Lack of interchangable weapons for infantry

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Vio'ra Mal'caor
Shas'La
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Lack of interchangable weapons for infantry

Post#1 » Aug 23 2017 03:48

One of my first posts was about strike teams and breacher teams, and regarded the fact that you can't have a strike team with a single member who happens to be a breacher. I know why this doesn't happen crunch-wise (it wouldn't work for the individual rules and roles + you'd have too much redundancy for having seperate strike and breacher teams), but I was wondering why on a fluff level this wouldn't happen. In my humble opinion, the Tau (along with the IG) are the most simular in feel to a modern-day army. Except the IG happen to be basically Vietnam/WWII era grunts with no grasp of what constitutes a proper laser weapon (cough...flashlights...cough), and with a overabundance of tanks which resemble boxes on treads. Anyway, even in today's armies, soldiers will sometimes swap their standard infantry weapon (in most western armies a AR-15 variant like the M16A3) for something like a M4 carbine or another weapon like a LMG, Grenade Launcher or Shotgun. Anyway, we have two of those in the Pulse Carbine and the Pulse Blaster. But why wouldn't a Tau fire warrior take a shotgun so that the team could be more versatile? And why don't we have a 'functional' GL system (The underbarrel one on the carbine doesn't work and ony really appears in Rouge Trader: Tau Character Guide). We coud even have a proper grenade laucher system like..i dunno...a Ion Grenade Projector??? Just a thought. Anyway tell me what you think!!!
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Kakapo42
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Re: Lack of interchangable weapons for infantry

Post#2 » Aug 23 2017 04:44

The lack of an effect from the pulse carbine's underslung photon grenade launcher is purely a mechanical fault of the 8th edition rules (and if, like me, you use older rulesets instead then there isn't a problem there).

In regards to Firewarrior armament, it's a matter of doctrine. Aside from the two exceptions of Pathfinders and Stealthsuits (and sometimes Gun Drones and Piranhas), Tau units are never supposed to be operating without support - if a Firewarrior team is operating on their own then something has gone horribly, horribly wrong. Contrary to recent popular army list ideas, Tau Fire Caste doctrine essentially places the Firewarriors as the core combat force, with all other elements acting to deal with anything their pulse guns can't handle.

Thus, Firewarriors already have all the flexible special weapons they need - they're called XV8s. The role of Crisis Teams is to act as troubleshooters, using their jetpack mobility to jump around from hot spot to hot spot providing special weapon support. That's where the 'Crisis' part of their name comes from. Other Tau units perform similar functions. So if a Firewarrior team ends up in a position where they need flamer support, then they'll just radio in a flamer-armed Crisis Team. If they come across an enemy tank, they'll markerlight it for a Hammerhead or seeker missile, and so on and so forth.

The key here is to remember that, despite what similarities they might have, the Tau are NOT a modern western style military. They are an alien force, with their own alien doctrine and their own distinct way of doing things.

It's also worth mentioning that the pulse weapons that Firewarriors are equipped with are already very versatile weapons in their own right. They provide enough firepower to effectively counter infantry, light vehicles and even tanks with careful targeting - in real-life you generally need a 20-30mm cannon for that kind of niche, but the pulse rifle and pulse carbine are both in the small arms size-range.

Finally, there's also other factors outside of combat to consider. Even if an ARC blaster can provide more armour-piercing capabilities at close-quarters, it's unreliable at any other range bracket and likely to be far more demanding in terms of maintenance. Remember, it uses a new kind of technology that's still yet to be fully proven, while the pulse rifle and pulse carbine are both tried and proven designs that have had every possible error and fault thoroughly logged and given an identified solution. Not only that, but every Firewarrior using an ARC blaster is one less Firewarrior that can engage enemies at long range, which is a crucial component of Firewarrior tactics.

Finally, mixing ARC blasters and pulse weapons adds unnecessary complications to logistics, and logistics are critical in warfare.
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Harkus959
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Re: Lack of interchangable weapons for infantry

Post#3 » Oct 20 2017 06:03

In previous editions, it was possible to interchange carbines and rifles to create a mix of weapons within a single fire warrior team. The carbine grenade launcher was represented by them having the "Pinning" rule. It seems that neither of these things apply in 8th ed.

They do now have the option of taking a DS8 Support Turret which fills the anti-vehicle gap strike teams had, but the masses of pulse rifle fire should be able to handle any infantry threat they face.

Not being able to mix blasters and pulse rifles makes sense to me, mainly because they fill different battlefield roles. Not just the weapons, but the entire role of Breachers is different to that of a Fire Warrior Strike Team.

Breachers get incredibly powerful, close range weapons, and Guardian drones to maximise their effectiveness in short range, point blank firefights against tough opponents. Strike Teams are more standardised, medium-to-long ranged infantry who tackle other infantry and light vehicles, relying on the other parts of a T'au force to handle other threats, as Kakapo42 said.

Due to these differences, mixing the long ranged, medium strength, accurate pulse rifle, in a squad with the high powered, close range, unstable pulse blaster will result in a portion of the squad wasting a good deal of it's potential in every engagement. Mixing carbines and rifles is more useful, as rifles are truly effective at rapid-fire range, meaning the carbines operate in the same general range bracket.

As it is, the DS8, and the guardian drone have made both our fire warrior variants more effective and versatile.

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