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Being somthing other than a space marine in Deathwatch

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I've had people ask (females especially) if they could be anything other than and I quote "a genetically altered, heavily armored, extremely violent, hormonal male supersolder" does anyone have a sister of battle I can give her? Another wanted to something entirely different as well, he wanted to be an ork who believed he was a Space Marine, can anyone help remove this huge stumbling block?

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Assuming you want the other players to actually feel useful rather than being mere sidekicks or extras, the worst thing you could do would be just copying the careers of the other game lines (Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, etc), as those were written with an entirely different gameplay style and narrative powerlevel in mind. Instead, you could try to craft new careers for them based on the game you are actually playing.

 

Battle Sisters are actually the easiest to do here, simply because by the background they are organised along similar lines to the Adeptus Astartes (Tactical Marine = Dominion, Devastator = Retributor = Assault = Seraphim), and they use much the same gear.

 

As such, you could take a Space Marine class, strip it of all the Astartes-exclusive genetical enhancements (all the implants, especially the Unnatural Toughness and Strength), and replace some of the Skills and Talents (such as "Common Lore: Adeptus Astartes" -> "Common Lore: Adeptus Ministorum"). Squad Modes can probably be retained with a bit of handwaiving -- if a Space Wolf can learn to fight alongside a Dark Angel, a Battle Sister might as well.

 

With access to the same wargear, the above would result in a warrior who can deal as much ranged damage as a Space Marine, but is quite a bit squishier and so should be a bit more careful about the situations she manoeuvres herself into.

 

If you want to give her a bit of a bonus to compensate for the lack of Unnaturals, here's an untested beta-version of the Acts of Faith I've written for an earlier attempt to integrate the Sisters of Battle into Deathwatch -- the topic comes up with quite a bit of regularity, but so far, I haven't found the energy to actually finish this project.

 

Ao_F_Beta.jpg

 

 

That being said, I'd also recommend making sure that there does not exist a misconception on the part of the other player/s! Space Marines certainly are "genetically altered, heavily armoured and extremely violent", but they are not hormonal. With their ongoing drug treatments and the monastic lifestyle, they are more akin to living weapons, and less of a man in the conventional sense than your average Imperial Guardsman.

 

Perhaps she can get around to try her hand at playing a Space Marine after reading a bit more about them? In particular, I'd recommend material like the Index Astartes, as the novels are sadly often little more than bolter porn that would only confirm her bias.

 

If there are players in your group who portray them in a ... hormonal manner, perhaps an intervention might be in order, depending on the level of narrative consistency you want to enforce at your table. After all, in Deathwatch, you play the Emperor's Chosen, not the Emperor's Children! ;)

 

That you have a player who thinks an Ork who believes he was a Space Marine is a funny idea does sound a bit like trouble, but then again, we probably shouldn't judge -- in the end, it's your game, and you as the GM are faced with the challenge of judging how all of your players will have the most fun.

 

That being said, this throws up another potential solution for your female player: she could just play a female Space Marine. Normally, it's a huge taboo, and personally I don't even believe it should be necessary (Space Marines are pretty much genderless, if you think about it), but if it helps ...

And technically, I doubt it would look any weirder than the aforementioned Ork. :P

Edited by Lynata

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Another wanted to something entirely different as well, he wanted to be an ork who believed he was a Space Marine

 

Well, for that to work you need to accept and embrace that your game will firmly occupy the extreme high end of the silly over-the-top-ness scale. There were a couple of fan-made comics doing the rounds on /tg/ about a bunch of orks masquerading as space marines, but for the life of me I can't remember the title. This one here shows the potential pitfalls though:

 

1407987965774.jpg

 

Anyway, what is he looking for by playing an Ork? Physical strength? Marines got that covered. A super-choppy character? That too. The chance to act silly? There are plenty of close-combat-oriented Chapters with poor impulse control, who, with a little tweak here and there, can be made quite Orky - just roll a sillier Space Wolf or White Scar or something similar. Playing a Space Marine is no reason for acting all serious and monk-like all the time. So yeah, first and foremost ask him what he hopes to gain by playing an Ork, and try catering to that.

 

As for the lady - well, the gender of the Marines is probably their least important characteristic. Still, I can sort of sympathise as I'd surely be slightly uncomfortable playing an SoB (or any other female  character in any roleplaying game) at first. A SoB is a logical choice as it's as close to a Marine in role and attitude as it can get, and it crosses off "genetically altered" and "hormonal male supersoldier", but still leaves you with "heavily armoured, extremely violent". If she's willing to take that, good. If it doesn't fly with her either, you certainly need to check whether Deathwatch is the best-suited for the group at this point or not.

Edited by musungu

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As questionable as the stuff posted on /tg/ sometimes is, you gotta give mad props to the drawf-.. artists doing crazy stuff like this.

 

4chan truly is the place where you can find both the best and the worst of the internet.

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Sisters of Battle are actually not far off the same quality as an Astartes so it is really easy to do. One thing to keep in mind though is that they are not:

 

 "a genetically altered, heavily armored, extremely violent, hormonal male supersolder" 

 

And instead are fully human, heavy armed, extremely devout in belief, bitchy sisters. Current events here in the real world show the extent that man can go to when they fight for a religious cause so imagine that on a sister of battle. They are arguably as dangerous as even a space marine and while they lack the physical strength and endurance of a marine, they have a level of fervor and religious devotion to the God Emperor that puts them on another level entirely. When you have a warrior who has almost near as damnit marine tier equipment, similar levels of training and then filled with religious hatred to want to rip the spines (note, plural) out of any mutant they come across, that easily makes up for the lack of strength. In fact their faith powers allow them to make a devastating contribution to the battlefield.

