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SideshowLucifer

Imperial Guard Background

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For the love of all the gods, the IG background needs something that people will actually use.  Very few people will using carrying capacity in their games, which makes the imperial guard's ability absolutely worthless.

 

The Imperial Guard should have an ability that fits the horrors of war that he has faced.  Maybe something tactical to coordinate the group similar to the Rogue Trader's ability; or perhaps something that hardens him to the horrors of battle and gives a bonus to resist fear and other mental traumas which can kill one during an engagement. Maybe allow him to help the rest of the group resist those things, giving him a clear role as a battlefield leader among the group.

 

Any other ideas or comments we can share with FF on how to improve this background?

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Again, we should try to stay uniform to provide as much flavor and distinction as possible. This stuff that shouldn't bloat, because people can't take it later. 

 

I think it should be a +10 to a test, with three choices on where to apply it. That's a nice little bonus, which indicates his specialty.

 

What about "Fought this before"- +10 to resist fear against either [Xenos, Heretics,or Daemons]- this could just as easily apply to the lowly guardsman to the tactical commander and gives quite a bit of flavor directly relating to your background and story. 

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After playing Only War and being terribly weighed down by my armor and grenade launcher, and now contemplating having to lug an Autocannon, I saw the Guard ability and thought 'Oh, so he'll be your heavy weapons guy. That seems very useful'. Different strokes, I suppose.

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The thing is, my players had the same reaction "were always carrying this or that and we shouldn't be able too because its too heavy so this is going to be great and were going to start playing with this and start paying attention to it and...." 

 

Yeaaaaah right :P 

 

Its extra paperwork that bogs you down during a game. Want to carry your wounded friend? Str test- and lets move on. Common sense plays a sort of a role here when it comes to excessive gear. 

 

In Dark Heresy, carrying around all of those weapons has a different set of consequences than on the battlefield- lack of suitability is the major one, for example. 

 

I can see why you would need all of those things in an Only War game, but in a Dark Heresy game... any guardsman's that's carrying that "comic" level of weapons, is likely to be reprimanded and if not, then he should rarely be in a situation where he needs all of those weapons RIGHT NOW and wish he could have gotten access to them but is cut off from supply lines by waves and hordes of enemies. 

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The thing is, a lot of groups don't track weight. Like precise ammo count out of combat, it's one of those things that rarely matter, so most people ignore it. Sure, you know the guardsman can't carry his autocannon, his heavy flammer, his lasgun and 3 other guns while carrying his wounded buddy on his back, but you probably won't precisely track all of that with the weight of the ammo as well.

 

I'd give them something either related to their wartime experience (either resistance to fear or a kind of Hatred talent), that makes them distinctive from the others without being a mule. Looking at the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer, the average guardsman's pack isn't that heavy.

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We can't say "resistance pinning" and "resistance fear" because those are two talents that people get later :P 

 

We could say gets "The Emperor Protects" If the guardsman chants the litany of protection, he gets a +10 to resist pinning and "Fought it before": +10 to resist fear from a group of his choice [Xenos, Heretic or Daemonic] 

 

Origins should be Unique, but background can afford to be specialties- +10 to very specific roles are great, especially if we give the players option on it. 

 

In terms of equipment, he should get the Primer. Which should give him a +10 to.... something :P 

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I'm going to echo Night10194 here.  I'm currently playing an ex-Guardsman in a DH game and I would love to have this ability.  When you know you're going into a shooting situation, being over-weight (and thus reducing movement rate and taking a -10 to Dodge) with an autocannon, grenade launcher, hellpistol, plasma pistol, sword, and a bunch of ammo and extra grenades is quite problematic.

 

That being said, it probably should use a bit of boost or tweak compared to some of the other bonuses.  Perhaps instead of a bonus to carrying capacity there should be a bonus to your max fatigue cap?  That seems to make sense to me and be quite useful.

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In terms of equipment, he should get the Primer. Which should give him a +10 to.... something :P

 

This is the greatest understatement ever; losing the Primer is cause for termination (as written within), as it risks the enemies of Mankind obtaining the sacred knowledge held within :P. The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer is the guardsman's greatest asset after his lasgun and his faith in the Emperor. Cowards may claim that rations and spare socks also stand over the Primer, but these are men of weak faith, who should be denounced to your ranking officer or to any commissar on duty.

 

Anywho, it should give bonuses to knowledge checks on the IG. It might not have reliable information on the xenos (I know, this is heresy, but we are trying to be impartial here), but it does contain a lot of information about how the guard operates.

Edited by MorioMortis

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@MorioMortis: You'd think they'd get Specialist (Imperial Guard) for that!  The other Imperium-based Backgrounds get the appropriate Specialist talent but the Guardsmen don't?  That's just plain weird.

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That's true- and seeing is they can't lose the damned thing or they get shot, its easy to explain why its a permanent skill list. They've memorised it. 

