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Eldar and the GM, my worst nightmare?


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#1 Captain Avynn

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 12:43 PM

Hey guys, first post here on the forums. Just started getting into tabletop RPGs and GM'ed two sessions so far, one of Deathwatch and one of Rogue Trader both of their starting adventures. The group preferred the flow of the Deathwatch campaign

Now what I've done so far is run Final Sanction but I added some other events and interactions for flavor and fun. We are getting ready for Oblivion's edge, but this leads to some questions I had due to what I am adding.

Hive Fleet Dagon was lured to the planet Avilos by Eldar, seeking to keep the Imperials from the Tau border as their foreseers foretold of an alliance that would save the Craftworld later. (The craftworld is Iyanden, I figured if the Team can foil their plans it would be the fleet that later devours most of the Craftworld). How should I as a new Gm portray an almost precogniscient race? Any ideas for ways I could foreshadow with an eldar but do so subtly and without feeling 'tacked on'?

Thank you all for any advice you can give!



#2 Kasatka

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:41 AM

The thing to remember with Eldar is that though they are all slightly pyshcic and have dreams and visions, it is the warlocks and farseers especially that truly have visions of the future and guide their people. It would have to be a senior Farseer that could co-ordinate enough of a Craftworld's forces to manipulate events to divert a Tyranid fleet. As such don't just throw Farseer/Warlocks at the player characters.
Have them notice corpses of both humans and tyranids that have been slain with incredibly accurate laser fire, or with one of the more exotic xenos weapons that the Eldar use (shurikens, reaper missiles, scorpion chainswords, hawk grenade packs etc), though make it be a skill check for the players. With enough investigation on the part of the players and some good deduction and skill rolls they should be able to figure out that there is another Xenos presence, specifically Eldar.
Now if you can craft their reaction so that they believe the Eldar have been helping them, then they will be more receptive to dialogue with the Eldar when they finally show up (likely to be a unit of Rangers, or maybe an Autarch or Exarch as the first 'leader' they encounter). Otherwise youll have a squad of well equipped astartes who have finished killing tyranids and just turn their weapons on the new threat.


Only the insane have strength enough to prosper.

Only those that prosper may truly judge what is sane.


#3 Captain Avynn

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:28 AM

Thank you for the reply Kasatka! I do like the idea of having the team coming across corpses slain by the eldar, and your idea of mixing tyranids into the corpses definately would fit with the Eldar's 'us first' mentality. This would also fit with how I think a farseer would try to balance the situation - they wouldn't want to weaken the Imperials so the Hive Fleet can just have a buffet without any losses, and they don't want to weaken the Hive Fleet to the point where the Imperials can mop it up quickly. By this nature, it would seem as if the best solution would be to try to perpetuate a state of constant war on Avilos.

I had created a small list of Eldar forces that I was hoping to insert into the campaign durin Oblivion's edge; 5-10 rangers, 5 dire avengers, 1-3 warlocks, and possibly an Autarch. I was gearing more towards random combat encounters but you are correct, the players would be far less likely to communicate with someone who's been undermining their every effort. I will instead use rebel horde profiles from Final Sanction to allow for some diversity while the team is on planet, in case they get bored by wave after wave of nids, or to incorporate some change ups to the story/ immediate plot.

This would lead to the question still, how does one represent an enigmatic and prescient warlock/farseer? I understand that with eldar pride simply oozes out of their words when dealing with humans (mon'keigh), I am just stumped on how to add hints of prescience and potential foreshadowing in the event that dialogue is opened.

Thanks again.



#4 Zappiel

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:16 AM

it may help to recall that the eldar don't necessarily know all that will occur - they see possiblities, and the possibilities for altering those possibilities….their's seems to be a sort of desperate future-vision, wherein they try with all their might to coax into reality the futures they desire…so they may not come off as all "we know what's gonna happen"….rather, it may be more like:  "we know what's gonna happen if we don't change things here and now"  They may start out as aloof, uncaring, and manipulative; but as the dire future draws nearer, the eldar's attitude may become more desperate, more conciliatory, more cooperative.  The eldar dream and use ritual for prognostication, so their attitudes can change almost at any time depending on their most recent visions….



