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Magnus Grendel

Wrath and Glory

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I had gotten the book some time ago. Unfortunately still didn't get to actually play a game in it yet, but I'm already busy writing a small fan-supplement for it anyways. :D

I largely approve of the system's direction. The rules still feel needlessly convoluted in some places, but not nearly as much as DH & Co. At the same time, the book desperately needs an errata and FAQ to clarify a few things -- there's this thread over at the official Ulisses forums now, which I recommend stopping by to check on a few things that may have been unclear. What I really, really like is that grenades have been confirmed to utilize the Reload system, acting as an "alternate special attack" and dispensing with the need to rebuy these consumables again and again. That said, special ammo still needs a balance pass; if it's really supposed to be "one shot" I don't think anyone is going to use manstopper bullets, as just acquiring a bolter is going to be easier, cheaper, on top of having better stats.

Personally, I'm looking forward to what supplements may add to the game. The core rulebook is pretty much a "Jack of all Trades", having basic rules for just about everything, but not going into detail for anything specific. For the time being, groups will have to fill a lot of the blanks, but thankfully the system is simple enough that this should not take a lot of time. Whipping up an entirely new Archetype, for example, is a mere matter of minutes -- I really like this kind of customizability in a game, and it is something I had already praised Only War for.

On 10/22/2018 at 3:06 PM, Magnus Grendel said:

Marines pick a chapter and get two bonus rules - or are primaris (at a higher starting tier) and get even better stats and ignore any geneseed-based negatives from their chapter rules.

You're probably aware that official material's focus on Space Marines is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, so you won't be surprised to hear I had to roll my eyes a bit at the amount of content they get in a supposedly unified rulebook, compared to all other types of player characters. But my criticism does not just aim at the detailed special rules for different Chapters, which can still be handwaived as catering to the importance/popularity of this faction for the IP as a whole -- rather, I was more annoyed at the "extra mile" given to Astartes-Keyword equipment.

Why are they the one faction getting a separate chapter (pun not intended) for their power armour? Why was the needler associated specifically with the Space Marines when its more numerous user is the Imperial Guard? The former does not just constitute an inefficient use of pages, it also means humans currently do not have access to Terminator armour. Likewise, the latter means human characters do not have a projectile sniper rifle, but are limited to the long las. Thanks to the system being so open, there fortunately are very easy workarounds to both (be it a more liberal interpretation of the meaning of Keywords, or just duplicating the item in question), but I can't help but feel a sting of annoyance at this kind of special treatment. I thought the purpose of a universal ruleset was to get over this kind of segregation? This would have been great for a supplement, but leaves a bad taste in my mouth when it's a precedent from the core book.

This being said, given that we've been teased Ratlings from a future IG supplement, I have a sneaking suspicion that we are going to see a (ab)human needler in the near future, given its traditional affiliation with these specialist marksmen. Will it be the same weapon with the same stats but a different Keyword? Or will it have slightly different stats to gloss over the "conspiracy theory" that it has been intentionally held back? Time will tell! I hope the Guard supplement will also bring rules for something like the Comrade system from OW, or allow ranking characters to acquire command of NPC platoons. The core rules already have some cool basics here if we look at the Mob you can acquire as an Ork Nob, just like there's a more generic Talent that gets you a Mob of low-level minions -- perfect for simulating stuff like Frateris Militia or hired goons. :)

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A Cawl-pattern Bolt Rifle (what primaris carry) is a fundamentally different weapon but it still has the same damage and rate of fire (salvo score) - it's advantage over the bolter are its AP (it's better at killing armoured opponents) and range (60m instead of 40m, and - critically - 30m instead of 20m for the 'half range' Rapid Fire boost to damage). It's still not quite as good as a heavy bolter, even in rapid fire range.

And don't forget the built-in grenade launcher! ;)

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Most of the archetypes are pretty general - each 'faction' has 2-4 of them, one starting at each tier :

I feel like in some cases, the tiers aren't really adequate. Needless to say, there's going to be a lot of subjectivity involved in such assessments, but I would have switched a number of Archetypes around.

