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On the Tabletop game and starting characters.


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#1 LuciusT

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:47 AM

 OK, I know a lot of folks disagree with my positions on certain issues, but I'm going to clearly state what those positions are here and we can argue about the under it's own topic.

First, like it or not, the Warhammer 40K tabletop game informs the background of Only War (and the rest of the 40K rpg line). To me, that means that rpg line needs to be in line with it's tabletop roots. That doesn't mean it needs to slavish adhere to the mechanics of the tabletop game. It does, however, mean that… for instance, bolters do more damage than lasguns, Ogryn are stronger and tougher than Space Marines and Storm Troopers are - on average - better shots than rank and file guardsmen. That's the Warhammer 40K universe and that's the setting for the game. 

On starting characters, I as a GM, am of the view that the player characters are the most important characters in the game. It's a story and they are the main characters. They aren't necessarily the best, toughest, strongest characters but they are a cut above the rank and file. On Only War, I want my players to be characters like the Gaunt's Ghosts characters Mad Larkin, Try Again Brag, Corbec, Rawne, Feygor… guys who are a cut above. That's what makes them interesting to play.  

I honestly can't understand the point of calling something a 40K rpg if it isn't true to the 40K background and I honestly don't see any point in playing any rpg where the characters are mere mooks. 



#2 KommissarK

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 06:24 AM

Mooks don't have fate points.

PCs have fate points.

Therefore, PCs are not mooks.

QED



#3 LuciusT

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 06:28 AM

 Which assumes that Fate Points are the only things that differentiate PCs from mooks. I disagree.



#4 KommissarK

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 06:46 AM

True enough, but the other primary reasons PCs are not "mooks" is because the story revolves around them, and that they possess the ability to spend XP freely.

I disagree with a notion that having naturally high stats elevates one from mook status. The manner in which a character is used in the story controls their mook status.

If a GM so desired, even a space marine could be a mook.



#5 JuankiMan

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 06:52 AM

"Heroes are ordinary men and women who do extraordinary things at extraordinary times"

- Winston Churchill

The whole Imperial Guard, and OW by extension, is all about how the average Joe, how regular humans without any bio-cybernetic augmentation, super technology or superpowers, can face the eldritch horrors of the universe with naught but courage and determination (and judicious use of heavy ordnance) and still come out on top. Sometimes, playing with mooks can be way more compelling than playing with Superman.

And if it makes you feel any better, you could compare the average starting OW char with the dime-a-dozen guardsmen in the Antagonists section. Imperial Guard Veterans have exactly the same stats as Stromtroopers in the TT.



#6 Shadow Walker

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 06:55 AM

LuciusT said:

 OK, I know a lot of folks disagree with my positions on certain issues, but I'm going to clearly state what those positions are here and we can argue about the under it's own topic.

First, like it or not, the Warhammer 40K tabletop game informs the background of Only War (and the rest of the 40K rpg line). To me, that means that rpg line needs to be in line with it's tabletop roots. That doesn't mean it needs to slavish adhere to the mechanics of the tabletop game. It does, however, mean that… for instance, bolters do more damage than lasguns, Ogryn are stronger and tougher than Space Marines and Storm Troopers are - on average - better shots than rank and file guardsmen. That's the Warhammer 40K universe and that's the setting for the game. 

On starting characters, I as a GM, am of the view that the player characters are the most important characters in the game. It's a story and they are the main characters. They aren't necessarily the best, toughest, strongest characters but they are a cut above the rank and file. On Only War, I want my players to be characters like the Gaunt's Ghosts characters Mad Larkin, Try Again Brag, Corbec, Rawne, Feygor… guys who are a cut above. That's what makes them interesting to play.  

I honestly can't understand the point of calling something a 40K rpg if it isn't true to the 40K background and I honestly don't see any point in playing any rpg where the characters are mere mooks. 

I agree that wh40k game should reflect universe that it is derived from. In short words it should stay fluffy. That is for example why so many people, including myself were angry when we first saw Ogryn speciality. It was not and sadly still is not, wh40k Ogryn at all. But we all should remember that OW authors are just humans and can make mistakes and it is the point of beta to find and correct them. I hope that FFG will change all unfluffy parts and we all will get an amazing rpg that is also true to wh40k background.
 



