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Only War & other edition NPC enemies.


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#1 Mr T

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 03:49 AM

Hello everyone!

 

I go by the alias Mr T on some gaming forums as my first name begins with an T ;)
anyway, I have a question about game balance and difficulty.

 

I'm holding in a short Only War adventure over the summer and it is drawing to its end. so the player characters and their platoon are going to make a raid on a major spaceport on the planet they are on and cripple its defenses etc, before the entire Imperial army begins to assault the spaceport. the defenders of the spaceport are human rebels that doesn't wish to join the imperium and they got assistance from the Tau Impire to fight of the Imperial forces (the Imperial guard)

 

When I looked over the Tau NPCs in the Deathwatch books I realized they are pretty hard hitting. like the fire warriors are scary enough! So I thought should I nerf the weapon stats on their weapons and some of their elite units like the battle suits to make it more manageable for the poor guardsmen?

as an example the pulse rifle does the same damage as an Astartes Heavy bolter. so maybe nerf the pulse rifle down to be equal with a normal heavy bolter for guardsmen?  I know i need to make some changes to the battle suits when it comes to unnatural characteristics and such as they are different in Only War.   

 

the spaceport will be a dungeon crawling themed gaming session as well if any would wonder. so "healing pots" and such will be available at some places. 

 

 



#2 TormDK

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:22 AM

Depending on what books you have access to, you could also take some stats from the Rogue Trader line. I know there are Xeno's described there, with stats that can Work for DH/RT/OW without many considerations.



#3 Mr T

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 06:25 AM

I have almost the entire rogue trader collection and some of the death watch books.

#4 LuciusT

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 08:36 AM

If you look in Rogue Trader and Rogue Trader: Into the Storm, you can find toned down versions of most of the Tau weapons. Another thing I've found that works is to tone down the Unnatural Characteristics to 2 per multiplier... so an Unnatural Strength (x3) becomes Unnatural Strength (4). Those fairly simple changes make most of the higher end foes from Deathwatch more manageable by Guardsmen.



#5 Mr T

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 08:50 AM

Okay thanks, that sounds alright.  
What about weapons that the battle suits use, like burst cannons, plasma rifles, missile pods etc? 



#6 LuciusT

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:53 PM

Compare like to like. A Burst Canon does 2d10+2. An Astartes Flamers does 2d10+2. A Guard flamer does 1d10+4. Therefore, a Guard scale Burst Canon might do 1d10+4. It's not a perfect solution by any means, and some judgement will be called for in places, but it's a place to start.



#7 Tygre

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 08:50 PM

Enemies of the Imperium, page 105, has profiles for Tau weapons, under the Coldfire Kindred.


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#8 Mr T

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 04:35 PM

Oh thanks Tygre, i totally missed that!
And that sounds like a good idea LuciusT. 

 

the modified weapons in the Deathwatch Errata was a bit too much with a damage like 1D10+12... so i guess 2D10+ will be fine but there is a chance to get a higher burst damage thou.



#9 Mr T

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 04:37 AM

Sorry for double post
I've been looking around in my Death watch books but i haven't found any profiles for normal Tau Crisis suits. do they exist and can someone tell me where they are if they do?



#10 Routa-maa

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 05:34 AM

Ark of Lost Souls (p.123-124) has Vanguard  Battlesuit (Elite) and Commander-Variant (Master) stats. Corebook commander and Vanguard Commander has almost same stats, so taking Vanguard Battlesuit stats for normal Crisis Suit is quite quick. Didn't seem to find them from anywhere else.

 

Also this is good site to check 40K RPG Tools


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#11 ranoncles

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 04:18 PM

I seem to recall a similar discussion about genestealers. A GM wanted his players to face genestealers but because they were too strong, he wanted to nerf them to managable proportions. At which point they no longer are genestealers but merely vicious 4-armed monkeys....

 

Same with the Tau. At which point of nerfing them do they stop being Tau and just opponents named Tau?

 

Since your scenario mentions an assault on a human-defended space port, the humans should be the main opposition (and they can be nasty and memorable enough). Just add one or two Tau with regular equipment as leaders/liasion to provide a nasty boss fight. Just make sure your players have the means of taking them on such as krak grenades or some high penetration or high damage weapon and put them in a memorable location, fighting from a series of gantries or landing platforms filled with prometheum stocks or similar explosive materials. Maybe they have to 'liberate' a heavy lifter sentinel or two and go mano a mano against a Tau in the fuel storage facility (so no firing.....). Perhaps they need to reprogram the space port servitors to attack the Tau or just fight off waves of human rebels while the attached tech-priest rewrites the programming...

 

If all of this works and your players are still alive and eager for more, let them attack the control tower or similar important structure which is defended by a Tau unit. The players can either launch a squad-sized assault and try to figure out how to do it without being killed out of hand (just make sure your players know this is beyond their regular paycheck and they need to be smart and creative about it or they will be killed) or they can be part of a massed assault. Describe a full charge on foot by dozens of guardsmen. All around them, men are being blown apart and the players have to dodge a few ranged attacks as they cross the kill zone (give them a dodge+10 because there is some safety in numbers) and then have them charge into melee with several guardsmen attacking a each Tau. Play the Tau to full effect but unless the Tau can land a killing blow in one round, a wounded guardsman can always disengage and be replaced by another (player or NPC). Think wolfpack tactics.

