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Arch-Militants get Command rather late, don't they?


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#1 gatherer818

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 09:01 PM

Disclaimer:  I'm only using the corebook and its errata.

 

I'm going to be GMing my first Rogue Trader game with an entirely virgin (to the setting) group as well, starting very shortly.  We were discussing what general character types people might want to play, and our youngest member (also fairly new to RP in general) asked about careers that did less out-of-combat while he was focusing on learning a new system, and the entire table responded "Arch-Militant".  He seemed rather happy with that choice and then asked what he'd be in charge of on the ship as well…

I'd assumed he'd be the main gunner and boarding party leader (since you can't fire the guns while engaged in a boarding action anyway, it makes a lot of sense to have one person in charge of both), as the Arch-Militant typically leans on high Ballistic and Weapon Skills and, I had assumed, considered to be a good commander of troops as well.  Rereading the ship combat rules, though, I find Weapon skill doesn't matter for the boarding party leader at all, and then looking at the career to help him plan a bit out, I found he doesn't qualify to train Command - the key skill for leading boarding parties - until Rank 3.

Now I'm not sure what to tell him.  "You'll shoot the guns, but if we're boarded / boarding, you'll just try to find some way to be helpful"?  Aside from possibly picking his Origin Path specifically to give him a ship-useful skill, the Arch-Militant seems incapable of performing ship actions aside from shooting the guns before Rank 3.  The only other action I see him taking is possibly Triage, helping to reduce the damage taken from lost boarding exchanges, or Put Your Backs Into It, to help with firefighting and repairs without the normally-necessary skills.

 

I know if it bothers me this much, I should just change it - but being new to the system and knowing it has a long history and excellent fanbase, I'm hoping for some explanation or better ideas than my "just lower Command and all its upgrades by two ranks for that class" current best solution.



#2 Aldyramon

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 11:55 PM

You could pick up Command in some Modules of the Origin Paths, but I guess that is to late now.

You can always just give him Command as an "Elite Advance", which is essentially what you wanted to do anyway.

Since you don't have "Into the Storm" you don't know about ship roles. Ship Roles are more or less the Job you have on board the Ship. It gives you some fluff responsibilities (like being the Quartermaster etc) and a small bonus.

To Solve your Problem: Make the Arch Militant the First Officer of the Ship:

The "First Officer" of a Ship treats the Command Skill as trained if he interacts with the crew, if he has the skill he gets a +5 Bonus on the Ship.



#3 Iku Rex

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 04:13 AM

gatherer818 said:

I'd assumed he'd be the main gunner and boarding party leader (since you can't fire the guns while engaged in a boarding action anyway, it makes a lot of sense to have one person in charge of both), as the Arch-Militant typically leans on high Ballistic and Weapon Skills and, I had assumed, considered to be a good commander of troops as well.  Rereading the ship combat rules, though, I find Weapon skill doesn't matter for the boarding party leader at all, and then looking at the career to help him plan a bit out, I found he doesn't qualify to train Command - the key skill for leading boarding parties - until Rank 3.

A tip: Boarding actions tend to be rare, and usually mean that the group is a couple of bad rolls away from losing the ship. You really, really want a Fellowship-focused character, with the highest possible Command bonus, leading it. In most games that will be the Rogue Trader.

 

As for AMs and Command, do note that they get it sooner than everyone except Rogue Traders (obviously) and Void Masters. The system seems to consider it a valuable skill. If you want to change it, maybe you could swap Command and Intimidate in the progression and call it an "Inspirational Arch-Militant" (as opposed to the usual "Scary Arch-Militant")? I don't see any big balance issues with simply making Command available earlier either.

 

 



#4 gatherer818

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:45 AM

Thanks all for the replies.  I might swap Command and Intimidate if that's what the player wants to do.  The group will likely use boarding actions rather often - they plan to play the "Black Pearl" of the 40k universe, using their weapons as they close until they can jump to the enemy ship and wreak havok, mostly to ensure they capture the ship intact.  We assumed the RT would likely remain aboard his own vessel (probably maintaining a "Prepare to Repel Boarders" action) while the Arch-Militant led the charge and the Missionary undid Morale and Crew damage suffered during the fight.  If we like the game as much as we think we will, we'll go out and get the expansion books as well and then the Ship Role fix will be an option ^_^



#5 Iku Rex

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 03:50 PM

gatherer818 said:

The group will likely use boarding actions rather often - they plan to play the "Black Pearl" of the 40k universe, using their weapons as they close until they can jump to the enemy ship and wreak havok, mostly to ensure they capture the ship intact.  We assumed the RT would likely remain aboard his own vessel (probably maintaining a "Prepare to Repel Boarders" action) while the Arch-Militant led the charge and the Missionary undid Morale and Crew damage suffered during the fight. 

In that case you may want to consider some house rules to make boarding actions more sensible. 

