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kongnico

"Combatey" Apothecary

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Hi guys

Having GM'ed our deathwatch campaign for the first 3 games, I am about to shift seats to being a player for a while. That means I have to roll a character, and since the squad needs someone with the Medicae skill, it looks like im stuck with the apothecary (or that kinda strange deed from Ritles of Battle) - correct me if im wrong?

What my question really is though, is how do I make an apothecary decent at combat? What talents and characteristics should I focus on? I know he will never rival an assault marine or devastator - the point is just to make it possible to do some damage while still providing that all important medic support that our usual style of play requires (lots of combat). Im going to enjoy roleplaying him, but I want to make sure im not just a pretty face with Medicae+10 :)

kind regards

Nicolai

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Buy him a Heavy Weapon.

Fact#1: Without Elite Advances you'll never be good in melee. By the time you get multiple attacks, the Assault Marine gets elite melee abilities like Preternatural Speed.
Fact#2: WIth shooting, it's more the weapon than the man holding it that matters.

Conclusion: you need to focus on ranged and the more req you can spend on it, the better.
Best advice? Buy your regular gear (Diagnoster helmet?) with Signature Wargear, leaving you with more req to spend on missions. Don't remember if there is Deeds/Distinctions/Chapters in RoB that increase your Req or Renown; if so, it might be a good choice.

 

Other than that Apothecaries are a bit lacklustre. They can be fun in role-playing but crunchwise they are weaker than the other specialties. It's a shame, really. I have called for an upgrade in an errata similar to the one the Space Wolves received ages ago. Apothecaries need Flesh Render for their Chainsword - they get it at Rank 8??? Seriously, guys... Move Swift Attack to Rank 2 or 3. Lightning Attack to rank 6 or 7.

And give them Wisdom of the Ancients, if not as starting talent than at rank x. If you go over the list of advances of an Apo, what picks do you consider exciting? There's not much - which means Elite advances are in order to fix a weakly designed specialty.

 

Alex

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Thanks guys, useful answers already :)

It's not that I mind being the weakest combat guy, im usually quite inventive anyway, so i'll think of something to do while the others carry the day :)

I havent considered what chapter to roll really - I guess i'll go and see if I can get +bs and +int or something... Suggestions are welcome?

Buying the proper helmet as signature is a good idea - i'll consider that! thanks already.

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My apothecary is the 2nd best fighter in the group, maybe thats bc hes a bc templar with a ton of hatreds and scourge of heretics.He is THE best chance the group has against greater daemons/princes or psykers.Also I made him a chaplain so double the damage as now he is THE best Talker in the group with the highest fllowshipand the best FS based skill list on the team. I started him out to be a good ranged, but for some reason thats more expensive than cc, and when the nerfed my storm bolter that went out the window too.

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Tunnelhckrat said:

 

My apothecary is the 2nd best fighter in the group, maybe thats bc hes a bc templar with a ton of hatreds and scourge of heretics.He is THE best chance the group has against greater daemons/princes or psykers.Also I made him a chaplain so double the damage as now he is THE best Talker in the group with the highest fllowshipand the best FS based skill list on the team. I started him out to be a good ranged, but for some reason thats more expensive than cc, and when the nerfed my storm bolter that went out the window too.

 

 

 

He still has one attack per round and one reaction for parry/dodge? If so, hatred and scourge are only semi-useful. That said I think Black Templar Apothecary is a cool combo, if only the Apothecary specialty had a bit more to show for in melee...

Do you really find many of the Apothecary talents/skills flashy? I find them lacklustre to a degree.

 

Alex

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I had a look at the stormbolter as my main weapon (I start out with renown respected with 3200 extra XP to make up for the sequence of scenarios I have run for the players). Am I wrong in thinking that it is way superior to any shooty weapon below 100 metres? I might make it my main weapon as a piece of signature wargear and then use my req for special rounds or similar.

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I assume you run alternative weapon stats from the errata? If so, (later: master-crafted) Astartes Assault Shotgun (full auto! probably the best gun for starting characters, use with Penetrator rounds, etc. and get a Fire Selector) or a Barrage Plasmagun (later) both from RoB are alternatives to consider.

If using original stats, stick to Storm Bolter and special ammo or if you want to torture your GM a (master-crafted) Heavy Bolter with Kraken rounds.

 

Alex

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kongnico said:

I havent considered what chapter to roll really - I guess i'll go and see if I can get +bs and +int or something... Suggestions are welcome?

