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mortagon

Tech-priest player disatisfaction

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Hi there, I'm looking for ways to make my tech-priest player happy. He's not to keen on the regular combat options and would rather like to use his technical skills to aid his allies and hinder his foes, like repairing damaged vehicles and equipment, doing minor tweaks to weaponry during combat and the like. The problem is that repairs and tweaking takes a long time and is not really viable in a combat situation. Apart from applying sacred unguents he really hasn't been feeling all to useful in combat yet.

 

I was thinking I would allow him to use his tech use skill in a similar fashion to the first aid rules from the medicae skill, only it would repair damaged vehicles, servitors, machines and the like. Maybe allow him to slightly overcharge a las weapon granting a +1 to damage on the next overcharge shot or something.

 

Does anyone here have any ideas of how I can give my tech-priest a way to apply his technical skills in a viable way during combat?

 

Thanks in advance

 

M

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Some of this depends on regiment. Mechanicus players will be much happier in any regiment that fields vehicles or specialized equipment. In addition, your choice of enemy and setting will also play into the situation. If any of this is way off base from what you are working with then my apologies in advance!

 

1. If your squad doesn't have a vehicle, let them find one. It doesn't have to be an abandoned Leman Russ, just a Chimera with a broken tread or even an old Land Crawler can provide a big tactical advantage. A squad taking cover behind the dozer blade is a pretty effective option. Even if the vehicle is only used for a mission, it still provides a memorable moment your tech-priest can point to.

 

2. Drop some Tarantulas! You can find the stats for these in Lathe Worlds and a few other non-OW supplements. These sentry guns could be dropped from orbit into a crucial area, and your squad could be sent in along with their tech-priest to awaken the machine spirits. Just when all hope seems lost against the green tide, your Tech-Priest gets the twin-linked heavy bolter turret up and running to chew apart the horde.

 

3. Fixed installations are just awesome. You can run some nifty haunted house style setups that see your players running around an old relay station trying to get powers, cogitators, and other systems up and running while dodging the horrors that lurk within.

 

4. Auspex. Throw 'em an auspex for a mission (or the improved siege auspex) This lets your tech-priest pull double duty as an ad hoc intelligence and recon source.

 

5. Introduce foreign weapons. Maybe the squad is working in conjunction with PDF or some oddly equipped regiment, or is on a planet where their traditional las weapons just aren't effective (constant sandstorms?) and they are issued gear that aren't really used to. Make a special pattern weapon(s) useful in this campaign or environment that are prone to issues and problems that only your handy red cloak can fix!

 

6. Tactical Network. Maybe the Mechanicus approaches your tech-priest about testing out new gear. Not just some new pattern or obscure tech, but a full network of targetters, pict recorders, and other systems designed to improve combat efficiency. Without any Storm Troopers nearby (or maybe they don't want to jeopardize quality troops with untested gear) the squad is asked to test them. Your Tech-Priest ends up a sort of central node to this network, flagging targets and allies, getting battlemaps up and monitoring linked in gear after the cogitators prove ineffective or broken.

 

7. Let the priest be the spider in the web! This one is a little more setup based, but it might be a fun side mission to throw on them. The squad is tasked with defending an important mechanicus installation that was recently reacquired from the Dominate or other enemy. It is equipped with automatic defenses, combat servitors, blast doors, and a host of other defenses... All of which must be controlled from the security room. Your Tech-Priest advises and coordinates while plugged into the system, directing servitors, handling doors, running fire suppression systems, plugging radiation leaks, and activating security systems while the squad does the face to face combat and work. Your tech-priest will probably enjoy playing with all their gizmos while still very actively being part of the squad.

 

8. Blowing up weird alien tech. Maybe the squad infiltrates an extremely large xenos vehicle (or their voidship is attacked and they are pressed into service as boarders) or installation. Your tech-priest is going to be the only person capable of figuring out just what any of this stuff does and which parts need to get blown up/shut down.

 

9. Depending on the skill layout, maybe your player could mix up combat drugs or fabricate basic parts and repairs. Just being able to get a red-dot sight without bothering the quartermaster is one of those little things that is both useful, but not hugely balance affecting.

 

10. The longer the squad is away from base and resupply, the more useful your tech-priest becomes. If they are behind enemy lines for potentially weeks or months, he might be their only source of charging charge packs and other basic essentials. 

