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Overcoming the Flak Vest


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#1 Shiferbrains

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 08:41 AM

I've played Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, and Black Crusade and none of my characters wore any armour less than 3 across thier entire body.

Most of the premade regiments have full flak armour, which seems like solid protection for front line fighters.

My regular gaming group is considering playing Only War and everyone (including myself) are stoked to try Catachans (many Rambos in my group). This leads to a possible problem, flak vests (and helm). While completely in the fluff, considering how important armour can be for survival in this game how do you survive encounters?

Outside of the obvious dodge, parry, cover that any guardsman could do, it does seem like many of the regiments get a little screwed by this.

Catachans, Tallarns, and Mordians (though Mordians are probably content fighting from the protection of their Leman Russ).

If you're currently playing as one of these regiments how do you overcome the dreaded flak vest? Homebrew or otherwise.

 

-Shiferbrains



#2 Ryath

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 10:17 AM

When creating your regiments standard kit you could use 10 of the standard 30 points to buy each person in the regiment a standard Imperial Guard Flak Armour suit as rated scarce, that would give you 4 AP to all location.

You could also get a Chameleoline Cloak for each person at it makes any enemy shooting at you suffer a -30 to Ballistic Skill, I know you can get it from a few of the regiment options in the new book.



#3 Lynata

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:38 AM

It comes down to the age-old question of style versus substance. Do you intend to stick close to the chosen regiment's iconic image and defy the risk of death with zealous faith in the Emperor's protection … or do you care more for the numbers on a sheet of paper, attempting to wrest better chances out of a game whose core concept seems focused on the underdog army of the Imperium that pays dearly in blood for every meter of enemy ground they take?

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there is a happy medium that can be found somewhere in the middle, and that's what I am usually aiming for myself. It all depends on where you and/or your group draw your lines!

You could perhaps consider "minor substitutes" that help a little without throwing the entire visual style overboard. For example, I'd actually lose the helmets and replace them with the traditional red headbands that are the trademark of the Jungle Fighters - but I would instead add sturdy pants with 1 or 2 AP for the legs.

You could also invent a habit of the troops smearing their bodies with a thick layer of mud that adds a non-cumulative single point of AP for the otherwise bare head and naked arms …

burla

Another alternative would be to houserule any perceived serious lack of AP with a slightly higher Toughness Bonus, or better yet make this part of the characters' regular advancement plan. Looking solely at the material from GW's tabletop, we see that the Catachan Jungle Fighters, in spite of their lack of armour (or clothing, even!), still qualify for being in the same abstracted tier of resilience as a Cadian Shock Trooper. "Obviously", this must mean that the Catachans are so tough, they make up the average deficiency in AP with their bare bodies! ;)

(note that due to how the game treats armour-piercing weapons, a deficiency of 2 AP should better be substituted by +1 TB instead of +2 TB in order to maintain overall equality)


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#4 Robomummy

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 12:19 PM

catachans are so badass that their muscles count as flak armor. In all seriousness i give catachans 1 point of armor without flak armor (if they wear armor it is not added to this, instead replace the 1 armor point with the value of the armor.

Also since you are playing catachans you will probably be sticking to ambuses and traps so armor is not as needed as in a straight up fight.


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#5 MILLANDSON

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 02:42 PM

Shiferbrains said:

My regular gaming group is considering playing Only War and everyone (including myself) are stoked to try Catachans (many Rambos in my group). This leads to a possible problem, flak vests (and helm). While completely in the fluff, considering how important armour can be for survival in this game how do you survive encounters?

Easy - their tank tops/vests are tightly woven flak-silk, giving the same protection as a normal flak vest. The same applies for their bandanas.


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#6 borithan

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 12:46 AM

The Catachans wear flak armour, just not as much as other regiments. The trousers they wear will be flak, and the waistcoats with pockets (I can't think of anything else to call them. Well, vests would be correct, but in a way to differentiate them from the vest vests they wear underneath the flak vests) that many of the models wear are going to be flak vests. I would imagine most Catachans actually wear them, and it is an exceptional minority who go around purely in the vest (or comepletely bare chested). However, like Space Marines with no helmets, the artwork and models exaggerate the frequency of it for "rule of cool".

However, no self respecting Catachan wears a helmet… or sleeves apparently.



#7 Kasatka

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 01:30 AM

To answer the original question - why are you getting shot at regularly, in such bad cirucumstances, that you actually need your flak vest armour rating?
The typical regiments that start with armour below that of Guardsmen Flak are those that favour long range combat that makes use of cover and camoflauge, ambush combat making used of traps, grenades and tactics or simply ride around in sentinels, chimeras or other vehicles a lot of the time.

I've played an officer in a Light Infantry regiment and all i can say is 'smoke and sprint'. Not lost anyone!

It really is only the Line regiments that require the full Guardsmen Flak because they are the ones that take and hold front line positions on foot and get a lot of enemy firepower thrown there way.


