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Issues with combat.


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#1 Kavukavu

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 12:23 PM

Hello folks, I'm hoping I could get some assistance refining combat in deathwatch.

 

Currently I'm finding that combat is too quick and too severe in the the flow.Too often I'm having a hard time scaling combat to be fun and challenging. For example I recently had a Carnifex chasing my squad of 5 Deathwatch up an elevator shaft. Looking at the stats, should the Carnifex ever truly reach the squad they will essentially take one hit and die. The either forces a lot of fate point spending or straight up death of a character, which isn't fun.

    On the other hand if I give the squad a turn before the Carnifex can reach them to lay into him, the Carnifex will die before he ever reaches the squad, making one of the most fearsome Tyrannids trivial. Is that balance deliberate? I'm finding it very challenging to have a fun encounter involving a big monster.
Hordes seem to help in stabilizing the do or die problem with the combat, but if all I'm doing is horde combat its frankly a little boring.

 

I feel a lot of the issue is also coming from the bizzaro damage sourcing. Devastator marines have 10 shots (6 now that I discovered the errata) and simply out-damage any other marine bar-none due to the low-risk of attacking at range compared to melee builds.

 

Have any of you encountered some of the issues? Am I doing something wrong with my combat? If not, are there house you guys use to change how combat and damage is meted? I feel that frankly in the way the group is doing combat, it simply isn't as fun as it potentially could be.


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#2 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 03:11 AM

Looking at the stats, should the Carnifex ever truly reach the squad they will essentially take one hit and die. The either forces a lot of fate point spending or straight up death of a character, which isn't fun.


Assuming it hits them...

Marines can actually take a fair punishment - a lot, lot more than just reading their wounds score suggests! The values you should bear in mind:

Scything Talons don't actually buff armour penetration (much).

Marine Aquilla-Pattern Armour will stop 6 points of damage. Toughness bonus another 8. A space marine usually has ~20 wounds.

So getting a space marine to 0 wounds with one hit requires 34 damage. But 0 wounds isn't 'dead'. About 7+ on the critical table is 'dead'. And marines have a Talent (True Grit) which halves critical damage, making that 14 points of critical damage.

So 'one-shotting' a marine requires something in the region of 48 damage in one hit. Do-able, but not easy, even for master-level opponents. Less than that may leave them on the floor bleeding, but hey, that's what the armour's pain suppressors are for!

Equally, don't get hit - marines can still dodge or parry, after all. And lastly, if they do take two hits in a row, that means a fate point burned. Don't be afraid to actually do this to your players! Death of a character is a big deal but fate points are essentially a 1-Up life; if they deserve to lose them, they lose them...

 

A full kill-team should generally suffer at least one critical wound over the course of a mission if combat is going to feel challenging. Otherwise it just becomes 'gunning down goons, the musical'.

 

 

 

As to the primacy of the devastator, there are two keys:

1)mix and match hordes and monsters. The devastator is good at killing one or the other (depending on his armament) but not both - even 1D10+12 struggles to do more than take the odd wound off an armoured monstrosity. A power sword is essentially a semi-auto weapon with extra damage (as per explosive rounds) but quite capable of stabbing something big.

2) Throw close quarter environments or sneaky foes; every so often, don't give them a chance to use that firepower.


Edited by Magnus Grendel, 18 September 2013 - 04:08 AM.

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#3 Kavukavu

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 11:06 AM

Thanks for the awesome reply Magnus, I'm still a little short on figuring out all the nuances of combat but you're right about how Marine health works far more diferently than advertised.

One of the things that comes up, and maybe its my writings fault comes from my tendency of liking long duration campaigns, where the attrition will eventually wear down the equipment of the squad. Currently however the squad is without an apothacary, is it then normal that my PC's rely on healing through fate points? It may just be a case of reminding them of the case that they can use that.

Now when it comes to big creatures (Carnifex's, Bloodthirsters, Greater unclean ones etc.) I like to sometimes put them solo so the encounter has a big focus on them. When it comes to these fights, there is usually little chance of "hiding" them, would it be reasonable then to simply increase the creatures wounds?

