40k Commissars.

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40k Commissars.

Post by Pulp Hero » 2008-12-09 11:15pm

Commissars.

Back in the day, one of the things that always interested me about the IG was the image of completely "take a gun from a cop" brand of crazy Commissars. With Gaunt and Caiaphas Cain, the image of Commissars has become more human, tactically proficient, and frankly boring. I want the kind of Commissar who shoots guardsmen for cowardice when they take cover or think twice about charging across an open field. Do these guys even exist anymore in the official fluff, and do people here like that kind of Commissar from a fluff viewpoint?

I ask because I am writing up fluff for a homebrew Regimental IG and when I write up my background, the Commissar is going to be regarded as crazy even in-story, and the Regimental Commander is the only thing keeping him from shooting up the the troopers. He will be not only fanatical but have an almost superhuman ability to not die (as some "friendly" fire incidents will show.) I'm thinking of even hinting that this has to do with very slight warp manipulation caused by his willpower combined with his fanatical devotion to the god-Emperor and the belief that the GeoM will protect him from harm (The warp is, after all sensitive to thoughts and emotions, I don't see why he can't cause a minor footprint)
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Aaron » 2008-12-09 11:32pm

Well Colonel Schaeffer in The Last Chancers certainly fits the bill and Mackenzie in Death World is close. There's also the guy (whose name I can't remember how to spell) attached to the Fifth Company of Sixty-Eighth Vostroyan Firstborn, he threatens to shoot troopers on more than one occasion (in Rebel Winter). I do enjoy it to a certain extent, though after a while I find myself wondering why they haven't been fragged.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2008-12-10 12:07am

Cain mentions that they get fragged by their own men most of the time, so that's why we don't see much of them. Saner Commissars like Cain and Gaunt get to last longer, so they last multiple books :D.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Pulp Hero » 2008-12-10 12:09am

Thats why I'm adding the semi-supernatural/ warp field thing to my Commissar. It makes a lunatic more interesting when you can't kill him.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Peptuck » 2008-12-10 12:37am

Pulp Hero wrote:Thats why I'm adding the semi-supernatural/ warp field thing to my Commissar. It makes a lunatic more interesting when you can't kill him.
Gonna catch a little bit of an accusation of sorcery, if that gets used too much.

Of course, that could be a good thing, depending on how you write it.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Samuel » 2008-12-10 12:48am

Peptuck wrote:
Pulp Hero wrote:Thats why I'm adding the semi-supernatural/ warp field thing to my Commissar. It makes a lunatic more interesting when you can't kill him.
Gonna catch a little bit of an accusation of sorcery, if that gets used too much.

Of course, that could be a good thing, depending on how you write it.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Lord Relvenous » 2008-12-10 12:53am

Those kinds of commissars cretaintly do exist. Gaunt meets them frequently in the books. Specifically in the Sabbat Martyr arch, the last book. There are two commissars that attempt to rally the troops with fire and brimstone speeches, and have that traditional commissar attitude. Gaunt describes it as very inexperienced. The idea that I get from that is that he thinks that a more balanced approach of discipline is more effective. Also Gaunt does shoot when a rule has been clearly broken (allies stealing supplies, attacking his lead doctor).

In other series, we certaintly do see commissars that shoot first, ask questions never. In the short-story collection "Let the Galaxy Burn" there are two stories that I can think of off the top of my head that involve the fanatical commissars. So they do still exist. They just don't make for sympathetic protagonists. Antagonists, sure. But neither Gaunt or Cain are antagonists.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2008-12-10 12:53am

Emphasize his badass craziness in explaining why he will never die. Don't touch on the galvanized warp field deflectorized photonic quantums too much. Ciaphas Cain also has the Emperor looking out for him, making him super-lucky, but it's never really mentioned - it's just implied subtly.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Ford Prefect » 2008-12-10 01:10am

Personally, I prefer the image of the Commissar who strides into battle with fire and determination, who gets the troops going on a wave of pure badassitude. Sure, he might shoot you, but at the same time he's right in the middle of that breech with bolter and chainsword and there's forty thousand Orks charging at him and he's not running. :)
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2008-12-10 01:15am

But Cain does that too! From underground Necrons, to sewer genestealers, to desert Orks, to scorned Daemonesses - hell, it can even be argued that he goes out of his way to find more horrific obscenities to stride at with fire and determination!

