Jump to content



Photo

The problem with Commissars.


  • Please log in to reply
161 replies to this topic

#41 Spazmunke

Spazmunke

    Member

  • Members
  • 21 posts

Posted 19 June 2013 - 04:10 PM

My opinion on all of the support specialists is that they are included more for "completenes" sake, and should not be included without permission of the GM if at all.  They all seem to require a lot of work just to fit in. A commissar really wouldnt be assigned to a squad, nor would an Ogryn or Ratling.  Hell none of the Support guys would be assigned to a squad on a permenent basis.  In one game we played the ST was in the squad, but with heavy modifications, such as no ST carapace and no HS Lasgun, but had a long las if I remember.



#42 Darck Child

Darck Child

    Member

  • Members
  • 163 posts

Posted 19 June 2013 - 06:15 PM

Spazmunke said:

My opinion on all of the support specialists is that they are included more for "completenes" sake, and should not be included without permission of the GM if at all.  They all seem to require a lot of work just to fit in. A commissar really wouldnt be assigned to a squad, nor would an Ogryn or Ratling.  Hell none of the Support guys would be assigned to a squad on a permenent basis.  In one game we played the ST was in the squad, but with heavy modifications, such as no ST carapace and no HS Lasgun, but had a long las if I remember.

 

I understand your point all to well, and I'm not going to dissuade you of it otherwise. On most levels I agree with it.

 

Having said this I could see where those roles would work in a story but not in every story.

 

Ultimately it's up to the Storyteller and the group to allow any character into the story.  The Storyteller wanst to run an armoured tank platoon, there isn't going to be much room for a weapon specialist aiming to become a marksman.  

 

Heck some roles/characters are best left suited as a NPC.

 

It all comes down to the group and the story they want to tell.



#43 Melil13

Melil13

    Member

  • Members
  • 18 posts

Posted 20 June 2013 - 04:55 AM

We have both a Commissar and a Tech Priest in out group as support specialties. 

At first we thought they might be out of place within our group but I trust both players to pull it off and they have.

Our Commissar isnt their just to Execute everyone or use his rank to bully the squad. It is for the Squads Chain of Command and Sgt to give out the orders. It is the Commissars job to ensure the orders are carried our and proper discipline is maintained. 

The Commander says charge the orks to buy the Tech Priest time to fix the ship. Weapon Specialist says No … Commissar shoots his comrade or intimidates him. 

Or

Werid Boy Casts a Fear spell and everyone fails … well the commissar is there and "Modivates" the squad to counter the Fear spell.


In these aspects of the game he fits in very well. I would have designed them a bit better for that role imho …  Summary Execution for instance would be to give everyone a bonus on WP tests vs Pinning/Fear or a reroll :P or both

They are there for moral support.



#44 Spazmunke

Spazmunke

    Member

  • Members
  • 21 posts

Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:36 AM

Very true, any of the support specialists can do well in a group if you can roleplay it.  My biggest concern is the fluff reason why they are with your squad indefinetly.



#45 Dracurian

Dracurian

    Member

  • Members
  • 43 posts

Posted 08 July 2013 - 10:32 PM

It should be remembered that the support specialist have no actual rank in the section's Imperial Guard regiment.

 

To be specific to Commisars, as this is the tread:

Ibram Gaunt is noted as being a wierd exception for Commissars in nearly every one of the Gaunt's ghost novels.

Commissars are there only to see disciplne is maintained; that orders obeyed; & ensure heretical & traitorous leanings squashed.

 

Commissars inhabit a grey area, they must obey orders from those higher up the IG chain of command, but can not actually give them, unless there is evidence of wrong doing from the ordering officer, then the Commissar can assume command if he/she is the senior Commisar available, but she/he better have the evidence to back him/her up with the rest of the Commisariate or she/he just may find themselves up against the wall.

 

Also, the Commissar is actually subject to THREE chains-of-authority, that of the regiment he/she is attached to; the departmento Munitorium; & the commisariate.

