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IronKaiser

Getting Lord Commander Ebongrave right

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On my next adventure, I'm going to have the team go to Fortress Spite, acting as the official representatives for the Deathwatch to Lord Commander Ebongrave. This is also something of a penance mission after their planet destroying shenanigans from the last mission. I want to make sure I get Lord Commander Ebongrave just right, I want him to be properly paranoid, but I don't want to go so far where he's shooting random people in his HQ because his gut tells him that their Tau sympathizers. If you've used Lord Commander Ebongrave's before in a campaign, how have you portrayed him and his personality?  

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@IronKaiser...

 

1. If you have not read them, the following books deal with Ebongrave:

 - a. DW-06: The Achilus Assault (sourcebook)

 - b. DW-08: The Jericho Reach (sourcebook)

 - c. DW-10: Rising Tempest (3-part Adventure)

Rising Tempest in particular is notable because the Kill Team deals directly with Ebongrave and ultimately decide his fate, whether he is killed off, removed from power, pseudo-exiled, or if he remains in power.

 

2. Ebongrave, the Tau, and the other Crusade Commanders is basically an exercise in extremes and wasteful decisions.

 - a. On the Tau side of things, Ebongrave's paranoia is not entirely un-warranted.  The Tau are unusually active in their efforts, both overt and subversive, against the Canis Salient.  "Unusually", due to the unseen hands manipulating the overall war over the Jericho Reach (see "The Dark Pattern").

 - b. On Ebongrave's side of things, his paranoia is at least one leg over the line into insanity.  While Ebongrave is fanatically loyal to the Imperium, he is so focused upon brutal suppression of Canis Salient holdings, he has forgotten to give his forces an external enemy to focus upon and rally against.  As a result, Ebongrave's suppression efforts is ironically a major contributing factor to why there are so many defectors and Tau sympathizers.  Put in a WH40K way, Ebongrave has become so obsessively focused upon The Enemy Within, he dangerously disregards The Enemy Without, and even left the door open for The Enemy Beyond in some areas of the Canis Salient.

Ebongrave may not randomly kill people "on gut", but he scrutinizes and micro-manages everything, and sees subversion in every mis-worded phrase(s), "unusual" (to him) requests, &/or questions to his authority/orders.

Paranoiac insanity is NOT about randomly lashing out.  It is about overreacting to very little thing, due to extreme perception(s) &/or micro-management.

 - c. The other Crusade Commanders would actually have very little problem with Ebongrave were he actively pushing forward against the Tau.  But instead, Ebongrave withholds nearly 50% of his forces in turning them upon the Canis Salient holdings for brutal suppression.  So in effect:

   ~ 50% suppression of Canis Salient worlds

   ~ 30% directed against the Tau

   ~ 20% defensive holding against Hive Fleet Dagon

And not just holding back military forces either, Ebongrave also holds back supplies as well.  He stockpiles them in paranoiac fear that he will have to use them against the Canis Saient holdings in case of mass uprisings in favor of the Tau.  So many Canis Salient worlds are lacking in basic supplies (or simply cut off), and its war fronts do not have the (metaphorical and literal) fuel to press forward against the Tau or to throw back the Tyranids.

 

This is why the Canis Salient's progress has been critically stalled, it is fighting a war on not just two fronts, but three fronts:

 - A. the Tau Front

 - B. the Tyranid Front

 - C. the "Home" Front (enemies within, real &/or imagined)

So it is important to understand that Ebongrave is only the visible crux of the problem of the Canis Salient's eroding progress.  There are many other contributing factors which make Ebongrave how he is ("seeing the 'Big Picture'..." ).

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

 

Hope this helps.

Edited by pendrake71

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@IronKaiser...

 

1. If you have not read them, the following books deal with Ebongrave:

 

 - a. DW-06: The Achilus Assault (sourcebook)

 

 - b. DW-08: The Jericho Reach (sourcebook)

 

 - c. DW-10: Rising Tempest (3-part Adventure)

 

Rising Tempest in particular is notable because the Kill Team deals directly with Ebongrave and ultimately decide his fate, whether he is killed off, removed from power, pseudo-exiled, or if he remains in power.

 

 

2. Ebongrave, the Tau, and the other Crusade Commanders is basically an exercise in extremes and wasteful decisions.

 

 - a. On the Tau side of things, Ebongrave's paranoia is not entirely un-warranted.  The Tau are unusually active in their efforts, both overt and subversive, against the Canis Salient.  "Unusually", due to the unseen hands manipulating the overall war over the Jericho Reach (see "The Dark Pattern").

