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  1. #1
    The deep down truth Rikimaru's Avatar
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    724 (x8)

    Markerlight Drones a problem

    Over the last six or so months because of work and family commitments I have mainly been playing games in my small 40K group. These are usually friendly games and are quite easy going affairs; however just lately I have been playing more competitive games at my local GW and I am aiming to start tournie play again. The problem I have encountered is with this unit:

    Stealth team
    5 X Stealth suits with BC
    1 X team leader with Target lock, HW Drone controller and Marker Drone

    Now in my friendly games we use the rule that the team leader and Drone can fire at a separate target to the rest of the unit if required. However the team leader and Drone must fire at the same target. However a couple of opponents from outside my group have disputed this by saying that the Drone is a member of the unit and it should must fire at the same target as the rest of the Stealth team because the Target lock only allows the model equipped with it to fire at a separate target. My view is that the Drone is wargear of the controlling model and so must fire at the unit the 'controlling' model is firing at because they control it (I must point out that others outside my group agree with me)

    Now I have re-read the rules concerning:

    (1) Drones
    (2) Drone controllers
    (3) Target locks

    While it seems straight forward the rules as written do throw up one inconsistency (discussed later). To start with let us look at a Stealth team leader, if he takes a HW controlled Marker Drone it is classed as wargear, this means:

    (1) The Drone is removed if the controller dies
    (2) It is counted when assessing for casualty moral tests (however it does not state it is a unit member 'important')
    (3) The Drone must maintain coherency with the unit the controlling model is in

    So let us take a situation where the team leader with his Drone is the only member of the team left. Could it fire at a different target to the Drone? I do not think it could because (and here is one of those inconsistencies) the only rules reference to Drones and a controlling model forming a unit is regarding independent characters (page 31 tau codex).

    The IC rules state that an IC and controlled Drones form a 'unit' that can join other units.
    So from this we can rightly infer that a non IC model with controlled Drones 'do not' form a unit.
    If they do not form a unit then the Drone must (by virtue of being wargear) fire at the same target as its controlling model. If the model with the Drone has and uses a Target lock then it and the Drone must fire a the same target and the rest of the unit fires at the other target.

    The rules for the Target lock state that the model with the Target lock can fire at a different target to the rest of 'its unit'' however controlled Drones are never stated as being classed as members of a unit, only that they must maintain coherency with the unit the model is in that is controlling them. This rule implies a status of being outside the unit because if the controlling model moved the Drones would have to stay in coherency with a different unit (hope that makes sense)

    The oddity here is that the IC could in theory fire at a different target to that of its Drones but this throws up more confusion. I am of the mind that the Drone/IC forming a unit rule is there for assault purposes because the IC assault rules in the main rule book state that an IC is only ever a single model for assault purposes and the Tau codex rule is there to avoid any confusion (I/E the Shas'El/O would fight as a separate unit to its Drones and the other unit members). So I think the Drones would fire at the same target as the IC because they are wargear controlled by him and not (for shooting purposes) individual entities.

    The rules on page 31 never state that the controlled Drone is a member of the unit, only that it is 'counted' when casualties are assessed, for contesting objectives and for victory points purposes. It quite clearly states and I quote " the unit they are with", this phrase and the 'counted' phrase seem to indicate that the Drones are not members of the unit because if they were then why the clarifying text above?

    I think it makes more sense that a controlled Marker Drone would fire at the same target as the model who 'controls' it. This would mean that the controlling model and Drone would have to fire at the same target if a Target lock was utilised.
    This has its ups and downs, basically the controlling model will in all likely hood have wasted its shots (ML on a vehicle for instance, or out or range especially in the Stealth's case with its BC) but on the plus side it does allow for some unit versatility in that the unit can still shoot one target while ML,ing another target.

    So what are the feelings on this one? I feel that the way I play it makes more sense but I want to gauge the opinions on this before I get back into Tournie play because the Marker Drone is a big part of my list and I want to play it correctly.

    On a side note can we please keep this discussion civil, if anyone wants to argue rather than discuss can you PLEASE PM me. I am not saying this is how 'it should' be played I am asking for opinions so I can make a decision. I am asking for help

    1984

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  3. #2
    Son of LO psichotykwyrm's Avatar
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    443 (x8)

    Myself, I've not seen any reason to treat the drone itself as "wargear". The item called the "Drone Controller" would be wargear, it just happens to add a model to the unit.

    Also, you state yourself, only the model with the Target Lock may choose another target. As the drone fires with the "unit", and the Team Leader does not qualify as a unit unto himself (unless all the others are dead), the drone can't benefit from the leader's TL.

