Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Alank2

Sword Brother (HtCh) - too weak?

Recommended Posts

So, maybe it's only me, but doesn't Sword Brother seem a little... underpowered?

I'm GM'ing a session when one of my players is a Black Templar Tactical. He plans to take Sword Brother on rank 4, which is climatic and fun. He doesn't really care about power level, fortunately, so he's going to take him no matter what.

But, compared to Deathwatch Champion, Sword Brethren looks realy weak. I know, Champion requires Renown and 4000 xp, but to be honest, at rank 4 you propably have 40 or more Renown anyway; and even if you don't it's better to wait and take him a little later than take Sword Brother.

Chapion has Dodge+20, Assasin Strike, Blademaster, Ligthning Attack (which, combined with Blademaster, is a terrible combo), Step Aside AND Wall of Steel, Swift Attack (altough with Lightning Attack it doesn't matter anyway), and 2x Signature Wargear: Hero. He also gets power sword and combat shield for free.

In comparison, Sword Brother has Counter-Attack, Bolter Drill, Sound Constitution, Hatred, Berserk Charge. No Swift Attack, so if you took Tactical instead of Assault, you have problem. No Combat Master, Combat Formation, Hammerblow, Precise Strike, Blademaster, Wall of Steel, anything.

Does anyone else have feeling that Sword Brother needs some buff?

Also, another question. How powerful Librarians are? I banned Smite, becouse it's obviously too powerful (at least for me). Is there anything else I should now about Librarians in DW, or any way to balance them?

Also, does anyone have any experience with Iron Hands Psychic Powers? Are they, in practice, game-breaking?

Aaand I'm sorry for any mistakes here, English is not my first language and I'm still not good enough to avoid mistakes in posts, unfortunately.

And by the way, my first post here! Hello, everyone! I'm a noob GM, GM-ing a multi-system game of 40k for about a year now (one campaign for each system, some players overlap, and they all connect to a giant intrigue) and I'm reading this forum every week for last six months.

It's also my first Deathwatch session ever as player or GM, so I'm sure be going to ask for help sometimes. Thanks in advance!

Edited by Alank2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome !

 

I have a similar problem with one of my player, who plays Apothecary and don't like the fact that he 'must' buy Knowledge skills in order to lvl up his character. To fix this, I made it clear to all my players : use your specialisation advances as a basis for what you should do, but don't be afraid to ask continuously for Elite Advance (if its justified, ofc).

For instance, this same apothecary was one day going against a Diablodon, and rolled an epic ~46 dmg, with 3 consecutives Righteous Fury. I instantly offered him the talent that boost his melee damage for like 400-500xp

And since your player doesn't care about power-leveling and OPness, I can be a good way to reward his Role-playing if he still goes in melee like a zaelous crusader :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dunno about the Sword Brother, but generally the only advanced specialties that could be considered better than the Champion for a melee-oriented character are Ultramarines Honor Guard and Storm Wardens whatshisname... both are basically Champion+.

 

As for Librarians, no way in the Warp is Smite overpowered. Smite cast on fettered power level by a starting Librarian deals an average of 11 damage per turn, with a laughable Penetration of 2, maybe to a few guys at the same time. With his standard issue boltgun, the same Librarian deals up to three hits for an average of 15 damage each, with Pen 4, or up to four hits with an average damage of 17, Pen 5 if you don't use weapon stats errata (which you really should use, by the way).

 

At best, the same starting Librarian can push, dealing an average of 33 damage, Pen 6 to a reasonably sized group (slightly bigger than can be affected by a frag grenade). This comes at a cost of certainly causing warp phenomena, something you really don't want to do on a regular basis. Every other specialty should be able to do comparable damage at Rank 1 without risking blowing themselves and the whole team up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, Smite seems fine now. I have no idea why I banned it. My mistake. Anything else about Librarian and his power level? Is he fine, or OP? I heard few times that Librarians can be stupidly powerful in DW. Any comments about Iron Hands Psychic Powers?

I just checked other Specialities, and Wolf Scout, Rank 1 Speciality for 200xp, is so much better than the Sword Brother. You lose ability to give others your Squad Mode, but still, it's better than Rank 4, 50+ WS Sword Brother for 1000 xp.

I'm thinking about adding few thing to Sword Brother. Swift Attack for sure, Blademaster, Wall of Steel. Any ideas?

Edited by Alank2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm thinking about adding few thing to Sword Brother. Swift Attack for sure, Blademaster, Wall of Steel. Any ideas?

