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Fixing Smite


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#1 afterimagedan

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 07:27 PM

 Can someone please help me figure out how to regulate Smite? Basically, we are fighting an enemy who is using Smite against the marines and our Librarian who basically feels guilty using a pushed Smite because people just sigh and think in their head, "did anyone play-test this game before they printed the book?" We think it is overpowered because it does about the most possible damage as a half action and AOE. Something's wrong here.



#2 borithan

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 01:59 AM

Pushed? They will be constantly generating Psychic Phenomenon and Perils of the Warp. That can go bad quickly. If it wasn't for our group allowing fate pointing Perils of the Warp rolls our psyker would be dead now from the relatively few times he used it. Also, if pushed it will have a massive radius, meaning it can hit friendlies as well.

 

Fettered Smite is not that impressive (ok, later on it becomes equivalent to a standard attack, and then finally a little better), and Unfettered it isn't quite so hideous.



#3 afterimagedan

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 06:22 AM

 The answer is exactly what you said, you just fate point it if something goes wrong. We are all rank 2 and our Librarian pushed a smite and killed 3 Chaos Space Marines in one go where everyone else was struggling and dying. It was just one of those things where we were all like, wait a second, this is messed up. We are using a grid and the radius is not massive. It is quite easy to control actually. 

Some fixes we are considering…

1. Pushed Smites are focused on one enemy. (makes it less AOE and so whole groups of enemies don't get hit by it. It would mean that you have to either get the benefit of huge damage or AOE)

2. No Fate Pointing pushed Smites. (makes it more risky)

3. Re formulate the damage amount. (this my encourage the Librarian to use other powers once and a while)

 

Any other ideas you guys have?



#4 KommissarK

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 08:07 AM

You can't fate point psychic phenomena. Its not a test.

That said, it can be mitigated by other talents fairly effectively. Still, the off chance it does happen, there are some spectacularly bad things that can happen.

Also, I personally recommend rolling those tests in secret, if only to fudge them.

 

Also, spacing. enemies like Chaos Space Marines don't really all need to be within 2-5 meters of each other. They can handle themselves. They should be advancing upon the sons of the false emperor through cover and proper spacing, with the confidence of a thousand campaigns governing their tactics.



#5 afterimagedan

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 10:47 AM

Thanks for the info about Fate points!

They can't really handle themselves when 3 get caught in a Psy 6-7 Smite. Usually, two of them will die. That's crazy!



#6 KommissarK

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 10:52 AM

Point is just I don't think its unreasonable that a small band of chaos space marines would assume spacing of 10-15 meters. They got weapons with plenty of range. Obviously, indoors this may be an issue, but at those ranges the party may be in peril as well.



#7 afterimagedan

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 12:09 PM

 Regardless, I don't think 3 CSMs should be able to be killed in 1 shot by a Rank 2 Librarian. True, they would probably be spaced out, but it doesn't always allow that considering they were in a hallway within a space station.



#8 Gaire

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 02:12 PM

 Let foes that aren't the primary target dodge. The Librarian still gets to nuke a guy, and your encounter isn't borked by one shot. If you need to fluff it, just say that they note the blast heading in their general direction and dive for cover.

EDIT: I don't have my copy of the rulebook in front of me. Can Smite be dodged normally? Anyway, evasive maneuvers used by enemies can really extend their longevity.



#9 KommissarK

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 03:24 PM

The problem with dodging smite is the size of the blast. In a tight environment, it would be pretty rough. Fortunately CSMs would have a fairly significant move rate (should be enough if they're even 1-2m away from the target).



#10 Captain Ventris

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 05:12 PM

Yes, you can dodge Psychic attacks like anything else. With explosions, your Agility Bonus has to be enough of a distance to get out of the blast radius. I once used this to have a Chaos Marine with his back to a wall (and no room to the sides) dodge FORWARD and past a Multi-Melta blast. :P



#11 Nathiel

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 02:39 PM

And yes, you get a nice area, but it has to be centered on one target creature. You can't place it in between to hit the largest number of targets. It isn't exactly a 'Blast' effect either. it is more like chain lightning. you can dodge the bolt coming at you but might not have to move out of the area. Unlike other powers it only hits 'creatures' so inanimate objects won't be hit either. 



#12 Naviward

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 11:13 AM

 Yeah, Smite is arguably the most broken thing in Deathwatch (I'd certainly second that either no-one at FFG playtested a Librarian with Smite or they have a very over inflated view of what Librarian's should be able to do).

Posters here have already made great suggestions on how to handle it in game, but sadly it only becomes harder to balance as the Librarian goes up psy level (pretty soon they do blasts so large the primary target generally can't dodge, dealing 50+ damage a time).