 

Alternatively, if you want female characters that are not SoB, look at other options of the Imperium like Guard for example (N.B. anyone who insists on calling it Astra Militarum will be shot by Nova Cannon). The Deathwatch is a branch of the Inquisition and the Inquisition has incalculable assets at its disposal and it can pick and choose from such assets such as Imperial Guard, Imperial Navy etc. If you wanted to give them other options then, consider perhaps a particularly adept human Stormtrooper or sniper. While you may think this will be a bad idea it can actually be quite interesting and a human will be able to fulfil many of the niche roles that a marine cannot. For example they are Size 4 while a marine is Size 5. While the black carapace doesn't give them the bonus to being shot at, they do still have stealth penalties. Humans don't suffer that and can be sneakier. Also the human might be able to get into or fit into places the marine cant or interact with the normal citizen far more effectively than a 7-8ft giant who would crush the head of the person with his hand. They can get away with greater levels of physical dexterity due to not being contained in thick metal armour which makes up for their physical weaknesses.

 

Finally, if you really want to be brave...Officio Assassinorum. Look through the books and you could probably put them in as a Callidus assassin. Should easily be more than a match for enemies while providing a unique challenge.

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This question comes up quite often. The issue is that Deathwatch is quite combat-heavy, so if the female character is not having a martial focus, she'll stand back during fights and occupies the front during any other time. It's not necessarily a problem, but it does put some extra weight on the GM. Like Shadowrun parties with deckers: looking bored in the main game, but must have his own mini-game, where all the other players are bored. :)

 

The obvious martial characters are SoB and Inquisitors, the latter posing more problems than the former. Guardswomen can work but the player needs to be prepared for frequent change as they'll be extremely squishy. The Assassin proposition is new for me though, and it's not half bad. Challenging, and I'd certainly test it before committing myself to the idea, but it might be fun.

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I've had people ask (females especially) if they could be anything other than and I quote "a genetically altered, heavily armored, extremely violent, hormonal male supersolder"

 

Yes.  But why would you want to?

 

 Another wanted to something entirely different as well, he wanted to be an ork who believed he was a Space Marine, can anyone help remove this huge stumbling block?

 

Have him turn up at the Deathwatch briefing with 50 other marines and that will remove the stumbling block pretty quickly (I believe Quick draw a bolt pistol is a Free action?)

 

Seriously though, playing something other than a space marine really depends on the GM.  If the GM is willing to cater to this and put in some preparation and be flexible with where the campaign goes.....

 

It is possible for a player to be a Rogue Trader or an Inquisitor who has Deathwatch marines either oath sworn to him or under his control. 

 

However for these players to actually mean something the GM has to allow them more freedom to use, well the freedom that comes with their position.  This means creating a more free form sandbox game.

 

As for Battle Sisters, personally I think in the long run this might not work so well.  Battle Sisters are incredibly dogmatic and when exposed to many Chapter philosephies may beleive the Astartes to be Heretics.   Maybe also there is a bit of a copout to say to a female player, 'If you don't want to play a space marine character because of gender try this female version which isn't as tough strong or quite as well a equipped.  But she is completly psychotic if you mention the Emperor in less than devoted terms'

 

For me not playing a space marine in a Deathwatch game would mean having a character that can do things the marines can't.  Like talking on equal terms to humans would be a start, or blending in.  However as I say it requires more work from the GM to make the character not just be a follower or a sidekick.

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As for Battle Sisters, personally I think in the long run this might not work so well.  Battle Sisters are incredibly dogmatic and when exposed to many Chapter philosephies may beleive the Astartes to be Heretics.

 

Yeah, though it certainly depends on the Chapters chosen, and the players playing the Marines. Space Wolves are problematic, whereas Black Templars make a perfect teammate, and so on. Ultimately, it pays to keep in mind just why those Marines were recruited into the Deathwatch. After all, if they were problematic, they'd likely were a liability to other Marines as well.

 

Black Templars are pretty much the same as Sisters when it comes to this topic, so I guess it depends on whether you'd have a problem with BTs on the table. ;)

 

 

Maybe also there is a bit of a copout to say to a female player, 'If you don't want to play a space marine character because of gender try this female version which isn't as tough strong or quite as well a equipped.  But she is completly psychotic if you mention the Emperor in less than devoted terms'

 

That depends entirely on which "version" of the Sisters and Marines you stick to, and how you sell it to the player. If you were to go with GW's codex fluff rather than the weaker gear from Dark Heresy, Acts of Faith could be a viable compensation for missing supergenetics, and their equipment is just as good.

 

"As the Chamber Militant of the galaxy-spanning Ecclesiarchy, the Sisters of Battle are fierce warriors that are equals to their brother Space Marines. What the Sisters lack in genetic enhancement they make up for in faith and devotion." 
 
"The Sisters of Battle are exceptionally well equipped, with armour and weapons the equal of any Space Marine Chapter." 

