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RogalDorn01

Mission too easy?!?

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Ok, so I ran our first actual deathwatch mission yesterday.  

 

I am going to give a brief rundown of my missions that they went through so you can get a feel for how it went.  I want my players to feel as though they are always on the razors edge of glory and death.  So if you guys could help me figure out what an exciting and harrowing encounter would be at the end of this mission it would rock!

 

I first began with something I called "The Trial of Binding" where my six players went into a darkened training chamber and hunted (and were hunted by) a lictor that was in the room with them.  The twist was they had to go into the scenario wearing only ceremonial robes and carrying only their bolt pistol and a combat knife.  The squad leader was also entitled to a krak grenade.  I also used a pattern of hexagrammatic warding on the room to make it so the librarian was stuck without his powers.  Well they finally used the complicated machinery available to turn the lights on in this room and were immediately ambushed by the lictor who grievously wounded the librarian.  Then they called Bolter assault, several bouts of righteous fury later and the lictor had been completely vaporized by the hail of bolt pistol shells.  So I get that I overestimated the danger of a single lictor to six nerfed marines.  But rather than have more lictors I figured I would try to make this thing memorable.  So up from beneath the floor comes a dias with a wounded carnifex (no regen.)  I had him chained down to the dias, but straining against them thinking it would give them two turns to figure out how doomed they were before the chains broke.  But instead of just shooting the carnifex, they took out the nodes that were keeping the hexagramatic warding in check.  I thought it would be a fun mechanic that they could slowly unwork the warding and make the librarian viable again.  Well this happened.

 

The assault marine had the krak grenade and while the carnifex was still chained down he charged the backside of the carnifex, climbed it, and stuck the grenade into one of the great chunks that had been blown out of it's chitin when the fight started.  (Tested acrobatics to run through the insane rubble, used his reaction to do a dodge against the macetail that was flipping around, aced a climb test to get up the thing, then dominated the BS test to get it into the nook in his armor.  Naturally I had the spore cysts detonate on his back as well nearly sending the assault marine into crit damage.  By now the librarian was back at mostly full strength and pushed smite, he hit righteous fury on 4 out of his six dice (I was watching.)  Needless to say, the carnifex pretty much expired immediately.  Huge success, we had two badly injured marines, everyone else was OK.

 

After this they were inducted and were administered their oaths by the watch captain in front of the Omega Vault.  Very fun moment actually!

 

With the training mission aside, we ran through the Extraction mission out of the main rulebook.  I have found that my six man team can currently kill anywhere from 60 to 100 hormagaunts per turn.  The shrikes that I have seen multiple people panicking over on these forums went down in the first round of combat (there were three) to a combination of heavy bolter and bolters with hellfire shells.  Once I realized this, I didn't want to burden the mission with actually playing out combats against pitiful things like four dozen hormagaunts or the hilarious part when they get "Ambushed" by a pair of hormagaunts in the raftors of the transport hub.

 

We left the mission on a cliffhanger where they had rigged the promethium refinery tanks to blow, rescued the magos (Go Techmarine!) rescued the guardsmen, rescued the lone guy in the rail yard (and told him as payment he must enlist in the imperial guard) recovered the logs from the security station, set and set up shop in the comms tower preparing for the encroaching horde.  They are about to detonate the refinery which will blow up a huge chunk of the swarm.  But the forward elements are already past the blast radius.  So that leaves a sizable force bearing down on the kill team as the thunderhawk is incoming.

 

Right now I am considering the following mix.  They are expecting something brutal and awesome, but I don't want to party wipe them.  The one thing my party does not have is a rocket launcher or melta type weapon.  So if I throw a Trygon or a Carnifex at them I am afraid it will kill them outright, as these ones wouldn't be chained down and helpless for a few turns.

