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Why is Toughness Bonus body-armour? Should it be changed?


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#1 Fgdsfg

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 03:45 AM

Now, this is something I've been thinking about for a while, and this has less to do with the interpretation of the rules of Only War than it has to do with a question of the rules validity or, I guess, right to be a rule.

I know how the rules work, the question is if they should work that way or not.

 

In Only War (and the entire WH40kRP line) Toughness confers a Toughness Bonus. This Toughness Bonus works much like Armour Points, and is subtracted from damage done.

Why is this? How is this functionally excused, narratively? At least when dealing with regular humans, I cannot wrap my head around it. In a way, it allows certain characters to be virtually immune to small-arms fire or knives based on.. what, exactly? That they are so tough they can just completely shrug it off?

I have never given it much thought until Lynata brought it up in a separate thread, as a personal pet-peeve, and I now realize that it's become a thing that irks me.

I have considered homebrewing a change where Toughness Bonus would simply add to the total Wounds of a Character instead of subtracting from damage received, but I'm unsure what all the functional side-effects of such an action would be.

I would preserve the original functionality of Toughness in the form of a Trait, so it can be assigned to characters where it makes sense (such as Orks or, arguably, Space Marines, and a variety of carapace-clad animals and whatnot).

So I'd like to pitch that homebrew to the lot of you, before I adopt it. Are there any critical flaws with making Toughness Bonus affect the total number of Wounds instead of basically adding to Armour Points? What side-effects can you think of?

I'd love any comments or musings on the subject.


Edited by Fgdsfg, 28 October 2013 - 04:33 AM.

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#2 TormDK

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 04:41 AM

My concern would be that the ~2-5 extra wounds you would get from that change, would last you one round compared to how the system is today.

 

Would you also be scaling down weapon damage, or would players be expected to roll up more than one character at a time? :)

 

In a system that uses different dice, I would agree with you - but since we only have the D10 to Work with in this product line, I'm not really certain it would do much on it's own, other than kill players even faster.



#3 LuciusT

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 05:39 AM

 

Why is this? How is this functionally excused, narratively? At least when dealing with regular humans, I cannot wrap my head around it. In a way, it allows certain characters to be virtually immune to small-arms fire or knives based on.. what, exactly? That they are so tough they can just completely shrug it off?

 

Pretty much, yes. The Toughness Bonus represents the character's ability to shrug off damage. However, an average person has their TB 3 negated by the equally average SB 3 in melee and by the +3 part of the 1d10+3 damage possessed by most small arms. So, it's really a non-thing until you get into significantly higher TB.

 

Therefore, I would say if you really want to do away with TB, you should also remove SB from melee damage and reduce firearms damage by 3. Give Ogryn, Orks, Space Marines and other such creatures the Natural Armor trait to reflect their superhuman toughness. Of course, all this really does is "penalize" those human character who invest in a 40+ Toughness (which they have done to the determent of other traits). 



#4 Simsum

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 07:54 AM

Hmmm...

I absolutely detest TB Soak. I hated it in WFRP1e, and that hatred has grown with every edition since. So yeah, getting rid of TB Soak would definitely make my day.

The problem is that it gets insanely complicated.

One possible way to deal with it, that probably has all sorts of problems of its own, is like this:
  • Remove TB Soak.
  • Subtract 5 points of Armour Penetration (down to 0) from all weapons.
  • Change Damage Dice from d0/d5 to d6/d3.
  • Add +1 Damage to all weapons.
I'm not sure if or how well it would work, and of course there's the obvious problems of introducing a new type of die, and having to modify each and every weapon profile.

#5 Fgdsfg

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:05 AM

My concern would be that the ~2-5 extra wounds you would get from that change, would last you one round compared to how the system is today.

Would you also be scaling down weapon damage, or would players be expected to roll up more than one character at a time? :)

In a system that uses different dice, I would agree with you - but since we only have the D10 to Work with in this product line, I'm not really certain it would do much on it's own, other than kill players even faster.

Character mortality isn't really an issue; after all, opponents would also die more easily, and it is up to the GM to eyeball encounters accordingly (depending on his whim).
 

 

Why is this? How is this functionally excused, narratively? At least when dealing with regular humans, I cannot wrap my head around it. In a way, it allows certain characters to be virtually immune to small-arms fire or knives based on.. what, exactly? That they are so tough they can just completely shrug it off?


Pretty much, yes. The Toughness Bonus represents the character's ability to shrug off damage. However, an average person has their TB 3 negated by the equally average SB 3 in melee and by the +3 part of the 1d10+3 damage possessed by most small arms. So, it's really a non-thing until you get into significantly higher TB.

