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So, how about that damage...


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#1 Nyfari

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 03:35 PM

Yeah, how about that damage? I'm a starting GM for Deathwatch, I've played both D&D and Dark Heresy previously. I tried my hand at GMing for DH, it was okay, I enjoyed it. So anyways, I was thumbing through the campaign in the book, looking at the adversaries, crunching some numbers, preparing for our first mission in a couple of weeks, etc, and it hit me:

 

A good portion of the enemies have extreme difficulting hurting a space marine, and some of them literally cannot in any way shape or form hurt a space marine. This begs the question...why are they even in the book?

Consider the following:

A hormagaunt. Sure, shouldn't be too much of a threat to a space marine. A few hormagaunts should however at least provide some challenge. Except, they don't. Remotely. Their weapons have the profile of 1d10+5, Pen 3. A space marine wearing power armor with 40 toughness has a total of 13 damage reduction against this enemy (4x2 for TB due to Unnatural Toughness, 8-3 for armor), meaning only on a roll for damage of 9 or 10 can damage even be done (1-2, respectively). Okay, I thought. I guess that makes sense, I'll have to use hormagaunts in hoards or just use a lot of them. Although I laugh that in the Extraction campaign, encounters include 1d5 temagaunts / hormagaunts. What if I roll a 2? 2 termagaunts who can barely hurt the marines, who the marines will instantly kill, seems like a waste of time for everyone. Even if I roll a 5 the combat is likely to be no more than 2 rounds. Kind of stupid.

 

I was just gonna roll with it though until I went back a few pages and read the entry for the Chaos Heretic. His BEST WEAPON is 1d10+3, Pen 2. Doing the math from before means that EVEN WITH A ROLL OF 10, he cannot hurt a space marine. If I put 100 Heretics against the marines, the heretics would never even inflict a single wound. My jaw dropped with this realization. Then I laughed. Then I was angry. Now I'm here.

Okay, I understand that space marines are super soldiers. They are very tough nuts to crack. But why bother to use any of the troops entries in the book? (except for the Tau, their guns have good enough profiles to do damage some of the time). I'm thinking about altering the profiles so that these enemies can at the very least hurt a space marine, but I feel like either I am missing some huge important detail or someone didn't think something all the way through here. I'm glad I have my Dark Heresy book to go back through, I'm finding that I'll end up using creatures out of that book instead since some of the more dangerous ones in there have at least a decent chance of doing damage to a marine now and again.

 

Anyways, the reason I'm posting is because I'm really, really hoping I'm just missing some glaringly obvious detail here to make these troops at least a tiny bit more dangerous. I feel like there needs to be a middle ground between the Chaos Space Marine, who if he rolls well enough can almost instantly kill a member of the kill team, and the Chaos Heretic who no matter how good he rolls can't even damage the marine. Anyone get what I'm sayin here? Am I just insane?

 

Well, any help on this would be appreciated. I'm just at a loss of what to do. What have some of you GMs done to make an encounter fun and challenging using the enemies in the book without making it OMGWTFWE'REALLGONNADIE?



#2 Edsel62

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 03:48 PM

Have you looked at the Horde rules (pages 359-360)? Almost all of these minor creatures are meant to be used with the horde rules to enhance their threat. For instance a termagant horde of magnitude 20 or more is going to do 3d10+5 R, Pen 3 with their Fleshborers. Basically a horde adds +1d10 to their damage per 10 magnitude (topping out at +2d10). Termagants are usually going to be in hordes of 40 magnitude or more.



#3 Edsel62

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 03:50 PM

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#4 Nyfari

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 03:57 PM

Yeah, I did see the horde rules. Killing them just looks too cumbersome and time consuming. I suppose I'm used to Dark Hersey, where everything is both weak and can kill you. I'll try running some horde math and see if that solves my problems. Thanks for the suggestion :)



#5 ak-73

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 08:18 PM

Nyfari said:

Yeah, I did see the horde rules. Killing them just looks too cumbersome and time consuming. I suppose I'm used to Dark Hersey, where everything is both weak and can kill you. I'll try running some horde math and see if that solves my problems. Thanks for the suggestion :)

 

Let me just tell you about my last Oblivion's Edge session: on board of the Hive Ship the kill-team seperated some organic strands which triggered 3 Mag 30 Hormagaunts hordes to appear. One was dealt with by the Stormtroopers company accompanying them, the second they whittled down with bolter fire before their charged reached them and they didn't pose much of a problem. The last hormagaunt horde did reach 2 players intact though. The DA Librarian was hit for 4d10+5, Pen 3 in the leg (overwhelming trait!). That was a definite unpleasant experience for the marine.

