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  1. I have had RTs go looking for Crusade-era battlefields just to pull true Sol-system manufactured Legion equipment out of the sand and see what still works. Assuming the machine spirit isn't cursed or otherwise warp-tainted, the rest is just part replacement, and any ship equipped with a Labratory should be able to manufacture the small parts needed to get equipment up and running again, though probably not to the same quality as the original part as the replacement is most likely an inferior material. If the RT is running around in a ship equipped with a Lab, Manufactorum, and Small Craft Repair Bay, and converts all of them to refurbishing Astartes equipment, and has a way of aquiring the rare and difficult to process ores that make up most Astartes equipment, and the local tech priests are cool with bringing the equipment back into the fold of the Omnissiah without notifying their superiors, I would say go for it. Just remember to hide the goods when Astartes, Inquisitors, or well-studied RTs are in view. Half the fun of the 40k universe is the backwardness with which technology is viewed, but it can also be a huge pain when trying to do some simple reverse engineering. It would make one guilty of meta-gaming, but aquiring a Heretek to help get around this problem, and conveniently purify the machine spirits without sending a report back to mars, would go a long way towards that Astartes gear everybody wants. So, it would seem that finding or fixing the gear isn't that much of a problem, but using and keeping it that makes the issues. A keypad positioned at a marine's solar plexus would be head hight or more on an unmodified human, and likely the buttons would take many dozens of pounds of pressure to activate. This brings the image of a character hammering at the panel with the butt of their pistol trying to punch in the correct key sequence. Weapons would be similarly difficult, with frames much too long and thick for normal arms. A true scale SM blade weighs roughly 60 lbs... a normal human would find it impossible to do anything more than drop it on a target. The recoil of Astartes bolt weapons is stated many times to be capable of breaking an arm or wrist even if care is taken firing the weapon. Power armor of your own will mitigate these factors, but not eliminate them... Astartes weaponry is simply built an order of magnitude beyond regular human stuff. That is the whole point of the Astartes in the first place... Which brings us to the Space Marine Equivalent. Ten guardsmen have an even bet against one marine, all other things equal & constant. I hold 6 stormtroopers (roughly) to be equal to the marine. Put those troopers in power armor, and give them (standard) bolters and chain weapons, it is about 4.5. Bionic/cybernetic/genemod light on the base stats, it becomes 3. Heavy mods and it becomes about 1.75, but you are spending a horrendous amount of time and Thrones, probably setting up breeding programs or sourcing candidates from fitting planets, similar to the Astartes (I have always thought new Custodes are grown for the purpose, not born, and this is why they are able to perform better than an industrially produced Astartes) and this is just to get the troop quality that even approaches what a Space Marine can apparently do. Losing a single dropship would be a tragedy, with billions of Thrones worth of soldiers, equipment, training, and mods going up in smoke... So as inevitably as every RT goes on a quest for SME troops, they go for equipment as well. Recovery of anything possessed is obviously not allowed, as the machine is basically a daemon now. Kill it with fire, move on. Tainted machine spirits can be scrubbed and replaced, but it is a long process and the new spirit is going to be quirky for an amount of time proportionate to the size and complexity of the machine. Starships take centuries, vehicles decades, weapons and armor a few years or a decade and change with something like power armor. Astartes power armor, other than scout armor, may not be worn by regular humans, ever, unless they take genemods that make them have hulking(?) size, like the people the armor is designed for. Even then, it must be modified to be used by someone not blessed by the Emperor with nearly unbreakable bones and muscle as dense as steel. Melee weapons are unusable by humans unless the human is in power armor, and has a strength value over 50 (after the armor bonus is added), or has unnatural strength x2 or (2), depending on which unnatural system you use, and under either system the wielder still gets both a -10 to WS and the weapon is unwieldy unless strength is above 60, and has unnatural strength x2 or (4), like the Astartes that are supposed to be swinging it. Firing an Astartes bolter without power armor or unnatural toughness or blackbone bracing and the user must test toughness +15 or suffer a broken arm from the recoil. Grenade throw distance is quartered out of armor, and plasma overheat is twice as lethal unless the user is in power armor and has unnatural toughness. No special rules for vehicle use, unless you wish to occasionally check toughness or take fatigue due to the vehicles being designed or occupants that are literally impossible to injure or fatigue with a rough ride. From this standpoint, Land Raider Battlettaxi is definitely a possibility, as long as you don't drive it around in front of anyone that knows, explicitly, that you are not allowed to have it. Given the feudal nature of the Imperium, and the flamboyant reputation of RTs, I would think the Planetary Governor or IG General would still not do more than raise an eyebrow at the vehicle for fear of levelling a false accusation at an individual capable of razing their entire world. Just don't let Astartes or Inquisition see it... or a Throne agent... and you should be safe from the whole "The Emperor decreed thusly: only Space Marines can have Sweet Rides" issue
  2. Viper brings up a couple of points I forgot, namely that the warrant need not pass to direct family. The Warrant of Trade is less linear than some seem to be taking it; it may be held by an individual, but the realities of managing a dynasty requires many hands. Perhaps the immediate offspring of the warrant holder are immersed in some form of politics or obligations that excludes them from holding the Warrant, or perhaps they were in succession, but the choice was not approved by the High Lords, so the next candidate is considered. Without a clear, regulated line of succession, the person that ends up holding the Warrant is the victor by dint of luck as much as any other characteristic. The age of the holder is not of any concern; I would think that an individual would not be seriously considered for a high level government position without being at least a century old. What does it matter that the heir watched their parent hold the warrant for a century or more before it came to their hands? what does it matter if the holder has five generations of family younger than themselves? Feudal kings rarely inherited the crown peacefully at any age under 40, which was already pushing the life expectancy of medieval times. This age/perception of experience would be even more pronounced in 40k: "Who is this guy telling us what to do? He has got to be a quarter the age of the last guy in charge! Where are his bionics? Does he know what he is doing?"