#5 Captain Avynn

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:16 AM

A fantastic point, Zappiel. And thankfully one that takes alot of pressure off my shoulders. And the way you broke down the attitude of the eldar in the given situations would make for an interesting opportunity to portray them in different lights.

Thanks to both of you for the insight. This helps greatly with planning how I want the campaign to proceed. I think it'll be interesting to see the Kill Team inevitably be the cause of Craftworld Iyanden being eaten by a Hive Fleet in years to come, provided the group is successful.



#6 Kasatka

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:13 AM

One thing that a GM did in a game of Rogue Trader once was to have us communicate with an Eldar via a waylstone. You can also have rangers using holographic projections of themselves and actually observing the conversation from some distance. This allows you to really get into the character of being aloof and considering humans beneath even the lowest eldar. Then when the marines have had enough and try and kill it - the image fizzles out and they then get shot at by the ranger from afar. Or the ranger just leaves.
We have many bits of Eldar weapons, armour and wargear described but you can assume that if Imperials have tech for something then Eldars have better tech. Portal communicators, holo-fields, stealth engines for vehicles, surveillance gear and booby traps. Be devious, be superior but ultimately remember that the Eldar in this instance do not want to wipe out the Imperials, and the PCs may not have been forseen so might be a spanner in the works for the Farseers plan, or they are central to it ;)


Only the insane have strength enough to prosper.

Only those that prosper may truly judge what is sane.


#7 Captain Avynn

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:01 PM

I like the idea of having the eldar using decoys for communication with the party. They are returning to the PDF base because the spaceport was utterly wrecked and I wanted the team to actually have to move instead of camping in a nid invasion.

I am thinking a few haywire mines as they have been running around in an Arbites rhino in a convoy of dignitaries and PDF. A few eldar snipings here and the haywire mines there, coupled with some chance fire that cuts down a couple swarms about to overrun a side of the convoy. Perhaps I can use the hologram idea for the reveal once they get to the PDF base and get ready to hold out til transport arrives.

As for the conversation, perhaps something like the eldar seeking the compliance of humans and acceptance of eldar supremecy in the region, as well as being directed militarily by them to forestall the Hivefleet (similar to the plan with the Tau, but more heavy handed). The team has taken a liking to one of the PDF sergeants (now acting Lieutenant), they dragged his platoon around a fair amount in the first few games, perhaps I could use his death at eldar hands as an emotional lure for the kill team? Is this typically good/bad form as a GM?

Then, depending on how the follow up missions go, once the team is extracted and prepares for the attack on the swarm, I may incorporate the dire avengers or even jury rig some rules up for warp spiders. This leads to the question, did the count of eldar on planet seem a reasonable expenditure by a hive fleet? 5-10 rangers, 5-10 dire avengers or warp spiders, 1-3 warlocks and maybe an autarch was what I had in mind initially. I am not sure if this seems too light, too specialized? Would an autarch be entrusted to something like this, as they are typically in command of entire Warhosts?

As always, your feedback is ever appreciated.



#8 Kasatka

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:36 AM

Personally, if the Eldar were demanding military compliance and command in a joint effort to defeat the Tyranids, that breaks the flavour of them for me.

I see the Eldar as either using that demand as a ruse to confus everyone, creating a confused 'road bump' for the Tyranids, or theyd be even more sublte and manipulative than the Tau and either liaise with an Inquisitor or Imperial commander or just inflitrate, take out an officer and then imitate him and spread their own commands.

For example a unit of Eldar Rangers could very easily get into an Imperial Guard military camp, execute a senior officer and his radioman after studying them and listening to them for some time. They could then hijack the radio and use their advanced intellect, linguistic skill and technology to imitate the officer and move imperial troops to the benefit of the Eldar.

