ONLY WAR - a tabletop game

At the beginning of the year, @Alrena decided to GM a DnD campaign set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It was fun! It's also finally wrapping up. Since I really enjoyed the setting, I want to host a game of my own. It'll be using a more bespoke game system called Only War, and you won't need to have much prior knowledge of the lore or system. We'll teach!

This'll be a pretty action-oriented game, where the players are members of the Imperial Guard, one of faceless trillions, off to fight and die in endless battles against the enemies of mankind. Think Band of Brothers, Predator (the very 1st one), that bit in Forrest Gump, Aliens, and Rambo 2 for inspiration! Sneaking, stealing, shooting, screaming, and dying messily will all be on the agenda.

We'll be using a Discord server to coordinate and playing over It'll probably be primarily text, with voice only if everybody's comfortable with it. Time so far is around 11-12 PST (2-3 EST) on weekends. If you're interested, please PM me or respond here!


  • ShirszaeShirszae Santo Domingo
    Sounds intriguing.

    And you won't understand the cause of your grief...

    ...But you'll always follow the voices beneath.

  • This sounds really cool. I'd be interested.
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."

    (Clan): Ictinus says, "Stop it Jiraishin, you're making me like you."
  • Are you referring to the Fantasy Flight Games system?

    If so, good luck to your players. Don't forget your flashlights and your Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer.
  • I am! I'm going to ask everybody to have two PC ideas in mind, and even create the second one if they have time.

    You know, JUST IN CASE.
  • Having converted timezones, I may actually be interested. Never actually played Only War but familiar with the general FFG system by way of Dark Heresy and Deathwatch.
  • KresslackKresslack Florida, United States
    I work on weekends or I'd absolutely be down.

  • Oh nice, I'm happy to see there's a 40k RPG scene here! 

  • Some lore I wrote up for the background of our plucky guardsmen!

    Shallam, and the 612th Shallamese Bloodsworn

    An overview
    The Shallam system rests deep in the Segmentum Pacificus, and is unusual for being one of the few extant binary star systems that have planets that can host human life. The primary world in the system is Shallam III, nominally just 'Shallam', a scorching desert Hive world, its population concentrated into several massive mega cities, or 'hives', that each house a population of billions. 

    Each hive is a world unto itself, with its own decadent, debauched aristocracy, put-upon, ambitious, and hard-scrabbling middle class, and desperate, downtrodden menials and lower class scum, whose existence is practically ignored except when it disturbs the peace. Thousands of competing gangs control the underhives, gutter scum, mutants, and criminals who picks at the bones tossed down into the lightless depths by their betters and ruthlessly try to impose their will upon all others in an eerily similar manner to the deadly political games played in the ballrooms and hallowed halls of the Shallamese nobility.

    Shallam is old, having been settled for nearly four thousand years, and as an arid world, baked by its twin suns, water is a chronic issue. Water riots are a frequent occurance, especially down in the underhives where distribution systems have long failed, and access to water is one of the primary ways the hive gangs control their territories. It's ironic then, that criminals and those who fall prey to the occasional hive purge find themselves shipped off to the far reaches of the system, to an environment almost diametrically opposite to what they've grown up with: Shallam's asteroid prison colonies.

    Shallam's primary source of water, since its natural aquafiers have long been tapped out, are ice asteroids found in an asteroid belt that rings the system in a distant orbit. Prisoners exiled to the ice mines find it to be a singularly harrowing experience for what remains of their lives: where Shallam is hot and arid, the mines are frigid and humid. Where Shallam has gravity slightly higher than Terran normal, the asteroids that host the mines are all far smaller, and it can be very disconcerting to new arrivals.

    The base of operations for all ice mining in the system is Shallam IX, a small, rocky planetoid that also serves double duty as resupply point for visiting ships. Prisoners reside in the lightless warrens beneath the surface while prospector vessels scour the asteroid belt looking for suitable asteroids. When one is found, gangs of prisoners and prefab equipment is brought over and the icy rock systematically dismantled, shipped block by block back to Shallam IX for processing and then shipment back to the parent world.

    Life in the mines is harsh, claustrophobic, and brutal. Accidents are common, as despite, or maybe because of, the ice mines' importance to Shallam's continued existence, the ice barons that control them try to squeeze out as much profit as they can. Entire operations have been lost when life support malfunctions, plunging temperatures and venting atmosphere. Othertimes, mining equipment fails, and ice miners are subjected to catastrophic flooding when laser cutters and plasma torches go haywire, a deeply ironic fate for desert world hivers.

    Nonetheless, despite the danger, enough prisoners have survived to form something of a community on Shallam IX. Shallam's criminal population, and thus the number of convicts and scum delivered to the mines, outstrips the mines' ability to put them to work, and so the innards of Shallam IX have become something like the underhives back home, crowded and dark, where the strong hold sway over the weak and gangs fight and scrabble for any scrap or semblance of authority or control.

    The Imperial Tithe
    The ruler of a planet in the Imperium of Man is generally free to govern his or her world in any fashion they please as long as two rules are followed: cull the psykers, and pay your tithes, of which there are two. Shallam pays the first in raw materials, vast mines across the planet pulling raw adamantium and other valuable mineral resource from the ground for export to the wider Imperium. In fulfilling the second, Shallam finds its answer to the overcrowding issues its begun to face in the ice mines.

    Every world may be called upon to contribute a portion of its population to the Imperial Guard, the ground forces of the Imperium, trained and shipped off to fight and die on alien soil light years away, rarely to ever see home again. While in centuries past Shallamese regiments were raised exclusively from the hives themselves, in recent years more and more regiments have been convicts and prisoners in the ice mines given a chance to redeem themselves through service.

    The 612th Shallamese Bloodsworn
    The latest regiment founded from the convicts and scum of the asteroid mines is the 612th Shallamese Bloodsworn. The identity of the commanding officer and founder, the wealthy Shallamese nobleman Silas Maynard, plays a large part in the regiment's differences from past Penal Battalions raised from the system.

    Rumour has it that the Lord Colonel has extensive criminal and underworld connections in Shallam, with more outrageous scuttlebutt claiming that he maintains a dual identity as a high-ranking member of the Shallamese aristocracy and as one of the crime lords that control the vast Shallamese underworld. They say that the manpower demands of the Lord Solar Macharius's crusade into the farthest reaches of the Segmentum Pacificus has led to a relaxation of recruiting standards, an opportunity that Lord Silas seized upon.

    Whatever the truth of the rumour, many of the convicts that make up the Bloodsworn believe it, and feel they owe their lives to the Lord Colonel for freeing them from the living hell of the asteroid mines. It helps that the Lord Colonel has refused to treat his pet regiment as common cannon fodder, and has equipped and trained them as a reconnaissance detachment, perceptive, resourceful, avoiding overwhelming forces and only striking from ambush or a positions of strength - almost like how a well-organized hive gang would behave.

    Unfortunately, other, more important people also believe the rumours, people who don't have such a high view of purported criminal connections. The regiment has an above average number of commissars attached to it, down to the company and even platoon level, and they watch its men, from the common private to the Lord Colonel himself, very carefully for signs of corruption or heresy.
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