Edited by Lynata

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52 minutes ago, Lynata said:

 

I suspect that SM got heavy focus because Deathwatch was always really popular, and given that W&G is obviously trying to get tabletop players into the game and SM are most popular they got heavy focus.

But the first supplement in the works is human organization focused (Including loyal and dark mechanicus), so I wouldn't doubt that we may see expanded rules for different factions down the line.

After all Inquisition get Ordo abilities.

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25 minutes ago, ThenDoctor said:

I suspect that SM got heavy focus because Deathwatch was always really popular, and given that W&G is obviously trying to get tabletop players into the game and SM are most popular they got heavy focus.

More popular than Dark Heresy or Only War? Hmmh. Even if that were the case (admittedly, it did seem to yield a lot of supplemental books!), I still would have thought it'd make more sense to simply publish a Marine-focused supplement as the first release after the core rulebook, rather than having the latter sport such a weird imbalance. Not even the tabletop, which had perpetuated this issue within the franchise in the first place, has its core rulebooks share that problem, but instead at least keeps it relegated to the ratio of codices.

On a side note, I can't be the only one who noticed that many of the Chapter downsides result in negative consequences not for the individual Space Marine, but the entire group. :P I do like the idea of Chapter rules as a bundle of thematic advantage + disadvantage to balance them against other characters (and indeed this is something I'm currently adapting to other Archetypes as optional tie-in rules), but that doesn't really apply when your balancing disadvantage is "the GM gets +1 Wrath".

Edited by Lynata

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35 minutes ago, Lynata said:

More popular than Dark Heresy or Only War?

Think it was second only to Rogue Trader in terms of activity and popularity which was werid to me as well.

Marines will get a supplement as well at some time but that will focus on 2nd and subsequent foundings along with official traitor legion rules.

When one travels with Astartes them failing tends to be bad for the whole situation in narrative at least.

If one of the Emperor's finest is failing then things have taken a turn.

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11 minutes ago, ThenDoctor said:

When one travels with Astartes them failing tends to be bad for the whole situation in narrative at least.

Well, the same if not worse could be said about Inquisitors -- and what's the narrative justification behind a Space Marine messing up their Willpower save resulting in a completely independent situation being made worse? The franchise may revolve largely around the Astartes, but the same cannot be said about the galaxy in-universe.

On a side note, if the Astartes supplement really focuses on 2nd Foundings and beyond, that kind of just makes things worse, as it means Space Marine players will miss out on a lot of material that could otherwise be expected there. The First Foundings have receive (iirc) 1 1/2 pages in the core rulebook, which would be insufficient for a supplement, even if it's too much for core. Personally, I would expect an Astartes supplement to offer more insight into Chapter history and traditions, in addition to some Chapter-specific wargear from the tabletop codices. If the entire product line does not offer anything for the Ultramarines beyond three sentences in the core book, I'm sure that would be a huge disappointment. And if they don't get their due in the Space Marine supplement, where else?

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23 minutes ago, Lynata said:

Well, the same if not worse could be said about Inquisitors -- and what's the narrative justification behind a Space Marine messing up their Willpower save resulting in a completely independent situation being made worse? The franchise may revolve largely around the Astartes, but the same cannot be said about the galaxy in-universe.

On a side note, if the Astartes supplement really focuses on 2nd Foundings and beyond, that kind of just makes things worse, as it means Space Marine players will miss out on a lot of material that could otherwise be expected there. The First Foundings have receive (iirc) 1 1/2 pages in the core rulebook, which would be insufficient for a supplement, even if it's too much for core. Personally, I would expect an Astartes supplement to offer more insight into Chapter history and traditions, in addition to some Chapter-specific wargear from the tabletop codices. If the entire product line does not offer anything for the Ultramarines beyond three sentences in the core book, I'm sure that would be a huge disappointment. And if they don't get their due in the Space Marine supplement, where else?