Alas, we didn't get to wrap it up that session so in the meantime I realized that hormagaunts have swift attack. Comment by the DA player when I told them? "We're dead."

 

Alex

 



#6 Terminus_Est

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 04:27 AM

 Also remember that certain weapons can degrade armor after several successful hits that pen. Hence why your starting gear also includes repair cement. So enough of those buggers will eventually break through the armor and the marines' damage reduction will lower. Also horde attacks allegedly can not be dodged or parried, so anytime they do hit you, you have to take it more or less. You should see what ranged autopistols can do in hordes...



#7 Radomo

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 09:25 AM

 Armor doesn't lose AP like cover does.  Once you take damage greater than your armor value, your suit is no longer environmentally sealed.  That's what the cement is for.



#8 Charmander

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 09:38 AM

Nyfari said:

Yeah, I did see the horde rules. Killing them just looks too cumbersome and time consuming. I suppose I'm used to Dark Hersey, where everything is both weak and can kill you. I'll try running some horde math and see if that solves my problems. Thanks for the suggestion :)

Initially fighting hordes, in my experience, IS time consuming and cumbersome.  After a few fights though, the GM and PCs all figure out how to make it work best and things speed up significantly. 

The point of the horde is thematic for space marines.  While yes, SMs do go toe to toe with some of the biggest and baddest the galaxy has to throw at humanity, they also end up fighting tremendous waves of enemies that no 'mortal' man could hope to stand up to.  You can't fight tyranids, orcs, or rebel PDF without the horde system really, or combat would really devolve as people with automatic weapons would spend half of their time figuring out where they could walk their fire to, and each enemy would be treated differently, there wouldn't be the good yet imperfect morale system, etc.



#9 TCBC Freak

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 11:44 AM

Radomo said:

 Armor doesn't lose AP like cover does.  Once you take damage greater than your armor value, your suit is no longer environmentally sealed.  That's what the cement is for.

You can, if you like, make it so armor degrades just like cover, I did it in one DH campaign I did when my players wanted it to be hyper real. It's something not every gorups wants to do, and we only did it the once and it was kind of fun cause they had to use cover or they'd be replacing their armor every mission.


I wish I lived around people who actullay played games instead of just calling themselves gamers....


#10 Kirov

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 06:00 AM

Nyfari said:

Yeah, I did see the horde rules. Killing them just looks too cumbersome and time consuming. I suppose I'm used to Dark Hersey, where everything is both weak and can kill you. I'll try running some horde math and see if that solves my problems. Thanks for the suggestion :)

Believe me when I say this: while the Horde rules may seem cumbersome, managing 20+ individual minor critters at a time is a royal fraggin' pain. My Dark Heresy GM was very fond of throwing large waves of small critters at us, with one instance having 50 (yes, FIFTY) cultists coming after us in trucks. To be fair, the GM was using mook rules and we did manage to cut things down a bit thanks to my combat engineer and his missile launcher, but even so, we were still facing no fewer than 40 different adversaries. As might be expected, combat took a looooong while.

-Kirov



#11 Delahunt

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 02:11 AM

I honestly find hordes to go faster than normal combat.

 

Once you've established the Astartes weapon can do 1 point of damage through armor/toughness at a minimum (bolter does a minimum of 7 damage pen 5. Most horde creatures have a toughness of 2-3 and an armor of 3-6, so a max of 9 protection w/ 7 pen 5 coming through means at least 1 damage gets through) it goes really quickly. Just figure out how many hits they get, add in for things like Unrelenting Devastation and Explosive weapons, and the mag down. Really quick.

 

It can also help, especially when dealing with large hordes, to simply do coin flip initiative (though I've only done this once or twice so far). Heads, the players go first, tails, the bad guys do. It means, if nothing else, your players can queue up their attacks while you are rolling the shots for the horde.



