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CeaselessTiger

Tyranid Character

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Hi there,

 

You might remember me as the guy who obsessed about his ship. Well good news! I have started my second campaign! 

 

One of my players handed me a Tyranid rulebook and says he wants to be a Ymgarl Genestealer. His character concept is fine (My big GM rule for making a character is that the character has to be interesting based on his personality, backstory, and choices. NOT because he carries the dark half of Excalibur that he stole from his dad, Satan)

 

Here's my question: Is the character OP? (Second to last link. Didn't want to post the Drive link because I know people have issues with that at times)

Edited by CeaselessTiger

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Do you mean the character or the class? The genestealer advance tree looks like it'll create a genestealer well enough. But how would such a character going to integrate into your game? What backstory is a genestealer going to have besides variants of "hitched a ride on a space hulk"?

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So far, his whole backstory is: Improve the Tyranid race via...technology? 

 

...?

 

And the Genestealer/Tyranid character class. Is it OP at low levels? It doesn't look bad, but it starts to get weird at rank 4 and beyond. 

Edited by CeaselessTiger

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Hello CeaselessTiger, author of the Tyranid Character Guide here, I've actually been running a playtest which includes a Ymgarl Genestealer amongst the crew.  So far it's fallen perfectly in line in terms of power scale with the rest of the group and the limitations to shapeshifting early on have proved interesting to work around (So far they've only encountered punctual people, but woe betide them the day that they're forced to wait).  They've only just hit rank 2 so as for rank 4 and beyond I can't say, but the classes have been lining up with each other well and nobody is outclassing anyone.  Funnily enough the Ymgarl in my game is also taking an unconventional route and is convinced that the majority of the Hive Fleets are wrong and the true purpose of the Tyranids is economic domination of the galaxy, and the rest of the Tyranids need to stop destroying it so that their true purpose can come to fruition.  He hopes to build an economic empire and find and unite the Ymgarl Hive Fleet to fulfill this glorious purpose, and is presently impersonating the grandson of a Rogue Trader whose warrant entitles the bearer to the rights and privileges of the office.

 

If you do have a problem with balance remember that all of the Tyrannic talents apply to the Ymgarl's base form, so if (for example) they take hulking, they will be hulking by default and must shapeshift to blend in with non-hulking species.  The same applies to Fear, Unnatural Strength, and Unnatural Toughness, as it would make them terrifying and appear bulkier and stand out by default respectively, forcing them to shift into a different form to hide it from most Imperials.  The Alternate Ranks in the book are meant to help them blend in past rank 4 so that they can use Tyrannic weapons alongside Imperial Citizens and maintain prolonged disguises with them being none the wiser, but it means that they will cut into developing the more potent Tyrannic abilities as a trade-off.

 

I'd definitely suggest that you play up the dangers of using Tyrannic weaponry amongst Non-Tyranids and remember that the shapeshifting has a time limitation unless they branch into certain Alternate Ranks.  Also, don't forget that you can use the base Career Path to make some very nasty experience-equivalent rivals to challenge the player, something my group will be contending with next session.  Good luck with the gaming and let me know if you have any questions or notice any ambiguous rules either here or via email.  I'm always happy to see the guides being used!

Edited by LodgeBlackman99
Link has changed, updating for convenience

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Ah, why thank you for your reply! And I plan to do that (though I must admit some of those Tyrannic weapons still make me a little worried. Players want loot and I don't know if I'm ready to dole out a gun that has Storm and Tearing and no reload or ammunition limitations).

 

These guys aren't much for ship stuff, though, are they? I'm not seeing a whole lot of ship roles they can really be cut out for. Not that that's bad or anything, the player who wants to use it seems to think it is an Assassin/Hunter role. 

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Is there anything in the official literature that supports Ymgarl 'stealers being able to shapeshift into actual semblances of human/other humanoid species? All I see from the wikis is that they possess "limited" shapeshifting:

 

"the Ymgarl Genestealer is truly unique because it possesses the ability to alter its own flesh to react to incoming attacks or to change its colour like a chameleon so that it can blend into its surroundings and remain unseen until it escapes or attacks. Its claw-tipped fingers can suddenly elongate and fuse together to form curved blades and barbed hooks or split apart into tentacles of sinewy alien flesh to slash or entangle those victims who try to escape. Under assault its chitinous carapaces can thicken and help its leathery hide absorb the energy of incoming melee or ranged assaults. Some Imperial observers who have had contact with this creature have even reported this strain of Genestealer's ability to change the colour of their skins, so as to better go undetected in the darkness of night or other extreme light conditions"

 

which doesn't really support the degree to which these rules go - or are these intended as an advanced variant unique to the Expanse?

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More importantly, is there anything which suggests that any kind of Tyranid creature is able to actually make conscious, sentient decisions about the future of the galaxy and their place in it?

