Hi everyone. I’m new to the forums but have been following you for a while. I open this thread to share with everyone our first experience with ONLY WAR and some random thoughts/questions that you may find interesting or have an answer to. We have played the example scenario AGAINST THE SAVAGES with a group of 5 players. It took us 3 sessions and a total of 12 hours (is this normal?).
This is a long post, beware, but you can skip everything but the sentences in bold if you don’t want to read the details.
1) The Squad.
- Cadian Sarge.
- Cadian Heavy gunner (with a Missile launcher). [We realized that this character has not the weapon specialization to use a heavy bolter… why, if it comes with his standard equipment??]
- Cadian Operator (with a standard Chimera)
- Cadian Weapon specialist (with a long-las, housruled, because you cannot pick this weapon during creation!).
- Catachan Weapon specialist (scout / close combat type, with a good craft lasgun and the regiment best craft sword).
We used standard regiments and didn’t create our own (we are still learning). The catachan player wanted desperately to play this kind of character, so I let him pick it up. I decided that the Longknives regiment stablished in the scenario was a deathworld regiment similar to the Catachans instead and the character was in that regiment. It is unlikely that a regiment from a hiveworld like the Longknives is called to fight in a such different environment like a jungle deathworld… for us, a deathworld light infantry regiment made more sense.
Another problem we had is that Cadian standard equipment is formed by a lasgun and an automatic pistol. None of the specialists has the hability to use both of this kind of weapons (you have to choose between las or solid projectile at character creation). Why, oh, why?
This is a really interesting scene. I designed a couple of subscenes to attach to the attack of the orks: the characters had to find an Engineseer to repair the damaged engine and they had to defend him from the orks.
At this point, we were only using the characters without comrades to keep things simple.
I houseruled that gretchins have to pass a willpower test to continue fighting when the runherds are killed. I didn’t find this rule in the book, but it makes sense to me.
We learnt two important things at this point: orks are extremely tough (True Grit is amazing, do you have to add the unnatural toughness to true grit?? We did, and it makes them awesome warriors) and to survive in the game you have to pay attention to the environment and use clever strategies. The players didn’t do this in the first scene and nearly got killed.
The catachan close combat specialist engaged in combat with a single ork and nearly died (nearly lost an arm, won a Crimson Medallion, quite epic scene). He spent all his fate points. We learnt a lot from this.
3) Mission assignment.
Logistics rolls are extremely difficult! The squad starts with a logistics of 10, how are they supposed to get the equipment assigned for the mission?
I let the sarge to spend a Fate point to repeat the first roll, but even with a second chance, they got 3 degrees of failure!
They got some nice 50 rations, 10 trenchtools and 2 stormtrooper suits.
Luckily enough, their squad already owns a Chimera…
We used comrades as real NPCs. They can be targeted as any other character, they can shot and do their own stuff. They are not “extremely intelligent”, though, so if they don’t receive specific orders they tend to stay away from gunfire and kill the enemies.
As how the book describes comrades, it seems like they are an extension of the player characters, and that doesn’t make too much sense for us.
5) In the jungle.
- Natives: when they blocked the characters path, the sarge nearly orders to kill them all (Bred for war cadian rule was involved in this decision). Luckily enough, another character roleplayed quite interestingly that if they gave the natives the 50 rations that they had got by chance with their wrong mission equipment, they were not going against their orders (no one knew that they got those rations, they were not strictly necessary for the mission). A native offered to guide us to the refinery.
- Terror cats: a NPC went out of the path to piss and, “surprise”, a bunch of cats nearly kill him. The sarge was really witty, here, cause scared all the cats with a single frag grenade (an animal doesn’t know that a grenade explodes, so it doesn’t run for cover when you throw one to their feet!!). The characters put the NPC into safety and waited inside the Chimera until some terror cats came back… with a good coordinated surprise attack, they managed to kill a couple of them and carry them on the Chimera to cook them later for dinner…
- Stormtroopers: they brought them to the main path that the characters were following with the chimera, asked for help with their vox system,,shared an exotic meal with them (the two terror cats), gave them a couple of tips about how to manage a bestial attack (including the frag grenade trick) and left their native guide with them for extra protection until help arrived. In exchange, they got the meltagun (although my players wanted some hotshots and caparaces!).
6) The refinery:
We know that the beta text has some inconsistencies with how many defendants the refinery has. I decided that there were 9 guards, 1 nob, 1 runherd + 5 gretchins and 21 orks sleeping inside the refinery. It was a challenge for the players, specially because they couldn’t see how many enemies were behind the walls…
Some amazing awareness/stealth/survival/athletics rolls made everything easier, and the players designed an interesting strategy to deal with the defendants.
At the end, half of the orks died to the imperial gunfire, half of them managed to escape climbing the walls (they thought that the enemy was way more impressive that it was in reality) and the Nob made for a cinematic gunfight inside the refinery.
7) The final assault:
Thanks again to a good strategy, a good use of non-combat skills, and a lot of luck, the players did an excellent job defending the complex.
The characters where prepared for a frontal assault (the hellhound), and the catachan close combat specialist waited for the tank hidden on the branches of a tree and blew it easily with the meltagun (he nearly got killed by the explosion… again…).
On the other side, the enemies charged and made couple of big holes on the walls. The characters were not prepared for this surprise attack (there was only one NPC with an autocannon that didn’t know how to use and the sniper on a 25m oil tank defending that side).
It seemed that they were going to lose the refinery to the orks, but then the bigmek and the weirdboy appeared… and two lucky sniper shots and one EXTREMELLY LUCKY unskilled autocannon salvo blew the bigmek’s head and made part of his army catch fire while he ran headless around them.
The bigmek has not True Grit in his characteristics, I think, what makes him easier to kill than a normal orkboy. I houseruled that he did have True Grit, indeed. It made more sense.
Then the rest of the characters and NPCs appeared on scene and killed some more orks using a couple of grenades, a couple of rockets and quite a lot of gunfire.
The weirdboy and some of the survivors disappeared into the jungle.
8) EXP and rewards:
I gave 1000 exp for everyone and some extra exp for interesting roleplay and actions. I think that this is a lot of exp, the characters now have plenty of new skills, talents and characteristic improvements… In the book, it says that you can give up to 200 xp for every extremely hard encounter that the players participate… 1000 base exp points seem to many, don’t?
I also houseruled that at the end of a mission every character can choose an improvement for their weapons or a specific piece of equipment that they are interested in. Everyone has to do a logistics roll for this (taking into account the typical modificators for rarity, front active, etc.). No one got anything from this rolls…
I don’t fully understand how logistic rolls function, how characters are supposed to get new equipment (can they ask for everything at any time or is there a limit? Can they keep the equipment that they ask for forever?). That’s why I houseruled that they can only improve their equipment at the end of a mission (although poor logistics rolls made this difficult).
After playing this scenario I even have a couple more houserules, but I think that I have bothered you more than enough with this extremely long story. Sorry for this and thanks for reading it and for commenting anything that you think is interesting or that you feel that I didn’t manage well during my game.