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The Setting: My local hobby shop, any given war gaming night.
Me: "Ummm, I'm sorry, I think you're mistaken, actually, you see Vanguard Veterans are Elites, so unfortunately they can't hold that objective."
Young kid opposite me at the same gaming table: "Nah dude, look, it says right here, since I got 'Pedro Cantor' those vanguard can hold objectives, so.........good game man......."
Me, now with a look on my face consisting of a mixture of awe, frustrasion, confusion, shock, trauma from late-game-learning , and just a touch of thirst: "...............................Yeah, uh, good game......."
A paradigm shift has occured to me guys. Fairly recently something in Warhammer occured to me, and that thing is this. Special Characters are now F***ING everywhere! It used to be that, you needed permission and game pt. size limitations to field these unique power houses, because they were, er, special, game breaking if you will. Nowadays they've been watered down, packaged, and sold along with all the 'create your own' characters, to the point where the latter now seems to be a dying breed. I can't play a game without finding out about some new "special" character, what they do, and then seeing his exact twin two tables down from mine.
And all these stock, named face pieces, don't they kinda remind you of another game? A game that also begins with War but ends with machine? Yeah, that's right, in fact, if you had some Imperium hero running around with a bunch of Dreadnoughts, It would probably look like something Privateer Press dreamed up.
Now, don't get me wrong, I do not hate special characters, quite the contrary. In fact, back in the days, there was nothing I'd like more than to see Logan Grimnar get off of his drinking chair and slug it out with the best of them, but Logan in every game? Santa Clause is also a big, drunken, bearded fenrisian, plus he gives gifts away for free and even then the kids get sick of seeing him after a season.
And especially in the small conflicts. "Excuse me (your favorite Warhammer hero's name here), umm, there is a combat patrol conflict going on and we really need you to show up personally and babysit some loot counters for an afternoon, can you fit that in?" Apparently, the answer is always a resounding yes.
Normally this wouldn't get my goat, but unfortunately, Warhammer/40k, is a very large and complex game, and, furthermore, is not uncommon to be played in a tournament setting. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't want to have to learn every army out there, and also have to learn all of their, wierd, nich'ey, game altering characters as well, I've got enough on my plate. I simply wish that special characters were not so common place. As the old saying goes, "familiarity breeds contempt". I'd say that about sums it up.
Gimme your opinions, agree, disagree. I would like to make clear however, that opinions is all I want, I don't need some history lesson, or theories on why the company would change the whole special character thing, so save it. I already know the answer to that and it is dollar$. I would however like to hear your take on special characters, so share. Thanks amillion.
" Are you gonna bark all day little doggy,
or are you gonna bite? "
Personally I dislike the idea of a names character running around. Even a 2000 point game in the grand scheme of things really isn't that much of a large engagement, its just a small skirmish. I'd understand their inclusion if you were playing a game of epic 40k, with titans and hundreds of thousands worth of troops around, because that would be a fitting occasion for mighty warriors to lead entire armies - warhammer 40k not so much.
However, I do use special characters in my games. The primary reason is because, for instance, taking Belial (master of deathwing) in my Dark angels army allows me to play with a list comprised of only terminators as those are my favourite models for that army. If it was just for his stats in the game then there's no way I'd bother, but its the selection details that lets you do something cool with your army that make special characters so popular these days.
Imperial guard take an armoured list or a troop heavy list without needing a special character to alter things - and this is how I believe all of the codexes should be. Pedro Kantor giving you sternguard as scoring units, Belial allowing terminators as troops etc... So are you saying that 20 deathwing terminators have never fought as a group without their company master involved? It flies in the face of logic.
Be that as it may, I have to keep taking Belial to use my army so I do. I just imagine that he's someone else and its not so bad.
'War does not determine who is right, only who is left'
I am President of the Brunel University wargames society - PM me if interested.
In the tau empire codex the special named characters can only be used in at least 1500 point games. Is that not with all characters?
I personally like the idea of making up my own characters, or at least using characters that don't have huge game changing rules.
Game changers, if they are going to be used in games, should have to be explained to the opponent at the start of the game. So you at least know the rules of said game.
They really should make a point limit on the super characters so the actually are more super.
Also, I think that the huge amount of characters around is because people are just too unimaginative/lazy to come up with their own characters with stories.
I have three thoughts on special characters and their use:
1) who says this 2k battle is the whole picture? More likely it's one event amongst many, or a small section of a larger battle.
2) if there was a way to recreate a character's special rule, you'd see them less. As it is, if you want fleeting space marines you NEED Shrike, if you want scoring Wolf Guard then Logan is your only choice, and so on. Unless GW find a way to balance special rules for you to tweak homebrew characters it's unlikely to change.
3) using special characters does not mean you have a lack of imagination. I use the rules for Dante - but have a custom model and fluff to cover him for my personal chapter.
Oh and to the OP - Pedro makes STERNguard scoring, so if your example wasn't just something you made up then you were cheated!
Last edited by A.T.; May 11th, 2011 at 13:40. Reason: spelling correction
They really have to sort that kind of stuff out, it's really disappointing that they (forget?) to put the restrictions in for all the other armies.
It's a dividing issue in my group of gamers, some of them don't see a problem with using them, others prefer not to play with them at all.
I will build my army around who I'm playing against, if my opponent doesn't mind I'll use my Sicarius stand in, otherwise I will send out a regular HQ choice.
I see 40k as a collaborative game, where both sides want to have fun and enjoy the banter wether they win or lose. If this means my opponent want to play a game without Special Characters changing things up then thats fine with me. So long as we get the dice rolling and have a fun game I'm happy.