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Human vs CSM starting XP

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Based on RAW Allied costs the starting CSM characters have around 13,000 XP before they get an additional 500 XP to spend on themselves. This assumes 300 XP per +5 stat (250 XP for the +5 and an extra 50 for the max increase in cap) and treats Unnatural Strength and Toughness as a Tier 3 talent. Meanwhile the human characters have around 7,000 XP before getting their 1000 XP to spend. Obviously CSMs are meant to be more fearsome than humans, but surely human characters should get a few additional skills or non-combat abilities to compensate?

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It's more the equipment rather than a few skills that sets the marine far ahead of the rest in a mixed group. Legion weaponry and power armour from the get go is considerably better than what most heretics can field (never mind the moronic rule that humans can't use space marine weaponry properly for some reasion). As a DM in a mixed group, if my players were concerned about balance, I would give the human's equivalent gear to the marine and just leave the archtypes as they are otherwise.

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It's more the equipment rather than a few skills that sets the marine far ahead of the rest in a mixed group. Legion weaponry and power armour from the get go is considerably better than what most heretics can field (never mind the moronic rule that humans can't use space marine weaponry properly for some reasion). As a DM in a mixed group, if my players were concerned about balance, I would give the human's equivalent gear to the marine and just leave the archtypes as they are otherwise.

Why on Terra would regular humans be able to properly use weapons that have been specifically made for what basically amounts to walking tanks?
Terraneaux, Chaplain, Hygric and 1 other like this

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Humans are far, far more versatile characters with so much more roleplaying options. Of course they are not intended to be even close to space marines in their narrow specialty of combat.

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To be fair, that's really only true in contexts where being an eight foot tall superhuman is socially unacceptable and problematic (such as with infiltrating Imperial space or in circumstances where you want to remain pretty inconspicuous or innocuous)- if you're operating primarily in a locale like the Screaming Vortex, I don't really see why Astartes are any more constrained than humans. Nothing prevents Astartes characters from investing heavily in Intelligence or Fellowship and focusing further experience investment on skills etc.- their starting gear and traits already makes them tremendously resilient and pretty effective in combat so they have if anything less need for baseline investment here. Moreover, Hereteks, various advanced human archetypes, and anyone with the right mutations will also have trouble in the above-mentioned limiting contexts for CSMs.

 

Of course, due to their restricted sex and background and their original grounding as genetically modified chemically infused killing machines, Chaos Space Marines tend to be somewhat more restricted in terms of concepts and personalities relative to human characters. However, if the player is content with the roleplaying/psychological possibilities of a CSM, then this doesn't exactly do much to mitigate the large intrinsic mechanical advantages (in gear and traits) of Space Marine characters.

 

Then again, I've never seen and would probably never want to run a Black Crusade campaign using both CSM and Human players. You might consider letting human players pick advanced archetypes from the Tomes in a mixed scenario, I suppose?

Edited by Andkat

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Indeed.

 

The non-combat talent "walk down a street on an imperial world without people instantly knowing you're a space marine" is quite a powerful one for the heretic with devious plans on his or her mind.

 

Even a mutant can wear a hood or cloak but hiding being eight foot tall is kind of difficult.

 

 

In combat:

 

The Quick and The Dead is quite useful, meaning that humans tend to start at +1 on initiative rolls relative to Astartes

 

The fact that (if following the advice in the combat section and...I think it's the GM's Guide? Possibly Tome of Blood?) they don't get shot at by hordes but instead fight individual members of the horde is a big advantage - any chaos marine hit by a horde's undodgeable overcharged lasgun volley will testify that that stuff hurts.

 

 

 

As noted, the biggest edge astartes get is legion wargear. The legion bolt weapons are just massively better - yes, you can make a mundane weapon a legacy weapon or daemon weapon....but you could do the same thing to a legion weapon too.

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Even far from imperium, deep in the vortex, chaos space marine is not entirely safe. After all, few will want to get in a firefight with human for his possessions - there are safer ways to get equipment. But there are definetly a number of groups willing to attack a lone astartes or a tiny group of them for the sheer value of their weapons, suits of armor and astartes progenoids.

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It's more the equipment rather than a few skills that sets the marine far ahead of the rest in a mixed group. Legion weaponry and power armour from the get go is considerably better than what most heretics can field (never mind the moronic rule that humans can't use space marine weaponry properly for some reasion). As a DM in a mixed group, if my players were concerned about balance, I would give the human's equivalent gear to the marine and just leave the archtypes as they are otherwise.