 

11. Let them counter enemy automated or mechanical security. Let them hack systems or have entirely digital conflicts against corrupted cogitators, hereteks, or other heavily mechanized enemies.

 

12. Borrowed from Inquisitors handbook. Technical Support - You can teamwork skill rolls (even ones you aren't trained in) so long as it involves some piece of technology. Maybe you help out the operator's drive check because you are placating the engine machine spirit.

 

 

Finally, a few thoughts on Tech-Priests and some of the difficulty that is inherent with the system. Technology is advanced and arcane enough that your TP is really the only PC that is going to have any reliable knowledge of the inner workings (Barring some Operators) so anytime high technology is really showcased it'll be their bag. On the downside, you can't have everything be about tech-use. The singular nature of the skill makes it difficult to really showcase a wide variety of options. If you as a GM are lucky, your tech-priest will have splayed those skills out some and have a wider base you can use in missions. The ability to speed repair (like first aid) isn't a huge game breaker, so long as you put some realistic limits on it. if a vehicle is destroyed or non-working, you should probably say it takes normal downtime. As for upgrading weapon damage I'd probably skip on that point and allow them a chance to tinker with quality. Let your TP make some requisition checks for superior parts and make rolls to improve common weapons up to good (or even best, but I'd make the checks very difficult) Or just let them add on attachments. You can plumb some of the DH and RT books for oddball weapons and upgrades that would fit just fine. Socially, you could even let your squad work alongside some Skitarri. That could make for a bit of fun when the tech guard just doesn't get your traditional IG troopers, but seem to adore the tech-priest (even shunting him into an impromptu sarge position) 

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Thanks for the advice :)

 

I'm running my players through the Final Testament Campaign so the Tech-priests options is somwhat limited by the framework provided in that Campaign. My player's do have a chimera (currently three actually) and I've already allowed the Tech-priest to scavenge the destroyed ones for useful parts.

 

Most of your suggestions are kind of limited to the circumstances at hand but will surely help the tech-priest shine if those circumstances ever occur. I was kind of looking for something the tech-priest could do on a round to round basis in a combat situation. I really like option number 12 for this. What is the limit to what the Tech-priest could aid? Should I for example let him aid someones BS to help someone shoot by fine tuning their weapons or should he be limited to aiding in skill checks only?

 

M

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Ahh, yeah, preset campaign makes a lot of those harder to implement. Hrmmm

 

As far as the teamwork action goes, core says only complicated or delicate tasks but you don't have to abide by those limitations if it suits your players. I'd definitely allow it for crew served, vehicle, and heavy weapons. For your standard lasgun, eh, I dunno. You could let them do something akin to the markerlight setup for the tau. Maybe the tech-priest points out weak points in armor (Upping pen by half DoS on vehicles or heavy armor foes) or links into targetting systems or some such. So long as you can make the flavor work it'd be ok. You could also let them work as mobile cover, I had a tech-priest player hold flakboard in his mechadendrites to offer mobile cover for the squad. You could let him 'bless' grenades before being thrown, or rig overcharge packs in the field, or even curse opposing machine spirits to rebel against their owners. Tech-Priests sort of occupy an area tactically where they can be absolute horrendous juggernauts in personal combat, they can be game changing support classes when it comes to vehicles, or they can greatly impact the outcome of a battle by stacking the deck technologically. Your support options turn by turn are a little limited but it isn't an insurmountable option. 

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Perhaps the player doesn´t want to play a tech-priest and would be happer with something else?

 

Or is it just combat that he doesn't enjoy?

 

 

If he does enjoy combat but just not as a tech-priest, you could have him retire the tech-priest behind the lines during combat while the player assumes control over the tech-priest's buddy; the servitor....which could be built for combat and serves as bodyguard.

 

If he simply doesn't like combat I am not sure if playing Only War is the right setting for him. Other settings offer a different focus (Dark Heresy focuses on investigations and Rogue Trader on adventuring) but combat is still an important part of it.

 

In it simplest form, your tech priest (TP) could simply assist another player, providing a +10 bonus. You could also look at group buffs as offered by officers and priests and create something similar but focused on equipment & weapons. For example, instead of using litanies of hatred he uses rites of the holy lasgun to provide a modest bonus to the weapon. Depending on the exact rites it could buff BS, damage or penetration. With a little work, you could effectively reskin such talents to suit your tech-priest.

 

Just make **** sure you also take stuff away from his career choices or it would be unfair to the other players that your tech-priest gets an expanded career list with both the original options and the new ones you made up. 

