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Captain Erf

What's the sergeant's vox-tech comrade advance supposed to do?

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A sergeant can buy the vox-tech comrade advance for 250xp (making it his most expensive comrade advance). However, it's unclear to me what it is supposed to do.

 

From the Vox-Tech rules: "As long as his Comrade is in Cohesion with him, all of the Sergeant's orders affect all Comrades within vox range."

 

Normally, a Sergeant's sweeping orders affect all Comrades in "communications range" - basically meaning they have to be able to hear the Sergeant, either directly or through a micro-bead.

 

Now I assume the vox-tech carries a vox caster. But the individual squad members would still need micro-beads to receive the vox caster. However, if the squad has micro-beads, the Sergeant can simply issue orders through his micro-bead. The only advantage of having a vox-tech would be that the vox caster has a range of 100 km and a micro-bead only 1 km. But I don't see how that's worth 250xp (how often will a squad be so dispersed?).
Also, couldn't a squad simply requisition a vox caster instead of buying it as a Comrade advance?

 

Lastly, what is meant by "all of the Sergeant's orders affect all Comrades"? Surely what is meant is "all of the Sergeant's sweeping orders", not the individual orders he can give his own comrade?

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I could see that it also gives a better chance at communicating through thick walls etc.

But I'm having the same problem here, really.

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What boggles me is that it costs more than any of the other Sergeant's comrade advances/sweeping orders. I feel like I'm missing something here.

 

I guess the questions boils down to: what is the difference between "communications range" and "vox range"? And is it really worth 250 xp?

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It should be noted that giving every guardsman a micro-bead would be impractical by most the Imperial Guards standards and voxes are more practical.

 

Compare 1 vox per squad (Scarce x number of Squads) to 10 micro-bead per squad (Average x 10 x number of Squads) and unless you and the other Players have outfitted their Regiment that way (whether via Regiment creation or Logistsics) most Regiments will have to make do with having a vox-man to rely information in between squads.

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The only advantage of having a vox-tech would be that the vox caster has a range of 100 km and a micro-bead only 1 km. But I don't see how that's worth 250xp (how often will a squad be so dispersed?).

It's 1km under the best possible circumstances. Add bad weather, unfortunate geography, ECM and other hazardous effects and you'll reach a point where it's easily possible to lose contact with the ratling sniper who either stayed back to proved fire support from a good position or scouted ahead if the characters actually enage enemies at the range their weapons are effective at.

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oh and there's the crypto aspect. a vox caster can probably do better encryption and can support different levels of access etc...

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Thanks for your thoughts.

It seems the argument is that it is advantageous to have a vox caster in the squad. Which I completely agree with. Just as it would be advantageous to have an auspex in the squad, or a grenade launcher. However, this is normally handled by the Logistics system. It does not seem to be the point of this advance to simply buy a vox caster with xp. Otherwise, the wording would have been something like “the Sergeant’s comrade is automatically equipped with a vox caster.” In fact, the rules for the vox-tech advance don’t even mention the word ‘vox caster’.

 

Mechanically, this is what the vox-tech advance is supposed to do: "As long as his Comrade is in Cohesion with him, all of the Sergeant's orders affect all Comrades within vox range."

 

Now maybe the point is indeed to cover situations like the above mentioned ratling sniper who happens to be out of normal micro-bead range AND is in dire need of a sweeping order. But this seems to me so incidental that in no way it is worth 250 xp. I would take ANY of the other comrade advances (which cost less!) anytime.

 

Add in the fact that the ability is completely wasted if the squad didn’t invest in micro-beads during regiment creation or failed to acquire them through Logistics.

 

Has anyone actually bought this advance for his Sergeant PC? And was this simply to get a vox caster without having to requisition one?

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I think it's pretty clear that sweeping orders cannot be issued over micro-beads. Otherwise this advance would have no point, assuming that microbeads are as ubiquitous as is being suppsed.

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I think it's pretty clear that sweeping orders cannot be issued over micro-beads. Otherwise this advance would have no point, assuming that microbeads are as ubiquitous as is being suppsed.

