Jump to content



Photo

Commissarial Powers, Authority


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 SchDerGrosse

SchDerGrosse

    Member

  • Members
  • 1 posts

Posted 28 October 2012 - 11:31 AM

Hi there!

My Team and I are playing an Only War beta campaign, and we have a Commissare in our party.

 

My question is: what is the hierarchy/relation between a commissar and the various officers of the army?
I have already red this page but iam still in doubt.

Like:

-Do commissars have ranks inside the organization of the imperial guards?
-Can a commissar give commands to officers?
-What is the relation between the commissar and party's support specialist players? Like psykers and tech priest assigned to a squad.


Or he has authority only in "Morale" and "Political" matters? If so, what kind of matters are considered to be as such?

 

 

thank you for the answer
Sch



#2 Plushy

Plushy

    Member

  • Members
  • 811 posts

Posted 28 October 2012 - 04:49 PM

 I believe the common rule is that a Comissar exists outside of military rank. I definitely remember such a thing being brought up in one of the books when a Commissar ordered around some squad. They are there for matters of moral and political situations, not to give orders to anyone. They are not members of the Imperial Guard. Their ability to execute people for cowardice and heresy definitely is in a vague area; I imagine a Commissar would get in a lot of trouble for shooting the Lord Castellan, but not for killing a Conscript.

Also, this thread belongs in the Only War forum, not the Beta forum.


My apologies to anyone I offend; FFG staff, playtesters, and forum users alike. 

 

Please check out my Dark Heresy to Only War conversion! You can find it on the main Only War forum. I'm always looking for more people to playtest it!


#3 N0-1_H3r3

N0-1_H3r3

    Former Contributing Freelance Writer

  • Members
  • 3,306 posts

Posted 31 October 2012 - 06:49 AM

SchDerGrosse said:

Like:

-Do commissars have ranks inside the organization of the imperial guards?
-Can a commissar give commands to officers?
-What is the relation between the commissar and party's support specialist players? Like psykers and tech priest assigned to a squad.


Or he has authority only in "Morale" and "Political" matters? If so, what kind of matters are considered to be as such?

None of the following is official: it is merely my own personal take on the subject.

A Commissar is an agent of the Departmento Munitorum, which is in turn the Department of the Adeptus Administratum responsible for the raising, supply, maintenance and deployment of the armed forces of the Imperium. It is his responsibility, on behalf of the Departmento Munitorum, to personally ensure that the Emperor's armies are operating in the desired manner, as defined by military law.

Commissars possess no rank within the Imperial Guard (or Imperial Navy, for that matter - Naval vessels have Commissars too) - from an organisational standpoint, they are advisory personnel attached at the regimental level.

Commissars have no inherent authority to issue orders to anyone. When it comes to other advisory personnel (Tech-Priests, Preachers, Sanctioned Psykers, who hail from other organisations), their oversight extends only to military matters. Storm Troopers, Ogryns, Ratlings and other cross-attached specialists are still Imperial Guardsmen of a sort, so they are covered by a Commissar's duties.

It is the unending responsibility of a Commissar to ensure that the forces under his authority (the regiment or vessel to which he is attached) act in all ways and at all times in a manner befitting a sworn servant of Him on Terra. This begins with upholding the laws and regulations that govern the military (if you are in breach of regulations, it is a Commissar who will oversee your interrogation, judgement and punishment, though he is not necessarily the one who will administer such things), and ends with ensuring that the officers bear the responsibilities of command with sufficient piety, courage and solemnity (that is, that an officer is not misusing Imperial forces, is not a coward or traitor, and is issuing orders that serve well the needs of the Imperium). For a trooper, the Commissar is the man who ensures that you are punished if you do something wrong. For an officer, he's the one who ensures that you don't get the chance to do something wrong. In either case, while a Commissar cannot give orders, he is nonetheless someone who must be listened to, especially as part of his job is passing approval over the orders of officers.

In the field of battle, a Commissar's responsibilities do not cease - it is his duty to ensure that everyone fights to the best of their ability, whatever their particular role. It is here that the Commissar is permitted to judge and punish any infractions he witnesses instantly and summarily, though the range of infractions that must be punished immediately (as opposed to ones dealt with post-battle) is relatively small and covers things like cowardice, desertion, surrender and so forth - things for which the punishment can only be death.


Writing Credits for Fantasy Flight Games: Into the Storm, Edge of the Abyss, Battlefleet Koronus, Hostile Acquisitions, Black Crusade Core Rulebook, First Founding, The Jericho Reach, The Soul Reaver, Only War, The Navis Primer and Ark of Lost Souls


#4 Gavinfoxx

Gavinfoxx

    Member

  • Members
  • 181 posts

Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:21 AM

I would also say that Commissars have primary authority over Psykers.  They are often given specialist training in dealing with problems with Sanctioned Psykers, so if they can boss anyone around in general, it would be whatever Sanctioned Psyker they are in charge of.