Why on Terra would regular humans be able to properly use weapons that have been specifically made for what basically amounts to walking tanks?

Cybernetics, mounted on a tripod or vehicle like any other heavy weapon, servoarms...

Heretics aren't "regular" humans. The tech-heresy of swapping out the grip and getting one fit for your human hand is pretty basic. What's left is a recoil-monster, which you can deal with in a number of ways- like any other heavy weapon.

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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It's more the equipment rather than a few skills that sets the marine far ahead of the rest in a mixed group. Legion weaponry and power armour from the get go is considerably better than what most heretics can field (never mind the moronic rule that humans can't use space marine weaponry properly for some reasion). As a DM in a mixed group, if my players were concerned about balance, I would give the human's equivalent gear to the marine and just leave the archtypes as they are otherwise.

Why on Terra would regular humans be able to properly use weapons that have been specifically made for what basically amounts to walking tanks?

Cybernetics, mounted on a tripod or vehicle like any other heavy weapon, servoarms...

Heretics aren't "regular" humans. The tech-heresy of swapping out the grip and getting one fit for your human hand is pretty basic. What's left is a recoil-monster, which you can deal with in a number of ways- like any other heavy weapon.

 

But your objection was that they couldn't use it properly. If you modify the weapon or come up with alternate solutions to solve the issue, you're not using it properly, and obviously, it is a matter of roleplaying. And it's not just a recoil-monster (because frankly, many SM weapons shouldn't have stronger recoil than human versions; it might have more recoils, though), it's not built for human use, whether it's the positioning of the stock, the sight(s) or the triggers, or the way the reloading works (I'm seeing the magazine flinging out of them like the fists of an angry god).

No-one ever said that you flat-out couldn't use Legion or Space Marine weapons. The rules provided are for basic use. It is the job of the GM to interpret the affects of actions when there's no set rules for it, and if your GM is telling you that you flat-out cannot use SM weaponry, after you've re-rigged the trigger, supported it with cybernetics, mounted it on a servo-arm and braced it with a tripod, she's an idiot. Don't blame the system for that.

Edited by Fgdsfg
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I'm pretty sure calling a poorly written rule for regular 40k humans in a game where no regular, 40k humans are featured out as badly worded at best is entirely legit.

 


NON-CHAOSSPACEMARINESUSINGLEGIONWEAPONS
The weapons and armour of the Legion were fashioned for gods, not men, and anyone other than a Chaos Space Marine  will  have  trouble  using  them.  Legion  Power Armour can only be used by Chaos Space Marines as other characters, even those of suitable stature, lack the implants and training to use it. Legion Weapons can be used by other characters but count as a Class larger than normal (Pistols count as Basic, Basic as Heavy, Heavy weapons remain Heavy). Legion melee weapons requiring one hand to use would require two hands for  a  non-Legion  warrior  to  use,

 

Up to here, it's fine...

 

 


while  two-handed weapons could not be used at all.
In  addition,  non-Legion  characters  using  Legion weapons incur a –20 to all attack rolls in addition to any penalties  for  being  untrained.  This  penalty  is  negated only if a character has Unnatural Strength (+4) or higher.

 

And this is basically where the bollocks goes deep. Instead of doing the sensible thing and setting a minimal S score or bonus for use, the requirement is "Unnatural Strength (+4)". Now, I'm very, very curious how I should not be blaming the system when someone with S 80 or 90, which is entirely within the scope of a human heretic in endgame or a heretek on creation, and mechanically superior to a marine with S 40-50 Unnat. S +4 in terms of succeeding characteristic checks, is somehow, magically, incapable of weilding legion weaponry.

 

So yes, I'm going to blame the system for this one.

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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Simple, they are two different forms of measurement.

 

Pumped up human bodybuilders at the peak of strength would still not be able to withstand the recoil of say, a Legion Heavy Bolter.

 

That's where the 'Unnatural' bit comes in. :ph34r:

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Chaos gifts aside, a properly kitted human heretic can fire an autocannon from the hip while moving with no additional penalties.

 

What exactly makes the more compact, less bulky space marine bolter more difficult to fire?

It can't be the recoil. The autocannon has similar recoil.

It can't be the fact it was designed for someone much larger. The autocannon was designed for a team of multiple people to use from a stationary position; also, some humans are the size of space marines in 40k.

