So I might be DM'ing AoLS in a few weeks, which would be the first time anyone in our gaming group will be playing Deathwatch.
It's both the smartest and the most problematic pre-made, because while the other two pre-mades for Deathwatch clearly state how many players and between which ranks they're intended for, AoLS just point out that "The DM should figure out which threat level the group can handle and adjust accordingly.
That's somewhat difficult for someone who have no experience with the system.
So, some background for those of you who doesn't know what it is, it's basically "Oh shit, we're stranded on a fricckin Space Hulk with low supplies and need to get of this thing somehow, before we're killed by tyranids/orks/mutants/enslavers/friendly fire". Somewhat in that order. The characters will be running low on ammunition, they'll have two clips of ammo/1 fully loaded heavy weapon (for the Devastator, if any) and can scrounge for 1d10 additional worth of Renown, +1d10 per degree of success. I figure since Combat Webbing is 3 Renown that gives 2 clips, that's a good benchmark.
The primary antagonists on the Space Hulk are tyranids, with Ripper swarms, Horma/Termagaunts, Genestealers as well as a Lictor BBEG.
Now, I'm somewhat confident that I can gauge how many Hordes I can throw at my players, since I can start of easy and increase if neccessary.
However, for those of you that are familiar with the module knows about the Beast of Thule (the BBEG) and the genestealers... I'm not sure at what Rank the group needs to be to have a shot at succeeding the pre-made.
Since the other pre-mades assume 5 players, I'll assume as much about this one. "Rising Tempest", another pre-made, recommend characters of rank 3 and above and there's a common NPC between RT and AoLS which the author suggests could be the reason why they're there (they've played through RT and the captain they're escorting was impressed with how they handled themselves in RT, so they're now his squad in AoLS). The third pre-made is "The Emperor Protects", which just recommend that the characters are somewhere between rank 1 and 4.
So with all that said, my question is for anyone familiar with Deathwatch or the adventure in question, at what rank would you recommend the characters to be, since they'll be cut of from external support?
The number of players I have right now are 3, with a slight possibility of up to 3 more, but that's very uncertain. I am considering adding an Apothecary NPC if they're only 3 players, since that's the best "class" for an DMPC in my opinion. The way it's shaping up, the group will probably be a Ultramarine Tactical Marine (squad leader), an Assault Marine of some sort (Blood Angel would be good, but the player is definitely more of a Raven Guard) and a Salamander Devastator.
My thoughts are Rank 4, perhaps with some more additional XP to spend on goodies, but maybe not. Many abilities tend to improve at Rank 4 and I think it might be best to err on the side of caution for their survival's sake. Not that I'm going to pull any punches that I decide to throw, mind you.
I do have a friend that I almost would pay to see playing a Chaplain, considering the religious preachers and orators he's played in the past, so that could be an idea if he's tagging along. That's rank 4+3000XP, which would be a very competent character level.
Any ideas, thoughts or experiences running Deathwatch, AoLS or other, would be welcome.