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So Basilisks…


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#1 KommissarK

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 06:40 AM

If on a miss, shot will only scatter 2d10 meters.

An earthshaker cannon has a blast of 20.

Therefore, an earthshaker will almost always hit on target, no matter the distance, no matter the penalty (barring direct GM intervention).

Also, it seems odd that the shot will actually hit the ground in the same round it is fired, even if the thing is 12km away. I'll admit, I'm no ballistics specialist, but this would appear to indicate a muzzle velocity of about 2400 m/s, which, according to wikipedia, is almost 4-5 times that of a modern howitzer. I know I tend to be one to say it is silly to try to compare things to real life, but this feels "uncinematic" to me.

Also, strictly RAW, the wording on what the GM should actually modify is that the GM assigns the penalties to hit the target. At the end of the day, the penalties don't matter, as even a miss will still roughly blow away a target.

I'm fine with it being a deadly weapon, but it seems more likely to TPK a party if they ever come under fire, not severely maim them. It would be nice if this system had a Shadowrun style blast system, where they deal less damage as a function of distance (with the nasty side effect of shockwaves while in tight corridors). If in AP12 cover, a basilisk will still dish out 4d10-1 damage to a party (assuming they're tightly knit). This is accounting for AP4 and TB3. On average, this is about 21 damage to PCs. If using the human average of 12 wounds, this puts them at 9 crit damage, almost guaranteeably dead in the system.



#2 Musclewizard

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 06:48 AM

Well Blast and Scatter are still relevant though. Dodging a blast attack moves the character to the edge of the area of effect if it is no further away than the characters agility bonus in meters. So if you want to dodge a point blank hit your agility bonus better be 21, if the attack scatter you might actually get out of there in time. Even more so artillery will probably not atempt to hit single targets making scatter more releavant.

Now I can't talk about flight time for projectiles. All I know is from a video about a howitzer where a high angle firing solution was used and the projectile had a flight time of about 50 seconds. I guess Varn or someone else might be more qualified to talk about stuff like that.



#3 Varn

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 06:50 AM

Infantry are known as the Queen of Battle, and artillery is known as the King of Battle. Now you tell me, what does the King do to the Queen?



#4 KommissarK

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 06:55 AM

Given that it only scatters 11m on average, it's just not gonna matter. Most PCs don't have an AB of 9.

As far as the "It should be deadly" notion, I agree, to a certain extent. My point is, its just a tool for a TPK. It doesn't make the players shift their focus, it murders them outright.



#5 Cifer

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 07:54 AM

@KommissarK

How often are the PCs going to be in the exact focus of a basilisk attack? If they are, it's IMO rather unimportant just how much the roll scatters on average - chances are pretty high it's a TPK anyway as long as the earthshaker stats stay the same.

 

That being said, it might be an idea to change the Indirect trait to scatter 1D10-BSB/2D10 times the range (short = 1, medium = 2, long = 3, extreme = 4).



#6 DJSunhammer

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 08:25 AM

Why not just add a couple more d10s to the scatter distance or just add a flat number. Something like 2d10+15m.



#7 KommissarK

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 08:28 AM

One thing a friend and me came up with is the possibility of a numeric value that goes with the Indirect Quality, and either have it be a straight multiplier, or even extra d10s to add to a miss.



#8 Darklordofbunnies

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 08:40 AM

Varn said:

Infantry are known as the Queen of Battle, and artillery is known as the King of Battle. Now you tell me, what does the King do to the Queen?

Historically: boink her a few times and then go on to a string of mistresses in case his biological royal progeny turned out too inbred to rule.

Point made though.



#9 HTMC

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 10:13 AM

KommissarK said:

 

As far as the "It should be deadly" notion, I agree, to a certain extent. My point is, its just a tool for a TPK. It doesn't make the players shift their focus, it murders them outright.

 

 

While this is only slightly related, I don't think it's "just a tool for TPK," since there's always the, y'know, chance that the PCs themselves will acquire one, or have an allied force with them, etc. 

I feel like a saving grace of the Basilisks in terms of Indirect Fire is the fact the Basilisk still has to be somehow "aware" of the targets in order to Indirect fire. Now, of course, if the GM feels sadistic that won't stop him from using a Basilisk as a, as you say, "tool for TPK," but that's true no matter what: if the GM wants the party dead, there are infinite ways to accomplish that.

I would say though that in a legitimate and fair game the GM would use this need of awareness as a factor, where the PCs can only be shot at if they severely screw up in some form (don't take out the spotter, massively fail stealth checks, etc). So I do agree that if they get shot at while clumped together they're pretty screwed, but I don't think it's a bad thing considering what Earthshaker cannons are supposed to do. 