I can't answer the first question because I don't know Lyn, it was just something I'd pondered on and figured I'd provide as answer.

Second point though depends on how much material the other supplements give to the other races.

Eldar will give us likely the aspect focus

Ork will probably give us a lot of clan stuff

Humans will give us...well I suspect a lot of human stuff.

We don't even know how long the supplements are going to be to be fair, but I suspect the 2nd and beyond founds will be more along the lines of "Use this first founding chapter as base and add modification"

The supplements are, by last word, going to be split into 3 volumes each. One for rules, one for lore, one for adventures.

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3 hours ago, ThenDoctor said:

After all Inquisition get Ordo abilities.

It's an odd mix of what factions get keyword linked abilities. It's fair enough to me that a space wolves tactical marine (all right, 'grey hunter') feels different to an ultramarine or a blood angel, and that a catachan guardsman doesn't play the same as a mordian.

But by the same logic, it feels random that there are no 'keyword' abilities for (for example) mechanicus forge worlds, eldar craftworlds or sororitas orders. You could argue that the latter are uniform enough that there is no need for a 'this is the shooty one, this is the choppy one' subfaction rule, but I'm sure you could draw a single skill point distinction between them, and since the 'order' keyword should be covering hospitaller orders, militant orders and even <any> scummers to make 'pastiche' famulous or dialoguous, you might at some point want to put in order-specific rules, so having a generic universal rule now you can later vary from would make sense.

1 hour ago, ThenDoctor said:

We don't even know how long the supplements are going to be to be fair, but I suspect the 2nd and beyond founds will be more along the lines of "Use this first founding chapter as base and add modification"

More or less. The classic 2nd founding exception being Black Templars, though, who look next to nothing like their progenitor chapter.

3 hours ago, ThenDoctor said:

I suspect that SM got heavy focus because Deathwatch was always really popular, and given that W&G is obviously trying to get tabletop players into the game and SM are most popular they got heavy focus.

Probably. Given how perfectly they line up with RPG settings, it's surprising that no mention was made of Deathwatch (aside from an in-passing nod in a test example). I'd expect to see the two astartes chambers militant* front-and-centre of the space marine source books.

4 hours ago, Lynata said:

And don't forget the built-in grenade launcher!

Not a universal fitting - essentially no different to carrying a combi-weapon, I guess, except primaris issue the combi-weapons to squad members rather than sergeants.

2 hours ago, ThenDoctor said:

Ork will probably give us a lot of clan stuff

The option of oddboyz characters is probably most crucial. Playing orks of any klan is fine, but a party is going to be really limited on what they can be expected to achieve without the option of a painboy medic, speed freak driver/pilot, mekboy technician, etc.

 

* and to a degree I can see that concept resurfacing. They're not bound by FFG policy and whilst they're not going to directly contradict GW's writing, I know Aaron Dembski-Bowden's opinion of the way Codex: Grey Knights took the Grey Knights/Inquisition relationship in the background is scarcely printable (in fairness, he was 75% done writing The Emperor's Gift and then got handed a draft copy of Ward's latest creation in all its 'inquisition who?', mecha-wearing, sororitas-butchering, daemon-weapon wielding, even-purer-than-extra-pure-pure "glory")...

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, ThenDoctor said:

I can't answer the first question because I don't know Lyn, it was just something I'd pondered on and figured I'd provide as answer.

Ah, sorry, I didn't want to come off as crass -- I guess I was looking for either agreement or an explanation. :D It's quite possible the writers intended it the way you figured, it just doesn't seem ... fair, I guess? It essentially means the entire party has to shoulder these specific Chapter disadvantages, whereas the advantage is a personal one limited to the Marine character -- even if he'll use it to pursue a common goal.

