Only War Core Rulebook (Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay) Hardcover – 4 Jan 2013
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Top customer reviews
Only War is a combination of Black Crusade (BC) and Deathwatch (DW). The game mechanics are similar to BC for actions, righteous fury and an 'open' advance scheme allowing to take your character in any direction. The squad rules are dramatically improved over DW as marines don't really need to work together, as guardsmen alone you don't stand a chance. Each player gets a comrade (a.k.a. Red Shirt) and with your comrade you work as 2-man teams, such as Heavy and Loader, Sniper and Spotter, etc. Comrades have the life expectancy of a Spinal Tap drummer emphasized by the Squad sheet the group gets that gives you many rows for 'Name' and 'Cause of death' in the squad.
The Players all come from the same Regiment selected from mechanised Cadians, deathworld Catachans, selfless Death Korps of Krieg, Elysian Drop Troops, Calixis sector's own Maccabian Janissaries, Mordian Iron Guard, guerrilla fighting Tallarn Desert Raiders or Voystroyan Firstborn. There is also rules to make your own and no doubt there will be supplementary books with many more regiments in. Each regiment has rules that will effect all the PCs in stats, roleplaying and equiptment (Catachans are all strength but Mordians come with a Leman Russ Battle Tank as starting gear!).
Each player then selects their duty in the squad from; Heavy Gunner, Medic, Operator (vehicles), Sergeant, Weapons Specialist, Commisar, Ministorum Priest, Ogryn(!), Ratling, Santioned Psyker, Storm Trooper and Tech-priest Enginseer. Each specialisation comes with unique skills or abilities making a character defined and yes, a Commisar can execute people (if you need some motivation the Commisar shoots your comrade - punishing your friends for your failings).
Don't expect to see Power Armour in the armoury, its more about supporting equipment to improve your character so don't forget about your comrade when tooling up. Equipment is done on requesting from the Munitorium based on Logistics which is effected by how well the guard are winning in your region, how many guard are stationed on your planet and the success of your squad. Be careful though, the Imperium is an organisation of beauracracy and requesting gear can go wrong with the helpful servitors suppling you with a crate of helmets rather than the ammo you desperately need.
Vehicle rules are updated and improved. Vehicles now have hit locations so you can just strike at a weapon or tracks if you don't want to blow the whole thing up. There are also new vehicles and it is possible to have access from the start.
Only War is about a tight nit group working together, problems can't be solved by one person and to be caught on your own outside the group is certain death. After all you only were given a glorified torch, pointy stick and cardboard armour. Join the Imperial Guard and be the first line of defense against the terrors of the galaxy.
As for the content, everything you need to play is inside, clear rules with no surprise (I already own Dark Heresy and have been playing Warhammer 40.000 since 1988). Many regiments to choose from, and you can even create your own (Tanith First and Only or Valhalan Ice Warriors, if you cannot wait for the next game-expansion). Many different classes (Commissar!!!!!!!!!) to choose from (even though you cannot play a sniper... That might be the only reproach I would make, but that is to come in the next expansion as well).
Everything is well explained, with lots of clear examples.
In my opinion, even though the Game Master's Kit is useful, you won't need it for your first gaming sessions.
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