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Pushkin
01-04-2010, 19:11
Generally speaking i'm a bit of a special character hater, but i think what might make them a bit better is rather than either being

(a) kick-ass in closecombat
(b) kick ass in closecombat and making everyone's melta guns kickass

That they actually had special rules that made your army worse. Yes that's right WORSE!

lol, my favourite character was alway Kharn the Betrayer cos he could kill his own squad. What if some special characters had armywide drawbacks or rules preventing you from taking certain units?

E.g. Imperial Guard Colonel X has a long standing hatred of ratlings and if you include him you can't take ratling snipers

or

Marine Commander who emphasises speed grants all tactical squads fleet but reduces their armour from power armour to combat armour.

That way there would be more of an effect and force you to make more of a choice/fluff based army when selecting them.

Chiron
01-04-2010, 19:25
I support anything that increases army selection choices

Whether thats characters affecting unit types picked or allowing combinations of squads to gain options based on unit selection

If it does it without having to include special characters, so much the better

Hunger
01-04-2010, 19:29
I use homemade rules for the named and non-named characters (the regular generals, CSM lords, greater daemons etc) in my traitor guard army, and rather than having specific 'drawbacks' they alter the allowed composition of different elements of my army - one limits the number of tanks I can use while removing the limit I place on Chaos Space Marine squads, for example.

Rather than being drawbacks per se, altering the balance of what I can select does introduce an element of choice in line with what you suggest.

I also occasionally use the ridiculously expensive Scabiethrax under a different name - he weighs in at a whopping 777pts - which is itself a massive drawback!

Sunfang
01-04-2010, 19:40
GW drawbacks are a SC's point cost, which some believe could be augmented either way.

Project2501
01-04-2010, 19:41
I support anything that increases army selection choices.
If it does it without having to include special characters, so much the better


I couldn't agree more.


Bring back chapter traits/doctrines and make them actually have pros/cons.

Gaargod
01-04-2010, 19:46
Emphasis on cons. Otherwise you end up with things like tank hunters who can't have allies... But good idea in theory.

Not gonna happen though. GW is currently in love with SCs.

ehlijen
02-04-2010, 01:48
Generic plus/minus traits aren't going to work well. People will always pick the plus that helps their style and the minus that doesn't affect it.

Unless both sides come in inseperable package deals and are carefully constructed to both matter to any given army, it's just wasted effort. And if they do that, why not stick them on a SC?

SCs could be fine if they were just different, rather the superior to other characters. Adding drawbacks could easily make them more popular in general.

Take Farsight:
He adds something to the army, he takes something away from the army and he is unique. In theory, it balances out: He adds CC punch. He takes away the CC units. He allows more crisis suits, he allows less other things.
The problem of course is that what he adds isn't wanted, ever, even against orks, and what he takes away is, but that can be worked out once the principle is accepted.

All SCs should follow that model, but well. The important thing is that the drawback must be related to the advantage.

So that guard colonel might be an elitist snob but also a fan of precision work. All snipers are twinlinked but he won't accept ratlings in his force.

Xyrex
02-04-2010, 02:07
Maybe I can agree to less CC prowess and more leadership. A space marine shouldnt have aS8 chainsword, but should be able to give orders no worse than a IG colonal.

Xyrex
02-04-2010, 02:08
1st rank fire 2nd rank fire with bolters... heaven

Wintersdark
02-04-2010, 03:07
Generic plus/minus traits aren't going to work well. People will always pick the plus that helps their style and the minus that doesn't affect it.

This.

It always seems like a good idea, those +/- army specialization things.... but they never work out in the end. Extra heavy support, less fast attack? Well, I wasn't planning on taking a lot of fast attack anyways, so it's all bonus, no negative. That sort of thing.

That aside, I'm somewhat saddened by GW's love of SC's these days. I've never much liked them though I certainly understand people who want to make a fluff-based list centered around some character or other. "Home brew" characters need to be at least as good/efficient/effective as special characters.

If they must have army-specialization characters, they should be upgrades purchasable by any character (or at least, any appropriate character) so people who are aiming for that army build are not *required* to field a specific character.

Project2501
02-04-2010, 03:13
Take Farsight:



Why should I have to to begin with?

