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Men, give me your EARs.


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#1 Alekzanter

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 06:37 PM

After reading a thread about the morality of repeatedly throwing your Comrades into the line of fire, I thought I would share two House Rules I intend to incorporate into my Only War game.

First, Morality.
Actually, first up, I wrote this stuff before reading the thread. It's not a response to that thread. Okay? Okay. Onward…

Morality is defined as the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong behaviors, an understanding of the concepts of justice and injustice, "good versus evil", and a PC's Morality score is an abstract measure of his/her observation of these principles and concepts. Morality may also be used to measure a PC's reputation (be it good or ill) as perceived by his Commanding Officers, and indeed, the Regiment as a whole.
All PCs begin play with a Morailty score of 5.

During the course of play, Players will make decisions that will reflect the intentional behaviors of their PCs, and these behaviors may have an effect on their Morality scores. The higher the Morilty score, the PC's personal values evidence themselves more positively, and vice versa.
When a PC does something that is immoral, mean-spirited/spiteful, blatantly contrary to orders, endangers his/her squad mates for purely selfish or cowardly reasons, or is beneficent, accommodating, loyal, self-deprecating or insanely courageous, the GM may ask the Player to make a Morality Check, as follows:

1- The GM determines whether the PC's behavior/intent warrants a Morality Check; if so, the Player rolls a d10.
2- If the PC is behaving negatively, and the d10 result is less than his/her current Morality score, the PC's Morality score is reduced by 1. If the PC is behaving positively, and the d10 result is greater than his/her current Morality score, the PC's Morality score increases by 1.

Morality does not define the PC. The Player does.
A Morality score or 2-3 reflects the darker side of life in the Imperial Guard. These men and women are mean, bullying, slovenly, lazy, drunkards and addicts, thieves, murderers, liars, cheats, and all other manner of ill-tempered, ill-mannered undesirables. However, if only one benefit stems from having this rabble in your Regiment, it's that they know where to get their hands on contraband and non-standard kit…and where to hide the bodies (I'm looking at you, Lt. Sobel).

A Morality score of 4-7 represents soldiers who are busy staying out of their Commanding Officers' proverbial sights and maintaining the status quo, possibly fawning for a few paltry favors. They attend (irregular but attentive) worship, give their Infantryman's Uplifting Primer more than the occasional cursory glance, are generally liked, and might tell the occasional fib, but keep their kit and noses (mostly) clean.

A Morality score of 8-9 represents the pride of Imperial Guard ideals; these men and women are awe-inspiring and larger-than-life to the common dog soldier (or ass-kissing feks to the rabble), are zealous adherents of the Imperial Cult, courageous, and above all, unquestionably loyal to the Imperium of Man and devoted to the vision and will of the God-Emperor.

Obviously, there are varying degrees of behavior within each category. A PC might teeter on the brink of receiving his first (and last) fitting for an explosive collar (known in Guard slang as "keeping an appointment with the tailor"), but who's to say he/she can't lead him/herself back from the precipice of the abyss?

In the interest of readability, I will leave out my example use of Morality.

Suffice it to say, if a PC's Morality score reaches 10, he/she may find him/herself destined for something far greater than that assigned to the common Trooper. This isn't necessarily a good thing, however. There are plenty of legendary last stands that feature these rising stars as their heroic focus. If nothing else, their heroic sacrifice will be good for the Imperial propaganda apparatus.

And, if a PC's Morality score drops to 1 (or GAH!, zero), his/her reputation is shameful and unbecoming of a soldier in the God-Emperor's Imperial Guard. The Penal Legions are always in need of replacements…

Next up, an abstraction of mass casualties.

Untold millions die every minute across the worlds of the God-Emperor's Imperium.
After a significant engagement in which the PCs' squad is supported by others from their platoon/company/Regiment, the GM will call for the Players to offer an assessment of the engagement based on a scale of 1-10, where 1 indicates a complete cock up and 10 indicates a complete route of opposition forces with (relatively) little difficulty. The GM will then take an objective view at this assessment, and through the course of discussion with the Players will come to an agreement on its numerical rating.

This discussion will serve to form one role-playing aspect of the squad's Debriefing, and is referred to as the Engagement Assessment Rating (EAR).
Note: Commanding Officers begin many Debriefings by (incorrectly) voicing the ancient Terran quote, "Men, give me your EARs."

Once an agreement has been reached regarding the EAR, the GM will roll a number of d10; as this could amount to literal fistfulls of dice inundating the gaming table, perhaps the GM rolls for two or three other squads (at most) from the squad's own platoon, a d10 per man, thirty dice, tops.
Each die that results in a number equal to or greater than the EAR results in a casualty.

The PCs now play a more significant and active role in the success or failure of the Regiment as a whole, reinforcing the importance of Regimental glory over that of personal glory.