This in mind, why can my human heretic fire a, by design, more difficult to use weapon without problems, while for some mystical reason, the legion bolter is out of their reach?

If it is really a matter of unnatural strength beyond a certain weapon size, then should it not be valid for all similar weaponry?

And if Space Marine's really are that much bigger than humans, should they not have problems using human-sized technology in turn? If one takes size as the reason, a standard dataslate should prove a horrific obstacle for an astartes.

If one takes mystical powers as the reason, well...any human can get those from the chaos gods or the dark mechanicum as well.

 

This leads me to believe it's simply along the line of thought that such weapons should be for space marines only, logic be damned. And while that is nice for death watch or dark heresy, and would make sense there, I do not see it applicable to Chaos at all.

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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This leads me to believe it's simply along the line of thought that such weapons should be for space marines only, logic be damned. And while that is nice for death watch or dark heresy, and would make sense there, I do not see it applicable to Chaos at all.

Power armoured Mary-Sues, the lot of 'em.

Which really also answers the question I think.

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Astartes weaponry and armour aside, you have to remember that the marines don't really stick out like sore thumbs any more than a really big guy (ala any professional weightlifter, some handegg players, etc); sure, they won't meld perfectly in with the rest of the population, but neither would half of the human archetypes. Plague or noise marines might have issues with walking around unarmoured in a crowd (they might even have issues taking the thing off), but the Alpha Legion is recognized for their ability to infiltrate human society inconspicuously, and most unmutated marines should be able to find a suitable explanation for their larger size.

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Why on Terra would regular humans be able to properly use weapons that have been specifically made for what basically amounts to walking tanks?

 

I think a better question would be why regular Human weapons suck so much in comparison to those venerable Astartes models. Contrary to how it works in, say, Games Workshop's own material (including GW's own d100 game, before anyone tries to justify it with the d6 TT abstraction).

 

It's fairly obvious that in the Deathwatch game, the standard DH weapons (including Astartes weaponry, see the IH Angelus bolter or the weapons from that NPC Marine in PtU) had to be scaled up in damage in order to circumvent the issues posed by the excessive multi-tier resilience that Marines get in these games. What remains a mystery, however, is why this +25% damage boost did not also carry over to Human weapons in Black Crusade. After all, Human Heretics will from time to time still be subject to Astartes-grade weapons fire by their opponents, even if they don't get to carry the fancy stuff themselves.

 

But perhaps the answer can also be found in the way the texts are worded. When I read of comparisons between "gods and mere men", then to me this sounds like:

 

"Humans suck, you're not supposed to be cool."

 

This is, of course, deliberate cynism on my part. A better way to put it might be that FFG's designers simply did not intend for Human characters to be awesome combatants (in mixed games), and that this is a role intentionally dominated by Marines, with Humans being more intended as supporting cast or noncom "influencers" (demagogues, spies, etc). Like the class differences between Dark Heresy's Adept and Guardsman, if you will. No matter what it says elsewhere or how much this clashes with the original material.

 

Simple, they are two different forms of measurement.

Pumped up human bodybuilders at the peak of strength would still not be able to withstand the recoil of say, a Legion Heavy Bolter.

That's where the 'Unnatural' bit comes in. :ph34r:

 

Of course this idea totally flies out of the window as soon as you notice that in an arm wrestling contest between a St 55 Human and a USt 40 CSM, the Human is the one who is most likely to win.  ;)

 

Let's be honest, the rules really aren't very consistent.

 

(and I'd also be curious how much "recoil" you imagine an Astartes flamethrower to have)

 

Even a mutant can wear a hood or cloak but hiding being eight foot tall is kind of difficult.

 

Well, seven feet both in GW's and even in FFG's books (seriously, why does the 8 keep popping up so often? it almost feels like a revisionist conspiracy :P) ... and in a lot of material, there are Humans and Mutants who come close to, or in the latter case even exceed a Marine's bulk. Necromunda Scavvies come to mind. Or Ogryns.

 

In theory, Humans in 40k could come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. It's probably why Cypher isn't immediately apprehended every time he sets foot on some Imperial world. And if the Alpha Legion can do it, why not Black Crusade player CSM too?

