Should Darkstrider not be Shas'nel?

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oakreef
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Should Darkstrider not be Shas'nel?

Post#1 » Feb 12 2015 05:35

Sorry I'm new here I hope this is the right board to ask questions about lore. Apologies to the mods if it's not.

I was thumbing through the Codex and two thing struck me as being contradictory. The fluff for the Fireblade says that Shas'ui who refuse to take up a battlesuit cannot rise beyond a special rank called Shas'nel that is considered to be just below Shas'el. But then Darkstrider's name is El'Myamoto giving him rank Shas'el (and he appears to be the only unit in the entire Codex with that rank incidentally). From the information outlined in the Fireblade section should Darkstrider not be a Pathfinder Shas'nel rather than Shas'el as he never took up a battlesuit? Is there a contradiction here or am I misinterpreting it?

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TauMan
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Re: Should Darkstrider not be Shas'nel?

Post#2 » Feb 12 2015 10:26

Wow, that was good catch there oakreef! ;) I mean just how many times have I read the codex and NOT caught that? Boy did you make me feel stupid, but in a good way! :neutral: So let me get this out of the way right now: "D'OH!"

Nel'Miyamoto would be the correct version of his name. Leave it to GW to not be consistent with either with their fluff or the rules. "What GW be inconsistent?", he said in mock horror.

Now however this brings up the question of what is a Fireblade? Officer or NCO? Many of us who served in the armed forces of their said country (like myself) would like to think of a Shas'Nan as a First Sergeant/Sergeant Major/Master Chief Petty Officer. Unfortunately this is not the case. As you said,
oakreef wrote:The fluff for the Fireblade says that Shas'ui who refuse to take up a battlesuit cannot rise beyond a special rank called Shas'nel that is considered to be just below Shas'el.

This really means that a Shas'Nel is an infantry officer who is never going to make General or Field Marshall; but he or she is still an officer. Kind of like Captain Sharp of Sharp's Rifles. He may (if he is lucky) make Major or even Colonel before he dies, but nothing above that rank.

Which leads to another question. Shouldn't Longstrke's rank be a 'N' series too? Like Shas'Nvre'R'ka? The codex strangely does not give him any rank whatsoever? "Hold up weren't we talking about GW be inconsistent just a raik'or ago?" "D'OH!"

There IMO (In my opinion) would be a number of 'N' series officers.
'N' Infantry: Specializes in light infantry and mechanized infantry
'N' Armour (Hammerhead/Skyray) Specializes armoured warfare
'N' Light attack (Piranha) Specializes in light fast attack and reconnaissance operations

**Sometime in the past, a A.T.T. contributor did a 'career path' outline for these sorts of infantry/armour/Recon-attack fields.** I think this was done back I think during 4th or 5th editions of the rules. It use to be (still is?) posted here on the site. Sadly I couldn't find it again, as it would have dovetailed nicely with the whole idea of a 'N' series officer corp. If anyone knows where it's at on A.T.T. please could drop us the link to the forum/thread? Thanks.

Now here is another thing to think about: If you have a Shas'Nel in your cadre, doesn't that mean you'd have Shas'Nui and Shas'Nvre as well? As far as the game goes a Shas'Nui wouldn't be any different than a Shas'Ui; but a Shas'Nvre? Then how many could you have in an army? One? Two? What would be the point cost and would they count as a HQ or not? Special Character?

Interesting possibilities here ... see what you started my friend? :)

Oh, just one more for the road: "D'OH!"
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Kakapo42
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Re: Should Darkstrider not be Shas'nel?

Post#3 » Feb 12 2015 11:05

TauMan wrote:Which leads to another question. Shouldn't Longstrke's rank be a 'N' series too? Like Shas'Nvre'R'ka? The codex strangely does not give him any rank whatsoever?


Actually the codex says he's a Shas'la.

Codex: Tau Empire, 6th edition, pg. 62, "Longstrike" wrote: Master Gunship pilot Shas'la T'au Sha'ng, now better known as Longstrike, has quickly become the Fire caste's most heralded tank ace.