I rolled a Dark Angels apoth for roleplaying purpose and they do get the BS and INT bonus. Ultramarines would seem like an option too with their two picks of choice for bonus (if you're in to the blues, I guess)

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Diagnosticator Helm with Signature wargear

Create Toxins ability

Boost Int

Auto Sanguine trait

Chainsword (upgrade to Powersword later)

Boost WeaponSkill

Boost Perception

Interrogation skill

Increase your Medicae Skill

 

Okay...it's not Combatey or Extra Killy (although, with what a Marine has, you're always ahead of most of the field anyway). Focus on doing what your Archetype is meant to be doing. All that time and effort spent on trying to up your KILL factor is Experience and effort that can go into making you Uber in your chosen field. Remember, it's not about what you can do Solo so much as in what the squad can do with you in it.  

 

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I’d never call the Apothecaries we’ve had ‘weakly designed’.

 

The main one in our group, Brother Raphael of the Blood Angels, has made himself into a sniper and chemical expert. He’s about as good a medic as he can be, but he’s also gone out of his way to be good with chemicals and poisons and taken a Stalker-Pattern bolter that he routinely uses to take out tough foes once their Reactions have been depleted by the rest of the Kill-Team. He’s also got a Chainblade attachment on his Stalker, as at the end of the day he’s still a Blood Angel and in melee can get some good use out of his Solo Modes in a pinch. 

BYE

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H.B.M.C. said:

I’d never call the Apothecaries we’ve had ‘weakly designed’.

 

The main one in our group, Brother Raphael of the Blood Angels, has made himself into a sniper and chemical expert. He’s about as good a medic as he can be, but he’s also gone out of his way to be good with chemicals and poisons and taken a Stalker-Pattern bolter that he routinely uses to take out tough foes once their Reactions have been depleted by the rest of the Kill-Team. He’s also got a Chainblade attachment on his Stalker, as at the end of the day he’s still a Blood Angel and in melee can get some good use out of his Solo Modes in a pinch. 

BYE

 

He still does not have any multiple attacks or defenses in melee unless Rank 7 or melee advances. If he goes sniper he still has to pay premium for high BS and needs to get Elite Advances for Deadeye Shot/Sharpshooter, Eye of Vengeance, Mighty Shot, Crack Shot.

Can an Apothecary do damage? Yes. Because he's a Marine. In combat everyone else can do what he can and then more. He can pass his Bolter to the Assault Marine and he can pretty much do the same and kill enemies much more effectively with the Chainblade attachment.

I'll say it again: at least Flesh Renderer should be easily accessible. How about Two Weapon Wielders? Look at the Apothecary advances and tell me which advances from rank 1 to 5 excite you. I could tell you with every other specialty. Not with the Apothecary. Autosanguine/Hary is nice but Toughness is medium  priced so can't be used to build rock hard marines cheaply. Sure Strike and Disarm - which are meh given that you have nothing else to make a marine that is semi-good in melee. No Stalwart Defence to protect fallen comrades bodies (that talent alone could make for some heroic action by the Apothecary).

The advances are bland/lacklustre/whatever you want to call it. Nothing to support epic action in combat, sorry.

 

Alex

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Why must everything support 'epic action in combat'? Our Apothecary has acted as spokes-Marine in a number of interaction sections, and is generally the front-man when combat isn't required. In combat itself he's never needed Mighty Shot or any of the other shooting Talents - his tally in the last game was three Trygons for cryin' out loud.

Saying the Apothecary is bad because he doesn't shoot like a Dev or fight like an Assault Marine makes about as much sense as saying the Devastator sucks because he can't heal like an Apothecary or use psychic powers like a Librarian.

BYE

 

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ak-73 said:

He still does not have any multiple attacks or defenses in melee unless Rank 7 or melee advances. If he goes sniper he still has to pay premium for high BS and needs to get Elite Advances for Deadeye Shot/Sharpshooter, Eye of Vengeance, Mighty Shot, Crack Shot.

Can an Apothecary do damage? Yes. Because he's a Marine. In combat everyone else can do what he can and then more. He can pass his Bolter to the Assault Marine and he can pretty much do the same and kill enemies much more effectively with the Chainblade attachment.

I'll say it again: at least Flesh Renderer should be easily accessible. How about Two Weapon Wielders? Look at the Apothecary advances and tell me which advances from rank 1 to 5 excite you. I could tell you with every other specialty. Not with the Apothecary. Autosanguine/Hary is nice but Toughness is medium  priced so can't be used to build rock hard marines cheaply. Sure Strike and Disarm - which are meh given that you have nothing else to make a marine that is semi-good in melee. No Stalwart Defence to protect fallen comrades bodies (that talent alone could make for some heroic action by the Apothecary).