#10 KommissarK

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 11:00 AM

But gone even is the tension of getting injured while the PCs having to huddle in a foxhole or trench while artillery rains down upon them. If it hits, they might as well be dead. They're not leaving without being around 5 crit wounds. There's very little chance to only take 3 or 4 wounds.

As far as spotting goes… A guy in a chameoline cloak, magnoculars, a hand held targeter, a portable vox, and hiding in the bushes is good enough to play spotter.



#11 MorioMortis

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 01:07 PM

 I'd say to add incremental deviation based on distance (none for up to normal range, 10 meters extra between normal and long range, 20 for long and 30 for extreme range). Either that, or add another 2d10 per increment, which makes even more random, but slightly more realistic, as the impact of miscalculations and the wind are proportionate to the time of flight. Even with this, the basilisk is still incredibly accurate for "dumb" artillery, with only a little over 7.5m of maximal deviation per km of range at extreme range, and an average of around 4m of deviation per kilometer.

With this, you PCs would have to be unlucky to get hit by a shell aimed at them at standard range, but an artillery bombardment should still feel threatening, especially if the target location is imprecise.


The stupid must be bashed upon the head with the Mallet of Wisdom until their heads are inflated with knowledge.

 

Words to live (and die) by : "I have officially Been out-rogue tradered!  As always, one must always assume that no matter how grand your plan is, it's never enough!" - RogalDorn1


#12 Andor

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 03:14 PM

WRT dodging, if there is solid cover available, like a bunker or foxhole or trench, I'd say you can dodge if you reach cover rather than needing to sprint the full blast radius.

As far as taking flesh wounds from an artillery barrage… Why is that desireable? Do you also want flesh wounds from nukes? An exterminatus? Flesh and bone does not take hits designed to bring down a fortress.

That having been said, I think you're going about it the wrong way. An artillery barrage  which you are on the wrong end of is not an attack directed against your PCs in particular. It is enviromental, set dressing. There to drive home the brutality and inhumanity of the battlefield.

So either rule that shrapnel flying around from the barrage counts as suppresive fire with the damage code of your choosing or describe how the squad in the foxhole 5m over, the guys you just traded rations with and learned the dirty joke about the Ogryn and the Commisar from, just took a hit and were utterly destroyed, and the blast does 1d5 wounds through the interveneing 5m of dirt. Or both as the situation demands.

If you want to create a particular scene, use creative liscense.



#13 KommissarK

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 02:43 AM

The thing to mainly point out though, is that as long as the operator of an earthshaker cannon is "aware" of a target (quite easy with a spotter, and all that is is a guy with magnoculars and a vox), then it will never miss the target if going by RAW.

The blast is 20m, the furthest scatter on a miss is 20m. No matter what is rolled, barring a 96-100, it will hit.

No matter the penalties to the roll, no matter the degress of failure on the roll, it will hit its target.

Obviously, GM intervention can stop this, but thats what it takes.

Technically, its more effective to fire the weapon indirectly than it is to go for direct fire, as direct fire can just miss.

 

From a friend:

To illustrate why these rules need refinement, take the example of Bob the Ork, and, for the sake of comedy, lets ignore the usual -60 cap on penalties. Bob, with a Ballistic skill of 1, has stolen a basilisk from some humies. Despite being untrained (-20) he fires it indirectly (-10) at a ratling (size, -10) wearing a chameoline cloak (-30) that he is only vaguely aware of (GM rules -30 for lack of information, following the indirect fire guidelines) 10 km away (extreme range, --30) at night (darkness, -30) in a terrible storm (-20). Poor Bob rolls a 94 to hit, just barely not jamming the earthshaker round in the barrel. Accounting for his total -180 in penalties, this results in 27 degrees of failure, a clear miss. Bob dutifully rolls to scatter, getting the maximum 20 meters. Despite this, the ratling is caught in the 20m blast and still suffers the full damage from the earthshaker.


The simple fact is as long as the GM allows you to fire the weapon at a target, you will hit that target.



#14 Andor

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 03:24 AM

Heh. Well, you could add degrees of failure to the scatter, either as a straight add, or a multiplier.

How about scatter = 2d10m + (deg of failure(m) X Range increment)

So Bob the Ork would scatter by 2d10 + 27 X 4 or about 115m.



#15 Darklordofbunnies

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 08:06 AM

I'm going to question why the "deadliness" of an earthshaker round is being compared to guardsmen. Anyone using artillery of that level on a small squad of grunt infantry is either an idiot or the party really managed to piss in his coffee.



#16 KommissarK

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 08:30 AM

Traitor PDF have a basilisk company on hill #348 that the intrepid party has been tasked to take? PDF spotters observe the incoming attack and give directions to fire? Whats supposed to happen, the guns narratively fire at something else? The GM rules they're not attacking a point "in" the party, and thus always scatter harmlessly away? The problem is that there is no damage that could be dealt that doesn't outright kill the party. There's no way to say "you're just grazed by shrapnel, you take 9 damage" beyond strictly applying GM fiat and house ruling how it turns out.