#7 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 07:01 AM

LuciusT said:

 Which assumes that Fate Points are the only things that differentiate PCs from mooks. I disagree.

To begin with, certainly.

The trick is that Fate Points allow those who are so blessed to survive long enough to get the chance to spend the xp they've earned. It's a plot shield, designed to keep characters alive and kicking when by all rights they should have been dead long ago, and in a setting where human life is an abundant, readily-replenished resource, having something that means you avoid death is a big deal.


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#8 LuciusT

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 07:32 AM

N0-1_H3r3 said:

 

LuciusT said:

 

 Which assumes that Fate Points are the only things that differentiate PCs from mooks. I disagree.

 

 

To begin with, certainly.

The trick is that Fate Points allow those who are so blessed to survive long enough to get the chance to spend the xp they've earned. It's a plot shield, designed to keep characters alive and kicking when by all rights they should have been dead long ago, and in a setting where human life is an abundant, readily-replenished resource, having something that means you avoid death is a big deal.

 

 

… please note, in the original thread where first started this debate, I wasn't actually advocating increasing the character stats of starting Only War characters. I actually think a starting Only War character (Ogryn notwithstanding for fluff reasons) is more or less what he should be. What I am actually advocating is reducing the stats of the NPC Guardsman profile so that they have 30's in most characterisitics instead of 35's and have fewer starting skills and talents.. and similarly reducing the NPC Ratling, Ogryn, Stormtrooper and Commissar so they are more in line with a starting or slightly experienced PC. As it stands, PCs are only weak when compared to those NPC profiles. I think that means the profiles are too good not that PCs aren't good enough.

Edit: It's what I hear N0-1_H3r3 saying… PCs start out average and get heroic. I think that's fine. Not my preference but fine. But if we take those NPC stats are representing average Guardsmen, then PC's aren't average. They are below average. If we aren't to take those NPC profiles as average, then I really don't like them because I would rather see "average" stats and modify them for veterans and heroes that see vets and heros and modify them down… because that won't happen. People will assume they are average. If the D&D Monster Manual listing for goblins was for 10th level goblin fighter, most players would assume goblins are all great fighters.



#9 MILLANDSON

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 07:47 AM

KommissarK said:

True enough, but the other primary reasons PCs are not "mooks" is because the story revolves around them, and that they possess the ability to spend XP freely.

I disagree with a notion that having naturally high stats elevates one from mook status. The manner in which a character is used in the story controls their mook status.

If a GM so desired, even a space marine could be a mook.

I agree entirely with this.

Also - the 40k TT rules don't even accurately represent the fluff they are based on. If they did, Space Marines would only need 5-10 models to be the equal of a 2000 point army, etc. So saying that they should inform the rules for the RPG is misguided, in my opinion.


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#10 KommissarK

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 07:52 AM

Movie Marine rules anyone? That was an awesome ruleset to run with.

 

As far as the standard guardsman in the book, yes, I too am confused by their statblock; its too high. Far too above average stat wise to be considered average.

I imagine much that it done to account for how they're just not going to benefit from comrades, or have the presence of mind to do anything useful besides stand and shoot.

I would give them a straight 30 statblock, 10 wounds, guard flak, a lasgun, all needed weapon trainings, awareness, and dodge.



#11 Cifer

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:52 AM

Also - the 40k TT rules don't even accurately represent the fluff they are based on. If they did, Space Marines would only need 5-10 models to be the equal of a 2000 point army, etc. So saying that they should inform the rules for the RPG is misguided, in my opinion.

Either that or, if we take point costs to mean anything, a marine's creation, training, weapons, equipment, armour and logistics would have to be a lot less expensive than that of a squad of guardsmen.



#12 Andor

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:54 AM

Shadow Walker said:

i agree that wh40k game should reflect universe that it is derived from. In short words it should stay fluffy. That is for example why so many people, including myself were angry when we first saw Ogryn speciality. It was not and sadly still is not, wh40k Ogryn at all. But we all should remember that OW authors are just humans and can make mistakes and it is the point of beta to find and correct them. I hope that FFG will change all unfluffy parts and we all will get an amazing rpg that is also true to wh40k background.
 

