Only War

I really like Only War. I think it does a lot to model Imperium surface personnel. It puts a lot in perspective in a lot of ways too, and helps show the different regiment types, different training and different equipment sets. That said, there’s a bunch I would tinker with and adjust.

First thing’s first. I am approaching Only War as a roleplayer not a wargamer. So a lot of the foundational regiment construction stuff doesn’t suit me. Having the 12 points to build a regiment…well…it presents as if the GM has a obstacle the PCs must combat, and decide how to do it. While there is a place for that…surely there’s more scope for the GM (and players) to determine the tone of the game? And I wouldn’t use it for just “PCs make a military regiment and try to take on the GMs military challenge”.

For instance if the game is meant to be about the PCs are an armored company that must lead the fight in a series of epic tank battles starting with a series of desperate defenses in the outskirts of their home city, struggling but eventually turning the tide, pressing the advance, and finally climactic battles as they storm the landing-site of the orc invader’s ships and drive the orc survivors off their player’s homeworld…well…that won’t work if the PCs decide to be a line infantry company instead of an armored regiment or mechanized infantry.

Or if the game is about a Hive City garrison force, where the world outside is a toxic desert and the foundation levels of the hive are similarly dangerous…Siege Infantry are the obvious choice and anything else would make little sense.

I don’t think this warrants a spot in the System House Rules Summary and should be campaign by campaign.

Also a campaign by campaign idea, i’d suggest some items should be gifted. In particular survival gear (where needed) and Micro-Bead (communicators).

Another approach would be a homeworld item. A Death World origin should give a survival suit for that world and/or ‘survival equipment’ someone from that world would need. A Fortress World should give an item of wargear or battlefield equipment, maybe related to that world’s major enemy (this could be a way to armor up a regiment type without armor in their starting gear, or give a thematic backup weapon, etc). A Highborn world might provide a choice of “higher” tech option like an auspex per squad, or some similar suggestions. A Hive World i’d suggest some device (again like a Micro-Bead) that would make sense from a manufacturing base / non-ideal environment like a Hive World (like say a respirator for the poor air quality, or sound dampening devices, etc). A Schola Progenium world would likely offer some ‘religious item’ selection. And so on.

Variants for air force and Adeptus Arbities also spring to mind.

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Rogue Trader Integration

I think that Only War has a lot to offer to Rogue Trader. I’d use a lot of Only War material to model the ship’s crew in Rogue Trader for boarding actions and away missions and the like. Also if the Rogue Trader’s ship has any surface troops aboard.

In the case of actual troops it’d be a straight port across…build a Only War regiment and run with it. I’d use Storm Troopers from Only War to model either Storm Troopers or Adeptus Arbities (just adjusting weapons to suit).

In the case of formal ship’s marines, Siege Infantry or Line Infantry might be best.

For other things like “a militia of ship crew” some of the other regiment types like scouts. More lightly armoured and equipped, which is thematically appropriate.

You’d pretty much need a good Rogue Trader ship upgrade reason to be fielding Mechanized Infantry or an Armoured Regiment…but it is doable.

In general for modeling ship’s crew as Only War troops, it’d really be down to the feel of the ship and crew to dictate a lot of the regiment creation things and also the “level of equipment”. With lee-way granted for things like an Explorator PC in the Rogue Trader party,the ship having an Armoury, and so on.

Generally I am pretty generous with gear to my players. The Arc of Korthos game for instance had the influence of the Hive World of Korthos which put a emphasis on equipping its people well, modern manufacturing practices and facilities, and so on. Or, using Eberron terms, Korthos was like the Cyre of the region. In the Battletech game, similarly, Strata liked its people well equipped and well trained.

I think I will elaborate on this more in time.

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Sons of Korthos

Well let’s take a stab at “how would Ristin make a regiment”. I have a big soft-spot for Siege Infantry and think they are a good regment type for a Hive World, for player characters, and for Rogue Trader ship-mounted troops. Let’s also make them actually from Korthos the home-world of the Arc of Korthos game.

