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Rethinking Sergeants


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#1 silesian

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 09:53 AM

I made an account just to post this, so bear with me. What can we do to save the Sergeant? As it stands, you are gaining just about nothing by choosing one as a class.

Guardsman (Sergeant)

Characteristic Bonus: +5 Fellowship

Starting Aptitudes: General, Defence, Fellowship, Leadership, Perception, Strength, Toughness, Weapon Skill

Starting Skills: Command, Navigate (Surface) or Scholastic Lore (Tactica Imperialis)

Starting Talents: Air of Authority or Iron Discipline, Weapon Training (Chain, Las or Solid Projectile, Low-Tech)

Specialist Equipment: Common Craftsmanship Las Pistol, Common Craftsmanship Chainsword

Wounds: 10+1d5

Accompanying this sidebar is a description stating that Sergeants are the backbone of the Imperial Guard, serving as an example to the rest of the troops (who they are also responsible for training).

The question is… what exactly is a Sergeant good at?

If it's for killing the enemy, we've got many, many classes better at that than the Sergeant. Take your pick: Any class with a combat characteristic aptitude (WS or BS) as well as a combat category aptitude (Offense or Finesse) is going to be better than the Sarge at fighting.

If it's for talking to and/or convincing people, we've got the Priest and the… naturally-charismatic Ratling, because the Sarge doesn't get the Social aptitude.

If it's for knowing things and having skills, we have the Techpriest, the Medic and the Psyker for company. The Sarge doesn't start with the Fieldcraft, Knowledge, or Tech or Intelligence aptitudes.

This puts the Sergeant into a rather precarious position. His number one most useful skill is his sweeping orders. The squad derives a +10 Dodge bonus or a +4 Damage bonus simply for having him there. Other than being the human equivalent to giving the whole squad Best Craftsmanship weapons with the Mono upgrade, what can he do? Evidently, he is supposed to be in charge. Except none of the Leadership talents actually provide any mechanical benefit whatsoever and Sergeants are too low-ranking to derive any benefit from Air of Authority. Just look at what they used to do in Dark Heresy. Comrades are already immune to Fear and Pinning because they don't have to take tests for it! Look at him, he doesn't even have Common Lore (War) or Common Lore (Imperial Guard), and so on. Don't even get me started on the recommended talents for a Sergeant, which suggest dual-wielding to a character that not only doesn't have the aptitudes to pick up those talents, he lacks the aptitudes to even improve his characteristics for the prerequisites.

In comparison, let's look at the Support Specialist (Commissar).

Characteristic Bonus: +5 Fellowship

Starting Aptitudes: General, Agility, Finesse, Leadership, Perception, Fellowship, Weapon Skill, Willpower

Starting Skills: Command or Intimidate, Common Lore (Imperial Guard), Scholastic Lore (Tactica Imperalis)

Starting Talents: Air of Authority, Chem Geld or Unshakeable Faith, Weapon Training (Bolt, Chain, Las or Solid Projectile, Low-Tech)

Specialist Equipment: Good Craftsmanship Bolt Pistol, Good Craftsmanship Chainsword, Commissar's Uniform

Wounds: 10+1d5

Here we have a class who can do the Sergeant's job better than he can (thanks to better aptitudes) while also starting with better training and better equipment. He also technically outranks the Sergeant completely (making it a very bad idea to have both a Sergeant and a Commissar in one squad). The only thing that's missing is the sweeping orders--so go out there and requisition some Best Craftsmanship weapons with the Mono upgrade!



#2 Varn

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 11:35 AM

First off, if built and played right, the Sergeant class can be an absolute BEAST. Sure they are far from perfect and could use a little tweaking, but as is they are quite good. I'm playing as one right now, and my primary focus is on Command related things and as a Melee fighter. Their Orders and the ability to Inspire give huge buffs to the entire party. We also have a Commissar in our party, and we complement each other very well, especially in combat since we both have Double Team. But when it comes right down to it, the main thing a Sergenat is there for is the Command Skill and is Orders, which are all quite good.

It's already well know that almost all of the "Recomended" skill lists are bull for all the classes, but the one point I will concede is that canonicly Sergeants were always big on duel wielding a melee and ranged weapon, and with their current aptitudes it's a little hard for them to take this path.

 

Also, please site where it says that Comrades are immune to Fear and Pinning becasue they don't have to take tests. If there is such an entry, then that is more an error in proofreading than anything becasue there are a number of traits that make them immune to such effects.