 

To use Dan Abnett's books; Gaunt has no love for the Munitorium paper work, so fobs all of it off onto Hark, who in turn fobs it off to the lower ranked commissars of the regiment. But the endless paper work from the Munitorium; Guard; & Commisariate are always poping up in the novels.

 

Player character Commissars should officially, be spending alot of their down time writing reports & filling out paper work to justify the actions taken; munitions expended; casualties taken; etc, by the PC's unit on the mission. This of course can nicely help the PC's if their current CO has secretly turned traitor.

 

Something the other guardsmen do not have to do, except the Sergent, but he only has to answer to the CO, & depending upon the regiment, may not have to write reports at all.

 

Only the Enginseer & Priest have similar demands upon their time, but they have absolutely no authority & no actual responsability with respect to the Guard, particularly the Enginseer.

 

As to why there is a permently assigned Commissar, well the 40K game has Commissars joining individual sections in the Codex:Imperial Guard army lists.

 

But my personal preference is that the standard Only War RPG unit is an ecclectic mix of personel from Guardsmen; Ratlings; Priests; to even Ogryns.

 

Obviously a misfit/cast-off unit that noone is really sure what to do with. So fob 'em off to a Commissar that the other Commissar's are not really sure what to do with.

 

To butcher dialogue from one of my Favourite movies:-

 

Commissar Ripley: "I am sorry Govenor, but I think Corporal Hicks has authority here,"

Govenor Burke: "Corporal Hicks?!"

Commissar Ripley: "Yes, this operation is under Imperial Guard control, and Corporal Hicks is next in chain of command; am I right Corporal?"

Corporal Hicks: "Yeah, *sigh*, that's right,"

 

 

Treatise endeth......

:P


Edited by Dracurian, 09 July 2013 - 08:53 AM.

P.S: Dictionaries ar efor poeple eho can't spel. Obviously I am not one of thym. :P

"Some subjects are so serious that one can only joke about them." -Niels Bohr

 


#46 Robomummy

Robomummy

    Member

  • Members
  • 255 posts

Posted 09 July 2013 - 08:59 AM

"When it comes to dispensing battlefield justice a commissar is given complete discretion and authority, his judgment is the will of the emperor and beyond censure" -Imperial Infantryman's uplifting primer.

 

yes a commissar must fill out paperwork and justify himself/herself, unless it is under battlefield circumstances. In combat a commissar has absolute authority over the situation, they still need to write after action reports but they will not be punished for their actions of executing guardsmen, even if they had no real cause to.

 

Only War should be about the massed ranks of ordinary men and women fighting the horrors of the universe, the misfit/castoff dirty dozen unit has been used ad-nauseum.


Check out my podcast Buckets Of Dice where myself and a friend review how to start various different kinds of tabletop, roleplaying, and CCG games. http://bucketsofdice.podomatic.com/ Each episode focuses on a new game, we discuss a little about the game's backround, rules, how to start/ what to buy, and a little about the company.  


#47 Dracurian

Dracurian

    Member

  • Members
  • 43 posts

Posted 09 July 2013 - 09:47 AM

"When it comes to dispensing battlefield justice a commissar is given complete discretion and authority, his judgment is the will of the emperor and beyond censure" -Imperial Infantryman's uplifting primer.

 

...............

 

 

Yeah, but the Uplifting primer also goes on to state that: "It is enough to know that an Ork is slow-witted and will cause no problems for a properly trained Imperial Infantryman." and "..is easily confused by loud noises & sudden movement."

 

So I think we can all agree it is written in a very specific way.

 

However, you did make a point about the guardsmen. Whilst the Guardsman executed may not get a mention, failure to return/account for the soldiers equipment will need to be justified by the Commissar.