  3. I would think they would reproduce in a similar fashion to modern day royalty, assuming the Warrant is hereditary. Which is to say, have a small pack of children as soon as you find someone of a suitable social standing/wealth/genetic compatibility/whatever under the theory that at least half of them will be wastrels, and of the half that aren't, most will die or turn away from the dynasty due to one form of treachery or another. I had an RT that would actually seek volunteers, and screened the entire populations of a few discovered worlds looking for the best genetic matches, and I would spend a single point of PF for 16 game years and at the end he would get the PF back, along with an heir. After a while (like 80 game years), he had a company-sized unit of dynastic heirs serving as uberstormtroopers, but he was a strict Trader Militant, so it made sense to test the potential heirs in combat. The only restriction on someone of an RT's resources is the desire to reproduce. It is something I ask every player when they start, as most simply don't even consider it when playing Grimdark Space Pirate.
  4. Didn't Prospero get completely razed shortly after the Heresy? Like Cthonia, where the Luna Wolves were sourced? The cult is doomed. Get as far away from them as possible before your house gets tainted by the proximity. Malleus will go after everyone in your organization, all your contacts, neighbors, pets, etc. and put a sanctified bolt shell in everyone just to be sure there is no heresy... assuming the Malleus inquisitor follows the rules. Maybe they are Radical, and hoping to exploit. Even then, they will virtually always kill all the witnesses, eventually. Exceptions being high level cronies, which might not be a bad angle for the party to take, at least to stay alive a few more sessions. battle psykers are also doomed if malleus gets a sniff. They don't respect any other Ordo and will commence with the burning and purging for unsanctioned use of psychic powers. The inquisitor signing the authorization is dead, and therefore cannot exert any influence. Malleus will almost certainly claim it is a fake, and who in the Inquisition can corroborate the paperwork? All they will see is another Rogue Trader trafficking with the ruinous powers for his own gain, potentially working with a cell of radical Ordo Xenos Inquisitors to feign legitimacy. The only body licensed to produce psykers is the Collegia Psykana, which is part of the reason for the black ships, so, at minimum, your party is guilty of failing to turn over known psykers for collection, which is still a torchable offence. Your party needs to swerve, and swerve hard... you have the influence of a hive gang and the Holy Ordos know your name as a possible heretic. Burn out the cult, with Ordo Hereticus if possible to make Malleus less interested, as suggested above, then that party needs to run for the wilderness space for a few years, let things chill out. Find a forgotten colony and repurpose them into a new base, start rebuilding the PF lost burning out the cult. **40K Battlestar Remake!!!!**
  5. I had an Ordo Malleus Inquisitor of the Xanthite persuasion try this with warded suits of power armor and daemon heralds summoned into prepped daemonhost vessels. That character knew what they were doing at F.Lore Daemonology +20 and F.Lore Occult mastery, and was smart enough to strap on a void grenade whose detonator was kept separated by the static energy resistance between the daemon and the wards, which severely curtailed any vindictive rampaging the daemon would try when freed from the wards. They worked pretty well, as long as the armor didn't suffer major damage, which would free the daemon as an unbound daemonhost if it weren't for the grenade sending it straight back to the warp. Perhaps your RT stumbles upon a similar individual in his search, or an ancient Dark Mechanicus sect selling possessed combat servitors, or a powerful Chaos cult binding lesser daemons in a similar, but less hedged, method as the radical inquisitor? Personally, I don't like giving my players EXACTLY what they want. You want Rubric Marines? Just for the bragging rights? They are virtually impossible to find, and already led around by various sorcerers. How would the character even know what they are/how to identify them/what is good about them that he knows he wants them? Assuming the groundwork for the characters desire can be justified, it isn't too hard to get the attention of Chaos, or Tzeench. This is 40K after all, just send a few probes into the nearest underhive and they will come back with something chaotic. Do that enough times and you will come back with something that gibbers sideways of Tzeench. Sacrifice a few d5 insanity and corruption immersing in the ways of change, pull off just-as-planned shenanigans until you come across a 1K sorcerer (apparently relatively easy to find among the occult, there are a few on Fenris at any given time) and whip him until you get him to follow you (for now) or kill him and take his Rubrics, assuming the character has started dabbling in sorcery. Maintaining the guise of faithful citizen during this would be fun, and probably mandatory to please tricky Tzeench, but hiding it from the Inquisitor in the party would be a little more difficult as corruption and insanity pile up from constantly trying to earn Tzeench's favor. Also, I would not allow the character to purify themselves through any of the normal R&R, prayer&contemplation kind of thing. I think Tzeench would be most pleased if the RT corrupted the Inquisitor as part of his quest for favor... that rosette is a bureaucratic nuke, after all, allowing the RT to wave off basically anyone who isn't a higher rank Inquisitor, so it would make sense for the character to desire the ability to move his schemes forward more effectively.
  6. Given how 'accurate' your players are in their roleplay, certain xenos are easier to justify than others. Kroot and Orks are far more likely to be willing to take Sanctioned Xenos so they can be passed off in Imperial space with much less of a problem. D.Eldar, though, I would think far less likely to place themselves under the Imperial yoke, even if it is just for show. I've found that that race in particular changes RT playstyle because it almost forces you to have an open minded RT, little to no Ecclesiarchal presence, and to avoid interactions with the Imperium. That says nothing of how you handle the penchant for torture among your own crew... That being said, an all D.Eldar crew makes for some fun, if slightly narrow, campaigns.
  7. I honestly don't know why they included D.Eldar in the game as playable characters. As mentioned, it is a logistical nightmare to even justify their presence. That being said... an all D.Eldar command crew using combined RT/That awesome homebrew Eldar codex rules to pillage their way through an Imperial Sector sounds like fun.
