“In any army balance is the key to success. A commander who puts his faith in heavy weaponry alone will be outmanoeuvred. A commander who relies on close combat without support will lose his force to enemy fire. Each element must work in harmony, so that the effectiveness of the army is greater than the sum of its parts."
– Extract from the Tactica Imperium
In April, Fantasy Flight Games announced Only War, a standalone Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying game in which players take on the roles of soldiers in the Imperial Guard, the galaxy-spanning armies of the God-Emperor. Today, we return to a series of previews examining the Only War play experience.
In our last preview, contributing writer Andy Hoare gave a glimpse into the game’s war-torn setting, the Spinward Front. Today, contributing writer Nathan Dowdell continues our series with a look at Regiments and their importance to the game.
Strength of Unity
Amongst the most central defining factors within any Guardsman’s existence, the nature of the Regiment to which he belongs will define much of how he looks, how he thinks, and how he acts. In most ways that matter, a Guardsman identifies with his Regiment in much the same way that a Space Marine identifies with his Chapter – it is a home, a gathering of like-minded souls, and it represents the strength of unity.
Just as it should be, a character’s Regiment in Only War is a major part of character creation, so much so that the subject of Regiments has an entire chapter devoted to it, and it is expected that a group will collectively determine their Regiment at the start of a campaign, using it as the starting point from which many other choices will flow.
Each regiment in Only War includes a sidebar that shows how it was created using the Regiment Creation Rules. Click the image above to read about the Maccabian Janissaries (pdf, 1.4 MB).
This chapter provides a number of notable regiments from across the galaxy – particular regiments from Cadia, Catachan, Krieg, Elysia, Mordian, Tallarn and Vostroya – along with a unique regiments hailing from the Calixis Sector: the Maccabean Janissaries. Each of these provides an assortment of starting benefits and advances that suit a regiment’s focus and purpose, as well as a selection of standard issue equipment that every Guardsman from that Regiment will carry.
This, however, is only part of the chapter. Each of the notable regiments already mentioned was created using a robust system of Regiment Creation, which is included in all its glory within the second half of the chapter. Using this system, players and GMs alike can create an enormous variety of possible Regiments for their games, and in turn create a wide range of different campaigns – the missions undertaken by Light Infantry will be quite different to those undertaken by tank crews or Siege Infantry.
When creating their own Regiment, the players start with an allocation of points. They then use these points to purchase different aspects of their Regiment. First, each Regiment hails from a particular kind of world – the Guardsmen produced by a Death World will differ in many ways from those who hail from a Fortress World or a Hive World. Home world has an effect on the characters’ starting wounds, skills, and talents, and can grant them special abilities relating to their nature.
Second, the players select their Regiment’s Training and Doctrines, which determine the type of Regiment being created, the particular ways in which they are trained, and sometimes even the kind of equipment they’re armed with. Next, the nature of the Regiment’s Commanding Officer is determined, for the officer’s nature influences that of the men under his command, granting them unique social talents and skills.
Finally, a Regiment’s standard issue equipment is determined, determining the different types of equipment and vehicles the characters will start the game with (every Armoured Regiment has tanks; every Infantry Regiment has lasguns, and so forth).
To begin the Regiment Creation process, a player has 12 points to spend. With these, he selects a Home World, Commanding Officer, Regiment Type, and Doctrines.
Using this method, not only are the characters given a common identity and origin, but the nature of the campaign is defined. A Regiment of footslogging line infantry may form part of a massive frontal assault through no-man’s land after months in the trenches, while a courageous drop-trooper regiment may find themselves performing high-speed raids behind enemy lines that last only hours before they fly back home.
Thanks, Nathan! With a hundred million soldiers for every star in the sky, the variety of possible Regiments is only limited by your imagination. Check back for more in the coming weeks, and look for Only War on store shelves later this quarter!