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Flame property too good?


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#1 Droma

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 05:39 PM

TLDR: Are flamers or psychic powers with the flame property too good or are they fine?

Background: Using the Only War rules. One of my players is a guardsman focused  on ranged combat with a lasgun. He could have started with a gun much better than a lasgun and has passed up oportunities in game to get a better weapon. Another player had his tech priest die and so decided to come back as a psycher focusing on pyro powers. Now the guardsman is pissed that this other player does his ranged combat stichk better.

I personally feel he's being a crybaby as he's had a lot of opportunity to get a better weapon. Enemies can dodge psychic powers the same way they dodge normal ranged attacks, they also get another agility test to avoid being set on fire. Furthermore there are a lot of reasons that a psycher won't be able to use his powers(undercover, etc). Plus if the psycher uses his powers at anything other than fettered he runs the risk of perils of the warp.

I know setting things on fire is a powerful ability but shooting something with a longlas, or a flamer, or a plasmagun is just as deadly. I don't have a lot of sympathy for someone who intentionally gimps his characters combat effectiveness when that is supposedly what his character is supposed to be good at.



#2 Darth Smeg

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 07:16 PM

They are not too good. In order to be set on fire, you must first be hit (ie, fail a Dodge) and then fail another Agility test. Against an Ag 40 opponent, this  only has a 36% of happening (after you managed to hit him in the first place. If your effective BS was 50 (inc modifiers for range and mode of fire) than the total chance is just 18%).

A guardsman who dogmatically sticks to his Lasgun "'cuz thats what the Uplifting Primer says to use" shouldn't be in the Inquisition in the first place. His place is amongst the pliant grunts on the front lines. You'd think that people hand-picked for Special Service would be those who display initiative, adaptability and superb ability, yes? I understand the "I want to play him as a regular grunt" approach, but IMO it is not really appropriate for an Acolyte guardsman.

A guardsman with Initiative might decide to get himself some fun toys. Incendiary shells for his shotgun, grenade launchers with plenty of fun ammo to choose from, inclusive flammable ones. Heavy weapons that spread lots of pain amongst all his foes… 


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#3 breez

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 07:36 PM

Flamers are nice, but have limits. For example, you can set the building/ship you are in on fire. Shooting into melee will not make you friends :).

 Guardsmen do have options to include a one shot flamer, or grenade launcher. Not to mention blind /photon, thermal grenades.



#4 Darth Smeg

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 09:37 PM

This reminds me of a lovely stunt I pulled on my Psyker on Sinophia a while back. I made sure to describe the setting carefully, mentioning how the area was flooded, and that stagnant water reached their ankles as they sploshed down the grimy and narrow alleys in the sinks.

So when he used Bio-lightning on his foes in the following fight…

Environmental hazards and features are fun! Have them fight in an old, abandoned manufactoria. Multiple levels, rusty ganways, chains hanging all over the place, nasty chemicals dripping from the unseen darkness above. And a leaking prometheum tank which has left a thin but still quite flammable film all over the floor. 

Put a man on fire with your pyromancy, then scream in terror as flames engulf the entire building! Instant fun!


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#5 Luthor Harkon

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 11:59 PM

Well, he indeed is a crybaby, though I had a similiar problem recently with a Guardsman player in my group. He was sort of envious in regard to the groups Assassin, who seemed to do everything the Guardsmen did just better. The mentioned Assassin focussed on sniping as did (or tried) the Guardsman. For a Guardsmen the specialization on Sniper comes rather late and somehow the Guardsmen career seemed indeed less combat oriented than the Assassin. Anyway, I tried to show the Guardsman player the advantages he has like a far better soak and versatility.

Coincidentally, we started a scenario (i.e. Red Cages…) at this time where the PCs lost all their equipment and were lost in an underground maze full of slavers and their aggressive pets. The Guardsman was performing the best by far just armed with a crowbar he slew enemy after enemy, while the Assassin was hiding and crying that his Sniper Rifle is lost. So, the Guardsman and partially the Arbitrator were always at the front to get all out of this hell-hole, while the Tech-Priest and Psyker were sort of disabled in their function and the Assassin was without any use without his toys.

Verstility and the ability to shrug off loads of damage marks out the Guardsman in my view and is what a GM should elaborate on. Our Psyker is a glass cannon after all…



#6 Macharias the Mendicant

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 05:38 AM

Darth Smeg said:

They are not too good. In order to be set on fire, you must first be hit (ie, fail a Dodge) and then fail another Agility test. Against an Ag 40 opponent, this  only has a 36% of happening (after you managed to hit him in the first place. If your effective BS was 50 (inc modifiers for range and mode of fire) than the total chance is just 18%).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that any weapon with the Flame quality does NOT roll to hit. Meaning the BS test is not necessary. Anything in the area of effect is automatically hit and takes damage unless they successfully test agility. This replaces regular rules for dodging. (The errata on using Flame weapons without the proper training or bracing seems to support this as well:

Normally when a weapon is fired without the appropriate talent or a heavy weapon is fired without bracing, the wielder suffers a –20 or –30 BS penalty respectively. As Flame weapons do not use BS, instead of a –20/–30 to the attack roll, anyone in the area of effect of the flames gains a +20/+30 bonus
to their Agility Test to avoid damage.