  8. Personally, I find the career levelling system in the 40k FFG games to be a little illogical in that they do not match up to the fluff descriptions IN THE SAME BOOK. This Melee Arch Militant business is a perfect example... Simply getting to the position of being able to be an arch militant should be something of an indicator as to the potential of the individual in question. I usually grant a bunch of free talents and stat bonuses to AM characters for this reason. Not from the 'guidelines' in the RAW, either. Most of my RT characters start their lives as Dark Heresy or Only War characters and once they hit a certain point, if they are lucky, the universe may unfold before them in interesting ways. I have found that this creates more player love of the character, as well as better rounded characters. Also, I am a fan of Darwinian character creation and my group loves playing intro campaigns as it gives us the chance to run the most random/badass scenarios we can think of and see if our snowflakes survive. We have had a lot of melee focused AM-like characters through various grand campaigns, and with the correct character building and roleplaying, they can work. I find people like to take an exploitative look at the armory, trying to shoehorn their idea into a playable character and using gear to buff or bandaid stats or abilities where necessary. The RAW is just a guideline... read all the rules three times and give your character the ones they would realistically have at that point in their lives/careers/experiences. I find that a lot of the talent x -or- talent y choices in the rulebook character creation are ridiculous, as one in that career would need both to be effective. I have the same issue with certain placement of ability increases, mostly in the "+20 at level four?!?!?" variety. These problems led me to pretty much write my own homebrew core rulebook and supplements. I am surprised my gf put up with that little stunt, but my players and I are a LOT happier now. Consider the case of Mork, AM Magnus of House McClymon: Mork started as a peasant on the Agri-World of Beliar IV. Mork was taken prisoner in a D.Eldar raid c.M37. After being forced to fight in the gladiator pits and tortured for... why not?, Mork was eventually part of a prisoner riot incited by an undercover agent of House McClymon, and proved himself exceptional by (getting lucky with a natural 02 to hit vs. a 94) killing a mandrake in a single blow. Mork was inducted into the House Guard, where he survived Ad. Mech, Ork warbands (confused about which Mork was which), more eldar, a minor warp incursion, four shadow ops against (non-Astartes) Imperials, the Warrant changing hands, and more xenos and ship purgings than Mork cared to count (we played three xenos and two purges) before he found himself with a rather badass reputation and an officer's rank. One sad day, the AM of the group dies gloriously (smeared against the hull of a Desolation battleship because he had no more fate points left to burn...) and a replacement must be found... "Isn't Mork kinda crazy? You think we can talk him into this?" -> 4 DoS on the charm test-> "You want me to ​what?​ ****, where have you been all my life? I've wanted to do this for years!" -> (Give the AM player Mork's packet and tell him this is your character for the rest of the battle. Trades are allowed) Let Mork pick a few shiny things out of the armory -> New AM for the group to abuse and humiliate while trying to force into doing Astartes-level badassery. In the above case, the player was actually happy his previous AM had died, so that he could advance a character he had been playing (where applicable) for many, many sessions as a background face, essentially piloting an NPC until the day someone asked me his name and I had to make one up. I knew which batch of recruits he was from because I gave them all Jaded, 20 insanity points, -8 Fellowship, Hatred Eldar, and a minor affliction of the mind... None of which was RAW. Make the game work for you, don't try and shoehorn your ideas into the rules as written. Check out some of the rules for Only War and Dark Heresy, they seem to have a wider base. There is no reason why there can't be a melee AM. Melee combat is awesome... for the survivors. If you have to write your own leveling charts, so be it. The point of the game is creativity and fun...
  9. In the second Grey Knights novel there is mention of both Daemonships and of binding Daemons into ship systems to serve as a controlling/directing force. IMHO, any Chaos fleet worth it's salt will have at least one Daemonship. I would imagine that the pacts required to achieve such a thing would be extremely damning... but the value of having a ship with such power might justify the cost. A Khornate-aligned slaughter cruiser with daemonicly powered lances, and engines, that can blink in and out of reality and is crewed by khornate daemons? maybe even captained by a super powerful greater daemon or daemon prince that goes around capturing and killing as many as possible to feed the sacrifices that drive the ship when it is not in the warp? I think that is sufficiently metal for the warhammer universe. Good luck getting it to follow your commands though...
  10. I don't consider my pc's strength. I favor turning wheel campaigns and track the strength and reinforcement rate of forces for each faction. if my players stumble into a pirate nest, they better turn tail and run. I spread point allotments out in a realistic faction, making task forces of a strength based on their mission and their faction's resources. escorts travel in groups of at least three, preferably more, at least two different types if the faction can pull it off. light cruisers have at least a pair of escorts. cruisers have either a light cruiser and a pack (3 or 4) frigates, two light cruisers or a big group of escorts. battle/heavy cruisers always have a light cruiser and a pack of escorts, maybe two of each. grand cruisers always have at least a pair of light cruisers, or a cruiser and a big pack of escorts. battleships are always with at least two cruisers and a large pack of escorts, usually with a light cruiser or two and possibly a heavy/battle cruiser. depending on the size of the station they might have anywhere from two to a dozen system ships for defense. As you can tell, fleet actions are a popular thing with my group. the current game's fleet stands at 1 repulsive grand cruiser, 1 overlord battlecruiser, 1 styx heavy cruiser, 1 gothic, 1 slaughter, 2 lunar cruisers, 2 dauntless light cruisers, 1 gladius, 3 sword, 1 firestorm frigate, 2 cobra and 1 nova destroyers. 1 universe mass conveyor, 2 goliath factory ships, seven escort size transports, two slightly armed troop ships. usually the fleet is broken up between various schemes, and never go anywhere without an escort as most of them are stolen from enemy factions that my players are too early in the game to have eliminated. most of the transports are tied up supporting an industrial trade network capable of supporting such a large fleet, but my players usually roll with the repulsive, overlord, slaughter and gothic, along with the sm escorts and the cobras. not a huge fleet, but the combined firepower of the heavy ships means that the enemy has to be prepared for a full-scale fleet engagement if they stand a chance of surviving.