Emphasis mine. I suppose it makes sense, his claim to fame is natural talent and a fancy piloting suit, rather than rank or experience - he may be a very gifted Shas'la, who has been given a sophisticated piece of equipment to field test, but at the end of the day he is still a Shas'la. One day he will very likely be promoted to higher ranks, but in the mean time he's still a humble 'la.

In regards to the original topic, after reviewing my copy of the current Tau codex, it would appear that the OP is correct - by all accounts Darkstrider should be a Shas'nel. The only explanation I can think of is that whoever was writing his background had a moment of confusion and thought that Shas'nels only came from standard Firewarriors, and so made the Pathfinder commander something else.

As to what the 'nel rank truly means, I've always just gone with the face value that it's an intermediate rank between either 'vre and 'el. Something else that may shed some light is that the background description of Fireblades in the latest codex.

Codex: Tau Empire, 6th edition, pg 36, "Cadre Fireblades" wrote:... no one knows a Fire Warrior's strength better than a Cadre Fireblade. A Cadre Fireblade will extol what they believe to be the Tau's strength - overwhelming infantry firepower!


The above seems to me to depict them as being specialist infantry commanders. It would perhaps stand to reason therefore that there are indeed other specialist sorts of commanders for armoured warfare (the first edition of Apocalypse stated that Armoured Interdiction Cadres were commanded by a shas'el at minimum), and this is in fact something I did build on myself - my own Battlefleet Gothic background features Kor'nels as escort squadron commanders.

Of course at the same time it could simply be that there is only one 'nel ranking (in a given caste) and that different forms of 'nel are given different titles - Fireblade might denote an infantry Shas'nel, while a gunship or light vehicle Shas'nel is called something else.
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Re: Should Darkstrider not be Shas'nel?

Post#4 » Feb 12 2015 11:10

Tau Rank Structure

TauMan wrote:**Sometime in the past, a A.T.T. contributor did a 'career path' outline for these sorts of infantry/armour/Recon-attack fields.** I think this was done back I think during 4th or 5th editions of the rules. It use to be (still is?) posted here on the site. Sadly I couldn't find it again, as it would have dovetailed nicely with the whole idea of a 'N' series officer corp. If anyone knows where it's at on A.T.T. please could drop us the link to the forum/thread? Thanks.

It was here, back when I was but a young Shas'la here on ATT. :)

As you stated though, it's pretty old, and doesn't align 100% with the current background. According to the Farsight Enclaves Supplement, Shas progress through their training linearly as Space Marines do, eventually making their way through every occupational specialty until they reach Shas'el.

I take issue with this for a number of reasons related to common sense, training and proficiency, and practicality. Tau already have short lifespans, you can't afford to make them specialists at everything, and there are a wealth of suggestions elsewhere in the background that Tau are all about finding niches and settling into them with pride.

Regarding Tau rank structure, as I've argued in the past here, there isn't a good analogue for the officer/enlisted dichotomy in the meritocratic and linearly progressive tau rank structure. Shas'la embody what it is to be both a junior enlisted and a junior officer. They have gone through their entire lives training to follow and lead, they are highly educated, and they have an incredible responsibility for the array of firepower they can bring to bear.

"N" series ranks

For this reason, I don't think there is a full suite of "N" series ranks.

Like Shaz'nami bodyguards, Shas'nel is a unique position in a Fire Caste cadre that has no analogue at more junior positions. He is essentially a senior Shas'vre who has forgone not only the honor of wearing a battlesuit but also the mantle to command a cadre of his own. The closest analogue to this tactical position in a cadre would be a Chief Warrant Officer ("Gunner") or a senior Staff NCO (Master Gunnery Sergeant / Sergeant Major).

As Kakapo42 stated, there are probably other caste equivalents (I love the idea of Kor'nels and I'm stealing them and there's nothing you can do about it). ;)

Darkstrider

Regarding Darkstrider, because he doesn't occupy the unique position of Shas'nel within a Line Cadre, it is possible that he has simply been elevated to the position of Shas'el regardless of his refusal to join the Stealth teams.