Considering that micro-beads are 8 points (out of base 30) during regimental creation, that's not exactly ubiquitous - more like 'average' ;)

 

But my point (before I fell for the temptation of the weak pun) was that not everyone in every regiment have microbeads.

 

We've also use the vox carried by the vox-op to contact regimental HQ, significantly more that 1 km away.

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If it were average, it would be part of standard kit for everyone. They're exotic equipment, like preysense goggles. ;)

 

Anyway I think the idea is that commands, in the game-mechanical sense of the term, can only normally be given in earshot or possibly line of sight -- much like squad modes in Deathwatch.

 

I realize this isn't actually stated ;), but I think it was RAI.

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I have thought about that too, but it seems jarring.

I mean, if the sarge gives orders himself through the radio, they don't work, but if he delegates it to his vox-man, then it's a real order?

Additionally, I believe that Sweeping Orders are misnamed, as most are not so much orders as encouragement. Else the sergeant should shoot everyone (incl. himself, for failing in his duty) after failing a roll for "Get Them!", as they ignored a direct order...

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Well there has to be a distinction between an order in the sense of instructions and an order in the sense of something that gives mechanical benefits, which is as you say actually supposed to represent inspiring the men.

 

Otherwise he could give orders with a piece of paper. ;)

 

The Vox ability lets him be all inspiring and stuff over transmission.

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We've also use the vox carried by the vox-op to contact regimental HQ, significantly more that 1 km away.

 

Yes, much like you would use an auspex to scan your surroundings. But these are not abilities you pay for with XP – this is simply the function of a piece of gear. Anyone who requisitions a vox caster can make long range contact without having to spend XP for it.

 

Anyway I think the idea is that commands, in the game-mechanical sense of the term, can only normally be given in earshot or possibly line of sight -- much like squad modes in Deathwatch.

Nope. The RAW is that to give an Order, the PC “must have some way of communicating with his Comrade” and this usually means being within hearing distance, but may also be “via hand signals or with a micro-bead” (p 270). Sweeping Orders affect all comrades in “communications range” (p83). 

I mean, if the sarge gives orders himself through the radio, they don't work, but if he delegates it to his vox-man, then it's a real order?

Exactly. It doesn't make sense.

 

Also, the very fact that micro-beads are not standard issue makes this ability all the more senseless. Picture it. A vox caster is a big radio on the vox-tech’s back. How is he going to relay orders to the rest of the squad if they don’t have micro-beads?? What’s the point of a Sergeant relaying an order to his vox-tech if the vox-tech cannot reach the squad members?

 

PS don’t get me started on Air of Authority. “If the character gives an Order to his squad, the order’s range is increased by 100 metres”. Splendid! Hearing range +100 metres?

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Nope. The RAW is that to give an Order, the PC “must have some way of communicating with his Comrade” and this

 

 

That's RAW. RAI is often different!

 

RAI cannot be “must have some way of communicating with his Comrade”, or the Vox upgrade would not exist, as it would serve no function.

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Well… it’s exactly my point that the vox upgrade has no function and should not exist :)

 

Note that every description of a sweeping order starts with “all comrades in communications range…”  If they intended anything else than that, they sure wrote it wrong a lot – and then repeated it in HoE.

 

Also, communications range makes perfect sense to me. Why would a comrade ignore an order for covering fire if it came in over a micro-bead? And why would he suddenly obey if the order did not come directly from his commanding officer, but from some vox-tech instead?

 

Lastly, I see how you might interpret some sweeping orders as a kind of ‘encouragements’, but that’s only true for some, not all of them. It is not the defining characteristic of a sweeping order.

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Well… it’s exactly my point that the vox upgrade has no function and should not exist :)

 

Note that every description of a sweeping order starts with “all comrades in communications range…”  If they intended anything else than that, they sure wrote it wrong a lot – and then repeated it in HoE.

 

Also, communications range makes perfect sense to me. Why would a comrade ignore an order for covering fire if it came in over a micro-bead? And why would he suddenly obey if the order did not come directly from his commanding officer, but from some vox-tech instead?