 

It's just that AoF present the player with a more challenging gameplay, in that the character isn't as good all the time but can, thanks to her willpower, catch up and even surpass the Astartes temporarily. The challenge lies in knowing just when to use this ability. Kind of like so:

Ao_Feq.jpg

Plus, you could well phrase it in a way that makes the Sister more badass for keeping up with the dudes in spite of not having the same artificial enhancements, simply because of her strong force of will. To quote another 40k fan:

 

It's like you take a Space Marine and say "what could make him cooler?" Instead of adding more super-genetic-psycho-organic modification, you take it all away. You have a regular human left in power armor and all the armies of hell at the gates. And she doesn't even flinch. Pure. Badass. 

 

;)

 

For me not playing a space marine in a Deathwatch game would mean having a character that can do things the marines can't.  Like talking on equal terms to humans would be a start, or blending in.  However as I say it requires more work from the GM to make the character not just be a follower or a sidekick.

 

A lot more work, with a high risk of the other players feeling bored or left out whenever they're unable to share the limelight, effectively splitting the game in two. Especially when you have the human "blend in", which basically means splitting up the party and running two campaigns next to each other. At this point, why even bother?

 

And even in Shadowrun, deckers don't get guns that, for some reason, do 25% less damage. It's worth pointing out that Space Marines used DH-level equipment before Deathwatch, where the designers apparently finally noticed that Unnatural Toughness makes them too tough for normal weapons, resulting in ridiculously drawn out fights with CSM.

Seriously, DH1 had an adventure where a Space Marine NPC was basically invulnerable to the enemies. After this, they invented Horde rules with magical damage bonuses.

Edited by Lynata

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It's just that AoF present the player with a more challenging gameplay, in that the character isn't as good all the time but can, thanks to her willpower, catch up and even surpass the Astartes temporarily. The challenge lies in knowing just when to use this ability. Kind of like so:

Ao_Feq.jpg

 

I'd like to file an official complaint. You're using up a good chunk of our graphics budget for the month and the Adeptus Administratum will not be amused at this expenditure. :P

 

Point is that if you're going to use a sister, use some of the rules from DH2 to try and give them some edge but you need a reason to have them involved and not just because "someone wants nuns with guns...and bolters"*

No, a sister needs to be there for a reason, the players current threat for example has to fall inside the remit or experience of say the Ordo Hereticus and one which might require their specialist knowledge such as if they are fighting mutants, heretics or daemons (since Malleus and Hereticus do overlap to some degree) or perhaps they are defending or investigating something anti-xenos but it will involve them getting in areas which are sensitive to the sisterhood. If there is no logical reason for a sister to be involved then that would imply it is being done for personal reasons which is slightly unfluffy for a sister and would make me twitch at using it but can pull it off.

 

If you havent got a logical reason to tie in a sister then your other options for a female character are to look back down the Imperial Guard or assassin route. The latter may again be difficult to justify why the Officio Assassinorum would send an operative so you are looking at guard being better. They may therefore serve as say an operator to manage vehicles, sniper or scout, artillery coordinator etc. They will end up playing a slightly less front line role since in this system a Warrior nid will do enough base damage to slice them in half with a single hit because someone in FFG fell asleep at the keyboard with his face on the high numbered keys while they worked out weapon stats but with the above options you can never say that they will not serve a vital role and while fragile, a good soldier is worth his weight as he puts a powerful sniper rifle round into the head of the genestealer that's about to tear Brother Tyberius' face off or pilots the tank which suppresses the enemy in a hail of gunfire to allow the marines to flank around.

 

The marines get to do the up close and gory bit but the human gets to unleash lots of dakka. Which leads me onto the OP's other point. He want's an Ork character. Burn him. If you wanted to prat around with orks in this system you're going to have to look at Rogue Trader or Black Crusade. The Deathwatch will only work with that Ork for as long as necessary, not a second longer and only if there is a reason for him playing one in this setting. If there isn't one then his inclusion as a Xenos in a game with an anti-xenos team is just demented. Once his usefulness has expired as well, the marines are within their duty to put a bolt round in his head. If he really wants to do it then that character needs to be aware that his lifespan is limited only by his relevance to the plot and to his value. He of course won't benefit from cohesion, other Imperial assets may be even less forgiving and all party members should arguably hate his guts.

 

*Bad and slightly crude joke. Apologies.

Edited by Calgor Grim

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I'd like to file an official complaint. You're using up a good chunk of our graphics budget for the month and the Adeptus Administratum will not be amused at this expenditure. :P

 

:D

 

Point is that if you're going to use a sister, use some of the rules from DH2 to try and give them some edge but you need a reason to have them involved and not just because "someone wants nuns with guns...and bolters"*

 

No, a sister needs to be there for a reason, the players current threat for example has to fall inside the remit or experience of say the Ordo Hereticus and one which might require their specialist knowledge such as if they are fighting mutants, heretics or daemons (since Malleus and Hereticus do overlap to some degree) or perhaps they are defending or investigating something anti-xenos but it will involve them getting in areas which are sensitive to the sisterhood. If there is no logical reason for a sister to be involved then that would imply it is being done for personal reasons which is slightly unfluffy for a sister and would make me twitch at using it but can pull it off.

 

I'd rather keep the rules "contained" to Deathwatch -- the less you steal from other systems that were not meant to work with Deathwatch characters, the less likely you are to run into trouble with balancing.

