Special Torpedo Types in Battlefleet Gothic

by Andy Chambers

During the development of Battlefleet Gothic we toyed with ideas for a number of different torpedo types. But we decided that overall the game worked fine with just the standard type plus boarding torpedoes. Rather than complicate things unnecessarily we decided to keep the other types back for a later ‘Dwarf article (and complicate them now instead!).

Using Special torpedoes in games of Battlefleet Gothic

There are various types of torpedo available for capital ships which are listed below. As these are rare and fairly unusual ordnance (not to mention powerful) they can’t just be given to ships at will. Instead you have to make an appeal to fleet command and take your chances as to what types of special torpedo they will allocate to you. This is determined by making a roll on the special torpedoes table. If you’re playing in a campaign you can appeal for torpedoes as for any other ship refit. If you’re playing in a one-off game one or more rolls on the special torpedoes table can be purchased for the number of points shown below.

Ship’s Torpedo strength Pts cost to roll on torpedo table
Up to 6 10pts
7 or more 15pts

Notes: Escort squadrons and defences may not be equipped with special torpedoes at all. Ork ships may only use special torpedoes if they have been upgraded to have Looted Torpedoes but count as having a Torpedo strength of up to 6. Eldar ships pay double points to use special torpedoes as their torpedoes are pretty special to start with!

Special Torpedoes Table

D6 roll Type acquired
6 Vortex torpedoes
5 Melta Torpedoes
4 Barrage bombs*
3 Seeking Torpedoes
2 Guided Torpedoes*
1 Short burn Torpedoes*

Unless marked * the ship is only equipped with enough special torpedoes to fire a single salvo of them in a game. In a campaign vessels with one-use torpedoes will be resupplied after each game.

Running out of special torpedoes

If a ship with special torpedoes runs out of Ordnance before it has fired its special torpedoes it has missed it’s chance! An accident in the loading room or some unforseen problem with the torpedoes means they are just as unavailable as the ships ordinary torpedoes.

6. Vortex Torpedoes

Vortex torpedoes carry warheads which implode to create a highly unstable and dangerous rift in warp space. The damage inflicted by even a single vortex torpedo is horrendous, whole sections of the ship and its crew are ripped asunder and sucked into the warp.

Special rules

Hits inflicted by Vortex torpedoes automatically cause critical damage. If a ship which is carrying unusued vortex torpedoes suffers a critical hit to its Prow (or wherever the torpedoes are launched from) it suffers an extra D3 points of damage and an automatic critical hit as the torpedoes detonate!

5. Melta Torpedoes

Melta torpedoes are fitted with multiple melta bomb warheads which detonate into mighty conflagrations of nuclear fire when they impact. The fires will burn through even the outer hull of a warship, threatening to consume the entire vessel in a hellish inferno.

Special rules

Hits from melta torpedoes inflict no damage, instead each hit causes a Fire critical. If a ship which is carrying unused melta torpedoes suffers a critical hit to its Prow (or wherever the torpedoes are launched from) it suffers an extra D3 fire criticals as the torpedoes detonate!

4. Barrage bombs

Barrage bombs are configured specifically for penetrating the atmosphere of a world and bombarding planetary targets. In comparison to ordinary anti-ship torpedoes barrage bombs have a relatively diffuse blast radius, being designed to achieve maximum saturation of the target area.

Special rules

Barrage bombs can be launched while a ship is in low orbit, where they will move just like ordinary torpedoes in deep space (they are unaffected by gravitic pull of the planet). Barrage bombs may also be launched in space like ordinary torpedoes. Each salvo of barrage bombs which strikes a planet during a planetary assault scenario earns 1 assault point if it is strength 6 or less, 2 assault points if it is strength 7 or greater. Barrage bombs which attack ships do not pass through their shields like other ordnance, knock down shields and place blast markers for hits just like a direct fire attack (which can be pretty useful in its own right).

3. Seeking Torpedoes

The art of building self-guided torpedoes is almost lost to the Imperium but they are still manufactured at the great Adeptus Mechanicus temples on Mars. Logic engines and metriculators aboard the torpedoes themselves enable them to identify the attack vector most likely to result in the salvo reaching a target. The disadvantage of seeking torpedoes (other than their rarity) is that the surveyors seeking torpedoes use to detect enemy ships can be easily blinded by blasts and debris, leading to premature detonation.