  11. The answer to #1 and #3 are similar: the warp is very different "now" than it used to be. The emperor was "born" before the creation of the chaos gods, or at least before they became conscious/active in the warp. The astronomicon is referred to as the hollow mountain in some of the heresy novels, I assume that without the help of malcador or big e that a constant pulse was still emanating from the device. "now", with the warp in great turmoil, it takes the energy of big e to direct the beacon more effectively. I would also think that it helps boost his psychic reach and awareness, considering both the golden throne and the astronomicon are fed thousands of psykers a day. #2 is easier. the emperor had to be there to break off a chunk of his energy to fuel the impossible biomechanics of the primarchs. no clone, however perfectly made, would contain the same energy. cloning the emperor himself is similarly impossible, a few older fluff versions have it that the energy of the emperor basically overwrote the genetic code of the host conception. I would not be surprised if the emprah could rewrite his genetics and biochemistry at will through sheer psychic power, or split dna apart and reassemble the protein with his mind, literally willing the original geneseed to live and develop into the things he could use to make the astartes. maybe it was conscious, maybe not... but without the emperor it seems that the genetic tinkering ability of the Imperium at large has taken a nosedive. Like the legio cybernetica, and battleship construction, and contemptor dreds, it is one of the skills that the imperium forgot about. even if they could manage to replicate the emperors genetic code into a viable host (tossing perfect out the window... how do you create a perfect replica of something that was created by pure warp energy?), how do you transfer the energy? it seems the golden throne and astronomicon are both designed to pull power out of something, so it would take some kind of ritual (*blam* HERESY) to direct the energies of the golden throne to the host (*blam* Double heresy!), which would allow daemons into the dungeons of the Palace, which according to some fluff is literally at the feet of the greater golden throne apparatus... where the real (1.0 model?) emperor is. what him and the host (emperor 2.0?) think of eachother might well be cause for a civil war. the clone will not be as perfect, but maybe it will be good enough to be a new malcador. OK, just realized this.... Malcador was a normal guy. HUGE psychic power, but normal human man. WHY NOT CLONE HIM?!? I knew his body went to dust but there has to be a sample of his dna somewhere. Maybe I've been reading too much Dune universe lately, but that intelligence, the power, subtle predispositions that made him who he was will be in his code. They could serve as regents, one stepping down as the other ages (like tleilaxu masters and their ghola "sons") until the imperium gets its stuff together and revives a primarch or two. Gulliman and the Lion would do a lot of good, as would some central leadership worth the name.
  12. No matter how advanced the medical treatment, it still has to be applied in time to matter. People drop dead all the time from innumerable biological failures that develop too quickly to be combated effectively. I also think of rejuve treatments as a genre of substances that mechanically force the body into changing. This kind of thing has to be done delicately, and I am sure the process involves numerous drugs that must be carefully monitored or else the subject may suffer from a wide range of negative effects. Combine a recent rejuve treatment with a strange new menu item, and now there is a toxic reaction happening in your bloodstream and the only treatment is immediate full dialysis. Unless the unfortunate person was hooked up to a machine when they were stricken, they would die in minutes.
  13. For my next campaign, I've discussed with my players a few elements they wanted to be brought in, and I figured I'd bring it here for you guys to comment on before it hits the table. Elements desired are, in no particular order: Tau!, Inquisitorial Shenanigans, logical reasons to apply bombardment cannon, Great Crusade, grand strategy, dystopian underbelly, and large fleet actions. Brief into to playgroup: We all come out of tabletop 40K, and have all played a lot of Total War and similar long-term mass combat strategy games that have strong political and economic elements. My players want to be able to raise entire regiments, train and equip at their desire, and maneuver on anything from an individual person to entire battlegroup scale. They aren't afraid to get into detail, so long as that detail is relevant. We have a few 'favorites', player generated special snowflakes that form the core of the playgroup and a large stable of NPCs that get picked up when someone feels like it/has to leave his snowflake behind for medical treatment/does one of us have to watch every **** ship to get **** done around here?!? so there ends up being a pretty large character pool from people to draw on. I'll roll out and appropriately level up anyone my players ask the name of, and think up reasons why the main group shouldn't/cant go en masse, and it is not uncommon to play entire side campaigns through piloted NPC characters. Now, to the playground: This campaign is going to take place in the Vaskan Sector, about a quarter of the way between the Tau empire and the galactic core. Sector Vaskan is on a major warp route between the Segmentum Solar and the Realm of Ultramar, though it is not as well developed as one would suspect for this. Originally conquered during the Great Crusade, the sector fell almost in its entirety during the Heresy, and was not reclaimed until almost the end of the Scouring. The Ultramarines reclaimed approximately one third of the former worlds, enough to restore the main trade lanes, and deemed the rest as unfit for Imperial interest, seeding the former Imperial systems with the most dire of warnings. In the eight thousand years since the sector was reclaimed, it has been relatively quiet, with no major wars or misfortunes worth noting on the galactic scale. Human reavers and ork pirates are the worst threats in sector Vaskan, and Imperial efforts in the area are focused on protecting shipping. Political power lies in the various noble houses in control of the resources and factories that provide trade material, and while competition is fierce, it lies in the realm of economic warfare and the occasional assassin in the dark. There is a gross income disparity in this sector, with the wealth of the top .0001 equaling the wealth of the bottom 90%. Campaign elements are 1) Tau invasion, 2) Reaver conquest, and 3) Secrets of Old Night. 