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#41 Terraneaux

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 09:30 PM

What if it's one of the combat drug regiments, not the explosive collar ones a la Savlar?



#42 Askold

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 11:48 PM

From lexicanum: http://wh40k.lexican...ar#.U3mZayh1Ojk

 

 

When a Commissar decides that a Cadet has failed in his duty to become a Commissar, but has not shown cowardice or insubordination, the Cadet is relieved and may be either sent to a Stormtrooper unit or become an officer in a penal battalion.

 

The commissar in a penal legion/regiment/battalion is there as a punishment. He is no more likely to get out of the unit alive than any penal trooper and is by all odds a cynical and fatalistic fanatic hoping to find redemption in death. They may be a bit less expendable than the penal troops but they are certainly expected to die in the front line.

 

Actually, the first Last Chancer's book specifically mentions that a certain penal battalion was ordered to do a diversionary attack and their commissar would ensure that they would die to the last man rather than retreat, the implication being that his death was part of the plan as well and he had no problem with it.



#43 FieserMoep

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 12:40 AM

 

the implication being that his death was part of the plan as well and he had no problem with it.

 

Every commissar, worth its Coin, should accept death as part of the plan when it is about a mission. In that regard he is no more fatalistic than a commissar in a line infantry regiment that takes the first step out of a trench with a frigging huge banner that tells everyone on the other side "shoot me".

 

As long as the mission is worth it, any commissar would sacrifice a regiment and himself, being in a penal legion just makes it easier for you are not loosing a valuable asset. Thats why you would not stuff such a regiment with several commissars, the administratum wants the bill to be as cheap as possible while keeping some basic efficiency.



#44 Lynata

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:03 AM

What if it's one of the combat drug regiments, not the explosive collar ones a la Savlar?

 

Ooh, tricky. I guess I would handle it like an ordinary regiment, but with lapsed discipline - so, the upper end of the spectrum, with about 0.5-1 per company?

 

The commissar in a penal legion/regiment/battalion is there as a punishment. 

 

I don't think Commissars being punished remain Commissars. The (fan-edited and slightly altered) text from Lexicanum is a reference to the White Dwarf Article on Commissar Training Squads, and personally I'd interpret "officer in a penal battalion" to refer to a Guard rank like company captain or some such, but not a Commissar position.

 

(and am I the only one thinking that Hero's coat looks like a [ex-]Commissar's?)

 

As long as the mission is worth it, any commissar would sacrifice a regiment and himself, being in a penal legion just makes it easier for you are not loosing a valuable asset. Thats why you would not stuff such a regiment with several commissars, the administratum wants the bill to be as cheap as possible while keeping some basic efficiency.

 

My opinion as well. Commissars "die easily", but there's no reason to just throw them away when they can be of better use in a real regiment that will not lose 2/3 its men in the first deployment. The Imperium has invested too much in them for that.


current 40k RPG character: Aura Vashaan, Astromancer Witch-Priestess
previous characters: Captain Elias (Celestial Lions Chapter -- debriefed), Comrade-Trooper Dasha Malenko (1207th Valhallan Ice Warriors -- KIA), Sister Elana (Order of the Sacred Rose -- assassinated), Leftenant Darion Baylesworth (Rogue Trader Artemisia -- retired), Taleera "Raven" Nephran (Hive Ganger & Inquisitorial Assassin -- mindwiped)

#45 Terraneaux

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 07:22 PM

I'd imagine that you probably pissed someone off or graduated last in your class or something to get sent to hang out with a penal regiment.  Not quite as likely of a death sentence as being assigned to the Catachan Devils, but still no fun.  


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#46 venkelos

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 09:04 AM

Kind of makes me laugh, because some assume that the Commissar is being punished, or that they must be viewed as lesser quality to get this job. Your average Guardsman is an untainted, Emperor-fearing, trained soldier, and might only need a Commissar as an occasional reminder, while the Penal Legionnaire is a conniving, potentially murdering whack job who might only be there because they are already wearing Battle Royale collars, or maybe because they actually DO want the Emperor's forgiveness. This job seems more for the hardened, already-tested Commissars, men and women who have already had to put down more agreeable troops, knowing that these "soldiers" would run, defect, or worse given half a chance. If many Penal Legions weren't sent on suicide missions, and I doubt all of them are, I'd say only the best Commissars would get this job, as they might be among the few figures able to get through all the jerk-off in these blighted souls' heads, and still scare them enough to pull some obedience out. PLs flip the aquilla to Arbites, and they have carapace armor, shock mauls, possibly bolters or shotguns, and the Commissars who get this detachment can still somehow demand, and receive loyalty out of them. My feelings, anyway.


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#47 Lynata

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 12:25 PM

It's a good point - kind of looking at it from the opposite direction, but valid in its own right.

 

It pretty much depends on who you think plays the largest role when it comes to keeping the troops in line during deployment. In my little version of the setting, this would be the Penal Custodians, hard-bitten vets like Schaeffer who act like a Commissar even though they're not. I'll freely admit that the only thing I can base this interpretation on is a very short story in the 3rd Edition Guard Codex, though. Penal Legions have never been described in great detail, or at least not in the studio material. Black Library might have more on the subject, but then again, different authors may promote different ideas there, too.

 

It's up to us to choose - the most important thing is that, internally, our preferred vision of the setting is consistent and makes sense. Everything else is just preferences, and there's little to no accounting for taste. ;)


current 40k RPG character: Aura Vashaan, Astromancer Witch-Priestess
previous characters: Captain Elias (Celestial Lions Chapter -- debriefed), Comrade-Trooper Dasha Malenko (1207th Valhallan Ice Warriors -- KIA), Sister Elana (Order of the Sacred Rose -- assassinated), Leftenant Darion Baylesworth (Rogue Trader Artemisia -- retired), Taleera "Raven" Nephran (Hive Ganger & Inquisitorial Assassin -- mindwiped)

#48 FieserMoep

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 01:28 PM

There are roughly "more" than a few ten-thousand penal legions around, I bet some of them work as you think they do. :)

As long as you can explain it, and as long as it stays true to the overall theme of the setting everything works.

 

We also have such things like the Terrax Guard where roughly any single Guardsman would qualify for commissar.






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