Having an Inquisitor, or even just an Interrogator, involved in the campaign would allow for an authority figure for the Imperials that isn't blinded by xenophobic hatred of the Eldar and carries enough authority to enter into a legitimate alliance with them. Whether this alliance is stuck to by both sides would be up to you, but could be another plot hook for the players.


Only the insane have strength enough to prosper.

Only those that prosper may truly judge what is sane.


#9 Captain Avynn

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:42 AM

Another good point, the eldar shouldn't be heavy handed with their approach, especially their rangers.

I have went ahead and written up an encounter for the vehicle convoy the KT is moving in. They'll be moving through some crumbled hab blocks single file when the haywire mines will go off, killing all their vehicles (there are some PDF and sisters with them, as well as 25 battle servitors which'll be fried by the haywire blast). I am thinking very shortly after that they may get attacked by an large horde with other gribblies. When things start looking grim have random sniper fire kill the leader beasts and disperse the hordes.

The idea of using misdirection and the rangers to fake vox orders is also brilliant. I think I'll have that happen to the foot convoy (some 3 companies of PDF + the refugees that weren't important enough to be stuffed in a chimaera for a quick ticket off planet). I may have them redirected to the industrial district on the other side of the city which is full of promethium refineries. Maybe the eldar are using them as a lure to draw a large quantity of biomass into the area, then detonate the refineries.

I'm also thinking of using the hologram communication method in place for when the team makes it to their extraction point, although I'll need to work alot into the dialogue/responses for this before I'll feel perfectly comfortable with it.

Later as the KT ranks up and gains renown they'll go on an escort mission for an Inquisitor. I am not sure I want to bring in that much power just now. How high up in the structures are Interrogators? I've heard of them later becoming Inquisitors, so would an Interrogator be someone a current Inquisitor is grooming to earn the rosarius (whatever it's called for them)? Are they just mid-level management of an Inquisitor's retinue, but called to the fore when there is dirty work to be done in interrogation chambers?



#10 Captain Ventris

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:51 AM

A favorite Eldar tactic is to arrange or get their pawns in a situation where it is clearly beneficial for the pawns to accomplish what the Eldar are after. If they need something killed: hey, why not get the Space Marines to run into it? ad infinitum, because this stuff can get complex.

Another really important thing to remember, and part of what fuels the Eldar's craftiness, is that they value Eldar lives infinitely more than the lives of other races. I mean, Ghazgkhull was diverted towards Armageddon to save 10,000 Eldar lives, and that's cost millions of human lives so far. The Eldar thought it was a great success, and for them it was.



#11 Captain Avynn

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:49 AM

That is true, Ventris. I suppose I should have a primary reason for why the eldar want the 3 companies of PDF in the Industrial district then, using the 'blow them and lots of nids sky high' plan as their backup in case the humans become obstinate. I suppose the real thing is, when it comes to the dialogue between the pathfinder or ranger and the kill team it would need to be either the eldar luring the humans to perform a mission (that the KT doesn't know about), or sort of a taunting session just to get the team seeing red and struggling to maintain focus in the presence of an eldar that's turning their entire plan against them.

That is also true Ventris, in regards to how the Eldar want to preserve their life no matter what. That is the entire reason why the eldar are getting involved in the first place here, their farseers foretold of the Devourer eating their craftworld and many eldar deaths. So to counter this, they begun slowing down the war effort on both sides (Imperium and Nids) to slow them down so it would buy the Eldar time to come to an arrangement with the Tau. All for the purpose of saving the craftworld (Iyanden).

I do have an idea for the Pathfinder to use some broken gothic when communicating with the KT. Almost Yoda-esque, 'Welcome here you are, mon'keigh. Took your time, such primitives.' Just when writing the dialogue, I go back to proof read it and it always comes off as very heavy handed which doesn't mesh with the Eldar persona at all. I've been flickering through one of the few Black Library books I have with eldar (don't remember the name it was about a Kill Team going into Craftworld Ulthwe to fulfil an ancient oath, written by CS Goto - I know, I know.) Unfortunately, I don't think I've gleaned the dialogue as well as I would have liked from that book.