1)Tau Invasion: Tau emessaries have began their typical gunboat diplomacy, using the plight of the workers to their benefit. On a particular subsector capital, they have managed to sway the planetary governor and a large part of the nobility into joining their cause. As the coup was only days away, a convoy of ships containing a regiment of Catchan jungle fighters pulled into port over the capitol and took shore leave. The Catchans are alerted to the coup by a loyalist party and manage to avert the turnover of power by executing the governor and holding the entirety of the planets nobility hostage in the governmental spire. Unfortunately, they don't have access to the astropath spire, or means of communications with their fleet, and are under peaceful siege by all the private troops/mercs the traitor nobles can muster. By the time the party gets there, the fleet has left them on the planet and the unconventionally trained catchans are clueless how to proceed. As there is an effective lockdown on government in this subsector, there is only so long the RT can leave this situation to simmer before something very bad happens. I gave the Tau three years on a turning wheel campaign to gather enough forces to take a more aggressive approach in the subsector, but are waiting at the slightest misstep to swoop the entire subsector up. They have been ceding every major city in the Sector with emessaries for the last two decades, they are motivated and prepared to take the subsector, with or without the help of the rebels... but it will take a while to raise the numbers to replace their contribution. 2)Reaver Conquest: The 2/3 of the worlds cut off from the Imperium did not all wither on the vine. Some of them actually flourished outside of Imperial Law, though they are warrens of xenos, mutants and psykers the likes of which would give even the most hateful zealots pause. Some of those systems are very aware of the existence of Imperial worlds, and have designs on how to claim them as their own. The only thing pausing their advance is their lack of navigators to steer their stolen ships through the warp, as all the ships they have left over from their ex-imperial days have long since had the warp drives removed. They lack the ability to construct new warp drives for themselves, so they must rely on stolen ships to carry them further than their own solar systems. Chaos figures are of course interested in helping them remedy this situation, at a price. 3)Secrets of Old Night: Assuming the players don't **** them up for one reason of another, I have cleverly hidden a world-spinner and three partial STC fragments in the system. All are located in horribly inconspicuous locations, usually adjacent to something very threatening but completely unrelated. Fragments are not even whole ones, just parts the local AdMech doesn't have. Other assorted goodies are: One crusade-era battlebarge, of original Terran stock, possibly reconditioned for the Crusade, possibly commissioned for the Crusade, the AdMech can't remember. One Daemon weapon said to be originally used by one of the Phoenix Guard (The daemon is WP 83, totally unwarded. Can't wait for those mastery rolls!). One Brother-Sergeant of the Dark Angles that has been in stasis since a Son of Horus ventilated his abdomen with a chain blade. There is a rogue ordo malleus inquisitor roaming around the sector as well, using one of the moons of the formerly imperial worlds for a psyker farm/euqenics program/cloning lab (if you are familiar with the Bene Theilax from the Dune universe you aren't far off... just with more skulls and ****), stir up some of the local ork worlds into waagh-ing a major chaos reaver stronghold, locate the site of a legendary fleet engagement between the Dark Angles and Sons of Horus, use the threat of impending waagh to get imperial/non-imperial worlds to get along and eventually bring several valuable systems into the Big Daddy E's good graces (tithe rolls), locate and board the space hulk Rust Father to plant a warp beacon, and secure a trueborn trueborn emo space elf to compare against a non-emo space elf. Said Inquisitor is a completely unplayable, game-breaking walking plot mechanic that never showed her face from a set of DH campaigns that I played a couple years ago. Backstory is fluffy as ****, but here goes: born Terra, c.m39.800ish to a noble family in the Scandinavian conclaves. Selected to become a Rembrancer c.m39.960ish. stationed with the Blood Angles until sent home just after the Heresy. Ended up filtering through the Imperium Secundus and getting trained as a footsoldier before hooking back up with the Blood Angles. Begged passage back to Terra with an impassioned plea to Sanguinius. Ran ammo to gun emplacements during the siege of terra, until there were no emplacements to run to before finding herself in the radius of a mass-possession spell. Battled possession until horus' death robbed the demon of the bulk of its power. Found wandering the battlements by an Imperial Fist, naked with a bloody feather of Sanguius' her only possession. Inducted into Ordo Malleus six months later. Took part in cleansing of Mars, where she was terribly wounded by rad weaponry and granted a best-quality, absolutely singular example of a Right of Setesh (IIRC) not unlike something off ghost in the shell or Armitage, completely transplanting her brain onto a cybernetic body 95% indistinguishable from a normal human. She does not follow the tenets of the machine god and cultivated her own rogue mech cults accordingly that she may not experience the same tech decline that has plagued the Imperium at large, though it is almost entirely of heretical nature, if only for lack of proper chanting. Said inquisitor is also rabidly Xanthite, though she preserves her good name by never calling her loyalty to the Big E into question and slaughtering any that would try and hear her secrets, let alone whisper them. She is never, ever played by any character and is my crowbar to 'adjust' the campaign any time the inquisition is available to perform adjusting. She is relavent in this campaign because she is playing the dozen or so relavent RT's in the sector against each other, masquerading as a series of various contacts and interests. *Spoiler* One of her agents planted the bomb that damaged the cooling system that overheated the Gellar field that cause the dynasty's sole remaining hope and expectation flagship to have to drop out of the warp on holy **** short notice and pull into the subsector capitol from Plot#1. I hope the players find out and bring it to the inquisitor... if only for the rare excuse to exploit every hole in their plan like only a gm can before brutally crushing everything the players can bring to bear. Some of my players played in my Dh campaigns, so we will see who remembers Lady Blue if they decide to push the issue. Core PCs are: Dorian Van Der Myr, Rogue Trader Militant and Patriarch of House Myr. Lord-Capitan. Raised in the Schola Progenium at the behest of his family, until he was presented to his uncle on his 16th birthday. After several years campaigning with his uncle, learning the ways of waging war and building empires out of the rubble. At this point, Imperial authorities would beg House Myr to engage in crusades, or rescue hopeless defenses, knowing full well the weight of men, material and fire that House Myr could bring into any given warzone could prove the tipping point. All of that ended with