Maybe future supplements will include such options for other Archetypes also. A GM aware of this imbalance may also opt to use Ruin (not Wrath, mea culpa) gained this way only against the Space Marine. At the very least, the Astartes is most certainly one of the character classes most likely to engage in a duel with a powerful antagonist, where Ruin may apply.

3 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

But by the same logic, it feels random that there are no 'keyword' abilities for (for example) mechanicus forge worlds, eldar craftworlds or sororitas orders. You could argue that the latter are uniform enough that there is no need for a 'this is the shooty one, this is the choppy one' subfaction rule, but I'm sure you could draw a single skill point distinction between them, and since the 'order' keyword should be covering hospitaller orders, militant orders and even <any> scummers to make 'pastiche' famulous or dialoguous, you might at some point want to put in order-specific rules, so having a generic universal rule now you can later vary from would make sense.

I would not be surprised if we see more specific rules at some point in the future. Imperial Guard, Mechanicus, Ministorum and various Xenos supplements are all good opportunities to expand on the very basic rules in the core book.

For what it's worth, I found the system so easy to work with that it shouldn't be difficult to homebrew this stuff. In fact, the Space Marine Chapter rules at least serve one universal purpose here: they're great examples of what would be possible. (and I may or may not already be writing on Sororitas Order rules inspired by them. ;) the "advantage + disadvantage" combo means rules of this type make for great optional tie-ins that could be added in or left out of a campaign without any need to rebalance something else)

This being said, more than elaborate Chapter rules or minimalist +1 regimental bonuses, I think what the book could have used instead would've been Homeworld rules that apply to everyone. Geneseed mutation aside, the reason many Marine Chapters and Guard regiments are so different from one another is because of where they were raised (not like Chapter culture developed in a vacuum; it's a direct result of who they recruit), so it's kind of odd that such a unifying detail was left out completely.

And maybe then Hospitallers and Commissars could've enjoyed increased resistance against corruption as well, instead of this bonus being limited to Battle Sisters because the game does not support representation of their common Schola Progenium background. ? I can foresee this becoming an issue later on, when supplements attempt to introduce "advanced" Archetypes people can evolve their characters into, like it is already possible with the Scout and the Tactical Marine, as it means that, for example, the Battle Sister Veteran (Celestian? Seraphim? Superior?) profile will either have to juggle multiple abilities, or she'll suddenly become more corruptible in exchange for whatever other ability she gains.

Then again, maybe Homeworld rules will come with a supplement as well, like a sort of Player's Guide that fleshes out the Imperium further?

3 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Not a universal fitting - essentially no different to carrying a combi-weapon, I guess, except primaris issue the combi-weapons to squad members rather than sergeants.

Huh, you're right -- I could've sworn the book listed them in the gun's stats as a fixed feature, but it seems I remembered incorrectly.

3 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

* and to a degree I can see that concept resurfacing. They're not bound by FFG policy and whilst they're not going to directly contradict GW's writing, I know Aaron Dembski-Bowden's opinion of the way Codex: Grey Knights took the Grey Knights/Inquisition relationship in the background is scarcely printable (in fairness, he was 75% done writing The Emperor's Gift and then got handed a draft copy of Ward's latest creation in all its 'inquisition who?', mecha-wearing, sororitas-butchering, daemon-weapon wielding, even-purer-than-extra-pure-pure "glory")...

Come to think of it, I've heard that recent TT codex releases have walked back on splitting the Chambers from the Inquisition? Not sure how much truth there is to this, I kinda stopped collecting new material after 6th, but I'm sure there is some room to maneuver.

But yeah, I think basic Deathwatch rules (DW-specific special ability, some fluff, a few pieces of wargear) would have made more sense for the core rulebook than two pages of minimal Chapter representation. Especially considering that, following the old lore for Captain Artemis, it's not uncommon for individual Deathwatch Marines to be attached to a party of Inquisitorial operatives. Would have been the perfect starter for a mixed group.

Not that I want to complain too much -- what we were given works too, and everyone has their own opinion as to what could have been improved, anyways.

Edited by Lynata

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