When I really get into some intellectual property I inevitably get inspired to craft up my own concepts within the world. I’ve done this with cartoons and toys in elementary school, comic book characters in high school, and later with tabletop miniature models. Inevitably, this compulsion of mine has found expression with my choice of Warcaster faction, the Marcher Worlds.
As much as practical, I like to re-use existing game abilities when I homebrew models. I don’t want a bunch of munchkin models that give me some kind of extra advantage, so as best practical I try to balance my homebrew models to feel like they fit with the power of existing models. I also never want to see a model concept that outright invalidates an existing model. It is in that creative space that I hope my model concepts fit in nicely.
None of these concepts have been playtested in any way – it’s hard enough for me to get games with my adult life already, so talking opponents into playing with homebrew models feels like too much of an ask to bother with. Some of these ideas are probably too good, while others are probably not good enough. My hope is that the end result is something that still feels compelling without being broken.
I share them now to spread my love for Warcaster as a game and the Marcher Worlds in specific. Hopefully you find the ideas as satisfying to imagine as I found them when I dreamed them up.
The visuals here were created using Stable Diffusion Playground, a free image generator. I am unfortunately no expert in this emerging method of image creation, so my results are kind of nightmare fuel, but they do give some feel for the model concepts.
Gun Theurge Rangers
Way back when Warmachine first dropped I found myself enchanted with the concept of Gun Mages. The idea of literal magic bullets pulling off amazing feats is just plain cool. You could see these gunslingers being able to shoot pistols out of someone’s hand, or ricochet a bullet off a rock to take out the bad guy behind hard cover. With Warcaster’s inclusion of Gun Thuerges, I felt like we need to see more of these cool gun-fighters. Making them “Rangers” just fits with the vibe of Marchers for me.
Gun Theurge Rangers:
DC2 Squad3 30mm
S6 M3 R4 D3 A3 W1
Mechanically speaking, I felt like Gun Thuerges needed to reflect abilities we see in Artemis Fang, but without invalidating anything she does – including Smart Lock felt like an easy starting point for that. Attack Types on the exact same Arclock Pistol that Artemis uses was also critical: their use of a single one of these emphasizes the coolness of Fang dual-wielding them. Continuous Fire feels on-brand for Marchers without being too strong, but I liked the idea of the Gun Theurges acting as “problem-solvers” for the army, so including Null Strike and Soul Seeker seemed fitting. I do question whether they would be too good at RAT 4, but the idea of magic sci-fi gunmen having just normal accuracy seems like a crime – if they were too powerful I would drop a point of ARM to level them out.
Being Rangers, including Slip Displacer also seems like a logical inclusion, since they all have it as a spike. It would also mean they can take a Warder to enjoy a free charge, and could have Warchief Malek Sezzar spike off their activation token too. Those are nice benefits that don’t feel that overly strong or out of place for me, and again feel on-brand for the Marcher Worlds.
For the actual physical model, I figure Gun Thuerge Rangers would be your normal rag-tag sci-fi soldier look of the Ranger Fire Team, but with more flair. Ponchos, wide-brim hats, maybe even chaps – lean into the “lone lawman of the west” archetype for these guys. Each model would need to have some sort of oversized scanner goggles too, modeling the same equipment worn by Artemis Fang. They should still look like they operate as part of a team, so no one model would be standing too overly dramatic.
Gun Theurge Specialist
As mentioned, I love the idea of more Gun Mages in Warcaster, so I thought about what a solo version of such models might look like. This concept was harder than I thought it would be, as I didn’t want to have a solo that felt like a copy of the Gun Theurge Rangers, nor one that felt like an inferior version of Artemis Fang. This led me to think of a longer-range, single-shot solo … but that ran the risk of being too-similar to the Hunter. In the end I felt like some minor compromises in stats would make the model concept unique enough that it had its own niche in the Marcher Worlds forces.
Gun Theurge Specialist:
DC1 Solo 30mm
S6 M3 R5 D3 A3 W2
Reflecting aspects of the Gun Thuerge Rangers, I felt like a solo had to be more accurate but not as accurate as a Hunter or Artemis Fang, so RAT 5 fit perfectly. The Gun Theurge Specialist doesn’t get the same mobility options as the Hunter, nor shares its superior DEF 4, but it does get to enjoy average ARM and have 2 Wounds, so it feels distinct. It feels all but mandatory for a Gun Theurge to have Attack Types, and I liked the idea of all of them being based around a really strong offensive spike ability, so the value of the Specialist drops if you can’t charge it; Smart Lock only further emphasizes that need for arc on this model. Revelator felt like a nice added touch to give the Specialist some battlefield role if you can’t manage to charge it all the time.
For the sculpt of the Gun Theurge Specialist I think it would mirror much of the look of the Gun Theurge Rangers, looking rugged and prepared for action. As a pose I think the Specialist would be crouching down as it aims its Arclock Rifle at some distant target. The rifle itself should have the same sort of “tri-barrel” look of the Arclock Pistols, but be larger with a stock and a power cable out the back of it. Like the Gun Theurge Rangers and Artemis Fang, the Specialist should sport some sci-fi goggles to model its Smart Lock ability. To top it all off I think it would be neat to see the Specialist wear a tricorn hat to call back to the original gun mages.