 

100 Mag Termagaunts

100 Mag Hormagaunts

100 Mag Hormagaunts

Flying Hive Tyrant

6 Shrikes

3 Ravenors

 

My kill team is this

Devestator - Heavy Bolter

Techmarine - With Heavy Bolter (Sig Weapon)

Assault Marine - Wings of Angels Type - Flamer, bolt pistol with hellfire

Assault Marine - Wrathful Descent Type - BP, Chainsword

Tactical Marine - Bolter with plenty of hellfire shells

Space wolf Runepriest - Force Sword - BP with Metal Storm

(Our Apothecary was stuck on family duty and couldn't make it back, so he could show next week giving us 7 Marines?!?)

 

I would love you thoughts on the make up of this final battle.

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I was just using the weapon stats RAW.  It seemed to me when I read the errata was that they were presenting an alternate version of the weapons to reduce the overall dice being rolled.

 

At first thought I would assume that there are way too many gaunts there and that it would be boring.  But I threw three shrikes and a 120 gaunts at them and it was over in TWO rounds of combat...  So how am I supposed to make this an epic as hell fighting withdrawal unless I just hit them with way too many guys to deal with.  There is a thunderhawk incoming so I could  just do the whole thing with narrative time.  But I want there to be a real risk that they could be overwhelmed and torn apart without having to resort to narrative time to represent that.  It feels like it would rob the characters of the feeling of agency.  This whole thing is already going to be kind of surreal with them fighting on a hill against a swarm against the backdrop of a massive mushroom cloud (from the gigantic promethium storage tanks blowing up)  Way more epic for mission one that I had ANY intention of when the mission set out...but my kill team is 6-7 guys so that seems high to me!

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I have a 4 man killteam and it is already a small army. You have 6 and it's all the more reason to look at them as a small army. Now you are fielding small armies against them yourself, that is the right way of thinking. Shrikes/Nid Warriors are pitiful in ranged combat but stronger than even a Rank 1 Assault in Melee. Depending on starting range anywhere between 6 and 15 Shrikes are a challenge. But then again you will have to micro-manage that many. Do not use hordified Elite enemies though. They die way faster than indiviually or you have to ramp up Magnitude astronomically.

 

I retconned Smite to make it like the tabletop versions (essentially many lightning bolts of good strength and great penetration). If a Psyker has RAW Smite, he doesn't really need another ranged power anymore.

Smite Psy Attack(counts as Basic) 10xPRm -/-/7 1d10+3+PR E 11

Of course my Librarian player didn't like it. Tough. With this version and channeling Power through his Force Sword, he is still the most powerful character. I care about Inner Party Balance. Very hard. I don't want one player to overshadow all the others.

 

My advice is as usual: unlike other RPGs, err here on the side of NPCs. Better too strong than not strong enough. If the battle is threatening to go badly for the players, have them make Tactics rolls and inform them that they need to come up with some creative strategies to turn the tide or they will all die. If they don't, kill them. If they do, have the strategies work with a minor hiccup here and there. And they will have won due to their own creativity.

 

Alex

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At first thought I would assume that there are way too many gaunts there and that it would be boring.  But I threw three shrikes and a 120 gaunts at them and it was over in TWO rounds of combat... 

 

Let me guess: the Shrikes didn't make it into melee. Try to bring 4 Shrikes into melee with your KT (after losses). It will be much more of a challenge.

 

Alex

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At first thought I would assume that there are way too many gaunts there and that it would be boring.  But I threw three shrikes and a 120 gaunts at them and it was over in TWO rounds of combat... 

 

Let me guess: the Shrikes didn't make it into melee. Try to bring 4 Shrikes into melee with your KT (after losses). It will be much more of a challenge.

 

Alex

 

Correct!  Those shrikes went down like punks in the first round.  Ok, so my idea of a hive tyrant plus 6 shrikes and three ravenors should be sufficient to make them sweat bolter shells?  They will have pretty ample sight distance to all these targets (minus the ravenors of course!!!)

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Correct!  Those shrikes went down like punks in the first round.  Ok, so my idea of a hive tyrant plus 6 shrikes and three ravenors should be sufficient to make them sweat bolter shells?  They will have pretty ample sight distance to all these targets (minus the ravenors of course!!!)

 

Depends entirely on how long the KT has before they reach melee. Remember this about Master-tier enemies as Hive Tyrants and Daemon princes: once they reach melee, Fate starts getting burnt and tears start to flow.