The Commissar is an officer of the Departmento Munitorium, which can have you shot for things like not respecting the office of the Munitorium. Rule XXXI (Art.8533/26q) :D

 

In the Imperial Infantryman's Handbook by the way, Munitorium manual section. Funny stuff.

 

Anywhoo; I think we should agree that it all comes down to what your interpretation of a Commissar is.

After all the common opinion of WWI Generals was; Gentlemen sitting in Paris chatteus drinking sherry & idly throwing soldiers into machine guns. Some were actually compentent. :o

 

My sense of two...........

:ph34r:


P.S: Dictionaries ar efor poeple eho can't spel. Obviously I am not one of thym. :P

"Some subjects are so serious that one can only joke about them." -Niels Bohr

 


#48 Robomummy

Robomummy

    Member

  • Members
  • 255 posts

Posted 09 July 2013 - 10:33 AM

 

Yeah, but the Uplifting primer also goes on to state that: "It is enough to know that an Ork is slow-witted and will cause no problems for a properly trained Imperial Infantryman." and "..is easily confused by loud noises & sudden movement."

 

So I think we can all agree it is written in a very specific way.

 

That's the point, you should be playing form the point of view of a guardsmen, this is the information they are given which to them makes it fact. It doesn't matter that it is all propaganda, since you playing a guardsmen in all likelihood you will not know that.

 

as for commissars they are mostly zealots who shoot a soldier for looking away from the enemy and are commanded by likeminded individuals so there is a lot of room for people to mess with the game.


Check out my podcast Buckets Of Dice where myself and a friend review how to start various different kinds of tabletop, roleplaying, and CCG games. http://bucketsofdice.podomatic.com/ Each episode focuses on a new game, we discuss a little about the game's backround, rules, how to start/ what to buy, and a little about the company.  


#49 Terraneaux

Terraneaux

    Member

  • Members
  • 226 posts

Posted 09 July 2013 - 12:55 PM

Robomummy, you need to stop thinking that the way that you force players to play in your games is the be-all end-all for Only War.  ****, I'm running a game where the characters are in a penal regiment, so it's like they're an entire regiment of 'dirty dozen' types.  One of the things about the 40k setting is that it is very, very large - there is room for a huge amount of variety.  Things are not 'just one way.'  There's an insane amount of variation within the Imperial Creed itself, for example, as long as they follow certain basic tenets.  The Imperium is too large for everything to be standardized.  On some planets knowledge of what an ork is and what they do is commonplace, on others they'll ask 'What's an ork?'  It all depends.  Also note that the version of the Primer that we have is the one that's for one particular crusade, not something that's distributed Imperium-wide.



#50 Robomummy

Robomummy

    Member

  • Members
  • 255 posts

Posted 09 July 2013 - 02:14 PM

Robomummy, you need to stop thinking that the way that you force players to play in your games is the be-all end-all for Only War.  ****, I'm running a game where the characters are in a penal regiment, so it's like they're an entire regiment of 'dirty dozen' types.  One of the things about the 40k setting is that it is very, very large - there is room for a huge amount of variety.  Things are not 'just one way.'  There's an insane amount of variation within the Imperial Creed itself, for example, as long as they follow certain basic tenets.  The Imperium is too large for everything to be standardized.  On some planets knowledge of what an ork is and what they do is commonplace, on others they'll ask 'What's an ork?'  It all depends.  Also note that the version of the Primer that we have is the one that's for one particular crusade, not something that's distributed Imperium-wide.

I do not force players to play any way, this is the way they choose to play and my problem is the system doesn't support it. Yes you can make something like the last chancers or a group of specialists but there is emphasized to the point where it is difficult to play the way the guard is portrayed in the fluff.


Check out my podcast Buckets Of Dice where myself and a friend review how to start various different kinds of tabletop, roleplaying, and CCG games. http://bucketsofdice.podomatic.com/ Each episode focuses on a new game, we discuss a little about the game's backround, rules, how to start/ what to buy, and a little about the company.  


