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#1 GreeneKnight

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 09:58 PM

I'm new to the GM side of role play, and I just ran "Shadow of Madness" (not quite complete yet). We got to the Towering Glades and when the kill-team found the infant Vespids a fight broke out. Our Black Templar immediately tried to flame them (only natural) and our Space Wolf and Ultramarine tried to stop him. The Space Wolf attempted a grapple and failed. The Ultramarine had threatened to shoot the Templar if he tried to kill the Vespids. When it became clear the Space Wolf couldn't hold him, our Ultramarine fired a krak missile at the Templar. This caused a fate point to be burned for our Templar.


I am trying to decide how to deal with this situation, and I was curious how others have dealt with it (if at all). I've read a lot of 40k literature. I have read over 100 40k novels and most every source book the Black Library has produced. Page 278 of the deathwatch rulebook suggests that "acts of betrayal by fellow Battle-Brothers or trusted allies" could be a reason for insanity and I agree completely. I know that the hypno-indoctrination a battle-brother undergoes makes it difficult for him to even consider attacking a brother in a lethal way. Space marines may come to blows, but these are not intended to kill (however seriously they may fight). I believe that this is crossing a very big line for a character, and that the ramifications should be serious. I also know that every battle brother has taken an oath to the deathwatch, and I believe such an attack is probably at least a partial breach of this oath. I have been trawling through my many source books for a good quote on this (as I know I've read something that would directly affect what I'm discussing). I know the heresy books have addressed these difficulties, but I am still looking and hoping to find something more quickly than I can by simply re-reading the original trilogy.


My current assessment is that every battle brother that witnessed this should be given 1d5 insanity (5 marines). I think the perpetrator himself should gain 3d10 insanity. I'd like opinions on that, especially from GMs with a long history in 40k lore. I should also mention that one of my main goals as a GM in Deathwatch is to provide an authentic 40k experience, and I wouldn't mind in the least to have this character removed from the kill-team and sent back to Ultramar, although I'm still considering specific punishments.
 



#2 Warhawk X

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 10:32 PM

Punishing the Templar for his "natural" instincts and correct RP is not a solution, neither is punishing the group with insanity for witnessing this event. Perhaps give the Ultramarine 1d10 insanity instead and lower the groups cohession score by that marines fellowship bonus for the time being and keep an eye on the situation, if it degrades further then administer insanity to the group and perhaps inform the group that signs of corruption and heresy are now taking root in the squad and hint that if the behavior of infighting continues it would lead them down the path of Chaos.

I agree with the authentic approach but also you have to give the one time warning.



#3 GreeneKnight

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 10:44 PM

I wasn't suggesting punishing the templar in any way other than the 1d5.  My reference to the "perpetrator" was pointing to the Ultramarine.  Sorry if that was confusing.



#4 Daisuke

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 10:52 PM

Perhaps you could give some background on the scenario, because I'm confused as to why the Ultramarine and the Space Wolf would bother trying to save Vespids instead of joining the Black Templar in the purification.



#5 ak-73

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 10:55 PM

GreeneKnight said:

I wasn't suggesting punishing the templar in any way other than the 1d5.  My reference to the "perpetrator" was pointing to the Ultramarine.  Sorry if that was confusing.

 

You'll only end up punishing the kill-team if you give the Ultramarine 3D10 insanity points. Read up their Level 1 primarch curse. My recommendation is giving out some severe punishment too, a game-world punishment. Normally I'd say that the character would be deemed not fit for the Deathwatch yet and send back home but that might be a too harsh punishment for the player. Instead you could temporarily "demote" him to apprentice status - having to obey the orders of the others (warning them to not misuse that authority though) and no more fancy equipment for the Marine for a few missions. Let the Watch Captain assign him the equipment he'll get. That is something the player will feel. :-)

 

Alex

 



#6 GreeneKnight

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 11:12 PM

Daisuke said:

Perhaps you could give some background on the scenario, because I'm confused as to why the Ultramarine and the Space Wolf would bother trying to save Vespids instead of joining the Black Templar in the purification.