 

Cmon people! More comments on the Carrying Capacity VS +10 to resist Pinning & Fear [Choice of Group]! I think we can all agree that the Primer is worth a specialty. 

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That's true- and seeing is they can't lose the damned thing or they get shot, its easy to explain why its a permanent skill list. They've memorised it. 

 

Cmon people! More comments on the Carrying Capacity VS +10 to resist Pinning & Fear [Choice of Group]! I think we can all agree that the Primer is worth a specialty. 

 

I like the +10 to resist fear and pinning; it represents what the IG is about; they don't lug around all that much, but you better be sure that if their officer tells them to go over that trench and charge some nameless monstrosity, or run across a killing field, they'll do so. Probably not willingly, but they'll do it, and eventually become somewhat jaded to it all.

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In the campaigns where I am playing and in the one where I GM, we do use carry capacity.

 

Not for every little thing that we pick up and such, but to determine what kind of gear we can carry and use in combat. We have made a seperate paper for gear, since the character sheet just get clobbered up, and after adding weapons, armors and tools there needs to be some space left or the player will not be able to pick up small stuff etc. when playing.

 

Our experience is that players have to cut down on the number of weapons they carry, cause it all adds up, which means that they can not have the optimal weapon for all situations at all times. Nor can they carry around all the tools there exists. We find that having to make this choice is interesting and adds fun to our game.

 

In conclusion I don't think that the IG ability is that much out of balance with the others. At least not for our play styles perspective.

Edited by Alox

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I think the majority of groups do not use carrying capacity. Even if yours does, please consider what I have to say.

Think of a soldier, someone with a tour of duty under their belt. You don't know what they did, necessarily, but you expect them to hold up better in combat then someone who isn't a soldier. Yea, you also expect him to be more physically fit, but it's the combat competence that is more defining for them.

That's why I suggest something to do with Pinning.

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Personally I'd prefer if it was something that couldn't be duplicated by talents or skills as it robs the uniqueness of the background and makes it a moot point.

Maybe allow them to ignore some fatigue? Imperial Guardsmen should be used to ignoring it and pushing through pain and fatigue after all.


Does however come back to the argument about feralworlders getting enhanced smell, it's worthless unless the GM makes use of it. And i'd call that a poor GM.

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The thing with the duplication of stats with talents, or generally speaking +10 to stats, is that Origins are more suitable to provide something "Unique"- whereas its true that we could add another ability here that's "special", I personally feel that backgrounds are more suited towards "specialisation." 

 

A guardsman's job should be better at something than an other class- in this particular case, were suggesting combat. We've already got an idea down for a fatigue resistance unique origin ability over in the "Forge World Origin" thread. 

 

I also want to avoid "bloating" these things. Having an ability give more and more at the start is also an issue, the "less" we change" and more stick to a specific theme, the better off we are and the likelier it is to get changed. 

 

The main idea is to provide as much flavor as possible, and to allow for a diverse type of character. So I think what should be the same is more of a "positive reputation" rather than a physical stat. In other words, I could play a guardsman character thats short, smart and quick. Why would my guy have extra carrying capacity? 

 

Whereas both the large and small guardsman would be likely be able to resist pinning and fear from a foe they've fought before. 

 

What about the cowardly guardsman? Well, if they don't perform... than they've already been shot by a commissar [and with this new system, stunned for a few rounds :P (CHEAP SHOT!)]

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Cowardly guardsmen would be shot, or at least not recruited by the inquisition, no?

Maybe they could choose an enemy they've fought against which they get some sort of bonus against? Like knowing enemy tactics, reducing chance to dodge/parry by 10%? Or something akin to hatred?

 

Resisting pinning sounds reasonable too. And I didn't read the forge world thread until afterwards and it's not like it's decided that forgeworlds get that ;)

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To be honest - I consider the carrying capacity bonus as something really good.

 

I am tracking weight with the heavy things at least, so it has influence on my game especially with heavy armour (can be usefull for soldiers), heavy weapons (can be useful for soldiers) & the sheer multitude of different tools and weapons (1 for every situation ;D very good for soldiers).

 

For me, it is one of the better "unique" abilities.

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Given that with athletics you are able to lift double your carrying capacity it gives the guardsman an interesting (though occasionally a bit silly) bonus to do superhuman feats of strength... lifting up cars and the like.

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Imperial Guardsman Backgrounds

 

Officer's Valet- The character has been thoroughly trained in "trick" driving, allowing him to pull maneuvers and "stunts" with heavily armoured ground cars, Salamanders, even Chimeras, and has been trained to remain alert for box-ins and other vehicular ambushes. The character has subsequently driven for ranking officers and other dignitaries in many locations and scenarios, giving him an extensive knowledge of street plans, traffic flow, etc.