 

But I agree about there having to be a reason. Fortunately, it's not too hard to craft one, depending on the campaign. It could be as simple as the Sororitas being the lone survivor the group manages to find during one of their deployments, and then accompanying the Marines to take revenge for the fallen and continue her original mission. Alternatively, she could already be on a solo quest, similar to Sister Aescarion from Daemonblood, or Sister Anastasia from Inquisitor, and simply team up with the Astartes for convenience or situational necessity.

 

Having a Black Templar in the group (ideally as the team leader, even) would definitely help here, as the Templars and the Sororitas share various vows of mutual assistance, and so should be easy to "link up".

 

If you havent got a logical reason to tie in a sister then your other options for a female character are to look back down the Imperial Guard or assassin route. The latter may again be difficult to justify why the Officio Assassinorum would send an operative so you are looking at guard being better. They may therefore serve as say an operator to manage vehicles, sniper or scout, artillery coordinator etc.

 

Actually, I think an Assassin would be perfect. Especially if you're falling back to GW's original Deathwatch fluff rather than the FFG version.

 

Ironically, Games Workshop originally invented the Deathwatch specifically because they wanted Space Marines to work alongside normal humans for their d100 Inquisitor game. For this reason, the Deathwatch was made part of and subjected to the Ordo Xenos of the Inquisition. Inquisitors would regularly command Deathwatch kill-teams in the field.

 

If you go this route you could have the Inquisitor be a distant NPC boss who delegates tactical command to the kill-team's captain -- and who simply happens to request and dispatch an Assassinorum operative to help them out.

 

Not only will the Assassin probably be feel more useful than the Guardsman (whose description you just made to sound like a Minion), but their reason to hang out with the Marines will probably more waterproof as well. After all, if an Assassin's presence is unlikely, why should the Guardsman be there? If you really want to have "common" soldiers there, I'd say pick at least an Inquisitorial Storm Trooper or another Ordo Xenos operative -- for example, my kill-team had a human pilot (female ex-Navy, recruited by the Inquisitor as well) for our Thunderhawk.

 

The Storm Trooper I would fluff out as a Sergeant with their own squad of NPCs to command, by the way. Another way of making the player feel more useful, via volume of fire as well as meatshield tanking. :)

Edited by Lynata

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Pfft, balancing. It's an easy thing to do. To convert every stat for original Deathwatch use, add an extra D10! It's probably correct for most of the bloody numbers! For errata'd stats, add an extra 10 anyway, he says as a swipe at the nature of the system.

 

Reason I said assassins are difficult though is that they tend to be frugal in their use and even harder to play. Using an Officio Assassinorum operative to take on any threat is like using a stealthed nuclear weapon with silencer to kill a spider (proportional and justified as well as a very Orky weapon!). When you are using something whos operatives frequently take down governors and MAJOR enemy leaders all the time and have in the past been used to try and take out a primarch (Horus), they are pretty **** nasty. They do it but they are usually carefully deployed.

Additionally there is a section I have read which suggests marines find the idea of an assassin distasteful for what it's worth. The assassin character has a duty to ensure the fullest of secrecy of their assignment even moreso than the marine. They would arguably be outside of the marine chain of command and therefore able to act freely and this may cause issues if they have a secondary goal which differs from the party main objective. If for example they are asked to capture a rogue leader but the assassin is to kill them then they will have to do so and directly cause them to fail. Additionally if in the process of their duties their identity or nature is revealed then it is required that for the security of the Assassinorum, that they may need to wipe out the entire kill team without hesitation. 

 

An assassin works as a solo hunter and cannot benefit from any cohesion or anything like that. It's not how they work. This therefore is why I said that justifying it will be more difficult from a GM/player perspective. The limitations mean that using them has to be considered carefully as otherwise you have someone who may need to kill all other players.

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Those are good points. I still think it could be done, but it does place some pretty big limitations on just what you can do in the campaign, as you essentially need to railroad two so very different types of soldiers into the same team. It's easily possible to do so by brute force (orders), but even then you can only do so a certain amount of times until it looks weird -- unless you're clever enough to come up with a valid chain to link all those individual missions into a bigger campaign, whose completion sees the Kill-Team and the Assassin on the same path.

 

Contradictory orders, though, can easily be avoided by having both the Assassin and the Kill-Team answer to the same Inquisitor. And any Space Marine who considers assassinations and stealth "distasteful" probably shouldn't get recruited into an outfit that relies on covert ops and regularly makes use of sniping attacks (= stalker bolts) as well.

 

Lastly, while an Assassin would not benefit from Cohesion, I'd argue he or she doesn't need to, specifically because of their separate fighting style which makes them function as an entirely independent unit. A problem I could foresee here, however, is that the game could get stale over time when you've got a Vindicare who basically does nothing else but roll Ballistic Skill all the time.

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Those are good points. I still think it could be done, but it does place some pretty big limitations on just what you can do in the campaign, as you essentially need to railroad two so very different types of soldiers into the same team. It's easily possible to do so by brute force (orders), but even then you can only do so a certain amount of times until it looks weird -- unless you're clever enough to come up with a valid chain to link all those individual missions into a bigger campaign, whose completion sees the Kill-Team and the Assassin on the same path.

