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[Migrated] Volley Fire & Other Assorted House Rules (T.S. Luikart)


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#1 Wu Ming

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 07:27 AM

T.S. Luikart: Early in the development of Dark Heresy, we actually did have some Red Shirt / Mook rules for NPCs. They were scrapped along the way, but unfortunately a few of their vestiges remain to haunt us, the worst being the "Righteous Fury" bit. There was a time, oh a couple of years ago, when not giving the Minor NPCs the ability to achieve a Righteous Fury made perfect sense - mainly because they worked in a slightly different fashion.

Having finally gotten a look at an "official" representative of the Adeptus Astartes, I know quite a few of you concluded "Oh my god, he can't even be scratched by basic weapons!" or words to that effect. "Context is King" the old phrase goes and I have found that to be a truism in RPGs.

So here, long promised, finally arrived - are some of the rules that I've been using for awhile for Dark Heresy. Hopefully, you GMs will find them useful and Players with an eye towards commanding troops will also like them.

Note that these rules carry with them a set of two assumptions: A) All Heavy & Special Weapons are always subject to Righteous Fury – whether this is due to the fact that any NPC kick ass enough to wield one causes it or the weapon itself is irrelevant.* B) NPCs otherwise cannot achieve Righteous Fury unless they are Major Villains / Antagonists.

Volley Fire

Volley Fire is a Full Round Action that allows a squad of individuals armed with Semi-Auto or Automatic weapons to unleash a hail of fire capable of shredding those foolish enough to not take cover. A round of Volley Fire can only be unleashed by a Squad of 5 or more, less and they must revert to the standard attack rules.

First determine whether the bulk of a Volley Firing Squad is using Automatic or Semi-Auto weapons; it is okay to "mix and match" with the proviso that you get a bonus to Ballistic Skill based on the majority of the weapons being used. Note that any individual armed with a weapon in a completely different class than the rest should always be rolled separately, e.g. a Squad armed with lasguns accompanied by a Ad-Mech gun servitor with a Plasma Cannon - even though the servitor is accompanying the Squad, he..erm "it" rolls its attack separately.

Average the Ballistic Skill Scores of the Squad to get the Squad's "base" Ballistic Skill. The Squad gets the standard +20% if mostly using Automatic weapons and +10% if using Semi-Auto. Volley Fire cannot be "aimed" per se, but other bonuses and penalties may apply at GMs discretion.

Each Degree of Success on that attack roll allows a Squad using Automatic weapons to hit 1 target. With Semi-auto weapons it takes 2 Degrees of Success to hit a target. Any given target can only be hit once per round of combat by any given Volley Fire - "extra" successes are wasted on the surrounding terrain, potentially guilty bystanders, local statuary, etc.

The damage of a Volley Fire round is equal to the base damage of the main weapons being used +2 to damage for a Squad of 5. An additional +1 damage is added for each additional squad member until twice the weapons normal base damage (counting a weapons d10s as having rolled a 10) has been reached.

For example, a Standard Lasgun does 1d10+3 – its maximum damage potential is thus 26 (13x2). This breaks down as follows:

Squad of 5 Volley Fire with a Basic Lasgun = 1d10+5
Squad of 6 = 1d10+6
Squad of 7= 1d10+7 and so forth all the way up to
Squad of 16 = 1d10+16 – since this is capable of achieving a 26, you’ve reached the maximum damage potential for that weapon. Larger squads would be irrelevant.

The various Special Qualities still apply to Volley Fire if enough (more than 50%) of the weapons in a Volley have that Special Quality. The same applies to Penetration values (though you could average across the board if you really feel like it).

Larger groups of combat troops generally tend to break up into different groups and pick different targets to maximize their effectiveness, e.g. If you attack your PCs with 17 cultists armed in the main with autoguns, if they are combat trained, they are more likely to break into 2 Squads of 6 and a Squad of 5 in order to open up in multiple directions. If not combat trained, all of them may just open up at what they can see.

