Sunday, September 9, 2012

WH40K Campaign: Abhumans

When I conceived of this WH40K campaign, I mentioned that I would allow abhumans (ogryns and beastmen, for example) as characters. The mechanism by which this could happen is the replicant class from Section 9 of Mutant Future. To that end, I need to define exactly what “mutations” various abhumans have. In addition to the standard ogryn and beastmen, I have also included an abhuman type of my own making to give the Black Reach Sector its own bit of abhuman flavor.

The following table will be used for all abhuman advancement:
Lvl 1: HD 1d8; XP 0; AB 1
Lvl 2: HD 2d8; XP 3,000; AB 1
Lvl 3: HD 3d8; XP 6,000; AB 1
Lvl 4: HD 4d8; XP 12,000; AB 3
Lvl 5: HD 5d8; XP 24,000; AB 3
Lvl 6: HD 6d8; XP 48,000; AB 3
Lvl 7: HD 7d8; XP 96,000; AB 5
Lvl 8: HD 8d8; XP 192,000; AB 5
Lvl 9: HD 9d8; XP 492,000; AB 5
Lvl 10: HD 9d8+2; XP 892,000; AB 7
All abhumans save as warriors of the same level.


Ogryns are described as big, brutish, physically powerful and tough. They are often used by the Imperial Guard as close quarter and shock troops.


Gigantism: Ogryns stall about 3 meters tall. As a result they gain a +1 on damage in HTH combat.
Increased Physical Attribute: Roll (or choose):
1-3 Strength: starting at 3rd level, the ogryn can summon great bursts of strength. Once a day, the ogryn does an additional 3d6 damage in HTH combat. The number of times per day goes up one for every additional 2 levels (thus, at 7th level it can be done 3 times per day).
4-6 Constitution: The ogryn receives an additional hit point per level and a +2 to all saves vs. poison.


These abhumans combine features of both human and animal. Despite their bestial nature, however, they do conform to the genetic standard of what qualifies as an abhuman. In the past, they were used as assault troops by the Imperial Guard, but this practice has been quietly abandoned over fears that beastmen are more prone to fall prey to the temptations of Chaos (despite little evidence that normal humans are any less so).


Aberrant Form: Beastmen normally have horns, which they can use in HTH combat doing 1d6 damage.
Natural Armor: Beastmen are also covered in hide, which give them a natural AC bonus of +3.


These near albino abhumans hail from the feral planet Night in the Black Reach Sector. Once a mining colony, the surface of the planet along with its atmosphere was blasted to ruin in a conflict long forgotten by its inhabitants. The isolated remnant population has managed to adapt and survive far beneath the surface of the planet in honeycombed cave complexes with a society largely based on war. Locally, the Imperial Guard in the Black Reach Sector have recruited Darkmen as special forces.


Ecolocation: Often living in pitch dark, Darkmen have adapted echolocation as means to see. Though they cannot make out fine details, they can make out shapes even incomplete darkness. This adaptation can also be used to increase combat prowess — Darkmen who are able to use their echolocation gain a +2 to hit in combat.
Combat Empathy: This is a low-grade psychic power that allows Darkmen to see what their opponents are about to do in combat before they do it. As a result they gain +1 to hit and +1 to damage in combat. This damage bonus increases by 1 at both 3rd and 5th level.


Peter K. said...

I've never really followed the various incarnations of Warhammer, but your explicit inclusion of Christianity has me curious on one issue:

How do you handle the need (or lack thereof) for salvation among creatures not of human descent? Or their interaction with other sacraments?

Anonymous said...

All Right, so first question...

Will you be running this as a google+ or Virtual Table Top? Very interested in trying this out if you are.