At least that is where I am at so far. I've gotten a good framework from this thread for what I want to do with the Eldar, I've got a handful of encounters involving them written, it's just a matter of getting these last points fleshed out.



#12 Captain Avynn

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:02 AM

Allright, so I hammered out some of the initial dialogue from the encounter with the Eldar at the PDF base that the KT & Convoy is making for. It is going to be a rough trek for them, as I am thinking of incorporating a lictor as well as some hordes/warriors after their vehicles are destroyed. The horde/warrior encounter is going to be a bit harder than they can handle, hopefully making the team worry and feel a bit paranoid when the warriors are suddenly sniped from elevated positions and the horde disappates.

Here is the dialogue though, please let me know what you think, and if it fits into the persona of the race that you guys have been trying to enlighten me on:

As the KT approaches the solitary Ranger in the PDF Base:

"Safe here you are, Mon'keigh," the cloaked figure speaks mockingly, his voice carrying a musical, sing-songy quality to it. "The spawn of the Devourer have fled this area, but their hungry eyes are ever upon us. Even now their shadow stalks us, pulling at the threads of fate and altering the possible future-present into an orgy of indulgence and consumption. As we speak, you seek to leave this place but the thread of fate will lead to the damnation of millions and billions. Know that your steps are measured, and the Rangers and I will ever be there if they are found wanting." The eldar gives a smug smirk and a slight nod of the head.

If asked for any insight into the Hive Fleet:

"It is a beast with many heads, each fully capable of seating itself on it's own bloated body. To defeat the Devourer your strike must be as true as the Shining Spear, as swift as the Banshee, and as furious as the Striking Scorpion. Let not one head remain, lest the Farseer's dreams of a galaxy consumed be plucked from the Empyrion and layered over the future that is to come."

I have borrowed a couple other quotes from Eldar from Lexicanum for other responses, which I think fit fairly well within the context of this encounter. Eventually, when the party makes an aggressive move on the ranger (I am hoping they will, I want him to be mocking and scathing and completely condescending to the party), he will move and a holo emiter which was portraying the image of him will flare up, reacting like a stun grenade. Despite normal power armor features, I'll make the KT affected as the grenade hits them almost on a psychich level. Maybe making the librarian make a willpower save or suffer d3 levels of Fatigue. Nothing over powered, more of a jab as the Ranger exits stage left.

As ever, your insights have been greatly appreciated and incredibly informative. Hopefully I hear back from one of you by tonight, as the group asked if I could host another session this weekend.

A

 

 



#13 Zappiel

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 06:19 AM

seems perfeclty cromulent to me….hope the game went well.  (hopefully, yer players aren't on here peaking at yer idears….)



#14 Kasatka

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:19 AM

I think your depiction of the Eldar ranger will work well - these are men and women who have left their craftworlds in search of something more free than the strictly regimented Path system of the Eldar warriors, yet when the psychic call to arms is sent out by their Craftworld they often come back to assist their brothers and sisters. As such these are highly individualistic Eldar, who place their lives in their own confidence and the skills of the rest of their bands - they do not have the moral, phsyical or psychic support of their brethren back at the Craftworld after all.

This guy seems to have put a lot of time and effort into chronicling the Eldar language, and while i wouldn't take it as gospel and use it word for word it could be a good source of filler for words that the Eldar either can't or won't translate into Low Gothic (remember that to an Eldar whose language is so complex that even a slight change in body posture, such as a slumping of the shoulders, can completely change the meaning of a sentence for most gracious thanks at a gift to outright insolence. Their manner will be slow, especially when using the archaic and entirely impractical from their point of view Low Gothic language that we humans use.


Only the insane have strength enough to prosper.

Only those that prosper may truly judge what is sane.


