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I have recently been reading the Commissar Cain series of books and thought I would try and develop some rules for a tabletop version. Obviously I am sure this has been done before, but this is my own take and I’d be interested to see what others think of the results!
Before listing stats and the like I need to explain a little bit of my thinking behind the way I have done things which may explain what I have done (or not!)
Firstly Cain & Jurgen are Heroes of the Imperium (well Cain is – Jurgen always get left out for some reason....)
The problem is that if you make a character totally faithful to the book you run the risk of Commissar “Chuck Norris” – the point value equivalent to whatever your opponent fields that is invulnerable to everything and kills everything – the only challenge – how quickly you wipe out your opponent’s army. This will be moderately entertaining about once I suspect....
OTOH Cain does bring some unique qualities which need to be sketched out otherwise you might just as well pick a standard Lord Commissar and call him “Cain”.
(BTW I am assuming most IG players will be familiar with Cain – if not then shame on you!!)
Cain’s biographies have been put into a state fit to be published by Inquisitor Amberley Vail of the Ordos Xenos – so the following is based as much on her footnotes as Cain’s own writing.
Wherever possible I have tried to use existing profiles, equipment and stats – I believe this makes it simpler to provide rules for the character and more likely an opponent will tolerate their use in a friendly game than if you start inventing special abilities and weapons. Of course this does run the risk I mentioned earlier about losing Cain’s unique “flavour” – but that level of detail might be more appropriate in an RPG such as Dark Heresy – at least imho.
Ciaphas Cain – A Hero of the Imperium
(and an HQ Choice)
A Lord Commissar – although he would never use the title himself!
Laspistol and Chainsword (always) – Amberely reckoned Cain was one of the finest swordsman and shots she ever saw so in addition to the base WS and BS stats I count both Laspistol and Chainsword as “Master-crafted” allowing Cain to re-roll a miss with either or both once per turn. (Although Cain was noted for sometimes downing targets well beyond the normal Laspistol range I think creating special long-range rules makes it too complicated).
The only armour ever mentioned is a set of carapace armour he was issued fairly early in his career and which he “forgot” to return for at least the next 70 years...
Grenades – never usually carried (he had Jurgen for that)
Refractor field - Cain never uses one of these however he frequently avoided dying in otherwise impossible situations so the Eternal Warrior rule seems appropriate.
Eternal Warrior - as mentioned above
Independent Character – self explanatory
Stubborn – even if he didn’t want to be Cain had an image he forced himself to live up to and the troops knowing no different simply saw an inspiring Commissar
Aura of Discipline – Cain frequently underestimated the effect his presence had on the troops around him so this still seems appropriate.
Summary Execution – this rule is NOT used. Cain never believed in it for at least two very practical reasons; firstly it reduced the number of friendly bodies between him and the enemy and secondly the "victim" may have had a lot of friends – all of whom carried guns – on a confusing battlefield...can anyone say "friendly fire"...?
Personally I think possible third reason which Cain never seems to admit to himself is that despite protestations to the contrary he really did care for the troopers under him – on Adumbria he holds off on destroying an enemy tank which is not only threatening him personally but an entire drop-ship full of troops as well simply because it would have meant killing just half a dozen troopers who had got out of position – an action many Commissars would have taken without thought, but which given the circumstances he wouldn’t have even been blamed for.
Instead Cain has the following rules;
Tactical Genius – Cain had a well deserved reputation for matching the guile of the enemy and stealing a march on them (even if he didn’t always intend to...) – if used then Cain must start the battle with the Unit or Vehicle in question.
Bring It Down! – Cain excelled at picking out high-priority targets which might threaten the Imperium (or more accurately him personally!) so he can use this order once per turn as per the rules either on a unit or himself.
Jurgen was a Valhallan Gunner assigned to Cain as his aide at the start of his career with the 12th Valhallan Artillery – initially described as the lowest rank possible before being classified as a piece of equipment he became the only man (apart from himself) that Cain trusted implicitly and saved Cain’s life on more than one occasion.
Jurgen must always be within 2” of Cain, and to all intents and purposes is treated as an extension of Cain.