Sir_Lunchalot
02-04-2010, 03:24
Or why make them special characters? I mean looking at the Guard book many of the SCs could be very generic - Creed is a generic "Brilliant General", could easily represent Macharius, or some other talented warlord. Similarly, Pask doesn't need to be a Cadian knight commander, just a tank veteran. The problem with SCs is when they become no brainers. Case and point, Vulcan. I think about 1/3 of the SM armies I fight include him simply because he is just that good. What I'd like to see is more options for regular commanders, and just say "you can take x combination to represent commander Y" then you can satisfy everyone, as nobody needs to use particular special characters, but you can still get whatever rules are currently locked into named models.

ehlijen
02-04-2010, 03:37
Why should I have to to begin with?

Noone says that you do. I don't understand your point.

Project2501
02-04-2010, 03:47
Noone says that you do. I don't understand your point.

Sorry, I meant why should I have to take premade/geared farsight to begin with to get his associated pros/cons?

GrimZAG
02-04-2010, 03:53
I think, on the whole, that special characters are awesome.

It seems to me that people who do hate the special characters just dislike how often they are being used and that it doesn't suit the 'background'.

For me, I think 40k is similar to plate of food. The food rests on the plate and uses it as a setting, or a place to exist together. However people don't eat plates, they eat the food and you're only going to eat food you want to eat. In this was plates are like the background and your army is like the food.

So it seems that people are struggling with other players eating ice-cream from a sieve. It doesn't quite work but the ice-cream is still awesome.


Anyway I think that generic characters in the HQ section should have options to benefit the whole army instead of fulfilling a role that special characters could do better.

Jackmojo
02-04-2010, 04:06
Pedro and Lysander...stubborn is not as good as Combat Tactics.

Jack

ehlijen
02-04-2010, 05:42
Sorry, I meant why should I have to take premade/geared farsight to begin with to get his associated pros/cons?

Because they reflect how he, and no other commander of his rank, breaks with standard Tau doctrine to create a unique force.

It's about how he is different from the others, how his personal choices are reflected in the army composition. That's why he is unique and that uniqueness is what gives his army character, thus making him a special 'character'.

If any Tau commander could do that, Farsight'd just be 'that dude with the sword (how quaint)'. His personal impact on the army would be lost.

The idea is: each army has a norm. Anything that deviates from that norm is because of an inlfuentual personality. Without that, you have the norm (which still leaves a large area of choice).

IcedAnimals
02-04-2010, 08:13
Making your army worse over all would be stupid. People would just ignore that character and GW would never sell the model for it. However making him have a rule that changes out certain aspects of your army for other aspects sounds good to me. If that special character allows you to build a unique army type different than the rest of the codex it would be a fun choice.

For example (a terrible example but ill use it) if there was a new necron hero who allowed more pariah choices but at the cost of not being able to take immortals.

Trade offs are great as they make you have to put more thought into the army other than "if I take this guy my army is amazing"

ehlijen
02-04-2010, 10:01
Making your army worse over all would be stupid. People would just ignore that character and GW would never sell the model for it. However making him have a rule that changes out certain aspects of your army for other aspects sounds good to me. If that special character allows you to build a unique army type different than the rest of the codex it would be a fun choice.

For example (a terrible example but ill use it) if there was a new necron hero who allowed more pariah choices but at the cost of not being able to take immortals.

Trade offs are great as they make you have to put more thought into the army other than "if I take this guy my army is amazing"

That's actually exactly the kind of change that can cause trouble. What if the person didn't want Immortals? Is it still a drawback?

A better example is the wraithguard one. Squads of 10 are troops, meaning that if you want more, you must take a whole lot more.

The drawback should be more or less directly related to the advantage.

And the idea is not for character to make the army worse, but to make it pay for his boosts with drawbacks. A character that gives furious charge but also rage is a good example (a real one even).

Xarian
02-04-2010, 14:41
That's actually exactly the kind of change that can cause trouble. What if the person didn't want Immortals? Is it still a drawback?

In these cases, it's best to stop thinking of the SC's inability to use Immortals as a drawback. Instead, think of it this way - an army that includes no immortals gets a bonus by using this particular SC. It's essentially another way of saying "a 1500 point army that uses only 1300 points and has a free HQ slot can take this 200 point commander". Obviously, GW would need to balance this.

Good balance: Pariahs are Troops, become 1+, Immortals cannot be used
Bad balance: Immortals are Troops, become 1+, Pariahs cannot be used
Good balance: Bike Squads are Troops, become 1+, Terminators cannot be used
Bad balance: Terminators are Troops, become 1+, Bike Squads cannot be used

Notice how, in each case, substitutions involve special-use units and generalist units. Making good generalist units more accessible is typically seen as more valuable than making special-use units more accessible. In each case, the army "suffers" by using more special-use units; thus, the army is rewarded by being able to use a special character.