    I think, mainly, your confusing yourself by defining the drone as gear, when it is clearly another model.
    "It takes a vast amount of self control to be this dangerous."
    ---Ogvai Ogvai Helmshrot, Jarl of Tra, VI Legion Astartes

  4. #3
    Senior Member ZenGamer's Avatar
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    137 (x3)

    Riki,

    I agree with you that the way you are playing it (drone must fire at same target as controlling model) makes more sense and is likely correct.

    However, I don't see any indisputable rules that convince me one way or the other, and I am not convinced that GW has ever considered this situation. Without definite rules, either way is technically "correct", so generally it should simply be agreed upon at the start of a game.

    Just for the sake of trying to improve your argument, I do not agree with the statement quoted below.

    Quote Originally Posted by rikimaru View Post

    The IC rules state that an IC and controlled Drones form a 'unit' that can join other units.
    So from this we can rightly infer that a non IC model with controlled Drones 'do not' form a unit.
    Reading that statement, I come to the opposite conclusion. In my opinion, the fact that an IC and drone form a unit must mean that non-IC and drone must also form a unit even though it is not explicitly stated.

    Of course, there are no rules for sub-units and so it is still ambiguous.

    Regardless, I think it makes the most sense for the drone to have to fire at the same target that it's controlling model fires at. At the same time however I don't think there are any indisputable rules one way or the other, and this is just one of those things that will have to be agreed upon at the start of a battle until GW clarifies it, which will probably never happen before the next Tau codex comes out. Hopefully it will all be streamlined then.
    Last edited by ZenGamer; January 20th, 2009 at 15:12.
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  5. #4
    The deep down truth Rikimaru's Avatar
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    724 (x8)

    Quote Originally Posted by psichotykwyrm View Post
    Myself, I've not seen any reason to treat the drone itself as "wargear". The item called the "Drone Controller" would be wargear, it just happens to add a model to the unit.

    Also, you state yourself, only the model with the Target Lock may choose another target. As the drone fires with the "unit", and the Team Leader does not qualify as a unit unto himself (unless all the others are dead), the drone can't benefit from the leader's TL.

    I think, mainly, your confusing yourself by defining the drone as gear, when it is clearly another model.
    The Drone is wargear, it is listed as an option in the wargear section of the armoury on page 25, it is pretty unambiguous and clear that a Marker light Drone selected for control by a Drone controller is indeed wargear.

    Also where does it say a controlled Drone fires with the unit? if we had a lone XV8 the Drone would fire at the target the XV8 fires at, even if the XV8 had a Target lock because as far as non IC models go the controlling model and the Drones are not a unit but are in fact a model with wargear (you would not class a Multi tracker as a separate model and they are exactly the same thing in game definition 'wargear'). Just because the Drone is a separate model (in modelling terms) it does not mean that it is classed as separate from the model controlling it, so the Drones must fire at the same target the controlling model fires at.

    A controlled Drone is not autonomous, it cannot make decisions for itself, it is controlled. This means that for it to fire with the other members of the unit it would have to be controlled by them or make decisions for itself. The codex states that Drones have to be networked with other Drones to make decisions (or be autonomous), controlled Drones are under the control of the model with the controller and thus they engage whatever he does. The only place this differs is in assault where Drones are programmed to protect the Tau.

    Zen: Thanks for your reply. As far as the IC and unit thing goes; well I think (and I am only stating my assumption and am not saying I am correct etc on this) that it only makes the unit differentiation because of the IC assault rules and to avoid problems with the Drones being classed as a retinue (which they are not) which would prevent the Shas'El/O joining another unit. I agree with you that as far as shooting is concerned then the Drones are classed as wargear and would shoot at the same target as the El/O.
    This problem with assault does not arise for normal XV8's because all the models fight together (note I did not say as a unit) and there is no precedence for the controlling XV8 to fight as a lone unit (as per IC's) and the normal XV8 does not leave or join other units.

    Oh and do you really think that a new codex would answer all the problems? Or do you think it would just create a whole slew of new ones? (I know which I think would be the case)
    Last edited by Rikimaru; January 20th, 2009 at 16:26.
    1984

  6. #5
    The ORIGINAL Sniper Puss eiglepulper's Avatar
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    596 (x8)

    The way I usually play this set-up is to have the MDs fire at the same unit as the squad members while the guy with the Target Lock gets to fire at something else. My reasoning behind this is the wording in the Target Lock rules which says that the model with the TL gets to fire at a different enemy unit
    to that engaged by the rest of its own unit
    As I see it, adding drones under the command of a drone controller is the same as adding members to a unit, although they're only really now important when deciding if the unit has to take a Morale Check for 25% casualties. However, in this light they are considered as part of the unit. Going back to the Target Lock wording: the TL user gets to shoot at something other than that targeted by the rest, ie all the other models, of the unit. It doesn't say that his drones can.

