Physical Characteristics Edit

Weapon Skill Edit

No matter the conflict, nearly all squabbles devolve into fisticuffs. Be it rending a foul heretic limb from limb with a pair of powerfists, laying the smackdown on that scummy bar patron who bad-mouthed the Emperor on His Holy Day or even a cheeky knife between the ribs while your back is turned, close combat is a staple in any Inquisitor game.

Weapon Skill determines how good your character is in a scrap with his usual loadout of melee weapons - feinting, dodging, ducking, diving, weaving and finally hitting home with his blade, fist or butt of his rifle. WS is a fairly dull representation of what is actually going on between two characters locked in mortal combat - they aren't merely standing there trading blows til one falls down! In reality they are dancing round each other, taunting, clashing blades, exchanging dirty blows, throwing sand in each other's faces, pulling on hair, biting, kicking and spitting to get the upper hand. You may be doing the Emperor's work, but nobody said it had to be clean...

As such, WS represents all of these things in a single statistic, lower numbers meaning the character is not well trained, has little experience, or has physical difficulty hitting things in combat, and higher WS stats indicate someone who has been in many close shaves and can resort on every and any flourishes, feints, deceptions and the occasional knees to the groin in his repertoire to ensure he is the last man standing.

The average Imperial Citizen (depending on their background) are likely to have a slightly higher WS than BS, as most will be accustomed to riots, bar fights, fist-fencing matches or defending themselves from gangers, so can expect a WS of 20-40 as a result. Conversely, as you enter the Imperial Forces, more precedence is put on ballistics training, so the average guardsman will have a slightly lower WS than BS, the 40-50 mark. The older, wiser and more experienced Inquisitorial agents will be looking at a WS of 50 and upwards - 60 for a veteran Catachan Jungle Fighter, 65 for a retired Fist-fencing champion, 70 for a renowned Pit Fighter, 75 for an Inquisitor dedicated to the art of single combat, almost to the exclusion of everything else, 80 for a member of the Officio Assassinorum, 85+ for the enemies of the Imperium from within, without and beyond.

Ballistic Skill Edit

Ballistic Skill represents a character's ability to hit a static, man-sized target at the optimal range of his gun without aiming or even raising the gun to eye level. If you think your character should be able to hit 50% of the time under those conditions, then his Ballistic Skill should be 50. Or if you think your character would be able to hit that target 90% of the time if he simply raised the gun to eye level (one aim action), then his Ballistic Skill should be 70. If you think he'd need to aim for a moment (a second aim action) before making each shot to hit 90% of the time then his Ballistic Skill should be 50.

The vast majority of untrained humans would have a natural Ballistic Skill in the range 20-40. Most planets will give members of their Defence Force some training and this will likely add between 5 and 20 to the character's natural Ballistic Skill (with characters who already had some natural ability likely seeing a smaller increase due to a training regime which generally only aims to make everyone competant rather than develop the skills of the best shots). Characters who have been trained by elite fighting forces such as the Imperial Guard, Arbites or Cadian PDF will likely see an increase to their natural Ballistic Skill by between 10 and 30 points. A veteran of many wars who has honed his shooting skills in battle, or a character who has undergone training to make him 'the best of the best' (for example a stormtrooper or Imperial Guard sniper), might increase his Ballistic Skill by an additional 5-10 points. Only the very best natural shots who have undergone an inordinate amount of training (such as that practised by the Vindicare Temple) will have a Ballistic Skill much above 80.

Quite often a higher BS is representative of a gunslinger or trickshooter who exels at firing from the hip, with little time to place his shots accurately. A high BS is not a good way to represent a sniper character who takes time with their shots - it is better to have a BS around 55-65 and give them the Sniper special rule. This shows the character is still capable of running and gunning, but his real talent shines through when he takes a few seconds to steady his aim, squint down his iron sights, take a breath and squeeze slowly...

Strength Edit

Strength is the measure of physical brawn the character possesses - the weight behind his punches, his resistance to being knocked down, and if you're using the Encumbrance rules in your games, the amount of gear he can comfortably carry into battle.

Unlike WS and BS, which are skills your character has been trained in, Strength is largely a natural reserve - very few characters take time and effort to train themselves to be stronger over say, being a better shot. As such, the majority of human Inquisitorial agents will have a Strength of between 40 and 60, intellectuals being at the lower end of that spectrum, Guardsmen in the centre, and heavy weapon troopers or dumb hired muscle towards the upper end. Generally speaking, it is quite rare for un-augmented humans to have a Strength that exceeds 60 - if they do, expect them to have major downfalls in other areas - dim-witted, slow to react or particularly impressionable by others. A better way of representing a character who is strong as an Ox is to give them theBeefy special ability allowing him to re-roll failed S tests. That way, he's more likely to win an arm-wrestling competition or stay standing in a wrestling match, but he's not likely to be able to punch through a space marine's armour un-aided due to his higher strength value.

