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Stacking damage? Balance issues?

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#1 Adversius Bael

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:49 PM

This seems like this might have been an unintended outcome of allowing psy powers to grant you unnatural stats

Warptime (or Protean Form for the really horrific version) potentially grants a lot of unnatural WS and/or BS

Crushing Blow adds 1 damage to melee attacks per 2 points of WS bonus or fraction thereof, Mighty Shot does the same thing with BS for ranged shots


If I have say a 5 PR and I push for PR 8 on Warptime to get +8 unnatural WS and BS, that would theoretically mean that I would gain +4 damage to those attacks if I have the matching talent (CB/MS)

Normally, things like this would grant a bonus to those tests, and thus NOT be counted as stat bonus. The +20 Strength from Power Armour is a good example - it adds to final value after all other factors, but wouldn't let you, say, qualify for a talent with a Strength prereq that it didn't otherwise meet. There is an implied order of operations as to what order things are calculated, and Unnatural seems to be toward the beginning of that equation.

Psy powers that give Unnatural Characteristics seem to screw with this, and can get out of hand in a real hurry once the PCs have some xp under their belts (my current group is at ~30,000xp, they're naturally going to be powerful, but some of this gets a little ridiculous).

Now, going out of your way to create such combinations would be munchkin, but what happens when you can't help but trip over such combinations? The Tzeentch Psyker in our group has his PR maxed out and most of the Tzeentch powers, and it just occured to him that if he were to buy a couple more talents (swift attack, lightning attack, crushing blow), he could use his existing character setup that isn't even designed to be all that good at melee to stack on Warp Time and Protean Form for an absurd Unnatural WS and be able to lightning attack for dozens of hits, each of them doing more damage than the Khornate Berzerker's Hand of Khorne (which is already min/maxed a far amount as it is)

Were these things really this poorly tested that nobody tried making a sorcerer or psyker at higher than like 10,000xp? Did they just not care that things were stacked up to absurd levels so easily?

Worse are the two khornate characters. I have a player with a rune chainsword that ends up doing more damage than when it was a daemon chainsword for no other reason than his corruption value is pretty high, and now it's being elevated to a Legacy Weapon from Tome of Blood. A Legion Chainsword with high Strength plus Mark of Khorne and Synthmuscle, now 8 free damage from being tainted with his current corruption value, and another 4 damage and 4 pen from Legacy, massive bonuses on a swift-attack charge so that Raptor applies to each hit for a full 2d10 is getting out of hand. He's hitting for 3d10+31, Pen 7 each time, and hitting 3-4 times on a charge with that thing, and the other Berserker with the Hand of Khorne is hitting for about 4d10+20, Pen 8 with his oversized fist likewise 3-4 times and he hasn't even added rune or legacy to that thing (I ruled that he couldn't). These are guys with wings or jump packs that are charging huge distances and hitting harder than lascannons while also hitting multiple times. The two of them can demolish a Leman Russ inside of a single turn without breaking a sweat, and can do this from 70+ meters away with a charge. Sure they lose a bunch of that damage if they're not charging, but they're pretty much always charging because targets that aren't built to parry just die in one charge.

#2 Mr. X

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:21 PM

For your Psyker issue you first need to remember, that the bonusses from psychic powers do not stack (page 209 of the core book), meaning that he can either get the characteristic increase on WS from protean form or from warp time (which ever is higher) and loses the benefit from the other. You can't really do anything against him pushing his WS with Warptime and his strenth bonus with protean form, but that is another story.

I have an Psyker with a pretty good Daemon Weapon and Warp Time on top of it and he does pretty hard damage too, so it's either do or die for him and his enemies. Either he kills them in one or two rounds or he is killed in that time…. You could say that the balance is broken, but in my opinion this isn't all that bad. The players need to think about engaging the enemy on favourable terrain or they get quite a beating, resulting in burned infamy.

As for the damage output in comparsion for melee and ranged characters there is quite a gap in a high experience game. Your ranged characters can buff themselves quite a bit with daemon and legacy weapons but even then they will generate less damage output. On the other hand they are quite a bit saver, as they can daoge the attack the hordes from at them, in melee that isn't possible. Here is maybe a solution for you. Use a few hordes your group can't kill in one round and your gamers will start to think before blindly engaging.

