There’s no ONE thing I’d like to see from Only War – there are about 20! Here’s a list of a few thoughts…
1. I’d like to see an interesting setting. As a 40k background and setting addict, whenever I get a new Core Book, I leap straight to the setting section. Logically, the setting is going to be a major warzone, perhaps another Crusade. I’ve loved the Achillus Assault and Jericho Reach sourcebooks for Deathwatch, so I’d like more of that!
2. Interesting opponents for the Imperial Guard. Each 40k RPG setting has had different opponents. Dark Heresy covered chaos cults and unique xenos, Rogue Trader has Orks, Eldar, some Dark Eldar (possibly), and a couple of unique xenos, Deathwatch has Tau, Tyranids and chaos, and Black Crusade has Necrons, the Imperium and Chaos in its various permutations.
I’m not one of those who works myself into a frenzy over any alleged failure to publish rules for every aspect of the TT game. I remember various rants on these boards over the years about a failure to cover marines/orks/tau/elder etc. I’ve always taken the view that FFG will get round to those things eventually.
As a 40k fan since it was first published, what I really crave is novelty. Much as I admire and respect the quality of sections in Rogue Trader supplements that cover Ork society, or sections of the Jericho Reach book that cover every variation of Tyranid beastie, this is stuff (well, background) we have seen before. It’s skilled adaptation rather than innovation. If I have a choice between learning about Orks or learning about Rak’Gol marauders, I’ll pick the Rak’Gol, because I know less about them.
(That’s not intended as criticism, by the way. In fact I know I’m in a minority here; I reckon 90% of the fans probably don’t agree with me on this.)
So what I’m saying here is that I want to see NEW opponents. New races, new interpretations. I love the Deathwatch setting material, but it only really sets out 3 major opponents, all of who are very familiar to 40k fans. The Tyranids, the Tau and the Stigmatus (who are portrayed as very very similar to the Blood Pact.)
So maybe new xenos opponents…non Imperial, non chaotic human empires…chaos forces that are markedly different to the Blood Pact…all this kind of stuff. Perhaps even weirder things like non-necron machine intelligences, non-chaotic warp creatures like enslavers, that sort of thing.
I imagine that FFG will go for a mix of opponents, and if I had to put money down I’d imagine they’d be seeking to cover opponents not dealt with in detail in the 40k setting so far. This could include things like the Dark Eldar, or Orks (I know there’s DH and RT stuff on them, but it’s not as detailed as, say, the Tau stuff in DW.) I just hope that they also add some new stuff, like they did with the Slaugth in DH and the Stryxis and Rak’Gol in Rogue Trader.
3. Some interesting new regiments. This links to the above: as I own every Imperial Guard book and supplement published (apart from some of the more obscure BL stuff,) I might glaze over a bit if the Only War book covers in detail how well regarded the Cadians are, or how rough life is back home for the Catachans. I know many many things about the Cadians, Catachans, Praetorians, Valhallans, Attilans, Elysians, Drookian Fen Guard etc etc.
Instead, I’d like to see stuff about new regiments: their recruitment, training, homeworlds etc. One imagines that in due course there’ll be a book of regiments – that’s going to be interesting.
4. More stuff about the Imperial Guard Ranking system – OK, it may well be intentionally a convoluted mess, but I’d like to know stuff about the ranks above colonel – how the Munitorum governs the various regiments at the General Staff level. I’m a sucker for that kind of tedious detail…(though I recognise not everyone will be, so perhaps this might not happen!)
5. Some new Guard vehicles. Now I recognise this might not happen, for various reasons.
One of the few irrational bugbears I have about the Imperial Guard is the lack of a jeep/Humvee equivalent. I know about the Tauros Venator, but that’s described as pretty much a drop-regiment specific vehicle.
It’s just always seemed ridiculous to me that an army the size of the Guard is reliant entirely upon tracked vehicles. Where are the trucks? The jeeps? Is water really always transported to the front in vats dragged by Trojan tractors? I know 40k is dystopian, and Guard high command ruthless, but I didn’t think they were wasteful of fuel. Lives, yes. Fuel, no. Tracked vehicles eat up huge amounts of fuel. Wheeled vehicles don’t. They’re faster, more economical and easier to produce en masse.
I have always been, and remain, baffled as to why GW have never produced a plastic wheeled jeep, truck or armoured car. I’d buy 6 of them immediately, and most guard players would too. I note that a lot of “parasite” companies that make unlicensed and unauthorised miniature parts for GW games make wheeled conversion kits allowing players to turn their Chimeras into armoured cars. This is money GW could be raking in!
But I recognise FFG work within the canon. And the canon has little information (beyond the work of BL writers) about wheeled vehicles in the guard. The only way around this would be for FFG to invent a theatre specific wheeled vehicle, perhaps of controversial provenance that can be used locally. That allows FFG to let players use a jeep equivalent without stepping outside the canon. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle it.
6. Playable Abhuman troops. Especially the Afriel Strain. I wrote up some rules for them in Dark Heresy a while ago – I’d like to see them in Only War. Perhaps even a setting-specific variation on the Afriel Strain?
Nathan “No1 h3r3” Dowdell wrote some excellent rules for abhumans in DH, so I’d love to see him do the same for abhumans in Only War.