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TheWombat

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  1. One thing I'm pretty sold on when it comes to first timers in Only War is training. Players might not be savvy to the vast lore out there but a quick crash course on what it is like to grow up on whatever homeworld you folks pick is really easy to do. From there you have a new regiment founded (or refounded) and walk them through the entire process. They roll up characters, get assigned to a squad together, tell their families or gang or whathaveyou goodbye forever and start learning to handle that lasgun. In addition to learning lore you can also familiarize players with the rules here as they run through different training processes, get into shenanigans, maybe roast some mutants aboard the transport ship, and help build some camaraderie. Lastly, you can beat some of that suicide risk taking out of them with tactics. Only War doesn't play like Pathfinder and they'll need to make good use of cover, suppression, know how to respond to different foes, and what weapons are best for what situation. In my experience one of the things that hits new players the hardest is how quickly fear will shut down a squad who neglected WP in favor of BS and all combat talents. TL;DR - Take them through basic training and you'll all have some educational fun.
  2. Ahh, yeah, preset campaign makes a lot of those harder to implement. Hrmmm As far as the teamwork action goes, core says only complicated or delicate tasks but you don't have to abide by those limitations if it suits your players. I'd definitely allow it for crew served, vehicle, and heavy weapons. For your standard lasgun, eh, I dunno. You could let them do something akin to the markerlight setup for the tau. Maybe the tech-priest points out weak points in armor (Upping pen by half DoS on vehicles or heavy armor foes) or links into targetting systems or some such. So long as you can make the flavor work it'd be ok. You could also let them work as mobile cover, I had a tech-priest player hold flakboard in his mechadendrites to offer mobile cover for the squad. You could let him 'bless' grenades before being thrown, or rig overcharge packs in the field, or even curse opposing machine spirits to rebel against their owners. Tech-Priests sort of occupy an area tactically where they can be absolute horrendous juggernauts in personal combat, they can be game changing support classes when it comes to vehicles, or they can greatly impact the outcome of a battle by stacking the deck technologically. Your support options turn by turn are a little limited but it isn't an insurmountable option.
  3. Some of this depends on regiment. Mechanicus players will be much happier in any regiment that fields vehicles or specialized equipment. In addition, your choice of enemy and setting will also play into the situation. If any of this is way off base from what you are working with then my apologies in advance! 1. If your squad doesn't have a vehicle, let them find one. It doesn't have to be an abandoned Leman Russ, just a Chimera with a broken tread or even an old Land Crawler can provide a big tactical advantage. A squad taking cover behind the dozer blade is a pretty effective option. Even if the vehicle is only used for a mission, it still provides a memorable moment your tech-priest can point to. 2. Drop some Tarantulas! You can find the stats for these in Lathe Worlds and a few other non-OW supplements. These sentry guns could be dropped from orbit into a crucial area, and your squad could be sent in along with their tech-priest to awaken the machine spirits. Just when all hope seems lost against the green tide, your Tech-Priest gets the twin-linked heavy bolter turret up and running to chew apart the horde. 3. Fixed installations are just awesome. You can run some nifty haunted house style setups that see your players running around an old relay station trying to get powers, cogitators, and other systems up and running while dodging the horrors that lurk within. 4. Auspex. Throw 'em an auspex for a mission (or the improved siege auspex) This lets your tech-priest pull double duty as an ad hoc intelligence and recon source. 5. Introduce foreign weapons. Maybe the squad is working in conjunction with PDF or some oddly equipped regiment, or is on a planet where their traditional las weapons just aren't effective (constant sandstorms?) and they are issued gear that aren't really used to. Make a special pattern weapon(s) useful in this campaign or environment that are prone to issues and problems that only your handy red cloak can fix! 6. Tactical Network. Maybe the Mechanicus approaches your tech-priest about testing out new gear. Not just some new pattern or obscure tech, but a full network of targetters, pict recorders, and other systems designed to improve combat efficiency. Without any Storm Troopers nearby (or maybe they don't want to jeopardize quality troops with untested gear) the squad is asked to test them. Your Tech-Priest ends up a sort of central node to this network, flagging targets and allies, getting battlemaps up and monitoring linked in gear after the cogitators prove ineffective or broken. 