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Dead Sergeant's New Character


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#1 cpteveros

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 07:57 PM

So during our last gaming session, the squad's sergeant was unfortunately ripped to shreds by an Ur-Ghul in a very unlucky couple of dice rolls. He took it graciously, and did not complain despite the fact he had spent a lot of time researching talents and builds to make a character that worked well, as opposed to the willy nilly ways of the other players. 

 

I feel bad for the guy and I while I want death to be meaningful and permanent, I don't want to punish him by making him start back at square one. For other dead characters, I would give them the 600 starting xp and whatever extra was appropriate to get somewhere near where the other characters were. 

 

However, this time, I've thought of doing something else. What if he got only the 600 xp, but retained the talents that he purchased? 

 

Which brings me to my next question: what should his new character be? I think he wants to be a some sort of leadership role again, which is a kind of issue do to the fact the next senior soldier I promoted to sergeant, although in name only. What if the dead sergeant came back as a Commissar, or a Lieutenant-flavored sergeant?

 

I am at a bit of a crossroads because I don't want to snub the guy just promoted, but I also don't want to completely ruin the fun of the guy who actually put in the time and effort to research his character. 



#2 Traejun

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 01:34 AM

Commissar makes sense, though it's way overpowered and had no place in a single squad. Otherwise, the guy died... Give him a taste of being a grunt. Just because it was bad luck doesn't mean he gets special treatment.

#3 Santiago

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 06:44 AM

I would give him a rooky junior officer with some extra social skills, perhaps a unique Peer (xxx) or perhaps some special patrons.
It doesn't have to be anything stat wise.



#4 cpteveros

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 02:53 PM

Commissar makes sense, though it's way overpowered and had no place in a single squad. Otherwise, the guy died... Give him a taste of being a grunt. Just because it was bad luck doesn't mean he gets special treatment.

 

I agree, which is why I've not allowed my players to take the support specialties. While you are right, I want to reward him for playing his character well and actually spending time on his build. 

 

I would give him a rooky junior officer with some extra social skills, perhaps a unique Peer (xxx) or perhaps some special patrons.
It doesn't have to be anything stat wise.

 

I like that idea, as it would give him some perks but not anything overpowered. What about his talents? He bought a bunch to make himself into a formidable melee fighter, and I'm loathe to take all that away, I don't want to put him right back where he was. 



#5 Askold

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 11:42 PM

I agree, which is why I've not allowed my players to take the support specialties. While you are right, I want to reward him for playing his character well and actually spending time on his build. 

 

I would give him a rooky junior officer with some extra social skills, perhaps a unique Peer (xxx) or perhaps some special patrons.
It doesn't have to be anything stat wise.

 

I like that idea, as it would give him some perks but not anything overpowered. What about his talents? He bought a bunch to make himself into a formidable melee fighter, and I'm loathe to take all that away, I don't want to put him right back where he was. 

 

 

If you want to give him a officer you should use the Commander class from Hammer of the Emperor. Technically you aren't supposed to be able to take that untill you've gained 2'500exp in some other guard class but (sergeant is the most suitable original class but others are allowed. So if, on the other hand you plan to let the trooper who took charge of the squad stay as the leader you should let him take the commander class later) you could make an exception just to let him make some freshly promoted Junior officer.

 

Also, I still feel that the support classes have a place in the squad. They may change things a bit but there is precedent for Commissars in particular being attached to random squads. It is exactly the place where you stick a Commissar cadet to give him some time in the front line. And some armies specifically state that priests (or techpriests) are so numerous that you find them even on squad level.

 

It is up to the player wether or not the support class will wreck the game.



#6 Askil

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 12:25 PM

He died.

 

End of story.

 

If he`s really sore about it or you really want to give him a cookie give him a single extra aptitude as a bonus on his new guardsman or let him play a priest or commissar so he has authority and leadership potential but isn`t deposing the new squad leader.


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#7 cpteveros

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 09:26 PM

He isn't sore, as much as I am apologetic for him getting diced so early. I haven't referenced Commissars too much, but I think it would be a good opportunity to as it wouldn't disrupt the sergeant who was just promoted.



#8 Askil

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 03:02 AM

Don't be apologetic, If the game didn't threaten the characters it wouldn't be as fun.