There are also drawbacks that are less related to mechanics and more related to an army's backstory, though these can also be interlinked.

Consider a couple of situations, below:
(SC-A = Special Character A, etc)

An army that takes SC-A is considered to be an Ultramarines army. SC-A may only be taken by an Ultramarines army that is not affiliated with any other army.

An army that takes SC-B is considered to be an Ultramarines army.

An army that takes SC-C is considered to be a Witch Hunters army. SC-C may only be taken by an army that has at least two different affiliations.

Thus, SC-A and SC-B may be used together. SC-B and SC-C may be used together. SC-A and SC-C may not be used together. Further, SC-A and SC-B will not be used by anyone who wishes to have an army that is not Ultramarines.

Also, back to the first example:

Asking "what if the person didn't want to take Immortals in the first place?" only becomes a problem if the person *also* does not want to take Pariahs.

I am of the opinion that all special characters should have some sort of restrictions on their use, even if those restrictions are not necessarily detrimental - for example, making certain units 1+. Maybe if you want Eldrad, you also have to take his council. If you want Calgar, you have to take his honor guard, etc. Doing this lets people avoid the whole "my army is always better if I add this special character" issue, because it reduces tactical flexibility.

ehlijen
02-04-2010, 14:55
I don't see the difference in your examples. Both bike squads and terminator squads can be general purpose. I don't see why one as troops is worse or better than the other.

Same technically for pariahs. Sure, one is undoubtedly better than the other, but that's a mistake GW hopefull won't make again in the next codex where such a rule could be implemented. At the end of the day both are elites that carry similar weapons. Just that one trades CC power for resilience.

But I like your idea of requiring a bodyguard. Farsight does this as well, so I'll once again raise him as an example despite his botched exexution...

Bilmengar
02-04-2010, 15:28
Well, those restrictions... what if there was a line that stated that Vulkan can only be taken by a Salamanders Army? Those that play Vulcan just because he gives his bonus would paint their Army green, done.

I also think that the whole advantage+drawback-mechanic would work. As stated, what if I don't want to take Unit X or Y? Then the the SC that gives unit A a bonus but can't take unit X is a nobrainer for me, is he? If I want to have a general that hates ratlings, i can simply not take them. Why should I get a bonus for that?

I agree that the SCs in the IG dex could as well be generic generals or updates for your generic choice - pay +x, may give 4 orders a turn, pay +y, may outflank his whole platoon. But on the other hand, the SCs imho come with "suboptimal equipment", which raises their cost - another way of balancing IMHO. My outflanking counts-as Captain does neither need a plasma pistol nor an ID-ing power weapon. And my tactical genius leading my army could do without twin-linked hs-laspistols and carapace armour. The way it is, if I want the special rules of those two, I pay for wargear that is useless for me. And i play them as counts as anyways, because I am neither cadian nor tallarn...
And for those that argue "SCs should only be used in their respective army": If the Creed entry in the codex was the same as it is now, but titled "generic strategic master" with the bottom line "examples: Creed, Macharius" - would that change anything for you?

Sircyn
02-04-2010, 19:04
Why do we have to have drawbacks? Can't people impose their own drawbacks as they please, leaving room for more positive, cool and interesting advantages that are balanced with each other to play around with in the book?

Taking stuff away isn't fun, adding new things is. People can always choose not to use things, and a decent balanced book will be avoiding the worst background and tabletop excesses when considering potential unit and army mixes.

GrogDaTyrant
02-04-2010, 20:01
Not gonna happen though. GW is currently in love with SCs.

Not necessarily true. There are numerous SCs that are questionable in worth, and downright terrible at the extreme.

The first one that comes to my mind is Wazzdakka. All in all, he's absolutely terrible. He's not a good CC character (due to not having an invuln save), and is terrible from a 'shooty-character' standpoint (non twin-linked BS 2 on a Str 8, AP 4 weapon does not make for an effective anything). Tack in a ludicrously expensive point-cost for what you get and his entire purpose becomes solely to field Warbikes as Troops. Which is something that Orks shouldn't require him for, considering it's in theme and fluff for Evil Suns as well as countless bike-mounted Kult of Speeds. So I consider Wazzdakka a complete draw-back and waste of 180 pts to field the theme-army I desire.

azimaith
02-04-2010, 20:14
This sort of draw back benefit thing is the same as doctrines. Considering GW didn't know its own armies well enough to create drawbacks that were especially compelling back when the marines had them I don't see that changing now.