7. Let the priest be the spider in the web! This one is a little more setup based, but it might be a fun side mission to throw on them. The squad is tasked with defending an important mechanicus installation that was recently reacquired from the Dominate or other enemy. It is equipped with automatic defenses, combat servitors, blast doors, and a host of other defenses... All of which must be controlled from the security room. Your Tech-Priest advises and coordinates while plugged into the system, directing servitors, handling doors, running fire suppression systems, plugging radiation leaks, and activating security systems while the squad does the face to face combat and work. Your tech-priest will probably enjoy playing with all their gizmos while still very actively being part of the squad. 8. Blowing up weird alien tech. Maybe the squad infiltrates an extremely large xenos vehicle (or their voidship is attacked and they are pressed into service as boarders) or installation. Your tech-priest is going to be the only person capable of figuring out just what any of this stuff does and which parts need to get blown up/shut down. 9. Depending on the skill layout, maybe your player could mix up combat drugs or fabricate basic parts and repairs. Just being able to get a red-dot sight without bothering the quartermaster is one of those little things that is both useful, but not hugely balance affecting. 10. The longer the squad is away from base and resupply, the more useful your tech-priest becomes. If they are behind enemy lines for potentially weeks or months, he might be their only source of charging charge packs and other basic essentials. 11. Let them counter enemy automated or mechanical security. Let them hack systems or have entirely digital conflicts against corrupted cogitators, hereteks, or other heavily mechanized enemies. 12. Borrowed from Inquisitors handbook. Technical Support - You can teamwork skill rolls (even ones you aren't trained in) so long as it involves some piece of technology. Maybe you help out the operator's drive check because you are placating the engine machine spirit. Finally, a few thoughts on Tech-Priests and some of the difficulty that is inherent with the system. Technology is advanced and arcane enough that your TP is really the only PC that is going to have any reliable knowledge of the inner workings (Barring some Operators) so anytime high technology is really showcased it'll be their bag. On the downside, you can't have everything be about tech-use. The singular nature of the skill makes it difficult to really showcase a wide variety of options. If you as a GM are lucky, your tech-priest will have splayed those skills out some and have a wider base you can use in missions. The ability to speed repair (like first aid) isn't a huge game breaker, so long as you put some realistic limits on it. if a vehicle is destroyed or non-working, you should probably say it takes normal downtime. As for upgrading weapon damage I'd probably skip on that point and allow them a chance to tinker with quality. Let your TP make some requisition checks for superior parts and make rolls to improve common weapons up to good (or even best, but I'd make the checks very difficult) Or just let them add on attachments. You can plumb some of the DH and RT books for oddball weapons and upgrades that would fit just fine. Socially, you could even let your squad work alongside some Skitarri. That could make for a bit of fun when the tech guard just doesn't get your traditional IG troopers, but seem to adore the tech-priest (even shunting him into an impromptu sarge position)
  4. True, my bad. I should have posted references and such on sentinel height. I also foolishly forgot to address the actual issue of does the front striking missile get all the orks? Yes, I'd say. The blast 5 rating is sufficient to catch the entire length of the vehicle. I guess the biggest point of debate is what sort of cover does everyone get, and can you use your big green friends as cover?
  5. Hrmm! A Wartrukk is counted as being enormous, While those things aren't even close enough to be standardized, they do fall into the same category as a sentinel. Sentinels range in height between 4.8-5.2 meters, roughly the length of a modern military 5-ton truck. Using this comparison you could say the average frag grenade (3 meter radius) would be able to catch everyone if it landed dead center. You do have to use a bit of common sense here and say some passengers will have the advantage of cover (the driver would probably get some by a grenade going off in the bed) I did the comparison with different weapons, blast radius, and comparative vehicle lengths. If you add 3 to a weapons blast radius and then compare it against the size of the vehicle, then you can safely say a direct hit will hit all exposed passengers. If we are talking a directional hit and the resulting splash then the math changes and gets to the point where you really just have to look at the layout of the vehicle. In addition, this isn't always perfect. A frag missile striking a howdah on the gargantuan squiggoth is unlikely to hit every single exterior ork so you might decrease the number of targets hit by 1d10? For the sake of speed I'd just do the blast rating +3 compared against vehicle size rating.
