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So, how do power fists work?

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#61 Brand



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Posted 04 June 2011 - 09:33 AM

Nathiel said:

And I see no problem with a concerted effort between the entire kill team to deal with a master level baddie. I believe that you're doing it wrong if it's only the one bad guy and nothing else to deal with. 

Absolutely.  But there's a thin line between not playing the baddies as easy idiots and throwing so much out the team is swamped and killed.  If your Hive Tyrant is running with a pair of Carnifex bodyguards and a few thousand hormagaunts to run interference, hand out the pre-errata Heavy Bolters because your team is in deep trouble.  Since every major opponent in the setting I've seen has above animal intelligence, it seems better to me to play them smart rather than relying on a bunch of help to save their butts (not to say they should be alone).  For melee-heavy enemies like the DP, the TH just makes them an easy kill.  The DP wants to get in melee, but if he does so the presence of the TH means that he's toast.

Teamwork is great, but the TH is simply too good as written.  Again, look at it compared to Relics - roughly half the Requisition and Renown requirement yet arguably even more powerful.  Does that make any sense at all?

#62 Face Eater

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 12:05 AM

N0-1_H3r3 said:

Face Eater said:

Really, since DoW and more recent models, I've taken it as wrote that it's a two handed weapon these days.


Yet the Space Marine codex (released after Dawn of War 2) still has them available as single-handed weapons to a significant number of characters in the armylist, without anything to so much as imply that they're two-handed weapons (unlike the Relic Blade, which can't be combined with any other melee weapon because it's two-handed).

Personal preferences are one thing, but assuming that everyone else should believe likewise is far beyond just personal preferences.

The Thunder Hammer is, and always has been, a weapon of considerable power, more potent than a Power Fist and consistently one of the deadliest melee weapons in the Astartes arsenal. If they're more destructive than power fists and most other melee weapons available... that's deliberate. If they can be wielded in one hand like they can in the wargame, that's deliberate.

It is each individual's discretion as to whether or not to house rule that to suit your own preferences... but the game works the game works.

I could have sworn I said 'I've taken' in that last post.

Interesting you should mention the Relic blade being two handed because, you can still use it with a shield (combat or storm) in the TT, it could as easily represent that no model should have more than one relic blade.

But in the case of the TH it doesn't work, with the same renown and requisition costs there's no point taking a power fist. All those models and characters that use powerfists... idiots apparently, they could have had a TH with improved damage and completely OP special rule. 


#63 Siranui



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Posted 06 June 2011 - 12:44 AM

N0-1_H3r3 said:

It is each individual's discretion as to whether or not to house rule that to suit your own preferences... but [if?] the game works the game works.

But it doesn't. That's the problem. As a single handed weapon, the TH is broken and pointless, both in terms of power and in Requisition cost.

There's also no consideration for size as regards knock-down and stunning, which leads to more zany antics.

Also: I thought From Beyond prevented stunning at first, too. But if you check it... it doesn't!

I don't see a problem with a concerted effort from a kill-team taking down a big critter, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about one marine with a TH owning it pretty much single-handed, with the rest of the team just dealing with the 'chaff'.

#64 Nathiel



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Posted 06 June 2011 - 03:16 AM

'From Beyond' protects it from all the mental stuff. It's 'the stuff of nightmares' that protects from all the physical stuff including stunning unless it's from a psychic power, forceweapon, or holy attack. p. 135

#65 Wintermutt



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Posted 09 July 2014 - 10:18 AM

Hi folks. This subject has drawn me out of the dark recesses of the internet, because it's been bothering me. Ok, so dropping the discussion on the uberness of the thunderhammer and going back to the original question...


The weapons table says they (and chainfists) double the SB that gets added to damage, and their text description says that power fists increase the wielder's unnatural strength multiplier by one.

Now, applying both of those would mean that on a marine with 50ish strength a hit would do 2d10+34 damage per hit, before taking into account any other bonuses from talents and weapon quality.


[2d10 + ((5*3)+2)*2]

Normal SB 5 from 50~ strength, tripled from Unnatural Strength x(2+1), plus 2 from armour (+20), all that doubled due to powerfist description.

And well, this seems rather excessive. While I can totally see it as something that'd wreck a tank, it renders other melee weapons irrelevant as damage dealers.