Swift Attack and Blademaster are to be added for sure. Wall of Steel idk, it's a powerful talent (along with Step Aside) imo, but Assault marine can have it at rank 3, so why not ? All talents that boost melee Called-Shots could be in aswell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I play and run all 40k games and in my experience, the Librarian is the weakest psyker of all the games. Not in the absolute sense, as in "a starting Librarian is worse than a starting DH Psyker", but DW really puts many limitations on psykers that don't exist in other game lines. Most "buffs" are nigh-useless due to half action sustain, their effects not worth the hit to the action economy. Damaging powers have big numbers, but extremely random and as I've demonstrated, the average damage isn't that great until very late into game. It also makes them work horribly with the Horde rules, as you have to roll damage for every hit almost regardless of enemy type to see what registers.

 

(The big reason for the weapon stats errata was boosting the minimum damage output of weapons, so you can compare it with hordes' armor and toughness and skip rolling damage when all hits are bound to deal at least one point. Psychic powers got no comparable treatment, which is pretty annoying. Something along the lines of 3d10 +2xPR damage for powers such as Smite would fare much better overall, giving the Librarian a better damage output right off the bat while diminishing the dice pool bloat and max damage at higher ranks.)

 

The only truly gamebreaking psychic power I've encountered is the Force Dome, which on higher ranks makes the Kill Team pretty much immune to ranged fire, even from Hordes wielding advanced weaponry such as Tau. It's also horribly boring thanks to the aforementioned action economy issues. If the team wants to make a stand and just gun down enemies, you can shoot or cast damaging powers alongside the rest, but if the team decides on a tactical advance, keeping up the shield while you walk will be the sum total of your contribution. I once played a high rank Librarian with this power, and not only was I bored to death, it caused a bit of bad blood in the team when I forgot to put it up once and somebody lost a fate point - yes, I pretty much became a "mobile shield guy", which sucked as much as it sounds. I strongly advise nerfing it to 1xPR armor points so that it may still have it's uses, but not turn the game into a complete farce.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must completely disagree with the other posters regarding the strength of the librarian.

 

In terms of Smite, which is really the least of your problems when there is a Librarian around, Smite at unfettered level (which this game gives no inherent reason not to do) is 3d10 (average 18.3) pen 3 blast 3 (a bit better than a frag grenade) for a starting librarian.  Smite at a push level, which has a 1 in 4 chance of causing any kind of issue (much less if the oath of knowledge is being used, or other mitigating factors apply) deals 6d10 (average 36) pen 6 blast 6, which is to say 3x as much damage as a frag missile but to a larger area, or a bit more damage than a krak missile to 6x the area, or slightly less damage than a full auto burst would deal to a single target if all shots hit (normally requiring 4 degrees of success) to everyone to whom the full auto burst's hits could be applied.  That's just a starting Librarian, though.  By the time you've hit rank 5, even at unfettered level there is no better weapon in the game (you're using a 7d10 pen 7 blast 7 weapon, only slightly worse than a lascannon but with a larger blast rating than anything else in existence), and if pushed, you've crossed over into absurd territory (11d10 pen 11 blast 11 will kill absolutely all elite level enemies in its area of effect without even trying, and since that blast 11 is radius, not diameter, the Librarian can now empty full rooms single handedly).

 

The worst thing about it, though, is that this is the least of the librarian's abilities.  Sure, they can outdamage everyone else, to more targets at once, and be the best at killing absolutely everything except hordes (which they're still not bad at) with a single power given freely to them at character creation.  But let's look at what other options they have:

 

Melee Combat:  Force weapons are the most damaging weapons in melee combat, and it's not even close.  Combine swift attack, or any other abilities that allow multiple hits with it, and it becomes statistically likely for a Librarian to kill a Tau Commander (a master level opponent) in a single round, without aid, around rank 5.

 

Force Dome:  As mentioned before, it skews the entire damage scale of the game, making players extremely difficult to damage early on (doubling their armour value essentially as of rank 2) and absolutely impossible to damage late in the campaign (when pushed at max rank, more than quadrupling their armour value, and making them invulnerable to all weapons short of lascannons.  Makes Librarians the best tanks in the game, as well as the best party buffers.

 

Mind scan / probe:  Completely invalidates not only a lot of secrets the enemies may have, and makes Librarians the best interrogators / infiltration specialists in the game.  Once the librarian gets powerful enough, it completely eliminates all possibilities of deliberate deception being successful in your game, not only limiting your options as a GM, but limiting role playing possibilities as well.

 

Augury:  Much worse, it is the only way that anyone, in any way shape or form, gets a free pass to literally know what you as the GM are planning.  Good luck designing traps, ambushes, mazes or puzzles, or having the players ever have to figure anything out.  Makes the Librarian practically god-like in their ability to break the campaign itself, and a player who abuses it can effectively destroy much of the challenge of the campaign.

