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Upkeep Tests for Armour


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#1 Larkin

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 01:37 PM

 A little bit of background real quick, my group is running through LotE and just went through the Zayth portion and faced down the Gun-masters and their minions. My guys have a fairly high PF and everyone is in Power armor of some form or fashion, so I ended up putting them up against 15 gun master and 60 of the minions and ran it like you would a Deathwatch scenario with the minions being split into hordes. Due to the power armor, two of my guys were nearly invincible, with only head shots being able to really injure them, and one of the (the navigator) ending up at 0 wounds from 1 round of heavy stubber fire. They cleaned up fairly nicely, a few wounds being handed out due to headshot rolls, but for the most part came out ahead of the curve for the bodies they left behind. Our RT (who has Unnat Toughness) was even the epicenter for a Melta Grenade launched by the Magos present, and didn't take any wounds (due to a low damage roll).

I was slightly dismayed after the combat, as I'm having a bit of difficulty threatening our two tank character without using anti-tank weaponry, so I've come up with a scheme to maybe get them out of the powerarmour and into some slightly less strong armour types.

I'm going to introduce upkeep tests after combat when the characters have taken hits that have penetrated their armour values. During combat, they have what the stats say, but after the end, their stuff might be in poor shape and need repairs, hence the roll. I could even increase the negative to the roll based off the number of hits, thereby making heavy stubbers an annoyance at least.

I don't think they'll object too much, but I wouldn't mind some extra feedback before I introduce it.



#2 MILLANDSON

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 12:20 PM

That sounds to me like a fairly decent balancing mechanism

Also, you could check out Black Crusade - it's Horde rules include rules-tweaks for when they're shooting at people not in power armour and stuff. That could work quite well for you.


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#3 comradeda

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 07:55 PM

That may be a little bit too much book-keeping, especially if they take a bunch of pens from automatic weapons. How about every critical damage they take on a part the armour covers? That gives it an upper limit, and it means that if you are above 0 wounds, you don't have to worry about the mechanic.



#4 NGL

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 03:49 AM

He wants armour to be damaged factoring in criticals seems irrelevant if you have 6ap and are hit with a 7pen shot your armour has a hole in it even if you only take 1 wound in damage.  There isn't that much bookkeeping to it, but there is more than not doing it at all.  All you do is make a mark for every shot that lands and exceeds ap in a combat.  Then you figure out your upkeep rolls accordingly.  I would probably make a roll results table just to keep it interesting.

If your characters never reaches critical wounds, but their armour is constantly being penetrated you would never need to make an upkeep roll which makes no sense at all since its the problem he his trying to resolve comradeda.

Also, if you want to hurt your players and equalize the playing field use high pen weapons with felling ammo.  If you are concerned with the players getting a hold of them after the fact have them use one clip of felling ammo so after a round or two their special ammo is spent, weapon depending of course, like a full auto shotgun.  With the proper felling ammo the highest tb score would be a ten which should be next to impossible to get in rogue trader.  25+2d10 = 45+20 = 65 or 6TB if you have mutants in your party or tech priests it may be a little higher.



#5 Larkin

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 04:30 AM

Only one person in the group has UnnatToughness right now, and I'm made him deathly afraid of autocannons already. The Admech made the REST of the group deadly afraid of autocannons... So I'm sure I can make them all fight smart and hit the deck as long as I mention autocannons.

I don't think it'll be a lot of bookeeping, as it'll pretty much just be me saying, "Since you took so many hit in that last combat your armour is a bit slagged, you need to make an upkeep roll with a negative (?) modifier to get it repaired." The negative number will come from just a general sense of how the combat went and what kind of hits were delivered. Our next session will very likely include Dross, so it'll be a perfect time to spring it on them after they make it off the planet.

I skipped over the horde rules in BC, I'll have to go back and read through them. But then again the only people not in power armour are the NPC guards they bring with them, and I've got no problems slagging acquisition rolls.



#6 Reverend mort

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 09:31 AM

Well, first of all, failing an upkeep test means they have several ways of negating it, most of which don't remove the power armor from play.

Secondly, applying a penalty to an upkeep test for repairing power armor seems rather harsh, especially since no such penalties are applied for maintaining a paradise world estate, a new cruiser or even an space station built like your face.