 

As GM it's your job to throw reasonable foes at the players and see how they handle it.

 

To put it another way, are they apologetic when a foe you created bites the dust? No, they aren't.



#9 Traejun

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 09:33 AM

He isn't sore, as much as I am apologetic for him getting diced so early. I haven't referenced Commissars too much, but I think it would be a good opportunity to as it wouldn't disrupt the sergeant who was just promoted.

 

Of course it would.  Commissars can, you know, put a bolt in the Sergeant's head at any time.  Commissars are totally broken in OW.  But, if you do intend to do one, you don't also have a Sergeant.



#10 Spinner

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 01:04 PM

 

He isn't sore, as much as I am apologetic for him getting diced so early. I haven't referenced Commissars too much, but I think it would be a good opportunity to as it wouldn't disrupt the sergeant who was just promoted.

 

Of course it would.  Commissars can, you know, put a bolt in the Sergeant's head at any time.  Commissars are totally broken in OW.  But, if you do intend to do one, you don't also have a Sergeant.

 

So could any other player, honestly (although it'd probably be a lasbolt). The only difference is that the Commissar doing it would be sanctioned by the Imperium, and he'd have to fill out some paperwork afterward. Of course, there's nothing stopping the rest of the squad from arranging a little "accident" for a Commissar that does so without good reason.

They're not broken, they just don't have any business being played by someone who will use it as an excuse to brutally murder teammates for no good reason, much like Paladins in D&D have no business being played by someone who will then attempt to control the party with an iron fist. Thankfully, there's plenty of in-character, background-supported ways to deal with a power-mad Commissar. Most of them will eventually end up with the player rerolling. :P

Provided you trust the player, I think the interactions between a sergeant trying to keep his squad alive while following orders and a Commissar upholding morale and discipline can make for some very interesting RP!



#11 Askil

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 01:29 PM

Of course it would.  Commissars can, you know, put a bolt in the Sergeant's head at any time.  Commissars are totally broken in OW.  But, if you do intend to do one, you don't also have a Sergeant.

 

 

I can only assume you play with angry, violent tormented individuals with impulse control issues

 

Commissars are almost always attatched to individual squads, be they the regiment's troublemakers or the trusted veterans who prop up the line they spend most of their deployed time in the field ensuring that troops follow the letter and spirit of regulations.

 

Not only is *bang* HAHAHA! not how summary execution works (there is susquently a process for justification of the action and proof must be presented,) but also Commissars are specifically removed from the standing chain of command in order to remain impartial.

 

i.e. They are not Squad leaders, their job is to ensure troops follow orders given by others, not to lead them directly.


Edited by Askil, 01 April 2014 - 01:29 PM.


#12 Traejun

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 02:19 PM

 

Of course it would.  Commissars can, you know, put a bolt in the Sergeant's head at any time.  Commissars are totally broken in OW.  But, if you do intend to do one, you don't also have a Sergeant.

 

 

I can only assume you play with angry, violent tormented individuals with impulse control issues

 

Commissars are almost always attatched to individual squads, be they the regiment's troublemakers or the trusted veterans who prop up the line they spend most of their deployed time in the field ensuring that troops follow the letter and spirit of regulations.

 

Nope, neither angry nor tormented.  My players tend to stick close to the fluff.

 

With that last part said, no, Commissars are not almost always attached to individual squads.  There wouldn't be more than a handful (at the absolute most) attached to any particular regiment.  Perhaps penal legionnaires or particularly troublesome regiment would get to a half-dozen Commissars... again, at the absolute most.  Given that the average Imperial Guard regiment will have ~3 Commissars, what is likely (read: going to) happen is that the Commissar would be perhaps attached to the squad for some period of time, then bounce to another squad or other duties within the Regiment.  Likely from the battle line, to HQ, to executing the Regiment's deserters or rule breakers, if any.  

 

The reality is that a Commissar would only be attached to a particular squad for only long enough to: 1) complete a battle/operation or series thereof; or 2) execute the squad for a bewilderingly wide array of violations that would earn you a Bolt to the dome.  That "trouble-maker" squad likely got that designation because they: 1) Violated IG/Regiment rules 2) Violated Departmento Munitorum rules; and/or 3) Violated some other written or unwritten regulation/rule.  In any event, such violations would have long ago earned the members of the squad prison, lashing, beating or execution... or some combination thereof.  (Read the Munitorum Manual... it's amazing).

