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venkelos

Making Eldar a Challenge for New GM's

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Here's hoping I don't just look like a troll, and there will be a good bit of seeming whining, but I have a quandry. The Deathwatch books (at least the two I own; Core Book and MotXenos) do a nice job of touting up various enemies of the Imperium; Chaos (of course), Orks, Nids, and we get stuff for the Tau and their allies, but the Eldar get no love. Now, the Eldar are probably  one of my favorite races, especially in RPG (I like them the most of the aliens in table top, too), and I know that they CAN fight against even the mighty Space Marines, and triumph (just not that often llorando.gif), but how might one do that in Deathwatch? Individual Eldar (that I have seen stats for), and I'm thinking of Aspect Warriors (even the Exarchs of which are probably 4000+ XP shy of average Space Marines), are built to be a challenge for Dark Heresy, the weakest of character builds of the big three (IMO), while many Space Marines fight against big critters (maybe on par, if not nastier than even a mighty Avatar of Khaine, or a Wraithlord) or hordes of hundreds of red shirts (most of the Eldar in the galaxy would comprise one horde, the way some GM's run hordes). So, how do you make Eldar a good challenge for Space Marines, when they don't use hordes well (not enough Eldar), and most of the individual Eldar given to us are only a bit better than a group of starting to mid-level Acolytes? Short of endless waves of Ranger/Pathfinder/Dark Reaper (would have to make those) sniping, one fun day of Fire Dragons' (would have to make those, too) melta-fire, a battalion of Wraithguard (better be fighting Iyanden, or be on a Maiden World), or battling a Seer Council of Serrenons (the cool Farseer from RT: Lure of the Expanse) and their Warlocks, how can I make the Space Marines dread battling Eldar? Scorpions and Banshees (have to make both of those) are good at melee, but they'll get pastified by one Space Marine, more than likely, to say nothing of a group of the Emperor's finest, before they get too much of a chance to inflict injury (even if Banshees would go first), while groups of Guardians (not much better than Guardsmen) would be laughable, and can't really horde up (again, there usually aren't that many Eldar). In the event that any GM's have used Eldar offensively in their campaigns, what suggestions are there to give them some teeth, without rewriting existing stat blocks to SM levels, thus making them squash "regular" Imperium forces, or just run away all the time, hiding behind cover, and making endless retreats?

Thanks very much for any help, and hopefully anyone else out there who likes the Eldar, as I do, will also appreciate it.

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Holy crap, that pdf is awesome. I didn't see Wraithlords, but everything else I wanted was there. I think that will help immensely. Thanks very much for the redirect. If I read it right, I can get away with using smaller Magnitude hordes of Guardians, but they can use certain abilities individuals can, and "regular" hordes cannot (like dodging), and this will allow them to avoid much of the stuff I've read where some people can whittle down Mag 30+ Hordes in a single round. Meanwhile, the Aspect Warriors won't horde, but I think they are presented here with enough extra stuff to hold their own (and I could easily adapt them for Warp Spiders [especially thanks to the Grey Knights personal teleporters, in Daemon Hunter] and Shining Spears). Thier Master units, the ones I expected them to be, are also very nice. They can't necessarily stand toe to toe with the Space Marines, but they usually wouldn't, and they could do a great deal of damage, themselves. I also very much like that someone thought to include their vehicles; all of the official sources just ignore them, like they don't matter, and knowing that I don't have to adapt the Eldar's vehicles from the Codex, coupled with the Vehicle Apocrypha I found pleases me to no end.

 

So, thank you very much, again, and also a great big thanks to N0-1_H3r3, who fabricated these rules, and did a very good job. I doubt Vaul would have crafted much better. gran_risa.gif

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Thanks for all your support.

One thing worth remembering, for anyone desiring updates for the material I've written - NPC statblocks are the easy stuff I can do in my spare time (I can put together 2 or 3 decent draft versions during my morning break at work) when I'm not focussed on official assignments (look out for Hostile Acquisitions, First Founding and The Jericho Reach, all of which I worked on, which are due out in the next few months) and/or my own campaigns. Paid work takes priority, for obvious reasons, followed by my own campaign planning (for Black Crusade and Dark Heresy, currently), so I can only get round to doing things like Children of Isha intermittently.

That said, my current "spare time" efforts are partly diverted to converting the rules in Children of Isha to Black Crusade... early drafts have seen the Eldar get faster (Guardians with movement of 7/14/21/42... and they're the slow ones) and their mobile firepower increase considerably (thanks to everyone being able to move and autofire).