#51 Terraneaux

Terraneaux

    Member

  • Members
  • 226 posts

Posted 09 July 2013 - 10:19 PM

I do not force players to play any way, this is the way they choose to play and my problem is the system doesn't support it. Yes you can make something like the last chancers or a group of specialists but there is emphasized to the point where it is difficult to play the way the guard is portrayed in the fluff.

 

Bull.  No one is making one of your players play a Commissar or Ratling or Ogryn.  You're just irritated the option is even available, I'm guessing because your players are in fact interested in playing those specialties and you're stuck in the position of having to tell them no.



#52 Sazabi

Sazabi

    Member

  • Members
  • 6 posts

Posted 09 July 2013 - 11:27 PM

One should point out that the Commissars goal is the success of missions for the Imperial Guard, which leads to the defense of the Imperium. A Commissar shoots soldiers to ensure the others follow orders, by way of showing that WILL die if they disobey. A Commissar shoots officers to show that incompetent command is not tolerated. Killing a Field Commander is acceptable if they are failing to fulfill the orders of the Imperial Guard. Killing the high command, leading to the loss of the world is just as bad or worse then having the occasional incompetent order. The Commissar had an obligation to protect the Imperium, and he failed, no matter how you justify it. Reporting to higher authorities (and there are ALWAYS higher authorities in the Imperium), and having the offending general removed would be much more prudent. If the general was going to loose the whole world with his orders, then kill him, and promote the next in command. Killing the whole staff is unwarranted, foolish, and detrimental to Imperium as a whole. Frankly, your Commissar is a disgrace to the concept and should be killed by a competent Commissar, who actually knows how to do the job.



#53 bogi_khaosa

bogi_khaosa

    Member

  • Members
  • 2,008 posts

Posted 10 July 2013 - 05:29 AM

The Commissariat is really the NKVD in space. That is its clear inspiration.

 

Could an NKVD-man just walk up and pop Marshal Zhukov in the head? No. Not without orders. Orders which aren't going to be given because Marshal Zhukov is very important for the war effort.


Edited by bogi_khaosa, 10 July 2013 - 05:32 AM.


#54 Routa-maa

Routa-maa

    Member

  • Members
  • 411 posts

Posted 10 July 2013 - 06:19 AM

Marshal Zhukov gives orders that are interpreted as going against High Lords of Terra's command of invading planet at all cost. Commissar can "pop" Bolt in to his head without any consequence.

 

Marshal Zhukov says it's suicide and he will not give order to attack on well defended complex. Commissar might execute him for cowardliness, again without consequences.

 

No one in Imperial Guard is Indispensable. Not even High Lords of Terra appointed Warmaster/High Commander/some other fancy title, if he brings Emperors Wrath (read Commissariate) on himself by his own sloppiness.


Muutokselle annamme Elämän, Elämälle annamme Muutoksen.

#55 Robomummy

Robomummy

    Member

  • Members
  • 255 posts

Posted 10 July 2013 - 06:38 AM

 

I do not force players to play any way, this is the way they choose to play and my problem is the system doesn't support it. Yes you can make something like the last chancers or a group of specialists but there is emphasized to the point where it is difficult to play the way the guard is portrayed in the fluff.

 

Bull.  No one is making one of your players play a Commissar or Ratling or Ogryn.  You're just irritated the option is even available, I'm guessing because your players are in fact interested in playing those specialties and you're stuck in the position of having to tell them no.