 

 - b. On Ebongrave's side of things, his paranoia is at least one leg over the line into insanity.  While Ebongrave is fanatically loyal to the Imperium, he is so focused upon brutal suppression of Canis Salient holdings, he has forgotten to give his forces an external enemy to focus upon and rally against.  As a result, Ebongrave's suppression efforts is ironically a major contributing factor to why there are so many defectors and Tau sympathizers.  Put in a WH40K way, Ebongrave has become so obsessively focused upon The Enemy Within, he dangerously disregards The Enemy Without, and even left the door open for The Enemy Beyond in some areas of the Canis Salient.

 

Ebongrave may not randomly kill people "on gut", but he scrutinizes and micro-manages everything, and sees subversion in every mis-worded phrase(s), "unusual" (to him) requests, &/or questions to his authority/orders.

 

Paranoiac insanity is not about randomly lashing out.  It is about overreacting to little things due to extreme-point micro-perception(s).

 

 

 - c. The other Crusade Commanders would actually have very little problem with Ebongrave were he actively pushing forward against the Tau.  But instead, Ebongrave withholds nearly 40% of his forces in turning them upon the Canis Salient holdings for brutal suppression.  So in effect:

 

   ~ 40% suppression of Canis Salient worlds

   ~ 30% directed against the Tau

   ~ 30% defensive holding against Hive Fleet Dagon

 

And not just holding back military forces either, Ebongrave also holds back supplies as well.  He stockpiles them in paranoiac fear that he will have to use them against the Canis Saient holdings in case of mass uprisings in favor of the Tau.  So many Canis Salient worlds are lacking in basic supplies (or simply cut off), and its war fronts do not have the (metaphorical and literal) fuel to press forward against the Tau or to throw back the Tyranids.

 

This is why the Canis Salient's progress has been critically stalled, it is fighting a war on not just two fronts, but three fronts; and one of those fronts is the "home front" (a war that that neither side wins).

 

So it is important to understand that Ebongrave is only the visible crux of the problem of the Canis Salient's eroding progress.  There are many other contributing factors which make Ebongrave how he is ("seeing the 'Big Picture'..." ).

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

 

Hope this helps.

This does help, thank you very much. 

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I'd make him be right, not about everything, but if early on in dealing with him it turns out he gets them helping with something that it turns out DOES reveal a Tau plot, he'll proably come off immediatly as a much greyer character 

That's a good idea. 

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I'd make him be right, not about everything, but if early on in dealing with him it turns out he gets them helping with something that it turns out DOES reveal a Tau plot, he'll proably come off immediatly as a much greyer character 

That's a good idea. 

 

Thanks. I just think the biggest risk is the character coming off as cartoony character who sees plots behind every bush. he's much deeper if your players look at what he's doing and say "well.. maybe he's got a point?" 

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Ah, Lord Ebongrave. Such a...courageous man. So bold in adhering to his policies. Why, if many i9mpoeriual commanders and governors were faced with a seductively attractive xenos empire close to their domains and feared their people might be tempted to fell to it, many imperial leaders might consider some liberalization of their policies, to make life in the imperium seem more attractive to the masses. But not lord ebongrave! He heroically increases the oppression and terrorization of his subjects to levels few imperial worlds can match! How heroic of him to risk driving his subjects into the 4 fingered hands of the tau! Surely he is a bold man! Such innivation! Suck c;ever thinking, to dissuade one's citizens from defecting to a foreign power by increasing the  briutality and terror they are subjected to daily to such unheard of levels! What a...unique view of how t0o deal with such a problem.

lord Ebongrave's military planning is as bold and unconventional as his social policies as well. Why, when all military experts agree the best way to deal with the tyranid threat is to meet them head on and stop them as soon as possible, before they build up their strength and forces by comsuming more worlds, lord ebongrave has the courage to dismiss such conventional wisdom in favor of his bold plan to hoard his forces and build them up even as the tyranids strip entire worlds and expande their fleets geometr4ically. What courage it must take to fly in the face of established wisdom like that!

 

Yes, lord ebongrave is a bold and innovative thinker who certainly has a disdain for the mundane thinking of most experts. It's certainly fortunate that he is a hig commander in the calixis sector.

Now if we could only determine for whom exactly this is fortunate...

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