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The Laughing God

crunchwise, everyone should play a Blood Angel

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What do you think about the advancements possible - in Talents and Skills – for separate Space Marine characters in Deathwatch? They seem flawed to me.

For starters, you can most of the time choose 3-4 talents per rank, meaning that 2 different characters with the same specialty (assault, tactical etc) will always end up with broadly the same abilities. You can’t really differentiate and make interesting characters. There are lots of talents, but most are restricted to certain Chapters and those Chapters only.

Let’s take a quick look at which classes can take what:

Black Templars Interrogation +20 and some stuff vs heretics and psykers (but not xenos).

Dark Angels Interrogation +20 and lots of Forbidden Lore skills.

Space Wolves Carouse & Wrangling and not one close combat talent, and this for a Chapter that fluff-wise is said to relish melee combat

Storm Warden Gambling +20 and some usefull skills, but their list is much shorter than the others

Ultramarines Charm +20, Performer +10 (what is that ... ) and some which are Ok

Blood Angels: Acrobatics +20, Assassin Strike, Berserk Charge, Furious Assault, Slayer of Daemons

 

Everybody should play a Blood Angel! :)

One could argue that for roleplaying reasons one would prefer a Space Wolf or Raven Guard or whatever ... but roleplaying is not DW’s greatest asset. It is an action-oriented, combat-heavy ‘war game’ ... which is totally fine and cool but then they should not give so many Chapters so many useless skills like Carouse and Wrangling and Gambling and Performer ..

Just my opinion!
 

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I see your point but remember that at least in theory you can Elite Advance everything you might want. 

And you may as well be a Blood Drinker. All the BA stuff and if you make one roll, you get persistent +WS for the mission. ;) For all the cool things a BA gets, he'll still never see the Raven Guard sniper that shoots him or dodge all the BT's blows or actually be able to hurt a well-augmented Iron Hand, etc. 

BTs don't get anything Xeno specific because that stuff is unsurprisingly on the General Deathwatch Table. But BTs will be in a good position to fight, say, Xeno psykers, moreso than other SMs. 

Also the errata gives all Space Wolves Counter-Attack as a free Talent and puts Flesh Render on their Chapter table. 

If you're looking to differentiate characters of the same chapter by skills/talents you're already doing it wrong. The outlook between an assault marine and a devastator are doubtless going to be different, for example, though that sort of thing is difficult to elegantly model mechanically. Chapters have their broad training regime but each SM is still an individual. That's the player's job to flesh out, not the developer when he OKs an XP table. 

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I agree that Blood angels are definitely the strongest melee chapter in the core book. but bear in mind the chapter XP table is not the defining feature of a chapter. there are also solo modes, squad modes, psychic powers, relics which all vary from chapter to chapter. As well as new abilities provided in RoB and first founding. No blood angels deathwing terminators allowed. (I dont know if you have first founding but one of the special abilities it can grant is Deathwing for dark angels only which gives a suit of terminator armour as standard issue gear)

Also all of those abilities which blood angels can get are fairly melee based. A player might simply want to be a heavy weapon specialist, in which case being a blood angel is fairly mediocre

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As Narkasis says, Blood Angels do make excellent melee marines, their chapter talents really add to the specialty.  But again, as said, if that Blood Angel goes Tactical, or Devastator, Furious Assault is nice and all but it won't help you fire your plasma cannon.

On the topic of game themes, the game is without a doubt action/combat oriented.  However unless your adventures are a complete dungeon crawl, with nothing but door kicking and combat, there will be times the GM can easily slip these 'useless' skills into play.  I think the two sample adventures only hint at this, providing the 'opportunity' to interact but no real interaction goals, however The Emperor Protects provides some nice opportunity for these non combat skills.  In the adventures I run I try to do the same, otherwise I find the game devolves into a slower version of table top.

I've seen Perform used by a player to inspire and rally a group of Guardsmen that were previously breaking as there was no one present with a decent Command or Charm skill.  I've seen Wrangling used to mount and try to control more animialistic xenos.  I've seen Gambling used to reduce tension and suspicion of the team, garnering trust which led to information being revealed.  In my game, as some have HR'd, I've given Carouse a D20 3.5 type of 'synergy' bonus to socials where it would make sense, and it has been used much like the player with gambling.

And in a Pen and Paper RPG, it's not quite so much about what your character build is as how you use it.  I've seen characters with nearly identical stats, talents, etc., that turn out to be totally different characters, simply because the players gave the character personality and the players used their skills in different ways.

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The Laughing God said:

 

Everybody should play a Blood Angel! :)

One could argue that for roleplaying reasons one would prefer a Space Wolf or Raven Guard or whatever ... but roleplaying is not DW’s greatest asset. It is an action-oriented, combat-heavy ‘war game’ ... which is totally fine and cool but then they should not give so many Chapters so many useless skills like Carouse and Wrangling and Gambling and Performer ..

Just my opinion!
 

If you're going to restrict the game to primarily one style of play, then obviously, whichever character archetype gives most service to that style of play is going to be the one everyone should play. I would maybe even suggest if you're going to do that, then consider just making it a Blood Angels campaign rather than DW.