Is your player a crybaby? Well, if he's not accepting the limitations of the choices he's made to stick with a lasgun, then yes. (Why not steer that player towards a Hotshot or Helfire gun? Those would still count as Las and pack a much greater punch!)

However, if he feels that the flame weapons are potentially pretty powerful, I have to agree but also point out some of their limitations.

The pros: even if a target would get +20 Dodge, that would not apply to avoiding attacks from a flamer. And, because the only roll involved are damage and Agility, the chance to hit is actually pretty high for most targets. (our house rule allows the use of Dodge instead of Agility if a character has trained to either +10 or +20 Dodge. it only seems fair and still works in the attacker's favour as they still don't roll to hit..) Not to mention: multiple targets.

The cons: flame weapons have a rather limited range and can't be aimed so if you're shooting into melee in which your fellow acalytes are enagaged, they take the damage too… Another down side: make sure that you are enforcing the gun jam rules however: a flamer jams any time you roll a 9 for damage. (That's 10% of the time, and always tends to happen at the worse possible moment… ) Flamers tend to be great against small groups of massed enemies but not so useful against single, more powerful targets.

Having said that, you could compare this to a shotgun at point-blank range which would totally put the flamer to shame for damage potential.



#7 Darth Smeg

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 06:22 AM

Macharias the Mendicant said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that any weapon with the Flame quality does NOT roll to hit.

You're not wrong, but these weapons are not the only ones that put people on fire. Firebombs or shotguns with Inferno shells etc.

But I answered the question incorrectly, and I stand corrected.

Flame weapons automatically hit, and the opponent get 2 Agility based tests to avoid damage and fire respectively.

Other weapons require a BS test, but may be Dodged as normal. IF they hit, the target tests Agility to avoid catching fire.

So this last case is what I meant: If you have a 50% chance of hitting the dude with your fire-causing grenade / shotgun, then dude will still dodge 40% of the 50% that hit, and still avoid being put alight by those that hit. It works out to 16% chance to be Hit, not dodge, and actually catch fire.


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#8 Darth Smeg

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 06:29 AM

Macharias the Mendicant said:

Darth Smeg said:

 

The pros: even if a target would get +20 Dodge, that would not apply to avoiding attacks from a flamer. And, because the only roll involved are damage and Agility, the chance to hit is actually pretty high for most targets. (our house rule allows the use of Dodge instead of Agility if a character has trained to either +10 or +20 Dodge. it only seems fair and still works in the attacker's favour as they still don't roll to hit..) Not to mention: multiple targets.

No, you've got it (slightly) wrong. The dodge is only allowed if his AB would let him completely clear the area covered by the flamers attack. If this is the case, he moves out of the Zone, and takes no damage. If he cannot move sufficiently far away (say he is in a narrow corridor), then he may not attempt the dodge test. His skill does not enter into it, it's his Agility Bonus that determines how far he can Dodge. (See Dodging Area of Effect attacks).

If he is in the zone, or did not dodge, THEN he tests Ag to avoid being hit. IF he fails, he tests AGAIN to avoid catching fire. The question is, if he FAILS his dodge, should he still be allowed to test Ag to avoid being hit?

This Ag test is not really a Dodge, it is the equivalent of the attackers BS test, but you test the evasive skill of the target rather than the marksmanship of the "shooter". See it as Flamer dude spraying his stream of fire back and forth, not really aiming just Spraying. The Ag test is to duck, move and avoid the stream as it passes by.

But can he do this AND try to dive out of the way (and failing) at the same time? The rules do not say …


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#9 Luthor Harkon

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 06:38 AM

Macharias the Mendicant said:

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that any weapon with the Flame quality does NOT roll to hit. Meaning the BS test is not necessary. Anything in the area of effect is automatically hit and takes damage unless they successfully test agility. This replaces regular rules for dodging. (The errata on using Flame weapons without the proper training or bracing seems to support this as well:

Normally when a weapon is fired without the appropriate talent or a heavy weapon is fired without bracing, the wielder suffers a –20 or –30 BS penalty respectively. As Flame weapons do not use BS, instead of a –20/–30 to the attack roll, anyone in the area of effect of the flames gains a +20/+30 bonus
to their Agility Test to avoid damage.