the 13th black crusade, when House Myr was resupplying and training on a feral world close to the Eye. A large chaos fleet dropped out of the warp and managed to slip deep in system before they were detected by the pickets, and what resulted was utter ruin for the House, along with the Navy squadrons and Guard regiments accompanying them. Originally, forces were evenly matched, but a few escorts were pulled, through some sorcery, behind friendly battle lines where they could rain mutants and heretics on the feral world. Dorian barely made it back to the guncutters with six thousand men out of eighty, and what has been twenty capital ships and an equal number of escorts and transports was left with a pair of terrifically damaged cobra destroyers and the dynasty flagship, also horrifically damaged. Character was customized between noble and schola progenium, has four free +5 stat upgrades and pretty much anything the player could justify taking out of a DH guardsmen's sheets until level 5, along with a smattering of best-quality combat gear:heavily modified carapace, hellpistol & rifle, chainsword, some utility stuff too. Has a good bolter and bolt pistol, and non-primitive combat shield. bionic volitor implant, blackbone bracing, and hearing. HE is at PF 47 (the uncle was heavily leveraged) after scrapping the surviving escorts and consolidating their crew into his own, performing repairs (those he can afford), paying debts and selling what he could part with, including a few titles. En route to a few easy pickings in the Vaskan system to cut his teeth on before it was back to the Eye and the real enemy. Flag-Captain Finnick Poul. Commander of the fleet while the Patriarch is away. 500-odd generations of serving house Myr, the will of the emperor is the will of his house, and the will of his house is his only purpose to enact. Well-versed in tactics of void-battle and leadership of fighting troops, the flag-cap is the old hand that Dorian is not. Blames himself for death of former RT (he's right) and pushes the fleet and the current RT to meet his impossible standards. Void-born, customized high level niche stats. xp is gained at 10% of normal. Best quality bolt pistol and power sword, good refractor field, good mesh bodysuit. Bionic volitor, arm, eye, ear, voice amp and mandatory locator beacon. Commisar Lucius Lymon. Not 'technically' a commissar anymore, but attached to House Myr for many years by the commissariat and empowered to bring some standard of martial pride to the filthy masses of untrained, soft meat waiting for the grinder. Another high xp character that levels at 10% normal rate. Best bolt pistol and power sword, commissariat approved best quality carapace armor (with appropriate modifiers for number of skulls). Bionic arm, blackbone bracing, volitor implant, eyes. Euphrati Cassini. Noble Scion of House Cassini, the best navigator Dorian could afford after limping back to cypra mundi for refit. Banished from the good graces of her house until she return with something of worth. rolled this character almost entirely RAW, player and I added a few talents and traits, and the conditions of her banishing granted her an additional navigator power, but she is the only navigator being supplied to house myr at this time, and is expected to flounder in the warp, bringing the poor rogue trader house to an ignominious end, along with the upstart fool of a navigator and whatever unfortunates happened to be bound up with them at the moment. After they drift into limbax for repairs, Kaori and Orman turn up. They are feral void-born from the space hulk Rust Father, and Dorian is ordered by the Ordo Malleus (if he find them/asks why they are there) to take Orman and Kaori to the hulk as fast as possible. Recovered during a DH campaign many moons ago, I am bringing in Orman Viridian as the explorator and Kaori Vermillion as... a character. **** it. She's there, deal with her. (Like her melta charge dealt with your Gellar field) These are two members of a tribe the inquisitor, a few stupid OP henchmen (demons bound into warded power armor with void grenade failsafes, alpha plus psykers, psiber bonded customized thalaxii, etc...) found themselves relying on for local intelligence on the hulk and bought a new life for themselves and their tribe. Orman is a tech-priest originally rolled out totally custom, halfway between guard and techpriest with a few extra origin buffs, he's about level four now. definitely a walking disaster that the character picking him up is excited to set loose. good custom modded bolter and pistol, common power armor, best chainsword, special harness, bionic locomotion, blackbone, volitor, heart, lungs, enhanced coil. cyber beast familiar Origin story was him sneaking into no-mans-land to rescue a tank and got caught in an enemy advance, pretty much so the player could chew up whole units with him to demonstrate the difference between PC and NPC strength and the value of fate points. Kaori is an assassin taken to a healthy level four and a spattering of choices out of the first couple guard levels. runs with a heavily modded custom best quality las carbine (special enough for the snowflake), good bolt pistol with special ammo, best chainsword, best non-primitive combat shield, a pair of power knives, heavily modded best power armor, a best sawn-off over under shotgun with special ammo (saved her life in a few campaigns), throwing knives, genestealer claw trophy knife, and a long, narrow box-shaped case she refers to only as 'it' or 'mine'. (It's a demon weapon named Haegarroth from Kaori's last DH campaign). blackbone bracing, bionic hearts, volitor implant, chem glands, autosanguine, enhanced hearing, vision. Latent psyker with chameleon, familiar bond, and favor. I use a modified version of psychic powers so she runs everything but familiar bond at a +15 on 53 WP, and bond is a +10, and perils only get triggered on doubles, which is impossible with one die. This is her first campaign with psychic powers... we will see if she is strong enough to stand without being soul bound... Still trying to figure out the best way to bring the tau interests in the subsector to the players' atentions. I can filter the other plot hooks through the inquisitor's network and through that use the RT to get some of her dirty work done... until my players decide to screw over the Imperium, the inquisitor, or both. Trying to figure out a way to delicately put it that the tau are behind the failed coup has so far eluded me... I can't have some noble emissary show up and ask if Dorian has ever heard of the greater good, as the commissar will open his skull with a bolt round, and the commissar is attached to the freshly minted RT's hip whenever he is off the flagship. a message can get through from the outside to dorian in secret, but the flag captain and commissar have better charge of the ship than he does... they could forcibly detain him if they chose, and the tau know it; they can't be overt or they risk attention. So, my players have created a situation where I must play the subtle game if I want to get the campaign clock ticking.