#3 Pappystein

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 11:46 AM

Varn said:

Sergeants were always big on duel wielding a melee and ranged weapon, and with their current aptitudes it's a little hard for them to take this path.

 

I would think those would be the senior Sergeants.   Since you can easily buy all the upgrades to dual wield.   Yes you don't get to use your pointy stick and your bang stick at the same time right out from character creation but SO WHAT!   You have many other uses other than Dual Wielding out of the gate, like passing orders and leading from the front.

 

I think the Sergeant should however start with more XP but receive a Characteristic penalty to offset the extra xp.   They are supposed to be the best and the ones who train others meaning they should be more than just trained in a skill.

 

 



#4 Varn

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 12:11 PM

Pappystein said:

Varn said:

 

Sergeants were always big on duel wielding a melee and ranged weapon, and with their current aptitudes it's a little hard for them to take this path.

 

 

 

I would think those would be the senior Sergeants.   Since you can easily buy all the upgrades to dual wield.   Yes you don't get to use your pointy stick and your bang stick at the same time right out from character creation but SO WHAT!   You have many other uses other than Dual Wielding out of the gate, like passing orders and leading from the front.

 

I think the Sergeant should however start with more XP but receive a Characteristic penalty to offset the extra xp.   They are supposed to be the best and the ones who train others meaning they should be more than just trained in a skill.

 

 

I think that's unneeded. The +5 Fel helps out a lot and they can pick up a few needed advanced to start with. And when I sait it was a little hard for them to duel wield, I wasn't talking about at char gen, I was talking about down the road. They only have one Aptitude for all the Two Weapon talents and to get Sidearm, they need to probably boost their BS, which isn't all that easy either.



#5 KommissarK

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 03:30 AM

I'm not quite sure how you can disparage the sweeping orders. +10 to dodge is a lifesaver. A straight +4 damage roles when being aided by a comrade is a very nice effect in a system where almost all defenses are damage resistances. The vox operator allows for some nice buffing at pretty long ranges. Most other specialties have to be right there to offer any real aid but a Sergeant can enable a group to perform more complicated tactics.

Thematically, if nobody wants to play a commissar, then its a good leader option. Don't forget they too can make Terrify tests (if a bit disadvantaged from a Commissar).

Also, possessing the Toughness and Defence aptitudes make them near impossible to kill (easy Sound Constitutions, Toughness advances, and pretty much access to any "cool" defensive ability).



#6 Morangias

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 04:09 AM

The problem is not with the Sergeant. The problem is with Leadership, the red-headed stepchild of the Aptitude system.

Leadership as an Aptitude covers:

0 Characteristics

1 Skill

7 Talents

And to make it worse, two of these Talents just plain suck.

Due to the way Comrades work, spending two Talents to make them fearless is an utter waste of exp. They only fail fear tests when their PC fails it, at which point the fact that the Comrade didn't barely means anything, so it's a much better idea to focus on Talents that make the PCs less likely to fail Fear Tests, like Radiant Presence or that special Commissar Talent.

At this point, either the Aptitude needs to get dropped completely or it needs to get more stuff attached to it.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#7 Eradico Pravus

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 06:00 AM

Varn said:

Also, please site where it says that Comrades are immune to Fear and Pinning becasue they don't have to take tests. If there is such an entry, then that is more an error in proofreading than anything becasue there are a number of traits that make them immune to such effects.

Page 200, in the blue box titled, "Special Situations."

 



#8 Andor

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 06:20 AM

Morangias said:

At this point, either the Aptitude needs to get dropped completely or it needs to get more stuff attached to it.

Speaking personally I'd be happy if it split the 2nd Aptitude slot for the Fellowship advance with Social. You know, because every single one of the 8 talents and skills Leadership applies to is tied to Fellowship.

IOW you could could count Leadership OR Social towards the cost reduction of a Fellowship advance.



#9 Snowman0147

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 06:22 AM

I agree that something should be done with leadership cause social pretty much destroys that aptitude in term of use.



#10 KommissarK

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 06:48 AM

Its difficult to say if Leadership should be pulled into Social. On one hand, it makes much of the social training significantly easier for a Sergeant/Commissar, but it would also give a new aptitude for the Priest (difficult to say what it should be. Intelligence maybe, so they can at least train some knowledge skills?), and it would effectively be giving Ratlings easy Command/leadership talent advances.

I don't know what to think of that last part. It implies that Ratlings could start to succeed on Terrify checks to make the party ignore fear. And well, that… That just sort of makes my head spin. Its funny, but I don't think theres a place in the 40k setting for a Ratling getting the men back in line.