It's also possible that in Reconnaissance Cadres, donning a battlesuit isn't a requirement to command one.

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Re: Should Darkstrider not be Shas'nel?

Post#5 » Feb 13 2015 06:34

Doombringer wrote:According to the Farsight Enclaves Supplement, Shas progress through their training linearly as Space Marines do, eventually making their way through every occupational specialty until they reach Shas'el.

I take issue with this for a number of reasons related to common sense, training and proficiency, and practicality. Tau already have short lifespans, you can't afford to make them specialists at everything, and there are a wealth of suggestions elsewhere in the background that Tau are all about finding niches and settling into them with pride.


Completely agreed. It doesn't even make sense for Marines, I think it's a relatively recent Wardism anyway; used to be that Scouts moved into Tactical, Devastator or Assault squads depending on their abilities and preferences, rather than the quite absurd idea that you start as Devastator then progress to the other types. They're not Leon and Matilda! It'd be like forcing a footballer (soccer player) to start as goalkeeper, then play in defence then midfield before finally learning how to score goals in attack. Silly idea.

So if it doesn't make sense for Marines, with their hugely prolonged lifespans (assuming they don't die in battle), then as you say, there's no way that Tau would decide to make the same approach, because they'd spend most of their (relatively short) lives doing things they're not very good at, while they wait to do something they are good at. Doesn't make sense, and I'm happy to ignore that misguided bit of fluff.

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Re: Should Darkstrider not be Shas'nel?

Post#6 » Feb 13 2015 07:26

TauMan wrote:Which leads to another question. Shouldn't Longstrke's rank be a 'N' series too? Like Shas'Nvre'R'ka? The codex strangely does not give him any rank whatsoever? "Hold up weren't we talking about GW be inconsistent just a raik'or ago?" "D'OH!"
Longstrike does have a rank.

His entry in the codex labels him as a shas'la. I can't provide a page number as I'm currently in the back of a van in single digit weather, but know that it's there in his fluff entry. One of the opening lines if I'm not mistaken; Shas'la'T'au'Sha'ng or something.

This supports Doombringer's idea regarding the distribution of responsibility in tau ranks--a humble 'la has a prototype battlesuit and is a formidable tank commander. In my own cadre composition I've generally assigned 'ui as tank commanders with a 'vre leading the armored section, but Longstrike's model suggests he has some hefty authority ordering around other tanks.

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Re: Should Darkstrider not be Shas'nel?

Post#7 » Feb 13 2015 01:26

First off let's all admit that what we're doing here is cleaning up a mess that was left us by the boys at GW! :sad: This is a typical GW poorly thought out, sloppy and inconsistent game writing. Yes, they've gotten better by leaps and bounds in the last ten years. Who here remembers the 'Let's-go-to-crazy-town' WH40K 4th edition rule book? (It sometimes took me an hour to find the rule I was looking for!) Or the worst game supplement ever done: Apocalypse Reload? (Seriously, someone should have been fired for that one!) Everyone has seen codex creep, weird additions to the codex, unexplainable deletions (not justified by game balance, retconned fluff, or any logic known to man). It obvious that some codex writers care deeply about the armies their writing for, while others are 'just phoning it in'; but even well written codices have their odd, poorly thought out, and sloppy bits to deal with. This is true of Warhammer Fantasy as well as Warhammer 40K. I think this what we're dealing with here with Longstrike and Darkstrider.

Sometimes I feel like a janitor at a kindergarten with my broom, mop and bucket, spray cleaner and putty knife; and now I have to go in their room and wipe the place down: "Those damn @#&$ Games Workshop boys! Looky here they've got spilled milk all over the table. And over there there's paint, glue, and glitter on the floor. Damn it now I gotta get down on my hands and knees and scrape that crap off! Now what did they do? Uh oh, they left the hamster cage open again, and now there's saw dust and hamster poop everywhere! Wait what's that smell...ah hell the hamster got behind the radiator and died of heat stroke! Those damn @#&$ Games Workshop boys!"