Of course, you could also assume that the "doubles strength" is an extension of the "increases unnatural strength by 1" description in the text, but going by the newest Living Errata that'd mean that Thunder Hammers are better than Power Fists in every way, since they cost the same, yet do more damage and add the perma-stun concussion ability in addition to being more versatile (as they allow the use of the hand outside of combat).

So, uh... thoughts?


And then to the pretty well accepted answer to the matter...




I'm not sure that feels quite right. Let me demonstrate by giving some concrete examples - using the same basic numbers Nephilm used. Four identical marines with S 50 are fighting those pesky 'nids in melee (because it seemed like a good idea at the time). One's armed with a combat knife, one with a thunderhammer, one with a chain fist and one with a power fist. To keep the example simple, I'm assuming that there are no talents or traits that are impacting damage output. Oh, and for the record, I'm using the errata'd weapon stats.


So first off, the combat knife. Pretty simple really: 1D10 +12 damage [SB = (5*2)+2]


Now the 'hammer's a bit more complicated (but not really) because of the increased strength multiplier: 2D10+22 [SB (5*3)+2]


I don't think there are any arguments up to this point, but now it gets really interesting. The chain fist and power fist both get the footnote "double the wielder's Strength Bonus when adding to Melee Damage". But only the power fist is noted as having the Unnatural Strength modifier increase. So I'm not buying the argument that the two rules are one and the same. Also, if the rules were the same - shouldn't the thunderhammer have the "double Strength Bonus" footnote as well?


So, RAW the chain fist would be throwing down something like 2D10+26 [SB={(5*2)+3}*2] Remembering that a chainfist can only be mounted on a terminator (so we're looking at S +30, not S +20).


And RAW, the power fist would be racking up something like 2D10+34 [SB={(5*3)+2}*2)


Now that might not be RAI, but as written (in the current errata) that seems to be the correct interpretation - unless I'm missing something?


And personally, I kinda like the idea. At first glance it seemed incredibly OP, on on further thought - I'm not so sure. Sure it makes the power fist king of the DPS (and the chain fist isn't looking too shabby in this scenario either), but it weirdly sort of brings things back into balance. Every weapon should bring something different to the table - otherwise the game gets a little less interesting. It doesn't matter how many dozens of weapons the game offers if there are a handful of OP loadouts that people gravitate towards. (And yes, there will always be people who will make decisions based on fluff and role-playing, but just as may [if not more] will go for the 'cooler toys'.) If the power fist suddenly does huge amounts of damage, it offsets the fists downsides and makes it competitive with the 'hammer. Now there's a meaningful choice to be made - raw damage versus versatility. And that I can live with.

Edited by Wintermutt, 09 July 2014 - 10:33 AM.

#66 herichimo



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Posted 10 July 2014 - 01:38 AM

You seem to be missing the forest for the trees.


  • Page 136 of the Deathwatch Core rulebook (DW:C) states

"... select a Characteristic, and double its bonus. ... Each time you apply this trait to the same Characteristic, the Bonus multiplier increases by 1."


  • Table 5-8 on page 154 of the DW:C rulebook states

"† Chainfists and Power Fists double the wielder’s Strength Bonus when adding to Melee Damage"


  • Page 155 of the DW:C rulebook states

"A power fist adds a multiplier to the wielder’s Strength Bonus. (Note: A Space Marine already doubles his Strength Bonus from his Unnatural Strength Trait. Therefore, the Power Fist increases the multiplier by one, tripling the Space Marine’s Strength Bonus)" [sic]


    The entry on Unnatural Characteristics (UC) (p. 136) makes it clear how to deal with "doubling a characteristic". Table 5-8 identifies the powerfist and chainfist both double the S characteristic. The description of the power fist goes into exact details concerning the special rules for the weapon (which also applies, via the rules for UC on page 136 to the chainfist). The rules gurus at FFG has made it quite clear via numerous responses, all "doubling" of a stat already "doubled" is always just a +1 to the multiplier (X2 "doubled" becomes X3).


    Therefore a chainfist and powerfist adds 1 to the US of the wielder (essentially doubling the strength of a character without US, the "doubling strength" line originates from Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader where there aren't many character options for UC).