  6. I've had this come up a few times before, and part of the answer is based on scale. Example #1, My PCs were holding a listening post against a Dark Eldar raid. In this instance, they had their squad, two PDF squads stuck in the area, and a heavy weapons squad. All in all about 35-40 troopers. At this sort of "platoon" scale I handled it by asking the players where they set up and where they ordered the PDF troopers to, if they divided troops, etc. etc. Anyway, any location where a PC was not stationed/physically present, I simply assigned a strength to. For NCOs or leader type figures I assigned three points, for heavy weapons two points, and one point for a normal trooper. I'd then adjust for any tactical considerations (Half a PDF squad was put in reserve to shore up flagging fronts). Following that, I assign scores for attacking forces in roughly the same way. Combat commences. The PCs are expected to do their thing and I just roll quickly for any NPCs who happen to be with them in their little slice of the action. If they are fighting with a large number of NPCs that they cannot take command of or are unwilling/unable to then I'll simply formation them up and fight on as usual. Again, best to use some common sense here. When my PCs didn't immediately assume command of the 4 PDF troops they had put on their part of the front, I only had one or two attack each turn and I made comment on their general ineffectiveness and excessive cowering. The squad Sarge picked up on it and quickly rallied them into a small personal formation. While the PCs are doing their thing I'll roll each round for the assorted fronts. Normally a D10 + Allied Strength versus D10 + Opposing force strength for each front. The unit that wins will chip off a point (or d5 if you feel like it is particularly suiting. IE: Massed orks charging two heavy bolter teams) Keep in mind the math starts to fall apart if you get much bigger than squad-platoon level, or if you allow a massively numerically superior foe to slam repeatedly into a lesser opponent. In such a case, you might automatically tic off points from the larger side even if they win the roll-off. It might also be effective to ignore enemy strength all together and just assign them a static value for how hard they hit your allies each turn, especially in a case where the enemy has effectively limitless resources to devote to this small scale battle. If these fronts are within visual range I allow a free awareness roll of varying difficulty (Lighting, distance, battlefield obstructions, smoke, elusiveness of enemy, etc.) to see how things are panning out. Otherwise if the group has vox or non-visual coms I replace the awareness roll with a Tactica roll. If a front is suffering too heavily I'll usually ask my players if they wants to direct troops there, call in support, personally go seize command, order a fallback, etc. Give them an opportunity to assist and flex a little tactical knowledge. While they might not have any command in a given situation, they can still lend aid or at least report a failing to superiors (Who might then order them to shore up a flagging area while still doing their own objective) or tell them to assist if able. Overall this keeps it short and easy to keep track of, but also lets the players have some sort of say-so and impact on what is going on. In addition it allows for a worsening situation. In my run the players simply couldn't afford to prop up the heavy weapons team and when they finally were cut to pieces, suddenly my PCs were dealing with Eldar slamming into their flank. It goes from "My GM is just throwing more enemies at us!" to "We lost the bolters and we're compromised, can we get everyone to a new defensive line?" You create a changing battlefield that they helped shape! Anyway. Example #2. My PCs were told to hold the line against an oncoming 'nid assault along with several thousand guardsmen along an extensive defensive line. When you get into company or higher level engagements you get into a little more tricky territory. You could just zoom in and focus on your players little slice of the battle. This 50 meter line of trenches and flakboard and the enemies directly assaulting it. You might play up how things are going to the left and right flank so the players can prep for threats that get through there (and at this point the outcome is really more narrative) This works fine but it does run the risk of getting bogged down unless you throw in a changing battlefield. Steal a page from L5R and toss in some battle events. Maybe they start off trying to pick out high threat targets in the oncoming rush, then are ordered by an officer to charge, the charge falters and PCs are left to scramble back to the defensive line while moving wounded and holding off fierce melee attacks. The other route is taking a company or regimental level approach and wielding the PCs like a weapon. Say your squad of PCs are attached to a siege regiment and are being asked to slam through some sallying defenders and punch an opening in their fortifications, then hold it until reinforcements can move in. Always describe the action as what the whole force is doing. The Captain is pushing orders down to affix bayonets while the various heavy weapon squads are loading up fresh belts. Your Lt orders the charge. You don't worry about exact numbers, you just throw enemies headlong at your players and if they ask for numbers don't offer a solid figure unless they want to burn a turn just surveying the field. Give them a sense of being part of a larger conflict, give them rolls to break off an attack and lead a whole enemy platoon into a killing field for the massed support weapons backing them up. Let quick allied formations fight and die while the squad throws flares to mark artillery, let the PCs suppress an enemy marksman dropping friendly NCOs or officers. All the while you are taking notes and assigning numbers. Your PCs were slow here, it cost lives. and you deny them a formation here or you hold back some support here. Basically you use the same tactics are the first option, but you grant the players a constant (if dwindling) stream of support so long as they keep getting positive results. One of the great advantages here is they can lose an objective without losing face or their lives. They are ordered to fall back after the defenders shred the demolitions team. Tough, your PCs did their best but luck wasn't on their side. Now they are forced to scale walls the old fashioned way after regrouping. Hope that rambling post helps! I'm also curious to see how everyone else does their large battles.
  7. It also really depends on what type of regiment you have going. If your players are manning a Leman Russ, then you have the perfect number. If it is more an infantry type regiment, then I'd recommend making 2-4 NPC troopers and maybe a specialist. It sort of depends on a number of factors just how much or little you want to throw in. What kind of enemies will they face? If Chaos Marines, Tau, Necrons, or Tyranids are going to be the enemy of choice then the extra firepower and cannon fodder are fantastic. Do you feel comfortable handling a handful of NPCs? If not, don't feel like you need to. Anything that bogs you down or puts undue stress on the GM is going to hurt the game and you can do without it. Is the squad missing anything that might really be needed? Lacking a heavy weapons or sergeant is a great place to slide in an NPC, or if you have a mechanized infantry regiment and the PCs don't have a driver, Personally, I usually make the entire platoon so I have ready made troopers to fold in or use when stuff comes up. Oh! Sgt. Morrow and his squad are pinned down on that ridge etc. etc. Best of luck, let us know how it goes!
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