Author Topic: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?  (Read 29722 times)

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #45 on: February 23, 2010, 02:10:41 AM »
Well, that tempts me to go back to the original proposition of a 20 point difference - it works with a scale that can go past 100, and stops differences in stats being infinitesimal compared to difference in skill.

The statement "WS 98 is half as good as WS 99" suggests this and seems fairly absolute.
Like I said, "not a perfect match, but a reasonable rule of thumb" - or words to that effect.
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Offline Alyster Wick

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #46 on: February 23, 2010, 06:05:06 AM »
Quote
In theory, yes, since for every failure that the WS99 character has, the WS98 character will fail twice. However, in practice it doesn't quite work out that way... Since 95+ is an automatic fail, anyway. So in practice, they're both WS95.

I think the key thing to remember here is that while the WS98 character fails twice for every one time the WS99 character fails in practice that means the WS 98 character fails two out of 100 times and the WS99 character fails one in 100 times.

Now to break from that tangent, this thread has kind of gotten onto a subject I'd been thinking about posting on.  Fairly often small squabbles seem to come up between posters due to disagreements on stats and it occurred to me that it might be useful to create some categories of play so that rather than clavers getting offended by well meaning criticism lacking tact we could codify what type of game the person is playing and then offer suggestions on that basis.  This is not very fleshed out but here are three styles of play that come to mind.

True Grimdark:  
Inquisitor for realists.  Characters are given statistics as if they were actually living people.  Stats out of the 60s have to be earned and the character must have strong background supporting this.  Skills are applied sparingly and to add character.  Inquisitors themselves are often not the strongest combatants as their skills are focused on arenas of knowledge or leadership.  Powerful equipment is rare at all levels and every detail of a character is taken into an account for purposes of making a scenario realistic (ie you don't have an inquisitor walking around the market place in power armor).  This is generally the conclave standard.

Comicbook 40K:
The characters that take the field are inherently the best and brightest of the imperium.  Most are olympic level athletes or genius level thinkers to whom feats of heroics are everyday occurrences.  Special abilities are given out more liberally (but not overboard) and character follows stats more than stats follow character.  Suspension of disbelief is a must here as action often drives the story and spotty background is forgiven in favor of larger than life characters.

Powergaming:
40K on a smaller scale.  Models are tough as nails and decked out for war.  It will often appear as though 8 models got lost during a 3,000 point game and decided to duke it out over the fate of the universe.  Battlefield inquisitors wielding plasma guns with refractor shields are the norm but that's okay because the CSM charging you has an axe of Khorne.  The catchphrase is "if it's in the rulebook then it was meant to be used" and 100 is the limit of human potential because some characters can reach it.  It may seem out of control, but if everyone is on board then it's good to go.


Anyway, I hope people find this useful (and applicable to this thread).  This idea was inspired as I began gathering pieces for a xenos hunting inquisitor who had a piece of necron tech and an eldar powersword.  She was very much unlike my namesake Alyster who carries and auto pistol and a mess of throwing knives, but she had character, a fun backstory, and could be a major presence in a game.  I realized that it made sense for an inquisitor like her (who has a high ranking magos under her thumb) to have access to huge praetorians or to employ the best xenos bounty hunters out there.  Given her habits it also makes sense that she'd run afoul of a deathwatch marine sooner rather than later that could dish out on equal footing.

The point is that while my bread and butter characters would be comfortable on a table with most other clavers.  However, every now and again I want to stuff my ranks with beastly characters who can take off the heads of a standard warband in a single turn without breaking a sweat and I don't think there's anything wrong with that especially if everyone is on the same page.  I mean, there's an assault cannon in the rule book for a reason.  It shouldn't be out on the table every game, but there's a time and a place for it and I think when it's done right it's a load of fun.

Anyway, rant ended.  Let me know what you all think.    
« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 06:08:37 AM by Alyster Wick »

Offline RobSkib

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #47 on: February 23, 2010, 12:31:33 PM »
I mean, there's an assault cannon in the rule book for a reason.  It shouldn't be out on the table every game, but there's a time and a place for it and I think when it's done right it's a load of fun.

