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Salamanders Solo Mode Retool


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#1 Gaire

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:03 PM

 Due to one of my players deciding to switch from a Dark Angels Apothecary to a Salamanders Devastator and a post by Scoates in the Living Errata/FAQ thread, I've been looking at the Salamanders chapter today. For the most part, I like the Salamanders write-up. It really fits with their focus on caring for their own wargear and their combat doctrine. However, I have to wonder if their Solo Mode could be house-ruled into something a bit more useful. Specifically, the Rank 3 upgrade (immunity to fire) seems a bit... underwhelming, especially since they already have Resistance (Fire) and can easily get the Salamanders' Mantle to provide that fire immunity. So instead of fire immunity, perhaps a simple upgrade to the Rank 1 level Solo Mode would fit better. I was thinking the Rank 3 Solo Mode improvement could instead allow the Salamander to always have Proven (2) on their chosen weapon and either remove one of the three disadvantageous qualities or increase Proven to 3 or 4.

On another tack, though, I have to look at the usefulness of Proven (2). In the long run, unless the Salamander puts Proven on a weapon that rolls multiple dice, they're only going to get anything out of it 10% of the time. Applied to a weapon with tearing, the benefit decreases to 1%. My player wants to play a Salamanders Devastator who focuses on the heavy flamer and his heavy bolter, alternating as per the mission requirements or having the 'off' weapon carried by a follower and handed over to the Marine when he needs it. I've already said that he'll only have one backpack ammo supply, so hopefully dodging some cheese there. At any rate, he's already said that he wants the heavy bolter to be the weapon he has spent time working on. So my question is: would it be unbalanced to allow the Proven quality granted by the Fire-Born Solo Mode to be affected by the craftsmanship of the weapon? Say, Proven (2) on standard quality, Proven (3) on Exceptional, and either Proven (3) or Proven (4) on Master-Crafted? I'll probably require that he have used Artificer at least once on it to gain these bonuses.



#2 Stannis Ravensight

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 11:23 AM

I agree about the solo mode lacking, and noticed the same thing you did with the ability and the salamander hides fire immunity. Proven sounds like a good idea, for weapons with multiple dice as you say. Perhaps have different bonus' based on the characters class? keep proven for Devastators or techmarines, add a quality to a weapon for a mission for tactical/assault. give apothecarys a bonus on healing or other surgical things, and librarians a bonus to the 1d5 rolled for their fire damage from sucessful spells. say make it a d10 of fire damage now? If you have terminators perhaps another level of fear?



#3 Kshatriya

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 10:55 AM

Direach said:

Required Rank: 1
+10m range with all flamer and melta weapons.

Rank 3: -10% penalty to enemy Agility tests with flame weapons, +2 damage with melta weapons.
Rank 5: +20m range with all flamer and melta weapons.
Rank 7: -20% penalty to enemy Agility tests with flame weapons, +4 damage with melta weapons.

 

I sorta liked this, though I'd make it their Rank 3+ secondary Solo Mode progression. Rank 3 would be the basic as listed above, the listed Rank 7 would be at Rank 5, and the listed Rank 5 would be Rank 7.



#4 ak-73

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 05:04 PM

Gaire said:

 and can easily get the Salamanders' Mantle to provide that fire immunity.

 

Not really. These things are rare. Just because you could get them with SW, it doesn't mean you will. FFG should have considered a more restrictive mechanic in place. Descriptions that some items are rare are meaningless with many gaming groups because without mechanics to make them actually rare, this piece of fluff generally gets cast into the wind.

 

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#5 Gaire

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 06:41 PM

 It's fair to say they're rare, but let's face it: there's probably, what, five, ten Salamanders in the Deathwatch at any given time? With seven hundred and twenty Battle-Brothers, plus sixty-odd scouts in the whole Chapter, they can't afford to send as many as, say, the Ultramarines or the Dark Angels. It's not a huge leap of logic to say that the Salamanders would make Salamanders' Mantles available to that handful of Marines. I'm not talking about a Battle-Brother who just hit Respected, the Marine in question will have Famed Renown.