  14. I actually talked to a Navy guy about this exact point. He was a member of an anti-terrorism detachment on his destroyer that basically spent three years searching suspected pirate vessels in various crappy locations around the globe. The fact that RT boarding actions take place in space make them even more dangerous because of decompression issues mentioned above, but here are a few of the things he pointed out to me: 1: A little bit of explosives goes a long way in an enclosed space. If the ship is large enough to take the blast, and boarders were sufficiently aggressive, it was considered standard practice to wire a half kilo of c-4 to a hatch and blast whoever was coming through it into a paste. The victim hatch was chosen carefully, but in some circumstances it was considered worth it to lose the equipment in a compartment. Considering the size of 40K ships, this can be considered a commonplace sort of trap. Erathia detailed the destructive capability of 50kg of promethium, but a grenade boquet is easier to set up and has the potential to shred enemies by the squad, especially considering there is little room to dodge. 2: The basic design of naval vessels, with the frequent hatches and small doorways can turn any rapid assault into a slow grind with the simple action of tack-welding a hatch shut, or a plate of steel over a bulkhead stanchion. Cover is easy to find, and easy to make, as most everything is metal and therefore, with a little prep time, easily fortifiable. Certain areas of the ship will be designed with the specific purpose of being choke points, and these choke points will be very easy to reinforce if a tech-priest decided to peel up some deck plating for barricades. Also, mostly metal construction leaves the option for ricochet shots. My friend mentioned that there are plates strategically placed on U.S. vessels so that a shotgun can be fired at them and the pellets will fragment and ricochet around a corner, spraying enemies with less lethal, but certainly still frightening and potentialy incapicitating fire. 3: Home field advantage is magnified greatly in a boarding action. Unless the enemy has detailed plans of the ship being boarded, it is easy for them to get lost or turned around, especially considering the size of 40K ships. It would not be difficult at all to trap, decompress, or otherwise push enemies into a specific chamber where they could be engaged by overwhelming force. Crew size, as mentioned above, is also critical, as boarding a grand cruiser with 130K crew would be unthinkable unless you had a great deal of specialized troops, such as a few regiments of IG from a hive world who can handle compartment-to-compartment fighting or a couple dozen space marines for brutally effective surgical strikes. When the entire crew, minus of course those needed to run critical systems, is fighting back, the reality of flanking or enveloping attacks becomes a frightening reality when one considers the 'tween decks and the modility advantage they offer. On a slightly related side note, boarders stumbling into a nest of several hundred helghast is just as effective at stopping their advance as a prepared defence. Same for daemons... having a haunted ship with a tenebro maze that is then warded by the radical inquisitor that built the ship to keep the haunting spirits in the maze, where they can screw with boarders is pure lolfun, especially when the ship also has compartmentalized shadowblind bays... hiding the barracks (no trade bonus, essentially barracks with a higher power and slightly higher space requirement) for easy counterattacks. That player used to let himself get boarded, just to deplete the enemy crew before he counterattacked. It happened so many times that the maze got haunted by real daemons and was completely impassable while the ship was in warp space. Wandering a little off topic, but it goes to show that you never know what you are going to find on the other side of the hatch. 4: There is no such thing as wasted space on a naval vessel. Every cubic inch is allocated to something. Defenders must choose their battles or risk crippling their ship. Attackers have to worry about this too, as plasma reactors and macro cannon shells are not good things to be shooting. It would be very easy for an attacker to decide to cut a hole through the wrong bulkhead and cut power to a good chunk of the ship, disabling the gravity plating and making the ship vulnerable to the forces of relative acceleration, which is capable of tearing the entire ship apart around attacker and defender alike. 5: There is more than one way to scuttle a ship. Depending on how torn up the ship is during the battle leading up to the boarding action, there could easily be huge structural damage, making it very easy for a local magazine detonation (or something relatively easy for the defender to achieve) to be the straw breaking the camel's back and setting off a terminal chain reaction. There are several ways to scuttle a U.S. navy vessel, even including marked spots on the hull where explosives can be placed to crack the hull open across several bulkheads, resulting in the ship sinking in less than fifteen minutes. This was a design feature, apparently. 6: Comms are always dead. The size and composition of a naval vessel can easily degrade wireless communications, especially considering 40K scale. Boarding actions are not something to be taken lightly in my games, often turning into entire sessions in and of themselves as players move from flash point to flash point, responding to the defenders actions while trying to push the attack. My players have played a lot of rts games such as the total war and dawn of war series, and our games of RT are more like Only War with self-defined objectives and ownership of any starship they can justify taking, with a little bit of DH investigative-style politicking and manipulating with covert overtones. Rules are taken from the three games and aggregated and homebrewed into something similar to DH 2nd ed, resulting in something where it is not unthinkable to plant a covert operative onboard a potential victim to rally the helghast into an uprising when the RT ambushes them six months later in deep space while the navigator is contemplating their next jump. Reasonably detailed deck plans are necessary as my players demand to be able to move units about the ship to peruse their goals, usually splitting up and taking command of house troops (if available) or ratings to take out specific systems. Models represent units that my players move around similar to space hulk, and as gm I have models representing units of defenders. Rather than roll a few times to determine the action, my players will roll tactica imp. at various points to decide how many 'action points' they get to use in the strategic turn to do things with their unit, eg. move forward x units as a nav. imp. warship check, dig in at the junction as a tac. imp and tech use check, engage enemy as bs or ws check, etc. Depending on wether or not comms are established, various players must act independently to achieve predetermined goals. Every strategic turn sees reinforcements for any group capable of fielding them, which is the only advantage I usually have as the opposition to my players' high-octane combat troops. Only a few times have I gotten to defend a boarding action with a ship that was truly prepared for it (my fav was the one with the t. maze disguised as vaulted ceilings) and those actions were truly brutal crew liquidations on both sides. As a defender, even managing to fire a single macro-cannon or lance shot from point-blank range can be devastating to the attacker as there is virtually zero chance of the shot missing, and the ability for the hull to withstand a magazine detonation meant that when boarders got too dense I blew the guts of the ship out (munitorium detonation in a grand cruiser) to remove the couple regiments of house troops working their way toward the bridge and had no fear of actually crippling 'my' vessel. Depending on how narrative your group likes to be, there are infinite opportunities to let the characters shine in combat, if the players accept a slower play style during boarding actions.