Longstrike: Longstrike is the Suit
This rule is real mud puddle, and if he is just a Shas'La, then we didn't get our Sergeant Chronus! All we got was a better than average kid in a fancy suit! When you think about it, the rule actually should concern the XV02 Pilot Battlesuit. The back story of Shas'La'Ng is about a firewarrior who earned the name 'Longstrike', and for whom then the XV02 suit is based on. But unlike with Commander Puretide, the Earth caste decided to put his awesome abilities into the XV02, rather than on a slice of silicon. In other words the real Longstrike wouldn't need the suit, because he IS the suit. Your average Shas'La needs the XV02 to make himself or herself into Longstrike.

So why isn't it simply a XV02 Pilot suit or just Longstrike without the suit?
Reason: Because GW wanted to sell a new model. For all we know the sculptor may have made the original done before the rules were even thought of. We just don't know?

I hope that the next tau codex fixes this and instead of players selecting Longstike as a special character, they will rather be purchasing a XV02 'Longstrike' Battlesuit for one of their Hammerhead pilots. This would only require a name change to the model and no change to the model itself!

I started with Longstrike because three people all posted that his rank was Shas'La. But all we really know about Longstrike is his story, and what his rank was when he earned his name. We don't know what his rank is now? We don't know where he is? We don't know what position he holds, or even what he is up to now?
Gamewise: He's probably a Shas'Vre or Shas'El and commands an Armour spearhead. He has three more awesome abilities (in addition to those he already has i.e. the XV02 abilities), and a BS of 6. In other words he moved on from his Shas'La days when the suit was based on him.
Fluffwise: He's probably on his way to becoming the General Abrams or General Timoshenko of the Tau Empire!
[You know a 'Longstrike' HQ choice would be cool! Hope GW comes up with the stats for a Shas'El'R'Ka' (or whatever name he's going by then!) Really wouldn't you want him for your Armour Spearhead?]

Shas'Nel and El'Miyamoto
This one is where some real world logic and reason can be applied to.

The Shas'Nan/Shas'Nel
I have to agree that the Shas'Nel would be a unique position within the cadre, and although there might not be an 'N' series of line officers, there would be a separate career path (similar to Doombringers early ideas). Because earning caste rank has specific requirements, one of which would be operating either a Stealth or Crisis Battlesuit. Without a defined separate career path, every Firewarrior who eschews the 'command grade' option and refuses a battlesuit, would be stuck at Shas'Ui for the rest of their careers. They would however, not be Sergeant Majors, but more like Warrant Officers, as the tau military doesn't function same way as the Imperial Guard (Sorry - Miliawhatnow!)

Don't know what it would look like, or what its' requirements would be, but it would have to exist; because no 'honorary' title would be acceptable. To give Miyamoto an 'honorary' rank of 'El' would be a slap in the face of any firewarrior who earned that rank. Unless there were a separate career path, with its' own requirements for caste rank. Then it would considered as an equal rank, just like the same rank of the other castes are considered equal.

Miyamoto
Specifically for Miyamoto I vote for a rank of Shas'Vre, simply because the tau live shorter lives and as Shas'El he would have sixteen years of active service, with four years to go to retirement (alright maybe not retirement, but he would be getting on in tau'cyr!). And yes I've seen Heartbreak Ridge with Clint Eastwood; and I once met a Sergeant Major, ex-Green Beret, who had thirty years of active service. And I wouldn't even want to get in a pencil fight with that man! But he was spending his last years behind a desk and not in the field.
However I have to agree that he has to be the Pathfinder equivalent to a standard firewarrior Shas'Nan. (STOP HOLD THE PRESSES!) Just checked the 6th edition codex and discovered he is an HQ choice! Sorry didn't remember that, but that definitely pushes him into Shas'Nel equivalency for me! So, I changed my mind and vote for Shas'El'Miyamoto.

This however leaves open the question of the Farsight Enclaves ... xhmm?
Just maybe they do have an NCO corp ... it would be them to have to be 'different'? Well you can guess I've thought this one out, and you can't stop me from listing the ranks for Enclave NCOs (or using them :P )

Non-commissioned Ranks for F.S. Enclave Hunter Cadre:
Shas'No = Sergeant Major
Shas'Nel = First Sergeant
Shas'Nvre = Sergeant First Class / Staff Sergeant
Shas'Nui = Sergeant / Lance Corporal / Specialist
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Re: Should Darkstrider not be Shas'nel?