Why do you think a Flame weapon would not allow a Dodge? That would make them insanely powerful and besides there is no evidence to come to this conclusion anyway. Instead of rolling to hit with BS, you let anyone in the area of the "flame cone" an Ag test. This way you already have far better chances of success as an average person has BS 30 and thus only a 30% chance to hit, while an average person has 30% Ag and thus a 70% chance of being hit. After this "to hit" procedure is resolved, those targets being hit can use the Dodge skill if they have a Reaction left and enough Ag-bonus to move out of the "flame cone". There is no reason why you should not be able to use Dodge against a Flame weapon or anything in the rules against it for that matter.



#10 Droma

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:47 AM

Well it seems that everyone else is in agreement that while flamers are good they aren't the end all be all. Especially a psycher because he needs to be very careful where he uses his powers in the first place.

I don't want my campaign collapsing on me so I'm probably going to ask the psyker player to swap out to different powers and give him something else fun to make up for having to change his character. He's had to do it before in other systems. This is a long standing issue of the psyker player being a power gamer and the guardsman player being anti-power gamer. Although he's not roleplay either as a cadian guardsman working for the inquisition would have taken a better damn gun when given access but I digress…

Thanks everyone.



#11 Macharias the Mendicant

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 06:04 AM

Darth Smeg: You're absolutely correct that for any area affect / blast attacks, you need to have a high enough AB to avoid the effects..

 

Luthor Harkon said:

Why do you think a Flame weapon would not allow a Dodge? That would make them insanely powerful and besides there is no evidence to come to this conclusion anyway. Instead of rolling to hit with BS, you let anyone in the area of the "flame cone" an Ag test. This way you already have far better chances of success as an average person has BS 30 and thus only a 30% chance to hit, while an average person has 30% Ag and thus a 70% chance of being hit. After this "to hit" procedure is resolved, those targets being hit can use the Dodge skill if they have a Reaction left and enough Ag-bonus to move out of the "flame cone". There is no reason why you should not be able to use Dodge against a Flame weapon or anything in the rules against it for that matter.

I always assumed that the Ag. test was the mechanic used to avoid the attack INSTEAD of a Dodge. You're right of course: there's nothing in the rules that explicitly states that a Dodge could not be used. Neither is there anything suggesting that my (previous) interpretation was wholly incorrect: you could easily assume that the AG. check replaced the Dodge. After all, it should be hard to avoid a giant cone of flame!

 

Now, though, I'm much more inclined to agree with you and Darth Smeg:

Flamer attack - no BS roll. Roll damage. (If a 9 is rolled, no damage occurs: weapon jams). If the attack deals damage, defenders may dodge, provided they have a high enougn AB to escape the area of effect. Those who fail their dodge (or cannot dodge) roll Ag. Those who fail the test take damage; those who take damage roll Ag again. If they fail that second Ag test, they catch fire. (See rules for being on fire.)

Are the OW rules any clearer on this? Are they any different? Do you happen to know off-hand? (I don't have my pdf handy.)

Thinking about it now, I can't imagine how I could have thought you didn't get a chance to dodge. Yow. Mad-crazy of me.

Thanks guys!

(My original point still stands about Las weapons: you can't chose to stick with a lasgun then get mad that it doesn't do enough damage…)



#12 Droma

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 04:52 PM

OW rules are dodge chance to avoid the attack. If you are hit whether or not you take any damage you must roll an Ag test or be set on fire. See being on fire after that.

Summary
1. Flamer weapon is fired at you.
2. Roll dodge, are you hit? If yes, see step 3. If no then you're done.
3. Attacker rolls damage and you soak as normal. Whether or not you take damage you must roll an Ag test or catch fire.



#13 Darth Smeg

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:15 PM

Well OW splits this effect into two Weapon Qualities. Flame (as before) and Spray.

Flame now applies to all weapons that can put people on fire, like the firebomb and whatnot.

Spray is the whole agility-to-avoid damage thing:

SPRAY
Spray weapons project a cone of missiles, liquid, or fire out
to the range of the weapon. Unlike other weapons, Spray
weapons have just one range and, when fired, hit all those
in their area of effect. The wielder does not need to Test
Ballistic Skill; he simply fires the weapon. All creatures in the
weapon’s path, a cone-shaped area extending in a 30-degree
arc from the firer out to the weapon’s range, must make a
Challenging (+0) Agility Test or be struck by the attack
and take Damage normally. Cover does not protect characters
from attacks made by Spray weapons unless it completely
conceals them. Because Spray weapons make no roll to hit,
they are always considered to hit targets in the body, and
jam if the firer rolls a 9 on any of his Damage dice (before
adding any bonuses).