#12 Phaedron2

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 04:01 AM

Perhaps I'm missing something but how are hordes cumbersome? I have actually found them to be a very easy mechanic, much like running a very lagre monster in DnD with lots of actions. I often write out my own copy of a horde before the game though, to familiarize myself with all the rules they have. If your finding them cumbersome, I would advise taking those few minutes to write them out, as I found it cut my reference time way down.

 

Cheers



#13 Charmander

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 05:30 AM

Phaedron2 said:

Perhaps I'm missing something but how are hordes cumbersome? I have actually found them to be a very easy mechanic, much like running a very lagre monster in DnD with lots of actions. I often write out my own copy of a horde before the game though, to familiarize myself with all the rules they have. If your finding them cumbersome, I would advise taking those few minutes to write them out, as I found it cut my reference time way down.

 

Cheers

So I personally found them cumbersome at first- the reasoning for it was the same as anything in Deathwatch, which is that everything is uber.  Both your PCs and NPCs have a large number of attacks, they do a ton of damage, they take a ton of damage, there are the 101 modifiers to each roll, etc., etc.  I think hordes can also easily be seen as cumbersome because they're new rules and you have a million enemies rushing at you.  IMHO, once you get over that part, and people learn how to do their autofire attacks quickly, things speed up dramatically.  And it's a hell of a lot easier than rolling for 30 individual guardsman no matter how you look at it.

I think your advice is good though, and I try and use that train of thinking for most of my adventures (NPCs, enemies, hordes, locations, etc.) and create quick reference markers to speed things up.



#14 ak-73

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 08:00 AM

Charmander said:

Phaedron2 said:

 

Perhaps I'm missing something but how are hordes cumbersome? I have actually found them to be a very easy mechanic, much like running a very lagre monster in DnD with lots of actions. I often write out my own copy of a horde before the game though, to familiarize myself with all the rules they have. If your finding them cumbersome, I would advise taking those few minutes to write them out, as I found it cut my reference time way down.

 

Cheers

 

 

So I personally found them cumbersome at first- the reasoning for it was the same as anything in Deathwatch, which is that everything is uber.  Both your PCs and NPCs have a large number of attacks, they do a ton of damage, they take a ton of damage, there are the 101 modifiers to each roll, etc., etc.  I think hordes can also easily be seen as cumbersome because they're new rules and you have a million enemies rushing at you.  IMHO, once you get over that part, and people learn how to do their autofire attacks quickly, things speed up dramatically.  And it's a hell of a lot easier than rolling for 30 individual guardsman no matter how you look at it.

I think your advice is good though, and I try and use that train of thinking for most of my adventures (NPCs, enemies, hordes, locations, etc.) and create quick reference markers to speed things up.

 

It also helps to test combat a new NPC a few days before the session - that way you'll more easily remember the major talents of a new race/being.

 

Alex.

 



#15 Nimon

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 09:16 PM

Phaedron2 said:

Perhaps I'm missing something but how are hordes cumbersome? I have actually found them to be a very easy mechanic, much like running a very lagre monster in DnD with lots of actions. I often write out my own copy of a horde before the game though, to familiarize myself with all the rules they have. If your finding them cumbersome, I would advise taking those few minutes to write them out, as I found it cut my reference time way down.

 

Cheers

                            Agree, though this is the second post ive read about something thinking it is difficult. 



#16 Charmander

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 08:07 AM

Nimon said:

Phaedron2 said:

 

Perhaps I'm missing something but how are hordes cumbersome? I have actually found them to be a very easy mechanic, much like running a very lagre monster in DnD with lots of actions. I often write out my own copy of a horde before the game though, to familiarize myself with all the rules they have. If your finding them cumbersome, I would advise taking those few minutes to write them out, as I found it cut my reference time way down.

 

Cheers

 

 

                            Agree, though this is the second post ive read about something thinking it is difficult. 

New rules can be intimidating, and the concepts and rules of the hordes are more abstract and harder to visualize than some of the more basic combat rules (like the overly complicated description of how many shooting attacks a horde gets, when it's really +1d10 between mag 10 and 20, and +2d10 for mag 20+.  But they take a whole paragraph and a slide rule to get to that point).  That and much of the DW rulebook could be considered 'advanced' rules though I'm betting a lot of new or inexperienced players/gms are picking up DW.  That's my guess anyhow.






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