The advances are bland/lacklustre/whatever you want to call it. Nothing to support epic action in combat, sorry.

 

Alex

You never liked playing Bards did you?

Support characters can make a huge difference and sometimes all the difference in a combat.

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ItsUncertainWho said:

ak-73 said:

 

He still does not have any multiple attacks or defenses in melee unless Rank 7 or melee advances. If he goes sniper he still has to pay premium for high BS and needs to get Elite Advances for Deadeye Shot/Sharpshooter, Eye of Vengeance, Mighty Shot, Crack Shot.

Can an Apothecary do damage? Yes. Because he's a Marine. In combat everyone else can do what he can and then more. He can pass his Bolter to the Assault Marine and he can pretty much do the same and kill enemies much more effectively with the Chainblade attachment.

I'll say it again: at least Flesh Renderer should be easily accessible. How about Two Weapon Wielders? Look at the Apothecary advances and tell me which advances from rank 1 to 5 excite you. I could tell you with every other specialty. Not with the Apothecary. Autosanguine/Hary is nice but Toughness is medium  priced so can't be used to build rock hard marines cheaply. Sure Strike and Disarm - which are meh given that you have nothing else to make a marine that is semi-good in melee. No Stalwart Defence to protect fallen comrades bodies (that talent alone could make for some heroic action by the Apothecary).

The advances are bland/lacklustre/whatever you want to call it. Nothing to support epic action in combat, sorry.

 

Alex

 

 

You never liked playing Bards did you?

Support characters can make a huge difference and sometimes all the difference in a combat.

 

Played one for years in Rolemaster. It's bad when a significant number of sessions have a clear combat slant. Fighters and true spell users would sideline you repeatedly and you're not that great as support character either.

Please note that I didn't say you can have fun as an Apothecary. I am saying that glancing over the advances there is nothing that stands out and makes you go "Oh, wow! I am looking forward to getting to Rank x." And this lack of spark, of flash... it is going to make a number of players not enjoy the specialty.

It's a support character that needs a player with the right attitude and a GM who gives them player a minimum of support. Then it can work and it can work well. A number of player types though will end up playing the specialty because the team needs an Apothecary and will end up not liking what the specialty has to offer. The other specialties are much more auto-cruise.

I mean it doesn't have to be much. Even the Techmarine, who is also a Bard, has more highlights: cheap T + flesh is weak, SW(Artficier Armor) on defense. Servo-Arm/Harness and cheap S in offense (which makes the character decent in melee against hordes). And to add insult to injury he can become Master of the Forge while there is no Master of the Apothecarion in RoB.

What's the career prospects for an Apothecary in DW? I don't think the FFG guys have spend too much thought about providing to that specialty. Or have run out of imagination.

 

Alex

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Moirdryd said:

 Focus on doing what your Archetype is meant to be doing. All that time and effort spent on trying to up your KILL factor is Experience and effort that can go into making you Uber in your chosen field. Remember, it's not about what you can do Solo so much as in what the squad can do with you in it.  

 

 

Food for thought, and perhaps the best answer to the orginial question of how to make the apothecary the most combat efficient (or, in fact, mission efficient). If you enable your battle-brother to live to make another kill, then that says something about the apothecary as a force multiplyer. Also, don't forget about the meta-gaming concept of collecting gene-seed; if I understand things correctly, an apothecary is key to enabling fun and epic play moves. Sure, others than yourself will be making the sacrifice for the greater good (and bonus XP) but the game mechanics are there, and they rely on the apothecary.

And as stated in later replies it is - ultimately - up to the GM not to turn support characters into supporting cast., and there are quite a few skills to master as well.

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It's always such a loaded thing to say to another RPG gamer, but hell, I'm gonna say it...

 

If the first thing your mind goes to when rolling up a Techmarine (or Apothecary) is how good at combat you can make them, then you're playing them a little wrong.

I mean, I'm playing a Space Marine so it's my job to kick ass and take names, but my Techmarine is far and away more than just some glorified HIT Mark or Terminator. He's an Omnissiah-blessed techno-wizard! With everything that sentence implies and more. If we ever end up fighting a dragon, I'll be collecting the teeth for a chainsword, ala Kharn's axe (except not evil). And more.