Post#8 » Feb 14 2015 02:08

TauMan wrote:Longstrike: Longstrike is the Suit
This rule is real mud puddle, and if he is just a Shas'La, then we didn't get our Sergeant Chronus! All we got was a better than average kid in a fancy suit! When you think about it, the rule actually should concern the XV02 Pilot Battlesuit. The back story of Shas'La'Ng is about a firewarrior who earned the name 'Longstrike', and for whom then the XV02 suit is based on. But unlike with Commander Puretide, the Earth caste decided to put his awesome abilities into the XV02, rather than on a slice of silicon. In other words the real Longstrike wouldn't need the suit, because he IS the suit. Your average Shas'La needs the XV02 to make himself or herself into Longstrike.
I'm not exactly sure what this is supposed to be. Are you fixing the fluff? There isn't really anything wrong with the way it's written in the codex, and this fix doesn't really mesh with the facts provided by the source. It just kind of ignores them:
  • Master Gunship pilot Shas’la T’au Sha’ng, now better known as Longstrike, has quickly become the Fire caste’s most heralded tank ace.
  • Due to his unerring aim, Longstrike was chosen to trial the new XV02 pilot battlesuit.

Also, does it matter that we didn't get a clone of Sergeant Chronus? And, as we've discussed, the tau don't really have a rank system synonymous with our own (or the Adeptus Astartes for that matter). 'La used to function as "team leaders" in past codices for squads between 6 and 12 shas (plus drones), which in some cases could be the "equivalent" of a US Army Staff Sergeant or US Marine Sergeant, while still being the lowest rank fielded by the shas. This concept, again, reinforces Doombringer's belief that the tau mix the responsibilities of our enlisted, NCO, and officers into every rank and level of their system.

TauMan wrote:So why isn't it simply a XV02 Pilot suit or just Longstrike without the suit?
Reason: Because GW wanted to sell a new model. For all we know the sculptor may have made the original done before the rules were even thought of. We just don't know?
I'm not sure that answer actually relates to your question, but it is true that GW creates models before fluff and rules. This was actually described in White Dwarf when our codex was released; the team decided to make a "large battlesuit", designed it, and then came up with the XV104 and rules to justify it. While this is exactly backwards for most real-world game designers and militaries, it is the case with GW.

TauMan wrote:I started with Longstrike because three people all posted that his rank was Shas'La. But all we really know about Longstrike is his story, and what his rank was when he earned his name. We don't know what his rank is now? We don't know where he is? We don't know what position he holds, or even what he is up to now?
Gamewise: He's probably a Shas'Vre or Shas'El and commands an Armour spearhead. He has three more awesome abilities (in addition to those he already has i.e. the XV02 abilities), and a BS of 6. In other words he moved on from his Shas'La days when the suit was based on him.
Fluffwise: He's probably on his way to becoming the General Abrams or General Timoshenko of the Tau Empire!
We can be fairly certain that his rank is 'la. Not only does his codex entry outright say this, but he earned his name and the honor of wearing the prototype on Taros in 998.M41. This means that he could, at best, have been promoted to a 'ui if he had a trial by fire between his participation at Mu'gulath Bay (757.999.M41, roughly a year after Taros) and the present (999.999.M41?). Besides, assuming he has gained ranks beyond what was stated in the codex would be like hypothesizing that Shadowsun is presently retired because she was labeled an 'o in the codex.

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Re: Should Darkstrider not be Shas'nel?

Post#9 » Feb 14 2015 03:16

I agree with ARC for Longstrike rank explanation.

In the fluff, a Shas'la must wait 4 tau'cyr to have the right to pass his Trial of Fire. 'Ui and after have to wait 4 tau'cyr to be proposed a new ToF.
So even if Longstrike is unusually skilled and has been given prototypes, he may stay a shas'la before doing his first ToF (and maybe he get the 'ui rank since Mugulath bay).