 

Your guess is wrong, I know why they had to put the options in the book and I understand that, I just don't think they fit into what they claim Only War is supposed to be about. In an army of massed ranks of humanity you are still playing a group of specialists who in almost every other situation would not be fighting together. That's basically what the game comes down to and while that's fine for a few games its the same story with different mission and gets boring. I don't think you should be able to build a squad of guardsmen without a single guardsman in it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

One should point out that the Commissars goal is the success of missions for the Imperial Guard, which leads to the defense of the Imperium. A Commissar shoots soldiers to ensure the others follow orders, by way of showing that WILL die if they disobey. A Commissar shoots officers to show that incompetent command is not tolerated. Killing a Field Commander is acceptable if they are failing to fulfill the orders of the Imperial Guard. Killing the high command, leading to the loss of the world is just as bad or worse then having the occasional incompetent order. The Commissar had an obligation to protect the Imperium, and he failed, no matter how you justify it. Reporting to higher authorities (and there are ALWAYS higher authorities in the Imperium), and having the offending general removed would be much more prudent. If the general was going to loose the whole world with his orders, then kill him, and promote the next in command. Killing the whole staff is unwarranted, foolish, and detrimental to Imperium as a whole. Frankly, your Commissar is a disgrace to the concept and should be killed by a competent Commissar, who actually knows how to do the job.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 

Yes that is what a commissar is SUPPOSED to do, but the rank leads to the ability to abuse their power to a certain extent. Maybe not quite that far but they can ruin the game for everyone else. This is why if you are going to play a commissar you only let people you trust not to abuse their power play them. Even then it still doesn't seem to fit as I believe you shouldn't be able to create a character above the rank of SGT. (and yes I know commissars don't technically have ranks).   
 


Edited by Robomummy, 10 July 2013 - 06:44 AM.

Check out my podcast Buckets Of Dice where myself and a friend review how to start various different kinds of tabletop, roleplaying, and CCG games. http://bucketsofdice.podomatic.com/ Each episode focuses on a new game, we discuss a little about the game's backround, rules, how to start/ what to buy, and a little about the company.  


#56 Spinner

Spinner

    Member

  • Members
  • 38 posts

Posted 10 July 2013 - 08:25 AM

 

 

I do not force players to play any way, this is the way they choose to play and my problem is the system doesn't support it. Yes you can make something like the last chancers or a group of specialists but there is emphasized to the point where it is difficult to play the way the guard is portrayed in the fluff.

 

Bull.  No one is making one of your players play a Commissar or Ratling or Ogryn.  You're just irritated the option is even available, I'm guessing because your players are in fact interested in playing those specialties and you're stuck in the position of having to tell them no.

 

Your guess is wrong, I know why they had to put the options in the book and I understand that, I just don't think they fit into what they claim Only War is supposed to be about. In an army of massed ranks of humanity you are still playing a group of specialists who in almost every other situation would not be fighting together. That's basically what the game comes down to and while that's fine for a few games its the same story with different mission and gets boring. I don't think you should be able to build a squad of guardsmen without a single guardsman in it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

For me, the cool thing about the Imperial Guard is how enormously varied it is. You've got your Mobile Infantry/Colonial Marines-style Cadians fighting alongside Mongols with explosive spears, WWII and WWI trench warfare specialists being forewarned of a big push by Rambo expies with muscles that apparently work like flak armor, penal legions scraped together by uncaring commanders to shove into the meat grinder standing by elite regiments in gene-coded carapace...a military force with countless men and women from a million worlds is going to end up fighting with an unthinkable number of doctrines and strategies, which could even extend to squad makeup. I'm glad the game allows for playing the Commissar and his Ogryn bodyguards as well as a standard infantry squad, or a fireteam assigned to escort a tech-priest as he examines the ruined levels of the underhive for signs of tech-heresy, or an elite stormtrooper-led strike force supporting an armored push through enemy lines, or... ;)



#57 Terraneaux

Terraneaux

    Member

  • Members
  • 226 posts

Posted 10 July 2013 - 12:59 PM

Your guess is wrong, I know why they had to put the options in the book and I understand that, I just don't think they fit into what they claim Only War is supposed to be about. In an army of massed ranks of humanity you are still playing a group of specialists who in almost every other situation would not be fighting together. That's basically what the game comes down to and while that's fine for a few games its the same story with different mission and gets boring. I don't think you should be able to build a squad of guardsmen without a single guardsman in it.

