(Not so Tarellian) Dog Soldiers!

Warhammer 40,000 Dogs of War

(working title)


Author’s note: This project originally started during the school year 2006-2007.  It was based on the single image of “Tarellian Dog Soldiers” found in the 3rd Edition Warhammer 40,000 rulebook, and was initially created using the old “Creature Feature” rules.  It was based on a perception of Tarellians as akin to Terran dogs.  After the initial list was made, it laid dormant for a long while, although always in the back of the mind.  Just recently, however, some research found that in official GW soruces, Tarellian ‘Dog’ Soldiers are reptilian (lizardmen) with a hatred for the Imperium.  To remake this list at the very beginning of 2011, the simple solution of dropping “Tarellian” was engaged.  The image of wiry, hairy, canine warriors, neither very tough nor technologically advanced, used as scouts and ablative forces by both Imperium and Xenos alike, was always what has driven this project.  This was not abandoned.  This force was designed self-consciously as cheap, light, mobile infantry; it has almost no armor penetration to speak of, and in some ways is remarkably fragile.  In other ways, it remarkably similar to Kroot Mercenaries: the Kroot are an appropriate stand-in or transliteration, either way.  As for models, Warhammer Skaven clanrats with parts from both the 40k Kroot Carnivores and Warhammer Lizardmen lines are currently envisioned.  Feedback for this project is welcome – please leave it below in the comments section.


Armoury: Weapons and Equipment


Close combat weapon: See the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook for full details regarding this weapon.


Plate Armor: Made of a variety of materials and in a variety of styles, the heavy, often bulky plate armor worn by those highest in the warrior hierarchy is the match for many weapons, both at a distance and up close.  Plate armor confers a 4+ armor save.

Scrap Armor: Often pulled together from different scavenged sources, scrap armor provides marginally better protection than the padded armor it usually replaces or is strapped over.  Scrap armor confers a 5+ armor save.

Padded Armor: Clothed in padded cloth or leather armor, Dog soldiers only marginally increase their personal bodily protection.  However, the increase in physical mobility and agility are an obvious benefit.  Padded armor confers a 6+ armor save.

Bore Rifle: The Bore Rifle is the standard armament for Dog soldiers.  Produced with rudimentary, home-industry means, lovingly maintained and totemized, the Bore Rifle is a basic, but heavy, slug thrower found in various designs in Dog mercenary forces.  A trained soldier can maintain a decent rate of fire, and the weapons are rifled to provide significant striking distance.  The Bore Rifle has the following profile:


Bore Rifle / 24″ / 3 / 5 / Rapid Fire

Scatter Gun: The Scatter Gun resembles a large blunderbuss or a short barreled, large caliber shotgun.  Filled with deadly pellets in shells, the Scatter Gun fires its lead in a cone-shaped pattern that spells destruction for lightly armored targets in its path.  Dog soldiers often use such destructive, short ranged weaponry as they charge into melee.  The Scatter Gun has the following profile:


Scatter Gun / Template / 3 / – / Assault 1

Repeater: Two main styles of Repeaters are widely used by Dog soldiers.  The first and more common version is a long, single barreled revolver-type pistol that readily spins its chamber to blast out several shots in quick succession.  The second is a multi-barreled, crank-operated sidearm the weight of a rifle, but with a considerably reduced range.  Both can unleash a devastating hail of fire in a short span of time.  The Repeater has the following profile:


Repeater / 12” / 3 / – / Assault 3


Slug Cannon: The most powerful single weapon in the Dog soldier’s common armoury is the Slug Cannon, a mobile, breech-loading, medium caliber cannon, useful against light vehicles and armor.  They are most commonly mounted, sometimes in pairs, in the howdah of the Great Beasts the Dog soldiers bring into battle.  The Slug Cannon has the following profile:


Slug Cannon / 18” / 6 / 4 / Assault 1


Common Special Rules


Acute Senses: See the Warhammer 40,000 for full details regarding this special rule.


Independent Character: See the Warhammer 40,000 for full details regarding this special rule.


Infiltrate: See the Warhammer 40,000 for full details regarding this special rule.


Move through Cover: See the Warhammer 40,000 for full details regarding this special rule.


Rending: See the Warhammer 40,000 for full details regarding this special rule.

Scouts: See the Warhammer 40,000 for full details regarding this special rule.





Alpha Dog

The Alpha Dog is the chieftain of any large tribe of Dogs, and their leader in battle as well, where his ornate battle plate marks him as the leader to those around him.  He has an undeniable warrior’s instinct, and has the uncanny ability to find weaknesses in almost any enemy.  Relying on his Wolves to lead individual squads, the Alpha Dog reinforces his Dogs at the front line, his potent reflexes allowing him to avoid most attacks.


Unit / WS / BS / S / T / W / I / A / Ld / Sv

Alpha  / 5 / 3 / 4 / 4 /  3 / 6 / 4 / 9 / 4+, 5+ (Inv.)

Unit Cost: 59 points.