 

Contradictory orders, though, can easily be avoided by having both the Assassin and the Kill-Team answer to the same Inquisitor. And any Space Marine who considers assassinations and stealth "distasteful" probably shouldn't get recruited into an outfit that relies on covert ops and regularly makes use of sniping attacks (= stalker bolts) as well.

 

Lastly, while an Assassin would not benefit from Cohesion, I'd argue he or she doesn't need to, specifically because of their separate fighting style which makes them function as an entirely independent unit. A problem I could foresee here, however, is that the game could get stale over time when you've got a Vindicare who basically does nothing else but roll Ballistic Skill all the time.

 

For the sake of the plot yes they can be the same objective. What I'm about to go into now is more backstory, debate and fluffy bits.

 

I believe that the inquisitor's authority over the officio assassinorum is somewhat dubious. Even more dubious than their authority over space marine chapters and the like and at the end of it, the assassins orders come from the High Lords of Terra via Grand Master of Assassins and Lord Assassins and not from the inquisitor. It just might happen that their objectives will coincide however can differ to the point that it may indeed screw over the inquisitor. Problem is though, how can you possibly discipline someone for not cooperating with you when they could probably kill you two thousand different ways using nothing more than a rubber band, some lolly sticks and a fez and will be able to get to you wherever you go? You can't :)

 

There is also a difference in what assassination is. Assassination is often generally seen as a murder with political or social consequences and perhaps uses subterfuge, deception and/or lies to get themselves into a position or using toxins to do it for them. It's that lying and underhand nature of an assassination which makes it distasteful to a marine as opposed to a marine sniping out an enemy on the battlefield to gain an advantage.

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It's true that, technically, only the High Lords can sanction deployment of an Assassin. Then again, this must be an option, seeing as how Assassinorum Operatives have been part of Inquisitorial forces in the tabletop. Perhaps it is that the Inquisition can supersede this limitation, given how they stand aside from the Senatorum and speak directly for the Emperor as well, or it is that individual Inquisitors just have enough influence with the High Lords to get their requests rubber-stamped. Or the Inquisitor just goes directly to the Officio Assassinorum itself, circumventing the High Lords thanks to having a contact within the Temples, and hoping that nobody from the outside will notice -- which sounds quite possible as well, given how both the Assassinorum and the Inquisition have operated in the past.

 

There's also the option of the High Lords simply dispatching an Assassin outside of the Inquisitor's command, although this is a solution I'd rather not recommend specifically for the reasons you cited.

 

"The Inquisition has close ties with the Officio Assassinorum, and their operatives often have cause to work together. An Officio Assassinorum Operative may only be chosen if an Inquisitor or Inquisitor Lord is also part of the force. Note that no more than one Officio Assassinorum Operative can be used in any force for any reason."
-- 3E C:WH
 
"Officio Assassinorum killers are death machines, trained in one of the hidden temples to be an expert sniper, a bio-chemically-driven frenzied killer, a shapeshifter or worse. The Officio Assassinorum is almost as secretive as the Inquisition, and the two organisations work closely with one another, which is not surprising considering their roles."
-- d100 Inquisitor
 
Lastly, there is also the rather brilliant workaround of an Inquisitor just taking a Death Cultist they permanently recruited into their warband, and organising for them to be trained as a Temple Assassin -- resulting in what is effectively an Officio Assassinorum Operative outside of both the High Lords' as well as the Temples' direct influence:
 
"Some Inquisitors may organise Officio Assassinorum training for a Death Cultist, turning an already highly efficient killer into a deadly and honed executioner."
-- d100 Inquisitor
 
As for lies being dishonourable, this is true and I think that many Marines might take an issue with it. However, this is not how most Temple Assassins operate, anyways, as they are less infiltrators and more like highly specialised living weapons, with the sole exception of Callidus Assassins who may indeed cloak their true self and go undercover. Vindicares, however, are effectively just Better Scouts, whereas Eversors and Culexus are even more In-Your-Face than Assault Marines.

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The other issue with having characters like assassins or battle sisters has been highlighted in the last few posts; justification. Sure there can be justification for a battle sister or am assassin turning up for a mission, but at a certain point the marines are going to be like 'why are you still here?' certainly the Deathwatch are going to be very wary about letting outsiders into theier fortress monastery/watch fortress/secret palace of secrecy. It's why a character that is powerful in their own right and has a reason for the marines to stick around would work so well for a player that wasn't so interested in playing a super powerful warrior.

Actually if there isn't a Librarian in the group a psychic Inquisitor would be a perfect fit.

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Actually if there isn't a Librarian in the group a psychic Inquisitor would be a perfect fit.

 

Even if there is, it could fly - psychic powers allow for a great deal of specialisation. A battle-psyker and a clairvoyant with the Emperor's tarot or a telepath could work well in concert. Also, a double chance for Something is Coming...? Who wouldn't take it? :D

 

In all seriousness, I think it all comes down to the GM's (and, to a lesser degree, the other participants') willingness to make sacrifices, and their consensus on where to make it. Everybody on board with minor (or, in case of the female Marine, major) fluff violations? Do the SoB or Assassin game. Is the GM okay with extensive preparations to allow a character from some other 40k line fit in seamlessly? Are the Marine players also on board with being largely useless outside of combat? Roll up an Inquisitor. Apparently it's an either/or situation with wobbly fluff and clunky crunch - you gotta pick at least one, and still might very well run into the other later.

