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Apathetic Megalomaniac
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This is not a rant about how special characters should be banned from everything. They're cool, and I often want to make a count-as Straken for my airborne army. I just believe they are unnecessary.

My solution is this: more options. Put more wargear, maybe a few special abilities, which you can spend points on to make your commander, or other special character unique. There could be an independent character creator too, for when you want to make someone similar to Sly Marbo, or Commissar Yarrick(sorry for all the IG references, I'm an IG player and haven't played long enough to memorize all the other races). I mean, as long as you pay the points, it's legal right?
 

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Well I do also agree that it would be nice to be able to customize your commanders a bit more (especially for us Blood Angel players since we get less customizing ability than vanilla marines). However my thought on it is that they don't want you to be able to somehow find a way to make our captain or commander better than one of the special characters. I don't truly know but that is just my opinion.
 

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I think you should have them, they add a certain fluffyness to some peoples army which couldnt be replicated by just some run of the mill guy with a flashy sword. The backstory for them created for you by games workshop lets you create unique armys true to fluff in more cases then if you didnt have the character. For example if you wanted to build an army based around the fire dragon aspect warriors of Biel-tan then who would be better to lead it then the eternal, ledgendary, Pheonix Lord Fuegan? Not a Autarch with a fusion gun i can tell you. They could be improved on however to stop every Tom, Dick and Harry taking them (i'm looking at you Eldrad). Something like that Tau commander guy who lets you take loads of battlesuits (farsight?) and no auxillerys. The special character should be what your army is based around.
 

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I am Alpharius.
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It would be cool, especially for the Grey Knight Grand Masters and other Space Marines, but I guess it will never happen, unless you dont join the game development team...
 

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I think you should have them, they add a certain fluffyness to some peoples army which couldnt be replicated by just some run of the mill guy with a flashy sword. The backstory for them created for you by games workshop lets you create unique armys true to fluff in more cases then if you didnt have the character. For example if you wanted to build an army based around the fire dragon aspect warriors of Biel-tan then who would be better to lead it then the eternal, ledgendary, Pheonix Lord Fuegan? Not a Autarch with a fusion gun i can tell you. They could be improved on however to stop every Tom, Dick and Harry taking them (i'm looking at you Eldrad). Something like that Tau commander guy who lets you take loads of battlesuits (farsight?) and no auxillerys. The special character should be what your army is based around.
I'd prefer that special characters went with the actual Chapter/ Craftworld/ whatever they're supposed to lead; now that it's mix-n-match, I'd rather they were dropped entirely.
The uniqueness just seems to be gone.
 

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I'd sooner not see special characters in the game at all - at least, not outside of epic.

Oh look, it's a small skirmishing force, two dozen Ultramarines, two tanks and CHAPTER MASTER MARNEUS CALGAR. What, pray tell, is god-in-power-armour doing leading a tiny force into a skirmish (and remember, that's all a game of 40k is)? Doesn't he have more important things he could be doing?

Not all special characters are that silly of course, but I'd much rather have a list of options. I choose an HQ (or whatever) pick the wargear I want from an armoury list, and then pay additional points if I want a special rule like X counts as troops or Y weapons count as twin linked.
 

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Grand Lord Munchkin
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What that guy said.
 

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oh, I remember back in the good old days where this was possible... before the simplification-era came in. Back when a chaos player could select from an abundance of demonic gifts to further accentuate the prowess of his lords... When Tyranid big bugs could be all but unkillable... *le sigh*

I for one am opposed to the "take this named character to play this style of list" type of books that are coming out. If I want to play a veteran heavy, fluffy crimson fists force I shouldn't be FORCED to take Pedro Kantor to make it even remotely playable (Pedro / Sternguard taken as one of the least offensive versions of this type of codex...)

I, as most every chaos player, am eagerly awaiting the day when our codex gets a modicum of the old flavour thrown back in - but I worry that it will be "to play an thousand sons warband you MUST take Ahriman and then...."
 

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I'd prefer that special characters went with the actual Chapter/ Craftworld/ whatever they're supposed to lead; now that it's mix-n-match, I'd rather they were dropped entirely.
The uniqueness just seems to be gone.
I agree that they should be specific to what they are intended to lead no for example taking Calgar with Imperial Fists or Eldrad with any Craftworld other than Ulthwe. I'm not sure that special characters need be done away with altogether, I know some people like using them though I am not a fan, I think it's just as easy to make a formidable model for 50 or so points less, now they won't have all the abilites that a special character would have but cost less points and can be just as if not more effective in that the saved points allow more units or extra wargear to be taken. One exception however in my opinion is the Emperor's Champion as he is a required Special Character at 750 points+, I think however that the option for forces below that amount to take him should be dropped as I doubt smaller forces such as raiding/skirmish parties would need one. Special Characters are over used and a lot of armies are based around them meaning that if the special character is killed the army falls apart, I have seen this happen many a time that being another reason I don't take them.
 