Secondly, to echo (like a Darkman) Peter's comments, what is your take on the whole salvation thing for Abhumans. Especially if you consider Genesis 6 and the Nephillim. In the case of the Nephillim it was a result of Angelic and Human Breeding, (in the campaign you could always substitute Chaos for the fallen Angelic). With the Abhumans (and to a certain extent - Space Marines) though, it was a case of Science and Genetic Manipulation. Plenty to play with their, but are the Abhumans and anyone else genetically modified - be it space marine or transhuman - simply damned? It would make for a very dark end of campaign story arch. Though on the other hand, what if the sacraments had a similar effect as the corrupting touch of chaos but for the better. Slow restoration over over time to humanity. A quest for the 7 sacred sacraments being the means to do it would make a very interesting campaign as well.

Lastly. Like the write ups, but I was surprised to see that the Strength and Constitution mutations were random, especially the Strength as I figured they'd get that big Bonus right away. As far as the Darkmen, it evokes a sort of Nightlords planet feel. I'm sure they will have some interesting interactions if they ever meet some Noise Marines.

Any plans on doing writes ups for the Ratings (great snipers, cooks, and thieves), Squats, or Zoats?

Peter K. said...

Personally I'd imagine that partial-humans with a humanish mode of intelligence would be in need of such things. So your genetically engineered, sapient cat-person with human DNA in the mix might benefit from sacraments, but a mindless beansprout threaded with a few uniquely human sequences would not.

I'm wondering more about entities of completely inhuman origin which share a similar mentality to humanity in some regard. If not angels, are they all part of the fall? And if part of the fall, sharing humanity's path to redemption, or requiring their own?

FrDave said...

I've written about this before in several places, none of which I can remember at the moment. There are two factors that need to be understood:

1) Christ came to save His entire creation
2) Christ came as a human being so that creation can be saved through humanity (by our free choice to participate in Him)

Thus, when one is creating a fantasy or sci-fi world in which Christianity or an analog is going to play a role, one must answer these question: What is humanity? If a particular race isn't, why not?

In the WH40K universe, there is a heavy emphasis on genetics (one might even argue an emphasis on eugenics). The fact that so many "races" can trace some genetic code back to humanity makes it tempting to use DNA as the litmus test to answer this question. It certainly is the scientific answer.

I am, however, more intrigued by a theological answer: The image and likeness of God. Is the entity in question capable of freely choosing to take on the attributes of God?

One thing to keep in mind: angels are part of creation, but are not made in the image and likeness. Though they do watch over and protect us, they are saved through our participation in Christ.

As of yet, I have not yet made a decision as to what my answer is going to be for this particular campaign. Part of this is due to the fact that I am seriously considering making it one of the underlying themes of the campaign.

FrDave said...

I have yet to dip my toe into google+/VTT play, so I am not sure; however, I will definitely let you know.

When it came to the Ogryn, I am working off of the Mutant Future rules in Section 9 as written. It stipulates some progression with a few of the mutations (such as increased strength). This is always up for adjustment after play testing.

I justify the roll (or choice) for Increased Str or Con due the variation found in Ogryns across Imperial Space. This is just an acknowledgement of those differences.

Clovis Cithog said...

C.S. Lewis believed he would greet animals of noble character in heaven . . . would have to scour google for a quote . . . salvation is for all creation (dogs, horses, cats, etc.)
. . .

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. -Will Rogers

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one who possessed
Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
and all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803,
and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808. Lord Byron

Anonymous said...

From a purely theological perspective, since you stated that, "With angels being saved through our participation in Christ, is this extended to fallen angels?"

In more gaming related terms, this makes for some interesting options with Traitor Marines and Chaos inspired beings from corrupted guard to Dark Eldar to dameons.

And it is certainly has a precedent with the Dark Angel Chapter, who seek out their fallen brothers in the hopes of achieving a final redemption (and cover up their tracks).

Anonymous said...

+1 on the Animals.

Revelation shows Christ coming back on a white horse, along with the armies of heaven riding on horses. If there are horses in heaven, I figure their will be other animals as well.

FrDave said...

I know of monks who pray for the redemption of the devil himself...

Necropraxis said...

If you're on the fence regarding G+ gaming, check out this post:

It really is pretty great how vibrant the community is and how many different games are being played.