  • Page 3 of the Deathwatch Errata indicates the following special rule should be added to the Thunderhammer's description

"A Thunder Hammer adds a multiplier to the wielder’s Strength Bonus. (Note: A Space Marine already doubles his Strength Bonus from his Unnatural Strength Trait. Therefore, the Thunder Hammer increases the multiplier by one, tripling the Space Marine’s Strength Bonus.)"


    The errata does NOT mention the powerfist, or chainfist entries in the Deathwatch Core rulebook were to be changed or ignored. It also does NOT mention the powerfist "doubling" ignores the normal rules.


    Therefore, the powerfist and chainfist special rules, concerning UC "doubling" remain unchanged from DW:C. The Thunderhammer gains the "doubling" (+1 US) special rule since this was officially added to its description. The missing call-out for the thunderhammer in the errata melee weapon table is obviously a typo.


    The difference between the Thunderhammer and Power/Chainfist is how the US multiplier is applied. For the Thunderhammer, the only time it comes in play is when the weapon is actually inflicting damage on a target, since this is the only thing the Thunderhammer does. The power fist, though, is not just a weapon, it is also a giant hand, therefore anything you do with that hand gains the +1 multiplier to US. This means S characteristic tests, grapples, and (obviously) damage rolls. If you use the hand with the fist, you get a bonus. (Although the common sense rule would indicate the chainfirst doesn't give your grapple attempts tearing.)

#67 Wintermutt



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Posted 10 July 2014 - 03:30 PM

I respect your answer herichimo. You and ak are among the most prolific posters here. But really? The thunderhammer, chain fist and power fist are supposed to be treated the same (at least when it comes to determining SB)? The three weapons have two differently worded sets of rules - the thunderhammer uses one, the chain fist uses another - and the power fist actually uses BOTH rules. But the rules are actually one and the same?


And in the 4 or so years the game's been out (and after the number of times this question has been asked here on the official forums - and answered BOTH ways to boot) - it hasn't been errata'd? That tells me that one of a handful things is true:


a) The rules for the three weapons are intended to work differently (exactly as they read) and don't need to be errata'd. RAI=RAW. (Though an official clarification in this case would be nice.)

b) The rule is written badly. RAW =/= RAI, but FFG doesn't care. (I love FFG. I've playtested some FFG non-RPG stuff. I know people that work for 'em. Don't buy this one...)

c) The rule is written badly. RAW =/= RAI, but FFG is too busy working on new stuff to errata the rules (New stuff is always good, but how much time would it take to add a correction to the errata and post the new version? Or at least have their social media person write a forum post, which they've done for minor rules tweaks/clarifications in the past. Yeah, they would have to run the correction by someone else to look over it, I'm sure, but it's not like it would take months...)


I don't know, maybe they're saving up corrections until they have enough to make a new errata worthwhile - I know companies that do so. And that's fine. But, at this point,  I'm going to have to imagine that the errata's pretty set in stone. It hasn't been updated since May 9, 2011. (There's a very good reason the errata only covers the core rulebook and RoB.)


Now, on the other hand, I looked at the other 40k books that I had ready access to (DH, RT and BC) and guess what? All of the other versions have versions of the "double SB" footnote, but none had the note about increasing unnatural strength. Not neccesarily a surprise for DH or RT where unnatural characteristics are... well, uncommon. But no mention in BC is interesting. Maybe FFG removed the confusing double verbage. Or maybe it's a circumstance where the fluff dictated that tech that is cobbled together and/or 10000 years old tech (and has been somewhat poorly maintained) is inferior to well maintained astartes weaponry. Yeah, 'cause CSM never get the short end of the stick on the technology front... (though they are, ironically, better in some tech areas - because they're less slavish to tradition).


So, the tl;dr summary. I guess, after a couple of days on the forums, I'm still unsure of the correct ruling. I can see both sides of the argument, but (contrary to how the above statements may make it seem) neither is 100% compelling to me. I started looking at the rule and thinking "Surely that can't be right?That's OP...". But after thinking about it, I can see it has a place in the big picture - as a compelling counter to the "The thunderhammer is clearly the king of melee weapons" argument. It becomes a question of trade-offs, which I kinda like. The both have a place in the armoury, depending on personal style (and possibly mission dictates). Right now, if you forced me to pick one - I'd probably pick my current interpretation of RAW (though I'd still have a sneaking suspicion it wasn't RAI). And I guess this is where I'm going to stay unless a nice FFG person throws in an official response (and the errata gets an overdue update).