#4 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 11:29 AM

One of the things that comes up, and maybe its my writings fault comes from my tendency of liking long duration campaigns, where the attrition will eventually wear down the equipment of the squad. Currently however the squad is without an apothacary, is it then normal that my PC's rely on healing through fate points? It may just be a case of reminding them of the case that they can use that.

Remind them that they can, but it's normal that you don't get healing at all.... 40k is not a universe of healing potions and clerics.

 

Suggestions:

1) Advise one or more non-apothecaries to get Medicae. Not crucial but a good idea.

2) As noted, remind the players that they can spend (not burn) fate points to recover wounds.

3) If giant stompy monster hits a marine and does 30-40 wounds, this will generally remove a limb/eye/rib. It is not narratively unreasonable that this impact will also send them flying across the room - meaning the giant stompy monster will now be focusing on someone else. You can always give the unlucky party an augmetic replacement after the mission - being able to say that the marine 'lost his arm to a bio-titan on Castobel' adds quite the bit of history!

 

 

 

Now when it comes to big creatures (Carnifex's, Bloodthirsters, Greater unclean ones etc.) I like to sometimes put them solo so the encounter has a big focus on them. When it comes to these fights, there is usually little chance of "hiding" them, would it be reasonable then to simply increase the creatures wounds?

Is this seriously a problem? Carnifici have 100 wounds, toughness 18 and something like armour 10, if I remember right.

 

Even with 1D10+12, Pen 5, Tearing, a heavy bolter round will struggle to hurt it - I think the average round does about 20 damage against 23 damage reduction. Even a Krak missile will only do 10 wounds or so to it through its toughness.

 

Even throwing in mighty shot, a fex should be able to run straight through three or four turns of fire from the entire kill-team without too much ado. What are your players armed with?

 

Things that might be relevant - we've forgotten them on occasions!

 

1) Heavy bolters use hellfire shells - single shot big blasts. No autofiring hellfire through a heavy bolter.

2) A scything talon armed fex is presumably running straight at you. Don't forget the to-hit penalty for a running target - which almost cancels out the bonus for its size.

3) Zero wounds isn't dead for a master-level opponent either.

4) Zero wounds really isn't dead for a Hive Tyrant, who comes with two fate points.

5) Tearing doesn't carry over into righteous fury rolls. It's just an extra D10.


Edited by Magnus Grendel, 18 September 2013 - 11:33 AM.


#5 pearldrum1

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 10:23 PM

A full kill-team should generally suffer at least one critical wound over the course of a mission if combat is going to feel challenging. Otherwise it just becomes 'gunning down goons, the musical'.

 

 

I LoL`d



#6 bogi_khaosa

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 02:50 PM

 

One of the things that comes up, and maybe its my writings fault comes from my tendency of liking long duration campaigns, where the attrition will eventually wear down the equipment of the squad. Currently however the squad is without an apothacary, is it then normal that my PC's rely on healing through fate points? It may just be a case of reminding them of the case that they can use that.

Remind them that they can, but it's normal that you don't get healing at all.... 40k is not a universe of healing potions and clerics.

 

Suggestions:

1) Advise one or more non-apothecaries to get Medicae. Not crucial but a good idea.

2) As noted, remind the players that they can spend (not burn) fate points to recover wounds.

3) If giant stompy monster hits a marine and does 30-40 wounds, this will generally remove a limb/eye/rib. It is not narratively unreasonable that this impact will also send them flying across the room - meaning the giant stompy monster will now be focusing on someone else. You can always give the unlucky party an augmetic replacement after the mission - being able to say that the marine 'lost his arm to a bio-titan on Castobel' adds quite the bit of history!

 

 

 

Now when it comes to big creatures (Carnifex's, Bloodthirsters, Greater unclean ones etc.) I like to sometimes put them solo so the encounter has a big focus on them. When it comes to these fights, there is usually little chance of "hiding" them, would it be reasonable then to simply increase the creatures wounds?

Is this seriously a problem? Carnifici have 100 wounds, toughness 18 and something like armour 10, if I remember right.

 

Even with 1D10+12, Pen 5, Tearing, a heavy bolter round will struggle to hurt it - I think the average round does about 20 damage against 23 damage reduction. Even a Krak missile will only do 10 wounds or so to it through its toughness.