 

Compel:  The Librarian trades a half action in exchange for overriding the turns of Psy Rating enemies.  Has no prereqs, and so at 1st rank, unfettered, the Librarian trades their turn (half of it) for 3 fewer enemies and 3 more allies, effectively a swing of 6 people in the party's favor.  By the time they're rank 5, that's 7 fewer enemies and 7 more allies, a swing of 14 people in the party's favor.  By then, too, with their +35 bonus to the opposed willpower test (probably +40 with a psychic hood) and a base willpower of 60 or higher, it becomes nearly impossible for them to fail to win the opposed willpower test, so it's virtually automatic.

 

Machine Curse:  The Librarian can effectively eliminate any Tank or equivalent from the battle entirely, and with a duration of PR, if that isn't the entire battle, it can be renewed when needed without significantly impairing the ability of the Librarian to contribute elsewhere.  Can alternately eliminate the weaponry (including heavy weaponry) of PR targets at 100+m away, and though it lists itself as taking a single turn to resolve, most heavy weaponry takes far longer to get back into combat.  The worst thing about it?  There's no roll to resist or anything like that, it just *works* barring GM fiat.

 

Vortex of Doom:  It has a larger chance to grow than it does to shrink, so ultimately it has a 70% chance of reaching critical mass (around 200m in diameter) and being virtually guaranteed to expand infinitely, ultimately consuming the planet it is used on and effectively creating a new eye of terror.  Why call in an exterminatus when you have a Librarian handy?

 

Notable Chapter Specific Powers:

Glory of the Emperor:  One of the only ways to heal creatures beyond being an Apothecary, this is *the* only way to heal multiple targets at once, and it quickly becomes a large enough number to heal the entire squad.  Even with the Narthecium, the apothecary will only be able to keep up with the amount healed per target if he took the enhanced healing ability.  Makes Librarians the best healers in the game.

 

Hammer of the Emperor:  Deals 3d10xPR (so 21d10 at rank 5) damage to all buildings in a radius of 100mxPR.  That means at rank 5, while pushing, it deals 33d10 damage to all structures in a 2200 meter diameter, which is to say, enough to destroy a small city, or put few square mile dent into a large one.  In case you want to level something but don't want to destroy the whole planet.  Can only be used once per day, so if you want to destroy multiple cities entirely, it will take multiple days, for, you know, "balance" purposes.

 

Dark Angel Librarians:  They get an upgraded version of smite (affecting 2xPR in radius and setting everything on fire), the best armour in the game (3xPR bonus to armour, all ranged attacks count as pen 0), the best debuff in the game (-5xPR to 6 different stats, or a debuff to the enemy's willpower tests, taking opposed tests and turning them from virtually automatic to entirely automatic).  The worst of the bunch, they take being overpowered to a whole new level.

 

In review:  By default, Librarians deal more damage in a larger area than any other class, and have a weapon that is the best possible weapon to use against all foes but hordes, and that's just with smite.  Beyond being the most damaging specialty, they also are the strongest defensive specialty, the best debuffing / crowd control specialty, the best buffing specialty, the best investigators / interrogators, and potentially the best healers.  They can potentially break holes in your plans, holes in space, or holes in cities, or just outright destroy planets.  They are the best at everything, the worst at nothing, and get special powers on top of it that break the campaign itself which no one else has.  This is all "balanced" by a theoretical risk of awful things happening, but that risk starts small and only gets smaller as their power increases and the campaign progresses.

 

The single best thing you could do to the balance of a game and the balance of a group would be to not have a Librarian present.  Forget banning a specific power, if it weren't too late, I would ban the specialty entirely.

 

As is, there are things you can do to actually bring their powers in line (unfettered always results in rolls on perils, push automatically inflicts a level of fatigue and gives a +20 on the perils roll, no +5/PR bonus to willpower tests when using psychic powers) but the Librarian will feel like you're singling him out and picking on him, which is correct, you would be, as no one else uses those completely brokenly overpowered mechanics or powers.  Yet even then, it's not like they still wouldn't be the most powerful specialty, with uniquely game breaking powers, they just wouldn't *also* outshine every other specialty at that which the other players have specialized in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of points, sorry for not quoting:

 

First of all, you're very cocky about triggering warp phenomena. I've had characters push round after round with no serious problem in a pinch, but then again I've had two cases of daemonic possession in one game session once, and since then every psyker player I've had (including myself) is much more reluctant to push. Unfettered still gives you a ten percent chance to trigger phenomena, which translates to a 2,5% chance of triggering Perils each time you use it, and pretty much anything on that table is bound to at least disadvantage the team. Again, sometimes nothing serious ever happens in the course of a long campaign, sometimes horrible things happen the first time a psyker uses a power, but the risk is there and it's a serious balancing factor.

