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skatingtortoise

squad mode confusion!

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everything seems to be mostly straight forward so far, the only sticking point our group is having is squad mode abilities, preferring to just ignore them thus far, and i dont blame them. so here is how i understand them to work, correct me if im wrong. feedback from a playtester would be very useful.

 

Oaths: these determine which codex abilities you may use during the mission. choice limited by speciality of team leader.

cohesion: a pool of points

using abilities: you pay the cohesion cost to be able to use one of the abilities unlocked by the oath. this can then be activated at any time during the mission, for no further cohesion cost ie. if you spend cohesion on getting bolter assault, at any time during the mission, squad mode players may activate it to charge down the unclean. they can be bought by any member of the team, and then used by any member of the team (in squad mode)

codex abilities: bread and butter stuff, choice narrowed down by oaths.

chapter abilities: maybe be purchased by squad leader, from squad leader's 2 chapter options. only other members of the chapter may use them, making them very limited unless you have  several brothers from one chapter. other battle brothers may not use their own chapters' abilities.

tactical marine ability: may allow other marines to use chapter abilities after a -20 command test, making them more reliable with mixed groups.

 

so procedure is, pick leader. leader picks appropriate oath. everyone writes down the available abilities on mode sheet. during battle, marines in squad mode may spend cohesion to activate these abilities for the rest of the mission, with the ability to switch back and forth depending on situation, but may not benefit from more than one ability per turn. if cohesion ever reaches 0, squad mode is lost along with its abilities.

 also keep in mind i have ignored all the squad range stuff as that seems pretty clear. rank 1-3 marines must be within 30m of another marine to join squad mode and use the unlocked abilities.

everything here seem right? a lot of the book seems painfully obtuse on who may/may not use/select/take part in what, just curious to see what people's interpretations are.

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skatingtortoise said:

everything seems to be mostly straight forward so far, the only sticking point our group is having is squad mode abilities, preferring to just ignore them thus far, and i dont blame them. so here is how i understand them to work, correct me if im wrong. feedback from a playtester would be very useful.

 

Oaths: these determine which codex abilities you may use during the mission. choice limited by speciality of team leader.

cohesion: a pool of points

using abilities: you pay the cohesion cost to be able to use one of the abilities unlocked by the oath. this can then be activated at any time during the mission, for no further cohesion cost ie. if you spend cohesion on getting bolter assault, at any time during the mission, squad mode players may activate it to charge down the unclean. they can be bought by any member of the team, and then used by any member of the team (in squad mode)

codex abilities: bread and butter stuff, choice narrowed down by oaths.

chapter abilities: maybe be purchased by squad leader, from squad leader's 2 chapter options. only other members of the chapter may use them, making them very limited unless you have  several brothers from one chapter. other battle brothers may not use their own chapters' abilities.

tactical marine ability: may allow other marines to use chapter abilities after a -20 command test, making them more reliable with mixed groups.

 

so procedure is, pick leader. leader picks appropriate oath. everyone writes down the available abilities on mode sheet. during battle, marines in squad mode may spend cohesion to activate these abilities for the rest of the mission, with the ability to switch back and forth depending on situation, but may not benefit from more than one ability per turn. if cohesion ever reaches 0, squad mode is lost along with its abilities.

 also keep in mind i have ignored all the squad range stuff as that seems pretty clear. rank 1-3 marines must be within 30m of another marine to join squad mode and use the unlocked abilities.

everything here seem right? a lot of the book seems painfully obtuse on who may/may not use/select/take part in what, just curious to see what people's interpretations are.

 

Just for the record, I *think* you got it right (not sure though) and I'll save your post for reference because FFG didn't provide such a condensed overview themselves.

 

Alex

 

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 I'm pretty sure the Cohesion cost is paid each time a squad mode ability is activated. You can sustain it for free, but if you ever stop you would need to repay the cohesion to get it back up.

And the ones that aren't sustainable, like Bolter Assault, cost that much each time you execute the maneuver.

But really the whole squad mode chapter seems a mess of contradictory statements. At one point it says you have all of the abilities, but later it gets limited by oaths. And at one point it says Chapter squad mode abilities will only effect other marines from that chapter, but then it says that a leader grants the whole squad his chapter ability. Etc.