 

 

Mark of the Xenos Carnifexes are designed for heavy bolters that do 2d10+10, not 1d10+12.

 

Normal post-errata bolters will not hurt quite a few of the things in MotX, which is quite contrary to fluff.



#7 Adeptus-B

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 06:23 PM

Normal post-errata bolters will not hurt quite a few of the things in MotX, which is quite contrary to fluff.

 

Not as contrary as the way pre-Errata heavy bolters could easily drop Hive Tyrants in a single round...



#8 bogi_khaosa

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 07:56 AM

 

Normal post-errata bolters will not hurt quite a few of the things in MotX, which is quite contrary to fluff.

 

Not as contrary as the way pre-Errata heavy bolters could easily drop Hive Tyrants in a single round...

 

 

That's also true.

 

What I have found works well is to retain the pre-errata weapon damage and RoF stats BUT use the BC/OW combat modifiers. This way a heavy bolter (or regular boltgun for that matter) will hurt something like a Carnifex, but will not be able to blow it away.

 

The real problem is how autofire works in Deathwatch, not the weapon stats. IMO.



#9 Kshatriya

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 01:25 PM

I've switched to BC/OW combat modifiers and action economy. I'm also using post-errata weapons, though I've increased RoF on some of them to the pre-errata levels because I feel like bolters should be full-auto weapons. It seems to work pretty well overall. The PCs kick all kinds of ass but frequently get slammed around a lot as well, and not just by hordes.

 

Than again, I've completely homebrewed the Cohesion system, being quite unsatisfied with the RAW on that note (especially the unlimited cap on the amound you can carry around).


Edited by Kshatriya, 13 October 2013 - 01:25 PM.


#10 bogi_khaosa

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 04:37 PM

I've switched to BC/OW combat modifiers and action economy. I'm also using post-errata weapons, though I've increased RoF on some of them to the pre-errata levels because I feel like bolters should be full-auto weapons. It seems to work pretty well overall. The PCs kick all kinds of ass but frequently get slammed around a lot as well, and not just by hordes.

 

Than again, I've completely homebrewed the Cohesion system, being quite unsatisfied with the RAW on that note (especially the unlimited cap on the amound you can carry around).

 

The problem with this is that bolt weapons really do become too weak due to how DW Unnatural Toughness works, It is not hard to make a Marine that is literally impervious to bolter fire.

 

Toughness 60 (not that hard) = TB12 + power amour + armour-monger + The Flesh Is Weak 1 = can't be damaged by bolters


Edited by bogi_khaosa, 13 October 2013 - 04:38 PM.


#11 Kshatriya

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 09:15 PM

Isn't that a example more about Techmarine-specific concerns (TFIW + armour-monger)?

 

I'll be progressing further into The Emperor Protects shortly, and pitting them up against CSMs for the first time this campaign, so that'll be a point I really have to evaluate. But I really have no intention to go back to the pre-errata 2d10+X system. Would you recommend just a bigger static multiplier, if you've had problems?

 

Just as a side-note, I ran a short involving Rak'Gol recently. I straight-up used their stats from Rogue Trader (Magnitude 20-30 Hordes of Marauders and some Reaver solos, again using OW action-rules but also using their weapon stats from RT's Koronus Bestiary, modified only by Horde bonus damage in some cases) and Sweet Merciful Emperor did they tear Astartes up something fierce.


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#12 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 04:12 AM

Isn't that a example more about Techmarine-specific concerns (TFIW + armour-monger)?

It is. However TB12 + 9 points for powered armour (or 10 if some lucky bugger rolled errant plate) plus some cover, is stupidly hard to hurt at times even for a generic marine. My main complaint (and the think I most like in updates) is Unnatural Toughness (+4) rather than Unnatural Toughness (x2). It avoids the ridiculous difference in durability that a few 'pips' of toughness can generate.

 

I prefer the black crusade/only war rules, but (for simplicity) just sticking to the Deathwatch core rules at the moment. There are a couple of copies floating around the group with a printout of the living errata in the flyleaf so it's easier to stick with that.

 

To be honest, I've never found it too big a deal. A sufficiently large horde firing will normally do a couple of wounds but is unlikely to one-shot a marine. Which makes fighting hordes a battle of attrition, whilst heavy weapons and monstrous enemies are more "dodge it or lose body parts", as it should be.


