Monday, October 22, 2018

Force or Power

I was listening to a really cool podcast from Frontline Gaming over the weekend that was all focused on "Unraveling the Psychic Phase" and it is worth listening to a few times.  It is a great primer on ideas and thoughts for that phase of the game, and I was very happy with the detail and discussion. 

That had me thinking about Space Marine Librarians and their GK brethren.

In the prior editions, Force weapons were a major thing for the game, with the opportunity to punch a unit back to the Warp (remove from game).  Force staves, Force Swords, Force Axes.  It was all about the Force, but you needed to activate the Force weapon to give it a chance to work, hit and wound, and then your opponent had to fail against it. 

In 8th Edition Force Weapons are probably not worth it. Why? 


  • Force Sword, S User, -3AP, D3 damage. 8 points.
  • Power sword, S user, -3AP, 1 damage, 4 points. 

No other benefits of Force that I'm immediately aware of.

It makes me wonder.

A Force Stave is the same number of points as a force sword (8), but is +2 strength, -1 AP, D3 damage. You could then change it to a relic staff (Blood Angels, I assume others have equivalent), which gives you +1 to psychic rolls when manifesting a power.  Playing Blood Angels, the difference between the stave vs sword is a non-argument for most cases. I'd go with what you have modeled and be fine, but the preference is the sword for the -3AP. A Force Axe is 10 points, +1S, -2AP, D3.

It is just a shame that a Force weapon activation spell or stratagem does not exist.  Could you imagine a spell (say, WC7) or stratagem (say, 2CP) that would take the weapon up to D3 mortal wounds instead (to give the user the ability to take out a 5-wound model or so, or when really lucky as many as 9 wounds)? That would give a Librarian with a Force Weapon the tool needed to take down a "powerful" demon or equivalent, and have the ability to spend on other stratagems or spells to boost him to even higher damage output. It would make it more thematic as well - after all, it was cool in prior editions when you could pull it off. 

C'mon, GW, support the narrative aspect of the game!

Regardless, Space Marine Librarians cannot take power weapons, only force weapons.  That said, are the 8 point spent on a Force Weapon better spent for two power swords or a single power fist in a unit accompanying the Librarian on his mission? Maybe so. It depends on the combat role. 

Frankly, with no natural invulnerable save (unless you go terminator), the basic Librarian might be best left in the supporting role.  You can model the Librarian holding a book out at arm's length to read it with bifocals. After all, you are not "forced" to give the model a weapon...The one I use in my Blood Angels (not pictured above) is the old metal model, kitbashed to have a power sword, but has the standard plasma pistol he came with...he's likely to live longer using the pistol and smite than jumping into close combat...

Your thoughts?


1 comment:

  1. If you're fighting multi-Wound opponents, the Force Sword averages out to be worth as much as the Power Sword. The same pattern holds when comparing Axes or Staves/Mauls.

    And you kind of do have to give a Librarian a Force Weapon. It's listed in their basic weaponry, with no option to remove it, only to exchange it for other Force Weapons. I do wish they would offer more variety in Force Weapons in the kits, tho. I'd much rather have the option for a Sword or Axe than an alternate head.

    Way back in 2nd Ed, you could store un-used Power Cards (The Psychic Phase back then was basically a whole additional card game) in a Force Weapon, and each one stored would give +1 S and -1 AP when attacking with the Force Weapon. So something like that, where for each Power you could potentially Manifest that you don't use, you get +1S and -1AP when attacking with your Force Weapon until your next Psychic Phase, could be kind of cool.