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Why the kid gloves treatment?


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#1 HappyDaze

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:29 AM

Why do some  of the Black Crusade materials want to have bad guys perform at less than their optimal ability? As two examples:

1) The section on Hordes (rules that I think are terrible and unneeded, but that's beside the point) indicate that Hordes are only to be used against Chaos Space Marines. Apparently the ability of several lowly combatants to form a gestalt of badassery is lost when it might allow them to overcome lesser opposition even more effectively.

2) The master villain of the example adventure knows the Bolt of Change power. This guy really wants the PCs dead (DEAD!), but he'll only use Bolt of Change once during the final battle because it's so horrible. WTF?

PCs have ways of avoiding and/or recovering from death (muchless anything short of it) in this game, so why should the GM have the bad guys hold back when it doesn't make sense for them to do so?


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#2 Kiton

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 02:27 PM

For hordes, its that there's a significant combat disparity between early marines and humans, despite the small amount of bonus xp the humans get. For low xp adventures, like starting a group out and all that, a Chaos Space Marine is easily capable of handling twice the punishment and then some. They've at least one and a half times the wounds, start with power-armor, and generally have a TB five points higher.

So, yes, its an artificial mechanic intended to keep the "skill guys" from getting utterly annihilated in the first few fights, which kind of enforces less-than-ogryn intelligence on those fighting the party. Later on, here's no longer any reason to treat them with kid-gloves. After all, a late-game Heretek is possibly even *more* of a walking humanoid-ish tank, sometimes with even heavier weaponry.

One thing we did in a game was force the humans to take Ancient Warrior for fluff reasons, but  gave them an extra 1000xp [more than what Ancient cost], and allowed the Human version of all affected Legion Weapons, as well as Power Armor or LPA, to get the same rarity-buff the legion equipment gets. Starting bolters were made combi-weapons to placate the marine players, and everyone was satisfied. The Warband's Heretek was just as old and trustworthy, and had access to the Lathe Worlds mechanicus implants for starting gear; anything past character creation was gonna have to be torn right off its owners though of course. The Demagogue had like two gun-skulls and a heavy-weapons servitor willing to take hits for him right off the start as well.

Given these boons there was no need to pull punches on the party whatsoever. Horde combined-damage bonuses and all that were out in force, and so the players thought twice about wading into such a battle. I'll admit we probably should've thought it over thrice instead, but hey.

 

As for bolt of change…  Really, anything firing those is a bloody tank-buster. You may as well be firing off a lascannon, it'll be less devastating. This unfortunately means that there's not much the party can do unless they get to plan for the encounter ahead of time; you'll want some protection against psychic powers. Though; its a bolt, which means it can be dodged or shielded against just the same as lascannons. Technically, someone lucky enough to be not too far away and have one of those amazing necron distortion shields could reflect the damn thing back as well. Anyone actually hit by it is utterly screwed, though, unless somehow you rolled all  ones on the damage.



#3 Alekzanter

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 03:17 PM

HappyDaze said:

Why do some  of the Black Crusade materials want to have bad guys perform at less than their optimal ability? As two examples:

1) The section on Hordes (rules that I think are terrible and unneeded, but that's beside the point) indicate that Hordes are only to be used against Chaos Space Marines. Apparently the ability of several lowly combatants to form a gestalt of badassery is lost when it might allow them to overcome lesser opposition even more effectively.

2) The master villain of the example adventure knows the Bolt of Change power. This guy really wants the PCs dead (DEAD!), but he'll only use Bolt of Change once during the final battle because it's so horrible. WTF?

PCs have ways of avoiding and/or recovering from death (muchless anything short of it) in this game, so why should the GM have the bad guys hold back when it doesn't make sense for them to do so?

1) Hordes may be used against CSMs and human Heretics in the same encounter. Rules for balancing Hordes for such use are located on pgs 274-275, under the section titled USING HORDES. I see no stipulation in those rules, or those on pgs 348-350, or in the rules for Advanced Hordes in 'The Tome of Blood', that implies Hordes are for use only against CSMs.

2) The Black Crusade publications "want" nothing. The game developers want people to buy their games, and making a new character every week or two is not my idea of fun, so I'd imagine the game developers/scenario authors decided the master villain would use Bolt of Change just once to "send a message" regarding BC's deadliest possibilities in what I'd like to point out is intended as an introductory adventure, for new players, people who may lose interest if they spend a few hours crafting a PC just to have it die straight out of the gate.

GMs have to find the balance between what they want, what their players want, and PC death. Each group is different. If you want the master villain to use Bolt of Change eight times, do it. If your players don't mind crafting new PCs every other game session, kill their PCs frequently.



