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Made in au
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It’s a question that’s just dawned on me.

In-game many Inquisitors, Tech-priests, Guard Company Commanders and even lowly Platoon Commanders have them. If the Imperial Guard numbers in the Quadrillions then there must be Trillions of Lieutenants with refractor fields.

That begs the question, why doesn’t space marine power armour have them inbuilt? Take the Halo universe as an example and their Spartan armour. It’s basically power armour, but also has energy shielding. Refractor fields are uncommon to be given to individual soldiers, but common enough to be given to every junior officer and above.

Refractor fields could tank a lascannon or krak missile hit, while the power armour absorbs everything else. It could be a sensible middle ground between power armour and terminator armour. Terminator armour doesn’t even need it, and marine captains/chapter masters have their iron halos so they don’t need them either.

Just thought it was interesting.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/02 13:13:01


 
   
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This isn't official lore, but imagine how much of a problem a rogue marine chapter would be in fluff if they had refractor fields... Certain guard formations rely on melta to put down rogue marines when needed (let alone heavier weaponry), and a third of the time that doesn't even get through the field....

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Yeah, let's make the nigh-unstoppable super-soldiers with amazing armour and toughness even more unstoppable by giving them forcefields.
   
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Ultramarine Librarian with Freaky Familiar






Bit o trivia (iirc): Some very early descriptions of Terminator Armor said they han an incorperated Refractor Field.

Possibly the fields emit some sort of noise or light, or use a lot of power, in a way that would be detrimental. Or they're still just too rare, despite being available here and there.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/02 13:29:07


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on the forum. Obviously

Because it's bloody expensive. The Imperium is already having problems with supply lines and manufacturing. Having to upgrade every suit of power armor with a refractor field is going to be a logistical nightmare, especially when you have bureaucrats and the Ad mech to deal with.
Also, are refractor fields really that common in the fluff? Don't guard commanders just have them in-game so they don't die instantly?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/02 13:32:57


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I'm sure that {ruleswise} it's to show how special the characters who have ++ saves are vs everyone else who just has thier normal Save value.

And from there it just kinda paints the lore into a corner.
Because sure, it might seem logical to have it standard on a SM. But if you do that then everyone will scream for it to be represented play-wise.
Do you REALLY want every SM to have an invuln save? And characters & termites stronger ones?
What about the poor CSM?

I guess you could look at the loyalist SM 2nd wound as representing this though.
I mean, how else do you explain the regular tac squad member just becoming 100% harder to kill?
   
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Longtime Dakkanaut





It is an interesting question and I often think of it myself.

I know intuitively it's a game balance thing, but there are some situations where it just doesn't make much sense.

I understand the game balance reason for not giving every space marine an invuln -- I'm 100% on board with stuff like that.

But, then there's things like SM Librarians not having an invuln -- seems so strange that psykers wouldn't all have some sort of kine shield. Novels talk about this stuff all the time.

Or your basic inquisitor gets a refractor field 5++, but Eisenorn only gets an inferior FnP 6+++, presumably because it's never mentioned in the fluff that he has a refractor field.

Just some interesting things to think about really -- nothing I get upset over, mind you.
   
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In the 2nd edition Wargear book the refractor field "... produces a hazy band of light of light around the subject which makes it impossible for the wearer to hide." Which my be a setback for some. As a side-note - terminator armour does not mention any fields at all, just thick armour. Lieutenants did not come with refractor fields in 2nd. But could take 1 wargear card, which could be a refractor field.

I guess the main reason that they don't have refractor fields is the same reason they don't all have plasma guns.
   
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Tygre wrote:
In the 2nd edition Wargear book the refractor field "... produces a hazy band of light of light around the subject which makes it impossible for the wearer to hide." Which my be a setback for some. As a side-note - terminator armour does not mention any fields at all, just thick armour. Lieutenants did not come with refractor fields in 2nd. But could take 1 wargear card, which could be a refractor field.

I guess the main reason that they don't have refractor fields is the same reason they don't all have plasma guns.


Correct me if I'm wrong - wasn't refractor field the one that would randomly move the model D6" if they got a save? It was pretty goofy.

   
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 Daedalus81 wrote:
Tygre wrote:
In the 2nd edition Wargear book the refractor field "... produces a hazy band of light of light around the subject which makes it impossible for the wearer to hide." Which my be a setback for some. As a side-note - terminator armour does not mention any fields at all, just thick armour. Lieutenants did not come with refractor fields in 2nd. But could take 1 wargear card, which could be a refractor field.