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This is not a rant about how special characters should be banned from everything. They're cool, and I often want to make a count-as Straken for my airborne army. I just believe they are unnecessary.

My solution is this: more options. Put more wargear, maybe a few special abilities, which you can spend points on to make your commander, or other special character unique. There could be an independent character creator too, for when you want to make someone similar to Sly Marbo, or Commissar Yarrick(sorry for all the IG references, I'm an IG player and haven't played long enough to memorize all the other races). I mean, as long as you pay the points, it's legal right?
I agree completely.
 

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I see the issue as the way special characters are used for something different to what fluff-wise they are.

For instance, if I want to play like a variant chapter I have to take one named character who makes the vanilla list play like that Chapter (often the chapter master himself); this forces my small skirmish force to unrealistically include a famous character.

instead I would like the "variant group of this type" to be in the normal character, so for Space Marines you get to pick your Combat tactics from a list
 

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Special characters can never be removed from the game.
They give uniqueness (in some cases) with their special abilities.
Going back to having to agree to use them (like 3rd) would kill almost everyones fluff and style for their list.

But on the other hand, i dont think special characters should have ever been introduced in the first place for the following reasons....

*insert unit name here* is fighting against a Ctan and scarabs....
"Hey guys, check this out, kill off the scarabs and the Ctan kills himself.... We just killed a God."

Dark Eldar fire a Dark Lance at Doom of Malan'tai, instant killing him....
"Hmmm... that was easy. I dont see why the Eldar had so much trouble"

Noise Marines taking pleasure in their kills...
"Muhahahahaha, we just killed the mighty Ghazkhull!!! Lets celebra...... wait.... is that him again 2 tables over? Holy shit it is too!!!! Look, there he is again 3 tables to the left!!!! WTF!!!!!"
 

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I'd rather not see special characters in my games, they don't add uniqueness at all, if you wanted to be unique then make your own chapter master/farseer/warboss and then make a back story for him/her.

Making a fluffly army involves more than throwing a special character in, Pedro does not make you the Crimson Fists, using a play style that fits with there combat tactics does. Unless ofc you think that Crimson Fists only ever fight when Pedro is around, like one giant game of skirking off work until the boss is looking over your shoulder. 'But Pedro gives them abilities to do that' I hear you cry, and true he does help, but if you really wanted to do Crimson Fists without you could, you could fill up your elites with sternguard and have some tac squads modelled and equipped like sternguard.

I'd even go as far to say if someone is claiming to add some fluff aspect to their army by including a special character, I would rather see it as a 'counts as' special, at least that way they put some thought into it. Overall I agree with King of Cheese, killing a special character doesn't mean anything if its being done two tables over.

As a side note while I don't play tournies this is not aimed at the tourny folk, in that environment your there to win, bugger to the fluff. I don't play tournies for this reason but I can understand it.
 

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I personally would like some form of tailoring your own special character.
the only problem with that is there will be some superior combination that will rise above the rest and all the uniqueness that was potentially there will be thrown out the window.

I think for the special characters Like Eldrad, and Kharn, and such there should be Limitations on the army builds. for example Kharn could lead your army but you have to include at least 2 squads of bezerkers with him and no psykers(i mean honestly do you think Kharn would hesitate for a minute taking the skull of a cowardly psyker the second he layed eyes on him). I think that would make it more chalenging to use them and fun.

For the tailor your hero build I think for each power or ability that you choose it should come with an offset to keep it balanced like in the 4th edition Space Marines you could pick certain attributes for your army that would give them an edge but it came with a price you had to pick a down side as well And/or the more abilities you pick I think they should get increasingly more expensive so yeah you could make a psychic character like Eldrad or Tigurius but at what point cost? would it be worth it? It Might be worth it in Large games and i feel these types of characters would rarly show up unless it was a serious encounter. I mean would Kharn show up if there was only gonna be 20 heads to decap? now a large battle is more tempting as the foes will be thick. you know stuff like that. anyway thats just my 2 cents.
 