#4 HappyDaze

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 03:53 PM

I said that the NPC that knows Bolt of Change really wants the characters dead, not the 'publications' whatever that means. If the authors didn't want the bad guy spamming Bolt of Change, perhaps they shouldn't have given him that power. Besides, Bolt of Change can be dodged, so it's not like it'll have more than a roughly 50/50 change of killing a Heretic. With a group of 5 PCs, the bad guy isn't likely to last long enough to kill them all, but I think he should certainly give it his best shot - and more than once! Following Chaos should be nasty, brutish, and short so I have no problems with PCs being killed in an introductory adventure (not that it can really happen if they are willing to burn some Infamy).


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#5 BrotharTearer

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 03:35 AM

HappyDaze said:

I said that the NPC that knows Bolt of Change really wants the characters dead, not the 'publications' whatever that means. If the authors didn't want the bad guy spamming Bolt of Change, perhaps they shouldn't have given him that power. Besides, Bolt of Change can be dodged, so it's not like it'll have more than a roughly 50/50 change of killing a Heretic. With a group of 5 PCs, the bad guy isn't likely to last long enough to kill them all, but I think he should certainly give it his best shot - and more than once! Following Chaos should be nasty, brutish, and short so I have no problems with PCs being killed in an introductory adventure (not that it can really happen if they are willing to burn some Infamy).

The guys got Flicker. That just happens to be the 'you can't kill me' power unless you've got a psyker that's capable of doing damage with force weapons or psychic powers.

Oh and BoC has a much higher than 50/50 chance of making someone burn infamy.

In any case, it's up to the GM to choose if the power's used more than once or not. If it's dodged? Use it again. If it does 5 damage total? Use it again. Take recommendations in adventure publications with a grain of salt. It's your game. You should be the better arbitrator for what's best for your game than the pre-written adventure.



#6 Kiton

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 04:43 AM

One possible reason for holding back on Bolt of Change once he's gotten a solid hit or two with it  might be the risk of chaos-aligned 'non-mooks' getting boons from a mild toughness failure. Sure, their eventual fate is probably sealed unless they start working hard on bleeding off the extra corruption with the given tools to do so in the gm bits, but right at this moment, despite the risks of forced corruption gains, its entirely possible he could just have caused a starting human to gain, say, wings and a slayer-limbed missile launcher.

Which he'll put to real good use as soon as everyone can agree on what the single standard type of ammunition the missile launcher now has an infinite supply of is.



#7 HappyDaze

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 07:03 AM

BrotharTearer said:

 

Oh and BoC has a much higher than 50/50 chance of making someone burn infamy.

 

 

Not once you figure the chance that the guy will successfully manifest the power 86% of the time and it will be dodged about 40% of that, giving us a 51.6% chance of scoring a hit. Even then, there's always a small chance that the 6d10 will roll poorly for damage. These numbers are assuming that the bad guy is using his Psy 6 Unfettered. Sure, he can push to make the manifestation more certain and to increase the damage, but the chances of it biting him in the ass go way up, so I'll assume that Unfettered is his default.


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#8 Kiton

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 07:37 AM

Against a TB4 with 14 wounds and no armor to speak of [so, anything with Unnatural Toughness 6 or less, and AP 9 or lower, which is gonna be most characters pre-terminator suits], 6d10 brings the target down to exactly 0, thus not causing critical damage, if the dice add up to 18. Even then you're generally looking at an average of 4/roll [20 wounds] before we're in possible one-shot territory. About 44% of successful hits won't cause a casualty, bringing the odds even lower.

There's actually no reason for him to ever not use precognitive dodge. Even fettered his odds of avoiding the blow are significantly higher than using agility, and with his Armour and TB, EVERY attack short of a non-overcharged laspistol by someone without mighty-shot is a "dangerous" attack. Likewise, Flicker should be on and stay that way. Any diviner worth his salt [which a master should, if he finds value in salt] would be fighting like this, using and sustaining Foul Cage if there's plenty of human characters, or unfettered Gholam's Curse against the heavier combatants in the party.

A controlled marine firing a plasma cannon on maximal with a bonus +12% to hit is either going to vaporise someone in the party as starting characters often can't dodge out of a Blast 5 [later on that's nothing but for beginning characters, big problem] or himself from an overheat. I guess the biggest issue with bolt of change here is the reasons they gave for him not to be using it; he has better options.



#9 Boss Gitsmasha

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 07:31 PM

Lie to your players. Rob them. Drive them mad. Concoct impossible scenarios whose only outcome is their death.

And then, when their eyes glisten with shame and rage, drink their tears.


"Oomans are pink an' soft, not tough an' green like da Boyz. Dey'z all da same size too, so dey'z always arguin' about who's in charge, 'cos dere's no way o' tellin' c'ept fer badges an' ooniforms an' fings. When one o' dem wants ta lord it over da uvvers, 'e says 'I'm very speshul so'z you gotta worship me', or 'I know summink wot you lot don't know, so yer better lissen good'. Da funny fing is, 'arf of 'em believe it an' da uvver 'arf don't, so 'e has ta hit 'em all anyway or run fer it. Wot a lot o' mukkin' about if yer asks me. An' while dey'z all arguin' wiv each uvver over who's da boss, da Orks can clobber da lot."





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