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  1. It's not so much that simple fact that bolt pistols are "end-game gear" (which they are for Guardsmen), its that people forgot that Only War is about being Guardsmen. The whole concept of the game is that the PCs are just rank and file Imperial Guardsmen that are meant to eventually become the "heroes of the regiment" (which I believe it says somewhere in the corebook). Starting as a bad ass is contrary to the design intent of the system - and, to be clear, Commissars start as bad asses. This argument, for me anyway, is just another version of the ancient debate between those that want to "earn" up to what they picture their character being and those that want to start there. Commissars start as a "set" archtype, as do almost all the specialists. There is no room for expanding, its simply about becoming a better version of what you are when you start. In my opinion, shared by my players, Only War is about the process of becoming the hero, not starting there and simply living up to your billing. This is likely why the current squad is comprised of 6 guardsmen, with only a single specialist, who chose it at the request of the person playing the Sergeant. That fits the system and the fluff. My players would rather start as just another stick, but end up being a hero... or die trying. There wasn't much of a debate there. They simply gravitated towards it because, well... it seems clear from the materials and fluff that this is what you're supposed to do. As for the last bit - about charging across no man's land - we haven't gotten to that kind of fight yet. I'm certainly going to eventually give them a taste of that lovely attrition war that the IG seems to love, but not yet. As a Light Infantry Regiment, they are not geared for line warfare. If they'd chosen something beefier, they'd have been doing that kind of thing from jump. The Commissar doesn't have to start out as a grizzled badass (beyond his Commissarial status, which admittedly says a lot) any more than a Sergeant or a Heavy Gunner - he could have been a Commissar-cadet three weeks ago, and this is his first solo assignment. He steps into his role and expands it via experience, just like every other specialization in the game. The only difference I can see is the lack of an option to switch specializations, which no one had until Hammer of the Emperor. Even that's not going to stay, thanks to Shield of Humanity. Good to know your group is having fun and has collectively worked out what they want to do, though. That's the important bit. (...but seriously, have the Departmento Munitorum misfile some paperwork and send 'em into a trench clearing assault. Nothing quite like a player's expression after they get news of something like that!)
  2. Well, because they were the last, desperate survivors of a failed push into an ork stronghold, frantically trying to hack their way out of the jungle before the Imperial Navy turned it into a smoking wasteland. Are you gonna find specialists in every squad? Nope, and if your group wants to play bog-standard grunts, they're probably better off not picking any. But if your group wants to play bog-standard grunts, they'll likely handle that on their own. Maybe the Commissar's assigned to keep an eye on this particular squad on a semi-permanent basis because they're sent on exceptionally dangerous and critical missions (also known as 'they're PCs'), or they just happen to keep operating in areas that he needs to be in, such as that one veteran squad kept turning up whenever Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) needed something done. Maybe the regiment uses ogryn-supported assault squads in trench-clearing actions, or the ratling sniper's been seconded to a recon squad because their last sharpshooter had a nasty encounter with a pack of kroot. The group could be assigned as bodyguards for the priest so he can preach the faith and inspire the masses without worrying about being overrun, or there's a tech-priest permanently attached to their tank because Vengeful Glory of the Imperium is getting on a bit in decades and someone needs to be on hand to make sure the rituals are done on time and nothing explodes, or or or... It's not too hard to find a reason to include Specialists in the group. Does it change the flavor of the game? Yeah, but so does including a Paladin in your D&D party. You're no longer scruffy tomb robbers, you're scruffy tomb robbers who probably ought to be doing good deeds to balance out all that tomb robbing. It's all about what you and your player group want the game to be like, which is as it should be. And if a bolt pistol's end-game gear for your group, it sounds like you want to be very much on the gritty 'charge across no man's land into their heavy guns while using the remains of the last assault for cover' end of the scale. Which is all fine, fun, and in-character, but...you might want to think about having someone on hand to make sure they move in the right direction, maybe someone authorized to execute anyone running away...