But the Dodge rules are as before, you can dodge flamers and AOE attacks, if you have sufficiently high Agility Bonus and are not in a constrained space. This was discussed on the BC forums (BC introduced Spray and this split of the old Flame effect), and I think that most people agreed in the end that the sequence was:

  1. Flamer weapon is fired at you.
  2. Roll dodge, are you clear of the Area of Attack? If yes, then you're done. If not, see Step 3.
  3. Roll Agility to avoid behind hit. Did you avoid the Spray of Fire? If yes, then you're done. If not, see Step 4.
  4. Attacker rolls damage and you soak as normal. Whether or not you take damage you must roll an Ag test or catch fire.

This is the same number of rolls to determine if you're hit or not, it's just that the element of chance/skill is moved solely to the target. Where there would be a BS test for the shooter, there is now an Ag test for the defender. All other things remain.


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#14 Luthor Harkon

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 12:12 AM

Hm, but you make you Dodge test only after you failed to make your initial Ag-test to see whether you are (or would be…) hit at all (not the other way around). Like you make Dodge tests only after an anemy made his BS-test to see whether you are (or would be…) hit.

Or am I somehow wrong?



#15 Darth Smeg

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 12:25 AM

Well, Area of Effect attack automatically "Hit" everything in their Area. The Ag test is to somehow "avoid damage". It works the same with blast-weapons.

You don't wait for the grenade to detonate, and see if any splints hit you. You dive out of the way as you see it fly in…


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#16 Luthor Harkon

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 01:14 AM

Darth Smeg said:

Well, Area of Effect attack automatically "Hit" everything in their Area. The Ag test is to somehow "avoid damage". It works the same with blast-weapons.

You don't wait for the grenade to detonate, and see if any splints hit you. You dive out of the way as you see it fly in…

You could have the very same argument with flying bullets and waiting whether they reaylly come your direction before dodging them…

With blast-weapons you do not roll Ag, but are automatically hit (though the user still tests BS) if under the "template". For Flame weapons the Ag-test is the test "to hit" so to speak.



#17 Darth Smeg

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 01:50 AM

Luthor Harkon said:

 

You could have the very same argument with flying bullets and waiting whether they reaylly come your direction before dodging them…

 

 

That discussion has been had, many times :)

As for Flame weapons, they use a template just like blast weapons.

But I see your point. Blast weapons have a BS test. Thing is, you can "hit" even if you miss, if the Blast radius is larger than your scatter roll. Then what? Dodge a missed attack? Dodge the Blast?

Just what is the Target Dodging anyway? If you wait until the thing goes off, to discover if you will be caught in the blast zone, it is too late to Dodge.

If you have to decide when you see that it's incoming, you have to estimate a) how far away from me will/did it land, and b) what kind of grenade is it (ie, how large is it's blast zone).

I'd say the rules are a little "iffy" here. If you see someone pointing a grenade launcher in your direction, you do NOT wait to see where exactly he shoots. You dive for cover, and hope the grenade doesn't scatter the same way you dive :)


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#18 Adeptus-B

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 09:40 AM

I had some similar misgivings about flame weapons early in my campaign. It took some digging, but I finally found that discussion:

http://www.fantasyfl...46&efidt=367921

I've tried to compensate somewhat for the effects of flame weapons, with gimicks like having the most tech-savvy guy in the bad-guy group just happen to have a portable fire extinguisher handy.  But yeah, flame weapons can really monkey-wrench a GM's plans…



#19 BlaxicanX

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:53 PM

Sorry for bumping this, but it pertains to a question I have about flame weapons.

 

Specifically, whether you can dodge AND make an ag test to avoid the flamer, or whether the ag REPLACES the dodge test.

 

The general consensus that seems to have been reached in this thread is that you treat the flamer attack as a (blast) attack; you can attempt to dodge it IF your AB is equal to or greater than the blast radius.

 

How do you determine a flamer's AOE radius though? Grenades have Blast, Blast(2), Blast(3) etc that specifically tells you, but how do you figure out how big the flamer's radius is? You can't just give it a flat number, especially since it's a cone, and I really don't think the writer of the rule intended for us to try to "math out" how big the AOE is of the cone.

 

 



#20 Darth Smeg

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:56 PM

"All creatures in the flame’s path, a cone-shaped area extending in a 30 degree arc from the firer out to the weapon’s range, must make an Agility Test or be struck by the flames and take damage normally."

In practice that means you have a ratio between the distance from the shooter (length) and the width of the "blast" of 1,9. Meaning it's easier to dodge the closer you are to the shooter.

In table form it looks like this:

Distance Width
1 0,54
5 2,68
10 5,36
15 8,04
20 10,72
25 13,40

So at 10 m, you will cover a distance of about 2,7m to each side of your center aim.

This is well and good for a game using tactical maps or miniatures, but if your style is mora narrative you'll just have to make a call. Are the targets confined to a corridor? They're hit. Out in the open? They may Dodge.


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My House Rules for using Only War (and more) for Dark Heresy games





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