Third, requiring upkeep tests for power armor in general seems rather harsh. They're Rogue Trader, they feed thousands of souls every day, they buy, sell and trade priceless artifacts and works of art every week. They own and maintain at least one massive space ship. Straining their resources just to patch some holes in a suit of armor, especially when they have a tech-priest, strains credibility.

Also, if they have to do upkeep to repair power armor, why wouldn't they have to do the same for any other armor, which likewise gets hit and hurt and holed? This seems like a solution more likely to annoy your players and appear meant to screw them over, rather than anything that adds fun or suspense to the game. Groups differ, obviously, but it seems very harsh.

My suggestions to fix this problem is the following:

Bring the anti-tank weaponry. People in power armor aren't subtle, and most threats to a RT is people with either equipment or the money to get it. If they know they're facing people in PA, why wouldn't they do their best to get their hands on weaponry to penetrate it? Heavy las weapons and bolters exist to kill PA. Use them to do just that!

Power armor has a limited battery life (far too limited in RT to my mind, but even more reasonable and rational figures give you limited lifespans on their use) enforce this more, and you'll make PA something you bring when you know trouble's coming, but not something you wear for any length of time (unless you're a tech-priest in Dragon Scale, but that's tech-priests. They tank when naked).

Furthermore, while most Imperial nobles no doubt accept people, especially RT's, who show up wearing carapace beneath their fancy robes, or even over them if it's ornate enough, PA is loud, clunky and extremely overt. It's not subtle, it's not stealthy and it projects an air of immediate and direct force. Someone who walks in to a meeting, party or anywhere else in PA is loudly proclaiming they're either expecting or planning violence. Neither is beneficial when you're trying to negotiate anything but immediate surrender. Enforce this too, and your players are no doubt gonna consider wearing something slightly less hostile to meetings and trade agreements.

Talk to your players. If you really don't want or can't handle them all wearing Power Armor, say as much. Bring it up, talk to them and see if you all can't reach an agreement or solution that you're all happy with. Unless you're playing with a bunch of dicks, chances are they'll gladly just stop using PA as much if it's a problem for you.

Maybe this upkeep system will work for you all, I dunno, but talk about it rather than just introducing it without mentioning why you're doing it.



#7 Larkin

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 10:49 AM

Reverend mort said:

Well, first of all, failing an upkeep test means they have several ways of negating it, most of which don't remove the power armor from play.

Secondly, applying a penalty to an upkeep test for repairing power armor seems rather harsh, especially since no such penalties are applied for maintaining a paradise world estate, a new cruiser or even an space station built like your face.

Third, requiring upkeep tests for power armor in general seems rather harsh. They're Rogue Trader, they feed thousands of souls every day, they buy, sell and trade priceless artifacts and works of art every week. They own and maintain at least one massive space ship. Straining their resources just to patch some holes in a suit of armor, especially when they have a tech-priest, strains credibility.

Also, if they have to do upkeep to repair power armor, why wouldn't they have to do the same for any other armor, which likewise gets hit and hurt and holed? This seems like a solution more likely to annoy your players and appear meant to screw them over, rather than anything that adds fun or suspense to the game. Groups differ, obviously, but it seems very harsh.

My suggestions to fix this problem is the following:

Bring the anti-tank weaponry. People in power armor aren't subtle, and most threats to a RT is people with either equipment or the money to get it. If they know they're facing people in PA, why wouldn't they do their best to get their hands on weaponry to penetrate it? Heavy las weapons and bolters exist to kill PA. Use them to do just that!

Power armor has a limited battery life (far too limited in RT to my mind, but even more reasonable and rational figures give you limited lifespans on their use) enforce this more, and you'll make PA something you bring when you know trouble's coming, but not something you wear for any length of time (unless you're a tech-priest in Dragon Scale, but that's tech-priests. They tank when naked).

Furthermore, while most Imperial nobles no doubt accept people, especially RT's, who show up wearing carapace beneath their fancy robes, or even over them if it's ornate enough, PA is loud, clunky and extremely overt. It's not subtle, it's not stealthy and it projects an air of immediate and direct force. Someone who walks in to a meeting, party or anywhere else in PA is loudly proclaiming they're either expecting or planning violence. Neither is beneficial when you're trying to negotiate anything but immediate surrender. Enforce this too, and your players are no doubt gonna consider wearing something slightly less hostile to meetings and trade agreements.