I guess the main reason that they don't have refractor fields is the same reason they don't all have plasma guns.


Correct me if I'm wrong - wasn't refractor field the one that would randomly move the model D6" if they got a save? It was pretty goofy.

Thats a Displacer Field

Inquisitors used to have access to a wide range of powerful energy fields including this and still do in the lore.


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Yeah, the refractor field would makes it harder for the bearer to hide. Since hiding is the best way to survive on the battlefield (at least in the real world) the refractor field would probably be a net-negative.

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 Saber wrote:
Yeah, the refractor field would makes it harder for the bearer to hide. Since hiding is the best way to survive on the battlefield (at least in the real world) the refractor field would probably be a net-negative.


But the best way to successfully hide in the battlefield is to make your profile as small as possible and utilise camouflage. Needless to say 8 foot tall slabs of beef wearing brightly coloured bulky armour which features zero designs to disrupt the silhouette are gonna find that quite hard.

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I also seem to remember some early bit of terminator armor mentioning "layers of refractor fields" in some way... maybe way back in 2nd ed?
   
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If everyone was using the best tech their faction had access to all the time you'd probably see more Eldar with 3+ or 4+ saves (Scourges and Corsairs, two of the sub-cultures with the least resources and backing, can both have everyone in 4+ armour), 'Ard Boyz would have models, GK would have whole squads with wrist-mounted flamers for clearing hordes of lesser daemons, and the Mechanicum wouldn't have stopped building all their coolest stuff just because the models are resin.

The out-of-universe explanation is either balance (and the inevitable "why do just Space Marines get this, why can't I have (e.g.) Kabalites in ghostplate?" complaints) or inertia (Refractor fields have been character wargear for thirty years!).

The in-universe explanation could be some combination of: a) economic inefficiency; the Guard officers with refractor fields are using personal resources to buy refractor fields rather than government funds (like pre-WWI military officers having stupidly fancy custom uniforms because they were rich people buying them with their own money); b) the use of refractor fields to protect the chain of command across all of the Imperium is seen as more important than the use of refractor fields to protect everyone in a small strike force; c) if you use refractor fields to protect your officers who are supposed to stay in the back and coordinate things from stray shots they probably get destroyed a lot less than if you put refractor fields on your Forlorn Hope shock-assault strike teams, so you don't need to keep re-building them; or d) the inevitable "stupid Mechanicum and their single-purpose STCs!" argument where the Imperium knows how to build small refractor fields to protect an unarmored guy moving at human speeds cheaply but a big refractor field that'll protect something the size of a Space Marine moving at Space Marine speeds is a horribly expensive relic of the dark age of technology.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/02 18:13:49


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 AnomanderRake wrote:
the inevitable "stupid Mechanicum and their single-purpose STCs!" argument where the Imperium knows how to build small refractor fields to protect an unarmored guy moving at human speeds cheaply but a big refractor field that'll protect something the size of a Space Marine moving at Space Marine speeds is a horribly expensive relic of the dark age of technology.


This, or the technobabble rationale of something about the refractor field used by Guard officers interferes with the power system of power armor, so fields cannot be used unless they are customized (i.e. Character level rarity).

This kind of thing wouldn't be unheard of either. We see the Imperium have ship plasma reactors and giant plasma weapons on starships without too much trouble. They have smaller plasma reactors on Warlords, again without too much trouble with containment or cooling. However miniaturizing everything and putting it all into a package small enough to hand carry (plasma gun or pistol) apparently is hard and dangerous (since the Imperium refuses to have a lower power plasma weapon).
   
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I mean starship and Titan plasma reactors aren't easy things to produce or maintain. If you push it just a little bit too far it atomises everything within a fairly large radius.
   
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The imperium is able to produce really small and powerful powerfield generators, but it is never taken in to account. In lore it may matter that a NDK powerfield is more efficient and that the pilot may even enhance its power himself, but in the rules it is just a regular inv. Same with stuff like ammo for weapons or reload speed depending on weapon type. Chaos plasma guns are different design then imperial ones, but the stats are the same.

Plus there are forces in the w40k world that use powerfields for all their members, the necromunda spyres rig users or the cardinal guard of the imperial church.

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The master of the most stealthy sniper chapter, does not wear an iron halo force field. In the rules he has a cover save of 4+ but no special save in close combat. Force fields do seem to be relevant for stealth.


 A Town Called Malus wrote:
best way to successfully hide in the battlefield is to make your profile as small as possible and utilise camouflage. Needless to say 8 foot tall slabs of


For air strikes and artillery, the things that actually threaten marines, the would have to use concealment. A company of man-size slow moving guard is easy to target with these things. The equivalent of marines is only about 20 tall-man-sized targets who can jog at 20 mph through rough terrain is very difficult to target with air or artillery support. And the only hard number the current codexes give is an average 7 feet, which is rounding up according to this picture. If that is true that sub-seven number, and let’s say that’s only hypothetical so we stay on topic, then they’re as easy to hide as a guardsman in combat boots and a fur shako, but with far fewer and more skilled marines.

(Fixed link)

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/02 21:34:09


 
   
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Regular Dakkanaut




Curvaceous wrote:
The master of the most stealthy sniper chapter, does not wear an iron halo force field. In the rules he has a cover save of 4+ but no special save in close combat. Force fields do seem to be relevant for stealth.


Given an Iron Halo is a conversion field which produces giant flashes of light, that does not surprise me!
   
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Regular Dakkanaut





Sorry mate, but SM are as concept quite stupid if you thing about their feasibility, because they are too big, heavy and loud to be efectively concealed or to trasverse by dense terrain... So they are basically useless as infantry troops beyond poster boy propaganda duty.

BTW hitting with artillery a target moving at 20MPH was not complicated in 1940...so imagine for Eldar, Taus or Necrons.

The best way to defend your space ship from a Marine assault is to have human size doors and corridors.

If you go beyond bolter porn marines make no sense.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/08/02 21:44:38


 
   
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Yes, because those tanks had to stop to shot. Plus a PzkW IV is a bit bigger then a space marine. If war ships were able to use dazzle camo, then I am sure marines can do it too. From the last time I checked they are still smaller then a light cruiser or a destroyer.

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Karol wrote:
Yes, because those tanks had to stop to shot. Plus a PzkW IV is a bit bigger then a space marine. If war ships were able to use dazzle camo, then I am sure marines can do it too. From the last time I checked they are still smaller then a light cruiser or a destroyer.


dazzle camo was only partially effective, and provided zero concealment, but was mainly intended to confuse the visual sighting of torpedos fired form subs (ie an observer with a poor viewpoint) by masking the exact coruse and heading of the ship. it bears no relation to the use of camo for protecting a space marine in combat form being seen.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/02 22:00:09


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We should also remember that from a lore POV, power armor is WAY better than it is on the tabletop.

It’s walking tank level, shrugging off anything less then AV firepower. Why would you need a refractor field on top of that? Most of the time your armor is going to laugh off anything the battle tosses at you.

Officers and specialist might need that extra protection, as they tend to be at the pointy end of things, and tangle with things like ork warlords and hive tyrants.

--

Yes, I know plot armor is variable. One day you are a god on the battlefield, untouched by any foe. The next you and your squad are scythed down like wheat in one volley. And what will happen on any given day is up to the author and the focus characters. So it’s hard to pin down exactly how “good” SM power armor is.

But it’s supposed to be really darn good stuff. Top of the line, best of the best.

   
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xerxeskingofking wrote:
Karol wrote:
Yes, because those tanks had to stop to shot. Plus a PzkW IV is a bit bigger then a space marine. If war ships were able to use dazzle camo, then I am sure marines can do it too. From the last time I checked they are still smaller then a light cruiser or a destroyer.


dazzle camo was only partially effective, and provided zero concealment, but was mainly intended to confuse the visual sighting of torpedos fired form subs (ie an observer with a poor viewpoint) by masking the exact coruse and heading of the ship. it bears no relation to the use of camo for protecting a space marine in combat form being seen.


we do see examples of marines in camo so we know they'll use it when nesscary (just as often as not they want you to see them coming as they can tank most infantry weapons and would thus be absolutely terrifying rushing at you at likely ~30 MPH)

people constantly claim camo wouldn't work on marines, but I question that, seriously question it.

we camoufloge TANKS, and apparently the camo works so there's no reason it'd not work on Marines.


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Regular Dakkanaut




Camo works on tanks because tank combat engagement ranges are huge (1km or even further)... SM are supposed to engage at close quarters... Basic Camo on them will be mainly for aesthetic use... Even if they use some sort of high tech invisibility cloaking device the SM need to supress the huge noise a 300kg metal monster is going to produce when moving rapidly... Also SM use as a basic weapon an automatic high caliber self propelled rocket launcher (bolters) which also create huge noise, so every time they fire they will be inmediatly located from far away.

Basically a SM has the concealment and mobility capabilitiea of a Hummbee armed with a 50 cal... Imagine 10 of those doing a stealth mission... They are useless as infantry in a tactical sense.

From any feasible military POV SMs are a joke... All their "strenghts" (speed and durability) are surpass by far by their noisiness and inhability to conceal properly due to their huge size (not counting on their huge thermal and energy signal)... you shouldnt not overthink or take them seriously.
   
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^Tanks and vehicles be used in urban combat, yo.

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Vatsetis wrote:
Camo works on tanks because tank combat engagement ranges are huge (1km or even further)... SM are supposed to engage at close quarters... Basic Camo on them will be mainly for aesthetic use... Even if they use some sort of high tech invisibility cloaking device the SM need to supress the huge noise a 300kg metal monster is going to produce when moving rapidly... Also SM use as a basic weapon an automatic high caliber self propelled rocket launcher (bolters) which also create huge noise, so every time they fire they will be inmediatly located from far away.

Weird considering Chapters like the Raven Guard and Raptors somehow manage to specialise in stealth warfare even before Primaris Phobos units were introduced. There are also weapons like Stalker Bolters that are specifically designed for sniper and stealth work.

Basically a SM has the concealment and mobility capabilitiea of a Hummbee armed with a 50 cal... Imagine 10 of those doing a stealth mission... They are useless as infantry in a tactical sense.

Yes because all infantry are stealth infantry.

From any feasible military POV SMs are a joke... All their "strenghts" (speed and durability) are surpass by far by their noisiness and inhability to conceal properly due to their huge size (not counting on their huge thermal and energy signal)... you shouldnt not overthink or take them seriously.

Almost like Astartes are used as rapid strike units intended for decapitation/seek and destroy missions rather than wandering through a jungle waiting for Genestealers to jump out of the trees.
   
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 AnomanderRake wrote:
(Scourges and Corsairs, two of the sub-cultures with the least resources and backing, can both have everyone in 4+ armour)


Not sure where you're getting that Scourges, the sub-faction that goes through a self-funded exceedingly expensive procedure to become how they are, that is used by every faction of Drukhari society as messengers, who are illegal to kill, and are all given rare and expensive Ghostplate to protect them while doing their job, have the least resources and backing.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/02 23:22:12


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 Insectum7 wrote:
^Tanks and vehicles be used in urban combat, yo.

Yes, but usually only with infantry cover as they tend to be blind, easy to roadblock, and not well suited to dealing with attacks fired into their roofs from nearby rooftops and balconies.
   
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 A Town Called Malus wrote:
 Saber wrote:
Yeah, the refractor field would makes it harder for the bearer to hide. Since hiding is the best way to survive on the battlefield (at least in the real world) the refractor field would probably be a net-negative.


But the best way to successfully hide in the battlefield is to make your profile as small as possible and utilise camouflage. Needless to say 8 foot tall slabs of beef wearing brightly coloured bulky armour which features zero designs to disrupt the silhouette are gonna find that quite hard.


However, logic does have a role to play in 40K. And even when it doesn't have a role, the setting possesses a certain sort of logic all its own. Consider the following:

1) It's not too difficult to hide tanks and artillery pieces in the real world, so hiding something the size of a Space Marine would be fairly easy.

2) However, Space Marines generally don't try to hide; they wear fancy colors and make lots of noise in order to terrify their foes (and because the 40K setting allows for that sort of madness).

3) Sometimes, though, they do try to hide, and use technology and psychic powers to camouflage themselves. Almost every kind of Space Marine does this.

4) Some Space Marines even emphasize stealth above all else. Some (e.g. Night Lords, Alpha Legion) combine being sneaky with being scary.

5) Almost every kind of Space Marine makes use of other sorts of real world battle tactics that would seemingly run contrary to their identity as scary shouting space clowns, such as setting ambushes, using fortifications, and employing massed barrages from (orbital) artillery.

6) In the early editions of the game, when the lore for the refractor field was penned, it was possible for troops to "hide" and sneak around the battlefield unseen. Even Space Marines could do this.

What does it all add up to? Damned if I know, but I have my opinions.

Madness is however an affliction which in war carries with it the advantage of surprise - Winston Churchill 
   
 
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