Therefore, I would say if you really want to do away with TB, you should also remove SB from melee damage and reduce firearms damage by 3. Give Ogryn, Orks, Space Marines and other such creatures the Natural Armor trait to reflect their superhuman toughness. Of course, all this really does is "penalize" those human character who invest in a 40+ Toughness (which they have done to the determent of other traits).

 

I don't really want to "do away with TB", per see; I would like to readjust it and have it apply to something other than "skin-soak". Whereas Strength Bonus (or, in my homebrew, Agility Bonus for some weapons) makes sense in applying to melee weapons, I just don't see the sense of Toughness Bonus applying to a soaking mechanic.

The TB-Soak vs. SB-Damage counterpoint only makes sense as long as you are dealing with;

  • Relatively comparable characters of roughly the same "power-level"; when dealing with player characters and antagonists, the situation where an "average" person fights another "average" person is unlikely to happen, especially over a longer stretch of time. Furthermore, the relevance of this counterpoint is further mitigated by the fact that the greatest impact of the removal of "TB-Soak" is not when Average Joe:s are fighting eachother, but when the differences in Characteristics would be considerable.
  • Melee weapons. Ranged weapons doesn't benefit from this extra SB-Damage at all (or anything similar).

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#6 Robomummy

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:21 AM

I like the Idea of increased wounds instead of damage reduction, it basically preforms the same role but there is more of a threat to the character. My group has a commander with a toughness of 90+, I have begun to shift away from combat to more narrative challenges to balance this out but most of the stuff I send against them cant hurt him very much.


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#7 Fgdsfg

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:45 AM

I like the Idea of increased wounds instead of damage reduction, it basically preforms the same role but there is more of a threat to the character. My group has a commander with a toughness of 90+, I have begun to shift away from combat to more narrative challenges to balance this out but most of the stuff I send against them cant hurt him very much.

How the hell did a Commander end up with a Toughness of 90+? o_o


Edited by Fgdsfg, 28 October 2013 - 09:46 AM.

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#8 Simsum

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:07 AM

Ranged weapons have damage modifiers too.

Anyway, the problem is that if you don't do something about the damage range, you'll end up with hits frequently doing staggering amounts of damage. Simply removing TB Soak is probably not so very different from giving every possible opponent RF on 8+

PCs aren't going to last long against that sort of thing.

A good Chainsword hit from Mr.Average against a Flak Vest'ed trooper, for example, is 17 Wounds. Enough to send a PC into the Criticals in 1 hit.

#9 Fgdsfg

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:15 AM

[...]

A good Chainsword hit from Mr.Average against a Flak Vest'ed trooper, for example, is 17 Wounds. Enough to send a PC into the Criticals in 1 hit.

Sounds reasonable. You just got hit with a weaponized chainsaw and you were wearing nothing but Flak, after all.


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#10 Robomummy

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:36 AM

 

I like the Idea of increased wounds instead of damage reduction, it basically preforms the same role but there is more of a threat to the character. My group has a commander with a toughness of 90+, I have begun to shift away from combat to more narrative challenges to balance this out but most of the stuff I send against them cant hurt him very much.

How the hell did a Commander end up with a Toughness of 90+? o_o

 

he put almost all his experience into toughness


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#11 LuciusT

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 11:04 AM

 

 


I don't really want to "do away with TB", per see; I would like to readjust it and have it apply to something other than "skin-soak". Whereas Strength Bonus (or, in my homebrew, Agility Bonus for some weapons) makes sense in applying to melee weapons, I just don't see the sense of Toughness Bonus applying to a soaking mechanic.

 

Probably because I've played in other systems which used similar mechanics, so I don't have any problem with Toughness applying to soak. To my mind it follows exactly the same logic as Strength (or Agility) applying to damage. If your physical strength influences the amount of damage you can deal out, then why not you physical toughness influence the amount damage you can take.


Edited by LuciusT, 28 October 2013 - 11:05 AM.


#12 Adeptus-B

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 11:04 AM

Why does Toughness Bonus work like 'skin armour'? The short answer is 'tradition'.

 

Longer answer: FFG doesn't have free reign to do whatever they want with the WH40KRP range. They have to conform to the terms of the liscensing agreement with GW, which states (or so I've read in other threads) that WH40KRP has to maintain clear lineage to the original Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game. Hence, percentiles, gory Crit Tables and, yes, 'skin armour'.

 

TB damage reduction doesn't really bother me, because there is some precedent for it in real life. We've all heard stories of badly wounded soldiers ignoring their injuries and carrying their fallen comrades to safety, and we all know people who act like they are dying when they stump their toe. Different TBs at work...