Talk to your players. If you really don't want or can't handle them all wearing Power Armor, say as much. Bring it up, talk to them and see if you all can't reach an agreement or solution that you're all happy with. Unless you're playing with a bunch of dicks, chances are they'll gladly just stop using PA as much if it's a problem for you.

Maybe this upkeep system will work for you all, I dunno, but talk about it rather than just introducing it without mentioning why you're doing it.

I'm going to get to your good points fairly out of order.

I do intend to implement the upkeep for ALL armour (hence leaving "power" out of the post title). I also intended to make it at fairly dramatic points, for instance where they've been out in the void a while without resupplying, or down on a planet without the retinue of tech priests to patch it up after every single fight. Pretty much only when it's actually appropriate that their resources are strained.

I also agree with you about the limited battery life, which is why when they Acquire Best Quality power armour the power source is effectively limitless. Once BC came out, I allowed them to pick a number of enhancements from the power armour section based off of quality of the armour, since it made sense. BQ got all of them, again, because that's what power armour and the acquisition rules represent.

This is actually an attempt to make the weapons that scum and other sorts of low powered adversary's might carry actually dangerous again, without going around the rules or around the thematic appropriateness that I like to have in my may. I have no problems presenting them with anti-tank weapons when someone has prepaired for them specifically, but a good amount of the time they're facing off against brand new foes. High pen weapons are being slowly introduced as they make sense, but I'm trying to give them plenty of options other than combat to approach situations as well. I feel that is method actually promotes more roleplay, as if your armour is broken, you'd better feel more like talking or running, or even taking cover.

I also encourage my PCs not to wear it to social functions, and that's worked 80% of the time once the snide comments were bandied about.

As far as talking to the players, I always talk to them about changes made to the game system when it's different from the RAW. But this, actually, isn't.

Pg 275 in RT under "When to Make an Upkeep Test":

When an acquisition is expended, damaged, or destroyed: Such as a suit of armour worn by an Explorer that suffers massive damage, a planetary settlement bombarded from orbit, or a supply of rare ammunition used excessively.

It's in the book. I was surprised too when I went to look up the RAW definition of an upkeep test. Here I was, thinking I was being very clever in using the acquisition rules, and FFG had already seen my predicament.



#8 Reverend mort

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 12:43 PM

Right, I'll likewise get to your various points out of order, mostly because it's either ;)

Massive damage to me includes a bit more than merely getting shot at or even failing to completely block an attack. Personal frame of reference, obviously, but it feels more like something you might have to do after having your chest piece ripped off by the big bad, not after getting shot at by scum with holdout pistols or taking a bolter shell or two. And by the rules, you wouldn't be applying a penalty, they'd be doing the exact same profit factor roll, penalty free, including the bonuses from any commerce rolls et al. That's how upkeep works. To me, applying a penalty because it got hurt extra bad is... well, not very fair or nice to the players. And it's certainly not RAW. The aformentioned idea of using criticals is not a bad one. When they've taken enough damage to get into critical, aka the limb-tearing, blood spurting, eye-gouging pain part of getting hit, then I'd say a suit of armor might have taken enough damage to actually need an upkeep test.

As for making the kinda weapon scum carry threatening... it shouldn't be. They're wearing power armor. Against low-grade scum. That's like saying you want to change the rules so that a mugger from New York is actually a threat to a man in a tank, or bottle rockets a viable means of defense against F-15s. They don't even bother them, and they certainly don't damage them enough to be a problem even for maintenance. The post-battle damage from getting shot by that is buffeting out the dents and fixing the paintwork.

That said, restricting it to dramatically appropriate events, and talking to your players about it makes it a lot more palpable, especially in comparison to the impression I got of the idea from your first post, which sounded far more harsh to me. So in the end, my suggestion is to only require it when they've got restricted resources and the armor is question has taken a beating (suffered criticals or dramatic damage ala ripped into by a swarm of genestealers) beyond what it's meant to endure. And then follow the rules for upkeep, make the test with all the same modifiers as it originally had, don't apply additional penalties based on combat damage.

To me, that sounds fair and reasonable :) Not something I'd suggest doing often, but it might actually add something to the game.

(FYI, my original impression of your suggestion was that you wanted to do an upkeep test after every battle in which they took damage that bypassed their armor, and then heap on penalties on said test if it got any worse than the above. So clearly I got your intentions wrong.)

