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Bolt Weapons; too weak?


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#1 Plushy

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 11:02 AM

 With the addition of Variable Settings for lasweapons, I find myself worried about the effectiveness of Bolt weapons.

 

Let's look at the overcharged M36 Lasgun: 1d10+5 Pen 2, single shot, 15 rounds before a reload, with Unreliable.

Compare to the Boltgun: 1d10+5 Pen 4, S/3/-, 24 rounds, with Tearing.

 

The default weapon of the Guard is now capable of being very close to the Boltgun… which is four steps rarer and supposed to be a devastating weapon. Considering that similar settings on the Triplex can give Proven 5 and Felling 4 (at only one rarity level lower than the Boltgun) I'm starting to feel like it just isn't that intimidating anymore. Some kind of damage boost, upped Pen, or maybe giving it a Felling or Proven score sounds more appropriate for these relics.

 

Does anyone agree with me or am I over-reacting?


My apologies to anyone I offend; FFG staff, playtesters, and forum users alike. 

 

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#2 Woodclaw

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 11:22 AM

Plushy said:

 With the addition of Variable Settings for lasweapons, I find myself worried about the effectiveness of Bolt weapons.

 

Let's look at the overcharged M36 Lasgun: 1d10+5 Pen 2, single shot, 15 rounds before a reload, with Unreliable.

Compare to the Boltgun: 1d10+5 Pen 4, S/3/-, 24 rounds, with Tearing.

 

The default weapon of the Guard is now capable of being very close to the Boltgun… which is four steps rarer and supposed to be a devastating weapon. Considering that similar settings on the Triplex can give Proven 5 and Felling 4 (at only one rarity level lower than the Boltgun) I'm starting to feel like it just isn't that intimidating anymore. Some kind of damage boost, upped Pen, or maybe giving it a Felling or Proven score sounds more appropriate for these relics.

 

Does anyone agree with me or am I over-reacting?

Well, the boltgun still edges the overcharge lasgun by a little thanks to Tearing and Semi-Auto (not to mention eventual special ammo), but I see your point. The big problem is that making the boltgun as intimidating as some of the fiction implies would require a major step up for Plasma and Melta weapons, which will require a rebalancing of the entire weapon/armor ratio.

Still the current boltgun feel a little underwhelmed by the new M36. Felling might be a good way to fix that, considering that the Bolter technology is pretty much meant to kill creatures with Unnatural Toughness (some BG text from GW implied that the first prototypes of boltguns were developed after humanity encountered the Orks during the Dark Age of Technology).



#3 JuankiMan

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 11:58 AM

 The damage is the same, they have half the Pen, the clip becomes tiny and also has unreliable. I don't think boltguns have anything to fear, specially when you factor in special bolter rounds which make the weapon even more versatile.

On the other hand, the Triplex-pattern is an awesome weapon, and I would personally nab one before a boltgun (less ammo worries and I love Accurate), but it has the very serious drawback of having Pen 0.

Boltguns are fine as they are. Pen 4 rips flak apart, 1d10+5 is more than respectable damage and Tearing is one of the best weapon qualities.



#4 WittyDroog

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 12:21 PM

 Remember we're talking human bolters, not Space Marine bolters. 



#5 Plushy

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 12:22 PM

JuankiMan said:

 The damage is the same, they have half the Pen, the clip becomes tiny and also has unreliable. I don't think boltguns have anything to fear, specially when you factor in special bolter rounds which make the weapon even more versatile.

On the other hand, the Triplex-pattern is an awesome weapon, and I would personally nab one before a boltgun (less ammo worries and I love Accurate), but it has the very serious drawback of having Pen 0.

Boltguns are fine as they are. Pen 4 rips flak apart, 1d10+5 is more than respectable damage and Tearing is one of the best weapon qualities.

 

But that Bolter will then struggle with armored or very tough enemies. It can't get through any kind of Unnatural Toughness. I would err on the side of being overpowered; these are pretty brutal guns.


My apologies to anyone I offend; FFG staff, playtesters, and forum users alike. 

 

Please check out my Dark Heresy to Only War conversion! You can find it on the main Only War forum. I'm always looking for more people to playtest it!


#6 Musclewizard

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 12:24 PM

I have to say it feels as if the Bolt Weaponry is weaker now but let's look at some facts

Here's some "hidden" numbers.

Tearing gives you an average damage of 7.15 instead of 5.5 and doubles your chance of RF so that's an increase in damage by 1.65
Unreliable is also very terrible, giving a weapona 10% chance to not just waste one round but potentially several. So Unreliable gives you rougly 5% extra chance to not jam the weapon (that is for single shots).
Semi-Auto Fire rate is also good, you know, versatility but not really worth that much, but you know, every bit counts. There's also the fact that explosive criticals are better than energy criticals killing on 6s and 7s instead of 8s and 9s. Lower number explosive criticals are also better than energy criticals (at least usually)  and due to Tearing they occur more often.