  15. I do believe many fortifications are prefabricated and dropped into place, iirc. As for the digging of trenches and laying of wire, I wrote it off as the IG taking a page from the Roman Legions of old and performing the bulk of the manual labor themselves. Construction is relatively simple to teach the basics of, and a single tech-priest can direct the construction of a bridge or defensive fortifications in the cases where they need to be made of local or salvaged materials rather than something prefabbed and brought in. Training could follow a similar methodology, with replacements (local conscriptions when replacements from the homeworld aren't available, going with Roman practices again as they seem to fit the best with the spotty IG supply chain for recruits) being trained by their units according to regiment standards if/when necessary to replace losses. That being said, I see the Adeptus Munitorium simply tithing regiments and feeding them to the grinder, cannibalizing the scraps of lost regiments into veteran units or using them as the skeleton to build a new regiment around. The idea that a regiment is grouped by combat strength is one that appeals to logic and cannon, and certainly explains the difference between a 10k-man Valhallan regiment and a 3K-man Cadian shock regiment. In my games, I take force organization seriously, working with my players to develop a realistic force organization chart based on the style of organization (apologies for the repetition) that best fits their vision of that particular unit. I have had civil-war/Napoleonic style groups of 100-man "lines" as a squad-level unit, grouped into ten-line "squares" and ten-square "grids" (nine battle plus one command) with las-locks and bayonets. This particular army also included units of shield-men equipped with what was basically an up-armored Arbites riot shield and a heavy single-shot laspistol my players coined the "blunderblaster". Coming from a world of mostly salt flats, where battle lines stretch for miles and the tech level is struggling to maintain at a low imperial level, having 100k-man regiments makes sense, especially when taking into mind the kind of casualties artillery can inflict. My players whined when I made them equip an additional barracks space in their transport or face a -25 morale (50k in the 4 space allocated to barracks, the other 50k crammed into storage areas and crew housing at -5 per 10k of overcrowding) and -15 crew rating (-2 per 10k overcrowding and -5 from low morale) for the duration of the transport. I also made the soldiers roll weekly for void dementia and doubled the rate of loss from failure, converting them into ship lice at a 3/5 ratio (yes, I track the population of mutants and warp-freaks in the bowels of my player's ships. Few things make me as happy as a ship trying to go Pandorum on an unsuspecting RT). When it came time to test the regiment in battle, they suffered such atrocious losses from their outdated tactics that the 100,000 men, 20,000 cavalry and 1,200 artillery pieces barely managed to hold off a force of 15k lost & damned cultists and mutants similar to what is found in the Imperial Armour Siege of Vraks supplement for three weeks of fighting over the spaceport of an agri-world, taking something like 80% casualties iirc. On the other end of the spectrum, I have had a player go with a mechanized infantry regiment where a squad was equal to the carrying capacity of their chosen transport (chimeras at the start, eventually rhinos). With three to one organization it came out to 3400-odd troops and 90 something transport vehicles, including command elements. With four to one organization it came out to 4800ish troops and 140 vehicles, but I relabeled it as a reinforced regiment. My RT spent the first six game months of his first campaign training and equipping this regiment while waiting for his captured pirate raider to be overhauled, and they ended up with what was essentially kasyrkin armor by another name, hellguns, chainswords, and upgraded crew-served & vehicle weapons (swapping heavy bolters for autocannon, taking lascannon on some vehicles and issuing a meltagun to every squad) before they ever saw combat. When they finally got around to shooting something, they made quick work of the rebel governor's forces, numbering some 200k conscripts and 40k regulars, in a series of running battles (their mobility allowed them to avoid the main body of troops, never taking on more than about 10k at a time). Yes, they were house troops, yes they had limited air support and the help of the RT's command buffs and deathstar gang of wonderbuddies, but that 5k man unit proved that it could perform reliably against twice their number of stock IG (or equivalent) troops, and three or four times that number of conscript troops. When the RT finally accumulated enough clout to equip them all with normal-human-sized bolters, rhinos, carapace personal shields with a field rating of 5 and an overload of 20 (small shield similar to a medieval heater shield with a low power rating and high reliability, good for fending off bayonet charges and reducing casualties from las weapons) and 2 special weapons per squad, I counted them as three regiments for the purposes of balancing enemies. When they deployed with the armor detachment of 90 battle tanks and 40 artillery pieces, I counted them as six regiments and still ran into balancing problems, as the casualties inflicted by artillery proved a huge force equalizer. My RT was also fond of forming the tanks into a line and tank-shocking entire battalions if they did not have effective anti-armor or heavy vehicles of their own, usually killing hundreds and never failing to rout the survivors. With a tank "regiment" of 300ish vehicles, it is plausible that he could pull that trick off against groups of many thousands of infantry, if the terrain was favorable. I have come to the conclusion that regiments are similar to money in that they are what you (and your central bank) say they are, and what you can do with them. 300 tanks can mow down 5k unsupported infantry (or more) on the open field while 10k conscripts will struggle to survive an engagement with 3.5k cadian shock troopers, but all of them can be called regiments and used accordingly in battle plans. Supply issues, however, are another matter...
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