Jurgen was by any reasonable measure a veteran trooper who obeyed Cain without question so veteran trooper stats seem appropriate – although he automatically uses Cain’s Leadership never his own.
Lasgun and Meltagun always, obviously both cannot be used simultaneously so specify at the start of the turn which is being used. Although he is mentioned as carrying Laspistol once for by far the majority of the time the Lasgun and Meltagun are the only weapons he is said to use. Like Cain, Jurgen seems to have been an excellent shot so as with Cain I count both weapons as master-crafted allowing one miss per turn to be re-rolled.
Jurgen was issued with carapace armour at the same time as Cain – after being worn by Jurgen I doubt any QM would have accepted the equipment back - even if Jurgen had attempted to return it to stores (unlikely - he was an inveterate scrounger). So he counts as carapace armour.
Frag & Krak grenades (also various ration bars, flasks full of Tanna and porno slates but I drew the line at trying to think of rules for that...)
Eternal Warrior - like Cain, Jurgen had an amazing ability to survive the otherwise impossible
Look Out Sir! - Jurgen often saved Cain’s life (Cain also saved Jurgen’s as well a number of times – but having two characters each applying the “Look out Sir!” rule to each other looked like being a bit silly....)
Psychic Blank – Jurgen was a “blank” something which meant Cain ended up working for the Inquisition more than once and destroying more Daemons than many an Ordo Malleus Inquisitor.
To represent this Jurgen counts as a Null Rod (+)
Any unsaved wounds inflicted by Jurgen or Cain (or a unit they are attached to) will inflict “instant death” on any psykers and render Cain, Jurgen and any unit they are attached to immune to any psychic powers.
In addition if Jurgen is in base to base contact with any Demon then that Demon’s invulnerable save and eternal warrior abilities are automatically negated and they can only make standard armour saves.
Cain & Jurgen can use any IG Transport option - but if you have the model then the preferred option would be
Salamander Scout Vehicle with pintle-mounted Heavy Bolter as well as Autocannon and Hull Heavy Bolter
Given their abilities I think we are looking at a substantial points cost which I have “guesstimated” at 175points.
If used then Cain and Jurgen must be appropriately depicted on the WYSIWYG principle.
Cain will be a standard Commissar in appearance with cap & black greatcoat, Laspistol and Chainsword.
Jurgen will need both a Meltagun and Lasgun – a Valhallan figure would be appropriate – however apart from an actual Ice-world situation then normally Valhallans seem to have gone around in standard fatigues (often with sleeves rolled up) with body armour and helmets – so any “standard” Cadian type figure would be acceptable.
Some Extra Rules
It might also be “fun” to add some extra random abilities – although these are really pushing the bounds of whimsy I’ll admit. Cain often seemed to have the knack of getting the enemies of the Imperium tangled up fighting each other or receiving unexpected help at odd times:
Pay 150points for each roll on the following chart to get the “ability/reinforcement specified”
Roll 1 x D6 and apply the following at the start of the first turn.
1 – “They’re in the Vents”
Cain has uncovered a Tyranid incursion – place up to 100 points of EITHER Genestealers OR Hormagaunts (standard codex rules and options) in the centre of the enemy deployment zone – they will automatically attack the nearest unit
If facing Tyranids ignore and roll again
2 – “Greenskins”
Cain has uncovered an Ork incursion – place up to 100 points of EITHER Ork Boyz OR Gretchin (standard codex rules and options) in the centre of the enemy deployment zone – they will automatically attack the nearest unit
If facing Orks ignore and roll again
3 – “Tinheads”
Cain has found some (very) long lost Necrons – place up to 100 points of EITHER Necron Warriors OR Canoptek Sacrabs (standard codex rules and options) in the centre of the enemy deployment zone – they will automatically attack the nearest unit
If facing Necrons ignore and roll again
For options 1 - 3 the nearest unit will normally be an enemy unit - unless you have managed to put your own troops there somehow in which case - oops!
4 – “Emperor’s Pet Psychopaths” or Nobody Expects The Inqusition!
Amberely Vail turns up – place an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor and Henchmen Warband (Codex Grey Knights for rules and stats) in the centre of your own deployment zone.