 

Barring this, you'll have to focus on providing opportunities for the tech-priest to strut his stuff during combat. Ideally, the TP should be an expert in demolitions, security and tech-use. Then you just have to provide stuff for him to use/manipulate and he can bring down towers on the enemy, re-write targeting protocols and use the enemy sentry guns against them or send a chimaera filled with explosives careening into the enemy position via remote control.

 

Because providing these things on the spur of the moment is difficult for a GM, my advice would be to tell your player to ask for stuff to be there. For example, your squad is on patrol and bumps into an enemy squad doing the same. A fight ensues. Instead of describing the scene in great detail so the TP can decide how he will manipulate the location with his skills, the TP must ask if there is an abandoned vehicle lying about. Or a convenient tower to collapse. Or boulders to push down. The GM will then decide if their presence is reasonable and let the TP carry on.

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He has nothing against combat, but he has built his character to be more of a support role since he feels that the other players has covered the necessary combat skills for the squad. He is really exited for the downtime parts of the Campaign since it allows him to craft, repair and upgrade equipment, but he wishes his techie skills could have more applications on the battlefield.

 

I really like your ideas of allowing him to control certain aspects of the battlefield. Currently my players have been ambushed in a canyon by rebel soldiers. Each side of their passage is rigged with explosives and the baddies have already managed to trigger the rear end of the explosion. Maybe I could allow him to shut down or delay the other explosives by remotely hacking their triggering mechanisms? Is this something a tech-priest could plausibly do or does it seem to powerful for a basic skill use?

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Seems like a good idea and a creative one (which always earns extra kuddos in my campaign  :) )

 

Remote hacking is a security test first to get into the system followed by a tech-use skill to change detonation orders. And all should be pre-faced by a common lore (adeptus mechanicus) test as he recites the hymns for appeasement and forgiveness as he is about to "abuse" the machine spirit of the detonators by overriding their initial parameters. Or perhaps he must first wrestle the machine spirit of his own hacking device into submission with a common lore (adeptus mechanicus) test as it balks at overriding another machine spirit....

 

It should never be a simple, single skill test. Tech-priests are psuedo-techno-shamans. They should be reciting holy techno-scriptures...burning holy prometheum sticks to honour the fuel of the machine spirits, dripping holy machine oils (and tripping other party members) as they soothe machine spirits...Which means common lore (adeptus mechanicus) tests and makes this skill more interesting IMO. 

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My player has been really good at roleplaying the various techno hymns and playing up the weirdness and mysteries of the mechanicus. I'm afraid my player has only a single round to act before the explosives goes off (unless the sniper manages to take out the trigger man). The lore checks I'll treat as a free action but I think the tech-use should be an extended check, although he will be able to delay the explosions until he fails his check or after he makes X number of succsesses in which case he will succeed at disarming the bombsI think the security is uneccessary because I can't see the receiver or triggering mechanism being encrypted in any way. He did have to roll a security check last session when trying to reroute their vox system to another location to confuse their enemy (which he failed, even after using a fate point for a reroll at 85% chance or so).

 

I just realised that the assist rules can be used with any check as long as it is plausible making my players desire to aid in shooting, operating vehicles and other acts based on technology viable.

 

M

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Servo Skulls.

 

I would allow him to create Servo Skulls with various functions, like Gun-Skulls he controls in Combat.  You may want to fiddle with the Servo-Skull stats and research the fluff to come up with some list of resources he'll need, etcetera and expand what kinds he can make. Plus, there's several nice Servo Skull miniatures available.  For a Gun-Skull, I got an old-school Marine Bolt Pistol and glued that to the side. They're a lot smaller than modern ones, so they don't make the Skull look like it should be flying lop-sided.

 

What could be more fun than making Servo-Skulls out of deceased Comrades?  "I live...to Serve again!"

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Techpriests are awesome characters.

Probably one the best characters to start out with. 
With the free implants our tech priest is a beast.
He has the armor implant and the Shoulder Mounted Weapon Implant.
He can take a hit like no one else and do his repairs while firing as a free action.

 

Got to fix the crashed ship NP .... tech check + Aim + Fire Weapon all day long.
Ran into a group of orks? NP take out his Great Axe or use his Servo arm (if you opt for one).
Weapons jammed ... covering fire as he unjams it for you.
Servitors are fun 2.

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