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Magellan

Overwatch and Suppressive Fire

46 posts in this topic

Hello, good Only War players. My time is short and I have much to ask, so I'll make this as quick as possible.

 

Imagine that I'm playing a character with high BS. Let's say an effective BS of 80, all things taken into account. I am fighting a single enemy - or a bunch of enemies neatly spread out. These enemies are Eldar hopped up on space-speed or whatever, with holo suits and camo cloaks and all that junk. Their total to-hit penalty is -60. I have very poor odds of hitting them.

 

So what I do is use Suppressive Fire and make sure my cone only catches one of them. Suddenly I have only a -20 to hit them, and thus I am so good at shooting that by spraying randomly, I put every bullet between the eyes of a foe I normally couldn't hit with careful aiming.

 

Situation #2: Imagine that I'm alone in a corridor, facing a number of - I dunno, gangers or something. Normally, I'd be toast, but I'm reasonably certain these guys have low willpower. In my pocket, I find my trusty Uplifting Primer. I set up an Overwatch to throw my improvised weapon at the first enemy to get within range - they are all within range already, so I immediately throw my slab of Imperial literature at the enemy. Overcome by the sheer presence of such holy writing, they all fail their Pinning tests and run for the hills, and thus the Uplifting Primer has saved the day once again. Assuming I avoid summary execution for misuse of the Primer, I just scared away ten armed men by throwing a book at them. This is perfectly RAW.

 

What I want to know is, has anyone else had similar problems? Have you implemented any cleverly written house rules to avoid such issues, besides rule 0?

Petrucus and pearldrum1 like this

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Situation #2: Imagine that I'm alone in a corridor, facing a number of - I dunno, gangers or something. Normally, I'd be toast, but I'm reasonably certain these guys have low willpower. In my pocket, I find my trusty Uplifting Primer. I set up an Overwatch to throw my improvised weapon at the first enemy to get within range - they are all within range already, so I immediately throw my slab of Imperial literature at the enemy. Overcome by the sheer presence of such holy writing, they all fail their Pinning tests and run for the hills, and thus the Uplifting Primer has saved the day once again. Assuming I avoid summary execution for misuse of the Primer, I just scared away ten armed men by throwing a book at them. This is perfectly RAW.

Could you please talk me through how this is RAW?

Perhaps especially how Pinning makes the gangers leg it, rather than taking cover?

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Situation #2: Imagine that I'm alone in a corridor, facing a number of - I dunno, gangers or something. Normally, I'd be toast, but I'm reasonably certain these guys have low willpower. In my pocket, I find my trusty Uplifting Primer. I set up an Overwatch to throw my improvised weapon at the first enemy to get within range - they are all within range already, so I immediately throw my slab of Imperial literature at the enemy. Overcome by the sheer presence of such holy writing, they all fail their Pinning tests and run for the hills, and thus the Uplifting Primer has saved the day once again. Assuming I avoid summary execution for misuse of the Primer, I just scared away ten armed men by throwing a book at them. This is perfectly RAW.

 

What I want to know is, has anyone else had similar problems? Have you implemented any cleverly written house rules to avoid such issues, besides rule 0?

Reasonable doubt all the way. Sure, they have low willpower, but how faithful are ten gangers going to be? Really? Sure some may be, but these guys are brave enough to attack a squad of Emperors guardsmen, with military grade weapons. I simply can't imagine them then running from a book and a guardsman yelling 'For the Emperor!'.

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Overwatch causes pinning, even on a standard attack. You can pin everyone in your 45-degree cone with a thrown pebble if you so desire.

 

The reason they're legging it is because we're in an empty corridor and the nearest cover is some distance away. That's the least important part of the conundrum, however.

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Hello, good Only War players. My time is short and I have much to ask, so I'll make this as quick as possible.
 
Imagine that I'm playing a character with high BS. Let's say an effective BS of 80, all things taken into account. I am fighting a single enemy - or a bunch of enemies neatly spread out. These enemies are Eldar hopped up on space-speed or whatever, with holo suits and camo cloaks and all that junk. Their total to-hit penalty is -60. I have very poor odds of hitting them.
 