 

Now, the ultra-realistic (to the fluff) campaign is not for everyone.  It is, admittedly, a little restricting.  Its for GM's and players that want the "experience" of being Guardsmen, at least according to the fluff.  My group and I like that sort of thing, so that's the way I GM and they play - i.e. hardcore mode (no fate burns to stave off death) and punishment for rule breaking (including prison terms that take the PC out of the game for X amount of game time, and executions, when appropriate).  We like that sort of thing because it brings a little bit of "real" to the table and elicits the feeling of immersion.

 

For most players and GMs, that's probably taking it too far.  And for them, the Commissar (one of only a tiny few in the entirety of the Regiment) can forever and ever be attached to the same squad (one of many in that Regiment alone). 



#13 cpteveros

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 04:03 PM

I wouldn't trust any of my players with the power of a commissar besides the one that I am considering, so him going trigger happy on his own squad isn't much of my concern. My players aren't too terribly familiar with the 40k world anyways, so whether or not the commissar would stick with the squad for any length of time isn't something that would be argued. 

 

If you think about it though, if a commissar liked or worked well with a particular squad, what's to stop him from sticking with them? I doubt anyone would object too much to them acting as a small retinue while he is on the front. After all, these are important people and aren't likely to be running around by themselves, anywhere.



#14 Askil

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 01:23 PM

You are aware that Commissars are more generally morale officers than executioners. they roam the regiment attacthing themself to whichever squad they feel they are needed.

 

It is their job to inspire troopers to do a good job just as much as it is to punish them for failing to do an adequate one.

 

Also what is this fluff are you have been reading? I`ve not come across a case of more than one member of a squad being summarily executed at a time in nearly 20 years of reading GW works.

 

In short a Commissar that works in the way you seem to imagine they all do would soon be bought up on charges for reckless conduct or pulled from line duty due to mental instability. The Imperium may not value manpower much but to needlessly waste it for no gain is something even the Munitoum has a issue with.



#15 Traejun

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 02:39 PM

You are aware that Commissars are more generally morale officers than executioners. they roam the regiment attacthing themself to whichever squad they feel they are needed.

 

It is their job to inspire troopers to do a good job just as much as it is to punish them for failing to do an adequate one.

 

Also what is this fluff are you have been reading? I`ve not come across a case of more than one member of a squad being summarily executed at a time in nearly 20 years of reading GW works.

 

In short a Commissar that works in the way you seem to imagine they all do would soon be bought up on charges for reckless conduct or pulled from line duty due to mental instability. The Imperium may not value manpower much but to needlessly waste it for no gain is something even the Munitoum has a issue with.

 

I'm not suggesting all they do is *BLAM* people.  I am suggesting that this imagined Imperial Guard Regiment where a commissar stays with the same squad, ostensibly for many years, is contrary to the fluff.



#16 venkelos

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 12:01 PM

Well, as much as OW tries to be less the "you are the squad of hero specialist awesomes" that some other 40k games do, if your group survives, and succeeds, it could quickly get to a point where, in game, that is how they will be viewed. They will eventually be considered veteran specialists, attracting better gear, and possibly some more "specialist" characters to their unit, which does things whole big squads of the "regular" Guardsmen can't always manage (your stat line will soon be superior). This same group, being a valuable asset, could have a more full-time Commissar, Priest, or AdMech with them, even if most don't.

 

To some extent, it's FFG's fault. Many of us would have cared much less about this upcoming game if they had said "you're a grunt", and not made some of the Specialists (psykers, tech-priests, other priests) possible characters, but then they also do nothing great to integrate them in, other than say "build your squad". If these are available character types, then they need to be able to walk with the squad for years, regardless of some fluff that says there are only 3 Commissars, and the psykers are kept separate, except for Grisholm, who hangs out with the base commander, and one of those three Commissars.