#6 ak-73

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 03:47 AM

Deathwatch Adamantine Mantles are Famed, Salamanders' are Respected and offer more.

 

Alex


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#7 Gaire

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 07:27 AM

I knew all of this. Your point?



#8 Kshatriya

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 12:18 PM

 Barring GM fiat, there isn't a mechanic like Profit Factor to keep gear out of players's hands once they hit the relevant Renown level and have a Signature Wargear talent open to them. 

Any Salamander can have a Salamander-only cloak as Signature at Respected unless Plot says no. That is not a satisfying answer to many GMs. The mechanics Alex referred to to support rarity might include something like Profit Factor, rather than "I have 20 Renown, I spend 500 XP, now I'm immune to fire and mitigate incoming Penetration." As it is, there's no rarity-supporting mechanic once you hit the relevant Renown tier. 



#9 Gaire

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 12:32 PM

I really don't see the purpose of a rarity mechanic in Deathwatch, assuming the use of the setting supported by the game itself vis a vis being a member of the Deathwatch and not, say, a chapter-based game. To be in the Deathwatch is to be chosen as one of the best of the best (of the best) at hunting Xenos and being a general badass. Unlike Rogue Trader, where the PCs have to find and purchase all their gear the hard way, Deathwatch supports the model of a special operations team requisitioning things from an armory- in which case, the only way to keep gear out of the hands of your players is to either reduce their requisition or flat-out say no. If you don't want your players to have something, or don't want them to have too many of something, you just say something like "The armory doesn't have enough of that piece of wargear" or "that wargear is previously deployed". I've always limited my KT to one of any given type of special weapon- up until recently, there was no Devastator, so no real worries about stepping on toes.



#10 ak-73

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 07:11 PM

Gaire said:

I really don't see the purpose of a rarity mechanic in Deathwatch, assuming the use of the setting supported by the game itself vis a vis being a member of the Deathwatch and not, say, a chapter-based game. To be in the Deathwatch is to be chosen as one of the best of the best (of the best) at hunting Xenos and being a general badass. Unlike Rogue Trader, where the PCs have to find and purchase all their gear the hard way, Deathwatch supports the model of a special operations team requisitioning things from an armory- in which case, the only way to keep gear out of the hands of your players is to either reduce their requisition or flat-out say no. If you don't want your players to have something, or don't want them to have too many of something, you just say something like "The armory doesn't have enough of that piece of wargear" or "that wargear is previously deployed". I've always limited my KT to one of any given type of special weapon- up until recently, there was no Devastator, so no real worries about stepping on toes.

 

I do not share your attitude to (special) wargear. They are not just useful items; they are artefacts. Just because a Salamander (or whatever chapter) serves in the Deathwatch they are not automatically qualified to be handed out any of the stuff.

Obeying to present mechanics only, it means that the new wargear is merely slightly more difficult to get than regular stuff. Now I understand the reasoning behind this: you can't bring out a book full of new specialties and items and make access (appropriately) restrictive through crunch so that hardly anyone gets to play them. FFG is well aware that if they say "This is rare but mechanics-wise there is only this restriction" that many, if not most, gaming circles will ignore any remarks that go beyond RAW mechanics. A Ravenwing here, a Tyrannic War Vet there. Same with the gear.

 

You become immune to being on fire at level 3. If you have enough renown, you can requisition a mantle that makes its wearer immune to fire among other things. I am fine with this. Beyond that I have posted my thoughts about it in the errata thread.

 

Alex


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#11 Kshatriya

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 02:21 AM

 It doesn't help that the baseline solo mode is really underwhelming. Something different that didn't quickly partially obviate one of the chapter special items would be nice. 



