Agreed. As I said, it's all about armies working as...well...armies.
The fact that your sergeant buffs a few guys by a couple of points of damage makes him useful, but not necessarily a master by himself. There's a question of the scale
of bonuses. Here is a quick, narrative thought experiment:
He is not more physically imposing than a chaos marine. But, if you've got fifteen Dominate Guardsmen and a Dominate Commander, versus fifteen Stigmartus Troopers and a Chaos Marine, then if the former force beats the latter force without breaking a sweat, then logically the Dominate commander is a higher threat than the marine, which means he must be a master-level opponent.
Assuming the fight starts at the edge of standard range - 200 metres or so. You're not going to start any closer as with a high Per and Int, and good Tactics skills, you're not going to sneak up on this guy.
Chaos marine sets off towards the guardsmen at 5 metres a turn, firing semi-automatic bursts as he does so. He's going to pulp a guardsman every other turn with a bolter hit. Stigmartus shoot a little and miss a lot, winging three of the Dominate troopers, but are extremely disconcerted to find that suppressing automatic fire actions from their autoguns do next to nothing, as thanks to the Dominate Officer's Into The Jaws Of Hell
talent the Dominate Troopers ignore fear and pinning.
Dominate Officer declares Front Rank Fire! Second Rank Fire!*
giving nearby Dominate Guardsmen Lasgun Barrage,
pinning, +4 damage, +5 BS and the ability to reroll failed BS tests**. Thanks to a Fel bonus of 6 and appropriate orator-type talents, this affects the entire squad, and the command test to trigger it is a formality. A third of the stigmartus are vapourised in a blizzard of overcharged lasgun fire, and most of rest are cowering on the floor having failed pinning tests.
After a couple of turns of this, the Chaos marine realises that the stigmartus are useless and incompetent (they
is). Bellowing a challenge to the sky, he breaks into a dead run, covering 30 metres towards the officer.
The officer repeats his last instruction, indicating the marine.
The marine will take about six turns to cover the distance to the guardsmen, taking an average of just shy of three quarters of a wound per firing Dominate Soldier (who thanks to the above bonus is firing at BS30 with a reroll even against a running target, and doing 1D10+9 Pen2 damage per hit). That's fifty-one wounds past armour and toughness. Realistically, before he's even got halfway, Marine falls over, ventilated.
Yes, the marine could have tried to shoot the officer, but between a refractor field, a decent agility, dodge and fate rerolls provided by Touched By Fate
, he's unlikely to hit him. Besides which, even with a legion bolter, the officer can probably survive at least one hit. For that matter, the situation is probably even worse, because I've assumed none of the lasgun hits are criticals affecting the marines ability to move or see - which is quite likely as a high proportion of lasgun wounds on a marine will be righteous fury. Also, the Dominate Officer probably has Combat Formation and/or Combat Sense, which means he and the Dominate Troopers use his Int/Per bonus for their initiative - meaning they're definitely shooting before the Stigmartus and probably even before the marine.
Yes, in a one-on-one fight, the marine probably wins (although don't underestimate an officer with refractor field, decent dodge and a standard officer-issue power fist, especially when he has Fate points and the marine doesn't). But through an equal number of supporting troops into the picture and the marine genuinely doesn't have a prayer. Hence, the officer is a Master-level threat. Lastly:
If you want a genuine, doesn't-need-support master-level threat from an Imperial Guard/Stigmartus/Dominate force, then the way to build the officer is like this:
* I always felt there was an important element missing from that standard order; Front Rank, Kneel!
Otherwise it's just going to be messy.
** Okay, I'm making this up as I go along but it's not a totally unreasonable thing to see for a master-level opponent, is it? It's the Get Them!
Sweeping Order, Suppressing Fire
and Volley Fire
comrade abilities and the Ascension Stormtrooper Battlefield Command
ability used together.
Edited by Magnus Grendel, 17 September 2013 - 05:52 AM.