#5 venkelos

venkelos

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,101 posts

Posted 02 November 2012 - 05:57 AM

Yeah, I kinda wondered what the book might say, regarding Commissars doing their job. In the table top, they can summarily execute Officers for failing morale checks, and cap psykers for Perils. In an RPG setting, however, I can't imagine the group going too far, and having too much fun with the one player who is constantly dour,, barking, and can blow them away for minor infractions. I would hate to build a psyker just to have him put down "for his own good", just because he got a bloody nose when he tried to use his powers, or shoot the Sergeant because the enemy happen to be smart, and he didn't quite plan well enough 9it happens, or the Emperor, Himself, wouldn't be on the GT). Hopefully, the book does a nice job of explaining how Commissars can be one with the team, helping the others out, rather than almost an enemy in their midst, waiting to do what the outside enemy couldn't, and kill the players.

Since I don't have the beta, I also wonder if the Commissar happens to get Psy Resistance. If they have to approach the occasional lost psyker, and kill him, it might be good to have one's mind trained to have a better chance of approaching, unless Telepathy doesn't exist in OW.



#6 Volkomor

Volkomor

    Member

  • Members
  • 14 posts

Posted 11 November 2012 - 10:26 AM

venkelos said:

Since I don't have the beta, I also wonder if the Commissar happens to get Psy Resistance. If they have to approach the occasional lost psyker, and kill him, it might be good to have one's mind trained to have a better chance of approaching, unless Telepathy doesn't exist in OW.

I play one. They don't have Psy Resist, but can reroll (and get bonus to) a lot of Fear and Pinning tests. Psy Resistance is obtainable, but you have to explain to your GM why and how you would develop that (maybe cybernetics? orthoproxy already gives similar bonuses).

As with butchering allies… I act as the leader of or special forces group (each player hails from different regiments; noone made a Sergeant). While I do give orders, I try to listen to them and see no problem letting some do stuff without my sanction - SF teams must be flexible, after all. What my character doesn't allow is stuff like a Psyker going full nuts, mass possessing everyone (and making one of our Guards chewing the Operator ankles in a Chimera, while he was trying to fend off some orks). It was almost a TPK, but now the players full understand why Psykers shouldn't Push everytime. In that situation, I shot him 'cause, well… no Weirfboy was visible amongst the ork rabble, and warp-stuff could come only from the Psyker. It was beyond perils!

Telepahty does exist in OW. In fact, all 5 psychic disciplines are represented in the book; updates gave us the basic techniques - but in light mode; FFG is developing that characteristic way better with RT, as in Navis Primer



#7 lurkeroutthere

lurkeroutthere

    Member

  • Members
  • 234 posts

Posted 14 November 2012 - 06:38 AM

Some of the problem with Commissar's is it depends on who is writing them.

 

The basic ideal is a commisar has a dramatic amount of power but are extremely limited in what they should do, and they are the sort of person that's been so heavily indoctrinated to be an instrument of the institution that they will always use that authority to make the right call. Basically think of Commisars in some ways as the Judges (of Judge Dredd fame). They are raised from a very very young age and trained to do what they do. Other IG, even the officers probably don't have that background (deathworlds kind of being the exception).

 

As others have said the overall role of the commisar is the maintain the health, morale, and readiness of the imperial fighting forces. There's is not a command role. They don't decide how the unit fights, or where they fight, they just make sure they fight. They will probably be included in strategic level discussions at higher level but no more. Now in the abscence of local authority, especialyl officer level authority they can take command, but they should be sticking within the overall battle plan. For exmaple the mission is to take a hill. Troopers have been streaming to the base of the hill and are massed up keeping their heads down under fire. The commisar sees that no other officer has arrived to give the order to assault. Natuarlly he hoists his chainsword high. "For the Emperor!" and leads a charge or shoots anyone that that doesn't take off charging depending on his battle style.

 

But it's the nature of the commisar's relationship with the rest of Imperial forces why I was really disappointed to hear they were going to be a starter PC role in Only War. A lot of times only war will presumably have you operating in a fireteam situation, the concept of attaching a commisar to a fireteam on a more or less permanent basis is silly considering your standard imperial guard regiment will have maybe 3-4 commisars total (so at best 1 commisar per every 250 troops and officers, and in truth probably a lot greater ratio then that).