I agree, and I have a character with an assault cannon. However, to me that last statement contradicts everything you've just said about different 'levels'. I for one try and play at the normal accepted level because thats where the fighting is the most tense and the battles so nail-biting, however, as you have just pointed out - there is an assault cannon in the rule book for a reason.  When the time and the place comes about for the assault cannon-toting cultist to step into the fray, I always make sure it is spot on to wreak the required amount of devastation.

I don't think there needs to be different 'levels' of gaming, IMO. Yes, there are some people who play silly high-levelled games, which if it works for them, fine, but don't try and bring your CSM with an Axe of Khorne to my table and expect to play rom the off. Don't get me wrong, I am not condemning anything from Inquisitor, I'm just saying that harsh stuff should be used sparingly, sprinkled over a boring game to spice things up a bit. There is no need to say "I'm a power gamer, so lets use space marines." What there should be is "So you've lovingly converted a 54mm CSM? I'm sure there's a way to work that into the campaign somehow, but don't expect a walk in the park!"
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Offline Alyster Wick

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2010, 02:20:40 PM »
Quote
I agree, and I have a character with an assault cannon. However, to me that last statement contradicts everything you've just said about different 'levels'.

I don't mean to use these classifications as levels, nor do I mean to say that certain things from the rulebook are reserved exclusively for powergaming.  I'm just pointing out that it's a certain style of play.  There are hobby groups that routinely have powersword wielding eldar, space marines, and kitted out inquisitors on the board.  I think it's useful when offering criticism to be able to say to someone "if you're in a powergaming group than these stats should be fine, but if you're looking to play a pick up game with a group that focuses more on a True Grimdark style then you're going to run into some problems." 

Of course these aren't hard and fast rules, character like spacemarines will always be a little difficult to fit into a True Grimdark style but it's clearly doable (as many on the conclave will attest too) while they'll also easily work in power gaming circles.  I just think it becomes easier to offer constructive criticism when there isn't an assumption that every character being made is going to be used in True Grimdark style games (which, let's face it, is the Conclave standard gaming style.  See, I brought it back to the topic  ;)).


Offline Ferran

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #49 on: February 23, 2010, 04:03:02 PM »
Alyster - your idea has merit but I think the headers are a little descriminatory. The "True" qualifier in True Grimdark implies that it's the legit way. The "Comicbook" title implies, imo, a juvenille quality. "Powergamer" has well known negative connotations. Personally I'd go with

Conclave
Sourcebook
Turbo (Aggressive, Hyper, something along those lines)

Offline Inquisitor Cade

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2010, 04:22:39 PM »
I'm always going to be looking at characters from about the 'True Grimdark' level that you defined. I'll try to justify this position.

When you talk about higher levels which of these is what you mean?

'I am a powergamer therefore my characters year of swords training will be represented by Ws 95'

or

'I am a powergamer therefore I will have a character who has spent 16 hours a day for an extended lifetime training with swords which is represented by Ws 95'

The former I see as wrong, the equivalent of saying let's give everyone in this game of 40k three extra to each stat. It doesn't add anything to the game, but makes dice rolling less relevant. I'd say the loss of excitement, as you can be sure most rolls will pass, and the departure from creadibility would make the game much less entertaining and worthwhile, excepting maybe a short lived novelty value.

If it is the second then I really wouldn't describe it as 'powergaming' If a character has a high stat, or lots of high stats, numerous skills and/or particularly fine kit, and it is correctly justified, I don't see how it is out of place in the 'True Grimdark' level.


There is the issue of warbands made for fighting. Killteams, imp guard units or even space marine squads, that sort of thing. While I wouldn't call a band like this wrong in the way I would for a misjudged stat, I would say that the problem is how they come to be in a typical Inquisitor scenario.

So if there is a type of gaming that involves taking Inquisitor rules versions of warriors into a battle then I wouldn't discredit it with the title powergaming, but I still think that using a higher stat to represent a skill than is normally appropriate can't be justified by that title, and that is the opinion I would give if reviewing a character.
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #51 on: February 23, 2010, 05:13:23 PM »
Comicbook 40k: The characters that take the field are inherently the best and brightest of the imperium.
Actually, I'd say that for the most part, that's the case even with "Standard" level. Inquisitors are supposed to be exceptional, and they have their pick of the servants of the Emperor to bring with them.