DW is the most attractive of the 40K RPG systems to those who want to play up a pure tactical RPG for pretty obvious reasons. But at the same time, that's not the same thing as saying that the designers intended it to be a non-investigation/non-interaction game. If it were, then they wouldn't have given so many Chapters so many useless skills like Carouse, Wrangling, Gambling, and Performer.sorpresa.gif

Just my two bolter shells.

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Blood Angels have the strongest package pre-First Founding. Acrobatics+20, Assassin Strike, Blood Frenzy. Really nasty stuff. Duty Unto Death is awesome, Lead By Example is very awesome, Thunder Charge is great and so is Counter-attack.

Still Blood Angels advantages and buffs form a coherent package that allows for some very, very good builds. I think the strongest package overall is the BA librarian which is why I don't munchkin mine and enjoy the liberty to take such fluff things as SL(Codex)+10, CL(Jericho)+10, Trade(Artisan), etc.

However a team doesn't need more than one nor more than one BA Assault Marine. And a SW or UM Devastator can be very nasty. And an IF Devastator with enough cover and using the right Squad Mode abilities (Fire Effect for example - or Regroup) can be quite effective too. I am also a fan of a BT Tactical with Holy Vengeance sharing. Fan as in: very good, might be even too good so that I'd be shy to actually try to make one.

BT are surprisingly weak in melee without Holy Vengeance though and you don't get to trigger that much if you're not a Tactical that can share. They don't have a great deal. IF is also fairly weak overall. I would rank chapters:

BA,
UM (due to lead by example and other goodness),
Storm Wardens (Lightnings Call, Thunder Charge, Duty Unto Deatj, etc.),
Dark Angels,
Space Wolves (weak Squad Mode abilities, only Counter-attack that's really awesome),
BT (not last due to Holy Vengance) and then IF.

And still in all those chapters there are builds that are quite effective. DA with Astartes Combat Shotgun. Suppressive Fire, Suppressive Fire everywhere.
SW Devastators with Counter-attack and Stalwart Defence. Even IF have at least one really cool build: Tactics spam.

For the most part their design is fail though, which is corazon_roto.gif due to me being Crimson Fists actually.

 

Alex

 

 

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ak-73 said:

Even IF have at least one really cool build: Tactics spam.

For the most part their design is fail though, which is corazon_roto.gif due to me being Crimson Fists actually.

 

Small aside for ak-73 and IFs: is Tactics spam even worthwhile for non-Ultramarines using their new and awesome Solo Mode? On a certain level I find Tactics to be really cool and noticed my players were never asking to roll it; when I asked them why, they said because the benefits of using the Skill are really ambiguous. It's not like Command, where you can boss people around, or even Evaluate, where you can significantly improve cover AP. Even Lores seem to have a more tangible benefit of, well. tangible and immediate knowledge access. I know I can make up some uses to make Tactics more desirable and in-game useful, I just wondered if there was some RAW thing I was missing.

It really is a shame about the Fists, their stuff (aside from psychic powers) is largely crap. Two whole Squad Mode abilities that negate Fear, wow, how impressive. serio.gif Chapter Oath has 4 Squad Modes, but that hardly makes up for the ultimately bleh benefit of +Tactics, unless I'm missing a good definition for mechanical bonuses provided by Tactics Tests.

Hence why I homebrewed stuff for my Crimson Fist player. If I as a GM was dissatisfied with the canon product, no way I was going to just leave it at that for a player.

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Well I have been playing a young tactical genious in PrimarchX's campaign, a CF Devastator with lots of tactics. That was fun. And since it is the point of your character, the GM usually will make sure that you get something out of it. It also makes your character (and therefore you as a player by extension) always have a prominent voice in planning.

The point of such builds isn't in making über-characters, it's in making characters that can contribute or rather characters that do participate (and therefore you as player do). The point is in avoiding builds where you are rarely heard during play because you aren't great in combat and have no worthwhile skills outside of combat either. With good GMs that can be done too but it's less reliable.

Plus Devastators can always contribute in combat (maybe not in every combat but in about every mission) by virtue of carrying a heavy weapon. So it was fine.

 

Alex

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ak-73 said:

The point of such builds isn't in making über-characters, it's in making characters that can contribute or rather characters that do participate (and therefore you as player do). The point is in avoiding builds where you are rarely heard during play because you aren't great in combat and have no worthwhile skills outside of combat either. With good GMs that can be done too but it's less reliable.

 

Even outside of this discussion, or as a tangent, this ^^.

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The Laughing God said:

One could argue that for roleplaying reasons one would prefer a Space Wolf or Raven Guard or whatever ... but roleplaying is not DW’s greatest asset. It is an action-oriented, combat-heavy ‘war game’ ... which is totally fine and cool but then they should not give so many Chapters so many useless skills like Carouse and Wrangling and Gambling and Performer ..

Just my opinion!

I might agree with the original Chapters, but Raven Guard are amazing if you want to go sneaky... in fact stupidly so. A bit into Rank 5 my Raven Guard was Sneaking on a re-rollable 100+%. Not that I ever used that, as no one in the rest of the party could sneak to save themselves (stupid -30 from Power Armour), but if you had a party willing to forego heavy armour, or invest more in sneaking (or go Raven Guard), their choices are actually useful.

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