So what I do is use Suppressive Fire and make sure my cone only catches one of them. Suddenly I have only a -20 to hit them, and thus I am so good at shooting that by spraying randomly, I put every bullet between the eyes of a foe I normally couldn't hit with careful aiming.

Honestly, reading the action, I don't see the real issue. Suppressive Fire is basically shooting blind, without trying to really aim, and relying on your ability to hold the weapon straight, and luck.

I think that saying "Screw aiming." and just shoot at the general haze of targets in front of you, instead of trying to get a good aim in on any of the targets that are muddled by false-images, holo-suits and camo-cloaks, is a pretty legit use of the Suppressing Fire Attack Action.
 

Situation #2: Imagine that I'm alone in a corridor, facing a number of - I dunno, gangers or something. Normally, I'd be toast, but I'm reasonably certain these guys have low willpower. In my pocket, I find my trusty Uplifting Primer. I set up an Overwatch to throw my improvised weapon at the first enemy to get within range - they are all within range already, so I immediately throw my slab of Imperial literature at the enemy. Overcome by the sheer presence of such holy writing, they all fail their Pinning tests and run for the hills, and thus the Uplifting Primer has saved the day once again. Assuming I avoid summary execution for misuse of the Primer, I just scared away ten armed men by throwing a book at them. This is perfectly RAW.
 
What I want to know is, has anyone else had similar problems? Have you implemented any cleverly written house rules to avoid such issues, besides rule 0?

We solve problems like this by not being flaming autists, but if a solid rule other than Rule 0 is needed, I'd argue that Overwatch causing pinning at everyone in the kill-zone should only be doable with a a Semi- or Full-Auto weapon. Otherwise it'll only affect the one target that got shot at.
Tenebrae, Radwraith and pearldrum1 like this

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We solve problems like this by not being flaming autists

 

Well, since we're apparently on 4chan...

> This much booty bother

 

As for the suppressive fire action, I don't really care what you think is realistic, but more about the balance issues inherent in making regular attacks into something you only do if happen to have a half action left over, and rendering to-hit penalties mostly pointless. The difference between a regular full-auto attack and suppressive fire is only -10 - more than worthwhile to add the effect of potentially scattering the entire enemy force, making full-auto the clearly inferior option if there is any penalty at all to your attack. Semi is in a similar position, and single-shot weapons either have blast or suck anyway, with few exceptions.

 

The only ones who suffer for it are the poor melee characters, who certainly didn't need another nerf.

Edited by Magellan

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Would range and other modifiers affect suppressive fire and overwatch? 

Depends. The way I'm reading RAW when looking over the Combat Actions as described in Only War, no. It simply says that it is a this or that action with this or that penalty. That being said, reading it this way has some interesting repercussions that have not occurred to me before.

For example, Called Shot is specifically "either a Hard (-20) Weapon Skill or Ballistic Skill Test (depending on whether the attack is melee or ranged". By the same logic used to argue that Suppressive Fire is always a -20, so you could argue that Called Shot is.

There may be something I'm just missing somewhere, though.

 

On pg. 249, it makes specific mention of Applying Modifiers to Attacker's Characteristic. Based on that, I think that the intended RAW, while being unevenly written (All Out Attack is written as "one melee attack with a +30 to his Weapon Skill", while many other actions (Charge, Suppressing Fire, Called Shot, etc) are written in terms of doing certain actions per their Difficulty), is that you apply all other modifiers also to Suppressive Fire.

So if you base attack against the Eldar is -60 due to their equipment and environment effects, Standard Attack would put it at -50, and Suppressing Fire at a whooping -80 (Did they remove the +60/-60 cap in Only War? I can't find a mention of it.)

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(Did they remove the +60/-60 cap in Only War? I can't find a mention of it.)