That's a very good question.  I wasn't impressed with their role playing in this situation, but I'm guessing that they thought there would be some sort of experience reward attached to capturing one (knowing the players involved).  I can see the Space Wolf being a wild card myself, but the Ultramarine makes no sense at all really.



#7 muzzyman1981

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 12:33 AM

The thought behind stopping them, as it mentions in the Game Master book that this mission is written, is how do the players feel about killing defenseless "children" who are at the same time xenos?  There would be no honor, no glory in such an act which I believe is why the Ultramarine and the Space Wolf (I'm a SW player myself) felt the need to stop the Black Templar.

As for the punishment, that is a hard one...if you give too stiff a punishment you may cause the player to either not RP his character at all or get huffy and walk out of the game.  However, I do believe the 3D10 with a min of 10 insanity is appropriate....also after the Watch Captain hears the report of his behavior any time spent not on mission is in his cell meditating and the Watch Captain chooses his weapon load out.  Also I like the idea of lowering the squad Cohesion by his Fellowship but I would do maybe half this Fellowship bonus, round down.

These are my thoughts and opinions, take them as you will.



#8 Hardrainfalling

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 01:17 AM

i cant see any space marine let alone deathwatch shedding tears over killing xenos, infants or not at best an apo might want to take one back to dissect and study for better ways to kill the adults



#9 ejacobs

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 03:17 AM

What is to think about?  Those things are xenos.  They must be erradicated.

E



#10 Delahunt

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 04:47 AM

I'd ask the players why they did it too.

 

That being said, insanity for the Ultra Marine, if not disbarring from the Deathwatch or other punishments I think is fine. He fired a krak missile at a fellow Deathwatch member for killing Xenos. I think both the Space Wolf and the Ultra Marine would also be brought under heavy question by the Ordo Xenos and Ordo Malleus for possible contamination. Not to mention Apothecaries checking their gene seed for those signs as well.

 

Other than that, you seem to have it. If you are going for a true 40k feel, have the ultra marine executed for attacking a fellow member of the deathwatch while ON a mission.

First though, talk to the players about it and see what they thought they were doing.



#11 muzzyman1981

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 04:52 AM

Many Space Marine Chapters value honor and/or glory very highly.  Killing infants, even xenos infants, which pose no threat at the time does not raise one's honor...in fact some Chapters value it so highly it may lower one's standing, so to speak, for killing something out of hand that could not even defend itself, let alone pose a threat.

However, on the flip side they ARE xenos....ones that may grow to pose a threat in the future to humanity.  So killing them now may be the right thing to do.

This is the moral issues that they try to put into the game.  Space Marines are NOT unfeeling, they are not the brutes that some portray them to be.  This is exactly what they are trying to do.  The Ultramarine responded well beyond what the situation called for in my opinion, and should be "punished".  However, the three should also have gotten a reward for RP'ing the situation in the form of extra xp.



#12 ItsUncertainWho

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 05:13 AM

Should they leave the vespid spawn to suffer on their own, since the kill-team wiped out the parents presumably, or mitigate their suffering and take care of a future problem for the Imperium all at the same time?

 

 

To say the least the Ultramarine was wrong as was the SW. The Ultra shot a Krak missile at a brother marine because of xenos babies? That is an act of insanity done by someone verging on traitorous actions.

The Ultra should be handed over to Inquisitorial examiners to check his purity and ability to function properly. Have the Ultra disappear for 3-6 months while he is undergoing "purity testing". After that time bring him back with the 3D10 insanity,  or  maybe 10+3d10, and the Enemy (Inquisition) talent since they no longer trust him and are watching him, but found no impurity. Also give him quite a few scars that will never heal and maybe a twitch of some kind, maybe even give him the Paranoia talent. 

 

 



#13 KommissarK

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 06:13 AM

muzzyman1981 said:

Many Space Marine Chapters value honor and/or glory very highly.  Killing infants, even xenos infants, which pose no threat at the time does not raise one's honor...in fact some Chapters value it so highly it may lower one's standing, so to speak, for killing something out of hand that could not even defend itself, let alone pose a threat.