#11 Morangias

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 07:37 AM

KommissarK said:

 

Its difficult to say if Leadership should be pulled into Social. On one hand, it makes much of the social training significantly easier for a Sergeant/Commissar, but it would also give a new aptitude for the Priest (difficult to say what it should be. Intelligence maybe, so they can at least train some knowledge skills?), and it would effectively be giving Ratlings easy Command/leadership talent advances.

I don't know what to think of that last part. It implies that Ratlings could start to succeed on Terrify checks to make the party ignore fear. And well, that… That just sort of makes my head spin. Its funny, but I don't think theres a place in the 40k setting for a Ratling getting the men back in line.

 

 

If leadership got rolled into Social, Sergeants, Commissars, Priests and Ratlings would all be able to learn command stuff at the same cost.

Currently, the Priest is the only one who gets both Fellowship and Command Advances at lowest cost. The Ratling has cheap Fellowship but medium Command, while Commissars and Sergeants get medium Fellowship but cheap Command. In practice, maxing out both costs the Ratling only about 200 exp more than Commissars and Sergeants, so it's safe to say they break even anyway, while the Priest leaves them all in the dust.

So, the possibility of the Ratling being an inspiring leader of men is already there.

EDIT: Also, in the case Leadership Aptitude got dropped, the Priest should get a new one not related to a Characteristic. I'd be inclined to give him Defense, since much of the mental defenses is keyed to it, and an inviolable mind is something I feel a Priest should have.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#12 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 08:31 AM

On a related thing for command talents, should 'Air of Authority' really say 'affect 100 times your fellowship bonus rather than 10'? Seriously, 300-ish guys with a talent some regiments get free?

if it was 10 rather than 1 - i.e. command groups - and wasn't 'only affects NPCs' - it would help by letting Sarge Inspire the whole squad at once.

But yes, Sarge does suffer compared to the commissar, except for the sweeping orders. On the other hand, they are unique to him and they're awesome.

 

 

 

 



#13 Andor

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 09:05 AM

Command checks are already limited to those who can hear you, so unless you have the enitre regiment in parade formation while you address them from the podium, there are going to be precious few chances to affect that many people. And you won't actually have command authority over all but a few anyhow.



#14 Morangias

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 12:03 PM

I don't think the Sergeant is really worse than the Commissar.

In terms of generally available social stuff, they're equal at this point - both get medium cost for Fellowship and cheap cost for Command and related Talents.

In terms of specialty-exclusive stuff, Sweeping Orders leave the Commissar in the dust. The Sergeant is a goddamn buffing machine! Meanwhile, the Commissar can get +10 to Command tests for the Terrify special action, and a weird pseudo-resurrection effect which is useful, but has a limited timing window and can cause IC tensions if the players get attached to their comrades.

Now, the rest of the stuff… the Commissar is definitely more choppy and dodgy, with WS, Agi and Finesse Aptitudes giving him a very well-rounded combat suite at a discount price. He's also much better at building towards the signature sword-and-pistol fighting style. Meanwhile, the Sergeant is tough as nails, with cheap Toughness and all the Talents related to surviving physical injury, and can pack more punch thanks to medium Strength cost - this also gives him a discount on several nice Talents if he wishes to go to town with his chainsword. They both get medium cost for Talents boosting mental durability (Jaded, Nerves of Steel etc), but the Commissar will have a slightly easier time meeting their prereqs thanks to his WP aptitude. Then, there's the matter of these extra 300 exp the Sergeant gets at start.

All in all, if you want an awesome leader, Sergeant is the prime choice. If you want a great melee combatant who can also lead, the Commissar is better. I'm quite okay with this.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#15 TCBC Freak

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:07 AM

They should get Common Lore (War and Imperial Guard) there is no logical reason for them not to have it. The Weapon Spec gets both of those and the Sergeant should 'outrank' the Weapon Spec who is the "Rank and file guardsman" according to the text and that's what the Sergeant ought to have been before becoming Sergeant. Give them those and I think that is a step in the right direction.


I wish I lived around people who actullay played games instead of just calling themselves gamers....


#16 Morangias

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 12:43 PM

TCBC Freak said:

They should get Common Lore (War and Imperial Guard) there is no logical reason for them not to have it. The Weapon Spec gets both of those and the Sergeant should 'outrank' the Weapon Spec who is the "Rank and file guardsman" according to the text and that's what the Sergeant ought to have been before becoming Sergeant. Give them those and I think that is a step in the right direction.

Fully agreed.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.





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