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You also covered the needing to stat up an Autarch for me, something I had a thread on in Dark Heresy stuff; again, thank you. I laugh because, in the TT minis game, I preferred the idea of mounting an Autarch on a jetbike, for the extra toughness, movement, and such, wearing a Banshee Mask, and having him be armed with a fusion gun and/or reaper missile launcher (the weapons of my two overall favorite Aspects) and a scorpion chain sword or laser lance. Here, many of the weapons might be the same choices, especially when there aren't rules and points involved, but I think I like the swooping hawk jetpack more (something I hated in TT). The idea of an Autarch flying fast and high, raining precision fire down on foes with a reaper launcher as he surveys his battleforce, and then swooping down to blast a high-armored target with his fusion gun, or cut it down with his power sword/scorp. chainsword appeals to me so very much, and the flying part is very nice; a shame jetbikes don't also give Flying (X), or the extra "storage space" for his other gun would be a bit more believable (I'm assuming that, minus a house rule, hover/skimmer vehicles don't get high off the ground, no more than a couple of meters).

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 As I mentioned before when I posted some of my homebrew Necron stats, I tend to run high crunch high combat high optimization high risk games, so these eldar are strong, but you mentioned a lack of wraithlords and such, and I have some stats that I put together for a DW mission that required some, and being an evil... er... good GM I kept the stats for future use. I took considerable inspiration from the above excellent pdf but have made a few changes of my own. I also didn't care for any of the wraithguard stats in the books and made my own. 

Warp Spider Aspect Warriors (Elite)
The Warp Spider Aspect epitomize "aggressive defense" and the unexpected attack. Their warp-packs allow them to make short range jumps through the warp, appearing amid the enemy, cutting them down, before jumping back to their original position.
Warp Spider:
WS: 48   BS: 66   S: 34 (4)   T: 33   Ag : 61 (12)   Int: 39   Per: 51   WP: 53   Fel: 41    
Movement: 7/14/21/42    Wounds: 15
Skill: Acrobatics (Ag), Awareness (Per) +20, Command (Fel), Common Lore (Eldar) (Int), Dodge (Ag) +20, Forbidden Lore (Xenos) (Int), Forbidden Lore (Warp) (Int), , Logic (Int), Speak Language (Eldar) (Int), Concealment, Pilot (personal) +20, Silent Move, Tactics (Assault Doctrine or Recon and Stealth) (Int)
Talents: Exotic Weapon Training (Eldar Weapons), Assassin Strike, Mighty Shot, Fleet of Foot, Talented (Dodge), Step Aside, Foresight, Hard Target, Heightened Senses (Sight, Hearing), Hipshooting, Jaded, Leap Up, Lightning Reflexes, Melee Weapon Training (Power, Primitive), Nerves of Steel, Pistol Training (Shuriken), Quick Draw, Rapid Reaction, Sprint, Two Weapon Wielder (Ballistic, Melee)
Traits: Dark Sight, Unnatural Agility (x2)
Armor: Warp Spider Aspect Armor (All 8, Eldar Power Armour)
Weapons: Deathspinner (40m; -/-/10; 4d10+7 R; pen 2; clip 30; Primitive, Tearing, Reliable) Shuriken Pistol (20m; S/3/5; 1d10+4 R; Pen 4; Clip 40; Rld 2 Full; Reliable, Razor-sharp, Accurate) Mono knife or Power Blade, 2x haywire Grenades; 3x Eldar Plasma Grenades (15m; S/–/–; 1d10+8 E; Pen 6; Blast (4), Concussive, Volatile)
Gear: Targeter, Auspex, Comm-bead, 2x Shuriken Pistol magazines, Soulstone, Warp Jump Pack,
Special: Warp Jump Pack: can teleport anywhere up to 50m as a half action, anytime the Warp Spider may make a half move for any reason, and will always emerge on solid footing and in suitable empty space, roll 5d10 (only used to determine effects of teleport, does not affect distance), if 3 out of 5 dice come up the same, Warp Spider does not re-emerge for 1d5 rounds. if all 5 come up the same, the Warp Spider has been lost to the warp. The Warp Spider my attempt to dodge an attack by triggering his Warp Jump Pack, this counts as a full move disengage for the purpose of avoiding Blast attacks and Melee attacks and require a successful dodge test with a +20 bonus from the Warp Jump Pack.