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I think the main reason they have them in is for flavour purposes, but also, and probably more importantly, if you are given a huge number of options, it is very possible to BREAK THE GAME.

When one BREAKS THE GAME, you've done something which is obscenely overpowered, undermines the foundations of the rules in some way, or some other horribly weird situation.
Absolute customisation is a very difficult thing to do well, without a whole lot of moderation, and we all know that GW doesn't like changing the rules, as seen by Space Marine Devastators still having over-priced guns :\

While it would be nice to have simpler things to change your army in some way (like a Space Marine Captain on a bike allowing bikers to be troops), and I don't fully understand why GW hasn't done that without having to take a Special Character, it's not the easiest of things to implement without causing some horrible strategy which is too good.


Also most of you guys seem to be overlooking the fact that you're perfectly allowed to take a Special Character and counts-as him, you can take Marneus in a non-Ultramarines army for this very reason, he just counts as someone else.
 

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I think the main reason they have them in is for flavour purposes, but also, and probably more importantly, if you are given a huge number of options, it is very possible to BREAK THE GAME.

When one BREAKS THE GAME, you've done something which is obscenely overpowered, undermines the foundations of the rules in some way, or some other horribly weird situation.
Absolute customisation is a very difficult thing to do well, without a whole lot of moderation, and we all know that GW doesn't like changing the rules, as seen by Space Marine Devastators still having over-priced guns :

While it would be nice to have simpler things to change your army in some way (like a Space Marine Captain on a bike allowing bikers to be troops), and I don't fully understand why GW hasn't done that without having to take a Special Character, it's not the easiest of things to implement without causing some horrible strategy which is too good.


Also most of you guys seem to be overlooking the fact that you're perfectly allowed to take a Special Character and counts-as him, you can take Marneus in a non-Ultramarines army for this very reason, he just counts as someone else.
Which destroys the uniqueness of Calgar and his wargear.
Some things, like Stalker Pattern Bolters, should be allowed since they're not exactly one-of-a-kind, just uncommon... but the Gauntlets of Ultramar shouldn't have any duplicates.
As examples.
 

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First off, I will say that I am one of those people who likes having special characters in the game. One of the most enjoyable games of 40k I ever played was a 'Last Man Standing' game in 2nd edition where Marneus Calgar and Ancient Helveticus were the last two models in a 5 player 5000 points per person epic free-for-all.

That being said, I think they should have a points restriction on them (and not something dumb that no one plays like 1000 points) and they should have to be fielded with certain requirements. I doubt GW would ever go so far as to publish unique army lists similar to the Index Astartes lists again, but some sort of 'Choose Your Trait' system like replacing combat tactics as mentioned earlier or something similar to the 4th edition system except without the pretense of having to take a drawback that won't actually be a drawback.
 

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For those who do not like special or named characters, you really should be playing necrons. Seriously, they don't have any names or unique HQ's unless you count the c'tans, (and you don't have to use one of them if you don't want to.) You get to choose between a lord and a flying lord, then you kit them out with a points cap of 100 on a list of upgrades. Sounds like the exact setup a lot of people have said they wanted. A base character with a list of upgrades to equip it with. Well, there it is.

Secondly, I believe special characters are fun. They add the ability to tailor your build around a back story or because of something that interests you. Because GW doesn't put 30 pages of special characters in each codex people get bored with seeing the same 5-6 over and over again. Repetition can be a drag.

Third, the codex is not the end-all-be-all for characters or HQ choices. 40k is is very supportive of the player expanding the game for themselves. You don't like the characters GW put in the codex? Make your own. Make the rules, the stats and the points costs along with a background story for a character or HQ as you see fit. Of course you don't want to create "captain overkill," but you can make a unique and fair special character that makes you happy and isn't broken. Obviously you need your opponent to agree for you to use it, but most people will never have a problem as long as the characters abilities are equal to the points cost.

Fourth, high cost unique characters should have had a points cap for them to be used. Say 2,000 points and above and you are now allowed Calgar or Abbadon to be chosen. I do agree that having Abbadon in a 1,000 point game is a bit of a silly thing. But then again, a lower point game including a super HQ could represent the fighting going on directly around him/her and not the entire "war" in which the game is resembling. You just need to put the game in some form of context for it to have any semblance of rationality to the background stories we all love to read. Abbadon in a 1,000 point game could be likened to him marching into a newly conquered city only to be met with the last vestiges of resistance in a suicide attack. Make a small story for your game and the game now makes more sense...

Just my thoughts on the topic...
 
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