  3. Of course it would. Commissars can, you know, put a bolt in the Sergeant's head at any time. Commissars are totally broken in OW. But, if you do intend to do one, you don't also have a Sergeant. So could any other player, honestly (although it'd probably be a lasbolt). The only difference is that the Commissar doing it would be sanctioned by the Imperium, and he'd have to fill out some paperwork afterward. Of course, there's nothing stopping the rest of the squad from arranging a little "accident" for a Commissar that does so without good reason. They're not broken, they just don't have any business being played by someone who will use it as an excuse to brutally murder teammates for no good reason, much like Paladins in D&D have no business being played by someone who will then attempt to control the party with an iron fist. Thankfully, there's plenty of in-character, background-supported ways to deal with a power-mad Commissar. Most of them will eventually end up with the player rerolling. Provided you trust the player, I think the interactions between a sergeant trying to keep his squad alive while following orders and a Commissar upholding morale and discipline can make for some very interesting RP!
  4. Yup, giantitp is an excellent PbP source! I'm playing in a few right now (under a different handle) and running one as well...don't think anyone's actively recruiting for Only War specifically at the moment, but there is a promising-looking recruitment thread under a good GM. He's picking up Only War, Rogue Trader, and Dark Heresy characters to do a giant no-holds-barred cleansing of a rebellious, corrupted Hive. The whole thing's designed as a backstory bit for his homebrewed corner of the galaxy, it's quite cool and since it's something that's been alluded to in other games he's running, I'm quite excited. Should you be interested: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=329703
  5. I could see plenty of room for a ratling black market dealer; someone who gets bonuses to Logistics, that sort of thing. Would be interested to see what else they come up with - the abhumans have always had their niche, but not much beyond that.
  6. To be fair, when I see things like that, I tend to picture said "world" as either underpopulated with only a few major cities, allowing the Spess Mehrenes to hit important targets and bring the place back into line right away, or it's a jam-packed hive world that's a constant horrifying mess, in which case "conquering it" means they slaughtered whatever villains they could find, maybe blasted a few spires from orbit, and just let the rest flee into the underhive where they will likely be eaten by a grue. Or picked up later by the newly-restored PDF. Either that or the planet has a ridiculously long day/night cycle. Or an extremely successful campaign lasting a week or two became Chapter mythology/got exaggerated beyond all recognition so the masses could feel safe in the knowledge that the Emperor's Angels of Death can bring such swift retribution to the xeno and the heretic. And so on and so forth...
  7. There's rules for Void Suits on page 198 of the core rulebook. They're not armored at all and give an agility penalty - my assumption is that Rogue Traders tend to give out better gear than the Departmento Munitorum. Pretty minimal and with no rules for having your suit penetrated, but they're there. Got my copy of No Surrender on the way - I'm excited!
  8. A Navy book, a planetstrike-centered book, a vehicle splatbook...anything so long as it has Valkyrie stats! The warzone generator idea sounds awesome, that'd be cool to see. Maybe coupled with a campaign book, like the Space Hulk generator for Deathwatch was? Focusing on the broader Imperium sounds cool too, although that takes you entirely out of the local setting they've built. Would be worth it for updated Tyranid rules... Something focused on Hive warfare. Fighting your way through underhive sumps and giant manufactorums, that sort of thing. Can't launch heavy ordinance here, it might set off an explosion that would take out the whole Spire. Sorry, Trooper, you'll have to clear the area on your own...bonus points if it gives little snippets of hinted-at wars like Tranch!
  9. Oh, that Rogue Trader version looks fun (in the Dwarf Fortress sense of the word). Thanks! I'm not really looking for a direct translation - just a framework to build on. It'll probably be heavily damaged if and when the squad bumps into it in any case (surrounded by corpses, of course. Got to keep it intimidating.)