Warp Spider Exarch (Elite, Leader)
Lost to the Path of War, Warp Spider Exarchs are lightning killers, striking with blinding speed from the warp itself and laying down enormous amounts of deadly fire. Their ferocious onslaught is sudden and inexplicable, bringing to mind notions of murderous ghosts who stalk the warp and the battlefield with equal ease.
Warp Spider Exarch:
WS: 62   BS: 76   S: 43 (5)   T: 43   Ag : 61 (18)   Int: 43   Per: 60   WP: 65   Fel: 50
Movement: 7/14/21/42    Wounds: 25
Skill: Acrobatics (Ag) +10, Awareness (Per) +20, Climb (S), Command (Fel) +10, Concealment (Ag) +20, Forbidden Lore (Xenos) (Int), Forbidden Lore (Warp) (Int), Medicae, Common Lore (Eldar) (Int), Dodge (Ag) +20, Logic (Int), Speak Language (Eldar) (Int), Pilot (personal) +20, Silent Move, Tactics (Assault Doctrine and Recon and Stealth) (Int)
Talents: Exotic Weapon Training (Eldar Weapons), Assassin Strike, Catfall, Crippling Strike, Crushing Blow, Dual Strike, Mighty Shot, Fleet of Foot, Talented (Dodge), Step Aside, Foresight, Hard Target, Heightened Senses (Sight, Hearing), Hipshooting, Jaded, Leap Up, Lightning Reflexes, Melee Weapon Training (Power, Primitive), Nerves of Steel, Pistol Training (Shuriken), Quick Draw, Rapid Reaction, Sprint, Two Weapon Wielder (Ballistic, Melee)
Traits: Dark Sight, Exarch, Touched by the Fates (2), Unnatural Agility (x3), Xenos Tactics (Surprise Assault, Withdraw)
Armor: Master Crafted Warp Spider Aspect Armor (All 9, Eldar Power Armour)
Weapons: Master Crafted Twin Deathspinner Armature Harness (40m; -/-/10; 4d10+9 R; pen 2; clip 30; Primitive, Tearing, Reliable, Storm) Master Crafted Shuriken Pistol (20m; S/3/5; 1d10+6 R; Pen 4; Clip 40; Rld 2 Full; Reliable, Razor-sharp, Accurate) Master Crafted Twin Power Blades, 2x haywire Grenades; 3x Eldar Plasma Grenades (15m; S/–/–; 1d10+8 E; Pen 6; Blast (4), Concussive, Volatile)
Gear: Targeter, Auspex, Comm-bead, 2x Shuriken Pistol magazines, Soulstone, Warp Jump Pack,
Special: Warp Jump Pack: can teleport anywhere up to 50m as a half action, anytime the Warp Spider may make a half move for any reason, and will always emerge on solid footing and in suitable empty space, roll 5d10 (only used to determine effects of teleport, does not affect distance), if 3 out of 5 dice come up the same, Warp Spider does not re-emerge for 1d5 rounds. if all 5 come up the same, the Warp Spider has been lost to the warp. The Warp Spider my attempt to dodge an attack by triggering his Warp Jump Pack, this counts as a full move disengage for the purpose of avoiding Blast attacks and Melee attacks and require a successful dodge test with a +20 bonus from the Warp Jump Pack.
Exarch: This Eldar is trapped upon the Warrior Path, lost forever to Khaine's Fury and the enticing call of the Warsong. While she can no longer live free of the warrior?s mask he once donned, he teaches others the ways of Khaine and the means to escape it, guiding the efforts of his shrine?s warriors in peace and war alike. A single group of Aspect Warriors from the same Temple as the Exarch (so Dire Avengers for a Dire Avenger Exarch) follow him in battle, and the Aspect Warriors and Exarch alike will be considered for all purposes to be in Squad Mode, with a number of points of Cohesion determined by the Exarch?s Fellowship Bonus and Command Skill. Aspect Warriors do not have access to the array of Squad Mode Abilities available to player characters, but instead may employ the Xenos Tactics noted in the Exarch's rules, the details of which can be found elsewhere in this document. In addition, Exarchs have supernatural abilities all their own, which differ from Aspect to Aspect and Exarch to Exarch, which are described below:
Warp Speed: Through long practice leaping through the warp by means of the finely crafted jump pack on his back the Exarch slips in and out of reality as easy as breathing. The Exarch may dodge with his jump pack a number of times equal to his agility bonus before accounting for unnatural agility.
Warp Escape: Such are the Exarch's finely honed reflexes that he evaporates before enemy fire almost before realizing he is attacked. As long as he is not helpless a Warp Spider Exarch may test against his Perception as if it were a displacement field with no overload rating.

