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venkelos

Only War in the Reach

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Has anyone tried this? The Jericho Reach is a warzone, no question, and contains several and varied enemies, from the technologically advanced and sedition-inducing Tau to the endless swarms of Hive Fleet Dagon, and Orks, Eldar, and Necrons can round things out, if they are feeling frisky. Do the OW characters do well against such foes, assuming Space Marines and Hordes are avoided?

I ask because, and this is pointless, I had an idea for a Horde-busting gun I want the IG to test out against the mass millings of the Tyranids; I call it the Broodshock and it is effectively a grenade launcher combined with a flamer. The frag grenades can soften up Hordes of little bugs as they swarm in, and the flamer can finish them off, as they close into assaulting range. This, combined with a suppressive fire of several lasguns seems like a nice idea to me. The Reach would seem a decent location to field-test the weapon, but it is more for IG than Space Marines. The area with OW could work, too, with hordes of Orks (I believe the primary enemy?), but Nids are a bit less mindful of strategy, and not likely to loot the gun, and turn it on it's inventors.

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The Spinward Front appears to have: Chaos (traitor Guard and mutants), Orks, and Dark Eldar.

The Jericho Reach has: Chaos (traitor Guard, mutants, and Astartes warbands), Tyranids, the Tau Empire, and some Necrons.

 

There's no real issue with the Traitor Guard forces, as that's basically an even fight. Orks work well, because the PCs stand a decent chance if they stay at range (but will likely get murdered in melee). Dark Eldar are good for a higher-level party, as both sides become Glass Cannons in a sense.

Astartes are going to chew through the PCs like butter, though. Individual hits from an Astartes Bolter or Astartes Chainsword can easily drop a PC into Critical Wounds, and it takes some heavy weaponry to get through all that Power Armor and Unnatural Toughness. Tyranids come in big nasty swarms mixed with big nasty monsters, and it's the latter I'm worried about. Without Horde rules, the PCs will be overwhelmed quickly, or one-shotted by those high Toughness beasties. The Tau work good as a direct parallel to the Guard (Fire Warriors and Guardsmen are on largely the same ground, and the two wage war in very similar ways) but the Tau have a very strong technological advantage. Compare the humble Lasgun (S/3/-, 1d10+3 E, Pen 0) to the Pulse Rifle (S/2/4, 2d10+2, Pen 4) and you'll see the problem with throwing five Guardsmen against five Fire Warriors. Their tanks can also bust open those of the Guard rather easily, with all their Seeker Missiles and Rail Weapons. Let's not even talk about how strongly the Necrons would kick an Only War party's ass.

I just don't think it would be a very practical campaign. You would likely have PC death every session.

(All this said, I've long loved the idea of putting a starting Dark Heresy or Only War party against a single Space Marine and telling them to find a way to kill him. Cover would become their best friend…)

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So, mechanicswise, why is there still a war the Imperium is a part of, in the Reach? I am not as much a fan of Space Marines as I probably should be, being a good 40k fanboy, and I can't believe there are enough of them in the Jericho Reach, DW or otherwise, to be winning, or stalemating the fight, as is happening, or that they really are that **** good. Space Marines aren't waging that war; they just happen to be there to help. I like Space Marines, but they aren't all-powerful (duck flung chair). Besides them, I'm not really certain what else the Imperium forces have that is "big and mighty", to deal with the abovementioned nasty threats. How is the Imperium fighting, then?

I also don't know exactly how Only War is written to play. I know they are considerably lower-power than DW themed games, but is it a team in a larger army force, fighting entrenched, or agaisnt dug-in enemies, or small, mobile, SpecForces-types, running specific missions, preferably against smaller, more important targets? What sort of setups DO teams fight in Only War? I could see them try to sneak into an enemy force, and eliminate enemies, possibly while their bigger force is drawing attention. There could be numerous foes that have one big guy, or none, with more Boyz and Gaunts, which could be doable for decent IG forces, I woulf think.

Otherwise, it's kind of a shame that it couldn't work; I like the Reach, but not Soace Marines, as much.

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venkelos said:

 

So, mechanicswise, why is there still a war the Imperium is a part of, in the Reach? I am not as much a fan of Space Marines as I probably should be, being a good 40k fanboy, and I can't believe there are enough of them in the Jericho Reach, DW or otherwise, to be winning, or stalemating the fight, as is happening, or that they really are that **** good. Space Marines aren't waging that war; they just happen to be there to help. I like Space Marines, but they aren't all-powerful (duck flung chair). Besides them, I'm not really certain what else the Imperium forces have that is "big and mighty", to deal with the abovementioned nasty threats. How is the Imperium fighting, then? I also don't know exactly how Only War is written to play. I know they are considerably lower-power than DW themed games, but is it a team in a larger army force, fighting entrenched, or agaisnt dug-in enemies, or small, mobile, SpecForces-types, running specific missions, preferably against smaller, more important targets? What sort of setups DO teams fight in Only War? I could see them try to sneak into an enemy force, and eliminate enemies, possibly while their bigger force is drawing attention. There could be numerous foes that have one big guy, or none, with more Boyz and Gaunts, which could be doable for decent IG forces, I woulf think.

Otherwise, it's kind of a shame that it couldn't work; I like the Reach, but not Soace Marines, as much.

 

Numbers.  The Imperium has enough numbers to fight a decent war of attrition,  the sheer amount of bodies they can bring to bare are "big and mighty" plus all of the equipmennt backing them up. Space Marines are mainly there to take out the important targets like leadership so the Guard can sweep in. They're the game changers, but the Imperial Guard/Navy equally as important, they just have different functions. Astartes are the sword (thrusting), Imperial Guard are the hammer (crushing blow).

There is absolutely no reason you couldn't set an Only War campaign in the Jeriocho Reach, in the same way Deathwatch could be operating in the Spinward Front, or a group of Acolytes on a job outside of the Calixis Sector. You could easily slot a campaign into the Jerioch Reach, I just expect Fantasy Flight created the Spinward Front because people would complain if they just copy/pasted the Jericho Reach lore over from Deathwatch. 

Only War can really be used for any sort of mission, it just depends on how you as a GM structure it. Want to run spec-ops style missions? Go for it. The way larger battles get run would be to have say… fifteen Ork boys charging in the direction of your squad, whilst the rest of the company is too pre-occupied with fighting their own handfuls of Orks for example. Running across a trench with your whole regiment? Simple, have a handful of snipers and machine gunners aiming in your general direction, agility tests for the artillery that just HAPPENS to land near your squad, that sort of thing.

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