 

With the right kind of location and situational props, this could be a memorable fight with a few fate points burned away but perhaps a few earned too.



#12 Lynata

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 09:24 AM

Something to remember is that the different games of FFG's 40k RPG line are simply not designed to be run with each other. They have different "power levels", different rules, and different stats. The Genestealers ranoncles mentioned serve as a good example, actually, given that there are two different sorts of them - one in a Deathwatch book, and one in a Dark Heresy supplement - with rather different characteristics, more or less scaled to the player characters of their respective game.
 
Due to Toughness Bonus in these games working as a second layer of armour, and Unnatural Traits in Deathwatch simply doubling a naked Space Marine's resilience (thus potentially making them tougher than the armour they wear), enemies and weapons obviously had to be scaled up to make them at least somewhat dangerous to them without the use of Hordes.
 
So, my advice would be to ditch any DW books entirely (or at least use them only for inspiration, but definitively not copy their stats 1:1 without any tinkering) and better come up with your own stuff, suitable for the game you are actually running.
 
If you need further inspiration, it may be worth a try to extrapolate characteristics from the 40k Tabletop rules, which (unlike the RPGs) were written without a particular focus on any faction in mind.
For example, a Tau Pulserifle is said to have a range of 30", Strength 5, AP 5 and Rapid Fire. Looking at weapons with comparable stats, we see that the following arms translate to these stats in Only War:
 
  • Boltgun AP5 = Pen 5
  • Ripper Gun S5 = 1d10+8
  • Bolt Pistol 12" = 30m
The Rapid Fire trait is shared by both the Bolter and the Lasgun, which in Only War allow for Single Shot as well as salvos of 2 blasts.
 
Altogether, we would arrive at the following profile for a Tau Pulse Rifle in Only War: 1d10+8, Pen 5, S/2/-, Range 75m
 
Still looks rather dangerous, but not as outlandish as the one in Deathwatch, right?

 

Keep in mind that this is still just one of many possible options, though.  ;)


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)

#13 ranoncles

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 05:44 AM

Lynata's suggestions are elegant and workable (if you have the TT stats) but I'd like to raise two points:

 

1) Enemies of the Imperium lists the stats of the pulse rifle so we can assume those are "official".

 

 

2) Nerfing the tau weapons takes away their mystique IMO. The Tau are such dangerous adverseries because they don't just attack humans but because they attack human 'values'. Under the Tau, you need not lead an exploited, miserable life praising some corpse. Nor do you need to mumble mumbo-jumbo to get technology working properly. And not inferior technology such as used by the Orks or xenos technology as used by the Eldar but highly advanced technology any human can use (e.g. technology provided by the Tau to humans).

 

In simple terms, not only can the Tau provide a basic infantry gun which is far superior to a lasgun, they don't need to go all pseudo-magical do so. 

 

 

As a GM, I'd push that angle. Squadmates debating the uberscary rifles of the Tau. Some trying to 'liberate' one (much like allied soldiers tried to get their hands on lugers and schmeissers while Germans wanted the Russian PPSh-41). Having their own sergeants turn a blind eye to this while desperate commissars try to suppress the admiration and fear of these superior Tau weapons. Perhaps some squads considering defecting? Because the Tau are not scary enemies, they are actually quite an attractive proposition for a brutalized conscript from the Imperium.



#14 Lynata

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 10:08 AM

1) Enemies of the Imperium lists the stats of the pulse rifle so we can assume those are "official".

 

True. It was just the first thing that sprang to mind. The basic example of Tau tech. The suggestion was more for stuff not yet covered in any OW material.

 

Unless the GM simply prefers this approach to FFG's official rules. That's the beauty of P&P games, after all, and given how 40k is a little different in everyone's mind, one should not be afraid to turn to houserules if they, for some reason, don't like what the author of the book came up with.  :)

 

2) Nerfing the tau weapons takes away their mystique IMO. The Tau are such dangerous adverseries because they don't just attack humans but because they attack human 'values'.

 

Whilst I agree about the latter, I don't see why 4 points more or less damage on the profile would really affect the Tau's depiction. The weapon is still better, but the truly important thing is how the Tau Empire manufactures and treats it!

If I were a GM in such a campaign, I would push the social effects of their culture to make sure the players notice and interact with this angle. But that doesn't have to do anything with game mechanics.  ;)

 

May just be a matter of opinion/preferences, though. I just hope the above method may be helpful for anyone as a sort of inspiration. It can be difficult to whip up some stats just based on a gut-feeling and a bit of fluff (or at least that's how I felt), so using the TT as a sort of "rosetta stone" could be one approach to the subject!


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)

#15 venkelos

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 05:32 AM

What's likely to be the worst thing they tackle, at this base? I didn't think the Tau were present in this segment of the galaxy (Calixis/Koronus/SpFt), but that really isn't too important, and I rather like the idea of IG getting to fight them. Are they going to a Human base filled with Humans, who might have some Tau guns and ideals, just as possibly brought by some Kroot who serve the Tau, or will there be some legit tau troops, there? Things could get dicey if the walls have mounted railguns (think stationed Broadsides from DoW), or Crisis Suits/ Stealth Suits. Just trying to envision what else might need conversion. If it's just Guardsmen with pulse rifles and some Tau Combat Armor, that's easy, even done already, but if they have some Fire Warrior backup, maybe worse, then it might take some more work.






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