Edited by Magnus Grendel, 14 October 2013 - 04:14 AM.


#13 pearldrum1

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 05:53 PM

My game has yet to start, but I am telling everyone to use the errata in order to avoid one-hitting master enemies. I don`t have access to either BC or OW, so what would you all suggest to avoid having enemies become bolter-proof?



#14 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 01:35 AM

Nothing. The enemies which 'become bolter-proof' are those that should be pretty much bolter-proof anyway.

 

A Tyranid warrior is vulnerable to bolter shells (especially kraken shots). A carnifex isn't. This is perfectly correct, to my mind.

 

Even then, righteous fury has a non-trivial chance of hurting it, especially if you have bolter mastery or are pouring hellfire shells into it.

 

It's essentially a walking tank, it should require krak grenades and heavy weapons fire to drop it.


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#15 Kshatriya

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 09:52 AM

Yeah, I am fine with it. Not every weapon is appropriate for every enemy. For a carnifex, you either pack a melta/lascannon, have a Tyrannic War Veteran in the party or get creative. But that lascannon isn't going to help you much if you face tons of gaunts.

 

I switched to the Only War version of Righteous Fury (for the most part - Volatile still does a bonus d10 damage automatically for example) and I feel like those crit effects go a long way to making fights more fun and tactical than just boosting damage to insane degrees.



#16 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:00 PM

I switched to the Only War version of Righteous Fury (for the most part - Volatile still does a bonus d10 damage automatically for example) and I feel like those crit effects go a long way to making fights more fun and tactical than just boosting damage to insane degrees.

 

Whilst sometimes you need that damage bonus, I agree about the critical effects. One of the things I like best about black crusade is that whilst chaos marines are essentially unkillable by minor enemies, they have a tendancy to walk out of a fight covered in minor injuries.

 

It makes more sense to me than ....fine....fine..fine...fine...left arm gone...dead  where the first four bolt rounds to detonate inside your body somehow don't do any meaningful injury, and (even with true grit) the critical track can be mostly skipped past in a single hit.



#17 pearldrum1

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:08 AM

I need to get my hands on Only War



#18 bogi_khaosa

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 03:53 PM

It's not a tech-marine specific issue and it's not just carnifexes.

 

In Jericho Reach, Hive Guard cannot be injured by 1d10+9 Pen 4 bolters.

 

A Pyrovore will have to be hit something like twenty times.



#19 pearldrum1

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:22 PM

It's not a tech-marine specific issue and it's not just carnifexes.

 

In Jericho Reach, Hive Guard cannot be injured by 1d10+9 Pen 4 bolters.

 

A Pyrovore will have to be hit something like twenty times.

 

What are your recommendations for fixing the problem? How do you get around it? Perhaps lowering those particular enemies armor ratings or toughness bonuses? Or keeping them the same and increasing the damage modifiers on the weapons?

 

Edit: For someone who owns neither OW or BC.


Edited by pearldrum1, 24 October 2013 - 05:23 PM.


#20 bogi_khaosa

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 09:12 PM

 

It's not a tech-marine specific issue and it's not just carnifexes.

 

In Jericho Reach, Hive Guard cannot be injured by 1d10+9 Pen 4 bolters.

 

A Pyrovore will have to be hit something like twenty times.

 

What are your recommendations for fixing the problem? How do you get around it? Perhaps lowering those particular enemies armor ratings or toughness bonuses? Or keeping them the same and increasing the damage modifiers on the weapons?

 

Edit: For someone who owns neither OW or BC.

 

 

What I found worked pretty well (in limited experience, just a few combats) was to combine things: use the pre-errata weapon stats AND the OW/BS combat modifiers (and you errated Righteous Fury of course). You can still damage the beasties, you can still spray autofire, but you're not going to get the billion hits that make autofire bolters so silly.

 

The only thing I didn't shift over was Righteous Fury, because Deathwatch Training and Volatile are linked to it.

 

EDIT: whoops you don't have BC or OW, sorry. ;(


Edited by bogi_khaosa, 24 October 2013 - 09:12 PM.





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