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Alternative Campaign Thoughts

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As much as I enjoy the IG, I got to wondering about campaigns using Battle Sister and Space Marine squads, especially with the idea that, if you're the advernturous sort of GM, you might have players contolling both an IG character and a parallel Sororitas or Astartes character in a area of the same world, possibly never to meet, possibly not even aiding the other's objective (maybe inadvertantly hindering them!).

I suppose it could also work in a similar fashion if one wanted to do an Arbites squad RP, patrolling the streets, pursuits, raids, riot suppression (possibly in conjunction/coordination with Guard/PDF units), having a catchy theme song when the vid series airs, knowing that they won't be pre-empted by broadcasts of sports. "ARBITES is brought to you by the Pax Imperalis. All suspects are subject to Imperial justice."


I blame this musing on Plushy and Snap_Dragon making conversion threads.

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I think using Only War to roleplay as a group of Arbites would be brilliant, in fact I may just use this idea for a one off session if you don't mind. Fresh out of training and on the beat on an unforgiving hive world cleaning the streets one heretic at a time. A rookie squad paired off with a grudging or barely present sergeant, basically left to risk it all in service to humanity and the God-Emperor. A couple of plot hooks after a raid, leading them across the city hot on the trail of an illegal stimm-dealer who is at large, presumed to be attempting to escape via illegal contacts throughout the city. 

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Just imagine the looks on your groups face as they find themselves crashing along the superhighways of the hive in an epic chase, or a hover-skiff chase across the skies of the hive city, gunfire streaking across the night sky. A dangerous trawl through the underhive, a race to safety through the sewers and tunnels after stepping into the territory of a notorious mutie gang, or unearthing a forgotten population of a collapsed city sector who have turned to chaos worship and debased rituals. The possibilities are endless! Imagine a Dark Heresy game with less intrigue more action, and no possibility of rescue at the hands of your inquisitorial handlers or with the power of the Rosette. 

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That. Sounds. Awesome. By all means, anyone who likes this idea feel free to run with it. That's why I put it forward.


Book of Judgement is a good start, but there's also an old a few unofficial Arbites Codices someone wrote up that'd be good for reference, too. Should be able to find it online in pdf and modify classes. (I found a few more than just the old one randomly looking just now)

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For those who might be up for some (serious) digging, the following quoted from Lexicnum on the last time there were official tabletop rules for Arbites: "In the Ordo Malleus/Grey Knights army list in Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness Arbites squads could be used as an auxiliary force. In the basic Codex army lists included with second edition, taken as allies from the 'Imperial Agents' army list, they could be used as part of Space Marine and Imperial Guard armies. In Third Edition the Adeptus Arbites had an official army list (Citadel Journal 29). In Fourth Edition they appear only in Witch Hunter armies, represented by Inquisition Storm Troopers using the option of replacing their Hellguns with shotguns."

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The arbites idea is pretty awesome, hadn't heard that one before.  I'm not sure how well your idea of playing Sisters or Astartes simultaneous with Guard characters would work out.  One of the first things I did for OW was to rip out the Comrades system and tweak any talents that worked on comrades to be applicable to all appropriate NPCs.  But if it works for your group, then more power to you.


As for my own ideas on alternative campaigns, I believe it was brought up in another thread, but another poster had a sweet idea for the PCs to play a sqaud of Storm Troopers attached to an Interrogator/Inquisitor and doing various things of awesomeness fighting Chaos and whatnot.  Another idea (which I'm unsure if it was brought up in a thread here or if I read it out of OW) would be to play as a squad of traitor Guard.  There are a lot of different directions you could take this: do your players know your traitor guardsmen ("Oh holy Emperor, why are our fellow Guardsmen killing us and is that an Astartes dreadnaught?) or did they willing take up arms against the God-Emperor of Mankind.  There are lot of philosophical and moral issues that can be brought up, plus the inevitable slide to Chaos.

