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Jackal_Strain

I may have solved the female problem.

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Well, in my game at least.

I'm eagerly awaiting the release of Deathwatch so I can start game mastering for my local 40k rpg group. One small problem though, my girlfriend, who is a regular in the group is not too keen on the prospect of playing a... male.

I understand her completely, and what is the point in having a girl in your group and have her playing a guy? God knows the ratio of guys to girls into rpg's is skewed as it is, so I was left with the task of coming up with a solution that was bot satisfactory to her and the background of the game.

The first thoughts that came into my head was the possibility of playing an Inquisitor leading a killteam (she didn't like this one since she's uncomfortable with playing a leading character, or someone who speaks on behalf of the group), a temple assassin (an idea she liked quite a bit, but decided it was too much like her current dark heresy character) and a Sister Sororita.

No female space marines. Heresy.

Game mechanic-wise (without having more info about the Deathwatch rules than what has been released thus far) I believe a battle sister is the closest one can get to a space marine without playing an actual space marine. Power armour? check. Bolter? Check. Superior training compared to 95% of the rest of the armed imperial forces? Check. The mentality to overcome fear and carry on in the face of certain death? Check.

She'll lack the physical power and resillience of the rest of the group, but she's ok with that considering that she can actually take her armour off and pass as any other citizen of the Imperium. She'll probably start with quite a lot of skills and talents compared to the rest of the group and this will help make her useful in situations where the rest of the group might lack the required aptitudes.

I'm not really concerned with the game mechanic aspect of including a sororita in squad of astartes.

 

I do need to work out the details of why she's included in the squad little more, but I'm pretty pleased with what I've come up with so far. The players (except my girlfriend, or fiancee actually) will all play marines from different chapters, all new to the deathwatch, but far from inexperienced within their own chapters. Unlike most killteams however, this team will have a very unusual task that they need to solve in addition to their "normal" duties.

Just weeks before the players characters was inducted into the deathwatch, a traitor was discovered within the organization. This traitor had passed himself off as a high ranking (this needs fleshing out as I'm still not 100% sure about how the deathwatch chapter is organized) officer in the deathwatch for several decades, but turned out to be an Alpha legionaire who had assassinated the officer who was originally intended for the position. The players killteam was formed after the traitor was discovered and are now tasked with both hunting him down and uncovering how much information he might have slipped to the enemies of the imperium. In addition to this why will have to investigate if whether he was working alone or if there are others within the deathwatch or the inquisition that worked with him.

Matters got worse when the deathwatch and Ordo Xenos were unable to keep this secret and contained and the Ordo Hereticus was made aware of this. In order to avoid an inter inquisition crisis that might, in the worst case scenario, end up in open war between inquisitorial faction, the Ordo Xenos and the Deathwatch agreed to allow one of ordo hereticus most trusted agents in the sector full access to the investigation as a special member of the newly formed killteam.

This agent was tasked with monitoring the spiritual purity of those she encountered within the deathwatch and looking out for any signs of heretical activity.

 

I believe this situation might be quite entertaining on several levels and offer plenty of cool opportunities for some interesting role playing. The vastly different ways that marine chapters see the Emperor compared to the more traditional views of the Sororitas might cause some frictions between the marines and the battle sister, but they might find common ground in their approach to warfare and the way theys ee themselves (warrior monks/knights and warrior nuns etc).

 

So do any of you see any gaping holes in my plan? Anything in particular that you guys think I should pay extra attention to? How do you guys think the marines might react to the news that an outsider will be privy to information and training that most marines might never be considered worthy to receive? Anything else? All thoughts and comments are welcome.

   

 

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That certainly doesn't seem impossible, though it is obviously going to offer some challenging roleplaying issues.  The only real issue does appear to be mechanical, in that the Sister will not buy into the "Team Awesome Powers," or the Squad Mode abilities of the Deathwatch.  Of course, this may be a non-issue for your group but it would seem to be the only real hurdle.

(Incidentally, the idea of using the Sisters of Battle was mentioned several times in that other thread.  They just didn't have the cool back story that you've got going on.  Kudos.)

As to your questions?  I think that it's going to be... interesting times in that particular group.  The Marines are already going to be on edge because of their mission and the tacit implication at the failure of the Deathwatch.  The idea that they're also being "observed" by an outsider is going to put them even more on edge.  In short, there is going to be much walking on razor edges for interesting RP potential. gran_risa.gif

Kage

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Jackal_Strain said:

I do need to work out the details of why she's included in the squad little more


The Inquisitor who runs that Watch Keep (or whatever they're called) is really into being an equal opportunity employer?