Well, it looks that way to everyone else.

For the poor guy, well... :lol:
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Ford Prefect » 2008-12-10 01:20am

That is basically what all Commissars are supposed to be. They're trained, if I recall correctly, as soldiers first. While they're still in training they get put into units and sent out to fight. I'm a little hazy on this, but I'm pretty sure Commissar drop-outs are sent off to be Storm Troopers.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by legio mortis » 2008-12-10 01:31am

Ford Prefect wrote:That is basically what all Commissars are supposed to be. They're trained, if I recall correctly, as soldiers first. While they're still in training they get put into units and sent out to fight. I'm a little hazy on this, but I'm pretty sure Commissar drop-outs are sent off to be Storm Troopers.
I haven't read that, but I have read that it's not uncommon for some Commissars to be ex-Stormtroopers.

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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by speaker-to-trolls » 2008-12-10 02:02am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:But Cain does that too! From underground Necrons, to sewer genestealers, to desert Orks, to scorned Daemonesses - hell, it can even be argued that he goes out of his way to find more horrific obscenities to stride at with fire and determination!

Well, it looks that way to everyone else.

For the poor guy, well... :lol:
I honestly think Amberley was right in one of the books when she says Cain is not nearly as much of a coward as he makes himself out to be, she says it's because he's his own harshest critic, I think it's another layer of the self deprecation thing he does when he pulls out what she calls "don't ask me, I'm just a humble servant of the God-Emperor". Slightly different because he at least partly believes it, of course.

I think the Crazy Arsehole Factor of Commissars is probably correlated to what sort of units they lead; Cain and Gaunt both lead experienced and disciplined fighting forces so it may be better for them to rule by example rather than fear. A Commissar tasked with turning a bunch of Hive gangbangers or rainforest tribesmen or just plain old peasant conscripts into the Emperors Finest might find brute force and terror to be more effective.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2008-12-10 03:05am

Gaunt has shot someone for cowardice before, that being a Verunhive Colonel if I am not wrong. The latter panicked and simply closed his ears saying "I'm not hearing anything!". Got lots killed because of that and Gaunt exercised his authority as head Imperial Commissar on the planet.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Feil » 2008-12-10 01:24pm

The Ghosts (Gaunt's soldiers) are also an experienced, all-volunteer army of elite light infantry. It's not like he's trying to get a gaggle of terrified hive-world conscripts with a month of inferior training who have never seen an open sky before to stay in a firing line and die gloriously.

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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Lost Soal » 2008-12-10 04:20pm

I ask because I am writing up fluff for a homebrew Regimental IG and when I write up my background, the Commissar is going to be regarded as crazy even in-story, and the Regimental Commander is the only thing keeping him from shooting up the the troopers.
Something of a problem here. One of the unique aspects of Commissars is their place both outside of, and on top of the chain of command, meaning the regimental commander has no authority over the Commissar who, if he's as crazy as your trying to make him out to be, will shoot the commander when he tries to stop him. Someone as crazy as what your after would also be severely paranoid so the commander would only get away with subtle persuasion once or twice before every word against him becomes suspected treachery.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Pulp Hero » 2008-12-10 06:24pm

I know how the Commissars are outside the CoC, so I'll figure out creative ways for the Commander to not get his troopers killed. I think maybe the end will be the Commander and Commissar get locked into hand to hand fighting inside a bunker in a warzone.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2008-12-11 04:55am

You can play it for laughs, like the last scenes of Strangelove.

"Gentlemen, you can't fight here! This is the Regimental Headquarters!"

Hrm... doesn't have the same ring to it. :P
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by dragon » 2008-12-11 06:11am

Lost Soal wrote:
I ask because I am writing up fluff for a homebrew Regimental IG and when I write up my background, the Commissar is going to be regarded as crazy even in-story, and the Regimental Commander is the only thing keeping him from shooting up the the troopers.
Something of a problem here. One of the unique aspects of Commissars is their place both outside of, and on top of the chain of command, meaning the regimental commander has no authority over the Commissar who, if he's as crazy as your trying to make him out to be, will shoot the commander when he tries to stop him. Someone as crazy as what your after would also be severely paranoid so the commander would only get away with subtle persuasion once or twice before every word against him becomes suspected treachery.
Hum plus as Cain mentions to some of the cadets Commissar like that have a short life span as they tend to get shot, by there own troops. Plus even if they can't shot him due to some reason well he's going to kill morale and units with low moral are going to be more suscitple to mutiny. And if a unit is going to mutiny whom are they going to kill first :wink:
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2008-12-11 06:39am

Maybe this can be fixed by the Commissar having his own posse or clique of similarly ruthlessly psychotic soldiers who view him as a role model. The more reasonable and sane (read: cowardly women) of the regiment, including the commander, would view the Commissar and his ruthlessly psychotic soldier-children as a nuisance at best, and as something totally evil at most times, but because the Commissar is a total ass kicker and his psychotic soldier-children totally beat ass, there's nothing no one can do about it.

