Monday, April 12, 2010
KILL TEAM: Thoughts on its use in Campaigns
I've been thinking about Kill Team a lot lately. Maybe it was the huge brawl from last Tuesday, or maybe it has intersected and mixed with my thoughts on my Changeling campaign, but most of my thoughts have been on how to best incorporate small units into campaign style missions. There are two general categories of campaigns that my thoughts incorporate, map based and narrative. BTW, thanks to Col Corbane for the handy dandy blog that he has on campaigns- it's been a great read so far!
We'll begin with my thoughts on map based. I've been thinking about 40k campaigns in general for a bit now, probably ever since the end of the last (and first) that I was involved with. It was a bit of a trial by fire as it was a massive map based game with resource allocation, veterancy stats, different types of terrain, etc... really, quite a bit TOO much going on, especially for someone who a) didn't have proper models yet (oh cardboard box Wave Serpents, you were great!) and b) had just started playing the game.
But anyway, back on topic, the particular rules set that we were using had two different kinds of battle groups- normal armies and recon forces. The normal armies were, well, normal armies, while the recon forces were limited to 500 pts of whatever you wanted. These forces had a longer LOS on the campaign map and could attempt to sneak about the map gathering intel on the enemy.
One thing that I found very distressing about this was that units with Stealth, Infiltrate and Scout were no better at, well, being stealthy, infiltrating or scouting than any other unit. Especially as a member of a force equipped with Rangers and Pathfinders this was a bit of a slap in the face.
So this has led back to more thoughts by me- how could I simulate a small, elite team of commandos attacking an enemy installation? The answer of course, being Kill Team. This is a rough draft of what the mission might look like:
Kill Team Mission: Sabotage
Your squad has been charged with destroying materiele vital to the enemy's war effort- live or die, destroy the target!
The Kill Team consists of the standard mission size as found in the Battle Missions expansion. In addition, the Specialists optional rule is in use for the attacker's forces. As this mission is taking place far behind enemy lines the Kill Team may ONLY contain models that have the Stealth, Infiltrate and/or Scout USRs. This may include models that are given one of these USRs as part of their Specialist training.
Optional rule: Units with Deep Strike may also be used, including units that gain this ability from a vehicle.
In addition, one infantry model in the Attacker's kill team must be given the Demolitions Specialist ability. This model is equipped with a demolitions charge. If the model is killed it drops the charge. Any other infantry model that moves within 1" of the charge may pick it up, and is from then on considered equipped with it.
The Defender will set up the terrain for the mission and include one building that will be designated the Target. The Defender then deploys first anywhere that he or she chooses on the map. The Attacker then chooses a table quarter that his or her team is attacking from and deploys there.
Objective: Normal Kill Team objectives are in effect, in addition to the destruction of the Target. If a model equipped with a demolitions charge assaults the Target it will be rigged to explode.
The outcome of this mission might be that the enemy loses access to one of its Heavy Support or Fast Attack slots in the next mission, or any other detriment that you think is sufficiently nasty for players to wish to do this.
A way to make sure that sending in a Kill Team isn't simply an automatic choice might be that every player has a limited number of Specialist points- if they are killed while on mission, you lose the Specialist points and may soon be unable to conduct your black ops missions.
Other variations on this mission exist- you could have an Assassination run to execute the enemy commander, depriving the enemy of their HQ in the coming battle (though the HQ would likely be able to participate in the Kill Team mission, making it quite a bit harder for the attacker!), just something that would affect the campaign map or the next mission.
This particular kind of mission could also be incorporated into Narrative campaigns quite easily. Many huge conflicts begin with the smallest of actions, and Kill Team is very representative of this in the 40k universe. What might begin as a squabble between the Governor's guards and the local Guard regiment might escalate into full blown heresy, or a particularly nasty orbital defense laser might have to be eliminated before the Planetstrike can begin. Of course, the normal Kill Team mission may also be used to spice up the action. Perhaps as a campaign opener both sides are fighting over an alien artifact- depending on who wins the mission their army might have to make a fighting retreat while the enemy pursues them in force?
So there are a lot of ideas out there, and I'll probably be coming back to this subject in the future as I really want to put on a cool, probably narrative campaign sometime in the future for my FLGS. I'll try include my initial thoughts on campaigns and the Battle Missions book in general sometime later this week.