BYE

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When I'll start my Deathwatch campaign I'll probably be providing a few "non-marine" character options. Most of them can also be taken up by anyone wanting to play a non-marine male. They'll all be part of the resident Ordo Xenos Inquisitors retinue and those not played by anyone will appera as NPCs:

- Primaris Psyker

- Death Cult Assassin

- Adepta Sororitas Seraphim (this is naturally female-specific)

- Skitarii Tribune

Since they are all part of the same Inquisitors retinue I don't feel I need to provide anymore reasons on "how" and "why" they are there. Inquisitorial manadate is more than enough.

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 If the "girl" can be the leader of the group, a female Ordo Xenos inquisitor is a good choice. The ascended inquisitor carrier is very versatile and the inquisitor can come from any DH carrier.

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A very elegant and graceful solution. Possibilities as such were hinted at in Final Sanction, with the Adeptus Assasinorum operative functioning as the primary contact for the players, but this solution is both consistent and flavorful.

I don't particularly see the 'issue', tho. The girls in my gaming group have gleefully gone for the Marine option, picking the Space Wolf Tactical Marine, and two Assault Marines (one converted to a Blood Angel due to chapter preference of said player) - with the guys actually being the Devastator and Apothecary. Heh. I have offered everyone the option of playing an 'extra' from Dark Heresy or Rogue Trader, but appearently the idea of striding around in Mk VII Power Armour won out in the end. ;-)

I do intend to run the two introductory adventures for a different group, tho, and I will definatively file away this great idea for future use should the issue come up.

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Kage2020 said:

That certainly doesn't seem impossible, though it is obviously going to offer some challenging roleplaying issues.  The only real issue does appear to be mechanical, in that the Sister will not buy into the "Team Awesome Powers," or the Squad Mode abilities of the Deathwatch.  Of course, this may be a non-issue for your group but it would seem to be the only real hurdle.

(Incidentally, the idea of using the Sisters of Battle was mentioned several times in that other thread.  They just didn't have the cool back story that you've got going on.  Kudos.)

As to your questions?  I think that it's going to be... interesting times in that particular group.  The Marines are already going to be on edge because of their mission and the tacit implication at the failure of the Deathwatch.  The idea that they're also being "observed" by an outsider is going to put them even more on edge.  In short, there is going to be much walking on razor edges for interesting RP potential. gran_risa.gif

Kage

I'm still undecided about the whole squad/solo mode thing. I'm almost certain that I wont let the battle sister benefit from squad mode in the beginning, but if she earns the respect and spends a great amount of training with the kill team, she might benefit from squad mode as well after a while. I believethis is the sort of thing that will sort itself out, one way or another between the players in the group.

I'm also curious about hordes and non-astartes characters. Hordes seems capable of dealing out huge amounts of damage (as they should) and will certainly be much deadlier for a character without unnatural toughness. Any ideas for dealing with this? I'm not a fan of making the enemies target certain members of the group more or less unless there is a clear in game reason for doing so. I find it hard to imagine gaunts, orks or anyone else really seeing marines as that much more imposing and dangerous in the heat of battle compared to the sororita. Power armour tends to even out the bulk some.

 

As for "the other female problem". I'm sorry guys. No luck. I find a decent amount of chocolate and pretending to pay attention to what they say while you're actually preoccupied with something else helps, but that last one is not recommended for the inexperienced. ;)

 

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 I'm also curious about hordes and non-astartes characters. Hordes seems capable of dealing out huge amounts of damage (as they should) and will certainly be much deadlier for a character without unnatural toughness. Any ideas for dealing with this? I'm not a fan of making the enemies target certain members of the group more or less unless there is a clear in game reason for doing so. I find it hard to imagine gaunts, orks or anyone else really seeing marines as that much more imposing and dangerous in the heat of battle compared to the sororita. Power armour tends to even out the bulk some.

Not that much... while the canon may be somewhat divided about it, Marines are bigger than norms by far - 2,50m does make for an imposing difference even in power armour.

 

The one character type that can hold their own with marines physically would likely be the Vindicare - they're pretty much engineered to the same degree as marines anyway.

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Is it really that big of a problem to use characters/careers from RT or DH with DW? A smattering of XP, use RT starting stats (25+2D10 for base characteristics) and upgrade some equipment and give extra fate points to non-astartes characters and let them start with max starting wounds and have at it.

Spending a few thousand XPs can net bonus wounds, heightened stats, extra skills and talents.

Sure a 5000-6000XP guardsman is going to be a putz in the strenght, toughness and overall combat prowess category when compared to a Astartes, but as mentioned before, non astartes characters will bring different skill sets and abilities to team.