 

What about a Follower, by the way? Rolling up a Marine in order to keep up with the others in combat, but bring along (and put some XP in) a (female) serf to act all lady-like outside of it? Not a perfect solution by far, I admit, but doesn't require a major overhaul of rules and setting, and might ease the player into playing a Marine.

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Sure there can be justification for a battle sister or am assassin turning up for a mission, but at a certain point the marines are going to be like 'why are you still here?' certainly the Deathwatch are going to be very wary about letting outsiders into theier fortress monastery/watch fortress/secret palace of secrecy.

 

That's part of why I think FFG removing the Inquisitorial tie-in from the Deathwatch was shooting themselves in the foot. But you can still play based on the original fluff, and then use the Ordo Xenos as the GI-Joe-like gathering for all sorts of heroes.

 

"When we were first discussing ideas to include in the sample characters for Inquisitor, the Grey Knight was the most obvious choice for a Space Marine. It was partly for this reason that we decided to introduce something new instead, in the form of the Xenos Deathwatch. However, along with the Deathwatch, the Grey Knight Space Marine is probably the most appropriate Space Marine type for Inquisitor games. [...]"

-- d100 Inquisitor : Gav Thorpe on Using Space Marines

 

This makes including Assassins as well as Inquisitors easiest. Battle Sisters are a bit harder as their political connections (read: Convocation of Nephilim) bind them more closely to the Ordo Hereticus, but in the end, they are still an independent organisation and could answer to an Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos as well. It's just that their ties to the Ordo Hereticus would protect them from being drafted, but it doesn't mean they would not agree to help on their own accord.

 

"Heretics take many forms. Most are lost humans, whose weak minds have been corrupted by the manifold temptations of a dark and sinister galaxy. None are immune - planetary governors, Imperial Guard commanders and even whole Space Marine Chapters have been declared heretic and been exterminated as such by the Sisters of Battle. Yet there is no stricture within the Ecclesiarchy that heresy is a purely human crime. Aliens can also be sanctioned as heretics - that the creed against which they transgress is not their own is of no account. Nevermore so is this true than of the alien who chances his army against the Emperor's Will by inciting rebellion, subverting the will of Imperial subjects or invading by force. Genesis matters naught - all heretics are damned, and all must be purged with fire, lest their apostasy gather a following."
- WD #382

 

As an example, the 3E codex had a tie-in for Sisters fighting Tau explained by the latter influencing human border worlds with alien propaganda, and so a punitive expedition was launched against those who would dare to lead the Emperor's subjects astray.

 

I agree, however, that this solution would be time-limited, going back to your mention of "why are you still here". If the GM takes care to connect the missions to a single campaign, however, rather than them being lots of independent tasks, it could still work out. It's just that the grand goal must be something everyone is interested in, with most of the individual missions being steps toward it.

 

What about a Follower, by the way? Rolling up a Marine in order to keep up with the others in combat, but bring along (and put some XP in) a (female) serf to act all lady-like outside of it? Not a perfect solution by far, I admit, but doesn't require a major overhaul of rules and setting, and might ease the player into playing a Marine.

 

You mean like playing two characters? Yeah, I don't see that working out nicely.. The player will still be bothered by being forced into playing that Marine they have no interest in, and the Follower is even more problematic as it comes across a bit sexist ("if you want to play a girl, you can be this slave who is totally useless in battle, but maybe you can drive our ride or record how awesome us men are"). Plus, it leads right back to everyone else being bored when the GM actually inserts a moment for the Serf to RP.

 

I'd much rather OP sits down with that player and tries to explain Space Marines in a less one-sided manner. Their background allows for some pretty deep characters if you look past the bolter porn and painfully exaggerated masculism. To pimp my favourite Chapter, for example -- the Celestial Lions are pretty much space knights with a deep sense of honour and a certain tragic romanticism to their backstory.

Edited by Lynata

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You mean like playing two characters? Yeah, I don't see that working out nicely.. The player will still be bothered by being forced into playing that Marine they have no interest in, and the Follower is even more problematic as it comes across a bit sexist ("if you want to play a girl, you can be this slave who is totally useless in battle, but maybe you can drive our ride or record how awesome us men are"). Plus, it leads right back to everyone else being bored when the GM actually inserts a moment for the Serf to RP.

 

I'd much rather OP sits down with that player and tries to explain Space Marines in a less one-sided manner. Their background allows for some pretty deep characters if you look past the bolter porn and painfully exaggerated masculism. To pimp my favourite Chapter, for example -- the Celestial Lions are pretty much space knights with a deep sense of honour and a certain tragic romanticism to their backstory.

 

Good points, I didn't think of those implications, please kindly disregard the idea. Still, apparently there's no one-size-fits-all solution for female players having reservations about playing Space Marines.

 

The Celestial Lions' story is pure undiluted awesome, no question, and I'm particularly fond of the Bantu warrior vibe ADB spiced them up with in Blood and Fire.

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The other problem is that a certain Ward removed the Adeptus Sororitas connection to Inquisitors in 5e, of which I want to bludgeon his face for...screwed my army list :-(

 

Backgroundwise, they are no more or less connected than before. GW just scaled back the "they belong to the Inquisition!" vibe that a lot of people mistakenly interpreted into the army after the 3E codex. And as someone who likes the Sisters more than the Inquisition, I can only say it was about time that they returned to their 2E roots.