Xenos Tactics: Warp Spiders
The arts and rites of the Way of the Warp Spider are focused upon attacking suddenly with enormous firepower and then flitting away again with as much speed.
Surprise Assault (Attack Pattern)
Action: Free Action
Cost: 2
Sustained: No
Effects: The Exarch can lead his squad through the warp and suddenly reappear to shoot the enemy. At an unspoken command from their Exarch, the squad strikes, appearing from the warp to butcher their foes. This Attack Pattern allows the Exarch and his squad to gain surprise even in the middle of an engagement.
Improvements: If the Exarch spends an additional point of Cohesion when activating this ability, all members of the squad deal an additional +5 damage on any hits they make until the start of the Exarch's next turn.
Withdraw (Defensive Stance)
Action: Free Action
Cost: 1
Sustained: Yes
Effects: Under the guidance of the Exarch the Warp Spiders know the best moment to safely withdraw from close combat without risk. While this ability is in effect, the squad may make a half action warp jump away with a reaction after making any attack action.
Improvements: none


Wraithguard
WS BS S T Ag Int Per WP Fel
(10) (12) (6)
40 65 50 60 30 –– 25 40 ––
Movement: 4/8/12/24 Wounds: 30
Skills: None.
Talents: Exotic Weapon Training (Wraithcannon).
Traits: Auto-stabilised, From Beyond, Machine (5), Natural Weapons, Size (Hulking), Strange Physiology, Unnatural Agility (x2), Unnatural Strength (x2), Unnatural Toughness (x2), Unnatural Senses, Wraithsight † .
Armour: None (all 5).
Weapons: Wraithcannon (50m; S/—/—; dam 4d10+16 E; pen 20; clip special; reload special; Volatile, Felling (1), Blast (1), Warp), fist (1d10+10 I).

Wraithlord (Elite)
WS BS S T Ag Int Per WP Fel
(14) (12) (10)
71 67 75 67 51 -- 55 75 --
Movement: 12/24/36/72 Wounds: 55
Skills: Acrobatics (Ag), Awareness (Per) +10, Command (Fel), Common Lore (Eldar) (Int), Dodge (Ag) +10, Forbidden Lore (Eldar) (Int), Logic (Int), Speak Language (Eldar) (Int).
Talents: Exotic Weapon Training (Eldar Weapons), Rapid Reaction, Sprint, Counterattack, Wall of Blades, Crushing Blow, Crippling Strike, Mighty Shot, Crack shot, Precise Blow, Assassin Strike, Furious Charge, Fleet of Foot, Two Weapon Wielder (Universal), Ambidextrous
Traits: Auto-stabilised, From Beyond, Machine (5), Natural Weapons, Size (Enormous), Strange Physiology, Unnatural Agility (x2), Unnatural Strength (x2), Unnatural Toughness (x2), Unnatural Senses, Wraithsight †.
Armour: Reinforced Wraithbone Shell 10 (All 15).
Weapons: Two Wraithlord Close Combat Weapons typically either Power Fists (Melee, 2d10+25 E, Pen 6, Power Field, Concussive) or Master Power Swords (Melee, 2d10+26 E, Pen 8, Power Field, Balanced, special) which are equipped with one of two auxiliary weapon systems: (Eldar Flamer; Range 30m, Heavy, S/–/–, 2d10+6 E, Pen 6, Flame, Devastating) or Shuriken Cannon (110m; –/–/10; 2d10+8 R; Pen 6; Clip 150; Rld 3 Full; Razor-Sharp, Reliable, Tearing)
An Eldar Wraithlord is also often equipped with a shoulder mounted weapon as well to provide with ranged firepower on the battlefield.
Scatter Laser (180m; –/–/6; 3d10+12 E; Pen 2; Clip 400; Rld 3 Full; Reliable, Storm)
Starcannon (180m; –/–/5; 3d10+12 E; Pen 10; Clip 100; Rld 4 Full; Volatile, Felling)
Bright Lance (200m; S/–/–; 4d10+17 E; Pen 20; Clip 100; Rld 3 Full; Accurate, Felling)
Eldar Missile Launcher (250m; S/–/–; Clip 15; Rld 2 Full; Damage, Pen and Qualities by Missile – Plasma (2d10+7 E; Pen 6; Blast (6), Concussive, Volatile) or Krak (4d10+8 X; Pen 10; Blast (1))
Gear: Spirit Stone, xenos-crafted vox, auspex, targeter array, holofield (40)