 

You really, really must use the Errata 1.1 stats. Otherwise the HB is the only heavy weapons your KT ever needs except for anti-tank fire. And if you nerf the HB, the Boltgun need a slight nerf. Personally, I use for Bolt weapons errata stats with Core Rulebook ROF (because I want full auto bolters) - except for the HB (I use the errata stats there).

 

The kill-team will become less powerful of that. Which is why I think your above enemy line-up might be a bit too strong for your KT, at least if they start out 60m or less away (which enables the Shrikes to "Run" into melee combat right away). Even 120 m will pose a challenge because Run gives -20 to getting shot.

 

But this is not necessarily a bad thing. If you communicate your players that they might be in trouble and need to come up with something creative.

 

Alex

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If your enemys go down like flies, maybe they should use cover or something. Just think out of your enemys perspective: The last time they kicked all of our asses within 2 rounds, what did we do wrong?

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The kill-team will become less powerful of that. Which is why I think your above enemy line-up might be a bit too strong for your KT, at least if they start out 60m or less away (which enables the Shrikes to "Run" into melee combat right away). Even 120 m will pose a challenge because Run gives -20 to getting shot.

 

Interesting point you got there. Would you say running into melee combat is possible? Like, you have no more (half) action for any attack, but you are in melee range - does this count as enganged in melee?

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I run it like that, yes. The caveat to that is that if the melee enemy takes his turn before your next one, he gets +20 to hit you. That's the drawback of running. And if the other dude has prepared a Delayed Action on top, he can either fire at you at point blank (offsetting the -20) or take an immediate melee attack with +20 against you AND if he has his next turn before you, he can swing again.

 

Delayed Actions are fairly powerful and generally under-used by the less tactically savvy players. It's especialy deadly with Deathwatch Suspensors. Don't move into Point-Blank range of someone with Delayed Action and Deathwatch Suspensor'd Barrage Plasma Gun.

 

Alex

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Correct!  Those shrikes went down like punks in the first round.  Ok, so my idea of a hive tyrant plus 6 shrikes and three ravenors should be sufficient to make them sweat bolter shells?  They will have pretty ample sight distance to all these targets (minus the ravenors of course!!!)

 

Remember this about Master-tier enemies as Hive Tyrants and Daemon princes: once they reach melee, Fate starts getting burnt and tears start to flow.

9.gif

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That makes sense, I thought those were just optional changes to speed up combat, and seeing as how combat is already LIGHTING FAST in my game it didn't seem necessary.  Taking a close look though I can understand the changes and they have been implemented.  Though I did leave the bolter fire able to be done on full auto, because it's a great image.

 

I will also go ahead and remove one of the 100 mag swarms of hormagaunts to be safe.  I will also drop one down to a single Ravenor, which will burst up between them and the guardsmen and attempt to gobble the commissar.

 

So far I have not had much in the way of Tyranids using cover because they have either been flying or Beasts, neither of which really plays around with it.  The lictor made great use of cover though!

 

Ok so If I drop it to 6 Shrikes at 120 Meters out and one Ravenor that leaves one Elite per marine in the KT, which seems fine.  Adding the 200 mag worth of troops at say 200 meters out, with light cover from the rocks and such should be scary.  Then I'll have the Hive Tyrant show up probably 2-4 turns into the fight depending on how they are doing.  Lastly in the middle of the Tyrant fight I'll have the ravenor pop up and see if they care enough about the lives of the commissar and his men to split some of their efforts away from the Tyrant...   Worst case, if everyone is dead, the thunderhawk can always come in and strafe the scene before Kill Team two (which is also on the ship and the players know it) gets out and finishes the job and rescues them.  A total party wipe would be amusing but educational.  Lets hope they do something creative with those Cohesion points!

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Apart from the Rune Priest what chapters are your other players from?