As for the balance with vehicles: you probably need to rework these, if you are using the ones from deathwatch. The straight damage output is quite a bit higher in BC than in Deathwatch. You could go as far as giving the vehicles extra AP against weapons, which aren't suited to "kill" vehicles. (the weapons your khorne dude uses would be an example here)

Another way is to give those bad ass enemies (ike the tomb stalker) a few more wounds, so he can at least survive the initial burst. Personally I'm using the NPC rules more as guidlines regarding this matter. For Space Marines even a single blod letter isn't much of an challenge, as they are written in mind of human heretics. But if you use a horde of Bloodletters / necron warriors…. the story starts to look quite a bit different.

When you have a group with such great melee potential you could also try to use a little more of an battlefield setting, wide space between the frontlines, multiple enemy hordes mixed with more hidden elite warriors…. try to lure them into terrain where their duellist abilities are of much less usefulness.

Maybe my advice can help you, maybe not. If you really feel that the game is unbalanced sit together with your group and talk about it. Maybe you can raise the amount of wounds on both sides (PCs and NPCs) to slow down the action. (Each time you purchase wounds you get 3 for 1 and additional starting wounds, you could tra that)

Mr. X

#3 Adversius Bael

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:12 PM

So apart from the fact that multiple buffs from different powers don't stack, the rest is calculating correctly?

We've dealt with high-level games before - some of the Dark Heresy group is capped at 50k, we've got a good-sized squad of Deathwatch marines at about 38-41k, and a few scattered characters of all different ranks from one-off games and whatnot, and are likely to start up some Only War characters soon as well. Black Crusade doesn't seem to cause the sheer game-breaking stuff that a Primaris Psyker can, nor the group damage output that Deathwatch can (watch a squad pop 12 cohesion in one round on bolter assaults), but some single characters in BC can manage some downright insane single target damage.

The group has already observed that needing to approach an entrenched foe at 400m who is armed with autocannons and long-las does not make for a fun approach - charging that mess was suicide, and even trying to flank it wasn't easy. Likewise, getting shot in the back with solid shot from a rune long-las in the hands of a similarly high level character is ruinous even for a chaos marine.

It is entirely possible to challenge this group with intelligently designed combats (put your resources together, then think what a PC would do to make a hideous and unavoidable killzone), I was more wondering if I was calculating something wrong, or if this was intended


Beware a psyker with Warptime or Protean Form and Crushing Blow or Mighty Shot

#4 Mr. X

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 05:46 AM

Yeah, imho that calculation is correct. And yes it is scary, even more so because my psyker has a greater daemon of tzeentch in his weapon. He doesn't have crushing blow yet and he doesn't intend to go that way, he feels that he has enough damage (He has an jump pack and the raptor talent in addition to that = one hit tomb stalker)

Regarding that daemon weapon he isn't the only one in the group who has picked up one, the nurgle terminator even got a daemon armour (self made rules), so they are making good use of the inhibitants of the warp. Well, except for the sniper, that character doesn't trust such weapons.

Moving on to the single target damage: yes that is ridiculously high, so the epic duell with the enemy boss is often just an illusion, because the group just one shots him. My only take on that is to make the enemy boss mobile and his guards need to block the PCs as much as they can. I mean, why stay in your great hall when you can get out, take a thunderhawk (or something similar) and escape/blow them up.

Last you could try a special enemy boss field rule: you've got an powerfield (in addition to the normal field with both working on the same attack) with an high rating (60+) and for each degree of success one hit get's blocked. If you notice that it just blocks everything, let one or two hit's per round pass through. But before implementing something like this talk it over with your goup, else they will just feel bullied.

So, after all, you don't seem to make wrong calculations, they look just dark as befitting of the black crusade setting. :D


Mr. X

#5 Alekzanter



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Posted 28 May 2013 - 04:14 AM

Adversius Bael said:

(watch a squad pop 12 cohesion in one round on bolter assaults)

Could you indicate a source and page number that verifies Bolter Assault may be used multiple times in one Round?

#6 bogi_khaosa



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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:09 AM

I've always had the vague assumption that you're supposed to round your bonus down, not up, on things like Crushing Blow, Mighty Shot, etc.

That's how NPCs' damage is calculated, anyway, at least in Only War (which also explicitly states it for Crushing Blow).

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