I dont think you have to ramp the game to 11 and use Ascension. In most of the fluff Ive read (novels, codices and what not), exceptional humans usually excel at some important skill that the astartes in the story need. So a regular old human with some skill at +20 and the Talented talent related to that skill becomes a subject matter expect for the deathwatch team.

As for the Sister of Battle being used, ramp her up to rank 5, give her power armour and a bolter and a power weapon and lether and her pure faith talent run loose.

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As long as they have their place to shine then, yeah, normal humans work just fine (even if they're not necessarily fully ascended).  A part of that is in the approach to the Marines themselves, though.  The individual GM has to be willing to see that Marines are "da bestest" at everything that they do, but rather get a lot of stuff for "free" that puts them to the top of their physical game.  This is then brought along some by the training and the technology.

It gets back to the Unnatural Attributes, but if one uses the example of Marine lifting capacity, this is where you begin to get into ludicrous values.  Take, for example, the Inquisitor skirmish wargame.  In there, whatever you might say about the mechanics, were Marines that were about four times as strong as the "average" human, or about five times as strong in their power armour.  Same Marine in Dark Heresy (off the top of my head) is 32 times stronger from just the use of a single level in both Unnatural Toughess and Unnatural Strength.  Marines are statistically put crazily beyond even what an exceptional individual is capable of performing.  While that might be reasonable with these two statistics, and I would say that it isn't particularly, the same kind of scaling logic gets used with the Marines in general.  

Basically you're dealing with mechanical power creep.  

Of course, with that said it might work in the game so it's all good.  Just throwing out the trend and representation as reinforcing the idea of "power creep," although there are probably going to be more "bits 'n' bobs" in the final game to moderate some of it.

So, back to the point, if you remove the tendency of having everything bow down to the Space Marines and chant how awesome they are, I think that using more "normal" characters becomes more feasible.  While I mentioned the "Team Awesome Powers" above, I think that the mention of Hordes raises another interesting question.  Not only in how much damage they get directed at them, but how they operate against the more abstract nature of the Horde itself.  (This might raise up the Horde vs. Horde thing again.)

Anyway, that's a few hurdles that might be there: 

  1. Mechanical "power creep" designed to make Marines more awesome, especially in a game that is focused upon them.  In this case, "Team Awesome Powers" might offer an edge that isn't really "balanced" (if that is a significant concept for you), but we won't know until we see the full rules on Sqad Mode and its interaction with Solo Mode and therefore ofter types of non-Marine characters.
  2. Conceptual "power creep" that has Marines as the be-all-and-end-all.  This might be reinforced by the mechanics, but again this is probably a "wait and see" thing.
  3. Horde mechanics and the implications of how non-Marines are going to be dealing with this.  One imagines that 20 gangers was meant to be a serious thread in Dark Heresy but less so in Deathwatch (see #1 as well).

On the other hand, if the non-Marine characters have the aforementioned chance to shine in the game?  It just seems that things might come to a crunch in combat, since the games seem at least on the face of things to be dealing with two entirely different themes/concepts that might not gel so well together.  Again, though, on the face of things.

YMMV.

Kage

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If you have access to Rogue Trader you may consider Subskin Armour and Synthetic Muscle Grafts. These are simple implants that can help your SoB to closer to the space marines in terms of armour and strength.

Now Subskin Armour is only 2 AP, so its certainly not as good as Unnatural Thoughness. you can however also choose to invent your own Thoughness Edition of Synthetic Muscle Grafts and give them to your SoB if you wish.

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Or, if your worried about damage, give her a Roserus, a Cloak of St. Aspira.  A high natural toughness and a few extra armor points can go along way on to making the girl less squishy.  Otherwise I sugest Dodge, and using the big marine for cover as nessisary.  Better equipment can make up for the other side as well, as Unnatural abilities don't apply to purging the heretic with bolter and flame.

As Bassemandrh said, you could always just give the Sister Unnatural Toughness and Unnatural Strength threw other means, such as cybernetics and grafts.  Depends on how traditional and able to blend in she wants to be. 

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Cifer said:

 I'm also curious about hordes and non-astartes characters. Hordes seems capable of dealing out huge amounts of damage (as they should) and will certainly be much deadlier for a character without unnatural toughness. Any ideas for dealing with this? I'm not a fan of making the enemies target certain members of the group more or less unless there is a clear in game reason for doing so. I find it hard to imagine gaunts, orks or anyone else really seeing marines as that much more imposing and dangerous in the heat of battle compared to the sororita. Power armour tends to even out the bulk some.