 

Lastly, I see how you might interpret some sweeping orders as a kind of ‘encouragements’, but that’s only true for some, not all of them. It is not the defining characteristic of a sweeping order.

 

They're not actual orders. Comrades don't need Sergeant orders to shoot at stuff; they're assumed to be doing that as part of the orders given by their PCs. Sweeping Orders are clearly supposed to be more inspiration ("pour it on, men! .Give those xenos filth what-for!"). The require your commanding presence being there.

 

That's how I interpret it, anyway.

 

Also, this is obviously a translation of the vox mechanic from TT.

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Bead Communications are on one channel to let chatter between fireteams not overlap with the sergeant's orders and calling targets.  The vox tech comms with a stronger signal that's more difficult to interrupt at close range, while microbeads are not strong, more like walkie-talkies.  Great for small squad communications, terrible for everything else.  The beads are kept on a single channel the whole mission (because most guardsmen don't know the holy rites of changium stationus and won't know what the crap their doing anyway).

 

It's the vox tech's job to relay communications and keep channels open.  Also to keep the sergeant informed of what's happening with other units in the area.

 

How it all applies to the RPG mechanics is first, a sergeant can lead more than one squad and you'd need a vox to communicate with everyone clearly.  Second, sometimes people get out of range.

 

Is this worth 250 points?  Absolutely, 100%, if you're fighting a war.  If you're being suicidal tomb raiders (playing D&D with las guns) then it's really not necessary.

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Not RAW, but I wonder if it could be used for some kudos effects. Say your unit was in a forward position. The Vox Tech could, with the Sergeant, radio in for some NPC MoOrd to use on of their strike abilities, and you didn't need one. It would be a good way to feel the Ordnance guy the telemetry data, and give him eyes far afield, also benefiting your unit with some extra coolness. The whole point of ordnance strikes is they are far-reaching, and the vox would have the comm range to do it. I could be spouting crap, and it doesn't say that in the book, but if you pay for the ability, it could be a cool situational bonus. The only problem with the prior post is, you aren't the only Sergeant. Other groups have them, and probably their own Vox techs. Do we ALWAYS assume you outrank every other Sergeant, and boost the army? I presume the advantages can't stack.

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I think its important to remember that vox casters have been portrayed as everything from a clunky packpack radio to a megaphone. That might clear up some of the 'all comrades in vox range' thing

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As was stated, micro-beads are short ranged, a bit unrealiable and usually fixed to one channel for the duration of the mission, and yes I know that RAW doesn't say that but for those who still don't know RPG stands for role and not roll playing games, you use imagination and judgement and not only dry numbers on paper or rolled dice. As for the argument of "it's better to just requisition a vox-caster cause you don't pay exp for it" - sure, you don't, but everytime you want to talk with someone you have to take a full round or longer action and test tech use, why? cause normal comrades are not trained in using it, and mr. sergant have to do it himself, and that is why the advance is called "Vox-tech" and not "Vox-caster carrier" :) It's a training for the guy. Oh and someone asked if the PC sergant is always the highest ranked or the only officer, propably not, but he is the "hero" a PC and this is the game, that's why a PC sergant giving a sweeping "get them" order over the vox caster can muster hundreds of IG on the front line, and tilt the tide of battle :)

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The training bit is a good point. Essentially you're buying automatic success on tech-use and reducing it to a free action for 250XP. That's pretty nice, but you have to hope that your GM allows you to use it effectively in such a way.

What's the point in being able to contact HQ if they're not going to do anything about it, for example?

What we've been discussing is not whether it makes sense to have such an advance, but that the mechanics of it are wonky. After all, the mechanics is what we buy the book for, no? We have the fluff anyway, whether though Codex: Astra Militarum, Dawn of War, Gaunt's Ghosts or any of the dozens of other sources. So, what we want is a game, a collection of mechanics, to play in the fluff.

So: The RAW for the Vox-Tech Advance are very weird, the fluff reasons are many and good. If I GM'd, it could be very worthwhile but with my current GM, for example, I doubt it would be very useful. Edit: And that's not to say that my GM is bad, just that he'd stick to RAW more than I would.

Edited by Myrion
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