 

Now, Smite. 11d10 sounds awesome. 60,5 average damage, less so, seeing how by the time you get to this level, the Devastator will be easily putting multiple hits on target with every burst of fire, matching or exceeding that average without any difficulty. The blast radius can easily be foiled in large open spaces, and can actually become a hindrance in cramped spaces. The range is pretty poor - even Rank 8 Librarians will get much better range with their standard issue bolter. Most importantly, though, the damage output is notoriously unreliable since it's derived from nothing but dice. I've had Librarians push Smite or Hellfire for 11+ dice of damage, only to come up with values that failed to get through enemy toughness and armor altogether, turning this "ultimate attack" into the laughing stock of the party. Something that doesn't really happen to brothers using conventional weapons, as they have reasonable minimal damage (especially after the errata).

 

Force Swords are admittedly overpowered, you got that one right. I forgot to mention it because I've been dealing with it for so long, I don't pay much attention to it anymore.

 

Compel, likewise, is a bit on the overpowered side, but it's reasonably mitigated by entire categories of enemies getting blanket immunity to it.

 

As for the intel gathering powers, I've ran multiple games of Dark Heresy, much heavier on intrigue and secrecy than anything I've ever run in Deathwatch, with telepaths and diviners present in groups, and never had a single problem with them. They're very useful to have, but not nearly the be-all, end-all that you make them out to be. Enemies can have the wrong intel (this kind of misinformation has been used throughout human history, and the use of such underhanded tactics surely isn't beneath the filthy xenos and heretic scum that the Deathwatch acts against), and Augury gives you explicit permission to obfuscate the information gained under layers of symbolism and riddles. If these powers cause you to throw up arms and hand the Librarian player your campaign notes, the problem is with your attitude, not the powers themselves. In fact, I get a polar opposite reaction to players using them - I'm glad, because they let me put the players exactly where I want them to be.

 

Machine Curse sounds scary in a vacuum, but in actual play, the Kill-Team should have plenty of ways to deal with enemy machinery with or without it. At best, it will save the team a few minutes. It's not expensive to requisition an air strike or an orbital bombardment.

 

Vortex of Doom is the ultimate useless power. It's so awesome and all-powerful that I've yet to see a single psyker stupid enough to use it. The ability to destroy the planet is a good way to end pissing contests between battle-brothers, but has close to no tactical value - in any situation where it's use may be warranted, it's actually a better idea to call for a retreat and nuke the site from orbit, since this way it won't leave a tear in the precious fabric of reality.

 

Glory of the Emperor is a great last resort heal, but it's long cooldown prevents the team from relying on it as their main source of healing - and I've yet to see an Apothecary who doesn't take the enhanced healing ability, as it's hands down the best of the three.

 

Hammer of the Emperor - just like the Machine Curse, it can save the team some time and maybe Requisition points, but that's it.

 

Dark Angels: Hellfire is actually weaker than Smite - it has no Pen, Flame quality is pretty useless against the kinds of enemies DW encounters, and the increased blast radius is overkill at best, problem with aiming at worst. Their power to become nigh-invulnerable comes with a non-trivial drawback of having to stand in one place - if all the enemy forces have to do to win is navigate around your position, I don't personally consider it overpowered.

 

In conclusion, while there are some issues with the Librarians, they're not nearly as bad as you make them out to be. I've had Librarians in multiple campaigns, both as GM and player, and I've never had any serious problem with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pushed smite can ruin your day often.  It becomes a power you have to plan around.  At mid rank it can roast a whole squad of CSM if they get clumped.

As for vortex of doom, i'm told later versions of it include a cap at psi rating.

 

What I am trying in my BC game is a house rule i call warp churn.  Every time psychic phenomenon is rolled it adds +5 to all following rolls in the area.  Perils is +10 to the phenomenon table.  The idea is to mimic the effects of prospero where things went crazy quickly as all the sorcs started pushing their powers repeatedly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of points, sorry for not quoting:

 

Not at all, what you're replying to is clear without having two massive walls of text in there :)

 

Perils is not a balancing mechanic, at least not a good one.  As you say, nothing can happen during the course of a long campaign, or terrible things can happen all at once.  It's too arbitrary then to actually be a balancing mechanic, and if you're relying on people's fear of repercussions to make them limit themselves, it then becomes the player's responsibility to balance themselves instead of the mechanic, and that's just not great.  Deathwatch is the game with the lowest chance of perils happening, too, as every other game provides a +10 or more to the psychic phenomena roll when pushing, whereas in Deathwatch there is no modification to it.  Note too that even should perils occur, though none of the effects are good, most of them are simply inconvenient in the moment and carry no permanent consequences with them.  The only ones that are really bad and permanently damaging are Destruction (because you die, guaranteed burned fate point), Lost to the Warp (because you're out of commission for an extended period of time, which in some ways is worse), Chronological Incontinence (because the Toughness damage is permanent), and Psychic Mirror (because in most cases, the Librarian is easily dealing enough damage to one hit kill himself).  The chance of getting one of those results is 21/100.  Combined with the 2.5% chance of getting perils in the first place, that's a .5% chance of having a serious, lasting repercussion to using powers at an unfettered level.  Or alternately, when using a power at the unfettered level, there is a 99.5/100 chance that it will have little to no consequence.  If a psyker has those consequences occur at all, much less multiple times, people aren't going to say "well, that's how it's balanced", they'll say "that's a tough break, you got really unlucky there".