In the end we rewrote the power as the following, to make it fit more closely with the tabletop version:-

1d10 + PR E, Semi Auto, Warp Weapon

(The semi auto is based on the way black crusade does shooting psychic attacks, basically just like a semi auto weapon, you get 1 additional bolt for each 2 degrees of success, and enemy reactions dodge 1 bolt for passing and 1 bolt for each degree of success).

It is a much weaker power, but more fitting for something a character starts with.



#13 afterimagedan

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 04:49 PM

Naviward, I love your idea but I think the spell would be a little weak. I think it should be more like the Plasma gun type level so we would be more in favor of…

d10+3*PR, Pen=PR Semi Auto, Warp Weapon, Half Action

I think this works quite well and scales well. Compare it to some of the shooting combos and close combat combos at the respective rank and renown items. We are going to play-test this for a while and see if it works. I am not sure if it says somewhere but we are allowing 1 offensive spell per turn. Any thoughts on any of this?



#14 borithan

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 02:42 AM

BY far and away the most broken power is the one that lets you take control of multiple characters. If used pushed it means a GM has to aim to make an encounter about 3 times harder than it would otherwise: The LIbrarian takes control of about a 1/3 of the enemies, tieing up another 1/3, leaving only a 1/3 for the players to deal with.

Smite is downright piffiling compared to that.



#15 Naviward

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 10:39 AM

afterimagedan said:

Naviward, I love your idea but I think the spell would be a little weak. I think it should be more like the Plasma gun type level so we would be more in favor of…

d10+3*PR, Pen=PR Semi Auto, Warp Weapon, Half Action

I think this works quite well and scales well. Compare it to some of the shooting combos and close combat combos at the respective rank and renown items. We are going to play-test this for a while and see if it works. I am not sure if it says somewhere but we are allowing 1 offensive spell per turn. Any thoughts on any of this?

I would be careful about giving too much of a bonus times the PR, as at base level this is alright (although it is better than a bolter is to start with, which is already pretty powerful, starting marines can't have a plasma gun after all) but once the psy ratings start to go up it gets over powered quickly. 

A good comparison would be a mid rank 5 librarian vs other marine. The rank 5 psyker can push and have the talents to make the perils not that big a problem. 

This means that damage would be 1d10 + 30 (avg 35) warp weapon with a target roll of around 110 (WP 60 + 5*PR), with an average of 4 bolts.

Compare this to a lascannon,  5d10 + 10 proven (3) (avg 39) pen 10 with a target roll of around 60 (BS 60).

Already this power is better than a las cannon, is easier to hit with and does more damage over the course of the shots, is harder to dodge and can effect multiple opponents. Sadly it's one of the real problems with the system, as the PR increases there is an exponential effect on most powers, causing them to break rather quickly.

I would at the very least go for d10+(2*PR) and then play test it.

The part about only having 1 offensive psychic power a turn is covered in the errata, page4. All psychic powers that target an opponent gain they attack subtype and you can only use I action with the attack subtype a turn.

I'd be interested to hear how the playtesting goes and whether the players like this new version of the power.

 



#16 Naviward

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 10:46 AM

borithan said:

BY far and away the most broken power is the one that lets you take control of multiple characters. If used pushed it means a GM has to aim to make an encounter about 3 times harder than it would otherwise: The LIbrarian takes control of about a 1/3 of the enemies, tieing up another 1/3, leaving only a 1/3 for the players to deal with.

Smite is downright piffiling compared to that.

I'd say that smite has much the same effect, as blast 10 sections of the battlefield disappaer each round. That said, as you rightly point out, compel is just as broken. It's another power that gets exponentially better up the psy ratings. It really should have just effected 1 opponent, which would still have been very useful.



#17 afterimagedan

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 11:07 AM

 

 

 

 

In your example, the guy with the Lascannon would have BS 70 by that point and would be able to aim (+10) making it target roll 80 with no risk of perils. However, a Lascannon is much easier to dodge and needs reloading. It would probably be a Devastator with a long list of beneficial talents as well.

With the 2x option, it would be D10 + 20, pen 10 with a 35-36 pt average (including the pen). Hitting with 4 bolts on, say, power armor and toughness 50 guy body shot (armor 20), that would be 15-16 damage per bolt (well, 17-18 on the other locations). This would still scale too quickly. How about we drop the pen? That way, it would be a factor that would not scale (which would make it less cumulative) and make it more reasonable damage. Following the previously stated situation…

Smite --> D10 + 20 = 25-26. with an average of 4 bolts hitting = 20-24 damage with perils though harder to damage.

Lascannon --> 5d10 + 10 (avg 39) pen 10. that would be 29 damage that would be able to be dodged more easily but with no perils.

What do you think about that? Also, should there be a max number of bolts that can hit?