 

 

Having the support specialists in the game does not go against 'what they claim Only War is supposed to be about.'  The PC's were never supposed to be playing nameless guardsmen, that's what your PC's Comrades are for.  And what's this business about not being able to build a squad of guardsmen without a single guardsmen in it?  What do you even mean by that?  In theory everyone could play support specialties, but you'd still have comrades hanging out with you filling out the numbers.  



#58 Robomummy

Robomummy

    Member

  • Members
  • 255 posts

Posted 10 July 2013 - 01:07 PM

I mean you can build an entire squad without a normal guardsman (I don't count comrades). Fr example lets say you have a squad with a ratling, ogryn, commissar, preist, psyker. not one of those is a normal guardsmen, I know Only War is not directed as the players playing as faceless guardsmen but that's what they sold it as, personally I like the Idea of faceless guardsmen becoming the heroes and save the day only to have their commanders get the credit and their names never known. the way Only war is set up is that It focuses more on the specialists rather then the faceless guardsman. The classes I think actually fit into this game (or what Fantasy flight describes the game as) are the Heavy weapons specialist, the operator, the medic, the weapon specialist, and the stormtrooper. Again I know hey had to put the other classes in the book but I don't think they fit. They say that the game is based on the massed ranks of the guard but the way it is played is like Dark Heresy, a team of people who are already specialists or important sent into a mission that only they can accomplish.


Check out my podcast Buckets Of Dice where myself and a friend review how to start various different kinds of tabletop, roleplaying, and CCG games. http://bucketsofdice.podomatic.com/ Each episode focuses on a new game, we discuss a little about the game's backround, rules, how to start/ what to buy, and a little about the company.  


#59 Spinner

Spinner

    Member

  • Members
  • 38 posts

Posted 10 July 2013 - 01:20 PM

You count the stormtrooper as fitting into the "faceless guardsman" role, but not the sergeant?

A squad like that's perfectly possible in theory, but I dunno how often you'd run into it. That's like saying you can build an acolyte team of five adepts. Sure, it can happen in theory, and it could have a perfectly legitimate background justification and lead to an interesting story (at least for the gaming group who wants to play with five adepts!), but in practice you're not likely to run into it very often. It's also not like having the other options takes away from the guardsman classes. A squad consisting of a weapons specialist, operator, medic, heavy gunner, and sergeant (or stormtrooper) covers the bases pretty well.

 

I could see that group you listed acting as a senior officer's advisors-slash-bodyguards, actually. That could be fun.



#60 Robomummy

Robomummy

    Member

  • Members
  • 255 posts

Posted 10 July 2013 - 02:17 PM

You count the stormtrooper as fitting into the "faceless guardsman" role, but not the sergeant?

My mistake I forgot to list the Sergeant.

 

 

I could see that group you listed acting as a senior officer's advisors-slash-bodyguards, actually. That could be fun.

 

And that's fine if that's the game you want to play but if you want to play it as guardsmen who are just part of the massed infantry charge and trying to survive in the middle of a warzone then it seems your options are more limited. The way only war is set up is that it focuses more on stuff like Black Ops style missions where your squad is sent alone to kill some target or seize some objective. That's fine for some games but what about the rest of the company that is charging into battle with you? Where is the theme that the guardsmen are just one out of thousands? I personally don't see it in this book and though I like the RPG doesn't really fit into what I think an Imperial Guard RPG should be like without putting a lot more work into writing the campaigns.


Edited by Robomummy, 10 July 2013 - 02:19 PM.

Check out my podcast Buckets Of Dice where myself and a friend review how to start various different kinds of tabletop, roleplaying, and CCG games. http://bucketsofdice.podomatic.com/ Each episode focuses on a new game, we discuss a little about the game's backround, rules, how to start/ what to buy, and a little about the company.  





© 2013 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are ® of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact | User Support | Rules Questions | Help | RSS