Let’s now see how this translates for Regiment Creation:

  1. Home World – Hive World (3 points)
  2. Commanding Officer – Maverick (2 points)
  3. Regiment Type – Siege Infantry (2 points)
  4. Training Doctrines – Die-Hards (3 points)
  5. Equipment Doctrines – Augmetics (2 points)

I’d call that “not great”. We have a coherent narrative there, they are from Korthos, their leader is a Maverick (much like Korthos in general), they are well protected and equipped Siege Infantry, who are Die-Hards (great for siege-holding or breaking) and look to Augmetics to patch up the wounded (who do only Die-Hard)…so yes a tough and enduring regiment.

With most of the 5 options wanting 2 or 3 points it means that it’s hard to even get a balanced regiment. More ideally a Training – Sharpshooter (4 points) and Equipment – Chamelioline (3 points) combo and doing a invisible-snipers aspect would be nice…but that’s 2 extra points, and over budget. Or simply Well-Provisioned (3 points) to suit the Korthos background better…but that would mandate a 1 point commanding officer (as the 2 point training doctrines are out of character).

What would I do with the Additional Standard Kit Items though?

  • Add a micro-bead to standard kit (8 points); this is basically mandatory.
  • Add a photo-visor or set of photo-contacts to standard kit (8 points); again basically mandatory for siege infantry, especially since they come equipped with photon grenades, for yiff’s sake.
  • Add an additional uniform for field use to the standard kit (2 points)
  • Add a Grapnel to standard kit (5 points); because hey, they are siege infantry, it makes sense.
  • Add an additional item of Common availability (Accordion Wire) to standard kit (5 points)
  • Add an additional item of Abundant availability (Glow-globe / lamp pack) to standard kit (2 points)

I would add Deadspace Earpieces for the sound-dampening but that’d be 20 points.

Overall that is not too bad, I think.

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Extra gear by Campaign:

Nothing stopping a GM from awarding bonus gear to help the campaign and story.

Extra gear by Homeworld:

I mentioned this in passing above.

Extra gear by Character Specialty:

What if the character specialty gives a bonus to the whole regiment? This is just a concept but something along the lines of this…

Guardsmen

  • Heavy Gunner – Add Magnoculars to standard kit (normally 8 points)
  • Medic – Add a single advanced medkit to the squad as standard kit (normally 15 points)
  • Operator – Add an additional krak grenade to standard kit (normally 15 points). This is so all PCs can combat the vehicles more likely to be present due to having an operator character.
  • Sergeant – Add a micro-bead to standard kit (normally 8 points)
  • Weapon Specialist – Add an additional smoke grenade to standard kit (normally 5 points)

Specialists

  • Commissar – Add a micro-bead to standard kit (normally 8 points)
  • Minisorum Priest
  • Ogryn
  • Ratling
  • Sanctioned Psyker
  • Storm Trooper – Add an additional smoke grenade to standard kit (normally 5 points)
  • Tech-Priest Engineer – Add a single auspex or scanner to the squad as standard kit (normally 10 points)

In the case of a duplication, either accept double (such as grenades) or replace one with a 8 point purchase of player choice.

The main idea here is to cover a lot of the “mandatory” purchases so the players can use the points for fun or interesting things instead.

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Air Force

Deceptively simple. Adjust the Armored Regiment option to provide flying rather than driving skills, and provide one of the fliers from Rogue Trader instead of a Leman Russ battle tank.

Bikers

A variant of mechanized infantry giving each trooper a bike (stats are on one or other Rogue Trader supplement) as opposed to one chimera per squad. Or for some of the other optiond instead of one sentinel per squad, one bike per trooper.

Adeptus Arbities

I guess make a new regiment type, with arbities weapons and with carapace armor. Some altered or added skills may be wise.

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Only War House Rule Ideas:

  1. Consider making the Flak Armor bonus vs blast weapons “double” rather than 5, since for most items it is only an improvement of 1 or 2 points, and some Best Flak Armor already is protection value 5. Flak Armor is supposed to be notably better against blast attacks, and since blast attacks are often very potent, plus 1 or 2 really doesn’t cut it.
  2. Consider raising the points for Regiment Construction. Possibly this should be a campaign by campaign decision. But 15 rather than 12 points seems wise. Conversely if the GM chooses the commander (a NPC after all) which is 1 or 2 points the PCs shouldn’t need to pay. 12 points and the GM provides the commander seems close. Though I would hazard a guess that generally the GM should pick the regiment type as well, to suit the campaign. Possibly this is an item for “this will need to be carefully readjusted for every individual campaign”.
  3. No stupid Imperial Guard “Scout Walkers”.

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