Amberley Vail has the following equipment:
Artificer Power Armour, Master-Crafted Storm Bolter, Master-Crafted Power Fist, Frag Grenades, Krak Grenades
1 x Psyker
3 x Warrior Acolytes with Flak Armour and Hot-shot Lasguns
5 – “The Colonel is Suspicious”
Apart from Amberley Vail the only person Cain believed ever saw part-way through him was the Regimental Colonel of the 12th Valhallan Artillery – his first posting. Cain always believed Colonel Mostrue took a keen delight in dropping the artillery rather too close to him for his (Cain’s) comfort.
All your indirect fire will automatically scatter directly towards Cain, and by the maxixmum amount towards him, provided that does not mean hitting any friendly forces – in which case place the markers as near as possible consistent with this.
6 – “Songs & Pongs”
Throughout his career Cain clearly had little time for the Ecclesiarchy. He said the only way to use the Adepta Sororitas on the battlefield was to point them at enemy, shout “heretic” and let them go and hope they hit something – he certainly never trusted them to hold a key position or work with other troops reliably.
Purchase up to 100 points of Sisters Of Battle, Celestians, from the Elites section of the Codex – standard rules and options apply. Place them at the forward edge of your deployment zone, designate one unit of the enemy as their preferred target, shout “heretics” and let them go.
Note – to use any of the above options you MUST have the relevant models where appropriate with the relevant equipment options – if you roll for an option you don’t have then roll again.
If either Cain or Jurgen is "killed" then remove the other which represents Jurgen loyally getting Cain to the Medicae or Cain less loyally taking the opportunity to be somewere else. If they are both "killed" simultaneously then they are removed - but not dead - as Cain has just remembered an important appointment elsewhere........
Last edited by vorlon; March 3rd, 2012 at 20:25. Reason: Sisters of Battle changes
Only an idiot fights a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts.
It's kinda reasonable to use another codex to get a baseline cost and statline for new items but I think the GK codex is a big exception. It's not balanced in the slightest! The Null Rod sounds completely disgusting and flat-out broken against daemons. Imagine this duo in a blob squad. It'd be a nightmare!
I'd use something like the "Psychic Abomination" rule the old version of the Cullexus used. Basically, at the start of their turn, any psyker (friend or foe) within 6 inches must take a leadership test or fall back. I'd also make any psyker (friend or foe) within 6 inches -3 LD. I'd charge you 30 points for that power. Add on 20 more for a veteran guardsmen with carapace armour and a melta gun and you have a pretty neat upgrade for 50 points.
For Cain if you use a 70 point base Lord Commissar and beef him up with carapace armour that gives a good baseline. He may eschew a refractor field but the 5+ invuln could reflect his incredible tenacity and ability to shrug off crippling wounds without making him an eternal warrior (something not even space marine captains get).
Replacing his summary execution rule with "and they shall know no fear" might be nice.
The problem there is he'd suck in close combat, so how about a "master swordsman" special ability. Basically his blade would be much like the old chainswords from back in 2nd edition. He would gain +1 strength and rending, reflecting his ability to get the most out of his weapon's nasty ripping saw-teeth.
As for gaining outflank on any unit, how about he can simply join units without affecting their special deployment rules. So he could join some stormtroopers and outflank or infiltrate with them (or even deepstrike). That's a major exception to the normal rules but wouldn't be taking something special away from Creed.
+20 points for these bonuses sounds reasonable.
That would make the whole package 150 points.
I'd feel these rules would be more toned down, which is an advantage in that the more reasonable the rules are the more likely people will accept them. But, really, so long as they make sense to you and your friends let you use them I guess that's all that really matters.
Last edited by Korona; March 4th, 2012 at 04:25.
Copy, Improve, Innovate
Many thanks for the reply - some interesting points. I must admit I'd used the GK codex simply so I was tweaking an existing rule - but you could be right!
Yes I think the point about the refractor field is a good one - eternal warrior is too powerful for both of them - would you apply it both of them - treat them as some kind of "wepaon team"?
Not sure about the master swordsman - from the books Cain's sword doesn't seem capable of doing any more damage than a regular chainsword (e.g. against Traitor Marines) - would there be something slightly better in a current Codex we could say "counts as" rather than go back to a previous edition?
Only an idiot fights a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts.