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Retro Review-Codex Sisters of Battle (1997), 3rd edition and Chapter Approved 2002  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
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Made in us
Posts with Authority






3rd ed had (in my opinion) the best rules and the worst army books... (I played Dark Angels... gotta love the 'if one person in the squad can fire their gun, the entire squad has a 1 in 6 chance of hunkering down to let that one guy take his shot' - and do not get me started on the land speeder special character. : )

The Auld Grump

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/11/26 01:40:08


Kilkrazy wrote:When I was a young boy all my wargames were narratively based because I played with my toy soldiers and vehicles without the use of any rules.

The reason I bought rules and became a real wargamer was because I wanted a properly thought out structure to govern the action instead of just making things up as I went along.
 
   
Made in gb
Enigmatic Sorcerer of Chaos





IMO 3rd edition core rules were *too* bare for what they wanted to do with the game, but not simple enough to make a quick fire game that can feature a lot of models.

They threw the baby out with the bathwater going from 2->3, and didn't correct that mistake for 20 years.

 
   
Made in us
Willing Inquisitorial Excruciator





Philadelphia

 TheAuldGrump wrote:
3rd ed had (in my opinion) the best rules and the worst army books... (I played Dark Angels... gotta love the 'if one person in the squad can fire their gun, the entire squad has a 1 in 6 chance of hunkering down to let that one guy take his shot' - and do not get me started on the land speeder special character. : )

The Auld Grump


3rd was a breath of fresh air - the armies were fairly equal (notice I said "fairly". At least in our group we had no problems), there was maneuver (and room to do it). It definitely played well. Until the codexes started coming in. And this is where GW repeatedly falls down. GW cannot and has not ever had all of the codexes out for an edition, and had them in a consistent format, hence the power creep, real stinkers, and some being straight out OP. And this was when GW had only 14 factions. That's ballooned like crazy now.

Some of the early complaint against 3rd was that the weapons weren't unique enough - a lascannon was a blastmaster was a dark lance. A melta gun was a fusion gun was a blaster. It made balancing the game easier because like weapons acted alike and had similar effects. Then the codexes come out, and every model needs 4 bespoke rules plus unique rules to make every weapon different, rather than just a name change for 'fluff' purposes. Then it becomes impossible to balance.



Daemonhunters 1000 points (painted)
Flesh Tearers 2000+ points (painted) - Balt GT '02 52nd; Balt GT '05 16th
Kabal of the Tortured Soul 2000+ points (painted) - Balt GT '08 85th; Mechanicon '09 12th
Greenwing 1000 points (painted) - Adepticon Team Tourny 2013

"There is rational thought here. It's just swimming through a sea of stupid and is often concealed from view by the waves of irrational conclusions." - Railguns 
   
Made in gb
Enigmatic Sorcerer of Chaos





 Cruentus wrote:

Some of the early complaint against 3rd was that the weapons weren't unique enough - a lascannon was a blastmaster was a dark lance. A melta gun was a fusion gun was a blaster. It made balancing the game easier because like weapons acted alike and had similar effects. Then the codexes come out, and every model needs 4 bespoke rules plus unique rules to make every weapon different, rather than just a name change for 'fluff' purposes. Then it becomes impossible to balance.

Where did that complaint come from? As in 2nd edition, what is equipped with a fusion gun now was just equipped with a meltagun; the vehicle mounted las weapon on Eldar vehicles was literally just a lascannon (the brightlance was actually a wargear item for characters). This was actually fine but the addition of all the random weapon types came from 3rd and wasn't a 2nd ed artefact.

A lot of problems came because the core 3rd edition rules were not robust enough to get enough variation either, and made no sense.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/11/27 10:30:14


 
   
Made in us
Rogue Daemonhunter fueled by Chaos






Macon, GA

There's an argument to be made that basic third edition, with just the black book army lists, was the most balanced the game ever was. the sheer simplicity made it easier, of course. For most armies, things we now see regularly, like deep striking, was rare! IG had zero models that could infiltrate or deep strike (maybe ratlings could infiltrate).

There was dumb stuff, to be sure. IG might not have maneuver, but being able to take three AV14 tanks, three "stormtrooper" squads which were essentially veterans, but 5pts a piece (in a system with 15 point marines), and screenable heavy weapon squads made for a hell of a shooty army.

My Painted Armies
: Co. B, 37th Praetorian IG: 21,000pts
KOW Ogres: 4500 points
Loyalist Emperor's Children: 2500 points 
   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka






Until 8th edition came out, my preferred option for 40k would have been 2nd edition for a platoon-level skirmish downwards, and 3rd for anything bigger; in both cases, using the basic army lists as supplied in the core rules. Now, I think I'd take 8th with the Indexes, or Apocalypse, instead of 3rd.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/11/27 21:38:05


 
   
Made in eg
[MOD]
Keeper of the Adeptus Arbites Flame






Cairo, Egypt

And we're back!

So after a none-too-competitive codex in 1997, and even less competitive 'get you by list' in 1998, the Sisters got their next big update four years later in 2002 with the release of Chapter Approved.

IIRC there was a mention in White Dwarf of a forthcoming Codex... Apocalype? (maybe?) that would cover Sisters and other Imperial Agents that never came to pass. That might explain the 4 year gap.

(Actually there may have been a WD list in that time, around the time of the Necron 3rd edition list, does that ring a bell with anyone?)

This book was called the 'Second Book of the Astronomicon" in homage to the first Chapter Approved from 1988, reviewed here I just casually mention:
https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/688008.page

It collected WD articles from the previous years some of which extensively changed the 3rd edition rules (by the time they were done vehicles, melee and movement were all rewritten, I liked 3rd edition but it was a mess by the end). But it also included some new content, including the Sisters list.

So how did they do?



Well they get a page of fluff to remind us who they are, and some reused art (I do love that Fleur De Lyls gun sight though) to start them off.



Acts of Faith returned, but with a caveat that they may be nothing more than mass hysteria.

But the pointless nerfing and wargear changes continue, take for example, the Axe of Retribution.



Sisters could not take the standard Imperial power fist in 2nd edition due to... I dunno, reasons? But could in 3rd. There were of course no Sister models with a powerfist so break out those files and clippers! But now they lost power fists due to... I dunno, safety recalls? So break out those files again. Now they did get a honking huge axe that does the same thing but... there weren't any Sister models with a honking huge axe! There was one with a mace... but no rules for a power mace.

You see what I mean.

Or take a look at the (checks spelling) Praesidium Protectiva...



Your basic 4+ invulnerable save but while Marines and Priests learned to hang it around their necks or clip it to their armor, Sisters have to carry it around in their hands and sacrifice an attack. Because... It clashed with the armor? Sisters could get a Rosiarius (same deal 4+ Invulnerable) but the chain for it cost an extra 10 points. It was utterly at odds with the clean design 3rd edition was pushing.

Probably it was because of the model of the Canoness carrying one in her hand but again, a pointless choice for an already limited army.

As as side note, Google translate tells me Praesidium Protectiva means protective protection, which is awesome.

Overall the list was stronger, Sisters stayed at BS3.



But they finally got some obvious and overdue remixes of the existing models.




A Celestian command squad with the option of including some Sisters from other orders, a medic, a Faith Point buffer and one who allows allies!
No models for them, but they were just upgrades of existing Sisters.



A regular Celestian elite squad, finally with BS4 rather than 3.



A special weapon squad with 4 meltas or flamers.



And a heavy weapon squad to boost their firepower.

They also got an much improved version of the militia, no longer long haired Fabio types armed with .45s, they are now the creepy Redemptionists with a full selection of cool models and options.



And even better, real firepower options like Plasma Guns and Autocannons! They also could get Eviseraors, another powerfist stand in.






I also liked how their riot of pistols, rifles, axes and pointy sticks were sublimated into 'mob weapons'. A good example of the stripped down 3rd edition rules that I like.



The various priest listings are stripped down to one entry and, alas, the Preacher with a Rosarius and Powerfist (members of the Priesthood of the Preaching Padres of the Pius Powerfist I imagine), a common cheap choice in Imperial armies, were no more.





The Sisters finally get some long range firepower with the Exorcist but... Besides the d6 shot limitation there's also no model and no clues on what one should look like. The pipe organ was still a few years away.

And that was about it. Overall a much stronger list then either of the two that came before with some cool and colorful options that predicted the two Inquisition books that would soon come.



The Immolator also got a mention in the new vehicle rules later in the book which was cool.

So it seemed that the Sisters were not forgotten and in fact they'd get a full (ish) codex just two years. But Witch Hunters (and Demon Hunters) probably merits its own review.

To quickly summarize it Witch Hunters made the Sisters an arm of the Inquisition which gave them access to a lot of other units but annoyed many players. Worse yet, Witch and Demon Hunters were the only 3rd edition armies without at least one plastic infantry set. Which it made a bit of sense that the Super Duper Elite Grey Knights might only be in metal it needlessly raised the price of the much more numerous Sisters army and kneecapped must of the interest in them.

We might never know the reason for this. There may not be 'a' reason since there are always lots of reasons for something not to happen. Sisters sales were no doubt lower than a lot of other factions, the then cutting-edge (and still cool) metal models may have been impossible to recreate in plastic without too many compromises. Or they may just have never risen to the top of the priority list.

I think the Sisters were hit with a lot of bad luck, the last 2nd edition army, a byproduct of a twice-cancelled Agents of the Imperium codex, and handicapped by being both a girl army and a nun army in mostly male fan base they had an uphill struggle no matter how much support they got.



But the fact the Sisters army even exists is amazing. Growing out of a single image in the back of Rogue Trader (which now that you mention it yes, was probably a France/Rainbow Warrior joke) and sustained by a cool design and loyal fans over decades they're certainly an unexpected success.

And were we are in 2019 with plastic sister kits just hitting the shelves 22 years later.

And already sold out in preorder!

So as you sit down to your Thanksgiving turkey (or Haggis or whatever you people eat) lets take a minute to remember that sometimes patience and perseverance do pay off and sometimes concepts do survive simply due to their quality and coolness.

Now about the Sensei...

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/11/28 08:50:02


 
   
Made in au
Owns Whole Set of Skullz Techpriests






Versteckt in den Schatten deines Geistes.

 Kid_Kyoto wrote:
Your basic 4+ invulnerable save but while Marines and Priests learned to hang it around their necks or clip it to their armor, Sisters have to carry it around in their hands and sacrifice an attack. Because... It clashed with the armor? Sisters could get a Rosiarius (same deal 4+ Invulnerable) but the chain for it cost an extra 10 points. It was utterly at odds with the clean design 3rd edition was pushing.
Because it's a literal shield. The Rosarius costs more because you don't lose an attack.

   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut





 Kid_Kyoto wrote:
No models for them, but they were just upgrades of existing Sisters.
http://www.collecting-citadel-miniatures.com/wiki/index.php/Sisters_of_Battle_-_Collectors_Guide

The Famulous apparently in 97 and unreleased along with the power fist and brazier of holy fire sister that look to have an earlier, unfinished style.
   
Made in au
Owns Whole Set of Skullz Techpriests






Versteckt in den Schatten deines Geistes.

I do wish they'd released the Famulous.

   
Made in eg
[MOD]
Keeper of the Adeptus Arbites Flame






Cairo, Egypt

A.T. wrote:
 Kid_Kyoto wrote:
No models for them, but they were just upgrades of existing Sisters.
http://www.collecting-citadel-miniatures.com/wiki/index.php/Sisters_of_Battle_-_Collectors_Guide

The Famulous apparently in 97 and unreleased along with the power fist and brazier of holy fire sister that look to have an earlier, unfinished style.


Cheers! Man The Collecting Citadel Minis and Stuff of Legends are godsents sometimes.

I like the Famulous a lot, 40k needs more models with pot bellies of authority. I wonder how many escaped into the wild, IIRC for a while you could order unreleased minis if you were actually in Nottingham and knew they existed.



Maybe they'll do a modern take on her.

And the other two, uploaded here for posterity's sake.




 
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut





 Captain Brown wrote:
Still have my copy.

Cheers,

CB


Me too. And I have to agree: "Debbie Harry" rocks.
   
Made in de
Regular Dakkanaut





Germany

Glad the Praesidium Protectiva is back again in the new codex! Can't wait to see the model.
   
 
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