Commisars and other organizations: The commisar would presumably have no official authority over the tech priests or members of the priesthood attached to the IG, they fall outside of the munitorium. I'm a little on the fence about IG psykers. Normally when you have an IG psyker they are kept segregated to their own unit and heavily watched by their own storm troopers and commisars. If you've got a psyker stable and powerful enough to send out into the field on their own they are probably high enough rank and rare enough that while they fall under the commisar's overall purview they are likely granted a fair amount of trust and discretion. Basically the commisar likely knows if they shoot that psyker they better have a damn good explanation that doesn't involve "burn the witch"



#8 venkelos

venkelos

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,101 posts

Posted 15 November 2012 - 02:09 AM

lurkeroutthere said:

I'm a little on the fence about IG psykers. Normally when you have an IG psyker they are kept segregated to their own unit and heavily watched by their own storm troopers and commisars. If you've got a psyker stable and powerful enough to send out into the field on their own they are probably high enough rank and rare enough that while they fall under the commisar's overall purview they are likely granted a fair amount of trust and discretion. Basically the commisar likely knows if they shoot that psyker they better have a damn good explanation that doesn't involve "burn the witch"

This position makes me feel better. So much of the regular writing in 40k leans more toward "if the psyker gets a shiver, shoot him, just to be sure." And makes it sound like the Commissar won't have a worry; they did their job. The universal mistrust and disgust most Imperials hold for non-Emperor psykers makes it feel, sometimes, that in an RPG, along with harrowing missions where everyone can die, a psyker PC also has to worry about, sooner or later, just being a party casualty, as they get capped for "looking at the group funny, like they were maybe going to let a Daemon loose on'em, or something." I don't have the OW beta, but being the Wizard/Jedi loving player I am, Psyker would likely be my first character attempt, were I to get to play Only War, and that would be markedly less fun if there was a ticking clock, counting down to when the psyker oopses, as it's a built in mechanic, and gets killed for it. If a machine malfunctions, you don't shoot the Tech-Priest, but the psyker is a real worry. Glad that this game won't run like that, and my character would have, more or less, the same survivability likelyhood as everyone else.



#9 ac429

ac429

    Member

  • Members
  • 7 posts

Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:18 PM

venkelos said:

This position makes me feel better. So much of the regular writing in 40k leans more toward "if the psyker gets a shiver, shoot him, just to be sure." And makes it sound like the Commissar won't have a worry; they did their job. The universal mistrust and disgust most Imperials hold for non-Emperor psykers makes it feel, sometimes, that in an RPG, along with harrowing missions where everyone can die, a psyker PC also has to worry about, sooner or later, just being a party casualty, as they get capped for "looking at the group funny, like they were maybe going to let a Daemon loose on'em, or something." I don't have the OW beta, but being the Wizard/Jedi loving player I am, Psyker would likely be my first character attempt, were I to get to play Only War, and that would be markedly less fun if there was a ticking clock, counting down to when the psyker oopses, as it's a built in mechanic, and gets killed for it. If a machine malfunctions, you don't shoot the Tech-Priest, but the psyker is a real worry. Glad that this game won't run like that, and my character would have, more or less, the same survivability likelyhood as everyone else.

 

Well, we should keep in mind, it's always political, and thus, DM can always exercise  his discression for the players' benefit.

Here's the  thing, the IG is a very big institution, and laws are 'percieved' differently from location to location.  One regiment might scrutanize Commisar behavor very closely, and anything they do might be scorned at.  By scorned at, i mean either  decomissioned, or sent on "unfortunate missions" by those in command.  Alternatively, the players might be in a regiment where commisars have a lot of politcal sway.  Maybe they're buddy buddies with those high in command.  In that case, the commisars can getaway with shooting kids, to confiscate their "contraband" candy bar.



#10 MajorMurray

MajorMurray

    Member

  • Members
  • 5 posts

Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:27 PM

lurkeroutthere said:

But it's the nature of the commisar's relationship with the rest of Imperial forces why I was really disappointed to hear they were going to be a starter PC role in Only War. A lot of times only war will presumably have you operating in a fireteam situation, the concept of attaching a commisar to a fireteam on a more or less permanent basis is silly considering your standard imperial guard regiment will have maybe 3-4 commisars total (so at best 1 commisar per every 250 troops and officers, and in truth probably a lot greater ratio then that).



I agree with every point you've made in this post except this one.

I hope that this is explained in more detail in the Only War Rulebook. But anyways, I've heard many people(mostly my players) explain to me that Commissars and Priests are extremely numerous in most regiments unless they come from a backwater. I've heard there is Commissars attached at Regimental Level, then Company and finally Platoon. Leading men and keeping units of soldiers at top fighting capacity till moved elsewhere.

One of the ways I've explained a Commissar being attached to a squad is having the squad be the Commissar's Command Squad. That means, his bodyguard. They are not part of the Imperial Guard, but merely troopers from the regiment chosen to be part of the Commissariat as that Commissar's protectors. This works to a degree but I just wish there was another way to explain it. It's really just, headcanon way of explaining things.

Anyways, I hope FFG gives us the average number of Commissars in a Regiment and what not. That'd be helpful for us GMs!






© 2013 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are ® of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact | User Support | Rules Questions | Help | RSS