PCs could attempt to use cover, but at the end of the day, its futile. Even if the attacker misses, they still get hit. Even if they're 3/4 of the blast distance away from the center (too far to dodge out of sadly), they're still taking the full force of the hit. Even if they have quite reasonable AP 12 "trench level" cover, they're still taking on average 21 wounds, after all resistances are applied

I'm not saying it shouldn't effectively kill a party, I'm just pointing out that if it is used with RAW, it will never miss (assuming it is being fired at the party).



#17 ItsUncertainWho

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 10:28 AM

KommissarK said:

Traitor PDF have a basilisk company on hill #348 that the intrepid party has been tasked to take? PDF spotters observe the incoming attack and give directions to fire? Whats supposed to happen, the guns narratively fire at something else? …

I would argue that an artillery company firing at a single squad is rather silly, as Darklordofbunnies mentioned.

The artillery spotter should send word up the chain of command and let a squad or two of the enemies infantry be dispatched to deal with them. 



#18 KommissarK

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 10:45 AM

Ah, but being traitor PDF, and an otherwise gung-ho/trigger happy bunch, they don't care about no stinkin chain of command. They got big guns, and they have enemies approaching their position. What if they don't have a squad to spare against the party? What if its more than just the party and several squads of guardsmen (including the party) that are advancing towards them.

I'm just saying there are moments when a squad may come under artillery fire. As it is, there are two things that can occur in RAW:

1. They are actually being shot at, in which case they will be hit since earthshakers can't miss (see the "2d10m scatter is meaningless if you have a 20m blast radius" argument).

2. They are not being shot off, and are inherently "safe" where they are. Unless of course, it scatters on top of them, in which case they're still dead (as there is no method of decreasing damage as a function of distance from center of blast).

Maybe its just me, but infantry huddling up in trenches and foxholes while under artillery fire is quite iconic of the setting. I'm reminded of the sequence from Band of Brothers. Their unit took it pretty bad, but was able to continue fighting. Looking at these rules, it seems very much like putting a party into a similar situation is simply a device of quickly ending the campaign (via TPK). It has a very hot/cold (you're either 100% dead or 100% alive) feel to it, which, while stressing, makes for a pretty crappy RPG. You're essentially living at the whim of the GM. I'm just looking for a means of using artillery fire as a means of injuring (and maybe killing a PC, not all of them). Its really an issue with blast damage, and how it deals its full value to all inside the blast radius. I get that it greatly simplifies the system, but at the same time, it takes away certain tools, certain stressors the GM can use on a party. "Incoming!" is just another word for "Reroll!"

Honestly the initial point of this thread was simply commenting that earthshakers can't miss, which I hope we all agree is actually kind of an issue. Indirect fire needs to scatter more, or earthshakers need to have a smaller blast radius. It is not a good thing that the weapon always hits its designated target, no matter the penalty to the attack.



#19 Andor

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:50 PM

But again, A Basilisk against the party is swatting flies with a sledgehammer. A Basilisk bombardment should be set dressing, not a direct threat. If you want something party-scaled just use mortars.

That having been said, check out the cover rules on page 184. A bunker, or an arbitrarily thick wall of dirt between the party and the shell can throttle the damage down to survivable levels.

But, IMHO, unless they do something truely stupid to invite it, you as a GM should not actually be rolling to see if a Basilisk hits them. It should be a pre-built part of the scenario with an effect you have already worked out and scaled to them. Like for example they are sneaking through a sewer system underlaying a battle field, and becuase they are 10 min late they run into the arty barrage that was supposed to be a distracting cover for them. Then you hit them with a full on Basilisk round. 4d10+10 pen 8, with full cover of dirt plus ceramacrete sewer walls gives 24 points of additional armour leaving the party getting their teeth rattled by a net damage of around 8 pts pen 0. I'd probably throw in an agility/acrobatics check to keep your feet.

But for the most part unless they stand on top of a hill and Vox "I bet you can't shoot this octopus off of my head." to an enemy basilisk crew, they should not be the target of a basilisk anymore than they should be the target of an orbital lance battery. Or the full ire of an Inquisitor.



#20 Cifer

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 02:29 AM

Another question: Would it matter if the basilisk attack could miss? You'd then still be at the mercy of the GM's dice. It would be an exact repeat of your bleeding Commissar situation - there's still nothing you can do to influence the outcome.

 

Right now, the "take back the guns" mission would essentially be a stealth game: Hope you can notice any spotter before he sees you, then sneak up on him until you're close enough that he won't be willing to call a barrage on what is essentially his own position and take him out. Perhaps allow a grace period between being spotted and the death coming from above while the spotter transmits the coordinates via vox and you move towards whatever cover you can find.






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