If you wish, you can can institute some of the rules of "Chain of Command" below in order to make a Volley - especially useful once your PCs have troops of their own to order about.


Collective Suppressive Fire

A Squad (as defined above) armed with Single Shot weapons can take a Full Round Action to make their firepower function like Suppressive Fire from the main rule book for DH. It takes 3 degrees of success to actually hit a target in the suppressed area - but all other rules apply. (Picture a group of Gunmetal Juves opening up with their sidearms on some hapless Acolytes and you'll get the idea.)


Chain of Command

By the RAW, the Command skill only effects your Fellowship Bonus in troops. Air of Authority allows you to add +1d10 to this. Master Orator makes it x10; however, both of those Talents are relatively rare. In military situations or where there is a clearly organized command structure, the individuals within it are typically taught to follow orders to the "best of their ability" which may or may not mean much.

When functioning within a Chain of Command and dealing with troops / individuals that consider themselves to be obligated to follow orders for whatever reason, a "commanding" figure gets x3 to his normal FB for troops under his/her command, e.g. a Sergeant with a Fellowship of 38% has a FB of 3 and can readily attempt to order about 9 Squad members. A "commanding" figure can increase this to x5 FB for a -10% and to x10 FB at a -30%.

Ordering a Squad into long range combat is a command that requires a +10% Command Test. Ordering a Squad into close combat requires a base Command Test. Ordering a Squad to Volley Fire at a specific target/s requires a -10% Command Test unless that target is particularly menacing, in which case there is a variable Bonus based on the situation, e.g. "Shoot that fething Mutie bastard!"

All Command Tests should be subject to GM discretion / discussion. Note that troops that know they are working for the Inquisition, or know there is a Commissar standing about, tend to be, erm... motivated to obey orders.

Cheers.

*In my game, all "bolt" class weapons apply their penetration to both Armour and Toughness. The rare troops that can actually unleash a Volley of bolt fire, Adeptus Astartes (fallen or not) and Adepta Sororitas, cause massive, massive carnage.



#2 Wu Ming

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 07:30 AM

 N0-1_H3r3:

 
 
 
 
T.S. Luikart wrote:Chain of Command

By the RAW, the Command skill only effects your Fellowship Bonus in troops. Air of Authority allows you to add +1d10 to this. Master Orator makes it x10; however, both of those Talents are relatively rare. In military situations or where there is a clearly organized command structure, the individuals within it are typically taught to follow orders to the "best of their ability" which may or may not mean much.

When functioning within a Chain of Command and dealing with troops / individuals that consider themselves to be obligated to follow orders for whatever reason, a "commanding" figure gets x3 to his normal FB for troops under his/her command, e.g. a Sergeant with a Fellowship of 38% has a FB of 3 and can readily attempt to order about 9 Squad members. A "commanding" figure can increase this to x5 FB for a -10% and to x10 FB at a -30%.

Ordering a Squad into long range combat is a command that requires a +10% Command Test. Ordering a Squad into close combat requires a base Command Test. Ordering a Squad to Volley Fire at a specific target/s requires a -10% Command Test unless that target is particularly menacing, in which case there is a variable Bonus based on the situation, e.g. "Shoot that fething Mutie bastard!"

All Command Tests should be subject to GM discretion / discussion. Note that troops that know they are working for the Inquisition, or know there is a Commissar standing about, tend to be, erm... motivated to obey orders.


One addition that sprang to mind regarding this part was the use of leaders to bolster their subordinates. They'd mainly be applicable to front-line leaders, only appearing sporadically as you get further up the chain of command (an Imperial Guard Lieutenant doesn't need to command all the men subordinate to him... he just needs to command the squad leaders, who will in turn command the men in their squad, possibly through other subordinates).

Whether these abilities would be default parts of the Command skill, or optional talents or whatever, I don't know. I'm just musing at the moment.