 

But as per the Allies Matrix, they are Battle Brothers, which should mean that with a minimum of adaption your list should still be viable!

 

"An Inquisitor has, in theory, the whole of Humanity to command to his cause. He can requisition Space Marines and soldiers of the Imperial Guard, call upon specialist warriors such as Grey Knights and Sisters of Battle."
-- 6E C:I

 

Good points, I didn't think of those implications, please kindly disregard the idea. Still, apparently there's no one-size-fits-all solution for female players having reservations about playing Space Marines.

 

Yeah, I think it comes down to (a) why exactly that player does not want to play Marines and (b) how the rest of the group feels about any options of inclusion.

 

The Celestial Lions' story is pure undiluted awesome, no question, and I'm particularly fond of the Bantu warrior vibe ADB spiced them up with in Blood and Fire.

 

Hmmh. On one hand I am intrigued about that story now. On the other ... Bantu? Why?! I really didn't get an African tribal vibe from their background. Rather, with a homeworld called "Elysium" and a relationship to the Ultras, I would have expected a connection to Greek mythology/culture. Which is how I expanded upon the material in my own DW character's background. ^^'

Edited by Lynata

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Hmmh. On one hand I am intrigued about that story now. On the other ... Bantu? Why?! I really didn't get an African tribal vibe from their background. Rather, with a homeworld called "Elysium" and a relationship to the Ultras, I would have expected a connection to Greek mythology/culture. Which is how I expanded upon the material in my own DW character's background. ^^'

 

First of all, read it. It's as much a Grimaldus story (and thus a kind of epilogue for Helsreach) as a Celestial Lion one, but neither part disappoints. It starts after the original Armageddon story finishes - the story of the last 96 brothers.

 

Secondly, the vibe is primarily tribal - reliance on oral tradition and stuff. There are a few elements evocative of Sub-Saharan Africa, mostly names and titles, but if you grow to like the presented view enough, it can be easily ported over to Thracian or early, pre-Classical Greek. Where does the connection to the the Ultras you mention come from, though? The linked article never mentions it, and the content of the printed Index Astartes article is pretty much the same as the Armageddon website.

 

And thirdly, glorious cover art. Never hurts to see your favourite Chapter in action depicted by a highly skilled professional ;)

Edited by musungu

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In retrospect, that might actually be headcanon. Or at least I can't recall where else I could have picked it up right now.

 

Though, with about half of the existing Successor Chapters coming from the Ultramarines, and the Lions' colours being gold and blue, and apparently having something Greek about them ... I guess I may have been jumping to that conclusion. ;)

 

Still, if someone wanted to write about an African-themed Chapter, why not take the Rainbow Warriors, or come up with an entirely new one rather than "establishing" an expanded interpretation of an existing unit? Especially as the Lions' armour really doesn't give any vibe of "African tribes". It would be different if they were adorned with feathers, but instead the lions' heads of their backpack look decidedly statuesque to me.

 

But, in the end, I guess I'm just salty that this story will once again be interpreted as "the truth" by the majority of 40k fans.

Edited by Lynata

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You do seem to be slightly prickly about it indeed ^_^ Keep in mind that established facts are not being stretched here, as (besides the name of the home planet and the chain of events from the clash with the Inquisition to their near-annihilation on Armageddon) very little is known about the Lions. They're as fair a target for GW writers and licensees as any other Chapter with very little established info, and they didn't exactly drew the short straw when they got ADB. The core story, what makes the Celestial Lions the heroic, tragic, altruistic Chapter they are, is unchanged. He sprinkled on some unexpected cultural background, sure, but it doesn't get overwhelming, and it doesn't feel forced. The original story works whether the Lions are seen as mythic, pure-hearted knights, or mythic, unspoiled-by-the-evils-of-the-outside-world noble savages, or presented in a form a tribal society might present the most legendary deeds of its hunter ancestors. I think the noble medieval knight's figure is pretty close to that of the the noble tribesman in Victorian literature.

 

Actually, it doesn't look like there was an explicit goal in mind to create an African chapter. A Veteran Sergeant, mentioned fairly early, is having Pride Leader as a title, which probably just comes from the Chapter name, and that could have set the tone for the rest easily. I also wouldn't worry about the fanbase interpreting it as the Absolute Truth - the story is more than two years old, it is the sole repository of new Celestial Lions lore (and the only one outside of the Armageddon story), and you, a very active member who'd certainly spot a general shift in opinion about the Lions, still didn't hear about it until now. It is safe to say the ripple effects are negligible :D

 

All in all, if it weren't about the Chapter you cared about and expanded in your head, I think you'd like what he did with them, and now I'm especially curious about your opinion - give it a try if you can, and tell me what you think.

 

Oh, and as for the Rainbow Warriors, in case we're allowed to mention them (poor guys were squatted worse than the squats themselves, after all - when the Death Strike and the Marines Malevolent Chapters nick your symbol, you know you've hit rock bottom), I pretty much like the Mesoamerican image they're getting in the community lately.