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Yeah. Note what I have been saying about the Apothecary though: the advances are fairly boring. That ruins the specialty for a number of players who are... let's say... less inspired than you.

Could I play an Apothecary and have fun? Absolutely. Would part of the fun come from looking forward to the advances the specialty gets? Absolutely not. The latter is different with other specialties.

And that's what I would call a design hiccup. As a game designer I would strive to make sure that from the 6 "classes" each and every of them would have flair fluff- as well as crunch-wise.

 

Just sayan'.

 

Alex

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Apothecaries are better than all the specialties but two in close combat. The talents they have available like Sure Strike, Disarm, etc begin being available at rank 4 which is more and sooner than most specialties. I think and they are the only ones to get Lighting Attack except Librarian and Assault Marine. Apotehcaries are plenty melee oriented. They are better at it than most and WS advances are cheap.

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andrewm9 said:

 

Apothecaries are better than all the specialties but two in close combat.

 

 

I think that counts as damning with faint praise.

At some point, relatively late and long after most players will have decided against focusing in melee (after sucking at it for quite a few ranks) they get thrown a small and pretty insignificant bone. That's not something I'd count as a serious attempt at making them good melee combatants.

The abothecary in our group is a fun and great character, but melee is definitely not the place where he belongs. Over the course of three missions melee combats have cost him both eyes and one arm, when none of the others ever lost a single piece of their body. Apothecaries just don't have the defensive capabilities to survive in melee combat. Which is also why I'd count the Techmarine as a superior melee combatant compared to the apothecary, because they can at least survive them long enough to outlast their enemy.

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Gokerz said:

andrewm9 said:

 

Apothecaries are better than all the specialties but two in close combat.

 

 

I think that counts as damning with faint praise.

At some point, relatively late and long after most players will have decided against focusing in melee (after sucking at it for quite a few ranks) they get thrown a small and pretty insignificant bone. That's not something I'd count as a serious attempt at making them good melee combatants.

The abothecary in our group is a fun and great character, but melee is definitely not the place where he belongs. Over the course of three missions melee combats have cost him both eyes and one arm, when none of the others ever lost a single piece of their body. Apothecaries just don't have the defensive capabilities to survive in melee combat. Which is also why I'd count the Techmarine as a superior melee combatant compared to the apothecary, because they can at least survive them long enough to outlast their enemy.

Quite frankly most marines don't have any defensive capabilties including assault marines until rank 3 at the earliest (and that is only for assault marines). Librarians don't get a 2nd reaction unless they take iron arm (but that has its drawbacks) until rank 6. Thats not a flaw of the Apothecary but of the system design.

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andrewm9 said:

 

Quite frankly most marines don't have any defensive capabilties including assault marines until rank 3 at the earliest (and that is only for assault marines). Librarians don't get a 2nd reaction unless they take iron arm (but that has its drawbacks) until rank 6. Thats not a flaw of the Apothecary but of the system design.

Enough offense is a form of defensive capability as well, which asault marines get.

Assault marines come prepackaged with enough offensive capability to go toe to toe with most enemies a group of their level will face and kill it before it kills the assault marine. They also get enough mobility from the get go to get away from those they can't (though admittedly apothecariese can get that as well for some investment).

Librarians get their psi powers.

Techmarines get enough defensive capabilities coupled with high damage attacks that they can outlast most things a marine would want to get into melee with.

Apothecaries get none of these things.

Now, they do get more melee abilities than, for example, Devastators. But just because Apothecaries get more than some doesn't mean they get enough to even be as much as secondary melee fighters.

Their strength and potential for fun lies in other areas, outside the realm of mechanics derived combat capabilities.

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Blood Pact said:

 

It's always such a loaded thing to say to another RPG gamer, but hell, I'm gonna say it...

 

If the first thing your mind goes to when rolling up a Techmarine (or Apothecary) is how good at combat you can make them, then you're playing them a little wrong.

 

Yes, go tell them man!

How dare they derive enjoyment from games in a way different from yours!

 

I mean, I dislike doing what you decry as well and the times my young and more ombat-power focused self created characters that way it actively reduced my enjoyment of the game. But... seriously?

If there are people out there who have more fun that way, why the heck stop them? Deathwatch IS a combat focused game, that a large part of the sale's pitch for it. If people dislike a character type because it doesn't allow them to do what they play the game for, say awesome combat actions, I don't see why we should wail on them.

Next thing someone will pull out the old and tired "ROLEplaying, not ROLLplaying" spiel so many gamers make out when they want to feel superior to the "powergaming dregs" of roleplaying?

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