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HamHamJ said:

 I'm pretty sure the Cohesion cost is paid each time a squad mode ability is activated. You can sustain it for free, but if you ever stop you would need to repay the cohesion to get it back up.

And the ones that aren't sustainable, like Bolter Assault, cost that much each time you execute the maneuver.

But really the whole squad mode chapter seems a mess of contradictory statements. At one point it says you have all of the abilities, but later it gets limited by oaths. And at one point it says Chapter squad mode abilities will only effect other marines from that chapter, but then it says that a leader grants the whole squad his chapter ability. Etc.

First two statements are correct.

Third statement: You do get access to all the abilities, in that you don't need to buy them. That was what the book was saying. Same sort of thing with the Chapter squad abilities, in that, as with normal squad abilities, when it's used it covers the whole squad, but it only matters to the Marines from the same chapter as the squad leader. If you read the section through a couple of times it makes perfect sense.

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MILLANDSON said:

HamHamJ said:

 

 I'm pretty sure the Cohesion cost is paid each time a squad mode ability is activated. You can sustain it for free, but if you ever stop you would need to repay the cohesion to get it back up.

And the ones that aren't sustainable, like Bolter Assault, cost that much each time you execute the maneuver.

But really the whole squad mode chapter seems a mess of contradictory statements. At one point it says you have all of the abilities, but later it gets limited by oaths. And at one point it says Chapter squad mode abilities will only effect other marines from that chapter, but then it says that a leader grants the whole squad his chapter ability. Etc.

 

 

First two statements are correct.

Third statement: You do get access to all the abilities, in that you don't need to buy them. That was what the book was saying. Same sort of thing with the Chapter squad abilities, in that, as with normal squad abilities, when it's used it covers the whole squad, but it only matters to the Marines from the same chapter as the squad leader. If you read the section through a couple of times it makes perfect sense.

Third Statement:

As a fellow playtester of the core rulebook, I am/was/continue to be just as lost as the OP about this to be honest. I was confused when we had the PDF files and I still think its worked very confusing.

Per RAW (Read As Written) it says you pay for it once and have it available to you for the rest of the Mission if sustained. I have always thought the intent was that you don't have to pay for it over and over as long as you sustain it, but once you out of Squad Mode, then you have to re-pay to activate it again. Again though, the wording says its active for the whole Mission.

The wording for the Chapter specific abilities is also confusing as mentioned. On one hand it says it only affects people from the same Chapter, yet that seems to not be the intent, at least not initially. I mean, otherwise why even have the Chapter specific abilities since they are 99% useless if they only affect one member of the team (assuming each is a different chapter). 

With this said, let me make sure I am understanding this right, and hopefully can clear this up for possible errata in the future:

1. The available Squad Mode abilities you Kill Team has access to is limited by the Oath you take plus your Chapter specific abilities.

2. Chapter specific Squad Mode abilities affect the whole Kill Team when used by the Leader, but only affect same-Chapter if used by a non-Leader?

3. Cohesion costs are paid each time the ability is activated. Sustained ability only pay once regardless how long its sustained. Non-Sustained pay for it when the ability is used.

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Thankfully (in this case lengua.gif) I didn't have the playtest rules in my head confusing things. But yea, I read it through a few times and it made sense to me. Sure it could be written better, but I never really felt like they didn't make sense... preocupado.gif Might well be because I've seen RPGs so badly written that they were basically unplayable without massive houseruling (such as Fireborn), so the FFG 40k stuff, even if it's slightly unclear at times, generally makes sense to me after reading it a few times and spending a little time figuring it out.

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MILLANDSON said:

Thankfully (in this case lengua.gif) I didn't have the playtest rules in my head confusing things. But yea, I read it through a few times and it made sense to me. Sure it could be written better, but I never really felt like they didn't make sense... preocupado.gif Might well be because I've seen RPGs so badly written that they were basically unplayable without massive houseruling (such as Fireborn), so the FFG 40k stuff, even if it's slightly unclear at times, generally makes sense to me after reading it a few times and spending a little time figuring it out.