Not that much... while the canon may be somewhat divided about it, Marines are bigger than norms by far - 2,50m does make for an imposing difference even in power armour.

While they certainly are bigger (especially when you consider their bulk and the armour on top of that), they top out at 7' - 7' 6" while wearing armour. That's "only" about 2.3 metres at maximum. About the size of a "medium" ork.

 

But yes, the Sister of Battle would seriously stand out for her scrawniness. A Gaunt probably wouldn't care, but other people and all the intelligent Xenos (including the more intelligent Tyranid organisms) would certainly notice. In the case of Orks that would probably mean she would be less of a target, or only a target of those orks with less self esteem, but all the others might view her squishyness as an opportunity rather than as a reason to ignore her.

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One way to solve the SoB keeping up with a SM delima:

Use the SM as presented with these changes.
Swap the Unnatural Toughness and Strength for the SoB faith abilities in IH.
Add the rest of the faith talents as purchasable options.
Add 1d5+2 fate points on top of what a DW character starts with to power the faith abilities.
Add or swap skills as appropriate for a SoB. i.e. anything Astartes = Ecclesiarchy
Start them with Good Quality armor and weapon of choice.

Fearless as a swap for the Deathwatch Training talent might be a good option also.

Adding the extra Fate points should take up any slack due tothe "Go Team Awesome" Powers the SM have.

It might be possible to use the faith talents as demeanors.
 

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 I think, in all honesty, the hardest parts about humans is not their balance, but the reason they are running with a group of space marines. This is practically unheard of in the lore, as far as i know. The deathwatch only interacts with the inquisitor and their said retinue, however if the inquisitor needs the Deathwatch then it is doubtful he/she will need their "mortals". While i am not saying it is impossible i was also wondering what ideas you guys had that might not include and Inquisitor, in case this ever comes up with my group. Back the main point of this thread, i love that idea you have about the heretic among the deathwatch, would you mind others using it and putting different spins on it? Mayhap other legions, Night Lords or Thousand Sons, or emperor forbid a Fallen DA. (i am a DA player)

 

Cheers!

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 So what is the big problem with just saying... Space Marines can be men or women. They both get implants and both become essentially genderless marines, in the sense that they are sterile/impotent/sexless.

There is no real disconnect with anything else in the 40K universe and I really don't see how it would cause any problems at all... So the Primarchs were all men, oh well in our forward thinking 41st millennium boys and girls can be brutish enough to join the Astartes.

It does't take any real leap of imagination to accomadate this change and have it gel with the rest of the setting. It just seems a much easier way of allowing female player characters than trying to shoehorn in other 40K character types that will dilute what the Deathwatch game is about.

 

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I've got to agree with CourtJester, I've always pictured marines as ending up essentially genderless.  I would think that in addition to all of the other [genetic/biological/physiological/psychological] [implants/upgrades/manipulations/adaptations] a space marine recieves one of the most important would be to eliminate sexual desire and a sense of gender identity.  Both of these things would get in the way of being a marine first and foremost.  When you look at all of the other enhancements [extra organs, more muscle, increased size and mass] why couldn't they do that to a woman as well?

 

The end result is creating a Space Marine, not turning a man into a marine. 

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I concur with the two "Girls can be Marines" post.

In the end, all the flame is useless. It's your game, so you can pretty much do anything to it.

More to the point, all players should be treated as equals.

I don't mind my share of chauvinistic movies, games or even a chauvinistic, faschistoid setting like the whole luke-warm aryan genetic whatnot that WH40K exudes from all its pores. In fact, I love it.

But I don't think you should mechanically or conceptually put female players at a disadvantage. If any girl wants to play on my campaign, there you go. I think the setting can only go so far.

- There's a thousand chapters, surely one must have found a work-around ? If the empire is scoured for neutrals to psy, then surely they can find XY androgen resistant males. They look like (very attractive, by the way) females but they lack the uterus. So, you even get a "scientific explanation" for free.

The whole concept of gender, in real life, if you look at it from a medical perspective, isn't as binary as we would like it to be. There are many diseases of genetic men looking female (the XY androgen resistant), or genetic females looking male.

Make it rare, make it unusual and have the player come up with a background story, hell make it a once-in-the-galaxy thing (super secret experiment by the emperor stuck in Maelstrom and now back on the show), whatever, but do not gall the player with this chauvinistic nonsense. If you change "girl" to black or gay or chinese, I am pretty sure you will find nowhere written that Space Marines have ever been one of those. But if any of my players feel better to portray a character that fits them because they are of that gender, origin or inclination, than I, as a game-master, host and entertainer, should do better than saying that Space Marines aren't like that.

