Here has been a question of mine for a while…
When you make a character, do you find it to be better to choose a chapter that is redundant with your specialty or complimentary?
For example: Iron Hands Techmarine. The chapter and specialty clearly overlap in many areas. One might say that one of the benefits of choosing Iron Hands as a chapter for a different specialty is the benefits they get in having Tech-Use available and for cheap. Also, The Flesh is Weak is a really great talent to get and is relatively cheap for Iron Hands. Assault marines can really benefit from The Flesh is Weak. On the other hand, The Flesh is Weak is cheaper for Iron Hands than it is for the Techmarine so and Iron Hands Techmarine would be able to get many talents for cheaper and be able to spend more on other upgrades. For Iron Hands, The Flesh is Weak is 500 for levels 1, 2, and 3. That's much cheaper than the Techmarine specialty offers it and you cannot get that high in that talent until you are Rank 5. Techmarines have to spend 2,600xp and need to be Rank5 to have it that high and Iron Hands, Techmarine or not, can have it at Rank 1 for 1,500xp.
So, which side do you fall upon?
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The characters I end up playing tend to start life in one of two ways.
1. I get an idea of what the character is like, and try to come as close to that idea as I can with the ruleset I have to work with.
2. A mechanic or combination of mechanics inspires me and I come up with an idea around that.
The end result is much the same, characters with an idea and competent at what they're supposed to be doing. If that combination involves incredible levels of specialisation, so be it. If it involves becoming a jack of all trades or anything between the two positions, so be it.
Pericula in mora
Danger in delay
Hm… I think that the player's intent is important. If a player just wants to power game (even in DW) for the sake of being better than everyone else… then I find it bad. Like when you have BA Assault Marines, IF Librarians, or UMs who put the +5s in WS and BS… As a GM I've dealt with all of them and had good and bad experiences. But I feel that a RP based decision for a Chapter + Specialty overlap is a cool thing and shouldn't be discouraged if they are doing it for RP reasons instead of power gaming.
Personally, I like to have the Chapter+Specialty add some non-overlapping coverage to the character. I usually play a Dark Angel Assault Marine without the jump pack or a Blood Angel Tactical Marine. Both Specialties are added to by the Chapter, I think, in a good round-a-bout way like I believe an Astartes could be.
Decessor, I do it that way, personally. I have an end game of how I would like to have the character "look" and I go about it that way. I guess, when I posted this question, I was mainly thinking of which is more powerful. I personally still have this question. I can see both sides of the coin: an Iron Hands Techmarine woul dbe very specialized, as you put it, but a Blood Angels Techmarine would be less tanky and more offensive. In a way, they balance out quite nicely in this occasion. In the game I currently GM with some close friends and relatives, everyone is pretty much a power gamer and we have a great time. We use a grid and miniatures and just love it. Each person was trying to make their character as powerful as possible. My brother plays a Blood Angel Assault Marine (Blood Angels have always been his favorite and they are just asking to be an assault marine), a friend plays a Dark Angels Devastator, there's a Raptors Tactical marine (sniping), and a Black Templar Techmarine (which is pretty much the only non-redundant player in the group).
As far as GMing with power gamers, most of my work goes into making combat interesting and difficult. Also, a decent chunk of their exp comes from their roleplaying during the night.
I think there is a state of diminishing returns for a character once you start to stack in one direction. However, that character is still going to be better at their one thing than any other character. Where things get interesting is when a party of specialists cooperate properly, it is a sight to behold. But if it's one character who just wants power, then there is a strong argument for a little diversity. If only because you cannot guarantee that the character will get to use their area of expertise all of the time. A devastator who cannot see enemies coming or fight them off in melee is easily ambushed by genestealers for example.
The group in my own campaign are pretty specialised but do take character-appropriate advances (e.g. the fleshtearer librarian has many knowledges). Their real strength is their ability to coordinate their actions properly, to further the annihilation of any enemies of mankind that stand before them. And I mean annihilation. It's a lot of fun to GM that game and to come up with challenging missions, even if I mock-complain about their success in wiping out the enemies I throw at them.
Pericula in mora
Danger in delay
As has been mentioned, stacking too many similar bonuses together gets redundant - An Iron Hands Techmarine who puts all their XP into tech-related options is going to be good at tech, yes, but a very one trick pony. I find it far preferable to build a character from the ground up with an idea of personality in mind as the most important factor.
Example : I was making a pre-gen set of characters for a game i plan to run and was working on an Iron Hands Devestator. I started by thinking that i'd like him to be a methodical, calm heavy weapons guy so Devestator was the obvious choice. Chapter wise i was torn between Ultramarine or Iron Hands, but went for Iron Hands in the end as i had rolled very highly for Fellowship (an odd one out for a Devestator, especially a cold, logical Iron Hands one, but an interesting concept to work with). This gave him access to some complimentary advances such as the Iron Hands tech-use and Flesh is Weak. Overall he turned out to be a good shot, with a stoic but not entirely abrasive attitude.
Now i could have just picked a chapter that gave Perception or BS increases, or could have changed from Devestator to Tech Marine based on the rolls (though in fact Tactical would have been a better 'stacking' choice) but instead i went with the best option for flavour, narrative and overall opportunity for good RP.
"Only the insane have the strength enough to prosper. Only those who prosper may truly judge what is sane."
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