So you agree with my 3 statements?

And yea, some games are so poorly written they are basically unplayable. I have the Cadwallon RPG...what a mess.

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With the three statements, I'd say that I agree with 1 and 3, but not with 2, because, as stated on page 219, "only Battle-Brothers of the same Chapter as the Chapter ability may benefit from their effects, whilst all other members of the Kill-Team will be unaffected regardless of their Mode or if they are in Support Range".

Which bit of it are you reading that suggests that the Squad Leader can bestow his Chapter ability on everyone, regardless of Chapter? I've not read anything like that whilst reading through the book preocupado.gif

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MILLANDSON said:

With the three statements, I'd say that I agree with 1 and 3, but not with 2, because, as stated on page 219, "only Battle-Brothers of the same Chapter as the Chapter ability may benefit from their effects, whilst all other members of the Kill-Team will be unaffected regardless of their Mode or if they are in Support Range".

Which bit of it are you reading that suggests that the Squad Leader can bestow his Chapter ability on everyone, regardless of Chapter? I've not read anything like that whilst reading through the book preocupado.gif

Last sentence under "Oath-Taking":

"In addition to the listed Codex Squad Mode abilities the Kill-team will also have access to their leader's Chapter Squad Mode abilities."

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HamHamJ said:

 

 

Last sentence under "Oath-Taking":

"In addition to the listed Codex Squad Mode abilities the Kill-team will also have access to their leader's Chapter Squad Mode abilities."

This is what makes me wonder if the intent is for them to work or not.

Based on RAW they do not. In fact, based on RAW:

1. Kill Teams have access to the listed Codex Squad Mode abilities and the leaders only. (ie: not even their own Chapter)

2. Chapter-specific abilities only affect same Chapter.

Personally I don't like this, but that is how its written.

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kenshin138 said:

HamHamJ said:

 

 

 

Last sentence under "Oath-Taking":

"In addition to the listed Codex Squad Mode abilities the Kill-team will also have access to their leader's Chapter Squad Mode abilities."

 

 

This is what makes me wonder if the intent is for them to work or not.

Based on RAW they do not. In fact, based on RAW:

1. Kill Teams have access to the listed Codex Squad Mode abilities and the leaders only. (ie: not even their own Chapter)

2. Chapter-specific abilities only affect same Chapter.

Personally I don't like this, but that is how its written.

 

Let me repeat what the OP already mentioned: Tactical Marines with Tactical Expertise can join the chaper-specific abilities (which makes in some cases not really much sense).

 

Also I would dare to assert that a non-leader brother cannot activate the squad mode ability of his own chapter, unless the leader is of the same chapter.

Page 219: "Squad Mode abilities are gained as a result of the Kill-team's choice of squad leader."

 

I will also point that if you have a kill-team of 5 Marines, having the kill-team in 3 different Squad Modes will subvert the team spirit/cohesion spirit that the game has been trying to foster through oath-taking, etc. Personally, I'd suggest that no more than 1 offensive/defensive ability each should be allowed.

 

Alex

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MILLANDSON said:

Aye, I'm generally going to be running that there's only one Squad Ability at a time, because that makes sense.

 

I guess noone read my critique because it was too long *but* I also think that Tactical Marines can benefit from wolf senses is... odd.

 

I think I'll give it a try with 1 offensive and 1 defensive ability at a time and see how that works out. I can dumb it down or beef it up from there.

 

Alex

 

PS What's the distinction between offensive and defensive abilities actually good for rule-wise? Can there be mixed abilities?

 

 

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Hmm I read it that whoever was the Squad Leader enabled the whole squad to use Squad abilities of His chapter as well as others.  If however a non leader activated a squad ability that was chapter based it would only be usable by members of his chapter.

Example a Dark Angel is squad leader, therefore they can use the Dark Angel Defence Pattern Squad Ability. 

If (in the same situation) the leader was a Storm Warden, though the Dark Angel could activate this ability, it would only be useable by Him and other Dark Angel marines.

That is the point of ensuring you pick the righ Leader, rather then munching to have the one that would give the most cohesion, it make the preperation part more role-playable.