 

 

Anyways, my suggestion if you want to stick with RAW: get a CSM Minion and let them shoot on your behalf. It's what I plan to do for my Human Psyker, eventually. In terms of versatility, Minions are notably less efficient than actual player characters .. but fortunately, weapons and armour do not discriminate. ;)

Edited by Lynata
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Why on Terra would regular humans be able to properly use weapons that have been specifically made for what basically amounts to walking tanks?

 

I think a better question would be why regular Human weapons suck so much in comparison to those venerable Astartes models. Contrary to how it works in, say, Games Workshop's own material (including GW's own d100 game, before anyone tries to justify it with the d6 TT abstraction).

I agree, but it wasn't relevant to the statement I questioned, which is why it was not the question I asked. :P

So in context, it's a worse question, but as an overall issue, it is indeed better.

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Ok so according to my calculations it looks like this. First I tried to make, that CSM has starting xp of 8000, and then calculated human starting xp according to the same values.

 

CSM
Skills 10x100 = 1000
Talents: 9x 200 = 1800
     2x 300 = 600
Charact: 9x 100 = 900
Starting Traits: 3x 500

Class chosen
Skills: 2x 100 = 200
    1x 200 = 200
Talents:4x 200 = 800

    Total: 8000

Human:
Skills: 4x100 = 400
Trait:  1x500 = 500

Class RENEGADE
Char: 1x100 = 100
Skills: 10x 100 = 1000
     1x 200 = 200
Talents: 12x200 = 2400
      2x300 = 600    

TOTAL: 5200

APOSTATE:
Char: 100
Skills: 14x100 = 1400
     2x200 = 400
Talents: 7x200 = 1400
     3x300 = 900

TOTAL: 5100

 

So humans have about 2900 xp less, WITHOUT calculating wounds or space marine implants, like black carapace, Catalepsean Node, Betcher's Gland, Sus-an Membrane or Larraman's Organ, that has other effects than talents. This makes me a saaad pandaa.

Edited by Amaimon

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Does it say anywhere in the book that they are equal or balanced?

 

STAGE 5: SPEND EXPERIENCE POINTS
Every character in BLACK CRUSADE begins play with 7,000....
 
yet later is says marines are the equivalent of 8,000 so you're beating this logic horse to death in circles.

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The book says, that after spending starting experience, the difference in XP is 500, not 3400. That's the issue. Normal non-psyker heretics, no matter how hard they try, can never be Ultramarines :P

 

Even with those exp they will be worse than SM in most aspects. 3400 in BC is couple of talents, and characteristics.

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I maintain that playing games that mixes both humans (of any kind) and space marines (of any kind) is ridiculous. There is no way that you can mechanically represent the differences from an in-universe perspective and expect it to be fair.

Space Marines are inherently more powerful. That's just how it is. You can compensate this to a degree with experience point differences, but it's a bit hard to argue why the super-soldier should have less effective life experience than the sloshy meatbag with a bad attitude.

It reminds me of Star Wars, where they are constantly trying to make Force-Users mesh well and believably with regular humans, and I can't think of a single time when it was done well. Guess what, the Force-User that is also a mechanic will always outperform a mechanic with the same skills. A space marine will always outperform a regular human, simply because he's superhuman.

I understand why they made Black Crusade this way, but I maintain that it was a terrible idea. This should be evident even with the official adventures, where encounters and so on constantly have to self-adjust for the possible discrepancies in player-character strengths and weaknesses.
 

The book says, that after spending starting experience, the difference in XP is 500, not 3400. That's the issue. Normal non-psyker heretics, no matter how hard they try, can never be Ultramarines :P

Even with those exp they will be worse than SM in most aspects. 3400 in BC is couple of talents, and characteristics.

I don't think it says that at all. I think it says that the difference in experience you get to spend on creation is 500. I don't think it mentions the effective difference in experience between a Chaos Marine Chosen and a Human Renegade at all.

Should Humans have been given more experience? Arguably, yes, but at the same time, a lot of the Space Marine Talents are of very arguable use, that a Human Heretic would likely pass on if they wanted to be more specialized (Resistance to Cold, Heat and Poisons), Legion Weapon Training, etc). Yes, a CSM is proficient in all those weapons, but what Heretic is ever going to use all those different kinds of weapons? A Human might specialize in 2-3 weapon types and be just as effective as the CSM that can use all 1000 in the armoury, but will only actually use 1.

And so on.

Really, the easiest solution should be to either play Chaos Space Marines or Human Heretics, and never ever touch the Advanced Archetypes.