 

When using the Oath of Knowledge, or once the Librarian has Favoured by the Warp, the Librarian gets to reroll psychic phenomena, which turns the 25% chance of invoking perils (a 5% chance of suffering permanent damage) when pushing into a mere 6% chance of invoking perils (a 1% chance of suffering permanent damage), or when using powers at an unfettered level, turning their 2.5% chance into a .6% chance (a .1% chance of suffering permanent damage).  There is no reason a Librarian should not be cocky about triggering perils, as the chance is just too low, and the consequences, when and if they come, are just too arbitrary.  They should just accept that with their overwhelming power there is a chance, a small chance at that, that they'll be rolling a new character eventually due to self inflicted wounds.  Even then, it's not *really* a punishment.  Since they were playing a Librarian before, no one would bat an eye if they rolled up a new one, so what you're saying is "Hey, there is a chance, albeit a small one, that you'll suffer wounds that will make your character unplayable, in which case, you still get all your overwhelming power and such, you just need to vary it up in terms of your roleplaying at that point".  Oh, the horrors.

 

In terms of smite, not that it matters, but the average damage of 11d10 after accounting for righteous fury is 67, not 61.  The thing that you miss though is that's all in one hit.  If you're talking about devastators and multiple hits, I assume you mean a heavy bolter.  Average total damage with 6 hits is 108, which seems way better.  However, against anything with a total armour and toughness of 13 or greater, the smite will actually have done more damage.  Against master level opponents, which have armour and toughness values of 20+, it will have done *way* more damage.  If it has less than 13, it's also likely to be dead with 67 damage (pen 11) inflicted on it, and in that case, if there are other targets within 10 meters (allowing the devastator to hit multiple of them) the Librarian gets to inflict full damage on all of them, whereas the devastator has to split damage between them.  Sorry, but there is simply no scenario I can see where a devastator can reliably inflict more damage on a target or group of targets than a Librarian using smite for 11d10 pen 11.  Feel free to posit such a scenario, using any mix and composition of enemies you like, and any weapon you like, it'll just never happen (other than hordes, which I freely admit).

 

In terms of coming up with pathetic values, it's *exceedingly* unlikely.  The chance of rolling anything less than 39 is 1%, and at pen 11, it's frankly nearly impossible to not overcome their armour and toughness (the minimum damage is 11, and you have a 99.99% chance of rolling at least 27, so the enemy would need 38 points of soak to not be overcome, and such enemies just don't exist in this game system).  You talk about good minimum damage and bolters a lot, but the minimum damage of a bolter is just 10, and a heavy bolter 13, so a minimum of 11 is certainly right in line with that.

 

As far as intel gathering powers, I was perhaps a bit melodramatic.  However, the point remains that they are uniquely powerful, and if the specialty had *just* those powers, and not anything else, it would be worth taking on that merit alone.  It is a role where once again they have more power and ability than any other specialty, and they get it without compromising their ability to also fill other roles.

 

Think about what you're saying with Machine Curse- it's balanced, because it's no more powerful than an orbital bombardment.  And Librarians get to use it freely.

 

I agree that Vortex of Doom is useless, and I've never seen a Librarian dumb enough to take it, much less use it.  Yet it's there, and if you have an idiotic Librarian, your players can start or end missions by simply destroying the planet they're on.  No one else could single handedly decide that the solution to Khazant is that no one should have it, and proceed to wipe it from existence.

 

Glory of the Emperor is able to be used a number of times equal to your Willpower bonus, which for nearly all Librarians, starts at 5, rapidly moves to 6, and ends at 7.  That's enough to use it almost 2 times per combat encounter for typical missions, which saves (in combat) 10 rounds of healing for your average 5-man squad.  Not only is that fantastic for your action economy, it also plays beautifully into the healing mechanics of the system, to make sure that people get healed while their damage amounts are still reasonable, so they don't end up accumulating massive amounts of "untreated wounds".  I'm not saying I advise going without an Apothecary, the more ways you have of healing the better, but once again not only is the Space Marine in question filling a role normally reserved for another specialty, he's doing it arguably better, and that's in between his other roles, all of which he excels at.