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I haven't actually used the idea myself, admittedly. Just something I was thinking about. They would be a bit much to have in close proximity to a Guard unit, but having them at a distance and rumors reaching the Guardsmen might provide a morale boost. I also thought that it'd be an interesting way to bring in some heavier opposition in a military campaign without overwhelming a PC Guard squad directly, or at least having a couple more flavors to the intervention options. Dark Heresy and Deathwatch give options for Guard and Space Marine units to appear as support, I figure the Guard could feel a bit of the Emperor's favor when the Sisters appear or drop pods help stem the tide. Though, like I stated earlier, and even a the entry for the Sororitas in DH mentions, early power armour and boltguns would be unbalancing/game breaking without some good planning.

After wading through the Enforcer Omnibus and seeing stuff about the old Arbites options for tabletop outside Necromunda, I'm actually wishing the Arbites would get a bit more attention now. I kinda want to start a small Arbites force now.

The Inquisitorial attachment and the Traitor options were covered in OW, I believe, so I didn't really consider mentioning them. But your Traitor Guard might also be non-Chaos successionists or Tau Gue'vesa, as well. That's one thing I've really gotten to appreciate about 40k in general is the philosophical/moral quandries that can be pulled up, especially with the Imperium. No disrespect to other franchises, but a lot of writers leave the "good"/"bad" thing far too obvious, imo.

An Arbites/Traitor campaign could also be a good mix, with the Arbites squad trying to track down and detain traitors, dealing with riots or counter-insurgency, on up to the opening of full scale rebellion where their limited military armament and numbers would be strecthed thin even with loyalist support. The Traitor Guardsmen could be harrassed by the last holdouts of Arbites engaging in a guerilla war for the Emperor, or taking their first strikes against the precinct fortresses in the name of whatever cause they've chosen over the Imperium. Just don't forget that the Arbites also has its own localized aeronatica and voidship fleets…

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Introducing PAX IMPERALIS, a (very) rough and unofficial concept for Arbites Operations and Campaigns. If anyone wants to borrow, add, or suggest modifications, feel free. If anyone who happens to have any influence at FFG is considering something more official along these lines, there's a popular sayng, "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!"


It's quite rough since, outside of a few wikis and DH supplements, all I've been able to get my hands on material-wise were a few decent unofficial and recent codices (according to one, there were over 20 others floating online at one point). I've also tried skimming through the Enforcer Omnibus as well to try and fill what I can. So, here goes.


Pursuit (Bike, Mounted, or Sentinel)- Replaces RECONNAISSANCE.

Execution- Replaces HUNTER-KILLER, since it's a similar concept- strike hard, strike fast, no prisoners taken, no court dates given. They also tend to move secretly, likely similar to Storm Troopers.

Combat-  Replacesan Infantry type. Slightly heavier standard armament (boltguns).

Patrol- Replaces an Infantry type. Typical Arbitors, carapace armour and Vox-Legi shotguns.

Suppression/Shock- Replaces an Infantry type. Heavier riot armor and suppression or shock shields. Repressors and Castigators, too?

Storm (?)- Replaces DROP TROOPS. Airborne Arbites, from Eagle Assault Shuttles. Grav chutes and rapelling lines.

Retreival Team (?)- Apprehension, hostage/kidnapping rescue. (But remember the hostages are also guilty of being taken hostage!)

Response-  Emergency backup, Likely would replace MECHANIZED. Rhinos, Chimeras, Castigtors?.

Counterinsurgency- Replaces ARMOURED. Many Arbites Precincts will have a Leman Russ, or the Arbites Repressors 


Omitted: (or, "I couldn't think of a way to fit them in")

Fire Support - This team swould normally be posted at a checkpoints an strongpoints, or heavy weapons section.

Escort Detail/Personal Staff (Bodyguards/Command Squad) - Command vehicle, possibly Mobile Precinct Fortress or Command variants of other transports







Arbites Vehicles:


Arbites Repressor


Leman Russ (rare)

Arbites Bike

Castigator (Arbites Razorback)

Land Speeder (including Storm variant)


Eagle Assault Shuttle (up-armoured Valkyrie?)


Omitted Vehicles: (Unable to verify any data of existence)


Black Maria


Class Adaptations: (currently in name only, mostly)


Executioner- Replaces HEAVY GUNNER

Medicae- Replaces MEDICAE (but not really)

Opererator/Tech Adept- Same as above

Detective- Replaces PSYKER (Psy-rating optional and Adjutant comrade?)