Tau ranks does not seems to be requirement to command. As their ideology promote, each may serve upon his abilities, so if a lower rank is more able, he may overcome his senior fellow to takes command.
A Shas'o often leads combat force because of his experience and skills, not his rank (even if the latter need the former).
Maybe in some campaigns, 'el or maybe 'vre command to upper ranks because of their experience/skills in some combat forms. I can't imagine that 'ui or 'la have enough skills and experience (in battlesuit tactics for example) to lead combined armies (unless they are the new Puretide maybe).
(Ranks seems also maybe a way to manage retirement too: a peaceful world may have many shas'ui if ToF are easy to complete)

So even if Darkstrider is not a Shas'el / 'nel / 'o / ... he can lead combat teams because of his skills, so his real rank don't matter.

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Re: Should Darkstrider not be Shas'nel?

Post#10 » May 02 2016 03:27

Hate to Necro a topic, but I researching this today, and realized there's only 1 place where 'nel is used, and on that same page it states "Cadre
Fire blade can never rise as high as the rank of shas'o - they are limited to a level just beneath that of shas'el."

So it's possible that the 'n' is a typo, and Fireblades, and Darkstrider, are both Shas'el

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Re: Should Darkstrider not be Shas'nel?

Post#11 » May 02 2016 04:31

Unusal ranks were not first introduced with Fireblade: Hazard pilots are shas'yr.
"N" is not a typo because the shas'el rank is compared to Fireblade.
And maybe the shas'nel is not a rank, but the translation of "Fireblade" ("Shas" means "fire"). In the French codex it is said (translated) "Thus, a Fireblade, or shas'nel, ..." nothing told that this is a rank.

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Re: Should Darkstrider not be Shas'nel?

Post#12 » Jun 02 2016 06:33

Kael'yn wrote:Unusal ranks were not first introduced with Fireblade: Hazard pilots are shas'yr.
"N" is not a typo because the shas'el rank is compared to Fireblade.
And maybe the shas'nel is not a rank, but the translation of "Fireblade" ("Shas" means "fire"). In the French codex it is said (translated) "Thus, a Fireblade, or shas'nel, ..." nothing told that this is a rank.

Not wanting to add to the whole, "I'll be back" metal guys, Skynet, and all that; but I glanced at this post because of the date of the last post.

So here goes...

Fireblade isn't translated as Shas'nel, the tau word would be Shas'nan. The following is from pg. 34 (e-book) Shadowsun by Braden Campbell, Black Library 2013. Shadowsun speaks first:
'You are the N'el Shas'O?'
'The what?'
'The second-most important.'


Can't really trust GW when it comes to any tau term, expression, or word. The ancient GW tradition of 'confusing, misleading, and inappropriate nomenclature' as regards to rules and rule names, also applies here. Heck they have Farsight using the expression 'Broken Sword' - Jhi'nan, when he talks about killing Ork Warleaders, to slow down them down during the Arkunasha War. The correct expression would be, 'Cut off the head and the body will follow' - Ken'rai. Both expressions coming from Firewarrior by Simon Spurrier, so there wasn't an excuse for messing up that one.

[FYI: In the spirit of full disclosure the tau word for 'Broken Sword' didn't exist when Mr. Spurrier wrote Firewarrior, though he did coin the phrase.]

So N'el means 'second-most important'. If GW meant something else well Mr. Campbell and the greater community have moved on. Score GW - 0, Fan Community - 1.

Shas'yr would translate then as "Experienced Firewarrior" .

As what exactly a Shas'Nel is, well that is up to interpretation. If however he or she gave up the 'Mantle of the Hero', and a chance to advance up the ranks as a Fire caste officer, there are only two choices:
A) He is still an officer, only just an infantry officer. (Blue-leg in U.S. Army parlance).
B). He is some kind of non-commissioned officer (Sergeant Major of Cadre First Sergeant).

For my money I'd go with option 'A', as I just don't think the T.E. fire caste would go for non-commissioned officers. But then again the Enclaves...you never know?

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