My 2¢ is that really, the 40k fluff should inform the game, but paying too much attention to it is …. not doing anyone any favors, least of all the fluff. This is the same fluff that claims Eldar weapons crap ceramic shiruken at supersonic speeds and that plasma weapons shoot beams of super heated "photonic hydrogen" that is somehow different from the superhot beams from a melta gun.

It's all a giant grim dark ball of high-tech/low-tech/magical/pychic/alien/fascist suckage which is either going to end with everyone getting eaten by the 'nids or with the Emperor becoming the 5th chaos god, which may or may not be any better. I've been in half a dozen 40k games and I have yet to see anyone try to take the world seriously. How could you? If you examine it logically it all falls apart.

So my advice is grab some dice, have fun, and don't sweat the details.



#13 CaptainStabby

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 01:29 PM

Heroes aren't born. They're cornered.



#14 MILLANDSON

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 01:45 PM

Andor said:

r with the Emperor becoming the 5th chaos god

I think you'll find he'd be the 6th Chaos God.

*cough*Malal*cought*


~Yea, Tho I Walk Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death, I Shall Fear No Evil~

 

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#15 HTMC

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 01:45 PM

LuciusT said:

 

On starting characters, I as a GM, am of the view that the player characters are the most important characters in the game. It's a story and they are the main characters. They aren't necessarily the best, toughest, strongest characters but they are a cut above the rank and file. On Only War, I want my players to be characters like the Gaunt's Ghosts characters Mad Larkin, Try Again Brag, Corbec, Rawne, Feygor… guys who are a cut above. That's what makes them interesting to play.  

I honestly can't understand the point of calling something a 40K rpg if it isn't true to the 40K background and I honestly don't see any point in playing any rpg where the characters are mere mooks. 

 

 

That's entirely your opinion, and it's a valid one. However, many people play RPGs not only with different intents, different expectations, but also different playstyles. There's a reason there's such an abundance of different RPG lines: when something is as freeform and limitless as a traditional RPG, you can expect such a difference in what players and GMs want in a system. Just because you don't want to play an RPG where you play mooks doesn't mean there isn't interest: look at systems like Arkham Horror , where PC death is not only common, but expected. 

Simply put, any given RPG system cannot cater to every person's whims, nor satisfy every person's desires. Any given decision will likely please as many people as it disappoints. In terms of OW, some people want an IG experience true to the Codex-expressed IG: endless ranks of guardsman throwing away their lives in a giant horde, the hammer of the Imperium to the Astartes' sword. Others want more of the heroic exploits of figures like Cain or Gaunt. 

The easiest way to satisfy both desires is to start PCs closer to the former, and if you want to make them like the former, simply give your PCs a few thousand extra XP at character creation, and maybe  hand each of them an extra Fate Point (that they presumably would have earned while gaining the XP). Presto, instant Hero-class PC. But to demand that all PCs start at that level robs others of the chance to play the average guardsman. Believe it or not, some people find the normal person far more interesting to play than a ruthless "hero" like Rawne. 



#16 LuciusT

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 02:06 PM

In terms of OW, some people want an IG experience true to the Codex-expressed IG: endless ranks of guardsman throwing away their lives in a giant horde, the hammer of the Imperium to the Astartes' sword.

Why would any want to play a faceless, nameless character whose only role is to die, forgotten and unmourned among hundreds of his fellows? This is an honest question. I do not comprehend the entertainment gained from that experience, especially given the time and effort required to make an rpg character.

The easiest way to satisfy both desires is to start PCs closer to the former, and if you want to make them like the former, simply give your PCs a few thousand extra XP at character creation, and maybe  hand each of them an extra Fate Point (that they presumably would have earned while gaining the XP). Presto, instant Hero-class PC. But to demand that all PCs start at that level robs others of the chance to play the average guardsman.

But that isn't what I want. You will note I didn't name Guant in my list of characters to emulate. The guys are I named are, IMO, average if heroic Guardsmen. Sure Corbec and Rawne has senior officers, but only by right of being the only guys left after the fall of Tanith. If you read my second post, you'd see that is what I want -  to play an average albeit heroic Guardsman. As it stands currently, PCs aren't even that. They start as below average guardsmen.