Chaplain/Deacon- Replaces MINISTORUM PRIEST

Proctor- Replaces SERGEANT

Tech-Priest Cyber-Mastiff Handler- Replaces TECH-PRIEST ENGINSEER



Storm Trooper- Possibly Chastener and option for Grapplehawk?

Commisar- Perhaps a Verispex? Investigator? Dare I even suggest Mortiurge (Radical's Handbook)?

Ratling Sniper- Possibly kept same

Ogryn- Possibly kept same


Omitted:  (same reason as for the teams)



Bailiff (possibly as a sort of Veteran class later?)






Edited by Graey

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More content to be considered! Possibly.

I've been digging around and have a few more old Guard regiments for those inclined to look up (if applicable). Most were found in my old 5th ed. or the Catachan and Armageddon supplements. useful for recreation, or just filling out who's present in your warzone.

Mordant Acid Dogs (mining world, light infantry)

Praetorian Regiments (similar to Mordian Iron Guar, but worth noting)

Terrax Guard (good candidate for Schola Progenium, prefer meltagun, lascannon)

Saval Chem-Dogs (penal, combat drugs, also Chem-Riders cavalry, prefer flamer, heavy bolter)

Harakoni Warhawks (drop troops, prefer plasma gun, heavy bolter)

Kanak Skull Takers (feral, warrior weapons, prefers flamer, rarely uses heavy weapons)


mentioned as present at 3rd War for Armageddon:

Armageddon Prime Jungle Veterans (same worls as the Steel legion, though treated as Death World/Catachans)

Armageddon Ork Hunters

Arphista Penal Legion

Asgardian Rangers

Jopall Indentured Squadrons

Krourk Ogryn Auxilia

Minervan Tank Legions

Monglor Ogryn Auxilia

Noctan Strike Forces

Ocanon Phalanx Troops

Pyran Dragoons

Semtexian Bombardiers (i see what they did here…)

Zouvan Skirmishers


Also, consideration of an artilery regiment that uses immobile artillery (like Krieg Lucius-pattern Earthshakers and Medusa that require Centaur tractors or Trojan support vehicles) in a siege or firebase scenario

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I'm currently working on a M.A.S.H. type regiment which would basically be a "Mobile Field Medicae" M.F.M. unit for short, a Combat Lifesaver Training Doctrine, and a First Responder equpiment doctrine. If anyone would be interested in seeing those I'd be happy to post them when I'm done. Might even open up an EMT option for an arbites campaign.

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my idea for an alternate OW campaign is to have the players take on the role of a Rouge Trader's Armsmen.  This ismostly for something different, and after talking with my player base, sounds like vast opportunties for role playing.


basic idea is the Rouge Trader is a great ship captain and knows his businuess in and out, but is veery detached when it comes to dealing with ordinary people who are not his command staff (AKA the other party memebers of a RT game) and so the Seneshal is having a hard time, and the Arch militant, at least for game mechanics, is the regimental commander.


For roleplaying opportunities, the Roughe Trader has requisitioned a guard regiment as well (and they are a VERY snooty highborn regiment with a proud lineage, yet themselves have never seen combat).  As this is the RT pet unit, he gets them to do his dirty work, but as the Seneshal and Arch-Militant know they cant do anything, have the Arms do the job, but fudge the paperwork to make it look the regiment is amazing.


To start the campaign, and get the PCs the status of "golden boys/go to guys", they would be escorting the RT back to his ship during an attack on the station the ship is berthed to.


As for ideas for missions, there is the standard boarding/getting boarded. Then also, as the RT is very strange: The RT wants to go hunting, and your squad is assigned the task of escorting him on his trip.


The campaign would played basically out of the OW book, with logistics rating and all that, but that rating would be more a value of how much the ship's quartermaster likes the PCs.  So you have tyour standard kit, and then mission assignment gear.  The only thing im not sure on is if i should use the random issue gear at all, and if I do, I know I would have to modiffy the table.