Same with Oaths, the leader dictates the oath from those available to his chapter/speciality and will benfit all the marines

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I agree with fatpob.
Looking through the examples they give you, you don't technically have to be the squad leader to activate a squad ability.
However the squad leader determines the selection of abilities as well as being able to order the other marines into his chapter trained abilities, benefits of being the leader.
this also helps players have fun with the team work aspect of the game, since cohesion is limited and arguments amongst what abilities to use will drain cohesion rapidly and eventually break squad mode. also there's the good roleplay aspect, such as a blood angel leader attempting to inspire his squad into frothing blood thirsty maniacs or a dark angel leader careful positioning of the squad with repeated orders of hold your ground, come heaven or hell we shall not be moved.

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FatPob said:

Hmm I read it that whoever was the Squad Leader enabled the whole squad to use Squad abilities of His chapter as well as others.  If however a non leader activated a squad ability that was chapter based it would only be usable by members of his chapter.

Example a Dark Angel is squad leader, therefore they can use the Dark Angel Defence Pattern Squad Ability. 

If (in the same situation) the leader was a Storm Warden, though the Dark Angel could activate this ability, it would only be useable by Him and other Dark Angel marines.

That is the point of ensuring you pick the righ Leader, rather then munching to have the one that would give the most cohesion, it make the preperation part more role-playable.

Same with Oaths, the leader dictates the oath from those available to his chapter/speciality and will benfit all the marines

Regardless of how its actually meant to be, I will likely play it like this. I have had about half of my group come to me with worry that their Chapter abilities won't get used for reasons I've stated before.

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kenshin138 said:

FatPob said:

 

Hmm I read it that whoever was the Squad Leader enabled the whole squad to use Squad abilities of His chapter as well as others.  If however a non leader activated a squad ability that was chapter based it would only be usable by members of his chapter.

Example a Dark Angel is squad leader, therefore they can use the Dark Angel Defence Pattern Squad Ability. 

If (in the same situation) the leader was a Storm Warden, though the Dark Angel could activate this ability, it would only be useable by Him and other Dark Angel marines.

That is the point of ensuring you pick the righ Leader, rather then munching to have the one that would give the most cohesion, it make the preperation part more role-playable.

Same with Oaths, the leader dictates the oath from those available to his chapter/speciality and will benfit all the marines

 

 

Regardless of how its actually meant to be, I will likely play it like this. I have had about half of my group come to me with worry that their Chapter abilities won't get used for reasons I've stated before.

 

Being able to join chapter-specific squad mode abilities is a major advantage of Tacticals which I am not going to take away from them.

 

Alex

 

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ak-73 said:

 

 

 

Being able to join chapter-specific squad mode abilities is a major advantage of Tacticals which I am not going to take away from them.

 

Alex

 

 

 

 

Actually the tacticals are only able to share their Chapter specific ability, they are not able however to be affected by chapter specifics of others. Making them perfect leaders , not perfect followers.

An Ultramarines  tactical is really a boon to have, however, i am the only Ultramarines fan in our group. One of my players has an Ultramarines Apothecary though, not a perfect leader, but nontheless a more viable one then the rest of the team in many situations.

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tkis said:

ak-73 said:

 

 

 

Being able to join chapter-specific squad mode abilities is a major advantage of Tacticals which I am not going to take away from them.

 

Alex

 

 

 

 

Actually the tacticals are only able to share their Chapter specific ability, they are not able however to be affected by chapter specifics of others.

 

Ah yeah, okay. Thanks for pointing that out. Still if everybody can join the leader, this becomes moot, no? Me, I like the limited availability of squad modes abilities.

 

I want the system to work so that they work hard to make the right strategic choice when taking the oath and picking their leader. What I don't want is that everybody can make everybody else join their chapter-specific ability because then it becomes more of a tactical choice, making combat decisions more complex.

 

Alex

 

 

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I like both the limitations of the system, by providing very specific abilities, and the planning and decision making on the part of the characters even before the mission starts, as well as the huge benefit of having a tactical marine as a part of the team, as most chapter specifics provide a VERY substantial performance boost.

