
Torture-class Cruiser (210 points)
Stock: prow batteries, shadowfield.
Custom (choose one): prow torpedo tubes, prow Phantom lance, Impaler assault module, launch bays.
Corsair-class Escort (50 points)
Stock: prow batteries, shadowfield.
Custom (choose one): prow weapon batteries, prow torpedo tubes, prow Phantom lance, Impaler assault module.
If it could be added, I picture it similar in design to the Void Stalker, having both prow and keel weapons (I don't remember the specifics of the DE battleship in the novel Path of the Outcast), while being as customizable as its smaller cousins. As such, the following loadout is purely my design.
Stock: prow batteries, keel Phantom lances x 2, shadowfield.
Custom (choose one): prow weapon batteries, prow torpedo tubes, prow Phantom lance, Impaler assault module, launch bays.
All ships can buy the Mimic Engines as an active ability, only available to the DE.
--- Favours ---
I haven't been able to think much about possible DE favours. The obvious possibility would be to link them to the Kabals, but there are other important groups in the DE society, especially the Haemonculae Covens, known for their mastery of flesh design and esoteric technology. Those could also be added to BFGA as ship upgrades, abilities and crew members, though.
In any case, the general DE combat style, as a race, focuses on these points:
+ Powerful attacks, both at range and in close combat.
+ Excellent mobility.
+ Draining the enemy of its strength, weakening it, making it an easier prey.
+ Causing pain and terror.
+ At least in the W40k TT, gaining new strength by making the enemy suffer and die.
I believe any favours and abilities should focus on these points. Passively increasing the enemy's Insubordination chances with boarding actions is a step in that direction. I can picture abilities and favours causing an enemy ship to run away to the edge of the map (as opposed to Taunt), increasing stats with each successful boarding or enemy ship destroyed, increasing the enemy ships' cooldown for abilities, creating holographic fake ships similar to Tzeentch's false pings (except visible in sensor range, and attackable), improving boarding capabilities by loading some Haemonculae abominations and Pain Engines, or even improving your weapons' damage by siding with the Obsidian Rose kabal.
That's it for my ideas, now it's your turn!