In a world where you could teleport protective shields or even whole vehicles into battle, I figure there should also be some sort of semi-stationary weapons platforms that can also be dropped into situations to support troops. Originally I liked the thought of it being a pure weapons platform, requiring other troops to operate it at all. However, that feels pretty convoluted when they can make small robots do just about anything – why not have them shoot themselves? This means that it would also be a solo, which means it might as well have some actual SPD so it can secure an objective if the situation works out properly.
DC1 Solo 40mm
S2 M2 R4 D1 A4 W3
The vision behind the Auto-Sentry mechanics is a mostly-stationary solo who can unleash lots of damage but is really a sitting duck if someone decides to focus on it. It sacrifices SPD and DEF for serious offensive firepower. Originally I liked the idea of it having Slip Displacer as well, but that also feels like that sort of cheats out of being so slow as a down-side, so Impulse Reciprocator seemed a better fit. One could drop one of these close to an objective, give it a charge and let it bully its way into scoring. Alternatively, you could drop these in with a bunch of other troops to provide some heavy fire support without a warjack or vehicle, but at the cost of mobility.
I imagine the model of this looking like a gun turret with short but stable legs coming out underneath it. The Wildflower Mine Layer would be around the edges of the turret, while the Slug Cannon and Blazer would be side-by-side guns pointing attentively at some target. Throw in an arc receiver and some kind of sensor dome and I think the whole concept is complete.
With warjacks being modular I have wondered if there would ever be a reason to have another light or heavy warjack chassis. What would a Marcher Worlds warjack have to do to make it worth fielding when I already have a Dusk Wolf and Strike Raptor? Thinking on this more lead me to conclude that Flight would need to be a key part of the model. This in turn lead me to think of some cool two-part name that sounds powerful enough to be a Marcher Worlds Warjack. Once I had Night Hawk as a cool name, more concepts came together around unique things such a warjack could do that would be unique from a Dusk Wolf or Strike Raptor, and the model took shape.
DC2 Light Warjack 40mm
S7 S3 M4 R4 D4 A3 W3
- Bloodhound: Revelator and Spotlight
- Dynamo: Power Focus
- Predator: Smart Lock
- Sweeper: Fire & Displace
WP: 4 [HP: Arm, Shoulder]
- <Arm 1> Laser-Lance: Melee R3 Beam P4, Force Projector
- <Shoulder 3> Incinerator: Ranged R12 Fire P5, Spray, Continuous Fire
- Any Weapon shared by both Dusk Wolf and Strike Raptor
Conceptually, I figured a flying Marcher warjack needed to be faster than either of the other warjack options, but could do so at a small cost of firepower. Losing a single hardpoint (and hence entire set of attack options) felt like a very reasonable cost to pay for the added SPD and flight. Being a “Night Hawk” I felt like some Stealth was all but mandatory, so Mimetic Cloak felt fitting. I also liked the idea of the Night Hawk being like a relentless hunter, so Eclipse Drive seemed like a fitting spike for the chassis.
For the cortexes I took a bunch of my runner-up ideas for what the warjack could do and made them each a different cortex. Predator is the one I think most fitting and useful, though ironically it wouldn’t be helpful with the two unique “default” weapons I thought of for the chassis. Sweeper gives the Night Hawk more mobility and movement tricks. Bloodhound could be an easy counter for Stealth, though I expect that is more niche than useful. The Dynamo’s Power Focus spike is one I find really fascinating, as it’s a big power boost for just one attack … but with a powerful spray weapon, that could be enough to matter.
I personally hate painting all the warjack weapons, so it would be a hard sell for me if there were a couple of new weapon packs for them that I had to deal with. But I like the idea of using hardpoints still, so I wanted to toy around with where that might go. Dropping one hardpoint and weapon point felt like a good way to present similar options to what a Dusk Wolf might provide, but without the option of doubling up on cheap arm weapons. With this context, giving the Night Hawk a cheap melee weapon with the unique niche of being “long-range” sounded fun. Adding on another flamethrower was an easy choice for a sane default shoulder weapon.
For the model, I figure the Night Hawk would basically be a robot bird but with the Dragoon turbines for its wings, with the shoulder gun mounted on its back and its “arm” weapon mounted directly underneath its neck on a drop-down hardpoint like the warjack arms. It would lack any actual hands or legs, and instead be designed to be flying all the time.
Now, I really hate flight stands, as they make models top-heavy and are annoying to work around for model assembly. But, with that said, I think the model of the Night Hawk would make the most sense on a flight stand. Were it up to me, I would at least try to make it the same sort of larger light stand used by the Razorbat and other light vehicles, where the top is wide and the base has a cross-piece to stabilize it better. Realistically, that probably wouldn’t happen, and I would end up trying to figure out some alternative way to avoid those tiny transparent flight stands holding up a light warjack.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing this peek into the dreams I have for where the next generation of Marcher Worlds models could go. While I don’t really expect to ever see any of these models actually exist on a game board or painting table, it does bring me joy to speculate about what else could be part of the Thousand Worlds of Warcaster. Please leave any praise or constructive criticism if any of the model concepts or game mechanic proposals spoke to you.