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#13 bogi_khaosa

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 11:34 AM

There is nobody in BC/Only War that can shrug off small-arms fire naked, unless we are talking about very large animals and such like, and even then they will take a wound from Righteous Fury/Zealous hatred.

 

This is an issue in the previous games that used x2 Unnatural Modifiers and a different Righteous Fury mechanic, not in BC/OW.

 

In BC, the highest Toughness Bonus that a PC can get by RAW is I think 6 (maximum possiblle starting Toughness) + 4 (Space Marine UN) + 2 (buying Toughness up 20 points) + 1 (Mark of Nurgle) = 13.

 

I think TB makes perfect sense and I do not understand the issue*

 

*other than it making it harder for Sororitas to hurt Space Marines than the other way wround, which is the real reason. :)


Edited by bogi_khaosa, 28 October 2013 - 11:42 AM.


#14 venkelos

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 11:41 AM

 

[...]

A good Chainsword hit from Mr.Average against a Flak Vest'ed trooper, for example, is 17 Wounds. Enough to send a PC into the Criticals in 1 hit.

Sounds reasonable. You just got hit with a weaponized chainsaw and you were wearing nothing but Flak, after all.

 

But did you have much of a choice? This is a combat-game; that's what Imperial Guard do. Also, for the most part they wear flak armor; you need to be rather damn important to get the good armor, like Officer/Storm Trooper/Kasrkin important.

 

Now, of course they might just get a high enough Logistics rating to requisition carapace, but maybe not, and if they aren't Kasrkin (this assumes you allow the use of that regiment), that leaves them lacking some protection.

 

I agree with the skin-soak, personally. I've seen people take hits from things I couldn't. If I got into an MMA ring with one of those guys who actually attacks (Machida would let me wet myself for a few minutes), they would out me in one shot, but many of them are conditioned to absorb numerous hits, and keep their wits, and they aren't wearing armor. Part of it could be viewed as your ability to deflect hits; they got you, they hurt, but they weren't direct, and how tough you are determines how well you can shrug it off with you.



#15 bogi_khaosa

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 11:43 AM

Do elephants have AP5 skin? No,

 

Can they get hit by lots and lots of 9mm rounds before dying? Yes.

 

What's the issue? I really don't understand it. An injury that has been reduced to 0 by TB hasn't "bounced off"; it still drew blood etc.but not enough to matter.

 

My TB of 2 protects me fully from splinters and cat bites.


Edited by bogi_khaosa, 28 October 2013 - 11:44 AM.

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#16 Fgdsfg

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:08 PM

I don't really want to "do away with TB", per see; I would like to readjust it and have it apply to something other than "skin-soak". Whereas Strength Bonus (or, in my homebrew, Agility Bonus for some weapons) makes sense in applying to melee weapons, I just don't see the sense of Toughness Bonus applying to a soaking mechanic.

 
Probably because I've played in other systems which used similar mechanics, so I don't have any problem with Toughness applying to soak. To my mind it follows exactly the same logic as Strength (or Agility) applying to damage. If your physical strength influences the amount of damage you can deal out, then why not you physical toughness influence the amount damage you can take.

Because while Strength allows you to hit harder with a weapon or Agility allows you to place your blows between the chinks in the armour, a persons Toughness or physical Endurance doesn't really make you take less damage from a bullet or make it harder for a chainsaw to tear into your flesh.

I have no idea how you can say that those things share logic.

Do elephants have AP5 skin? No,
 
Can they get hit by lots and lots of 9mm rounds before dying? Yes.
 
What's the issue? I really don't understand it. An injury that has been reduced to 0 by TB hasn't "bounced off"; it still drew blood etc.but not enough to matter.
 
My TB of 2 protects me fully from splinters and cat bites.

Except that if I stab you with a knife, you're going to take the same amount of damage as an Olympic athlete would take if I stabbed him. If I shoot Uri Geller in the face, he's going to be just as dead as Bear Grylls would have been if I had shot him.

Yet no-one of sane mind would argue that Uri Geller and Bear Grylls are just as tough.

Why does Toughness Bonus work like 'skin armour'? The short answer is 'tradition'.
 
Longer answer: FFG doesn't have free reign to do whatever they want with the WH40KRP range. They have to conform to the terms of the liscensing agreement with GW, which states (or so I've read in other threads) that WH40KRP has to maintain clear lineage to the original Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game. Hence, percentiles, gory Crit Tables and, yes, 'skin armour'.
 
TB damage reduction doesn't really bother me, because there is some precedent for it in real life. We've all heard stories of badly wounded soldiers ignoring their injuries and carrying their fallen comrades to safety, and we all know people who act like they are dying when they stump their toe. Different TBs at work...

