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Using Only War rules in Deathwatch


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#1 Kerrahn

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 11:29 PM

Has anyone else done this at all yet? I'm planning on starting fresh with my group's Deathwatch campaign (I'm not entirely happy with the way its going due to multiple reasons), and was wondering what opinions are of using some of the Only War rules in it.

Rules I want to include are:

  •  New Lightning Attack and Swift Attack rules (including Unwieldy and Unbalanced preventing Lightning Attack)
  • The +10 to Standard attacks, and the new Semi-Auto and Automatic Fire rules
  • New vehicle critical hits tables
  • Revised Talents, Skills and weapon traits (I love the way Toxic, Concussive and Primitive work)
  • 1d5 critical Righteous Fury, plus the ability for NPCs to do it too

I don't plan on using the Only War / Black Crusade method of Unnatural traits, however, as so many enemies in Deathwatch use it, and it makes some abilities (like one Solo Mode ability that increases Unnatural Strength by an additional multiple) a bit more work to change.

Does anyone think this will unbalance the game at all? Like would the Lightning / Swift Attack talents need new XP costs or could they be left alone? Is the 1d10 extra damage from a Righteous Fury necessary for some of the Deathwatch enemies?

One problem I constantly dealt with in my game was an Assault Marine who would basically use Lightning Attack + Thunder Hammer to beat anything into submission (he single-handedly killed 2 Greater Knarlocs in about 5 - 6 turns total), and a Devastator / Deathwatch Terminator with Assault Cannon that had so much BS and BS increases that, when combined with Tearing for a greater chance of Righteous Fury, killed things even faster.

Meanwhile everyone else was struggling to keep up, and I think some of these changes would prevent the same happening in future games. I don't want to tell players they can't do things, so I think its better to try and put everyone on equal footing and so far I think Only War has ironed out a lot of problems the other lines had.

And moderators or whatever, feel free to move this if it doesn't belong here.



#2 Saibot

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:00 AM

I am doing just that. However, our campaign is rather young at this point, so I have not seen any kinks yet. What I can say so far, is that it actually fixes many of the problems of Deathwatch. "Boss" enemies are actually lethal and cannot be taken out by a lucky Righteous Fury, both enemies and the Marines take longer to die and players actually think about which actions to use.

The Heavy Bolter is not quite as silly as it was before. It (and a Blood Angels Assault Marine with the love of the Emperor/RNG on his side) is still the major horde destroyer, but even it takes a few turns.

As for Lightning/Swift Attack, it depends a bit on the rolls of course and the abilities of the enemy, but major opponents with good Parry or Dodge are much more likely to put up a good fight against a Lightning Attack-ing Assault Marine.



#3 Morangias

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:31 AM

You really should use the new Unnatural Characteristics. Per BC rules, Astartes have S and T bonuses of +4. The Solo Mode should change SB to +8.

For enemies, Unnatural x2 translates to +3-5, pick a base number you're comfortable with on a per-enemy basis and multiply for creatures with higher Unnaturals. Don't be too generous with Unnatural Agi, it boosts movement range now = +3 is good enough for most critters.

You'll find that PCs scale much more reasonably with flat bonuses rather than multipliers.

I'm currently thinking of a way to scrap DW specialties and use the Aptitude system instead, but so far I'm having trouble hitting the right spot in this regard.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#4 Woodclaw

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 01:08 AM

I haven't reached the bottom of the new rules yet (I don't play much of Black Crusade), but I think that some of the new rules should be implemented.

The only part I'm not a fan of are the modifiers for semi-auto and full auto bursts. I know that they work, but I think that range based modifier (a la Cyberpunk 2020) would be more reasonable. A full auto burst is less accurate at long range, but it should be devastating at close range.



#5 borithan

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 01:36 AM

The new Unnaturals system does have the problem that a guy with Unnatural stats is no more likely to pass a check than a guy who is.

Some of the Deathwatch Enemies do indeed seem to have been built with the old system in mind (some of the enemies seem to have massively inflated Wound totals  and inflated Toughness bonuses in order to survive pre-errata Deathwatch weapon damage, and old +1d10 Righteous Fury).

New Lightning Attacks and the like do mean Assault Marines are slightly less busted (though their maximum damage output is increased even if their expected level is reduced).



#6 Kerrahn

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 03:06 AM

Hmm, maybe I should do Unnatural Strength / Toughness +4 if you guys think its right.

But I may leave the enemies alone, in that I can just as easily say that they all keep the same Strength and Toughness Bonuses, just say they are Unnatural Toughness (+16) or whatever.

Only thing that starts getting confusing is if I want to transfer Only War Orks (especially Weirdboy) over, seeing as all Deathwatch ones have UT (x2), and Only War ones have various modifiers depending on their size.



#7 Alox

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 07:38 AM

I don't know exactly how well balanced the monsters are between OW and DW, but I guess you can just use them as they are from OW with all the OW descriptions and attributes and they should fare OK in DW? I mean, it doesn't really matter if the monsters "cheat".

For combat rules I do prefer the system from BC and now refined in OW, and I don't see why you can't use it in DW. I certainly use it without problems in DH.

None of my players have unnatural characteristics yet, and I plan on using OW version when it gets to that. However it will only go for players. A monster with TB4 x2 will just be converted to TB4 +4 or use the old rules whatever suits the situation.



#8 Morangias

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:40 AM

Woodclaw said:

The only part I'm not a fan of are the modifiers for semi-auto and full auto bursts. I know that they work, but I think that range based modifier (a la Cyberpunk 2020) would be more reasonable. A full auto burst is less accurate at long range, but it should be devastating at close range.

1. Too much of a hassle.

2. It's already covered by range modifiers on top of attack mode modifiers. At close range, you get a +10, meaning you fire this burst at your base BS value (barring other modifiers), which should net you one more hit. At long or extreme range, you're unlikely to shoot anything unless you ave truly epic BS or a ton of extra equipment. Point blank, you're likely to hit with most, or all, your bullets.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#9 Morangias

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:45 AM

Kerrahn said:

Hmm, maybe I should do Unnatural Strength / Toughness +4 if you guys think its right.

But I may leave the enemies alone, in that I can just as easily say that they all keep the same Strength and Toughness Bonuses, just say they are Unnatural Toughness (+16) or whatever.

Only thing that starts getting confusing is if I want to transfer Only War Orks (especially Weirdboy) over, seeing as all Deathwatch ones have UT (x2), and Only War ones have various modifiers depending on their size.

New monsters take full advantage of the more adjustable new Unnatural Characteristics. Also, a difference in character power level may be an issue here, as OW characters are much weaker than Astartes or even just Rogue Trader characters.

Orks tend to grow physically as they grow in rank and battle experience, so it's easy to imagine different specimens having a whole range of Unnatural traits.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#10 Kerrahn

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 03:50 AM

Brought all this up with my group today, and they're pretty keen to give it a shot. They all liked the Only War system when we played it briefly, but got turned off by experience spending and Aptitudes, so including the rules in Deathwatch should keep them happy.

And yeah, I'm thinking of letting the enemies 'cheat', means less hassle for me, but I'll probably use Only War Orks and Dark Eldar where possible, Deathwatch has more Chaos enemies so I'd probably be better off just keeping to those.

Thanks for the help all.






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