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Newbie GM: Bolter vs Bolt Pistol


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#1 Devilb0y

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 04:40 AM

 Hi All,

 

The Death Watch rulebook has literally just turned up today so I'm obviously still very new to the rules. However while making a dummy character as part of the process I've come across the rule stating that while wearing power armour you can fire a basic weapon one-handed without penalty. Clearly, this applies to pretty much every PC in Deathwatch. Given that my first PC is an Assault Marine, my question is this: what is the point of a Bolt Pistol if I can just use a Bolter with no penalty?

As far as I can tell the only advantage a pistol has over a basic ranged weapon is that it can be used in melee if you have the duel-wielder talent, but that seems a poor substitute for the extra ammo and damage a Boltgun provides.

Am I missing something here?

Thanks,

 

Dev.



#2 KommissarK

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 05:37 AM

Step one, check the errata statistics, it has optional rules for retooling weapon damage. I personally like them, but they're up to you and your group.

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/deathwatch/news/faq/Deathwatch%20Living%20Errata%20v1-1.pdf

Not sure where you read pistols require Two Weapon Wielder to be used in melee. They don't. Now yes, to use the iconic pistol and sword combo to its fullest effect does indeed require the Two Weapon Wielder talent (that is to say, the ability to make a melee attack and fire the pistol as a full round action, possibly benefiting from swift/lightning attack). But if your character is more ranged oriented, and an enemy has engaged you in melee, you are probably better served drawing your bolt pistol than trying to either back away and fire a basic weapon or using a sub-par melee ability. Without TWW, certainly, a bolter and chainsword approach is also quite effective.

The ability to use a pistol in melee is about its only draw over a basic weapon. Also, depending on your GM and strict readings of the rules, TWW(ranged) can't really be done with two basic weapons (if a player tried to dual wield storm bolters at my table, I'd be introducing their face to the casing for my Deathwatch CE. And no jury would convict me), but pistols do work. Dual shot with inferno pistols comes to mind with this. If the pistols have semi/full auto they can fire that as well.

The smaller size of a pistol weapon means less GM frustration with players trying to carry 27 different basic weapons on their person. Yes, Astartes carry capacity is amazing. The problem is one of bulk, not weight. Pistols are a great ranged alternative if the player is already bogged down carrying a power sword, a flamer, a combat knife, and a chainsword.

The only real downsides a pistol has in this system though is the effective range, rate of fire, and ammo capacity. Damage/pen are the same. Range tends not to be an issue, as the intent is to use them at short range. Rate of fire isn't that terrible a loss, as to make full use of that high a semi-automatic (this is assuming you're using errata weapon stats) requires a pretty high base BS and a solid roll. Capacity certainly is an issue, but either weapon can still fire its max RoF for 7 turns before needing a reload.

This is pretty much a roundabout way of saying sidearms are useful for melee.



#3 herichimo

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 03:42 PM

KommissarK said:

The ability to use a pistol in melee is about its only draw over a basic weapon. Also, depending on your GM and strict readings of the rules, TWW(ranged) can't really be done with two basic weapons (if a player tried to dual wield storm bolters at my table, I'd be introducing their face to the casing for my Deathwatch CE. And no jury would convict me), but pistols do work. Dual shot with inferno pistols comes to mind with this. If the pistols have semi/full auto they can fire that as well.

Just for clarifications sake: You can use semi and full auto actions as part of a Ranged TWW (ballistic) attack. Not in any melee situation. Nothing KommissarK said was wrong, but his wording had me confused for a second so I thought it best to clarify.

I agree with everything else KommissarK said.

Pistols can use their snapshot ability in melee, Basic weapons still can not. Power armor lets you fire the weapon with one hand, it does not allow you to fire it "as if it were a pistol."

Any weapons that can reasonably be used in one hand can be used with TWW (ballistic) but many of the talents used with TWW (ballistic) only work with pistols such as Dual Shot and Gunslinger for instance.

Pistols, as confirmed by rule guy Tim at Gamesday, are also the only weapons besides Aux grenade launcher which can be arm or shoulder mounted. Which means no wrist mounted storm bolters. Obviously weapons specifically designed to be wrist mounted (Angelus boltgun for instance) can be.

So pistols do have their advantages despite their lower RoF and range.



#4 Plasmafest

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 10:39 PM

I'd also add that certain Talents are specific to Pistols, such as Dual Shot and Gunslinger. And that Bolter Drill gives a bolt pistol nearly the same performance as a bolter at close ranges (except the short range to-hit bonus).



#5 AlphariusOmegon7

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:28 AM

 What everyone else has said.  

Also, if you're GM, just don't tell them about it.  I didn't, and no-one has questioned it (they all have the rule-book too!).  Though one guy did try to persuade me that he could fire a heavy flamer one handed….



#6 H.B.M.C.

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:43 PM

Not everyone gets a Bolter.

BYE


Matt Eustace. Contributing Author Credits: Church of the Damned, The Lathe Worlds, The Lathe Worlds - The Lost Dataslate, Only War Core Rulebook, Hammer of the Emperor, Shield of Humanity, Tome of Fate, Tome of Blood, Tome of Excess and Tome of Decay.

The views expressed in this post are my own. I do not speak for or on behalf of Fantasy Flight Games.





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