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#8 AtoMaki

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 04:06 AM

^ The problem with this approach (the ambush and long-ranged combat) is that you can use it against a relatiely few types of opponents (those who are stupid and/or incompetent). Against others, the Squad will either die because of the return fire (Sprint doesn't make you faster than a Lascannon shot, if you know what I mean), or will get hard-countered (if you have ever tried to ambush a Dark Eldar, then you know what I'm talking about). So yeah I think being a Light Infantry regiment is like bending over to your opponents even better than an average Guardsman. 

Otherwise, I can't really get this dilemma around the armour. Once you have the essentials (superior weapons + superior Agility), you should be fine no matter what armour you wear. 



#9 Shiferbrains

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 05:02 AM

 

 

I really like the idea of getting a small toughness bonus increase for Catachans.

1. It allows us to stick with the theme better, as I can't imagine a Catachan in full flack armour.

2. It gives a bonus that penetration can't take away.

3. Makes Catachans nearly on par with other regiments.

I will have to pitch that to my GM. (The mud and fatigues could be good too)


 

Someone brought up the point of why we might be taking firepower. I actually was thinking we would be in melee more frequently than most regiments and so armour equaling survivability. Why would i not want the added AP.

If you want to play Catachans that avoid combats, that's great. More power to you.

I, on the other hand, would like to run around like a roided up BA kicking the crap out of the enemies of man. Stealth and traps, have their place, but nothing is as fun as a good fight.


 

Perhaps my mental image of Catachans does not mesh well with how Only War has laid them out. I've heard in past 40k books their toughness was on par with Orks and Space Marines, with admittedly crappier armour. This seems to be what I would be looking for.



#10 KommissarK

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 07:43 AM

MILLANDSON said:

Shiferbrains said:

 

My regular gaming group is considering playing Only War and everyone (including myself) are stoked to try Catachans (many Rambos in my group). This leads to a possible problem, flak vests (and helm). While completely in the fluff, considering how important armour can be for survival in this game how do you survive encounters?

 

 

Easy - their tank tops/vests are tightly woven flak-silk, giving the same protection as a normal flak vest. The same applies for their bandanas.

This is exactly the approach I take. Sure, on paper, they might be wearing armor that provides a certain bonus, but if they want to just say "I look like your usual Catachan," thats totally fine (barring trying to wear environmentally sealed armor and such). Essentially this is a gentleman's agreement that the players can pick their style as long as it doesn't dramatically affect the logic of the game.

But certainly, armor has weight and such and apply that as encumberance. And if the party tries to requsition new armour, and they want to still maintain the style of a catachan, thats ok too as long as gear (as an entry on paper) is maintained. Certainly, this makes looting armor a bit odd, but that was always a terrible, terrible idea in this game anyway (oh hey, this stormtrooper armor from the Severan Dominate is pretty spiffy stuff, let me wear this back at base).



#11 Adeptus-B

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 09:32 AM

borithan said:

However, no self respecting Catachan wears a helmet…

Yeah, I've been meaning to ask about that… Catachans don't wear helmets, but the OW rules give them helmets standard; are players out there choosing to follow the rules or the actual 40K fluff?



#12 Robomummy

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 12:48 PM

Adeptus-B said:

borithan said:

 

However, no self respecting Catachan wears a helmet…

 

 

Yeah, I've been meaning to ask about that… Catachans don't wear helmets, but the OW rules give them helmets standard; are players out there choosing to follow the rules or the actual 40K fluff?

according to the lore of catachans they argely see flak armor as not vey good and it restricts movement which on catachan will kill them quickly. Fighting in a deathworld they need to be free to move quickly and easily, wearing flak armor just makes it more difficult. I give my players who play as catachans 1 armor point naturally though if they wish to take a flak vest then that is their choice, the numbers dont stack. however most people in my group play catachans he way they are meant to be played, no armor, setting traps and ambushes, and trying to stay hidden from their enemies.


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#13 bogi_khaosa

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:24 AM

When have Catachans been described as as tough as Astartes or Orks? This strikes me as… insane.

EDIT: of course you're not going to sneak up on a Dark Eldar. Dark Eldar outclass human beings period. You're not going to beat them in a straight fight  either.



#14 Robomummy

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:59 AM

bogi_khaosa said:

When have Catachans been described as as tough as Astartes or Orks? This strikes me as… insane.

EDIT: of course you're not going to sneak up on a Dark Eldar. Dark Eldar outclass human beings period. You're not going to beat them in a straight fight  either.

you have to understand that most 40k stuff when it was designed was meant to be insane. 500 foot tall titans wih castles on their backs, a pitched battle across an entire planet, grimdark settings where there is literally only war. Back when it first came out the game was supposed to be like this.

Also dark eldar arent really taken by surprise too much because there is nothing to surprise. they show up, attack, and leave with their prey, they dont stick around long enough to usually get ambused.