#12 Stannis Ravensight

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:38 AM

#1 ALL Salamanders have their own personal Salamander Hide cloak that they acquire as a part of their trials for becoming an Adeptus Astartes, just as the Primarch Vulkan did :

The people of Nocturne were frequently raided by the decadent Dark Eldar. They were so used to this common occurrence, that each person in Vulkan's town had developed their own hiding place to avoid capture. When the Dark Eldar raided the world again in Vulkan's fourth year on Nocturne, the Primarch refused to hide and instead stood out in the centre of the settlement, his two smithing hammers crossed over his shoulders. The people of Vulkan's town were so inspired by his example that they joined him and prepared to defend their town from the foul xenos raiders. With a Primarch leading their defense, the people of the town decisively defeated the Dark Eldar. Within weeks, the leaders of the seven largest towns and their respective clans on Nocturne had travelled to meet Vulkan, and they soon swore never again to hide from the Dark Eldar raiders.

In celebration of the Primarch's victory over the Dark Eldar, a tournament of various contests common to the people of Nocturne was held. Unexpectedly, a stranger arrived in the middle of the festivities. Of pale complexion (unlike the ebon-skinned Nocturnans) and wearing outlandish clothing, the stranger asked only to be allowed to compete. When he announced that he could best anyone in the town, the people laughed at this outlander. Who could possibly beat Vulkan in any feat of intellect, strength, craftsmanship or endurance? Nonetheless, Vulkan and the stranger wagered that whoever lost the tournament would forever serve the victor. Lasting for 8 days, the contest included many tests of strength and endurance such as the anvil lift (which ended in a tie when the two superhuman competitors both held anvils above their heads for a half day). All the subsequent contests saw similar outcomes, for by the end of day 8, Vulkan and the stranger were tied in the overall tournament.

In the final event, both contestants were given 24 hours to forge a weapon, before using that weapon to hunt down and slay the largest salamander they could find. Climbing a high mountain, the two each went out to find a firedrake, the largest and most potent of the fire-resistant reptiles who called volcanic Nocturne home. Vulkan quickly found and killed a very large Firedrake. However, on his way back, the volcanic mountain he was standing on erupted, casting Vulkan over a cliff. Hanging on for dear life over the precipice, Vulkan was determined to keep his grip on his massive salamander. Thus, he found himself hanging by one hand from a cliff with his other hand clutching the tail of his drake.

Hanging there for hours, Vulkan's strength slowly ebbed away until he knew he must decide between maintaining his grip on the drake and saving his life. At that very moment, however, the pale stranger arrived, carrying his own huge Firedrake. Even from the edge of the cliff, the Primarch could tell that the outlander's drake was indeed bigger. Seeing Vulkan in distress, the stranger acted quickly, tossing his drake into a lava flow that separated them and using it as a bridge to cross to the Primarch. After hoisting Vulkan out of his mortal predicament, the stranger walked with him back to town, leaving his own drake to burn in the river of molten rock.

Though the outlander's Firedrake had been superior in size, he had thrown it away to save Vulkan, and when he returned to town with the Primarch empty-handed, Vulkan was declared the victor. To the amazement of his people however, Vulkan kneeled before the stranger and said that any man who would value life over pride was worthy of his service. At this moment, the outlander cast off his illusionary disguise and revealed himself to be the Emperor of Mankind. Thus it was that the Primarch Vulkan and his father the Emperor were reunited.

Like many of the First Founding Chapters (and many subsequent ones as well), the Salamanders recruit exclusively from the people of their homeworld, Nocturne. Children aspiring to become Space Marines begin their training at the age of six or seven Terran years as the apprentice to a Salamanders Astartes. They spend several years learning the art of the smith, and the most able apprentices are then judged by the Chapter's Apothecaries and Chaplains to see if they are worthy (and capable of surviving the gene-seed organ implantation process) to become Space Marines. Their training includes many of the same trials the Emperor and Vulkan competed in according to Nocturnean legend, finally culminating in the hunting and slaying of a massive salamander on Mount Deathfire.