Think of it as Staff Sgt. Barnes in Platoon.

The only one who can kill Barnes... is Barnes.

This is 40k WITHOUT Cain, so it must be GRIMDARK with spikes and skulls and banners and banners on spiked skull-spikes on bannerspikeskulls. Your "protagonist" doesn't have to be sympathetic or likeable or humane or whatnot, all he needs to do in the grim darkness of the far future where there is only war is to be goddamn good at killing. Have him and his psychotic soldier-children murder and commit war crimes and stuff. Kill!

If you want over-the-top then go over the top! This Commissar of yours should exemplify the murderous fucker qualities of the Imperium, which the Emperor approves and thus the Commissar gains His blessings as a murderous fucker.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by White Haven » 2008-12-11 11:41am

If you want someone who could restrain him AND some awesome interpersonal doctrinal conflict, make Commissar Crazleberg a cadet commissar under a more laid-back commissar...basically Cain as Cain sees himself, not as the hero he ends up being. You've got a ruthless mouthfrother who WANTS to kill people and thunder inspiration and lead from the breach, but his senior tells him in no uncertain terms that if he kills someone and doesn't have a damned good reason, he'll never BE a full Commissar. Your character gets to be a lunatic who's not able to go far enough to make the troops willing to risk fragging him, while actually BEING that nuts.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by PainRack » 2008-12-11 11:51am

speaker-to-trolls wrote: I think the Crazy Arsehole Factor of Commissars is probably correlated to what sort of units they lead; Cain and Gaunt both lead experienced and disciplined fighting forces so it may be better for them to rule by example rather than fear. A Commissar tasked with turning a bunch of Hive gangbangers or rainforest tribesmen or just plain old peasant conscripts into the Emperors Finest might find brute force and terror to be more effective.
The 2nd edt codex outright states that its the Hive gangsters who require the Cain type comissionars, as they respect authority and powress, requiring the Comissionar to win it from them and bend it towards the Emperor. Indeed, the regimental commander is usually as insane as the gangsters, leaving the Comissionar the sole voice of loyalty, love and reason.
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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Lancer » 2008-12-15 04:14pm

PainRack wrote:
speaker-to-trolls wrote: I think the Crazy Arsehole Factor of Commissars is probably correlated to what sort of units they lead; Cain and Gaunt both lead experienced and disciplined fighting forces so it may be better for them to rule by example rather than fear. A Commissar tasked with turning a bunch of Hive gangbangers or rainforest tribesmen or just plain old peasant conscripts into the Emperors Finest might find brute force and terror to be more effective.
The 2nd edt codex outright states that its the Hive gangsters who require the Cain type comissionars, as they respect authority and powress, requiring the Comissionar to win it from them and bend it towards the Emperor. Indeed, the regimental commander is usually as insane as the gangsters, leaving the Comissionar the sole voice of loyalty, love and reason.
That would certainly fit the bill. He chose the Valhallan 12th Field Artillery for his first assignment because it was a particularly well-run unit that didn't need his intervention. Then he inadvertently becomes a Hero of the Imperium, every misstep along the way only building upon that reputation, and he is promptly bumped up to Lord General Zyvan's command staff. There he does more "Hero of the Imperium" stuff than actual Commissaring. Finally, he feels things have gotten out of hand and so requests an assignment, any assignment, and he's sent to a rock-bottom Valhallan unit which he then proceeds to single-handedly rebuild into one of the most notable regiments under the Lord General's command.

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Re: 40k Commissars.

Post by Cykeisme » 2008-12-16 12:21pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:You can play it for laughs, like the last scenes of Strangelove.

"Gentlemen, you can't fight here! This is the Regimental Headquarters!"

Hrm... doesn't have the same ring to it. :P
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