That being said you're right, they are better than humans in every way. In story terms I'd describe it as  Dark Eldar are extremely arrogant and they were ambushed simply because they didnt expect a Mon-keigh to be smart enough to ambush them. In game terms the players can successfully pull of an ambush more easily then you would think if they increased the right stats.


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#15 Darck Child

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:10 AM

Adeptus-B said:

borithan said:

 

However, no self respecting Catachan wears a helmet…

 

 

Yeah, I've been meaning to ask about that… Catachans don't wear helmets, but the OW rules give them helmets standard; are players out there choosing to follow the rules or the actual 40K fluff?

 

Just out of curiousity are you refering to the example regiment, where apparently the 18th Catachan Drakebats do wear armour?  If so you can always make another Catachan Regiment using the regimental creation rules and not spend the extra points in choosing regimental kit on a helmet.  I'm sure that there are some nice new rules from the Hammer Of The Emperor to build on the Catachan's legendary skills.

 

As to playing up the ideal version of a Catachan Jungle Fighter just tailor the game to their style.  



#16 HappyDaze

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 10:45 AM

Ryath said:

When creating your regiments standard kit you could use 10 of the standard 30 points to buy each person in the regiment a standard Imperial Guard Flak Armour suit as rated scarce, that would give you 4 AP to all location.

This is a great option that gets overlooked quite often.

As far as all the bare armed and bare chested regiments go, I just let them go without armour if that's what they like. It's not like everyone in the Imperium makes good choices. (I am not a Catachan fan at all).


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#17 Arbitrator

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 05:09 AM

I believe some of the newer Catachan models do wear flak vests at least. 



#18 ramza82

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 06:16 AM

You have to realize that while 40k has some great fluff, some of it is just nonsensical or extremely outdated. The Catachan's are a cool idea, but on paper  not really that workable. No sensible intantry man would enter a combat zone without armor. Sure maybe on Catachan they need to be mobile and unrestricted, but if they are going into a fire fight, they're going to want armor. And flak headbands… really? Flak silk, these are just silly notions to get around a poorly designed concept.



#19 Lynata

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 06:46 AM

The Imperial Guard isn't necessarily a sensible military - depending on which world the regiment was raised on - hence its infantry does not need to conform to modern standards or contemporary wisdom. There are regiments that wear nothing but leather or fur, or go into battle bare-chested, or wear medieval chainmail. If you go by the current Codex, there are even IG regiments out there who go into battle with spears and bows, because that's what they use on their homeworld and the Munitorum didn't manage to issue the standard lasgun in time.

That aside, armour isn't everything. In WW1, German shock troops were issued heavy breastplates to protect against projectile weapons. In the field, the soldiers ditched them because they were limiting their mobility in storming trenches too much compared to the small protection they offered. I for one have no problem assuming that Catachans have a similar mindset - you don't need armour if you're behind cover (see hit & run tactics), and "realistically", that is in a world without P&P mechanics where people can be shot a dozen times without being injured, the vast majority of weapons in 40k do not care for a bit of flak anyways. There's a reason players call it "cardboard armour", as much as an improvement it may be above modern kevlar.

Besides, if Catachan Jungle Fighters are not employed in a jungle environment, well .. sucks to be them! It has always been a hallmark of the Imperial Guard that its many regiments all have different perks and perform with different efficiency depending on the environment they are deployed in. I wouldn't throw a unit of Rough Riders into urban combat and expect them to be fine either. But hey, it's war.

I would agree that "flak silk" is pushing it a bit too far, but that's a matter of personal taste. The fluff in 40k is as diverse as we want it to be and, by company policy, has room for anyone's personal preferences and interpretation. There isn't even such a thing as "outdated" fluff, simply because it's up to each of us individually to determine what we're going by. The only thing I'll add to this, however, is that I don't really see a point in re-writing the Catachans to better suit one's own ideas when you may just as well make up a completely new regiment as a fresh start. It's more creative and thus more fun, plus you manage to circumvent the issue of players being used to a different type of Catachans.


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#20 Robomummy

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 04:24 PM

ramza82 said:

You have to realize that while 40k has some great fluff, some of it is just nonsensical or extremely outdated. The Catachan's are a cool idea, but on paper  not really that workable. No sensible intantry man would enter a combat zone without armor. Sure maybe on Catachan they need to be mobile and unrestricted, but if they are going into a fire fight, they're going to want armor. And flak headbands… really? Flak silk, these are just silly notions to get around a poorly designed concept.

you realize that the point is that if they do get into a firefight it means something went terribly wrong? catachans favor ambushes, they do not wear armor because it resticts their movement and they are almost exclusively fighting in a deathworld enviornment.

"I believe some of the newer Catachan models do wear flak vests at least."

- One catachan model in the company command squad has the option to have a flak vest, apart from this there are no models in the catachan range that wear any king of flak armor.

 


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