Fire Discipline
The unit's leader focusses his attention on getting the most from his squad's guns. As a half action, the leader can attempt a Command Test to direct the fire of his subordinates. If successful, a number of characters under his command (determined as normal for number of characters affected by Command tests) count as being assisted (as per the rules for Assistance on page 185 of the Dark Heresy rulebook) during their shooting actions this turn. As a result, each warrior assisted this turn will count their attack roll as one-step easier than normal, and gain a bonus degree of success if the test passes. If his subordinates are using volley fire, he must be able to confer the bonus to all of them for the volley to gain this benefit.

Edit: Oops, forgot something. A leader using Fire Discipline counts towards the minimum of 5 soldiers in a squad needed to Volley Fire, but doesn't confer any bonus to damage if there are more than 5 soldiers already present in the unit - he's too busy giving orders to add much to the volleys of fire.

Stand Firm!
The unit's leader can bolster the resolve of his men. As a half action, he can attempt a Command Test to steel his men against the horrors and stresses of combat. If successful, a number of characters under his command (determined as normal for the number of characters affected by a Command Test) count as being assisted on any Fear or Pinning tests they take before the start of their next turn.

Heroic Leadership
A leader with Fate Points may, at his option, use them to benefit a warrior under his command. This requires an Easy (+30) Command Test and allows the leader to confer one of the normal benefits of spending or burning a Fate Point on one of his subordinates. If he does this, the Fate Point is spent or burnt as normal - all the Command Test does is allow you to give the benefits to someone else.

That's the ideas I've come up with so far, but I think the general idea of using Command to assist on tests and dice rolls that aren't Command Tests is a solid one...



#3 Santiago

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 07:42 AM

Thank you for reposting these rules, it is good we salvage some of the old material.



#4 Peacekeeper_b

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 07:56 AM

I will try these out but they seem a bit off. By averaging the BS of the squad, you can potentially have more equal less. For example, 5 guys each with BS 45 are firing in a volley. The average is 45%, Joe the Blind joins the volley with BS 22. Now the total goes from 225 (45x5) to 247 (45x5+22). The average goes from 45% to 41%. Gaining the +20 for full auto and rolling a 57 you get one target hit. So now you are only rolling 1D10+3+volley Fire Modifier for damage. Seems a bit wasteful. The more you add the greater the chance of missing.

I would make it work similar to a flamer. You have to make a Dodge test of get hit in the area of the volley. For each degree you fail by you get hit one more time.

 

Or maybe not, like I said I need to test it.



#5 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 10:32 AM

Peacekeeper_b said:

I will try these out but they seem a bit off. By averaging the BS of the squad, you can potentially have more equal less. For example, 5 guys each with BS 45 are firing in a volley. The average is 45%, Joe the Blind joins the volley with BS 22. Now the total goes from 225 (45x5) to 247 (45x5+22). The average goes from 45% to 41%. Gaining the +20 for full auto and rolling a 57 you get one target hit. So now you are only rolling 1D10+3+volley Fire Modifier for damage. Seems a bit wasteful. The more you add the greater the chance of missing.

I would make it work similar to a flamer. You have to make a Dodge test of get hit in the area of the volley. For each degree you fail by you get hit one more time.

 

Or maybe not, like I said I need to test it.

I've found that the kinds of enemies I want using Volley Fire tend not to have individual statlines anyway, so the 'average' is simply the Ballistic Skill you've given to the generic NPC that the group is composed of.

Also remember that it's not necessarily a matter of accuracy - that doesn't change - but the increased damage is the incentive, especially against tough adversaries.


Writing Credits for Fantasy Flight Games: Into the Storm, Edge of the Abyss, Battlefleet Koronus, Hostile Acquisitions, Black Crusade Core Rulebook, First Founding, The Jericho Reach, The Soul Reaver, Only War, The Navis Primer,Ark of Lost Souls, and Hammer of the Emperor

I no longer write for, or am employed by, Fantasy Flight Games in any fashion. All of my comments are my own, and do not reflect the opinions of any employer, past, present, or future.




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