That's not to say that everyone on the table will be "top few percent of mankind", but it'd be rare that an Inquisitor would bring along someone who wasn't inherently good at whatever it was they did.
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Offline Kaled

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #52 on: February 23, 2010, 05:35:21 PM »
I agree with Ferran in that the names you've chosen are not good - few people want to label themselves as 'powergamers' even if that's what they are, so expecting people to use these as a indication of the level thay play at is never going to work.

Comicbook seems to me to almost embody the spirit of the game.  You describe it as 'The characters that take the field are inherently the best and brightest of the imperium' - well I'd say that many/most characters fall into this category simply by virtue of being an Inquisitor/Magos/Rogue Trader.  The game is designed to be played with characters who are the best and brightest - that doesn't necessarily mean all stats in the 90s, but characters are supposed to be good otherwise in most cases they're not going to feature in most scenarios.  The same goes when you describe comicbook as a game where 'Suspension of disbelief is a must' and 'action often drives the story' - Inquisitor generally runs on movie-logic and suspension of disbelief is a must for almost any game of Inquisitor as characters will do things that probably no one in real life would attempt.  As for action driving the story - this is a skirmish game we're talking about, albeit a narrative one, so action does have a big place in driving the story.  Almost every scenario is one where action is expected - there are pretty much no rules in the game for anything other than action.

I'd therefore argue that True Grimdark is not the 'Conclave standard' - we see plenty of characters who have stats above 60, and I don't know exactly what you mean by 'strong background' but certainly there's usually no written background to justify these stats.  Powerful equipment isn't 'rare' (although that depends on what you mean by 'rare') but crops up all the time - although the 'Conclave standard' would say that powerful equipment is 'appropriate'.

If I as something of a veteran have difficulty with these classifications (and I know (or at least think I do) exactly what you're trying to get at with each category) and would be hard pressed to fit my games/characters into one of them, then I'd suggest that so will many other people and new players will find it almost impossible to apply these labels to themselves (and moreover won't want us to apply labels to them that they don't really understand).  Perhaps you could get the classifications to work, but they'd need refining from their current state.

Quote
I'm always going to be looking at characters from about the 'True Grimdark' level that you defined.
That's fine to a point, but if the player isn't playing at the 'True Grimdark' level, then any advice you offer probably isn't going to be that useful.  I'd suggest it's usually fairly easy to judge what level someone is playing at from the stats of the character they post and the way they talk about their games.  If they're new then by all means try to guide them towards whatever level you think is better.  But if someone has been playing for a while and is happy with the level they play at, or is new and wants to play at a high level, then giving them advice based on a different standpoint is not really productive.

When it comes to profiles, I generally figure that people are using the ones in the back of the rulebook that have slightly higher stats, a lot of abilities and fairly powerful equipment; or they are working from the descriptions of the stats in the front of the rulebook and follow the 'Conclave standard' and go with less abilities and mainly lower-powered weapons.  To me it makes sense to figure out which and critique accordingly.  After all, you could argue that the 'Conclave standard' is not the way the game was designed to be played - whether or not it's 'better' is another question entirely...
« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 05:42:36 PM by Kaled »
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #53 on: February 23, 2010, 06:46:08 PM »
We see plenty of characters who have stats above 60
The wording is "Stats out of the 60s have to be earned" - that is, stats of 70 or above have taken particular effort on the part of the character to be at that level.
And I'd agree, as a stat of 70 or above denotes a particular specialisation in the area and considerable work put in... and that deserves mention in the background.

Some things sort of go without saying - you can expect that simply by being an Inquisitor, a person is going to be intelligent and strong willed, so I wouldn't question an Inquisitor with mental stats in the 70s.
But if your savant is a natural S 80, that kind of thing does need explaining.
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Offline Kaled

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2010, 07:01:02 PM »
My point, poorly expressed as it was, is that people who post background/stats are in a minority here and many of us don't even write down the background for a lot of our characters, so people have no real way of telling whether characters have gone to sufficient effort to earn their stats or not.  The first time most people playing at Conclave events find out whether the savant has a strength of 80 is when they either see his character sheet or attempt to engage him in an arm wrestling contest - and the middle of a game (usually one with a strict time limit) isn't really the best time to start debating whether the stat is properly justified, we usually just have to take it as given that it is.