Unit Type: Infantry.

Unit Size: One Alpha.

Wargear: Close combat weapon, Plate Armor.

Options: May take a Bore Rifle, a Scatter Gun, or a Repeater for +2 points.

Special Rules: Acute Senses, Independent Character, Move through Cover, Rending.

Dodge: The Alpha Dog’s considerable reflexes and instincts protect him from even the most catastrophic attacks, avoiding enemy fire as well as blows in combat with the fervid grace of a dangerous predator.  The Alpha Dog has 5+ invulnerable save.

Wounding Attacks: After hard, scrappy lifetimes and a personal history of combat, Alpha Dogs possess the impressive capacity to locate and attack the vulnerabilities of almost any foe.  The Alpha Dog’s close combat attacks count as Poisoned (4+).

Lieutenant Dog

Many Alphas have ready-picked successors or trusted confidants that act as their seconds-in-command.  In rare cases, some of these lieutenants are previous tribe Alphas, long past their prime but still able, having been eclipsed by the new Alpha, but still loyal to their leadership.  These lieutenants serve an important role on the battlefield, commanding distant elements in combat, or occasionally leading small skirmish forays on their own.  Where the younger, more energetic lieutenants often charge into battle alongside the Hound packs, the elders often march alongside Dog and Wolf units in aging but reliable plate armor.


Unit / WS / BS / S / T / W / I / A / Ld / Sv

Lieu. / 5 / 3 / 4 / 4 /  2 / 5 / 3 / 8 / 5+

Unit Cost: 33 points.

Unit Type: Infantry (or Beasts if Feral Fury is taken).

Unit Size: One Lieutenant.

Wargear: Close combat weapon, Scrap Armor.

Options: May take a Bore Rifle, a Scatter Gun, or a Repeater for +2 points.  May gain the Feral Fury attribute or take Plate Armor for +3 points.

Special Rules: Acute Senses, Independent Character, Move through Cover, Rending, Scout.



Wolf Pack

Wolves are the most experienced and surest warriors in any Dog tribe.  After several battles, Dogs find their nerve and their mettle, becoming far more reliable and deadly in the process.  Those Wolves who are not chosen to lead other Dog packs are often grouped together as a unit, armed and armored to act as a retinue for the tribe’s war leaders, or to perform the most important tasks on their behalf.


Unit / WS / BS / S / T / W / I / A / Ld / Sv

Wolf / 4 / 3 / 4 / 3 /  1 / 4 / 2 / 7 / 5+

Unit Cost: 78 points.

Unit Type: Infantry.

Unit Size: Six Wolves.

Wargear: Close combat weapon, Bore Rifle, Scrap Armor.

Options: Six more Wolves may be added to the pack for +78 points.  Any number of models in the squad may exchange their Bore Rifle for either a Scatter Gun or a Repeater at no extra cost.  The entire unit may replace the Infiltrate special rule with Plate Armor for no additional cost.

Special Rules: Acute Senses, Move through Cover, Infiltrate.



Dog Pack

Dogs are wiry, hairy creatures.  While not particularly tough or brave, their strength and speed often means they are able to best humans in direct physical combat.  Dogs make up the bulk of any fighting tribe.  Defended by their speed and scavenged armor, and armed with the ubiquitous Bore Rifle, Dog soldiers are not to be readily dismissed by whoever they are hired to fight against.  With keen senses of smell and hearing, and a natural ability to move equally fast in rubble, forest and open field, Dogs are best used to flank and harry enemies.  Because of their species’ relatively short life expectancy, quick maturation, and large litter sizes, fighting Dogs are plentiful.   In their first several experiences of war, Dogs are led by the older, more experienced Wolves, who have tempered their fear and battle lust.  Wolves are able to rely more heavily on their auditory and olfactory senses, aiding the unit in many different battlefield situations.


Unit / WS / BS / S / T / W / I / A / Ld / Sv

Dog / 4 / 3 / 4 / 3 /  1 / 4 / 1 / 6 / 5+

Wolf / 4 / 3 / 4 / 3 /  1 / 4 / 2 / 7 / 5+

Unit Cost: 42 points.

Unit Type: Infantry.

Unit Size: One Wolf and five Dogs.

Wargear: Close combat weapon, Bore Rifle, Scrap Armor.

Options: Six more Dogs may be added to the pack for +36 points.  For every six models in the pack a single model may exchange its Bore Rifle for either a Scatter Gun or a Repeater at no extra cost.

Special Rules: Wolf: Acute Senses, Move through Cover.  Dogs: Move through Cover.


Fast Attack

Hound Pack

For some Dogs, battle lust and the joy of running free are a calling impossible to ignore.  Any number of reasons and experiences can lead to this condition: genetic factors, hatred of a particular foe, loathing of being chained, loss of a close friend, even discomfort of the Scrap Armor or Bore Rifle made use of by Dog packs.  Those Dogs grouped into Hound packs discard of both, instead leaving only their basic, padded armor, matted hair and tough, leathery hides to protect them as they race rapidly across the field, firing close-ranged Repeaters or Scatter Guns at targets of opportunity.  Youthful, howling Lieutenants often take to the field alongside these units, aiding not only firepower and bestial energy to the pack but also a clearer sense of purpose in the battle.


