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[Final Sanction Critic] "Perhaps all of us are women"


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#1 Gregorius21778

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 09:08 PM

In my home country, we have saying that (translated) goes along the lines of "Women do not pick themselves a man. They pick themselves a TASK".

"Final Sanction" gets a lot of love labour from this forum. If you look around a bit you will find great maps, equipment and location cards and what else might come during the next days. I start to wonder if this is because of (compared to "instead of") the fact "Final Sanction" themes to have some inbuild flaws.

First of all, the Disclaimer: This a freebee, and a freebee with a beautiful build background. They made a point of creating a city you get a feel for right from the start. In fact, if it would not be burning it would be a wonderful backdrop for other missions/games (and gives great ideas for striking up a city descriptionon your own). The pre generated figures feel right and they build in a lot of scenes you simply must like for the picture they draw.

But (at least in my opinion), the module has "ample room for improvement".

The first thing that striked me (personally) was the number of ranged attacks a horde was given. A horde of magnitude 20 or 25 (which, while no ratio is ever given, must at least be around a dozen figures. Perhaps at least 20 or 30 or even more). Gets two ranged attacks. This attacks are inteded to cover the volley of gunfire the horde unleashes. Two per target would have been fine with me (especially with a rebel mob which might lack fire coordination; we do not know what other horde traits are in the main book!). But if said 12 to 30 figures are duck in behind a barricade and the 4 glorius battlebrother decide to storm down the street, all the GM can do is shooting at two of them (and hoping for levels of success to get the others)?

The second is the repetive combats.Yes, it is a combat game. And the first combat makes it completely right with inserting "turning point" and other events to mix it up. You are given a short instruction on how to vary combat (add difficult ground etc.) Some of the other combats even have small elements to make them different (time limits, attacking genestealers, added generals/rebel leaders; small mods to the horde etc). But the majority of the combats are left to the GM to make them exiciting. Especially the "three market places" will end up as a huge slug feast otherwise.

This is what I tried. Last night I sad down and tried to come up with additional encounters or adding up to existing encounters. It was after I tried to form my first ideas into rule sets that I bumped my head hard against the skills. First of all, none of the figures have Command. In a combat-orientated military-missions-style adventure where they are supposed be supported by PDF troups (as a "goody"). I found Charm, whatsoever. Perhaps military in the 40K is not as grim as I expected. Instead, everyone has "Codex Astartes" which is a new one. But you get no idea for what it could be good for!
The modul mentioned (i.e. with the "three market places") that the battle-brothers could use stealth to get by. I already befriended myself with concept of "stealth in power armour" (I have been told that even tanks can be silenced today!?) and tried to write up some scenes that allowed for sneaking passed rebel patrols or laying an ambush on them. I found neither Silent Move (not much surprise due to power armor) nor Concealment.  Of course, one can turn to Agility in its place. But it leaves a shale feeling. Since I wanted to give the battle-brother an option not to kill any guard in the Tower of Echoes, I thought about "y distraction and one of them climbing up". No Climb skill. 
Besides "Charm and Command", this all can be reasoned with the power armour argument. But what are our "men on a mission" expect to do then instead of fighting? 

All in all, I would say "background, scenario and ideas: 5 of 5", rest of it "2 of 5". 
The ideas are very good, it is nicely fleshed out and ten times more logical then "Shattered Hope" (the infamous DH freebee). But it lacks strength of bones, at least to me.

So far with me, who never ever tried to play this yet. What are the opinions of you guys and girls who played it ? Can you teach me better?



#2 ThenDoctor

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 02:25 AM

i personally havent played it as well but you must remember that this is the introduction adventure and as such like with DH and RT there were things that were wrong, thats why they are having it, to get feedback and change it up for future adventures, good points though ill remember them if i run the adventure which i hope to do.


I've made an expanded Divination table for Dark Heresy Second Edition. Find it here: 

 

http://community.fan...general-thread/


#3 Tarkand

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 03:14 AM

A lot of your complaints about the lack of skill can be put at the feed of the limited space they had.

They couldn't very well put all the skills in there.

Keep in mind that when Deathwatch actually comes out and you want to revisit this adventure with actual character instead of pre-generated one-shot, you may very well have character who can climb, stealth and fill TPS forms.

 



#4 Gregorius21778

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 10:53 AM

Tarkand said:

A lot of your complaints about the lack of skill can be put at the feed of the limited space they had.

They couldn't very well put all the skills in there. (...)