 
OW CRP p.113 in the "Multiple Modifiers" +/-60 is still the cap

Reading that part strictly, though, that only applies to Skill Tests. Not Characteristics Tests, and all Combat Actions (except Dodge and Parry?) are Characteristics Tests.

Maybe it was always like that, I'm not going to backtrack through all the Core Rulebooks. Black Crusade mentions it in the Combat Section only, not specifically to Skills.

Edit: Nevermind, Only War repeats the rule on pg. 249, "Apply Modifiers to Attacker's Characteristic", towards the end. Apparently I was just blind last time I glanced over that section.

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.... So modifiers do affect Overwatch and Suppressive fire? Because it would seem silly that using those two actions at max range and point blank would have the same modifier....

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Suppressing fire is not spraying randomly or shooting blind. It is an active attempt fire near the enemy with such volume that they are forced by their own subconscious to get into cover. In militaries it is known as effective fire, and is defined as 1 round per second within 1m of the target. 

 

"Instead the character makes a Hard (–20) Ballistic Skill Test to see if his gunfire has hit anything " (p.248, Core Rulebook)

 

I think the rules assume you can get the rounds near enough to do this, and with the increased volume of fire, chances are you will hit something (thus the -20 BS check, and the hits per 2 DoS, it's more of a bad luck roll for the enemy). I think the modifiers for range should apply (same amount of rounds being spread within an arc over a larger distance due to subtension rule means less likely to hit something)

 

Personally I think that this mechanic should have been factored into the full auto burst to a lesser degree, maybe a smaller area of effect, say 25o or 30o

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Fascinating. I agree that applying further modifiers to the tests are better, but there are some issues with this. When it comes to Overwatch, this would be the natural thing to do, as you are actually taking standard attacks, semi-auto attacks and full-auto attacks (and from the way the rule is written, it seems like you can do this more than once in a round. I wouldn't allow that, since it would mean you could Overwatch on your turn, specify "whenever someone is in my kill zone" and just fire again and again until everyone is dead), so things should work as usual.

 

With Suppressive Fire, though, things become a mite more complicated. What happens if your enemies are of different sizes, at different distances, have different gear and so on?

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Brings to mind "Oh, my opponent cast mirror image and there's 8 possibilities? I close my eyes and attack." from DnD.

 

It's tough to rule on this one. I don't know exactly what makes it more balanced, except that PC's don't usually stack large penalties to their to-hit. Well, barring smokin' Night Lords.

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Fascinating. I agree that applying further modifiers to the tests are better, but there are some issues with this. When it comes to Overwatch, this would be the natural thing to do, as you are actually taking standard attacks, semi-auto attacks and full-auto attacks (and from the way the rule is written, it seems like you can do this more than once in a round. I wouldn't allow that, since it would mean you could Overwatch on your turn, specify "whenever someone is in my kill zone" and just fire again and again until everyone is dead), so things should work as usual.
 
With Suppressive Fire, though, things become a mite more complicated. What happens if your enemies are of different sizes, at different distances, have different gear and so on?

I wrote out a lengthy reply to this before I realized what you meant as I was reading the entry. Huh. Good question. You cannot determine additional modifiers before you know who you'll be hitting, but you can't determine who you're shooting at, because you've established a kill-zone with multiple potential enemies.

I'd say.. umm.. go with the one most easily hit for the first strike? It's not RAW, but.. yeah, RAW is very hazy when it comes to Suppressing Fire, apparently.

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My own house rule is that hits cannot be allocated against targets the attack could not have hit, less the -20 penalty from suppressive fire. I also take some liberties with the definition of "target".

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Overwatch causes pinning, even on a standard attack. You can pin everyone in your 45-degree cone with a thrown pebble if you so desire.

 

The reason they're legging it is because we're in an empty corridor and the nearest cover is some distance away. That's the least important part of the conundrum, however.

A pebble won't trigger a pinning test though...it's a pebble (well, maybe if a psyker hurls it at Warp Speed).  Who cares about RAW when it's abused like that?