    Normally drones will require regular orders from a Tau
    Who's to say that the T-Ldr isn't telling them to "ML that lot over there while I do this lot over here" :p

    E.
    "Tau Commandment #226: Participants who use Velocity Trackers in the Tau Clay Pigeon Tournament will be disqualified"

  7. #6
    I am a free man! number6's Avatar
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    786 (x8)

    Here's the relevant text from the codex.
    Quote Originally Posted by BRB p. 28
    This specialized target acquisition system enables the model to target a separate enemy unit to that engaged by the rest of its own unit.
    The rule doesn't say anything about any other models at all. If it meant for controlled drones to fire at the same unit as the target lock-equipped model, the rule would say so. But because it doesn't, only the target lock-equipped model gets the benefit of the wargear. Drones do not also benefit. They are models helping to compose the rest of its (the model with the target lock) own unit.

    Both the RAW, and Occam's Razor "the simplest solution". Any other interpretation requires more convoluted logic and arguments to support.
    ninjabackhand: point and click, again, really? even after i give you an military term "shock tactic" you still call it point and click.
    RIP Warhammer 40,000: 21 Sep 1998 - 24 May 2014

  8. #7
    The deep down truth Rikimaru's Avatar
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    724 (x8)

    Quote Originally Posted by eiglepulper View Post
    The way I usually play this set-up is to have the MDs fire at the same unit as the squad members while the guy with the Target Lock gets to fire at something else. My reasoning behind this is the wording in the Target Lock rules which says that the model with the TL gets to fire at a different enemy unit

    As I see it, adding drones under the command of a drone controller is the same as adding members to a unit, although they're only really now important when deciding if the unit has to take a Morale Check for 25% casualties. However, in this light they are considered as part of the unit. Going back to the Target Lock wording: the TL user gets to shoot at something other than that targeted by the rest, ie all the other models, of the unit. It doesn't say that his drones can.



    Who's to say that the T-Ldr isn't telling them to "ML that lot over there while I do this lot over here" :p

    E.
    Quote Originally Posted by number6 View Post
    Here's the relevant text from the codex.

    The rule doesn't say anything about any other models at all. If it meant for controlled drones to fire at the same unit as the target lock-equipped model, the rule would say so. But because it doesn't, only the target lock-equipped model gets the benefit of the wargear. Drones do not also benefit. They are models helping to compose the rest of its (the model with the target lock) own unit.

    Both the RAW, and Occam's Razor "the simplest solution". Any other interpretation requires more convoluted logic and arguments to support.
    Excellent points from all involved.

    However the wording of the rules for controlled Drones says they are 'counted when assessing if the unit they are with' for casualty, objective and kill point purposes. You have to consider why this wording is included in the rules, if the Drones are a part of the unit full stop then the rule would simply say that the Drones are treated as part of the unit in all instances.

    The Drones are not added to the unit then they would be left as a part of the unit when the controlling model was killed (think about that carefully). Drones are war-gear and are a part of the controlling model, they are 'with' the unit because the model controlling them is a part of the unit (a subtle but important difference). This does not make them a 'part of the unit' and nowhere in the codex does it ever say that controlled Drones are a part of a unit with one exemption IC controlled Drones (which I alluded to in the earlier posts).
    If a target lock was not taken then it is moot the ML Drone fires at the same target as the unit because the controlling model must do so as well.

    Eigle your last comment is not rules based, it is wishful thinking (though very sensible wishful thinking and this is not a criticism). I am going solely by the rules and the rules state that the Target lock allows the bearer to fire at a different target to that of the other members of its unit. Controlled Drones are war-gear and not members of the unit so it should be firing at the same target the controlling model fires at (this goes for Gun Drones as well).

    Look at it this way the Multi-tracker allows the firing of two battlesuit weapons, now we assume that because the Multi tracker is wargear that it can only be utilised by the model wearing it do we not?
    The Multi-tracker cannot be used to by another XV8 in the bearers unit to fire two of its Battle-suit weapons, why? Because it is war-gear and is a part of the bearers equipment. Well the same applies to controlled Drones, they are a part of the Battle-suit that selected them and are not under control of the rest of the unit or a part of the unit because they are war-gear. I think the key here is the war-gear point and it is very clear that controlled Drones are war-gear.

    To summarise this war-gear point:

    Controlled Drones are 'Battle-suit war-gear' as per page 25 of the Tau codex.

    The rules for Controlled Drones states that they are only ''counted when assessing if the unit they are with etc", it does not say they are a 'part' of the unit only 'with' the unit. As an illustration of this I will use a real world analogue to the rules. I can be 'with' an army unit but not 'part' of the unit (observer, photographer, advisor etc). If the army unit got attacked and I was injured I would be counted as a casualty but I would still not be part of the unit and my casualty status could affect the moral of the unit (the 25% test analogue) but I am still not a part of the unit. The Drone rules only state the Drone is with the unit not part of the unit.