Yes, sure. But even while keeping in mind how precious space is(was), why giving it to

Scholastic Lore (Astartes) (what good is that for in the adventure??)
Common Lore (War, Imperium, Astartes) (besides "War", same question as above)

Talking about it, they even "wasted" some precious space on the description of the Tech-Use Skill which non of the characters have. Taking out the Scholastic Lore skill (which is not given any hint of use in the module) and inserting some other skill for it would have been usefull. In the case of "space for describing the rules, a space would have been there after omitting the (pointless-while-skillless) Tech-Use Paragraph and perhaps leaving out one of the pictures.



#5 RenoDM

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:53 AM

Just a few points:

  • As others have mentioned: It is a FREE product and like most everything in life you get what you pay for. 
  • As a demo scenario it should give you a rough "taste" of Deathwatch, not the full-on experience.
  • Our group didn't find the combat repetitive simply because a lot of it was done in a purely narrative format once the players began using the PDF units to neutralize the rebels.

I'm still a little amazed at how many people will ***** about something they have been offered for free.  If you don't like it, don't buy the game when it comes out.  If you like it enough to give it a shot, great.  If you want to post here asking questions or looking for some advice or insight great, that's what forums are for.  But to just come here and whine about how the free item you've been given isn't good enough for you; well frankly it just makes you look like another one of the idiots on-line. 



#6 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 03:19 AM

"The first thing that striked me (personally) was the number of ranged attacks a horde was given. A horde of magnitude 20 or 25 (which, while no ratio is ever given, must at least be around a dozen figures. Perhaps at least 20 or 30 or even more). Gets two ranged attacks. This attacks are inteded to cover the volley of gunfire the horde unleashes. Two per target would have been fine with me (especially with a rebel mob which might lack fire coordination; we do not know what other horde traits are in the main book!). But if said 12 to 30 figures are duck in behind a barricade and the 4 glorius battlebrother decide to storm down the street, all the GM can do is shooting at two of them (and hoping for levels of success to get the others)?"

 

Remember - it's NOT two ranged attacks. Taking the example of the cultist hordes used, a magnitude 20 Horde puts out two "Shots", each of which is doing 3D10+3 damage with each. That's within a hair as good as a Dark Heresy Assault Cannon round (less Tearing). The default stub rifle attack literally cannot hurt space marines - maximum damage 10+3, damage reduction 8 for toughness, damage reduction 8 for powered armour. The only way you can hurt a battle-brother is with Righteous Fury, which generic NPCs don't normally get.

Even if they did, a single stub rifle hit then does an average of about 0.1 of a wound, whilst shots from a magnitude 20 horde do about 3.5 wounds on average. So, if they were about equivalent, each 'shot' represents about 30-40 rebels firing. There will be 'hits' regardless, and every battle-brother in the squad will be under fire, but those two 'shots' represent the concentration of enough fire to stand a chance of hitting a weak spot (eyepiece, joint, cable) or breaching an armoured plate through sheer weight of fire. The remaining fire will be aimed at the battle brothers, but not enough for them to even bother acknowledging it.

Yes, space marines are that tough.......



#7 Gregorius21778

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 09:32 AM

Remember - it's NOT two ranged attacks. Taking the example of the cultist hordes used, a magnitude 20 Horde puts out two "Shots", each of which is doing 3D10+3 damage with each. That's within a hair as good as a Dark Heresy Assault Cannon round (less Tearing). The default stub rifle attack literally cannot hurt space marines - maximum damage 10+3, damage reduction 8 for toughness, damage reduction 8 for powered armour. The only way you can hurt a battle-brother is with Righteous Fury, which generic NPCs don't normally get.

(...)

Yes, space marines are that tough.......

[/QUOTE]

I would say they turned this tuff in DW. In WH40K table top games (third Edition, me thinks) I remember that a 10 human soldiers with a lasguns where able to take out three of my 5 space marine. Yes, it only happened on occasion and it was luck involved. But being a space marine and wearing power armour was not a sure shot against a las shot. But I cannot blame DW here, DH started it...

Anyway, what I miss is an opportunity to spread fire a little more. Effective fire. The horde rules allow said 15 to 30 rebells (magnitude 20 horde) to have a chance to hurt two space marines which they otherwise would not be able to. How about something that lessens the damage (but still keeps a chance of wounding) while allow for more target. Like "one d10 less; but tearing and double non-horde targets"? Would have been 2d10+3 Tearing and would give me as a DM a chance to threat all four of my players characters. Yes, even 2d10+3 (tearing) is unlikely to hurt a SM. But it might due the trick. Like in the old TT days (yes, I am a yesterday-guy).