Unit / WS / BS / S / T / W / I / A / Ld / Sv

Dog / 4 / 3 / 4 / 3 /  1 / 4 / 1 / 6 / 6+

Wolf / 4 / 3 / 4 / 3 /  1 / 4 / 2 / 7 / 5+

Unit Cost: 48 points.

Unit Type: Beasts.

Unit Size: One Wolf and five Dogs.

Wargear: Close combat weapon, Repeater, Padded Armor (Wolf has Scrap Armor instead).

Options: Six more Dogs may be added to the pack for +42 points.  Any model may replaces its Repeater with a Scatter Gun at no additional cost.

Special Rules: Wolf: Acute Senses, Move through Cover, Scouts.  Dogs: Move through Cover, Scouts.


Heavy Support

Great Beast

Great Beasts fill a critical anti-armor role for Dog tribes.  Unable to produce ranged weaponry able to reliably puncture most enemy vehicles, Dogs instead turn to ramming as a way to pierce opposing armor.  The variety in appearance and make-up of Great Beasts, however, is astonishing.  Under the right conditions in the right locations, Dogs are able to domesticate or train large local beasts, as varied as shaggy war mammoths to carnivorous reptilian monsters.  Under other conditions, it is not unheard of Dog tribes being given, or stealing, or even creating, motorized vehicles that they modify for battle.  These modifications are inevitably designed to protect the beast or construct for ferocious impacts with solid objects.  Other modifications come in the form of firepower: some howdahs on Great Beasts are converted into fighting platforms by their Dog handlers, providing potentially devastating anti-infantry firepower.  The normal Slug Cannons are thereby replaced with a more defensive parapet and weapon mounts for the normal firearms carried by Dog packs, yielding either a solid firing platform for Repeaters or Scatter Guns, or a sniping post for Bore Rifles.


Unit / WS / BS / S / T / W / I / A / Ld / Sv

Beast / 4 / 3 / 6 / 6 /  4 / 1 / 2 / 10 / 4+

Unit Cost: 110 points.

Unit Type: Cavalry.

Unit Size: One Great Beast.

Wargear: Slug Cannon.

Options: The Great Beast may be armed with an additional Slug Cannon at +5 points, effectively making its shooting profile Assault 2.  Alternatively, for +5 points the Slug Cannon can be replaced for a howdah-converted fighting platform (see below).

Special Rules:

Fearful Presence: Because of its great size and outbursts of predatorial signals, a Great Beast is a daunting prospect to assault.  During any combat involving the Great Beast, enemy models with a Leadership value are at -1 Ld.  This rule does not effect models with the Fearless special rule.

Rushing Attack: Perhaps the greatest value of any Great Beast is a ferocious ramming charge against enemy vehicles and strong points.  When the Great Beast charges the player must choose whether it will charge normally or perform a Rushing Attack.  The Rushing Attack is resolved as a single close combat attack with the following characteristics: WS5, S9, I10, A1, Rending.  If a vehicle or structure is rushed and the armor penetration role fails to penetrate, the Great Beast takes a single Wound.

Stun: In the player’s turn, the Great Beast may perform a “stun.”  This can occur even if the Great Beast is locked in Assault.  During the Shooting Phase (instead of any shooting attacks), all models within 6” of the Beast must pass an Initiative test, or suffer -1 to all to-hit rolls in both shooting and assault until the end of the next player’s turn.  This does not affect the Great Beast’s subsequent to-hit rolls in Close Combat.

Fighting Platform: Instead of a Slug Cannon, the Great Beast is instead armed with five Bore Rifles, five Scatter Guns, or five Repeaters.  These are fired together as a single shooting attack, using the edge of the great beast for range and template purposes (this represents the improved vantage and mounting afforded by the platform).  This shooting attack may be used if the Great Beast is locked in assault, but if so it must be targeted against (one of) the units the Beast is engaged against.

Thank you!  Besides any Games Workshop symbols, rules, names and references, I claim copyright for the original work above: © Ian Cross 2011

4 responses to “(Not so Tarellian) Dog Soldiers!

  1. Nice work, but it appears that you took the term “dog soldiers” quite very literally. They are more like aggressive reptiles with a long snout, hence the term “dog soldier”

  2. Hey, thanks! I did take it rather literally. But that’s because it was based solely on the picture in the third edition rulebook – I had no other fiction or data to go from, and after I (later) found that information I didn’t like the way it changed my imagining of this force / army / species. Thanks for the comment!

  3. if you went “dog” style you should use the commiser/ethereal leadership rule.
    eg: if the alpha male loses a leadership test he may takes as many close combat attacks as dogs in his unit.
    if he survives remove one model.
    in both cases the unit passes the leadership test.
    repeat for any unit with a leader.

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