 

As it is, the above approach will make the Rogue Trader usless, since the PCs are the attackers and presumably won't get the "Prepare to Repel Boarders" bonus. In fact, I just noticed that the bonus only applies to Command Tests made by the same character who used the Prepare to Repel Boarders action,  not all Command Tests.

 

And if the Arch-Militant loses the opposed Command Test, the entire ship could be lost. It doesn't matter that the PCs were the attackers.



#6 gatherer818

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 04:22 PM

You're right on the Repel action, I reread it and it only applies to the user.  That's ok, though, it frees up the RT to do other things, Command and the Social skills have a lot of ship-combat uses.  I intended to give a "size modifier" to boarding actions based on the hull type of the ships involved (very similiar to the size modifier for grappling in personal combat - that's basically what a boarding action is, anyway) - two crews both at 100% population are still very different sizes if one is the crew of a raider and the other a cruiser.  The players will have a Dauntless-class Light Cruiser at game start, and I'm intending on it being a "character" as much as the PCs, so that's why they're starting with something already big and bad - so they won't feel the need to ditch their ship and get a new one.  The chance of surrender on every lost roll though is pretty big…  maybe I'll make the modifier apply to that, too, or set the number of losses needed to something general….  perhaps the larger ship in a boarding action needs to fail that Morale check four times before their Morale breaks, while the smaller ship needs one fewer failure per size size smaller they are than their opponent (so a cruiser's massive five-digit crew can overwhelm a hundred-man raider in a single failed check, but those hundred men would need some excellent leadership to just keep beating back the forces of the cruiser long enough for them to fail four checks).

I'll play with it.  For a smaller ship that wants to board a larger one (more than one size difference), we'll probably play that as an adventure rather than a ship-combat action.  For a larger ship that manages to catch a smaller one and flood it with troops, it should make short work of the enemy outnumbered one hundred to one - catching them is the issue, of course.

But I'll also point this out to the players and see if they want to just use more traditional ship combat methods than boarding actions.  No one has any experience with the system yet, and it might be easier to just point out that the 40k universe prefers ships settle their differences with cannon fire.

 

On a very tangentially related note, the Dauntless-class only has one forward-firing weapon.  Is it useful at all to put a lance there (it's the Lance Battery, if it matters), since it has no macrobattery to bust up enemy Void Shields first?  I currently have the ship outfitted with the Broadside Macrobatteries on both sides and the Lance Battery on front, but I'm worried about their ability to actually damage something with the Lance Battery.



#7 Tristonic

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:20 PM

Core rules, page 219

 

"Prow weapons on transports,
raiders, and frigates may fire to the fore. Prow weapons on light
cruisers, cruisers, or larger vessels may fire to the fore, port, and
starboard."

 

So, that means that Prow weapons on larger ships become so, so very useful. A lance can always be helpful, especially for orbital strikes, but when you crunch the numbers it is sub par to a macrocannon.



#8 gatherer818

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:36 PM

ah yes, I'm sure I read that at some point, but apparently forgot it.  Thank you.

I think the armor-ignoring ability of the lance should be nice, plus it's a prestige thing - they show up bringing the burning light of the Emperor's fury with a friggin' array of weapons that most ships have trouble mounting a single one of.  The thought of hitting for 2d10+8 ignoring armor and with the shields already popped by the broadside just sorta gives everyone in my group a happy.  If they really need the power or space, they could replace it with a Ryza Pattern Plasma Battery, but thought of their main weapon potentially failing to do damage to a Raider-class ship even when it hits with a full degree of success (2d10+8 should reasonably hit around 18 or 19 or less half the time, which is the armor of the listed Raiders) makes me rather unhappy.  I also like the lower Crit Rating allowing the PCs to hit Components early and often.

Even if the macrobatteries are better choices for PCs with great Ballistic scores…  because yeah, I can see it, after rereading how combining fire works.  One lucky roll could end you up rolling 6d10+12 off the broadsides or 4d10+16 off the Plasma Battery, which is going to be significant after armor no matter how much armor they have, and even just 'good' rolls will give a few dice every time.  But the lance will always do damage on a hit, which prevents one of the worst feelings in an RPG ever, the "you hit for zero" effect that feels very much like I imagine erectile dysfunction must.

 

Thanks to all for your quick and useful replies ^_^



#9 kenshin138

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:46 AM

Go for Hit and Run instead of Boarding Action. In Boarding Action you actually ram the ships together (dangerous) basically. In Hit and Run, you pile people into attack craft and go over to attack. Still very fitting. Give him Command as an Elite Advance or swap for something as suggested. Also, if they want to be really good at it, go with Murder Servitors.

I do think Arch-Militant gets Command a little late as well. Very fitting for them to lead Hit and Run assaults, but they aren't good at it because of the lack of Command. Sounds like you have a good idea of how to fix it.

Best of luck with the game.






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