#18 Naviward

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 12:04 AM

afterimagedan said:

 In your example, the guy with the Lascannon would have BS 70 by that point and would be able to aim (+10) making it target roll 80 with no risk of perils. However, a Lascannon is much easier to dodge and needs reloading. It would probably be a Devastator with a long list of beneficial talents as well.

That's a good point, I wasn't factoring in things like mighty shot and crack shot, which is an advantage to the devastator.

afterimagedan said:

With the 2x option, it would be D10 + 20, pen 10 with a 35-36 pt average (including the pen). Hitting with 4 bolts on, say, power armor and toughness 50 guy body shot (armor 20), that would be 15-16 damage per bolt (well, 17-18 on the other locations). This would still scale too quickly. How about we drop the pen? That way, it would be a factor that would not scale (which would make it less cumulative) and make it more reasonable damage. Following the previously stated situation…

Smite --> D10 + 20 = 25-26. with an average of 4 bolts hitting = 20-24 damage with perils though harder to damage.

Lascannon --> 5d10 + 10 (avg 39) pen 10. that would be 29 damage that would be able to be dodged more easily but with no perils.

What do you think about that? Also, should there be a max number of bolts that can hit?

Now that we've gone through the numbers, I would actually lean towards just lowering the damage back to 1d10+PR. Lowering the Pen has the disadvantage of making the weapon too weak at lower levels (to start with a unfettered attack would only be 1d10+6 with low pen, which just makes it flat worse than a bolter).

Using your example of toughness 50 with unnatural toughness and 10 armour, 1d10+PR is still doing 1d10 damage per hit (so average 5.5) and 4 hits on average, so 20-24 damage overall. This is actually not that much worse than the Lascannon, making for a very good utility power that the psyker doesn't even have to requisition.

I was thinking that having the psykers willpower bonus being the cap on hits (I think that's the way black crusade does it).



#19 borithan

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 05:16 AM

Naviward said:

I'd say that smite has much the same effect, as blast 10 sections of the battlefield disappaer each round. That said, as you rightly point out, compel is just as broken. It's another power that gets exponentially better up the psy ratings. It really should have just effected 1 opponent, which would still have been very useful.

If the enemy is close enough you cannot use Smite at Psy Rating 10. You will have to tone down the level of power to stop you hitting your own guys. Certainly it's powerful, but there is an easy enough counter to it. Compel, however, will work as long as you have the line of site, no matter how close. The real problem, I think, is that the Psy Rating bonus (+5 to the skill per level) applies to the willpower check to take over their brain. If it was just a strait Willpower check it would still be nasty, but at least enemies would have a chance of resisting. Or a slow down in the improvement, like it affects 1 guy for every 2 points of Psy Rating, rather than 1 for 1.



#20 Naviward

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 09:59 AM

borithan said:

 

Naviward said:

 

I'd say that smite has much the same effect, as blast 10 sections of the battlefield disappaer each round. That said, as you rightly point out, compel is just as broken. It's another power that gets exponentially better up the psy ratings. It really should have just effected 1 opponent, which would still have been very useful.

 

If the enemy is close enough you cannot use Smite at Psy Rating 10. You will have to tone down the level of power to stop you hitting your own guys. Certainly it's powerful, but there is an easy enough counter to it. Compel, however, will work as long as you have the line of site, no matter how close. The real problem, I think, is that the Psy Rating bonus (+5 to the skill per level) applies to the willpower check to take over their brain. If it was just a strait Willpower check it would still be nasty, but at least enemies would have a chance of resisting. Or a slow down in the improvement, like it affects 1 guy for every 2 points of Psy Rating, rather than 1 for 1.

 

 

 

To play devils advocate, compel has its limitation too. It doesn't work on tyranids, creatures with the machine trait (like dark mechanicum) and creatures with From Beyond (so daemons and some others). So while smite might not be favourable is some situations, you can end up with whole fights (or even missions if you're very unlucky) that compel can't be used in.

You really hit the nail on the head with the willpower check thing, I think it's a failure of a mechanic, as very quickly the psyker is able to pull powers off with no chance of failure and pretty much auto-win any opposed check (makes force weapons pretty broken too).

Don't get me wrong though, I think Smite and Compel are both horribly broken (and while we're at it add the blood lance blood angel power and the carcharodons Rending Maw from Honour the Chapter, if fact anything with PRd10 damage. Black Crusade is even guilty of this).

In fact, why argue between compel and smite. Let's embrace the power of AND. Blood angel librarian, compel, smite and blood lance. Doesn't matter where they are or who they are, the librarian will get you (well, unless it's a dark mechanicus assassin with dodge 100 standing 1 metre away, but that can't happen every game, right?). 






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