 

Hellfire is *way* stronger than smite, for one simple reason:  It can't be dodged.  Smite, though it is essentially a blast radius effect, never specifically calls that out, instead saying it "may also affect other creatures" within the specified area, so targets get to dodge it if they're able.  However, hellfire is explicitly an area effect, with no opposed roll, and unless a target is within their agility bonus in meters to the edge of the effect, they can't dodge.  In addition, the range is 50m x PR, which means that unlike smite, which is admittedly a small but manageable range power, Hellfire can be used for 11d10 damage at 600m away, and does not suffer range penalties for doing so.  Combine that incredible range and huge blast radius with their ability to become nigh invulnerable while staying stationary, and a single Dark Angel Librarian can effectively hold a pass half a mile wide against an unlimited number of opponents, to say nothing of their ability to hold a corridor or a room.  It should also be noted that if the enemy's objective is in a location, it is often impossible to navigate around the librarian to secure it. 

 

I'm not saying the requirement to stay stationary is non-trivial, I'm saying that it was a terrible mistake to give those two powers to the same Chapter, and that their combination is utterly devastating and incredibly difficult to deal with.  Note too that while Smite must be targeted at a creature, which can be problematic when trying to avoid damaging friendly targets, Hellfire can be targeted at any point in space, which is *much* better for hitting multiple enemies and / or avoiding hitting allies.  I don't know about you, but I would gladly trade 7 damage (when using it at "normal" power at rank 5) for hitting enemies up to 28 meters apart, instead of up to 7 meters apart.  Also, catching on fire, though it does almost no damage, does inflict levels of fatigue automatically, effectively applying a -10 to all rolls, so it is a non-trivial condition.

 

I'm not saying that Librarians are unmanageable.  I'm simply saying they are not only the strongest specialty, they are the strongest by a long shot, and any given Librarian can replace / will outshine 3 or 4 different characters, depending on their power selection.  They are the very definition of overpowered, being above the normal power curve for any other specialty.  The game is more balanced if they are not present.  Again, it's not that you can't account for them, and incorporate them into your plans, and run a game with them in it.  But if a brand new member and new GM is asking about their relative power level, I'm going to be honest with him, and the honest truth is that Librarians are the *only* specialty where they would not only excel, but utterly dominate in all conceivable situations if everyone decided to play one.  And before you say that no reasonable GM would allow his entire group to play Librarians, ask yourself if a reasonable GM would bat an eye if everyone decided to be assault marines, tech marines, or tactical marines.  He might counsel differently, but if they wanted to do it, would he worry about the repercussions to game balance?  Now just imagine a 6 man squad  of all Librarians, and the kind of devastation they would bring about, and think again if you believe they are truly not overpowered compared to other specialties.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well then I will agree to disagree :)

 

In terms of the OP's questions specifically, Iron Hands Librarians are not especially powerful, as you may have gathered from my not listing their powers previously.  Sure, they're a fine replacement for a Techmarine, but as far as Librarians go they're actually rather low on the power scale (still stronger than any other specialty, but not as strong as they *could* be, had a different chapter been chosen).  They get a small buff to Str and Toughness which won't ever be worth using due to action economy issues and the fact that Force Dome is *wildly* better, an exact recreation of smite with Felling (which is only 6 or 7 additional damage at most) and some limitations added, and a power that can't be used when near allies, and does relatively low damage.  Keep in mind that the toughness bonus for Deus Ex-Ferrum applies *after* unnatural toughness, so pushing his strength and toughness from 50 to 95 using it will only increase his melee damage and damage reduction by 4, noticeable but hardly game breaking.  If you're worried he'll pop both powers, and run into enemies as a veritable whirlwind of death, don't be, that behavior is far easier to deal with (he'll be exposing himself to a huge amount of incoming fire, and inherently any affected enemies must be within the radius of force dome, so that won't be useful against said incoming fire) than other activities he could be engaging in.

 

In terms of the Sword Brother, they have the very powerful combo of detestation and wrathful firepower, which at rank 5 is already a +3 damage to ranged attacks, which is nothing of note when using a Lascannon, but fantastic when applied to a storm bolter, especially since both the specialty and tac marine rank 5 provide bolter drill.  Add in the benefits of Mighty Shot, and the free specialty ammo a Tac Marine gets, and suddenly a Storm Bolter can dish out an absolutely absurd amount of damage.  This is balanced by requiring Hatred for the enemy in question, but as a Black Templar Tactical Marine, by then he can have Hatred (Orks, Tyranids, Eldar, Tau, Heretics, Mutants, Psykers, and "any" (likely Chaos Space Marines or Daemons)), so there will be very few opponents to which it does not apply.