 

YMMV, as always, but as a TT Tyranid player this is to me a ridiculous concept. A Genestealer's one overriding biological imperative is infect everyone, call the Hive.

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More importantly, is there anything which suggests that any kind of Tyranid creature is able to actually make conscious, sentient decisions about the future of the galaxy and their place in it?

 

YMMV, as always, but as a TT Tyranid player this is to me a ridiculous concept. A Genestealer's one overriding biological imperative is infect everyone, call the Hive.

Well, in the case of the Ymgarl's, they are cut off from the Hive Mind and it won't accept them due to their divergent evolution, so they've been selected for a certain freedom of thought. I suppose that's the appeal of using one as a PC, but I think the shapeshifting has been stretched a bit further than the background suggests in order to deal with the "why do you have a bloody Tyranid lifeform (that hasn't been dissected to the Warp and back by your Magos Biologis) on your ship, Lord-Captain?" angle.

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More importantly, is there anything which suggests that any kind of Tyranid creature is able to actually make conscious, sentient decisions about the future of the galaxy and their place in it?

 

YMMV, as always, but as a TT Tyranid player this is to me a ridiculous concept. A Genestealer's one overriding biological imperative is infect everyone, call the Hive.

Well, in the case of the Ymgarl's, they are cut off from the Hive Mind and it won't accept them due to their divergent evolution, so they've been selected for a certain freedom of thought. I suppose that's the appeal of using one as a PC, but I think the shapeshifting has been stretched a bit further than the background suggests in order to deal with the "why do you have a bloody Tyranid lifeform (that hasn't been dissected to the Warp and back by your Magos Biologis) on your ship, Lord-Captain?" angle.

 

 

Divergent evolution wouldn't lead to rejection by the Hive Mind it would probably lead to the organism willingly walking into a bio acid pool so it's DNA and material could be reabsorbed.

 

Personally I don't think this idea works from a WH40K fluff point of view but hey if you guys are having fun.

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From Codex: Tyranids 5th edition:

 

Unlike any other Tyranid creature, the Ymgarl Genestealers are outcasts. The Hive Mind has no wish to reabsorb their genetic material in fear that the uncontrollable genetic instabilities that allow the Ymgarl Genestealers their formidable flesh-shaping abilities might contaminate the Tyranid gene-pool. Instead, they are abandoned on whatever planet they happen to be on, being forced to search for contact with the Hive Mind on other planets after the Hive Fleet has fed. They infiltrate the ships of any explorers and investigators unlucky enough to land on the prey planet after the Fleet's passing and spread in their instinctual need of being absorbed back to the Fleets, only to be abandoned again.

 

 

They still infect hosts, they still form growing 'stealer cults, they still have a brood telepathy which forms a shadow in the warp and eventually summons the Hive Fleet, they just aren't absorbed afterwards.

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CeaselessTiger: The Alternate Ranks provided in the guide are meant to allow them to branch out into other specializations, effectively allowing them to perform the duties of a pilot, chirurgeon, mechanic, and socialite to allow more flexibility for precisely that reason.  The base career path is designed to allow a GM to create XP-equivalent enemies for their Rogue Trader parties to face (Which is what I've been using it for primarily)

 

Matth431: That's true, but I based their shapeshifting abilities on the natural tendencies of genestealer cult generations to take on progressively more and more characteristics of the host species that they infect.  It didn't seem outside the realms of possibility that they could develop their abilities further.  So they're not designed that way but they very well could be.  (After all, The Beast of Thule is arguably a Ymgarl Genestealer already!)

 

Visitor Q and LoneKharnivore:  The Ymgarl in the guide are based off of the information found on the Lexicanum page (http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Ymgarl_Genestealer) and are referenced from Codex: Tyranids 4th and 5th Edition and the original Rogue Trader Release.  And while you're right that the 5th edition codex does say that LoneKharnivore it also says 

 

From Codex: Tyranids 5th Edition:

The Hive Fleet of origin of the Ymgarl Genestealers is a mystery, as is whether they are capable of reproduction or remnants of the original creatures encountered on the moons of Ymgarl.

 

So I based the fleet around that and made the assumption that they themselves aren't furthering the Hive Mind or reproducing at all, merely seeking out likely places that a Genestealer cult would form and aiding them however they can, then being left behind.  This also means that they themselves have no Brood Telepathy to attract a Hive Fleet on their own.  With this assumption it makes sense that they are operating independently and just being taken advantage of by the fleets.  So it is based on existing 40k fluff, though it seems our interpretations may differ.  That's the general method behind how I made the guide though, hope that helps clear up any confusion!  As always it's all up to GM discretion if it gets used anyway, but I tried to make the guide as plausible as possible as to why a Ymgarl might work with the Imperium or other Xenos races.  I'd like to think it makes at least as much sense as the Kabalite Warrior and Wych Career Path options!

Edited by LodgeBlackman99

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