That all sounds like a bit of a stretch. This might have been true in the original Dark Heresy, but since then, a lot of things have changed. I would find it odd if the WH40kRP line had to conform to a very specific set of rules but be completely free in all other regards, and that TB-Soak would specifically be one of those set rules. After all, the line has done away with a great many things and are quite far away from the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay ruleset now, with Black Crusade and Only War; and let's not even discuss Dark Heresy 2nd Ed., where the first betas clearly decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater, not to mention the whole bathroom and the kitchen, too.

I do think that TB-Soak is something that did carry over from Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, but that it would be due to licensing agreements is ridiculous, if you look at all the other changes they've made to the line. I think it's something they just brought over without thinking it over, when WHFRP became Dark Heresy, and then it stuck.

I like the Idea of increased wounds instead of damage reduction, it basically preforms the same role but there is more of a threat to the character. My group has a commander with a toughness of 90+, I have begun to shift away from combat to more narrative challenges to balance this out but most of the stuff I send against them cant hurt him very much.

How the hell did a Commander end up with a Toughness of 90+? o_o

he put almost all his experience into toughness

That's still only +20. With +5 from his Specialization, he still needs some way to get 65 Toughness. Even assuming that he got a straight-up 20 on his Characteristics roll(s) or that you're running a statline with 20, that still leaves at least 15 Toughness unaccounted for.

And I can't think of a Regiment options combination that results in +15.
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#17 bogi_khaosa

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:15 PM

It doesn't make it harder for a chainsaw to tear into your flesh. It makes it harder for the damage that the chainsaw does when digging into your flesh to affect you meaningfully, because you are, well, tougher. Your organs are better protected, are healthier, or are simpler bigger. You have muscle mass in the way. Etc. i.e., they can take more damage,

 

Kind of like how a chainsaw tearing into an elephant is not going to have nearly as big of an effect as it will on me, not because the chainsaw is bouncing off the elephant's diamond-hard skin but because the elephant has a lot more to cut through, and is probably denser to boot..

 

I simply do not understand what the problem is. There was one in Deathwatch where Marines could become completely immune to knives an d being on fire and suchlike, but that does not exist in BC/OW.


Edited by bogi_khaosa, 28 October 2013 - 02:17 PM.

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#18 bogi_khaosa

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:27 PM

Should I be taking meaningful damage every time I stub my toe or get nicked by a razor?

 

Because that's what this is implying = all injury is meaningful injury and it all adds up cumulatively. So if I nick myself shaving enough, I will die.


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#19 LuciusT

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:59 PM

 

Probably because I've played in other systems which used similar mechanics, so I don't have any problem with Toughness applying to soak. To my mind it follows exactly the same logic as Strength (or Agility) applying to damage. If your physical strength influences the amount of damage you can deal out, then why not you physical toughness influence the amount damage you can take.

 

Because while Strength allows you to hit harder with a weapon or Agility allows you to place your blows between the chinks in the armour, a persons Toughness or physical Endurance doesn't really make you take less damage from a bullet or make it harder for a chainsaw to tear into your flesh.

I have no idea how you can say that those things share logic.

 

 

Whereas I have no idea how you can say they can't. Your strength defines how hard you to hit. You toughness defines your ability to resist injury, disease, poison and illness. It's what toughness is.  


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#20 Simsum

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 03:30 PM

Should I be taking meaningful damage every time I stub my toe or get nicked by a razor?

 

Because that's what this is implying = all injury is meaningful injury and it all adds up cumulatively. So if I nick myself shaving enough, I will die.

 

The problem with all these analogies is that it isn't how TB Soak works in the system.

 

Half the kind of damage you're talking about isn't modelled by the system at all, and the other half is modelled via HP.

 

Your elephant has far more HP than your trooper. TB Soak is flat damage reduction, not the ability to sustain more damage.

 

An elephant in plate armour, just to stay with the silly examples, and an unarmoured elephant, will take exactly the same damage from an armour penetrating weapon. A particularly fit or fat elephant will take less damage from the armour penetrating weapon than the plate armoured elephant. Because the fit or fat elephant has a higher irreducible Damage Soak value than a less fit/fat elephant in plate armour.

 

And that's really the heart of the issue: TB Soak is better than any armour tech or force field.

 

I guess perhaps a third way of dealing with the problem, might be to invent a Toughness Pen value, and shift the first 5 points of Armour Penetration over to Toughness Penetration instead. That would deal with the common cases of Blubber of Invulnerability without significantly impacting lethality. But it wouldn't deal with critters that have insane Toughness values (which I'll quickly define as TB6+). 






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