 

Either way you turn this, the line of reasoning that the SM process doesn't work on girls can be beaten to death with the same pseudo-science stick that came up with it.

 

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As far as why a Sister is running with Space Marines, I can think of a few options.  Perhaps her entire order was destroyed by xenos, and as the only survivor she swore a vow of vengeance upon the xenos to the Watch Captain who helped liberate the world?  Or a psychic Inquisitor saw that it was "foretold" by the Emperor's Tarot, and the Watch Captain is sympathetic to such precognitions and prophecies.  Or maybe it's simple politics, and a local Canoness has agreed to go above and beyond in assisting a beleaguered Watch Captain who has been cut off from normal supply lines, providing supplies that she badly needs as well in return for the Watch Captain allowing Sororitas to fight along side the Marines, gaining valuable xenos-hunting skills, until normal supply lines can be reestablished?  Those are just a few that spring to mind.

 

You might also want to give the Sororitas access to something similar to Chapter/Personal Demeanors, so she's not being out-Fate-pointed by the Marines as well.  Plus, Demeanors is just a fun mechanic, and it's really not a stretch to imagine it applying to the Sisters as well.

 

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Excellent idea, and there's no reason why you couldn't buff a Sororitas to make her more on par with an Astartes.  Technically speaking, their armor provides the same protection without the added strength and bulk.  

Input a little bit of the Sisters natural and unyielding faith in the Emperor and you've got yourself a Sister ready to stand beside any Marine.  The Emperor protects, especially his most devout.

 

But I also agree with Ariolan, Reno, and Court Jester. There's no reason not to allow a female marine. Its a bit unorthodox, and I do think that most Marines do identify themselves as "men", but for all purposes of the game, it is YOUR game as was stated.

If you wanted to you could have the Emperor stand up off his throne and start tossing lightning bolts at the Lords of Terra just cause he wanted a laugh. Having a Sister Captain amongst the frat boys would probably be a rather interesting mix. The UltraMarines might have some issue with it, but does the Codex Astartes say anywhere that Marines can't be women?  I highly doubt it. 

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Ariolan said:

 

Make it rare, make it unusual and have the player come up with a background story, hell make it a once-in-the-galaxy thing (super secret experiment by the emperor stuck in Maelstrom and now back on the show), whatever, but do not gall the player with this chauvinistic nonsense. If you change "girl" to black or gay or chinese, I am pretty sure you will find nowhere written that Space Marines have ever been one of those. But if any of my players feel better to portray a character that fits them because they are of that gender, origin or inclination, than I, as a game-master, host and entertainer, should do better than saying that Space Marines aren't like that.

 

 

Hear, hear.

I remember reading a bit of fluff concerning the Blood Angels geneseed (I forget which book it was in) and it was basically explaining how the geneseed transformation turned ALL Blood Angels in blond, blue eyes Aryan warriors.  According to this snippet, if a black man was given the Blood Angels geneseed, and assuming it took hold, his skin would gradually whiten as the transformation process went on.  It was a little bit revolting to me, to be honest.  I mean, I love the dark, neo-gothic setting of the 40k universe and I love the Blood Angels as a chapter (more for their colour scheme than their cheese-fest rules), but something about that idea struck a dischordant tone for me.

I understand that the official fluff says there are no female space marines, period, ever.  They don't even get considered for induction, blah, blah, blah.   That won't stop me from introducing a female space marine in a 40k RPG if I want to.  It's a big galaxy out there and humanity has forgotten more of its own past than most people are willing to admit.  Hell, they don't even have all that firm a grasp on the present state of the entire Imperium.  There's plenty of wiggle room for a top secret experiment, or a rogue chapter that began initiating females with some degree of success.  Lord knows that planting a geneseed in a girl wouldn't be the worst travesty that a chapter has been accused of, and yet remain in good standing with the Emperor.  The authors of the 40k fluff may have, on occasion, taken their subject matter to boorish new depths - perhaps in an effort to shock the readers, or perhaps because they are genuinely chauvinistic.  Whatever.  That doesn't mean I have to follow suit.  I have little difficulty modifying an RPG setting to suit my needs for the story I want to tell - I frequently make changes to monsters or cities for the sole purpose of throwing for a loop those players who have already memorized the books and think they know everything about everything.  If a girl wants to play in my Deathwatch game and play a female space marine, I'm willing to work with her to find a solution that works for everyone.

No matter what the setting or the game system, no RPG Game Master should find himself a slave to the fluff text that's been printed.  The Golden Rule exists for more than just mechanics.

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