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Battle Sisters: Deathwatch RPG Viable

Sororitas Deathwatch Roleplay FFG Non-Marine Characters

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#1
Mazer Rackham

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This is pretty much envisaged an amalgamation of the posts I have seen on FFG's Deathwatch GM Pages, and attempts by our own Frater to actually make this work in the DW setting.

 

The reason I'm setting this up for Deathwatch is threefold:

  • Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Only War and Black Crusade have Human archetypes or "Near As" to fill the gap,
  • There appears to be some interest in having this,
  • I'm far more familiar with Deathwatch than the other games and the Battle Sister protagonist is not an option for those who wish it, where a setting/GM or Campaign allows.

Now, I'm not going to get into anything regarding gender, male-hormone related Zygotes or any of that - as far as I am concerned, that belongs in the Lore and Discussion sections and is Off Topic here.

 

The purpose of this discussion is to generate an archetype for future games for members of the board to use should they wish to do so.  I would especially invite Sister Players to provide input into this, re: Acts of Faith and such.  This discussion is especially pertinent given the fact the FFG forums are about to die, (and carrying this torch is basically our job now, here in the RPG Nook) and those conversations could be rebuilt here with better access to players who are interested and now the source material well.

 

It also avoids any copyright issues with FFG or Cubicle 7.

 

Building The Battle Sister.

 

The regular way of creating a Sororitas Character seems to be using Dark Heresy: Ascension and tacking a few bits on.  In my opinion this is not satisfactory, in that it is counter-intuitive to the system and leaves horrendous gaps where a PC can underperform in combat in comparison to any Astartes they are attached to.

 

Another argument is that a Sororitas PC can be the "face" of the group, interacting with humans where Astartes cannot.  This holds some water, but to my mind, charm tests wouldn't exist (and neither would certain talents) if this were a universal truth, and the mechanic of Humans vs Marines in social etiquette is built into the system to put the PC's out of their comfort zone (slaughtering things).

 

My understanding of the general weaknesses of the Archetype (DH: Ascension)

  • No access to Squad Modes
  • Sororitas Weapons don't hit as hard as Astartes ones
  • No Unnatural Bonuses to Strength or Toughness

My challenge is to build, organically, a PC Archetype that works in DW and fits the requirements of players who want that.

 

Is this worth exploring?

 

MR.


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#2
battle captain corpus

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Yes I think so.

There are plenty of rules for them available across the board and they fit perfectly within the setting.

They still get plenty of great rules, yes they lack the boost marines get physically but they’re still power armoured and boosted from that alone.

I’ve used SoB in DW before, albeit as NPC’s. But I always roll for everything & wouldn’t just “make it work”. SoB have their place for sure.

BCC
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#3
Mazer Rackham

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Excellent!

 

I have a few NPC's crafted up too.  I'd be interested to see how you spec'd yours out.

 

MR.


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#4
A.T.

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I ran through this years back and the Sisters do work in Deathwatch if you play to their strengths, but they start out more capable and then start to lose ground on the deathwatch as the ranks go up - somewhat reliant on better wargear (they build up an armoury via influence rather than limited requisition) access as the starting ascesion sister had already taken the bulk of available advancements. Faith (especially with the palatines miracle worker ability) can be very powerful.

 

Here are my old notes :

  • Rank 1 Deathwatch Sororitas: 13000xp starting plus 500xp to spend before game. 4-5 fate points as standard.
  • A rank 8 sister can have up to 10 faith talents at 300xp each (plus 2 more from celestian/seraphim)
  • Assume advancement path through all core careers (sister, celestian seraphim, repentia, oblatia)
  • Full build (rather than quick build). Pick up ascension talents via pre-reqs where suitable (i.e. storm of blows)
  • Typical entry "Hero of the Inquisition" -> "Palatine" with the Miracle Worker talent
  • Typical starting armour - good/best quality soriritas armour, ballistic cloth surcoat, hexagramatic wards
  • Typical starting gear - rosarius, suspensors/targetters, cloak of Saint Aspira, access to jump packs and praesidia
  • Typical starting weapon access - best quality variants of standard sisters fare (eviscerator, bolter/flamer/melta)
  • Extended wargear - power stakes, angelus boltgun(allows astartes ammo), zaythan warblades, minor archaeotec (i.e. arch-boltguns)
  • Powerful wargear - lathe-wrought gear, mantle of ophelia, piety's charge(and other relics)
  • Misc - chain weapon expert (as redemptionist), proven innocent and/or fatestealer background, augmetics

There are a few other high end relics like a +6 fate point relic (which prevents the character from saving their own life with fate points outside of the sororitas faith power) that can allow a sister to majorly juice up on faith boosters - even without that your rank 9 ascension palatine will look a lot more competent than your rank 1 marine, but the marines will power up faster.


Edited by A.T., 11 January 2021 - 03:36 PM.

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#5
Mazer Rackham

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Excellent notes AT.

 

Will have a look at these and certainly incorporate as much as we can.

 

It appears there are a lot of Fate Points being thrown around by Sisters - what about Faith Points?  I've been thinking about how to get around the lack of toughness and strength.  I regret I do not know how they are used in DH at all - how do the faith powers manifest - and would their acts of faith negate the detriments when used in Deathwatch?