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In my opinion, the basic mechanics at the core of Only War - such as the Aptitude system - are perhaps the best incarnation of BI's/FFG's 40k RPG system so far. I've always been a fan of class- and level-less systems as they generally allow for better customisation of a character's progression, and thus make it easier to follow a specific and potentially unique development that is hand-crafted to suit the concept the player has in mind, instead of the almost tree-like railroading that more rigid systems entail (which may force "useless" skills and abilities onto a character concept or even keep them out of reach altogether, when a player's ideas concerning the background and traits of a character do not line up entirely with the archetype the designer had in mind).


This is why, at least for a while when I still thought it feasible, I had advocated the idea of a 2nd edition of this game with a unified ruleset for all the currently segregated branches, building primarily upon the ruleset of Only War. As has already been pointed out by the many, many ideas in this thread, it does not take much to come up with ideas for alternate campaigns - in fact, it is far more difficult to pick one out of the countless possibilities that the setting offers:


Even when keeping the militaristic or paramilitaristic theme, we could have anything from the aforementioned Astartes and Sororitas fighting their wars, to Arbites riot squads trying to keep the peace in some overcrowded urban sprawl, to a mercenary company fighting in the merchant wars of the Navigator houses, to a team of bounty hunters pulling one dangerous job after another. We could even tap another GW classic, Necromunda, and have a game about hive gangers trying to defend or expand their territory, and working their way up in the food chain! Background material to draw inspiration from is freely available on GW's homepage, so all it takes is a GM who likes to write houserules and a bunch of players who enjoy the thought of playing punks with lasers.


Of course, it need not stop there. Whilst Only War and its ruleset are arguably focused on conflict, there's no reason why one should not use it for a campaign focused on investigation or managment, such as using it to play their own version of Dark Heresy or Rogue Trader. Or even a sort of meta-campaign with different groups that all share one location yet occupy it with different character types and objectives. In theory you could have something like a Rogue Trader and his command crew in possession of some ancient and large vessel (large enough to have its own subcultures and vast dark, abandoned areas), a platoon of his Armsmen playing the game as if it'd be Only War, some Black Crusade zealots trying to set up their little cult in the bowels of the ship, and to top it off throw in an Inquisitor and his/her retinue on an undercover mission to investigate rumours about the Trader and/or the ship. It'd probably take too much bookkeeping and effort to keep so many campaigns "unified" under a common roof, with all characters' actions influencing the other team, but it's a nice thought at least.


The only thing I'm truly sceptical of is having single players running two characters simultaneously. I know it has been done with Dark Heresy + Deathwatch, but even there the DW sessions only were the culmination of the DH campaign. To basically run two campaigns side by side would, I think, split the players' attention too much. I know I couldn't lend the same amount of focus to two characters.

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I found a couple scanned pages of over 40 Guard unit pics from what looks like a 2e-3e era IG codex (not including the well known canon ones)


Edited by Graey

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Add Drookian Fen Guard (Feral World, Light Infantry, prefer stealth, infiltration, scouting) to the list... By St. Ollanius Pius, we need a solid database of Guard regiments.

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Add Drookian Fen Guard (Feral World, Light Infantry, prefer stealth, infiltration, scouting) to the list... By St. Ollanius Pius, we need a solid database of Guard regiments.

There's a task which will take forever!


But yes, varying the game works very well.

Always happy to see new regiment options.



The siege lines scenario works well. A squad dug into a section of line, with a gun battery to their rear and the enemy to their front. It's amazing how much interest such a small 'world' can generate and how triumphant the players were when they finally broke through.


One other thing for siege work - I added an additional skill class of Trade (Pioneer) - it just seemed right.




Controlling several characters can also work well. We've done a campaign with players getting lots of 'bit part' characters (essentially basic statlines, no fate points and no progression) and one 'main' character - a Grey Knight made using the Daemon Hunter rulebook. The bit parts were acolytes, or guardsmen, or whatever, and would generally do the investigation, clearing up, and tripping off massive daemonic incursions that justified the subsequent missions where the Grey Knights would turn up and prod buttock.

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From the unusually literate Bone'ead that suggested PAX IMPERALIS, comes WAR OF FAITH, a very rough draft for Sororitas Campaigns.