Edited by musungu

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I also wouldn't worry about the fanbase interpreting it as the Absolute Truth - the story is more than two years old, it is the sole repository of new Celestial Lions lore (and the only one outside of the Armageddon story), and you, a very active member who'd certainly spot a general shift in opinion about the Lions, still didn't hear about it until now. It is safe to say the ripple effects are negligible :D

 

Ah, but I think that's just because the Lions are generally little known and -discussed. I'm sure a lot of readers of that story don't even know about the Armageddon fluff page! Plus, I have kind of withdrawn from the place where I previously had most of my background discussions, so who knows what they're talking about now. ;)

 

All in all, it just feels a bit "limiting" in regards to how other fans (like me :P) would interpret and fill these "holes", especially if it happens at a much later point. And knowing how the majority of fans look to Lexicanum, I'm quite sure that the "damage" has already been done.

 

Speaking of, looking at Lexicanum, it also seems the story effectively retcons the conclusion of the Armageddon battle from "geneseed unharvested, last few survivors sworn to die" to "oh well, I guess we can rebuild now". Which takes a lot of the aforementioned drama out of the original story. It's not that the story itself seems to be implausible, but it needlessly challenges one of the very, very, very few examples where Space Marines get killed off in such a dramatic fashion, and it removes the epic (in the original sense of the word) "beautiful death" schpiel that had the Chapter go down similar to the slain protagonists in a samurai drama.

 

Not to mention that I doubt the Inquisition would just allow the Lions to leave Armageddon, after having been rather successful in disrupting their operations and sniping their people (including every single Apothecary -- don't you need these guys for the geneseed to be of any use?) earlier.

 

Oh, and as for the Rainbow Warriors, in case we're allowed to mention them (poor guys were squatted worse than the squats themselves, after all - when the Death Strike and the Marines Malevolent Chapters nick your symbol, you know you've hit rock bottom), I pretty much like the Mesoamerican image they're getting in the community lately.

 

Not so much squatted, but apparently exterminated by the Sisters of Battle -- at least as per a remark by Andy Hoare in WD #292, commenting on that image from 1st Edition Rogue Trader.

 

But with this disappearance not being connected to any particular point in time, it would be easy to feature them in a game set before the "right now" of 40k's tabletop. Including Deathwatch!

Edited by Lynata

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All in all, it just feels a bit "limiting" in regards to how other fans (like me :P) would interpret and fill these "holes", especially if it happens at a much later point. And knowing how the majority of fans look to Lexicanum, I'm quite sure that the "damage" has already been done.

 

Speaking of, looking at Lexicanum, it also seems the story effectively retcons the conclusion of the Armageddon battle from "geneseed unharvested, last few survivors sworn to die" to "oh well, I guess we can rebuild now". Which takes a lot of the aforementioned drama out of the original story. It's not that the story itself seems to be implausible, but it needlessly challenges one of the very, very, very few examples where Space Marines get killed off in such a dramatic fashion, and it removes the epic (in the original sense of the word) "beautiful death" schpiel that had the Chapter go down similar to the slain protagonists in a samurai drama.

 

Not to mention that I doubt the Inquisition would just allow the Lions to leave Armageddon, after having been rather successful in disrupting their operations and sniping their people (including every single Apothecary -- don't you need these guys for the geneseed to be of any use?) earlier.

 

That I understand, even sympathise with (you know my stance), but I still maintain the essence of the story is not diluted in this case :D

 

Actually, the survival of the Lions (which is not so much a retcon, rather a continuation, as the Armageddon story ends with a cliffhanger, so while your preferred version of them dying is implied, it's not stated) ties into the narrative of the novel Helsreach - have you read that? The writer shows a Chapter in there, the Shadow Wolves, getting the Heroic Death against the Tyranids, the Chapter Banner finally touching the ground when the last member falls in defence of their Fortress-Monastery, as a central motif. That is the example the hero, Reclusiarch Grimaldus of the Black Templars, looks up to and strives to emulate at the beginning, lamenting the fact he was left to die an unheroic death for a fairly unimportant place. It is a result and sign of his overarching character development (a rare and welcome thing in 40k Marine books, I might add) that in this case he aims for something different. The Lexicanum article also omits key facts - especially how the intervention of the Templars was not requested, and especially not welcomed by the Lions, who only contacted a fellow Chaplain of Dorn to receive the final rituals. The challenge of stopping to rebuild the Chapter serves both as a counterpoint to the ever-conquering, never-stopping Templars, and at once a parallel to that, to stress the hero's understanding of how all service to the Emperor has a point and must be done, however gruelling or seemingly non-heroic it might be.

 

It is actually a carefully planned and well-executed story arc in a literary sense, certainly a little patch of greenery in the desert of bolter porn. Stories like this are the reason why ADB is enjoying a degree of popularity.

 

As for the Inquisition, well, High Marshal Helbrecht, who is also the supreme commander of the collective Imperial fleet above the planet at this point, personally intervenes and keeps his eye on further developments. It raises the stakes for any shady Inquisitor involved rather high, doesn't it? :D Also, the gene-seed of the last battle's casualties are presumably collected by the arriving Templars - if half of the 96 died, it yields a hundred or so gene-seed, which is not half bad :)

 

Edit: One more thing. I rather like the fact that they're presented as Sons of Dorn - the Fists' family long deserved getting a member who's a bit more lebenslustig than the two main Chapters. You ever notice how the more "normal" Dornites, the ones actually caring about their surroundings and possessing a more empathic sense of justice, tend to suffer "unfortunate accidents"?

Edited by musungu

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