This is just a quick entry to establish a rough design outline as much for myself as anyone that wants to follow or offer any suggestions because I'm not much of a rules guy myself. The main goal of this project (Oh, is it a project already?) is to produce a story driven gaming experience that produces a narrative that is the reason for playing. I see "winning" as participation rather than an accumulation of victory points.
Combat: Pretty safe to say this is going to be an integration of rules from the main 40k system and Mordheim. I'd like to stick pretty close to things as they are to reduce actual work and to keep the system universally familiar to people who have played published GW games. There are going to have to be some compromises between the bodies of rules that best reflect small unit engagements.
Meta Game: I always liked the Mordheim exploration phase but the idea as it is won't really work. What would be nice is to create an Investigation and Subplot system in it's place. Investigation might involve the assignment of available operatives/agents to looking for leads that might be easier or more difficult to determine dependeing on the results of earlier missions. It might be a good time to define a mission as a tabletop engagement and an investigation as a series of missions constituting a complete story arc. Subplots might involve developing relationships occuring between agents that may affect their function on the tabletop and the notion of loyalty to the inquisitor that might send an operative packing if they feel their leader has become too radical or heretical (or vice versa). Philisophical bent of an inquisitor might also affect the warband composition and cause it to change during the course of a campaign.
Sanity/Insanity/Corruption and a boatload of other stinking stats: Leadership is a fine trait in a standard game of 40k but it might not be sufficiently detailed in a squad level system. Leadership may have to be something different than Will which is also different than intelligence. Thankfully classic Inquisitor addressed some of this so hopefully some review might lend some ideas. Call of Cthulhu has some neat ideas about a degradeable trait that was always pretty cool. If it were a measure of degrees of corruption it might be a standard that would weigh against or damage loyalty if the inquisitor became too many steps away from the morality of an operative.
Action Cards: Rolling dice is fine but it's impossible to do something cool and heroic if you consistently roll ones. I'd like to make up at least 50 of these things that present a one off special rule that could be played at some point on the tabletop. The exception rule would allow player to perform an otherwise allowable action that conform to some convention of silly action stories that keep me wanting to read more of them. At the moment I wouldn't want players to be presented with a hand of cards but just one drawn from the deck that could be held until they chose to play it. Cliches are flavorful in moderation but too often would just cheapen it.
Skills: If a skirmish game was based entirely on combat would we ever see academics or non combat specialists in the equation? Maybe if they were a really cool model but really unlikely. This game really requires a moderator/game master to plan missions and investigations. Part of the planning would be allowing for challenges that allow specialist to shine: Could a computer expert bypass a mag locked door? Might an authority on things esoteric interpret a mutilated corpse as a clue?
For lack of a working title; It's nice to have a name for an idea I was thinking of calling this, Special Condition. Like an idea? Hate an idea? If you think yours are better please share.