 

So, my point there is, absolutely, adding in more abilities to shift the focus towards melee combat is a fantastic idea.  The abilities you have listed and the XP costs for them should be just fine.  In fact, were I you, I would increase the XP cost for the advanced specialty by 1000, and include with it for free Signature Wargear (Relic Blade), as he is after all a "sword brother", and if he's melee focused he'll absolutely love it, while at the same time it will, as a two handed melee weapon, significantly steer his combats towards melee, and away from the almighty storm bolter.

Edited by Dr. Quinn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As always Dr Quinn...your efforts are compelling and hilarious at the same time.  There is a librarian in my campaign, perhaps I should destroy him and the team can do without his incredible force dome and one hit master level enemy killings.

 

I would love to play the all Librarian force as well in truth.  I would So play a blood raven for that stuff!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well then I will agree to disagree :)

 

In terms of the OP's questions specifically, Iron Hands Librarians are not especially powerful, as you may have gathered from my not listing their powers previously.  Sure, they're a fine replacement for a Techmarine, but as far as Librarians go they're actually rather low on the power scale (still stronger than any other specialty, but not as strong as they *could* be, had a different chapter been chosen).  They get a small buff to Str and Toughness which won't ever be worth using due to action economy issues and the fact that Force Dome is *wildly* better, an exact recreation of smite with Felling (which is only 6 or 7 additional damage at most) and some limitations added, and a power that can't be used when near allies, and does relatively low damage.  Keep in mind that the toughness bonus for Deus Ex-Ferrum applies *after* unnatural toughness, so pushing his strength and toughness from 50 to 95 using it will only increase his melee damage and damage reduction by 4, noticeable but hardly game breaking.  If you're worried he'll pop both powers, and run into enemies as a veritable whirlwind of death, don't be, that behavior is far easier to deal with (he'll be exposing himself to a huge amount of incoming fire, and inherently any affected enemies must be within the radius of force dome, so that won't be useful against said incoming fire) than other activities he could be engaging in.

 

In terms of the Sword Brother, they have the very powerful combo of detestation and wrathful firepower, which at rank 5 is already a +3 damage to ranged attacks, which is nothing of note when using a Lascannon, but fantastic when applied to a storm bolter, especially since both the specialty and tac marine rank 5 provide bolter drill.  Add in the benefits of Mighty Shot, and the free specialty ammo a Tac Marine gets, and suddenly a Storm Bolter can dish out an absolutely absurd amount of damage.  This is balanced by requiring Hatred for the enemy in question, but as a Black Templar Tactical Marine, by then he can have Hatred (Orks, Tyranids, Eldar, Tau, Heretics, Mutants, Psykers, and "any" (likely Chaos Space Marines or Daemons)), so there will be very few opponents to which it does not apply.

 

So, my point there is, absolutely, adding in more abilities to shift the focus towards melee combat is a fantastic idea.  The abilities you have listed and the XP costs for them should be just fine.  In fact, were I you, I would increase the XP cost for the advanced specialty by 1000, and include with it for free Signature Wargear (Relic Blade), as he is after all a "sword brother", and if he's melee focused he'll absolutely love it, while at the same time it will, as a two handed melee weapon, significantly steer his combats towards melee, and away from the almighty storm bolter.

There is no reason to add a piece of war gear as powerful as a Relic Blade to a specialty that doesn't deserve it. A Sword Brother is not the ultimate champion of the Black Templars, he's a veteran. They are really no different than a 1st company veteran from any other Chapter. You would be pushing the Sword Brother into a heavy melee role as well. He gets a Relic Blade right? Might as well use it. There are very few ranged weapons that can compare to a free Relic Blade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Deathwatch gets signature Wargear: (Hero) Weapon, for 1000 XP, the Tempest Blade gets Signature Wargear: (Hero) Weapon, for 800 XP.  Both of those let you choose a piece of wargear up to 70 requisition value, and requiring up to Hero levels of renown to take.  The Relic Blade is a 50 requisition weapon, requiring Hero level renown.  Really, all you're doing there is adding in a talent that two other melee focused advanced specialties get, but incorporating it into the cost of the specialty (thus the additional 1000XP cost) and choosing which weapon it is for them.  So in terms of balance, no issues there.  Also, it's not exactly like you'll have a ton of people taking sword brother in your campaign (likely at most one), so as long as your storytelling is up to snuff, no issues in terms of the fluff aspect of it either. 

 

In terms of pushing them more towards melee, that would be exactly the point!  They are already granted a Chain Sword upon taking the class (which is the most pathetic 'honor' a 1st company veteran can receive, especially compared with the Deathwing Terminators, whom gain a permanent suit of Terminator Armour), so obviously there is meant to be some melee focus.  However, with the way the class is designed, there is no reason for them to ever use that chainsword.  With Bolter Drill and hip shooting, combined with their specialty ammo, there is every chance that the Sword Brother would turn into yet another Storm Bolter wielding Tactical Marine, only ever taking wrathful firepower.  A relic blade is the far more interesting combat choice, and would make them unique and powerful in melee combat, yet without the Preternatural Speed or Lightning Attack provided by the Assault Marine or Librarian, the 10 bonus damage dealt by that weapon (which is already significantly offset by requiring two hands) would be entirely balanced by the fewer number of attacks being put out.  He wouldn't be more powerful than his brothers using melee, just different, and therefore interesting, and I don't see how that's a bad thing.