Some data is found in Blood of Martyrs and Heresy Begets Retribution


The Adepta Sororitas uses the standard Schola Progenium homeworld to represent their advanced training.


Comrades are optional.


Adepta Sororitas armoury is far more limited than the Guard and contains the following: Bolt Pistol, Godwyn-De'az Boltgun, Godwyn-De'az Storm Bolter, Heavy Bolter, Plasma Pistol, Hand Flamers, Flamers, Heavy Flamers, Inferno Pistols, Meltaguns, Multi-meltas, Chainsword, Eviscerator, Power Sword, Power Maul, Frag Grenades, Krak Grenades. (Some weapon mods/specialized ammo can also be included)


Others besides the Battle Sisters proper (Dialogus, Crusaders, Hospitallers, etc) may have access to other weapons/wargear outside the standard armoury.


Armour: Sorortas Power Armour, Hospitaller Carapace, Shield Robes



Sister Superior (Sergeant)

Dominion (Weapon Specialist)

Retributor (Heavy Gunner)

Battle Sister (used as enhanced Operator?)

Hospitaller (Medic)

Dialogus (?)

Crusader (Replaces Storm Trooper)

Ministorum Priest (Pretty much the same)


Advanced Specialties:













Feel free to leave your thoughts/suggestions/edits/etc. The Emperor's work is never done...

Edited by Graey

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I'd hesitate to put crusaders in there. Crusaders are dedicated bodyguards, either to high ranking clerics, inquisitors, or similar. They don't just womble around with millitant squads.



Sister Dominion and Sister Retributor is fine. Technically that's what they are anyway; if I remember the Witch Hunters codex correctly, there isn't actually such a thing as a 'Dominion Squad', just a squad with a more-than-standard number of Sister Dominions in it.


I wouldn't try to put in an 'operator'. Make sure operate is a core skill for everyone (they all learn to cope with a rhino) and leave it at that. Sororitas aren't noted for tech-skill or slick driving (aside from operate (aeronautica) for seraphim, obviously) compared to the slick walker aces you get in a veteran guard sentinal squadron; they're mostly an infantry force.


The Dialogous is an odd one to try and fit onto a battlefield, but if I had to, I'd maker her the vox operator and hence that makes her the obvious choice for the tech-use/operator equivalent.


If I had to pick out classes, I'd do it this thusly:


1) The players are a veteran (ish) squad. The standard militant battle squad is ten strong and is twenty strong as often as not.

2) Comrade can get stuffed. With power armour and bolters, battle sisters do not need a supporting mechanic to take on orks.

3) If a veteran force, then things become easier as veteran members can be assumed.


Militant Order Specialities (Equivalent to Regimental Specialities)

Get Sabbat Power Armour, Bolt Pistol, Godwyn-D'eaz Pattern Bolter, Knife.


Sister Superior*  - Sergeant. Sweeping orders and/or faith mechanics centre on this character. Swaps Bolter For Chainsword.

Sister Celestian - Standard Veteran. Bolter and Melee Specialist. Gets Bolter Drill - akin to lasgun barrage for bolters.

Sister Dominion - Assault Weapon Trooper. Gets Flamer or Meltagun. I hesitate on the stormbolter as it's just "bolter but better"

Sister Retributor - Heavy Weapon Trooper. Heavy Bolter, Multimelta, or Heavy Flamer.

Sister Seraphim - Recon, Scout, and CQB expert. Swap bolter for second bolt pistol and jump pack.


Ecclesiarchy Specialities (Equivalent to Support Specialities)

Sister Dialogous** - Comms/Tech officer

Sister Hospitaler** - Medic

Ecclesiarchy Priest - As Only War



* (Technically Elohim for a Veteran squad but that's an obscure title few people have heard of)

** Because they aren't from the same order so must be an attachment at commandery or preceptory level.

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Simplifying isn't a bad idea. That looks a bit cleaner.


Who would say no to a storm bolter option? Sometimes you need an extra boltgun with only one person shooting. Extra suppression in a lighter package than a heavy bolter helps.


Speaking of the Codex, seen the new one?

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