@RenoDM:
After telling me what you think of my post(s) to the point where it is bordering on giving me names, might I ask you to share some of your insight? Since you actually run the module and didn´t had the problems I anticipated,  I am specially interested in how you ran the three battles at the "markets". They are the point that puzzle me the most on how to keep them interesting.



#8 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 11:57 AM

Spoilers:

 

Tech-use was a bit of a fluff. Especially since it's also listed as Advanced (I can imagine certain personal demeanours will grant it as a basic skill, in the same way Seraphan has Logic as a basic skill).

I suspect it's just a copy-paste from Forsaken Bounty (where Nathin Tsanthos has the Tech-Use skill)

 

" I found Charm, whatsoever."

Getting Lord-Governor Perian Thorsholt on-side; Charm tests (by Brother Skold) are your principle means of doing this. Also, when trying to locate the genestealer traitor/cultist/whatever in PDF headquarters, a mix of Charm (although untrained, Brother Lucian's reroll from Favoured Son now applies) and Intimidate is the order of the day.

"First of all, none of the figures have Command"

True, but they all have Intimidate, which works pretty well as a substitute skill for 'motivating' the PDF.

"Instead, everyone has "Codex Astartes" which is a new one. But you get no idea for what it could be good for!"

Scholastic Lore (Codex Astartes) means an understanding of the Codex Astartes. The Codex is the Space Marines' holy tome of tactical and strategic wisdom. That, to me, means a 'tactical training' check - i.e. "what does the codex suggest we should be doing in this situation?" [makes check] "Aha....a flanking manouvre is clearly called for. Seraphan, fire to suppress as we move!" Etc, etc. That sort of thing might be good for an initiative bonus (surprise), or a ballistic skill bonus (crossfire) as appropriate.

"The modul mentioned (i.e. with the "three market places") that the battle-brothers could use stealth to get by. I already befriended myself with concept of "stealth in power armour" (I have been told that even tanks can be silenced today!?) and tried to write up some scenes that allowed for sneaking passed rebel patrols or laying an ambush on them. I found neither Silent Move (not much surprise due to power armor) nor Concealment. Of course, one can turn to Agility in its place. But it leaves a shale feeling."

Tanks aren't quiet. And powered plate is effectively a tank, so it isn't quiet either. "Stealth in powered armour" is going to translate more to (a) spotting the enemy before they see you (Skold's ridiculous perception paired with Wolf Senses) and manouvring round them, or sending in PDF support units to pin the enemy down whilst you manouvre past them.

"Since I wanted to give the battle-brother an option not to kill any guard in the Tower of Echoes, I thought about "y distraction and one of them climbing up". No Climb skill."

No, but you could always have one or more battle-brothers draw the Hollow Guard out, whilst the others bust in throught the wall on the opposite side.
 

"I would say they turned this tuff in DW. In WH40K table top games (third Edition, me thinks) I remember that a 10 human soldiers with a lasguns where able to take out three of my 5 space marine. Yes, it only happened on occasion and it was luck involved. But being a space marine and wearing power armour was not a sure shot against a las shot. But I cannot blame DW here, DH started it..."
 

Actually, I'd say that's more a problem with Warhammer 40k. Space marines in the tabletop game are nowhere near as tough as they should be. We're talking James Cameron's Terminator levels of walking-through-small-arms-fire; the aim is to replicate the Black Library novels, not a tabletop game. I agree that individuals in the Dark Heresy series are a bit tough - a stub rifle has trouble dropping a "generic goon" in one hit - but I have no problem with normal small arms being able to do nothing beyond agregate flesh wounds to what are essentially action movie stars playing cyborgs clad in tanks (see above).

"Anyway, what I miss is an opportunity to spread fire a little more. Effective fire. The horde rules allow said 15 to 30 rebells (magnitude 20 horde) to have a chance to hurt two space marines which they otherwise would not be able to. How about something that lessens the damage (but still keeps a chance of wounding) while allow for more target. Like "one d10 less; but tearing and double non-horde targets"? Would have been 2d10+3 Tearing and would give me as a DM a chance to threat all four of my players characters. Yes, even 2d10+3 (tearing) is unlikely to hurt a SM. But it might due the trick. Like in the old TT days (yes, I am a yesterday-guy)."

If you want to, do so. You are, afterall, the GM, and hence if you and the rulebook disagree, the rulebook is wrong. But I don't see why that's different to alternating fire between each of the four battle-brothers, two at each moment. I'm not convinced that a 2D10+3 qualifies as 'effective' fire, as you still average less than one wound per hit, and even a maximum damage hit is still only a single Medicae action for Lucian. If you must really threaten all the battle-brothers simultaneously, send in another horde of troops...