Manual workers would have a strength of 40-50, whereas a Citizen who works behind a desk or an Archivist would have a Strength value closer to the 20-30 mark - you don't need to be strong to carry books around. Bounty hunters, desperados, Inquisitors, acolytes, guardsmen and many, many more archetypes would all fall around the 40-60 area, depending on background, upbringing and penchant for punching. 60+ should be reserved for mutants, crazed cultists, Narco-addicts, assassins and generally those for whom the mind is just something that holds you back from hitting things.

There are of course exceptions to these rules, as bionics will increase strength, but as Strength is also a measure of pure hitting power, you will want to carefully weigh up whether your character is just very strong, or if he literally has isotropic-powered pistons for arms.

Toughness Edit

Toughness is inherent in a character, from his victories, his defeats, his anatomy or his bloody-minded force of will to keep fighting, it is widely accepted that Toughness cannot be 'learnt' like WS or BS, or trained like Strength. As such, the normal bands for human Toughness are much wider, 30-70, but with less leeway for improving over the course of their lifetime or gaming career.

Consequently, Toughness is very much unique to each individual and is not always linked with a similar Strength - the difference between a body builder and a weightlifter for example. Both would have similar Strength, but the weightlifter would have a higher Toughness, as he is trained for endurance rather than to merely look good. A Techpriest or marathon runner would have a higher Toughness than strength, whereas hired muscle, Club Bouncers or a ganger's personal goons would have a higher Strength than Toughness.

Usually, unaugmented humans rarely go beyond 70+, and in literal game terms, a higher Toughness means the ability to shrug off more damaging attacks. The curious Inquisitor injury mechanics means a Toughness 90 character will take a point-blank meltagun beam to the arm far better than a Toughness 40 character will, yet both characters will suffer equally from three or four low-damage attacks to the chest or head.

As such, Special Abilities set your character apart from the rank and file 'grizzled veterans'. Most characters with any history in the Inquisition are likely to have T values of 55-65, as "Must be able to take a few hits" is part of the job description, so how do you set apart your T 60 fanatically religious zealot from your T 60 half-man half-machine Guardsman veteran of almost a decade of loyal service to the Emperor?

Perhaps your character is resistant to small arms fire, light injuries and glancing blows? Look at giving him Just A Flesh Wound which gives him an extra injury box to all locations. Alternatively, maybe your character posseses a portion of the implacable will of the Emperor and keeps fighting beyond all odds, to whom loss of blood is the order of the day, and mangled limbs are merely an inconvenience, in which case Unstoppable is an ideal skill, allowing them to re-roll failed Toughness tests.

Initiative / Speed Edit

Initiative is the most misleading physical characteristic, as it represents both the characters perception of his surrounding areas, as well as being used to calculate the Speed value of the character, and thus how many actions he is likely to get in a turn. Conveniently though, it is not often you come across a character with quick reaction times yet totally inattentive to his environment, or a slow, ponderous character with the eyes of a cyberhawk.

If you are creating a character like this, it is often a good idea to bend the rules slightly and assign a Speed value appropriate to the character, rather than based off his Initiative. Speed 3 characters with Initiative 70 are not unheard of - perhaps it is an Alarm Servitor, assigned to an Inquisitor to warn him of imminent danger? How about a shell-shocked Guardsman with Speed 4 but Initiative 40, still able to do his duty, yet blinkered and oblivious to anything not in his immediate path?

When designing characters though, a similar rule of thumb applies as above. An average Imperial Citizen would range from 10-40, depending on age, career, living conditions etc, whereas an average Guardsman would range from 40-60, with spotters and trackers at the higher end of that spectrum. Expert Bounty Hunters, Veteran Guardsmen and Acolytes with plenty of experience and training could reasonably have an Initiative of 55-70, but towards the upper 60s and lower 70s, Light, little or no armour is expected here, as the characters cannot hope to use their speed and quick wits to their advantage with their skull rattling round inside a cramped helmet.

Ultra-lithe and athletic acolytes and assassins exist in the 70-80 mark, but serious penalties on Armour and Toughness and/or Strength are expected if you put an Initiative 80 character on the table. The 80+ range is only for the superhuman, the daemon and the alien, and they can bypass the frailty of humanity, so expect enemies who are stronger, faster and tougher than your acolytes! Better bring your shiniest Bolter...

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