Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Debate: Special Characters

Today, I wanted to bring up an issue that seems to be floating around on various forums and locally in Ottawa. It seems that the general population has a dislike for special  and named characters. Its even gone as far as recent and future tournaments have banned the usage of 40k's greatest hero's! Poor Eldrad!

I don't fully understand why these upstanding characters, provoke such negative reactions! I know, some of the more recent Codex's have made some really interesting, and equally powerful rules concerning unique characters. So, removing them reduces the power level of certain books. Books like Space Wolves, Blood Angels, Imperial Guard, Space Marines, Orks all have powerful special characters, that really change how the army fights.

Now, the issue is when removing these special characters is that weaker armies will suffer more. See, without Mephiston being used, Blood Angels can make an army list just as competitive as before, or maybe more. Since there is almost no bad choices in the recent books, they are not really as effected.

Now take Necrons, with three total HQ choices. They have Lord, Deceiver, Nightbringer. The choice they have nos is only the Lord, with the main difference will be with or without destroyer body. This really doesn't restrict them that much, but it doesn't allow them to field an army that's different then the normal Lord + 20 warriors, etc.

Who's even in worse shape from this change is Dark Angels. Without the characters allowed, the codex is basically superseded by Codex: Space Marines. Without the Deathwing and Ravenwing, Dark Angels really suffer. Now, thats not saying you can't use the codex without this, but you will basically have an army that is between 10%-25% higher in points cost then an almost completely similar C:SM list.

So I leave the issue open for discussion: Are special characters that game breaking? I'll enable comments, and make a poll on the right to see!

... Mitch

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  1. One of the issues I see with the special characters is that any random firefight should not have the leader of your entire army at it.

    They are often unbalanced on their own but often they are the only options for some codexes to compete. Remove them and why both showing up if you have to go against armies that get 35 point discounts on units for spending 15.

  2. I don't know where to fall on this one. On the one hand, if they want to limit what can be entered on this tournament, that's their call.

    On the other hand, what about the guy who has a Loganwing or Deathwing, or a Bike Army that depends on a special character (take your pick!)? It's like hanging out a "Need not apply" sign for people who have assuredly put a lot of time, money, and effort into their armies.

  3. I don't mind special characters.

    I prefer for SCs to be Different, not just Better. When you take a regular HQ and try to recreate the SC and wind up more expensive and worse, there's a problem.

    I love characters that can change the army, but prefer for those to be regular, not SC choices. SM captain on bike=good, Wazdakka=not so much.

  4. I have no problem with Special Characters per se - but I dislike the new system of requiring a certain named character in order to create particular builds or change the nature of the army - I think those options should be independent of who's leading the force (at a cost premium, of course!).

    I know it's outdated, and was by no means perfect, but I liked the old system of doctrines (or equivalent) to allow you to shape your own force within 'legal' bounds...for a price/disadvantage.

    As an extension of this, I also agree wholeheartedly with eriochrome - even when taken as a microcosm of an entire battle there's simply no way that Creed should be in direct charge of a couple of squads of Guardsmen.

    And yes, some of them are simply too tough, as it stands.

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  6. I just want to add a few facts for clarification on the context of this editorial.

    Mitch says "Today, I wanted to bring up an issue that seems to be floating around on various forums and locally in Ottawa. It seems that the general population has a dislike for special and named characters." ...but really he's just talking about me and my tournaments. If there are other local tournaments with the same restrictions, I'm not aware of them.

    He also says "some of the more recent Codex's have made some really interesting, and equally powerful rules concerning unique characters". I think that's pretty debatable, especially the "equally powerful rules" part. Marine players tend to rally in favor of Special Characters because they open up a wide, wide range of options and powers. Those who play against many Marine Special Characters tend to see it from a different perspective. The bottom line is: Strong armies are less penalized in both fluff and rules by the exclusion of Special Characters that weaker armies are by the inclusion of them.

    I'd like to mention, however, that I'm just one guy making tournaments in the Ottawa area. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING can or should stop anyone from organizing their own tournaments and running them in a way which they think makes for a better game. As the old saying goes: "If you got the vision, you got the job."

  7. Corey > I should mention that yeah, in tournaments its from recent Golden Marine, but if you watch the local forums, even CWC it seems in the last year or so people are not really using special characters anymore

  8. Special characters are awesome. I think they're "funner" in larger games with a bit of a narrative twist to them. As others hav posted, there's gotta be a good reason that one of these rare heroes shows up to a relatively small fight in the bigger scheme of things. That would be where having a story and an overall scenario comes in.

    When it comes to tournaments, I'm happy it's all or nothing. Makes me feel much better than an organizer picking and choosing whose characters can be played.

    I do think it'd be interesting allowing "upgrade" characters but dissalowing stand alone ones. However this may unbalance things.

  9. Actually "upgrade" characters (such as Vulkan, for instance) are the really scary ones. A single character on his own can be avoided or killed... but a whole army that's upgraded? That's harder.