 



#7 JuankiMan

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 12:28 PM

Plushy said:

JuankiMan said:

 

 The damage is the same, they have half the Pen, the clip becomes tiny and also has unreliable. I don't think boltguns have anything to fear, specially when you factor in special bolter rounds which make the weapon even more versatile.

On the other hand, the Triplex-pattern is an awesome weapon, and I would personally nab one before a boltgun (less ammo worries and I love Accurate), but it has the very serious drawback of having Pen 0.

Boltguns are fine as they are. Pen 4 rips flak apart, 1d10+5 is more than respectable damage and Tearing is one of the best weapon qualities.

 

 

But that Bolter will then struggle with armored or very tough enemies. It can't get through any kind of Unnatural Toughness. I would err on the side of being overpowered; these are pretty brutal guns.

Of course it will struggle against heavy armour. It was designed to punch through flak and mail, and most likely Power Armour was designed with bolters in mind. If you want to crack a heavy armour you use plasma, hellguns or power weapons. Also, it struggles against Space Marine Unnatural Toughness, but against Ogryn or Orkish Unnatural Toughness it is quite effective. Orks have effective Toughness 6, so 1d10+5 with Tearing is bound to hurt at least some unless you roll double 1s.

 



#8 HTMC

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 06:37 PM

JuankiMan said:

most likely Power Armour was designed with bolters in mind.

From my understanding it's actually the other way around: bolters were designed to deal with power armour.



#9 MKX

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 08:23 PM

HTMC said:

From my understanding it's actually the other way around: bolters were designed to deal with power armour.

Yeah its why they discarded the stock, which would get in the way of the 'bulk' of most power armours and ends up looking like a very large SMG. Targeters and other technical doo-dads found in power armours also mean being fired from the hip isn't that rubbish to accuracy as it would be doing so with a conventional rifle.



#10 Santiago

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 08:48 PM

 Lasgun vs. Boltgun:

Lasgun:
1d10+3E, Pen 0, Reliable
1d10+4E, Pen 0, Reliable
1d10+5E, Pen 2, Unreliable

Boltgun:
1d10+5X, Pen 4, Tearing


The Boltgun still seems to be a lot more powerful than the humble lasgun in my eyes. Can use different types of ammo and has Tearing.
What I might add is the Proven (3) or Proven (4) trait to set it apart.

In TT the Lasgun is little more than a flashlight, in the fluff it is able to kill a space marine, so which do we follow. I would say the current middle ground is appropriate. 



#11 Plushy

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 09:11 PM

Santiago said:

 Lasgun vs. Boltgun:

Lasgun:
1d10+3E, Pen 0, Reliable
1d10+4E, Pen 0, Reliable
1d10+5E, Pen 2, Unreliable

Boltgun:
1d10+5X, Pen 4, Tearing


The Boltgun still seems to be a lot more powerful than the humble lasgun in my eyes. Can use different types of ammo and has Tearing.
What I might add is the Proven (3) or Proven (4) trait to set it apart.

In TT the Lasgun is little more than a flashlight, in the fluff it is able to kill a space marine, so which do we follow. I would say the current middle ground is appropriate. 

The Lasgun is separated from the Boltgun by four steps of rarity. Those acquisitions could be used for Lascannons, Multilasers, a Meltagun, or a lot of cheaper things. I'd say a Proven rating is necessary. Felling also seems justifiable; these are designed to explode inside a tough target, after all.


My apologies to anyone I offend; FFG staff, playtesters, and forum users alike. 

 

Please check out my Dark Heresy to Only War conversion! You can find it on the main Only War forum. I'm always looking for more people to playtest it!


#12 Santiago

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 10:08 PM

 Don't forget that the X criticals are much stronger than the E criticals…



#13 WittyDroog

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 10:09 PM

HTMC said:

JuankiMan said:

 

most likely Power Armour was designed with bolters in mind.

 

 

From my understanding it's actually the other way around: bolters were designed to deal with power armour.

HTMC said:

JuankiMan said:

 

most likely Power Armour was designed with bolters in mind.

 

 

From my understanding it's actually the other way around: bolters were designed to deal with power armour.

I don't know where you read that. Assuming it's true they didn't do a very good job by any measure. in tabletop it's S4 AP5, which is good for taking out flak armor and equivalents but no where near good enough for damaging Power Armor (3+). All the FFG games have shown bolters are "okay" against Power Armor but in no way where they explicitly designed to damage power armor. 



#14 Santiago

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 11:00 PM

The Boltgun is a fine weapon, but if you put the numbers game aside, a character with a bolt weapon is carrying a BOLT WEAPON, which is huge status symbol. 
Now I'm almost inclined to say that Heavy Bolters should be less rare as the pistol or basic variant, because heavy gunner tend to use them alot.