Edited by Fgdsfg

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@ Fgsfahjshf

 

 

The book says, that after spending starting experience, the difference in XP is 500, not 3400. That's the issue. Normal non-psyker heretics, no matter how hard they try, can never be Ultramarines :P

Even with those exp they will be worse than SM in most aspects. 3400 in BC is couple of talents, and characteristics.

I don't think it says that at all. I think it says that the difference in experience you get to spend on creation is 500. I don't think it mentions the effective difference in experience between a Chaos Marine Chosen and a Human Renegade at all.


Really, the easiest solution should be to either play Chaos Space Marines or Human Heretics, and never ever touch the Advanced Archetypes.

 

 

It doesn't mention the effective difference, but its not hard math.

 

I agree its best to use CSM or Heretics.

 

Why never touch Advanced Archetypes? Are they so imba or what?

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I maintain that playing games that mixes both humans (of any kind) and space marines (of any kind) is ridiculous. There is no way that you can mechanically represent the differences from an in-universe perspective and expect it to be fair.

Space Marines are inherently more powerful. That's just how it is. You can compensate this to a degree with experience point differences, but it's a bit hard to argue why the super-soldier should have less effective life experience than the sloshy meatbag with a bad attitude.

 

True to a degree, but the actual resilience of said super-soldiers is not really fixed and differs depending on the sources you read. In one novel, a squad of Marines is enough to save an entire world, in another half a dozen cultists with autoguns overpower three Astartes in close combat. Meanwhile, in the tabletop it pretty much doesn't matter whether you're a Guardsman or a Space Marine if you get shot by a plasma pistol - neither in armour nor in toughness.

 

Compare that to this P&P where minor flaws in the basic system grow more critical and result in actual issues during scaling-up (from "my face is tougher than my armour" to "I can juggle three Terminators with my bare arms"), and that artificially inflates the gap between Marines and Human characters beyond what would have been required by the background (25% equipment damage boost, nonsensical ignorance of a Marine's bulk for enemy BS modifiers), and we arrive where we are now.

 

With all those different versions and the ability to cherrypick our preferred vision of the world, it boils down to how tough you as the individual player want your Space Marines to be. If the group really does want them to be as tough as they are in FFG's RPGs, then they will quite simply also have to deal with what this means for Human characters, or the inability of faithful representation of various fights from other sources. It's their game, so it's their choice.

 

Arguably, it would be ... lame if Marines were not tougher/stronger than normal Humans (though ironically, I feel Astartes should be stronger than they are in RAW, where they only get a +10 bonus due to Unnaturals), but the question is how big does this gap actually have to be, and how does it influence the game? It would not be hard to come up with a more balanced ruleset, and even though notable physical differences would (and should) remain, the rest could easily be bridged by specialist Skills/Talents, in a manner that is more efficient than what the rulebook offers now.

 

But as far as RAW is concerned, I am inclined to agree: play either CSM or Humans. Unless the player interested in a Human character in a CSM game is fully aware of what this means for them. I have heard that some people don't mind playing supporting cast, so .. as long as everyone has fun, why not?

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It doesn't mention the effective difference, but its not hard math.

It's not, no, but what I objected to was that you said that the book said that after spending experience, the difference in XP is 500, not 3400. As far as I know, it never says anything like that at all. I would be surprised if the developers did not know about these issues beforehand and knew full well that actual difference in experience is much higher than the 500xp difference the players get in starting experience.

 

I agree its best to use CSM or Heretics.

 

Why never touch Advanced Archetypes? Are they so imba or what?

They're pretty much broken. They're more or less high-to-end-game, pre-made characters, more than anything else, and unless everyone is running Advanced Archetypes, there's going to be a mountain of experience and ability difference between them.

Why Fantasy Flight Games decided that the Advanced Archetype system was the way to go in Black Crusade, I'll never know. It's the single most uninspiring and uninteresting "alternate career"-system in the entire WH40kRP line, even worse than Only War. I would've preferred ways to actually flesh out, build on or mould characters, rather than to pick one pre-fabricated nugget of broken on creation and stick with that.

That, and the fact that there's other issues (such as Alignment). Half the Archetypes will drop out of their predetermined Alignment the second they reach their next Corruption treshold, simply because they can't expand much more in Advances dedicated to the God they're already aligned to, and all the skills and talents they start with doesn't count towards Alignment.

Sigh.

Edited by Fgdsfg

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