However, on the flip side they ARE xenos....ones that may grow to pose a threat in the future to humanity.  So killing them now may be the right thing to do.

This is the moral issues that they try to put into the game.  Space Marines are NOT unfeeling, they are not the brutes that some portray them to be.  This is exactly what they are trying to do.  The Ultramarine responded well beyond what the situation called for in my opinion, and should be "punished".  However, the three should also have gotten a reward for RP'ing the situation in the form of extra xp.

Its not a matter of "may grow", as a xenos they will grow into a threat. All xenos are threats to humanity, and must be dealt with in some way or another. While I do accept that space marines do the whole honor and glory thing, I think they measure it more in terms of the threat to humanity eliminated over the difficulty of the enemy eliminated. Therefore, even an enemy non combatant is still a valid target, as their efforts/existence pose a thread to humanity.

 

Also, this is a krak missile we're talking about. I would be particually interested in hearing the exact justification the players used for attacking the Emperor's Finest, and their own battle brother. Mainly because either they're being a total idiot, or having some very odd personality for their character.

 

As far as rewards for RP, I'm not sure if I would classify this good RP without first hearing the players justifications for their actions. In all honesty, it sounds like some of the players are a bit to compassionate to be playing space marines. Remind them that in the grim darkness of the far future, there can only be war.



#14 Warhawk X

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 07:24 AM

While everyone is jumping on the Xenos are a threat situation, if this were a Storm Warden and not an Ultramarine I would almost say give the guy a bonus for good RP. If the situation were a Storm Warden it would be equally likely he would defend the children because it was the honorable thing to do. In addition the Storm Wardens tolerate the mutant and the psyker better than most chapters. In fact they have an entire Oghrun city on their planet.

Be that as it may the Ultramarine would have no good RP reason to keep a xeno alive, is the player that is the Ultramarine unaware of what the xenos have done to his chapter in the past? Namely McCraggae and the Hive fleet that rolled through. If the player is unaware of some of these events it may be time to sit down and cover some lore fluff with your players to avoid such issues in the future.



#15 ak-73

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 07:45 AM

As for punishment, in Rynn's World a Space Marine tried to snipe an Ork Warboss though he was ordered not to. The action failed and a few dozen Marines were killed. Pedro Kantor with a heavy heart judged that the Marine had to be turned over for 'reclamation', knowing that if he had succeeded he would have received a hero's welcome.

 

As for xenos, I think few people would have had a problem if it was baby daemons (because daemons are evil by nature). However the belief that all xenos are evil by nature too is widespread. However dishonourable, if you let them live, they may eventually turn into a viable threat or perhaps killing innocent human beings who can't defend themselves. 40K is different in that regard to many game worlds - it is xenocidal by nature.

The only mitigating factor is that the PCs are in the Deathwatch and the Deathwatch not only eradicates xenos, it at times cuts deals with them too.

 

Alex



#16 SpawnoChaos

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 08:09 AM

ak-73 said:

 

As for xenos, I think few people would have had a problem if it was baby daemons (because daemons are evil by nature). However the belief that all xenos are evil by nature too is widespread. However dishonourable, if you let them live, they may eventually turn into a viable threat or perhaps killing innocent human beings who can't defend themselves. 40K is different in that regard to many game worlds - it is xenocidal by nature.

The only mitigating factor is that the PCs are in the Deathwatch and the Deathwatch not only eradicates xenos, it at times cuts deals with them too.

 

Alex

 

 

I would agree with this line of thinking... and I would add my own twist:

Corruption points for those that killed a defenseless living being, xenos or not. That smacks of Chaos, the wanton killing of innocents for no other reason than hatred. Should the xenos decide to take up arms against Humanity in the future, then they will get whats coming to them... not before then.

Some could argue, and at times I would agree with them depending on the circumstance, that no xenos is ever defenseless. In this case though, they are clearly defenseless and probably have no idea as to what they are, who the space marines are, why they killed mom and dad, and now why they are trying to kill them.