    Target lock allows the bearer to target a different unit to the rest of its unit. War-gear is not a part of a unit.
    In an XV8 unit of three, the XV8 with the Target lock can fire at a different target to the other two XV8's, as they are members of its unit. A Multi tracker is war-gear but it is not a part of the unit and the same applies to controlled Drones, any items of war-gear are never part of a unit 'ever'.
    Last edited by Rikimaru; January 20th, 2009 at 18:49.
    1984

  9. #8
    I am a free man! number6's Avatar
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    786 (x8)

    Quote Originally Posted by rikimaru View Post
    Drones are war-gear and are a part of the controlling model
    Drones may be bought as wargear. That is, the method of adding drones to a unit is by purchasing them from the Tau armoury as part of a character model's wargear allowance. But they are definitely not part of the controlling model. They are models in their own right. And the target lock only affects "the model", singular.

    As I said: simple and follows RAW perfectly. To argue otherwise takes paragraphs and paragraphs of arguing that a model isn't a model, as you have aptly demonstrated, riki. That's some pretty convoluted "logic".
    ninjabackhand: point and click, again, really? even after i give you an military term "shock tactic" you still call it point and click.
    RIP Warhammer 40,000: 21 Sep 1998 - 24 May 2014

  10. #9
    The deep down truth Rikimaru's Avatar
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    724 (x8)

    Quote Originally Posted by number6 View Post
    Drones may be bought as wargear. That is, the method of adding drones to a unit is by purchasing them from the Tau armoury as part of a character model's wargear allowance. But they are definitely not part of the controlling model. They are models in their own right. And the target lock only affects "the model", singular.

    As I said: simple and follows RAW perfectly. To argue otherwise takes paragraphs and paragraphs of arguing that a model isn't a model, as you have aptly demonstrated, riki. That's some pretty convoluted "logic".
    However we are still left with the situation of the controlling model and its Drones (or Drone) being the survivors of a unit. Would the Drones be eligible to fire at a separate target to the controller if a TL was used? because according to RAW the only time a model with Drones forms a unit is if the controller is an IC and the TL specifically says the controlling model has to be in a 'unit' to utilise the benefits of the TL.

    If you want to go the RAW route Number6 then I point you to the rule for controlled Drones with IC's on page 31 as proof of the above.

    If we follow the rules exactly as RAW then the we read that Drones under the control of a Drone controller have to remain in coherency with the unit the controller is in, note it does not say the unit the Drones are in but the unit the controller is in, remember we are talking RAW here.
    However the very next sentence goes on to say that Drones controlled by an IC form a unit that can join other units. If we take this as RAW it is stating that only Drones controlled by an IC form a unit with a model with a controller. So if the controlled Drones and an IC form a unit then what does this mean for non IC controlled Drones? why the differentiation?

    Do you see the quandary here, if the only instance of Drones forming a unit with their controller is the IC example, then what happens when a normal XV8 with controlled Drones are the only survivors of a unit?

    The rules for the Target lock state that the bearer can target a separate target to the rest of its unit but the rules do not allow a non IC XV8 to form a unit with its Drones (and this is absolutely RAW). It cannot use the TL because the rest of its unit has died and gone to Tau heaven and non IC controlled Drones do not form a unit with their controller only IC controlled ones do RAW.

    So what happens here then? do the Drones fire at the same target as the XV8? or do we get to use the TL?. If the answer is no it cannot use its TL to allow the Drones to fire at a different target then it has to apply at all times, the Drones fire at the same target as the controller.

    Also if an IC forms a unit with Drones and joins another unit, which unit is the TL rule specifying? The rules state it can fire at a different target to the rest of its 'own' unit. Is this referring to the unit it formed with its Drones or the unit it joined? Now I think it means the unit it joined and the Drones fire at the same target he does because the TL rules are referring to a unit singular and not plural.

    I know it is convoluted dude but that is not because of me it is because the rules make it so. By the way thanks everyone for keeping it civil.
    Last edited by Rikimaru; January 20th, 2009 at 23:43.
    1984

  11. #10
    The ORIGINAL Sniper Puss eiglepulper's Avatar
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    596 (x8)

    One problem I have with saying that the drones must fire at the same target as their owner is this: would that then not lose the advantage of having the MD *and* its owner ML'ing separate targets?

    I just don't see this "MD must target same unit as owner" bit as being the correct interpretation. If all the MLs fire at the one target, using the owner's Target Lock facility, then what I would be using that for is to light up that target for *other* units rather than the Stealths. If you however wanted to use the NWMLs to boost the BS of the Stealths, then following the same argument that " T-Ldr and Drones must fire at the same target"the whole unit including the owner with the TL would be firing at the same target, which to me seems to make a mockery of taking the Target Lock in the first place.

    E.
    "Tau Commandment #226: Participants who use Velocity Trackers in the Tau Clay Pigeon Tournament will be disqualified"

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