 

MR.


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#6
battle captain corpus

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Solid ground work there AT!

I agree though, marines accelerate quickly through the rankings once they get grinding into missions for sure!

Squad mode wouldn’t be terrifically hard to incorporate. Whilst not versed in the codex Astartes they do understand battle cant and types of attack patterns.

The other point for me is also: SoB don’t serve within the DW. They are obviously part of the Eclisiarch & as such I would completely try not to “shoe horn” them in. But a clever mission frame which incorporates Ordo Xenos working alongside them is easy enough for sure.

Their fragility is also the other fly in the ointment. Whilst in Dark Heresy etc they are tonk as you can get for a human, marines leave them for dust in almost every way. So it’s more a case of thinking what do they fulfil that marines cannot?

BCC
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- Make sure your opponent is having fun 

 


#7
Mazer Rackham

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Solid ground work there AT!

Squad mode wouldn’t be terrifically hard to incorporate. Whilst not versed in the codex Astartes they do understand battle cant and types of attack patterns.

 

Agreed.  Battle tactics are what they are.  Perhaps for Chapter Tactics, we could substitute the doctrines of a certain Holy Order or Chantry, Akin to the different Astartes (to add depth)

The other point for me is also: SoB don’t serve within the DW. They are obviously part of the Eclisiarch & as such I would completely try not to “shoe horn” them in. But a clever mission frame which incorporates Ordo Xenos working alongside them is easy enough for sure.

 

I concur - this discussion is merely to allow the archetype where it would naturally occur.

Their fragility is also the other fly in the ointment. Whilst in Dark Heresy etc they are tonk as you can get for a human, marines leave them for dust in almost every way. So it’s more a case of thinking what do they fulfil that marines cannot?

 

Perhaps, similar to Astartes, these could be activated by a Test of Faith, like a cohesion challenge.  The Sister tests WP and benefits from Acts that boost their Str/T for x amounts of rounds to Rank?  That way as the Marines beef, so does the Sister?

BCC

 

Thanks for the inputs BCC and AT, this is getting the old noggin' ploddin'.

 

MR.


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#8
A.T.

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The rank 9 sister will be significantly more durable than you'd think for a human -

 -multiple reactions (including ++ dodge)

 -50% field save as a bare minimum from a rosarius

 -combined armour and toughness with the good armour and cloak of at least 15, which applies against psychic/warp attacks

 -significant self healing and buffing. Also if a sister is squashed a single fate point and she is back on her feet at 100% thanks to faith.

 

At some point they can also pick up the mantle of ophelia to grant unnatural toughness, which helps keep pace with the marines.

 

Their damage is quite some way down on what a marine will be doing though, especially at range. They rely on fancy toys (a sororitas with witch stakes would do bad things to that hive tyrant for instance), talents that the marines won't get for many ranks, and faith as needed.


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#9
A.T.

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After another look, it appears that a 'basic' sister has about 4000 of their initial 13000xp tied up in :

  • soul of stone (Armour of Contempt, Fearless, Insanely faithful, Jaded, Resistance Fear, Unshakable Faith)
  • hit and run, hardy, pure faith, hatred(heretics, mutants), holy hatred, flagellant, pure faith
  • swift attack, lightning attack, step aside, ambidextrous, two-weapon fighting (melee and ranged)
  • melee (primative, chain), pistol (bolt), basic (bolt), chain weapon expert(no self damage from eviscerators)
  • dodge +20, pilot (personal), common lore(imperial creed & ecclesiarchy), literacy, performance(singer), high & low gothic
  • 10 wounds over and above standard (d5+18), 5 fate points
  • 2d10+23 for most stats except INT/PER (+18), WILL/FEL (+28) - plus transition package (i.e. +5 FEL) and divination

 

This covers the the freebies, core combat abilities (chain expert somewhat optional), and all pre-reqs for soul of stone (fearlessness and corruption resistance)

The remaining 9000xp to be spent on weapon training, skills, stats, faith powers (300 each), and talents like dual shot/furious charge/etc

The character finally gets 500 to start their ascension and 'wall of steel' is not a bad option there.


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#10
Mazer Rackham

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Excellent work A.T.  Puts me to shame.  This then will be the core of any build we put together once I get my head around a few bits and pieces.

 

MR.


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#11
battle captain corpus

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I’d consider adding:
- Tactics: War, Sisters of Battle
- Intimidate
- Peers: Eclisiarchy, Adeptus Astartes

Maybe?

BCC
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BCC's Hobby Guide:
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- Your miniatures are always the best painted in the room
- Game with your heart and don't care about losing
- Make sure your opponent is having fun 

 


#12
A.T.

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I’d consider adding:
- Tactics: War, Sisters of Battle
- Intimidate
- Peers: Eclisiarchy, Adeptus Astartes

There are certainly a lot of choices that would make sense for a player to take with the remaining 9000xp - those listed are just the required, free, and core combat skills from the rules.

 

It's another ~2500xp to get the full holy trinity weapon talent tree, plus cleanse and purify and resistance(psychic) so the xp goes quite quickly. You could easily blow another 3k of faith powers.


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Sororitas, Deathwatch, Roleplay, FFG, Non-Marine Characters

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