 

I certainly see where Commissars are often mistakenly viewed, where people think they make better leaders, but that's not their job, or where they might just cap someone for fun, but that's as much people misinterpreting things, and some players revealing that they are dumbasses, as it is what Commissars CAN do. Personally, I rarely see a point for a group to bring one, if they have a Sergeant/Commander to do the bossing, even in the TT, but they are an option, and they can have their uses.



#17 Traejun

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 12:12 PM

The specialist, while clearly a way to attract players that have an aversion to being "just a grunt," were sort of bad decisions.  An Enginseer wouldn't hang with any one particular tank crew.  The Ministorum priest and Psyker would be part of the Headquarters, not members of any particular squad.  Same applies for Commissar.  

 

The Ratling and Ogryn would also not be members of a mixed squad except under the strangest of circumstances, and then only temporarily.  Most abhumans are grouped into their own units, not mixed in with grunts.  I just view these 2 as less harmful because they aren't broken to the degree the other specialists are.  With them, you need not worry about the Pyro Psyker 1-shotting everything from jump... or the Eviscerator wielding priest critting Orks on the first operation... or the Commissar essentially coming in with "end game" gear and authority to use it.  And don't even get me started on why a single Storm Trooper would be mixed in with a squad in a regular regiment.

 

I do allow specialists in my campaigns and 1-shots.  But only 1 for the whole squad, and never Commissars or Storm Troopers.  In my current campaign, the 1 is a psyker... the other 6 people are regular guardsmen.



#18 Askil

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 12:43 AM

i`m currently playing a stormie in a squad with an ogryn, a medic, a weapon spec, a heavy gunner, an operator and a commissar. So far our only problems are trying to get a enough shots in to be useful before the frenzon addict orgyn charges and mashes everything up in combat and trying to keep him calm afterwards.

 

We avoided any problems of speialist gear inbalance by being a penal regiment and just not having it (except the commissar who so far has been underwhelming even with her full kit and the ogryn`s ripper gun which got issued but then confiscated after he "accidently" hit the commissar with it.)

 

Can`t say we`ve had any troubles with the classes except how weak the operator is in any situation outside of a tank.


Edited by Askil, 04 April 2014 - 12:48 AM.


#19 cpteveros

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 02:25 AM

I agree with how poorly the specialists are integrated into the game. They wouldn't have a place in such a setting in the fluff, why would they in the game? They even did that for the free starter mission on their website, with a commissar, ratling, and ogryn all fighting together in a jungle. How? Why? 


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#20 Spinner

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:36 AM

Well, because they were the last, desperate survivors of a failed push into an ork stronghold, frantically trying to hack their way out of the jungle before the Imperial Navy turned it into a smoking wasteland. ;)

Are you gonna find specialists in every squad? Nope, and if your group wants to play bog-standard grunts, they're probably better off not picking any. But if your group wants to play bog-standard grunts, they'll likely handle that on their own. Maybe the Commissar's assigned to keep an eye on this particular squad on a semi-permanent basis because they're sent on exceptionally dangerous and critical missions (also known as 'they're PCs'), or they just happen to keep operating in areas that he needs to be in, such as that one veteran squad kept turning up whenever Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) needed something done. Maybe the regiment uses ogryn-supported assault squads in trench-clearing actions, or the ratling sniper's been seconded to a recon squad because their last sharpshooter had a nasty encounter with a pack of kroot. The group could be assigned as bodyguards for the priest so he can preach the faith and inspire the masses without worrying about being overrun, or there's a tech-priest permanently attached to their tank because Vengeful Glory of the Imperium is getting on a bit in decades and someone needs to be on hand to make sure the rituals are done on time and nothing explodes, or or or...

 

It's not too hard to find a reason to include Specialists in the group. Does it change the flavor of the game? Yeah, but so does including a Paladin in your D&D party. You're no longer scruffy tomb robbers, you're scruffy tomb robbers who probably ought to be doing good deeds to balance out all that tomb robbing. It's all about what you and your player group want the game to be like, which is as it should be.

 

And if a bolt pistol's end-game gear for your group, it sounds like you want to be very much on the gritty 'charge across no man's land into their heavy guns while using the remains of the last assault for cover' end of the scale. Which is all fine, fun, and in-character, but...you might want to think about having someone on hand to make sure they move in the right direction, maybe someone authorized to execute anyone running away... :P


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