 

While operating a vehicle, this character cannot "accidentally" take a wrong turn, his ability to navigate surface streets uncanny and unerring. Likewise, the character is less likely to fall afoul of street level ambushes and detour set-ups, whether driving or otherwise. Lastly, the character's extensive knowledge of ground vehicle capabilities means that he is able to push them beyond their normal limits, as well as "jink" them in ways that make it difficult for would-be assailants to target.

Possible Origins: Rear Echelon War World 

 

Officer's Attache- The character, being personally well-groomed and reasonably intelligent, was inducted into the Attache Corp and was taught the intricacies of organization, filing, and triplicate-form submissions. The character also has extensive previous experience in tracking down lost rank pins, cuff links, ties, epaulets, or having uniforms pressed and starched. Additionally, it has at times been the character's responsibility to arrange for catering, entertainment, and/or  "escorts" at unofficial military summits.

 

The character is an "old hat" at navigating the intricacies of inter-departmental bureaucracy, resulting in requisition requests that are filled in a reasonably timely manner and with far less red tape. Additionally, the character has, over the years, accumulated a cluttering collection of extra uniforms and rank insignia as he never knows when they will need replacing. Lastly, the character has established a list of contacts that are capable of fulfilling "exotic" requests on short to little notice.

Possible Origins: Pleasure World/Retirement Hospice 

 

Conspiracy Theorist- This character was chosen to participate in a closed-group, psychological military experiment. Alongside a select cadre of other participants, the character experienced uncomfortable variations of temperature, wildly inconsistent meal times, extended periods of protein deficiency, sleep deprivation, social isolation, and was made to sit through numerous pict-spools of mildly disturbing imagery. Once the experiment was terminated, the character and his fellow participants were then integrated into the normal rank and file soldiers. Over the intervening years, many members of the group have since died under suspicious circumstances, and the character and those of his fellow participants who still live have come to the quiet conclusion that something very significant yet not quite understood took place within the test compound. Something for which others are willing to kill to keep a secret...

 

The character has an uncanny knack for making great leaps of logic that defy "normal" topic association, and most times his theories are correct. The character is frighteningly aware of the "hidden" details within his surroundings, though he seems nonplussed by events or conditions that might leave others feeling nervous and edgy. The character sometimes forgets to eat, or eats his meals back-to-back, is rarely comfortable regardless of the temperature, has difficulty making friends because his foil hat is off-putting, and spends much of his free time hanging around mothballed military bases and listening to unsanctioned late-night vox-casts. He is certain he knows "things" that none were meant to know, and his favorite book is entitled 'The Pumpernickle Pitcher'.

Possible Origins: Any Regimental Founding

Edited by Brother Orpheo

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To be honest - I consider the carrying capacity bonus as something really good.

 

I am tracking weight with the heavy things at least, so it has influence on my game especially with heavy armour (can be usefull for soldiers), heavy weapons (can be useful for soldiers) & the sheer multitude of different tools and weapons (1 for every situation ;D very good for soldiers).

 

For me, it is one of the better "unique" abilities.

 

I'd second this. Have just played the first session with the new rules and starting strength in the 30's and armour does limit your weapon and gear options.

 

Having a greater lifting limited removed this problem for my character (even if I did then have to carry some gear for the others), so certainly a useful ability.

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I wont be tracking every little thing, but I do use carrying capacity rules and this trait is useful in my games. But I hear the people saying that they handmade encumbrance in theirs.

 

My vote would be to add a fatigue resistance power as an alternative option. E.g. ignore the first two points of fatigue or whatever. Players can then choose whether their character gets 'beast of burden' or 'long march' advantage on creation.

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I positively love the extra carrying capacity; to me, it both fits (guardsmen will be used to constantly carrying armor, weapons, rations, whatever they need, on their backs when there is no transport present or it's busted a track) and to me, it is useful.

 

Even if you don't track carrying capacity, are you really going to allow a player to carry one of absolutely everything? Or constantly carry around a heavy weapon without penalty?

 

Most heavy weapons weigh at least 30 kg. If you have a Sb of 4, that's the ONLY thing you're going to carry. Even when not using carrying capacity, I'd probably rule that you can't constantly carry a heavy weapon unless you have Sb 5.

 

In our group, I'm probably the only player who tracks carrying capacity - the others don't have to because they don't carry a lot of gear. Generally, I just eyeball the weight of armour plus weapons, although in one specific case I added it all up (going into a space hulk with no backup, I tried to carry as much firepower as possible - I had to make some tough equipment decisions)

 

With this addition, I suddenly don't have to track equipment weight anymore. My Sb is 4, so I can carry 120kg with the guardsman background. I'm probably not going to carry around a lot of extra stuff compared to what I do now - but I don't have to add up all the numbers to make sure it fits, I can just eyeball it. Besides, being able to perform extreme feats of strength like suggested earlier, is, to me, a very cool unique ability and definitely going to be useful.

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