Special rules

A Seeking Torpedo salvo will make a turn of up to 45 degrees at the start of the ordnance phase so that they are pointing towards the nearest enemy ship. If several enemy ships are an equal distance away the seeking torpedoes will turn to attack the largest enemy ship. Seeking torpedoes which move through blast markers will detonate on a D6 roll of 5 or 6 instead of a 6 as is the case with ordinary torpedoes. Unike ordinary torpedoes, the superior logic engines onboard seeking torpedoes mean that they will not attack friendly ships that they move into contact with.

2. Guided Torpedoes

Guided torpedoes are directed via telemetry from the ship which launched them, allowing them to be guided onto a targets or even directed against a specific enemy ship amidst the confusion of battle. Although tight beam communication links are used for control from the parent ship guided torpedoes are still vulnerable to enemy interference and jamming.

Special rules

Guided torpedoes can make a turn of up to 45 degrees at the beginning of the Ordnance phase if the ship which launched them passes a leadership test. If the leadership test is failed one enemy ship can attempt to give the torpedo salvo false instructions by passing a Leadership test. If the enemy ship is successful the opposing player is allowed to turn the torpedoes instead!

1. Short burn Torpedoes

Short burn torpedoes have more powerful engines but a limited amount of fuel. They are considerably faster than ordinary torpedoes but will ‘burn-out’ and lose engine power very quickly in comparison to ordinary torpedoes which are designed to cruise at speed for longer periods.

Special rules

Short burn torpedoes have an increased speed of 40cm. However, to represent the chance of them burning out roll a D6 for each salvo of short burn torpedoes after they have moved and made any attacks, on a roll of 6 the torpedoes run out of fuel and are replaced with a blastmarker.

Torpedoes in Gravity wells (Optional Rule)

This is an idea which came up while we were playing a game -why not have the gravity well of planets and moons affect torpedoes which move through it? This will allow salvoes to ‘sling shot’ around a world or spiral down into it, great fun! So here’s the rule for it.

Torpedoes are affected by gravity wells and must make a 45 degree turn towards the planet (or moon) at the start and/or end of a move which is within its gravity well.


New Attack Craft

We’ve also devised a couple of unpleasant extras so that people with launch bays don’t feel left out by all this special torpedo treatment. Two new types are available - torpedo bombers and orbital mines.

Torpedo bombers

Torpedo bombers are ordinary bombers reconfigured to carry a payload of anti-ship torpedoes. This gives them the ability to stand off from their target at greater range and launch an attack, it also makes it possible for attack craft to deploy massed torpedoes to break up an enemy formation.


Any ship with launch bays can be upgraded to carry torpedo bombers at an additional cost of +10 pts per strength point of the launch bays on the vessel. For example a Chaos Styx class heavy cruiser would pay 60 points to carry torpedo bombers, while an Eldar Eclipse would pay 40 points.


Torpedo bomber squadrons are launched just like other attack craft squadrons, they are simply differently armed. Torpedo bombers have a speed of 20cm and count as bombers for interception purposes.


A torpedo bomber squadron can be replaced with a strength two torpdeo salvo at the beginning of any ordnance phase. The torpedoes function according to the standard torpedo rules once launched. A wave of torpedo bombers can combine their salvoes together in the same way as a squadron of ships.

Note that Orky torpedo bombers cannot intercept in the same way as their fighter bombers can (they are far too slow and lumbering while carrying torpedoes)

Orbital Mines

OK, they aren’t attack craft, but they seem eminently launchable from launch bays and quite an interesting variant on using ordinary attack craft. Carrying mines in combat would be dangerous though, so this is presented as more of a risky ‘surprise’ tactic than anything else.


Any ship with launch bays can be refitted to carry orbital mines instead of attack craft at a points cost of +5 points per launch bay.


One orbital mine can be launched per bay, just like attack craft squadrons. Note that orbital mines cannot be formed up into waves.


Orbital mines are ordnance which attack using the standard rules on p142 of the Battlefleet Gothic rulebook. Note that turret defences can be used against either attack craft or torpedoes and mines in a single ordnance phase, not both.

If a ship carrying orbital mines suffers a critical hit which effects the launch bays it will take an extra D3 damage as some of the mines detonate! A vessel which has run out of ordnance is not subject to suffering extra damage.

[[[[include markers for different torpedo types, not on card just so’s they can be stuck to cornflakes packets and cut out]]]]

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