#68 herichimo



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Posted 11 July 2014 - 01:18 AM

The reason why Black Crusade does not have a rule concerning Unnatural Strength multipliers is simple. There are no Unnatural Strength multipliers in Black Crusade. This was done away with in that ruleset, instead Unnatural Strength (and other Unnatural Characteristics in the ruleset) simply add a set number of additional characteristic bonus points as outlined on page 144 of the Black Crusade rulebook. Example: Space Marines in Black Crusade and Only War recieve a +4 to their Strength and Toughness Bonuses as a result of having Unnatural Strength (4).


In Black Crusade, Page 163 we have the following:
Chainfist entry, 2nd to last sentance, "This weapon double’s the user’s Strength Bonus."
Powerfist entry, 2nd to last sentance, "This weapon doubles the user’s Strength Bonus."


So when you boil it down, the power/chainfists in Black Crusade function identically to those in Deathwatch as outlined above. The only thing which differs is how Unnatural Characteristics work, specifically via multipliers.


RAI and RAW are in agreement on this issue. When you apply a multiplier to an existing multiplier in Deathwatch, you ALWAYS ONLY add 1 to said multiplier as outlined in the Unnatural Characteristics rules in DW:C, and supported by numerous rulings by the FFG folks. For instance if you have 2 abilities you can use at the same time which state, "double your movement speed," you DO NOT get x4 move speed ( MS*2*2). You ONLY get x3 (MS*(2+1)). The same applies to the power fist, this is a UNIVERSAL rule in Deathwatch.


As I stated earlier though, the Thunderhammer only gets the +1 US on damage rolls. On the other hand, you can use the +1 US from the power/chainfist for anything you use that arm for. Climbing, grappling a target, prying open a door, opposed strength tests, lifting things, etc.; the extra US makes any Strength test 1 degree easier (essentially +10 to the roll) and gives more bonus DoS on opposed rolls*. Do not belittle the amazing versatility of such a tool, while the thunderhammer is only good at hitting things, the powerfist can be used for all sorts of stuff.


*Of course, if wearing 1 powerfist on one arm it cannot be combined with special rules of the other arm (+10 to strength tests from high quality bionics for instance). This is both for balance and naturally, the higher US level is already more powerful than the other bonus could hope to add to.
Also, while no official rules govern the use of a weapon in a powerfist the following are good guidelines, though I would still discourage it personally.
1: Attacks with the weapon suffer -30 to hit unless the weapon was designed for an Enourmous character.
2: The weapon uses its normal stats for damage. I.e. a weapon that does 1d10+2 pen 2 will still only do 1d10+2 pen 2.

3: The weapon does not gain the power field rule if it does not have it already.

4: The weapon gains the Unwieldy trait, and loses the Balanced or Unbalanced trait if it normally possesses either one.

5: The Attacker's Strength Bonus counts the same as if making attacks with the Powerfist (i.e. SB x3 for space marines).
6: The weapon may be destroyed from being used with more force than it was designed to use, on a jam (96+ natural to hit) the weapon is destroyed.

#69 borithan



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Posted 15 July 2014 - 05:18 AM

Siranui said:


The "conventional manner" isn't so conventional as you might think. The Thunder Hammer isn't specifically a two-handed weapon for non-Terminators in the wargame either, unlike the Relic Blade.

Doesn't the Relic Blade state it is "not usable with any other weapon", rather than being two handed? It certainly used to, specifically to allow Relic Blade + Storm Shield combos, while disallowing its use with other weapons.

#70 Nasheen



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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:03 PM

Siranui said:
The "conventional manner" isn't so conventional as you might think. The Thunder Hammer isn't specifically a two-handed weapon for non-Terminators in the wargame either, unlike the Relic Blade.

Doesn't the Relic Blade state it is "not usable with any other weapon", rather than being two handed? It certainly used to, specifically to allow Relic Blade + Storm Shield combos, while disallowing its use with other weapons.

The Relic Blade says that it requires two hands even for a Space Marine to wield it.

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