In this instance, I believe the proper and honorable thing for a Space Marine to do is eliminate the immediate threat. Kill those fighting them, and spare those that run... or in this case, that can't even speak. 

"Suffer not the alien to live" is reserved for those that are a clear threat. There are even Ordo Xenos Inquisitors that work closely with xenos to accomplish mutual goals. Of course, it really depends on the Inquisitor in question. 

 

I would not punish the Black Templar for following his own chapters belief; I would punish him instead for going against the cohesion of his squad by still firing even as they tried to stop him from doing just that. The squad would have their cohesion reduced by "x" amount for the next 3 missions.

I would punish the Ultramarine player for shooting a krak missile at him instead of just socking him in the face. He would have to pray for forgiveness at letting his anger get the best of his combat demeanor, spend some time with a chaplain, and not be allowed to take any wargear that was not his standard issue as a sign of repenting for the next "x" amount of missions.



#17 ItsUncertainWho

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 08:21 AM

Or go the meta game route:

Call in the IG, let them do the dirty work, they gain the XP, then have a more capable guard unit at hand for the kill teams use later on. 



#18 ak-73

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 08:32 AM

SpawnoChaos said:

 

ak-73 said:

 

As for xenos, I think few people would have had a problem if it was baby daemons (because daemons are evil by nature). However the belief that all xenos are evil by nature too is widespread. However dishonourable, if you let them live, they may eventually turn into a viable threat or perhaps killing innocent human beings who can't defend themselves. 40K is different in that regard to many game worlds - it is xenocidal by nature.

The only mitigating factor is that the PCs are in the Deathwatch and the Deathwatch not only eradicates xenos, it at times cuts deals with them too.

 

Alex

 

 

I would agree with this line of thinking... and I would add my own twist:

Corruption points for those that killed a defenseless living being, xenos or not. That smacks of Chaos, the wanton killing of innocents for no other reason than hatred.

 

 

 

Yeah or assigning the Marine the 'Ira' (Wrath) Ruinous Temptation (and some Temptation points) using my Temptation rules:

www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_foros_discusion.asp

(Shameless advertizing, I know, but it just occured to me that excessive acts by the players could also be a source of gaining those... The advantage of these rules that they are bound to have a taming effect on the player as if he doesn't learn to keep his excessive behaviour under control in short order, he'll find himself on a sliding scale where his PC must make willpower tests to avoid acts of wanton killing of innocents - and thus further plunging onto the road to the dark side. I'll have to update the topic, excellent. )

 

 

Alex



#19 Charmander

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 11:36 AM

Wow, that sounds like my group a dozen or so years ago .

I agree with the group here, use an in-game punishment.  The Black Templar went aganst the group (maybe even against 'orders'?  who was in charge of the mission?) so he get's a demerit, the Ultramarine shot an effing krak missle (nice shot if it required burning a fate point to live, btw!) at a battle brother who was essentially just being a ****, so he get's more sever punishment.  Strip cohesion by an appropriate amount, they obviously can't work together, and reduce req for missions - force them to reclaim their honor.

To me, it honestly sounds like the players are just having a 'good time' and messing around with their newfound uber powers (at the potential cost of the adventure), or more likely they don't have a super firm understanding of the fluff/backstory/world.  Punishing characters too harshly for a lack of knowledge seems a bit overkill to me.  Send them back for re-education first.



#20 Angron41

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 03:50 PM

I agree with what most people are saying here. Although I do disagree with the idea of 'defenseless xenos' in 40K. This is supposed to be an incredibly cruel universe drenched in buckets of blood. No Xenos is ever innocent, not because they will someday become a threat, but because at this point all Xenos are considered inimical to human life. To me the idea that a space marine would not kill xenos children seems strange. Some chapters have been known to decimate entire human planetary populations simply for harboring enemies of the Imperium.  Sure, they may not exactly approve or be too happy about it, but they certainly will do it. On what to do about it, I like what Charmander said. There should probably be some reinforcement in the players that xenos<battle brother every darn time.    






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