#17 JuankiMan

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 04:02 PM

Heroism has absolutely nothing to do with stats, as Merry & Pippin so kindly demonstrated in LoTR. And why would anyone want to start playing as a rank-and-file anonymous and faceless nobody? Because YOU know he is somebody, and when he crawls out of the pit of mediocrity the rest of the masses of humanity wallows in, bloodied and battered, lasgun in hand, to face the horrors of the galaxy and win, it makes his victory all the sweeter.

Oh, and every single named Tanith stopped being anywhere near "average" after the first book.



#18 JuankiMan

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 04:25 PM

 Also, where does all this "below average" nonesense come from? If you do a little math you'll notice that, after substracting 20 to every stat in the average guardsman's profile, the sum of what's left adds to 15x5 + 8 + 11+ 5 + 5 = 104. Even if the difference from the point buy system wasn't insignificant, you have to remember that the average guardsman doesn't get any regimental or specialist stat modifiers, bonus skills nor talents, which means that, after spending the initial XP, any starter character will almost undoubtedly outclass him in all three and any class, with the exception of the Ratling and the Operator, would consider only 10 wounds a mediocre roll. Also, due to their class' starter gear and the Standard Regimental Kit, any recently created char will be much better outfitted. Finally consider the impact Fate points have on the game and the characters may not be agents of the throne, ridiculously wealthy space jocks or super-human colossi, but they're definetly not below average.



#19 HTMC

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:36 PM

LuciusT said:

In terms of OW, some people want an IG experience true to the Codex-expressed IG: endless ranks of guardsman throwing away their lives in a giant horde, the hammer of the Imperium to the Astartes' sword.

Why would any want to play a faceless, nameless character whose only role is to die, forgotten and unmourned among hundreds of his fellows? This is an honest question. I do not comprehend the entertainment gained from that experience, especially given the time and effort required to make an rpg character.

The easiest way to satisfy both desires is to start PCs closer to the former, and if you want to make them like the former, simply give your PCs a few thousand extra XP at character creation, and maybe  hand each of them an extra Fate Point (that they presumably would have earned while gaining the XP). Presto, instant Hero-class PC. But to demand that all PCs start at that level robs others of the chance to play the average guardsman.

But that isn't what I want. You will note I didn't name Guant in my list of characters to emulate. The guys are I named are, IMO, average if heroic Guardsmen. Sure Corbec and Rawne has senior officers, but only by right of being the only guys left after the fall of Tanith. If you read my second post, you'd see that is what I want -  to play an average albeit heroic Guardsman. As it stands currently, PCs aren't even that. They start as below average guardsmen.

I'm not sure how many ways I can phrase this, but just because you can't comprehend it, doesn't mean it's not the case. Additionally, for many people creating a character doesn't take all that much time and effort (I can probably make a BC or RT character in 15-20 minutes at starting level, easy). You also assume most people play RPGs for the roleplaying aspect, whereas I know some people who enjoy it just as much for the gameplay (or crunch) or just as a collaborative group game rather than an acting experience. I can't tell you why people have fun the way they do, but trying to force your opinions of "fun" on them isn't the way to go. Again: people play RPGs differently and for different reasons.

As to your second point: how does giving more XP to your theoretically "below average guardsman" not solve your problem or give you what you want? And both Rawne and Corbex (Rawne especially after Gereon) are far, far away from being "average guardsmen" in any sense of the word.

And I did re-read your second post: I literally cannot understand why you're so intent on comparing PCs to static Guardsmen, or why if starting level guardsmen are too weak in your eyes you just can't start your campaigns with 2-3k extra XP. Please explain further, because I'm genuinely not getting it. PCs exist on a spectrum, depending on how much XP their GM started them with, how long they've been playing, etc. It's like pointing at a DH Ascension character and saying it's way too overpowered compared to the base enemies in the DH corebook. PCs by their very nature are extremely malleable in terms of their power, which is what sets them apart from static NPC profiles. And like I said in the last post, it's good to have the option of playing at either end of the spectrum, and not forcing players to start on the high end just because it happens to be one person's preference. 



#20 Grubisha

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:41 PM

IMHO it isn't that Guardsmen are too strong. Me thinks Support Specialists should be beefed up a bit more. A kind of Chaos Space Marines in BC (not literally but a bit more OP then they are now). I fully agree that Stormtroopers are Seal Team 6 compared to regular Guardsman and the rest of supporters are above average individuals.






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