I do have a question, since Storm Troopers and Guardsman don't carry power armour, should the Guardsman Boltguns have a stock?



#15 Cifer

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 12:17 AM

I don't think bolt weaponry has anything to fear from lasweapons. An overloaded M36 hasn't got 15 shots, it's got 10 - after that, you statistically lose the remaining 5 to the jam. Maybe you lose only one, maybe it's already your second shot that jams, but it's unlikely (20%) that you'll get to fire the whole magazine.



#16 JuankiMan

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 12:36 AM

Plushy said:

Santiago said:

 

 

The Lasgun is separated from the Boltgun by four steps of rarity. Those acquisitions could be used for Lascannons, Multilasers, a Meltagun, or a lot of cheaper things. I'd say a Proven rating is necessary. Felling also seems justifiable; these are designed to explode inside a tough target, after all.

Rarity is not necessarily tied to effectiveness. Boltguns are so rare because they're an ancient design, very complicated to make and maintain and their ammunition is expensive, and therefore very rare outside the Adeptus Astartes. Autoguns are rarer than lasguns not because they're more effective (which they now definitely aren't) but because lasguns are so convinient that most worlds prefer to manufacture them than solid projectile weapons and literally tons of ammo for them.



#17 WittyDroog

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 09:18 AM

 Absolutely correct. The Bolt weapons are almost mythical when it comes to weapons and as Santiago pointed out they're very much a status symbol. And its not unheard of either, in the real world there are tons of examples of things that are far more expensive than their counterparts and feature only a very minor bump in performance, if ANY bump at all.



#18 Vandroiy

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 06:28 PM

The real world comparison isn't really applicable, we are talking about a weaponized cutting laser versus a automatic mini rocket launcher.

I've felt that every weapon, except for most SP weapons are in need of more than a couple of tweaks. But we like to emphasize cover, and armour rather than toughness.



#19 Kiton

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 08:48 AM

Its probably a pulsed laser.

The Bolter is not made to deal with heavy armour, but utterly devastates most things in guard flak or light carapace. I think part of the deal is that there's some thresholds where a weapon actually is effective, as opposed to one just a wee bit weaker.

If we look at three different targets, with minimum, average[we'll say 6 for the lasgun and 7 for the boltgun] and maximum damage off an overloaded lasgun [1d10+5E AP2] and boltgun [1d10+5X AP4]. This gives us values of 6/11/15 AP2, vs 6/12/15 AP4 respectively:

Man in AP4 Flak with Tb2 with 8 wounds

Lasgun: 2/hit minimum, 7/hit average, 11/hit maximum.

Boltgun: 4/hit minimum, 10/hit average, 13/hit maximum.

Against normal folks or cultists, both will average two hits for a kill against the target, though the boltgun generally puts a low-wound target into the early criticals with a single strike.

 

Trooper in AP 6Carapace with Tb3 and 11 wounds.

Lasgun: 0 minimum, 4 average, 8 maximum

Boltgun: 1 minimum, 7 average, 10 maximum

Here, you'll probably need a fourth lasgun hit of average damage cause significant critical damage. The Boltgun on the other hand toppled the guy in two hits, and is unlikely not to have killed him with the third.

 

Rogue Trader with AP 9 and Tb4. 16 wounds.

Lasgun: 0 minimum, 0 average, 4 maximum

Boltgun: 0 minimum, 3 average, 6 maximum

Don't bother with the Lasgun unless there really is nowhere to run. Meanwhile, the bolt-weapon still works okay. its lowest rolls can be shrugged off, but on average you still actually stand a chance. At this point, Special Ammunition would probably improve your odds significantly, something a lasgun cannot use.

 

I'm not stating this is the real reason for how things are set, but I'm thinking the values chosen for output are as they are because one weapon can kill what the other cannot scratch, and with a modicum of efficiency at it. That lasgun was really getting pushed there after all.



#20 Morangias

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 01:24 PM

Remember that 40k rpg goes with the assumption that bolt weapons are produced in two "sizes" - human and astartes, the human boltgun being a much weaker version adjusted for people who can't bench-press tons or have a recoil suppression system built into the armor.

Also consider that bolt weapons were initially designed (and are still used) as standard issue equipment for Adeptus Astartes, the most tactically flexible warriors in the entire galaxy. As such, bolt weapons are the Mario of imperial weaponry - overall solid, with no real high points, but no notable disadvantages either, and the broadest selection of specialized ammunition.

Personally, I'm perfectly fine with bolt weapons as they are right now. They offer a solid middle ground of stats, with a doubled chance of righteous fury. My whole group loves them deeply, and nobody ever felt cheated for taking a bolt weapon over any other category.


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.





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