 

 



#9 Xenoviel

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 07:36 PM

My assumption for the limited number of attacks that a horde receives is two-fold.  First, the less overall die-rolling in a combat, the faster and more interesting it is. Second, Space Marines are the nigh-invulnerable angels of the god-emperor. A starting Deathwatch character is (in my mind) about as far from a level 1 D&D character as it gets. Sure, low-level characters in other games are probably scratched up quite a bit in a fight like the ones presented here. They may even go down. Defeating the PCs doesn't really strike me as a primary theme of Deathwatch, so giving the hordes more (time-consuming) shots at the PCs would really only serve to make the GM feel more powerful and able to remind the PCs of their mortality.



#10 Hivemind

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 07:57 PM

The odd number of attacks and firing from hordes and such- is probably just to make it fast paced. If 20 hormagaunts charge 6 spacemarines- in the fluff 6 space marines walk away without incident 99% of the time. Now you could have them roll 30 worthless attacks or give them a few and make the chance a bit greater that they COULD hurt one. It seems cool to me. In the fluff there really isn't too much that can actually hurt a space marine in his power armor...except for a lucky shot or some unforseen expolsion. That is why they spend the 18+ years or so to make them instead of just having more Imperial Guard to throw at things. The tabletop game  is in no way an accurate or even good way of measuring what any of these people, creatures, heroes can do. Guidelines at best. The novels and fluff tend to be more stable. They aren't trying to sell models with them as directly as they are the codexes.



#11 DrgnScorpion

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 09:01 PM

I haven't run Final Sanction yet, but as a DM who has read multiple adventures and looked at them:

In the freebie adventure, you cant have everything. The Deathwatch are not the commanders nor is it their mission to keep the PDF alive. It is their mission to stop a Genestealer Cult and purge the xenos. A good example in fluff: Necrons attack a guard regiment, the Deathwatch show up. Guardsmen are happy, Deathwatch shoot ONE Necron and then leave. Guardsman die confused.

Climbing: trying to climb in power armor is annoying. Read the Space Wolves Omnibus and all 6 novels and it mentions how much they could have climbed but didn't cause it would waste time when going through a wall is much quicker and scarier. The Dark Angels in one of the books only climb I believe once, the rest is being sneaky and avoiding people through auspex watching.

Stealth: You can be stealthy in power armor, but its mostly through not moving when your auto-senses detect a scan. Storm of Iron has the best one for that when you have a squad of Iron Warriors belly crawling and stopping when an auspex is turned their way.

Hordes: If the horde shot on its own then the space marines walk away with an armor of 8 and toughness of 4 means that you have to either have some form of Pen to lower the armor or deal more than 12 wounds in one shot to damage a space marine. The two shots that the Horde pump out at 3d10+3 damage. A good way to make the players twitch and actually go "well, were not that tough...not good" is too add a horde and focus fire on one marine with those two shots, not separate them.



#12 borithan

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 09:18 PM

Gregorius21778 said:

I would say they turned this tuff in DW. In WH40K table top games (third Edition, me thinks) I remember that a 10 human soldiers with a lasguns where able to take out three of my 5 space marine. Yes, it only happened on occasion and it was luck involved. But being a space marine and wearing power armour was not a sure shot against a las shot. But I cannot blame DW here, DH started it...

It is certainly not DW or Dark Heresy that made Space Marines that tough. Yes, you're right, in 2nd edition (and previously) they were not as tough as they are now, but since Space Marines have been massively beefed up performance wise (in the fluff... gameplay wise they are now said to be massively underpowered so as to give other armies a chance in a battle the size of your standard 40k battle). They are stupidly totally over the top (rather than just being slightly over the top in the early 90s). Now, there is the odd result of the DH, RT and DW rules that mean standard weapons cannot hurt a Space Marine (which even now is not right... they would still be hurst by the occasional small arms round... just not likely to be killed), but I am not exactly sure how that could be fixed.

 

Oh, and sneaking in power armour is possible. Quite how you sneak as 7 foot tall guy basically dressed up like a tank is never explained, but it is something that has long been possible in the 40k background. Hell, we've had non-armoured Space Marines somehow passing unnoticed through crowds of normal human beings.

And if you look at the Eldar, their sneakiest aspect, the Striking Scorpions, are also one of the most armoured... though that can just be put down to Eldar tricksiness.