To wrap up: immoral bastards/*******; you don't have to like 'em, but they do have their place in within the Regiment…even if that place is a cesspit of depravity and shame, and gleaming golden boys/girls aren't necessarily any better off in the long run, either.   

Throwing your Comrades in the line of fire, indeed! You should be ashamed of yourself! 

 

 

 



#2 AtoMaki

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 10:49 PM

^I dunno, but I fail to understand how morality and social status is connected, especially in the Warhammer 40k universe. 

As the one who brought up the "Operation Meat Shield" for the Comrades, i must add while outr Squad had a 99% Comrade mortality ratio, we also had a 100% mission success rate (yeah, the two is strongly connected). So maybe we were malignant bastards who had a special habbit to sacrifice the lives of people, we also got the job done. We always got the job done. And in the Warhammer 40k universe the end always justifies the means. 

So at the end of the day, this morality system can produce some messed-up situations, like a 0 morality guy frequently having a dinner with Regimental Command and acting as the personal advisor of the senior commissar. While he is supposed to be the lowliest scum of the regiment. Because well, maybe he is, but you can also build a Leman Russ from the medals he earned, so nobody cares. 

Not to mention "combat psycho" characters. So he is a good guy outside of combat, but once the fight begins, he will do anything to succeed. How would you integrate such character into the system? 

 

Morality is a funny thing. Especially when you are a soldier of a hyper-tyrannical, evil empire where human life is the cheapest thing you can get. 



#3 Alekzanter

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 04:12 AM

I should have known you'd chirp.
For the record, I don't asgree with you either.
Just couple ideas I had, but you're right. Not worth the time it took to type.
Next, give it a rest, will ya? We all get it. Your PCs are the darkest, broodiest, and death maim killiest.

Fail to understand how morality affects social status? Two words:

Catholic Priest.
 



#4 Kiton

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:05 AM

While its true that a very moral priest will probably never manage to connive, blackmail and backstab his way into the rather political position of a Cardinal, I'm not sure that helps your argument.

As for "kill maim burn", that's not necessarily uncommon. "Burn the heretic. Kill the mutant. Purge the unclean" is pretty standard for the setting as a whole, and human lives, unless they're renowned and covered in medals[at which point they're worth more as propaganda, morale boosters or for things other than being a warm body that can point a lasgun] ARE one of the most common and inexpensive resources available to the Imperium.

I'm not at all surprised that "Operation Human Shield" would get through with high command without even so much as being renamed "Operation Shield of Humanity". A Chimera is expensive; the twelve guys it carried that are now between it and that lascannon not so much.



#5 Gokerz

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:25 AM

AtoMaki said:

 

We always got the job done. And in the Warhammer 40k universe the end always justifies the means. 

 

 

Just to clear that up, the opposite is in fact the case.

You will not find a setting where the venues of acceptable means are as narrowly defined and the punishments of deviation as harsh as Warhammer 40k. It just appears differently to many audiences because the allowed means in 40k include many that are unbelievably over the top, monstrous and calluous from the point of view of the average real world person. Doesn't change the fact that in the end, 40k is anything but a means justify the ends setting.

This is mostly because there are so many means that will not just end in fulfilling the mission's goal, but also in you becoming posessed by a demon that then explodes from your head and takes an entire star system into hell. The Imperium can't afford to allow any means necessary philosophy. Even relatively important missions aren't worth any means, if said means lead to the people doing it becoming more open to the influence of Chaos.

 

About the morality system: i don't think it's necessary. Just be very willing to hand our corruption and insanity points, IMO they suffice to show the results of "evil" behaviour. Shoving your brother in arms into harm's way is basically taking the express highway to becoming a servant of the ruinous powers.



#6 Alekzanter

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 05:41 AM

Gokerz said:

AtoMaki said:

 

We always got the job done. And in the Warhammer 40k universe the end always justifies the means. 

 

 

Just to clear that up, the opposite is in fact the case.

You will not find a setting where the venues of acceptable means are as narrowly defined and the punishments of deviation as harsh as Warhammer 40k. It just appears differently to many audiences because the allowed means in 40k include many that are unbelievably over the top, monstrous and calluous from the point of view of the average real world person. Doesn't change the fact that in the end, 40k is anything but a means justify the ends setting.

This is mostly because there are so many means that will not just end in fulfilling the mission's goal, but also in you becoming posessed by a demon that then explodes from your head and takes an entire star system into hell. The Imperium can't afford to allow any means necessary philosophy. Even relatively important missions aren't worth any means, if said means lead to the people doing it becoming more open to the influence of Chaos.

 

About the morality system: i don't think it's necessary. Just be very willing to hand our corruption and insanity points, IMO they suffice to show the results of "evil" behaviour. Shoving your brother in arms into harm's way is basically taking the express highway to becoming a servant of the ruinous powers.

After this constructive input I've trashed the idea. Deleted it from my hard drive and literally trashed the hard copy.

Thanks for the feedback.






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