EDIT: I still don't think I'm expressing myself - probably due to working on the campaign packs for the Spring Conclave while posting...  In practice a whole lot has to 'go without saying' and much of whether you consider something appropriate has to go from a quick evaluation of the character's archetype.  In theory it would be better to sit down with the GM and check that stats are normalised across players and are appropriate, but that's not really an option at something like the Spring Conclave and it really comes down to having to assume that your opponent has carefully considered whether his character's profile is appropriate and he can justify it to himself, whether or not he has any background to back that up.  In my experience, if you were to say 'That savant seems a bit strong...' your opponent is likely to have some answer as to why he is - you may disagree with it, but generally have to accept it and get on with the game.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 07:30:50 PM by Kaled »
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Offline Alyster Wick

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #55 on: February 24, 2010, 02:37:29 AM »
Agree or disagree, the point of me trying to make classifications was to provide a better framework for criticism.  I think Kaled gets what I was going for (though I may have expressed it badly) but I do think it's beyond debate that there are different playing styles out there. 

Quote
The former I see as wrong, the equivalent of saying let's give everyone in this game of 40k three extra to each stat. It doesn't add anything to the game, but makes dice rolling less relevant. I'd say the loss of excitement, as you can be sure most rolls will pass, and the departure from creadibility would make the game much less entertaining and worthwhile, excepting maybe a short lived novelty value.

Not to single you out Cade (and to a certain extent I agree with this on a personal level), but as Kaled (I think it was you Kaled, correct me if I'm wrong) has brought up in other threads it is this kind of attitude which can turn new players off to the game.  Some come in wanting it to be more like 40K where something significant happens each turn and jacked up states help.  The bigger variables in these games are damage dealt, not whether or not a blow lands.  People get hit more often but their armor and toughness lets them take more damage

In certain aspects it may actually be more realistic.  How often do you think a trained assassin will miss a straight forward shot at relatively short range (considering this assassin is allowed to live in their prime far past what average humans do today due to 40K tech).

Honestly, the "I see this as wrong" quote is indicative of exactly what I wanted to help avoid with this loose guide.  While a powerful character may not fit well at a conclave gathering that doesn't mean it won't be fun for that player in their group.  If we actually had classifications that could be posted as a sticky for reference it would allow for (IMO) an actual basis for criticism.  If someone asks for advice you say, "what's your playing style?" and give advice accordingly. 

The alternative is to have a group that shuns other styles of gaming as wrong.  While that wouldn't keep me from enjoying the conclave I think there's a real possibility that it could (and perhaps has) kept it from growing.

I hope this isn't too far off topic, I just wanted everyone to know my reasoning and why I feel it's important.  Apologies if this offends anyone. 

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #56 on: February 24, 2010, 03:28:41 AM »
The first time most people playing at Conclave events find out whether the savant has a strength of 80 is when they either see his character sheet or attempt to engage him in an arm wrestling contest.
Actually, on that note, I'm reminded I need to do some discussion on the profiles of Marco's warband.

Not so much on the level of stats, but as of yet, they've only ever been used with my normal group - and as a result some of their skills have ended up a bit complex in some places, and rather abstract in others - one of them is basically "this skill is roleplayed. GM arbitrates".
That's not a problem if playing with one fixed group who know this stuff by heart, but not something I can inflict on the Spring Conclave. As such, some adjustment will be needed to make sure they can work in shorter games with "other" players.*

*If I don't find the right solution, I'll have to bring Lyra again. Not ideal, but not the end of the world.

Quote
In my experience, if you were to say 'That savant seems a bit strong...' your opponent is likely to have some answer as to why he is.
I imagine so. I personally tend to have reams of background on my characters - and while I don't expect others to know it, if I'm asked, I have justifications for pretty much every part of my character sheets. Should I realise I don't have a good answer, I'll change it.

Indeed, it was one of your comments at the IGT that made me realise that Renatus needed a downgrade - he shouldn't have been as good at combat as he was. His replacement's stats will be mostly in the 40s, rather than around 60; Maya will still be a formidable psyker with a high Wp, but that will be now be properly paid for by her lack of skill in other areas.

I actually think she may be more effective for it, because then the only option is to use her properly - and when used properly, she can make trained soldiers wet themselves in terror and reduce Inquisitors to shaking incoherent wrecks.
It's odd that a more frail character can actually be more efficient - it shows that actually, a lot of a character's effect on the game is in how you use them, rather than just their profile and equipment.