My group has decided not to include a tactical and has all characters oriented towards melee. I can already see some missions being a huge pain for them (Tau for instance, being able to rip 10 firewarriors to shreds in a few rounds counts for nothing if one is ripped to shreds by just 5 of them, while one tries to close that 450m gap).

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 My issue is they want everybody to be able to be the squad leader, however they seem to build it up so that you severely cripple your group if you don't use a Tactical Marine as the leader. Or rather, don't use a Tactical marine who has taken the power that allows his chapter abilities to extend to the entire group. Or even better, have every player pick the same Chapter, which defeats the entire lore of the Deathwatch.

Basically, both me and my group see a lot of time/effort/cool abilities that won't ever get used because of this. Maybe they aren't needed, but it seems a total waste of development time to invest in these abilities that aren't worth using due to limited Cohesion and the inability to affect the other players, which they were designed to do.

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kenshin138 said:

 My issue is they want everybody to be able to be the squad leader, however they seem to build it up so that you severely cripple your group if you don't use a Tactical Marine as the leader. Or rather, don't use a Tactical marine who has taken the power that allows his chapter abilities to extend to the entire group. Or even better, have every player pick the same Chapter, which defeats the entire lore of the Deathwatch.

Basically, both me and my group see a lot of time/effort/cool abilities that won't ever get used because of this. Maybe they aren't needed, but it seems a total waste of development time to invest in these abilities that aren't worth using due to limited Cohesion and the inability to affect the other players, which they were designed to do.

 

The system assumes rotating leadership, I think. Besides I do not think that chapter squad mode abilities should be the core of the game. They are just one additional tool to get the job done. If my players would start to appoint always the same guys just to be able to access a specific chapter power, I'd start assigning leaders in their stead.

Perhaps one could mitigate this otherwise. By allowing battle-brothers to learn tactics from each other over time. At the end of each campaign(?), the surviving Marines may elect one chapter-specific power that their team has learnt as a whole. (New/replacement Marines won't be able to join unless of the same chapter.)

 

Alex

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Hmm, the way i see it, and i need to re read it is that as per my example (this bit is repeated):

"Example a Dark Angel is squad leader, therefore they can use the Dark Angel Defence Pattern Squad Ability.

 

If (in the same situation) the leader was a Storm Warden, though the Dark Angel could activate this ability, it would only be useable by Him and other Dark Angel marines."

If you have a tactical marine, the squad could also utilise his abilities as well, however the tactical marine would have to initiate them, and therefore have a cohesion cost.

So to go further into the second part of my example:

If (in the same situation) the leader was a Storm Warden, though the Dark Angel could activate this ability, it would only be useable by Him and other Dark Angel marines. However if the Dark Angel was a Tactical Marine, they could once again use these abilities at a cohesion cost"

TBh until I have actually played the full fat rules I can't take a decision.

What I don't like the idea of is having a defacto leader (UM TM) because the munchkinism allows him to have cohesion 10 skipping a fair few options.

Mission leaders should be based on the criteria of the mission, not who gives the best cohesion.
 

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It depends on the mission, for some of them a specialist is the way to go, as tacticals are not able to take all the oaths. Ultramarines tactical is just the best option for overall utility and flexibility as a leader. A Blood angel is a better combatant, a Space Wolf is a better tracker, an Ultramarine is a more capable and flexible leader, to each his own.

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tkis said:

It depends on the mission, for some of them a specialist is the way to go, as tacticals are not able to take all the oaths. Ultramarines tactical is just the best option for overall utility and flexibility as a leader. A Blood angel is a better combatant, a Space Wolf is a better tracker, an Ultramarine is a more capable and flexible leader, to each his own.

 

On the by-way... I think there should have been more oaths with a more narrow focus... this would focus players to think harder on which oath to choose. Also I think it's a missed opportunity on overwhelming players with a strategic choice.

 

Also as a House Rule I intend to "force" my players to write down an (at least two-liner) oath anew each mission. With the team leader possibly reciting the oath they have drafted together on the whole team's behalf while the team is putting hands on top of each other. Something like that.

 

Alex

 

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