 

And about the original shooting at eldar at -60, then switching to a -20.  Usually those penalties are stacked.  It isn't completely random fire, you're using it to make them dance and duck, so they can't effectively fight back (IE: pinning).  It requires a bit of accuracy to land a hit in that situation as you broom the room, so to speak.  It isn't easier, it's more difficult.

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Alrik, in all seriousness. I asked what people have done other than invoke rule 0.

 

As for your other reply, that's exactly what we have been discussing in this thread. Let me reiterate - you do not attack targets with suppressive fire, you designate an area and bullets go everywhere within it. How do you stack the penalties if targets are at different ranges and different sizes?

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Alrik, in all seriousness. I asked what people have done other than invoke rule 0.

Well in all seriousness, all house rules are essentially Rule 0. You can solve this by adding the line "This does not work with the Uplifting Primer as an improvised weapon" and call it a homebrew, but at the end of the day, it's still Rule 0.

If you really want a rewording of the rules text (which is an entirely valid wish; I myself would want to do so, because I'm (slowly) working on my own homebrew and I want clear rules texts), then I'd just go with my aforementioned solution. The fact that you can still arguably pin a single person with your book or pebble is only representative of you being crazy enough to think it'll work, and the guy jumping out of the way.
 

As for your other reply, that's exactly what we have been discussing in this thread. Let me reiterate - you do not attack targets with suppressive fire, you designate an area and bullets go everywhere within it. How do you stack the penalties if targets are at different ranges and different sizes?

This. This I'd love a concrete answer to. Or a solid suggestion as to how to resolve.
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Alrik, in all seriousness. I asked what people have done other than invoke rule 0.

 

As for your other reply, that's exactly what we have been discussing in this thread. Let me reiterate - you do not attack targets with suppressive fire, you designate an area and bullets go everywhere within it. How do you stack the penalties if targets are at different ranges and different sizes?

Laughing this just came up in our Dark Heresy game and I had the same questions.

If the penalties stack or not. 

I believe they should stack with the Suppressive Fire -20.  Because otherwise Suppresive Fire can makes it to easy to hit otherwise Hard targets.   On the other hand, I agree that anyone within cone of fire needs to roll or be pinned.

So I am interest to see how the board takes this.  Also did anyone send a formal question to FFG?

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Hitting isn't the important part of suppressive fire.

 

However.,.

 

If there are differences in targets like range, size or warp stuff, it's possible to calculate the bonuses and penalties for each individualy off the same roll.  Hitting some and missing others.

 

The question is, do you want to bother?

Edited by Alrik Vas

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Hitting isn't the important part of suppressive fire.

 

However.,.

 

If there are differences in targets like range, size or warp stuff, it's possible to calculate the bonuses and penalties for each individualy off the same roll.  Hitting some and missing others.

 

The question is, do you want to bother?

 

That's not really possible either, based on how Suppressive Fire is written. It was the first thought that occurred to me, but you can't actually account for that, seeing as how the additional hits themselves are based of of whether how many Degrees of Success you get to begin with. To determine the Degrees of Success, you first have to make a roll, to know how many Degrees, you need to know the difficulty. But you can't, since you're setting up a kill-zone, you're not aiming at anyone in particular.

 

If I misunderstand you, please walk me through how you'd resolve the action, step by step.

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What I want to know is, has anyone else had similar problems? Have you implemented any cleverly written house rules to avoid such issues, besides rule 0?

 

Yes, similar problems are abundant. It makes me feel weird to see all those posts in this thread either derailing the topic or posting offtopic answers aka invoke rule 0 when you have already excluded that option.

 

A decent house rule is to make pinning tests  a full auto or heavy only option. 

 

As for the Eldar case my gut instict says "dont stack". Based on a large volume of firepower. An 80% bs guardsman is a veteran of more than one fronts. 60% means u stand a good chance on making a single hit or two. This monster of a guardsman wielding a fully automatic weapon , going all out has a chance of shooting somebody. 

 

Sounds fair to me.

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