How often do you think a trained assassin will miss a straight forward shot at relatively short range.
Not all that often, but remember, the basic BS only refers to an unaimed snap-shot. Add in a level of aim, and most practised characters are unlikely to miss.
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Offline Kaled

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #57 on: February 24, 2010, 07:21:00 AM »
Agree or disagree, the point of me trying to make classifications was to provide a better framework for criticism.  I think Kaled gets what I was going for (though I may have expressed it badly) but I do think it's beyond debate that there are different playing styles out there.
You're right, there are - the difficulty is in clearly classifying them.  Perhaps you could categories stats, equipment and game style seperately?  So stats could be 'Conclave Standard' or 'Rulebook Standard', game styles include skirmish, narrative skirmish and RPG etc.  Trying to classify everything in one go has the problem that few people fit into one category - so some people will play using 'Conclave standard' stats, but battlefield weapons and run the game as a skirmish between two kill-teams.  And of course there are characters who appear to be from a different category to the rest of the game - my multi-melta/missile launcher armed Praetorian springs to mind; he's very much a 'battlefield' character (especially in terms of his weaponry) but has worked quite well in what you termed 'True Grimdark' games.

I've been writing an intro guide to the 'Clave for new players (based on the one I published on B&C) which touches on the issue of stats and why people often use ones lower than the rulebook profiles - hopefully that'll give new members some idea of different approaches to the game.  Not sure when the guide will be published, but once it is, feel free to comment and suggest updates.
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Offline Alyster Wick

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #58 on: February 24, 2010, 02:51:29 PM »
Quote
Not sure when the guide will be published, but once it is, feel free to comment and suggest updates.

I'll defer to experience on this one.  Originally I had wanted to create a system which included character type and scenario type (scenarios being campaign, one-off, and pick up game), but this thread popped up and I went in with everything a little early.  While I'm traveling for work I'll go back to the drawing board and message you with what I come up with down the line and if you feel it's useful then feel free to use it.

Offline Inquisitor Cade

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Re: What is the "Conclave Standard" character?
« Reply #59 on: February 24, 2010, 03:00:25 PM »
Hmm, I did sound fairly elitist there didn't I.

The problem I see with different 'levels' of play is if the levels are incompatable.

So there would be no problem as far as I'm concerned if the level depended of the characters, low level being maybe where the players have civilaians, gangers and regular guardsmen, mid level perhaps Inquisitors, veteran soldiers and other elite characters and high level being space marines, Battle ready inquisitors and imperial guard kill teams. In each case however, the stats, skill, and to a lesser extent kit, are based on a standard level of appropriateness. In games the 'power level' of a warband will depend on a scenario. Players won't be taking space marine squads on intellegence gathering missions, so there shouldn't be too much of one band outclassing another.

If on the other hand, a single character would be represented differently by each 'level' of the game, I'd say something was wrong. While technically the levels would be compatable, it would be really lame when the lower level gamer's expert marksman was outshot by everyone on the other team with a gun, and his swordsmaster could be effortlessly slain by the scolarly inquisitor of the other side. So this is what I mean by incompatable levels of play. The result of this when giving advice on a character is that the only answer we could give would be 'it depends on what the people you play with use'. Better by far I think to say 'In my opinion the level of skill the character is capable of is best represented by a stat of about X' and if the advisee disagrees about what stats represent or how available a peice of kit is then that's up to them. Trying to give advice based on the opinion of the person you are advising is redundant, as they have already taken their own opinion into account.

I have no problem with people wanting games with powerful warbands, but I think that the best way to do that is to take powerful characters, rather than by arbitrarily buffing all the stats of a weaker character.

For an example of what I mean, in Kaled's battle reports in 'Kaled Karandras & Exarratus' (http://www.the-conclave.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=25.0) we see Kaled take his savent and bodyguard in the first scenario, a 'low level' game involving meeting a contact, but for the last game, that he describes as 'basically a big battle' he takes a higher level warband, an ogryn and a stormtrooper, as well as picking up his bolter and force sword. I don't think that he boosted and of Kaled's stats for the game though, and I expect he would have been justifiably indignant if another player had brought a character with strate 100 stats because 'that was the level I play at'.

I hope that better excuses my position.
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