#15 Captain Avynn

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:20 AM

The game actually went great, Zappiel! Fortunately my players don't even know about these forums yet, which allows me to post my campaign ideas without fear of spoilers.

The first marine that seen the eldar in the PDF base fired on him/the hologram (missing pretty bad), Fortunately the Squad Leader at the time heard the shots and ordered a cease fire and did start a dialogue with them. I had foreshadowed the rangers a bit before this encounter, with the kill team and their charges racing through alleys and streets trying to avoid the bulk of the tyranid horde. A few successful perception rolls allowed them to see some cloaked figures firing into the hordes around them, which definately added to the suspense. Afterwards the team made an effort to intercept the rangers, but the eldar got away without a scratch. In fact, it was this attempt to intercept them that allowed the eldar to be identified as the assault marine jumped up into an appartment, only to see a ranger dive out a window on the far side of the building.

I am going to have to give the squad leader a hard time when they get back to the Watch Station (he thanked an eldar for hacking their vox net and rearranging the PDF without the KT's knowing). I know some of my players reactions aren't exactly per WH40k standards, but they are all learning the system and the back story and picking it up fairly quickly so I have no complaints as to that. It was rather amusing to watch the Ultramarine try to grapple a Mortifactor to keep him from shooting the ranger, only to get closelined and knocked prone. After that the Eldar got VERY condescending, even more than I had anticipated. I didn't know how else to handle it, other than comparing it to a senior watching a bunch of 5 year olds fight over who's getting more attention/what they want. All the while the Dark Angel Librarian was absolutely stumped at not sensing any life when using Reading, and then facepalming at the Ultramarine/Mortifactor.

As for the rangers movements on the planet, I figure if the KT or other Imperial authorities in the area start shuffling the PDF assets away from the Rangers battle plan, that they would likely start sniping off vox casters, and if that still wouldn't work, moving up to officers and non-coms. Whatever they can to subtley and surrepticiously manipulate the battle lines to their favor. The PDF that were redeployed are now guarding a Promethium Refinery. Whether they succeed and hold it, or the eldar blow it up and deny the Hive Mind a significant quantity of biomass is up to the players at this point.

That's a good idea about the body posture, Kasatka! I'll have to incorporate that into their next encounter with the rangers (If they decide to have any dialogue with the xeno). Although, I guess it would be reasonable to assume that a ranger may have a stronger grasp as to the Gothic languages then your typical craftworld eldar. I may use the heavy bodylanguage if they ever encounter a farseer, autarch or something to that effect.

I'm just hoping that I can keep up with the wishes of my players. I had intended on having this game be either monthly or bi-monthly, but since the weekend before Thanksgiving I've ran 5 games so far, and they're wanting to come over again this weekend for another go since the Dark Angel's player has his son for Christmas (the Mortifactor) and both were very excited to see what would happen next.



#16 Kasatka

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 10:16 PM

I'm glad to hear that the game has been going so well so far and that our suggestions on the forums have been so helpful!
I've unfortunately not had a group to play or run deathwatch with for some time, and im missing the squad based military action…


Only the insane have strength enough to prosper.

Only those that prosper may truly judge what is sane.


#17 Captain Avynn

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:35 AM

Well heck, Kasatka, if you're in Indiana give me a holler. Mind you I'm still very new to the GM'ing and each new session we're having to use a more correct portion of the rules (each week I seem to realize something we're doing wrong when studying for the next session).

Of course, you'd also have a bit more knowledge than my existing players as to where the campaign is going. I did end up writing a major character for the overarcing campaign. Provided you're not a hoosier I can divulge more, as well as where the campaign is going to eventually go. I've been incredibly excited about this, as I'm sure ya'll can tell with my walls of text. >.<

Anywho, yes all your suggestions, ideas, and tidbits have definately come in handy!



#18 Zappiel

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 03:05 PM

Great to hear!  Sounds like you folks are having a blast!  Keep it up!reir






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