#13 Dayereth

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 10:46 PM

Xenoviel said:

My assumption for the limited number of attacks that a horde receives is two-fold.  First, the less overall die-rolling in a combat, the faster and more interesting it is. Second, Space Marines are the nigh-invulnerable angels of the god-emperor...

 

And third, it makes it that much more impressive when you fight a ... I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen or played Final Sanction.  Suffice it to say, when you run into something that actually can go toe-to-toe with a Space Marine, you can truly appreciate it.  If a horde of humans can cause a few wounds here and there, what does that say about something that can almost a fully-healed Marine in a hit or two???

 

 



#14 Dayereth

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 10:52 PM

borithan said:

 

 

It is certainly not DW or Dark Heresy that made Space Marines that tough. Yes, you're right, in 2nd edition (and previously) they were not as tough as they are now, but since Space Marines have been massively beefed up performance wise (in the fluff... gameplay wise they are now said to be massively underpowered so as to give other armies a chance in a battle the size of your standard 40k battle). They are stupidly totally over the top (rather than just being slightly over the top in the early 90s). Now, there is the odd result of the DH, RT and DW rules that mean standard weapons cannot hurt a Space Marine (which even now is not right... they would still be hurst by the occasional small arms round... just not likely to be killed), but I am not exactly sure how that could be fixed.

 

Where the discrepancy comes from is in 40K tabletop Armor at best has a scale of 6+ down to 2+, so only 5 numbers.  It's much harder there to fairly acheive what they can easily in Deathwatch with percentiles and wider damage scales.  In deathwatch they are better able to demonstrate how incredibly tough Marines are without breaking the game the way it would using d6s.



#15 FatPob

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 03:32 AM

planning on playing this soon ™ and I was curious on the horde aspect of it, but when reading it a couple of times it does make sense.

One thing it makes clear on the magnitude, is that this is not the number of folk in the group (ie magnitude 25 = 25 baddies), but an abstract number as large or as small as you want, it could represent 100's of rebels, well protected rebels, elite troops, troops with advanced positions, snipers or a mix of it all. It's all down to how epic you want it.

The other factor is the morale, and the aim is clearly to break them, not mow them down to nothing.

The number of attacks was confusing, but again the damage capable of a horde of a high magnitude could be significant, especially magnitude 30 or higher. 3 attacks at 4d10+3 averaging 25 damage (-16 for armour and toughness) is still 9 damage plus penetration mod of the weapons.

It does look combabtive, but using well placed explosives, key shots and some thought can make the game more enjoyable then basically a rp version of the tabletop.

Finally Sneaking - what are people's issue with this, come out of the D&D Rogue sneaking past guards for a back stab attack.  Think of it more abstract such as using cover, distraction and possibly eliminating some scout threats with key shots/wet work then physically creeping in shadows tip-toeing 2 foot passed alert sentries.



#16 borithan

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 05:21 AM

Dayereth said:

 

Where the discrepancy comes from is in 40K tabletop Armor at best has a scale of 6+ down to 2+, so only 5 numbers.  It's much harder there to fairly acheive what they can easily in Deathwatch with percentiles and wider damage scales.  In deathwatch they are better able to demonstrate how incredibly tough Marines are without breaking the game the way it would using d6s.

It's not just that. In the 2nd ed "Angels of Death" Space Marine power armour is said to provide "50-80%" protection against small arms (and has  which a 3 plus modifiable save represents not too badly. Power armour was not impenetrable to small arms, just very resistant compared to most armour. However, more recent background (and the DH Heresy presentation) seems to imply that they just ignore small arms fire... so Space Marines have got tougher more recently (basically since at least 3rd edition 40k onwards).



#17 dvang

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 05:22 AM

If you want more attacks, just use a new horde.  The point is that the Horde's effectively concentrating its fire on X number of individuals in order to be a threat.  A few members of the horde probably do shoot some shots at other targets, but they are completely ineffective game-wise, and thus not rolled for.  Hordes only do damage to the SM through concentration of firepower, represented by having X ranged shots based on the hordes Magnitude. 

So while a Magnitude 30 Horde technically probably shoots at all 4 SM PCs, only three have enough firepower concentrated to register as a threat and are thus able to roll to hit+damage. 



#18 DrgnScorpion

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 08:39 AM

I have no problem with sneaking, I just gave examples of how it could be done in fluff and how it has been done in fluff.

On Space Marines having 80% cover vs Small Arms fire, that is true it does give this massive boost to protection. In the tabletop miniature version its a 3+ save. Can't base anything off of that cause i've seen Dice Happen in which an entire squad is taken out by a squad of conscripted guardsman(weakest ones) just for bad saves.






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