 

Because certain ones in certain roles can perform incredibly well. Blood Angels dominate in melee, especially with all the frenzy related talents they can get off the bat, and their solo mod ability which is f***ed. Raptors are undisputably tailored for sniping, Raven Guard are good at being stealthy (even with power armor!), Ultramarines make good leaders, and I could go on and on about this stuff. Librarians are powerful, but they do have a bit more risk with perils and phenomena.

 

Study your players and find out their strengths and weaknesses! Give each one of them their moment to shine, and also remember to take advantage of said weaknesses.

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Seriously, if you have the impression that more than 4 Elites or the HT will make it into melee, activate Tactics skill (+20) and tell them that they need to come up with something because in a stanf-up fight, they will die. If they are creative, if they start to look around at the environment, if they try to combine weapons/talents/squad modes, they deserve every assistance you can give them. Maybe the HT breaks off the attack because the Hive Mind has decided to save ressources. Or wait for even more nearby reenforcements (which the Thunderhawk can then take care of).

 

Alex

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I don't get it, My GM uses core rules stats foe weapons and has done since the start, we've done all the written adventures and a few of his owns. We never find things a push over, we're all rank 6 now and we've had many casualties from mixing it with hordes and elites. Combat is still dangerous for us, sure we can get through fodder pretty easily but while we do that the elites have moved in and  negated our heavy horde damagers by targeting the heavy weapons.   

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Marines have a sort of cumulative power boost going, so that a party of 6 is double the strength or more compared to a party of 4. With good use of special ammo, decent weapon choices, psionics, oaths and squad modes, they should be able to clear the board of pretty much anything with hardly any of their foes getting decent return fire.

 

I`d say this though - don't view fights in isolation, because in a single fight the marines always have the edge, but in a series of fights they will see a rapid drop in their ability. Marines have a lot of "nova" and "alpha strike" ability. By this I mean that they can throw all their points, special maneuvers and fancy ammo into the big fight, for effects greater than their usual level of power.

 

The downside to this is that in the next fight they have spent most of their special actions, ammo etc and will likely have taken a few wounds here and there. They may well be gambling that you will only give them one significant battle per mission and thus will throw everything they can at it. Having a great many smaller battles can produce better results.

 

I heartily recommend "mark of the xeno" if you are using tyranid enemies. Raveners will always get surprise and always get into melee at the word go. Zoanthropes will take a lot of punishment by virtue of their massive force fields and they can dish out tremendous amounts of pain if allowed to do so. Shrikes/warriors, lovely as they are, are boring as heck.

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The fact that first aid takes a few Full Actions to heal a squad back to full is also a huge problem for pacing and balance. So (with player assent) we required first aid to take 15 minutes if the wounds are more than superfluous (i.e. less than about 5). Paired with time-sensitive objectives it's made the squad have to actually choose whether to go in fully healed or press on.

Edited by Kshatriya

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Librarians are powerful, but they do have a bit more risk with perils and phenomena.and weaknesses!

Post-DH psychic rules are generally without any real threat to the caster except when Pushing, and even then it's not that dangerous. Something that really annoys me, tbh.

 

Even DH rules. Our psyker minmaxed and almost never got phenomena :\

Some HR to get it more hardcore?

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Yeah I see what you mean about the Alpha Striking of Marines in general!  I bought all the books last week so I have been working through them as quick as I can.  But I am absolutely using the Mark of Xenos stuff, they are very fun for sure!  I am trying to stay away from much in the way of House Rules until I feel we have a full handle on all aspects of the official rules.  One or two minor tweaks here and there I did make though.  For instance, I hate testing to confirm Righteous Fury.  The brief moment of joy followed by disappointment PLUS the extra time for the additional dice roll adds nothing to the game.  So next time we play that is right out the door.  I did switch everyone to the Errata rules though, I understand their importance now.

 

We will be playing a mission tomorrow night, then picking up the for the extraction to finish up the main mission on Sunday.  I can't wait to see how it goes

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Deathwatch marines only test to confirm RF vs non-xenos anyway. 

WHAT?!?!?  How did I miss THAT section!

 

This is exactly the reason why I don't want to start using a bunch of house rules!  I've only had the book a week and there are things I missed I am sure...

Edited by RogalDorn01

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