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Thank you very much. Those should be a great help, and round out the Craftworld Eldar nicely. I also liked your Necron stats very much; another of my favorite armies, and one I often think of as underappreciated. I'm especially happy that you made the stats prior to Necrons recent "upgrade", where they became 40k Tomb Kings altogether. I'll often prefer them to be the anti-Nids; all-machine waves of oblivion with similar, yet opposite goals, and just as little concern or mercy. Turning them into robots with "character", personality, egos, vice, fear, and imperial goals sort of seems to be a bad decision, IMHO. Maybe it'll help drum up some interest in the army, which it often sadly lacked, but I don't know.

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So, for the Aspect Warriors presented, what's a good number for the unit? I know that Space Marines are beefy as hell, while Eldar aren't, but there won't usually be 10 Space Marines in the unit, so should you still have 9 AWs + 1 Exarch? Or would it be more believable to have slightly closer to the SM's number? I don't imagine that the group will be facing down a Howling Banshee charge, while Warp Spiders teleport in behind, inflicting damage, with a group of Dark Reapers sniping from afar, right before the Banshees hit, and the Spiders have just ported out, but I am curious how many Eldar AW's are needed to challenge a "typical" group of Space Marines?

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The fiction is there are 10 Marines to ever Squad. Well the Squads for the Deathwatch are just called Kill-Teams and usually a Chapter squad is specialized while a Kill-Team is not.

In truth, my game(s) [Got two groups going, oi!] I don't have a full 10, and if I merged the groups I'd have in excess of 10. As the Kill-teams are also specialized ordos militant of the inquisition they could also have an inquisitor in their ranks counting as a full fledged position on the team. So the numbers and grossly vary in both their allotted strength and numbers.

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 My killteam was rank 4 or 5 when they fought these Eldar iirc, and there were 3 or 4 of them along for the adventure, but I definitely hit them with a lot as they explored what amounted to a shared storage complex / temple that Eldar from two craftworlds cooperatively defended and used as a no man's land to hold various artifacts. My team went in to recover some tablets from the Black Library concerning Daemons in the Reach that the Inquisition wanted and the Eldar refused to allow them access to. They were held at the temple since both Craftworlds could not accept the other having sole custody of it. 

The kill team fought of a long succession of eldar foes including:

1. an ambush by some rangers and a squad of 5 avengers including exarch, and two small hordes of guardians manning weapon platforms. 

2. several encounters with automated defense turrets. 

3. several encounters with Wraithguard in small numbers accompanied by a warlock.

4. 3 Wraithlords and two 5 man squads of Warp Spiders who made devastating use of their haywire grenades.

5. A squad of banshees and a number of seers along with a farseer and the remaining warp spiders who were caught in the temple during the attack and attempted to elude the kill team.

Of these by far the worst was the hit and run attacks by the warp spiders using haywire grenades to completely disable the fields the killteam relied on for defense, burning at least one fate point. The banshees were caught in suppressive fire and rapidly destroyed, and honestly are super fragile anyhow. The wraithlords were scary and when in sufficient numbers the wraithguard burned at least one fate point. The platforms tended to get hit too easily, higher ranked play just means no one misses and higher end weapons make most cover easy to cut through. Use fields if you want the eldar to last more than a round without running away before they can be shot. In general my players have always walked away from eldar encounters in all my campaigns with the feeling that they are super annoying combatants who are hard to pin down, wield extensive firepower, use frustrating tactics to their advantage, and are very deadly, so I feel that that does them justice, but I also think my players would revolt if they fought them very often.

The killteam did kill 30+ eldar, with many of them aspect warriors, and they achieved the objective and ransacked the temple, so the Eldar did not come out on top by any means, but the killteam also burned 2-3 fate points on that mission, so it was costly all around.

If you want to determine what is a challenge for your kill-team I would try some hit and run with escalating forces, nothing gives you feedback like playtesting. Every team is different and what you field against them depends on how you play the Eldar, how combat oriented the characters are built, how they are equipped, and how the players act.

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