So going by that fluff/background/lore, whatever you wanna call it, ALL Salamanders claim their own Salamander Hide cloak, much the way that Space Wolves claim their Fenrisian pelts. They were merely placed into the game as a requisitional wargear, because FFG were lazy. they also didnt give much to the 4 chapters from the First Founding book (Iron Hands, Salamanders, White Scars, Raven Guard) in the way of chapter relics or wargear

#2 Page 139 DW core.

Table 5–1: Availability and Requisition
Availability          Requisition Point Range

Ubiquitous ..........................1
Abundant ...........................2
Plentiful ..............................3
Common............................4-5
Average............................ 6-8
Scarce...............................9-14
Rare ................................15-20
Very Rare ........................21-30
Extremely Rare ...............31-50
Near Unique ....................51-70
Unique ..............................71+
 

 

 



#13 Gaire

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:49 AM

 Alex, I should probably point out that I follow the 'Big Damn Heroes' school of thought when it comes to PCs, Deathwatch doubly so. With the exception of games where it is explicitly not the case (I'm looking at you, Dark Heresy), the PCs ARE special. They're typically some of the best and brightest of their given field. In DnD, even at first level, PCs ARE inherently better than NPCs. In Exalted.... bad example. Exalted is built that way. Deathwatch is no different to me. I'm not getting rid of the dark, I'm just tuning the grim a bit to my tastes. The PCs are known, proven heroes. So a Salamanders Battle-Brother isn't going to have much trouble laying hands on a piece of wargear that is inherently part of the ensemble of heroes of his chapter.

Additionally, I should probably clarify that I'm not working on a starting level game here. The only wargear my Kill-Team couldn't access by the rules of Renown is Hero-level gear. They've saved planets (Avalos, Aurum, Karlack), they've helped broker a (false) truth with the Tau, they killed Dahzak and stopped the Irradial Forge's scheme. In short, yes, they're big damn heroes who have earned access to their wargear. As such, I'm not expecting my Salamander player to have much trouble acquiring a Salamanders' Mantle. Since that'll probably be a standard bit of wargear for him, I'm hoping to tune the solo mode to be less underwhelming. To be clear, I fully acknowledge that the Salamanders' Mantle is completely superior to the Adamantine Mantle- cheaper, available earlier, and provides a superior effect. A narrative limiter makes sense for lower rank/renown Marines- they haven't proven themselves as true heroes of the Chapter and the Deathwatch yet. Once they've done so, though, the Mantle (or whatever other chapter-specific wargear you'd care to discuss) should be relatively easy to get.

And a bit of an edit because Stannis posted while I was typing: I did not know that about the Salamanders and their drake hides. I suppose the price of requisition can be justified with the same justification for the whole 'only one chapter trapping' rule- the Deathwatch prefers to present relative solidarity in uniform. Adding a drake hide cloak that none of the rest of a Kill-Team will be carrying marks him out as different.



#14 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 08:25 PM

Stannis Ravensight said:

So going by that fluff/background/lore, whatever you wanna call it, ALL Salamanders claim their own Salamander Hide cloak, much the way that Space Wolves claim their Fenrisian pelts.

Minor point here - Salamander's Mantles do not represent all the possible range of drake-hide cloaks, etc that a Salamander could obtain. They're a special, specific example of a high-end item worn by some of the greatest heroes of the Chapter (first appearing in the wargame rules as a specific, potent wargear item on a special character), beyond even the firedrake-skin cloaks worn by the 1st Company Veterans (which themselves are gained as part of a different rite of passage to demonstrate that the warrior is worthy of joining the 1st Company).


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#15 Stannis Ravensight

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 08:45 PM

There are of course varying levels and strengths of the Salamander-beasts of Nocturne, Fire Drakes being some of the oldest, wisest, and strongest, as described above. Point taken.






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