  10. So, poking around in Enemies of the Imperium, I noticed the blurb about how the Severan Dominate is kept supplied in part by unscrupulous Rogue Traders - not to the point of them augmenting his forces, but just doing supply runs and the like. And then I wondered what would happen if the Navy caught them in the act while transporting a fresh wave of Guardsmen. Someone with a Rogue Trader's ego isn't likely to run, especially if they've been identified as supplying known traitors. Warrants of Trade only stretch so far. Their best option, it seems to me, would be to make sure no one ever finds out what happened. And how do Rogue Traders do that? Murder-servitors seem to be a very popular option...they sound quite nasty, but I can't seem to find stats. Anyone know of anywhere they're listed, or at least a template I could work off of? Just as a thought exercise, you understand. I wouldn't spring a fight with one on a squad at the start of a new campaign, especially not while they're trapped on a slowly disintegrating transport ship. That would be cruel.
  11. Well, a) that's not a problem with the game, that's a problem with your dice and b) yes, it will. Against a character with TB 4 plus Carapace armor (6) a damage of 9 with Pen 4 will is still do 3 points of damage. Not a lot, I grant you, but something. You would literally have roll a 1 twice to do no damage at all to such a character when using a bolter. Granted, most foes won't be using bolters but that's the example you gave. If your dice are causing the game to go so badly as to make it unenjoyable, get new dice or, failing that, fudge the rolls. This. As with a fair number of RPGs, if the dice behave really badly, combat's going to be a bit wonky. How have you handled situations where the heavy weapons "do too much for the party to handle"? Does that mean they all took heavy damage, did characters die, was this caused by their aforementioned lack of jumping behind cover, that sort of thing? Also, what were the bad guys using?
  12. Wait, what? Are they all wearing carapace or something? I've had players scattering for cover in the face of shoota boyz, don't even want to think what bolters would do to the poor frakkers. Try having them go up against dug-in enemy positions. Snipers, heavy weapons emplacements, maybe a burned-out building full of rebels. They're not going to look for cover if everything you throw at them is bouncing off their armor. I know you don't want to use heavy weapons against them, but the threat of an autocannon to the face ought to keep their heads down. Just make sure to give them plenty of wrecked vehicles and rubble to dart behind!
  13. Agreed. He even gets an ability to dive into incoming fire!
  14. Probably just a few high-ranking individuals, honestly. Powerful Commissars, Primaris Psykers, maybe a feral world Colonel, that sort of thing. Imperial Guard don't tend to rise in the ranks because they're exceptionally dangerous one-on-one, and most of the heavy lifting is done by their vehicles.
  15. The Duke's got some Rogue Trader allies, but they try to keep a fairly low profile and focus mostly on supply runs. Technically they're following the letter of any "you have permission to trade outside the Imperium" warrants, but I doubt that would stop Ghanzorik from having them boarded and shot if he found out. He might have a small fleet planned as an escape route, and I could see some ramshackle System Defense ships, but I doubt the Dominate has anything that can really challenge the Imperium's naval power. Just enough ships to launch piratical attacks on the Scarus sector and ferry troops from planet to planet, really. The xenos, of course, are a different story. The Dark Eldar have plenty of ships, and if the Duke wants something taken out of space that's probably where he turns. And as a planet-conquering Waaaagh!, Grimtoof's boyz have plenty of Meks, and if you keep enough Meks around enough scrap metal, you're going to get a fairly sizable fleet. Probably designed more for boarding actions and transport than extended battles or orbital bombardment (unless the head Mek wants a really killy gun), but they're probably the most significant void-based threat in the Spinward Front. Most troops stationed on ships tend to use shotguns as their Main Weapon, since there's no real chance of hull penetration and they work well in the close confines of a boarding action. Depending on what they were expected to do or how generous the Rogue Trader is, I could see the regiment being issued with all sorts of other gear, from voidsuits to auspexes. Maybe tech-priests acting as de facto squad leaders for boarding parties (the corrupted machine spirit will be exorcised if you plant the charge at the third cogitator from the left, Trooper Jenkins)
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