 

Either way, it's just a recommendation, it's what I would do were I the GM in that particular situation, for a Tactical Marine, as they get very little support for melee outside of what you give them in their advanced specialization.  If you look at the fluff and say 'well yeah, the Tempest Blade "deserves" powerful relic equipment and such, he's more badass and elite than a mere sword brother', that's certainly your prerogative.  Personally, I look at it and think that if I were a player, who had chosen the Black Templar, crusading zealots known for their fury in hand to hand combat, I wouldn't see it that way, and would feel slighted somewhat if the GM felt I didn't "deserve" the same cool stuff that other people got.  And if the GM was actually steering me into a more tactically difficult manner of combat, so that he could more effectively challenge my kill team and knock us down, well, who doesn't love a good fight?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't make my point correctly. This isn't about game balance. Sure a Relic Blade might be more interesting from a game design point of view versus melee talent access, but it totally breaks the lore of the 40k universe. Joe Blow the Sword Brother does not get access to a powerful relic. That isn't who the Sword Brethren are.

 

I wouldn't say that a Relic Blade is a particularly interesting perk of the specialty either. What weapon would you upgrade to down the line? Why would you bother to take any other basic specialty over the Assault Marine when you are building a Sword Brother? Where is the challenge in getting the best melee weapon in the game at Rank 4?

 

I agree that the Sword Brother should have some more melee focus, but adding a blatantly overpowered weapon isn't the way to do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IWhy would you bother to take any other basic specialty over the Assault Marine when you are building a Sword Brother?

Well, my player wants to play as Tactical and then progress to Sword Brother. Maybe it is not as powerful as Assualt-Sword Brother combo, but it is not against the fluff, if I recall correctly. He just cares more about his Marine as character than his stats. The only reason why I'm buffing Sword Brethren is that while role-playing focus is great, I do not feel particulary good giving player weaker speciality.

Comparing Sword Brother to 1st Company Veteran, since they are basically the same. Sword Borther has Hip Shooting, I agree, it's strong ability. But he loses Demolitions, Nerves of Steel, Foresight, Combat Formation.

He has 4 abilities to choose in the beginning of each Mission; 1st Company Veteran also has 4 abilities to choose, but he has to buy them. So one advantage for Sword Brethren.

He has Detestetion instead of Wisdom of the Ancients. I think we are even here. Both are useful, I would vote in favour of Detestation, but it's a personal preference I guess.

1st Company Veteran has 22 advances total (without Dodge; what? SM start with Dodge, they have it on 1st rank and then here again?), Sword Brethren has 18. Oh, and Sword Brethren gains a chainsword. Second Chapter Trapping or Charm are fine, though.

So, my plan for Sword Brethren goes like this; I'm adding Swift Attack and Wall of Steel for all non-Assault players, for 500 and 1000 xp, Blademaster for 1000 xp. For Assault Marine it means Blademaster on rank 4 instead of 6, for any other class it's a great advantage. So it's not a big buff for Assualt Sword Brethren, but it helps Apothecaries or Tacticals who want to be melee-focused.

To be honest, comparing him to Deathwatch Champion (our second player) or Deathwing Terminator (our third player) he's not going to seem more powerful or unbalanced in any way. He's a little more powerful than 1st Company Veteran*, but not more powerful than Deathwing Terminator.

* Altough he trades Demolitions, Nerves of Steel, better Command and Wisdom of the Ancients, Combat Formation and Foresight, and 1 Cound Constitution for being more melee-orientated; so for example a Tactical who's playing a more balanced character would propably rather play as standard 1st Company Veteran. Sword Brethren is just more specialised.

Aaaand edit. About wargear. I was thinking about giving some better wargear too, but then we have a problem of balance.

First Company Veteran, Sword Brethren and Deathwing Terminator are on one power level. Tempest Blade and Deathwatch Champion are on another. Truth is, the latter are stronger, way stronger. Only limiting factor is that they usually have higher requirements, and do not gain easier access to Terminator Armour.

I was buffing Sword Brethren in comparison to Deathwing Terminator or 1st Company Veteran. If we were trying to buff him to the Chamion level, then he definitly needs much more in terms of abilities and equipment. But I'm trying to make him more like other 1st Company Veterans then Champions. That's why I left out my original idea of giving him additional Wargear.

Edited by Alank2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...