 



#9 Larkin

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 05:08 PM

 Oh yeah, that would just be relentlessly mean right there.

In the example my RT got a melta grenade dropped on his head by the AdMech in the group while he was in the middle of a horde. The grenade was supremely effective against the horde (blast(3) and flame) but, and here's the thing, the RT told the AdMech OOC to target him. He also charged the horde and several people wielding heavy stubbers where he was hit by said stubbers at least 40-50 times, if not more. As he could soak everything except for head shots I didn't bother rolling damage for most of them, but to me that speaks of massive damage. And this is exactly the situation that I was thinking of.

I wouldn't mind knocking his armour out of commission every once in a while and have him be a bit more tactical. The AdMech is going to be a problem as well, as he'll start tanking even more next time he buys The Flesh is Weak. Luckily I think my Navigator (who hit 0 wounds during that fight) has gotten the idea to use the tactical space around them, and our Seneschal has gone out of his way to avoid getting shot at and to preserve his own life. Not worried about those two.

I do agree that the negatives are a bit harsh, but my group is currently at 80PF, we're closing in on 2/3rds of the way through Lure and they're going to meet the achievement point goal if they do the extras on Dross. That's another 8 or so PF, so I won't feel so bad about giving negatives to the upkeep roll until they have a chance to restock, then it goes back to normal. The lines about not being able to retest until PF is gained only make sense if the acquisition is large or cannot be repaired. Perhaps counting the upkeep test as an acquisition in the game session, so the more things they try to get, the lower their roll gets.

I'm never mean to my players, as if they're not having fun I'm not going to have players anymore. But I do like to reward valour, intelligence and roleplay rather than number crunching. Crunch is great, and I have no problems with it as long as the roleplay is there, and there's almost always a roleplay solution to everything I present, even this.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. Good points were raised, and I had to reconsider my intentions a couple of times, which will just make the usage of this that much better for my group.



#10 Objulen

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 08:26 AM

Asking for upkeep tests to keep armor in repair when it's going to suffer battle damage is reasonable; the "satisfaction" quality, though, depends on a few things, like realistic handling and simplicity. 

You can take two main things into consideration with the difficulty of the PF test -- Complexity and overall damage level. It would be easier to repair common guard flak over artificer-quality power armor. Still, there'll be the +30 bonus for a single unit only. One idea to consider, still, would be incorporating how wounded the PC was in combat -- +10 for light, +0 for heavy, -10 for critical, for example. 

One thing to consider, also, is that if the group has a character with Trade (Armourer), then it's reasonable that he/she would be able to influence the roll, and makes it more important to have such a character in the group. Adding +5 to +10 for every level of training and Talented in the skill is good way to reflect the character's xp expenditures. 



#11 Larkin

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 07:25 PM

 I would like to point out an interesting result from today's game. Since I posted this, we've had three sessions, and finished Lure of the Expanse. In the middle session the RT was warned that his fleet was out of repair supplies and that they would have to scrounge and stretch resources to repair anyone's power armour if severe damage was taken. Then they went down and had the fight on the planet, taking fairly severe damage. I didn't want to outright kill anyone, so refrained from using Mindwar, but I put the techpriest into criticals with 2 shots from the special cannon (which has no damage type interestingly enough) and the RT at half wounds from fighting the primary, while the snipers kept the party NPCs down under cover most of the fight. Everyone enjoyed themselves and saw it as a good climax. Then I got them stranded on Seedworld AFG.

This session began there, but prior to the game start I was discussing melta weapons with the RT's player. We then started, they ran into the problems of having high technological devices on a very primitive planet, were captured and tourtured by the Ordo Xenos, and then released. It was a heavy roleplay session today, which ended with a bit of surprise.

The RT decided that he was going to get a new primary set of carapace armour to wear all the time instead of his power armour! I didn't prompt it, he came to the conclusion himself with the comment, "Well I don't want to be stuck facing down people with just melta weapons all the time. Plus, this way I won't think I'm completely invincible all the time." Self regulation is a wonderful thing.

Then the Explorator player found out about Genator. His stated goal is to become the 'Ardest man out there and to be able to smack around Orks whenever he wants. A worthy goal, but at least he's the only really high soak character left.






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